USDA’s My Plate = Waste of My Money

Posted on Jun 15 2011 - 2:06am by Mike Lieberman

It’s been a few weeks since the USDA unveiled My Plate along with the help of First Lady Michelle Obama. This replaces the old food pyramid.

My only commentary on how it’s divided is – when did protein become a food group? Wonder if this could have anything to do from the meat lobbying industry. I won’t get into that discussion because Michele does a wonderful job of that on Appetite for Profit with Why we need more policy instead of My Plate.

I would like to address the $2 million of our money that went into creating the kindergarten sketch. This is what our tax dollars are going towards?!?! It doesn’t even come close to addressing the issue of what’s wrong with our food.

For the most part, the plate would likely be more nutritious than the foods that are actually being put onto it.

If Michelle Obama really cared about health and what people are putting on their plate, then why doesn’t she take the time to talk to her husband about deregulating GMO crops.

That would be time better spent then posing for another photo-op like she does with the White House garden. That might mean that she would actually have to dedicate the time and show that she really cares. It would take away from the flashing cameras.

The head of the USDA might want to spend some time cleaning up the food industry that is putting out arsenic laced chicken, but that would mean confronting his friends and those that put him in the position he is in.

The creation of this plate took something like two years and $2 million, talk about a complete and total waste. You can put all the protein, vegetables and fruit you want on a plate, but if it’s causing sickness and disease, who cares?

This is why I’m not into counting calories and why I grow my own food.

Why not allocate the time and resources into addressing the real issue and not just masking it some more?

Better yet, stop wasting my f’n money on this crap. I want a refund.

  • http://wannabelocavore.wordpress.com Jecka

    “The plate” is Nutrition 101, a bit reinvented. Throughout my weight-loss journey, I followed the following principle (and try to do so now, as well):

    On a 9″ plate, 50% should be veggies, 25% should be a complex carb, and 25% should be a lean protein. On the side should be one fruit serving as well as dairy (which I don’t think is necessary, so I don’t do that part).

    However, I do agree with you that this is a non-issue that the current administration is just putting out there when they should be worrying about bigger things. *sigh*

  • Lauren

    So well said, it’s so silly that a symbol nobody would use cost so much money. The chicken situation is vile.

  • http://desertverde.com nan

    Well said, Mike! Our food system needs an overhaul, no doubt. I feel good knowing most of my food is homegrown.

    I will say about protein, though, that it includes nuts and beans (which I eat a lot of), not just meat. I haven’t eaten any meat in a few months, and I don’t feel anything is lacking.

    Keep up the good work!

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Yea let’s address the bigger issues, then debate the small stuff. Crazy. Crazy.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    The food system is vile. It’s maddening.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Hopefully as people shift their dollars away from the factory farmed and conventional stuff, the food system will slowly change.

    When most people hear protein they automatically think meat. Can’t say I blame them since that’s what we’ve been programmed with.

  • http://www.deliciousobsessions.com Jessica @ Delicious Obsessions

    Glad to see that the MyPlate issue is still being debated. Maybe change will come through all this. Doubtful, but we must be optimistic, right? $2 million to develop? Come on. That is asinine!!! What a waste of money. But, that’s what the gov’t is good at! :)

    Thanks for a great post, even though I disagree on the protein thing. I think that grains should be moved off that plate and fruit needs to be a much smaller wedge and fat needs to be added into the picture. We must keep fighting the good fight and spreading awareness. And also voting with our pocket books! That’s the easiest way to bring about change! :)

  • CathleenB

    I want to add a different perspective. Look at the old pyramid on its side with no labels and look at the plate. Now which one would you use to try and teach elementary school kids about eating the correct foods? I’m not debating the waste of funds or the government involvement in teaching school children about nutrition. Just pointing out that from a kindergarteners perpective the plate is much easier to understand and kids have to start somewhere.

  • CathleenB

    I want to add a different perspective. Look at the old pyramid on its side with no labels and look at the plate. Now which one would you use to try and teach elementary school kids about eating the correct foods? I’m not debating the waste of funds or the government involvement in teaching school children about nutrition. Just pointing out that from a kindergarteners perpective the plate is much easier to understand and kids have to start somewhere.

  • http://desertverde.com nan

    I want to revise my comment. lol There is not a one-size-fits-all food guide. We all have different bodies and different dietary needs. I do well with high-protein/low carb to keep my blood sugar level. My partner is the opposite with a very sensitive digestive system. He does best with just vegetables and grains, little fat, no citrus and little other fruit. Reading these responses about what works for everyone is evidence that individuals have individual needs. I don’t think one drawing or one pyramid satisfies anyone.

  • http://desertverde.com nan

    I want to revise my comment. lol There is not a one-size-fits-all food guide. We all have different bodies and different dietary needs. I do well with high-protein/low carb to keep my blood sugar level. My partner is the opposite with a very sensitive digestive system. He does best with just vegetables and grains, little fat, no citrus and little other fruit. Reading these responses about what works for everyone is evidence that individuals have individual needs. I don’t think one drawing or one pyramid satisfies anyone.

  • Faeriewhale

    I like the “subtle” message of drinking milk with every meal. (sarcasm)

  • Britsngrits

    Thank you! I started producing my own food when I realized what was in my poultry, eggs and what was being sprayed on my veggies. I now have 50 chickens and a huge garden. The fact that the FDA approved roxarsone as a safe drug was enough for me. And thank goodness our tax payer $$ is being spent on sting operations to jail sellers of raw milk! Our goverment is making the world a safer place for us. (wow that sounded very rude but I’m angry!)

  • david s.

    Nicely put.  But, really, a wasted 2 million is nothing for our government (they spent $1.8 million on a “museum of neon signs” in Vegas).  The list of wasted tax money is endless, but maybe, just maybe one fat, illiterate kid will see the plate somewhere and remember that his plate should look mostly GREEN…and maybe ask mommy to put more veggies on his plate and less Twinkies.  I dunno; call me a dreamer.  

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    I hear ya. There is no universal right way to eat. Regardless of how we all choose to eat, it should be non-chemical and hormone infested stuff. Let’s work on that.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    I get that, but that justifies the $2million and ignoring the larger issue?

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Amen, but what should satisfy everyone is non-chemical and hormone laden food regardless of what you are eating.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Hahhaah. True.

  • http://desertverde.com nan

    exactly.

  • http://desertverde.com nan

    exactly.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Good for you for doing something about it. It’s what you are doing that will make a difference. As the money shifts away from the corporations, real changes will be made. 

    You have every right to be angry. Let’s use that anger in a positive way and raise awareness about what’s going on and empower people to do something about it.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    You’re not the only one…Is that the next line?

    That’s is also the sad part, $2million wasted is nothing. It’s a small amount of the wasted money that goes to masking the issues and protecting their big corporate friends. It’s crap.

    I hope kids eat more veggies and what not. Not veggies loaded up with chemicals or chickens with arsenic. Let’s address those issues and get government spending our money on the real issue and not just covering it up. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=624692882 Katherine Kelley

    I can probably think of better ways to spend that 2 million dollars for educational purposes than designing that plate.  Like putting in gardens to show kindergartners how food is grown and how it tastes when it is fresh as opposed to how it is in the grocery store.  

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Good point as well.

  • Dee

    I kind of like the idea. I’ve been around awhile and don’t remember an administration that really discussed nutrition. As far as the money, yes it’s a lot, but heart disease is now the number one killer in America. Our former vice president’s last heart surgery alone probably cost us 2 million, and that was just his last heart surgery. He’s had numerous heart surgeries.

    It’s not perfect, but it’s a step in the right direction. And it needs to be discussed. Americans with heart conditions cost us way more than 2mil.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    I get that and totally agree. Cut cancer is the number one killer in this country (or at least in the top 3). One of the links to cancer is the use of pesticides. Cancer costs all of us A LOT of money, while making the companies A LOT more. Let’s address that issue and not a plate sketch.

  • Dee

    The first thing I should’ve said, is how much I love your site. I’ve learned more from you than any pyramid or plate.

    Thank you for taking your time and educating us. Thanks to you I have some bush snap beans growing nicely on my small deck. My first.

    Thanks!

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Does this mean that I get some of these snap beans? ;-)

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Hahha. Thanks Rykey. I said that comment sarcastically.

  • Wordwomanvt

    I admire your youth, energy and indignation Mike. I do see your point and know where you are coming from, but to my eyes, I’m just as happy that they spent $1 million each year for two years talking about nutrition and coming up with this poster; it’s $2 million they didn’t spend elsewhere and maybe it kept some graphic designers or nutritionists in a job while a lot of the rest of us don’t  have one. While there are admittedly gaping holes in it all, this plate image is way, way better than the Standard American Diet which is killing so many people. Lots of veggies, fruits and whole grains, and that protein section can be beans or tofu, needn’t be meat. A kid could get a way worse message as to what to eat. (Then again, that plate could be a piles of fries–veggies; a white flour hamburger bun–grains; a bacon double cheeseburger–protein; and a ‘contains real fruit’ sugar bomb for dessert. And a ‘milkshake’ which might have some dairy in it. So I guess i have to modify my last statement — a kid could also get a way BETTER message as to what to eat, too.)

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    I understand what you are saying, but I see that $2million being a waste and just covering the up the larger issue of our broken food system and government.

  • http://healthyinme.com Wendy

    What I wondered and posted about this on my blog awhile back is that the plate only really talks about the dinner plate.  So, what about breakfast and lunch?  It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense in this way.  If they are going to do a plate they need 3 of them, yes?  Or are they suggesting we eat a buffet of fruit and veggies for breakfast, which if they are, then it doesn’t match up with their sample menu to give people an idea of what they are considering healthy cooking.  What is sad is that the people who care do the research and won’t rely on this and the people who need it are so addicted to fast food, processed foods, etc. or can’t afford to eat healthy.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    The actual construction of the plate and what’s on it is a whole separate post. I just wanted to discuss what a waste of time and money it is and how it just covers up the larger problem.

  • http://certifiablesouthernorganics.com 1114organic

    I don’t get it.  I think the gov’t needs to dumb this down a little bit more for me.  Maybe prepackaged food and portions might help

    Good grief!

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Hashhaha. I just want a pill. Everything else can be solved with a pill. Why not this?

  • Down with GMO

    I was more disturbed by the separate, prominent “dairy,” as if we need that. The dairy lobby is pretty powerful, there’s no mistaking it’s for that. But protein is a generic term – it could be soy or other protein. Of course, soy is mostly GMO but, just sayin’…. Also, I wasn’t sure what you meant by “deregulate GMO crops.” Don’t you mean regulate? Ah, I think it was the way you said it, you meant that but it comes across as the opposite. =) Great website

  • Down with GMO

    They also left out really important ones: Legumes, nuts & seeds

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Thanks. I meant not regulating GMO crops. The lobby industry is just sketchy.

  • Girlfuturist

    Protein doesn’t have to be meat. And as hard as it is to believe, there are many people that this idea of the “plate” will help. Yes, there are other problems too, but let’s not join the Tea Party’s attack on Michelle Obama’s attempt to help kids figure out how to eat. We certainly should be trying to wrest the snickers & fried chicken blogs from their little fingers. Positive energy, not negative energy please.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    I am part of no party. Not attacking Michelle Obama just giving my commentary on how I see things. 

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    Not late. The party is always going on. The USDA guidelines are a joke. We all need to do our own research or find others that have done independent research to find out what works for us.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rhia.r.drouillard Rhia R. Ferner Drouillard

    While I agree with the sentiment, rather than finding fault, find a way to bring the mistake to her attention. 

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    That’s the purpose of this to raise awareness and get people talking about it. It will eventually get to her.