Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Author Interview/Giveaway :Fast Food Vindication by Lisa Tillinger Johansen

Describe your book in five words or less.
Fast food isn’t the enemy.

How did the ideas for your books come to you?
Through my past experience in real estate management at McDonald’s Corporation and in my present role as a dietitian in the Health Education Department at Kaiser Permanente, I see first-hand how, when, where and why people eat. I deal with nutrition issues every day and see many patients who are obese and/or suffering the complications from carrying their excess weights. It’s very clear that there are many of us who don’t know how to eat healthy, nutritious meals wherever we eat. I knew that I could help people and that compelled me to write my book.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes. Fast food is a positive force in our society and around the world. With regard to the food sold at these establishments, we can make good choices and less healthy choices wherever we eat. This includes all types of restaurants, home, schools, vending machines, sporting events and other venues. Personal responsibility plays a key role.

What is the hardest part of writing for you? What's the easiest?
As you see in the book, I tell a lot of personal stories and share experiences that I have had both in working in the fast food industry and in a healthcare setting. I find this very helpful to others when teaching nutrition classes and found it easy to do when writing my book. The hardest part for me was constructing the references section. I did a lot of research and wanted to make sure that I properly gave credit where credit was due!

What's next for you? Are you currently working on or have plans for future projects?
I have gotten so many ideas from the thousands of patients that I have taught and the new ones that I continue to see. I do have plans for two more books. The first one, Stop the Diet, I Want to Get Off!, addresses all of the different diets and diet aids out there and discusses the best way to eat for life. It’s very nutrition based. The second book, Diet and Disease: A Guide for What to Eat, No Matter What Ails You, does just that.

Why did you choose to write for specific genre?
I saw the very real need for my book and I have the unique qualifications of having worked in both the industries (nutrition and fast food) that I discuss. I truly am an expert with the subject matter.

What's it like hearing that readers are eagerly awaiting your book's release date?
It’s absolutely thrilling! I hope that everyone finds it entertaining, eye-opening and above all helpful.

What is one question that you've always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
Since I haven’t had that many interviews, I guess it would be how I feel about actually being interviewed. My answer would be that I’m ecstatic and grateful for the opportunity.

What was your road to publications like?
I have to say it was a bit of a bumpy one, with more than a few potholes along the way. Originally I started with a literary agent in New York and was working with publishers. That to me is the ideal. But it became clear early on that my vision wasn’t as embraced by the publishers as I’d hoped, and while I didn’t mind editorial changes, the basic premise and tone of the book was very important to me. So, I did what probably many never do and I walked away and decided to self-publish my book. It was scary and a lot of work and I got knocked down a couple of times. But I kept getting back up and never gave up. It wasn’t always easy, but I did it and I’m very happy that I took the path that I did.

About the Author:

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

Connect with Lisa:

About the Book:

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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