Sprinting Toward Summer

Dear Readers,

We’ve reached the end of another school year. Congratulations, you made it! Now is the time to reflect on what we’ve learned and celebrate the successes of the past year. Whether you’re graduating this month or going off to explore the professional world through an internship, I think we can all agree that we’re looking forward to catching up on fresh air, sunshine and… sleep. Bring it on, summer!

Did you miss the Student Research Conference last month? Fortunately, Jennifer Huang can fill you in on what you missed with her conference recap. (Plus photos!)

It’s often said that “you are what you eat.” Although Friedman students know that that’s a simplistic understanding of how nutrition actually works, Hannah Meier can give you the lowdown on one superfood to fuel your summer activity: sweet potatoes! Try her yummy, power-packed recipes.

But what if  you are what you eat  you are what you grow? Julie Kurtz reflects on her trip to Cuba last winter, and contemplates the lessons the U.S. food system might learn from Cuban agriculture.

Next up, Erin Child does some detective work to get to the bottom of the Pinnertest, a self-administered home test meant to identify all that ails you (a.k.a. food intolerances). Does it work? Erin talked to the experts.

As many of us approach graduation, we’re reflecting on the things we’ll take away from Friedman as we go on to pursue our professional careers. Katelyn Castro shares the lessons she’s learned over the years through her coursework and as a dietetic intern.

And finally, in a world of conflicting messages about nutrition and increasing uncertainty about science, it is often hard to be a persuasive voice for scientific truth. Rachel Baer explores the ways in which nutrition professionals can confront “alternative facts” about food and health.

Before we sign off for this academic year, congratulations are in order! We want to wish our very own co-editor, Micaela Young, a fond farewell as she graduates and moves on and up. Our social media editor and prolific Sprout writer, Julia Sementelli, is also graduating. Best wishes, Micaela and Julia! To take Micaela’s place, Hannah Meier has agreed to join Kathleen as the new Friedman Sprout co-editor for the 2017-18 year. Welcome, Hannah!

This year has been a blast, and we couldn’t have done it without all our fantastic and smart writers and readers. Thank you for a successful year of the Sprout. We look forward to bringing you more writing on food, agriculture and nutrition in the fall.

Happy Summer, everyone!

Kathleen Nay & Micaela Young

In this issue…

Revival of the Student Research Conference

by Jennifer Huang

The 10th Future of Food and Nutrition Graduate Student Research Conference, known fondly within the Friedman community as the SRC, took place on April 7th and 8th. Jennifer Huang gives us a photo-filled recap of this student-led event, where she—and all who attended—were blown away by the amazing capabilities of student presenters and the Friedmanites who worked tirelessly since last November on planning this event

From Soil to Sport: Sweet Potatoes to Power You

by Hannah Meier

As the temperatures slowly, and not so consistently, increase in Boston this spring, more of us will find ourselves out in the field, on the trails, or on the sidewalks soaking in the sunshine and working up a sweat. Even if you aren’t competitive, you have probably noticed the difference in how you feel during, and after, exercise when you are—or are not—properly fueled. Look no further for easy and delicious recipes to power your active spring using the grad student’s pantry staple: The sweet potato!

You Are What You Eat  You Are What You Grow

by Julie Kurtz

Imagine, if you will, that the U.S. was stripped of all its powerful agricultural fertilizers, pesticides and mechanization. Imagine that we were cut off from international trade imports. In Cuba they didnt have to imagine. They lived it. AFE students Julie Kurtz, Tessa Salzman and Jamie Fanous traveled to Cuba in January 2017 to find out what lessons the U.S. food system might learn from Cuba. One surprising lesson? If you want to change American diets, talk to a Midwest corn farmer…

Evaluating the Pinnertest: The Importance of Scientific Evidence

by Erin Child

So, you think you have a food intolerance? What do you do? You could call your doctor and set-up an appointment that is inevitably months away. Then you have a 10-minute meeting in which they only look at their computer and refer you to a specialist, THEN go through more testing, and finally (hopefully!) get some answers. Or, you could order an at-home kit that takes 10 minutes to complete and promises results that will get you feeling better, sooner. Which one do you choose? Read on and decide.

Nutrition in a Nutshell: Lessons Learned as a Dietetic Intern

by Katelyn Castro

I was one of those few teenagers who knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up. Now, after four years of college and two years of graduate school combined with a dietetic internship, a career as a registered dietitian is not far out of reach. While my passion for nutrition has never dwindled over these last six years, my approach nutrition has changed significantly.

Finding Common Ground for Nutrition in a World of Alternative Facts

by Rachel Baer

Rachel Baer tackles the implications of the “post-truth” culture for the nutrition profession and poses 3 questions to consider about our response to the unending barrage of nutrition-related “alternative facts.”

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