DNC News

A healthy School Lunch Program

Subject: Reports of improved school performance as a result of improved diet.

There is an article that has been circulating the internet that sounds almost too good to be true. Written by John Rappaport and distributed through his Stratia.com website, the article describes the miraculous improvement in student performance achieved over the last five years in the Central Alternative High School in Appleton, Wisconsin. The changes in all aspects of student life is clearly attributed to cleaning up the school's lunch program and serving healthy food.

The original article appeared on Mr. Rappaport s website Monday, October 14, 2002. Looking at other articles on the website, suggests that Mr.
Rappaport tends to lean toward conspiracy theories and the belief that the world's affairs are heavily influenced by various international cartels. Being of a perhaps more liberal mind, I searched for other articles confirming the information in Mr. Rappaport's original article.

I found it in a newsletter written by Nick Masulo and sent to the members of a health foods cooperative, The Ozarks Cooperative Buying Club.

From what I can tell, the stories are legitimate. About five years ago Paul Stitt's company, Natural Ovens, gave a grant of $100,000 to institute a healthy lunch program. Mr. Stitt is known for several business ventures. The most well known is Natural Ovens, the Midwest s largest baker of wholesome breads. He also is the nation's largest supplier of stabilized flax seeds used both for human consumption and animal feed. The Omega-3 enriched eggs you see in King Soopers come from chickens fed Stitt's flax seeds. Mr. Stitt appears to have spent the better part of his career improving our eating habits and providing us with more nutritious food.

The lunch program is far from extremist. Reading through sample weekly menu, my first thought is, "This is all they did?"

They fed the kids real food: fruits, salads, vegetables, meat, whole grain breads and a beverage high in protein and essential fatty acids from one of Mr. Stitt s companies. They left out food colorings, preservatives, sugar, and processed foods. They did NOT go organic, they continued buying food from their local Sysco institutional distributor. They made different food choices. Choices that seem reasonable and not extreme, at least to my view.

What follows is the article from Stratia.com and then a more complete article by Nick Mazulo.

Natural Ovens and the 'Healthy Lunch Program' Revolution
A MIRACLE IN WISCONSIN
by Jon Rappoport
Monday, October 14, 2002

OCTOBER 14 -- In Appleton, Wisconsin, a revolution has occurred. It s taken place in the Central Alternative High School. The kids now behave. The hallways aren t frantic. Even the teachers are happy.
The school used to be out of control. Kids packed weapons. Discipline problems swamped the principal s office. But not since 1997.
What happened? Did they line every inch of space with cops? Did they spray Valium gas in the classrooms? Did they install metal detectors in the bathrooms? Did they build holding cells in the gym? Afraid not. In 1997, a private group called Natural Ovens began installing a healthy lunch program. Huh?
Fast-food burgers, fries, and burritos gave way to fresh salads, meats prepared with old-fashioned recipes, and whole grain bread. Fresh fruits were added to the menu. Good drinking water arrived. Vending machines were removed.
As reported in a newsletter called Pure Facts, Grades are up, truancy is no longer a problem, arguments are rare, and teachers are able to spend their time teaching.
Principal LuAnn Coenen, who files annual reports with the state of Wisconsin, has turned in some staggering figures since 1997. Drop-outs? Students expelled? Students discovered to be using drugs? Carrying weapons? Committing suicide? Every category has come up ZERO. Every year.
Mary Bruyette, a teacher, states, I don t have to deal with daily discipline issues&I don t have disruptions in class or the difficulties with student behavior I experienced before we started the food program. One student asserted, Now that I can concentrate I think it s easier to get along with people& What a concept---eating healthier food increases concentration.
Principal Coenen sums it up: I can t buy the argument that it s too costly for schools to provide good nutrition for their students. I found that one cost will reduce another. I don t have the vandalism. I don t have the litter. I don t have the need for high security. At a nearby middle school, the new food program is catching on. A teacher there, Dennis Abram, reports, I ve taught here almost 30 years. I see the kids this year as calmer, easier to talk to. They just seem more rational. I had thought about retiring this year and basically I ve decided to teach another year---I m having too much fun!
Pure Facts, the newsletter that ran this story, is published by a non-profit organization called The Feingold Association, which has existed since 1976. Part of its mission is to generate public awareness of the potential role of foods and synthetic additives in behavior, learning and health problems. The [Feingold] program is based on a diet eliminating synthetic colors, synthetic flavors, and the preservatives BHA, BHT, and TBHQ.
Thirty years ago there was a Dr. Feingold. His breakthrough work proved the connection between these negative factors in food and the lives of children. Hailed as a revolutionary advance, Feingold s findings were soon trashed by the medical cartel, since those findings threatened the drugs-for-everything, disease-model concept of modern healthcare. But Feingold s followers have kept his work alive.
If what happened in Appleton, Wisconsin, takes hold in many other communities across America, perhaps the ravenous corporations who invade school space with their vending machines and junk food will be tossed out on their behinds. It could happen.
And perhaps ADHD will become a dinosaur. A non-disease that was once attributed to errant brain chemistry. And perhaps Ritalin will be seen as just another toxic chemical that was added to the bodies of kids in a crazed attempt to put a lid on behavior that, in part, was the result of a subversion of the food supply.
For those readers who ask me about solutions to the problems we face---here is a real solution. Help these groups. Get involved. Step into the fray. Stand up and be counted.
The drug companies aren t going to do it. They re busy estimating the size of their potential markets. They re building their chemical pipelines into the minds and bodies of the young. Every great revolution starts with a foothold. Sounds like Natural Ovens and The Feingold Association have made strong cuts into the big rock of ignorance and greed.
Go for it.

More info at: http://www.lauralee.com/stitt.htm
Source: www.stratiawire.com

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http://www.ozarkcoop.com/MarketNews/MNFromManger.htm

Dear Members,

As our children return to school (or homeschooling) after the holiday break, remember that we have lots of healthy and convenient lunch and lunchbox items, including juice boxes of pure fruit juice. The Los Angeles School Board has decided to ban all soft drinks from its 677 schools. Under the campus wide ban, schools will offer only water, milk and beverages that contain at least 50 percent juice and no added sweeteners starting one year from now in January 2004.
Concern over childhood obesity prompted schools officials to seek the ban. The L.A. Unified School District is the second largest school district in the nation. Soft drink bottlers oppose the band. Many schools have come to depend upon revenue from soft-drink contracts to fund necessary school programs.
Some schools have found it worth kicking out the vending companies and their revenue. In Appleton Wisconsin, the Central Alternative School did just that. Central is one of the state s Charter schools and began as an alternative high school program for at-risk youth in the public school district. Students there attend school half-time and must work a part-time job.
After reading amazing accounts of the transformation at Central, I contacted the school s dean for more information. Dean Greg Bretthauer told me he thinks that nutrition related problems among students go far beyond obesity. Dean Bretthauer said, "There has been a dramatic change, and we are just scratching the surface of the potential impact."
According to a StratiaWire news report, "The school used to be out of control. Discipline problems swamped the principal's office. But not since 1997. In 1997, a private group called Natural Ovens began installing a healthy lunch program. Fast-food burgers, fries, and burritos gave way to fresh salads, meats prepared with old-fashioned recipes, and whole grain bread. Fresh fruits were added to the menu." Vending machines were taken out and good drinking water was provided. Pure Facts newsletter, published by the non-profit Feingold Association, says that now at Central, "Grades are up, truancy is no longer a problem, arguments are rare, and teachers are able to spend their time teaching."

According to Pure Facts, Principal LuAnn Coenen, who files annual reports with the state of Wisconsin, has turned in some staggering figures since 1997. Dropouts? Students expelled? Students discovered to be using drugs? Every category has come up zero- every year. One student asserted, "Now that I can concentrate I think it s easier to get along with people". Principal Coenen says, "I can't buy the argument that it s too costly for schools to provide good nutrition for their students. I found that one cost will reduce another. I don t have the vandalism. I don t have the litter. I don t have the need for high security."
A joint statement from Dean Bretthauer and Natural Ovens elaborates: "School districts across the nation are looking for ways to improve their schools, but they often overlook an important influence on learning- good nutrition. Inadequate food intake limits children s ability to learn about their world. Researchers know that chronically undernourished children must use their energy for tasks in order of importance: first for maintenance of critical organ functions, second for growth, and last for social interaction and overall cognitive functioning." "Appleton Central Alternative High School (ACAS) and Natural Ovens of Manitowoc are committed to provide good nutrition for our students through the development and implementation of a healthy and natural breakfast, lunch, and snack program. The program, now in its fifth year of operation, has been funded through the generous support of Natural Ovens of Manitowoc owners, Paul and Barbara Stitt. Natural Ovens has contributed over $100,000.00 for the construction of an ACAS kitchen, food service equipment, employment of two cooks and a student assistant, training, and payment of any excess food bills. Access to soda, candy, chips, and chemically processed food items is prohibited for our students.

"The Wellness and Nutrition Program incorporates new knowledge into our existing physical education courses, thus improving the nutritional status and cognitive development of our most at risk clientele at ACAS. Lifelong eating habits and physical fitness are reinforced across the content areas.

Outcomes of the program include:
Increased ability to concentrate in the school setting (more on-task behavior).
Increased cognitive development.
Ability to think more clearly, objectively, and rationally.
Achieve fewer health complaints, i.e. headaches, stomach aches, general malaise.
Increase attendance in school and work.
Fewer disciplinary referrals.
Reduce the feeling of hunger in mid-morning and/or mid-afternoon. Less moodiness and more calmness in school and personal lives. Increased practice of good nutrition outside of school. Dean Bretthauer also supplied this information: "There are six components of a healthy school nutrition environment. Each one is important and has an impact on nutrition and physical activity. The components are:
A Commitment to Nutrition and Physical Activity
Quality School Meals
Other Healthy Food Choices
Pleasant Eating Experiences
Nutrition Education
Marketing

Here are the facts:
Regular physical activity helps build and maintain healthy bones and muscles and reduce fat, but nearly half of young people aged 12-21 years do not engage in physical activity on a regular basis.

Research suggests that skipping breakfast can affect children's intellectual performance, and even moderate under-nutrition can have lasting effects on cognitive development. Children who are hungry are more likely to have behavioral, emotional, and academic problems at school.

Less than one in three children and adolescents meet dietary recommendations for limiting intake of saturated fat, less than one in five eat enough fruits and vegetables, and less than one in five adolescent girls has an adequate intake of calcium.

The percentage of children and adolescents who are overweight has almost doubled in the last twenty years. About 20% are now overweight.
Overweight children are more likely to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high insulin levels. They are also more likely to become overweight adults, who are at increased risk for heart disease and diabetes."

"Here is what the program in Wisconsin looks like:
Appleton Central Alternative serves both breakfast and lunch. No carry-in food or beverages are allowed in the building. Students either eat our "healthy" food or they do not eat while here. Because we are on a half-day schedule, split between the morning and afternoon, our students are only in school for 3 hours. ACA offers bottled water and encourages students to carry water bottles. Paper cups are also provided.

The breakfast program consists of the following items: Fresh Water, 100 percent juice, skim milk, and blended energy drink. Energy drink is made daily with fresh whole fruit, juices, and Natural Oven s flax based energy drink powder (with omega 3) all blended together in a large blender and kept chilled.
Whole grain bagels, whole grain breads, whole grain muffins, with no chemical preservatives or additives, no dye, no saturated fats. Granola cereal, fresh peanut butter, natural fruit preserves, margarine. Fresh whole fruits, banana, apple, pears, plums, (fruit in season).

What is served at Lunch?
Fresh Water, 100 percent juice, skim milk, and blended energy drink. Energy drink is made daily with fresh whole fruit, juices, and Natural Oven s flax based energy drink powder (with omega 3) all blended together in a large blender and kept chilled.
Whole grain bagels, whole grain breads, whole grain muffins, with no chemical preservatives or additives, no dye, no saturated fats.
Fresh Salad Bar-Everyday-with dark green lettuce (no iceberg head lettuce), cherry tomatoes, fresh carrot sticks, fresh cucumber slices, fresh sliced mushrooms, black olives, peanuts, sunflower seed, broccoli and cauliflower spears, shredded carrots, diced egg, hand made croutons from whole grain breads, home made apple sauce, shredded cabbage, canned peach slices, canned pineapple chunks, and blended fruit salad. Hot Entr/e -ACA serves no al la cart items. We have no greasy pizza, no fried foods such as French fries, and hamburgers, no nacho chip bars, etc. The only dairy products we serve are the skim milk cartons (optional) to be eligible for federal hot lunch subsidies. We do not serve any beef products. Fresh ground turkey or chicken is substituted for any ground beef recipes. A typical weekly menu would consist of:

Monday: Chicken Patty [oven baked] on a whole-wheat bun, broccoli almandine rice.
Tuesday: Turkey in gravy served over mashed potatoes, corn.
Wednesday: BBQ meatballs [ground turkey] served with baked potato wedges.
Thursday: Lasagna [ground turkey and tofu] Texas whole-wheat toast
Friday: Taco Bar/soft and hard shell taco shells with ground turkey, Spanish rice, beans, tofu topping.
"The students like the food. For most, this is the only decent meal of the day. ACAS has 95% of its students participating in the food program.
Natural Ovens cooks do not drench vegetables in butter. They use many spices to enhance flavor, and use soymilk and tofu in many recipes. Some fresh food products are purchased at the retail level. Vendors such as Sysco, and others are used. We also participate in the Federal Commodities program and obtain items that would fit into our healthy category. These items change every month, so we only order those items, which are nutritious, not heavily processed, and that we have room to store."

Sincerely,
Nick Masullo
General Manager


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