Food, Eating and Independence


Despite the modern technological, medical, even social advancements of our time, many of us find ourselves enslaved by food. Mythical health trends and diet fads inundate the media and leave us considering chocolate and red wine as dietary staples over non-organic, non-local vegetables, whole grains, or lean meats. Ironically, the overweight, obese, and diabetic epidemics seem to have proportionately grown alongside the supposed economic wealth of our country. In other words, the “richer” we get, the sicker we become.

As our economic independence currently teeters, we build our dependence on fast, convenient foods-on-the-go and medical technology to help us survive with the lack of nutrients. We’ve been told to eliminate wheat, dairy, soy, and all forms of carbohydrates. Sweets have become demonized next to alcohol. As I always tell my clients, whole foods are nourishing and healing. Learning how to balance whole foods into your diet is the key to my program, Eating Free™ – without guilt, without fear. Whole foods are not to blame for the chronic illnesses of our modern times. Foods that our ancestors have always cherished have somehow evolved as the culprits for weight gain and chronic illness. Meanwhile, our society depends on the contents of a box or plastic-wrapped imitations of food for sustenance. Could it be that our dependence on a lifestyle of fast, processed, convenient foods is the true culprit?
In our rich country, we avoid the most wholesome foods of past traditions. The mask of economic independence and security has stolen our health. For true independence, take back your health and eat free!

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 (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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