A couple weeks ago, my boyfriend and I went to the Westmount Public Library, which is right across the street from where he lives/lived (he is leaving for a 3-month internship in Shanghai tomorrow morning!) I was finishing up some assignments for my internship, while he was doing some reading for his exams. We were sitting right by the magazines, so after I was finished with my work and he still had a few pages to read, I decided to browse the shelves.
I knew EatingWell would be a great magazine as soon as I saw that they had a Health & Nutrition advisory board that included Marion Nestle and Brian Wansink. So despite how expensive it is (I dropped ~$7 for an issue of this bimonthly), it didn't take much deliberation for me to decide to grab a copy of my own.
EatingWell certainly caters to a specific audience (which might just be someone like me). While Canadian Living, my current magazine of choice, just lists the nutritional info of their recipes and leaves them up to you to interpret, EatingWell has a table on the front of each magazine, which marks whether a dish is "High Fibre" or "Heart Healthy" based on criteria listed as a legend beside the table (so it's up to you to say for yourself whether you think it's High Fibre or Heart Healthy, really) and in addition to just being a food magazine, like Gourmet or Bon Appétit (although how can you hate on a magazine that Molly of Orangette writes for?) there is a focus on food that tastes good AND is good for you in addition to broader issues that are on everyone's mind like organics, sustainability and the environment.
This last point really struck a chord with me because while we were trying to think of a theme for our Open House booth (which was kind of a flop anyway, because people were just there to find out about getting a degree in nutrition, not nutrition itself), my suggestion of "local foods" was rejected because "that's probably a topic best left for the environment students." Maybe it is, but as dietitians, shouldn't we be aware of issues like where our food comes from and the impact it has on the environment? I mean, how can we teach people to eat healthily if food shortages mean there isn't any food to begin with? How can we promote a healthy lifestyle if we don't live in a healthy environment?
This issue of EatingWell (the March/April one, which is off of the stands now, unfortunately) was particularly interesting to me because it had an article that reflected a change I'd recently made in my diet—not eating Atlantic salmon if I could help it.
The author, David Dobbs, who is a professional angler, does a really good job depicting the life cycle of a wild salmon versus a farmed salmon and why farmed salmon is so debilitating to the environment (although the methylmercury content is also higher in farmed vs. wild, Dobbs argues that the benefits of the omega-3 outweigh the risks).
In addition to that wonderful article, there were also TONS of recipes (including an entire section devoted to tofu), an article on grass-fed beef (which is something I should really be getting into on the very rare *tehe* occasion that I do buy beef) and a feature on Lundberg Family Farms, which grows organic rice (also something I need to get into--after finishing that big bag of white rice sitting on our kitchen floor!)
Their photo step-by-step feature on stuffed artichoke would have also been helpful that one week I bought artichoke just because it was on sale.
The final reason I love EatingWell is their sweet-ass, clear-cut Writers' Guidelines. Even now, my boyfriend submits stuff to various publications and I would love to write for EatingWell, or any other popular food/nutrition/health magazine.
In my last internship, while I found clinical nutrition very rewarding in the sense that I got to talk to patients, figure out a diet plan that would suit their condition and write chart notes, I still find myself wanting to work in public health or the media in some way just because it seems that the public is more likely to access it. (Also, the high turnover at the hospital didn't help; both of my dietitians left their positions shortly after my rotation—it's not my fault, I swear!—and in a previous internship, my dietitian left for a year-long break after I left) The thing with nutrition in the media, however, is that there's so much pressure to sensationalize study results and it perpetuates the belief that there are "Magic Foods" or one-food answers to any nutritional problems. I hope that if I have the opportunity to work in public health and/or write, I'd be able to drive home the message that the "secret" is simple: Eat a balanced diet in moderation and make regular physical activity (even if it's just walking) a part of your regular lifestyle.
And maybe I'd throw a bit of personal bias in there and encourage real, whole foods... I know the processed stuff is cheaper and may be the only food that's "accessible" to certain parts of the population, but oh, I don't know what's going to happen with this food crisis but I hope one day fresh foods will come out on top again.