inkwell.vue.385 : Darya Pino,
permalink #0 of 152: David Gans (tnf) Tue 8 Jun 10 09:45

I am very happy to introduce Darya Pino to the Inkwell.  I've been a big fan
of her web site, <>, for quite a while now.

Darya is a scientist, foodie and advocate of local seasonal foods. She shares
her healthy eating tips at, blogs for The Huffington Post
and contributes to Edible SF. Follow her on Twitter @summertomato.

Leading the discussion is Diane Brown. Diane is a foodie who trained as a
scientist, works as a doctor, and loves to cook, eat and enjoy food.  She has
never met a bean she could resist buying, mills her own whole grain flours,
and is still trying to make up for 20 years of chocolate allergy by eating as
much as possible.  She posts some of her recipes and random food ramblings on
her web site,
inkwell.vue.385 : Darya Pino,
permalink #1 of 152: David Gans (tnf) Tue 8 Jun 10 09:52

Let me butt in with an opening compliment: Darya, has
changed my life.  You have posted some really great advice in a most readable
and useful form, e.g. "Ten Reasons to Never Eat Free Food"
<>  and "Shocking:
Sugar Content of Common Food Products" <
sugar-content-ofcommon-food-products/>.  Your site is full of practical in-
formation that is backed by science and research, and you present it in a
highly accessible form.  I (and my cardiologist) salute you!
inkwell.vue.385 : Darya Pino,
permalink #2 of 152: Darya Pino (daryapino) Tue 8 Jun 10 11:27
Wow, that's one of the best compliments I've ever received, thanks
David! I have a few simple goals that I try to meet with everything I
write at Summer Tomato:

1) Make health enjoyable. Real, healthy food is delicious and should
enhance your life, not hinder it.

2) Provide practical, not theoretical advice. Understanding the
intricacies of insulin metabolism will only get you so far. How can a
busy person who enjoys food really use this information?

3) Make science understandable without overstating the truth.
Oversimplification of science is dangerous, but long drawn out
explanations are boring and less than useful. I try to put findings
into context and focus on the big picture (our daily lives).

4) Never take myself too seriously. I don't have all the answers and I
distrust anyone who claims to. If we can't listen to other points of
view and laugh at ourselves when we blow it, then we're really missing
the point of this whole exercise: to make life awesome :) My favorite
Twitter hashtag will always be #lifeisgood
inkwell.vue.385 : Darya Pino,
permalink #3 of 152: paralyzed by a question like that (debunix) Tue 8 Jun 10 23:07
That all makes so much sense.  

Today there are a lot of ways to increase the health of your diet that
don't take quite as much time or commitment as my grain mill, and
don't compromise on taste.  But it's not always so easy to know what's
the real deal and what's not:  the big food companies are trying to
fool you into thinking that adding a little whole wheat or decreasing
the sodium a little or cutting the fat or using a less refined sugar or
adding some goji berries negates the unhealthy aspects of their
cookies or microwave dinners or salad dressing or whatever.  

If you don’t know how to read between the lines of the nutrition
labels, you’re going to be fooled.  If you don’t know how to cook some
simple healthy food from scratch, you’re almost entirely at their
mercy.  And even if you can read the labels, and cook a little so
you’re not only buying prepared foods, how do you know which nutrition
advice to take to heart, and incorporate into your life, and which is a
junk-science based passing fad?  

That’s where something like your blog seems so valuable:  you share
good information and show how to put it to tasty use, with real foods.
inkwell.vue.385 : Darya Pino,
permalink #4 of 152: paralyzed by a question like that (debunix) Tue 8 Jun 10 23:46
In my work with patients nutrition comes up *all* the time.  People
want to know what specific foods to eat more of or to avoid, what
supplements will make them better, and always, always, how to lose
weight.  They get so disappointed when I don't have any simple answers.

For some time now one of the few supplements I've given a tentative
thumbs-up to (when patients bring them up, I never recommend them
otherwise) are Omega-3s.  I figured it probably wouldn't hurt and might
help, as long as they don't have contaminated ingredients.  But you
had an interesting link last week to a study that argues against
annointing omega-3s as our dietary savior.  How do you decide whether
or not to link to something that goes against conventional foodie
wisdom like this?  And have you gotten much feedback from people who
are promoting grassfed animal products as healthier based on their
omega-3/omega-6 balance?  
inkwell.vue.385 : Darya Pino,
permalink #5 of 152: Darya Pino (daryapino) Wed 9 Jun 10 09:47
You touched on the point of "functional foods," where companies add
something a little extra like fiber or omega-3 to make the food seem
healthier. This is a sure sign that the food is not good for you. These
foods are generally not measurably healthier than foods without the
fortification. The difference is so small as to be irrelevant. The best
data we have suggests that the only thing that makes a food healthier
is LESS processing. So we can deduce that these functional foods have
very little nutritional value.
inkwell.vue.385 : Darya Pino,
permalink #6 of 152: Darya Pino (daryapino) Wed 9 Jun 10 09:58
You bring up excellent points about supplements. The only convincing
data I've seen for supplementation is for vitamin D3, which anyone
living in or north of San Francisco should be taking at least 2000 IU.
This does seem to prevent ostoporosis/fractures, autoimmune diseases
such as multiple sclerosis and possibly some cancers.

I definitely don't think omega-3s are a dietary savior. They are a
necessary vitamin, but you just need to get a decent intake and you're
fine. More than that does not help (and with some supplements is
actually harmful). I don't think this goes against the "foodie wisdom,"
I think media has been overzealous in promoting this supplement and
have given the public a false impression of the data.

As for grass-fed beef, I think the fat content ratio is interesting,
but not the main reason to eat this food. First, grass-fed tastes
better. It is healthier because it is from cows not raised in a feedlot
and therefore haven't needed to be pumped with antibiotics. They are
also less likely to be diseased, and are better for the environment. It
is also more expensive, which I think is a good thing. We would eat
less beef if we paid what it actually costs to produce it. Feedlot beef
is cheap because the corn and soy the cows are fed are subsidized by
the government. It would serve us well to question how much we want to
spend on meat and limit our purchases to high quality, healthier
products in smaller quantities.  

But anyone eating a healthy, balanced diet of unprocessed foods
probably doesn't get much extra because of the beef's fat ratio. Make
inkwell.vue.385 : Darya Pino,
permalink #7 of 152: David Gans (tnf) Wed 9 Jun 10 10:15

Sure does!  I just do my best to stay clear of the grocery-industrial
complex, buying food at farmers' markets as much as possible.

Michael Pollan's journalism on this subject has been hugely persuasive to me,
and I am doing my best to keep it simple.  Am I correct in assuming you
generally agree with his advice?
inkwell.vue.385 : Darya Pino,
permalink #8 of 152: Darya Pino (daryapino) Wed 9 Jun 10 10:42
I love Michael Pollan and consider him a friend and mentor. I think he
is spot on with his analysis of what is making us healthy,
particularly his points on processed foods and our lack of an enduring
food culture in the US. Traditional eating culture has been taken over
by food industry marketing, so we now snack all day, eat on the go and
have been convinced buffets are a good deal. The idea of "value" have
overtaken common sense and pleasure.
inkwell.vue.385 : Darya Pino,
permalink #9 of 152: paralyzed by a question like that (debunix) Wed 9 Jun 10 12:09
I also love your post about 'free food'.  I bring my own bag lunch to
work every day, and generally eat from it even when lunch is being
provided for a meeting of one kind or another, and I feel a strong peer
pressure to eat it.  But though I eat some junk food, I'd rather have
a nutritionally empty candies that are not embarrassed to be what they
are, and at least have interesting flavor, than eat the highly refined
and processed who knows what 'creme' filled pastry that never came near
real butter or cream.   
inkwell.vue.385 : Darya Pino,
permalink #10 of 152: . (wickett) Wed 9 Jun 10 14:16

I've not read your blog, but will.  It sounds delicious!

I was raised as an Adele Davis baby and have never really eaten junk food.
I was served a bowl of Campbell's mushroom soup when I was 18 and was
horrified.  I ate two spoonsful out of politeness--too thin, salty, 
tasteless, one piece of mushroom. The only processed foods I 
routinely buy in the market are Ry-Vita crackers (my oven isn't hot 
enough to bake crisp crackers), canned sardines and salmon, cheese, and 
ingredients like milk, baking soda, and baking powder.  I bake bread and 
make yogurt every week.  

I, alas, don't frequent farmers' markets as much as I'd like, as the 
crowds can give me vertigo.  

Even if I could stomach the flavor, components, and texture, I've never 
understood the lure of processed food.  Good cooking doesn't take too 
much time, although it does take some planning.  I freeze packages of 
whatever soup, stew, pot pie I've made for my husband's lunch.  So 
simple, so quick, so yummy.  
inkwell.vue.385 : Darya Pino,
permalink #11 of 152: Linda Castellani (castle) Wed 9 Jun 10 15:56

Darya, I just learned so much from your post "When is a Calorie Not a
Calorie?"  I've never understood how I could be so mindful about 
quantity and still gain so much weight, especially in the belly, which, 
I have been told, is a good indicator of insulin resistance.  Now I 
understand!  Thank you!

Also, the post that David referenced above about the Sugar Content of 
Common Foods.  I love the Thai salad at California Pizza Kitchen.  I 
feel so virtuous ordering salads and having dressing on the side because 
I always thought the dressing was where the calories were.  Is that what 
makes the Thai salad so high - 45 grams! - in sugar?
inkwell.vue.385 : Darya Pino,
permalink #12 of 152: paralyzed by a question like that (debunix) Wed 9 Jun 10 19:24
(for our off-site readers, please email <> with your
questions and comments for Darya Pino)
inkwell.vue.385 : Darya Pino,
permalink #13 of 152: Gail (gail) Wed 9 Jun 10 21:23
Where can I find the "When is a Calorie Not a Calorie" post ?
inkwell.vue.385 : Darya Pino,
permalink #14 of 152: jelly fish challenged (reet) Wed 9 Jun 10 21:59
inkwell.vue.385 : Darya Pino,
permalink #15 of 152: We're carrot people. (unkljohn) Thu 10 Jun 10 04:41
What a fantastic read!
inkwell.vue.385 : Darya Pino,
permalink #16 of 152: David Gans (tnf) Thu 10 Jun 10 09:54

Darya, you're a grad student, right?  What are you studying and what thesis
(dissertation?) are you working on now?  And what are your long-term plans?

Selfishly, I want to you contine doing <> for the
rest of my life :^)
inkwell.vue.385 : Darya Pino,
permalink #17 of 152: jelly fish challenged (reet) Thu 10 Jun 10 10:09
As do I.

I deeply appreciate your clear explanations of bodies and food, and
appreciate even more deeply your NOT DEMONIZING FOOD ITSELF. It seems to me
that many people get so worried about what to eat they fall into the
supplements/diets trap and lose the pleasures of eating real & good food.
YYour blog is a wonderful marriage of foodie/healthy advice. NOt sure I have
any questions, but I wanted to check in as a fan and someone who refers
friends to your blog over and over.
inkwell.vue.385 : Darya Pino,
permalink #18 of 152: . (wickett) Thu 10 Jun 10 11:44

I mostly agree with reet, although from a brief read, I commend you 
for not demonizing real food, *and* for certainly questioning the value of 
pseudofood and clearly pointing out the harm it does.
inkwell.vue.385 : Darya Pino,
permalink #19 of 152: Darya Pino (daryapino) Thu 10 Jun 10 11:46
@debunix I couldn't agree more about appreciating junk food for what
it is. I eat food that isn't healthy, but I know it and appreciate it
for what it is. To me the most offensive food is processed junk that
pretends to be healthy but really isn't (and also tastes horrible).
inkwell.vue.385 : Darya Pino,
permalink #20 of 152: Darya Pino (daryapino) Thu 10 Jun 10 11:48
@castle That makes me so happy! Nutrition is much more complicated
than picking a diet and sticking to it. But knowing a few basic things
about how your body deals with calories can be tremendously helpful in
making food decisions. Let me know if you have any more questions.
inkwell.vue.385 : Darya Pino,
permalink #21 of 152: Darya Pino (daryapino) Thu 10 Jun 10 11:52
@tnf My PhD thesis, which I am completing this summer, is in
neuroscience at UCSF. I study a population of adult neural stem cells
and how they develop. I'm happy to report that when I finish writing up
my research findings I am forever done with academics and will pursue
health writing. I still haven't found a great way to monetize Summer
Tomato (without selling out) but am experimenting with alternate ways
to make this my job. There will likely be a book or 2 in my future.
inkwell.vue.385 : Darya Pino,
permalink #22 of 152: Darya Pino (daryapino) Thu 10 Jun 10 11:55
@reet @wickett Thanks, that is exactly the message I try to get
across: it's okay to enjoy food, you will still be healthy so long as
what you're eating is actually food.

Life is too short and food is too delicious to make it your enemy. And
in fact, making food your enemy is a fantastic way to gain weight.

Eating delicious food is WIN WIN!
inkwell.vue.385 : Darya Pino,
permalink #23 of 152: David Gans (tnf) Thu 10 Jun 10 11:56

This is such a perfect example of knowledge=power.  I am fortunate to be
married to a great cook and a committed organic-food consumer (i.e. <reet>),
but I also spend a good deal of time on the road, where I have a great deal
less control over my eating options.  I have gotten great benefit from the
advice on <>, and from the Nutrition Action Health
Letter <> - which publishes reviews of
processed foods and restaurant meals by brand name, detailed analyses of
nutritional issues, etc.

It's so important to have this kind of help in getting past the layers of
marketing bullshit that cover everything in American life these days.
inkwell.vue.385 : Darya Pino,
permalink #24 of 152: David Gans (tnf) Thu 10 Jun 10 11:57

<21> congratulations on the impending end of your academic career!  I really
want you to be able to continue with summertomato because it is a great

Do you have an opinion on CSPI and the Nutrition Action Health Letter?  Maybe
you can affiliate with them!
inkwell.vue.385 : Darya Pino,
permalink #25 of 152: Darya Pino (daryapino) Thu 10 Jun 10 13:38
I like CSPI and the Nutrition Action Health letter, but I feel they
are missing the boat on new media. I'd like to do something more
progressive than mailing letters.


Members: Enter the conference to participate. All posts made in this conference are world-readable.

Subscribe to an RSS 2.0 feed of new responses in this topic RSS feed of new responses

   Join Us
Home | Learn About | Conferences | Member Pages | Mail | Store | Services & Help | Password | Join Us

Twitter G+ Facebook