Grain Foods Foundation takes the fight to the schools

BakingBusiness.com posted this press release about the Grain Foods Foundation’s new initiative to “educate” schoolchildren about “healthy whole grains”:

BOSTON — A grains nutrition curriculum promoting the healthfulness of grain-based foods has been developed and is being distributed this month by the Grain Foods Foundation.

The curriculum is aimed at teachers in grades 3-6, the ages children generally form their eating habits, according to Mullen, the G.F.F. agency that oversaw creation of the curriculum.

Included in the curriculum packets are activities for the classroom and at home (with parents), two classroom posters as well as an in-class whiteboard activity to be conducted by teachers.

The G.F.F. said the curricula would be distributed in the first half of April in 16 target markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Washington, Atlanta, Houston, Miami, Kansas City, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Seattle, Cleveland, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Nashville and Omaha.

This is war. Because they share the message of the USDA and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (read “effective deep-pocketed lobbying”) to eat more “healthy whole grains,” they appear to be on the side of right. Hook these kids with the opiate in wheat, gliadin, and they have eager customers for life. And, if they gain plenty of weight and become diabetic at, say, age 16 or 24, they have a new customer for the diabetes drug industry–you know, the people who have been vigorous financial supporters of the Wheat Lobby for 20 years. Everyone wins! . . . except your kids.

In my mind, this is unconscionable, despicable, downright dirty. It’s like Bernie Madoff showing up in your child’s classroom one day to pitch his latest hedge fund opportunity, all with the blessing of the SEC.

Anyone wishing to at least let educators know that this is not the good news it pretends to be is invited to send a letter to your child’s school to at least voice your opinion. Here’s a sample letter. Feel free to use it.

Dear Principal ______________:

I have become aware of an initiative by an industry-representing trade and lobbying group, the Grain Foods Foundation, to provide “Grain Education Packets” to teachers of Grades 3 through 6, which may include the ____________ metro area. I personally disagree with the message that modern grains are in fact a part of a healthy diet. But irrespective of that, I do not think it is appropriate for “private industry” to lobby their message to children in public schools.

With the increasing prevalence of celiac disease and gluten intolerance – an estimated 90% of which is undiagnosed – wheat flour should actually contain a warning message! And it’s not just about gluten. Two slices of whole wheat bread will spike blood sugar higher than a Snickers bar, due to its extremely efficient-digested carbohydrates. Additionally, the lectins in wheat play havoc on the gastrointestinal system. There are studies exploring the link between the gliadin protein in wheat and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, as gliadin can penetrate the blood-brain barrier. There is an entirely new frontier in exploring the effects of modern, hybridized wheat and its effect on health and obesity. I think, as with the tobacco industry, in 10 years or so we will look back on these past 3-4 decades and say, “what were we thinking???”

I am trying to wean my own ___________-grader off of wheat products, and would resent private industry lobbyists effectively reaching ______her/him in our schools. To me this is the equivalent of allowing Joe Camel to pitch cigarettes in schools, with “whole grains” hearkening to a time when “low tar” or “filtered” cigarettes were considered less bad, so they were pitched as healthy.

As a parent with a child attending __________, I would appreciate your staff dumping any Grain Foods Foundation material it receives in the incinerator. And, at a minimum, I would ask that ____ not participate in any “activities” related to this.

Sincerely yours,

_______________________________

Like This Post? Sign Up For Updates — It’s FREE!

Plus receive my special report Life After Wheat, 5 Essential Steps to Take After You Remove Wheat and delicious Wheat Belly recipes!

Comments & Feedback...

  1. TheDogsMother

    Twenty-ish years ago I worked for a community college as a parent educator for parents of pre-school children. We were packed up and sent for annual training at another college. There they presented the new food pyramid and told us the reason grains were on the bottom was because of the grain lobby. I was gobsmacked. Not anymore.

    • Dr. Davis

      Yes, they have been very busy influencing policy.

      And it has been incredibly profitable.

      • Annette

        Of course greedy big biz and stockholders, it is all about the money and not our welfare.

    • Gary M

      Craig,
      The Wheat-free Research and Education Foundation, formed by Dr. Davis and myself, is in its infancy stages. While it will not be directly involved in lobbying, it will be promoting, educating, and researching the wheat-free message, along with providing commentary on situations such as this.

      In another month or two it should be up and running with opportunities to support it.
      Thanks,
      Gary

      • Janet

        Yes, count me in too. To slither into the schools and influence young minds is reprehensible to me, but par for the course these days. The corporations and their political and policy “friends” will do ANYTHING for profit. ANYTHING.

        • Dr. Davis

          Thanks, Laurel.

          I will post info to help support this cause on this blog in the coming weeks and months.

    • Dr. Davis

      Yes, we will be a small army that funds research and our own education.

      All in the works!

      • Heidi Culum

        Dr Davis, Thank you for all that you do, & have done, and are willing to do. I am willing to help in any way possible.

  2. Rose

    WHAT will they do next? Shaking head at this one! Get at the parents through the kids because they will come home shouting to the roof tops how good for you wheat is. What’s this world coming to and how crooked! This was on the tacky side to say the least! FOLLOW THE MONEY.

  3. As an educator, let me take a moment to educate you about the USDA and your local school system. The USDA offers a food program to school districts nationwide with the purpose of providing USDA approved nutritious meals to school children. For every meal the school serves, the USDA reimburses the school. This is on top of the free and reduced meal program.

    http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/lunch/

    What is considered USDA approved? The food pyramid, or now myplate. The school must follow that food guide when it provides meals to students for breakfast and lunch. I can’t stress enough how rigid this required diet is, especially with new modifications that require certain levels of whole grains, reduced sodium and low and no fat milk choices.

    http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/Governance/Legislation/FinalRulePresentation2-2012.pdf

    This also means that all food procured for reimbursement from the USDA must come from an approved vendor. I’m still trying to figure out what makes a bosco stick so nutritious. I’ve watched an autistic child who had to check his blood sugar three times a day while in school get served a breakfast sausage wrapped in a pancake as a food option, and this is considered a nutritious meal according to the USDA.

    I looked over the curriculum designed by GFF and they did a great job. Outcomes are clear, and everything provided supports the objectives (outcomes) of the lesson. It’s also brightly colored so young people’s eyes will be drawn to it. Teachers who use this will reinforce the health ed curriculum unit on nutrition the schools already own and are required to teach to state curriculum standards, and once again reinforces the USDA pyramid/myplate guidelines. Since the school district already receives a check from the USDA for following their rules on nutrition when serving 2/3rds of the meals our children eat every school day, how can they say no?

    • Dr. Davis

      That’s right, Kelly: The USDA dictates what goes down in schools . . . and they are disastrously wrong.

      This battle cannot be fought in the schools. But I believe we have the right to decide what our own kids should eat. If someone else wants to have their kids eat this stuff, that’s their affair. But not mine. And they have no right to dictate to me or my children what I should eat.

      The USDA and the HHS are responsible for one of the biggest nutritional disasters ever witnessed in the history of many on earth. And this is how they plan to deepen their mistake.

      • anthony

        all well and good, gang, but if it’s the choice between eating nothing at all, and eating sh**, what option would you select? And indeed, for many, many, many, many, inner-city kids, that is the choice!

        • damaged justice

          Any inner city kid can get a McDonald’s burger and throw away the bun. There’s no need to insist everyone has to start by going 100% organic grass-fed beef or whatever.

      • Walking Tall

        On 4 April, Dr. Davis wrote this, in response to a post:
        The USDA and the HHS are responsible for one of the biggest nutritional disasters ever witnessed in the history of many on earth. And this is how they plan to deepen their mistake.

        I can understand mistakes–as all humans must function on what light is given, on any subject. I have read Wheat Belly several times, have taken pages of notes, re-read and am pullilng out the concepts, terms and definitions, to do more reserarch, on some things I do not understand. Many people support “Whole Grian Goodness,” that have a broader medical back ground, and more depth than I. To continue to support this Human Pesticide, is not a mistake, as anyone can study the citations in Dr. Davis’ book–in light of the evidecne, it is criminal to still support Big Wheat! I understand that some may be idealogically entrecnced–but there is money to be made or loss, depending on how ignorant the General Population remains on the subject–is criminal, not just a deeper mistake!
        For 49 years, two months, I had no choice, being ignoant on the matter. WIth Dr. Davis’ book, once informed, I, then, had a choice–I could listen to his well supported argument, or I could go on living in my symptom-laced Hell-On-Earth.
        To politize the argument, indoctrinate childern–is to consign them to a Hell-On-Earth, for some, out of that popualaion of children, may be even more sensitive to Human Pesticide–Genetic Modified Wheat, than I am. If Dr. Davis ever needs my signature or support–as an activist, I will do what I can, within the limitations of being a Disabled Vet. and write my name, rather than my Post Name–
        Walking Tall

      • Noel

        Good luck with that!
        Have you ever seen “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution”? If not, you should look for it and see the hell he went through trying to change the school lunch program in one “independent” school in L.A. Initially, he had wanted to change it for a district, but that idea was shot down and he was given a small school to experiment on. He fought against the intransigence of the cafeteria staff, the school board, the food suppliers and even some parents, and was unable to make any effective change… and this is a guy who managed to get the British Government to change the school lunch menus in Great Britain, to offer wholesome, real food as an alternative to the “junk foods” that had been the sole menu choices.

      • Perhaps a good person to target with this message would be the First Lady. Does she have a personally autographed copy of your book, yet, Dr. Davis? Also would be good to hook up with http://realfoodforkids.org/, which was mentioned on an NPR piece this week, NPR, about school districts that are returning to having full-service, restaurant-quality kitchens, cooking and preparing fresh foods from scratch. These choices are determined by local school boards, supported by PTAs and the community. People are waking up, it appears.

        • Dr. Davis

          Thanks for the suggestions, Laurel.

          No, no copy of Wheat Belly in Michelle Obama’s hands. I fear that, should I send a salvo of the books to such people, most will dismiss as nonsense.

          I suspect that, as word spreads, the First Lady will ASK for a copy.

  4. Susie

    That is really quite amazing. I am going to call my school district office to see if they are planning on participating. I have a feeling they won’t – April/May are big standardized testing months so there is no time for curriculum that is not on the tests – at least that is my hope!!! Thankfully, my teenage son has finally agreed to take his lunch to school and he is amazed that he is so much more satisfied! Of course, wheat is not included in that lunch. He is not fully on board yet – but he is getting it!

    You really have picked an uphill battle with this one.You should be proud of what you are doing. I can’t imagine the risk this must be from a professional standpoint. Keep it up!

  5. Neicee

    In any other format this web of deceipt would be considered corruption. Lobbyists, government dictated rules of nutrition that can clearly be proven wrong, now the nation’s healthcare may be dictated by that same govn’t. Sounds like a plan of some kind. I’d be dead if I’d continued to eat the pyramid years ago.

  6. Jeff

    There was/is a school district that recently hit the news because their rules regarding lunches and snacks. The students’ lunches brought from home must be checked by the school “officials” who would force the student to eat the school-supplied lunch instead if they deemed the home lunch didn’t meet their standards, one of which was enough whole grain!
    http://www.carolinajournal.com/exclusives/display_exclusive.html?id=8762
    Free the Animal did a satire piece about it:
    http://freetheanimal.com/2012/02/comrade-child-your-lunchbox-please.html

  7. Sandy

    Speaking of drug pushers, I received my subscription copy of Prevention in the mail today with Paula Deen, the new “model” for Novo Nordisk, on the cover. Infuriating! I became tired of Prevention’s pop-health message a long time ago and was simply waiting for my subscription to run out. But this makes me want to call them up and tell them to stop my subscription early! Surely they know better than to promote the “lightened up” versions of her recipes as a path to good health for Type II diabetics.

  8. Annette

    Paula Deen is a role model for not how to eat, her new show is just to push her agenda. Eat crap.

  9. Susan

    This is the technique of dictators and others who desire control of the ideas and behaviors of others – get their model firmly to the young. Then they are in for life. Not many slip through the cracks. What a disgusting use of school.

  10. Birgit

    This a very serious issue indeed. It is not the first and not the only time that our government fails our country’s kids. I watched Jamie Oliver and he was fighting an incredibly hard fight to improve things. Given the failure of our public school system to provide kids with enough exercise during the school day I recommend that any parents look seriously into home schooling. We have been doing this ever since my daughter was a baby. There are many ways to do it, it can be done even with 2 parents working. With the percentage of homeschoolers increasing so quickly there are lots of peer-opportunities for kids and good support groups in most areas. Especially unschooling has wonderful opportunities for kids.
    At 14 years old our daughter exercises at least 2 hours/day (some structured like her swim team practice, some unstructured play), eats an almost wheat-free (with rare exceptions at parties) gluten-free and sugar-free diet, knows how to prepare most vegetables for herself, plants her own vegetable garden, raises ducks for organic eggs and sometimes posts answers to questions on healthy living for peers on yahoo answers. She rarely gets sick (on average one cold a season), is a healthy weight and has never been needed antibiotics in her life.
    If the government does not protect your kids in school you have to let them vote with their feet. There are incredible free learning opportunities online these days. Just take a look at khanacademy which posts great math videos and others online for all levels.
    Birgit

    • Dr. Davis

      Elegant and eloquent, Birgit!

      If we cannot effect change at the societal level, perhaps some of us will achieve it at the family level.

  11. Hello Dr. Davis.I am reading your book Wheat belly right now and sharing this site with my relatives. Many of us have been affected by this modern wheat. I am up to page 90 in the book. I have seen your 2 part lecture on Youtube. Thank-you for adding to our wellness/metabolic knowledge. Cla

  12. There’s no way I can write this without sounding like a hypocrite so I won’t even try. I grew up on a wheat farm. My family farmed 1000 acres, about half of that in wheat. I went to a local college and majored in Bakery Science (like Food Science but with an emphasis in baking.) I’ve worked for a wheat research company as well as several large food companies doing product development, mainly in bakery. I’m good at what I do and I do it to support my family. But I’m constantly conflicted about what I know is true. Years ago I started eating low carb and saw an overall improvement in my health. Since reading Dr. Davis’s, “Wheat Belly” I’ve avoided wheat at all costs, but only in my personal life. You would not believe the money and resources used in the food industry to promote wheat based products. The Grain Foods Foundation just revamped their mission statement to specifically “track and preempt” any anti-wheat “propaganda” or fad diets as one of their goals. To change this will require individuals willing to stand up against the norm. To change the food companies will be a incredible task. They make all of their decisions based on money, not on what is good or healthy for the consumer. If we don’t buy their product they won’t make it. Not the other way around.
    I will continue to be conflicted and to struggle to work in the food industry developing bakery products as my company directs me. Like the food companies, I need to make a living and support my family. But my own shopping cart will contain none of the bakery products I develop.

    • Dr. Davis

      Please, please, please: If you choose to get out of the industry and talk about it, please come straight to me!

      I have been looking desperate for someone on the “inside.” We need your insights which are truly valuable.

    • I’ve been thinking about the possibility of opening discussions with smaller wheat farmers (does such a thing even exist?), those who may find themselves feeling a similar dilemma to that described by Lucy. If your foundation can get some ethical agricultural fellows to make suggestions to these farmers for ways to transition to other crops (almonds? flax?) it might be a way to further the shift away from wheat/grain production and consumption. I don’t want to demonize the unwitting participants in the proliferation of wheat who find themselves in this situation, after all I used to be one of those people. They need to be supported and encouraged in finding alternatives. We need to make The Money come from other sustainable, healthful sources.

      I find this invasion of the schools disturbing and frightening and well, it makes me feel sick to see what The Big Money Machine is wiling to do.

      • Annette

        Monsanto does not want us to change anything they want to control us. Make us sick so another co. or a part of there monopoly can sell us meds at a huge price to make us think we are getting better. And they seem to have the full backing of our gov.

  13. Tyrannocaster

    Of course they are trying to get new markets. Look at this: “Wheaties isn’t a hit with Americans anymore. Sales of the iconic cereal brand, once almost synonymous with breakfast, have fallen sharply over the last three decades, reports USA Today, sinking from 6.5% to roughly 0.5% of U.S. breakfast cereal market.” More: http://www.investorplace.com/2012/04/wheaties-no-longer-a-champion-among-consumers/

    Wheaties, as they say, is toast. With that for a name it doesn’t stand a chance. So they have to disguise products and use as much subterfuge as possible. I wonder how many hits this site gets from the opposition on a daily basis.

    • Teresa

      I would guess that Wheaties is no longer popular because it’s not sweet enough for most people. No frosting, no marshmallows, no bright colors…

    • Dr. Davis

      Yes, Tyrannocaster: New name, new package, new marketing tactics . . . same poison.

      • Annette

        Have you all seen the new slick ad aimed at the kiddie market from general mills, disgusting saying that there crap is now better for your kids as it has more whole grains then anything else. When will the sheeples wake up? And they wonder here in utah why they are the capital for autism hmm. could it be because they are huge consumers of wheat in every form and eat it at every meal and snack.

        • Dr. Davis

          The intersection of wheat and autism comes up plenty in casual conversation, but it makes me shudder to wonder whether there is a link.

          We need some real human data! But I wouldn’t be one bit surprised if there was a genuine link.

  14. Jennifer

    Hi Dr. Davis and all bloggers,
    I am pretty new to this type of thing…and I have a question that should have been posted back in March. I apologize for being off the subject. I have priced almonds and almond flour and found it very expensive…I was wondering if it is possible to use coconut flour for my sandwich bread and homemade crackers, and to see if anyone has any good recipes. Our family goes through bread fast, as I have little ones. So I am trying to find recipes that are inexpensive, kid friendly, and possibly able to be made in a bread machine. I am sorry, I know it’s a lot to ask. I am planning on purchasing the cookbook soon, but in the meantime I need to find something to make healthy sandwich bread for the kids and hubby. Bread is our only carb addiction, and thankfully it’s only about 2 slices per day, which adds up to be about 8-10 slices for everyone for either toast, or to use as a sandwich. Thank you for your time. God Bless everyone, and have a Happy Easter!!! Oh am I ever so thankful that I homeschool and don’t have to deal with the gov’t or others telling my children what’s healthy or not. But, I have already spread the word about you, your book and website Dr. Davis to many, many people. Thank you for your dedication to helping others acheive a healthy, fruitful life.

  15. dtnmommy

    While I’m horrified at this, my own experience with my child, a first grader, has been pretty positive. He’s not totally off grains, but they have been seriously reduced in our house, and we’ve talked about why grains are not a very healthy choice, We also talk about how added real and fake sugar are bad, as are dyes and soybean oil. I’ve found rather than come home and tell me how we should now eat the way the school told him to after the food pyramid nutrition lesson, he told me the question he asked in class, “Isn’t a diet based in fruits and vegetables healthier than one based on bread?” We sat at the table with the flyer they sent home and, again, talked about why we eat the way we do. I just see it as another way to reinforce our choices against the larger context of society.

    Personally, I’m far more concerned with the school using things like Market Day to sell crappy processed foods and pastries as a fundraiser and schools pushing parents to collect Box Tops for Education. Have you seen the foods with those labels? It’s junk–cereal, granola bars, fruit snacks, yogurt filled with fake sugar. These are things they actually reward the kids for–parties, prizes (almost always candy), rallies to pump them up for contests. This if far, far worse than a classroom lesson that they’ll likely forget in two days. I’ve sent letters, it makes no difference. My kid just gets grief for not being able to fill up a chart with Boxtops once a month. They finally changed the prize for one contest to be extra recess, but again, it was for the class with the most Boxtops. I try to get them for non-food items, staples like butter, but it takes forever to get enough. If you’re going to work on schools, please don’t forget this aspect of it!

    • Annette

      Too true I saw a commercial with a little boy cute as can be saying how that by his eating fruit- roll ups he could help a child in africa be just like him with a computer to use what a ploy to get you to buy the crap. Then there is the coupon frenzy how you can save money buy buying poison for your family. They even have a guru here that will teach you how. Disgusting.

  16. Annette

    I found this information when I saw your section on oils and i wanted to know why as I had changed from canola for cooking to grape seed oil. it is sad in a way when you really read and understand most if not all of the ingredients listed on a label as to why you want eat this or that anymore.

    http://www.rense.com/general85/grapeseed.htm

  17. Jackie Chiles, Esq.

    Who told you to eat that bun? I didn’t tell you to eat no bun! I don’t care if it’s “whole grain”! This is an assault on our schools! It’s egregious, farinaceous, and outrageous!