The Produce Moms® is a community of passionate fresh produce advocates with a mission to inspire everyone, especially children, to eat more fruits and vegetables. The Produce Moms Podcast is designed to educate consumers about fresh produce, introduce them to produce brands, engage the produce industry with consumers in inspiring conversations, and promotes public policy to protect and increase the availability of fresh produce at American schools. For more info, visit www.theproducemoms.com
Discover How Food Can Impact Depression, Anxiety And Mental Health With Dr. Monique Aucoin, ND Senior Research Fellow at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine
“We’re trying to understand how different foods and different eating patterns impact anxiety and psychosis disorders.”
Dr. Monique Aucoin (5:44-5:51)
Dr. Monique Aucoin is a naturopathic doctor and senior research fellow at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, and also one of the leading North American researchers in the field of nutritional psychiatry (the use of nutrition in the prevention and treatment of mental illness).
Not familiar with naturopathy, or confused on what it actually means? Dr. Aucoin says, “naturopathic medicine is a system of healthcare that combines scientific evidence with natural and traditional approaches like nutrition, herbal medicine and lifestyle counseling. Naturopathic wellness aims to address the root cause of illness and to promote wellness.”
Sure, we already have social treatments like therapy for mental health, but some people don’t find the type of treatment we have available helpful or tolerable, so we need to have other approaches available. Our current medical system isn’t reflecting the huge role diet plays in mental health. Offering dietary counseling to people experiencing mental illness is an opportunity to truly improve their health outcomes rather than just using medicine or social therapy. The problem also with our current clinical research is that it doesn’t tell us if, for example, someone became depressed because they’re eating poor quality nutrition, or they became depressed and as a result started eating poor quality nutrition.
“On an intuitive level, most people know when they eat better, they feel better, both physically and emotionally.” Dr. Monique Aucoin (7:08-7:15)
Dr. Aucoin is working with Dr. Laura LaChance to bring scientific evidence to the real world in a way that’s understandable and actionable. Most recently, they’ve put together a patient handout that talks about nutritional factors important for mental health and used lived-in experiences from those that struggle with mental illness in the process. These handouts are helping them speak to healthcare providers and train them on dietary counseling that can only further help their patients.
Ever heard of the term “emotional eating”? It’s not just a phenomenon we joke about – it’s backed by science, too. A study was performed on animals where they caused the animal a small amount of stress and gave them foods high in sugar and fat, which resulted in a reduction of their levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This may be a great, short-term fix, but long-term the foods we choose when “emotionally eating”, for example, can negatively impact our mental health.
Another clinical trial is being performed now to find out whether or not a food is causing a worsening or an improvement to mental health issues. A study called “Smiles” recently showed a large decrease in depression symptoms after 12 weeks of dietary counseling, with a quarter of individuals in the study no longer having depression at all. Dr. Aucoin and Dr. LaChance just received funding to perform their own similar clinical trial with those who have anxiety!
So, if you’re struggling with depression, anxiety or other mental health issues, what does Dr. Aucoin suggest you do with your diet? The top three nutritional factors in supporting brain and mental health are eating enough protein, eating anti-inflammatory foods and choosing complex carbs instead of simple sugars. Why? The brain is sensitive to the amount of sugar in our blood. Ever felt “hangry” before? That’s because your blood sugar is low (there’s a huge overlap between low blood sugar symptoms and mental health sugars). If you then eat something that’s high in simple carbs or sugars, it’ll disrupt your blood sugar balance even more.
“Steering away from simple carbs and choosing foods that have more fiber can have a huge impact on mental health outcomes.” Dr. Monique Aucoin
Make Healthy Boundaries And Wellbeing A Non-Negotiable With Dr. Christopher Mohr, PhD M.D., Nutrition Spokesperson, Sports Nutritionist And Owner Of Mohr Results
“Sometimes we think, ‘I’m not sleeping, I’m not exercising, I need to eat healthier, I’m stressed’, and then we’re just even more overwhelmed. Overwhelm does nothing for us.”
Dr. Christopher Mohr (24:07-24:17)
Dr. Christopher Mohr, PhD R.D., is one of the world’s leading nutrition and mindset experts and he’s got a lot to say when it comes to “Minding your Melon”. He’s consulted for clients like Under Armour, Reebok, Clif Bar, Gatorade, and was the consulting Sports Nutritionist for the Cincinnati Bengals. He’s even spoken at the White House and to the CIA thanks to his incredible expertise!
Dr. Mohr is no stranger to mental health. Sure, you can practice all the “wellbeing” steps in the world, but if you aren’t handling stress properly, you won’t reap the benefits of all your “wellbeing” hard work. One thing Dr. Mohr is concerned about in regards to stress is our children. Not only have they grown up in an era of constantly being connected digitally, they’ve experienced a large amount of radical changes in a short period of time with the pandemic and virtual schooling, causing a heightened sensitivity.
Even as adults, we’re always connected to a device and lack the quiet time we need to refresh, relax and reenergize. If you’re mentally stressed out, it’s going to impact all other areas of your life and can turn into a vicious cycle of burnout. As we know, stress can turn into not being able to sleep well and get the rest you need, eating foods that aren’t healthy for you, which turns into weight gain, which can cause self-esteem issues, and then the cycle just continues.
“If we’re not making sleep a priority (in quality and quantity), that can play a big role in overall stress and mental health struggles.” Dr. Christopher Mohr (11:15-11:26)
Whether we like it or not, stress is unavoidable. There’s constantly different shoes we have to fill, hats we have to wear, and uncontrollable variables being thrown at us (like a pandemic) that we have to deal with. Now, we’re living in an era where it’s common to work from home or have a hybrid work situation, on top of always being connected through a device, there’s never enough time to shut down, disconnect and decompress from the day.
Did you know 60% of people say their stress level is at an all-time high, and many of those people were claiming to be at the level of burnout?
This is why boundaries are important, which can be difficult if you’re in a field like farming, for example, where your job truly is 24/7. Farmers’ boundary issues with work go beyond receiving an email at 11 p.m. and choosing to answer or ignore it. Farmers have to deal with their profit growing in the ground almost all year round, while fighting unforeseen variables Mother Nature throws at them. Plus, there’s labor issues, diseases, and so many other things out of a farmer’s control. Dr. Mohr likens farmers to first responders – they’re both always working and if they don’t work, we don’t eat!
For farmers and anyone else dealing with stress, Dr. Mohr suggests making a list of controllable stressors and uncontrollable stressors. There are always going to be things we deal with that are out of our control, but what is in our control is how we respond to those stressors. When it comes to your health, you do have control over what you put in your body, how and when you move it, and taking baby steps in the right direction.
“Worrying about things that we have no control over does nothing more than increase our stress and worry when we can’t do anything about it anyway.” Dr. Christopher Mohr (20:33-20:42)
It’s important to identify the pieces in your life you can control and the things you can’t, so you can then decide how to respond to them. Knowing the harmony that’s created between taking care of your sleep, diet and exercise habits in conjunction to me
Mind Your Melon And Make Mental Health A Priority For Farmers With Marshal Sewell, Strategic Account Manager And Mental Health AG-Vocate For Bayer Crop Science
“My dad had the mindset that this isn’t just a profession, this is my identity. If I’m not a farmer, what else am I going to do?”
Marshal Sewell (15:19-15:28)
For the month of May, we’re doing a special series called “Mind Your Melon” and focusing on mental health awareness for the agriculture industry. Marshal Sewell, Strategic Account Manager and Mental Health “AG-vocate” for Bayer Crop Science, and fifth generation farmer, knows first hand the compounding stressors that deplete a healthy mindset while working on a farm.
Fall of Marshal’s senior year of high school was one of high stress. Like most seniors, he was trying to enjoy his last year of school, but also figure out what to do with his life. At the same time, his family and other local farmers were seeing issues with the plant quality of their winter strawberries. Local college researchers identified that there might have been diseases in the fields from the nursery the plants originated from. Marshal’s family tried to stay positive, but hardly got any strawberries out of that winter’s harvest.
“With no clue what to do and faced with this nursery borne disease, my dad didn’t see a way out and chose to take his own life. That was my indoctrination into mental health,” Marshal says.
After going through this tragedy and seeing his family struggle to overcome, plus knowing the regular farm-related stressors they had to deal with, Marshal was set on trying to identify ways to overcome this and help farmers manage their stress before it’s too late. After Hurricane Georgia hit, the Georgia Farm Bureau reached out to Marshal and asked him to share his story, hoping it will help raise awareness and show there’s hope after difficult times and tragedy. This turned into a catalyst for him to do more advocacy work and of course, after COVID-19 hit and things became even more stressful, Marshal’s been on a mission to get farmers talking honestly and openly about their mental and emotional state.
“How do we, on a farm level, manage risk and mitigate stress and difficult times, and what can we be doing more proactively even outside of the farming community to prepare ourselves for challenging times?” Marshal Sewell (10:17-10:35)
People who aren’t in the agricultural industry don’t understand the insurmountable amounts of stress on farms. There’s disease, weather changes, regularly occurring contagion, financial issues and so much more that can happen when running a farm, and there’s never an end in sight. Farmers don’t have the opportunity to pause, take a break to recharge or go on a “vacation” from these stressors. It’s compounding and only comparable to what someone in law enforcement or a Navy SEAL might go through.
Not only is there the issue of trying to be proactive in handling these issues, but getting farmers to talk about their mental health stressors openly and freely. Marshal was recently speaking to a potato farmer who deals with stress all day and doesn’t want to unload it on his family when he comes home – he wants to spend time with them. He goes to the farm the next day and deals with a brand new set of stressors, compounding on the day before. But eventually, he needs to open up to someone, whether it be his family or an outside resource.
Marshal likes to relate this to farm equipment. You wouldn’t go spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a brand new John Deere tractor just because your current one needs some TLC. Instead, you’d do routine maintenance on it, and the same thing goes for our minds and bodies which are the only things capable of operating the tractor in the first place. If we take care of ourselves actively and regularly with simple habits like getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, eating plenty of healthy, fruits and vegetables, and getting in daily, active movement, we can stay health physically, mentally and emotionally whi
Celebrating Arbor Day With Trees Transforming Climate Change, Food Insecurity And Communities Worldwide With Ali Berman, Bryan O’Donnell and James Kaechele
“If we’re robbing these neighborhoods of those green spaces, we’re robbing them of their health as well.”
Bryan O’Donnell (9:31-9:38)
What does planting trees have to do with helping reduce the daily food insecurity 38 million people around the world experience? Not only is there a huge correlation between communities that are low-income food deserts and a lack of trees, but just by planting one fruit tree you could be feeding families healthy produce for over 50 years!
Kroger’s public charity called the Zero Hunger Zero Waste Foundation (founded in 2018) supports organizations and innovators across the country who share the same vision of helping everyone around the world have access to affordable, nutritious food. They’ve connected with the Arbor Day Foundation, who’s helped plant and distribute 500 million trees in over 50 countries to help bring shade, food and beautify communities who need it most. The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation is also on the same mission, planting fruit trees in communities around the world with the goal of planting 500 million trees in the next five years.
Arbor Day may not be something you pay too much attention to, but trees can help solve so many of our issues, from sustainability challenges, carbon emissions, creating communities free of hunger, eradicating heat waves, developing resilient communities, beautifying spaces and so much more! An issue that correlates to food insecure or food desert communities are “heat islands”, areas of cities that lack trees or green spaces. As we know, heat waves exacerbate other natural disasters and increase health issues (even death). With enough trees in these areas, some cities cool down by up to 10 degrees, and the trees also clean air, provide oxygen, absorb carbon and clean the water where it’s needed most.
“More and more we’re having the conversation about climate changes and all the different things trees actually have solutions for. We’re seeing where once trees might have been a ‘nice to have’ in the neighborhood and we’re realizing they’re actually a ‘must have’.” Bryan O’Donnell (5:51-6:04)
The work the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation is doing is making incredible strides towards reducing food insecurity by planting fruit trees around the world. Arborist James Kaechele, part of the FTP, reminds us just how incredible it is to think how someone, for example, brought fig tree seeds all the way from their home in Italy, immigrated here, and planted a fruit-producing tree in his backyard of Queens, New York that has been feeding people for decades. The FTP has worked with the Havasupai Tribe located at the base of the Grand Canyon to help create the first town in the country where every family has a fruit tree in their backyard.
“We’re able to work with these awesome, local community folks who are hungry, literally, for more fresh produce, and they’re going to do all kinds of things to make sure those trees get watered and cared for for the decades to come.” James Kaechele (22:39-22:53)
James mentions the most difficult part of creating orchards or AgriParks (like in Fishers, Indiana) is the initial step of transporting and planting trees to these communities. The funding and partnership work from Kroger’s Zero Hunger Zero Waste Foundation is playing a huge role in making this movement possible. Customers who shop at Kroger are able to donate to the foundation which is helping develop urban orchard projects and ensure the communities that need trees the most are receiving them. Trees provide essential shade, beautification, food, resilience and are a great way to educate and bring people together, enjoying nature and each other.
“I think what’s so cool is that for years and years to come, way past my time on this beautiful Earth, we will be able to see the benefits of this project and see the importance of something that we have taken for gr
The Secret, Sustainable Hippocrates’ Prescribed Drink Making A Positive Impact With Melissa Martinelli, Founder Of Superfrau
“This is an amazing liquid that’s often misunderstood in our supply chain.”
Melissa Martinelli (6:06-6:11)
When you hear the word “whey”, you probably think of whey protein powder, right? There’s so much more to whey than that, which is why Melissa Martinelli created Superfrau, a sparkling, bubbly, functional whey beverage made from fresh, upcycled whey that comes from the greek yogurt fermentation process. Superfrau drinks are jam packed with vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, amino acids and so much more!
Melissa got her start as an immigration lawyer focusing on deportation defense and asylum law. Her husband introduced her to Austria’s second most popular drink, where he’s originally from, that’s made of liquid whey and fresh juice. Skeptical, Melissa tried the drink and was shocked at how refreshing and invigorating it was. Intrigued to learn more, she found out that 90% of milk from cheese and 66% of milk from yogurt ends up as liquid whey.
It was about 40 years ago larger cheese makers started manufacturing dry powder and concentrate of whey protein, but smaller cheesemakers haven’t had an outlet for their liquid whey. On top of it, because the pH of yogurt is lower and more acidic, you can’t dry it and turn it into a powder. Melissa founded Superfrau in 2018, creating her first prototype by the summer of 2019, and with the help of a Pepsi grant in early 2020, she made the drink shelf-stable (decreasing waste and making it more sustainable) and you can now purchase it at select Whole Foods and Urban Outfitters in the New England region and online.
“I think our timing is quite good because I’m not sure the consumer would have been ready for our products if kombucha hadn’t come out before.” Melissa Martinelli (10:33-10:44)
Melissa’s on a mission to redefine her whey as a “coproduct” rather than a “byproduct”, which is a term often associated with waste. Since one of the biggest causes of forced migration is climate change and contributors to climate change, it’s no surprise Melissa leaped into creating something that’s upcycled and focused on sustainability. Melissa is part of the Upcycled Food Association, an association that is focused on the impact we make on the environment and reducing the food waste in our supply chain. Upcycled Food Association also certifies entire products and singular ingredients, so if you see the UFA Certified seal on a product, you know the company is doing a great job at reducing food waste and using upcycled ingredients. Melissa’s Superfrau certainly makes the cut since 98% of her product is upcycled whey!
Even Hippocrates, the “Father of Medicine” was prescribing his patients to drink liquid whey 2,400 years ago, which goes to show how powerful and historically healthy liquid whey is.
The great thing about Superfrau is it doesn’t have the often vinegar-y taste health drinks like kombucha have, and is still a great, healthy alternative to soda or cravings for something bubbly. Melissa describes Superfrau as slightly sweet, slightly tart, and the only sugar included are naturally occurring sugars. Superfrau adds a lactase enzyme to the drink, so if you’re lactose intolerant you don’t have to worry! Each bottle has 3 grams of protein, is filled with vitamins like Zinc, Vitamin B12, B6 and B3, and electrolytes like sodium, magnesium and phosphorus. Superfrau is a great recovery drink and comes in three, delicious flavors: cucumber lime, pineapple ginger, and peach mango, with a fourth flavor launching this summer.
“The first thing you’ll say when you pop open a can of Superfrau is, ‘wow that smells good!” Melissa Martinelli (11:47-11:54)
Not only is Superfrau a great alternative to soda, sugary recovery drinks, alcoholic beverages, or not-so-palatable health drinks, it’s great for the environment too. Being certified by the Upcycled Food Association, a certification proces
EP214: Celebrating Earth Day With The Tesla Of Home Energy Appliances With Zach Elkin, President Of Beko, And Sazi Bugay, Director Of Product Management And Marketing
“Beko is the Tesla of home appliances! The way you have brought technology and sustainability into real time solutions for homeowners and moms like me is amazing.”
Lori Taylor (32:43-33:02)
In 2018, we started the tradition of celebrating a brand that’s doing a remarkable job of making sustainability a priority and more accessible for all of us in our home kitchens for Earth Day. There’s no better company to celebrate this year than Beko Home Appliances, a company awarded as the Most Energy Efficient in 2022 and Partner of the Year Sustained Excellence Award (for the third time) from Energy Star! One of the fastest growing brands in Europe and fresh into the U.S. market for four years, and the first home appliance brand to be honored by the EPA every year since, Beko has everything from nutrient-saving kitchen appliances, refrigerators that preserve food for longer, and dishwashers that actually clean the corners of your casserole dishes.
Beko prides themselves on “already having done what others are talking about” when it comes to sustainability and energy efficiency. For example, their dishwasher uses less water than any other dishwasher on the market today, creating a new, revolutionary way of washing dishes. Their dishwasher has a self-cleaning filter (did you know you were supposed to clean your dishwasher’s filter!?), a casserole dish “section” to clean those pesky, caked-and-baked casserole dish corners, and a height-adjustable third rack so you don’t have to waste water hand-washing your pasta pots!
As if their dishwasher wasn’t incredible enough, their refrigerators, EverFresh and HarvestFresh technology will blow your mind. The Beko refrigerators have a proprietary crisper drawer technology that sucks out the ethylene gas (naturally occuring gas by all fruits and vegetables) using just air filtration. They also have created their own, unique lights that mimic sunlight, completely tricking your fruits and vegetables to continue photosynthesis, keep the vitamin content and protect the nutrient value!
“Just how cooking your fruits and vegetables can change the nutrient makeup, you can have nutrient loss as your fruits and vegetables age and get closer to the rotten stage.” Sazi Bugay (18:06-18:16)
Beko has been a household name for decades in Europe, where it’s common to always buy produce fresh and frequently, but in the USA, our purchasing habits veer towards doing our grocery shopping once a week, which is where part of our waste problem comes from. Beko wanted to find a way to tackle this issue without using additives, which is where their HarvestFresh and EverFresh technology came from. HarvestFresh is available in their current appliances and EverFresh will be on the market later this year, along with updates to their dishwashers and washing machines which use steam to save water!
Did you know the average family throws away $1,600 worth of food on an annual basis? On top of that, 40% of everything that’s harvested on the farm goes to waste and the lion’s share of that occurs at the household level.
One of Beko’s main focuses is to reduce their carbon footprint which is why, for example, the plastic tub in their washing machine is made with reused, crushed or recycled bottles. That combined with many of the pain points we have as homeowners in our own desire to be sustainable makes Beko one of the best-in-class, energy efficient companies to date. Beko’s oven is another great example of this, which they are launching later this year. The double-wall oven uses proprietary air movement technology along the width and cavity of the oven that reduces preheat time.
“Beko is a purpose-driven global company and our focus is all about creating a healthier planet. We know that with the health of our planet we have health and wellness for all. Our focus will remain to bring forth products made with sustainable materials, to continue to
A must listen!
As America’s most trusted fruit and vegetable influencer, The Produce Moms, voice is much needed in the produce industry. It will change the way you view the produce industry in the best way possible. TPM is passionate about the industry it shows! The podcast offers relevant and insightful information about current market trends, nutrition, unique and education tools and tips, delicious recipes and much more. Host, Lori, tells the stories of the companies and growers very well. Thank you and your team for all of your efforts!
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Lori and her team do an amazing job at sharing relevant, interesting, and helpful information about the produce world and nutrition in general. Thank you for all your hard work!
Super interesting and relevant