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Meet the Columnist

Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of

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Not Good for You....

"It's NOT Good for You!"

"Stop! Don't eat that spinach!" These words are music to kid's ears everywhere -- words they thought they would never hear. Ever since adults were brainwashed by a cartoon character named Popeye, kids have been victims of vegetable abuse because adults were convinced that to grow up big and strong, and have muscle power like Popeye, a kid should be vegging out on spinach.

Nutritionists have long proclaimed the virtues of green leafy vegetables, spinach in particular, because it contains a large concentration of vitamins and nutrients said to be "good for you," a virtual "powerhouse of nutrition." Somehow, kids were just never quite convinced that something that tasted so bad could possibly be good.

Kids got a temporary reprieve from vegetables when Bush Sr. was President since he didn't like nutritional green stuff either and refused to eat his broccoli. If the President of the US didn't eat green vegetables, surely kids shouldn't have to eat them either. But, alas, Presidents move on and vegetables stay around and continue to plague kids by being good for them.

In the mind of a kid, the only good vegetables are French fries and ketchup. The rest of that stuff may be good for you, but it sure doesn't taste like it. Adults secretly knew that kids are right, since they were once kids too. New generations have shunned the slimy pots of greens that were once a dinner mainstay, especially in the South. The new trend is raw or nearly raw "steamed" vegetables, which are said to retain the vitamin content that could be lost in cooking.

The hip new generation of adults likes salads, and baby spinach has become the vitamin-laden darling of the salad bar generation. If you couldn't quite disguise the awful taste of spinach, you could always slip a few leaves into a cellophane package with other more palatable greens and market it with a perky name like "spring salad mix."

And so, spinach remained king and retained its lucrative market power even as the sodium-laden canned vegetables of past generations lost their allure. Fresh vegetables became more popular and more readily available at the supermarket. "Eat your spinach" is more likely to refer to a bowl of salad these days than to a bowl of droopy greens cooked all day until a vitamin could not possibly survive.

Trouble is, kids don't especially like salad either. Finger foods, such as baby carrots that can be dipped into ranch dressing, might slip through for a while, but the only really good vegetable is a vegetable that you don't have to eat. So, kids continued to hide steamed broccoli in their milk and pass the salad up for Jell-O.

When spinach turned up in the news with the deadly E. coli virus this week, kids everywhere were delighted to know that they were right. After all, television said so and media everywhere broadcasted the potential deadly result of eating raw spinach. Mom trashed the green salad in the fridge and salad bars scrambled to find replacements for the sick vegetable.

Popeye, no doubt, is still squeezing cans and popping spinach to give him super strength, if he is young enough to do so. It seems that the deadly E. coli virus is inside the spinach and cannot be washed or rinsed away; however, cooking will kill it. Therefore, Popeye's canned spinach is safe from the contamination that plagues the popular fresh variety.

If kids can only convince adults not to return to the green slime of yesteryear, they will be safe from the virtues of green vegetables for at least a while longer until the source of the contamination is removed and green vegetables again become healthy and family friendly.

Now, if kids can only figure out a way to get rid of broccoli, the second most detested green vegetable, they will be home free. 

Pass the ketchup, kids.

Copyright 2006 Sheila Moss

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