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Wiser Living

Finding a natural solution

Natural Products Expo West 2011: Fresh Ideas for Change

By Gina Souders

Tags: Natural Products, Expo West, Chef Ann Cooper, Alan Greene, Gary Hirshberg, Fresh Ideas Group, FIG, Ingredients For Change, Gina Souders,

00 Gina HeadshotMy favorite experience at the Natural Products Expo West was the 6th Annual FIG Media Luncheon, hosted by the Fresh Ideas Group.

This year, the panelists discussed how to pave the road for a healthier future. Chef Ann Cooper, a.k.a. Renegade Lunch Lady, spoke about this subject, along with Alan Greene, MD, American Academy of Pediatrics member, and Gary Hirshberg, co-founder of Stonyfield Farms. Each speaker passionately proposed their ingredient for change.

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• Get pissed off! That was Chef Ann Cooper’s main message. Spewing statistics like 36 percent of 4- to 19-year-olds are obese and one fourth of the meals that children consume is fast food, she stated that we need to get more involved in what our children eat. And the quality of food that is currently being served at most schools is laughable.

“If we don’t make this change,” she says, “no one will.”

• Change your child’s first bite of food. Alan Greene explained that the commonplace practice of feeding babies processed white rice cereal, long recommended as a first solid food for babies, may lead to childhood obesity. Taste preferences are created very early in life, and white rice cereal, which acts like sugar in the body, may set children up at a young age to prefer sweets to healthier foods.

Help your children develop healthier taste preferences by changing that first bite of solid food.

• Choose organic. One of Gary Hirshberg’s biggest concerns was genetically modified crops. Although organic food may cost more than non-organic foods, “cheap food,” such as fast food, is not cheap later on down the road—medical bills caused by obesity is expensive. Unfortunately, only four percent of available food on the market is organic.

“Every time you run a food item through the scanner, you’re voting,” says Hirshberg. So are you voting for or against GMO-contaminated food?

Spend your money wisely on higher quality foods. And, Hirshberg added, send a letter to Barack and Michelle Obama that states “I believe in your message, but if you don’t address toxins it’s pointless.”

There is always power behind one voice; one vote for change.