Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

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Meet the happy couple: Domino’s and Dairy Farmers of Canada


Domino’s and Dairy Farmers of Canada were the happy new couple yesterday. Domino’s proudly proclaimed their new commitment to use only 100% Canadian cheese on their pizzas. Dairy Farmers of Canada was overjoyed by the marriage. We can only speculate that DFC came with a hefty dowry.

Obviously this is a win-win. Domino’s gets to look good for using only “local” cheese. Hush now, don’t question the fact that Canada is a HUGE country and “local” doesn’t quite encompass all of its cheese products. And don’t even bother to question the fact that Domino’s (an American chain) is hardly a local business. Dairy Farmers of Canada gets the certainty that at least one pizza chain will use only Canadian cheese on their Canadian pizzas. Of course, Domino’s made the same commitment to the US Dairy Association several years ago. Not to mention the publicity that both parties get out of this partnership.

Those more skeptical among us might question the motives behind this union. Although the details are not readily available, I can’t help but to speculate that this relationship is similar to that in the US. For those who haven’t read the second link above, the USDA bailed out a floundering Domino’s in return for promised use of more of their cheese, and only their cheese.

Dairy Farmers of Canada, you know that you don’t have to marry the first corporation that wants to get in bed with you, right? You could have done so much better than this. You could have committed to an initiative that would have garnered positive publicity such as working with schools or food banks to provide milk or yoghurt to those in need. You could have chosen a more nutritious product to attach your name to. Yes, good pizza is delicious but Domino’s is far from good and putting more cheese on it isn’t going to hide that fact (nor, let’s face it, is it going to make it any more nutritious). At the very least you could have joined forces with a Canadian company to promote your Canadian cheese. You know that Domino’s only wants you for your money, right?

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The miraculous(?) nutritionally balanced pizza

I keep hearing about this miraculous “nutritionally balanced” pizza that was recently developed in Scotland and now I feel somewhat obligated to blog about it. So, apparently it tastes good (I’d like to be the judge of that, but from where I sit in Canada that seems pretty unlikely) and it’s actually healthy. It’s true, most (if not all) of the frozen pizzas on the market are pretty unhealthy (high in fat and calories and low in nutrients) and most of them aren’t even all that great tasting. But healthy pizza in itself is not a major innovation. If you make your own pizza you can make a pretty healthy and extremely delicious meal and it’s really not all that much work.

After many years, and many recipes, I’ve finally found my favourite pizza crust recipe. It’s the no-knead dough in this Tomato and Stracciatella Pizza Recipe. I halve the recipe and make a huge pizza rather than individual pizzas. This recipe doesn’t take much time, you just have to remember to mix up the dough the evening before. You can use whatever toppings you like. Piling on the veggies ups the nutrient content. Personally, my favourite toppings are also a combination from Bon Appetit magazine. It’s a simple Cherry Tomato Margherita topping that requires no sauce. Serve a nice salad alongside your slice and you’ve got yourself a home made nutritious and delicious meal. No box required.

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The question is not: Is pizza a vegetable?

Alright… I can’t stay out of this one. The headlines state: Pizza is a Vegetable!┬áIn case you’ve somehow missed this disgrace, and don’t feel like clicking on the link above, US congress is all set to allow pizza to count as a vegetable serving for school lunches. Now, the headlines are a little misleading, pizza is clearly not a vegetable, it’s a “mixed dish” which may contain vegetables. Apparently this classification is not new, the change would have been to disallow it to be counted as a vegetable serving. The argument put forward by “food companies that produce frozen pizzas for schools, the salt industry and potato growers requested the changes, and some conservatives in Congress” is that 2 tablespoons of tomato paste should count as a vegetable serving. The proposed standards would have changed the serving size to 1/2 cup, pretty much impossible to fit on a slice of pizza, thereby preventing the sale of pizza in schools as it would not contain a full vegetable serving. There are so many problems with this issue that I hesitated to wade into this debate. I’ll try to state them as succinctly as possible. First, I think it’s shameful that governments (yep, that goes for our own in Canada, both provincially and federally as well) allow food industry and lobby groups at the table when creating standards and policies. The decision about what foods to sell and provide children at school should be based solely on scientific evidence and common sense. These decisions should never be based on profit. Secondly, I do think that pizza can be a nutritious food, but redefining a serving size of vegetables (yes, technically, tomatoes are a fruit but that’s really not the issue here) does not make it healthy. Maybe if you piled on some other vegetables, used minimal cheese, and whole grain crust, and served it with a side salad or vegetable sticks then it would be a nutritious school lunch. The question is not: Is pizza a vegetable? The question is: Should we be setting children up for a lifetime of unhealthy eating habits in the name of profit?