The Power of Plants

One of the greatest lessons I ever learned from James J. Kenney, PhD, RD, FACN, was while we were working on a RD/Chef collaborative project for diet and cholesterol. He presented all of his research about diet and cholesterol from his CPE classes into 2 categories.

  1. The first category is nutrients and their food sources that have been scientifically proven to raise cholesterol. If you had to summarize them easily into one category it would be  animal foods that are high in saturated fat. Of course coffee brewed without a filter and sugar are on this side of the fence.
  2. The second category was everything that lowers cholesterol and that can be summarized as whole plant foods (with the exception of the tropical sources of saturated fat like palm oils, coconut oils, and chocolate), which of course include beans, vegetables, whole grains, and fruits. He presented the research in one of his research papers and CPE courses while I was charged with finding and shooting all of the foods and creating recipes with the healthier ones.

I remembered that lesson this week while compiling a new portfolio of photos that I have created called Cibum In Lux or Food In Light. These photographs are inspired from farmer’s markets all over the bay area during the highest growing season from spring through summer. The photos capture the aura of fresh foods that are less than a day old and grown locally.   I reflected that plants are the producers  at the base of our food chain. They are “powered” by the sun as opposed to the consumers that eat the plants and animals on the food chain. I created and sculpted light in my studio as a way of exploring the beauty of the produce . I came up with these beautiful photographs that are on many of the posters and banners that we have in our store or are coming soon. I used them in my recent Visual Art Certificate program with UC Berkeley Extension. To see them click “Themes” at the top of Nutrition Education Store or view the new products.


Artist statement:

In this series of photographs, I have contemplated how plants are the producers on the food chain. The light of the sun creates them. In my studio, I sculpt the light so it forms formal and abstract images of the food that become a linear show using translucency and strong tonal contrasts.

My images display the abundance of spring and summer harvests. Strong shapes, textures, and vivid colors in images enhanced by lighting, provide the viewer with a sense of timeless taste.

As a child I worked in my grandmother’s garden and was enamored with being able to garner my own food. Potatoes were shoveled out of the dirt, placed into baskets, and then turned into mashed potatoes by my beautiful grandmother. Plums, apples, and pears grew on her trees. And the fresh peas burst from their pods into our mouths. My life’s work as a chef always starts with good ingredients. My childhood memories propel me to seek the farmers who grow our food. I love to see the locally grown produce come and go from the farmer’s markets each week, season by season.

In my photographs, I hope to inspire people to contemplate food in its “state of origin.” These images are about light and life.

­­–Judy Doherty, Photographer


What a great way to look at nutrition and to understand the effects of an eating plan for your heart and health.

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updated on 07-24-2024