“I’m Popeye the Sailor Man
I live in a frying pan
I turn on the gas
And burn off my…”
Oh wait, sorry, that was the naughty playground version. Most of us remember Popeye and his loyal use of spinach in lieu of modern day protein shakes to pump up his famous forearms to woo his fiancé of 80 years (Popeye, see ZomppaPatty’s post about Single Ladies – time to put a ring on it…), Olive Oyl. In fact, have you ever noticed the food symbolism in this famous comic strip? There was the adopted darling, Swee ‘Pea, Olive Oyl’s former boyfriend, Harold Ham Gravy, her brother Castor Oyl, and the suck-up J. Wellington Wimpy who just wanted to eat hamburgers…but I digress from the purpose of this post.
I recently finished Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s amazing book, Half the Sky, and urge everyone to read this. It is a horrifying, beautiful call to action. We hear about poverty and health crises, and I’m sure you have heard the now-familiar quotes that to eradicate these problems, women must be part of the solution. Not only do issues of sex trafficking, violence (i.e. honor killings), and maternal mortality disproportionately affect women (claims one woman per minute – i.e. three women affected by the time you finish reading this post), but issues such as community economic development and health are often better resolved if women are empowered. You know the familiar statistics – give a man power over the household food income and more beer is purchased, give it to the woman and the children and family will be fed.
How is this related to food? Oh…how is it not? Kristof’s most recent editorial is a mind-opening one. What seems like simple micronutrients, such as folic acid, are often ignored (in the U.S. as well), especially when women are expecting. ARE YOU EXPECTING? LISTEN TO POPEYE AND OLIVE OYL!
- Lack of folic acid can lead to brain and spinal defects (i.e. part of brain busting out from a hole in the head);
- Lack of iodine can lead to reduced IQs;
- Lack of zinc can lead to diarrhea;
- Lack of iron can lead to anemia;
- Lack of Vitamin A can lead to childhood blindness.
I’m not trying to freak you out…OK, I am. Point is there are hundreds of thousands of women who do not have access to even a little bit of these nutrients and these defects are preventable. Go onto this site to check out some of the organizations and ways you can help. I understand that charitable giving is not a priority in this economy, but that is also a reason TO help if you can. And if you can’t, there are other ways to get involved. Speak up. Spread the world. If you have a website or blog, grab this image and post it to show your support.
Maternal mortality is not a problem that countries like the U.S. can ignore either. A recent sobering article in the New York Times about the growing dependence on food stamps has reopened debates about whether food stamps should/can cover farmer’s markets and organic foods. Listen, here’s what I think, I doubt anyone wants to or jumps at the chance of depending on food stamps. In fact, not everyone who needs them gets them. Check this 2007 report:
Source: Sprouts in the Sidewalk
and read this great post by Sprouts in the Sidewalk.
Does that mean those who have been impacted and devastated by the current economic climate mean they should be restricted to cheap, preservative-filled, micronutrient lacking “foodstuffs?” Should mothers be forced to have no say in what their children eat? Should mothers be restricted themselves to unhealthy diets for them and their babies?
Access to and availability of food – healthy, micronutrient-rich food – is an issue of social justice, not just a trendy topic of discussion around a dinner table. Education of how to prepare micronutrient-rich and affordable food is therefore crucial. As many of you know, I am on a kale kick these days and so I offer an easy, yummy way to make these, get your micronutrients while being tricked into thinking you’re eating chips.
1 bunch lacinato (dinosaur) kale
1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. Cut kale leaves into large pieces
3. Make sure they are dry, dry, dry
4. Season with olive oil
5. Bake for 10 minutes
6. Sprinkle with sea salt, toss, and bake for another 10 minutes
7. Kale should be CRISPY when done
You can do this with baby spinach too, but the leaves are more delicate so be more careful and make sure they are dry. Use dinosaur kale – the leaves are fuller and thicker and perfect for these chips. Perfect, healthy snack.
Let’s listen to Popeye– eat your spinach and fight for your women – sisters, wives, daughters.
About the Author (Author Profile)With a flair for spontaneity, pizzazz, creative excellence and her own unique sense of aesthetic grace and perspective, we have our very dear friend, Belinda (or B, to some of us). Although an incredibly accomplished professional and career woman, B’s down-to-earth approach and demeanor transcends all scenarios, communities and people. She manifests, in her day-to-day, the essence of the word “Zomppa” as demonstrated by her extraordinary commitment to creating sustainable and positive change for us and future generations to come. She’s asked for a dog every year since she was five. Check out Belinda’s work on global education research and coaching: www.hummingbirdrcc.com or more about her portfolio www.belindachiu.com.
Sites That Link to this Post
- When Half the Sky Goes Hungry | Zomppa - Food, Meet People Zomp | January 5, 2010
- Happy Folic Acid Awareness Week!!!!!! | Zomppa - Food, Meet People | January 6, 2010