Integrative Nutrition Conference

When I boarded the Amtrak train and headed north to NYC, I had no idea what to expect from my first Integrative Nutrition (IIN) Conference.  I had never really ventured out of my comfort zone, and I tend to make grand plans that alway fall short.  When I signed up for the conference in July I knew I would not let myself back out of this one.

When we arrived on Saturday morning Joshua (Creator and Founder of IIN) asked us to think of our intention for the weekend and what we wanted to get out of this experience.  To put it simply, I wanted to be more confident in what I was doing.  I have received mixed support about my adventure into health coaching, but I have a passion for bringing an organic lifestyle to everyone.

Over the two days we heard from vegans and real food (raw milk, pasture animals) lovers, got some banging recipes for kale and quinoa, learned about the connection between hormones and food, understood the relationship between advertising dollars and what we put in our mouthes, and we ever learned some moves to show off at and Indian wedding.

It was amazing to see leaders in their field speaking live, especially my hero Marion Nestle, but it was the graduate testimonials that really lit a fire inside me.  If they could go out and change the world, why couldn’t I?  Between each session graduates took the stage and told the audience what they were up to.  Each of them had a unique story and seemed so in love with what they were doing.  These grads were given the same tools as me and they have created amazing businesses from independent programs to working with hospitals and schools.

At the end of the conference Joshua revisited his original question about what our intention of the conference was and whether we achieved it.  I would have to say, yes!  I have the tools, skills, and brain to do anything.  If so many people can make a difference, why can’t I?  I just need to believe in myself.

You can see more about my mission to make organic approachable to everyone at Grow Your Health.

Believe.

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Got Kale?

Kale is the new acai berry.  Well they may not taste the same, but it surely is becoming the health food spokes vegetable. 

This week it was time to harvest some leaves and plants new things!  I harvested kale and pulled the leggy spinach.  We have had a lot of rain lately and I think it is hurting my plants because our soil is high is clay content.

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Back to the kale, we have a lot around these parts.

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Yummy!  That is about $8 worth of kale from $2 worth of plants and it is still coming.

My favorite way to eat kale is via Kale Chips!

  • Pre-heat oven to 350
  • Wash and tare kale into chip like pieces – make sure leaves are dry
  • Coat leaves in olive oil, salt, pepper and any other seasoning of choice
  • Lay flat on a baking sheet in one layer
  • Bake in over for 10min
  • Check oven often – you don’t want them to burn!
  • Serve with ketchup and hot sauce combo or nothing at all

Even Sissy likes kale!

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Try some today!


The Cost of Ending Pink Slime

By now you must have heard about the “pink slime” controversy.  The social media outrage has halted the use of finely textured beef trimmings in a majority of all ground beef, a practice that has been taking place since the early 1990.  Mother’s have taken arms against this product being served in their children’s school lunches, and many grocery chains and fast food companies have suspended their contract with Beef Products Inc. (BPI) before they feel the heat.

Now that the American Housewife has gotten the slime out of their beef, is she ready for the consequences?  According to a USA Today article on the subject, finely textured beef trimmings made up 15% of all hamburger served in the US.  We are going to have to make up that difference somewhere.  The article also notes that the price of beef is already up 25% since 2010 and could jump another 3-25 cents per pound with this new supply change.  Are you ready to pay the difference?

Along with the rising prices of beef, BPI has had to suspend production in three out of its four plants.  That equals a lot of people out of work.  I see this turning out similar to the American auto shut down, but this time there will be no government bailout.

This debate is going to get interesting.  We tend to get very angry over rising food prices and job loss is not good for economic recovery.  It is definitely something to watch and see how Suzy Homemaker will react when her summer grilling patties cost twice as much.  Will she rethink her decision to protest the or will she swallow the costs?

My personal view on the subject: Buy your meat from a local farmer.  Make sure it is grass-fed and humanely treated.  Eat less meat in general.  Less meat consumption means lower demand for filler.  I feel bad for the works that are not stuck between a rock and a hard place.


Thing Are (Finally) Happening

Big things are happening over here at the Warner household!

After about a year of trying, I am finally leaving my job at the State.  I love the people I work with, and they are the reason I stayed and waited patiently as long as I did.  I probably have the best boss ever.  Nonetheless, it was time for me to leave.  I have become more focused on natural food and helping people to see how important their diet’s are to their overall well being.

I have already talked about starting school at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition TM, but I am also taking it one step further and joining a team of organic grocers in Maryland.  I am shifting my career to work for an awesome company called, MOMs Organic Market.  They are still focused on the environment, which was original passion, but they also are passionate about the organic food system and sustainable practices.  They don’t even sell plastic water bottles in their stores to cut down on the massive amounts of plastic entering our global system every day.

This was not an easy leap for me, and I have to credit my amazing husband for giving me the confidence and security to move forward with following my dream.  I would not be able to take this position without him because whenever anyone changes careers, they usually have to start at the bottom.  Being unhappy in your career effects your entire life both personal and social.  I am only 28 and this is the time for change.  The only place to go from the bottom is up!

I am so excited for these two new adventures in my life!


Back in the News

Soda is back in the news.  Shocker.  This time, thanks to California law, Coke and Pepsi are changing their caramel coloring formula to eliminate the pesky carcinogen 4-MI.  This carcinogen is on California’s new list of cancer causing chemicals and thus must be given a warning label to be legally sold in the state of California.  No company wants to be slapped with the Surgeon Generals warning like cigs and booze have so now things are changing.

With this formula change comes many questions, how many sodas will REALLY actually hurt me?  According to the FDA about 1,000 a day, but don’t forget who pays their salaries.  There are other studies about how soda can negatively effect your health other than cancer such as, heart attacks, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes.

I know that Coke and Pepsi are not changing because of the questionable health issues, it is more of a consumer pressure issues like we saw with trans fat, but at least we will be eliminating one chemical from this highly addictive substance.  My questions is, now that Coke and Pepsi products will be “safer” do you think people will drink more?  Do you think they are counting on it?

In my opinion, which I have expressed here before, drinking soda is like going out in the sun without sun block.  You may not get cancer from one day of exposure but over time your chances of developing health problems will increase so why put yourself at risk?

No one is perfect, we all drink a soda now and then, but maybe seriously cutting back from 2 liters a day would be a good idea for some.


Other Than Food Politics

Mainly for the family, here is a little summary about life so far in Silver Spring, MD outside of food politics.

  • I am running again after about a year break due to knee issues
  • I went to my first run club last night in Bethesda, and I met some great people
  • I wish we could afford to live in Bethesda
  • I joined a book club that is meeting at the end of the month
  • I still have more than half the book to read…
  • I love living so close to Rock Creek Park
  • I still have no gotten on the metro!
  • We have a year round farmer’s market and I cannot express how amazing it is to have farm fresh eggs all year round
  • I still really want chickens, but I realize this could be many years off
  • We will hopefully find out about our garden plot soon – I really hope we get one
  • I start The Institute for Integrative Nutrition™ on the 26th and I cannot wait!

Huevos Rancheros tonight!  I’ll post about them if they are good!


Is Meat the New Tobacco?

*I am going to start adding sort of words for thought about food related articles I have read and found interesting.  I hope you enjoy*

The article at hand comes from The Huffington Post focusing on meat and how it can be compared to the tobacco health crisis of the 90s.  Meat has recently been in the news for being a cause of the current health issues facing Americans today.  Heart disease, obesity, and cancer have all been linked to our elevated meat consumption in America.  Kathy Freston is suggesting/hoping that someday we will look at meat the same way we look at cigarettes, addictive killers.

My personal opinion on the topic stays the same as it has for general meat consumption, we eat way too much as a society and too much of anything is not good.  I treat meat as an occasional treat (about once a week).  Given the amount of time and energy put into making my pork chop or steak versus my lentils, I feel that it is balanced.  I also eat meat that lived a good life before slaughter and was treated humanely.  If you have been reading my blog you know all of this.

My problem with this article is that it reduces the farmer that is trying to raise his herd the right way to the level of the McDonald’s beef supplier.  Not all meat is created equal.  Yes, we eat too much of it, but why does it have to be all or nothing?  Vegan or Carnivore?

As a society we aren’t going to stop eating meat.  Instead of pushing a, “become a vegan or you will die” philosophy, I believe we should focus more on the local/sustainable/humane food system.  Is your mango, grown in South America, on a plantation that works children 12 hours really all that better than my beef burger?  I know humanity didn’t really come into the article, but I think it is all connected.  Eat meat that has been treated well = support fair wages for farmers = healthier, happier, animals = healthier, happier, humans.

What did you think of the article?  Does it make you re-think your meat consumption?  Would you go vegan?