Who’s ready for pie?

November is an exciting time in the food, nutrition, and policy worlds. It officially marks the end of the harvest and the beginning of seasonal holiday eating! For Friedman students, it also marks a turning point in the semester – we have Thanksgiving break to look forward to, and the conclusion of the semester is a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel (at least until mid-January).

Several Friedman students are still coming down from the excitement of the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) that just took place in Chicago. Anabelle Harari, Sharmin Sampat, and editor Hannah Meier recount what they learned, who they heard from, and products they tasted at FNCE.

Next up, Sara Scinto takes a critical look at all things pumpkin spice, and why fall’s most popular food flavor might not be exactly what consumers expect.

Looking forward to Thanksgiving, first-year student Sam Jones pauses to consider the complex relationships that often get left out of the telling of the traditional Thanksgiving story, and explains why, for some, it’s a day not so much about giving thanks but about mourning lives lost.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, if you’re gearing up for this year’s Turkey Trot, Megan Maisano has some tips for fueling your performance with four of her favorite seasonal foods.

To round out our November issue with some policy, Eliot Martin asks us to rethink approaches to food rescue, and Alana Davidson reports on Massachusetts’ first Farm to School Awareness Day at the State Capitol, along with an update on current Farm to School legislation.

Stay warm out there, folks! Happy reading,

Kathleen Nay & Hannah Meier


In this issue…

Friedman Goes to FNCE

by Hannah Meier, Anabelle Harari, and Sharmin Sampat

Every year in October, dietitians from across America gather together at a convention for three days of learning, networking, and eating. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics organizes the national event, The Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (or FNCE® for short), bringing together registered dietitians (RDs), dietetic technicians, registered (DTRs), students, interns, researchers, physicians, policy makers and industry leaders to talk about current practices, care guidelines, controversies, innovation and entrepreneurship in nutrition. Three current students from Friedman, Hannah Meier, Anabelle Harari and Sharmin Sampat share their highlights.


Pumpkin Spice: Fad or Fallacy?

by Sara Scinto

Would you want a watery pumpkin pie? A savory pumpkin spice latte? How about a stringy pumpkin bread? Yeah, I wouldn’t either. I adore pumpkin spice everything as much as the next person (pumpkin is actually my favorite food), but are pumpkin and spices actually in these products?


Thanksgiving: A Misunderstood History

by Sam Jones

The holiday that many of us are looking forward to this month is actually based on a complicated history of conflict and controversy. As disease threatened the very existence of Native American tribes across New England, the Mayflower pilgrims were dying of starvation. Sam Jones recounts how the social history of Thanksgiving saved some and devastated others in order to give celebrators a new perspective on tradition.



Fueling Your Performance with Fall Flavors

by Megan Maisano

Gearing up for this year’s Turkey Trot? This month Megan Maisano shares seasonal foods and recipes that will fuel your best performance.



It’s Time We Rethink Food Rescue

by Eliot Martin

“Food rescue” seems to be a hot topic these days. Picking up wasted food from supermarkets and delivering it to low income communities has been extolled as a way to reduce waste and provide nourishment to those in need. This editorial explores why a more nuanced approach to food recovery is warranted to achieve the outcomes we want.


Friedman Policy Corner: Massachusetts’ First Farm to School Awareness Day at the State Capitol

by Alana Davidson

October is National Farm to School Month. To celebrate, Massachusetts Farm to School hosted the first Farm to School Awareness Day at the state Capitol on October 26th. Alana Davidson recounts what happened at the event, and details current legislation that is being considered on Farm to School and ways to get involved and support strong Farm to School programs.


It’s Fall at Friedman

Fall is fully upon us here at the Friedman School! October brings changing colors on the Common, bulky sweaters, hot drinks, and cool weather (finally!). It’s hard to believe that midterms are right around the corner. Fortunately, the Sprout is a welcome distraction from the busy semester. You’re welcome!

In this issue, Sam Jones reminisces about her summer as an inferior species working as a ranch hand in Fort Collins, Colorado. (Who knew a rooster could be such a formidable competitor in a showdown between woman and beast?) Rebecca Lucas and Emmy Moore also look back on their summer trip to UNLEASH Global Innovation Lab in Denmark, and discuss the immense challenge of solving world hunger in just ten days.

Next up, Kathleen Nay reports on September 20’s Land Justice book tour, and reflects on our responsibility as policy professionals to acknowledge inequities in land access and ownership. Meanwhile, Hannah Meier also contemplates the role of nutrition and public health experts in advising on how to navigate everyone’s favorite sugar-laden holiday: Halloween.

Please welcome Erin Child, Friedman Sprout's new social media editor!

Please welcome Erin Child, Friedman Sprout’s new social media editor!

Hungry, but forgot your lunch? This month, Erin Child scopes out the ten best lunch spots within walking distance of Jaharis. Speaking of lunch, Eliot Martin introduces us to bánh xèo, a Vietnamese dish that evokes the tastes, textures, and smells of Mekong Delta cuisine.

Finally, Ayten Salahi holds down our science corner with her examination of a new study on gut microbiota and early childhood development.

Before we leave you to your reading, introductions are in order! We welcome Erin Child to the team as Friedman Sprout‘s new social media editor. As a NICBC student and frequent Sprout contributor, Erin is excited about bringing our Twitter (@friedmansprout) back to life and promoting our writers at @Tufts_Nutrition, official Instagram of the Friedman School. Follow us on Facebook too! Look for Erin’s posts at a social platform near you.

And with that, happy Fall and happy reading!

Kathleen & Hannah

In this issue…

My Summer as an Inferior Species

by Sam Jones

Farming is hard, especially when animals are involved. Sam Jones recounts her time working on a chicken and pig farm in Colorado where only the fearless survive.


Do We Need More Business, or Better Business, to Feed a Growing Population?

by Rebecca Lucas and Emmy Moore

To create a world that can feed 9 billion people by 2030 while providing clean water access, ensuring equal access to education across gender, and supporting renewable and safe energy, do we need to establish new and profitable business models? Or do we simply need to adjust business as usual?


On the Present Past and the Struggle for Land Justice

by Kathleen Nay

On Wednesday, September 20th, Grassroots International hosted a reading and panel discussion with authors of a new book from Food First, entitled Land Justice: Re-imagining Land, Food, and the Commons at the Tufts Health Sciences Campus. The event was co-sponsored in part by the Tufts Urban and Environmental Planning and Policy (UEP) program, Friedman Justice League, and Friedman Student Council. Kathleen Nay reflects on what she learned.



by Hannah Meier

Dressing up, carving pumpkins, ringing doorbells, staying up late, gorging on candy. Halloween traditions are well-beloved in the United States, and reminisced upon fondly by even the most educated nutrition students in the Boston area. But with sugar in the spotlight of contemporary public health interventions, is it time to reconsider our chocolate-coated hallows ‘eve habit?


Ten Spots to Try Next Time You Forget Your Lunch

by Erin Child

Forgot your lunch? Too busy to cook? Consider grabbing a friend (or five) and trying out one of these ten eateries near campus. Compiled from a quick survey (a big thanks to the fifteen students who responded!), I’ve got recommendations for holes-in-the-wall that you’ve probably walked by already, hidden gems, and local & national chains with healthy lunch options. Though numbered, this list isn’t meant to be a ranking. Walking times are measured from Jaharis. Cheers & happy eating!


A Taste of Cooking in the Mekong Delta

by Eliot Martin

I’ve found that really good Vietnamese food is unfortunately difficult to find in the U.S. For that matter, Vietnam as a whole seems to be misunderstood by many. While the best solution would be to spend some quality time in Vietnam—something I would recommend to anyone—you can whet your appetite without going halfway around the world. Get a taste of Vietnam through my experience with bánh xèo.


Gut Microbiota and the Developing Child

by Ayten Salahi

Undernutrition poses a formidable threat to the health and life trajectory of children around the world. A new study examines the role of gut microbiota in modulating nutritional status and early life development, and sheds light on bacterial transplants as a potential new method to tackle this longstanding challenge.


Seasons of Change, Reflection and Celebration

Dear Readers,

The month of November always seems to ceremoniously mark the passage of time. It’s a month punctuated by little and not-so-little reminders that things change. By now we’ve made a near-complete transition into fall. For many of us, we’ve recently gotten over the hump of midterms and are now setting our sights on finishing the semester strong. This November in particular, we’re holding our breath to find out what the next four years has in store for our country politically. And for those of us who are ready to put the endless presidential campaigning behind us, Thanksgiving is just over the horizon, ushering in the holiday season and giving us an occasion to reflect on the people and things we hold dear.

How is the Friedman Sprout thinking about change? With the election in just a few days, Katie Moses takes one last look at what our presidential candidates think about food and agriculture, and what that could mean for food policy with the next administration.

Once the election’s over, we can finally start planning our Thanksgiving Day menus. But have you ever wondered what Thanksgiving dinner was like for early Americans? Jennifer Pustz dives into the Thanksgiving traditions of yesteryear and provides insight into the history of our iconic holiday foods. Meanwhile, Hannah Meier sets the table for this year’s Thanksgiving meal with some unconventional dishes that are sure to impress your guests.

With all that heavy holiday eating, you might feel the need to work off some of those extra calories. Fortunately, Dani Bradley has just the thing, with a volunteer opportunity that allows you to give back in a meaningful way – while getting a run in! And if you’re looking for a lighter meal to tide you over between turkey-gobbling marathons, you’ll want to check out Little Big Diner – Julia Sementelli headed to Newton to sample some of their fare and give us the scoop.

Finally, as we near the end of the semester, we reflect on Friedman “then” and “now.” Sarah McClung had a chance to sit down with Elizabeth Whelan, a Friedman alumna who, when not busy preventing child hunger in South East Asia, reminisces fondly about her time at Friedman. Meanwhile, Kathleen Nay invites us on a photo-journey for some field trip fun with fellow Agriculture, Food and Environment students.

In the spirit of giving thanks, we are so grateful for the students who have contributed to the Friedman Sprout this semester. And we can’t forget our readers, either! Without you, there would be no Sprout; we’re glad you’re here. Don’t forget to keep up with us on Facebook and Twitter, and tell us what you think about this issue! We love to hear from readers.

Kathleen & Micaela

In this issue:

My(Policy)Plate: What Presidential Candidates Bring to the Table on Ag and Nutrition Issues

Photo: Nigel Parry for CNN

Photo: Nigel Parry for CNN

by Katie Moses

Election Day is just a few days away. What do our presidential candidates have to say about food and agriculture? Katie Moses takes a look at the issues.


Thanksgiving’s Holy Trinity: Turkey, Cranberries, and Pumpkin Pie

by Jennifer Pustz

These three staples are the stars of many a Turkey-day menu, symbols of a celebration shared by Native Americans and the English in the early years of the Plymouth colony. But were these foods at the “first feast?” How have these headliners stood the test of time? Friedman student and historian Jennifer Pustz gives us the scoop.

Fall Flavors and Balanced Bites: Easy, Tasty, and Flexible Recipes for your Thanksgiving Repertoire

by Hannah Meier, RD, LDN

 For many, Thanksgiving is a time to take a step back and enjoy the little things–not least of which are family, friends, and food. But Thanksgiving also falls at a high time of stress for many students (and professors alike). Take advantage of the nostalgia that this season brings, and embrace your life as it is right now–how cool is it that you GET to be stressed out by your finals at the only nutrition school of its kind in the country? Okay…maybe that’s a stretch, but I know you will at least enjoy these recipes as simple and creative ways to squeeze in some Holiday cheer. And because I love finding tasty ways to enhance the nutritional value of any dish (without, of course, compromising taste!), all of these recipes are those I’ve developed or modified from their original versions to not only provide positive Holiday vibes, but also powerful nutritional moxie.

Volunteer at an event that is sure to inspire! Girls On The Run 5K

gotr_finish-lineby Dani Bradley

Looking for a volunteer opportunity where you can be outside, be physically active, and help empower girls? Dani Bradley tells us what she loves about Girls on the Run, and how you can get involved this winter.


We Found East Asian-Inspired Soul Food in a Hopeless Place

by Julia Sementelli Tofu Bowl at Little Big Diner

Little Big Diner is bringing innovative yet comforting and delicious East-Asian food to Newton Centre, an often overlooked culinary spot, and helping to put the suburb on the foodie radar.


Alumna Interview: Elizabeth Whelan

whelan-thumbnailby Sarah McClung

Sarah McClung interviews Elizabeth Whelan, a Friedman alumna, about her work with Save the Children in Myanmar and how her degree has helped her in the field.



AFE Students Visit University of New Hampshire’s Fairchild Dairy and Organic Research Farms

by Kathleen Nay unh-dairies-1705

On Saturday, October 22, students from the Fundamentals of U.S. Agriculture and Agriculture, Science and Policy II classes visited two dairy farms at the University of New Hampshire. Kathleen Nay documented the field trip for the Friedman Sprout.


Wrapping Up 2015 at The Sprout

It is almost the end of the fall semester, finals are upon us, and Friedman students are eagerly awaiting winter break. But that didn’t stop contributors to the Sprout from bringing in a wide variety of articles to keep you occupied until the next Sprout (February 2016!).

This month was a big one for The Friedman School. In school news, Michelle Borges and David Grist give us a run down of what Friedman Student Council have been doing this semester.  The Friedman Justice League has drafted a vision statement for the future of the school. Finally, Hannah Packman interviews Friedman faculty on how they eat.

Next up, Kathleen Nay explores the group DINE, Dig In! Nutrition Education, and explains how Friedman students are making a difference, one third-grade class at a time. Are you stressed about finals? Marissa Donovan thinks you need some puppies, stat.

Big news broke when the FDA approved genetically modified salmon produced by AquaBounty.  Alexandra Simas explores the pros, and potential cons, of the GMO fish.

In other science news, scientists claimed to have discovered a fourth type of diabetes? Shannon Dubois has the story on their breakthrough, and whether it can really be called a “discovery” at all. Then take a look at Katelyn Castro’s article debunking 6 common diabetes myths. People are very misinformed on the topic and Katelyn clears up points of contention.

On the policy front, people have been concerned with what’s happening with the soda tax in Mexico? Did it work? Has it been repealed? Ally Gallop takes us through the process. Emily Nink takes a look at what strategies should be emphasized to prevent and reduce food waste.

Looking for new foods to try?  Michelle Pearson has tried and enjoyed the edgy meal replacement Soylent. Nusheen Orandi looks at the potential for seaweed as a source for essential nutrients. And Lindsay LaJoie talks about life growing up on a farm that grows blue potatoes.

Are you tired of nutrition science headlines blown way out of proportion? So is Matt Moore. He looks at some of the more egregious nutrition headlines that have hit the internet in the past year.

Do your New Year’s resolutions revolve around working on your fitness? Katie Mark explores the new fitness fad, boxing, and its surprising proponents. And finally, Mireille Najjar offers some nutrition-based tips for staying healthy this winter.

Good luck on finals and have a great holiday from your editors,

Matt Moore & Katherine Pett

In this issue:

Fall Semester at the Friedman Student Council

by Michelle Borges with David Grist


Hello from your Friedman Student Council! Despite our best efforts to communicate through all available channels, we often hear from students that they don’t know what student council does. Naturally, the Sprout seemed like an ideal place to post a summary of our activities so far this year.


Visions for a Just and Equitable Nutrition School

logoby The Friedman Justice League

This is an exciting time in the history of the Friedman School. Dean Mozaffarian has undertaken a school-wide strategic planning process, open to all levels of the school body. Albeit executed under a tight time frame, staff, faculty, and students are being given the unique opportunity to consider in-depth what makes Friedman great and how we can continue to make it even better.


What to Eat? It Depends Who You Ask

by Hannah Packman

The question of what to eat perplexes many Americans. We’re constantly barraged by conflicting dietary advice, much of which does not fit within our personal preferences or cultural practices. To help navigate this rocky territory, seven Friedman professors offer their take on the matter.


Friedman Students and Third Graders Get Down with Worms and Do Some Garden-Based Learning

by Kathleen Nay


Since 2006, the Friedman School’s Agriculture, Food and Environment students have partnered with the third grade classes at Josiah Quincy Elementary School to explore the benefits of garden-based learning. Dig In! Nutrition Education (DINE) is a curriculum designed to get kids excited about food while simultaneously fulfilling Massachusetts’ school science standards. This fall, both AFE students and the third graders enjoyed learning about the food system and nutrition together.


Furry Friends Can Help Ease Finals Stress

by Marissa Donovan

This time of year is hectic, the end of the semester is near, but the workload to get there seems daunting. Consider turning to animals to fight your finals-induced stress with Tufts Institute for Human-Animal Interaction and Tufts Paws for People.


Aqua… Advantage?

by Alexandra Simas

Fish are a fabulous source of many nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids. aquavantage-salmonGrowing popular demand has strained the limits of commercial fishing. Farmed fish help meet the growing need, but this system still has a significant environmental impact. Working towards the goal of increasing aquaculture efficiency, Massachusetts-based AquaBounty has created the AquaAdvantage®salmon, the first genetically-modified (GM) animal approved by the FDA for sale and consumption.


Is There a Fourth Type of Diabetes?

by Shannon Dubois
type-2-diabetesWe all know about diabetes: the infamous enemy of our bodies’ blood glucose homeostasis; the delicate balancing act between insulin and glucagon to keep our blood sugar stable. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are the most well-known and talked about, type 3 was brought to the table a few years ago, and type 4 has just been “discovered.” So, what is this newest type of diabetes, and should we be worried?


Debunking 6 Myths About Diabetes

by Katelyn Castro
Diabetes. Sugar. Insulin. Shots. You’ve probably heard of diabetes before, but unless you or someone close to you has diabetes, the media may have warped your perception of the disease. About one in ten Americans has diabetes, yet there are still many stereotypes surrounding the disease.


Coca-Colonization in Mexico: The Soda Tax That Almost Wasn’t

by Ally Gallop, RD, CDE

Screen Shot 2014-11-28 at 4.41.31 PM copyA year ago,
I praised the Mexican government’s seminal 10% soda and 8% junk food taxes, which took effect January 1, 2014. The result? Soda consumption dropped by 6% and bottled water consumption increased by 4%. Yet nearly two years later, relentless soda lobbyists tried to cut the tax in half. Did you hear about that?


Food Waste: Is Source Reduction Being Overshadowed by Food Recovery Efforts?

by Emily Nink

To prevent food waste, strategies should examine both social and environmental outcomes at all stages of the food recovery hierarchy, avoiding using food insecurity as a convenient rhetoric while protecting a culture of wasteful overconsumption.


soylentNot Another Soylent Article?!

by Michelle Pearson

Soylent is nothing new, and this is not the first article, but it may be the first to take a practical look beyond the gimmick. Soylent is for people!



Edible Seaweed: An Ancient Vegetable from the Sea

hero4595by Nusheen Orandi

We call it an exotic “health food” now, but edible seaweed became part of the world’s cuisine thousands of years ago and still remains a normal kitchen ingredient in many parts of the world. Why should we pay more attention to the stuff that gets stuck in between our toes at the beach? While western chefs and foodies play catch-up to the rest of the world by switching up their vegetable dishes, nutrition scientists say seaweed offers health benefits. Perhaps both contribute to why U.S markets are starting to make room for this sea vegetable on grocery shelves.


I Say PotatoPotato flowers

by Lindsay LaJoie, RD

Growing up on a family farm meant changing roles with the seasons, and changing with the times



Stop with the Clickbait, You So-Called Muckrakers

by Matt Moore

Mother Jones has done it again. The news organization took an informative and well-researched nutrition-based article and buried its message with a sensationalist, clickbait-style social media post more effective at ruffling feathers than fostering dialogue. Last month, Kiera Butler examined the hype surrounding bone broth, and it was tweeted from the official Mother Jones account imploring people to “Stop drinking bone broth, you stupid yuppies.”


#TrainLikeAnAngel: Victoria’s Secret Models Box

by Katie Mark


Dim the lights. Cue the music. Turn it up. Stare down your opponent: a black, 100-pound bag hanging from a chain. Slip your wrapped hands into the gloves. Lift both hands up against your face. Jab, jab, cross. Hit. That. Shit.


Boost Your Immune System with These Foods and Nutrients

by Mireille Najjar

The much-dreaded cold and flu season is upon us. To keep your immune system running strong, include these 6 immunity boosters in your diet. Plus make sure to wash your hands, drink plenty of water, and get enough sleep too.

Fall Semester at the Friedman Student Council

by Michelle Borges with David Grist

Hello from your Friedman Student Council! Despite our best efforts to communicate through all available channels, we often hear from students that they don’t know what student council does. Naturally, The Sprout seemed like an ideal place to post a summary of our activities so far this year.

The Friedman Student Council has had a busy semester planning events, fundraisers and facilitating communication between students, faculty and alumni. This semester, council is composed of 13 students and led by David Grist and Kristine Caiafa.

A large fraction of council funds support student group-led events each year. This fall, the council allocated nearly $1,800 to support farm tours, skill shares, documentary screenings and other scholarly activities. The council also plans social events that aim to bring greater cohesion to the Friedman community.

Social chairs Ally Gallop and Julia Kelly developed this semester’s eventful social calendar, including a brewery tour, coffee breaks, a karaoke party, a happy hour and more. Ally and Julia are also leading a project to create a cookbook comprised of recipes submitted by Friedman students – think a Friedman-style yearbook.

As the Friedman Alumni Association Representatives, Buki Owoputi, Corey O’Hara and Alex Simas collaborate with the Friedman Alumni Association to coordinate events and help voice student interests. This semester they helped coordinate a career panel for students and the upcoming toast to finals on December 4.

Serving as first-year representatives, Shinjia Shi and Ben Chipkin work on integrating first-year students into the Friedman community. Among the plans they currently have in the works is a bowling outing for first- and second-year students at Flatbread Pizza Company in Davis. They are also coordintating with other first year students to plana student ski trip to take place early in the spring semester.

12291273_10156084793640478_4211824103657531542_oTreasurer Matt Allan tracks student council funds and organizes fundraising events like the Fall Fundraiser currently underway. Perhaps you’ve seen the table in the Jaharis Atrium where Student Council members are selling Friedman aprons, chocolate, coffee, and other sundry equal exchange goods. These make great holiday gifts and the proceeds go directly back into supporting student led initiatives. Since Matt has a graphic design background, he also developed the Friedman t-shirt currently for sale at TeeSpring.

As Curriculum and Development representatives, Katherine Pett and Reem Al Sukait meet with faculty monthly to discuss and represent the student body’s opinion on plans for current and future Friedman curriculum.

The council strives to support student feedback in a variety of ways. This semester Caroline Nathan and Ashish Pokharel hosted “Friedman Feedback,” a focus group-style session that sought feedback on a range of topics. Additionally, the council welcomes any student to attend council meetings, email us at friedmanstudentcouncil@tufts.edu, add our Trunk page to view meeting minutes or submit comments via the online comment box or the physical comment box in the Jaharis café.

That is a quick wrap-up of what the Friedman Student Council has been up to this semester. We look forward to continuing our efforts in the spring!

Michelle Borges is the secretary for the Friedman Student Council.

David Grist is co-chair of the Friedman Student Council.

Visions for a Just and Equitable Nutrition School

by The Friedman Justice League

This is an exciting time in the history of the Friedman School. Dean Mozaffarian has undertaken a school-wide strategic planning process, open to all levels of the school body. Albeit executed under a tight time frame, staff, faculty, and students are being given the unique opportunity to consider in-depth what makes Friedman great and how we can continue to make it even better.

Stirred by our school’s time of reflection and planning, the Friedman Justice League (FJL) has crafted a vision for justice at the Friedman School. As detailed in our mission statement, we are a student organization that seeks to make our community more diverse and inclusive, and to find ways for the Friedman community to better address issues of discrimination and oppression in its teachings, research, and programs. We convened in November to build a shared vision of a nutrition school that embodies these principles.

Discrimination and oppression are at the root of many food system challenges, domestically and globally. The Friedman School must understand these vital issues and provide leadership as they pertain to nutrition and food systems. Methodical action will help Friedman progress as an institution at the cutting edge of research and in the training of future leaders. To this aim, justice, equity, diversity, and cultural appreciation should be central to the school’s strategic planning process. In addition, long-term growth will require personal reflection, open dialogue, sustained action, and inclusive community building. We are pleased to present the results of our conversation and look forward to working together with the entire Friedman community to advance this vision.

Investment in and commitment to justice. Real change requires investment and commitment from all levels of leadership. Progress will rely on transparent and open dialogue that encourages all voices to be heard. Financial investment will also be integral to support these goals, including prioritizing equity and diversity education and training, accessing resources for effective diverse recruitment, and building community partnerships.

Cultural humility and openness. We seek more welcoming social spaces to promote dialogue and community. Recent events at the University of Missouri, Harvard University, Yale University, and others illustrate that racism is still present in higher education. We implore our own institution to take an active role in being anti-racist, starting with the humble acknowledgement that there is still work to be done. To build an open and inclusive environment within the Friedman campus, all students, faculty, and administrators must be trained in cultural competency, cultural humility, and social equity. Proper training will position us as better practitioners and representatives of the field of nutrition in our current and future work.

A diverse student body, faculty, and administration. Our working definition of diversity encompasses race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, ability, gender, sexual orientation, age, religious beliefs, and country of origin. To continue being a leader in our field, the Friedman School must be representative of the society we are a part of and work within, both domestically and globally. Institutions across the country are making bold promises around diversity and inclusion, serving as appropriate models from which to learn. For example, Brown University made the commitment to double its proportion of underrepresented minority faculty by 2025 through creation of a new postdoctoral fellowship program and a new young scholars program. It is our expectation that the Friedman School will make a similar commitment to the diversification of our student body, faculty, and administration.

Build justice into our curriculum. We see a gap in the course offerings that are centered on social justice frameworks and diverse cultural perspectives. The FJL diversity sub-committee is working with faculty to enhance teachings on justice in the classroom. We applaud those professors who already address these topics in their courses. We also recognize that this is an ongoing process, through which we hope to see more diverse guest lecturers, additional teaching modules to syllabi on key justice topics, and the inclusion of culture and diversity-related examples or readings to coursework. Changes can take many shapes and forms, but may include:

  • More nuanced race and class analyses
  • Emphasis on food justice and environmental justice
  • Stronger focus on human rights at all levels of the food system
  • More coverage of animal rights and cruelty
  • Emphasis on cultural influences of food and nutrition
  • Greater understanding and acknowledgement of structural racism in the U.S. food system

External partnerships that are diverse, inclusive, and community-oriented. As students and future professionals, we seek more exposure to community-based participatory research methods and projects that involve community interaction. Increased local partnerships would allow us to leverage our institutional strength and work with communities our school directly affects, such as Boston’s Chinatown. For example, Jumbo’s Kitchen partners with the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, Inc. to educate students at Josiah Quincy Elementary School about basic cooking, nutrition, and health. We look forward to more opportunities to learn from individuals and communities directly so that we may apply our classroom knowledge.

Additional external partnerships could assist with the recruitment of a more diverse student body, staff, and faculty. For example, establishing formal and informal collaborations with state-based undergraduate institutions and strengthening relationships with colleges and universities serving underrepresented minority groups (e.g., Historically Black Colleges and Universities) would assist with these efforts. Fostering relationships with local graduate schools that have well-established enrichment programs with Boston’s middle and high schools (e.g., Harvard School of Medicine’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion) would also be a worthwhile strategy to include underrepresented students in allied health professions such as those within the nutrition field.

FJL is thrilled that the Friedman School is undertaking a school-wide strategic planning process, and several of our members are currently serving on Investigative Working Groups (IWGs) to support this process. We hope that our working vision for justice at Friedman can supplement the school-wide process that continues to make Friedman great. FJL shares many similar goals with the IWGs, such as building upon our external partnerships, improving work-life balance and diversity, increasing the public impact of research from cell to society, improving the educational experience of students, and ultimately creating a cultural shift and transformational change within the Friedman community. We believe FJL adds value to the conversation by ensuring that a justice framework and issues of diversity and inclusion are considered fully. The Friedman School’s progress and continued public impact on nutrition and food in our increasingly diverse nation and globalized world depends on it.


Sarah Andrus, MS, FPAN 2016

Madeline Bennett, MS, FPAN 2017

Stacy Blondin, PhD, FPAN 2016

Rebecca Boehm, PhD, AFE 2016

Alison Brown, PhD, FPAN 2017

Sarah Chang, MS/MPH, AFE 2016

Rebecca Harnik, MS, AFE 2016

Sam Hoeffler, MS, AFE 2017

Mehreen Ismail, PhD, FPAN

Caitlin Joseph, MS, AFE 2017

Micaela Karlsen, PhD, NEPI 2017

Kathleen Nay, MS/MA, AFE/UEP 2018

Megan Lehnerd, PhD, AFE

Caitlin Matthews, MS/MA, AFE/UEP 2017

Danielle Ngo, MS/MA, AFE/UEP 2017

Nathaniel Rosenblum MS/MALD, AFE 2016

Rebecca Rottapel, MS/MPH, AFE 2016

John VanderHeide, MS/MA, AFE/UEP 2018

The Friedman Justice League encourages this conversation to continue among the broader Friedman community. We are compiling signatures for this vision, which will be used to contribute to the Friedman School’s strategic planning process. Please add your name if you believe this vision adequately reflects your views and would like to share your support, by December 11: http://tinyurl.com/fjlvisions2015.

What to Eat? It Depends Who You Ask

by Hannah Packman

The question of what to eat perplexes many Americans. We’re constantly barraged by conflicting dietary advice, much of which does not fit within our personal preferences or cultural practices. To help navigate this rocky territory, seven Friedman professors offer their take on the matter.

“What should I eat?”

As a food and agriculture student, I am frequently asked this by friends and relatives. It’s a question rife with controversy and complexity, one that I don’t generally feel comfortable answering, despite having a relatively comprehensive background in nutrition. There are countless contingencies that can influence dietary needs and preferences – religion, cultural practices, family tradition, ethical values, and personal biology and psychology, among many others. While my own diet – mostly vegan, mostly unprocessed, with plenty of chocolate and coffee – works for me, I would be remiss to universally recommend it, as it would inevitably dissatisfy a great number of people. So rather than address this question myself, I’ve asked seven Friedman professors to share their own thoughts on this quintessential dietary dilemma.

What do you eat on a normal day?

Sean Cash
Breakfast is typically berries, a toasted whole grain bagel with some sort of protein on it, and a few cups of tea. At work, I bring a big pile of fruits and veggies in, some leftovers from the night before or a sandwich, and graze throughout much of the day, usually at my desk or in meetings. My favorite afternoon snacks include almonds (the alleged villainous nut du jour!), Belvita crackers, and bananas. In the evening, anything goes: sushi and other fish dishes are favorites for meals out, but favorite meals at home lately include salads, pastas, homemade pizzas, oven-roasted chicken, and lots of broccoli and squash side dishes, washed down with a glass or two of barley juice.

Parke Wilde
Breakfast at the kitchen counter at home: coffee and Cheerios with granola sprinkled on the cereal.

Lunch at my desk: two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and an apple from home, with a chocolate chip cookie and a coffee from Au Bon Pain.

Supper: pasta and pesto, with a big plate of salad, and some bean soup brought over by a friend who works in food service at a Waldorf school and who is passionate about never seeing food wasted.
Beverages during the day: water, coffee, and a beer or wine around 9 p.m. when early evening work or trip to gym is done.

Will Masters
Weekday breakfast is black coffee and toast with peanut butter and jam. Weekend breakfasts vary a lot, but lately I’m liking French toast. The lunch bag that I bring to Jaharis has leftovers from dinner, plus fruit, yogurt, muesli, and other stuff that I eat a couple of times during the day, maybe around 11 and again at 3 or 4. I often have peanut butter in the office that I eat with a spoon.

My wife loves to cook, so dinner is her choice: always a lot of cooked vegetables, and always a salad, often with beans or lentils and blue cheese or goat cheese, sometimes fish or meat. It usually includes pasta or rice or potatoes only when we have guests, and even then sometimes not.

Caloric beverages are pretty rare and alcohol triggers migraines, so I only drink when necessary.

Dariush Mozaffarian
Usual breakfast: whole-fat plain yogurt, almonds, blueberries, raisins, glass of OJ.  Weekends: eggs/veggie/cheese scramble, lox, or homemade whole-wheat blueberry pancakes with fresh walnuts and berries.

Usual lunches: sushi; tuna in oil and a cheese Panini with olive oil, carrots and hummus.

Typical dinners: big mixed salad with walnuts, cheese, avocado, olive oil; salmon, asparagus, mixed veggie quinoa; mozzarella and beef tomato salad.

Desserts: dark chocolate (65%+) almost every day; daily espresso; frequent fresh fruit; occasionally Ben & Jerry’s ice cream (Colbert’s Americone Dream is a favorite).

Diane McKay
Well, breakfast is usually a bowl of cut-up fruit with non-fat milk and a little granola sprinkled on top. Lunch is a salad with beans and a grain (usually chick peas and corn) with a little olive oil-based dressing.  My afternoon snack is either an apple, popcorn, or a few pretzel crackers with spinach hummus. Dinner is more varied. My favorite is grilled salmon with some brown rice and a big serving of fresh vegetables – all paired with a lovely pinot noir. Dessert is usually some type of cut up melon or grapes.

Bea Rogers
I ALWAYS start the day with coffee! That’s the one constant. In the summer my standard breakfast is berries or peaches with milk and a sprinkle of cheerios.  I’m much more varied in the winter: whole grain bread with gjetost (brown goat cheese) is one of my favorites, but whole grain toast with peanut or almond butter is another. I eat berries and milk in the winter too, if anything looks decent at the supermarket. Or fruit and (plain) yogurt.

My standard lunch on weekdays is salad with my homemade dressing, some cut up cheese and a cut-up half-apple or pear.
I cook dinner most night. Meat, chicken, or fish…with a couple of vegetables (always).  I make hearty soups for dinner fairly frequently.

I keep nuts in my office for snacks, and I also keep nuts in my car for the same purpose.  I don’t dare admit I usually have cookies in my office too, which I share at meetings.

Christian Peters
I generally eat three meals plus one to two snacks. Breakfast and dinner are the most regular, eaten at home around 7 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., respectively. I eat lunch daily, but the timing varies depending on the day’s schedule and my appetite. I often have a snack in the late afternoon, sometimes dessert in the evening.

What do I eat? All over the map in terms of cuisine. Here are some typical meals:

Breakfast: yogurt with fruit, toast with peanut butter and jam, coffee.

Lunch: leftovers from previous night’s dinner.

Dinner: ranges widely, but includes vegetables, grains, and a protein source.

Snack: coffee or tea and a cookie.

What do you prioritize most when eating – sustainability, ethics, nutrition, taste, or some combination?

Sean Cash
I favor nutrition and taste, but also pay attention to sustainability and price. I’m fortunate that I enjoy eating things that I also think are fairly good for me and honestly prefer savory to sweet, but don’t sweat it much when I want an indulgence. When I do, it’s usually a donut or more barley juice.

Parke Wilde
We enjoy food greatly and arrive at a meal pattern that is healthy, sustainable, inexpensive, and personally meaningful, without worrying much about any of those goals.

 Will Masters
An overriding goal is to find a mix that suits the whole family without too much waste of time or money or other resources, including packaging and food waste as such. I generally find no conflict at all between nutrition and taste: for the many unhealthy things that I find delicious, like Nutella (palm oil!) and all kinds of charcuterie, they’re most delicious in small quantities so there’s no real compromise involved.

The harder goals for me are ethics and sustainability. In my experience working on various types of farms, any use of animals other than as pets involves some degree of cruelty. So I just limit animal-sourced foods as much as possible. I believe that eating eggs and milk and fish probably does somewhat less violence to the world than eating meat, and I believe that beef does a bit less violence than poultry or pork, but none of it seems benign to me.

In general I expect that my priorities are fairly typical of the Friedman community, except maybe regarding sustainability: I don’t aim to reduce food miles and I don’t credit organic certification for much, because my reading of the evidence is that these don’t actually help regarding climate change or biodiversity or anything else I really care about.

Dariush Mozaffarian
Taste and how it makes me feel, that day and over the week. Fortunately, both of these criteria match nearly perfectly with good health. It’s a marketing- and modern-culture-driven myth that good food tastes worse, or is much more expensive.

Diane McKay
Taste, nutrition, and health issues are the reasons why I choose most foods.

Bea Rogers
I always think about taste, nutritional quality, and calories. Pretty much all at once.  I think about issues of sustainability and ethics, of course (given where I work), but it’s not really front and center when I go to the supermarket. I guess I choose organic when there’s a choice. I buy all my produce at the local farmers market during the season. I really do prioritize fresh and local when available, mostly because it just tastes better.

Christian Peters
All of these factor in, albeit imperfectly.

Do you have any rules of thumb or general guiding principles when deciding what to eat?

Sean Cash
I don’t eat red meat beyond a taste from a friend’s plate, and a few years ago I started finding that fried foods and dairy bothered my stomach so I avoid them most of the time.

I love donuts and when I lived in Alberta I walked by three Tim Horton’s donut shops between home and work. I put myself on a “once per week” rule as I was afraid it might become my regular breakfast, and have kept to that after returning to the land of Dunkin’ Donuts.

Parke Wilde
Real food. Low cost. Little or no meat (but not vegetarian).

Will Masters
My overall rule of thumb is to eat low on the value-added food chain. Those are things grown mostly by hand, without too much water or fuel use, so consuming them might help pull up farmers’ earnings and limit natural-resource use.

In general, if you want to know how big the environmental footprint of something is, you can start with its price tag–that gives you a rough approximation of the total amount of economic activity embedded in it. Then you can guess at the share of that activity which is just labor, and among the rest you can guess at the product’s degree of energy-intensity and other major sources of externality burden on other people.

About nutrition, a guiding principle is that I generally believe the results of careful meta-analyses of big cohort studies. Since I can’t do epidemiology myself I have to trust what I read about which dietary patterns are associated with healthy outcomes. Eventually there might be enough randomized trials in various settings to have experimental evidence, but for now I’ll continue with yogurt and tree nuts and fruits and vegetables because of observational data. For things I can observe myself, like my own energy levels and weight gain/loss, I do a lot of self-experimentation to see how different things feel — but for long-term health I have to follow what works in the cohort studies.

My final rule is not to take any particular rule too seriously — I think what’s dangerous for diets, as for many things in life, is self-certainty. The Internet worsens our tendency to live in information bubbles.  In my experience, the key to healthy living is an open mind.

Dariush Mozaffarian
I eat what tastes good and makes me feel good – energy for my body, mind, and soul.

Diane McKay
I eat mostly vegetarian, including dairy, but try to include fish three times a week. I try to stick with organic dairy products, and for produce I choose whatever looks good or is in season at my local market. My beverage of choice these days is water; no more espresso or diet Coke.

Bea Rogers
I never drink soda! I don’t believe in wasting calories on drinks… that includes soda and fruit juice. (But not coffee.) I try to keep low-carb (that is, I avoid refined grains and sugar, pasta and potatoes) and eat mostly whole grain (bread, pasta, rice) and eat lots of fruit and vegetables. I can go without meat at dinner, but not without vegetables. But since I cook for myself and my husband, generally we have a meat/poultry/fish protein source at dinner.

Christian Peters
I seek to eat meals that have a balance of flavors and textures and that constitute a complete meal. Nutritionally, my meals almost always include grains, vegetables and/or fruit, dairy and/or protein. In terms of taste, meals usually contain a mix of sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and pungent flavors. At home, we typically cook meat (or fish) 1-2 times per week, though this may get included in multiple meals. The rest of the meals rely on eggs, beans, tofu, cheese, yogurt, or nuts for protein. I drink coffee or tea in the morning and in the afternoon, otherwise water is my drink of choice.

Hannah Packman is a second year student in the Agriculture, Food and Environment masters program. When she isn’t busy filling her head with food-related facts, she enjoys filling her stomach with food-related objects.