University of Vermont

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Harvey-Berino's First Book Wins 'Oscar' Equivalent

Jean Harvey-Berino, right, and Joyce Hendley received the prestigious James Beard Foundation award on June 8 for their book "The EatingWell Diet." ~Paul Hendley photo.

Frances Moore Lappe, Jacques Pepin, Barbara Kingsolver, Jean Harvey-Berino — household names, giants in the world of food and winners of the 2008 James Beard Foundation awards announced June 8 in New York City.

Okay, so Harvey-Berino isn't quite yet a household name worldwide. Give her another year.

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) professor and chair of nutrition and food sciences is certainly well known in her field, in Vermont at UVM and among dieters for her behavioral science-based Internet dieting studies and VTrim program.

All eyes were on Harvey-Berino as she strode onstage at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall in her black Armani gown to receive the book award in the "Healthy Focus" category for The EatingWell Diet (Countryman Press). It's not often science shares the stage with celebrity. For top chefs, restaurateurs, journalists and cookbook writers the Beard Foundation awards are the "Oscars" of the profession, and the black-tie ceremony is preceded by a weekend of gala events serving extraordinary food.`Check out the Beard blog.

"Jean looked so gorgeous she could have outshone Gwyneth at the Oscars," said co-author Joyce Hendley. "She sure deserved every moment of glory!" Hendley reported straightforwardly that her own extraordinary white gown with its band of silver glitter was from the "75 percent off rack at Macy's."

One attendee commented that the two sharing the stage, one in black the other in white was perfect contrast. "My Armani was borrowed from Susan Wallace, so it was definitely a college affair," says Harvey-Berino. Wallace is CALS professor and chair of microbiology and molecular genetics.

Alas, these events are not only about the dresses and the food "It felt so good that the judges got it," said Harvey-Berino. "They understand that this book is not a gimmick. This is the one true way to lose weight."

The book, written with the editors of EatingWell magazine, combines the magazine's recipes with Harvey-Berino's behavioral modification program, VTrim, funded by the National Institute of Health and based on more than 16 years of ongoing academic weight-loss research. Despite the beauty of the book and its bringing together good tastes and good health, Harvey-Berino's VTrim regime, developed at UVM, is not based on what foods to eat; there are no food lists or meal plans to follow and it is, above all, not a diet. Harvey-Berino has learned that it is behavior goals, not weight goals that are the key to success.

"It's an absolute honor to be recognized for creating the best health-focused cookbook," said Lisa Gosselin, EatingWell editorial director. "It's a real tribute to Jean's work at UVM and her ability to work with (us) to translate difficult concepts into a very engaging and useful book... Jean really brought solid science to the table. And there was phenomenal competition out there."

VTrim's 24-week program of one-hour classes guided by a UVM certified facilitator is currently being offered, and the full facilitated program will be offered online by the end of August.

Here's more information about Harvey-Berino's work..

~Lee Ann Cox Contributed to this story.

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