Day 136: pizza and the janitor

Today’s lunch: pepperoni pizza, frozen fruit cup, carrots

Another styrofoam tray to truck home. Today I brought my stack into the house. Yes, up until today I had them sitting in my classroom stacked up by my desk. Earlier this year when I had styrofoam trays, I brought them home to use under my husband’s plants. (He has been experimenting growing every seed he can pluck out of every fruit and vegetable that we consume. Most recently he grew a pomegranate plant!)

The fruit cup was frozen
The pizza tasted ok, but I was ravenous by the time I ate it. Today I only had five minutes due to another commitment. I ate the pizza, but I didn’t have time to eat more than a couple carrots, so they had to wait until after work. After eating the pizza, I waited for the “effects.” Today after lunch the only thing I felt was crushing exhaustion when I got home. 
pizza with pepperoni “cubes”


Any teacher knows that it’s wise to stay on good terms with the janitor or the “engineer” as they are now called. The principal and the head building manager (and many support staff) are all critical to a teacher’s daily quality of life.

I like the janitor that cleans my room. He is your average kinda working class guy. We chat almost every day and on the days when I’m just running out quickly, I wave bye to him when he’s in other classrooms. He is really chatty so I know a ton about him and his family. Sometimes it’s hard to break away from him!

We talk about health a lot. I don’t know if I am someone who attracts these kinds of conversations (he doesn’t know about this project), but I tend to get into brief discussions about food and nutrition with different people throughout the day. Months ago my janitor friend stopped eating red meat and drinking milk. Today he told me that he has started to eat only organic fruits and veggies and that he only lets his family drink organic milk. He started telling me about the antibiotics that they give to cows, “I’m going to get you the link to the website my friend showed me.” Then I started talking to him about feedlots for cattle. Dude!

Whoa. I happen to work at a school with a “foodie” for a janitor. Go figure! Is this kind of stuff going mainstream?

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24 thoughts on “Day 136: pizza and the janitor

  1. And who says being a "foodie" (i.e. caring about what one eats)is a luxury practiced only by us "snobbish" "elitists"…?

  2. Yes! A foodie in all shapes, sizes, occupations — people are starting to recognize the reality of where their food comes from! Be a conscious eater, and recognize that eating healthier and fresher food (preferably more veggies and fruits) leads to a much better feeling life!

    Sooo cool that he's interested in chatting you up about eating healthy — you must have that aura 'bout ya! 🙂

  3. I had a similar experience today. I was in a Life Skills classroom (kids who are on the autism spectrum or very delayed in some way) in one of our local high schools. The teacher was doing reading groups and they were discussing health issues. How to stay healthy, keep from getting sick, etc. The talk turned to eating healthy foods, what kinds of foods are good for you, how to eat a balanced diet, and what kinds of foods are best for you. One of the students has lost a bunch of weight because she is being more conscious of what she is eating. Another student stated that he and his dad are going to try being vegetarians. It was a very interesting discussion!

    Yesterday I had a discussion with a friend of one of my daughter's friends. He saw that I was reading In Defense of Food and started talking about food choices, eating organic, and being careful of what you eat.

    So, I think there is definitely more information coming out and more people are learning about healthy food, not just "nutrition" but making the choice to eat whole, unprocessed foods, foods that haven't been altered genetically or with chemicals. It will be interesting to see if this trend continues and where we go from here.

  4. I really think that what goes into our food is common knowledge if people would just stop ignoring it. It is mainstream but ugly.

  5. This made me chuckle! I had the same thought as @Coffee and A Book Chick. I think having these kind of conversations (which I too find myself engaged at least once daily) is a very positive sign of consciousness rising. Before long the majority of Americans are not going to accept their food as altered, modified or processed. The tides they really are a-turnin' 🙂

  6. I have a friend who teaches health in a local 9th grade who was told by his principal to stop teaching using "Food Inc.", "Food Rules", "Super Size Me" and "Chew on This" and other books and information in his nutrition section…
    Because it was cutting into the junk food sales that the school uses to help fund the team sports!
    He was getting through to the kids. They were eating more healthy.
    He did check with the board, the principal can't really tell him not to teach using that information, but can give him a hard time.
    His plan this year is to have the books (not the movies) in the classroom library for the kids to read if they are interested…
    I donated a few that I found at half priced books to his classroom.
    Sad isn't it.

  7. I thought that last line was very snobby of you and lent nothing to your post. His occupation has nothing to do with his ability to be interested in food.

  8. Sometimes I enjoy reading your blog, and sometimes you just strike my last nerve. Sometimes your closed-mindedness just makes me wonder how you can be an educator. I'm a stay-at-home mom and my husband has a job at a retail store. Just because neither of us have a college education, it doesn't mean we're morons. We know (and care) about food, nutrition, and current events just as much as the next family.

    I come here to see what's on the food menu everyday to catch a glimpse of the types of things my own kids might be eating from day to day–what it looks like; how the food is prepared; what are the portion-sizes. That's what you're doing well, and I think you're great to do it. Stick with that, and try to leave the social commentary alone.

  9. Viki…your post made me *furious* to read! The principal seriously said this??? Please tell your friend to not cave into this & to keep doing what he's doing. He is making a difference in these kids lives & they need to know. How are sports more important than the health of our kids & their futures???!

  10. Many teachers could care less about organics or anything related to food. I'm just saying that my friend a janitor who does have degree BTW cares about food more than many teachers or administrators…

  11. Yesterday my mother-in-law was over for dinner and talking about how her office won an award and the higher-ups decided to throw them a party and have it catered to celebrate. She was going on about how good it was going to be – lasagna, "rainbow salad", broccoli salad, etc. – and so I asked who is catering? She said………….."FOOD FOR THOUGHT"!!!!!!!!!! After that I just kept imagining the cheese lasagna. And this is supposed to be their reward for excellence?! I'm curious to see what she thinks of the food.

  12. I disagree with Anonymous 7:55, I don't think it was snobby at all.

    Low quality food, processed food and fast-food is all about socio-economics. Organics are marketed at the wealthiest tax brackets because of how much they cost. But just as the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer the rich are able to get healthier and the poor are getting fatter and sicker. It is atrocious.

    We all need to realize that food aboslutely is a socio-economically slanted subject. The upper classes can opt out of the industrialized food system by buying organics and use their leisure time to research food and local resources. The lower classes can't always do that. When the lower classes or working classes, because let's face it they are one in the same, realize that their government has been supporting policies like commodity subsidies that keep crappy food cheap for their enjoyment, and then additionally that the crappy food is nutritionally devoid and that's why we are all obese and have diabetes, well then I think you're right Mrs Q, it will go mainstream.

    Mrs. Q, your comment is not snobby at all. It is actually informed about the major issues of our food system that are hidden behind the curtain. And while his job might not have any bearing on his food choices, you know full well that he does not make a 6 figure salary. He and others like him and preyed upon by food manufacturers. That is not news

  13. LOLOLOL…the things that some people pick out of blog posts to focus on never ceases to amaze me. Obviously you were not commenting on the janitor's ability to make food informed food choices for him and his family. Sheesh…lighten up people.

    I would like to point out that I don't even feed my child school lunches. I find this project fascinating though. I can't remember how I came across this blog but I check it every day to see.

  14. My mom is an avid crafter. I remember when I was a kid we collected styrofoam meat trays and made airplanes out of them. You know the type you used to get in a kit for $.25? We traced them, cut them out, and assembled them. They flew well. So, there are lots of other things you can do with the trays besides using them under plants. In fact, those styrofoam beads are popular now, too. You can buy them in craft stores. I bet you could come up with all sorts of craft projects for your students.

    Also, I love the social commentary you do. It makes your blog more interesting. We can see you as a real person and relate to you and your experiences. Keep up the good work!

  15. keep up the good work. I love it.
    and it is really sad that the fruit cups always seem to be frozen…can't they figure that one out? Kids can't/won't eat frozen fruit.

  16. Why do so many people think it is an insult to be working class? I am curious as to what everyones definition of "working class" is. Are there people under the impression that someone who pushes paper in an office and earns a $30,000 living is any less working class than a guy building cars in a factory in Detroit earning $75,000? Is the definition of "working class" how much money you make? Or is it the type of industry you do? And why would assume the label to be an insult?

    Perhaps, just perhaps there are more working class Americans than we like to admit. According to the Census Bureau 75% of the working population is making less than $50,000. We are a country of working class people. Check it out:

  17. Mrs. Q, you need to be more careful about how you word some of those statements, because it does sound closed-minded to me and probably a lot of other people who are annoyed by the statement but didn't take the time to comment.

  18. I think it is going mainstream. The other day I was at Denny's and heard a foodie conversation among the waitstaff in the kitchen! I've heard corn issues brought up in line at the post office and I've heard hormone discussions in the grocery line, too.

  19. WOW! I hope you aren't this condescending to the guy's face! What exactly makes you any better than this janitor/"engineer" again? No, you didn't say it, it was implied.

    P.S. Yes, "this kind of stuff" has been going mainstream for years, if anything, you are the one late to the party!

  20. I'm going to address some of your comments in depth in tonight's post.

    But I'll give you a teaser: I come from working class people. It was not intended as a slam. I must have wrote the post in haste for it to be read that way. I consider this man a friend and value his opinion. He is powerful in the school just like all building staff.

    Comments closed.

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