What “Counts” As a Veggie

Tonight, Matt and I had hot dogs for dinner, something occurred to me as I was putting ketchup and relish on my hot dog and pondering whether or not I wanted a salad. Remember the big hoopla about school cafeterias counting ketchup as a vegetable? The shock! The horror! But wait…if ketchup isn’t a vegetable, then how come tomato juice is? (Matt’s theory: V8 has a better PR department than Heinz.) Part of it is the serving size, and the amount of actual vitamins in a standard serving, sure. But I have to think that there’s also the underlying assumption that if it’s something most kids will eat willingly, it can’t possibly be good for you.

A tablespoon of ketchup has a bit of vitamins A and C, and not much else except some salt and sugar. But, while a cup of tomato juice has a lot more of both, as well as a bit of calcium, some potassium, and a little fiber, it also contains a crap-ton and a half of salt. (20% of your recommended daily intake, to be exact.) So is that good, or bad? Well, if you have high blood pressure, it’s terrible. If you’re at risk of scurvy, it’s freaking awesome. And ketchup, being sugary, is also a fantastic source of calories. Again, not so good if you’re diabetic or hypoglycemic, but potentially really useful for kids who need the energy to get through math class, especially if the school lunch is the main meal they’re getting that day.

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Yoga, Fat, and Internalized Oppression

Over at Dances with Fat, Ragen Chastain has a really nice take-down of an article on modifying yoga poses for fat bodies. The instructor who wrote the original article was apparently paid by the word–or, possibly, by the stereotype, because there was about a paragraph of useful pose modifying information buried by a ton of poorly thought-out assumptions. Like, did you know people who are 100 or more pounds overweight have trouble lifting their arms above their head? And that even an “athletic” fat person will have to bust their ass to keep up with a yoga class (but will do so as a point of pride).

One of the commenters noted that the author describes herself as plus-size, and that a lot of the article is probably internalized bigotry talking, which makes it even more face-palmy. The amount of cognitive dissonance required to stereotype fat people as inactive and unfit, when you yourself are a fat *yoga instructor* makes my brain bleed. She *almost gets it* because she says “One size—or one way of thinking or teaching—doesn’t fit, inspire or help all.” and then proceeds to categorize four “types” of fat yoga students and make assumptions about their experience and fitness level based on how they look.

Weight *does* have an effect on yoga, and it’s really useful to know how to modify a given pose based on body shape. There are certain bends that I can’t do as far as I used to, because the belly gets in the way. So knowing alternate ways to stretch the same muscles, or props to use to make it work, would be awesome. And having read the article, the pose modifications are actually useful. Like, doing the knee to chest pose one leg at a time. That’s an excellent idea, and I will have to try it. But I really could’ve stood to not wade through a bunch of b.s. assumptions to get to it.