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President Obama: Inaugurate Healthful Foods this Weekend
January 18, 2013

Among the hottest tickets in Washington, D.C., is the Inaugural Luncheon. Two hundred and twenty five guests will join President Barack Obama for a celebratory luncheon at the United States Capitol after he is sworn in on Monday. Although it took six months to plan the event, it is a recipe for disaster.

If President Obama’s distinguished guests try to fill their plates according to the government’s own nutrition recommendations, they could very well go hungry. The USDA’s MyPlate—developed after PCRM’s strikingly similar Power Plate—and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans both recommend more fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains. Luncheon planners clearly did not get the memo. The menu is based on meat, cheese, cream, saturated fat, and cholesterol.

After reviewing the menu, I suggest an ounce of prevention to replace the 5 ounces of bison tenderloin being served.

Inaugural Luncheon Menu
 Course  Eat This  Not That
First Sautéed Spinach
Sweet Potato Hay
Lobster Tails
New England Clam Chowder Sauce
Second Baby Golden Beets and Green Beans
Strawberry Preserve and Red Cabbage
Butternut Squash Purée (made with butter)
Red Potato Horseradish Cake (made with heavy cream)
Wild Huckleberry Reduction (made with veal stock and butter)
Third The Inaugural Luncheon menu does not include any healthful options for the third course. Apple Pie
Cinnamon Crumble
Sour Cream Ice Cream
Maple Caramel Sauce
Artisan Cheeses

Shellfish such as lobster are notoriously high in cholesterol, which promotes heart disease. The 4-ounce lobster tail being served has about as much cholesterol as a Big Mac. A daily serving of bison—or any red meat—increases the risk of premature death by 12 percent. When the meat is grilled, it produces cancer-causing compounds. Ice cream is one of the top 10 sources of calories among Americans. Cheese is the No. 1 source of saturated fat in the American diet. The Dietary Guidelines say that even if a person is not overweight or obese, consuming too much saturated and cholesterol increases the risk of some of the most common chronic diseases in the United States. There are no dietary requirements for any amounts of saturated fat or cholesterol. They offer no health benefits.

The congressional inaugural committee, which develops the menu, says the meal incorporates foods that the first Americans ate, “heritage foods,” and features dishes from all corners of our nation. I encourage the president to demand a menu that features dishes that represent America’s dietary guidelines. Even before the pilgrims arrived, many Native Americans enjoyed the Three Sisters: corn, beans, and squash—as well as plenty of other fruits and vegetables.

President Obama, after swearing in, swear off unhealthful foods by making sure your Inaugural Luncheon plate is a Power Plate loaded with fruits and vegetables. Demonstrate your leadership and move those unhealthful foods off the menu.


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