Saturday, June 25, 2011

Blog #41 On Book Tour with the Nutrition Detective

I am in the middle of a fifteen-city book tour for, “What’s Eating Your Child?” While every city has a different flavor, the problems parents are facing are the same everywhere. In Denver, one news anchor at a local television station talked to me off camera all of sixty seconds. Yet in that small amount of time he volunteered that one of his children suffered terribly from constipation. Glancing at the monitor I knew he would be gone in seconds so I quickly guessed, “I bet she is a heavy consumer of dairy products”.

He stopped short and then replied, “now that you mention it, she loves cheese and yogurt.”

“Unless you want to keep giving her Miralax, you might want to reduce or eliminate the dairy products for awhile,” I speculated further. He looked at me like I was some sort of mind reader but I was simply making assumptions based on the most common scenario. The fact that this information is so surprising is unfortunate.

Everywhere I go parents need help and are living with difficult situations that perhaps nutrition could ameliorate. More than one mother has burst into tears relating her story. Hopefully, the book will help some.

To follow along the book tour check out these links to two of the television appearances:


Fox Health Talk:

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Blog #40 The Finding Real Food Road Show

I have officially left on the book tour for, “What’s Eating Your Child?” and have already learned a lot of new things about myself. The first shocking revelation is that I like being on TV. The whole TV interview idea had me so shaken that I started wondering if I was developing an anxiety disorder but it turns out there is nothing to worry about. It is just like speaking except with a bigger audience. You can still be an introvert and there are an army of stylists to make your hair look perfect.

What I did not like learning is that I have food snob tendencies. When there is not high quality food around I do not like it one bit and most people in this country have limited access to what I consider decent food. No big news here but one does not appreciate the importance of access to healthy food until it is not easy to get. I am ridiculously lucky that if I am willing to drive up to 25 minutes I have my pick of 6 different places carrying a variety of organic, high quality food. While I usually frequent the place five minutes away, I think nothing about driving 25 minutes to get organic grapes or 15 minutes in the other direction to get the best wild salmon because I can.

Contrast that to the suburb I was stuck in recently when my plane got cancelled. All the hotels close to the airport were already booked, so a $70 cab ride later I alighted in any-town, USA off a busy highway. The hotel offered a continental breakfast consisting of cereal, milk, orange juice and grey bananas. I asked the receptionist if there was any place to get a full breakfast. (I did not want to say, “Is there any place to get real food?” and offend their hospitality.)

The only choice was a diner a mile away. I grabbed a grey banana and started walking. On the way I passed 4 gas stations, a health club, a strip bar, two office buildings, two car repair businesses, and a non-descript strip mall (not related to the strip bar). The food choices were McDonald’s, Subway and Dunkin’ Donuts. Finally, the diner appeared and it was closed.

Now I was starving. There was a BeKind and Odwalla Superfood bar in my suitcase but I had eaten one of each for dinner. Better another bar than McDonald’s I decided and then remembered that Dunkin’ Donuts advertised egg sandwiches. What they actually have is preformed egg patties that they put in a roll just like the other fast food establishments. The place was busy and this is what most people think of as eggs. Not the blue organic ones I eat at home with a chard smoothie chaser.

I could eat the veggie egg white omelet, I thought but then realized that “veggie” was likely a cute euphemism for “vegetable like” as “shake” in fast food lingo really means fake milk-like syrup drink. Next to the menu board was a prominent sign warning consumers to notify the chef if they had a food allergy. Chef was still another euphemism for bored teenager throwing patties (or pucks as my friend Kathy calls them) into a microwave.

Bravely, I placed my order. The girl behind the counter looked at me blankly. “Omelet? What egg white omelet?” After several rounds of negotiation she asked me to just give her a number from the menu. When my number whatever arrived, I scraped off the suspicious cheesy coating, threw away the bread and ate the egg puck with vegetable-like specks. Protein is protein after all.

On the one hand, I could say I am out of touch with most people’s food reality but at the same time, how did most people come to accept this as food? Just last blog I was commenting about the dead feel of the beautiful food at McMillan and Jones but sitting at the Dunkin’ Donuts I would have traded my watch for some of that dead stuff.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Blog #39 What Einstein Knew About Nutrition

I have been preparing to leave for book tour and so have been somewhat behind in the blogging department. My next few blogs will be about the wonderful world of book touring. This last pre-tour blog is about quantum physics. Since I do not know that much about quantum physics, it will not be overly lengthy. I have always been a fan, however and listen with rapt attention when experts explain why the process of observation changes the outcome of experiments or how atoms are not made up of particles but little bundles of energy.

Once I heard a doctor explain the theory of how physicists could project substance through space like Captain Kirk being beamed up to the starship Enterprise on an old Star Trek episode. He was explaining the military potential for using this technology and I was horrified/fascinated through the entire hour. Unfortunately, I did not understand a single word of the “how” this could be possible. I got that the little bundles of energy formerly known as protons and electrons do not travel in orbits but jump around. Somehow if you blast them with the right kind of energy you can displace them and they show up somewhere else. The details are fuzzy but the important take away is that everything (mind, body and spirit) has an energy configuration. We are just starting to understand what that means and what we can do with it.

Don’t feel bad if this seems mind boggling as apparently even Einstein theorized the quantum physics model but could not prove it mathematically. Despite not understanding the exact details of how Einsteinium physics operates, I ran into a nutrition application recently.

My husband and I offered to take some friends who live in the next state, to dinner. They been through a difficult time and we wanted to be supportive, so we asked them to pick a place they liked. They chose a high end chain I will call McMillan & Jones. The food at this restaurant is famous for being fresh and flavorful.

The company was excellent, the food was indeed fresh and they enjoyed it immensely. My husband and I both had fish dishes and a salad. The fish was flakey and everyone else seemed to like the food. I, on the other hand, chewed my fish and thought it indeed tasty but I did not like it. There was nothing wrong with it but it seemed to lack energy. The meal was beautiful but the food felt dead. (Of course, the fish was dead but that is not what I mean.) If someone told me the chef hated his job and was known for throwing cleavers, I would swear that emotion somehow leaked into the food.

The whole idea was preposterous. The place was packed and everyone else seemed to think the food was superb. Nonetheless, half way through my meal, I pushed the rest of the food aside and could not eat another bite. Truth be told, this is the third meal I have had at the third location of this chain and the experience was the same every time. The experience made me think about the hard to define energetic properties of food.

We know that how a food is grown can change its nutritional value but can the mood or state of mind of the person preparing the food change its ability to nourish? Further, can food mostly grown and processed by machines lack a critical non-nutrient component necessary for health?

From a quantum physics perspective one would have to say , “yes”. If a scientist observing an experiment can affect the outcome just by virtue of watching, then a cook thinking, “I hate people,” while chopping the onions should be able to affect the outcome of the soup. The question is to what extent and how would one notice?

Most people come in contact with many food preparers and handlers in the course of a day so it would be tough to pinpoint long term effect from any one source. But, what if the main food preparer is your spouse and they do not like you or like cooking for you? Would months or years of meals from an emotionally toxic kitchen whittle away at your health?

Studies have shown that toxic relationships are bad for your health but nobody has looked at how that effect is transferred. Could bitterness and resentment experienced by a food preparer alter an otherwise healthy meal so it is not as good for the consumers? I wonder if there would be a way to measure this.

I asked my husband, who is a tax attorney and not a woo woo kind of guy, what he thought about the food at McMillan & Jones. “It was good,” he said neutrally. I countered that I thought it tasted dead. He paused for a few seconds and then replied, “it was somewhat dead now that you mention it.”

Next, I asked him to compare the food to that of a local, inexpensive Italian restaurant near our house. It is a family run operation that pours the same homemade tomato sauce on 90% of its dishes. The fish is clearly not as fresh as McMillan & Jones and the salads are not worth ordering yet we find ourselves there fairly regularly.

“No comparison,” he responded immediately. “The Italian place is better.” This makes no logical or even taste sense yet I bet Einstein would prefer the Italian place, too. It is something to consider next time you eat a perfectly good looking meal that just does not do anything for you.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Me and CNN

On Thursday, June 9th, I am being interviewed live on the CNN national morning show, "American Morning". The interview will be on sometime between 6 and 9 AM eastern standard time. It is one of the early stops on my 17 city book tour which started here at home, today in Alexandria, Virginia. You can follow the book signings at: There will also be local TV appearances in most of the cities. I will let you know how it goes.