Tagged: Food

Food, Family, and Fun: New Weekly Column

Dad Sun DinnerI’m excited to announce that 1Aisle’s first Supermom, Jennifer Lynds, will be transitioning into her own weekly column called Food Family Fun.  Jennifer is a wife and a mother to three notoriously picky eaters.  From her community involvement and her own experiences creating a new normal for food in her family, Jennifer brings a unique perspective — the modern stay-at-home mom — and an organic understanding of family food issues to the 1Aisle food conservation.  This week, I sat down with Jennifer to discuss the new column, food in public schools, and the biggest challenges facing parents today.

What do you hope to accomplish with Food Family Fun?  What do you want your readers to take away from the column?

Parents are always looking for fast, healthy ways to feed kids. My goal with Food Family Fun is to gather and distribute useful food information for busy parents to improve the health and well-being of their kids.  Instilling healthy eating habits in children is as important as teaching them morals and responsibilities.  It’s not easy with picky eaters like mine; I win some and I lose some.  But I keep trying, and I’m excited to share my experiences as well as the experiences of my awesome mom network with busy parents across the country.

What are the biggest food challenges parents face today?

One of the biggest food challenges parents face is definitely time management.  Unfortunately, our busy lives can sometimes limit healthy food options.  In my family, we have an 80/20 rule in place which is basically 80% healthy foods and 20% kid’s choice.  I’m not a mother that will throw myself between my children and a candy bar, but I try to create teachable moments out of my kids bad choices, using the opportunity to help them make best choice for a given situation, and sometimes the candy bar wins and that’s okay.  Julia Child said “everything in moderation including moderation.”

Lately, the food trend in our family has been to move away from processed food began.  The move began with one simple step:  no more high fructose corn syrup.  The move was controversial at first as it basically excluded all of my kids’ favorite foods.  But the controversy has subsided as we’ve been able to find agreeable substitutes and create an all-around new normal in the family when it comes to food choices.   In fact, our latest venture — limiting packaged food items to 6 ingredients or less – has taken an unlikely turn, and my children have discovered juicing.  We experiment with different fruit/vegetable combination to see what they like.  I’ve found that involving my pickiest eater in the preparation process makes him more likely to try something which he tends to like.

Do you think we need to hold schools to higher standards when it comes to food choices, or do you think the responsibility is with the parents?  Is there a disconnect?

We absolutely need to hold our schools to higher standards when it comes to food choices. I think society as a whole has the mentality that kids won’t eat this or that so feeding children processed food has become the norm. While I think parents are ultimately responsible for feeding kids, it’s not always possible especially with kids in school for much of the day.  School cafeterias, like grocery stores, offer too many choices. I’d prefer that kids be limited to two healthy choices for lunch:   a hot meal or a salad meal.  It will not only make our kids healthier, but I think proper diet would also relieve some behavior issues as well.

What prompted the name change, from Supermom to Food Family Fun?

I felt the title Supermom was too divisive, too exclusive. There are so many moms who deserve the title “Supermom,” that it just felt wrong.  I want the column to be inclusive, to bring moms and dads together to share tips and ideas about food and family that are fun and accessible.

Editor’s Note:  The Supermom feature will continue to showcase healthy-eating solutions from America’s best mothers.  E-mail dustin@1Aisle.com with your feature ideas.  

Photo courtesy of Family, Fun and Food: Making meals enjoyable! from Mass Public Health Blog.

Jennifer Beck-LyndsJennifer Lynds is a mother of three (Jack, 6; Mark, 8; Rachel, 12) from Warren, PA.  Her approach to healthy eating includes obtaining the majority of her food locally and minimizing food waste.

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9 Post-Breast Cancer Food Tips

Leasa Ireland Breast Cancer Walk

You may have started eating healthier for general health, to prevent breast cancer or reduce your chances of a recurrence, but no doubt you’ve realized it can be a tough road. The benefits to your overall health, energy and skin make it worth the extra effort and proper nutrition can be a great weapon in the fight against breast cancer. Whether you jump completely into a gluten free, dairy free, sugar free diet or you’re just trying to “eat clean” to help during treatment and beyond, here are some quick tips to help manage it all and maintain a busy lifestyle.

#1 Give it 3 weeks – It takes that long to clean the junk out of your system and start training your taste buds for “real food” again. After about a month, believe it or not you may crave blueberries for dessert over cake because the heavy sugar content may be overpowering.

#2 Monitor soy and other GMOs – this is a confusing topic because studies show that organic soy is actually beneficial for fighting breast cancer.  Most soy sold today is genetically modified and the bulk of it is not labeled, so it’s increasingly tough to determine what’s “pure organic,” the good kind of soy to fight breast cancer.  This means a simple latte order can be fraught with worry but luckily more options are popping up. For example, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf now offers almond and coconut milk in addition to soy.

#3 Water, water and more water – It’s so simple but most of us forget to drink enough H2O.  Eight 8 oz glasses are recommended but 70-80 ounces a day is better. Water cleans out your system, helps curb hunger and can be a huge contributing factor to overall health. If you’re willing to go “all in,” there are whole house water filter systems so even your shower water is as pure as possible (chlorine can be an issue in tap water). Otherwise, a nice Brita filter or bottled water works.

#4 Think old school food – The first question when starting a gluten free, dairy free, sugar free diet is usually, “what’s left?” Really good stuff is what. Chicken, fish, veggies, Mexican food, Asian stir fry, Thai food, quinoa pasta – many, many tasty dishes.  And probably things your grandparents eat regularly.

#5  Make friends with your grocer More choices are not necessarily better choices. More often than not, the options are between bad and worse wrapped in a healthy, “earthy” package to make us feel good about ourselves.  Talking to the face behind the fish counter about the differences between sustainable farm raised and wild salmon can help you learn as you go.

#6 Use pill bags – Think you’re too young to be walking around with pill dispensers?  More 20- and 30-somethings are doing it to stash vitamins and supplements in their bags, cars or whatever they have on the go. They can fit in wallets and bags and  you’ll never forget your vitamins again.

#7 Plan to pay more – It’s a cruel fact that healthy eating is more expensive, and it should be.  Yes, I said it should be.  Have you ever wondered how someone can only charge 29 cents for a taco?  What processes and ingredients are they using to make those numbers work?  Of course, there’s simply no way to have organic, non-GMO foods that are as inexpensive as those plumped full of hormones and pesticides, and that’s ok. It’s worth it and should be prioritized in the monthly budget.

#8 Limit meals out – Thinking of a restaurant outing as entertainment rather than nourishment can help give it the proper perspective for nutrition. There’s a reason it tastes SO GOOD – extra salt, butter, lard, the wrong oils can all delight the taste buds at first but can cause problems later.  Doing it night after night because we’re too busy to cook is putting your nutritional health in someone else’s hands.

#9 Cheat, but make it count – All gluten, dairy and sugar don’t have to be banished forever. That’s a recipe for failure, but when you do indulge make it count.  A piece of birthday cake is a must, or maybe you’d rather have your sugar in a glass of wine.  Be honest with yourself and track what’s really going into your body and remember these food choices can truly have an impact on your health.

Editor’s note:  1Aisle profiled the author of this post, Leasa Ireland, earlier this week in Food Equals Control for Breast Cancer Survivor.

Breast Cancer Survivor Leasa Ireland

Leasa Ireland lives in Manhattan Beach with her husband John and 11-year-old son Jack. She spends her days running a boutique PR firm specializing in technology and consumer products, volunteering at local schools and trying to play tennis and fit in a yoga or Pilates class. Her breast cancer is in remission and she’s in near constant pursuit of the perfect kale salad.

From the Editor: We’re All In This Together

Dustin NewcombeI started working with Derin Oyekan on 1Aisle back in March when it was a far different concept.  The evolution of 1Aisle is a testament to Derin’s openness and his desire to create something bigger than himself.  I’m honored to be working with him to make healthy eating easy, accessible, and fun.

My personal relationship with food has always been contentious at best.  I guess you could say my problems began with my grandmother.  I did work for her – cleaned gutters, shoveled snow, raked leaves, and mowed lawns, etc. – and she rewarded me with as much food as I could eat.  Later, food provided instant comfort through some trying years in high school, that is before I quit eating altogether and lost 50 pounds in three months.

Since high school, my weight has fluctuated greatly as I’ve struggled to improve my love-hate relationship with food.   My work with 1Aisle is more than just a motivation to get healthy;   it’s an obligation, a commitment, a source for integrity.  While my journey is still in its early stages, the confidence that comes from community involvement is already a clear game changer.  When it comes to food, we all have different goals, different tastes, different skills, and different philosophies.  Despite our differences, we’re all 1Aislers and we’re all in this together.

This week is a particularly exciting one for 1Aisle.  In addition to recipes and tips spotlighting sunchokes and avocados, we’re featuring a breast cancer survivor for whom healthy eating has played an important role in recovery, newlyweds who have managed to successfully reconcile their very different healthy-eating philosophies, and our resident supermom who offers a healthy alternative for rushed Halloween dinners,  Plus, there’s a sneak preview of the 1Aisle mobile application.

If you’re interested in sharing your own healthy-eating story, please e-mail me at dustin@1aisle.com.  I am thrilled to share this exciting journey with you!

Happy, healthy eating,

Dustin Newcombe
1Aisle Editor

Keep It Seasonal: Sweet Potatoes Pack Quite a Beta-Carotene Punch

Steam your sweet potatoes to maximize health benefits.

Steam your sweet potatoes to maximize health benefits.

No vegetable in nature – not even the carrot for which it is named – packs as big a beta-carotene punch as the sweet potato.

According to this WebMD article, beta-carotene is a carotenoid that the body can quickly convert to vitamin A, which is key to healthy skin, strong immunity and good vision.  It’s also an antixodant that protects the body from free radicals, a which lowers one’s risk for cancer and heart disease.

To get the most from the sweet potato’s long list of health benefits, steam or boil and serve with a little olive oil.  According to this article from The Worlds Healthiest Foods, just 3-5 grams of fat per meal (which comes from olive oil) can significantly increase the body’s uptake of beta-carotene from sweet potatoes.

Photo courtesy of Coconut Curry Sweet Potato Casserole from Dulcet.

Food Recalls: Garden-Fresh Foods (Safeway, Weis, Archer Farms, D’Amico and Sons, etc.) and Safeway

Market Pantry Coleslaw among expanded recall by Garden Fresh Foods, Inc.

Market Pantry Coleslaw among expanded recall by Garden Fresh Foods, Inc.

1.  Garden-Fresh Foods Ready-to-Eat Salads, Slaw and Dips  (9/21/2013) – See attachment for complete list of products, grouped by brand. The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism that can cause serious and sometimes-fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.

Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

Products are sold in various size containers (6oz to 18oz packages). The products were distributed in the following states: WI, MN, IA, IL, OH, IN, TX, FL, MA, MO, MI, PA, AZ, CA, and distributed to retail stores and food services.

2.  Safeway Angel Food Cake (9/26/2013) – Safeway is voluntarily recalling six (6) Angel Food Cake products because they contain the undeclared allergens soy and milk. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to soy or milk run the risk of a serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products. See chart for specific products here.  For bakery products only.

The Cook and the Geek: 1Aisle Co-founders Jason Francisco and Derin Oyekan Aim to Simplify Healthy Eating with New App

1Aisle to simplify healthy eating and give it mass appeal.

1Aisle to simplify healthy eating and give it mass appeal.

When it comes to food, 1Aisle co-founders Derin Oyekan and Jason Francisco run with completely different crowds.  Jason, the cook and 1Aisle’s executive chef, spends his days planning teen-friendly, farm-to-school meals for Marantha High School’s 500+ students.  Derin, the geek who can run complex algorithms but can’t cook a burger, rarely goes near the kitchen and only thinks about food when he’s hungry.  Different though they are, they stand united on one important topic:  healthy eating.  Earlier this week, I sat down with them to discuss their new healthy eating app, 1Aisle, and how they hope to give healthy eating mass appeal.

Where did the idea for 1Aisle come from?

Derin:  It’s an evolution of an idea I had to start a local grocery delivery service in Downtown Los Angeles.  There were very limited grocery options, and the idea was to start a service that made it easier to get groceries from healthier stores like Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.  It has since evolved into something much bigger, something holistic, something that closes the loop of what’s already available and makes the whole process – discovery, planning, shopping, eating – easier, healthier and well, seamless.

Jason:  In my line of work, I have the luxury of having access to information from suppliers and farmers.  I’ve always wondered what if regular people had my level of access.  Then I met Derin, and suddenly, through technology, that seemed possible.  We went back and forth with different ideas and now we have 1Aisle.

What is your personal approach to healthy eating?  How will 1Aisle change that approach?

Jason:  I’m a big believer in dirty vegetables and having to wash the soil off myself!  I like fresh, seasonal vegetables, and I like to know where they come from.  I don’t know that 1Aisle will change my approach to healthy eating, but it will make my approach that much easier.

Derin:  For personal and health reasons, I’m a pescatarian with aspirations of going vegan. This is especially because of  all the disturbing news about radioactive fish in California as a result of the nuclear disaster in Japan.  My main food concern is options.  I like variety in what I eat.  Jason has really made my transition to pescaterianism easier by keeping my meals fresh and engaging.  I’m confident that 1Aisle will help make my transition to veganism even easier by putting easy-to-understand information at my fingertips in such a way that I don’t really even have to think about it, it’s just there.

Who is 1Aisle for?

Derin:  Busy moms and busy dads who, after a long day at work, need an easy dinnertime solution that’s not take out.  It’s also for young professionals, like myself, who are really looking to make a change in the way they eat but aren’t sure where to start.  1Aisle makes it easy:  it tells me what I have, what I need, where to get it, and how to make it.

The digital presence of food is already so big…  Where does 1Aisle fit in?  What does 1Aisle bring to the table?

Jason:  I would like to see 1Aisle become Google-caliber default source for food-related information.  When people are looking for a solution, I want them to say “Let’s 1Aisle it” and have that solution be there for them.

Derin:  Food is one of the most social things and that’s probably why it has such a big presence.  It’s what we do when we’re happy, when we’re sad, it’s what we do to celebrate.  We’re at a tipping point in society where people are paying a lot more attention to what they eat. However, there is such an abundant amount of information that it’s just overwhelming, not to mention conflicting.  “Information overload”paralyzes people and they revert back to what they know.

We aim to close the loop of healthy eating.  From the commitment to the discovery to the selection, planning, and cost benefit analysis, 1Aisle simplifies it all and integrates it in such a way that the end user doesn’t even know at a conscious level that they’re taking all those actions.  I don’t think anything else out there quite does that.

What do you hope to achieve with 1Aisle?

Jason:  I want people to go back in time to 50 years ago when it was actually enjoyable to cook, and not stressful.  I want cooking to be fun again.

Derin:   I want people , like myself, with limited cooking skills to begin taking steps – even small ones – back toward the kitchen.