Graceful Food

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What an amazing time to be alive. We are surrounded by abundance. Restaurants everywhere we look, supermarkets shelves always full. Most Americans have it all in the palm of our hands.Shockingly, our consumption habits have coincided with increasing poverty levels and have left 68% of Americans overweight or obese! It seems the time has come to ask ourselves how to give grace for and gracefully respond to the abundance around us.

First and foremost, it is time to make time.

• Make time to touch, taste, and enjoy what nourishes you and share this with friends and family. No animal “eats on the run”.

• Make time to read labels of every single packaged food you ingest and choose those with the least amount of ingredients, additives, and preservatives.

• Make time to appreciate our enormous surplus of good, whole foods. Play with (yes, I said play) with foods sprouting from the ground. Visit local farms or farmer’s markets and know what and how animals live and die to sustain you.

Learn to respect yourself, Mother Nature, and the food she provides.

• Food is medicine, not evil! Love and eat the food we are blessed to have. Avoid non-foods disguised as foods; processed, high in fat, sugar, and man-made ingredients that only confuse and overwork the body into dysfunction.

• Do not destroy your body by mimicking the destruction of food. Ingest whole foods that are unadulterated and inherently possess and give the most nourishment.

• Support the soil from which we all depend. Avoid the purchase and use of unnatural and toxic materials that infiltrate the soil and seep down to our underground waterways and oceans. These materials will only end up back on our plates.

Give grace and want no more than what we have. Gracefully ingest real, living (or once- living) whole foods and grace will return to you.

Photo credit: Jun Belen

About The Author

Manuel Villacorta is a registered dietitian (RD) and certified specialist is sports dietetics (CSSD) with more than 16 years of experience. He was recently appointed national media spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, which identifies him as one of the United States’ leading weight loss and nutrition experts. Villacorta is the owner of San Francisco-based private practice MV Nutrition, the recipient of two consecutive “Best Bay Area Dietitian” awards (2009 and 2010) from the San Francisco Chronicle and Citysearch, and the creator of the Eating Free™ weight management program. Villacorta also developed MV Professional Nutrition (a software suite designed to assist RDs with their own private practices) and created www.eatingfree.com (an international, Internet-based weight loss and weight management program). Villacorta is a compelling, charismatic communicator—a public speaker, who is often praised for making audiences feel, heard, motivated, and engaged. His warm, approachable style, alongside his strong bilingual proficiency in both English and Spanish, have made him an in-demand health and nutrition expert on both local and national television and radio, and in articles in print publications and online. Villacorta worked closely with Dr. Nancy L. Snyderman, chief medical editor of NBC News, to provide expert nutrition advice on a number of topics for the BeWell network. He is often invited to speak at annual state and national conventions such as The Oregon Dietetic Association (where he was the keynote speaker), and The American Dietetic Association (where he spoke to other dietitian professionals about his successful private practice). Villacorta has acted as a media representative for food companies such as Foster Farms (one of the largest chicken producers on the West Coast) as well as for such California statewide health campaigns as the “California Latino 5-A-Day Program” and “Got Milk.” Prior to setting up his private practice, Villacorta worked as a public health dietitian for California Children Services and the Prenatal to Three Initiative, where he offered prenatal, infant, and childhood nutrition consulting. He has worked as a clinical dietitian for Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco and has held a faculty position with the School of Nursing at the University of San Francisco. Villacorta received his bachelor of science in nutrition and physiology metabolism from the University of California, Berkeley, and his master of science in nutrition and food science from San Jose State University. He has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards for his research, including the Outstanding Master of Science Degree Award from San Jose State University’s Department of Nutrition and Food Science.

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