Of carrots, sticks and dogs

Jose Nunez of Robles Grocery recently qualified for a free refrigerator that allows him to sell yogurt, fruit salad and other perishables. (Alejandro A. Alvarez / Staff Photographer)

Healthy eating! It's in the air, and it seems like everybody's got healthy-eating fever these days. Now that E2P-annointed saviour Michelle Obama has brought the issue to the table, so to speak, fun things are happening in several sectors.

Of course, one is Mrs. Obama getting lambasted for eating unhealthy food herself, ever. Were her message that people should be outright prohibited from accessing these foods, that would make some sense. As it is, however, with her message that we need to increase the availability of healthy foods, it instead looks like just another desperate jab from the anti-Obama contingent.

In today's Daily News, Dan Geringer has a nice write-up on the Food Trust and efforts to get those healthy fruits and vegetables to people who need them most. The package also includes a sobering sidebar on how people can't, or won't, change their habits overnight no matter how much logical sense it might make - a point that sometimes gets lost in this discussion. There's also an explanation of 'food deserts.'

Meanwhile, in the area of de-emphasizing unhealthy foods, Philly is rejiggering some vending machines on city property (including schools) to push bottled water - though it's worth pointing out that the latter is an infamous environmental hazard - in favor of sugary sodas. It's also worth pointing out that while sugary sodas are a widely reviled scapegoat, chocolate milk, which often has more sugar per serving, is seen by some as sacrosanct in their kids' schools. We'll have to watch this initiative, whose eco- and health profit margin seems relatively slim.

Also relevant in this topic area: Yesterday saw the launch of V for Veg, a column by yours truly about foods that, while not always healthy, are nearly always healthier than their alternative versions. Case in point: Hot dogs, where the veggie versions have less than half the fat of their meat counterparts. And a restaurant is devoted to the proposition we already understood: When it comes to hot dogs, it's really all about the toppings!