Weekly Food News Round-Up 5/31/18

Please enjoy the first installment of the Food News Round-Up with HSB! This is Madison.

I usually start at the Food Politics blog by Marion Nestle, and I was so intrigued to find a recent post about pay inequality in food businesses! The difference in pay for CEOs and workers is so drastically different, the table that Nestle made lists CEO pay in millions and worker pay in thousands – orders of magnitude different, people! Not surprising, but still so very disappointing.

So to all of us who are constantly thinking about how to decide what to eat… Pay inequality is still a factor, even when it comes to the food we nourish ourselves with.

Nestle’s blog post drew data from a New York Times article titled “Want to Make Money Like a CEO? Work for 275 Years.” It’s a good read.

We say… buying local, through co-ops, B-corps, and employee-owned businesses, and directly from farmers, will at least keep your money in your local community and ensure some amount of ethical corporate standards. It’s a good first step.

At Civil Eats, a recent article highlights the impact that a cooperatively-owned business model can have on the working conditions for food service and restaurant workers (presenting an alternative to the pay inequality Nestle and the NYT are writing about). This is an important issue to many of us who have worked in the food service industry (Henry and myself included). In this business model, employees are part-owners and play a role in the governance of a business. A quote from the article describes how beneficial this can be:

Owners in the business get to accumulate capital. When the business is particularly profitable, the employees who helped make it successful get to share in those profits rather than seeing the money doled out to shareholders or upper management. Worker-owned cooperatives also empower people through governance, dispersing the power balance between employees and employers.

The poor working conditions of restaurant workers and food service workers have been pretty well documented. However, when employees can take on leadership and ownership in the business, their pay and benefits are drastically improved, resulting in less hiring turn-over. Not only that, but as employees take on leadership roles in the business, they are cross-training in valuable skills.

We say… we really hope this trend continues. This is exciting news!

And we wouldn’t be proper plant-based eaters if the conversation didn’t include gut microbiome…

From the Food and Environment Reporting Network, it turns out “you are what you eat” isn’t quite correct. You are what you eat eat’s, in the sense that the bacteria in your gut microbiome eat a lot of fiber. These bacteria produce many important nutrients for us, they support our immune system, and interact with the nervous system in our gut (aka our second brain!). But they’re not getting enough fiber from a typical western diet. From the article:

It’s common knowledge that fiber is essential for our good health, yet less than 10 percent of Americans consume the recommended daily amount (from 19g to 38g per day, with men requiring the most). Nineteen grams of fiber is the amount found in about 2-1/2 cups of raspberries, 1-1/8 cup of black beans, or 29 cups of raw spinach. The typical Western diet — low in fiber, high in refined sugars and refined carbohydrates — provides about half that.

Which means our gut bacteria aren’t functioning in ideal conditions. One key type of fiber that makes all the difference, nondigestible cellulose fiber, is found in many plant foods (especially the peels – don’t peel your carrots!).

And some supplementary information from NutritionFacts.org: Starving Our Microbial Self.

We say… go read the article! Gut bacteria are fascinating. And if you ever feel lonely, just remember… you have millions of little friends supporting you unconditionally right there in your belly!

 

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