Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Author Lisa Tillinger Johanse on Fast Food Vindication

 By Lisa Tillinger Johansen, MS, RD 

A lot of people ask what inspired me to write my book, FAST FOOD VINDICATION. It was simple, really. As a registered dietitian teaching nutrition education at a hospital, I see first-hand every day that there are many people who want to learn how to eat healthier meals, wherever they eat. And if they’re carrying too much weight on their frames, they want to know how to lose weight. I speak with thousands of patients every year about a variety of nutrition related topics such as diabetes, weight management, heart disease, hypertension, kidney disease, high cholesterol and more. Diet plays a role in all of these. And, in both my current role as a healthcare provider and as a former executive in the fast food industry, I’m very well aware that the majority of people eat at fast food establishments. And this is okay. We can eat well at fast food restaurants.

There’s an obesity epidemic in the United States and around the world. It is imperative that we be very proactive about turning this epidemic around and learning to eat for health. So, armed with all my knowledge, I knew that I could help a wider group of people through my book, FAST FOOD VINDICATION, than I do at the hospital where I work.

 I’m luckier than most first-time authors in that my husband, Roy Johansen, is a successful New York Times bestselling author and Edgar Award recipient. He also co-writes with his mother, Iris Johansen, also a successful New York Times bestselling author. My husband has been a professional writer for over 20 years and is very good at what he does. He encouraged me early on to share my expertise with others by writing this book. He proved to an invaluable source of information on the mechanics of writing a book. And, he provided the much needed support and guidance that everyone needs from time-to-time. I thank him and all the other wonderful people who helped me in this endeavor and helped to make FAST FOOD VINDICATION a reality.

Fast food vindication blog Tour Information

Lisa Tillinger Johansen is a registered dietitian and health educator who teaches a variety of classes on diabetes, pre-diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol, weight management, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, and healthy eating for adults and teens. She holds a Master of Science degree in nutritional science, Coordinated Dietetics Program, from California State University, Los Angeles. Her latest book is Fast Food Vindication.

Visit her website at
Connect with Lisa: Twitter | Facebook | YouTube

The fast-food industry has long been the whipping boy for all sorts of health ills. Obesity in children and adults? Blame it on fast food. Heart problems, diabetes, high cholesterol? Fast food is the culprit.

Not so, says Lisa Tillinger Johansen in her new book, FAST FOOD VINDICATION. Johansen, a Los Angeles-based registered dietitian, takes the bold position that “fast food is not the enemy, and it can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle.” In fact, Johansen says, the media’s current wave of anti-fast-food sentiment may actually be detrimental to society’s health and well-being. “By focusing solely on the fast-food industry, the onus is all too often removed from more important factors: personal responsibility and smart choices.”

In FAST FOOD VINDICATION, Johansen takes a lively, informative, and realistic look at our eating habits, and, using her expertise and experience as a registered dietitian, seeks to educate readers on making smart dietary choices no matter where they eat.

“The book refutes the notion that fast food is an evil force in society,” Johansen says. “The laser focus on fast food being the cause of the obesity epidemic is not true, nor is it the complete picture. There’s so much press about how fast food is detrimental to us. In reality, that’s not the case. It’s about how we eat. We can eat poorly at home and at sit-down and fast-food restaurants, but we can also make healthier choices at all of these places. The majority of us don’t make great choices. We need to look at everywhere we eat and how we eat. Personal responsibility plays a big role.”

“Fast-food restaurants make big and easy targets,” Johansen maintains. “So many of us eat at them, and, unfortunately, so many of us are overweight or obese. But research has shown that we eat the majority of our meals at home, so restaurants of all types are just a part of the puzzle.”

“There are a lot of ways to make good choices at fast-food restaurants,” according to Johansen. “For example, a grilled chicken sandwich without mayo, coupled with a side salad with low-fat dressing on the side and apple dippers without the dip, is one good meal that you could put together. Most fast-food restaurants carry entrée salads, yogurt parfaits, oatmeal, and other, more nutritious foods.”

On the other side of the issue, Johansen notes that an unhealthy fast-food meal could include “fried foods of any type, regular sodas or anything that is double, triple, quadruple or more.”

With the publication of FAST FOOD VINDICATION, Johansen hopes to “present the side of an issue that hasn’t really been discussed much in the media. By doing so, it should ultimately help people to learn to look at the big picture and make appropriate changes to their diets as needed.”
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