Thank you Debra Zwiefelhofer for providing this excellent recap of our annual joint meeting!
The 2017 Annual Joint Meeting of FCS Professionals, TCHC and MAFCS was held November 9 at Becketwood in Minneapolis.
Julie Miller Jones, PhD, CFS, CNS, FAACC, FICC, Professor Emeritus, St. Catherine University, St. Paul, MN spoke on the topic “Don’t Eat Processed and Ultra Processed Foods. Good Bite Advice or Good Sound Bite?”
With the growing incidence of overweight and obesity both here in the U.S. and around the world, all kinds of food comes under the microscope as being “the problem” behind the epidemic. Processed foods certainly get their share of media attention as one of the evil players in our food supply. But, is processed food really that bad? Ms. Jones would argue that it is more about ‘what and how much’ we eat than it is about ‘how processed’ the food is.
What do people really mean when they say “don’t eat processed foods”? Technically, unless we are eating the ‘dirty carrot straight from the ground’ all food we eat is processed to some degree. The definition of processed foods covers a lot of territory from washed and peeled to cooked, frozen, canned, colored, heated, extruded, baked; and so on. Man has been processing food for millions of years and we have hieroglyphics on cave walls to prove it! So the first lesson is be careful about how you sling around the term “processed foods”.
Processing food is one of the factors that have actually helped to increased life span for people over the past centuries. Consider the benefits of pasteurization of milk; packaging that prevents contamination, the ability to monitor of residues and remove of natural and other toxins. Processing can also boost every day nutrition deficits by adding vitamins, minerals or fiber nutrients of concern. One success story of processed food is the addition of folate to every day foods that have helped to decrease the incidence of spina bifida by nearly 50% since the early 1900’s. Processing can also remove things that can be harmful to select portions of the population (e.g. gluten, lactose, etc.). We have nutritionally better foods and safer foods because of food processing.
So, what about preservatives? Additives retard spoilage. The preservatives used in foods are also found naturally in foods – sometimes at significantly greater quantity then what is allowed by the FDA to be added in manufacturing. Just because one can’t pronounce a word does not make it an evil ingredient. Organic is a choice but people should know that even organic foods can have an allowed one or more of 20 different pesticides. The USDA tracks pesticide residue on foods and the amount is extremely small. A safe food supply is critical to our health.
In a nutshell, don’t blame processed food; blame the food choices, lack of [quantity] self-control, and little daily activity. Yes, we have ample sugar and sodium in our foods – but who is making the choice to buy those foods? If consumers did not buy then manufacturers would not produce. Most people still eat like they are working on the farm doing serious daily manual labor. And, be practical about “scratch cooking”! We can’t ask the cooks of today to plan to spend 6 hours in the kitchen every day like the household cook of the early 1900’s did. We need the convenience of processed foods. Also, manufacturers waste less in their processing of foods then we do in our home kitchens. We need to figure to feed a growing global population – and keep them nutritionally healthy – processed foods should continue to have a role in accomplishing that.
Paul Douglas, Twin Cities meteorologist, author, entrepreneur, and software expert spoke on the topic of climate change.
Yes weather IS different today than what we remember; or what we hear our parents and grandparents talking about from fifty years ago. Global warming is real – there is an increase in carbon dioxide that is the root cause of the changes we are experiencing. The “old” average measure of CO2 in the air was about 280 ppm (parts per million). Today that number is at 408 ppm – almost double. It is current lifestyle choices and sheer volume of people that are changing the chemical composition of the atmosphere. This is resulting in more climate volatility that equates to weather disruptions. All these weather changes would have eventually happened over time; it is just that the volume of change has “cranked up from an 8 to a 10”. The data is there and trending numbers do not lie.
Here in MN the temperature has warmed three degrees since around the 1930’s. Our humidity is higher, hail is bigger, the days from January through March are warmer, and it is wetter…it is not your imagination! Sixteen of the 17 warmest years on record have occurred since 1998. Fourteen “mega” rains have been recorded here since statehood in 1858 – seven of those have happened since 2002.
Looking across the world and the U.S.; we see an increase in heavy rains and longer stretches between storms. The artic is warming faster than the rest of the area, 50% of the ice cap has already melted. Warmer air is what creates the weather patterns “stalling” over an area. As an example, the recent hurricane and flooding in Texas dropped over 65 inches of rain – that is an unheard of amount for this type of storm that would typically be in a range of 20+/- inches. This was a storm stalling instead of moving.
What needs to happen to “dial back” the weather volume? For certain, something needs to change. More energy for less money with fewer side effects is a good goal. The future is in solar and wind energy vs. fossil fuels. The sun is free energy! We already have solar panels but inventions are here and coming in things like solar shingles, solar windows, and more. Wind is free. We have an immense amount of energy already available using solar and wind. Also, using wind and solar allows us to collectively move to decentralized energy with no worry about some “grid going down”. One challenge is that the fossil fuel lobbying is strong.
What can we, as individuals, do? Be aware of the problem and make others aware. Vote in legislators that are in sync with climate change and the need to address it.