by Marion Nestle
Oct 25 2011

Happy Food Day!

Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) launched Food Day yesterday with a splendid lunch right in the middle of Times Square.  I got to be one of the lucky eaters.

The purpose of Food Day is to promote discussion of critical issues in agriculture, food, nutrition, and health.  Its goals:

  • Promote healthy eating.
  • Support sustainable farms.
  • Expand access to food and alleviate hunger.
  • Reform factory farms.
  • Curb junk-food marketing to kids.

For half an hour, it got big-time billboard coverage.

The lunch was nutritionally correct and quite delicious, thanks to Ellie Krieger who did the menus and is posed here with Mario Batali.

Tom Farley, director of New York City’s Health Department, gave the opening speech with updates on his department’s new “cut down on sodas” campaign.  For example: One soda a day translates to 50 pounds of sugar a year, and you have to walk three miles to burn off the calories in one 20-ounce soda!  He’s here with Michael Jacobson who has directed CSPI since the early 1970s.

Tom Chapin sang from his album for kids, “give peas a chance.”

It was all anyone needed to be inspired to join the food movement and sign up for the food day campaign!

Later addition: Mike Jacobson sent this one with Morgan Spurlock.

  • Anthro

    Sounds like a good time for all!

    I’m especially glad to see someone point out that it takes a lot of “moving” to work off relatively few calories (the soda example). The food industry has done a good job of pushing the couch potato meme. I don’t deny the value of exercise, just its ability to compensate for way too many calories.

    Having said that, we all need to move a bit more. I am always the only person on the stairs at the buildings I visit and I am the only one in my neighborhood with a push mower and a snow shovel.

  • Hugh Anderson

    Your link to the CSPI has a page that uses a demonizing & emotional word (“fatty”) to smear a whole food (meat). I cannot stand behind this.

  • Michael Bulger

    Fatty is actually a scientific term. As in, saturated fatty acids.

  • Kat Eutsler

    Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, what a wonderful event!

    Thank you for sharing.

  • Michael Bulger

    More on saturated fatty acids (SFA):

    “All fats are combinations of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids.”

    The Mayo Clinic also acknowledges the synonym: “…harms and benefits of dietary fats (sometimes called fatty acids)…”

    They also list common food sources of SFA: “They include beef fat, pork fat, shortening, stick margarine and butter.”

    I hope that is helpful.

  • Great post – the sooner we all get off fatty meat, the better. For the planet as well as human beings.

  • It’s good that the goals listed are realistic and attainable!

  • Suzanne

    @Greenconsciousness – Fatty Meat that I eat keeps me off of Diabetes medication. In uncertain times like this, when I don’t know as a public employee if I will retain health insurance, it’s a lifesaver. Before you condemn meat consumption, realize that it keeps some of us out of medical crisis. I find the most sustainable meat I can.

  • Michael Bulger

    Here is a video on Fat and Diabetes from the American Diabetes Association. It’s kind of hokey, like a driver’s ed video, but it could still be helpful.

    They also offer this study:

    “The current study adds weight to the longstanding recommendation to restrict total fat and saturated fat. While adjusting for BMI eliminates the effect, this does not mean that dietary fat is not important. It is biologically plausible that high-fat diets promote weight gain, which then promotes insulin resistance. There is a large body of evidence that supports this view. In addition, there is growing evidence that obesity plays a central pathogenic role in the development of diabetes”

    They also add this observation: “A large body of experimental data generated in laboratory animals strongly supports the notion that high-fat diets are associated with impaired insulin action. It appears from animal studies that saturated fats, in particular, have the most detrimental effects.”

  • Suzanne

    @Michael Bulger – If I followed the ADA recommendations for a healthy diet – “Plenty of healthywholegrains” being front and center to the message – I would still be obese and would need increasing amounts of medication to offset my carbohydrate intake in order to lower my spiking blood glucose. My insulin sensitivity would continue to decrease, and my pancreas would be continuously taxed by my carbohydrate intake to secrete diminishing insulin.

    As it stands now, I’m 75 pounds lighter, no Diabetes medication, and consistently well controlled blood sugar. I haven’t gained back a pound of what I lost, in fact, I continue to drop in weight. I eat pastured meats, wild-caught fish, other types of seafood, nuts, non-starchy vegetables, full-fat dairy products and a bit of apple/berries now and then.

    I would like to see the results of a peer-reviewed study that isolates saturated fat consumption from carbohydrate consumption exclusive of non-starchy vegetables. VERY different results. I also wanted to mention that my lipid panels have improved tremendously as well, particularly a steep drop in my triglycerides.

    The ADA (both of THEM) are funded by the grain lobby and their represented corporations, plus pharmaceutical companies, so advocating the diet I’m eating (and many others like me who learned the truth from someone other than the ADA and very likely their doctor) is directly opposed to their financial self-interests.

    If someone refers me to the ADA for nutrition information, I snicker.

  • Suzanne

    It is not meat that keeps you healthy – it is protein. Protein reduces food cravings – yes. Tofu works to do that better than meat, and is better health wise and decency wise. Everyone in my family had diabetes except me.

    I eat tofu, other soy proteins, olive oil, cabbage in tomato sauce, some other veggies occasionally, nuts, seeds and fruit — adding the slightest carb causes me to gain weight.

    So I understand your need to avoid carbs. You should also be avoiding dairy. Coconut milk products are a good substitute if you must have yogurt.

    You do not have to buy into the torture, rape and kill system to live well in the U.S.A. Some places maybe such as northern Alaska, but in most places you could find a way not to eat meat and still accommodate your body’s needs. Values. It is about your values.

    You understand the dynamics of your own needs and that is significant. We are fed lies continually. But I know you could experiment further. I went through your process but did not stop where you are today. I hope you keep learning and experimenting.

  • Wish that concept would play itself out across the U.S. I am seeing and hearing more and more talk about trying to get better nutrition in schools and then I hear about the lobbyists having a huge hand in what makes it to our school lunches and that is disheartening to me.