Community Nutrition Conference
- Building a Food Movement in New York in the Age of Trump. May 11, 2017. CUNY Urban Food Policy Center
- The Speaker Panel consisted of:
- Mark Bittman: food writer and former columnist for the New York Times
- Nicolas Freudenberg: Director of the Urban Food Policy Institute, distinguished professor , long-term researcher on diet-related chronic diseases, urban health and the role of the food industry in health and disease.
- Amy Richards: Coordinator of the Partnership for a Healthier Queens, coordinates food access and health programs for an organization that helps Latino immigrant communities.
- Charmaine Ruddock: director at Bronx Health REACH, a program that focuses on helping underserved communities in the South Bronx
- Philip Andrews: Director of the Retail Organizing Project at the RWDS Union, a union that represents thousands of works in fast food, poultry plants, food processing organizations.
- This meeting was a discussion panel with a moderator focusing in the exchange of ideas on how to accomplish progress in the food justice movement over the coming years. This is a concern to many people as the current President and his administration announced cut backs on budgets and plans to repeal laws that benefit many people. The panel discussed the importance of not taking steps back but to keep pushing for food justice in terms of access to food, health care, government benefits and more.
The panelists stressed that even though the current administration seems to be not in favor of many aspects of the movement, we need to reach across the lines and find advocates that also seek to better the lives of people. It also means that even though someone might be a democrat and pay lip service to justice organizations they might not always follow through with their promises (for example, NYC has for three years now attempted to pass the free school lunch program for all, but at the last minute, the deal was never fulfilled). The panel also discussed recent successes in their work for justice, for example the $15 minimum wage law. For most people policy does not matter much in their life until it becomes personal, until they themselves expire some kind of shortcoming, and they turn to legislators for answers and help. The panel also made a point to try to implement laws and changes on a local level if changes on a national level are currently not possible (or at least it would be difficult to get anything passed in the senate for the next 2-4 years).
- The meeting was a panel, an exchange of ideas, and did not use any evidence. The panel also assumed that people are interested and invested in food justice and that everyone deserves and should have access to healthy food. If anything was biased, it was the assumption that Trump and his administration were posing a danger to current efforts to make and keep Americans healthy – but if one follows the news, it is easy to see this conclusion.
- Not everyone on the panel had their own microphone, they shared one. I think the flow of the conversation would have been better if everyone had had their own instead of passing it back and forth. They were also running a little short on time which means at the end not many people got to ask questions. I think it would have also been helpful to have a slide projector displaying the main topic and main discussion points the moderator was asking the panel to make it easier to follow along.
- The panel felt inspiring and gave people hope that there are many organizations and people out there who fight hard for food justice for all. Even though the current climate seems bleak, there is no giving up in the push for better laws and regulations. They also shared details on where and how one can participate in future meetings that require public assistance, for example the meeting at the NYC city hall on Monday for another push for free school lunches for all.
- Refreshments served were a fruit salad and coffee/tea. It felt very appropriate and was very much appreciated.
Food Service Managment Conference
1. Topic Name: Healthful Food Trends and Their Impact on the Restaurant Industry. It took place at the Javits Center in NYC during the International Restaurant and Food Service Show on March 5th.
2. The speaker was Marlisa Brown MS, RD, CDE, CDN.
3. The main points of this talk was the discussion of current food and diet trends in the restaurant industry. It also included a description of different age groups and generations and what kind of food trend they tend to seek out when going to a restaurant (baby boomers, Gen X, Millenials). The speaker gave an overview of the most commonly encountered food trends: gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan, Paleo, raw food, whole food plant based diets, allergy menus, diabetic, FODMAP, low sodium, low carb, GMO and more. The speaker explained each trend and gave examples of who might look for such menus. She also stressed how important it was to train the restaurant staff to respond to special requests. If the staff does not know whether an item, for example, contains nuts, garlic or meat, they should not just say no to placate the customer, but should ask the chef and consult labels. The speaker spend a lot of time explaining how food allergies can be severe and that a customer who says they have an allergy should always be taken very seriously. The speaker further explained areas that can often be overlooked in a kitchen, for example the same fryer is used to fry fish and fries, and how cross-contamination can happen this way. She stressed the importance of setting the restaurant staff up for success by teaching them about the most common diet trends, and to give them the tools necessary to be successful (for example, providing separate, additional equipment for gluten free, allergy or vegetarian customers).
4. The presentation was not biased in any way since the speaker simply explained different diet and food trends that are most commonly seen. She used her own experience as a consultant when talking about the most commonly requested diets. Trends can be gauged by following social media, health blogs or TV reports. The speaker only mentioned that she wrote gluten-free cookbooks at the end of the presentation but it had no bearing on the presentation itself.
5. The speaker’s PowerPoint slides were not that detailed and mostly contained a few words (for example, Gluten Free Diet). Personally, I would have included a few more details on each slide when describing the diet, so that attends have the change to read the description in addition to hearing it from the speaker. Many attendees also took photos of the slides, so more details would have helped them remember the presentation better.
6. The session seemed successful in introducing food trends to business and restaurant owners. Attendees were seen taking notes and pictures. I think the talk was a good introduction for restaurant owners but could have went into a little more details, such as concrete examples of how to make a kitchen more inclusive to customers with special dietary needs or things to watch out for. Overall I enjoyed this talk as it gave insight in how and RD can work in the food service management field as a consultant, and some topics that restaurant owners are interested in.
7. No refreshments were served at the talk. However, the restaurant and foodservice show provided all kinds of samples, from breads to sauces, juice, crackers, ice cream and alcohol.
Clinical Conference Report
- 1. Webinar: Tube feeding with a Blenderized Diet
- Presenter: Alisa Rumsey, MS, RD, CDN, CSC
- This webinar focused on using blenderized real food as an alternative to using formula feeds in tube feed-dependent patients.
- The speaker talked about the history of blenderized tube feed diets. Up to the 1970s blending up food was the only way to give nourishment to tube fed patients. This practice is still being done in developing nations such as Africa where nurses mix a porridge mixture with milk or water and put it into the patients NG tube.
- The most commonly cited reasons of patients for blenderized food are: wanting more natural foods, eating family meals and wanting to tolerate feed better. Medical reasons for blenderized diet include: studies found better tolerance compared with formulas (less gagging, less GI symptoms and increase in oral intake), reflux improvement, increased volume tolerance and decrease in dumping syndrome. Other advantages of blenderized food include the presence of phytochemicals and fiber, potentially lower cost compared to formulas and importantly, increased quality of life since patients are able to have family meals and can even include their favorite foods (like omelet or even coffee)
- Some reasons against blenderized diets include the potential for unbalanced nutrition (as formulas are perfectly designed to include all required macro and micronutrients), and the possibility for bacterial contamination. Doctors are often against blenderized diets due to concerns for tube clogging, but the speaker said that with an appropriately strong blender and using 14-20 french tubes and appropriate flushing, clogging is almost never a concern.
- Blenderized diet is appropriate for mostly medically stable patients with well-healed tubes. Ideally the tube would be a G-tube. Concerns for J-tubes are the bypassing of the stomach and duodenum for digestion and absorption. Fluid status and fluid restrictions also need to be considered as blends can be made thinner and thicker depending on needs. It is also important that the patient and his family have a medical team ready to answer concerns and ensure health.
- The RD first begins by calculating the needs of the patients. The speaker recommended to go over by 10-20% of estimated needs in order to account for the body doing more work via digestion.
- When the blenderized diet is first used, it is recommended to start with a simple starter recipe. The speaker recommends combining fruit, cooked vegetables, protein powder and water. To start out slow, replace one can of formula with the blenderized food. Increase over the next few days until all formula cans are replaced by the blenderized food.
- There are two general approaches to making blenderized diets: make the whole blend for the entire day in one sitting and divide into number of feedings, or blenderized every individual meal by dividing the total calories by number of feedings.
- There is a community of people in the internet who share tips and recipes for blenderized diets with each other
- The speaker cited studies that showed evidence of better tolerance of blenderized diets compared with formulas. She did disclose that she did some work for one of the companies she mentioned in her presentation which produced to-go blenderized foods. Additionally the speaker runs a website about blenderized diets and specializes in mostly blenderized diets in her professional life. I don’t think this takes away from the actual evidence of trials that blenderized diets are a better alternative to formula in certain patients.
- If I was to present a webinar I would hold off onto questions until the presentation was over instead of taking questions in the middle of it. It takes away from the flow of the presentation.
- The presentation met the outlined learning objectives. It described the basic principles, scientific background, required tools, indications and contraindications, recipes and how tos.