Friday, September 16, 2011

Diplomats gather for a Heart-Healthy Lunch

Interior designer Aniko Gaal Schott and Elizabeth Kucinich

By contributor Donna Shor
Photos by James H. Brantley

Dieticians tell us to avoid white potatoes―especially it they’re loaded with sour cream, cheese and butter―but surprise, sweet potatoes are okay! Their high fiber content drags cholesterol from the body, and makes them a fine food for a weight-loss diet. Who knew?

Heart Melon
That was among the many tips on preventing obesity and averting heart disease that were given at the Sister to Sister Foundation’s luncheon at The World Bank.

Mrs. Irene Pollin and Dr. Lotti Letaoczky
Dr. Lotti Letanoczky, vice president of Sister to Sister, introduced Irene Pollin, the organization’s founder and chair, who has labored ceaselessly since 1999 to tell women of  the link of obesity and heart disease, and that both are preventable..

Her words spoke directly to 130 international luncheon guests who were largely members of the diplomatic community, including women diplomats and wives of diplomats.

 Sandra McElwaine and Diane Flamini
Irene Pollin and WUSA's J.C. Hayward

H.E. Peter Taksoe-Jensen, Danish ambassador to the U.S.
"Today we are reaching out to the world with the message that heart disease is the Number One killer of women worldwide,” she said. One of the Foundation’s missions is to support and educate international working women by providing heart-healthy nutrition, where they work. At present 8.6 million women a year globally suffer fatal strokes and heart attacks.

The Danish ambassador to the United State, Peter Taksoe-Jensen, agreed in his opening remarks that this is valuable information for all women, in every country. (The ambassador’s personal chef, Lars Beese prepared the heart-healthy luncheon for the event.  Beese swept the field with the two top honors at the 2011 Embassy Chef Awards—proving gastronomy and health can both be served.
Dr. Darius Mozaffarian of  Harvard’s School of Public Health and Dr. JoAnne Foody, director of the Cardiovascular Wellness Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital spoke of the importance of yogurt, nuts, fruits, whole grains, vegetables and vegetable oils, and fish and seafood as necessary to fight obesity.
Dr. Lotti Letaoczky, VP, International Programs, Sister to Sister Foundation.
 Warin Tepayayone, dancer with the Somapa Thai Dance Company.
 Mrs. Nuchjaree Klongsungsom, wife of Thailand’s ambassador to the United States

The signs of an impending heart attack are more diffuse and less detectable for women than for men, hence the danger is greater, and the Foundation’s special concern for women.

Nine members of American Women for International Understanding came to support the event, some from as far as California. Mrs. Pollin is active with them, as well.

Dr. Esther Brimmer, assistant secretary, International Organization Affairs, U.S. State Department
Attendees included Elizabeth Kucinich of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (and the wife of Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio); cardiovascular specialist Dr. Susan Bennett; interior designer Aniko Gaal Schott; photographer Didi Cutler, the wife of Ambassador Walter Cutler, and Diane Flamini, of the Spanish embassy, wife of author Roland Flamini.

Embassy representatives included diplomats from Barbados, Cameroon, Hungary, Singapore, Bangladesh, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Russia, Macedonia, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Ghana, Fiji, Poland, Israel, Bosnia Herzegovina, Cape Verde, Ireland, Philippines, Thailand and Botswana.