NWF Director Beth Pratt discusses the Challenges of Life on the Road

Episode 107

Video Transcript

Jackie Keller: Welcome to Food Exposed, where each week we take an inside
look at what’s on your plate. I’m your host Jackie Keller. I’m the
founding director of NutriFit, Los Angeles’ leading healthy food
company. And today we’re talking about staying healthy under the
pressure of life on the road, which can be very challenging, even for
the most experience traveler. You know, millions of people fall ill
every year and many even die as a result of eating unsafe food.

So, what causes this lack of food safety? There’s a combinations of
many factors, but here are some simple rules to remember about food
safety. Number one, keep hot foods hot; two, keep cold foods cold.
And, number three, keep all areas clean. So you really have to plan
ahead. Travel with non-controversial foods; things that are easily
identified like bars, dried fruit, nuts, and keep the portions small
enough to eat in just one serving. Avoid very salty foods because they
can help you bloat and retain water and that is often a problem when
you’re traveling anyway. So you don’t want to exacerbate that problem
by having really salty foods because then you’ll want liquids and you
don’t want to risk taking liquids through security. No soups, no
smoothies, sometimes even salads dressings are going to be
confiscated. So don’t take them with you because you’re probably going
to get them taken away anyway.

Fresh fruit and turkey jerky are great travel snacks. But if you’re
and international traveler, and this has happened to me, I can say it
does happen, remember you have to consume any open food before you
land and pass through agricultural inspection because if you don’t,
not only will they take it away from you, but they will fine you!
Because if you’re traveling internationally you cannot take animal
proteins across country borders and there’s nothing more depressing
then having them take away some expensive turkey jerky that you bought
and you didn’t eat. Well, my guest today is a very experienced
traveler. She’s spends about 60 percent of her working days on the
road and knows all too well what toll a schedule like that can take on
your health, your sleep, your stress levels, your eating habits. As
the California director the National Wildlife Federation, Beth Pratt
has worked in environmental leadership role for over 20 years;
included two of the country’s largest national parks, Yosemite and
Yellowstone, which are two of my favorite places. She lives outside of
Yosemite right now with her four dogs, two cats, three western toads,
and she even has a frog pond in her back yard, which is a certified
wildlife habitat. Beth Pratt, welcome to Food Exposed!

Beth Pratt: Thank you for having me Jackie.

Jackie Keller: Well thank you so much for coming. You came all the way
from Yellowstone this morning.

Beth Pratt: Yosemite.

Jackie Keller: Right, Yosemite.

Beth Pratt: Yellowstone’s too cold right now.

Jackie Keller: But even Yosemite, that’s quite a drive.

Beth Pratt: Yeah, it’s about four and a half hours. But for me that’s a
walk in the park these days with all the traveling I do.

Jackie Keller: Almost literally, right?

Beth Pratt: Exactly.

Jackie Keller: Well, I know that we’ve met several times both in the
course of the National Wildlife Federation, but also in the course of
our shared interest in the Climate Reality Leadership Core. How are
those two interests connected for you Beth?

Beth Pratt: Yeah, obviously for me with the National Wildlife Federation I
work to conserve wildlife and to do things to make sure we have
wildlife in the future. And climate change of course is one of the
overriding impacts for both people and wildlife, so the two are so
interrelated. And it was fun spending time with you, training with Al
Gore, two summers ago now, to make ourselves more aware and better
able to communicate about the climate change. For me it’s the issue,
for both wildlife and people.

Jackie Keller: You must be seeing a lot of impact of climate change just
in Yosemite, right?

Beth Pratt: Yeah, you know, I’ve lived up there for 15 years; have been
going to Yosemite for 25 years now. And anecdotally I’m noticing
stuff. The frogs are coming earlier to my frog pond. They’re singing
their mating song earlier. Of course we had one of the worst fire
seasons, just in my area, that was terrifying. We had the rim fire in
Yosemite, and some people think climate change is fueling that.
They’re burning longer, hotter, and bigger. And of course we’re having
the worst drought now in some say 500 years. And birds are impacted by
that, bears are coming out of hibernation earlier, so, a lot of
impacts, yep.

Jackie Keller: Tell us more about the work you do on a day in and day out
basis, and what takes you on the road so much.

Beth Pratt: So, I have the best job in the world, as you know. I get to
drive around California and get people inspired to help wildlife. And
it’s an amazing job. That’s how we met through the National Wildlife
Federation. And so, California is a big state, as we know, and I spend
as you said, about 60 to 70 percent of my time on the road, because I
have project all over the state. He in LA we’re working on, I think
it’s one of the most inspiring wildlife conservation projects I can
think of.

Jackie Keller: Tell us about it.

Beth Pratt: We have P22. Most of you know P22 is living in the middle of
Griffith Park, he’s a mountain lion. He had to cross two major
freeways to get there.

Jackie Keller: That’s more than most of us can do in LA traffic I think.

Beth Pratt: I don’t even survive that 405! So he’s in Griffith Park, and an
average mountain lion territory is 250 square miles. He’s making do
with 8! It’s unbelievable. So, we’re working on building with the
National Park Service in the USGS in the Santa Monica Mountains fund a
wildlife crossing on the 101 so that it doesn’t happen again. So that
animals live P22 have safe space and can disperse to green areas and
not be living 2 miles from the Hollywood block.

Jackie Keller: Now let me ask you something, will they use the freeway
overpass? I mean, honestly?

Beth Pratt: Yes, animals do. They build these underpasses and overpasses
and animals do use them. I mean, they know these areas are pinch
points. And animals use existing underpasses now. So they know where
these animals are funneling. And they build it they will come. And
really the future of the Santa Monica mountain lion population is
dependent on things like this. They are not going to survive if they
can’t move.

Jackie Keller: So that project brings you to LA a lot?

Beth Pratt: I will be here a lot, yes. It’s a big project, it’s a
monumental undertaking. So, I’m down here at least once a month,
probably twice.

Jackie Keller: OK. And I know we’ve talked about some of the challenges
that you’ve personally have faced with all of this travel and the
impacts on your own personal health. Tell us a little bit about that.

Beth Pratt: Yeah, and I can’t thank you enough. We came together through
our shred love of the environment, but what’s been helpful is your
coaching around, you know, I put a lot into my work, I travel a lot.
And what’s suffered has been my fitness and health. When we first
started talking I told you I was in the worst shape of my life,
because I was driving and I was sitting at the computer all day, and
the things you talked about, those challenges, I was eating badly and
not exercising. So, I would say that the two biggest challenges for me
is, you know, when you’re not working in an office and sitting all the
time and doing a routine, and when you go on these trips it’s really
hard to make time to exercise. Sometimes you’re working from 7 to 11
at night plus it’s hard to just find time. And then the eating badly,
you’re eating quickly, or you’re going out to dinner or lunch. You
know, business meetings seem to gel around a meal. And when the other
person is having this elaborate beautiful delicious high calorie
dinner, it’s hard to sit there with water and a salad. So those have
been some of the challenges I know you have been working with me on,
I’m making a lot of progress, it’s great.

Jackie Keller: Well, we talked about the fact that you are willing, and
it’s unusual from my perspective for somebody to be willing to go
public about their challenges with weight and health and eating
properly. So we talked about a creative way of doing that kind of fits
with the dynamic of charity and philanthropy and being public. So,
tell us a little but about that.

Beth Pratt: This is really fun. So one of the things that Jackie worked
with me is, so, we know you’re a person who is very self motivated and
especially around my main motivations which I want to save wildlife.
And looking at the weight gain and me being out of shape… Let’s look
at motivations and what motivates you. And what we came up with
jointly is what motivates me is saving wildlife obviously. So, how do
you tie that in with weight loss? Brainstorming between the two of us,
we came up with: what if you do directly tie that in with weight loss?
So, we came up with the idea with Weighing for a Cause. Which I think
we’re about to launch; which is, you set a goal weight, and you set up
a fundraising campaign, much like you do for a walkathon or something
where people give money. But if you don’t get to your goal rate, the
nonprofit doesn’t get the money. We thought this was a great motivator
because, I mean, if you’re putting money up for the puppies at the
SPCA you’re going to make your goal weight.

Jackie Keller: That’s right.

Beth Pratt: You don’t want to just point them. And what’s fun is getting
the non-profit involved too. Obviously they’re going to have some

Jackie Keller: So your non-profit, we’re calling this Weighing In for a
Cause, and we’re doing this on Crowdrise, and your non-profit is…

Beth Pratt: Yeah, so I work for the National Wildlife Foundation, but we
partner with Save the Frogs. In fact, the mountain lion was one of my
projects, but another one of my projects is we’re going to be doing
this campaign for the Red-Legged Frog around California. So I chose
for my Weigh In for a Cause that joint project that we’re doing. So
here’s Save the Frogs. And frogs are one of my favorite animals! So
we’re excited about this. And the executive director Cary Krieger for
Save the Frogs, he has promised to be emailing me daily to make sure
that I am not exceeding my calorie count and to take me on hikes. So I
think it’s fun to get the non-profit involved too. But also NutriFit’s
a very philanthropic organization, you help National Wildlife
Foundation by donating your time, your services. But your also going
to be putting up some of your money for your clients.

Jackie Keller: I am! And in fact, I have a check for you, for the
National Wildlife Federation!

Beth Pratt: Yay!

Jackie Keller: To support the Save the Frogs and the Weighing in for a
Cause. And if I understand it correctly, you have to give some of this
back if you don’t make your goal, right?

Beth Pratt: Exactly. A portion of this is going to go to the Save the Frogs
campaign. So Cary and your staff at Save the Frogs, start emailing me
to make sure I’m not eating too much!

Jackie Keller: Well, you know what in fact, I thought what we would do
now is take a minute to cook up something really quick and easy that
you can use for your road trips; something nutritious, something
clean, something easy, something quick, something that doesn’t require
refrigeration. So would you join me for a little cooking?

Beth Pratt: That would be wonderful. I’d love some tips.

Jackie Keller: Alright, let’s go.

Jackie Keller: Alright so, we’re going to make something really simple

Beth Pratt: Awesome.

Jackie Keller: I chose this recipe. We call them Quinoa and Flour
Fritters. And I chose the recipe because Quinoa, as you know, is a
very wholesome grain. It’s very high in protein, it has no gluten,
even though I know you don’t have Celiacs disease or anything but, you
want to incorporate more variety in whatever you can. So quinoa is one
of the most popular foods right now. It’s very simple to make, you can
find it anywhere. You just rinse it, rinse it, rinse it, before you
cook it, and then you put it up un water and you let in simmer. That’s
it! Fifteen minutes later it’s done! And if you make it plain like I
did, then you can season it however you want afterwards and use it
however you want to use it. So we start with some cooked quinoa,
that’s what I’ve done here, I’ve pre-cooked it to make it a little but
faster for us. And into a bowl it goes with a little bit of rice
flour, just to get it to stick together. And this is just grocery
store plain Japanese rice flour. And then I’m going to add a little
bit of egg substitute. And this is just egg white in a carton, but you
can crack an egg and beat it and add it in. So, you can see what
you’re aiming for is a fairly wet consistency, but we’re going to bind
it even further with a little bit of cheese. This is low-fat
mozzarella cheese. Just plain mozzarella, a little bit more than you
need, but then you go a little less with the other cheese, which is a
little bit of parmesan, and finally our fiber, not only from the
quinoa, but from cauliflower.

Beth Pratt: Oh, OK. That’s a nice combination.

Jackie Keller: So, this adds some vegetable into the dish. And
cauliflower is just steamed cauliflower chopped up. So, very simple, a
little bit of salt and sugar free seasoning to give it some flavor.
And this is one of our salt and sugar free seasoning blends, this is
our Mediterranean blend. But you can use basil or whatever your
favorite sugar free blends are, whatever you like the best. And one
thing you don’t want to do is add any salt because the cheese has a
lot of salt in it to begin with. So you don’t need any more salt. And
remember we talked about…

Beth Pratt: I noticed from traveling, even minimally amounts of salt I
start feeling it definitely.

Jackie Keller: And so, we’re stirring it up here. And I’m going to have
you spray the skillet lightly with a little bit of extra-virgin olive
oil spray.

Beth Pratt: Nobody’s going to believe I’m cooking.

Jackie Keller: A little closer, alright.

Beth Pratt: There we go, OK.

Jackie Keller: And now, and we have a lot of mixture here, far more than
we’re going to make, but you see, we need to get something in there
before we burn the bottom of that skillet. So, grab a spoon and follow
me. You can make them as big as you want to make them they can be
little, they can be medium. My thought was that you would be eating
them in the car.

Beth Pratt: Yes, and it’s a bad habit, but with the amount of driving I do,
eating and driving is very efficient. This does look perfect for
nibbling while I’m driving.

Jackie Keller: We’re going to form them into… there you go, see? Who
said you couldn’t cook!

Beth Pratt: I’m cooking! Hey mom, I’m cooking!

Jackie Keller: Look at that!

Beth Pratt: She’d never believe it.

Jackie Keller: And then we’ll flatten them a little bit. So we’ll make
like a nice little… And obviously you know if you were making these
at home, you could use a scoop, like an ice cream scoop or something
to get nice uniform sizes and things like that. But you can tell, it’s
not that fancy.

Beth Pratt: And this is perfect, because it is really hard to buy healthy
snacks sometimes. So this is perfect.

Jackie Keller: This is probably not the ideal cooking implement because
what I really want is the spatula to flip it. But, you kind of get the
drift, right? So, they cook pretty quickly because essentially all
we’re doing is cooking the egg that bound it together, because the
quinoa is already cooked, the cheese doesn’t require cooking. So we
just want to cook it until the egg allows it to set up and bind it
together. And they get nice and toasty. And then the challenge of
course is going to be to flip it. Yeah, but’s it’s not quite there
yet. So, one suggestion that I have for this recipe is to make a big
batch of them and freeze them, because they really freeze beautifully.
And if what you want is something that you have handy that you could
just grab and go, this is truly just grab and go food. They’re not
greasy, so they’re great for the car because the other thing about
them is they’re balanced, you have protein, you have fiber, you have
carbohydrate, you have a little bit of healthy fat, so it’s really an
ideal meal.

Beth Pratt: And I love the cauliflowers in there, because you got to get
your vegetables.

Jackie Keller: You got to get your vegetable in there.

Beth Pratt: Which is the one I always struggle with! I’m from Boston,
Irish, we don’t eat vegetables.

Jackie Keller: Potatoes are sort of like cauliflower.

Beth Pratt: Yeah, exactly.

Jackie Keller: Alright, so I think we’re about ready to attempt the flip!
Well, no that one failed. You want to give it a try?

Beth Pratt: Well, if you’re having trouble, I’m willing. I’ve got to learn
to do this because this looks like the perfect snack for…

Jackie Keller: Well trust me, because if you have a flat spatula it
probably works perfectly. There we go! You see, it’s not bad! One or
two more and then maybe you’ll to sample, what do you think?

Beth Pratt: I think so.

Jackie Keller: Great.

Beth Pratt: I’m not going to be able to flip that, I’ll give that to you.

Jackie Keller: What I’m going to do is I’m going to turn this guy off.

Beth Pratt: Look at that! Aren’t they perfect?

Jackie Keller: Wow! Anyway give it a try, tell me what you think.

Beth Pratt: Mm. It’s the perfect snack.

Jackie Keller: Now, couldn’t you eat that on the road?

Beth Pratt: I’m sure this would be perfect.

Jackie Keller: And the nice thing about that is that it can go through
customs too. It can go through security, they’re not going to take it
away from you. While ideally you’d want to eat whatever you brought…

Beth Pratt: Well, this is perfect airplane food too, like you said, a lot
get confiscated. And airports are traps. You get in there and of
course you want the junky food when you’re there. Coming armed with
these would be perfect.

Jackie Keller: Alright, great. Well, Beth I know that everyone is going
to want to follow you, they’re going to want to keep up with what you
do, what’s the best way for people to reach you?

Beth Pratt: You know, I’d say the two ways, Facebook, BethPratt1, the
number one, and I post great photos of wildlife as I travel along.

Jackie Keller: That is true, you defiantly do.

Beth Pratt: You want to see mountain lions? My twitter handle is BethPratt.
Or NWFCalifornia is also a Facebook page that is, again, also a lot of
adventures in wildlife photos. And also we’ll be posting on how I do
with my goal weight. So, come tune in.

Jackie Keller: And we can find that on where?

Beth Pratt: I’ll be posting that on my Facebook page and the NWFCalifornia
Facebook page as well.

Jackie Keller: Wonderful. Well, thank you so much for coming!

Beth Pratt: That you Jackie, it’s always wonderful to see you!

Jackie Keller: Yeah. And I wish you good luck. I know you’re already
losing some weight, right?

Beth Pratt: Yes, I’m down 8 pounds, and yeah. I feel great. And I can’t
thank you enough, because your coaching, your food has been
instrumental in that.

Jackie Keller: Well, you’re most welcome.

Beth Pratt: So you’re helping wildlife by helping me.

Jackie Keller: Alright. I’d like to talk a minute with you today about
commitment with passion. No, I’m not talking about the romantic kind,
as in intimate relationships with others, not that kind of commitment.
But I’m talking about the kind of commitment that leads to creating
self-fulfilling prophecies. Let’s face it; pursuing your goals even if
you’re highly motivated isn’t always a piece of cake. And nearly
everything means overcoming some kind of obstacle, personal sacrifice,
and risking some failure. So developing skills for this requires some
form of patience, practice, labor, and passionate commitment carries
many benefits. It reinforces our sense of autonomy, but also helps us
feel that we belong to something. When we follow through on our
decisions to something it shields us from social pressures. For that
reason, when we make a commitment in front of others in particularly
potent. You know there was a study that was recently done a the
University of Scranton and it found that people who made public New
Year’s resolutions were ten times more likely to succeed at their
goal. And there are many people who’ve written about commitment and
how it relates to achievement. There’s some great quotes from leading
business gurus. Here’s one I particularly like; “Unless commitment is
made, there are only hopes and promises, but no plans.” And that’s a
quote from Peter Drucker*. And here’s one from Stephen Covey “Without
involvement there’s no commitment.” Mark it down, asterisk it, circle
it, underline it. So, what about talking about committing publicly
like Beth did? How about doing that? Check out Weigh In For A Cause,
as you’re way to cement your goal. And do well by doing good. Thanks
for joining us today on Food Exposed. Join us next week for another
look at what’s on your plate.