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News

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues


Graphic courtesy of Don Gardner
Activists claim that a new SFO flight path leaves a “sound shadow” that impacts Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.

Sky Posse Los Altos Team – more simply known as SPLAT – seeks to squelch the noise...

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Schools

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'


Courtesy of Lia Evard
Water by Youth members gave Egan students a chance to carry a 40-pound Jerry can, to see how difficult it is to obtain water in developing nations.

Water by Youth, a club at Los Altos High School, is making a splash by pla...

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Community

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage


Courtesy of Alicia Madden
Sales of local Girl Scout cookies support service projects, such as funding an orphanage in the village of Mto wa Mbu in Tanzania.

Girl Scout cookies – whether you think of them as a treat, a tradition or a diet comp...

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Sports

Scoreless spells sink LA boys

Scoreless spells sink LA boys


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos High point guard Nolan Brennan attempts a shot in Friday’s game versus Palo Alto. He scored eight points in the loss.

There have been several games this season in which the Los Altos High boys basketball t...

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Comment

New 'York' values

New 'York' values


Hughes

 

As we have witnessed California suffer through one of its worst droughts in history over the past few years, all of us, I’m sure, have been keenly aware of our surroundings and have done a small part in trying to conserve wa...

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Special Sections

Getting a charge  out of the Volt

Getting a charge out of the Volt


Courtesy of Chevrolet
The 2016 Chevrolet Volt can be driven up to 50 miles on the power stored in its batteries.

Just five years ago, we wondered in this column what the power supply would be for the car of the future. Gasoline, diesel, electric ba...

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Business

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos resident Ella Roosakos, 11, with her mother, Gail, puzzles over which Gourmet Works sweets to buy as a valentine for Ella’s friend.

The gift-buying rush isn’t exclusive to Christmas. It may jump over...

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People

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

Alan Rodney Mills, PhD, 83, of Los Altos passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 30th, 2016. He was born in Rochdale, England in 1933 and came to California in 1962. He was a proud alumni of Manchester Grammar in England, University of Liverpoo...

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Stepping Out

PYT 'Gets Famous'

PYT 'Gets Famous'


Lyn Flaim Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Renee Vetter of Palo Alto, left, and Megan Foreman of Los Altos star in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Judy Moody Gets Famous.” Performances are scheduled Friday and Saturday.

Peninsula...

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Spiritual Life

A time to prepare: Fasting for Lent isn't limited to food

 

Today is Ash Wednesday, which in the Christian calendar marks the beginning of Lent – the 40 days of preparation for Resurrection Sunday, otherwise known as Easter.

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Inside Mountain View

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters


Mountain View Tenants Coalition/Facebook
Residents gather in the fall to protest Mountain View’s rising rents. Rent relief is on the way in the form of a new ordinance.

A controversial Mountain View law requiring landlords to provide lease opt...

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USDA puts your health at risk: Other Voices

Over the past century, the rapid increase in the number of Americans suffering from a host of preventable diet-related diseases (heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes) has been paralleled by the engulfing power and influence of a small group of transnational food conglomerates that lead our industrial food system.

Food corporations are largely responsible for our burgeoning waistlines by encouraging the overconsumption of their unhealthful food that significantly contributes to chronic health diseases and by using their power to sway agencies designed to help us make better food choices.

Indeed, as Marion Nestle points out in her exposé “Food Politics,” they blatantly overstep ethical boundaries through the lobbying tactics they exert over federal officials and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which releases nutritional guidelines and recommendations every five years. Lobbyists gain access to upper-administration policymakers and engage in social transactions that pressure government health directors to safeguard corporate financial interests by restructuring the framework of federally issued dietary advice, at the expense of public health.

The USDA’s mission is deeply contradictory and geared toward promoting, not regulating, the food industry. The department’s dual responsibility of assisting meat and dairy farmers with government-funded subsidies while simultaneously working to define a nutritious and balanced diet through the food pyramid creates a conflict of interest that puts the health of meat- and dairy-consuming Americans at risk.

In short, the USDA is completely compromised. According to Nestle, six of the 11 members on the USDA Dietary Guidelines Committee have ties to large meat and dairy corporations. With the help of lobbyists, they systematically alter the nutrition model set forth by the National Institutes of Health, an unbiased council of scientists, in order to release standards that satisfy the requests of large, industrialized companies.

The USDA constructs dietary guidelines with deliberately obscure language. The message reads, “Choose a diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol and moderate in total fat” (USDA Dietary Guidelines, 2010), which may be hard advice to follow if you don’t know the fat breakdown of specific foods. Moreover, it also fails to directly address meat and beef consumption, the main source of these fats in the average American diet.

In the end, the multibillion-dollar investments in lobbyists are later reflected in the $71 billion in health-care costs to treat individuals with chronic diseases.

Social reform starts at an individual level simply by voting with your fork. First, commit to purchase local produce and gradually reduce the proportions of processed foods and meat in your diet, replacing them with fresh fruits and vegetables. Second, urge your congressional representative to enact legislation that ends the USDA’s conflict of interest so that a healthful diet can become the standard. Finally, patronize the Los Altos Farmers’ Market on State Street for fresh foods.

Together, we can derail the power and influence of the leaders of our current industrialized food system and alleviate the social, public health and environmental problems that they generate.

Los Altos native Angela Gradiska is a junior at Stanford University majoring in American studies, with a concentration in obesity, nutrition and public health.

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