The YOU Food Economy: 4 Trends Revolutionizing the Way We Eat

The YOU Food Economy: 4 Trends Revolutionizing the Way We Eat

Unless you’v been living under a rock, you know how rapidly the food landscape is changing. You know that today eaters are increasingly calling the shots-through their food dollars, social entrepreneurship, social media influence, or even with products they have created for the marketplace.

The mega-trend that’s emerging from all this? I call it the YOU Food Economy.

Far beyond debating  fat vs. carbohydrate, practicing Paleo or slashing sugar, the YOU Food Economy is about creating a food plan and eating philosophy that’s uniquely based on the total sum of YOU. Here are 4 ideas transforming the nutrition arena now-and that are worth watching closely.

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How to Build A Plant-Based Healthy Shopping Cart-Step By Step

How to Build A Plant-Based Healthy Shopping Cart-Step By Step

Can the Right Groceries Change the World? It’s a simple idea. But the truth is, plants hold incredible power to help us fuel an amazing life and a better world. A plant-based diet brimming with a variety of the right foods can help fix flagging energy levels, trim your waistline, reduce chronic inflammation, as well as cut your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke. (Reference: Position of the American Dietetic Association: Vegetarian Diets.)

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With Clean Eating Magazine: Your One Week Jump-Start to Wellness

With Clean Eating Magazine: Your One Week Jump-Start to Wellness

Want to step into summer feeling vibrant and energized? Start now with the One Week Jump-Start to Wellness plan I created with Clean Eating Magazine. You'll find everything you need for success. It is all laid out in an easy-to-follow meal plan, with a shopping list and even a bevy of easy, fresh, and healthy recipes. I even included some of my favorite time saving tips. It 's all here for you!

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5 Simple Ways to Add More Plants To Your Diet this Summer

5 Simple Ways to Add More Plants To Your Diet this Summer

You don’t have to be vegetarian or vegan to fall in love with the power of a plant-based diet this summer. Today’s amazing abundance of plant foods at the grocery store has made it easier (and more delicious!) than ever for you feel good about what you put into your body. Whether you’re just getting started on a plant-based lifestyle or are looking for fresh ideas to inspire you on your journey, here are 5 no-fuss ways to deliciously add more plants to your day.

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3 Secrets for Optimal Energy: My Event With CLIF Bar

3 Secrets for Optimal Energy:  My Event With CLIF Bar

We all know from experience that optimal energy is the vital juice that helps us feel supercharged to perform our best during athletic adventure, and even just to take on our day. In the business world a sense of abundant, high quality energy can actually be a competitive advantage, as so many of us struggle with feeling flat, foggy and fatigued. (3pm slump, anyone?) Yet while many people commonly confuse "stimulation" (think caffeine or energy drinks) with energy, they could not be more different.

I just got back from the Registered Dietitian Retreat in Napa, where I was honored to host a forum about "How to Eat for Optimal Energy" with my partners at CLIF Bar. We explored 3 essential ideas that help create optimal energy. (With full disclosure, CLIF Bar is a client of mine). The event was hosted for some of the country's top dietitians. And, the setting? The incredibly gorgeous CLIF Family Organic Farm at CLIFs Regis.

I would love to share with you what we explored.

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Carrot Top Pesto Recipe

I wanted to make sure you knew about my favorite springtime snack recipe. This quick, ultra-simple carrot top pesto lets you finally embrace those fluffy carrot-top greens that peek out from your bag on your way home from the farmer's market. Don't toss them in the trash, or even the compost! This surprising ingredient is not only brimming with good for you nutrients and antioxidants, it's a fresh, crave worthy take on pesto.  And eating "root to tip"  is one of the best ways to get more value for your for food dollar while eating in a way that helps regenerate both body and planet. A fun tip is to slice those beta-carotene-rich carrots on the diagonal. It makes for a welcome change from ho-hum carrot sticks (not to mention, they also provide the perfect shelf to slather pesto on — think carrot chips).

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Is it Time to Spring Clean Your Diet? 10 Ways to Eat Green and Stay Lean

Is it Time to Spring Clean Your Diet? 10 Ways to Eat Green and Stay Lean

Ready to step into the best foods spring has to offer? As the season when fresh, healthy, nourishing options abound, check out these 10 no-fuss ways I shared with Clean Eating Magazine this month on how a greener diet can also help you stay lean this spring – while loving every delicious bite along the way.
Clean Eating Magazine: 10 Ways Eating Green Can Keep You Lean

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The GMO Labeling Debate and What it Really Represents

The GMO Labeling Debate and What it Really Represents

Tomorrow, the Senate is set to vote on legislation that would potentially override a patchwork of state initiatives and pass a federal mandate that would block any mandatory labeling of GMO foods.

However, I don’t want to just talk about the GMO labeling debate, but rather that struggle it represents.

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Why Authenticity is the New Transparency in Food

Why Authenticity is the New Transparency in Food

Pick up a bag of standard potato chips from any major food company today, and you are likely to see two things. One, an ingredient list that sounds simple and familiar such as“Potatoes, Vegetable Oil, and Salt”. Two, a story of a farmer who grows potatoes.

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No Sustainability in the Dietary Guidelines? Why That May Not Really Matter

No Sustainability in the Dietary Guidelines? Why That May Not Really Matter

In the nutrition and food world, the Dietary Guidelines are the equivalent of our “fashion week." Thus, when it was announced earlier this week that the 2015 Dietary Guidelines won’t include sustainability in their diet recommendations for Americans, it set off a ripple of chatter. (For the first time ever, sustainability was proposed in the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) Report earlier this year).

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On MindBodyGreen: 6 Quick Clean-Eating Snack Ideas to Boost Your Energy

On MindBodyGreen: 6 Quick Clean-Eating Snack Ideas to Boost Your Energy

Somewhere along the way, snacking has become the official 4th meal of the day in America: according to the latest government estimates, snacking has grown from about 12% of calories in the 1970’s to nearly 24% today. So I was excited to share some of my favorite healthy and quick clean-eating snack ideas that I am absolutely loving right now with MindBodyGreen. While there's no formal or scientific definition for "clean" in the nutrition or medical communities, the intention here is to celebrate snacks that pack some of nature's most vital nutrients in minimally processed, whole food forms. I hope that these recipes make the fall rush a bit easier, healthier, and more delicious for you and your family.

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On MindBodyGreen: Kid Friendly Snacks That Take 5 Minutes to Make

On MindBodyGreen: Kid Friendly Snacks That Take 5 Minutes to Make

When summer produce hits its stride - as it’s doing right now, you can let Mother Nature do most of the work when it comes to prepping kid friendly snacks - which certainly does makes the living (or at least, the feeding) easy.

I was asked to share 6 of my favorite kid friendly summer snacks with my friends at MindBodyGreen. To make the cut, they had to be tasty bites filled with kid-appeal that help me get out of the kitchen faster - in less than 5 minutes in fact. Not to mention, stretch my kids' culinary wings with every delicious bite.

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Welcome to Food 3.0: The New Values Framework Around Food 

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“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.

 

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.

3 Healthy Food Disruptors to Watch Now

What are some of the major forces rapidly reshaping America’s food conversation?

That was one of several questions a group of leading food innovators wrestled with at this year's  Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sustainable Foods Institute.

Here are 3 healthy food disruptor trends shaking up the food and nutrition world now:

 

Sustainable Food1. Explosion of an “ecoystem mash up.” Will Rosenzweig, founding CEO of the Republic of Tea Executive Director of the new Food Business School at the Culinary Institute of America talked of the new “ecosystem mash up”. As food is such a powerful leverage point for addressing multiple challenges countries are facing (human health, sustainability, corporate responsibility, social justice, etc.) an unprecedented number of entities are entering the Forum of Food: social entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, food activists, Silicon Valley executives, urban farmers, NGOs, and passionate consumers- all are rapidly disrupting traditional frameworks of the food and nutrition ecosystem. While this is creating some growing pains as industries adapt, it’s also a catalyst for creating dynamic partnerships - such as chefs Daniel Patterson and Roy Choi’s new venture serving up healthy, fast, inexpensive food in some of the country’s poorest neighborhoods.

 

 

Social Media Food Advocacy2. Growth has moved from linear to exponential. A slew of new technologies and platforms have exponentially increased the amount of sharing, the level of transparency, and the reach of conversations people are having about food, which means that traditional linear models of business and influence no longer apply. Think of AirBnB upending Hilton Hotels, Instagram shuttering Kodak, or Chiptole taking a hefty bite out of the traditional fast food model . In the digital age, food innovations, conversations and resources that were once siloed have been unleashed-allowing for faster synergies and cross pollination. Incubators and new food crowdfunding sites are adding additional power behind the New Food Movement (such as Barnraiser), eroding the traditional pathways that took new companies decades to gain a foothold on supermarket shelves and in consumers hearts and minds: collectively these disruptors are rapidly changing the way consumers think about, purchase and consume food-reshaping supermarket shelves as startup brands go“from garage to grocery store” in fewer than 5 years. In fact, this week both Ad Age and Fortune served up stories on how major packaged companies are struggling to stay relevant in this new food ecosystem.

 

 

slide_425996_5493142_free3. Food waste + ugly produce are joining the New Food Economy. While policy has done an admirable job of making food cheaper, one dark side of all of this abundant cheap food has been a dramatic increase in food waste: in the U.S. alone, the per capita food waste has increased 50% since 1974 to an average of 1,400 calories per person per day. Globally, 1/3 of food produced is lost or wasted.

With 1 in 6 to 7 Americans lacking access to fresh, healthy food, the waste/hunger paradox in America is ripe for disruption, and many social entrepreneurs are stepping up to the plate. Ben Simon, Founder and Executive Director of the Food Recovery Network, says America could "cut hunger in America in half by recovering just 15% of the food America wastes". Simon sees higher education as the first sector where food waste recovery will soon be the norm rather than the exception (driven by millennials); his company works with over 110 colleges and has donated over 800,000 meals to hungry Americans. Many of America’s largest foodservice companies are also making food waste a top priority-some, like Bon Appetit even have first-ever positions as food waste specialists, recognizing it as supporting the triple bottom line of people, planet and profits.

A host of new companies are also helping to give a massive makeover to mishapen fruits and vegetables. Not only is this helping put a dent in food waste is at the farm (roughly 30% of perfectly good produce never even makes it to the store because it's not up to snuff cosmetically) it is often helping make nutrient rich fruits and vegetables more affordable. Imperfect Produce will put a lovable spin on misshapen produce, delivering funny looking fruits and veggies straight to Californians' doors for 30-50% less than supermarket prices, with a special emphasis on penetrating urban food deserts where fresh produce options are often lacking. Other companies are creating dehydrated fruit snacks or pressed fruit and vegetable juices from produce that would otherwise be wasted.

While change in this area often requires rethinking well intentioned rules and policies governing leftovers, food waste, and even unpicked produce, successful models-and legal clearance-often exist for those willing to pursue it. The payoff is making nutrient-rich foods more accessible and more affordable to people who need them most.

Towards the end of the institute, third generation California organic farmer and author David Mas Matsumoto tweeted: “I’m not waiting for the food revolution anymore. There are a lot of good things happening now.”

I couldn’t agree more. (Disclosure: I was given a media pass to attend the Monterey Bay Aquarium Sustainable Foods Institute)

4 Surprising Foods to Optimize Your Health and Cut Your Grocery Bill This Summer

Potato Salad with Quick Preserved Lemon Coriander and Arugula Recipe 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.

Cheers!

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.

Portabello Burger with White Bean SpreadMushrooms.  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.

#RepealTheSeal - An Update on Academy Action

RepealTheSeal


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.

 

#RepealTheSeal Impact

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.

Best,

Rachel Begun MS, RDN Kate Geagan MS, RDN Regan Jones RDN


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