Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wednesday Musings

Just finished a orgo exam and my Exercise Instructor Final and giving myself a little down-time. I was supposed to go shopping with my roommate, but I don't think she's awake yet... (we have completely opposite sleep cycles-I'm up by 6, she goes to bed at 5am). So I'm listening to the Congressional Hearings for the 2010 Dietary Guidelines! They're going on today and tomorrow, and are very interesting!! In the US, our dietary guidelines are re-evaluated every 5 years, based on new studies. Nutrition is a constantly evolving and fluctuating field which is very exciting, but can be frustrating for some people- what do you really want me to eat?? I find it all fascinating!
The weather was so beautiful this weekend-in the 80s! I love spring semester because I can study for finals in the sun!! Getting my vitamin D, turning my pale skin a little darker, and boosting those serotonin levels! [Don't worry dad-I'm wearing my sunscreen!]

I think the city of Boston all has SAD, everyone is just so much happier now!!! All green spaces on campus are crowded, especially the "Beach." Love studying here!!

I am
8 days away from being half way done with my undergraduate degree and I found this quote today, which I love:
“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” -Douglas Adams

This really spoke to me- I cried my senior year in highschool when I decided to go to BU. I didn't get into Columbia, my dream, and I chose to come here because they gave me a merit scholarship instead of going to Tufts and taking out loans. I am SO glad I chose here. I would probably be floundering, still a bio major, not really enjoying my major or future job prospects as a researcher if I had gone anywhere else. I've ended up in a major I love, very excited about my future career possibilities, in a city I adore! I love how urban BU's campus is, and am barely on campus; there's just so much the city has to offer, but at a much more relaxed pace than NYC. I've met some amazing people, and friends I hope I'll have forever. I found activities and volunteer activities on campus which I enjoy and we have the most amazing gym!! So, in short, I'm happy, and I think I wound up where I needed to be! :)

So, the next 8 days are going to be very busy and stressful, studying for my four cumulative finals; a lot of information!! Exercise is my go-to stress reducer-and I've become quite talented at studying while eliptical-ing! Exciting, I know!

But I'm excited because I'm on a mission CCV assigned
to eat a new food every week! This will be fun!! You should definitely join us! Shake up any food ruts you're stuck in!

Well, it looks like roomie isn't waking up anytime soon, so I guess I'll do my grocery shopping, laundry and hit up Goodwill!! :)
Happy Hump Day!!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Let's Get Some Shoes! Let's Party!

I have had the most fabulous week!! The Boston Marathon was soo inspiring! If Nike Women's goes well I definitely want to run it next year-for charity! Earth day was great. SFBU had an local vs, organic vs conventional apple tasting which went really well! I learned a little about personal finances at the MSDA Career Development week; I really want to be come financially savvy! annnddd I won prettygreengirl's natural dentist giveaway! Toms of Maine is the only toothpaste we ever had at my house growing up, but I have never liked the way they tasted (my mom loves the fennel one, ehhhh). I'm pretty excited to try this new brand!

I kill shoes. My current running pair are pretty beat up, and really needed a sub so I bought new shoes yesterday. I went to Marathon Sports-the greatest running store in the Boston area. The sales-people are so nice and attentive! They check your gait and really know their running shoes! I tried 10 pairs of shoes on my neautral feet, and found I liked the Adidas Supernovas Glide the best. But, they were yellow. I was torn-most comfortable, but slightly ugly shoes vs adorable pink Mizuno Wave Riders-what's a girl to do??? I asked my little helper if they had any past models of the Glide and he returned saying "Do you believe in Destiny?" (that is a direct quote) They had one last pair of last years and it was in my size! Hooray! While they aren't shoes to razzle dazzle, they are super comfertable and have a bit of mauve of the soles I can flash!

My aunt visited from NYC and we went to Grezzo. She's a follower of Atkin's "Low-Carb Lifestyle" but I'm working on turning her on to Raw Foods! She looooooooovvvvveeeeeeeeeddddd Grezzo and we had an amazing meal. We ate so much!

Grezzo Sliders- Almost like a falafel patty with potato "chips" DELICOUS!! and my favorite papaya "steak"!

To finish it off we had the lucoma-cashew cheese cake with clove gelato-which was to die for! I just got an ice cream maker and vegan clove ice cream is the first thing I'm making!

Afterwards we headed to the ICA, which is free on Thursday nights, to see the Shepard Fairey Exhibit again!

It supposed to hit a high of 80 degrees today so I'm heading outside to study for Orgo and the AFAA exam! I'll hit up Healthworks for Pilates and go for a longer run in my new shoes!!

Food Study of the Week- Organic Fruits are Higher in Anitoxidents than Conventional Fruits!

Have a Wonderful Weekend!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!!

Marathon Monday was wonderful (classes are canceled) and soooo inspiring! We'll see how Nike Women's goes, but I would love to run Boston some day! I couldn't help notice the catwalk of running fashion that flew by me! Can't wait to pick out my race-day outfit!!

In honor of our Mother Earth, I'm doing a mini post about some "green" suggestions in areas of my life that I try to do, and am working on. You have probably heard them before, but it never hurts to reiterate!

Eat: I already did a big post on another "green" holiday about why organic, local vegan food is the most sustainable choice. Diet contributes 15-30% of our carbon footprint. Eating meat is not the most sustainable diet-besides producing fewer net calories, meat production also produces quite a bit of greenhouse gases. In fact Livestock's Long Shadow: An amazing document by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization that describes the effect of Livestock on Climate Change. This graph is my favorite:
Try eating vegan for a day or two, if you're not already!! We don't just eat Tofu and Rice!! (Check out my blog roll for some of my fav vegan/recipe sites!!)
Check out this calculator to see the carbon footprint of your diet!

Drink: Use a reusable water bottle! Fill up via drinking fountains! Cheap, and nothing to throw out! Drink your coffee/tea in a reusable mug!

Run Green
-Recycle old running/athletic shoes: Most Niketown Stores have a place where can drop off old shoes
-Buy a shoe made out of recycled materials!! Brooks recently designed a new, lightweight shoebox made from 100-percent recycled paperboard! They also have the BioMoGo midshole that biodegrades at a much faster rate than a traditional midsole!
-Run (or walk) to Work or literally "run errands" instead of driving!!
Don't Forget! Reduce, Reuse Recyle!!! Don't buy super-packaged stuff! Use reuseable bags! Recycle as much as possible! Buy in Bulk! Bring big bags everywhere! Look at what you throw away (something i realllllllllllyyyyy need to work on!) Check out this inspiring mission to throw (darn close to) nothing way for a year!

Buy: I do love to shop-so I try to frequent thrift and consignment stores for cheap, recycled treasures! Also, I try to buy from environmentally responsible companies! (check out Greenloop for starts!)

Do It In the Dark!! Don't forget to turn off those lights when you leave! Also, unplug any electronics, since they are technically always using energy, awaiting the push of the on-button (something I REALLY need to work on remembering!!)

GET OUTSIDE- GO ENJOY MOTHER EARTH IN HER FULL SPLENDOR!! go hike, go run, go walk, go stop and smell the flowers, breathe! (please stay sunny boston, please!!)

Stuck Inside?? Blog Green! Two of my favorite blogs dedicated to the "green" lifestyle, which I read regularly: prettygreengirl (and enter to win her green toothpaste giveaway!) and greenfork
Don't forget to print on recycled paper, and use both sides of the paper

Let's work to incorporate a little bit of earth day every day!
Word to your MOTHER!!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Genki Ya

My current obsession: Genki Ya-All Natural Organic Japanese Cuisine in the Heart of Brookline! (398 Harvard Ave, right before Coolidge Corner, if you're familiar with the area) My roommate introduced me to this little gem, and I'm hooked! Tiny little restaurant dedicated to serving all-natural, organic sushi and other Japanese dishes! The space is adorable- not many tables, brightly lit and bamboo everywhere! And they have the sweetest, most attentive waitstaff on the planet.
But most importantly the food is amazing! They have a very extensive menu, and all the sushi can be made with brown or multigrain rice. Grade A Fish if you're omni and a delightful array of all veg rolls! I had the fruit roll with multigrain rice. The Fruit roll comes with banana, mango and avocado and was delightful! A wonderful mixture of sweet and savory with interesting varying textures. Jury is still out on what exactly the multigrain rice is-but it was delicious! I think it was a black forbidden rice with black soybeans, but can't be sure-it was almost a deep red color (I'm asking next time they were just soo busy last night!) I also ordered a generous side of kim-chi, which I was craving for some reason! (no idea why this will not upload correctly!!)
They also have an impressive organic wine and sake list. AND icing on the cake is that its REALLY reasonable-dare I even say cheap??? My roll was 5 dollars, the huge serving of kim-chee was 4. My roommate got miso soup, 10+ huge nigiri and 2 maki rolls for 20 dollars! Personally I think it was a steal!

So thank you Genki Ya for a delightful Friday Dinner, after a long day of Presenting/listening to my classmates do our Lab Final for Food Science! Today's Agenda- Work on Lab Write-up, Orgo, Go to the Boston Skillshare, Sports & Fitness Expo, and get some new kicks at Niketown!

And Speaking of Organic- Did you hear that the EPA is JUST NOW requiring that pesticide manufacturers test that their products are SAFE???? SCARY!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Life is Good

Today has just been a lovely day, and I feel like sharing!! I woke up bright and early (6am) to prep for the Step class I was co-teaching as part of my Group Ex. Instructor Training. It went really well and was a blast! I can't wait to teach classes! Then I picked up my Nike+ Sports Kit from the Post Office-which I CAN NOT WAIT TO TRY TOMORROW- and went to chem. Had an awesome Spin Class at noon, and then came home, freshened up and interviewed at Grezzo for a waitressing position. Alissa Cohen herself interviewed me-she's AMAZING. I love love love Grezzo and would love to work there!! I also had an interview at Clear Flour yesterday-I need a job for the Summer! I would love to work at both places, its hard though, with the economy-everyone's looking for a job. Oh well, something will work out! The weather was gorgeous out, and I am in love with my Nano- I just hope I don't break it!! Its so teeny-tiny! I've had my shuffle for 2+ years and it has a special little place in my heart, but this new toy is so fun! Can't wait to start running with it! And now I can get NPR podcasts!! Just wanted to share my positive energy with the world! And the day is not even over yet! I still have dinner with friends and a film about global agribusiness to look forward to!!

Here's some fun food/exercise/vegan links I found today:
The Obestity Maps- My Lifecycle Nutrition Professor showed us these last night- and they are scary!!!!!!!! EEK-did you know that only 1/3 of Americans are a healthy weight???
Great Article in the NY Times about Stevia-my go-to sweetener.
Story of My life Seriously, this video encapsulates so many of my thoughts!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Chocolate for Math Skillz

I'm off to study for a Statistics exam and thought I'd pass on this interesting bit of new research: Chocolate can improve math performance a new study released in the UK revels. Researchers at the UK's Northumbria university found the high level of cocoa flavanols in chocolate improved cognitive performance.. There has been a lot of research recently on the potential positive impact of flavanols on health, and their antioxident properties, on everything from heart disease to depression. Crystal Haskell at the Brain, Performance and Nutrition Research Centre at Northumbria university said “Foods containing high levels of cocoa flavanols, found in chocolate, have been shown to increase cerebral blood flow, and it has also been proven that consumption of plants that have these properties improves performance on mentally demanding tasks." The participants were also less mentally tired after completing their tasks.
So go pick yourself up a Fair Trade, Organic Dark Chocolate Bar! (Preferably sweetened with an unrefined sweetener!! and from a local chocolatier- check out TAZA if you're in Boston)
Or even better-get a Jocolat Larabar- a healthy alternative with just fruit, nuts and cocoa powder! I highly recommend the mint chocolate!
Hope its as sunny where you are as it is here! I'm headed outside to eat my Jocolat bar and memorize some equations!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Chia Easter Pudding!

Happy Easter! This comic in the sunday paper cracked me up:
Yesterday it rained all day. I went on a 10-mile run, and came home looking like I'd jumped in the Charles. The little Daffodils on the Esplanade just got hammered by the rain :(
But then BU won the NCAA Championship and Easter Morn arrived bright and sunny! I got an Easter Package from home last week, and instead of chocolate and jelly beans (aka lots and lots of sugar which I forbid my mother from sending) I got raw granola!!! So much better! She sent Two Mom in the Raw Gojiberry Granola, which i and Kookie Karma's Walnut- Raisin Grawnola. While the Gojiberry is almost more of a cracker-sheet, this Grawnola is sprouted buckwheat groats with walnuts and raisins. Tasty Tasty!! I need to buy my own dehydrator!! It's up there on my shopping list-right next to an ice cream maker for when Wheeler's new book comes out!! How my mother can find these little treats in the middle of Wyoming, while my Whole Foods shelves are empty of raw treats, is beyond me!! Step it up Boston!

Today our bread turned out beautifully-quite proud of it! While waiting for it to rise, we made Chia Pudding from Diet, Dessert and Dogs and it was delicious. Here's a copy of the recipe:

2 Tbsp Chia seeds
1/2 cup milk of choice: [I made one with unsweetened soy and one with unsweetened vanilla almond milk. I prefer the almond!]
Stevia to taste

Place chia in a small bowl and add the liquid. Stir well to try to submerge most of the seeds. Allow to sit 20-30 minutes, stirring once after about 5 minutes to prevent clumping. Stir again before serving. Makes one serving.

Yes, Chia seeds are how you grow a Chia Pet, but they are also highly nutritous, containing a lot of soluble fiber, which creates a gel with submerged in water. It is very high in omega-3 fatty acids and Calcium. In one of the puddings, we tried grinding the seeds and that made a much thicker paste (in the pink bowl). The unground seed pudding had a better taste-almost like a tapioca pudding! Loved it! I bought a bunch of chia seeds for fun a couple of weeks ago and had been looking for a way to use them! They are expensive little guys though! Thanks for the recipe Ricki!

Hope you had a gorgeous Easter Sunday!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Clear Flour Bakery

I'm quite ashamed to say that I went to Clear Flour Bakery for the first time yesterday. It is literally right next to my apartment (ok that's an exaggeration, but it's super close). Clear Flour is an adorable little bakery with an amazing selection of fresh breads. They specialize in making the authentic breads of Italy and France, fresh daily, with unbleached, unbromated flours. The rye, whole wheat, buckwheat and 7-grain blends are stone-ground organic. The retail area of the bakery is teeny tiny,but they have a huge following, with lines out the door! I had a baby buckwheat walnut roll which was amazing. I just love buckwheat, in all its forms! So if you're ever in Brookline, MA, I definitely recommend picking up an artisan loaf!
Speaking of bread, tomorrow Annabelle and I are testing out a recipe for Whole Wheat French Country Bread-we have to do a Demo, FoodNetwork style, for our Food Science Class. Gluten Formation, Yeast Fermentation, Kneading, all these wonders need to be explained in a 20 min presentation next Friday! Testing out the recipe tomorrow shall be interesting-we might just have to call on Alton Brown for a little guidance!
I'm having a pretty relaxing weekend, a little stay-cation! I just got CPR certified so I can teach fitness classes, now I'm prepping for a statistics exam, getting some longer runs in, just catching up on life. I bought a new book, The Yoga of Eating, and just started it, it looks really good! Thursday and Friday were beautiful, and now its cold and rainy again. Definitely making warm soup tonight!
Happy Holidays to everyone!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Oh the wonders of Coconut

A beautiful day in Bah-ston. I don't know if I mentioned this before, but I can not wait for spring/summer to fully arrive! (mind you, in 4 months I'll probably be moaning about running in humid heat!) The sun is out, and everyone's so happy on campus!

Just for fun I tried Turtle Mountain's coconut yogurt the other day! I've heard amazing things about their coconut ice cream, but haven't splurged on the pint yet. I tried the plain yogurt and it was much better tasting than soy yogurt, which I actually enjoy. This has a much lighter taste.
The nutrition stats are decent130 cal 30% DV Calcium and 35%DV for B12 which is great! And it contains probiotic cultures-the good bacteria which help out with digstion! Unfortunatly, it only has 1 g of protein, but that is to be expected-coconuts are like other "nuts" in that way. I've seen it in Strawberry Banana, Blueberry and Vanilla, and apparently there is an elusive tropical mango flavor... I don't eat a lot of yogurt anymore, and this is a bit expensive ($2) but for a little treat-it was delicious! And I just love the Marco Polo quote!

I signed up for Brandon Brazier's Thrive in 30 challenge-I'm pretty excited to read the emails and recommendations from a vegan athlete. Lesson 1 about stress and diet was great! So often people reach for white carbs and sugar when stressed, which makes you feel good at first, but then just makes the problem worse! What you eat and how you feel is so intertwined, and proper nutrition, eating whole foods and less processed refined foods, will really make you feel so much better, and reduce your stress, physical or mental! I definitely recommend checking out the challenge!

Hope its sunny where you are!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Bars Bars Bars

I love Power/on-the-go/Food Bars. I'm experimenting making my own (much cheaper, no disposable wrapprs and I can control what goes into them) but I haven't perfected my technique yet. (You'll be the first to know when I do!!) While they can get a little pricey- (I am currently refusing to spend more than 1.50 per bar. Which means Pro Bars are out of my range). My staples are LaraBars and I have yet to find anything that beats them. I do like Cliff Bars and Odwalla Bars, as portable lunches (usually with fruit). They are sweetened, but only with unrefined sugars. But I've been trying to branch out as of late and here are the results of my experimentation.

1. Pure Bars. Several vegan bloggers have been raving about these. They said they are better than LaraBars so I had to check them out! But they are much harder to find! While you can pick up Larabars in most convenience stores, my haunts-Whole Foods, and Harvest Co-op didn't stock them. I found them at Trader Joes for 1.50 each, and they only had two flavors- Cherry Cashew and Chocolate Brownie.
Since Lara Bars are my golden standard, here's a side by side comparison:
Lara Bars vs Pure Bar
$1.30 vs $1.50
180-210 calories vs ~200 calories
4 g protein vs 6g protein
3-6 ingredients (nuts +Fruit) vs. Nuts+Fruit+Agave Nectar+BrownRice Protein
No GMOs vs. Certified Organic
1 serving fruit vs. 1.5 servings of fruit
Gluten, dairy, and Soy Free
1.7 oz
No refined sugars
The chocolate brownie wasn't as excited as I had hoped-raw chocolate in these bars doesn't do anything for me. The cherry cashew was better than the ThinkOrganic bar, but I still like the tartness of Larabar's CherryPie the best. Whole Foods at Symphony had a wider selection, and to round out my tasting I tried the choc trail mix. You couldn't even taste the raw cocoa nibs in with all the agave and rice protein.
PET PEEVE- The bars have a little asterisk on the nutrition facts panel that says *Natural Fruit Sugars which is a LIE. The second ingredient is Agave Nectar, which while unrefined, is not a fruit sugar. I hate it when companies mislead consumers like that.

2. Heart Thrives Picked up a package of these adorable heart-shaped treats in Portland. They taste like a ginger spice cookie!! Too bad I'll never find them on the East Coast! The Date Heart Bar is made of: OATS, DATES, BROWN RICE SYRUP, BROWN RICE FLOUR, SOY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, SOY FLOUR, INULIN (CHICORY ROOT EXTRACT), RICE BRAN, NATURAL FRUIT JUICE, DRIED PLUMS, CALCIUM CITRATE, GINGER, CINNAMON.
The cinnamon and ginger make this delicious-I'm going to have to try that combination in my own bars.

3. Cherry Yotta bar. I had never seen this bar before and it claimed to have one serving of fruit and veg. no refined sugar or GMOs so I tried it out. Each has 120 calories and is really targeted to children, ie their busy parents. The ingredients are baby oats brown rice syrup honey pear juice dehydrated veeg (tomato, asparagus sweet potato carrot red bell pepper beets corn. dried apples, evap can juice natural flavors canola oil. The taste wasn't bad-the texture a littl odd but bareable. I was a little disapointed though, because they contained only 1 g of fiber which suprised me, with all the veg and fruit they are supposed to contain. It just goes to show that the best way to get your fiber and all the vitamins fruits and vegetables contain is to eat them whole, the natural way. I also didn't like that the cherry flavor had NO ACTUAL cherries-they just added some "cherry natural flavor" which could be anything. This may be a good way to "sneak" vegetables into a diet, but its definitely not for me!

4. ThinkFruit Cashew Acai Protect
Whole Foods keeps giving out coupons for these bars, so I keep trying them!
I've moved on past the ThinkOrganic Bars and am branching out into thinkFruit. The Cashew Acai Protect boasts the "Superfood" Acai berries, no added sugars, and flaxseed for omega 3 fatty acids. The only other ingredients are cashews, dates, chicory root fiber, and pectin. I liked the taste- the acai almost added a blueberry like tinge.

Oh how I love trying new things!! Lots of projects and tests coming up, so my posting may be sporadic, can't wait for "summer" to come! Happy Hump Day!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Taste of the Nation 2009

Last night, I had the wonderful opportunity of volunteering and eating at Taste of the Nation in Boston! For volunteering to set up yesterday and being part of the waitstaff for 2 hrs I got reduced admission (really more of a donation) to the entire event!! For those of you who have never heard of it (I was unaware until about 3 months ago) Taste of the Nation is an amazing fundraiser for Share our Strength that happens in major cities across the US. Share our Strength is dedicated to eradicating childhood hunger and food insecurity. 1 out of in every 6 children are food insecure in the US, and thanks to the help of volunteer and donations from restaurants, 100% of ticket sales to the event go straight to Share our Strength and its programs. Restaurants and Businesses are extremely generous and put on a wonderful, gluttonous evening! (Almost) thankfully there were not a lot of vegan foods, because I ate A TON as it was. Lots and Lots of bread and pickles/relishes. Iggys breads was my go-to. Their bread is amazing and made right in Cambridge. I also tasted the most decadent Truffle Honey, which was a wonderful blend of savory and sweet. For my omnivore friends, the evening was spectacular. I was quite impressed with the innovative gourmet meals that were served. Wine, cocktails, desserts, appetizers, cheeses, coffee and everything from Indian to Italian to BBQ! I can't wait for next year!
Thursday Marathon Updates
Lululemon, I love you!!
And my new running shorts!You have no idea how happy I am that there is now a retail location in Boston!

Also got a marathon training book via Swaptree! And started to plan a training schedule with lovely Priyanka! This is going to be a great summer!
I think we're going to use Hal Higdon's 18 week plan, which means we start "officially" training June 15th for the Nike Women's Marathon October 18th!

And next week I am moving on to bigger and better things. I love my baby iPOD shuffle, but I think its time to graduate to a pretty pink Nano! and Nike+IPOD


Thursday, April 2, 2009

12987789x better than Starbucks!

Coffee-the opium of the masses. Starbucks on every corner and caffeine oozing from our streets. But where can one find the most environmentally sustainable coffee? Well, getting "local" beans is out of the question (Boston is unfortunately not a tropical paradise). But how about coffee that is locally roasted? Coffee that is fair-trade so that the workers get a living wage? Coffee that is 100% organic? Natural Bean Organic Coffee, which recently opened at 250 Newbury St. in Boston is hoping to provide that for those of us who drink with a conscience. Everything in the cafe is 100% organic and locally sourced whenever possible. They distill their own water on site and all their cups are fully compostable. They have a wide selection of pastries and sandwiches and lots of vegan options! but wait, there's more: For their Grand Opening they are giving out Free Coffee or Tea!! If you are in the Boston area definitely stop by!! Trade out your Starbucks for a local business that guarantees a more fair and environmentally sustainable brew!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Future Of Food

Happy Wednesday/Hump Day/April Fools Day!

This past Saturday, Annabelle and I attended the Future of Food and Nutrition Conference at the Tufts' Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. It was basically a symposium for graduate students around the country to share current research and as well as panels and guest speakers about where the fields of nutrition and food are headed. It was a great conference, and much better than studying. These up and coming news stories are much more interesting to me than memorizing the protein requirements of premature infants (while I'm sure that will be applicable someday- I sure hope so!).

There were several presentations of note. Lorien Urban from Tufts spoke about under-reporting of calories in national chain resturants. The mean difference in actual and reported calories in 41 restaurant items and frozen meals was an 18%! Frightening, especially for those trying to lose weight. Moral of the story-if the calorie count seems too good to be true-it probably is. Solution-stay away from fast food and coporate chain restaurants, not just for that, but also for the lower quality and overal nutritional quality of their food.

Of course, the evils of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) were represented. Alicia Harvie, also from Tufts showed that because of subsidies to allocated in the 1996 Farm Bill, corn wet millers saved 97 million dollars, subsequently increasing the amount of HFCS in our food. Today HFCS represents 40% of all caloric sweeteners, the majority of which is in sodas. Fortunately Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are shifting from HFCS to sugar-its amazing that in the US companies can make a "health claim" by adding white sugar to their product! Many believe that increased consumption of HFCS is closely related to our increasing obesity epidemic because high levels of fructose don't signal the production of leptin, leading you to believe that you are not yet satiated, and causing continued eating and eventual weight gain. Also there's the potential of Mercury contamination. Best to be Avoided. For more information I highly recommend these sites: The Science Behind Fructose in the Body : HFCS Free : Alicia's Publication HFCS increase Heart Disease in Women
There were many posters and students talking about the individual projects they are working on. It was really motivating. I love being in a field that is constantly changing, evolving, shifting. This also opened me up to the possibility of research in my future-we'll see!

The conference wrapped up with a dynamic panel of Robert Paarlberg, of the USDA, Susan Roberts, a RD, and speaker on food systems, and Mark Winne, executive director of Hartford Food System and author of "Closing the Food Gap" (which I highly recommend if you are interested in hunger in our land of plenty). Things got a little tense as Paarlberg and Roberts debated their opposing views on the most "sustainable" type of agriculture-the ol' GMO vs Organics debate. It was a very stimulating conversation and forum.

My hero Michael Pollan spoke at Tufts a week ago, and unfortunately tickets to non-students went like hot-cakes before I could snag one. They did have an overflow room I could have snuck into, but I figured I'd better not skip class when I could just see it all online. Sure enough, the entire lecture and Q&A is up here. I totally agree with what he says, and if you haven't already read them-put Omnivore's Delimma and In Defense of Food on the top of your reading list!!