We are huge, huge fans of Marion Nestle here in the kitchen. When it comes to food rockstars- she is at the top of the list. Author of awesometown books such as Food Politics and What To Eat (plus tonnes more), she is also Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health at NYU. Ms. Nestle is truly at the forefront of the food advocacy movement. Sounds like she might know her stuff, huh?
We had a few Qs for her- check out her insightful responses below. (If you are feeling as inspired as we were after we read her responses- share today's tweetable!)
What “health” claim currently popular do you believe to be most misleading?
My current favorite is “contains antioxidants!” All fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants. Clinical trials looking at the effects of antioxidants on disease risk usually show no benefit, and sometimes show harm.
What is one small change consumers can implement in their diets for big results?
Eat your veggies! Most Americans would benefit from including more vegetables in their diets. Pick the ones you like and include some in every meal.
What suggestions do you have for people want to become more involved in food politics? Where is a great starting place?
I always recommend starting local with whatever you think most needs doing. Schools are a great place to start because what they do matters a lot to kids. One person can make a big difference in improving school meals. Or, go online and search for “food advocacy [name of your location].” I’m always amazed at the number of groups working on food issues—urban farming, food assistance, farmer’s markets, community education, you name it. I’ve got a couple of students working on putting together a list of all the groups and they are overwhelmed with the choices.
With so much working against small-scale farmers, what are some of the most recent political achievements that have been made in their favor?
I think awareness of the special problems of small farmers is growing locally and nationally. Congress has introduced several bills that will provide support to small farmers. Whether those will pass in this election year is questionable, but at least the issues are out there.
What recent food issue has been most shocking or disturbing to you?
I wrote about the most recent one on my blog at http://www.foodpolitics.com/2012/04/food-politics-in-action-the-white-house-vs-the-fda/. It’s how the White House has interfered in the FDA’s decisions about food regulation and other matters. I know it’s an election year but I think the White House should leave FDA alone on matters of food safety and labeling. This is a situation in which politics trumps science, and I hate to see that happening.
Question of the Day: How do you get involved in food advocacy movements in your city/town? Share the love and help others get involved!