7/14/2015: Food Safety, CVS supports Anti-Smoking Measures, Unhealthy Snacks, Freezing Fish, 3 Brothers Pizza Café.

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caryn-in-cali In the second part of the IT’S ALL ABOUT FOOD episode, Caryn reviews the new Politico.com article, Is the Obama Administration ambiguous about food safety? and the FDA regulation on food safety, CVS and the US Chamber of Commerce on tobacco, the New York Times article Talks on Iran Nuclear Deal Are Extended Once Again where it mentioned the horrible unhealthy snack foods our leaders are consuming while working on serious negotiations. She recommend demanding healthy snacks in the work place or wherever you find snacks being served. She briefly discuss the article New York City Requires Restaurants to Freeze Raw Fish Before Serving

Caryn covers her blog review of 3 Brothers Cafe in Farmingdale, NY and talks about salads for summer.

TRANSCRIPTION:

Hey everybody, I’m Caryn Hartglass, you’re listening to It’s All About Food. In the background you’re listening to the Mr. Softy Team, because they’re roaming around in my neighborhood as they always do. They were out here, I think it was the first day of spring when it was snowing, but the Mr. Softy truck was out and about. And you know what, I’m just going to put this out here, I’m looking forward to the day when all the products off their line Mr. Softy, not just one, is vegan. I don’t even know if they have any vegan items. Maybe, maybe a fruit pop or something. I haven’t bought anything from that truck in probably about four decades. I was really young when I bought from Mr. Softy and I have some wonderful memories of Mr. Softy, but you know, we could do it all without the animals and have lovely soft frozen treats that come out of the machine and pile up beautifully into a cake cone, we can dip it in chocolate, dip it in sprinkles, it’s beautiful and tasty and gentle on the environment and kind to animals.

So I’m not only looking forward to the end of meat, I’m looking forward to the end of dairy. The end of dairy: maybe that’ll be their next film. After they do the end of meat. Alright, I wanted to just mention that my non-profit ResponsibleEatingandLiving.com we just went to pretty links and that may not mean anything to you but may mean something to others, but when I started this website four years ago or so I was using the default kind of web address links which are ugly and meaningless and I just went to pretty links so if you’re scared about doing it, it was very easy to do and it’s done now and the old links redirect to the new links, but I just wanted to say if you’re ever on the site ResponsibleEatingandLiving.com and there is a link that doesn’t go to the right place or it’s dead, please let me know. I would really appreciate that. I cannot access all of the content and pages that are up there to make sure that they’re all up and live and working and your help would be wonderful, so send an email to info@realmeals.org if you find anything or if you have any comments or questions; we always appreciate it. Also I mentioned Live and Let Live, Marc Pierschel‘s documentary, and I highly recommend going to YouTube and putting Live and Let Live by Marc Pierschel, that’s M-A- R-C Pierschel, P like Peter, I-E- R-S- C-H- E-L, and watch the film. It’s about an hour and twenty minutes, and there are some really lovely lovely images, and some heartwarming stories. I recommend it.

Okay, today! Brand new, not sure if you’ve heard about it but on politico.com there is a new article and I wanted to go over it a little bit because it is about food. The article is called How Many Sick Kids Does it Take For Us to Act and the under title is How President Obama and Congress Passed a Landmark Food Safety Law and Then Let it Slip Away, and I highly recommend going to politico.com, reading the full article, but just to summarize it a little bit, you may remember about five years ago we had this regulation pass called “The Food Safety Modernization Act”, FSMA, and it mandated so many things more inspections, more anti-contamination standards, from processed foods, produce, and focusing on preventing outbreaks rather than waiting until we find there’s a problem and people getting sick, and then trying to trace it down. And I’m all about prevention on many levels, certainly choosing the right foods that will boost our immune systems and prevent chronic diseases is one form of prevention, but another form of prevention is to make sure our food that’s being grown, harvested, distributed, stored, our food that’s being manufactured, processed, packaged, stored, shipped, is done in a way that’s clean, and does not allow for the spread of infection, disease, and unfortunately, the law is in place, the Food Safety Modernization Act, and what this article has uncovered, although we’ve been aware of this for some time, is that basically, there’s no funding to put this mandate into action, and we could make a lot of laws but if we don’t put the money behind it to make it happen, nothing happens, and it’s really quite sad. There has been a lot of money behind it, maybe not enough, more than two hundred seventy six million dollars, and we need more emphasis, more support, by our government, by our president, and Obama is recommending raising some more funding, but this is really a serious issue. So many of us, most of us, want to believe our food system is safe. Many of us believe that it, here in the United States it’s safer than anywhere and we needn’t act like this because we have outbreaks all the time, some of them deadly, and some of them we trace to the source and some we may never know why they occurred, and it’s just unacceptable, and there are so many stories about things that go wrong and when we finally uncover what happened it’s really very frustrating when we read about dirty factories that end up spreading contamination and then people get sick and sometimes die. The history behind it, this article goes into the history of how we got to where we are today, and how we’ve put our food system in place, and it started at the turn of the century, when the book came out, Upton Sinclair’s book, The Jungle, and have you ever read The Jungle? It is a heartbreaking read. It’s fiction, but it uncovers the grotesque situation in the Chicago meat plants at the time, the focus primarily on the people, the immigrants who came to this country and worked in these plants, and their own personal living conditions were horrible, they were taken advantage of not only by their employers, but by the businesses around them, the people that rented them homes; it’s just a heartbreaking story, and as a result some regulations came about to improve the situation in the plants. Now, that’s because of a book. It didn’t focus on the animals themselves, and the animals were horribly treated, but since that time the factory farming, the treatment of animals, has gotten incrementally worse and even though we have regulations in place, we know that there are many people in the food system who are highly underpaid, treated very poorly, and unfortunately, this particular act, after five years, has not come to fruition and I highly recommend reading this article, How Many Sick Kids Does it Take For Us To Act? Now, what can we do about it? Truly hard to say, I want to say I believe in government, I believe in helping the government make change, these times make it really hard to believe, but we have to do whatever we can in our own personal lives to support local businesses where we can get to know the people, get to know what they’re doing, be able to see their facilities and see what they’re doing, visit the farms, visit the manufacturing facilities, we want transparency in our food system, we want to know the people that are making our food and support the people that are doing a good job, a clean job, an ethical job. We have a lot of work to do, don’t we?

Okay, another interesting chewy tidbit in the news, not exactly about food, but I think it’s related to food, ultimately, and that’s about CVS. Have you been reading about CVS? CVS is a pharmacy, a drug store. It’s a big chain, they’re out here on the East, and I know they’ve merged with some other pharmacies on the West Coast I’ve seen. I imagine they’re all throughout the United States. But they’re actually, they’ve actually been taking the high road, as one article says, on tobacco sales, and they’re recently in the news for something really fascinating, and another kind of show about our government and what it promotes and doesn’t promote, the New York Times recently had an article US Chamber of Commerce Works Globally to Fight Anti-Smoking Measures. So we have a US Chamber of Commerce, and what they really want to support is commerce, and that means supporting big business, and defending the tobacco industry, so although we have more laws here in the United States against smoking tobacco because we know it’s not healthy for us, first hand smoke, we finally have acknowledged is not healthy, and second hand smoke we have finally acknowledged is not healthy for those around people that are smoking. We’re moving in the right direction there. But unfortunately, the US Chamber of Commerce has been promoting marketing tobacco in other countries by going against countries individual anti-smoking measures, and CVS was, up until recently, on the board of the US Chamber of Commerce, and they decided to step down, to get off the board, because it wasn’t about what they believed in, and I think this is a good thing. I would love to see it happen with respect to food, but it took a long time, a long time, decades, before people, governments, society acknowledged that cigarette smoke was harmful, and carcinogenic? And that it was highly promoted by companies through media, all different ways, and so a lot of funding today goes to market anti-smoking measures, here in this country and in other countries, and it’s going to take a long time before we see an acknowledgement of some of the foods that are considered healthy, meat and dairy, before we see it go down a similar path, like what’s happening with tobacco, so that’s why I think it’s important to talk about it, and ultimately I hope more companies will support things that are based on science, that will discourage things that aren’t healthy, like tobacco use, and ultimately unhealthy foods, and it’s a good thing, what CVS is doing. Now, that doesn’t mean that I love everything that CVS is doing, but it’s a good start. You can buy a lot of junk from CVS, and maybe they’ll realize that they are in the health care business, that maybe ultimately this is something that they’ll want to take another stand with. It’s tough, because this is a company, the profits from the sale of things, and I’m sure they profited from the sale of tobacco, now they’re probably profiting from the sale of anti-smoking or different kinds of patches and medications to get people off of smoking, I don’t know if that’s perhaps behind their altruistic stance or not, but I want to say it’s a good thing.

Now, the US Chamber of Commerce, it’s just one example of a government organization that because of their mission, which is to promote commerce, they may not be doing what is in the best interests of people, and that includes people outside of the United States. So we have the USDA as an example, where they have all kinds of conflicts of interests; they’re supposed to be promoting agriculture and also educating people about nutrition, and you cannot promote dairy and cheese then say that saturated fat from cheese isn’t healthy, and yet the USDA does that, and they fund to do that. It’s really crazy. That’s our government, hip hip hooray! Yay.

The last thing, okay, this one was really funny. Another bit in the news, this was last week, Wednesday, last Wednesday, an article came out in the New York Times called Talks on Iran Nuclear Deal are Extended Once Again. I don’t know if you caught this, but there was one particular paragraph that popped out, and here it is. Now, this is all about the Iran nuclear talks, did I, did I just say that? Nuclear. Oh my gosh. Iran nuclear talks. The paragraph says: “To sustain itself during it’s marathon meeting, the United States negotiating team has since the beginning of June, consumed at least ten pounds of twizzlers, thirty pounds of mixed nuts and dried fruit, twenty pounds of string cheese, and more than two hundred Rice Krispy treats, according to it’s informal count.” Okay, so we have our officials sustaining themselves on high sugar, high fat, junk food. Now, they’re also consuming mixed nuts, and I’m sure those mixed nuts are not raw organic mixed nuts, they’re probably mixed nuts salted and roasted in oil, and the dried fruit, although some dried fruit can be healthy in moderation, it is a very high sugar food, and this is just classic, and how many times, if you work in a corporate office, or small office, where you’ve gone to a meeting, and someone is responsible for the snacks or the food and they bring in unhealthy treats, like doughnuts or other unhealthy foods. It’s rare to see healthy food served, and it’s something that we need to change, and the only way that’s going to change is if as individuals we speak up and say something. The person who is responsible for buying the food or the snacks just may not know what to buy, or may not know what the best foods are, or that person may believe that everybody wants doughnuts. But I have a colleague, a friend in college who is always complaining about some of the businesses that she visits, and come meeting time, or even conferences for example, I’ve talked about that, when it comes to snack time, we’re served foods that aren’t healthy. It’s up to us to demand healthy snacks for our meetings, for our schools, everywhere that we interact. That’s the only way that change is going to happen. Please, don’t be shy. Please speak up. Be nice about it. We don’t have to be argumentative; we can do these things in a loving, non-judgmental, compassionate way.

Sometimes bringing healthy treats is a way to go. Everybody loves fresh fruit, cut up fresh fruit, melon, not necessarily dried fruit, and I’m not saying dried fruit is bad, it’s just higher in sugar. Fresh fruit comes with fiber and water; it’s hydrating, delicious. Now I know there are companies, more modern companies today like Google, for example, where they have a big cafeteria and they have all kinds of options, and they provide the food for all their employees. We need to do more healthy options, every where we go, and the only way to do it is to demand it.

Now, there’s one more thing in the New York Times that I have to mention, another recent article on the eleventh, I loved it. For all of you fish eaters, especially fish eaters here in New York City, you know when you ask “is this fish fresh?” I always smile when people ask that, because do you really think they’re going to answer is the fish fresh or not, course they’re going to say it’s fresh. Where, where was I? Oh well. An article came out in the New York Times requiring restaurants here in New York, New York City, to freeze raw fish before serving. So, that means the fish must be frozen from fifteen hours to up to a week, I believe, and then defrosted again. The servers, the restaurateurs are saying they don’t really think that people will notice, but the reason they’re doing this is to prevent exposure to parasites, and apparently freezing, deep freezing, it’s kind of like a way of cooking, but instead of heat they’re using cold temperatures to remove parasites or bacteria on the outer surface, and this is just another reason, in my opinion, to avoid eating any kind of raw fish, or fish in general. Now, apparently this doesn’t apply to all seafood. Shellfish, farm raised fish, certain types of tuna apparently are exempt from this rule, not quite sure why that is. Those foods are full of other kinds of things to be concerned about, but that’s just one more kind of silly rule, you know I said this before, my Dad’s favorite expression is “if you can’t solve a problem eliminate the problem” so they’re trying a patchwork way to solve the problem of parasites, the way to eliminate the problem is leave the fish alive swimming in the ocean, and learn how to eat plants, delicious, yummy plant foods.

And now, in the last few minutes, that’s what I want to talk about. Delicious yummy plants. I don’t always remember to end on a delicious note, but I really think it’s important to do that. So, first thing I wanted to talk about is this particular, this past week I was able to visit Three Brother’s Café on Long Island in Farmingdale. You may have heard about Three Brother’s Café, it’s not entirely vegan, but it does have a lovely vegan story. It started out in Rockwell Center on Long Island, which is further west in a little pizza parlor. This family had an Italian restaurant, and one of the young sons, Jay Astafa, became vegan and decided to talk his family into offering a vegan menu, which they did. It was extremely popular, I remember going to Rockwell Center and enjoying all kinds of great food, they also offered brunch, and what they learned was that their dining business increased dramatically. All these vegans rushed to sample all these foods and try these foods. They did close that restaurant and moved it to a different one in Farmingdale, which is further east. And they’re opening a new one in Copiague and this is great for Long Island. For some reason, Long Island hasn’t been able to hold onto an all-vegan restaurant and it’s hard to find vegan options that are clearly spelled out and offered. So this is kind of like an oasis. I hope it’s the beginning of a new future out on Long Island where we see more vegan menus and more vegan options, but this restaurant is really a fun place to go. It’s also nice because everybody can go; they have an omnivore menu and as well as a vegan menu. But this is a great place to go to get some gorgeous pizzas and pasta dishes and salads, and it’s like, classic Italian, vegan style, or not, your choice, and they have some great desserts too. And you can visit 3brotherspizzacafefarmingdale.com. That was really fun, and if you want to see a sample of some of this great food, you might go to my website, Responsible Eating And Living, click on the “What Vegans Eat” blog to visit day 148. Day 148 is when I visited this restaurant, Three Brothers’ Café. And, Jay Astafa, who created this menu, is an up and coming chef now in the vegan community, you might visit his website jayastafa.com, he does a number of different pop-ups in New York City, with some really creative, amazing food, which is very exciting.

And, it’s summer time here in New York, for those of you listening on the other side of the world I know it’s kind of cold now, but I’m going to focus on hot weather, humid, and it’s time to eat more raw food, more salads. I recently heard from someone who said, “I’m just so tired of salad”, and it made me smile, because I thought “Tired of salad? Which kind of salad? There are a gazillion different kinds of salad.” The first things that come to mind of course are green salads, salads made from kale, salads made from collard, romaine based salads, mixed greens, how about cabbage salads like green cabbage or red leafed cabbage, or Napa cabbage, which I love because it’s a lovely soft leaf. Or those spicier, bitter greens, like arugula salad with a little radicchio. You take any of these greens, you could vary it up every day of the week, it’s always different, toss it with a very different dressing each time. My favorites of course are tahini or our Creamy Balsamic which you can find at my website. We have a vegan Caesar, we have our favorite Seed Caesar dressing and our Little Seed Caesar dressing. These are all based on using nuts and seeds as your fats rather than oils, and blending them with a citrus or vinegar and some other flavorings to make whole food delicious dressing, and there are so many different ways to do this, it makes the variations endless. And then depending on what you top your salads, tomatoes, onions, all different kinds of beans, you know there are over forty five thousand varieties of beans on the planet, I love saying that, and I love adding fruit in salads, especially in the summer time, apples, pears, berries, papaya, phenomenal on salad, mangoes, and then of course raw nuts and seeds. So, I can’t get tired of salads. Another thing we’re using a lot lately is lettuce wraps instead of making sandwiches, wrapping things in bread, we’re wrapping things in salad, especially fresh and nutritious and cleansing delicious, putting normally what you’d put in a sandwich or in a wrap, instead of using something flour based, you can put it in a big romaine leaf, or even a kale leaf, or a collard leaf, and fill it up with your favorite schmears and things, there you go.

And here I am, it’s the end of the program and I’m just getting started talking about my favorite subject, food. Thank you for listening, thank you for joining me, visit ResponsibleEatingandLiving.com for more food ideas, send me an email at info@realmeals.org, and remember to have a delicious week.

Transcribed by Yasmine Emamooor, 10/24/2015

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