Sunday, March 29, 2015

The 5th Annual NYC Vegetarian Food Festival

     Apparently, as I was informed by my friend and fellow RD, Ms. Melissa Mirota, there is an annual Vegetarian conference in NYC and she thought we might as well check it out.  Of course I joined her in  attending  part of the 2 day event which was held on March 14th and 15th.  If you can imagine a hippie FNCE conference with only vegetarian/vegan food products, that promoted animal rights and spirituality, had a kiddie play area, psychics, an actual blow out bar and some canine friends roaming around, that’s basically what it was.  They also had a myriad of speakers with interesting topics.  I did sit in on two lectures, one by Rich Roll a top notch lawyer turned vegan Ultra Marathoner/author/motivational speaker and Johnathan Balcombe who spoke about animals and their feelings.  They were interesting, not what I expected, but still worthwhile nonetheless.  There were some physicians, nutrition scientists and public policy speakers my friend and I thought would be interesting to hear but our time limitations prevented us from doing so.  Anyways, back to the exhibitors….

    Harlem Grown was there promoting their inner city projects to help encourage  healthy eating among the youth of the area.  They teach hydroponic gardening techniques to the kids and were looking for volunteers to help out and learn as well.  Some of the vegan deserts were fantastic!  From ice cream to pies, I was quite impressed with the taste and texture of many of the products on display.  I especially enjoyed the pie samples by, “This Pie is Nuts.”  There were stands that advertised brands of olive oil, like Kastania olive oil, which were imported from Greece.  Many of them had strong delicious flavors that kept you begging for more.  OM botanical’s were also on hand giving demonstrations of their skin care line.  Their products are said to be gluten free, vegan and eco friendly.  Jyoti natural foods had a tasty sampling of some of their Indian style recipe’s made with their products.  I could go on forever telling you about my taste adventures but I won’t as I am sure you want to also hear about  these lectures I attended. 

       As disappointed as I was in not hearing more about his vegan adventures as he was pursuing his athletic endeavors and improving his life, I still enjoyed his highly motivational talk about how he overcame so many obstacles in pursuit of a healthier lifestyle.  In the process he was also promoting his book, “Finding Ultra.”  As I mentioned earlier, I heard Rich Roll speak about his experiences going from a coach potato lawyer and turning his life and health around by not only going vegan but participating in these Ultra Man Marathon’s that are run in Hawaii.The other speaker, Mr. Johnathan Balcombe, discussed various animals and illustrated how they had feelings that we should be cognizant of.  What really struck me during that session was that fish, yes, actual fish like to be touched and massaged, much like dogs.  Who knew!  And then he showed a photograph of this perfectly shaped mandala that was  made by a puffer fish in the sands of the deep ocean to attract a mate.  Another astonishing fact that he dispensed was that sharks actually like humans, even more so when you massage them.  No offense to our fish friends, not trying to sound awful, but this knowledge did not deter me from consuming fish, or encourage me to get cozy with sharks. 


Saturday, February 7, 2015

GNYDA Health and Wellness Conference 2015

     So a couple of days back, I journeyed off to the yearly GNYDA Health and Wellness Conference in mind numbing cold weather.  I suspect the weather kept a few home since, at least as far as I could tell, the room was a bit emptier than previous years.  The talks provided enlightening insights on the association between skin and acne, the re-emergence of blenderized tube feedings, as well as reinforced concepts about the benefits of exercise. Overall, I would say, it was worth the trip.
     Jennifer Burris, MS, RD, a doctoral student at NYU with multiple dietetic certifications gave us a glimpse of her research into acne and nutrition.  The incidence of adult acne has increased over the past 20 to 25 years.  This condition, although not life threatening, negatively impacts emotional health.  Acne can be attributed to a number of factors including but not limited to stress, environment and diet.  Current research on the associations between diet and acne are inconclusive but certain foods can aggravate the condition.  Sugary foods, fruit juice, and surprisingly fat free milk have been shown to be some of the worst culprits.  Low glycemic diets and omega 3 fatty acids appear to possibly be helpful in cases of moderate to severe acne.  The link between milk consumption and acne is unclear.  Researchers aren’t sure whether it’s the fat, carbohydrate or protein in the milk which is associated with exacerbating the condition.
     Dr. Jordan Metzl, a sports physician, emphasized the importance of exercise as preventative medicine.  He stated today’s youth are expected to live 5 years less than their parents.  His prescription for exercise as follows: 30min/day for 5 days of the week starting off with low intensity workouts and increasing intensity as the body becomes stronger.   He also encouraged yearly fitness goals.
     Finally, Julia Driggers, RD, LDN,CNSC a clinical dietitian at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia talked about the use of blenderized tube feedings.  This was an eye-opener as I (as well as other RD colleagues of mine) thought they weren’t in use anymore. These feedings aren’t recommended for patients with multiple food allergies or are immunocompromised.  There are food safety issues associated with implementing such feedings.  Supposedly there are feedings on the market by commercial distributors made with real foods.  Real food and Liquid Hope were two of the brand names mentioned during the meeting.  Liquid hope is not for use with children.   There are two types of feedings that can be made: thick and thin.   Thick feedings generally have higher caloric density (>30cal/ oz), are thick and pasty in consistency and have minimal free water.  They are used in patients with reflux, volume intolerance or have undergone nissen fundoplications.  Grains, sugars, cornstarch, or infant cereal are used to thicken formulations.  Thin feedings are used in patients’ with formula intolerance, oral aversions, or delayed oro-motor skills.  They typically are between 20 to 30cal/oz and are moderately free in water.  Recipe’s for these formulas can be found in, “Homemade Blended Formula Handbook,” by Marsha Dunn Klein, Med, OTR/L and Suzanne Evans Morris, PhD, CCC.  Most homemade blenders would not be acceptable for making blenderized tube feedings so thought must be put into the type of blender to purchase.