Welcome to our new weekly round-up of news and inspiration for body, mind, and spirit! Each week in this space, we'll feature a curated collection of great ideas, important news, and uplifting tidbits from around the web. This week: a school lunch revolution, mayors making an impact, and selling America on raw cleansing, plus one for the road...
A Better Lunch
We were inspired when we came across the story this week of 9-year-old Martha Payne from Scotland who, by launching a blog documenting her small, nutritionally devoid school lunches, surreptitiously launched a mini food revolution. The blog, NeverSeconds, began as a writing project in which Martha recounted the lunches served daily in her school. Each post includes photos, reviews, and ratings for categories like taste, healthiness, number of mouthfuls, and (gag) “Pieces of Hair.” When Martha’s blog began garnering international attention, including a nod from celebrity chef and healthy foods advocate Jamie Oliver, school officials took notice and changed the lunch policy to include unlimited salad, fruit, and bread—a big improvement over how Martha's lunches had looked previously (see photo above). "For the first time ever I have seen at lunch cherry tomatoes, radishes, carrot and cucumber shreddings," Martha wrote on the day the changes went into effect. "I was asked today for the first time, 'Is that enough for you?'"
As of this posting, NeverSeconds had officially gone viral, with more than a million views. How do your kids' lunches (or your own) stack up? Find out at neverseconds.blogspot.com.
Mayors Making An Impact
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg made headlines this week when he proposed banning the sale of large sugary drinks in an effort to combat obesity—making himself an instant hero to health advocates and a villian to the city's restaurant and beverage associations. But while that debate is just heating up, elsewhere in New York state another mayor is making waves—albeit in a much quieter way. Having given up his car to walk to work, 25-year-old Svante Myrick, the youngest mayor ever in Ithaca, New York, has turned his prime city hall parking spot into a teensy park. Benches and hollowed-out tree stumps holding potted plants now fill the parking spot, and the sign which once declared "RESERVED FOR MAYOR" includes the addendum: "AND FRIENDS." You can check out a cute photo of what appears to be an impromptu city hall hangout in the new park space at Mayor Myrick's Facebook page.
Green Juice for All
One million meat-and-potato-loving Americans going raw for a week? That’s the ambitious mission of Cleanse America, an organization dedicated to spreading the gospel of healthier eating habits by getting 1,000,000 Americans to participate in at least one 10-day raw foods cleanse in 2012. Participants don’t have to go it alone, however: For $25, you can join in on one of Cleanse America’s “virtual” cleanses held during specific dates. Membership buys you access to recipes, educational materials, daily inspirational videos, and a network of supportive fellow cleansers. Feel-good bonus: A portion of proceeds supports Grow Paradise, which helps plant “edible food forests” in the U.S. and abroad. The next virtual cleanse starts June 20; will you be firing up your Vitamix and joining in?
One for the Road
We're big fans of TEDx talks over here, and this short and sweet video of a talk titled "How To Use One Paper Towel" not only had us smiling, but also thinking about all the small ways in which waste adds up. What's one small step you can take to reduce waste in your own life today?