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OneRouge Community Check-In: Week 185

Food is such an integral part of life! It’s not just that it keeps us alive, but that in many ways, food facilitates living. But relationships with food can be complex.

Lots of folk have had an eating disorder. Many people struggle with weight. And chances are you know someone who lives with a chronic disease that is caused or otherwise impacted by certain types of foods. The holidays can make all of that worse.

The stress of presents, parents, and poverty can trigger binge eating or depression fasting. So having tips on how to deal with eating anxiety.

Learn with us as we continue our “Care for the Caregiver” series and have an in-depth conversation with Chef Traci about food from cost to consumption. It’s more than just “healthy eating”! We will also explore some tips and tricks on how to stay on track through the holidays.



Casey Phillips:  Pepper and Tia, greetings into the space, Helena. I just want to make sure that we don't wait till the end to say this or wait till the 15th. I just want to make sure and lift up the team from Metro Morphosis,  and again, Pepper and Tia and Helena and Ann. And everybody on both the walls and the metropolitan system for curating such an incredible year of Fridays. As said, Pepper it every single week is different and never disappoints. And then I really do appreciate all these efforts. So I'm going to turn it over to you. And of course, everybody that tunes in on Fridays. Appreciate all your efforts both here and inside the coalitions. I said that we've been able to really lift off the ground this year, and I just want to take this moment. And say thank you for that pepper. Take it away. Out of body experience, interplanetary travel, horse therapy, wherever you want to go, everything that we've been talking about this morning, take it away. 

Pepper Rousell: Yeah, I, it's going to be enough. We're just going to stick with the food today because otherwise my brain on rabbit holes, we will be all over the place before it's done. Hey y'all happy Friday. Thank you for being here. You know how much I love you being here on the stream. Fabulous on fabulous Friday mornings. With me, us I want to make sure that we are caring for the caregivers y'all and that's what this series is about. Last week we were doing breathing and movement as a way of dealing with stress, anxiety, trauma, grief. This week we are talking about food and now we started off. plAnning to have a conversation with a woman from Food Addicts Anonymous, and I know that sounds like a weird thing, but let me give you some context real quick. Ultimately, food addicts are not necessarily the same when you think of addiction I can't wait to get to these. Yes, there may be some who are. Eating 15 pounds of M& M's and then looking for a little Debbie snack cakes. But generally speaking, it really is about the way that sugar impacts the brain. And what does that feel like? What does that look like for folks who are really trying to live within their skin? And I know that sounds like a weird thing to say, but coming from a person who has actually spent a fair amount of time.  Trying to figure out how it is that I can do exactly that. This time of year poses a lot of Challenges, shall we say. Now those challenges really are around how it is that we can maintain balance, and that balance is not so much about a diet, it really is about being able to eat the foods that are culturally appropriate. Eat the foods that are, that provide some level of comfort, but also eating foods that are not going to have you on December 31, thinking I got to get to gym and start this six month membership in order to save myself from everything I've been eating this last two to three. Yeah, that's right. Three months. Because of the holidays. And so what we are. Oh, thank you, Helena. I was trying to open that up in the chat. You can see what the correlation is between your brain on sugar and your brain on cocaine. Not to say that. We are encouraging either just let me, and some of this will actually be in the notes coming out tomorrow. And so all of that said, we are moving into a conversation with Traci. Now I will shout, I'm going to tell you right now, full disclosure that this is a conversation I have wanted to have for a long time about. food policy consumption. What does it mean? Why would you take out salt? Is it so terribly bland? Do I have to eat food that has no taste? So all of that said, Chef Traci, please let us know who you are, what you do and what we need to know. 

Chef Traci Vincent Druilhet: Good morning, everybody. Thank you for having me.  I'll say who I am. I'll give you that I am a veteran of Baton Rouge lived out of state in Washington, D. C. for about 10 years during that time worked on the Hill worked in the private and public sector, and was a sugar lobbyist for a couple of years. I don't know if I've ever said that before but I was a junior lobbyist for the Louisiana sugar growers. I got a master's in government from Johns Hopkins University, and then got magnetically pulled home with a passion for cooking. And decided to go to culinary school. And then I didn't really know where I was going, what direction I was going in, because I was driven to do a public health career. And God laughs when you make plans. He said no, you're going to be a wellness chef. And I was, older than most of my culinary classmates who were still having their graduation.  Graduation years dangling from their rearview mirror as we pulled into the parking lot. It's what I'm in this industry. They have tons of energy that, at the beginning of their lives, if you will. So  once I realized that everyone around me was. Consuming highly processed food and likely sick and managing chronic disease as a result of that. It was not even my choice. I just started getting asked to write for free magazines that were looking for healthier people, needed demonstrations at schools to teach kids about how to eat healthier. Everybody said, Hey, I'm just trying to lose a little bit of weight. What should I what should I not eat? What should I not eat? And so it became a career. And then, of course, I got connected with American Heart Association and their mobile kitchen through HealthyBR and GoGetHealthy. And it's been riding itself ever since the next steps and the next steps of that wellness career. I believe you're you didn't ask me an original question yet, Pepper. I just needed to tell you about myself. I don't even know how to answer that question anymore because I'm doing things I never really expected. I'm even dabbling into maternal child health. Industry now. 

Pepper: This is gonna be great.  So no, I had not asked you a question necessarily, but I want to start the conversation since now. I know you were an arm of the devil and lobbying for the sugar lobbyists help me understand the sugar, right? So what sort of What sort of lobbying were you doing? And this is really a segue into, what does this, when I say sugar, like, where is the sugar? Is it just in my sweets? Is it in my pasta sauce? Like where's sugar and how pervasive is it?  

Chef Traci: Okay. I heard where is sugar and how pervasive is it? I'll need you to repeat the first part of your question, but I'll start. Where is it? How pervasive is it? Sugar is rarely in our foods anymore as in cane sugar. That was the industry that I represented that are or  alternative sweeteners such as also known  as a research hall.  your sweeteners, your equal  Saccharin all the scientific names for these alternative sweeteners Splenda.  So if you turn over, your nutrition facts labels and look into that paragraph outside of the box that says ingredients, usually it is listed and it is hardly ever cane sugar. So just in defense of our industry, our sugar industry we have not had cane sugar in many products since about 1970. Hard to believe that's like over 50 years ago,  but that in my opinion is what's in most of your food and it is a very three makes a lot of things now. They make gasoline, ethanol, they make plastic cups, like some form of a cup made out of corn. They have a lot of  products that can come with corn. It is estimated that they're going to profit more in 1970 by switching all of your beverages. Milk, your sweetened  juices, fruit juices, all corn syrup.And it affects the hormones in your gut that connect to your body. I'm very cool. These are called Grelin and Leppin. 

Pepper: All right. So we are having some technical difficulties with my friend, Chef Traci. However, um, what we can do is to continue this conversation while she works on. Do you want to get her back? There you  are.

Casey: Hey, Traci, can we maybe ask you if your Internet connection seems to be unstable. Can we ask you to please call into zoom for the remainder of the call? 

Pepper: Thank you. Yeah, we'll do that.  Awesome. Alright starting with sugar, what is actually pretty fascinating is that Traci is right, that we don't necessarily use just sugar anymore. So years and years ago, sugar was a it was a luxury and it was only the rich people who had it. And you'll notice that when everybody got it is pretty much where, sweet. Is pretty much where we see the rise of chronic disease, but that's only because of the way that we produce things, right? So it's not what we do, it's always how we do it. Whether it was that sugar was coming from a sugar cane, which is something that Louisiana was very much known for, or sugar was coming from sugar beets, which is also a thing, not necessarily the ones that come in now. Yeah. Alright, so I'm gonna take this as a moment. We'll get back to sugar in a second though. I hated beets when I was little because they always came in that little jar and they were vinegared or pickled as it were. However, do you know that you can actually get a real one? Like it comes as a vegetable in and of itself and you can do other things with it besides just, wish that it were not there anyway. Yeah. We had sugar beets which are a full on variety and ultimately what we've done over time based upon the way that lobbyists. And farmers, and when I say farmers, I do mean large scale commercial farmers. Thank you, Manny Padoli.  Large scale commercial farmers are showing up in federal spaces in regulating or assisting, encouraging, educating. There we go. That's what we call it. Educating regulators and legislators on how it is that they should be passing laws. And so the amount of sugar that we have that is in things, meaning sugar that would be in your bacon or sugar that would be in your pasta sauce or sugar that would be in your corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup. Those are all things that are contributing to by amount, not so much in and of itself, but the amount of consumption, right? So when you think of the cumulative impact of how much sugar we're actually getting on a regular basis, it's also the same thing when we talk about salt. How much cumulative impact do we have the amount of salt that you're actually consuming? And so Traci, have you made it back? No, all right.

Casey: Pepper can I jump in real quick and ask Emily Miss chatelaine, are you available to come off of mute and contribute to the conversation? Because I have a quick question about education in regards to our schools and the food that is being served to our kids. And with the second, she's in the car. Okay, cool.  Awesome.

Emily Chatelain: I am at my desk  about to jump in my car. So I have a second. Hi. 

Casey: Hi. Hey, Emily. What's happening? You want to jump in? Can I talk about that?  

Emily: Sure. What's your question?  What repeat? 

Casey: My question is the food that's being served to our kids currently. And those levels of sugar and other things versus more access to healthy food and kind of your perspective on that with the policy work that you've done as well as just in general, like where it's at, where it's going, you need to be our schools. 

Emily: Yeah not specific to EBR right now. I will say that our school food system to me was really built. It's so heavily audited  that the auditors and USDA really want to come in and see a food label.  So you see a lot of packaged meals because it's easy.  And it's cheap, right? You don't need as much labor to pop open a package and heat it up. And so when auditors come into schools, they look at their recipes. They look at their labels. You have to buy domestic. So everything has to be American. I've seen trends in the past 10 years of a lot of school systems moving to package meals. We all know that package meals are what contain. High levels of sugar sodium other items and historically, and as of today, USDA has never had a limit on sugar  and school food. It's not even a  thing to look at. It is a thing to look at and breakfast items.  Yogurt has a limit on sugar or added sugars, but  sugar is not one of the things that they limit. Salt is limited, right? Sodium is limited. Calories are limited trans fat and that's in whole wheat, right? So grains have to be whole wheat. Unless you're serving more than one, then they don't have to be whole wheat and they only have to be 51 percent whole wheat. There is proposed language out there that sugar restrictions are coming. Probably right 3 decades too late, but they are coming. And that, to me is wild, that you can schools can serve a honey bun, which we all probably know what that is. You can buy it in a gas station. And call that a healthy breakfast.  Since it's whole wheat. So I've been seeing that COVID, I think, sent us really backwards with school food because now you went to even more packaged items. Because of the right coven and germs and grab and go and this and that. So schools lost the ability to do salad bars and, open food where we're dishing it out. So that is a lot of what we see in districts across the US. We get called often to consult where superintendents or, folks in that. Kind of position are right. Our parents are unhappy and come in and see why. And every single time we do, it's because the food service department is just serving packaged meals. They're not cooking anymore. They don't have skilled food service workers. They're just getting. Frozen products and heating it up and a lot of that, I could go on and on is from industry, right? The Tyson's the whatever they're lobbying USDA  to really build this culture of I want an auditor to come in and here's my food label. It has a CN label. And it meets, requirements versus the harder work, which is having a recipe that you have to do some math on to then prove that it's compliant. All of that to say, I am now seeing a big push. From USDA and from the White House, I think they've gotten themselves so far into this pole that they're like, oh, no, we need to solve this. A year ago, the White House had a convening on health in general, and they committed, 8 billion to trying to fix this problem. So there's a lot of grants out there and things happening to go back to scratch cooking and farm to school and locally sourced. So that is a trend. So we worked with EBR on passing a policy that did just get passed a couple board meetings ago called a good food purchasing policy.  And that is going to eventually direct EBR's dollars. They spend around, I don't know, probably 25, 30 million dollars on food a year. To good food, right? So putting in those standards of locally sourced not highly processed. It's going to take. A couple of years to really get there, so they're working on that is hired to chefs who are amazing and they are all over the community. If you've seen them lately. So they are working towards getting back to more. Cooked items. But I've really seen I've just seen that trend in schools where it's just easy to open a package, check the box, and heat and serve. It takes work to find a recipe, test the recipe, cook the recipe, train the recipe, taste test the recipe but there are schools out there doing that work. It's just  slow and incremental.  

Pepper: That's fascinating to me that you say that there's not, there hasn't been any limitation on the amount of sugar that is in food because a constant complaint is that kids won't keep still.  So  that feels like a whole nother conversation around the amount of sugar that's going into the food. for kids, not the least of which. I've been complaining about the lack of lunch ladies for a while now, but nobody listens to me. Chef Traci, in your lab, pepper, I listened to you. Thank you. I listen to you. I feel like I'm screaming into the ether. We need lunch ladies, people who actually know what the food is. I don't know if any of you, besides Emily, has ever actually been in a school to see The amount of food that gets thrown away, they have to take the trays, which are often styrofoam and then they throw the whole thing away because I don't know if you've ever, you know what? It's just this is indeed why pepper is salty. Indeed. 

Emily: Yeah. Food waste is incredible. California just passed a law that's going into effect January one.  That requires schools, restaurants, basically anybody producing food to have a food waste plan. So they have to all I'm going to be fuzzy on the exact occupied over here, but they have to all purchase, a recycle bin at this thing, and they have to have a plan and. The local county health departments are the ones that are going to come out and enforce it, but they have to.  Contract with an organization to do something with their food waste.  It's an unfunded mandate, so there's problems with that, but the intention right is there. It's good. It's getting people thinking about. All the food that they are wasting,  and then if you look at food waste in dollars. it's wild right of how much. How much food's going in the trash and there's been a couple of studies, even locally around weighing a child's tray when they leave the lunch line. Weighing it right before they throw it away to see, what's getting thrown away. So there's incentive there to feed kids food that they want, right? That they're going to eat. But then the flip side of that are the schools who are still serving chocolate milk and because they're like at least they're getting some milk, right? They're getting some calories. So you have to be careful to not go too far with it. I was working at a school here when I first started out and I, and what I do, and I was walking around at lunch and there was a teacher maybe even the principal who had a  can of Tony Sashary's in her hand, and she was walking around sprinkling it on everybody's broccoli on their tray  and I was like, what are you doing?  Because it wasn't the salt free, Tony's, which is pretty nasty. I will also admit to that. And she was like they won't eat it otherwise. It's better if they eat it with a dash of Tony's on. So it's tough. It's a tough discussion to have. I agree, Manny. I don't know why we're drinking milk. 

Pepper: Listen because nobody likes water on their cereal which, which leads us down a whole nother conversation about subsidies. But ultimately, so when we start talking about the amount of food waste. That we've got not just in schools and along the way the whole idea of giving a kid chocolate milk so that they've got calories is not, it's in sense, it's nonsensical in a lot of ways, mainly because calories is not the answer if you need nutrition, calories is not, you can still be malnourished by eating lots of calories. I say that as having lived off of chocolate milk and blueberry pop tarts for a year in my youth. 

Chef Traci: And Pepper, may I add to that, that in school, I drank chocolate milk K 12, and then saw a TED Talk about Chef Jamie Oliver. Dumping sugar cubes onto his TED talk stage saying this is how much sugar a kid will get in five years in a school cafeteria in America, and I nearly fainted in my own house, because I know I had more than a wheelbarrow of sugar because I had done it K through 12, 13 years of chocolate milk was my favorite. I wasn't gonna Drink regular milk or juice at lunch. So we have to be careful. I actually put in the chat an article about chef Jamie Oliver and he walked into Huntington, West Virginia. And noticed the dynamic that Emily was talking about, that kids were eating pizza for breakfast and that cafeteria workers are in fact. Often skilled workers that can, if you're going to pay them a wage, for skilled workers, they can take recipes and expand them or shrink them as needed and use real ingredients. But, school cafeteria has been bought, Otis Funkenmayer bakes all the cookies is push button controls. So you can pay someone seven bucks an hour. Or 7. 25 or whatever minimum wage is, and have them push a button and have the cookies ready for lunchtime. And instead of paying somebody a living wage and having them, I don't know make something like a banana bread or something. I don't know, what would have been more nutrient dense of calories or really, it's amazing. The politics that go into our food, the conversations that are had, the justifications that are made for why we need corn syrup laden, push button manufacturing food. And then, like you said, it's not just behavioral issues that can ensue. It's down the road health issues. Once that youth has been, stripped away after, boom, they're, they blink and they're 30. And then all of a sudden, Oh, I've been diagnosed with arthritis. But where'd that come from? I have inflammation and whatever. And I know this is controversial. People may not, they might think it's genetic or there's another reason, but food can most certainly make or break the difference in your experience. You're either going to manage that chronic illness, or you're going to be constantly inflamed and constantly. At the doctor trying to get pain management or some other therapy for your condition. So I'm, I've already gone 60 miles an hour just on chocolate milk in schools. Pepper, please anchor me down and center me with another question. 

Pepper: Will we talk? Yeah, yes, looking through the chat, cow milk is indeed it's cultural, it's regional, right? You and I were having a conversation yesterday about the cow milk that we do serve. Now, I do agree with Manny for a lot of reasons that we don't actually need milk that comes from another mammal because, it's not meant for us. In absolutely every way, though, the milk that hits the shelves is not milk that in many ways is health helpful, not helpful. Helpful. 

Chef Traci: Yes. So with that, we, a calf, a baby, a calf  may drink its mother's milk for 18 months. And somehow we've been convinced that we need to drink it our entire lives and buy it by the gallon. And we find the one that works for us, whether it's skim, 2%, or whole, homogenized. None of that works for me. I can't digest it. I, but I say what I'm going to say  with the preface. I absolutely love cows. I love the animal. I love the product that comes from cows, but it does not love me back. I Have to make adjustments. I, am an almond milk, oat milk drinker. And,  I don't care how happy your cow is, if it's been grass fed, if it's been trained classic piano its entire life,  if it's been vegan fed, I don't know. Usually they are vegan fed, if they're grass fed. With that said, it's still going to inflame you. It's just going to inflame you pork is going to inflame you. There are just certain things out there that will inflame the body. I could give a full list, but let's stick with cows in this conversation.

Pepper: Hold on. It sounds like you're trying to take away my sausage. What are you leaving me with? Once you take away, but, cause now I can't have bread pudding. And now you're telling me I can't have sausage. What's left?  

Chef Traci: Oh,  I'm so sorry. I'm just I apologize in advance. I will not do a kitchen audit on you, Pepper. We will remain friends. I will not bring the garbage can on wheels and throw away everything. But that's the dilemma of eating in America. I just want to shut up and eat, but I can't. There's so much profit to be made off of you. Me going into a grocery store and buying food there's a lot of laws that are not Restricting what's in it. And so I have to can I still say woke? Is that a thing I can still say and people won't roll their eyes? Okay, so I had to be woke Thank you for not rolling eyes. I'd be woke when I go into Albertsons or I don't know Walmart wherever I do my grocery shopping Because I'll insert my car dealership analogy. I always tell people in demonstrations, go into the grocery store with the same scrutinizing mind that you do when you buy a car. When you go into a dealership, you know what you want. Very rarely do you walk into a car dealership and you're like, I don't know, show me anything. No! You know what you want, you've researched it, you've probably been on Carfax about the very model that's available at the dealer. yoU've, you know the interior, and I can say this in my demonstrations even with kindergartners, and they're like, I want a Hellcat! I want a BMW, 5 speed, peanut butter leather interior. But then we go in the grocery store and just start dropping stuff in the cart.  And it doesn't matter, sometimes it doesn't matter how much it costs, we want it. whEther it's Oreos or, I don't know about you, but my grocer has sushi and chicken leg quarters with Richard's Creole seasoning already pre sprinkled on it before I even can get to the produce section. I'm literally bumping my cart into, please buy me. And, if I'm exhausted or hungry, it's a disaster. I'm just gonna get whatever. But you have, most of what I need is in the produce section. That being said, be just as scrutinizing when you go in the grocery store. Know what you want, know what you're looking for, turn over those labels. And I wouldn't say read every single Nutrition Fact label line by line, but, look for those sugar labels. Emily said, There's a lot of laws that don't restrict your sugars,  they can, have some manufacturers, say, oh, lower in sodium, low sodium options for a lot of things, but then sugar can still be up in the 30 60 grams of sugar, really corn syrup, and there's no restrictions because they just want it to taste good, they want you to come back and buy it. We're so scrutinizing and not trusting of situations and people and things, but we get a pack of Oreos that's stamped that it's, gonna be fresh for six months.  And we just peel back that, keep fresh label, you don't even have to rip the package open. You just have a peel, resealable package on top and we eat a whole sleeve like it's nothing. But just a reminder to stay scrutinizing and aware of what's in food and the food that you're going to put in your body. Because you can choose to get in and out of a car. But what you put inside of your body is far more critical, right? 

Tia Fields: Chef Traci, I have a question. What advice would you give to those people who have sugar cravings and how it affects your mental well being? Because I notice whenever I go inside the grocery store, everything that is over processed is all in the middle and everything fresh is on the outside. So what advice would you give to those who need those like midday pick me ups? I'm a coffee drinker. I probably drink way more caffeine than I do in a day.  

Chef Traci: Okay. I would highly recommend that you maybe start with breakfast, a good breakfast in the morning. And when I say good breakfast, like getting in and keep it, relatively heavier than what most people just grab something to run out the door, like a little breakfast sandwich or I don't know what we even eat in America anymore, an Eggo waffle or something and run out of the door. I would do something a little bit more nutrition packed. Like maybe an egg, scrambled egg with egg whites with some vegetables, tomatoes and spinach or something, and maybe a piece of whole wheat toast,  olive oil instead of the cow on the toast, no butter on the toast, try to do olive oil instead. And you'll find that will sustain you. I personally think that, In some cases, like I was always on the run for 16 months when I was in culinary school and working hard time, and I ate whole raw unsalted almonds for 16 months, every single morning, I was popping them in my mouth driving down the interstate,  and that was breakfast and I was sustained to 12:30. Also, secondary, I would say, make sure your supplements are. On par, make sure you're taking a multivitamin and a decent amount of chromium and don't do this without talking to a healthcare professional because I always believe in working with healthcare professionals. I don't know if it's something that you should not take or if you should be careful about  a certain amount based on  what your needs are. But chromium is one of those supplements that prevents sugar cravings and gives you that mineral gives you the minerals that you need. CMOS is also something that people take that's more popular these days, but that also replaces a lot of minerals that are lost when we're, going through life, moving, working, we lose a lot of nutrition. So it's a nutrition deficiency that you're really experiencing when you're having that craving in the afternoon, making sure you're sleeping six to eight hours a night, staying hydrated. Now if you really want the coffee and really want the. The like sweets after you're doing all the things that I'm mentioning, like the supplements, the, really solid nutrient dense breakfast and getting in the water, getting in the sleep, I would say have it. I think we go a little crazy if we don't fall off the wagon sometimes and let ourselves have something. I don't want to, you got to be realistic, but I think handling nutrition deficiency first and then that you'll be like, oh my gosh, it's been a few days and I haven't wanted. That picked me up or haven't needed that extra coffee. I personally found that after a while, because I'm from Louisiana, you'd probably drink coffee in kindergarten. And after a while, it just doesn't work anymore. You're just like, how did I sleep? And I had coffee and I'm still tired.  And so I started doing something I think a year ago where I would just  drink, like a, I'd get a 20 ounce glass of water. And I would put half of a lemon in it. I'd squeeze a fresh lemon in it. And I feel more awake. And that's the very first thing I do when I wake up.  Beeline it, eyes almost shut to the kitchen, squeeze that lemon in that water, and I rehydrate my body with that, and it makes me alkaline, because lemons make your body alkaline. And I'm just, I perk up. I'm like, I feel better having done this than with a cup, one cup of coffee. And I like strong coffee. Like I could take a double shot of espresso and I'm like, Okay, this feels normal. Now I can have a conversation. But when you get to that level, thank you Pepper. But when you get to that level where you need a double shot added to your, venti, Starbucks, latte, whatever, you need to do some introspection and be like, okay, it only gets worse.

Pepper: Alright, Miss Judgey Pants. 

Chef Traci: Hey, this is why I have no friends, right? Because it's oh God, is she going to talk to me about food and my coffee? Okay, so also notice when you're drinking coffee please be line it to Trader Joe's. They have an amazing and inexpensive creamer. They should be paying me for this conversation. Maybe I shouldn't tell y'all until they pay me. Just kidding. So I'm in this to help. So four grams of sugar. It's an oat  and  coconut, no, it's almond and coconut creamer and it's comes in a pint carton and it literally but again, back to the sugars, if you're going to do something every day, let it be something that's beneficial to you. So I'm not for the coffee mate that I grew up on.  I don't know what's in it anymore and I want to feel good and I find that it's got way too many sugars. I don't know. It's a lot of liquid, but I don't know what's in it. So I'm just saying fair enough.

Pepper:  All right. Is great for the rest of the year. But I got Christmas coming up in a couple of weeks. What I'm gonna do  when there is a sweet potato pie sitting next to a pecan pie sitting next to a pound cake that's covered in a Meyer lemon icing sitting next to a gumbo. See, y'all, you, the struggle is real. So how am I supposed to what am I supposed to do  to make it through this event  while we're talking about my health and being for the rest of the year? 

Chef Traci: You're going to have a sliver of everything, first of all, or all the things that you want. You're not going to have a full slice.  And then you're going to make sure that these are homemade desserts. Scrutinizing, like I said, this is a car dealership you're walking in, right? So you already know what you want. You want the potato pie and the pecan pie, not that lemon thing. Or you want the pecan pie and not the others. You get really decisive.  And did Nana make this lemon, my lemon pie?  Or did Walmart make it?  Okay, so Patti LaBelle at the Walmart. Does this count now as my my teeny? No Patti did not make that pie. And Patti didn't make that pie.  We are far from California, where this pie was made in her kitchen.  I'm just sayin  Y'all make your decisions,  and just make sure you eat breakfast on Christmas Day, so that you're not piling on the pie cause you're starving cause you didn't eat breakfast.

Pepper: Oh, wait a minute, there's no food served until Christmas dinner. I don't know what happens at your house. 

Chef Traci: I go get my lemon water and eat my almonds  and I wait until lunch is served  or dinner is served.  That's what we have to do. 

Pepper: T. D. Patty is somebody's nana. So  Another conversation that Traci and I, and this is, it's a natural segue, had yesterday, was really about the food system that we're working with, right? So yes, I am all about discipline. I'm all about moderation. I am all about trying to figure out how it is that we can manage, not just about the weight, but the health, right? What I don't really, what we haven't talked about is not only How is it that we can get to a place where I look at other countries, they don't have these same problems, right? There was something that Marcella put in the chat that, culturally speaking, this is not an issue until people end up here. Tell me more about what we can do what do we see, and how do we talk about making it better? What are my support system options? 

Chef Traci: Your support system options, other than educating yourself, because as you said, other countries are not having these problems, but other countries are also  often providing organic food by law to their citizens,  organic only, and having more  options for living that kind of behoove a healthy lifestyle, like  open air farmers markets almost every day of the week. Walkable communities, bikeable communities  and it's a matter of  definitely being more deliberate about and making just decisions small adjustments, though, are key to your success. It could be something as simple as I'm going to drink more water, especially in the morning, or I'm going to change that coffee creamer. That I drink every single day or three times a day, because that is, something that you're doing every single day of your life. So it's making an impact on your life. Or it could be, I'm going to scale back on the amount of red meat that I'm eating because I'm, trying to manage my inflammation level. But it doesn't mean I don't eat beef anymore or don't eat butter anymore. Or I'm, during the holidays, people must think, oh my gosh, isn't it, isn't she a wellness chef? Why is she eating that potato pie? Because Nana made it. And I can only get it once a year. And I'm not gonna pass up this pie. This is Nana's pie. You, you indulge and you fall off the wagon. But you make, but I made a decision about that. That I can't have that pie every day or every week. Otherwise, and I know people would still not ever trust a skinny chef, but I'm, for the sake of my joints, I have to live in this body for the next, I don't know how long, and I want to make sure that I can carry it all. I just make decisions.  

Pepper: So I would say, fair points all. Yeah.  Helena?

Helena Williams: Yeah, I just wanted to add to the conversation and you brought it up earlier with FAA Food Addicts Anonymous. There are some community systems out there that help you not be alone and where you don't have to hire a nutritionist to be your coach through things. So FAA is a nationally, just like AA is and NA is, it's a nationally built system. It's  Like a club, but you have sponsors just like you do in those other services. You have sponsors who are your coach. So when you have, you're at that holiday event and you're like, I'm about to crash. I can't hold this anymore. Like you're literally calling them on the phone.  I'm going to have that first piece of pie and I know I won't stop after that and they will talk you through what triggered you because you sometimes it's like it's an emotional event. I saw a relative that I don't have good times with and I need something comfortable right now. And so you can get that support that emotional support to help you not. get back on the sugar or the flour that's usually their two bugle boos is sugar or flour because of those most addictive qualities and if you do fall just like all the other AAs and NA systems there is a a support system to get you back on track and there's a reason why Dieting and things like that. Things that are ephemeral. When we try and there's so many different systems and who does what and which version should we try. We fall off of them because we're usually alone in it. And there's none accountability. And so  I wanted to raise that, but also add there is nothing. Baton Rouge, or I don't know, Pepper, if you could find in Louisiana, but there are no chapters of F.A. in Louisiana. My mom had been a part of F.A. for probably about seven years, and when she moved back here, she had to actually go to Pensacola.  For FA meetings and now we're virtual. So I think that there's a bigger ability to plug in to external FA meetings. But if people here do want to start an FA sector in the local area, there are avenues to do that. So that people who say, I just can't do this by myself anymore, but I can't afford a nutritionist.  There is systems out there that are built by community to support people during these very not just it's a lifelong commitment. And that's the thing too, is I remember asking my mom, will you be able to eat cake at my wedding? And she's if I do, it will ruin everything. And I just hope you understand that. And it just made sense because I understood her addiction. And yeah, there's a whole,  uh, FAA is very amazing. And finding the right sponsor can really help change your life. Absolutely more about  lifestyle changes as opposed to dieting, right? So I dropped the link to Food Addicts Anonymous in the chat. They are having a support group webinar on Christmas morning, if you are interested.  Additionally, I want to make sure, though, that you'll understand that this is not about in my mind, this is not about encouraging folks to rush out and buy organic because organic is a business. And I just want to make that clear, but there's a question from Reverend Anderson that's asking about where's the work addressing the issues of folks who are.  In really tough situations, like they don't have functioning appliances because those are a luxury. They don't have electricity. How do we get them to a place that they are able to make better choices? Or is that just beyond the scope of this conversation? I will take your silences beyond the scope of this conversation.  If we I will  offer and interject my own personal opinion is the work that we are doing at One Rouge around systems change and working across silos will probably do a lot to help, not just with housing, but also food  accessibility and what is being served. In schools because it is it's a sin and a shame what happens in schools and what they're actually being what we are being charged for. Marcella, I see that you just dropped another note in the chat. And now that you're back, you was there something you wanted to contribute? 

Marcela Hernadez: Hi, good morning. This is actually a topic that I'm super passionate about because I know what is experiencing hunger, not myself, but I'm come, I come from a place where hunger is real, where we have people dying of hunger. And  there's three things in my mind. When I hear this conversation, the first thing,  what are we teaching our children? It goes back to our family. It goes back to the table, the dinner table. What are we teaching to them?  So if we're teaching our children that the value of food is not important to be considered, then they will not take that value into consideration and they're just going to waste food and they're going to grown up into adults to continue doing this. Same things that we're, they're going to become directors, they're going to become managers of that whole food industry that we have that is not working, right? So what are we teaching our children and what is the value that we as adults give to food? If you are one of those that throw away the remainders of your food and your children see that that's what they're learning. So really, it goes back to what are we teaching to our Children, right? We can't preach if we're not doing something now. We got to think about my five year old just started going to the is but enriched public system here. And They sent out the calendar of the food and she was so excited because she saw chicken nuggets and I don't do chicken nuggets at home because we don't eat chicken nuggets at home. I do all different chicken, but not chicken nuggets. I don't do chicken nuggets. So she was like, Oh my gosh, I want to get chicken nuggets. I said, okay, you can try. So she went. to the school and she went to the cafeteria feeling like she was amazing. She came back like really upset because she had to throw away the food. And she was like, mommy, please forgive me. It was too much food, what they gave me and I could not eat it. And we had to go back to the classroom and I had to throw away the food. I am so sorry. And she felt horrible. And then I said, this is crazy. When you force. Children to throw away food because that's what literally they do. They put, they give you a plate and you have to choose and you cannot refuse not to take the food, even if you know that you're not going to eat it. So they're literally putting our children into a really difficult situation and making them to make a choice. Bottom line, what happened, I told my child, maybe next year, you can, your stomach will be a little bit bigger, and that way you don't have to throw away so much food. But this is a conversation I had with my child that I'm sure not every single parent has. Not every single parent that, that brings their children into school have it. And that's also a privilege that I have as a mother, that I know that I can cook something healthy for my child, and I can send it to, with her, right? Which, that's a whole nother Story about culture and parenting. And then the other thing, the last thing I wanted to say is.  There has to be a way that we can recycle food into the city. There has to be a way we can do it. We can do it. That process foods and foods that are already processed and that are leftovers. We've got homeless population in here and we've got tons of people that. are struggling getting food. We can have some community dinners, community cafeterias where people can come and get the food, the remaining food, and I'm sure they'll be happy to do it because I know people where I have leftover foods, they will take it from me. And now with the organic fruits and vegetables that the kids are being forced to throw away in the schools, we can put those into gardens, we can put those into worm culture. I had a conversation with my father who's coming also from that same idea of food preservation and not waste. We were talking about some ways to grow worms. And worms grow out of those that waste, right? So if you have tomatoes, or if you have apples that you didn't eat, you can literally put that into your garden, back into the garden, and make compost. There are ways to keep those things. It's just a way of, it's just a, it just takes someone to want to actually make a change, and make a big effort to do it. But there are ways. And this only happened in this country because there's food access in this country, which it doesn't happen in many of our countries. Thank you. That's all.  

Pepper: Oh, absolutely, go ahead. 

Chef Traci: I was just going to add to what Marcella said about setting, like essentially setting the tone for your child's relationship to food. And that kind of sparked just the conversation that I had this week with a colleague. Where she said her daughter, who's about two years old, was having some issues digestively and couldn't use the restroom. And I said have you tried just giving her, it was just common with kids, have you tried giving her fresh fruit, like berry, something easy for her to eat? And she said,  I don't like berries.  And I said, but this is about your daughter. Has she even tried them?  But thing is about, and a lot of my, this is revealed something I go through with a lot of my demonstrations with younger kids. They will have a relationship with food that their parents do. And it's their job to even go out of their comfort zones to teach their kids about, having a vision for the relationship to food that they want their kids to have. Like you may not like vegetables, but do not set your kid up for that because you don't know how that's going to affect them down the road. You want to at least expose them to things and then let them say, I don't like it now. But if she tried the things that I've recommended, it would no longer be an issue.

Pepper: That's all I had to say about that, Marcella, thank you for bringing that up.  Yeah, we absolutely need to do a better job of making sure that the policies and the laws around how it is that we grow, where we grow, what we can do in schools. I don't know if you'll remember,  miss Katrina, there was this big movement that we would do gardens in schools and they would eat the food and bring it into the cafeteria to actually prepare there and I don't know if any of you all know that the bottleneck was that the law doesn't permit that. So you can't grow it there and put it into the cafeteria because there are very strict rules about where the food can come from. So something that Emily was saying is that it all has to be American, but there's also very strict rules about who your suppliers can be where you were actually spending the money, what you're doing with it. Part of the work that we are going to be doing  Part of the work that we'll be doing with One Rouge is tackling things like this, right? That seem obvious to most of us who are just like, but you have a gap and we can fill it. Yes, Reverend Anderson, that means that people have to vote. We have to vote with ballots, but we also have to vote with what's on your plate, right? If you continue to buy the things that you don't want to see, those will be the things that continue to be there. It's just the way that it works, right? Over time, we do see that there are shifts and changes in the way that food is not only produced, but also the way that it is sold in stores, and this is what we got going on right now. Real hunger does exist, and regulations are not going to stop people from eating. This is all absolutely true. All right, kids. Last words from Chef Traci about how my anxiety through the roof, now I can't even have a cookie. Child, what is going on?  

Chef Traci: Oh my gosh. I wish we could just, like I said, shut up and eat, but we have to be conscious about what we're eating. We pay for our own healthcare and we  pay for our food and people profit off of it. So just think about that. Nabisco may not be your friend. They have money to make, they have stockholders to please. They don't care what happens to you and they're not responsible for what happens to you down the road. And I'm not saying, oh my gosh,  you can never have a cookie again because it's, this is the stuff that's available to us. This is the stuff that we might like.  But just be aware of it and know that you have a little bit more control and autonomy, when you go to the store and you can be pickier. And I apologize in advance. I am surprised I have not just completely given up.  I Just love food so much, but it's exhausting to go on to think about what you can eat. I wish I could just stick an IV in my arm some days. I don't want to chew today. Just don't want to think about it. Just get the nutrition in me some other kind of way. I'm tired of having to go drive somewhere and to think about all the things and to try to stay healthy. But, because it is an effort. It is a very deliberate effort on my part to try to be healthy. And Pepper and I could talk all day, maybe for a week, we could just talk straight, never sleep. And talk about all the things and all the food experiences. And, how we just want a little bit more freedom to just eat anything. If you've traveled abroad, you'd notice for those countries that have organic bylaw food, you can just eat french fries and lamb chops and gravy and not have to think about it  and all the things that you like and not have to be so concerned. But  where we are, we do have to be a little bit more conscious. Just be conscious trying not try to omit the judgment. Pepper, just try to hush, oh no, I'm judging. Not shut up and eat, but hush and eat. 

Pepper: There was a question that was in the chat that I do not have an answer to, and that question is does insurance cover a nutritionist? Does anybody know?  All right. We don't know. We'll have to figure that out. We know for sure that Blue Cross Blue Shields doesn't cover a nutritionist. And it seems that you may have to go full on into chronic disease in order to get a which, fascinating, absolutely fascinating. That's all right. We're going to leave that there. Casey.  Anything that you wanna send us off into the great.

Casey: Yeah. I'm tempted to do the one minute lightning round with you and Traci say all the things and yeah, actually, and Tia, I don't wanna exclude. Chef Traci, say all the things. Tell me about, say all the things of where you think. Where do you think our doctors let us down around nutrition? 

Chef Traci: Any doctors on the phone. I apologize in advance. I do believe that we should be working with our healthcare providers as much as possible, but  it's a for profit and reactionary industry. They will not be able to do anything for you until something's wrong. If you're a healthy person, relatively healthy, and you go into their office or the ER, they got nothing for you.  If you're trying to stay healthy and stay away from the hospital and this and that I think that You have to do a lot of research, you have to create community with people who have a good relationship with food. Even though they get on our nerves sometimes, make friends with vegans. Just so that you can kinda, cause they, and I, hey. And then the real ones, not the ones that are just doing it for the spotlight. The ones that are really solidly vegan, committed vegan. Make all their own food vegan, kinda. Cause they give you the best they're always up to date on what's in food.  About our doctors. We should always work with them because, we need them. We can't do it all on our own. They studied for so long, but just know that there are some limits with what they can provide us. I had a family health scare this year and learned a lot about it.  The limits with that we essentially had to go to the emergency room because a family member had very high blood pressure, like heart attack level. And because that blood pressure went down. We walked out of, during the time we were at the ER, we walked out of there with vertigo, dizzying medication, prescriptions, and that did nothing for us, but they were reactionary. The only thing that we could have done to actually get help was to actually have the heart attack  and then have whatever treatments and therapies that come with that,  but until something's wrong, you're stuck. They're like, I don't know what to do for you. anD but definitely pick their brains,  go to your annual checkups, get a hematologist, whether you have blood issues or not, so you know what's in your blood, what adjustments you need to make, supplements, see a cardiologist, we could all afford to know our heart health and to get stress tests and know,  whether or not you have a family history. Don't wait on react experiences to see specialists especially I recognize that a lot of people will have limits with this because health insurance has to cover it. But if you do have access of any kind, please access it. And take advantage of all the health care health care that you can. 

Casey: Excellent. Thank you, Traci and Pepper. We're going to call on Kelli, but I'm going to come to you and say, please say all the things about health insurance and Tia. I would love to hear your perspective on options when you were taking your young people around in the city. What the actual health options are to feed your kids who does it well, and where is it? Where's the fall short report? Quite frankly, you can just say all the things about something totally unrelated. Kelli. Go ahead.  

Kelli Rogers: Hey, sorry, I'm not on camera this morning. I was just following up on what chef Traci said. Dr. Tiffany who works with the healthy clinical program.  Through LSU Health and our Lady of the Lake is either certified or becoming certified through the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. And recently sent me some information to do some of those classes. So I just wanted to say that I do know that there are some physicians who are actively working on getting better in that nutrition space. You can also check out the Gold Ring Center for Culinary Medicine in New Orleans, which is a project of Tulane. Medical school is focused on training health care practitioners and better nutrition practices. So fingers crossed that hopefully that's something that will get better  with our health care providers. 

Casey: Thanks, Kelli. And in case I haven't said enough lately, thanks for all that you do year round, Kelli. Appreciate you.  

Kelli: Thanks, Casey.

Casey: Pepper, or sorry, we'll go over to Tia and then Pepper, I'm going to turn it back over to you so you can bring us to community announcements. Tia, say all the things. 

Tia: For me, I try to avoid areas that have a lot of fast food restaurants, just because the signs like my children can have just eaten at home. But if they see the signs there are, they automatically want the food realizing that there is a psychology that comes to advertising, advertisement and unhealthy foods. I am the typical mama. There is food at home. I pack snacks whenever we are traveling. My youngest child actually has a small or has celiac disease. So I'm also very like. Curious to I'm, as I'm learning on what triggers and inflames I try to inform her she's only eight. So I try to tell her what she can and cannot eat to avoid her having a tummy ache. But for the most part, for me, I cook at home. We try to eliminate eating out as much as possible and just educate my children on what's good for them and what's not good for them. If you can't pronounce it, then we won't eat it. 

Casey: That was like parenting 101 and 201 three in one minute. So nice. Thank you, Tia. I appreciate you. Pepper winding it up. Salty pepper. Salty pepper.  

Pepper: Listen I will keep this, I'm gonna keep it brief. Essentially we spend a lot of time and money trying to fix problems that are caused by the same people who are being paid to fix them. And I think that once you start looking at where the money goes and who's benefiting from the actual problems, we can start making better choices. Now, I am absolutely Yeah,  absolutely. All about growing things that and eating things that are nutritionally dense. But I'm also very clear that there are a lot of folks who do not have that kind of money, right? Whereas a Twinkie will be rolling with the roaches baby through the apocalypse. There's no way to get rid of it, and it will actually make your brain think that your tummy is full. So I don't enter the space of food from a very judgmental perspective saying that you need to be eating better or doing better or something different than what you are doing. I enter the space from a perspective of saying, if what you are doing is not working for you, then we need to start looking at other options. Because it's not about your weight. It is about health. It is about for me as an individual. I don't like taking pills. I don't like tricking my body into thinking that it's better or healthy or it's not in pain. I would rather for it to be better and healthy and not in pain. And if eating more fruit and vegetables and cooking at home and shifting my diet does that, Then that's just what I need to do. If there, if y'all, if there is anybody who is hearing my voice and says, what pepper is saying I can't have the pecan pie. I'm not saying you can't have the pecan pie because you know what, I'm all about pecans and nuts, and that's a good for you. And so I am that person who was absolutely going to justify it for you. But even when we talk about organic, understand that organic is a business. And they are not about making you healthy. They are about making you a return client. They are absolutely about making money. They are absolutely about ensuring that their shareholders at the end of the day do indeed make a profit. And so when we look at other food systems, even when we look at our own system and  think about, and look at the other things that we're consuming. If it's milk of some sort, where we have completely homogenized and bastardized the product in and of itself drinking it doesn't make any sense. What is the point of that? When we talk about supplements, how much of these things do you need to actually put into your body in order to offset what you're not getting in the food, which is what you were eating in order to put it into your body, and why does it make sense? Help me make it make sense!  You're right, Jen. A sick care system, not a health care system. And the last thing that I will say is that  when we have these superfoods that completely destroy other people's ecosystem, like quinoa I think that it's really unfair because we just don't want to do better. We are looking for a quick fix. And so Instead of cutting back on the  honey buns because, sugar, it tastes good and understanding that there are some things that you just don't need in your body. We are trying to figure out some sort of way to make it quick, make it easy because we are a microwave generation and all that said. Salty Pepper's here!  Sorry, I'm easily distracted.  

Casey: Thank you, Pepper. We appreciate you. Chef Traci, we appreciate you today. 

Chef Traci: Thank you all for having me. No problem. 

Pepper: Alright I know there is going to be a farmer's market tomorrow, but what else is going on in Baton Rouge, y'all? What's happening this weekend? Reverend Anderson?  

Reverend Anderson: Good morning, and I'm feeling a bit curmudgeon today. Can I just say that? But I will say that yesterday the Louisiana Stop Solitary Coalition started a four day event to On focusing on International Human Rights Day on the issue of solitary confinement as torture. So at our amazing Goodwood Library for the next three days will be a solitary confinement sale on exhibit at the lobby. And at 5 p. m. on tonight and Saturday will be a short presentation. One of the members of the impacted solitary confinement I'm sorry, solitary survivors council will be doing a presentation on the real life effects, along with a short prayer vigil led by faith leaders. And then on Sunday. December the 10th, which is actually International Human Rights Day will be an amazing candlelight prayer vigil on the rooftop of the East Baton Rouge Library at 5 p. m. So I encourage everyone to if you can make time, attend.  And if you can't make time, I will put the flyer in the chat. Learn something about solitary confinement.  Thank you. 

Pepper: What else we got, John? Got any cooking classes, any eating classes,  any events that might be happening? All  right that said, thank you, Chef Traci. I appreciate you being here chatting with us from policy  production to consumption and all points in between about food. Yeah, we will see y'all back here next week. Same bat time, same bat channel.  Have a great week, y'all.  Thank you. Bye bye. 



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