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March 19, 2010
Gracing the most recent cover of Newsweek, Michelle Obama's initiative to combat childhood obesity has gotten some attention this week. "Let's Move" is Obama's campaign to help this generation shape up to a healthy weight by the time they reach adulthood. The program focuses on encouraging healthier food at home and in schools, and more physical activity. And while our nation's obesity problem has no simple solution, one suggestion that Obama has recommended is the simple act of cooking.
"Back when many of us were growing up, we led lives that kept most of us at a pretty healthy weight. We walked to school every day, ran around at recess and gym and for hours before dinner, and ate home-cooked meals that always seemed to have a vegetable on the plate....With many parents working longer hours, or multiple jobs, they don't have time for family meals around the table anymore," Obama wrote in Newsweek.
In a country where many people spend more time watching cooking shows on TV, rather than cooking meals for themselves, it is not an easy task to get busy families to step away from pre-packaged meals of convenience. But many chefs are trying to teach Americans that cooking is not so difficult, after all. On March 26, ABC premieres "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution," in which the celebrity chef swoops into Huntington, W.V., one of the unhealthiest cities in America, to teach families how to cook and eat nutritious food. One of the improvements he organizes for the town is a community center where anyone can come in for free cooking lessons, learning to prepare simple, healthful meals with inexpensive ingredients.
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March 1, 2010
Harried travelers have to ditch their bottled beverages to make it through airport security checkpoints to their flights, but unless airports change their practices, those recyclable bottles often go straight to the trash. The New York Times wrote recently about the difficulties airlines face in greening their waste-management practices, which can involve many agencies and are different in every airport. Some have learned to adapt - the Portland International Airport in Oregon, for example, has installed a station for passengers to dump liquids out of bottles so that they can keep and reuse them, with a recycling bin close by.
Of course, it's not just security practices that cause the trash to pile up in airports. With time to kill at gates and during layovers, the airport food court is all but irresistible. Much of the fast food you'll find there is overpackaged to make it portable enough to take on board with you. A few airports, like Oakland International, have cut down on their trash by installing compost bins for food waste, and encouraging restaurant tenants to use compostable food containers. And on the planes themselves, food and plastic waste is abundant, thanks to the millions of cans and plastic cups that most airlines send straight to the trash. Continental is one airline that collects recyclable waste before landing, and recycles it through airport kitchens.
Here are a few items you can bring to the airport to cut back on the amount of waste you produce - all of which are convenient for travel: