#7D4H - Guest Blogger Kimberly Curhan #Nutrition #FoodBargain

Introduction to our Guest Blogger: Kim Curhan is the Curatorial Knowledge Management Intern at ACI. She provides support for the meaningful curation of media content and artwork. She has been working hard to combine her interest in the relationship between art and audience with creative marketing strategies and social mindfulness. Kim received her B.A. with Honors from Boston University in the History of Art and Architecture and Arts Leadership. Throughout her time as a student, she interned at many arts nonprofits, hoping to gain a clearer understanding of the ways people respond and connect to art. She plans to further her education to continue raising awareness of the importance and impact of art in our community and beyond.  

Title: There is more in our food than we bargained for.

During a college recess, I signed up for Netflix and was excited to binge-watch movies and shows that I fell behind on while focusing on school work. I thought I'd brush up on some Parks and Recreation and a few Rom-Coms, but then I discovered many documentaries about the American food industry. Having been a dancer and someone who dappled in Vegetarianism (but did it very badly and became quite malnourished), I felt like I knew how to eat right. I was wrong, but the worst part was that it wasn't entirely my fault. 

After watching all the available food documentaries — Food MattersVegucatedFood FightFood, Inc.Hungry for Change, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, and Forks Over Knives— I felt betrayed by food and manipulated by the food industry. These films showed me how much information about our food is hidden, skewed, and made up. For example, the "Natural" label on products is an unregulated label that companies have started using because it makes consumers more likely to buy the product. Of course, as humans, we want to believe that the people providing something as important as our sustenance and nutrition are compassionate about our health. The reality is that the majority of food corporations are simply hungry for profits.

Anyway, the point of this blog post is to make you aware that there is more in our food than we bargained for and that things like fats and carbs are not what are making us a country full of obesity. In fact, another recent article by Take Part explains "5 Decadent Foods That Are Officially No Longer 'Unhealthy'." Our weight gain is rather due (in my opinion) to various chemically altered ingredients and preservatives/chemicals that our bodies can't digest or use effectively. In addition, by offering processed foods that are lacking in essential vitamins and minerals because they're not really real foods, "people are overfed and starving" (Quote from David Wolfe). Think about how the body craves nutrients to function properly, so when it doesn't receive them, it will continue searching despite the calories. 

So, where does this leave us? If you want to get the most nutrition out of your food, stay closest to nature. Other options include supporting local and organic farmers, always reading the ingredients, and doing your research about where your food comes from. When in doubt about what's good or bad, the lovely folks at Whole Foods Market already sifted through them for you. 

This TEDxAustin Talk also taught me a lot about the current food situation. 

From the article "Common Food Additives May Be Making Us Fat" from Take Part based on a study published in Nature:

Science has given wary consumers another reason to avoid some of those tongue-twisting ingredients listed on the packaging of countless products in the average American grocery store. In a study published this week in Nature, researchers say they’ve found evidence that two commonly used emulsifiers in processed foods may be linked to the rise in obesity and to certain chronic digestive disorders.

The team of researchers, led by two scientists at Georgia State University, wanted to see what impact the synthetic emulsifiers polysorbate-80 and carboxymethylcellusose might be having on the trillions of bacteria that make up the gut microbiota and are essential for healthy digestion. Both emulsifiers are found in a slew of products–most notably ice cream and other frozen dairy desserts. But they can also crop up in everything from canned soup and salad dressing to frozen entrées and cream cheese (and even sunscreen and hemorrhoid cream, but we won’t think about that).

Call to action: Do you have important information around one of our seven causes: HIV/AIDS, Mental Health, Nutrition, Heart Disease, Maternal Child Health, Cancer, Disability, that you want to share with a wider audience? Do you or a loved one currently live and/or struggle with one of these causes? Do you work in research, advocacy, prevention, treatment or care? We want to hear from YOU! Write to us today: 7dresses@artsconnectinternational.org to become a featured blog writer.  Another way to get involved is to wear the color of the day in solidarity. Take a picture of yourself in the color of the day and Tweet it @ArtsConnectInt, tag us on Instagram @ArtsConnectInt, or send it to us on Facebook.  

About 7 Dresses 4 Health (7D4H): 7D4H is a year-long arts and health education campaign lead by visual artist, Marian Brown, in conjunction with Arts Connect International. The objective of the campaign is to promote inclusive community practices through adDRESSing health artistically and collaboratively. To learn more about the genesis of the project, read Marian’s New Year Blog

About today's look: All of the dresses for 7 Dresses 4 Health were designed and sewn by Kim's Fashion Design. Love the look? Visit Kim at 100 Huntington Ave, Boston MA 02116, call her at (617) 267-9299 or email her: info@kimsfashion.com. Mention 7 Dresses 4 Health for a special discount! 

Campaign Update (2017): All 7 Dresses 4 Health blogs were migrated from a former site, so the sharing analytics are inconsistent from when they were first published. We apologize to our guest bloggers, and readers, for this inconvenience. That said, the campaign garnered an average of 5K hits per blog, over 500,000 readers throughout 2015! Additionally, the average number of shares per guest blog was over 150x on social media (through Facebook and Twitter). Thank you for making this incredible campaign possible - and for all that it was for so many. With gratitude, Marian & the ACI Team