After waking up very early, and taking advantage of a delightfully healthy breakfast (fruit GALORE!) we attended the media press conference before the start of the actual symposium. Dr. Roger Clemens, Dr. David Katz, Elisa Zied (RD), Rob Roberts, Brian Wansink, Karen Collins, David Ingram, Joan Sabate, and Dr. Michael Roizen gave short summaries of their talks for the rest of the day, which was a great preview of what was to come, and the opportunity to ask questions. This part of the conference was streamed live, and the rest of the conference will be available on the Walnut Council website within the week.
Roger Clemens of the USDA gave us a sneak peak on the upcoming 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These are the first set of guidelines that will directly address obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, since over 2/3 of Americans are overweight or obese. As Dr. Oz said the previous day-want to do something for patriotic for your country? Lose some belly fat! This resonates strongly, especially since some argue most young adults are too fat to fight in the army! He strongly emphasized EVIDENCE Based nutrition. And the evidence backs FOOD Based Nutrition-stay away from processed junk, and too much!
Elisa Zied, RD was an excellent speaker, who talked about teenagers. I recommend you find her on twitter and check out her website. I liked her comments about emphasizing health, and maintaining a positive body image in teenagers. As adolescences mature, focus on personality and self-esteem, not on weight or body talk.
The award for most eloquent, literary speaker goes to Dr. David Katz who provided another entertaining lecture on nutrition during childhood. Then Rob Roberts, a dynamic speaker talked about his program Health Corps: a program that uses college graduates in the health sciences to mentor high school students about healthy nutrition and the importance of physical activity. Think Peacecorp for the health field!
Then Karen Collins-RD spoke about my peeps-the young adults aged 18-30 years old. Some broad generalizations about my generation were made-ie we don’t know anything about nutrition, we have no money, we have no time, we don’t cook, we eat junk. While this is true for some people, it most definitely isn’t true for all of us! I do agree though that we are an often overlooked population, since for the most part we are well, and don’t seek healthcare. We aren’t rich, but we’re not poor enough for federal assistance. Most of my peers do not want to spend money on their health, by investing in gym memberships, and paying for healthy cooking classes. I’m not completely sure what the solution is, but neither was Collins.
Next up was lunch. A delightful walnut and vegetable filled healthy meal!
My only complaint was that a delicious, healthy vegan meal should have been served to ALL participants, not just those who requested/pestered for one. After a day of praising a plant-based diet-Let's walk the talk people!!
Dr. Brian Wansink is my favorite person, and I got the chance to interview him. I’ve decided to combine his two lectures, and the interview into a fun post for tomorrow, so stay tuned!
One of my favorite parts of the day was when Petra did a 15 minute stretch break and >500 health care professionals, in business casual attire got up and stretched. Yes you can get the blood flowing in high heels!
Next Joan Sabate talked about the scientific evidence that backs vegetarian diets. I agreed 100% (see my post on the topic here). I also liked that he mentioned that not all vegetarian diets are PLANT based. Yes, ice cream, oreos, and pizza are all vegetarian, but a PLANT based diet emphasizes whole, minimally refined PLANTS! Obviously the healthier choice. David Ingram talked about how great walnuts and blueberries were, those little neuroprotection fighters, and also new research on calorie restriction and aging.
Dr. Roizen wrapped up the afternoon by talking more about YOU and your genes.
- We need to re-engineer our food environments if we want change. If there is a snickers on your table-you will eat them. Echoing what Wansink talked about earlier, he emphasized putting fruits and vegetables front and center. Cut out those food choices and make eating healthy muscle memory.
- 5 Foods to avoid: Saturated fat, trans fat, added sugar, syrups, and simple carbs. Add fiber, whole grains, leafy greens, berries, and beans. Learn how to cook healthy food!
- Get a buddy, to help you commit to changing your health for the better. Females make better health buddies apparently!
- To maintain mental resilience as you grow older, stay curious! Keep learning, learn a new recipe, play bridge, assemble a piece of ikea furniture, and day dream!
- Add to your shopping list: Buy a nice knife for cutting vegetables, pedomenter, and heart rate monitor.
- If you eat better you will feel better! Better skin is also a benefit (personal note-since becoming vegan, my skin has gotten exponentially better! I used to break out a lot more, and my face was often red, no more!!)
Food For Your Whole Life and the Walnut Board for putting on a great conference, with a focus on good nutrition, and whole, plant based foods!
Do you have any health tips you'd care to share?