These are the superheroes of our food system, working tirelessly to end hunger, grow food and provide access to food, resources and education, regardless of circumstances, through the city of Hartford. They are individuals, businesses, youth, farmers, teachers…all are working together to make Hartford’s food system sustainable and secure. Last Thursday, we honored them at the 15th annual Community Food Security Awards, sponsored by Hartford’s Advisory Commission on Food Policy. While there were only 4 official winners, each nominee deserved recognition for their work and accomplishments, which include:
• Creating farms and gardens to grow food at multiple sites within the city that can be sold affordably.
• Providing meals and backpacks of food for those who would otherwise have none.
• Planting vegetables throughout the city in pots and raised beds. Employing the homeless community to help tend the pots, and making the vegetables free for anyone in need.
• Distributing bags with essential resources and coupons for farmers markets.
• Donating seeds to urban farms and gardeners.
• Planting school gardens.
• Providing financial support to allow non-profits to provide fresh produce and foodstuffs to Hartford residents, as well as screening and educational workshops.
• Creating life classrooms for all who are interested in learning about health, nutrition and wellness.
• Bring the issues of hunger, nutrition and food accessibility to the table, making them the conversation, and most importantly, creating solutions.
I was honored to be selected to deliver the keynote address at this event, and even more honored to stand among these inspiring doers and leaders who deserve our support and recognition every day. Please take a moment to visit the Hartford Food System website for a complete list of nominees and winners, with descriptions of their awesome work…
…so all can eat clean and live well.
Believe me, I’ve heard it before. So my friends and I run outside all winter long. And yes, the sub-zero temperatures and snow storm after snow storm have made this winter a bit more challenging than most. But they’ve also made running all the more essential. Those shared miles on the road were my saving grace, my time with friends, my sanity, and how I successfully conquered the season…until I fell. No, I did not slip on ice (thank you, Yaktrax), but instead was sent flying (and then crashing) by a dog that ran across the street from behind.
It’s been almost three weeks and recovering is my new full-time job. My hip is significantly improved, my hands have healed (at least on the surface), and my shoulder…well…that’s going to take some time. So with a bit of time on my hands, I’ve done a little bit of reflecting, and here’s what I’ve learned:
1. I am not the type who can watch winter through the window. Being part of it makes me feel invigorated and positive (for a lot less $$ than therapy).
2. My accident was the incident that made me attend to an injury that’s been building up for years.
3. The body wants to heal. My job is to set it up so that it can.
4. Healing takes a village – family, friends, chiropractors, massage therapists, acupuncturists and even the dog.
5. It pays to be strong and fit. This could have been so much worse. Phew!
6. Everything is connected. Body, mind, food, water, chi…it all works together (a good excuse for slacking off on work a bit). ; )
7. When I am recovered, I will have healed so much more than just my shoulder.
8. It’s not a good idea to ski with a rotator cuff injury, even if it’s school vacation (included this one to try to convince myself!)
9. Walking the dog isn’t running, but it’s good for the soul (and the dog).
10. Running never feels better than the first day back. (Yes, today I ran for the first time in three weeks and I think I could have kept going forever!)
Last but definitely not least, I will heal. Even if none of the above ring true for you, I promise that believing you will heal, no matter the imbalance, is the most important ingredient.
Eat clean live well!
Each season offers a bounty of new produce and clean living topics, but over the past weeks of promoting my new book, one topic in particular has been on everyone’s minds – clean food kids. Children especially, learn much more from what we do than what we say. So, as every flight attendant instructs, “Place the mask on yourself first before helping others”…and apply some of these other techniques to achieve even greater success for yourself and your children, too. Be forewarned – these approaches may work on more than just your children!
1. Set ground rules: Eating all the colors of the rainbow, all 5 tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter and pungent) and foods that are minimally processed. Read labels together, skipping the marketing on the front and going straight to the ingredient list. And remember, if it reads like Greek, chances are you body can’t translate it either.
2. Talk about your choices: The more children know about healthy food and nutrition, the more empowered they will be to make healthy choices for themselves.
3. Move foods closer to the source: Moving just one step closer to the source can make a big difference to your health, wether you’re switching from packaged cereal to whole grains, or giving up packaged foods with ingredients that read like formulas and not food.
4. Imagine how it grows: Fill your plate with foods that you can imagine growing from a green plant, not those that come from a processing plant.
5. Add new foods to recipes they already love. One leaf of kale added to a favorite soup is a much less intimidating way to develop a taste for kale than sitting down to a big platter of sautéed kale for the first time.
6. Set-up your home for success: Make hard choices once at the grocery store and fill your pantry with healthy options so you and your children aren’t faced with temptation every time you want something to eat.
7. Teach, don’t enforce: If you’re home is set up for success (see #6), you can play the role of cruise director, guiding your children to healthy choices, and not the food police!
8. Get everyone involved: Lighten your load and make it fun by giving everyone a voice and a role in everything from meal planning to shopping, cooking, serving and even clean up.
9. Turn snacks into mini-meals…and mini-meals into snacks: “Snack food” is nearly synonymous with junk food, so avoid the snack aisle altogether and make every meal fun and delicious. Make-your-own burritos, tacos, wraps, sushi rolls and salads – all featuring that rainbow of color!
10. Take is slowly: If you and your children try one new clean food per week and only like half of them, at the end of a year you’ll have 26 new healthy foods in your repertoire! Everything changes slowly, from taste buds to habits to digestion, and your good health will be the reward.
I hope you’ll enjoy this fun segment from my Lunchbreak appearance on the WGN-TV MidDay News in Chicago where we talked about turning a kids favorite (Mac and Cheese) into a healthy, vegan, gluten-free clean food recipe that all kids are sure to love! Click here for the EAT CLEAN LIVE WELL recipe featured in the segment.
And remember, focus on bringing in and not deprivation; honor each child’s individuality; enjoy each bite and the journey to discovering delicious clean food together with your children; and…
Eat Clean Live Well!