A Crisis of National Security

I hope that you will carve out some time this week to view the video below (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWN13pKVp9s) by Lieutenant General Mark Hertling.  His words are powerful, to say the least.  If you do have the chance to see it this week, please comment with your opinion on the issue he debates… do you agree?  Is obesity a crisis of national security?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.  I will share my thoughts next week, but first, I want to hear yours!

Until Next Week… Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie 🙂


Three Cheers!

Three cheers for California’s Sausalito Marin City District!  The 2015 through 2016 school year welcomes the district’s innovative new meal plan, which provides a non-genetically modified and completely organic menu to its student body.  The depth and breadth of this initiative makes California’s Sausalito Marin City District the first in the United States to adopt such a vast change to the USDA approved school cafeteria regulations.  The district’s organic, non-GM menu is accompanied by educational initiatives in gardening and nutrition.  This programming seeks to supplement the dining experience that students enjoy in the cafeteria.  An instrumental member of this new approach to children’s nutrition, Turning Green founder Judi Shils, states “Students everywhere are vulnerable to pesticide residues and unsafe environmental toxins.  Not only does this program far exceed USDA nutritional standards, but it ties the health of our children to the health of our planet.  It’s the first program to say that fundamentally, you cannot have one without the other.”

If you’re interested in learning more about the Sausalito Marin City District’s dining approach, I gleaned the above information from an article on Off Grid Quest entitled “America’s First School District to Serve 100% Organic Meals” which can be accessed by clicking the following link: http://offgridquest.com/food/americas-first-school-district-to-serve-

This article got me thinking about the effect that a preventative approach to childhood malnutrition and obesity would have on the future of the United States, as well as the world at large.  Wouldn’t it be awesome if we as a society did not wait to educate our citizens about nutritious eating patterns until they have reached adulthood and unfortunately, more often than not, have acquired a chronic disease?  It has always seemed backwards to me that the majority of adults are formally taught how to eat nutritiously after, rather than before, they become patients of a hospital or another type of health care setting.  They are taught how to eat right sometimes years after eating wrong: after their at best ineffective, or at worst damaging eating patterns have become habits.  And as they like to say, old habits die hard.  That is the truism of all truisms.

So what if the way of eating at California’s Sausalito Marin City District became the habit, the nutritional expectation, the national standard for feeding America’s children?  What if from kindergarten through twelfth grade, each child was fed an organic, non-GM cafeteria lunch, was educated about nutritious eating habits, and was witness to the short and long-term benefits of gardening?  Well, then we as a society will have instilled in America’s youth a habit of nutrition spanning over a decade.  A habit that empowers the continuation of healthy eating into adulthood, and that emphasizes how nutrition not only enables us to learn to our fullest potential, but also to live to our fullest potential.

I say that education is the essence of prevention.  How about you?

Until Next Week… Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,


Got Gout?

Perhaps tart cherry juice will assuage your symptoms.  And even if you’re not a fan of its tangy taste, research demonstrates that liquid cherry extract and of course, actual cherries provide similar pain relief.  For instance, the benefits to a person with gout consuming a minimum of 10 cherries every 24 hours was confirmed by a Boston University Medical Center study.  Joint author of the study, Dr. Hyon K. Choi, stated “Cherry intake was associated with a 50 percent lower risk of gout flares over a 48-hour period.  We extrapolate that cherries will continue to work long-term.”  Indeed, in 2010 this notion was supported at the European League Against Rheumatism’s yearly gathering, as well as in a 2014 publication in the Journal of Functional Foods.  The nutrient powerhouse in cherries that is responsible for alleviating suffering associated with gout is known as an anthocyanin, which is both an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant rich pigment.  In particular, the consumption of cherry juice in one study was demonstrated to decrease the uric acid that triggers gout pain in the blood stream.  Dr. Hyon K. Choi concludes that the correlation between cherry consumption and gout pain relief “is definitely a topic worth further investigation.  If cherries prove effective in large trials, they could provide a safe, non pharmacological option for preventing recurrent gout attacks” (Rath).

Have you ever tried tart cherry juice as a mechanism to combat symptoms of gout or other types of arthritis… and if so, were you pleased with the results?  Also, are there other whole food remedies that you rely on in order to alleviate chronic pain?

Until Next Week… Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,


Works Cited

Rath, Linda. “How Cherries Help Fight Arthritis.” Arthritis. n.d. Arthritis Foundation, n.d. Web. 13 Jan. 2016. <http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/arthritis-diet/best-foods-for-arthritis/cherries.php>


You Need to Know About NNT

Are you familiar with the acronym NNT?  NNT stands for number needed to treat and is something that every person should ask his or her doctor for if prescribed medication or advised about surgery.  According to neuroscientist Daniel Levitin, this statistic is a quantitative measurement of “the number of people that need to take a drug or undergo a surgery or any medical procedure before one person is helped.”  Unfortunately, the NNT for a variety of prescriptions and surgeries is much higher than one.  For instance, Levitin states that the NNT for statins is 300.  Yes, you read that correctly (Levitin).

Besides the NNT, Levitin suggests that the general public also ask their primary care physicians about the side effects of the medications they are considering ingesting, as well as the statistics concerning the quantity of patients who experience side effects from the medications.  Levitin acknowledges that the side effects of statins can include suffering in the gastrointestinal system, joints, and muscles.  Additionally, five percent of patients who ingest statins will experience these pains.  According to Levitin, “300 people take the drug, right? One person’s helped, five percent of those 300 have side effects, that’s 15 people. You’re 15 times more likely to be harmed by the drug than you are to be helped by the drug.” (Levitin).

As a result, the next time you visit your primary care physician keep the above questions in mind if he or she suggests a certain medication or surgery.  In addition to keeping these questions in mind, I’d like to add one of my own:

How may I first attempt to combat this health issue through nutrition?

It is compelling to me that, unlike the majority of medications, whole foods do not carry with them a host of side effects.  Rather, it appears to me as though whole foods offer what I like to call side benefits.  This is because in addition to addressing certain health problems (i.e., wild blueberries lower cholesterol), whole foods boast an expansive array of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that will not only restore health in the afflicted area, but will also benefit the body and the mind in unexpected ways.

Until Next Week… Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,


P.S.  If you like what you are reading, please consider forwarding this blog post to a friend and encourage them to follow me at:  www.letseatlunch.wordpress.com

Works Cited

Levitin, D. (2015, September). Daniel Levitin: How to stay calm when you know you’ll be stressed [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/daniel_levitin_how_to_stay_calm_when_you_know_you_ll_be_stressed/transcript?language=en