Nutritionist Stefanie Sacks Speaks at TEDxManhattan

 

It starts with a trip to the grocery store, hungry and tired children in tow and the constant struggle to get them to stop pestering for the foods you know are bad: the juices and soda high in sugar, the fruit packed in corn syrup and the damned carbs colored like candy that big food calls breakfast.

There are times when you just have to get the word out. Stefanie Sacks knows the feeling. It’s been running around her head for the past eight years: She had to tell the world what she’s learned about how food and lifestyle choices and can positively affect your health. She decided the best way was to write a television show.

“It’s kind of like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy meets health food lifestyle makeover,” she says. So she wrote a script, but networks weren’t buying. But the thought did not go away. She needed a wider audience. As it turns out a venue was in her backyard. Soon the Montauk resident was on LTV , the public access channel in East Hampton. Next thing you know she wrote a book, What the Fork Are You Eating?, and then, she was a speaker at TEDxManhattan 2015 “Changing the Way We Eat,” on March 7.  During the talk Sacks stressed that “small changes in food choice make big everyday differences,” especially when feeding children. And she challenged the audience to do this by making “health your bottom line, committing to change and by starting to get an edible education.”

Always know that real food, including some products made with five to seven ingredients at most (meaning it’s likely not too processed), doesn’t need to boast health because more often than not it is healthy.

Previously, Sacks was working one on one with clients in their own homes to teach them the value of fresh and nutritious food. On the LTV show, she covered topics like food allergies and healthy eating on the run. One featured Nick & Toni’s chef Joe Realmuto that covered weight loss for wellness.

As a child and into college Sacks suffered from a number of health problems including allergies, asthma and susceptibility to pneumonia, and as a result was on a number of medications. Her life changed after reading Food and Healing by Annemarie Colbin; she quit her school’s meal plan, worked with doctors using integrated medicine and soon she no longer needed medication.

In her book, she counsels to begin by rehabbing your pantry through reading labels and discarding anything on her list of “Top-Rated Terminators:” chemical preservatives, artificial flavors and enhancers, artificial colors and sweeteners, sugar and its many euphemisms, trans fats, pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, and GMOs. In addition she gives suggestions for surviving that trip to the supermarket, putting it all to work on your plate and keeping a food diary.

This kind of information is so valuable,” says Sacks. “It would be really nice if talking about food for health were a more common occurrence, it’s not being done and if it is, it’s in very small tidbits.

 

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Eileen M. Duffy

Eileen M. Duffy DWS holds a diploma in wines and spirits from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust. Her book on Long Island wine Behind the Bottle came out in 2015. Visit her website, eileenmduffy.com, to find out what else she's working on.