processed food

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Joan Ifland: "A lover of food addicts"

    Joan Ifland and I got together virtually last month for an informative conversation, and I posted the unedited video version in early August. This is the edited-text version; Joan got to see and approve the edits.
    Joan and I met at least 10 years ago at a conference she organized in Houston for food addiction professionals. One of Joan’s first claims to fame is being the lead author of the first academically published description of food addiction in humans. She later founded Victory Meals, which makes and distributes healthy, unprocessed food meals and other products and she operates a several-thousand-member private group on Facebook helping those who struggle with food addiction. 

Joan Ifland, food-addiction pioneer

Born when and where? "Beaver Falls, Pa., Oct. 25, 1951."
Where do you live now? "Cincinnati, Ohio."
Family circumstance "My oldest daughter is expecting a son in December, so we just have her in our prayers and thoughts, and I have a younger daughter. My older daughter, Claire, works for Kindle in London and my younger daughter, Camille, is a doctor working in Seattle and I am divorced."
An early influence on you outside your immediate family. "Kay Sheppard (her website | her 10 Words or Less interview). Kay Sheppard is my hero."
Saya little bit more about that, please. "Well, she saved my life. In 1996 I picked up her book. I eliminated sugars and flours from my food plan. I joined a support group and my life changed radically. And that's how I got into this field."
What did you want to be when you grow up? "A vet."
How long did that last? "Not very long. By the time I was actually in school I was taking economics, political science. I took my MBA and I wanted to be like my dad. He was a corporate scientist and I wanted to be like him."
How can someone be addicted to food? Don’t you need food to survive? "There are two kinds of food, just like there are two kinds of beverages, alcoholic, non-alcoholic, and then in the food realm, addictive, non-addictive."


Alex Beam, defending cultural orthodoxy

Alex Beam, columnist for the Boston Globe, is not only a friend and former colleague, but one of the only columnists I've followed over time because he's deft at carving out niches that others never conceive.

But in his nutrition niche, he's not nearly as counterintuitive as he strives to be. He is a clueless wanker, repeatedly and again, just like everyone else.


Extract the goodness, to put some of it back

Wonder Bread signWhen I was a kid, and maybe still today (I don’t care enough to look it up), Wonder Bread touted that it “buil[t] strong bodies 12 ways.” What was really going on is that its food technologists had started with grain products of nature, “refined” it beyond recognition, and then tossed in a bunch of nutritive additives to make up for what they had taken out. In effect they were saying, “look at all the goodness we’ve added, so you won’t notice all the goodness we took out.”

What resulted, of course, were slices of blindingly white near-paste that could be compressed into a ball that would have hurt if launched in a food fight. It seems so ‘60s, but check this out:

PepsiCo is seeking to patent a method of adding fiber- and polyphenol-rich co-products from fruit and veg juice extraction back to juices and other beverages in a bid to improve their sensory and nutritional profile, and minimize waste from the juice extraction process. ~ FoodNavigator-USA.com

Still crazy after all these years — breaking what’s good down into its parts, and then trying to figure out how to put more of it back in. How ‘bout, don’t break it down in the first place?


"Fed Up": Klobuchar and Harkin, distant neighbors

Amy Klobuchar, major disappointment

An interesting contrast that arises from “Fed Up,” the new documentary pitched as the “Inconvenient Truth” for food that had its Boston premiere on Wednesday at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota) and Tom Harkin (Iowa) are Senate Democrats from neighboring Farm Belt states. Harkin is accorded sainthood status after decades-long efforts against childhood obesity. Of industry mouthpieces who come before him in committee and swear that, for example, that sugary beverages have no ill effect on children who drink them: “Sometimes I just want to ask: Do you have any shame at all? … How could these people sleep at night, knowing they were lying through their teeth? … How do they live with themselves?”

He also observes, “The Federal Trade Commission has less authority to regulate ads for kids than adults. You’d think it would be the other way around.”

But Klobuchar, who is included in the film’s closing graphics as one of a long list of voices who refused to be interviewed for the film, comes in for — as it seemed to me — a level of opprobrium slightly higher than she deserved, expressly because she was such a disappointment. As in, we expect Big Food to be this way, but you were supposed to be with us, with your female, progressive-leaning self.


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