Author of NYT bestseller Moosewood Cookbook
Recently named by Health magazine as one of five “Women Who Changed the Way We Eat”
Charter member, Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Roundtable and Natural Hall of Fame
FROM FROZEN TO FRESH
Mollie grew up in the era of TV dinners, frozen vegetables and instant pudding, all of which she enjoyed.
At 12, when she first encountered a vegetable garden, Mollie was amazed at the exciting world of fresh things taken directly from the earth. In high school, Mollie experimented with recipes using ingredients like cauliflower, garlic, winter squash, fresh beans and mushrooms. In college, Mollie learned about microbiotic cooking and kept a hand-lettered recipe journal. (This later morphed into her best seller, Moosewood Cookbook.)
During Mollie’s period of discovery, she had no idea that this type of cooking would become interesting to the mainstream public.
“All I knew was that I loved cooking fresh from the garden and orchard and I wanted to learn as much about this world as I could,” says Mollie.
She assumed, though limited in her nutritional knowledge, that a diet centered low on the food chain and focused on vegetables and fruit was healthier than one centered on meat and processed starch.
“I wanted to convert as many people as I could, not to omitting meat from their diet, but to including more of the green growing things,” says Mollie.
While she was right in her assumptions about what healthy eating might or might not be, Mollie says she embraced the low-fat fad and did not yet understand the benefits to good fats.
“The purpose of my work has never been to convert the world to a meatless lifestyle,” says Mollie. “My true passion has been to spread the good news about how wonderful healthy eating could be.”
In the early 1990s, Mollie became aware of the research being done by Walter Willett at the Harvard School of Public Health. At the time, the Mediterranean Diet was making headlines and was very strongly connected with and influenced by Walter’s work.
Years later, Mollie joined the new Nutrition Roundtable at Harvard. The group included people in the food world who would attend meetings to learn about the latest nutrition research being conducted by Walter and his departments. When Walter and Mollie compared notes, they realized that both of them had been asked repeatedly for their vision of a good, logical, balanced way to lose weight.
“My goal is to find the most appealing and delicious ways to prepare and present fruits, vegetables, whole grains, good oils, legumes and nuts, dairy and yes, meat, and to get people eating beautifully and feeling and looking wonderful,” says Mollie.
Walter is a physician as well as a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and the recipient of many international awards for his research and the most cited nutritionist worldwide. Together he and Mollie agree that short-term payoffs associated with eating a balanced diet are just as important as the prevention of major diseases down the road. He believes any strategy for weight control must also address the purchase and preparation of foods and how cooking, eating and exercise fit into the complex lives that we live.
EIGHT TIPS ON HEALTH
Mollie and Walter have 8 Turning Points that are fundamental principles to their diet.
(1) Eat lots of fruits and vegetables
(2) Say yes to good fats
(3) Upgrade your carbohydrates
(4) Choose healthy proteins
(5) Stay hydrated
(6) Take a multi-vitamin every day
(7) Move more
(8) Eat mindfully all day long
TAKE THE BODY QUIZ
Mollie says that the “body score” is a number that can help you lose weight and stay healthy. The “body score” gives you points for things like eating vegetables, fruits,whole grains, etc. Bonus points are added for eating tomatoes and salads. Because the focus is on quality not quantity, the Body Score does not track calories however the recommended intake is 1,500 to 1,600 per day. Keep a journal of what you eat to be more conscious of your overall eating patterns.
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