We are excited to announce that Gerri French has joined Be Food Smart as a Special Advisor. In her new role, Gerri is helping Be Food Smart grow and expand. She is assisting with marketing, national outreach, and building high-quality informative content for the site. This amazing woman has been a fixture in the Santa Barbara, California community for years and we are thrilled to have her on our team.

Gerri French, M.S., R.D., CDE

Gerri has been a clinical nutritionist, educator and cooking instructor for the past 30 years. In addition to her new role with Be Food Smart, she currently serves as:

  • Nutritionist and diabetes educator at the Santa Barbara Sansum Clinic
  • Nutrition instructor for the Culinary Arts Program at Santa Barbara City College
  • Adult Education Instructor for Santa Barbara City College, Adult Education program.
  • Founder of Santa Barbara Food & Farm Adventures, a local group that meets at farms, markets, restaurants and wineries to learn more about local foods.

Gerri is the former Food & Nutrition Editor for Diabetes Health magazine and continues to work with diabetic patients as a Certified Diabetes Educator.  When she describes her specialty, she says, “I specialize in translating the latest scientific findings into practical information. I love helping people purchase and prepare local and organic foods, or as I call it, Earth Friendly Cuisine.” Gerri earned both her Masters of Science & Bachelor’s of Science at California Polytechnic Institute in San Luis Obispo.

Be Food Smart Co-Founder, Dina Clapinski, recently sat down with Gerri to learn a little more about her. Here are a few questions from the interview (remainder of interview will be posted on the blog tomorrow).

Are there any differences between the ways you practice now and when you started some 30 years ago?

I have resurrected my interest in the connection between our food choices, the environment and health.  After being married and having two children, things change. Children are teachers. I became a certified lactation educator and worked at Cottage Hospital for a year as a lactation educator. It was then that I began to discover the politics of food and industry especially regarding formula and breast milk. What’s interesting is that chemicals in our diet concentrate in breast milk so it is important for women to eat conscientiously when nursing their child.

Have you seen major changes in your industry over the years?

One major change has been the advent of health claims on food labels. Although they were initially developed to help consumers make healthier food choices, the connections between government recommendations and the food industry’s labeling has become very obvious.   There is some clever marketing out there that even a dietitian has a difficult time evaluating let alone the average shopper.

Make sure to visit our blog tomorrow to see the rest of the interview with Gerri.