The First Lady Sympathizes: Promoting Healthy Living is Difficult

If your efforts to change your family's eating habits have met resistance or bad luck, you are not alone.

Perhaps you tried to embrace the slow food movement only to find that you just can't dedicate the time it requires. Maybe you decided that you'd only buy grass-fed beef, which your husband refuses to eat. Maybe you were forced to back off your vow to eat organic because it became too expensive. Or, like me, you just may have deluded yourself into thinking that you could be quite a good gardener yet ended up with plants that couldn't have suffered more under the care of a toddler:

It's just not easy to promote healthy living. Even Michelle Obama can attest to that. This past spring, with great fanfare, she and a bevy of area students planted an organic vegetable garden on the White House lawn. The group planted vegetables, berries, and herbs. The weeding schedule was discussed and all looked forward to enjoying the fresh produce.

Shortly after the garden was planted, though, it became clear that the garden would never gain organic status, because it was planted in toxic soil. Yes, toxic. Apparently the White House lawn has elevated lead levels because the Clinton administration used sewage sludge to fertilize the lawn in the 1990's!

But the first lady hasn't given up in her quest to educate the public. In honor of Sesame Street's 40th anniversary, she will appear on the show. In the short segment, she teaches children how to plant vegetables and promotes the good taste of wholesome foods. Obama's effort to promote gardening in one's own backyard is admirable. Let's hope those cute, furry monsters on Sesame Street provided her with uncontaminated soil to plant those seeds in.

As for you, dear reader? Keep your chin up. Eat as many whole foods as you can, and don't sweat it when you grab a bag of pretzels once in a while. Start with the grass-fed ground beef in spaghetti sauce and slowly accustom your husband to the taste (and remind him it is for his own good). Buy only the produce that absorbs the greatest amount of pesticides. Throw out those old vegetables and apply lessons learned next year.

See? Real change can come, one step at a time.

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