Nick Difino is a self-described Food Hacker, Food Teller, food-dj and advocate of good and healthy food. He has collaborated with the Future Food Institute and You Can Group frequently as a prized performer at our previous hackathons and as an inspiration for entrepreneurial thinking.
He is a veteran hacker, with three years under his belt of direct work at various hackathons, and has performed at a huge number of events, always telling a different side of the food story. His takeaway from his experience with hackathons? “No one should work alone. Sharing multiplies wealth.” We are excited to have him join us once again this September 23rd at Feeding Fair, to share his stories of food struggles, successes and goals. We had a chance to grill Nick on all things nutrition (and malnutrition, the focus of our upcoming hackathon), and here is what we found out.
When we asked Nick what good nutrition meant to him, he praised the need for a balance, in nutrients and diet. He searches for “clean and real ingredients” in his own diet, and always try to include plenty of organic fruit, vegetables, grains and greens. Nick practices an almost strictly vegan diet, staying away from meat, dairy products, eggs, but enjoying fish once or twice a week. He also avoids canned foods, snacks, processed foods and products containing ingredients he cannot pronounce. But when it comes to a healthy diet, Nick knows the balance is not just about the food. “A healthy body, mind and spirit” are also connected to good nutrition.
With so much nutrition advice and information seemingly available, we asked Nick who he relies on for food advice. “I appreciate the work of scientists and journalists like Michael Pollan, Yann Arthus-Bertran and Claude Fishler,” he says, but “I believe Colin Campbell is still unsurpassed.” In Italy, Nick likes to keep tabs on Franco Berrino, who personally followed Nick’s own case of cancer. We asked Nick to expand on Berrino’s open condemnation against dairy, processed sugar and excessive protein, something rather typical in the Italian diet, specifically the typical breakfast of brioche or biscotti and espresso. “Is culture stronger than health and nutrition?” he asks in return.
It is a big question, and one particularly relevant in Italy that enjoys such a strong food culture. “It is big work, but I am confident. Vegans are growing in a gigantic number,” adds Nick. In fact, just recently theRepublica remarked that now 10% of the Italian population identifies as vegetarian, and vegans are coming in at 2%, pretty impressive figures for the country.
As far as fighting malnutrition on a global scale, Nick Difino praises education, action taking and a combination of national and international policy. He speaks ofAvanzi Popolo, in his home town of Bari, where unused and leftover foods are being collected and redistributed to people in need. With this effort, Nick points out, “They tackle two problems: waste and undernutrition.” Solutions such as these is what our bright minds will be working towards as we focus on Feeding Fair and combating malnutrition on September 23rd. Click here, and sign up today!