Posts Tagged ‘Mehmet Oz’


Annemarie Colbin, Ph.D.

Annemarie Colbin, Ph.D.

For several days I have been hearing lots of commentary about an article written in Time Magazine by Dr Mehmet Oz, who I’ve known for many years.  He seems to say that choosing organically grown foods is elitist because it costs more than conventional, and he seems to assume that in a choice between more expensive foods and cheaper ones most people will choose the less pricey kind.

When I started out noticing food and its effect on health, I didn’t care how much it cost. Even when I was flat broke, I spent the money on organic and health-supportive foods.  I couldn’t have justified giving my children harmful, pesticide-laden foods because they were “cheaper.”  I would imagine there are still people out there like me, who go for good quality regardless of price.

Dr Oz does not seem to think so. He says “a lot of the foods we ate in childhood can be good for you and good to eat” – IF (note the caveat) you know how to shop.  Of course, the food that he and others of his age ate in childhood was better, less contaminated, less industrialized.

It’s true that in many neighborhoods it’s hard to find fresh produce, whole grain bread, and the like.  But why should we settle?  Why not educate people to demand fresh food from the corner bodega?  They’ll stock it if we demand it and buy it.

Dr. Oz considers frozen and canned food equivalent to fresh.  Hm.  Years ago journalist Suzanne Hamlin of the New York Times wrote about someone who was eating only frozen and canned foods, and the health problems this person encountered.  I couldn’t find the article, but I remember it was dire – also, that it disappeared quickly from the archives, for obvious reasons.  Who wants to know that such common food could kill you and, what’s more, that it could cause memory loss and mental confusion.  Frozen meats may be OK – frozen vegetables maybe not.

Go on, Dr. Oz. Try a week eating only canned and frozen vegetables. I bet not even you would be willing to do that. As a “food lover,” he ignores the subtler aspects of food: “Nutritionally, an egg is an egg. Cage free is kinder but much pricier.”   Perhaps, but it also tastes very different.  Commercial eggs taste sulfuric and, if you happen to pass some wind (forgive the indelicate reference) it smells really bad. And if you burp – forget it.  You stink yourself up.  For that reason, I only buy organic or free range eggs. They taste much better. And your whole body smells normal.

Dr. Oz points out that free-range chickens and pasture-fed meats are also kept free of hormones and antibiotics. If that is important to you and you have the money to spend, he suggests, by all means opt for pricier organic meats.  Otherwise, obviously, you’re stuck eating all those hormones and antibiotics.  Considering antibiotics are given to cattle so as to fatten them up, we need to ask what these elements contribute to the epidemic of obesity everyone is wailing about.  I wonder. The heaviest people, young and old, are the ones who eat these “cheapest” foods.  Well, as has often been said, you get what you pay for.

In Dr. Oz’s article, canned foods are considered “winners.” He considers canned salmon equivalent to fish fresh out of the water.  But that is not all that counts.  I will never order a dish in a restaurant that gives me a slab of canned salmon instead of fresh, would you? I find they taste very different, although they may have the same amount of protein. Well, if I’m in a bunker, war is coming, and there is no other food, OK, it will keep me alive, thank you very much.

I appreciate the fact that the risk of famine has pretty much disappeared from our world – but we are left with a completely different problem: How to choose foods that are good for us?   That is just as important as choosing foods that will keep us alive.  The two are not equivalent, as a heart surgeon would know.

Read Full Post »

On April 18, 2012 Natural Gourmet Institute again supported the annual gala event to benefit Healthcorps, hosted by Dr. Mehmet and Lisa Oz. Founded by the Ozs’s in 2007 to combat childhood obesity and “mental resilience crises” among youths, Healthcorps has to date placed peer mentors in over 80 schools for the purpose of educating students about mental and physical fitness as well as nutritional education.

The gala was held this year at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel and attended by NGI Founder Annemarie Colbin, NGI President Jenny Matthau, NGI Vice President and Director Merle Brown, NGI Public Program Director Judith Friedman, and Instructor Elliott Prag. Chef Instructor Barbara Rich presided over the Natural Gourmet table during the cocktail hour where we served up vegan and gluten-free hors d’oeuvres alongside our friends from Candle Café and Pure Food and Wine, among others.

NGI Chef's Training students (left to right) Lauren Friedman, Maudie Green, and Gabriel Anderson

Chef Instructor Barbara Rich

The event is in its 6th successful year, and Natural Gourmet has been proud to be there every step of the way for this important cause.

Merle Brown, Jenny Matthau, and Annemarie Colbin (left to right)

Read Full Post »

On the evening of Wednesday, April 13, Natural Gourmet Institute participated in the 5th annual gala to support HealthCorps, a national non-profit founded by Dr. Mehmet Oz and his wife Lisa.  The event was held aboard the battleship Intrepid on Manhattan’s West Side.

This year’s event was the “Fresh from the Garden Gala,” and NGI participated on three levels:

  • Our founder, Annemarie Colbin, is a longstanding and active member of HealthCorp’s Board of Advisors
  • NGI is an ongoing supporter of  HealthCorps
  • NGI’s students were directed by Chef Instructor Barbara Rich and prepared delicious vegan appetizers for the exhibition that preceded the gala dinner.

HealthCorps is an organization that recruits recent college grads to work as “coordinators.” These coordinators defer grad or medical school to work 2 years full-time in high schools with underserved youth. Their job is to share the HealthCorps curriculum, specifically to: educate youth about health, fitness, diet and the environment, motivate them to take part in community outreach, and teach them how to advocate for public health policy changes.

HealthCorps teaches in 41 schools across the nation and plans to expand to all 50 states.

Read Full Post »