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Part I: Emilia Lonardo, Trans Fats
Emilia C. Lonardo, Ph.D. is a Principal Consultant with Lonardo StatReg Associates, LLC, advising and lecturing on ingredient safety and FDA regulatory requirements. Dr. Lonardo brings over 30 years of professional experience. From 2012 to 2015, Dr. Lonardo served as Vice President of Consumer Product Safety and Science Policy at the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) in Washington, DC. At GMA she led programs to modernize GRAS and manage emerging ingredient issues, including partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) and trans fats. Prior to joining GMA, she was Head of External Engagement and Policy at Johnson & Johnson LifeScan. Emilia also served as Global Head of Regulatory Strategy at Novartis Consumer Health, leading emerging issue management and product stewardship. Before that at the Exxon Corporation, she held the position of Sr. Toxicologist, assessing and ensuring product safety, and authoring food additive petitions. Earlier in her career, as a board certified Medical Technologist at the Cleveland Clinic, she supervised the Immunogenetics and Histocompatibility Laboratory. Dr. Lonardo received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from State University New York, Master of Science degrees in Immunology & Toxicology from Colorado State College, holds a Ph.D. from LaSalle University and a law degree.
Part II: In the second part of this IT’S ALL ABOUT FOOD show, Caryn discusses a recent article in Mother Jones by Tom Philpott: Sorry, Foodies: We’re About to Ruin Kale.
She recommended reading an excellent retort from Julia Belluz at Vox News, entitled The viral idea that kale is bad for you is based on incredibly bad science, and recommends reading it especially if you need talking points in this kale conversation.
She reminded people to buy organic kale, citing EWG dirty dozen Dirty Dozen PLUS™ and Consumer Reports’ From Crop to Table which says kale from the US is a medium risk for toxins if not organic and a low risk from Mexico.
Also check out the Union Of Concerned Scientists blog posts from July 9-16, on the excuses the School Nutrition Association‘s excuses to keep unhealthy food in the School Lunch Program.
Transcription Part I:
Caryn Hartglass: Hey everybody! I’m Caryn Hartglass. You’re listening to It’s All About Food! Thank you. Thank you for being here, thank you for listening, thank you for caring. I really love feeling the energy of this community that cares about healthy, nutritious food. We all want it, don’t we? Even those people that don’t even know they want it, they want it because it makes us feel good, it makes us feel energized. Why shouldn’t we have a long life—a long quality life? Quality. Key word. There are a lot of people here that are living longer lives, but they’re not really quality lives. That’s part of what we talk about here on It’s All About Food. Feeling good. It’s important. Life should be experienced in the best way it can. With joy, without aches and pains, lots of energy, and we do that by eating wonderful food that’s delicious and nutritious. Okay, so about a month ago we talked about the new FDA ban on trans fats. That’s in the works. When I spoke about it, I got an email from someone that we will be talking to in just a moment. Emilia Lonardo. She is a principal consultant with Lonardo StatReg Associates, advising and lecturing on ingredient safety and FDA regulatory requirements. She brings over thirty years of professional experience. From 2012 to 2015, Dr. Lonardo served as Vice President of Consumer Product Safety and Science Policy at the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA). At the GMA she led programs to modernize the generally recognized as safe (GRAS) problem and managed emerging ingredient issues, including partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) and trans fats. We’re going to learn more about that right now. Welcome to It’s All About Food, Emilia.
Emilia Lonardo: Thank you very much! I’m very pleased to be here.
Caryn: Yeah, thank you. And thank you for contacting me and wanting to give us, perhaps, a little more clarity.
Emilia: Yes. I’d like to speak to you about hydrogenated oils. There are two types. Hydrogenated oils contain trans fats. Trans fats are formed from vegetable oils through partial hydrogenation, and they are also naturally occurring.
Caryn: They are naturally occurring?
Emilia: Yes. They’re from ruminant animals, such as cows. You can find trans fats naturally occurring in beef, dairy products, and cheese. I’ll discuss both, and I’d like to begin with the industrial-produced trans fats first. As everyone knows, November 8th of 2013, FDA published their tentative determination that partially hydrogenated oils, or otherwise known as I’ll refer to PHOs, are no longer considered generally recognized as safe, or GRAS. And on June 16th of this year, FDA finalized this termination and has given industry until June of 2018 to transition out of PHOs. They have also indicated that industry has the opportunity to file a food additive petition, where FDA will review the information and make a determination what uses and use levels will be considered safe and can be used in food. So what are PHOs? They’re produced from a number of sources, such as soybean, cottonseed, coconut, canola, palm, palm kernel, sunflower, blends of these oils. They have a really very nice shelf stability, and they can be subjected to very high temperatures, especially for commercial frying temperatures, and they don’t break down very easily. They improve flavor profile and the texture of many products. You can control the partial hydrogenation process, which produces the trans fats. So you could either dial it up to have a great deal of trans fats, and that produces the hardness, the hard oils in shortenings. Or it can be low levels, where you’ll see that in a lot of the oils.
Emilia: What I’d like to do is to discuss the history of why are PHOs in our food to begin with? It was used in the U.S. for a very long time. It’s been in the food supply for over seventy years. It was developed in the 1930s, and they were originally used to replace saturated fats, such as butter and lard. During World War II, the U.S. government really pushed the use of partially hydrogenated oils because they were stable, especially for rations for the military, and animal products were scarce. So PHOs started to become rather introduced into the food supply.
Caryn: Everybody had a container of Crisco in their cabinets.
Emilia: Yes, that’s true. That’s very true. And fried foods wow, so everybody used them. In fact, in 1959, Eleanor Roosevelt made a commercial for a margarine company advocating the use of margarine over butter ‘cause it was believed to be healthier. And you can find— If the readers are interested, you can actually find that commercial on YouTube. It exists today.
Caryn: All right, I’ll look for that and link it to this interview. That sounds like fun.
Emilia: It was also determined to be generally recognized as safe by a committee that was commissioned by the FDA. It was called the Select Committee on GRAS Substances, or SCOGS. And they confirmed the GRAS status of soybean in approximately 1976. And then, PHOs increased in the 1980s to replace tropical oils because PHOs were considered safer and better for you because they were lower in saturated fats. Even the Center for Science in the Public Interest, also known as CSPI, advocated for the use of PHOs over that of saturated fats. And as such, PHOs just became ubiquitous. They were used everywhere. As the use of PHOs increased, data started coming in suggesting that maybe it’s not as wonderful as we thought it was. Maybe it’s not better than saturated fats. By the late 1990s, data did confirm that high levels of trans fats were associated with increased levels of LDLs, which is the bad cholesterol, and decreased levels of HDL, which is the good cholesterol. In 1999, FDA began to investigate these cardiovascular events and in 2003, they published a draft ruling regarding trans fats. They finalized that rule in 2006, and that required manufacturers to label products containing more than 0.5 grams per serving of trans fats. So if it’s half a gram, it needed to be on the label. If it wasn’t on the front panel, where you’ll see trans fat amount, if it was under 0.5 grams you would see it in the ingredient listing, and that’s the way it is today. I strongly recommend everyone to read your labels.
Caryn: Yeah, well I want to interject here one of the important reasons why you want to do that if you want to avoid trans fats. If you see partially hydrogenated oil in the ingredient list, you know it’s there even though in the nutrient label it says it’s not there. And so if you have a serving that’s more than the recommended serving size, you’re going to get more than half a gram.
Emilia: That’s correct. That was the concern that the FDA expressed. In 2004 and again in 2009, FDA received two citizen petitions. One from the Center for Science in the Public Interest and another from Dr. Fred Kummerow, who’s now a centenarian. He’s a professor from the University of Illinois, and they asked the FDA to remove the GRAS status of industrial-produced PHOs, which contain the trans fats. In 2013, Dr. Kummerow decided to sue the FDA because he believed that FDA had an unreasonable delay for not responding to the petition. And he’s asked the court to compel a ban on PHOs. That was the impetus for FDA to issue their tentative determination, and it’s because they say there’s no longer a consensus among the experts that PHOs are generally recognized in human food based upon the current scientific data.
Caryn: There is not a consensus, or there is a consensus?
Emilia: No, there’s not a consensus that PHOs are safe. Some scientists say yes, at certain levels, and some scientists say no. To have the GRAS specification, you must not have a severe conflict among the experts. You don’t need to have total consensus, but you really cannot move forward with GRAS if there’s a severe conflict, and the FDA believes there is a severe conflict. Therefore, the GRAS specification doesn’t exist. But, they have the door open for a food additive petition. In order for a food additive petition to be approved, it actually shifts the onus to the industry to submit scientific evidence as part of the food additive petition establishing uses and levels for which a reasonable certainty of no harm will result from the uses and the levels of PHOs. Now, food additive petition would focus on very low, incidental uses. Low levels such as emulsifiers, pan release agents, color and flavor carriers. It’s going to take FDA about two years to review, and the decision is FDA’s. The petition will be public, so if there’s interested parties who want to review the petition and the data, and they want to make comment, they are free to do so. The FDA will put it up on their website. It’s available through freedom of information. What I wanted to talk about, also, is the decrease in PHOs in the food supply. In 2000, there was eight billion pounds of PHOs sold to manufacturers in the United States. Today that number is slightly above one billion pounds, and it continues to decrease. It’s difficult to reformulate some products because replacement oils are not always necessarily available, or they don’t provide the characteristics that the product requires for a consumer to be happy with. For example, there was one company who reformulated a biscuit. They reformulated relatively quickly; it took them about three years to do so. No one would buy the product because they didn’t like the way it tasted, or the sensation of the product turned out to be more like a hockey puck. When they spent the time, it took them a little greater than five years to replace it with suitable oils that provided the textures that consumers want, it’s still on the market today. Everything is fine.
Caryn: So it just took a little time to formulate the product to make it better without partially hydrogenated oils.
Emilia: Right, right. See, with partially hydrogenated oils, it’s one-stop shopping. You can dial up the amount of trans fat or dial it down according to the needs of the product. Without partially hydrogenated oils, you need to go and find a suitable oil. The most difficult are the hard oils, or the hard fats. They tend to switch out relatively quickly to saturated fats, such as palm oils, or lard, or butter. To animal products, which…
Caryn: Each one of those ingredients has their own issues, political- and health-related issues. Palm oil, a lot of people are up in arms about the rainforests being destroyed because we’re using so much palm oil. And then those of us who care about animals are not going to support the use of lard or butter.
Emilia: Absolutely. For someone who doesn’t eat animal products, there were products that I bought that I was very happy with because it contained vegetable oils. And now I no longer purchase them because they contain lard. It’s very, very important to read labels. Industry has done a good job in reducing the amount of PHOs in the food supply, and they’ve reduced the amount by 83% since 2003, and they continue to do so. The consumer, though, needs to take responsibility. They don’t want to eat PHOs? Read the labels very carefully.
Caryn: Yeah. It is, to a large degree, up to us. Now I know that many of us like to paint government-related organizations and large manufacturing organizations as evil and as doing whatever they can to maximize profit. That may or may not be true. It may be true to some degree. But the thing here, when you’re talking about the history of this one particular ingredient, we can see that things take a long time. It took a long time to build up the use of this product, and now it’s going to take a while to wean off of the product. I would love to see the government work faster, but it’s got its own challenges, financial and political, to do so. So, do you eat partially hydrogenated oils now that you know what you know about them?
Emilia: Well, I subscribe really to Dr. Esselstyn’s plant-based diet, and I try to avoid oils as much as possible.
Caryn: Okay, well that’s a really good answer.
Emilia: But again, it’s up to the person. People need to be responsible. It’s your program, Responsible Living, people need to be responsible and make the right choices for themselves.
Caryn: Yeah, it’s really helpful when we’re knowledgeable about it, but when we’re talking about food in healthy school lunch program, and foods marketed to children, and foods marketed to people who aren’t focused on food and they’re just grabbing something because it’s there or it’s inexpensive or whatever, they need better oversight.
Emilia: Yes. The levels of PHOs have significantly decreased, and they continue to decrease. One of the things that I wanted to call to the listeners’ attention is naturally occurring trans fats. This is something that’s been missed. I don’t think people understand that trans fats exist in animal products. Through the digestive process, ruminant animals produce trans fats. You find it in cheese, butter, dairy products, beef, goats. It’s estimated that people consume about 1.2 grams a day of these trans fats.
Caryn: If they’re eating animal foods, right?
Emilia: If they’re eating animal foods, yes. I’m talking about the USDA general database for the average consumer. Although there’s some data that says that it’s not as harmful as industrial-produced vegetable trans fats, as a toxicologist, I’m not convinced that there is a difference between naturally occurring trans fats in terms of risk versus the industrial-produced vegetable oil trans fats. It’s also very important to note that in the USDA database, there are non-ruminant animals that they say contain trans fats. And I’m like, how can this be? How can you find trans fats in chicken, pork, eggs, fish? And then after digging a little more, it’s actually because these mega farms feed these animals repurposed human food. It’s also found in animal feed. So at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you eat dairy, beef, or other kinds of animals. You’re still going to be exposed to trans fats. The only way to move forward without consuming trans fats is a whole foods vegan diet.
Emilia: Even if you are vegan, you need to be careful. If you do buy processed foods, read the labels because it may contain partially hydrogenated oils. The information’s not hidden; it’s there on the label. Just read the labels.
Caryn: Now, this is just one ingredient. One ingredient, partially hydrogenated oil, one ingredient. But my understanding is there are over nine thousand known additive ingredients that we are assuming are safe.
Emilia: If you’re talking about the generally recognized as safe, the Pew Charitable Trusts and NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) did come up with that number. I’ve never seen that number or the data behind the development of that number. I think it’s a little inflated.
Emilia: But the generally recognized as safe criteria allows for an industry representative or a group of experts to determine the safety of an ingredient. Now this law’s been in effect for well over fifty years, allowing the generally recognized as safe process to occur. It’s undergoing modernization right now. There’s a five-part modernization strategy where it brings more visibility to the process. I agree. I’m also a consumer. I want to know what’s in my food. I want to ensure that my food is safe. But we also have to remember that the FDA does a very good job, and we do have one of the safest food supplies in the world because the FDA does its job. A company does not have any advantage or benefit from trying to put harmful ingredients in their food. Hopefully, with the modernization process that is ongoing, they’ll bring more transparency and improve consumer trust in the process. There is a—
Caryn: I think the…
Emilia: Go ahead.
Caryn: I think the FDA’s biggest challenge is funding, from what I understand. When you say modernization, are you talking about the Food Safety Modernization Act?
Emilia: Oh no, no. I’m referring to modernization of the generally recognized as safe procedure. This has been a voluntary industry effort. It was led by GMA, but it is an industry effort working with a number of NGOs as well as bringing FDA into the fold. They’re developing a public standard that will be very transparent and visible during the process to ensure that everyone conducts the generally recognized as safe criteria in the same consistent manner, and it’s done with very high quality. Seated on this committee are thirty-two scientists from across the sectors, including NGOs. The Humane Society sits on it. There’s the former NRDC person who sits on there. There’s CSPI also sits on there. There are some industry members, there’s some government involved as well. It’s broad-spectrum, it’s going to be very public, and it’s going to develop a standard, a process specification, on how GRAS reviews should be conducted. They’re also developing a database for the self-determining ingredients to be placed into this database so it brings more visibility. I believe that if they do a better job in grassroots movements to educate the consumer what they’re doing and taking the time to listen—I think it’s essential that people in industry listen to what the consumer wants. You can’t guess, because you won’t give the consumer what they want. They’re not going to buy it. You really need to hear what the consumer concerns are and address those concerns.
Caryn: Well I think what we can do is what you mentioned before. Since there are many other ingredients that are allowed in the food system and they may be generally recognized as safe, we don’t know if they’re going to go down the same path as partially hydrogenated oils as we learn more about them, the best way to avoid as many of them as we can is to eat a whole-food, plant-based diet and stay away from anything in a box, like Jack LaLanne recommended. “If man made it, don’t eat it!” Now what’s curious to me, Emilia, is that you’ve been involved in ingredient safety and government regulation for a long time, and you’re a vegan?
Emilia: Yes, I try to follow the vegan pathway as much as possible while I’m on the road. Many times inadvertently I become a vegetarian. I try to follow the vegan… My family… Well, I should say my husband eats vegan with me during the week. When he’s not with me, I don’t know if he eats the same diet. But when I’m cooking, we clearly eat vegan at home. I love vegetables.
Caryn: When did this get started for you? How long have you been doing this, and how did you turn on to this way of eating?
Emilia: Well, I started maybe about twenty-five years ago when I was working at the… More than that, it was over thirty years ago, when I was working at the Cleveland Clinic. My sister married into the Crile family, and so did Dr. Esselstyn. And he talked about don’t eat anything with a face and have compassion for animals. I really stopped eating red meat, but I continued to eat chicken until I passed a vehicle one day that had cages and cages of chicken. When I saw this, I could no longer eat poultry. I stopped eating meat. It’s not only for health reasons, but primarily for compassion. I am very committed to treating animals with respect and the welfare of animals. I am involved in animal rescue and I can’t eat them. They’re here, God put them here just like he put us, and I just want to share the Earth with them.
Caryn: Well, it’s very exciting to hear that someone who has been involved with all kinds of federal regulations and food safety is actually on the path that you are on, and I’m wondering in the decades that you’ve been eating this way what the reaction has been to you. Do they even know about it? When you’ve served on different committees and you’ve been with the Grocery Manufacturers Association, how did they respond to your food choices?
Emilia: Well, I’ve not had any problem. They all know my dietary habits. There was always a meal of my choosing available for me.
Emilia: Again, this is America, land of the free. People have free choice. They choose to eat their way, I choose to eat my way, and hopefully one day they’ll see that my way is the best way.
Caryn: I hope so too. Well let’s end on that nice thought, shall we?
Emilia: Well thank you very much. It’s been a pleasure to be on your program.
Caryn: Thank you, Emilia. Thanks for sending me your very kind messages and your notes. I’m glad you’re out there doing what you’re doing.
Emilia: Thank you, I’m glad you’re out there doing what you’re doing too.
Caryn: Okay, take care.
Emilia: Thank you, bye-bye.
Caryn: Bye-bye. That was Dr. Emilia Lonardo, and I think that was a very interesting conversation. So it’s not black and white, it’s not good and bad. There’s a lot of gray in the middle, and the best way we can navigate our food system is to concentrate on whole-food, plant-based, and organic. While you digest that thought, we’ll take a little break.
Transcribed by JC, 1/13/2016
Transcription Part II:
Caryn Hartglass: Hey everybody. I’m Caryn Hartglass and you’re listening to part 2 of It’s All About Food. Okay before I get to some of the things I wanted to cover, I want… wanted to bring you to my website Responsibleeatingandliving.com, on the right hand side, I want you to take a look at what’s at the top there. I wanted to let you know about a free webinar, I think it’s an hour long webinar, called The Secrets of Effortless Mind Meditation: How to Eliminate Anxiety and Gain Deep Peace with Ease. Now this is a free program. It’s going to take place on July 30th, in nine days, and its with the founder of Effortless Mind, Ajayan Borys. You may remember him. I interviewed him maybe a year ago. He has a book out called Effortless Mind: Meditate with Ease. I really enjoyed speaking with him, loved his book, and I can’t say enough about meditation, and I don’t say enough about it because most of the time I’m talking about food on this program Its All About Food. But I think that the mind is an important piece, not only to how we digest our food, it is connected to that too, but a lot of our health and well being has to do with what we’re saying to ourselves and all kinds of things that are going in our mind that we think we don’t have control of but we do have control of, and in meditation we learn how to think the way we want to think, and focus on the feelings we want to have, joy and happiness and peacefulness, rather than anxiety and fear, things like that. So I just wanted to bring your attention to this free seminar; now I believe there will probably be some solicitation at the end of the seminar for a longer workshop but I’m sure there’ll be lots of wonderful information in this free webinar on July 30th. I’m going to be tuning in and I hope you do too. To find out more about it go to Responsibleeatingandliving.com and just scroll down to the right where it says “Free 1 hour Webinar”. Okay. Great. Now I can cross that off my list. If you want to know more about Ajayan Borys, the person who is leading this program, there is an interview that I had with him on ResponsibleEatingAndLiving.com so you could put his name in the search bar on my website, and listen to that interview. Fabulous. Now we’ll all be anxiety free, we’ll have nothing to worry about, with regards to all the crazy things that are going on in our food system, like, for example, some crazy stuff that’s going on about kale. Have you heard the rumors about kale? That there’s a chemical called, are you ready for this, thallium, in kale? I just heard this and I have been reading a number of different articles about it. I have to say that I’m rather disappointed because Mother Jones magazine, the author, Tom, the writer, journalist, Tom Phillpot, is somebody that I normally respect and I love some of the articles he’s put out in that magazine. This one I’m not so sure, I don’t think he dug deep enough. But basically in the article in Mother Jones, he’s talking about, well the title of the article is “Sorry, Foodies: We’re About to Ruin Kale”, and he’s talking about a person Ernie Hubbard who has been noticing some odd trends among some of his clients in Marin County and he’s been linking some of their… some of their health issues with the fact that they are consuming kale, and he found thallium in blood samples and he’s now saying that “kale is bad, kale contains thallium”, and its really not a fair conclusion. You know, you could have a bunch of clients, and they all come in and say they’re feeling one way or another, and you could ask them a variety of questions and you can say, “Are you breathing?” and they could say, “Yes I breathe,” and then, you know, you can correlate that all the people that had a particular issue are also breathing. That doesn’t mean that breathing causes that issue. Are you following me? There’s been no clinical studies, there’s been no science behind this, just some guy saying a few people have thallium in their blood and he’s linking it to kale. I don’t think this is a reason for any kind of scare, and there’s nothing that’s been proven. And I’m just sorry that it made it all the way to Mother Jones, and scaring people about this wonderful, wonderful food. There’s a great article, and I’ll have links to all of these different articles on this program when it’s in the archives, but on “vox.com”. They kind of go over all the things that are wrong in this claim about kale being bad for you. The article is called “The viral idea that kale is bad for you is based on incredibly bad science”, and the one thing that I really appreciated about that they highlighted in this article is this: “Blaming a single food item for a vast array of health problems is one of the hallmarks of a crackpot health theory.” And I want to say that not only is blaming a single food for a vast array of health problems a hallmark of a crackpot health theory. Also promoting a single food item, saying that it’s going to take care of all health problems is also a hallmark of a crackpot health theory. Now I love kale, and I know that I like to say there’s nothing kale can’t do, but I don’t really mean that. I don’t think it can cure all ills, it just can support a healthy immune system. There are more things that are involved with each and every one of us in our health. I encourage the consumption highly of dark leafy green vegetables, not just kale, collards, chard, spinach, bok choy, watercress, parsley, basil, anything that’s dark and green, arugula, lovely, flavorful, and of course make it organic. Now, it is true that if a plant is grown in soil that is contaminated with toxic metals, with toxins, the plant may be able to pull that up through its root system, and contain it within its own cells. For example, at Responsible Eating and Living, we did the REAL Good New in Review report on chocolate, and there are places unfortunately where chocolate, cocoa, contains a high degree of cadmium and/or lead, and there’s been more focus on this these days and it’s because the soil, where those particular cocoa beans are grown, is contaminated. We’ve also heard stories about rice unfortunately, rice containing arsenic, and this is something to be aware of. It’s not something to get all crazy about though. And the reports that have come out with Consumer Reports as an example, tell us there some brands of rice and some varieties of rice that are better than others, and I recommend checking that out. If you want you can email me at email@example.com, and I’ll send you a link to those articles that tell you which kinds of rice are better to eat than others. I personally stick to the California varieties, basmati rice, those that are lower on the… on the arsenic scale than the Texas and Arkansas varieties and the other point is eating a very varied diet. We want to eat lots of different foods and its important for lots of reasons. Now too much of anything, too much of anything, is not good. Too much water, we can drown, by drinking too much water. So we have to be really careful about the stuff that’s in the news and I just wanted to point out that this thing is going viral about kale. So if you hear somebody complaining about kale because of this reason, or you’ve read this guy Hubbard’s article, and you’re concerned about it, I recommend going to the “vox.com” site, and reading the article, “The viral idea that kale is bad for you is based on incredibly bad science”. This will give you all the talking points you need to put your mind at ease about kale. Okay? We love kale. I love kale. I personally believed kale saved my life and I’m sticking to it. I’m continuing to consume a bit of kale almost everyday in my green juices, in salads. Kale is a lovely, lovely, food. Do I have anything more to say about that? Let me look in my notes. Yeah, I just wanted to underline, organic is better, but this particular issue isn’t really about whether the plant is grown organically, its about whether the soil, or the fertilizer that’s put on the soil is contaminated with thallium. I hope we don’t hear any more on this. Okay. That’s my kale for you. And you may also… this is not exactly the same subject but, you may want to refer to if you haven’t seen these two different articles already, there’s the “Environmental Working Group: Dirty Dozen Plus” where they list 12 ingredients that are highly contaminated with hazardous pesticides and they recently added the “plus” to the “Dirty Dozen” adding two more, leafy greens, kale and collard greens because they found that they’re also contaminated with insecticides toxic to be in the nervous system. This is when they are industrially-grown, conventional kale, and the recommendation is to buy organic. Now Consumer Reports also came out with a great report called “Crop to Table”, back in May, and they say in their report that in the U.S., conventional kale, industrial-grown kale is a medium risk for toxins if not organic and… if grown in the United States, medium risk, and low, a low risk from Mexico if its conventional, not organic. So there’s that. Phew. Oh kale. My friend kale. I wanted to move over to, just briefly while I’m still on the kale subject, all the wonderful things that you can do with kale. When I’m doing my private health coaching, so often I find that the solution to many people’s issues, and there are so many of them, are resolved when they include more dark leafy green vegetables in their diet. It’s really that simple. For some people it’s hard because they don’t like the bitter flavor of greens. The best way to ease into eating dark leafy greens is with smoothies. I like to, with my smoothies, use three ingredients, a green, some kind of fat, like coconut, avocados, walnuts, and seeds, and a fruit, like berries. Now you can add a lot more ingredients to that, but that’s like the secret formula because the fruit, preferably berries, which are high in antioxidants and lower in sugar than other really sweet fruits, help to make that kale go down, help to make the medicine go down, help to make the good bitter greens go down, in the most delightful way. And the fat is important, whole fat, whole fat from plant foods is important because the vitamins in dark leafy greens are fat-soluble and they need a little fat to help them get absorbed into the system. So you combine these three wonderful ingredients, fruits, fats, and greens, blend it up with water or your favorite non-dairy milk, and you have a delicious and nutritious way to get your greens and then as you get used to the flavor, the more leaves of greens that you can add to your smoothie, the better. And then, there’s sautéed greens. I think that for those that are easing into the world of dark leafy greens, smoothies for raw greens and sautéed greens for cooked greens, are the way to enter into this world. It’s important to eat them both raw and cooked because cooking the greens makes the nutrients more absorbable and yet when we eat foods raw we’re getting all kinds of wonderful nutrition so it’s good to do it both ways. And I recommend easing into eating greens, sautéing them. Now you can use a tiny little bit of oil if you need to, it’s not necessary, but if it helps you eat the greens then use a little. And you can sauté onions, a little garlic, add in your greens, sauté them around. It’s delicious! If you don’t like onions or garlic, or if you’re looking for a little different taste, you might sauté ginger and then add your greens. That’s a really fabulous combination. You can always squeeze a little lemon juice on top, and you have some wonderful food. If you need a… specifics on how to do these things, you can go to, everyone together, Responsibleeatingandliving.com, go to the recipe tab, scroll down to “Sides and Greens” and you’ll see some really specific recipes on how to cook greens. Another great way is to just throw some greens into any kind of soup just before you are about to eat it, just let them cook quickly and soften. You can blend them all together so that you don’t even see them, if you don’t think you’re going to like them. But I encourage you to get your greens, and I do have a four-part food show on greens, called It’s All About Greens, at Responsible Eating and Living. I show you how to do a smoothie, I show you how to juice, and why you want to and what’s the difference between juicing and blending; people always get confused about the two and want to know what the benefit is of one versus the other. I think it’s a very individual thing. Sometimes both are fine. Sometimes one is better than the other. It really depends on who you are and what your objectives are. And then cooking greens, and then making, using greens in salads, and in the summertime especially… well I love kale salads and dark greens salads all year long, but they stay a long time, they travel really well, they don’t wilt, so if you are going to a potluck or a picnic or something you can prepare your kale salad and it won’t be all soggy and limp when you get to the event, even in warm weather. But the key is… I believe, is massaging, massaging your kale with whatever dressing you are going to use. This will help get the leaves nice and soft and tender, and making you want to gobble it up right away. Mmmmm, mmmm, mmmm, mmm, good. Okay. Another article I wanted to bring to your attention… You know they’re just like this kale story. There’s somebody out there who says something and he’s got some credible education behind him and has this like little website and sounds convincing and intelligent and says something that’s just totally wrong! Well there’s a lot of groups out there that are putting out a lot of information that really isn’t credible. Often times some of these seemingly knowledgeable organizations are funded by companies that are out there to make money and one of these groups, maybe you’ve heard about them, is the… it’s called the School Nutrition Association. Their website is SchoolNutrition.org and they’ve been putting out a lot of crazy stuff. So a great article, or a great few articles that have been coming out, I think are worth reading, is from the Union of Concerned Scientists. Their website is ucsusa.org, and they have a blog which is at blog.ucsusa.org. Union of Concerned Scientists. They’ve been doing phenomenal work for decades, I really love their information, and they’ve been posting a lot of different excuses, that’s what they’re calling them, excuses, from the School Nutrition Association. And the School Nutrition Association is actually for rolling back school food standards. Now our government in its very slow and painful way has been working towards improving the school lunch program, improving the recommendations for kids, and there has been a lot of pushback, and a lot of the pushback is because of the food manufacturing organizations that don’t want to make changes. It’s hard to make changes and they don’t want to make the changes; they may be costly, and you know, as Emilia was talking about earlier in the program, maybe when they make the changes, the food doesn’t taste the same, and the kids won’t eat them. So there’s a lot of interesting points that have been brought up, and they’re really silly, by the School Nutrition Association, and I recommend that you check out some of them, just kind of… one of the popular ones is they say lowering sodium levels at schools may harm kids. Lowering sodium levels at schools may harm kids, now that’s kind of ridiculous I think. We know that it’s the higher side, higher sodium levels are really what the problem is. You could always add more sodium and salt to food if you don’t think you have enough. Well there’s a lot more and I recommend that you check out Union of Concerned Scientists and their blog post on the School Nutrition Association. And that’s about it for today’s It’s All About Food. Thank you for listening and I hope you are surviving this hot humid heat if you’re in the east coast like I am. Otherwise, enjoy and have a very delicious week.
Transcribed by Zia Kara, 10/10/2015
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