Saturday, May 2, 2015
Kristen Stewart Announced as a spokesperson for 'The Partnership for a Healthier America"
LA Times - Whether you clear your cabinets for every new diet that promises health and beauty, just grab the bacon-topped cheeseburger or live somewhere in the middle, you must — you just must — know by now that we should all eat more vegetables and fruit. So what will make you actually do it?
It's nowhere near time for a victory dance, but experts see a little movement in the right direction, citing the growth of farmers markets, more vegetarian restaurant options and campaigns to encourage produce consumption.
"There are some signs here and there that the diet is improving," said Kelly Brownell, an obesity expert and the dean of Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. But "the change is too slow to make a big public health difference."
The plodding pace of change is to be expected, said Gene Baur, co-founder of Farm Sanctuary and an animal welfare advocate. Shifting the food industry and our habits is like turning a mammoth aircraft carrier, he said.
It's pretty easy to get through the day without eating anywhere near the amount of produce the federal government recommends — and most Americans do. Cold cereal and milk for breakfast, ham and cheese sandwich with tortilla chips for lunch and, for dinner, a piece of chicken, potatoes and a salad, maybe a piece of fruit for a snack.
That's perhaps three servings of produce, and experts say five is barely enough. The federal government has recommended that half your dinner plate be produce.
Dr. David Katz, the founding director of Yale's Prevention Research Center, is optimistic about the future, despite his assessment of the present: "We have accomplished almost nothing with fruit and vegetable intake."
Among the small indications of growing interest in produce are growth in farmers markets, with more than 200 in Southern California alone, and the rise in restaurant and supermarket choices. Nielsen consumer research shows fruit and vegetable sales increased by volume and in dollars for each of the last four years.
"Everywhere you go there are vegetarian options. Five or 10 years ago, that was not the case," said Jack Bishop, editorial director for America's Test Kitchen, which produces a public television cooking show that has an affiliated magazine and recently issued a vegetarian cookbook. "Vegetarian cooking seems a lot more appealing if you are not buying vegetables from 3,000 miles away."
While statistics showing that nearly 10% of Americans are vegetarians haven't changed much, the Meatless Mondays program has grown; it's been adopted in hundreds of schools, including the L.A. school district, and dozens of hospitals.