May 22, 2013

Cooking for solutions in Monterey

This past week I had the privilege to attend the annual Cooking for Solutions and Sustainable Foods Institute hosted by the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  This is a great event that brings together chefs, media, experts and the public to talk about the links between sustainability, the ocean and the land. There was a lot  to learn from many experts who believe that foods we choose to eat have a great impact not only on us, but also on the environment. A Central Coast journalist named Rachel Duchak wrote this wonderful piece about the event.

On Friday I was interviewed at Earthbound Farms in front of about 60 chefs and media about the environmental stewardship work going on at Kaiser Permanente and our connections with the food system.  Ultimately, fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts and beans produced without pesticides and chemical fertilizers are best for us, our kids, the planet, and the workers who produce the food for us.  My message to them was simple.  We should follow Michael Pollan's advice "Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants"  I would add "Sustainably produced." Ultimately, a more plant-based diet is good for everyone.

On the topic of plant-based diets, please read this recent article by a trusted colleague, Phil Tuso.  If you take medication for blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, or are significantly overweight,  the information in this article could literally change your life.

As good health starts with kids, I had a great time "cooking" with kids later during this event at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  Kids from all over the world ages 1 1/2 to 14 made their own salsa or guacamole using the plastic "lettuce" knives that cut food but not humans.  It was an incredible treat to see their eyes light up when they tasted what they had made.  I handled the jalapenos and they did the rest. Back to my old mantra ---- a chef's knife and cutting board are the keys to good health.