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10th January 2017

After the Holiday Parties, Food for Thought

Oh, the horror, the horror. Those five pounds that you were so proud of losing are back after a week of holiday celebrations.

Now that the parties are over and detox season has begun, be grateful that you enjoyed the ancient human ritual of food-sharing, and don’t despair. Medtech can guide you back to the path to slim elegance.

Between deadlifting sessions and 10-mile walks, check out “The Kids Menu,” a documentary on the oldest medtech in the world: cooking. The film is guaranteed to lift your sights from the bathroom scale to the future of humanity.

“The Kids Menu” is the third documentary by Joe Cross, an Australian filmmaker, and the greens-guzzling children here will surely reawaken your enthusiasm for healthy eating.

You’ll hear about an innovative Harlem program that lets doctors write prescriptions for “more fruits and vegetables” that can be filled for free at New York City’s farmers’ markets.

My vegetable-loathing 10-year-old son, promoted to research assistant for this story, was quite taken with DJCavem, who gives juicing demonstrations and writes music about organic gardening. It seems that even vegetables can be cool.

Kids reluctant to eat anything that comes from dirt change their minds when they’re the ones doing the growing. “The Kids Menu” has an inspiring segment about two California girls who led a rebellion against school cafeteria food and helped found a student-run vegetable garden.

Reconnecting kids with farming isn’t just good for the body; it builds character, too, according to FoodWhat Youth Empowerment and Food Justice Program.

While the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables provide enough vitamins and minerals for healthy people, the World Health Organization says billions of people globally are deficient in Vitamin A, zinc, and iron. Disasters can cut the lifeline from people to farm. WHO’s goal is to plan to save lives, partly by making supplements available.

Technologies in traditional cooking methods, developed over hundreds of thousands of years, often hold answers. According to author Michael Pollan, the chronic diseases that kill most of us can be traced to the industrialization of our food. Pollan’s four-part series on food history and culture, “Cooked,” illuminates how we came to eat so much processed food.

Knowing how to eat healthy is more important than ever as the human population is projected to grow 20 percent to 9 billion by 2040, from 7.5 billion today.

Even some traditional diets, however, are deficient in certain vitamins, and scientists are experimenting with crop breeding to provide what’s missing. The 2016 World Food Prize was awarded to researchers who bred millet fortified with iron in India, and sweet potatoes fortified with Vitamin A in Mozambique.

For victims of war and natural disasters, the problem of finding proper nutrition is severe. The World Health Organization says billions of people globally are deficient in Vitamin A, zinc, and iron. WHO’s goal is to save lives, partly by making supplements available.

Healthy eating will remain a hot topic as earth’s population grows 20 percent over the next generation, to a projected 9 billion in 2040. The future doubtless holds much debate about traditional ways of farming, large-scale industrial agriculture, subsidies, fertilizers, high-yield crops, and patented genetic modifications.

Medical technology, however, counsels against arguments and worries at the dinner table. And with this, we wish readers a healthy 2017!

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