September 9, 2016
Over the summer of 2016, CLF’s Map Team interns visited every known food store in Baltimore City to collect data for the Healthy Food Availability Index (HFAI)—but they also took time to interview some of the store owners and learn about their challenges and successes. Here’s the first of those stories.
This summer my fellow CLF interns and I visited every food store in the city, from tiny gas stations selling only peanuts and soda, to organic supermarkets selling sustainable grasshopper flour desserts, to every corner store in between. In addition to the variety of data Read More >
August 30, 2016
This post is the second in a series, Protein—Everything You Always Wanted to Know But Were Too Afraid to Ask. Stay tuned for Part 3!
Year of the Pig, Year of the Goat, Year of the Pulse??? Every year, the United Nations initiates special observances to promote international awareness and action on important issues. This year is the Year of the Pulses.
Pulses are a subgroup of legumes used mainly as protein sources in the diet. Common pulses include beans, dried peas, chickpeas and lentils. They’re high in protein, fiber and many vitamins. Known as being hearty crops and for their ability to grow easily in a variety of conditions, they’re an excellent part of healthy diets all across the world. (Legumes that are used as vegetables—peas, green beans or soybeans and groundnuts for oils—are not considered pulses.[i])
Pulses deserve a lot more attention than they get. Here are five great reasons to love a pulse:
- Nutrition and health
- Global and local food security
- The environment and climate
- Cost and simplicity
- Taste and variety
Read More >
August 25, 2016
Part 1 and Part 2 of the China’s Changing Diet blog series portrayed how individual and systematic dietary changes impact health and the global environment. Reversing trends takes time, but throughout history, the collective actions of committed individuals have had far-reaching impacts. In this section, we will discuss some changes already happening in China.
Chinese-language Meatless Monday poster
Moving the dial, motivation and Meatless Monday
Whether Dietary Guidelines can effectively spur diet changes is a difficult thing to assess. In China as in most countries, the rapid shift toward sugars, oils, meat and processed foods is counter to their past and present Dietary Guidelines. However, Dietary Guidelines can support the conversation and guide promotions toward diet changes. Much of the impact of the DG relies upon publicity, tools and education that follow their release. Read More >
August 24, 2016
In Part 1 of the China’s Changing Diet blog series, we provided an overview of the recent shifts in how Chinese citizens eat and live as a result of economic growth, urbanization and food availability. In the following section, we will discuss the local and global impacts of these shifts and how Chinese health experts have addressed these through the newly-revised Chinese Dietary Guidelines.
Diet changes have lasting impacts on health and the environment locally and globally
In China, the incidence of obesity and its related complications have increased rapidly alongside dietary changes. The overall prevalence of overweight and obesity among Chinese people was increased by 38.6% and 80.6% respectively during the period of 1992-2002.[i] In 2012, 30.1% of adults were overweight and 11.9% were obese. 9.6% of youth were overweight and 6.4% were obese.[ii] Taking into account the sheer size of China’s population, over one fifth of all one billion obese people in the world now come from China.[iii]
Read More >
August 23, 2016
Reflections on China’s Changing Diet: Local impacts, global implications, and promising solutions.
China is eating differently, and it matters—a lot! China’s sheer size and growth mean that even small changes in diet and lifestyle patterns have large impacts in terms of public health, food safety and the environment. In this first blogpost, we summarize how and to what degree China’s diet has actually changed. Our second post will discuss the local and global implications of the shifts in China—and how China’s health experts are encouraging citizens to adjust their food and lifestyle choices. Finally, we will suggest simple and effective actions such as Meatless Monday that can be leveraged individually and collectively to move the dial toward a healthier China and thriving world. Read More >
August 10, 2016
World War I-era poster by the U.S. Food Administration
This blogpost was co-written by Erin Biehl and Karen Banks.
For decades, we’ve heard the slogan: reduce, reuse, recycle. Those familiar “three Rs” are often represented by the well-recognized Mobius Loop, spinning infinitely on bins, packages, and bottles nationwide.
The three Rs and the symbol are intended to educate consumers about the waste hierarchy, which tells us that the prevention, reuse, and recycling of materials is far preferable to sending them to a landfill—and by some measures the campaign is working because recycling and composting have increased 500 percent since 1980 in the U.S. On the other hand, a considerable portion of the waste stream still eludes us: food. Each year, 52.4 million tons of food is thrown away in the U.S. That’s the equivalent of 1,200 USS Missouri battleships full of food. Another 10.1 million tons of food never make if off the farm field. Read More >
August 2, 2016
When the Johns Hopkins Center for Livable Future (CLF) approached OROSW (Operation ReachOut SouthWest) with the idea of community food assessment study, we first had to figure out what a community food assessment, or CFA, is. Essentially, a CFA is a survey that researchers use to get a sense of how much food security or food insecurity a neighborhood is experiencing. We used it to survey people in the neighborhood and get their thoughts on food availability in southwest Baltimore.
We learned so much from the CFA findings. We found that not only are food deserts prevalent, but also that many residents travel outside Southwest Baltimore for their primary grocery shopping—to 29 different supermarkets and other food outlets. We learned that Read More >
July 29, 2016
And the survey says… seafood consumers care about sustainability. Nearly three quarters (72%) of respondents agree that shoppers should only purchase from sustainable sources. Sustainability was ranked as more important than price or brand, but only 54% of respondents were willing to pay more for certified sustainable products, such as Marine Stewardship Council approved products. The study findings were drawn from a population of 16,000 consumers from 21 countries including the U.S. Read more at World Fish and Aquaculture. Read More >
July 28, 2016
This post is the first in a series, Protein—Everything You Always Wanted to Know But Were Too Afraid to Ask. Check out the second post on pulses!
Does giving up meat mean giving up valuable protein and vitamins?
Not necessarily. First, let’s first break down what, exactly, protein is and why it’s important for our health.
Protein is an important energy-yielding macronutrient – meaning it provides us calories, or energy. Proteins build muscle and make up hemoglobin, which transports oxygen to our muscles. Proteins also have functional and structural roles building and repairing tissues. They are key players in signaling and chemical reactions as well–including enzymes and hormones.
Through a microscope, proteins look a bit like necklaces with beads that come in different shapes and sizes. To further the analogy, think of each bead as a different type of amino acid: each protein in our body has a specific amino acid sequence Read More >
July 22, 2016
A friend from Madrid will be visiting us in Baltimore next week. He enjoys eating and cooking at home, so I’d like to have a few dishes prepared for the next days. But a few factors, namely my location, the fact that I don’t drive, and my partner being out of town, make me realize that it’s going to be hard to fulfill my intentions of preparing a few healthy and hearty meals.
This reminds me of my time living in downtown Madrid four years ago. I’d work very long hours during the week, so I usually only had time to do my grocery shopping on the weekends. On a typical Saturday morning, I usually headed to the food market, five minutes walking from my apartment, and circled the 20 stores that sell only fresh produce, looking for the best deals (living within a student budget!). If it were late spring or summer, I’d end up with five pounds of oranges, six pounds of tomatoes (for gazpacho!), a few veggies for miscellaneous cooking and some change left from my five-euro bill. Read More >