Friday, March 7, 2008

In Defense of Food - and Dietitians!

Ellen Goodman of the Boston Globe has been my favorite newspaper columnist since I first read one of her columns during the late 70's.

However, Ellen's favored spot is fast being taken over by Melinda Hemmelgarn who writes a weekly column called Food Sleuth for the Columbia, MO newspaper, The Columbia Tribune. Food Sleuth is filled with information that helps a reader understand the connections between our farmers, food, good eating, health, environment, social justice, economics, and politics. This is no small task that Melinda has undertaken! Not yet nationally syndicated and carried by my local newspaper, I sleuth out (ha ha) her column myself every week by going to the web site for the Columbia Tribune and simply doing a search using the term "food sleuth".

This week, in honor of the first National Registered Dietitian Day to be celebrated on Monday March 10, Melinda wrote a column that sings high praise for Registered Dietitians who have long been advocates of food, real food, for both enjoyment and good health. I urge you all to read it (click on the title of this post to go right to the full article) and then ask your local newspaper to include Food Sleuth on a regular basis. In my opinion, it belongs front and center on both the editorial page and the food and recipe section.

Melinda recently gave the keynote address at the 19th Annual Organic Farmers Conference in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Her memorable "sound bite" from that speech rang true with me, and I hope it will with you, too. Here it is:

“We should all be growing some of our food, we should be cooking most of it and we should know all of it,” she said. “I tell my husband that growing food together is second only to having children together.”

Speaking of growing one's own food, here is a scene of the gardens at Thomas Jefferson's home Monticello during their winter resting period, in the beautiful mountains near Charlottesville, VA, where I visited last month. Jefferson's garden was 1000 feet in length, and he grew over 300 varieties of vegetables there. Monticello is where I first purchased the seeds for Early Curled Siberian Kale in the spring of 2006. The sweetness and tenderness of this variety of kale changed my view of how kale can taste and frankly, has made me a true, even devoted, kale fan. In fact, like Thomas Jefferson, I enjoy eating my vegetables enough to concur with his famous quotation: “[I eat meat] “as a condiment to the vegetables which constitute my principal diet.” I think my husband is envious of both this beautiful spot and space for a vegetable garden but wisely confessed that he would need a lot of help (more than me!) to manage one this large. :-)

In celebration of Registered Dietitians and the connections they help us find between food and all that is good in universe, I'll end with one of my favorite blessings:

May the food we are eating make us aware of
the interconnections between the universe
and us, the earth and us, and all other living
species and us. Because each bite contains
in itself the life of the sun and the earth,
may we see the meaning and value of life
from these precious morsels of food.

~~ Adapted from Thich Nhat Hanh
(Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, born in 1926)

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wonderful to find your blog this morning. [Beautiful!]

And read more about MH, the RD writing for the Columbia Mo paper.

Cant beat her phrase and concept -
raising food together is second only to having children together.

Perhaps it applies to a neighborhood or small community in an exciting way also.

Best wishes, T