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What if our most delicious foods were also healthy and environmentally sustainable? The dream is a reality, and new resources from the Culinary Institute of America & The International Olive Council map out how we can solve our public health crisis and environmental problems, deliciously, in their guide titled “Olive Oil and the Plant-Forward Kitchen”.

The guide explores how the olive oil-centric Mediterranean diet, which has been voted best overall diet several years in a row, is also a plant-forward diet. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes the intake of plant foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts) and on "good fats" rather than "low fat"--specifically, olive oil.  Plant-based, or plant-forward is often confused with vegetarian or vegan, but is an entire eating pattern that can include modest amounts of meat, fish, poultry, and eggs. Consumers and chefs are attracted to plant-forward eating for the well established health benefits such as decrease in coronary heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

Environmental benefits of plant-forward eating include reduced emissions from food production, lower water usage and pressure on other natural resources, and preservation of biodiversity. Olive oil, as part of the plant-forward diet is an important factor for increased sustainability. Olive orchards are a barrier to desertification and erosion. Olive trees do not require intensive irrigation; 70% of the world’s olive orchards are entirely rain-fed.  The International Olive Council Sustainability Report notes that the olive grove is a sustainable strategy against climate change;  hectare of olive trees cancels out one person’s annual carbon footprint.

The white paper offers an well-researched overview of:

  • How olive oils is produced and graded
  • How to harmonize the flavors of olive oil with food
  • Cooking with olive oil (including baking, frying and high heat cooking)

Download Full Whitepaper

Additional Resources:

  • Plant-forward kitchen - The Plant-Forward Kitchen, a new education and digital media initiative from The Culinary Institute of America, presents next-generation strategies to re-imagine menus and flavor development in the professional kitchen. It builds on the vision and evidence base of Menus of Change, a joint initiative of the CIA and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health—Department of Nutrition.
  • Plant-forward recipes - Inspiration from the Mediterranean diet for American cooking from the Culinary Institute of America & The International Olive Council
  • Menus of Change - A summit organized by the Culinary Institute of America and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health for nutrition and medical experts, chefs, and environmental scientists to help the business community develop new models of innovation—and new, long-term business strategies—around opportunities for the future of food and foodservice. 
  • Tomorrow Tastes Mediterranean -an industry leadership conference and digital magazine produced by the Torribera Mediterranean Center (TMC), a joint project of the University of Barcelona and The Culinary Institute of America.

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