Supporting Tomorrow’s Chefs: Cooking for Health

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Shameer Griffin, one of C-CAP/AICR winners

I had the pleasure of attending the Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) awards lunch in Philadelphia last week – celebrating the success of the 2013 C-CAP finalists in the region.

It was inspiring and, at times, quite emotional as I witnessed literally life changing moments for some of the students. One of the top awardees was stunned when his name was announced for the four year full tuition scholarship to the Culinary Institute of America in New York, and the teachers I sat with during lunch could not contain their joy on hearing their student’s name called for a full scholarship to the Art Institute for Philadelphia. They were on their feet instantly clapping and cheering at his success.

It was a fascinating glimpse into the culinary world where young students at the start of their journey sit with chefs who do it all: run their own restaurants, are Executive Chefs, teach culinary arts and at least one who had “done Chop’t” (she couldn’t tell us the outcome as it has not yet aired). Continue reading


I Love My GP: Talking about the China Study

I love my GP.

She is about my age and we are both engaged in the same balancing act – aging parents, children, full time jobs that we love and not enough hours in the day. She is monitoring my blood pressure and inevitaHandshake with Doctorbly the conversation turns to weight loss, finding time for exercise, finding time to cook and what is healthy eating anyway?  I am sheepish, pleased with my loss of a few pounds but know I could do more.

Casually she mentions a similar conversation with an earlier patient when she asked him what the new diet craze is. I am pondering on the thought that a medical doctor is asking that question of a patient when she asks me if I have heard of the China Study. She is amazed that I know it; work for an organization that Colin Campbell advised and supported, and that I know about the evidence for a plant-based diet for cancer prevention.

We discuss the science but our conversation quickly turns to the practical – how to reduce red meat and increase other forms of protein in her family meals.  But she doesn’t know any recipes that use beans and other proteins. Quicker than you could say ABC, I wrote down our website address and told her to sign up for AICR Health-e-recipes.

As I leave the Doctor’s office, she is already on our website, has signed up for the recipes and is telling all her colleagues about our Foods that Fight Cancer. “I love this website – I’m going to tell everyone about you.”

In this technical world we sometimes forget the power of the face to face human connection:  a simple conversation can lead to a simple conversion.

You can read more about how AICR and the China Study connect here.


“Healthy” Girl Scout Cookies?

Did you know it was National Girl Scout Cookie Day last Friday? There are many months and days dedicated to specific issues, but this one caught my attention – and not for the right reasons.canstockphoto5469124(1)

Full disclosure – I am a mother of a girl scout and, as such, a co-peddler of cookies. I have served my time knocking on doors in January, encouraging weary little feet to try just one more street and teaching an elementary age scout to accept “no-thank you” with grace and a smile.

We know Girl Scout Cookies are a treat; they are not low in fat, sugar or calories. I have struggled with the fact that selling lots of boxes provides the funds for the programs that benefit my daughter. We are respectful of people when they say – I’m watching my weight or need to cut down – and our own family order is modest. (Working here at AICR, I know that being overweight increases the risk of seven cancers and so it’s important for adults – and kids – to have healthy eating habits for cancer prevention and just overall good health.)

Our region had the standard menu of cookies this year, so I only learned on Friday that another cookie – with “health benefits” – was being offered in some parts of the country. The Mango Creme Cookie comes with a creme filling apparently enhanced with nutrients, which, according to the promotional blurb “offer the benefits of eating cranberries, pomegranates, oranges, grapes and strawberries.” Continue reading