19 December 2018
WEDNESDAY, Dec. 19, 2018 (American Heart Association) — Leah Lizarondo continues to be amazed by how much food gets thrown away daily. Her Pittsburgh-based nonprofit, 412 Food Rescue, taps a huge network of volunteers to recover thousands of pounds of fresh fruits, vegetables, baked goods and other healthy food that otherwise would be thrown away by grocers, restaurants, universities, caterers and other businesses. “We often still can’t believe what kinds of food, and how much of it, gets thrown out, especially when we get alerted of large quantities, like from conventions,” said Lizarondo, 412 Food Rescue’s chief executive and co-founder. “Every single day, from all these meetings, a lot of good food gets thrown out, and whenever we collect from these events, it’s always, even for us, extremely shocking.” The food collected by the organization’s volunteers, or “food rescue heroes” as they’re called, is routed to housing authorities, soup kitchens and various nonprofits that help the elderly and others. “Our mission is to get food to where people already are. Where they live, where they work and learn, where they gather,” Lizarondo said. “A lot of households living in poverty or experiencing food insecurity are not very mobile – they don’t have access to cars or high-frequency transit. And some food pantries are only open a few times a month, so we mitigate what limits many people from accessing healthy food.” The idea behind 412 Food Rescue germinated after Lizarondo read a 2012 report from the Natural Resources Defense Council that found the United States wastes about 40 percent of its food, or an average 400 pounds of food per person annually. “I found that criminal, so reading that report was a catalyzing moment,” she said. Founded in 2015, 412 Food Rescue initially used social media to match food providers with volunteers who could pick up and then deliver the surplus to agencies in need. But that quickly became unwieldy as the organization and the number of its supporters grew. In November 2016, the organization launched an app that used technology similar to that of UberEats and DoorDash. “I thought, if restaurants are now using this shared vehicle system for delivering food, why can’t we use the same model for collecting food?” Lizarondo said. About 9,000 people have since downloaded the app, receiving notifications daily about opportunities to make rescues from roughly 500 Pittsburgh-area food retailers and drop them off with any one of 600 nonprofit agencies. Beth Slagle, 412 Food Rescue’s co-chair, credits Lizarondo’s leadership for the organization’s rapid success. “A lot of times people who are purely passionate about a nonprofit mission are not able to translate that passion into a business model. Leah was not only able to do that, she is making that business model into something huge and incredibly impactful,” Slagle said. Lizarondo realized early on that the organization needed better technology to manage the size of its ever-expanding volunteer base. The technology has been so successful that 412 Food Rescue is about to license its app to similar programs scaling their operations in Philadelphia, San Francisco and Cleveland. 412 Food Rescue also has started programs to complement its food rescue mission, including cooking classes that teach people on limited budgets how to maximize the healthy food they receive. It also forged partnerships with area farms, orchards and gardens to help redistribute produce “seconds,” or products deemed difficult to sell simply for cosmetic reasons, through an agriculture share program called UglyCSA. In October, Lizarondo and 412 Food Rescue won a $50,000 grant from the American Heart Association’s EmPowered to Serve Urban Health Accelerator for its ability to bring healthy food directly to food-insecure individuals. Slagle likened the organization to “the golden child of nonprofits” because of its growth and how well its mission has been received by the community. “Leah leads an amazing team. The staff are amazing, the volunteers are amazing. I haven’t seen an organization progress as rapidly as 412 Food Rescue,” Slagle said. “This organization has done what every other nonprofit wished it could do.”
15 November 2018
THURSDAY, Nov. 15, 2018 (HealthDay News) — People with food allergies aren’t the only ones who need to be aware of menu minefields when eating out. If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s important that you don’t fall prey to these temptations. It’s not only supersized meals that can be your diet downfall — restaurant meals in general have jumped in size. If you’re not careful, the U.S. Department of Agriculture warns that the extra calories in a typical restaurant meal can mean a gain of two pounds a year for those who eat out just once a week. And, year after year, those pounds can really add up. At breakfast, say no to over-the-top omelets. Eggs are healthy options at any meal, but dishes that smother them in cheese, sausages and other high-saturated fat ingredients can turn a simple 80-calorie egg into a dish with more than 1,000 calories. Steer clear of oversized meat portions. A 3-ounce lean filet is a good once-in-a-while choice, but that tempting 16-ounce slab of prime rib delivers 1,400 calories even before you add in all the trimmings. Pasta-and-protein dishes can more than double the calories of either a simply sauced dish of pasta or a broiled chicken breast, and even more when smothered with cheese or cream sauce. A “personal” pizza sounds like a sensible serving, but it can come with far more calories than one gooey slice, especially if topped with an assortment of cured meats. Chicken wings are one of the worst bangs for your buck because 75 percent of the calories come from fatty skin and breading, and provide little protein. If you crave any of these dishes, make them at home where you can control ingredients and portion sizes. More information Every year the consumer watchdog group Center for Science in the Public Interest issues its Xtreme Eating Awards to increase awareness about restaurant options to avoid.
31 October 2018
WEDNESDAY, Oct. 31, 2018 (HealthDay News) — As scientists look more deeply into the effects of diet on health, they’re finding that more and more everyday foods offer benefits that go well beyond making dishes tastier. Garlic, an ingredient found in almost every type of cuisine, is emerging as one such superfood. Part of the allium family, which includes onions and leeks, garlic has a number of compounds that supply its health-boosting effects as well as its pungent aroma. According to wide-ranging research, garlic seems to improve immunity and heart health, help fight certain cancers, and lower triglycerides and total cholesterol. Some of these benefits can be seen after eating just one meal with raw garlic. Yet overall there’s enough evidence to have at least half a clove every day, researchers suggest. Garlic is readily available and relatively inexpensive. Buy one whole head of garlic at a time — the skin should be dry and papery and the visible bulbs should be firm and full, not shriveled. To get the most benefits, chop, slice or crush fresh garlic to use it. This fires up a process that makes its compounds more potent. Wait 5 to 10 minutes before eating or adding to a dish, especially if you’ll be mixing it with a highly acidic food like lemon juice. Some easy ways to use minced raw garlic are to blend it into avocado, along with red onion, jalapeno and cilantro for guacamole; into chickpeas for hummus; or into cooked white beans for bean dip. Whisked into oil and vinegar with your choice of herbs, garlic adds zest to salad dressings and marinades. But you don’t have to always eat it raw. As long as the garlic is prepped as suggested and added toward the end of a recipe, it will retain its nutritional value when cooked. More information Learn more about garlic from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University.
18 October 2018
THURSDAY, Oct. 18, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Protein is key to your well-being and deserves a significant place in every diet. Knowing the best sources can boost your health as well as help you feel more satisfied on fewer calories. Seafood is an excellent protein source, with dozens of types of fish and shellfish to try. Eat a 3.5-ounce serving at least twice every week, and include fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and trout. These are nutrients that your body needs, but can’t make, so you must get them through your diet. Make friends with the manager of the seafood section at your favorite market and don’t be shy about asking for the freshest choices. Note: It’s usually seafood that’s past its prime that’s guilty of smelling up your kitchen, not fresh fish. Chicken and turkey are other well-known protein sources, but you may not realize that it’s OK to cook them with the skin on to keep the meat moist. Just remove it before eating. Also, keep in mind that breast meat has less fat and therefore fewer calories than dark meat. Be sure to put vegetable proteins on the menu. These include legumes such as beans and lentils. They have a protein-fiber combo that helps regulate blood sugar as well as fill you up. What about red meat? For many people, it’s fine to eat it once a week or so. But choose lean cuts — skip the cold cuts, hot dogs and other cured meats — and limit the portion size to three ounces. Trim off as much fat as you can before cooking, and pour off any melted fat before eating. Also use healthier cooking methods, such as baking, broiling and grilling on a rack, which allow fat to drain off. More information The American Heart Association has tips to help you get more non-beef sources of protein into your diet.
05 April 2018
THURSDAY, April 5, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Whether you want to lose weight, maintain your weight or just eat healthily, you need to know about protein. Protein in the foods you eat helps build and maintain your bones, muscles and skin. However, you need to consume protein every day because your body doesn’t store it the same as it stores carbohydrates and fats. Most adults should eat 5 to 7 ounces of protein daily, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Knowing the best sources of protein can boost your health as well as help you feel more satisfied on fewer calories. But, you need to choose carefully. Seafood is an excellent source of protein. Your options are many, with dozens of types of protein-rich fish and shellfish to try. Aim to eat a five-ounce serving at least twice every week. And, for even more benefits, try to include fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and trout. Omega-3s can help reduce risk factors for heart disease, such as cholesterol and blood pressure. Chicken and turkey are great protein foods, too. For the healthiest approach, remove the skin before eating. Keep in mind, too, that breast meat has less fat — and therefore fewer calories — than dark meat. Including particular vegetables on your menus will ensure you get even more protein. Try beans and peas — kidney, pinto, black or white beans, split peas, chickpeas and hummus. Besides helping you feel full, they have a protein-fiber combo that helps with blood sugar. And don’t forget eggs. For most people, one a day doesn’t raise the risk for heart disease. And, since only the yolk contains saturated fat, egg whites are an unlimited option. As for red meat, it’s often OK to eat it once a week or so. Just choose lean cuts and limit your portion size to 3 ounces. Trim off as much fat as you can before cooking, and pour off any melted fat before eating. Also use cooking methods, such as baking, broiling and grilling on a rack that allow fat to drain off. Protein provides a satisfying, filling, element to your diet. Just remember that a little goes a long way. More information The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “Choose My Plate” website has more on protein food groups.