News Roundup: Thursday 1.23.2014

The weekend nears, and we hope you’ll find some time to be joyful, be inspired (or inspiring) and, most of all, be well. We know it’s not always easy, especially in the face of some of the news that is out there about our health and our planet. But we, and you, are here to support one another as community—to stay positive and stand up for causes and ways in which we can improve the wellness of the nation. So, as you read about the effect of climate change on agriculture, the negative impact that a congressional draft bill could have on fisheries, and suspect supplements, you can also learn about new innovations in sustainable agriculture, a 100% sustainable sushi restaurant, and a gym that fights physique anxiety.

Words to Live By

Do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you.”

― Wendell Berry

Newest News

A Changing Climate, Extreme Weather and the Local and Sustainable Food Movement
This post is chock full of links, so hold onto your hats, and click away! Think of it as a roundup within a roundup, if you will.
There are several bits of news from the past week that point out the benefits and potential resiliency of sustainable approaches to farming. The benefits of more eco-friendly farming give us hope in relation to the recent declaration of a drought emergency in CA, and the extreme weather over the last several months has us all thinking about food security and sustainability at home and across the globe. As the Al Jazeera article below indicates, farmers and consumers may feel the financial hit of these trends.
Luckily, there are steps being taken to mitigate these mounting problems in our food system. This week we’ve learned about a tool that helps farmers gauge their sustainable practices with profitability at the forefront of the assessment, a new USDA study on intercropping with flowers  to protect against pests, the growth of the biostimulant market (naturally derived and approved for organic certifications), and growing support for an efficient and environmentally sound method of growing rice. Lastly, check out the NPR piece below highlighting the boost that Food Hubs are giving to new farmers and local economies.


Something Fishy is Going On Here
It’s not often that we report on fish in the News Roundup, but we happened to stumble across a lot of fish news this week. Fish, particularly those high in omega 3’s (for example salmon, char, and mackerel) are often touted for their health benefits; low fat, high protein, delicious when fresh and pan fried with a little butter. Aside from containing high mercury(i.e. tuna and other large ocean fish—not the three we mention here), for most people there are few health problems associated with eating fish. Maintaining those fish populations so we can continue to eat them can be a problem. A new draft bill in the house is proposing to take away some fishery protections, potentially leading to overfishing and population crashes. Read about it in the NRDC report below, which points out the impact that this bill could have on the fish and on those people who make a livelihood fishing. In other concerning fish news, mining is threatening salmon populations in Alaska (as well as fishing jobs), and there is concern that the Trans-Pacific Partnership will negatively affect fishery research, which is vital for maintaining healthy and sustainable fisheries.
It’s not all doom and gloom. The NRDC provides us with a few tools that we can use to assess the sustainability of the fish that we eat (link below) and the world’s first 100% sustainably sourced sushi  restaurant called Just Sushi, just opened up.
The Empty Oceans Act--House Offers Draft Bill to Gut Protections for Fisheries and Fishing Economies via NRDC
Seafood Choices: Lots to Consider, Many Tools via NRDC


The Rise of Cheese
Cheese fans abound in the U.S. and availability of the stuff is on the rise, according to some recent USDA data. It seems that we are consuming almost three times as much cheese per capita as we did 40 years ago. This little article walks us through a graph of the most beloved cheeses in our nation. Mozzarella is in first place, while provolone is close to the bottom. It is also quick to remind us that cheese, though increasing in popularity, can also increase our waistlines and risk for cardiovascular problems. So, let’s celebrate cheese, but as with most things that are popular, moderation is key.
Mozzarella Wins the Biggest Piece of America’s Growing Cheese Pie via Civil Eats


The Fast Food Frontline

Burger-Bots? It’s Not Getting Faster, Just More Absurd
Did you ever have family burrito night at home? The toppings all laid out in front of you, the fun you had creating your masterpiece, the inevitable “overstuffing” of the tortilla. It makes us nostalgic . . Now, fast forward to 2014, and replace that aforementioned family bonding experience with The Burrito Box. What!? Just type in your order and a “fresh” burrito (well, freshly made, at least) will drop out of the slot. And, just when you thought that the world of fast-food couldn’t get any crazier: here comes the burger machine! Yep, its a whole machine that can make burgers all by itself, up to 300 an hour! These machines are a far cry from a healthy home-cooked meal, and let’s just hope that we don’t start seeing them in schools anytime soon!

Prevention News

Once Again, Watch Your Supplements
We are in no way opposed to natural supplements here at WW;  they can be very useful, and nice alternatives to allopathic medicines. However, this NY Times article reminds us that you can’t always be sure what you are going to get in a supplement. A recently published study in a peer reviewed journal showed that many thyroid supplements that are available online contained pharmaceutical thyroid hormones; the supplements were laced with prescription-only drugs. These hormones can have a big effect on your thyroid and they require a very delicate balance. Taking one of these laced supplements could be throwing your thyroid off. Again, as we’ve stated before, we are not suggesting that you throw all of your supplements out the window, but we are recommending that you try as hard as you can to verify the integrity of what you are putting into your body.
Thyroid Supplements With a Kick via the NY Times


What We're Watching

Start to Start Starts!
Are you planning to grow a garden this spring? For those of us in seasonal climates it’sabout time to get our seedlings (or starts) going so they can be ready to plant once spring rolls around. This “how-to” video comes from a partnership between Gateway Greening and The Edible Schoolyard Project, a fantastic organization promoting gardening and healthy food in schools. If you’ve never started a garden from seed before, as the video shows, it’s very simple (the plant really does the bulk of the work).
Seed Starting Indoors via Gateway Greening


What We're Reading

When is the Sequel As Good As, or Better than the Original?
When it’s Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food II, Recipes, Flavor, and Inspiration from the New Kitchen Garden. A celebrated American chef, restauranteur, gardener, activist, and author, Alice is one of our most beloved Wellness Warriors. Her latest book is a must-have for any kitchen that loves a living, breathing garden—whether on a balcony, windowsill, rooftop, vacant lot, schoolyard, or big back yard. Beautifully illustrated by Patricia Curtain, The Art of Simple Food II “showcases flavor as inspiration and embodies Alice’s vision for eating what grows in the earth all year long. She shares her understanding of the whole plant, demystifying the process of growing and cooking your own food, and reveals the vital links between taste, cooking, gardening, and taking care of the land.” You might want to memorize the mantra on the book’s jacket cover because in our opinion, it says it all: “Treasure the farmer; Nurture the soil; Plant wherever you are; Learn from nature; Cultivate your plate; Make your own; Eat whole foods; Share the harvest; Teach the art of simple food.”
Purchase The Art of Simple Foods II, by Alice Waters via Amazon


Wonderful Listening

This Gym is Exclusive, but Not in the Way You Might Think
The pressure that we often feel to “look good” while at the gym can often prevent us from actually going. A new type of gym is combatting that social anxiety by catering to people who have a BMI of 35 or over (a BMI of 30 is considered obese). In fact, if your BMI isn’t 35 or over and you don’t have 50 pounds or more to lose, then you can’t join. This is an inspiring and touching story of how this type of gym is helping people get healthy.
In These Gyms, Nobody Cares How You Look In Yoga Pants via NPR Health


Spicing up Your Roasted Carrots
Roasted root vegetables are a staple of the winter season, but we don’t always think of throwing carrots into the mix. This recipe will help you break out of that habit with a fresh take on this so-often consumed member of the Umbelliferae family (also parsley and dill). The spice mix in this recipe reminds us of curry, but the thyme and the mint give it a slight mediterranean feel. These are great fresh out of the oven or room temperature, and would make an excellent hors d'oeuvre. Turmeric is also well known for its anti-inflammatory properties, so you’ll get an extra little health boost from this already healthy recipe. 
Roasted Carrots with Tumeric and Cumin


  • 10 medium carrots, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, lightly toasted
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds, lightly toasted
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or mild chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint


1.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut the carrots in half lengthwise and crosswise. If the carrots are fat at one end, cut the fat half in half again lengthwise, so that the pieces are more or less equal in thickness. Place in a large bowl and toss with the olive oil, salt and pepper, and thyme leaves. 

2.  Heat a heavy baking sheet in the oven for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the oven and place the carrots on it in one layer. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring the carrots every 10 minutes. They should be slightly caramelized and tender.

3. While the carrots are in the oven place the cumin and coriander seeds in a mortar and pestle and grind. Add the soft butter, turmeric and Aleppo pepper or chili powder and stir with the pestle until well amalgamated. Transfer to a large pan.

4. Remove the carrots from the oven when done and add to the pan with the spice butter and the mint. Toss together, taste and adjust salt and pepper. Serve from the pan or transfer to a platter.

Yield: Serves 6
Advance preparation: These are also delicious at room temperature, so you can roast them a few hours ahead.

Nutritional information per serving: 127 calories; 9 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 4 grams monounsaturated fat; 10 milligrams cholesterol; 12 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams dietary fiber; 89 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 1 gram protein

Roasted Carrots With Turmeric and Cumin via NY Times Health

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