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The juncture of sustainability and obesity

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Let's talk about the American diet, for a moment. I don't mean, what Americans eat. I mean, what do most Americans mean when they "go on a diet?"

Almost always, they're saying that they're embarking on a new path for a short period of time, with the intention of going back to how things were as soon as possible.

In this case, sustainability isn't a question, it is part of the definition: I am going to do something that I have no intention of sustaining.

On the journey

I’m writing en route from Boston to Seattle, where I’ll be living for about a month, attempting to keep (well, return to) a regular work schedule while participating in a family member’s effort to regain health. As departures from routine often do, I’ve encountered a couple of surprises during the journey. The first one isn’t so surprising, actually, given the prevalence of overweight in America; for those of you keeping score, the estimate is 145 million American adults, two out of every three of us.

They call them smart choices

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"Why are the missiles called peace keepers, when they're aimed to kill?"

You probably recognize the Tracy Chapman lyric, from her song "Why?" and it arises in my mind this morning in response to the announcement by Kraft Foods that it will use the Smart Choices nutrition guidelines to determine which foods it will advertise to 6- to 11-year-olds.

On the face of it, the move suggests vision and leadership, and perhaps those are accurate impressions. Really, they could be — look at Wal Mart, which has legitimately gone from corporate scourge to corporate not-bad guy. But no one alive in today's world should accept anything — except my pearls, of course — without looking a little further, and these are some of the points apparent:

A visit to Wilson Farms

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jim wilson

Jim Wilson, the fourth-generation farmer at the helm of Wilson Farms in Lexington, likes to note the distinction between good farmers and good businessmen, and listening to him during a 90-minute tour last week, it's clear he claims membership in both cohorts. Considering the thriving concerns his family operates both in Lexington and in southern New Hampshire, there should be no argument, either. 

Ride 'em and eat

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I'm way late on passing on information of a new endeavor by an old acquaintance, Rosemary Jason. Years ago for the Globe magazine, I wrote about her Pocket Rides, small, laminated cards with suggested routes for cyclists.

Now she's come out with Hungry Nomad Maps, which Jason says concentrate far less on distance and far more on destinations — farms, farmers' markets, wildlife refuges, beaches, and conservation land. 

Farmers and "environmental types"

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I am dismayed to read about Collin Peterson, the Minnesota Democrat who is chairman of the House Agriculture Committee and was lovingly profiled by the Times a couple of days ago.

"Peterson says he does not set out to be a contrarian," the story says, but based on some of his comments, I begin to wonder if he sets out to be a bonehead, instead.


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