Be bright, eat right

Photo by cottonbro on

(#9 of our Together-Ensemble series)

To quote Dr Aseem Malhotra, one of our speakers : “The current primary focus for COVID-19 is to devise a vaccine as quickly as possible but based on what we know about influenza, a vaccine is likely to have some limitations in its effectiveness and impact if significant swathes of the population remain obese and or metabolically unhealthy.”

This session addressed the topic of food & health.


  • Nina Teicholz is an author and science journalist. Her international bestseller The Big Fat Surprise upended the conventional wisdom on
    dietary fat – especially saturated fat — and spurred a new conversation about whether these fats in fact cause heart disease.
  • Dr Aseem Malhotra is President of Public Health Collaboration, an NHS-trained consultant cardiologist and visiting professor of evidence-based medicine at Bahiana School of Medicine and Public Health, Salvador, Brazil. He is a trustee of the King’s Fund, a pioneer of the lifestyle medicine movement in the UK and a founding member of Action on Sugar.
  • Karen Fabbri is deputy head of unit in the bioeconomy & food systems unit of DG Research European Commission, where she has spent the past 7 years. She used to be head of sector Food 2030 and policy officer responsible for research and innovation. She holds a PhD from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

You can watch the webinar part here. Please note that this is internal “raw” material, not originally intended for external publication, but knowing the difficult context and associated challenges, we have decided to make it available to all. It is offered by the European Commission with a view to encourage everyone to take similar initiatives to encourage a benevolent direction. (video will be added soon).


Over 130 colleagues had registered for this session; of whom 80 attended the webinar live and 45 took part in the workshop on 17 September 2020.

  • Education: Investing into educating people about healthier habits (Meat and vegetables work well. Fats are good as well. Less meat, less sugar, we have to listen more to body real needs. Eat a bit of everything: proteins with lot of fish, check meat quality, fruits, milk, started with beans. Less carbohydrates. Overall more enzyme rich food) Eat less, balanced and food direct from the field, green vegetables.
  • Dietary guidelines: Updating US/EU dietary guidelines which are used for schools and canteens.
  • Lobby: Supporting a “healthy habits” lobby. Not all diets fit to everybody. Too many diet fashions which do more harm than good. It can be confusing knowing what is good and what is bad. There is so much conflicting information and everybody’s physiology is different.
  • Ending ties with the food industry and trying to reduce processed foods available in supermarkets. A lot of concerns regarding Herbalife. A lucrative business with very elaborated marketing but things like “HerbaLife” are the most processed of all. Same concerns regarding “Comme J’aime” or anything which is made only of processed food. Avoid any food made up with ingredients your grandmother would not know.
  • Stimulate immunity: meat is playing an important role, which needs to be widely recognized.
  • Next steps: Lets seize the moment (COVID-19) and communicate in a smart, not regulatory way, on the need to develop healthy habits, starting with education in schools. Teach children how to cook. Not all parents know how to do this anymore, e.g. UK. But also regulation, lobbying and incentives to eat healthy. Regulate/reduce what can go in the supermarket (less processed food). Subsidize building constructions with cooking common areas and vegetable gardens to promote healthy eating habits. No help to agri-food industry and more support to small farmers especially to turn into organic agriculture. To increase prizes of food commodities together to launch campaigns to buy less food and prevent food waste. Ask EU leaders to disconnect from the food industry lobbies and dare to take uncomfortable/unconventional decisions. Coordinated work with industry/consumers to take into account environmental impacts of production and deal with food waste issues. To introduce an environmental tax for food producers, from inside and from outside Europe. Encourage Agroecology and fairtrade food, more local. No glyphosate and save the insects including bees for the pollinisation. What about adjuvant like ‘glutamate’ that brings us to eat more? That could be forbidden. Aspartame too.. Promote cooperation and availability of healthier food.
  • Points of attention: We should not worry too much about what we are eating, otherwise we won’t enjoy it anymore. This is why it should be made much more simple and funny to eat healthy. Let’s think more about what we should eat, instead of starting with what we should not eat. Be careful also about different names for sugar, and things that turn to sugar once you eat them—such as grains, cereals and even fruit. What vitamins “survive” cooking? How to ensure good quality water? Food choice also requires to reduce the environmental toxic load we are exposing ourselves to daily. Reduce overconsumption. “We eat like loggers while we have an architect’s lifestyle!”

Related links

Next article will be about self-organising teams, I have so many wonderful memories from this session with Céline Schillinger, Dace Kalnina, Alexandre Gérard and Zornitza Venkova!

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