The Guiltless Gourmet

Posted: November 8, 2012

Gen Anderson ’91 has made a name for herself in the entertainment industry with her 2009 program, Gen’s Guiltless Gourmet.

“I love to cook, and I love that the Food Network was getting America back into the kitchen,” she says. Unfortunately, they didn’t have many health-oriented shows; recipes used sticks of butter, cups of mayonnaise, whole milk, and other ingredients that contribute to heart disease. Anderson resolved to change that, pitching an alternative to producers that promotes healthy food and a healthy planet.

Anderson has worked in film and television, both in front of the camera and on the production side, since graduating Scripps. A member of the  Claremont Entertainment Mafia, a networking group for 5C alums who work in the entertainment business, she had the opportunity to pitch her ideas to another attendee. “On my show, I would use foods that are healthier for us and healthier for the planet because I really believe they are intertwined.” The producer agreed, and Anderson received a contract with a European network, but the show was quickly licensed to ION and ION Life.

Beyond her recipes, Gen’s Guiltless Gourmet also chronicles Anderson’s personal childhood struggles with food. Until age 12, she had asthma, allergies, and stomach pains that kept her ill and out of school; doctors didn’t know what the problem was. One day, Anderson’s mother unknowingly bought lactose-free milk and her life changed instantly for the better.

Anderson believes genetically modified foods (GMO) played a role in her illness, and since the 1970s and the rise of GMOs, the U.S. has seen a rise in gastro-intestinal diseases, allergies, auto-immune disorders, and autism, etc. fruits and vegetables absorb the pesticides used in the dirt, getting into our bodies, insects and birds, and the environment

“Every choice adds up; it adds up to how our food supply is produced,” says Anderson. Legislation takes time, and she believes change comes quicker when consumers decide, ”I’m not going to buy this.”

“It starts individually and adds up as to how our food supply is produced,” she says. “The more people who buy organic products, the more organic food will be produced. When you choose a product at the grocery store, you are choosing it for yourselves and your family, but also for the ecosystem.”

As a result, the benefits of consuming organic and non-GMO foods are many-fold; you are impacting an individual’s health as well as the health of the planet.

Anderson’s use of the Claremont alumnae network as well as her entrepreneurial abilities should be an inspiration and model for other Claremont College grads. Since the start of her cooking show, she has also been a speaker on many panels, sharing her wisdom, care, and motivation for food and its impact on the world.

To Gen Anderson, if you change the menu, you can change the world.

— Lauren Prince ’14

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