Eat Like a Roman: The Mediterranean Diet

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While your friends may be pushing Paleo, there’s another “ancient diet” that has been basking in a renaissance of its own, and with good reason. Called the “Gold Standard” of healthy eating, the Mediterranean diet is a style of eating that has been practiced since the dawn of the Roman empire. . A recent flurry of research has brought this style of eating back to the headlines. Earlier this year a groundbreaking study in the New England Journal of Medicine  made the Mediterranean Diet new around the world when it found that subjects following a Mediterranean diet (specifically looking at nuts and olive oil) reduced their risk of heart attack and stroke by as much as 30 percent.  

Score one more for the Mediterranean Diet when a study published in Neurology in April concluded that a Mediterranean style diet rich in olive oil, fish and chicken (as opposed to fatty meats and dairy products typical in the American diet) resulted in a clearer mind – specifically a 19 percent drop in risk for thinking and memory problems. As there aren’t currently well established strategies to successfully treat dementia, delaying it’s onset is key. In this sense, the Mediterranean diet may be a useful tool for aging boomers – “food as medicine” in the truest sense of the word.

Need more good news? It turns out that the “Gold Standard” of eating is also deeply green. Just this month, the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition launched their Double Pyramid tool in the U.S. to show consumers how this age old dietary pattern is not just good for you, but good for the planet (see image above). This infographic (developed using life cycle analysis), shows how key foods of the Mediterranean diet – such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, olive oil and pasta – are also some of the most eco-friendly foods to produce due to smaller carbon, water, and land footprints. (Full disclosure, I have a relationship with Barilla).

Frankly, as an Italophile and a green eating advocate, I couldn’t be happier with all of this much ado about something.

It’s worth noting that these are large, rigorous studies conducted over longer periods of time and published in peer reviewed journals. They reinforce and fine tune what a growing body of evidence suggests is one of the planet’s most delicious paths to a vibrant, long life. While it may not feel “new” enough to some as to merit a second look, in America’s current chaotic eating landscape, to me it feels like a merging of science and sense. Oh, and taste, too.

This is a bright spot in the sea of constant fad diets (the current crop including Paleo and intermittent fasting).  It reminds us that rather than obsessing over a handful of superfoods, there’s immense, synergistic power in an overall healthy eating pattern, day after day. And I love its key components – from fish, olive oil, an abundance of fruits and vegetables, legumes, and yes, even pasta.

So use the end of May (which happens to be Mediterranean Diet Month) and beyond to freshen up your food routine as seasonal produce begins to hit its glorious stride. Yes, you can slim down, while greening up your diet and bringing your family back to the table. If you’re swayed by the lure of ancient diets, remind yourself that this is the stuff that fueled Roman legions. The best part? Wine, in moderation, is included.

Here are my other two fantastic recipes to get you on a path to vibrant eating!

 

Elbows with Roasted Cauliflower - Kate Geagan and BarillaElbows with Roasted Cauliflower, Lentils and Herbs

A protein-packed dish with elbows pasta and lentils!  This is easy to prepare if you have extra cooked lentils on hand. The leftovers make an absolutely delicious and nourishing lunch!

Makes 7 servings

Cook Time: 40 min, Prep Time: 10 min

Ingredients:

1 box Barilla PLUS® Elbows 1 head cauliflower, cored and cut into small approximately 1 inch florets 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1/2 Tsp salt freshly cracked pepper to taste 1.5 cups dried French green lentils

Sauce 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 1 bunch flat leaf parsley, stems removed 2 Tbsp chopped red onion 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar 1/4 Tsp salt fresh cracked pepper to taste

Preparation:

PREHEAT oven to 450ºF.  SPREAD cauliflower on a roasting pan DRIZZLE olive oil on top and SEASON with salt and freshly cracked pepper. ROAST in oven for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is cooked through and has a nice brown roasted color. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine 4 cups of cold water and lentils. BRING to a boil, REDUCE heat, and SIMMER for 25 minutes until lentils are tender. DRAIN and set aside. PREPARE elbow pasta according to package directions. DRAIN reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. While the pasta is cooking, in a food processor COMBINE parsley, red onion, olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper, and PULSE until it becomes a smooth green sauce. In a large mixing bowl combine cauliflower, cooked pasta, lentils and green sauce. ADD reserved cooking liquid and gently mix. Taste and adjust seasonings. SERVE warm or at room temperature.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 470 calories, 15 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 12 g fiber, 300 mg sodium

Slow Cooked Ratatouille - Kate Geagan and BarillaSlow Cooked Rotini Spring Ratatouille with Basil and Pine Nuts

This is surprisingly simple! Don’t be fooled by the long ingredient list. The magic of this delicious dish is your slow cooker does all the work! The anchovies are the secret to the rich bodied flavor and added health benefits of omega-3 fats, protein, and vitamin D from a sustainable seafood (you can omit them to make this vegetarian).

Makes 7 servings

Cook Time: 6 hours, Prep Time: 20 min

Ingredients:

1 box Barilla PLUS® Rotini 1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut 1 inch dice 1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1 inch dice 1 large red pepper, remove seeds and cut into 1 inch dice 1 large yellow pepper, remove seeds and cut into 1 inch dice 1 medium zucchini, halved and sliced thin 1 medium yellow squash, halved and sliced thin 3 cloves garlic, chopped 2 anchovies packed in oil, chopped 1 tsp Italian seasoning, spice mix 1 tsp kosher salt 1/2 tsp ground pepper 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes and juice 1 15 oz. can quartered artichoke hearts packed in water, drained and rinsed 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted small bunch fresh basil, torn into small pieces or julienned

Preparation:

GENTLY mix diced vegetables in slow cooker and COOK LOW for 6 hours overnight or while at work. TASTE and ADJUST seasoning to taste. PREPARE rotini according to package directions. SERVE by placing 2/3-1 cup rotini in a bowl ADD 1 cup ratatouille on top. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and fresh basil.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 410 calories, 12 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 11 g fiber, 720 mg sodium

4 Slimming Pasta Recipes For Mediterranean Diet Month

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Mediterranean Diet Month Pasta RecipesI love the push I’m seeing back to actual cooking as a cornerstone of vibrant health. Across the country, leading nutrition experts are staging “Eat Ins” (like Dr. Mark Hymen’s here)  to bring people back to the table (and the stove). And last month Mark Bittman dished with with Michael Pollan - the godfather of this food movement - about his latest book, Cooked, and updated what has become the rallying cry of food lovers and health enthusiasts alike:

“Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly Plants. And cook them.” 
"And cook them." Three little words. But for many of us - aye, there’s the rub.
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Are You Cooking?
Hectic lives filled with multiple responsibilities, family and work commitments, and limited budgets can make cooking feel like a drudgery rather than a pleasant daily habit. And let’s be frank, who isn’t strapped for time these days? But cooking is really the fourth pillar of a lean and green diet, right after a diet brimming with whole, minimally processed foods, that features at least 3/4 plants and 1/4 high quality animal products, and with the right portions to avoid both obesity and food waste.
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To celebrate Mediterranean Diet Month, I’m bringing you 4 fresh seasonal pasta recipes that couldn't be easier, or more delicious and healing. I’m sharing 2 of them below, and 2 in my next blog. While one features all the best of spring farmer's markets, the other is an insanely good, omega-3 fatty acid-rich dish you can literally make from ingredients in your pantry. In full disclosure, I developed these pasta recipes for Barilla to help them celebrate their Double Pyramid coming to America to help consumers understand how the Mediterranean Diet is good for you and good for the planet.

Let me know what you think! These are teeming with delicious, good for you ingredients, many of which are just coming into season.

Gorgeously Green Penne Spring Pasta - Mediterranean Diet Month Pasta Recipes

Gorgeously Green Penne Spring Pasta

This is a spring fling with your farmers market! The bold, fresh flavors of spring vegetables are brought to life with lemon zest. The peas and walnuts pack added protein for staying power.

Cook Time: 20 min, Prep Time: 10 min Makes 7 Servings

Ingredients

1 box penne 3/4 cup walnuts 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs (or panko) 2 lemons zest 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped Pinch of salt 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 medium leek, thinly sliced 1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces (about 1.5 cups) 2 cup fresh spring peas (or frozen) 1 large zucchini, julienned 1/2 Tsp salt 1/4 Tsp fresh cracked pepper 2 Tbsp fresh mint, julienned 2 Tbsp fresh basil, julienned

Preparation

PREHEAT oven to 400ºF. TOAST walnuts in oven for 5 - 8 minutes until the walnuts are lightly toasted.  In a food processor, PULSE together bread crumbs, walnuts and zest from 1 lemon. POUR into a medium dish and TOSS with parsley and a pinch of salt. SET aside.

PREPARE penne according to package directions. DRAIN reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. While pasta is cooking, POUR olive oil into a large sauté pan. ADD the leeks and asparagus, and sauté over medium heat for about 4 minutes until they start to soften. ADD the peas and the zucchini, salt and pepper, and SAUTE another 5 minutes until all of the vegetables are slightly softened.  ADD zest of SECOND lemon and reserved cooking liquid and STIR gently until combined.  DRAIN pasta when it’s al dente and return to cooking pot. ADD vegetables to pasta and TOSS to combine. GENTLY stir in mint and basil. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.  SERVE 1 cup pasta mixture into serving bowls.  Top with 2 tablespoons of the walnut mixture.

 Nutrition Information (per serving): 410 calories, 16g fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 8g fiber, 220mg sodium

Zesty Tomato Spaghetti with Tuna and Black Olives

Zesty Tomato Spaghetti with Tuna and Black Olives

This is the ultimate quick cook meal! All of the ingredients are from the pantry, perfect to have as an on-hand/“standby” meal.  The tuna adds protein and is rich in heart healthy omega 3 fats.

Cook Time: 15 min, Prep Time: 10 min Makes 7 Servings

Ingredients

1 box spaghetti 1 jar marinara sauce 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1/2 large yellow onion, cut into lengthwise slivers 1/8 Tsp red pepper flakes (more to taste if you like spice) 2 cloves garlic, sliced 2 Tsp capers, drained and rinsed 1 cup pitted black olives, sliced in half (about 2/3 of a 6 oz. can) 1 jar/can sustainable tuna * packed in olive oil, drained (use 2 jars if you want heartier tuna portions) Handful of arugula for garnish (optional)

*Sustainability in seafood depends on where you live: visit here to see which type of tuna is the best choice for you.

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Preparation

BRING a large stockpot of water to a boil, and COOK spaghetti according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, ADD olive oil, onions and red pepper flakes, sauté over medium heat until onions are softened, about 5-8 minutes. ADD garlic and sauté 1 minute more.  ADD a jar of marinara sauce, capers, olives and 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water and STIR to mix well. DRAIN the pasta, and ADD to saucepan with marinara sauce. Use tongs to gently toss together until combined.  SERVE by placing 1 cup of the pasta in a bowl. TOP with a couple pieces of tuna, and a handful of arugula.

 Nutrition Information (per serving): 400 calories, 14g fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 7g fiber, 690mg sodium

 

Looking for more Mediterranean cuisine inspiration? Check out my post, Eat Like a Roman, for other recipes, including Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower, Lentils and Fresh Herbs, and more!

America, We are Occupying the Food System: Interview with Marion Nestle

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Double Food Environmental Pyramid - Interview with Marion Nestle I’ve just wrapped the second day of Barilla's 3rd International Food and Nutrition Symposium , where sessions today focused on"disnutrition" (a term I love that was introduced here to encompass the issues of obesity and malnutrition), the BCFN Double Environmental Pyramid, and the role of nutrition in childhood and aging. Still, I was determined to find a nugget of positive action to bring back to America- what were there bright spots? Reasons to celebrate? To my wonderful surprise, my interview with “food movement mamma” Marion Nestle left me feeling not just a burst of American pride, but even more important, hope for my two children. Here’s what we dished about:

Kate: How do we translate what we’ve learned here into actionable steps in the US at the consumer level?

Marion Nestle: Well we are translating it. I see more action going on in the United States than I see going on here about the kinds of issues that are being discussed at this conference. This conference is way at the leading edge of what’s happening in Italy (she then talked about how meals at her hotel were devoid of veggies).

Kate: Marion, with all the emphasis at this Forum placed on creating an alternative food model, do you have any hope for this in the U.S.? Any bright spots we can feel good about?

Marion Nestle: I think the food movement is very hopeful in the US. I’ve already seen enormous changes, phenomenal changes as a result of the food movement, things that I never thought were possible, and mainstreamed in ways that nobody could have ever predicted.

 

Here’s what Marion Nestle touched on, in both her session and our interview, as bright spots in the US food System:

Seven Bright Spots in the US "Occupy Food" Movement:

1. You can now get a good (“or at least halfway decent, some better than others”) selection of fruits and vegetables in any supermarket in America

2. The number of farmers markets has dramatically increased in just the last few years

3: More and more people joining CSAs than ever before

4: Urban farming is the rage (“in New York City of all places!”)

5: Local food has become really, really important

6: Much better food in schools

7: Greater awareness, like the NYC anti soda campaign.

 

Now that's something to toast on the long ride home tomorrow. What do you think are the  bright spots for seeds of change in the US Food system? I'd love to hear from you!

To see a recap of the twitter conversation check out my handle @greeneating, the conference  hashtag #BCFNforum, or the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition webinar page (who, in full  disclosure, sponsored my posts from the conference).

 

 

 

"Disnutrition" Emerges as a New Term to Describe our Food Crisis

Barilla DisnutritionA jam packed schedule of thought provoking sessions (and a few fabulous espresso) made for a fantastic first day of the 3rd International Barilla Forum on Food and Nutrition! One of the new terms proposed by a speaker today was "Disnutrition"- to encompass the twin problems of obesity and hunger.Will it grab hold the way others such as "locavore" have to define the current  food conversation? While that remains to be seen, here are my top takeaways from Day One: Key Takeaway #1: 

Obesity and Malnutrition are two sides of the same food production crisis-even in the US. Walking around Anywhere, USA, it’s often easy to see the obesity part of the problem, but the hunger piece can be more difficult to see. Ellen Gustafson, the Founder and executive Director of the 30 Project gave an electric session which explained how  the twin issues of obesity and malnutrition are deeply connected to our current food system-even in the U.S. “Look at the state with the greatest obesity crisis, Mississippi...it’s also the state with the greatest hunger crisis in the US. That’s not a coincidence” Gustafson said policies aimed at “obesity” and “malnutrition” typically occupy two separate camps of people, resulting in a fractured approach as the two sides aren’t really talking with each other despite having many of the same fundamental issues at the core. Gustafson’s goal? To bridge those two spheres to more effectively drive change. I had a great interview with her today, and I’ll share the link as soon as it’s available.

What you can do: Buy whole foods as close to the source as possible, support local food communities, and buy real food from real farmers as much as you can. And cook dinner!

 

Key Takeaway #2: SOIL is the most significant resource we have, and it’s often overlooked as dirt. 

“Forests precede civilizations...deserts follow them,” said Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, in his opening remarks. “We need to change mankind’s historical paradigm of degrade, abandon and migrate; we no longer have that option if we are to feed 9 billion people by 2050.” While we often think of the brown matter that grows our food as “dirt”, soil in contrast is living biomass, teeming with micro-organisms the play critical roles, with a greater capacity to store water and nutrients.  Every year we lose some 75 billion tons of fertile soil every year, yet soils are the most significant non-renewable resource we have for ensuring water, energy and food security, plus build resistance to climatic shocks. In other words, everything that’s coming down the pike for a hyperconnected, hyperpopulated world. What I loved about this point is that vibrant, thriving soil is also key to vibrant, thriving food that is brimming with the maximum amount of antioxidants, phytochemicals and other nutrients critical to optimal health. As any farmer will tell you, food is only as nutritious as the soil in which it’s grown.

 

What you can do: Support soil restoration and reforestation projects in your community.  For birthday gifts, plant a tree in someone’s name. Buy food from farmers, co-ops and support organic; many organic companies have policies that actively work to continuously improve soil quality (like Earthbound Farms LINK).

Key Takeaway #3: Re-allocating just 5% of our food waste could end US Hunger.

Jonathan Bloom, author of American Wasteland and creator of the eye-popping blog www.wastedfood.com shared that stunning stat in one of the morning sessions. But rather than thinking that means we’ve almost put an end to hunger (see Takeaway #1), to me it highlights just how much food we’re actually wasting. In the U.S., a full 40% of food is wasted. What does that even look like? “The food wasted in one day in U.S. would fill the 90,000 seat Rose Bowl Stadium”, said Bloom. Why do we waste so much? Food is cheap in the US, and it’s actually  never been cheaper- the average American allocates less than 7% of household spending, all time household low (Italy is 15%). And we don’t tend to value what we don’t spend a lot on. Food is also abundant: the United States produces about twice as many calories per day as the average American needs. And we see food everywhere, from the mall to the gas station, which creates a sense in our minds that we don’t have to be careful of our food, there’s plenty more. Of course, these are many of the same reasons Americans are overeating so much food (which drive obesity and chronic disease) in the first place, so Jonathan and I seemed to agree a lot. And unlike starving-children guilt trips of old, bringing your plate to better portion alignment is a wise strategy in every sense: As Bloom beautifully stated, “A clean plate is a clean conscience”.

What you can do: Invest in the best you can afford, and enjoy smaller portions. Avoid “Buy 1 get 1 Free” “All You Can Eat” and other food buying incentives if you won’t be able to finish your plate..this often contributes to waste. Instead of buying highly perishable fruits and vegetables (which are some of the leading items to spoil, according to research), buy frozen fruits and veggies instead.

Want to follow the conversation tomorrow? Here is the info:

My twitter: @greeneating

Forum Hashtag: #BCFNForum

BCFN Twitter: 

BCFN Facebook:

 

(Disclosure: This blog and my coverage of the conference is sponsored by Barilla Pasta)

 

Move Over Fashion Week, This is Food Week in Milan

Barilla Food WeekWith one of the most food-centric holidays of the year having just wrapped (though I’m still enjoying spectacular turkey sandwiches), I am spending this weekend eagerly packing for Italy. Switching gears from turkey to pasta, you could say, to take part in a conference that will surely be the global epicenter next week of the dialogue surrounding three critical issues of our time: the relationship between nutrition, sustainability and agriculture. The food week to Milan's fashion week!
If you read my blog regularly, you’re already aware that our food choices and dietary lifestyles are having a tremendous impact on the environmental equilibrium of our planet. And the alarming reality is that globally, less-sustainable eating models continue to emerge at a rapid pace. Farming activity is now responsible for producing about 33% of the world’s total annual greenhouse gas emissions, as well as approximately 70% of the water resources humans use.  While I am a big fan of what you can do personally  to instill change (i.e. going vegetarian just two days a week, buying organic or fair trade coffee), our hyper-connected world means that this global crisis requires active dialogue across countries and disciplines, as well as specific, concrete solutions that can be implemented quickly and economically.

Which is why I was so honored to be invited to this conference, hosted by The Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition, a leading global thought leader in this space. *. The 3rd International Forum on Food and Nutrition gathers international experts to Milan for two days of robust debate and discussion on just these types of questions. Water and agricultural policies, food waste, food chain challenges, access to food, biotechnologies, and the double paradox of globalization (obesity and malnutrition) are all on the agenda, and more.

They have drawn together truly a  top tier panel of internationally renown experts across a wide swath of these topics, and  I hope you’ll check backoften as I’ll be blogging daily about the sessions, and covering real time comments and debates through my Facebook page, as well as my twitter handle @greeneating and the hashtag #BCFNForum. My goal is to capture  for you all of this and more... while savoring some fantastic pasta dishes along the way.

My next post will be from Italy!

 

Want to follow the conference? I hope you'll participate in the conversation:

Twitter Hashtags/Handles

*(In full disclosure of all my relationships, my conference blogs posts are sponsored by Barilla)

Health Transcending Borders, Language, and Culture: Childhood Nutrition

Childhood NutritionIn 2002 I partnered with Field to Plate  to bring 30 nutrition and foodservice professionals to Challans, France to look at an innovative school lunch program designed to tackle France’s growing childhood nutrition issue and obesity epidemic head-on. Our American group stared in disbelief as a roomful of kindergartners enjoyed a leisurely 45 minute lunch of 3 courses cooked completely onsite using local ingredients: a seasonal shredded beet salad, local fish and celery root puree, followed by an apple compote with (of course!) a small wedge of local cheese. Little baskets of freshly cut French baguettes were on each table, which the children happily passed around as they cleaned their plates (yes, really) and-brace yourself- there was even a bottle of house wine on the table of the “lunch ladies” who oversaw the meal.
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The crispness of that image has stayed with me for years after, both for the cultural implications of a country devoted to putting children’s health first, as well as a country insisting on a culture where food isn’t something to be rushed through all the time.
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As a mother of two young children myself, I know this for sure: no matter the country, one desire transcends across borders, language, and culture: every parent on the planet just wants their children to be healthy. And with childhood obesity being the number one health crisis our children face, the recent webinar by the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition  put forth a refreshingly clear, straightforward course across disciplines that addresses the challenges of both a healthy diet and sustainable food systems.
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Their panel of experts left no stone unturned, and no ambiguity in the message:
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1. Our highly refined, ultra-processed diets, plus an inactive lifestyle are one of the primary drivers of the childhood obesity crisis. The result is a strong potential reduction in life expectancy for our children, and an alarming reversal of an established trend of gradual improvement from one generation to the next.
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2. Excessive intake of certain foods - generally the same ones that should be eaten less frequently – exacts the greatest toll on the environment and our natural resources. These include many of the higher impact foods that I wrote about in my book, such as red meat, cheese, certain fish, and highly processed foods and sugary beverages. In addition to creating obesity, the environmental impact of our  “SUV diet” (my term)  serves to magnify the effects of a reduced quality of life for our children. In other words, the data points continue to be plotted showing that personal health and planetary health are deeply connected, on a global scale not seen before.
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3. This makes it absolutely vital today to start a process of collective responsibility: families, pediatricians and schools all have roles to play and can be a powerful catalyst to bring good food to life. What are some things you can do locally?  Encourage your schools to stretch our children’s palates by offering new fruits, vegetables and whole grains alongside familiar favorites. Insist your local school lunch program offers more local foods, more freshly prepared foods, and more fruits and vegetables as snacks. Teach your children to savor recess as a time to recharge, and stretch their bodies before stretching their minds in class. And encourage schools to link learning with the kitchen, teaching nutrition from day 1 as an integral part of “self care”, tasting fruits and vegetables to talk about the 5 senses, or learning math concepts like fractions by preparing a recipe in the kitchen.
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On my last night during that trip to France, the mayor of Challans who had been instrumental in creating the school lunch program spoke to our group and said:
“In so many ways, France looks to and learns from the  Americans, but perhaps in food, and how we feed our children, America might learn from France.”
Indeed. And from Italy, too. This global crisis requires global dialogue and a look at best practices, and I was honored to partner with the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition for this very reason.
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What are you doing to inspire healthy change in your school, your community, or with your pediatrician? I’d love to hear from you!
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You can watch the Barilla webinar or download their paper here: http://www.barillacfn.com/en/cibo-e-bambini/webinar
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Follow the ongoing discussion on twitter at or @BarillaCFN or Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Barillacfn.
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Disclosure: This blog post is sponsored by Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition

Next Generation’s Health and Sustainability: Partnering with Barilla

Barilla Center for Food & NutritionIf you’ve ever spent even 5 minutes in the same room with me, you find out pretty quickly that Italy runs through my veins. Or more accurately, through my heart and my stomach. While technically I’m 100% Irish, after living in Florence for 2 years and eating my way through the rest of the country, I knew I wanted to spend my life exploring the connections between health, nutrition, and the pleasures of good food at the table.
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Which is why I’m so pleased to be partnering with the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition (BCFN) to help move forward the dialogue about the most critical challenges of our time: Nutrition, Children and Sustainability. We all know that economic growth, globalization, and the sprawling cultural influence of a Western diet are bringing about a change of eating habits on a worldwide level, with child obesity rising at an alarming rate.  So whether you work in healthcare, or are a mom committed to raising healthy kids, I hope you’ll tune in to this groundbreaking webinar that will move the dialogue forward about the connections between children’s health and planetary health.
What will the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition be covering in the webinar?
1. How to simplify the issues in a way people can understand.
One of the best tools I’ve seen in a long time to help people truly see the connection between the ecological footprint of different dietary patterns is their  The Double Food Environmental Pyramid model. Having spent almost a year researching my book and trying to explain these connections, it’s a refreshingly simple but useful tool for developed countries to understand the links between diet and environmental impact.
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2. Who are the players, and what are their roles?
According to the BCFN, healthy growth and development calls for an integrated approach between the family, school and pediatricians for educating new generations on the relationship between food, health and well-being during childhood and adolescence.  Of course, nutritionists are on that list as well!
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3.  What is the responsibility of agriculture and industry?
There’s been a growing call for accountability of  agricultural and food industries to do their part, with initiatives and product lines that are aligned with the correct nutritional practices for children, as well as long term sustainability. What’s happening globally in this area?
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If you can’t tune in, I hope you will follow the discussion on twitter at #SustainOurChildren or @BarillaCFN. Or check back here on Wednesday, as I’ll be posting another blog about what we all learned.
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Webinar Info:
Nutrition & Children: Sustainable Models for the Future Generations 
Tuesday, October 11, 2011 – 11:00am EST
Webinar Page: http://bit.ly/qDdBAl