January 6th, 2013 - Jill Ettinger
Despite ranking in at only the 29th healthiest country in the world (Japan is number one), forays into healthier eating, like the rise of veganism and vegetarianism, are now taking to the masses, as obesity and diet-related illnesses continue to rise in the U.S. In one effort to provide healthy alternative dietary choices, the Cooking Channel kicks off its 2013 season with a show focused on delicious, whole-food approaches to meat-free diets.
Read More:Is That A Vegan on TV? Plant-Based Diet Show Debuts on The Cooking Channel
October 12th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Iron Chef, restaurateur and cookbook author Bobby Flay (above) will host Brunch at Bobby’s, a new TV show that debuts 2 p.m. Saturday on the Cooking Channel.
Sunday brunch happens to be Flay’s favorite meal of the week, and he’s passionate about it. Brunch @ Bobby’s celebrates his favorite menus, which he’ll prepare from a relaxed kitchen in The Hamptons.
Read More:Bobby Flay Hosts New TV Show for Brunch Lovers
July 6th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
A new study reveals that children were exposed to fewer TV ads for sweets and beverages in 2007, but more fast food ads (as compared to 2003).
Past studies have demonstrated that TV advertising influences the short-term eating habits of children ages 2 to 11, and some research shows ads can also influence daily dietary intake. That’s why major U.S. food companies adopted the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative in 2006, which held that 50% of child-targeted advertising would promote healthier products or good nutrition/healthful lifestyles.
But there was one significant problem: Each company had its own definition of “healthier,” according to Lisa M. Powell, PhD, and colleagues at the University of Illinois at Chicago, whose research will appear in the September issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
Here’s what the researchers found:
- Between 2003 and 2007, daily average exposure to televised food ads decreased by 13.7% among children ages 2 to 5 and by 3.7% among children ages 6 to 11, but exposure increased by 3.7% among teens ages 12 to 17.
- Ads for sweets aired less often, with a 41% decrease for 2- to 5-year-olds, a 29.3% decrease for 6- to 11-year-olds and a 12.1% decrease for 12- to 17-year-olds.
- Beverage ads decreased by 27% to 30% across the three age groups, with substantial cuts in ads for sugar-sweetened beverages.
- But exposure to fast food ads increased by 4.7% for children 2 to 5, by 12.2% for children 6 to 11 and by 20.4% for teens 12 to 17.
Dr. Powell and her colleagues chalk up the last statistic to the power of branding. They also found a racial gap in advertising, with African-American children viewing 1.4 to 1.6 times as many food ads per day.
The researchers recommend continued monitoring of ads targeted toward children, as well as nutritional assessments for advertised products.
Read More:Kids See Fewer Sweets/Beverages Ads, But More Fast Food Ads
June 28th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Ever try to light your tap water on fire?
Josh Fox has witnessed the phenomenon firsthand (see photo, above).
The filmmaker chronicles the largest natural gas drilling boom in U.S. history in his documentary GasLand—and the environmental ramifications aren’t pretty. The film premiered on HBO last week and will air through 2012. (Click here to view the trailer.)
The film’s genesis was Fox’s discovery that natural gas drilling was about to start in the Catskills/Poconos region of New York and Pennsylvania, where he lives. He was offered $100,000 to sign over drilling rights to his land.
Fox traveled to 24 states to expose how Dick Cheney’s pals at Halliburton developed a new drilling system called “fracking” (hydraulic fracturing), which may permanently contaminate the country’s water supply and worsen air pollution.
Chronically ill residents in drilling areas shared common symptoms and discovered that an urban legend held true: They could light fires straight from the faucet.
Drilling-related pools of toxic waste were also killing cattle and vegetation. Oil-well blowouts and gas explosions regularly occurred, only to be covered up by officials.
Not an HBO subscriber? A 2010 Sundance Film Festival award winner, GasLand will be available on DVD in December.
Photo courtesy of International WOW Company
Read More:HBO Documentary Exposes Natural Gas in Water Supply
April 21st, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Over the last month, I’ve been updating you on the Dow Live Earth Run for Water, a series of 6K runs/walks held last Sunday in 150 cities across 50 countries to help combat the global water crisis.
If you couldn’t attend any of the events, you can watch a 1-hour special at 7 p.m. Friday (ET/PT) on Bravo.
The program will feature discussions with musician/activist Pete Wentz (Fall Out Boy) and water-crisis expert Alexandra Cousteau, a look at solutions being implemented, and concert performances by Collective Soul, Estelle, Melissa Etheridge, John Legend, Rob Thomas and The Roots.
“We think this special, which airs as part of NBC Universal’s Green Is Universal initiative, will resonate with Bravo’s eco-conscious viewers, and through heightened awareness comes change,” says Frances Berwick, Bravo Media’s general manager and executive vice president.
“The goal of this TV special is to engage audiences in the challenges and solutions associated with the global water crisis in an educational and entertaining format,” adds Live Earth Founder Kevin Wall. “Bravo is the ideal network for this program because its viewers are very tuned in to environmental and social issues.”
Live Earth was built on the belief that entertainment has the power to transcend social and cultural barriers to move the world community to action.
For Your Organic Bookshelf: The Environment in Crisis: An Environmental Reader from Dollars & Sense
Photos: John Michael Maas, Global Water Challenge
Read More:Live Earth Special Airs Friday
April 19th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Thursday is Earth Day!
PBS stations will air Dirt! The Movie tomorrow evening as part of the network’s Independent Lens series. (Please check your local listings for time.)
Filmmakers show how 4 billion years of evolution have created the dirt that recycles our water, gives us our food, provides us with shelter, and serves as a source of medicine, beauty and culture.
But as the 1-hour documentary demonstrates, mankind has become greedy and careless, endangering this vital living resource with destructive methods of agriculture, mining and urban development—and with catastrophic results: mass starvation, drought, floods and climate change.
The film uncovers ways we can repair our relationship with dirt and create new possibilities.
“Dirt is a living engine for life on Earth,” says director/producer Bill Benenson. “It recycles everything that falls to the ground. If we didn’t have a living skin on the Earth, we wouldn’t exist.”
“We are treating dirt as a story, not a topic,” adds director/producer Gene Rosow. “We want people to start off with an emotional connection to dirt. Then, we want to instill a sense of caution about the destructive things we are doing to nature and dirt and how those behaviors impact our daily lives.”
The “Ecstatic Skin” of the Earth
The film was inspired by natural-history writer William Bryant Logan’s book Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth, a collection of essays on the important role dirt plays in everyday life.
“After reading the book, I realized how out of touch I had become with the ground beneath my feet,” Rosow says. “Like most city people, I take dirt for granted.”
“The challenge for a filmmaker was, how do you make this subject interesting?” Benenson adds. “We try to give people hope and empower them to see the possibilities and their potential to change things.”
Interviewing Global Visionaries
In their 3 years of filming, Benenson and Rosow “got dirty” filming in more than 20 locations, including Argentina, Brazil, France, India, Kenya and several regions of the United States. They wanted to interview 25 renowned global visionaries who are leading the charge to repair this critical natural resource, including:
- Majora Carter, founder of Sustainable South Bronx, an organization that works to “green the ghetto”
- Chef Alice Waters, owner of Berkeley’s sustainable Chez Panisse restaurant and founder of the Edible Schoolyard, a 1-acre organic garden and kitchen classroom at an urban middle school
- Andy Lipkis, found of the Los Angeles-based environmental group TreePeople
- Wes Jackson, PhD, president of The Land Institute and author of Altars of Unhewn Stone: Science and the Earth
Hope for the Future
On their journey, the filmmakers found:
- Farmers and agronomists rediscovering sustainable agriculture
- Tiny villages standing up for their right to feed their families
- Scientists discovering connections with soil that can help reduce global warming, including ways to generate electricity from soils and sediments
- Prison inmates who are finding inner peace and job skills in a prison horticulture program
- Children uncovering the secrets of soil fertility and eating from edible schoolyards
“This film is not about environmental disasters,” Benenson says. “It’s about environmental potential. There are a variety of solutions to the problems we face. There’s a lot of hope for the future, if we come back into balance with dirt.”
Photo courtesy of Dirt! The Movie
Read More:“Dirt! The Movie” Airs Tomorrow on PBS
April 2nd, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
I’m pleased to report that Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution has found a fan base.
Friday night, when Oliver’s six-episode series airs, is generally home to low-viewership programs (“where good shows go to die,” in Hollywood speak). But the second episode of Food Revolution, which last week aired opposite NCAA men’s college basketball, pulled in a respectable 7.51 million viewers.
In tonight’s episode (9 p.m. ET/PT), Oliver continues to convince Huntington, WV, residents to offer fresh food in schools, despite opposition from the elementary school’s head cook.
Rhonda McCoy, school food services director, ultimately gives Oliver the green light to cook for the town’s high school, where he discovers a secret weapon: a group of motivated teenagers who understand the need for dietary changes. You’ll meet:
- Brittany, whose lifelong weight problem has caused irreversible liver damage and shortened her life expectancy
- Marisa, whose father died prematurely as a result of obesity
- Robert (see photo), a football player who struggles with his weight
- Brian, whose family is plagued by obesity
- Emily, who dreams of attending culinary school
Oliver asks these teens to prepare a surprise gourmet meal for their state senator, local legislators and community leaders so he can raise the funding needed to teach school staff how to cook fresh food.
Our advice: Tune in or set the TiVo/DVR.
For Your Organic Bookshelf
Photo: Holly Farrell/ABC
Read More:Jamie Oliver Reaches Out to Struggling Teens
March 18th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
British celebrity chef and bestselling author Jamie Oliver will host a new ABC series, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, with a sneak preview airing 10:01 p.m. Sunday (ET).
“The time is right for people to rediscover the sense of pride, satisfaction and fun you can get from cooking for the people you love,” says Oliver, author of numerous cookbooks, including Jamie’s Dinners: The Essential Family Cookbook and Jamie’s Food Revolution: Rediscover How to Cook Simple, Delicious, Affordable Meals.
“I want to prove that turning around the epidemic of obesity and bad health doesn’t have to be boring or dull in the slightest,” he adds.
The six-episode show is loosely based on Oliver’s U.K. series Jamie’s Ministry of Food and Jamie’s School Dinners. The first episode will repeat 8 p.m. Friday, March 26, followed by the second episode in its regular time period (9 p.m. Fridays).
In the first episode, Oliver heads to Huntington, WV—which has been called the unhealthiest city in America—to launch a new cooking initiative that aims to take the city off that list. Nearly half of Huntington’s adults are considered obese, and the incidence of heart disease and diabetes leads the nation.
In the second episode, Oliver attempts to transform Huntington’s school lunch program.
Photo: Holly Farrell/ABC
Read More:Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution
March 1st, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
British organic chef, cookbook author and activist Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall takes viewers on a series of sustainability-minded fishing trips this month on Sundance Channel’s The River Cottage Treatment: Gone Fishing!, which premiers tomorrow night.
Here’s the three-part episode guide (Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT):
March 2: “Channel Islands”
Fearnley-Whittingstall sails to the Channel Islands, between Britain and France, to fish out—and cook up— deliciously sustainable alternatives to the United Kingdom’s imperiled seafood mainstays: cod and haddock.
Joined by local anglers at various spots, he catches and dines on an array of underrated and sometimes obscure fish, including pouting, gurnard and garfish.
But the open sea isn’t the only place to source marine goodies. On the island of Alderney, Fearnley-Whittingstall discovers the fine, eco-conscious eating available from seaside rock pools.
March 9: “Hebrides”
Fearnley-Whittingstall heads to Scotland’s Hebrides Islands, where the sea and food it provides have shaped life for generations.
On the sparsely inhabited island of Rona, he goes fishing with Caretaker Bill, who has run out of his frozen fish reserves and is awaiting the annual return of the area’s mackerel. After a close look at the woeful state of Scotland’s iconic fish, the wild salmon, Fearnley-Whittingstall tries out a traditional Scandinavian cooking method on salmon raised without chemicals by a local farmer.
He later box-fishes for langoustines with two brothers; bargains more work-for-food with their father, who cultivates mussels; dives for scallops and razor clams with local enthusiasts; and visits a fish-and-chips shop on the Isle of Skye, frying up batches of beer-battered pollock for a clientele accustomed to the increasingly scarce haddock.
March 16: “The West Country”
Fearnley-Whittingstall wraps up his fishing adventure in the West Country, in England’s southwest.
In Cornwall, he joins a family of fishermen to lay gill nets for the local sardines known as pilchards, which have rebounded from a near-total population collapse.
Further inland, he sees symbiotic farming in practice on neighboring organic farms—one grows watercress; the other, rainbow trout—and prepares a sumptuous lunch using both bounties.
At a hub of England’s commercial fishing industry in Devon, Fearnley-Whittingstall ventures out on a beam trawler with a skipper who has devised methods to make his catch more selective and less harmful to fish and the ocean floor.
He brings a load of cow manure to his final stop: a fledgling organic fish farm in Devon, where a couple is raising a species beloved in Asia and largely dismissed in Britain: carp. After returning home to River Cottage, Fearnley-Whittingstall and the River Cottage Canteen chef host the U.K.’s first public tasting of farmed organic carp with a two-course meal.
Photo courtesy of Sundance Channel
Read More:An Organic Chef Goes Fishing