I’m really excited to share that one of my favorite trade shows is right around the corner—Expo West! And, I’m even more thrilled (and honored) to announce that I’ll be speaking this year about a topic near and dear to my heart—innovations for communications in organic.Read More
Ready to make 2018 your year to take charge of your health? If past year’s New Year’s resolutions haven’t turned into real solutions that work for your busy life, this year is going to be different. That's because this year, I teamed up with health and happiness expert, Gillian Mandrich to create a revolutionary program with you in mind — The GoClean45 Challenge.Read More
“The destiny of nations depends on the manner in which they nourish themselves.”-Brillat-Savarin
In case you’ve missed it, the food and nutrition landscape is in the midst of a massive recalibration right now. This is driven by many factors, but 2 in particular stand out at present: 1. A robust and growing body of evidence around climate change, and its current and future potential impact on human health and agriculture. 2. A newly emerging values framework around food whose calculus goes deeper than the Nutrition Facts panel or price.
As with most shifts of this magnitude, there are growing pains and plenty of disruptions. There’s spirited and valid debate. And a need for clear definitions around the fast-evolving language that’s framing these conversations.
But they are happening, and they are transforming the nutrition world in considerable ways, ushering in what I call “Food 3.0”. A few cases in point from recent weeks:
- A steady parade of food companies have announced they are dropping dozens of ingredients (such as artificial colors and flavors) their customers have said are unappetizing if they are deemed safe by the FDA. From General Mills to Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, ingredient lists are getting a major makeover to be more aligned with what eaters want-and don’t want-to see in their food.
What it means: While much of this category of Food 3.0 represents a tinkering at the margins (removing artificial colors from breakfast cereals doesn’t improve sugar content, for instance), it points to the widespread momentum and breadth of the movement for change.
- In recent months Walmart, Tyson, McDonalds and other influential companies have made public (albeit non-binding) pledges to curb antibiotic use in livestock attached to timelines. While certainly not perfect, it’s a positive first step. According to the Pew Charitable Trust, up to 70% of antibiotics important to human medicine sold in the US are administered to food animals. And evidence suggests this is a major factor in the surge of antibiotic resistance.
What it means: A new clarity is rapidly emerging on how deeply food production, human health, agricultural health, and the environment are interrelated. Thanks to a vigorous body of research and Big Data, a hallmark of Food 3.0 is that issues that were once viewed in silos are increasingly revealed to be interconnected; the more powerfully they ladder directly back to eaters own well being and safety (in this case, drug resistant bacteria), the more people feel a fresh urgency to find alternatives. I suspect that the rapidly growing field of nutrigenomics will illuminate these connections-and what’s at stake for us personally in terms of our genetic expression-even further.
- Perhaps most notable, the considerable dust-up happening right now as industry groups rebel against sustainability being included in 2015 Dietary Guidelines, getting a rider inserted in two Congressional bills that would all but gridlock the 2015 Dietary Guidelines from being released (check out these summaries by my colleagues Ashley Colpaart RD and Carrie Dennett MPH RD to see what’s at stake for the scientific process).
My take: This is perhaps the supreme example of the tensions- and high stakes involved- as Food 3.0 moves into the mainstream. (If you are a registered dietitian, please click here to take action and send a message to Congress.) But while we wait for the politics to play out, Americans at all points on the food system-from farmers and growers, to social entrepreneurs, to visionary food companies, to everyday eaters-continue to drive tremendous positive shifts in our food system that are ushering in something better. Something more resilient. And more transparent. With a fuller and fairer accounting of cost. When I see all of this, I am heartened to think that policy is but one tool we have to effect change in the food system.
- Lastly, there’s the Pope’s groundbreaking Encyclical calling for swift action on climate change and a new moral framework where environmental stewardship of our shared planet is a fundamental aspect in our role as human beings.
My take: At its core, this mindset is what Food 3.0 is really about. At the granular level, it remains to be seen whether politicians integrate this into ideologies and policies. But as Dr. David Katz summed up beautifully, no matter your personal religious or spiritual views, the Pope’s potential to shift thinking and behavior for billions of people around the world offers a glimmer of hope. To turn the tide. To make a difference. To preserve our planet, and a vibrant food system-for our children.
So back to Brillat-Savarin: As a nation, are we changing the way we nourish ourselves?
I believe we are. Food 3.0 is here.
What’s Food 1.0 and Food 2.0, you ask?
I’ll lay that out in my next blog.
Memorial Day - that unofficial kick-off to summer we’ve all been waiting for - means white pants, flip-flops, and breaking out some fun cocktail glasses. In my house, it also always means lots of food prep.
So as you head to the grocery store or farmers market to load up for weekend festivities, here are four surprising summertime foods that promise to optimize your health with some of the top nutritional value per penny while also delivering delicious taste in every bite. And, they are easier on the planet (and your budget) than grilling up a bunch of burgers and dogs. Add them to your next shopping list or look for them on your next trip to the farmers’ market this week to save big - and maybe even free up a little space in that budget for an extra Memorial Day cocktail.
Beans and Potatoes. When it comes to comparing the cost of fruits and vegetables, beans and potatoes come out on top. A recent study comparing nearly 100 fruits and vegetables found that beans and potatoes deliver the most nutrients per penny of the bunch. Beans and potatoes also boast impressive amounts of two nutrients the vast majority of Americans are falling well short of for radiant health– potassium and fiber.
Try smoky black beans this weekend in a soft grilled taco, a zesty homemade hummus made with chickpeas, garlic and fresh squeezed lemon or serve a side of black-eyed pea salad at your Memorial Day BBQ. And check out this bright and bold take on the traditional ho-hum Memorial Day Potato Salad Recipe from the US Potato Board (I have no financial relationship with them, just love this recipe): Potato Salad with Quick Preserved Lemon and Arugula.
Watermelon. The farmers’ market is the perfect place to find these ultra-hydrating, ultra-economical fruits at a bargain right now. Many supermarket chains also offer locally grown summer melons, so look there as well. One of the top fruits when it comes to the antioxidant lycopene, watermelon racks up even more nutrition points because it’s an excellent source of vitamins A and C. Two cups of watermelon is also a good source of potassium, a key nutrient when it comes to healthy blood pressure. As the name implies, watermelon is rich in water (about 92%), which is why they feel so heavy when you pick one up. It’s this high water content that makes it a fantastic summer food to nourish, refresh and hydrate at the same time. All this while helping you fit into that summer swimsuit, since one cup of diced watermelon has just 46 calories. Savor slices as a hydrating snack, cubed in a salad or as a refreshing dessert.
Mushrooms. Memorial day is the unofficial start to Grilling Season-and adding mushrooms to the mix can deliver major meat-lover appeal at a fraction of the calories and cost, while also slashing saturated fat and sodium. Mushrooms help you stretch your food dollar, since most mushroom varieties cost considerably less than meat per serving. Craving inspiration? Check out this ultra-tasty leaner greener burger (made by blending mushrooms and meat) the James Beard Foundation's new Better Burger Project is dishing up here. Or fire up this mouth-watering Grilled Mushroom Burger with White Bean Spread from Martha Stewart. And there are health benefits aplenty: whether viewed through a Western medicine, integrative medicine or functional medicine lens, mushrooms are considered one of the world’s healthiest foods and are rich in a variety of nutrients, including B vitamins, the antioxidant selenium and Vitamin D.
Earlier today, Rachel Begun, Regan Jones and I posted the following update to the supporters of the #RepealTheSeal petition on Change.org. I am reposting that update here with a personal word of thanks to all of you who reached out to show your support not only of of this campaign, but also my personal involvement in this effort. As the update below states, the public forum by which we launched this campaign has always been grounded in the desire to spark real change and press for decisive and timely action. I am immensely grateful for all of my colleagues who continue to ask the hard questions.
#RepealTheSeal - An Update on Academy Action
In launching the #RepealTheSeal campaign and starting this petition, we have remained committed to creating a professional and respectful platform for RDNs to express their concerns about this issue to the Academy. This public step was taken only after multiple formal channels were followed during our respective careers on similar issues to little response. We decided to speak out publicly because we believe credibility is everything. We also believe that our organization is stronger when we take action to make it better. Our intention has always been to be a spark for change and to fight for the principles of our organization and our profession.
In March 24th’s Wall Street Journal article — the Academy stated that it “is working toward changing any perceptions of endorsement.” To our ears, this means the Academy is keeping their decision intact and continuing to explain the rationale, rather than taking meaningful steps to keep the Kids Eat Right logo off product packaging, as was requested in our #RepealTheSeal petition.
Without all of you, we couldn’t have achieved the overwhelming impact that we have, including:
- More than 11,000 signatures — composed primarily of RDNs, Academy members and dietetic interns
- Millions reached through social media — the #RepealTheSeal hashtag has been shared on Twitter to more than 1.7 million accounts, which represents almost 5 million total possible impressions
- More than 40 blog posts*** — Academy Members, Dietetic Students and Health Professional Blogs have voiced their concerns through their blogs, reaching tens of millions of online reader
We are deeply grateful to all of our colleagues and fellow RDNs who have added the power of their voice, both publicly and privately, to express disagreement over the Academy’s decision to allow the KER logo on food packaging.
Call to Action
To date, the Academy has not responded with the actions requested in our original petition. A resolution on this issue may only come if your pressure remains strong. Email your State and DPG Leadership and ask that these petition requests be addressed by the Academy now, and not pushed back to future meetings.
Thank you to all of you who supported this petition.
The following is a listing of posts by bloggers who are supporting the repeal of the KER logo on food packaging.
Please visit their sites for more thoughtful commentary on this issue.
Janet Helm MS, RD @NutritionUnplugged Kelly Plowe, MS, RD @ Livestrong Lindsay Livingston, RD @ The Lean Green Bean Rachael Hartley, RD @ Avocado A Day Deanna Segrave-Daly, RD & Serena Ball, MS RD @ Teaspoon of Spice Gretchen Brown, RD @ Kumquat Alanna Waldron, RD @ Eat Real Food Alex Caspero, RD @ Delicious Knowledge Anne Mauney, MPH, RD @ Fannetastic Food Sherry Coleman Collins, MS, RDN, LD @ Southern Fried Nutrition Ashley Colpaart, MS, RD @ Epicurean Ideal Christina Schu, Dietetics Student @ The Beautiful Balance Hannah Eddy, Dietetic Intern @ The Wholey Trinity Jessica Serdikoff, RDN, CPT @ Floptimism Sarah Moran, RDN @ Sarah Moran Nutrition April Graff, RD @ This RD Eats Emily Hein, RDN @ Zen & Spice Rebecca Scritchfield, MA, RD, ACSM, @ US News Health (Eat + Run) Robin Plotkin, RD, LD @ Robin's Bite Yoni Freedhoff, MD @ Weighty Matters Marie Spano MS, RD, CSCS, CSSD @ Performance Nutrition Vicki Shanta Retelny, RDN @ Simple Cravings. Real Food. Jennifer Pullman, RD @ Nourished Simply Parke Wilde @ U.S. Food Policy Caroline Kaufman, MS, RDN @ Caroline Kaufman Nutrition Danielle Omar, RD @ Food Confidence Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, LD, CDN, CFT & Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT @ Nutrition Twins David Katz MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH @ Food Politics Darren Stehle @ Eat Move Be Denine Stracker, MPH, RD @ Apples and Olives Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RDN @ Real Mom Nutrition Elizabeth Abrahamson, RDN @ Enjoy Every Bite Rebecca Clyde, RDN @ Be Truly Nourished Kristy Hegner, MPH, RD @ Chocolate Slopes Kara Lydon, RDN @ The Foodie Dietitian Joanne Perez, RD @ Real Bite Nutrition Beth Critser, BS Undergraduate Student via @ More Plant Foods Sidney Fry, MS, RD @ Cooking Light Simmer & Boil Martha McKittrick, RD, CDN, CDE @ City Girl Bites Francesca Cugini, MS, RDN, LD @ Energy We Bring Andy Bellatti MS, RD @ Civil Eats
OPEN LETTER TO THE ACADEMY OF NUTRITION AND DIETETICS
To Mary Beth Whalen, President Sonja Connor, leadership at the Academy and Kids Eat Right (KER) Foundation:
Flawed Understanding of the Marketplace
We wholly reject the rationale that the Academy used in their formal press release to defend the nature of the relationship between Kraft and the Academy. A logo on a product label is an endorsement, an alignment, and recognition of a paid relationship. Simply stating otherwise in a press release, no matter how emphatically, doesn’t change this fact. Rather, AND’s actions illustrate how profoundly out of touch AND is with business principles, which has put our professional integrity and credibility at risk. It is also a decision that is out of touch with members’ values.
Failure to Provide Transparency to AND Members and Consumers
We work hard to provide full transparency in all of our own business relationships, and we expect the same from the Academy. Failure to be transparent about ANDs actions violates the Academy’s own Ethics Policy*, which calls for the highest standards of honesty and integrity, and for members to not engage in false or misleading practices of communications.
Actions Requested of the Academy: #RepealTheSeal
- We ask for full transparency regarding the process of approval to allow the KER logo on the Kraft product— including the names of those involved, the meeting minutes of the discussion, and Board’s vote on this issue.
- We ask for full disclosure of the terms of the financial agreement between KER Foundation and Kraft. We also request full transparency regarding the status of future agreements under consideration for use of our Logo.
- We ask the Academy to provide their plan for the discontinuation of this specific relationship with Kraft and removal of the KER logo off Kraft Singles product packaging.
How You Can Help: 3 Steps
- PETITION - Sign the petition at change.org, which outlines the steps we are asking that The Academy and KER take to rectify this situation.
- POST - Post this Open Letter to the Academy and KER leadership on your blog and/or social media platform(s) to reach your peers and audience. Please use the #RepealTheSeal hashtag. While we kindly ask that you keep the Open Letter intact, if you have any additional thoughts or commentary that would be of interest to your readers, please feel free to include that in your own post.
- PROMOTE - Please share this Open Letter and/or links to the petition on your social media platforms or your blog, and please feel free to invite others to repost on their blogs and social media networks. If you do share this on your blog, please include the following suggested language to help your audience understand how they can help support the campaign:
UPDATE The following is a listing of posts by bloggers who are supporting the #RepealTheSeal campaign. Please visit their sites for more thoughtful commentary on this issue.