Cal Day + Fruitful Minds Symposium

Late report but nonetheless, it’s here! Exciting events from last weekend at UC Berkeley: Cal Day (Apr 20) & Fruitful Minds Symposium (Apr 21)!!!

Cal Day


SDA Officers (from the left) Jessica, Divya and Ruth Tabling! (Of course I, Eve, hid behind the camera!)

IMAG0424Cal Day served as a nice transition into the hot days of Sprummer! The CNR section was very cozy, and luckily we had trees so we didn’t get sunburned/dehydrated! We tabled beside the students of NST 145 (Education and Counselling), where they talked about sugar and whole grains. They even had samples for white rice v.s. quinoa v.s. black/purple rice with lentils! Many people still dropped by the SDA table for information about the major/track. One of them was a father who reminded me of my dad and all his university friends!

Almost scandalously, a lot of the food provided were fried (DE GASP) or commercially prepared desserts. The cheese/salami(?) plate was an interesting mix-in too. Thank goodness for the vegetable and hummus plate? Oh well, food is food!

Fruitful Minds Symposium


The Wonderful Fruitful Minds Team, including SDA Co-President Jessica!


Our fellow tablers, the Science of Wellness!

The symposium held some amazing guest speakers, and I felt that it really brought out important tactics in nutrition education towards the growing obesity trend. It was really inspiring to see these dietitians each working in their field, affecting a small (but increasing!) amount of people, yet aiming for a greater goal. The speakers shared various topics–the developments in Fruitful Minds, prevention of obesity through prevention programs, school lunches, the Edible Schoolyard and the WATCH clinic in UCSF. (Attached below was the scanned brochure given at the event)

 symposium 1symposium 2

Mikelle also spoke at the symposium, and all of them gave some resources and places where you can get involved.

  1. Recipes for Change: Healthy Food in Every Community:
  2. KidsEatRight – Start a Movement in Berkeley!:
    Facebook Page:
  3. Journal of Nutrition Education & Behavior
  4. Nutrition Education Conference, August 9-12, 2013
    You can register online here, but it’s in Portland, Oregon…

I’ll just talk about some of the interesting points that the speakers mentioned, and pictures to go along with it!


IMAG0434Allyson led way to a nice intro to the symposium, talking about Fruitful Minds and its mission to deliver nutrition education. She also mentioned the expansion of the program to more schools around the Bay Area, and also extending the supporter base.  I’m not 100% sure of the details, but it’s good to hear that more youngsters will be learning more about nutrition and more people/students will be involved in delivering it to them. They are also trying to work out the statistics for behavioral change of these students, which is probably the hardest part, seeing as knowing the information wouldn’t necessarily induce immediate lifestyle changes.

IMAG0445Linda‘s presentation really highlights some major food/health issues with society today, especially with environmental and financial issues as a factor for obesity and other illness. Behavior is not the only reason for these problems, but the environment we’re exposed to also does matter. For instance, the contradicting  “junk food” advertising that is around us all (I loved the irony in the picture with the FDA about childhood obesity and then McDonald’s right below it). She also pointed out the difference in the amount of corner stores and grocery stores between “poor” and “rich” neighborhoods. (If you’re interested in related subjects, ESPM 50AC has another optional complementary class that delves deeper into it!) Thus, one of the goals is for corner stores to sell healthy products.

One of the quotes that I really liked from her presentation:

We are still standing on the bank of the river, rescuing people who are drowning. We have not gone to the head of the river to keep them from falling in. This is the 21st century task. -Gloria Steinum

IMAG0456Joanne is the veteran in dietetics, whose seen through many changes in the dietetics field, and she shared many interesting experiences throughout her career. Most recently, she worked at Cartoon Network to make their characters/mascots have more nutrition-friendly habits! (I never knew the cartoon industry had these kind of projects, but all the better!)

She touched on a crucial point that I could attest to: translation, indeed, does not take into account the cultural differences. Having lived in 3 different countries (kudos to those who know what TW, NZ & CA all are), the distinct food cultures definitely let me understand where she is coming from. For instance, people in Taiwan and most of Asia don’t usually eat cereal for breakfast, and most of the population are slightly lactose intolerant (and become even more lactose intolerant at an earlier age). Furthermore, milk is not as commonplace as soy milk. It IS rather weird to recommend eating whole grain cereal, or drink low-fat milk, to the Asian communities because that is not the norm. (In addition, cereal is more expensive compared to other breakfast options. I love breakfast shops!)

Another point I liked that she mentioned was the impact of childhood obesity posters. Although these campaigns may be working for a greater good, telling the overweight children that they are “fat” and will become obese adults don’t build their self confidence. I also feel that the emotional well-being has a link with obesity and/or diet, so these are important things to take into account.

(By the way, Joanne is probably the cutest lady.)

IMAG0470Sophia is a very enthusiastic speaker that it was hard to get a good still-shot of her! (Maybe I should’ve recorded a small section just to get a snapshot!) She shared the challenges of providing healthy school lunches, which should not be the only one blamed for childhood obesity. Giving healthier options in school definitely help the youth make better food choices, but ultimately, lifestyle and eating habits originate from home. I wish I could talk to her more after the conference, but she had other commitments afterwards. It would be interesting to hear some of the ways they run their business. However, there is always a tradeoff between improvements and expansion, especially since they don’t seem to have a lot of manpower.

imag0481Luis graduated from Cal, and his more science-oriented presentation reflected the nature of his work. His colleague Robert Lustig is apparently famous for saying that sugar is poisonous (or something along those lines), since it contributes to cardiovascular and fatty liver disease. (I won’t go into the details, but it has something to do with how the body processes sugar via liver).

IMAG0491On a lighter note, Kyle‘s presentation about the Edible Schoolyard made me very, very, very jealous of children today. They have more opportunities and exposure to cooking and the sources of food. Their science classes WERE their compost/gardening classes, and they even incorporated anthropology, such as where a food is historically found, into their cooking classes. What I didn’t know was that the program also included family education, which allowed the kids to teach their parents and other family members about the things they learnt in school. It’s very inspiring, and I hope these kinds of program will become more ubiquitous as the world becomes more nutrition-aware.


Last but not least, Mikelle also shared some resources that we students can consider–Kids Eat Right! This project was started by Lady Obama to prevent childhood obesity, and obesity in general. People can start groups in their region, and provide education and activities to promote nutrition and physical activity. Mikelle suggested that SDA should start one… Let’s think about it for next year! But to anyone reading this blogpost, no matter where you are–volunteer, educate your family, attend webinars and seminars about food issues!

That’s the end of my very long commentary about the symposium! Sorry if I bored you!

Nevertheless, it was very inspiring and gave me lots of food for thought! Hopefully there will be another one next year or the alike! =)


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