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Kristin Wartman's Posts

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Mic checking Big Food

The Occupy Big Food rally at Zuccotti Park on Saturday."Whose food? Our food!" This was the rallying cry at the first Occupy Big Food event on Saturday in Zuccotti Park. The rally, which I led with Erika Lade, a graduate student in NYU's Food Studies program, gathered about 100 people with the goal of connecting the larger Occupy Wall Street effort to the food justice movement. NYU professor of Nutrition and Food Studies Marion Nestle was the event's featured speaker. Although Nestle was intimidated at the prospect of using the human microphone for the first time, she picked up the …

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Not your grandma's milk

Photo: Travis S.Milk is truly one of the oldest, simplest whole foods -- and we certainly drink a lot of it. According to the USDA, Americans consumed an average of 1.8 cups of dairy per person, per day in 2005. But is the milk Americans are drinking today the same milk our ancestors drank thousands of years ago? Is it even the same milk our great-grandparents were drinking a hundred years ago? By and large, the answer is no. Like many other modern foods, most of the milk sold today has been altered, stripped, and reconstituted. Once minimally processed, milk …

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The hatin' spoonful: Big Food refuses to swallow guidelines

Unhealthy food is gross, but the food industry thinks regulation is grosser.Photo: Steven DepoloCross-posted from Civil Eats. Food corporations enjoy carte blanche on what they can say about their foods, how and to whom they advertise, and even (to a large degree) the ingredients they choose to put in their foods. But when the Obama administration recently proposed voluntary guidelines [PDF] for the types of food advertised to children, industry giants decided to preempt these guidelines and create their own. Since the government released its new guidelines, two powerful industry groups have reared up. One is the Sensible Food Policy …

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Change in season: Why salt doesn’t deserve its bad rap

A good pinch of this won't do you any harm.For something that's so often mixed with anti-caking agents, salt takes a lot of lumps in the American imagination. Like fat, people tend to think of it as an unnecessary additive -- something to be avoided by seeking out processed foods that are "free" of it. But also like fat, salt is an essential component of the human diet -- one that has been transformed into unhealthy forms by the food industry. Historically, though, salt was prized. Its reputation can be found in phrases like, "Worth one's salt," meaning, "Worth one's …

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Are you enjoying your daily chemical cocktail?

A 1970s-era Monsanto ad.Photo: Christian MontoneChemicals and additives found in the food supply and other consumer products are making headlines regularly as more and more groups raise concern over the safety of these substances. In a statement released this week, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) asked for reform to the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976. The group is particularly concerned about the effects these substances have on children and babies. Last month, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) held hearings on the safety of food dyes but failed to make a definitive ruling. The most recent study …

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Breakfast is not so gr-r-reat when your only option is Frosted Flakes

Breakfast cub: Tony the Tiger says start your kid's day with big bowls of sweetened corn.Photo: Jim BarkerOne in four children goes without breakfast each morning, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a tragedy to be sure -- but are Kellogg's breakfast products the solution? Last week, Kellogg announced its new project called Share Your Breakfast, part of a national advertising campaign. The project asks Americans to upload their breakfast photos to the website shareyourbreakfast.com, and Kellogg Company will donate up to $200,000 -- the equivalent of 1 million school breakfasts to help feed children from food-insecure households. Feeding …

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The last days of the low-fat diet fad

A spoonful of fat makes the pseudo-science go down. (Photo by Julia Frost.) The low-fat trend finally appears to be on its way out. The notion that saturated fats are detrimental to our health is deeply embedded in our zeitgeist -- but shockingly, the opposite just might be true. For over 50 years the medical establishment, public health officials, nutritionists, and dietitians have been telling the American people to eat a low-fat diet, and in particular, to avoid saturated fats. Only recently have nutrition experts begun to encourage people to eat "healthy fats." This past December, the Los Angeles Times reported …

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Palin and Bachmann trash Michelle Obama’s breast-feeding advocacy

Photos: Roger H. Goun, Lord Mariser, and Gage Skidmore Once again, the Tea Party heavyweights are using food to cast First Lady Michelle Obama as a proponent for an all-controlling nanny state. Last month, the first lady's efforts to rein in the junk-food industry drew the ire of right-wing scolds. More recently, her promotion of breast-feeding, particularly among African-American women, drew controversy. At around the same time, the Internal Revenue Service announced that breast pumps would be eligible for tax breaks. Strangely enough, some conservatives leapt to attack the simple notion of encouraging breast-feeding -- which has been shown in …

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Life, liberty, and the pursuit of fatness

We pledge allegiance.Photo: Keo 101Working with people as a nutritionist, I'm often met with resistance. I try to explain how to make healthful food choices without using trigger words like "organic," "sustainable," or even "local." "When I hear the word organic I think of Birkenstock-wearing hippies in Cambridge or Berkeley," one of my clients told me recently. Other clients have referred to whole, organic foods as "yuppie food." There's no doubt that food choice and diet is an indicator of class and culture. But what perplexes me is this notion that eating a diet of processed, sugary junk foods is …

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