Friday, October 22, 2021

A food scientist walks into a grocery store. What does the food scientist know that you should know??

 A food scientist understands that all food is life. Food needs to reach you safely. The food's goal is to nourish you well so its life was meaningful. The life sacrificed is just as important as you are. Food doesn't want to be tossed away as if its life doesn't matter. 

The food scientist knows that the shorter the transportation time under the best possible conditions is what is best for the food and therefore for you. You want the food itself to have minimal transit time once harvested and enjoy a comfortable trip to you! In these times with food coming from all over the world, think about the food's journey to you. The better the journey, the more it remains intact with loving care. A quick and pleasant journey means you are honoring the food itself and its ability to nurture you. What goes around, comes around. 

The food scientist knows that for every request that you make for your personal convenience, there will be a tradeoff. Think of "no fat" products. If you take out the fat and want to keep the portion the same something needs to be added back. When a food scientist makes a decision about the product based on what you told them is important and you do not stay conscious and informed of tradeoffs, you may get what you asked for but not necessarily what is best for you. In the case of "no fat" products, products higher in added sugar were the consequence.  Be sure that the replacement is something you want to consume and it is worth the tradeoff. Food companies are in the business of giving you choices and you get to decide which choices to make. 

The food scientist knows that processing food isn't always a bad thing. Fermentation is a process that not only preserves food but creates a product for consumption that can provide added value for humans. It requires expertise and time as indigenous cultures have known for many years. Not only does fermentation aid digestion (by breaking down a nutrient such as gluten outside the human body first) to assist us in getting the nutrition that we as humans were not designed to digest without help from nature, but also provides probiotics that seed beneficial gut bacteria.  

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Don't panic. Three ways to address rising food costs and availability while saving time, money and your health.

Let's start with the bad news first.  Food prices will not be declining any time in the foreseeable future so planning well and trying new solutions is the best way forward.  

Now for the good news. Availability issues are temporary. In the meantime, there are so many options out there to keep your budget intact while exploring the wonderful variety of food available to you. With a little help have fun discovering some new favorites! 

1) Eat less meat. Guess what. We already are likely eating more meat than we need to. A serving of protein is the size of your fist - slightly larger for fish than other meat. A pound is 16 ounces and a serving is 3-4 ounces which means if you purchase a pound of the grass-fed organic protein at $12/pound, your cost is only $3-$4/serving. Adding other protein sources to your meal will also help. For example, bean-based sides reduce the amount of meat you need to serve. Or use meat in a meal as a condiment as opposed to the main feature of your dish. 

2) Stock up on canned foods and other shelf-stable items with clean labels. These are often the least expensive and great for items that you'd have to cook for a long time anyway. So you save time and money and you are not giving up nutrition. Faster, cheaper, and better in one solution. Cans are easy to store. Since canning is a means of preservation, preservatives are not needed and there are so many options. Just watch the label for sodium over 300 mg and buy foods with little or no added sugars. If you need to add salt or sugar in cooking, you are in control of how much is added. Chili anyone? 

3) Start freezing meals.  Buy in bulk and cook in bulk - then freeze. Freezing saves time and money and nutrition. Freezing preserves nutrient content and stops spoilage. It also reduces waste and you are always ready for dinner. Just heat and serve. 

A few favorite items? Share below in the comments. 

If you'd like to hear more on this topic, let me know in the comments or contact me at

Monday, July 26, 2021

We value what we grow

Everyone should try to grow food - fresh fruit or vegetables to stay top of mind about what it takes to raise our food. Growing food helps us learn or remind ourselves of how challenging it can be and the work it takes so we don't take food for granted. It helps us appreciate the value of all food we are so fortunate to have access to and the work and sacrifice of many who help to bring it to us. 

In our society, many of us are so unaware and detached from what it takes for food to get to our table. We see the grocery worker or the delivery person and focus on them because we see them. We are focused on convenience and price and likely do not realize the tradeoffs that are made to deliver those attributes to us. Often when we remain unaware, we blame others for not telling us as if they could make us care and listen. We blame others for not magically creating the impossible and for not getting through to us when we don't want to take the time to know the details. As if it's not important enough to us to know what we put in our own body because we say we don't have the time. Yet, we know the further away we are from knowing someone or something, the less basis we have for trust. We are blind to what is happening behind the scenes. 

Growing food is a laborious process. Yes, it's hard. It reminds us of life's fragility. It reminds us that what is happy and healthy grows expansively and brings joy. 

Even if it's not your hobby, try growing a plant or garden to experience the process as you might try other new things for a period of time during the summertime. Make a commitment to learning the process. You will have to spend your time, attention, with a supportive growth environment - soil, water, and nutrients. All life needs love and care to survive and thrive. 

Growing a plant or garden is analogous to how we grow as we go through life. We devote time, may not succeed but we will learn and that is the goal. We devote time to what we love and, also what is important to us. Those who at least try will value food more - its taste, texture - the wonder of growing life. Yes, food is life itself. 

Gardening is a favorite pastime for so many because it's nurturing. It has many benefits that you only experience by practicing it. It has a calming effect on our nervous system raising our oxytocin. Especially in this world of a pandemic, it helps us feel less isolated and provides a new daily sense of purpose. 

I hope you will savor the experience and have a reminder of the effort involved leading you to a greater appreciation and understanding of food in a new way - with new respect and admiration for life that we often only think about as serving us. Food is life as we are living. We need to remember to say our thanks for that life and all of those who make food available to us. We embody life every day by consuming food. Do what you can to embrace its journey and not take it for granted. 


About Me

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First trained as a food chemist and nutritionist, my career began enriching a Twinkie, comparing the nutrition of a Twinkie to an apple and studying the role of sugar in the diet. With an M.B.A. and years in food and pharma understanding consumers and manufacturers, I'm back to where I started - food should taste great and serve to keep us healthy. To do so, there needs to be consumer awareness. Consumers need to vote for what they want by buying what they really want. If they buy impulsively, that's what they will see more of. They need to practice balance and responsible choices. That's when change will come. Please engage me with your conversation so that I can help you make and stick to better food choices that you enjoy. You'll gain a deeper appreciation of food not only from farm to table but farm to health. My vision is to promote solutions for healthful food and food practices you can happily embody and embrace!