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Our Favorite Quotes from Enlightened Eaters: What the Fork Are You Eating?

Maggie Borden

January 27, 2015

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Stefanie Sacks at the James Beard Foundation's Enlightened Eaters event

Last Wednesday JBF relaunched its Enlightened Eaters program, an educational series of readings, workshops, discussions, and other events that focus on health, nutrition, sustainability, and the environment. Our first event of 2015 featured Stefanie Sacks, author of What the Fork Are You Eating? At the standing-room-only gathering, Sacks offered some guidance on how the average consumer can best navigate the grocery store and make the right choices to lead a healthier lifestyle.

Here are some of our favorite insights from Stefanie:

1) You will, in the end, pay a little bit more for healthier food. But do you want to pay on the front end or the back end? Because you’re going to pay no matter what. 

2) I don’t follow any specific dietary regimen at all—been there, done it. I don’t believe in fad diets. I think that if you have illness, I will suggest a particular nutrition prescription with probably clinical support depending on what someone’s health paradigm is, but in the end, food is to be enjoyed and relished, and we have a lot of fear around food.

3) We’re always looking for the next innovation—just eat food! Food, that’s it. Food. It’s pretty simple.

What the Fork are You Eating?

4) I read this statistic recently: to buy a car, people spend roughly 15 hours researching—to buy one car. We, on average, an American spends 44 minutes grocery shopping a week, and that’s for 3 meals and snacks a day for probably multiple people. Granted, a car is a very expensive purchase—but as far as I’m concerned, we’re pretty priceless. So we’re just not putting as much thought into the foods we choose, and that’s where our values need to shift.

5) The really important thing to do if you have children: don’t talk to them like they’re babies; talk to them like they’re people. Just as you would give them instructions if they’re going to go skating for the first time or if they’re going to go across the street or if they’re going to go buy something, explain it to them. And guess what happens when you talk to kids the right way? They talk to their friends. Do you know how many of my friends’ kids don’t drink Gatorade anymore because of my son?

6) Not going all the way is okay. Being a realist and not an idealist is okay. Everything is about this edible ideal—there is no edible ideal, honestly. And if we don’t start to honor that and respect people for what they can do, and honor them for what they can’t do, then there is no conversation, there is no collaboration. We have to stop judging, and we have to start honoring.

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Learn more about the James Beard Foundation's Enlightened Eaters program.