News Roundup: Tuesday 3.4.2014

This past week was a big one for food, health and nutrition. We’re most excited about the TEDX: Changing the Way We Eat conference, which was absolutely mesmerizing. Such passion and conviction...but not just words: Action! Be sure to set aside some time to browse them all if you can, we did and felt utterly energized. Have a wonderfully well week, Warriors!

Words to Live By

“We can create the future when we have hope, when we’re laughing, when we’re singing, when we actually bring the soul, the spirit and the vibe into our work. We have to protect and create at the same time. That’s the definition of being a good ally.”

— Nikki Silverstri, Executive Director, Green for All, at the TEDx Manhattan

Newest News

You are what you eat...and you’ll probably change what you eat!! Inspiring watching awaits you. Don’t miss it.
The TEDXManhattan/Changing The Way We Eat event on March 1 was a huge success this past weekend with 17 speakers, more than 150 viewing parties, zillions of on-line viewers (if not yet, we hope you will be one, too), and an immeasurable amount of inspiration for ways in which we can change our food system to be more equitable, environmentally friendly, and nutritious.  Check out our What We’re Watching section for more on some of our favorite speakers and our Get Involved section to support the work that these fabulous folks are doing.


Toward more meaningful food labels
In case you missed it, last week there was a positive shift in our nutrition label laws that will hopefully give a little more truth to the reporting of food companies. Championed by the powerful health and nutrition policy advocate, Michelle Obama, just two days after she announced the Obama administration’s plans to limit junk food advertising in schools and provide universal school meals, the proposed changes will give us more realistic serving sizes, make the display of calories larger, and make added sugar a listed item.  The proposal enjoys support from the Center for Science in the Public Interest and bloggers alike, and has the potential to create more effective awareness about the food that we are consuming.
See the full FDA proposed rule docket here. The 90-day comment period began on March 3rd, and you can comment on the nutrition labeling proposals here and the serving size change proposals here. Make your voice heard and stay tuned!
FLOTUS goes big on food label changes via Politico


GMOs. What are they Good For?
Absolutely nothing (say it again). The battle over GMO labelling rages on, and those of us on the pro-labeling side got some great fodder last week. In a substantial report publish the USDA Economic Research Services the agency found that GMO’s have done nothing for yield potentials, and in some cases actually decrease yields. The hollow “feed the world” propaganda of big agribusinesses very quickly falls apart. Not only has  the Also, of note, China has been an outspoken antagonist of the GMO agenda through its trade actions with the US over the last three months. Read the Reuters article for a great synopsis of the ERS report, and the fabulous essay on the utility of GMOs by Jonathan Foley via Ensia. And to bring a little more levity to the whole ordeal, check out this Onion article highlighting the absurdity of agribusiness.
U.S. GMO crops show mix of benefits, concerns - USDA report via Reuters
China rejects 887,000 T U.S. corn due to GMOs since Nov -customs via Reuters
GMOs, Silver Bullets and the Trap of Reductionist Thinking via Ensia


Get Involved

Sick of antibiotics? Tell Obama directly
Dr. Lance Price gave a powerful talk at the TEDXManhattan conference this weekend on the importance of stopping the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that develops through livestock production.  Food Democracy Now (and a number of other organizations) is raising awareness about the new FDA Veterinary Feed Directive. Write a letter to President Obama and FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg and tell them that you want stricter regulations on the subtherapeutic use of antibiotics.


“Are you awake out there?” Yes!
That’s how Nikki Sylverstri, Executive Director of Green For All, starts her inspiring TEDXManhattan talk about the connection between the environmental movement and the food movement.  “Food can be the gateway to the environment,” she says. “It’s how you interact with the land.” She has many insightful and wonderful things to say about how to be an ally and an activist in the food movement … and in general. Check out her organization, Green For All, to see how she and her team put this theory into practice and how you can support their work.
Take Action via Green For All


Save the milkweed!
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree spoke this weekend on how Congress, and “we the people,”  can change our food system in ways that make it sustainable. She opens with a powerful anecdote about the Monarch butterfly and the danger that it faces due to herbicide-resistant GMO crops. Read more about this issue at the NRDC link, sign a petition to Monsanto on behalf of the Monarchs, and learn what you can do to grow milkweed (the only plant species that supports Monarch survival ) in your own backyard. Yes, it will actually ATTRACT Monarchs. What can be better than that?


Health and baseline food for the family can go together...
Tom Colicchio, famed chef, Bravo’s Top Chef judge, and food activist, spoke eloquently and passionately about our ability to end hunger in the world. Simply put: it can be done, and a lot of it depends on politics. You can start working toward the cause by visiting Who Goes Hungry and writing a letter to Congress demanding changes to the SNAP program below. Also, check out Food Policy Action to see the good work they are doing on holding elected officials responsible for creating a more sustainable food system.


The Fast Food Frontline

Keeping an eye on “ABA”
Sadly, “soda-tax” bills come and go (mostly due to big beverage lobbyists), but lawmakers are continuing to see these types of bills as a great way to boost city revenue and curtail junk food consumption. San Francisco is one such city, and the “Coalition for an Affordable City” is one such lobbyist group, which is really just a front group for the American Beverage Association (think Coke and Pepsi). Michele Simon outlines the whole ordeal; the shadiness of the ABA, the politicians who are fighting it, and what you can do to help out. Even if you aren’t a San Francisco native, a win over the ABA in this city could have a very positive ripple effect throughout the U.S. Stay tuned!
Fast Food knows it’s under the microscope...but the scrutiny of their marketing methods must continue
Despite the continued evolution of the resistance movement against fast food (for example, folks in Ontario are now legislating for labeling calories right on the fast food menus), these companies are still trying to stay one step ahead of the critics. Case in point, advertising to children and teens. Citing a November report from the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity ($4.6 billion spent on advertising to young folks from 2010-2012), this Guardian article outlines the landscape of fast food advertising and some moves that some businesses are taking to make things move in the right direction.


Prevention News

There’s much more to yoga than finally doing a perfect Downward Dog
Yoga is not just for stretching. It has been used for thousands of years in the Aryuvedic healing system and offers many health benefits beyond limber and toned muscles. Unfortunately, Western medicine has been slow to recognize the scientific data behind yoga’s medical benefits. Life In Yoga works to change that by offering training to medical providers who they hope will promote yoga as a viable option for healing and preventing disease in the U.S. health care system. This is a great example of people working to change our healthcare system to be more focused on prevention and self-initiated care.
Integrating Yoga Into Medical Practice – It’s More Than ‘Just Relaxation Response’ via Washington Post
Dr. Yogi: Physicians Integrate Yoga Into Medical Practice via NPR Shots


What We're Watching

Back to TedXManhattan: Some of our favorites listed below!
We encourage you to watch all of the great talks at TEDXManhattan: Changing the Way We Eat, but we know that might not be possible. So pick a few! We did. We highlight some our favorites below.  Don’t forget, if you haven’t already, to visit our Get Involved section to see what you can do to support causes that relate to these speakers.
Speaker 3 -- Megan Miller, Bitty Foods (Crickets as a Protein Source)
“When I think of crickets, I think of the future of food. . . .[They are] packed with nutrients. It has healthy fats, vitamins and minerals, and around 70 grams of protein per serving.”
Speaker 5 -- Dr. Lance Price, George Washington University (How antibiotic use in food animal production can negatively affect human health)
"I don't think of factory farming as making meat. I see them making millions of antibiotic resistant bacteria"
Speaker 7 -- Matt Moore, farmer, artist, food activist (Social-change artists and the food movement)
“What art is so good at is asking questions. A question that I had is, “Why does this make sense? Why is this the best, the highest use of this ground”
Speaker 12 - Nikki Silvestri, Executive Director, Green for All: (The complex and rich experience of building true allies while working to create change)
“Food is the gateway to the environment...that’s the way most of us experience the is how you see the soil, it’s how you interact with the trees, it’s how you interact with the land.”
Speaker 15 - Congresswoman (D-ME) Chellie Pingree (Congress and a sustainable food system)
“I never hesitate to tell my colleagues, I am an excellent eviscerator of chickens. I would say it’s a particularly good skill to have in Congress”
Speaker 17 - Chef Tom Colicchio, Food Policy Action Board Member, Craft Restaurant Owner (Vote Food)
“This isn’t about some elite food movement that’s only accessible to people who can afford it. This is about creating a system that is affordable for all to enjoy. This is about values and this is about justice. A byproduct of the political system is justice.”
TEDxManhattan: Changing the Way We Eat


Wonderful Listening

The buck that feeds the organic cluck is going to….China?
We are big proponents of organic food; it’s better for your health and for the environment. As the market for organic products continues to increase, the economic connections within the supply chain grow too, and in the case of eggs it’s an interesting conundrum. Increasingly, organic feed for chickens that produce organic eggs is coming from China, even though the U.S. is one of the leading producers in conventional soy and corn. This great radio piece outlines the complexities within the organic egg market and will certainly give you a little more context the next time you sit down to your sunnyside ups.


Cookies with a Chirp
We normally don’t promote dessert recipes in our posts, but given Megan Miller’s presentation at TEDXManhattan, we couldn’t resist searching for recipes made with cricket flour. Before you gag, listen to her talk and then, If you are feeling bold, try it out. If not, then just know that it is a possibility. Miller describes insects as the most efficient form of protein on the planet (up to 70 grams per serving!) and its a great gluten-free substitute for your favorite recipes. Here’s one of several sources of the flour on line: World Entomophagy. Another is
Chocolate Chirp Cookies
Yield: makes a dozen of so cookies
  • 2 ¼ cups cricket flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 12-ounce pkg. chocolate chips
  • ½ cup dry-roasted chopped crickets


1. Preheat oven to 375 deg F.

2. In saucepan heat 1 12-ounce pkg. chocolate chips until melted. Or melt in small bowl in microwave.

3. Dip dry-roasted crickets into mixture and lay flat on drying pan or plate.

4. In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

5. In large bowl, combine butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla; beat until creamy.

6. Beat in eggs.

7. Gradually add cricket flour mixture and mix well.

8. Stir in chocolate covered crickets.

9. Drop by rounded measuring teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.

10. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Chocolate Chirp Cookies via Insects are Food

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