Woodside salon focuses on healthful food, habits


By Kate Daly, Special to the Almanac

SOUL (short for: seasonal, organic, unprocessed, local) Food Salon is so popular it sold out in 12 hours the two times it has happened in Woodside.

The event is the brainchild of Jeanne Rosner, a former pediatric anesthesiologist at Stanford and mother of three. Her neighbor and she are taking turns hosting experts in their homes to share information about the benefits of eating well, and inviting mostly other mothers to come listen and learn.

"I just want to educate myself selfishly, and educate and empower others to a cool, healthy way of life," Dr. Rosner says.

She has taught nutrition classes to students at Woodside School, Menlo School, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula and Peninsula Bridge.

In October she launched a website for the salons, booked some speakers and sent out an email blast to friends to tell them about upcoming talks.

Private chef Kellan Hori demonstrated a simple fish and vegetable meal at the first salon in November. Author and blogger Darya Rose spoke on Dec. 2. One to two speakers are already lined up for every month through May.

So far, Dr. Rosner says, "The interest is very strong."

The daytime events are by invitation only. She manages attendance through Eventbrite, aiming for an audience of 50.

She urges all attendees to donate to a nonprofit she supports, the Edible Schoolyard Project, which began in Berkeley at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School almost 20 years ago to teach students about making good food choices by working in the garden, kitchen and classes.

The school is now part of a network that extends to more than 4,000 programs around the world.

Darya Rose

At the most recent salon Darya Rose, a San Francisco neuroscientist turned writer, talked about her experiences after "15 years of dieting hell" that goes back to when she was an 11-year-old ballerina drinking Slimfast.

"Diets don't work, in fact they make it worse. ... you just need to eat real food that you buy at the farmer's market, what's in season," said the author of the book, "Foodist: Using Real Food and Real Science to Lose Weight Without Dieting."

She is a proponent of creating good habits that, with the right triggers and related rewards, become automatic. Three habits she suggested are: "Always eat breakfast, get your work-out in, and cook dinner at home."

Willpower is in her opinion "exhaustible" and can lead to what she calls "decision fatigue."

She prefers setting up obtainable goals and consistent routines and then monitoring them to keep on track. Two examples she gave are measuring steps on a pedometer, and being mindful of always eating greens for both lunch and dinner.

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