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Nutrition Update: 2015 In Review

by Thais Harris, NC
Nutrition Education Program Manager, Ceres Community Project
December 2015


It feels great to look back at the year and see how much progress has been made in the nutrition field! Not only have we taken many steps to disseminate better information about what constitutes good nutrition worldwide and nationwide, in our smaller-scale Ceres world we were able to implement programs, join coalitions, and present at conferences and symposiums to support this effort.


Here are some of the national scale highlights from 2015:

The World Health Organization (WHO)’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) announced that consumption of processed meat is “carcinogenic to humans.” And the US Dietary Guidelines Committee issued a review of diet and health earlier this year and one of its conclusions was that consumption of red meat should be low for both human and planet health. It is reaffirming for us at Ceres to see these major reports coming out with information that supports our Food Philosophy. We look forward to seeing policy change in accordance with these recommendations and to being part of an even larger movement towards a more sustainable, healthy and accessible way of growing,  distributing, and eating food.

The 5 key concepts that guide our food philosophy are:

1) Every Bite Counts: Every day in our country, 49 million Americans lack the nourishing food they need to thrive. The poor, children, seniors and low-income people struggling with serious illness are most at risk and are the very people who most need the highest quality nutrition.

2) Nutrition is about more than macronutrients: A healthy diet encompasses much more than calories or ratio of protein, fat and carbohydrates. We need vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients (especially antioxidants), enzymes and probiotics. These nutrients are best provided when we eat a wide variety of clean and unrefined whole foods.

3) Inflammation can be avoided: Food can be either inflammatory (sugar, poor quality and processed meats, fried foods, junk foods, and refined grains) or anti-inflammatory (whole, plant-based foods, and wild, oily fish). Since inflammation is at the root of most diseases, choosing anti-inflammatory foods will pay off in the long term.

4) Organic foods are safest: they reduce our exposure to toxins in pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides; reduce pollution of farm land, air and waterways, and organic practices are safer for farm workers.

5) Local foods offer the most benefits: they have higher nutrient content when harvested at their peak and consumed right away, rather than traveling hundreds or often thousands of miles. They also support a strong local economy and build food security/resiliency in local communities in case of natural disasters.

How do you take this into your own daily food choices in 2016?

Stay tuned next month, when I’ll cover some of the specific highlights of our accomplishments in this field at Ceres this past year.

May you have a wonderful holiday season.

Thais Harris, NC