By MICHAEL AUSHENKER | Contributing Writer
“Pure Cure” author Dr. Sharyn Wynters put it best last week before a packed social hall at Kehillat Israel Reconstructionist Synagogue on Sunset Boulevard: “It is hard to eat healthy in today’s world.”
Wynters was one of five guest lecturers addressing some 65 attendees at the inaugural Kehillat Israel Society of Sisters (KISS) Empowered Eating Health Fair, a small symposium aimed at educating and encouraging locals interested in changing their eating habits for the better.
Organized by Vamos Vegan founder and KISS Board member Alicia Albek and emceed by KISS Boardmember Karen Rappaport, the Jan. 27 mini-convention included short lectures by health experts.
In addition, a host of booths allowed attendees to meet said guest speakers and sample Vegan Grill delicacies (faux chicken wraps and sandwiches, sugar-free cookies), get a massage, try coconut whipped cream (sans actual cream) and grab various literature from such organizations as Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger.
“It’s not meant to be necessarily vegan but promoting better food choices for health [and other] reasons,” Albek told the Palisadian-Post.
The lectures proved succinct yet informative. Nutritionist Elizabeth Baron Cole discussed the importance of certain nutrients, such as complex carbohydrates high in fiber and sugar from fruit, for health and well-being.
“Proteins and fats are key,” she said.
Cole also emphasized the importance of eating smaller meals every three hours in order to prevent feeling too hungry, something that can lead to eating bigger portions than necessary.
Next, Dr. Andy Mars, with an auctioneer’s speed, barreled through tips directed at improving a child’s health.
“If you put the wrong fuel into your body, it’s going to stop working properly,” he said.
Mars advised parents to assist children in correcting poor eating, sleeping and exercise habits.
Cancer survivor Wynters said the United States “lead[s] the world in degenerative diseases.”
She shared thoughts on the importance of eating foods, such as warm water and lemon juice every morning, that help your body attain an alkaline state.
Wynters also badmouthed processed food and microwave ovens as poisonous.
She considers surviving cancer a blessing because “it opened my eyes and made me conscious of what I put in my body.”
Upon changing her dietary conditions, Wynters said she is healthier today than she was at 25.
A day before his birthday, KI’s Rabbi Emeritus Steven Carr Reuben presented “the Jewish piece of the evening,” examining “eco-kashrut” (Kosher).
“Jews and food go together in many, many, many ways,” he said.
To illustrate the point, Reuben spoke of the 1965 United Farm Workers’ grape strike, during which Judaism’s Reform movement rejected grapes—a fruit universally known to be correct by Jewish law—as un-Kosher. How could that be, Reuben asked rhetorically.
Evoking the Hebrew National advertising catch phrase, “We answer to a higher authority,” KI’s former leader explained how ethics and morality also play into making food Kosher.
“It’s not just how things are grown but how the people who grow it are treated as well,” Reuben said.
Next, Yousef Ghalaini, executive chef at Fig, the Fairmont Miramar hotel’s restaurant, discussed his establishment’s farm-to-table cooking process.
The Lebanese-born, East Coast-raised cook spoke about cooking with an open flame—a “communal” and “primal” experience. An open flame forces the use of the right amount of spices and fat, he explained. Use too much and the flame rises.
Neither chef nor dietician, Kitchen Karate founder Casey Moulton introduced himself as “just a guy trying to get food in his face” before offering “the five moves of cooking: shop, chop, sprinkle, poke and clean.”
Moulton shared the importance of uni-tasking to master a specific goal.
“Broccoli, I’m gonna take you down!” he said. Accomplish this task and “you own it for life!”
Or, as emcee Rappaport said in summing up the evening’s mission: “Tonight is about small changes!”
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