TBA ISD LifeSPAN

Cultivating Health through School Gardens

Benefit, farm-to-table, Find Local Food, Health, Marissa Natzke, Paula Martin, Stories

Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District (TBA ISD) is using gardening as a tool to improve student health. Thanks to SNAP-ED funding through the USDA and the Michigan Fitness Foundation, TBA ISD implements a program called LifeSPAN, which performs cooking and nutrition lessons year round in the classroom to increase students fruit and vegetable intake and physical activity levels. Currently, they’re running summer garden camps where kids partake in nutrition lessons, help in school gardens, and cook healthy meals using produce they harvest.

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Good Food, Better Health

Event, Find Local Food, Get Involved, Health, Kelly Wilson, Learn More, Southeast Michigan

Baste. Blanch. Chiffonade. Roast. Saute. Zest.

Ever see these terms on recipes and wonder “what the heck does that mean?” ? Well, if you have, you are not alone! One of the biggest challenges many of my clients face when changing their diet is navigating the kitchen and new recipes. Culinary education is no longer a staple in public education and our lives have become increasingly hectic. As a result, many people feel intimidated and overwhelmed in the kitchen and with cooking for themselves.

melissa heart

Linking the Message: Heart Health Month and Eating Disorders Awareness Week

Health, Paula Martin

February is Heart Health Month and also includes Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

Heart Health is a primary concern for those with disordered eating patterns. Disordered eating can cause heart health to suffer. The links are clear:
 The restriction of calories, food, and beverages causes rapid weight loss, and malnutrition, leading to accelerated muscle loss, and the heart muscle will weaken
 Significant changes or shifts in body weight can cause sudden cardiac arrest with permanent damage to the heart
 Certain disordered eating behaviors harm the electrolyte balance between sodium and potassium, promote dehydration, and may lower blood pressure or cause a slowing of the heart rate all of which are serious problems for heart health
 Binge eating or compulsive overeating may lead to high blood pressure, accumulation of fat deposits around the heart muscle, high cholesterol, diabetes and hormonal imbalances, which are known risk factors for the heart.

Disordered eating is a stress on the body; this stress can affect both physical and emotional health. Here are some suggestions to move into a heart-positive state of mind:

Feed your heart
Feeding your heart means learning to enjoy the power of healthful eating. It means learning to relate to food as nourishing friend, rather than a fattening enemy, and giving you permission to enjoy all foods. Feeding your heart means learning to fuel your body for health and wellness rather than eating in response to emotions –eating because “I’m stressed “ or recreation, as in “I’m bored”. Nourishment is found in our local fruits, vegetables, whole grains and reduced fat milk products.

Move your heart
Moving your heart means returning to the joy of childhood play. It means forgetting the ‘should’ about exercise, and changing the concept from grueling work-out to burn calories for weight loss to zestful playtime. Moving your heart is also the best way to keep physical hunger signals on cue and to naturally lift a sagging sprit.

Love your heart
Loving your heart and the body in which it resides is very hard in our fat-phobic, diet-obsessed world. It means accepting the diversity of human bodies and recognizing that no one should be discriminated against because of the shape of their skin. Loving your heart means celebrating your uniqueness, your many abilities and finally making friends with the mirror on the wall.

This information was adapted from D.Hayes, 1996 Moving Away from Diets.

Paula Martin, MS, RDN, LDN, is a registered dietitian and TLD’s Community Health Coordinator. Contact her at health@localdifference.org 

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Fresh Approach: Detroit Public School Ditches Fryers, Can Openers

Edible WOW, Guest Post, Nina Ignaczak, Stories

It’s a typical Thursday morning, and Detroit Public Schools’ Office of School Nutrition Executive Chef Kevin Frank is chopping carrots and celery for a school catering event, directing staff on lunch prep and coordinating with vendors to place orders and schedule deliveries. All the while, he’s thinking ahead to what he’ll serve on next month’s menu.

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Connecting local food, nutrition with mental health

Find Local Food, Get Involved, Stories, Tricia Phelps

Mental health affects us all. In fact, one in five adults in the United States experiences mental illness in any given year. It is very likely you or someone you know has dealt with the effects of mental illness to some varying degree.

Some experience debilitating and severe mental illnesses, while other individuals’ conditions interfere less in their daily lives. Either way, we know that the brain is an organ, and it’s just as sensitive to what we eat and drink as the heart, stomach and liver. Despite a growing body of evidence worldwide that links nutrition and mental health, the connection often is overlooked in today’s methods of treatment. It’s time we, as a community, advocate for nutrition as a form of mental health care and emphasize this need throughout our area.

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Washtenaw County’s First Meet-the-Buyers Event: The next step in strengthening our local food economy

Economy, Event, Find Local Food, Food Policy, Get Involved, Guest Post, Jae Gerhart

Did you know that Washtenaw County has a food policy council? You may be asking yourself, what is food policy and why is it important to our community? According to Anthony Flaccavento, a food systems consultant and commercial organic farmer, policy is best understood as a framework that influences behavior. Thus, a food policy council is a group of community members gathered together to influence and steer issues related to food in a given region.