So I began this post a week ago. Sorry. Many more updates to come!
I’ll start with the bad and end with the good.
Today, I went to Wal Mart in search of some sort of craft project that I could put on my wall after, simply for the purpose of feeling a sense of achievement similar to that which I used to get from running, work, or school. Somehow, I wasn’t able to find anything remotely like what I was hoping for, but I did find a dish that I needed. While waiting in line, I noticed that the family behind me included a young boy, about 7 years old, whose mother allowed him to buy a bottle of muscle milk for a snack. Now, let me preface this with the fact that I know I am not a mother. This is not an attack on parenting, this is an attack on how little many of us know about what we are feeding ourselves and our families.
Before I get into why this is so completely ridiculous, I’ll bring up the stats on that snack, a 14-oz bottle of Muscle Milk:
FAT (g) 9
CARBOHYDRATE (g) 12
SUGARS (g) 3
PROTEIN (g) 25
According to CytoSport, the company who makes the product, Muscle Milk is intended for use 30-35 minutes after a workout, or any time throughout the day as a snack or meal replacement. Nowhere on the webiste are there recommendations for age of the consumer. Previously, I would not have thought of this as an issue – I would have assumed that no child would even consider a nutritional supplement marketed towards bodybuilders. However, it doesn’t surprise me. Supplements are unregulated by the government, and so without a lot of money spent on adhering to standards, these companies have more to spend on marketing, and apparently they do so pretty effectively.
Protein requirements for the average healthy adult are 0.8g/kg body weight/day. For example, I weigh 120 pounds/ 2.2 kg/lb = about 54 kg. 0.8g protein/kg body weight ends up being about 43 grams of protein that I need to eat every day in order to maintain proper functioning. I’d increase this number slightly with extra exercise (especially resistance exercise), during injury, or sickness.
Children, since they’re growing so rapidly, need a bit more, but an exact figure for grams/kg body weight isn’t often given because children grow sporadically and vary greatly in growth patterns. One book that I have, though, says that 28g of protein for 7-10 year old children per day is sufficient for normal growth. That means that this child was getting 86% of his daily protein requirements in a “snack”.
Why is this troubling to me? 25 grams of unnecessary anything means unnecessary calories, even if it’s protein. And the average American gets WAY more protein than necessary anyway. With children, it’s especially important to make sure to fill those tiny tummies with things that they can use to grow big and strong, not unnecessary snacks intended for a different population all together. I also recently saw two little kids get super excited over the free coffee samples at Fresh Market. What is going on?!
I mentioned that we decided to attempt to prepare some true New Orleans delicacies by ourselves to save a couple bucks. One of these was BBQ shrimp, a butter-laden, spiced-up dish that is a classic around here. Not exactly the pinnacle of nutrition perfection, but absolutely amazing. I actually had to do some serious convincing to get James to agree to eat a dish with a whole stick of butter in it.
It started with 4 pounds of fresh Louisiana shrimp for $16 (eat your heart out, New Englanders – you’ll never get prices like this!) My friend Alysse gave me a bottle of her family’s favorite BBQ Shrimp seasoning, which had directions that included sticking the pan in the oven. Since I don’t currently have any dishes that can safely go from the stovetop to the oven, I looked up a few other recipes and blended this one from the today show and the one on the bottle.
We ended up putting about two pounds of shrimp in the pan with half an Abita amber (probably my current favorite beer, fyi), half the container of seasoning, and three tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce. We let this simmer until the shrimp were cooked, then threw in one stick of cubed butter.
Served with french bread to sop up the sauce, this was incredible. The hardest part is peeling the shrimp fast enough to satisfy your hunger! We ended up making BBQ shrimp twice over the visit, and I can say for sure that more seasoning is better, don’t skimp on it! And make sure the french bread is nice and soft, buy a fresh loaf and use the leftover bread for other fun things (banana bread pudding post to come) =)