Dr. Robert Graham, Director of Integrative Health & Therapies at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, brought a fresh crop of medical residents to the Natural Gourmet Institute to teach them the fine art of cooking healthy, delicious—and meatless—meals.
It’s a form of preventative medicine that can only be administered in the kitchen.
Dr. Robert Graham wants to ignite the next generation of doctors to eat healthy and live healthy. And to help, Chef Instructor Elliott Prag—who is a regular contributor to Vegetarian Times—was there.
It’s part of a program called FareWellness, which is an initiative developed by Dr. Graham and Julie Graham, his wife. The program encourages not only healthy eating but also physical exercise and mental wellbeing through activities like yoga and meditation.
The hope is that through the FareWellness Program, not only will hospital doctors and staff reap the benefits of maintaining a healthy lifestyle but they will also inspire their patients to taking steps toward bettering their own health through paying more attention to diet and exercise.
Since its start in 1977, NGI has been inspiring people to realize good health through delicious food. This partnership with Lenox Hill Hospital brings their expertise to the medical community by giving doctors the tools to bring healthful cooking to their patients.
“We are honored to continue our partnership with Dr. Graham and Lenox Hill Hospital,” says Anthony Fassio, CEO Natural Gourmet Institute. “With each class a new group of doctors is empowered to teach their patients about how a health-supportive diet can contribute to optimum health.”
Last week, thousands of registered dietitians convened in Atlanta for the annual Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo held by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Meatless Monday’s resident RD Diana Rice was in attendance and reports that the topic of plant-based eating was trendier than ever.
The conference kicked off with an educational session on the role of plant protein in disease prevention by renowned diet and lifestyle researchers Dr. Frank Hu of Harvard and Dr. Penny Kris-Etherton of Penn State. Our good friend Sharon Palmer later moderated a session on the latest research on the value of vegetarian and vegan diets, where Dr. Joan Sabate of Loma Linda University and Virginia Messina, RD (author of Vegan for Her) were featured speakers.
Plant-based eating was also a hot topic on the Expo floor. Sharon Palmer conducted a free signing of her book Plant Powered for Life at the booth of our friends at Tomato Wellness and Meatless Monday supporter Marcus Samuelsson made an appearance at the Canadian Lentils exhibit.
Registered dietitians also snapped up samples of plant-based dishes such as vegetarian chili from JTM Foods and vegan breakfast sausage from our friends at Neat. “It is extremely encouraging for us to observe the tremendous response that our line of innovative, all natural vegetarian foods received from registered dietitians and other professionals in the food and nutrition industry,” said Phil Lapp, Neat’s co-founder and CEO.
And because you won’t meet a crowd of professionals more enthusiast about fruit and vegetable consumption, dietitians flocked to the conference’s selfie stations, where they could declare their love for plant foods to the world (or at least, to their Twitter followers).
This month, Dr. Bob Lawrence, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) and an early champion of Meatless Monday, was honored at a symposium at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. He will be stepping down as CLF director after more than 18 years. As an emeritus faculty member, he will continue to teach, advise students, and work on food system problems.
Dr. Lawrence founded CLF in April 1996, with a mission to promote research and education about industrial food animal production or factory farming. CLF communicates information about diet, food production, the environment, and human health. As director, Dr. Lawrence ensured that CLF was not a mere think tank or an ivory tower, but a scientific resource for advocates seeking to reform the food system. CLF works with various communities, from policymakers at all levels, to urban and rural farmers, to low-income food shoppers. CLF provides technical assistance to and serves as the scientific advisor to the Meatless Monday campaign.
“To me,” said Dr. Lawrence, “a livable future is when the resources available to support a healthy ecosystem are in balance with the resources needed by current and future generations. I’m driven by the concept of intergenerational equity-that our grandchildren and their grandchildren will have an opportunity for a decent life. That’s going to mean dealing with everything from population pressure to climate change, inequitable income distributions, and alternatives to nonrenewable resources. That’s a tall order and a very lofty mountain that we’re all trying to climb, but the other options are really unthinkable.”
Throughout Dr. Lawrence’s distinguished career, he has served as a physician, an officer with the Epidemic Intelligence Service at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an associate dean at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and a co-founder of Physicians for Human Rights, which shared the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for its work to ban landmines.
The Monday Campaigns will continue to work with CLF to promote initiatives that aim to create awareness around public health.
Much of the research that supports our work comes from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. So, from all of us here at the Monday Campaigns to our colleague and friend, thank you and best of luck as you start this new chapter.
Food Day is a nationwide celebration of healthy, affordable, and sustainably produced food. This year it will kick off with Meatless Monday on October 20th. Food Day is officially Friday, October 24th, but people will be celebrating all week throughout the United States. The grassroots organization estimates there will be over 7,500 events this week, from Meatless Monday gatherings to events celebrating locally sourced food.
Food Day aims to help people “Eat Real.” That means, to prefer whole foods—like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains—over processed foods, and to choose foods that are raised in a sustainable manner.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a nonprofit consumer health advocacy organization, established Food Day to promote united by a vision of food that is healthy, affordable, and produced with care for the environment. CSPI focuses on the link between nutrition and health and on food safety. The organization—founded in 1971—is a key player in fighting obesity, cardiovascular disease, and other diet-related health problems, using tactics ranging from education to legislation to litigation.
CSPI has won a number of victories such as adding nutritional labels to fast food chain restaurant items, and ensuring that calling “low-fat” or “heart healthy” are descriptors that can only be used when the food items meet specific requirements established by the Food and Drug Administration.
You can find a local Food Day event here. Happy eating!
According to a new study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, red meat consumption—largely due to processed meat—has been linked to an increased mortality risk. Eating a lot of red meat may shave as much as two years off your life.
The study, which followed nearly 75,000 Swedes—both male and female, over a 15-year period—demonstrated that how much red meat you consume makes a difference in how long you live.
Participants answered a questionnaire about their eating habits, alcohol consumption, smoking, exercise, and other lifestyle choices. They also completed a 96-item red meat assessment that asked which types of red meat they’ve eaten in the past year and the frequency.
The mortality risk increased in the group of individuals consuming more than 100 grams (or 3.5 ounces) per day. Whereas study participants consuming less than 100 grams of red meat on a daily basis, maintained the same mortality risk as their cohort vegetarians.
In short, eat less meat and you might just live longer.
Christopher Columbus was looking for a better route for trading and procuring spices. In his attempt to find Asia, he instead found the Americas.
Though Columbus was probably not the first European explorer to reach the Americas, his voyages led to the first lasting European contact with the Americas, which—through a long strand of events and loose connections—put eggplant Parmesan on your plate (or maybe some other Italian dish like pizza Margherita).
Today Italian food has become a common, popular cuisine in America. And if you’d like to trace it back to 1492 when Columbus sailed the ocean blue, that’s okay.
Back when Columbus was around the sailor diet was mostly cheese, rice, almonds, salted flour and salted meat—no fresh fruits or vegetables. And this meant Vitamin C deficiencies, which caused scurvy. This meant loose teeth and bulging eyes, to mention just a few of the symptoms.
Because fresh fruits and vegetables didn’t travel well on long sea voyages, sailors eschewed them. Fortunately you don’t have to tempt scurvy this Columbus Day.
And to help keep up the fight, here are a few Italian-inspired recipes to help you celebrate Columbus Day and Meatless Monday with pizzazz.
Mama’s Italian Zucchini
This Italian-style zucchini dish features tomatoes, onion, garlic, and basil. It’s a simple and hearty summer meal that will please most any pallet, even a child’s. The recipe comes to us via our own Registered Dietitian, Diana Rice, posted at our Meatless Monday Prevention blog.
The Meatless Monday Pizza Collection
The Meatless Monday Pizza Collection is designed to help people rediscover the joy of homemade pizza, thanks to 10 colorful recipes from top cookbook authors.
Butternut Squash Pasta with Sage Mushrooms
Full with fall flavors of butternut squash and sage, this orecchiette pasta dish will provide a comforting, nutritious dinner for the whole family.
Earthbound Farm and Meatless Monday have released an e-cookbook The Home Cook Breakfast Book which features delicious breakfast recipes that can be eaten for any meal. This recipe collection hails from eight Meatless Monday bloggers and home cooks who incorporated fresh and frozen Earthbound Farm fruits and vegetables into their Meatless Monday creations.
In August, we asked our 300 Meatless Monday bloggers to create recipes that featured a selection of fruits and veggies in fun, innovative breakfast recipes. Then, Meatless Monday registered dietitian Diana Rice carefully selected recipes from the many entries to select the winners. (Diana is also the one who calculates the nutrition information for each recipe.) With recipes like Quinoa Cereal with Pecans, Shakshouka with Rainbow Chard or Orange Dreamsicle Smoothie, you’ll see how well healthy pairs with delicious.
Since their start in 1984, Earthbound Farm has been committed to sustainably growing organic fruits and vegetables—since long before “organic” became hip. Myra and Drew Goodman started Earthbound Farms on a 2.5-acre plot of land and now, 30 years later, Earthbound Farm is America’s largest grower of organic produce.
This means that for 30 years Earthbound has been encouraging people to eat food that’s good for them and good for the environment. And with The Home Cook Breakfast Book, you’ll see there are eight more opportunities to cook and eat smart as well as to put fruits and vegetables at the center of the plate.
Happy 30th anniversary to Earthbound Farm!
As of today, Sarasota County Schools will implement Meatless Monday.This means 52 school cafeterias will forgo the meat and instead offer lunches like hummus and vegetable subs, veggie pasta bake and veggie taco salad.
So 42,000 Florida students will be afforded the opportunity to eat better and to learn about the health and environmental benefits of reducing the meat in ones diet. And schools are partnering with local chefs to make sure the food is tasty and delicious—they’ll have to—because 70% of kids must approve of the dishes in order for them to stay on the menu. Schools are also aiming to source 50% of their produce from local farms, which is a more environmentally sustainable practice and it’s great for the local economy.
The Sarasota County School District is not unfamiliar with healthy eating. The district runs the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable program and they also use a green-yellow-and-red color system to indicate which foods are the most nutrient-dense so students and faculty to can make healthy choices at the school cafeteria.
Two important figures in championing health school lunches are Beverly Girard, director of food and nutritional services at Sarasota County Schools, and Karla Dumas, Area Supervisor/Buyer at the School Board of Sarasota County. And Karla was kind enough to answer a few questions we put to her.
Meatless Monday: What made you decide to launch the Meatless Monday Program—who were the advocates?
Karla Dumas: In Sarasota County, we strive to provide a variety of food choices and saw this as an opportunity to showcase meals with meat-free protein sources such as cheese, eggs, peanut butter, and legumes. The feedback we receive from student focus groups at many of our schools is to offer more meat-free options. For many years, Sarasota County has provided vegetarian and vegan entrée choices and this is simply a different way to highlight these choices.
The Meatless Monday initiative was brought to Sarasota County Schools by Kristie Middleton (with the Humane Society) and as a department we felt this would be a great way to highlight the non-meat options we already offer. Ultimately, the decision to participate in Meatless Monday was based on student requests.
MM: How was the menu developed?
KD: Our Food and Nutrition Services department has a menu committee comprised of our 8 registered dietitians on staff along with 8-10 of our school based Managers. We base our menus off of the previous year and make changes to incorporate new recipes and products along with seasonal items. Our district has a strong focus on offering as much local products as possible and this influences the menu as well. The Meatless Monday options are products and recipes our district already regularly offers and we simply moved them to Monday. As I mentioned in the first question, several years ago, we offered non-meat entrees daily and created many recipes for this purpose.
MM: Can you speak about efforts to use local area produce?
KD: Our Director, Dr. Beverly Girard, has always worked to bring in as much local food items as possible. Sarasota County was one of the first districts to have a stand-alone “Farm Fresh” produce bid, specific to local produce. Last year, our Food & Nutrition Services was awarded a large Farm to School grant to expand upon our program. We are currently bringing in local milk, eggs, orange juice and a variety of local fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. Our ultimate goal is to have 50% of our produce offered to be from a local source.
The Meatless Monday campaign is scheduled to run the remainder of the school year. But hopefully the students will carry on the Meatless Monday campaign at home throughout the summer.
In the With or Without Meat Cookbook there are two sides to every recipe—veggies up for Meatless Monday, meat up for another day. But either way you flip it this cookbook is a healthy, whole food, flavor-forward collection compiled with the diabetic in mind. Though you need not be diabetic to enjoy what this collection has to offer.
Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN is a classically trained chef, a dietitian, a television personality, and a Meatless Monday friend and now she’s delivered a book that could possibly answer that age-old question “how does a vegetarian date a meat eater?” Or—for you—maybe she’s just answered the question “how can I maintain a health-conscious, flexitarian lifestyle and keep it delicious?”
Each recipe offers first a vegetarian take and then a meat-fish-or-poultry add-in—so indecision need not prevent you from opening the book to the Tarragon White Bean Salad. Nor should different dietary wants demand that you make two separate dishes to please both the veg and the meat eater.
The cookbook features 125 recipes, largely in the style of the Mediterranean diet. The recipes put fruits and vegetables forward, limit unhealthy fats, and prefer whole grains. It’s nutrition that promotes your cardiovascular health and your overall health. The books is especially great for those with diabetes, pre-diabetes, heart-health issues, or really for anyone simply looking to improve their diet.
This flexitarian approach to eating provides the best of both worlds. Each recipe includes nutrition information and follows the American Diabetic Association’s nutritional guidelines. And, The With or Without Meat Cookbook has a familiar, friendly tone that makes it feel more like a conversation than a numbered list of instruction.
Check out the Red Onion Soup with Shiitake Broth recipe from the With or Without Meat Cookbook.