What’s the Point? It’s Just Food Part 2

Mmmm, Mmmm Good


  • 6 slices whole wheat bread, finely chopped
  • 4 ounces nondairy cheese, finely grated
  • 12-ounce can spinach, drained
  • 4 ounces seedless raisins
  • 2 cups Great Northern beans, cooked and drained
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 8 ounces powdered milk, nonfat/skim
  • 6 ounces potato flakes, dehydrated

Part Two

At first glance, this looks like a decent recipe.  As you continue reading down you must be wondering, where in the world is this coming from and what is it supposed to be? How do you combine all these ingredients and get anything eatable? 

To answer some of your questions, this recipe comes from the Vermont Department of Corrections.  Many other correctional facilities use this recipe called “Nutraloaf”[i] (Greenwood).  An article in the American Bar Association Journal explains that this meal is a “disciplinary measure” and it seems that is comes up mostly to punish wrong deeds of prisoners who commit a separate infraction while in jail.  The foods included are “nutritionally correct”, but what is the problem?

Part of the point of this meal allows people to eat without utensils.  And though the foods are all legitimate, there are a lot of starchy ingredients so it causes constipation.  Lastly, it apparently has an “uncontroverted unpleasant taste”.

How many of us are similarly punishing ourselves? I do not have a picture, but try to imagine what this meal may look like.  Eating in this manner seems to really miss the point of food.  Actually, if you are honestly eat this way you may be violating your own Eighth Amendment and 14th Amendment rights.  Prisoners that must eat this “bread-and-water diet” in correctional facilities across the country use these Constitutional arguments against their facilities. Approximately 15 states participate in this diet[1]

How different is your diet from this extreme, yet current example? Are you missing the point? Is it just food, or punishment?

Greenwood, Arin. “It’s What’s For Dinner.” ABA Journal 17 July 2010: 1.

[1] This disciplinary meal is served in areas including Maricopa County jail in Phoenix, Arizona, Vermont, Washington, state courts in: Illinois, New York, and West Virginia, and the entire  8th and 9th Circuits (which include: North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Montana, Idaho, and Nevada)

[i] Greenwood, Arin. “It’s What’s For Dinner.” ABA Journal 17 July 2010: 1.

WhatsThePointP2 Word document


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