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POP INTERVIEW: Mary Rolph Lamontagne Explains Food Waste and Why Celebs Care

Since 2005, Chef Mary Rolph Lamontagne has worked with food waste prevention in South Africa. Catch her here on PopGoestheWeek.com before her upcoming USA media blitz promoting her book, EATS, as we quiz her on what social activism means for celebrities…and if it is real.

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Every flip of the channel, some celebrity promises to “give back to the community.” Little is explained about more than the sound byte. How does one prevent food waste? What does food waste mean? What does Angelina Jolie do for charity? You know you wondered about it.

Since 2005, Chef Mary Rolph Lamontagne has worked with food waste prevention in South Africa. Catch her here on PopGoestheWeek.com before her upcoming USA media blitz promoting her book, EATS, as we quiz her on what social activism means for celebrities…and if it is real.

Why do so many celebrities act like they care about the environment? I feel it’s a weird trend. Many are genuine but some make you want to rip out your hair with their artificial view. Why is this in style?
I think that there are lots of celebrities that have joined the environmental train because they truly believe in the cause that they support. Perhaps having a new family, a tragedy or finally enough star power to make a difference propels them to get involved. If celebrities buy into any cause by creating foundations, putting their personal money into the charity and donating their time and energy then they are truly genuine and I believe that at a certain point the public can tell the difference between a genuine person and a fake….even in Hollywood it never pays to lie! The fake ones slowly go by the wayside or eventually self-combust.

One of the basic rules of marketing is that for something, or someone to stay relevant, they need to follow the trends. Perhaps environmentalism has become a hip trend to promote but I don’t think any value is added by questioning people’s motives. At the end of the day I am an optimist and like to look at the good that comes out of something like protecting the environment becoming a ‘cool’ trend to follow.

Mary in a nest

Who in Hollywood seems to be most genuine about the environment and food waste awareness?
Food waste is not as glamorous as some of the other environmental causes out there so it unfortunately has not gotten as much attention as the others but there are still some great advocates out there. Cheryl Crow and Drake for instance are great examples of celebrities working towards reducing waste. They have both been known to use biodiesel, recycle, buy local and use compostable tableware for themselves and their crews.

Another great advocate of waste reduction is Mayor Bloomberg. Although not actually in Hollywood his name does carry a certain weight. He has created a big buzz with his Food Waste Challenge, which is why I stopped by NYC over the summer to see how things are going at the grass roots level. I camped out with Inside Edition in front of some compost heaps and met with some real people coming to dump what they thought was trash. Mayor Bloomberg’s initiative has had a slow start in terms of touching the general public but I am hopeful that as time passes and the project gains traction more celebrities will recognize the importance of reducing waste and help raise awareness.

The Feed bag does well with Saks clientele and the fashion set of celebrities. Everyone is snapped out on errands wearing the purse! Is this a good way to help food waste prevention and food availability overseas, or is it a gimmick?
I think there is a big difference between food availability and food waste prevention. North Americans have not yet joined the dots about food security and food waste. The Feed bag is a great concept that has helped to feed many people and children around the world, including here in the US. Celebrity endorsement of products is hardly a new concept so I am hesitant to call this a gimmick. The bags are trendy and people get to sleep better knowing that by doing something so small as buying and using one bag, they are working towards making the world a better place. Perhaps it is time we find a way to make reducing food waste trendy and endorsable!

Why is Angelina Jolie a powerful role model in social awareness in Africa? Whenever I ask anyone about socially concerned people, they skip world leaders and go right to her. Why would an actress’ words resonate more than a president’s support?
The public yearns for authenticity and although politics are an integral part of our every day lives, politics and hidden agendas often go hand in hand in people’s minds. Angelina Jolie however has proven otherwise with her track record. She actually lived in Namibia, created a foundation and has worked tirelessly with the UN over the years. Angelina Jolie has learnt how to translate her celebrity status into a commodity and has applied it to the causes she is passionate about. For example, having People magazine donate $500,000.00 to charity to get the rights to photograph her pregnant was a brilliant move. A win win for everyone.

mary

Does most of the money at any of these famous causes really go to helping people? How can people weed out good charities from scams?
Transparency is key here so it is up to the donor to do the proper due diligence on a charity and weed out the scams from the honest charities. Sometimes when we see a natural disaster either at home or abroad, we want to help by making an immediate donation to have immediate gratification but sometimes, as we saw in Haiti, those funds were not properly spent because there was not the proper infrastructure in place to deal with the influx of money. I truly believe that finding the best group with a proven track record is the best solution. Do a little research and often that will be more effective than quickly donating for instant gratification.

For me, it is about “I am giving time rather than just money.” I learned about a charity in Rwanda called Gardens for Health (http://gardensforhealth.org) when I was visiting Rwanda a few years ago. It is a charity that was created by 3 then university students, back in 2007, to reduce the level of malnutrition in the country through the prescription of gardens rather than pills. Last year, I had the chance to visit the charity in both Rwanda and Boston and I was impressed with what I saw. This year, in mid-November, I will be going to Rwanda to visit the NGO and actually cook with the mamas to teach them how to preserve rather than possibly loose the produce they have learned to grow to feed their families.

People often forget that time can be just as valuable as money for many of these charitable organizations. It is nice to find celebrities who understand how valuable their time is and put it to good use. You know that they are truly committed if they are using their checkbooks as well as their personal time to make a difference.

Why is Western culture obsessed with food: either eating too little and dieting or Paula Deen type splurging? What are we misunderstanding about food waste and our entire relationship with food?
There are so many angles we can take when looking at our food problems that it is hard to decide where to start. Sadly, I think that we have moved so far away from food feeding our body and soul that it is not surprising that there is a problem of obesity, dieting and so much more. We all want a quick fix because we are all so busy that fast food, packaged prepared food, unhealthy growing conditions, big business, globalization, lack of education and so much more are all responsible for our present situation.

Since most people have no idea where their food comes from, it is not surprising that there is no interest in where it goes after it has been thrown out. There is a new trend to educate children about food, teaching them how to grow and cook their treasures. The renegade Lunch Lady, chef Ann Cooper (http://www.chefann.com) and Chef Alice Waters, who started the Edible Schoolyard Project (http://edibleschoolyard.org) should be credited for getting governments to realize that all levels of society should have a right to healthy food. States such as Maine and Delaware are just two of many that are now offering food stamps that are redeemable in farmers’ markets. School cafeterias are offering healthier choices and there is a growing trend with consumers wanting to know where their food is coming from. 1 out of 6 Americans have no idea where their next meal will come from. Soup kitchens are filled to capacity and yet supermarkets are rejecting ugly produce and fields are rotting away with fruits and vegetables that could not find a way to market. The system is clearly broken and a quick fix won’t solve it. Once we all start to view our food differently we can start to appreciate it. Only then will real solutions begin.

How can we prevent food waste here and abroad?
Food waste is a problem that is rampant at all levels from farming to distribution to markets to restaurants to our own homes. I think we need to concentrate on what we can control. For the average person, this means starting in our own kitchens. There is no need for this process to be overwhelming so long as people start out small, working their way up to some bigger steps in time.

Reducing waste starts with realizing that we are creating too much waste. You need to ask yourself, how much do you really throw out a week? Does it go in the bin or do you try to recycle and compost. Would you go that extra mile and set up a compost bin in your backyard or on your balcony. Would you walk those extra few blocks to leave a bag of compost in a bin? If the answer is no, then why not start with” what can I not throw out this week?”. Perhaps repurpose the braised carrots into a soup or take that extra ½ cup of wine and freeze it up in an ice cube tray to use in future sauces. Making one change, once a week is like collecting drops of water in a glass. In the beginning it does not look like much but as with everything, this too will grow to make a difference.

Once one gets into the swing of things, that little difference rolls into another until your habits take a change for the better. Doing, then sharing with other,s is the first step to being part of a greater good. I believe that this is the way to influence change and that is why I wrote my books EATS: enjoy all the seconds.

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Lizzo Is An Icon In The Making – And Here’s Why

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Mirror, mirror on the wall don’t say it ‘cause we know Lizzo cute. And by cute I mean extremely talented, gorgeous and totally inspiring!

A few months ago I was watching The Ellen Degeneres Show when I witnessed one of the most fun, exciting and awe-inspiring performances I’ve ever seen. Lizzo popped onto the screen in a sparkly, pink getup and began singing what would become her big hit song, “Juice,” – I was immediately hooked (more like obsessed). During this performance she also jammed out on her flute alongside her plus-sized backup dancers and suddenly I knew I had been changed forever. I did some more research on the rapper/singer and found out I had been sleeping on this gem! Lizzo has been doing bad all by her damn self for years, having already released two albums in the past. I am suddenly mad at every single person who neglected to tell me to jump on the Lizzo train sooner! If you’re like me and need a bit of catch up, I’m going to break down exactly why you need to know this icon in the making.

You can throw a stone in any direction and hit a triple threat nowadays. Lizzo’s brings talents we have yet to see in the mainstream music industry.

If singing, rapping and dancing make Lizzo a triple threat, what does flute playing making her?!? A STAR THAT’S WHAT! Lizzo has displayed her abilities as a talented flautist, which is not an instrument you would necessarily think of in conjunction with the rap genre making this talent all the more extraordinary. Lizzo even used her flauting skills to compete (and defeat IMO) with Ron Burgundy. Not Will Ferrell, but Ron Burgundy.

Oh, and she can also twerk while playing the flute. 

As if playing the flute wasn’t impressive enough, Lizzo can also twerk while playing. I really hope some high school kid is deciding to take band just so he/she can flutwerk their way around campus like their fav flautist, Lizzo.

Lizzo uses her platform to inspire and raise up everyone around her.

Lizzo uses her voice for more than just creating fire music, ya know. She uses her platform to defend the belief that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Her Twitter is filled with positivity and strong messages about acceptance.

 

Uhm…she’s straight up gorgeous. 

We cant forget to mention that Lizzo is a straight up beauty queen. She is known to switch up her look but I’ve never seen a bad pic of this queen. To solidify my point, she is now officially the first, plus sized black woman to be featured in Playboy magazine!

Credit: Playboy.com

Move over Avenger’s, Lizzo has been in a comic book too!

Ok indulge the nerd in me on this one…Lizzo was even featured in a comic book!!! That’s right, she has become so influential that even Marvel comics wanted a piece of the Lizzo-pie. Check out this shout-out in Unstoppable Wasp #4!

 

So now that you have become as obsessed as I have, you are probably wondering how you can get even more Lizzo in your life. Well lucky for you, her new album dropped TODAY! Her third studio album, Cuz I Love You, is available anywhere you listen to music and let me tell you, YOU WILL LOVE IT. The album is varied and showcases all of Lizzo’s incredible range with some songs being upbeat and funky, and others being slowed down and heart wrenching. For a taste of what to expect, click below to listen to the title track of the album. If the new album still doesn’t satisfy the hunger for more Lizzo, she’s also on tour! You can click here for more info on tour dates.

Oh Lizzo…you are most definitely 100% that bitch.  

Like what you read? Follow @ChrisSiretz on Twitter and Instagram

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LISTEN AND VOTE: Madonna Has A New Single. What Do You Think?

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Madonna has released her first single in three years. Her highly-anticipated 14th studio album Madame X will be released on June 14 – but the first single is out now.

The premiere single, “Medellin,”features Colombian superstar Maluma. She credits her experiences living in Lisbon, Portugal over the past several years as a strong influence into the tracks. 15 new songs will lean heavily into Latin and global beats. (Not to mention Maluma’s incredible popularity – he has nearly six million followers on twitter.)

Lisbon is where my record was born,” Madonna says. “I found my tribe there and a magical world of incredible musicians that reinforced my belief that music across the world is truly all connected and is the soul of the universe.

 LISTEN AND VOTE IN OUR POLL BELOW!

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Nine Types Of Facebook Posts That Are Insufferable, Needy Or Annoying

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We all know someone who does these.

Facebook is like a window into a person’s soul – and it doesn’t take much to see when someone is looking for your attention. Do you know someone whose guilty of these nine Facebook faux pas?

THE “I’M CLEANING OUT MY FACEBOOK FRIEND LIST, HOPE YOU MAKE THE CUT!” POST

We all know a person who decides they are going to going to edit down their friend list and posts a not so thinly veiled warning to their friends that, horror of horrors, maybe they will be among those ousted! It’s like the hunger games, except no one really cares if they’re killed off. Let’s examine the real intention here: they want you to say ‘please don’t unfriend me!’  What they fail to realize is how many people are dying to sarcastically say ‘I’m shaking… Oh no. How will I go on without you?’ If you want to edit down your friend list, go nuts – but do it quietly, without the rallying cry for attention. Chances are the people who are begging you to keep them aren’t going to be unfriended anyway because they feed into your exasperating neediness regularly already.

THE “I’M TAKING A BREAK FROM SOCIAL MEDIA FOR A WHILE. SEE YOU IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS” POST

If social media is such a drain on your life, why do you need to use social media to announce your desperately needed hiatus? The absence of posts more than likely will go completely unnoticed by your friends because, you see, they actually follow other people too. Again, this is a post that is seeking some sort of comforting or validation. If Facebook is the means in which you keep up with someone you truly have a close personal relationship with, you might instead tell them personally that you can be best reached by phone or email. If an announcement needs to be broadcast, the intention is not one of genuine concern. Again, it’s done out of neediness.

THE “PLEASE RESPECT MY PRIVACY” POST

A recent friend posted a lot of details about their breakup. Details no one asked for, and followed it up with “please respect our privacy.”

This, to me, was hilarious. This is the physical equivalent of getting a megaphone and going to a public park, shouting out about your painful breakup, and then saying ‘but please, don’t ask me about it, it’s very personal.” Think of Facebook like a town crier: it’s shouting everything you say to a few thousand (or more) people. If you want privacy, don’t say it at all. (Unless of course, you do want the attention, then by all means, do exactly this.)

Lastly, you’re not Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. If you don’t have a career that requires you to have a press agent, you probably don’t need to worry about the paparazzi asking for more details.

THE “BIG ANNOUNCEMENT COMING SOON!” POST

No one cares about your vague announcement announcing a future announcement that no doubt will delight us all. Save the ‘big news’ for when there is actually big news to announce.

THE BLOODY CUTS, STITCHES OR BLISTERS POST

People cut themselves, it’s true.  But there is no reason to put your recent bloody injury on Facebook. Yes, you’ll receive a flurry of ‘are you okay?!,’ or ‘so sorry that happened to you!’ comments, but the truth is, no one really cares to see it. It’s gross.

If you want to see – or show – something gross, put it on YouTube where people can go looking for it.

POSING FOR A PICTURE WITH AN ELDERLY PERSON CLOSE TO DEATH IN A HOSPITAL BED AND POSTING IT

Ask yourself – when you’re 90 years old, do you want someone taking your photo and showing the world what a wonderful person they are for being with you, and in turn revealing how frail and sick you’ve become? Think before you post deathbed photos. Are you really doing it for them? Or for you? Instead, how about a written status saying how much you love them, or a photo from when they were feeling better and fully themselves, living life to the fullest might be a better option.

THE “LET’S SEE WHO READS MY STATUSES. IF YOU DO, YOU’LL REPOST THIS RANT” POST.

No I won’t. Yeah, I can see that post where you say ‘if you see this and read it, you should copy and paste it and post it to prove it to me.’ Then it goes on to comment about stuff most people have no interest in sharing. How lovely, a chain letter based on an imposed obligation to validate someone. In summary: Facebook isn’t about testing people’s friendship. Stop.

THE “PLEASE SEND PRAYERS” (BUT I’M NOT GOING TO TELL YOU WHY!) POST

I’m all for supporting people with the power of prayer. And it’s actually because prayers are powerful – and a very personal request – that it seems only fair to explain what we’re praying for. If you are going to ask for something from your peer group as sacred as prayer, it’s only fair to explain what you’re going through, rather than place the burden on the reader to dig and ask. Again, this is a status that brings it back to the poster, and not the potential recipient of the prayers themselves.

BONUS: this one might not make you needy, but it’s worth noting:

THE “I HEREBY DO NOT APPROVE OF FACEBOOK USING MY PHOTOS FOR ANY REASON AND I THINK THIS IS ACTUALLY A LEGAL STATEMENT PREVENTING THEM FROM DOING SO” POST.

Here’s the thing: You use Facebook for free, and you upload your photos onto their servers – drive space that is theirs, not yours. Your blah blah ‘legal’ proclamation gives you no rights. For nearly a decade there has been a hoax announcement saying Facebook was going to publish your photos for everyone to see, and it hasn’t been true yet. And yet – by signing up for Facebook you are agreeing to their terms of service, (look them up if you’re confused) which means no matter what you post in your status you’re not going to have any legal right to change that agreement. Here’s the bottom line: The best way to deny Facebook’s access to your photos is not to upload them there.

For more pop culture ridiculousness follow @BrianBalthazar on twitter! He’s also cleaning out his facebook friends soon, (everyone is so worried!) so there’s room for more on facebook too!

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