Grow it Yourself (or not, in the case of American school lunch pizza)

Yes! Pizza. In honour of one of life’s bizarre rulings of 2011, that pizza counts as a vegetable serving. Here I was thinking that by definition, vegetables are edible plants that one grows but apparently not. Mass produced pizza with a smidgeon of a red substance which once, some time and distance past, had a debt to a tomato, can now officially count as a vegetable. One might not have been quite so surprised had the good gnomes of Brussels made a formal decree. It was the European Community, after all, that passed regulations on how bent a banana was permitted to be and they also addressed the perplexing issue of cucumbers. I can’t recall the details of that but I think it was probably on how far a cucumber was permitted to bend from a straight line. But it was the United States Congress, that fine law making body, which bowed to the pressures of the frozen food industry and reclassified pizza to enable it to remain as a healthy option (ie: counting as a serving of vegetable) on the menu of school lunches for American children.

Our diets in New Zealand may be far from perfect and we have a growing issue with obesity, but I think we have far too much respect for the Heart Foundation and the healthy tick to consider mass produced pizza as a healthy food choice. If you are worried about your weight, just ponder for a moment how many obese vegetarians you have met. I failed to come up with any. Certainly it is not common and while giving up eating meat may be a step too far for many (including me), doubling the fresh vegetable intake might be a good New Year’s resolution to make, along with trying to grow at least some at home.

First published in the Waikato Times and reprinted here with their permission.