Category: Health

Tonja’s Story

tonja_lea-1

When I moved from my home country the Netherlands to Santa Barbara last year, I was 7 months pregnant with our first baby. Exploring my new homestead with a big belly, I first heard about the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County at a sustainable foods fair at the UCSB. Two passionate Foodbank volunteers told me about millions of pounds of healthy foods sourced by the Foodbank each year for their 300 non-profit partners, as well as the Foodbank’s in-house programs that empower people who face food insecurity with free nutrition education and improved access to healthy foods for program recipients and their families.

I believe it as an advantage that the United States has had a far longer tradition of food banks than my country of origin. While food banks in the Netherlands focus majorly on giving out foods to low-income people, the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County builds on an ever increasing amount of knowledge about nutrition and has created best practices to share this with the community such as teaching people about healthy and affordable foods, empowering community leaders to build stronger local networks and establishing innovative partnerships with health organizations in the community; these activities unknown to most of the food banks in the Netherlands.

I immediately felt passionate about working for the Foodbank and I finally got the chance about 8 months ago and ever since have been very happy to use all of my previous working expertise and efforts to roll out Foodbank’s new nutrition education program for people living with diabetes that also deal with food insecurity. I am grateful for the partnerships we’ve established with health organizations in both Santa Maria and Santa Barbara that increase our impact and compliment our individual strengths.

My daughter, Lea, is now 15 months old and being a mother makes me even more aware of the importance of improved access to healthy foods for everyone. Being able to provide my child with nutritious foods is a blessing and unfortunately not a straightforward thing for every parent, while it should be. Everyone at the Foodbank works hard to see this changed and it is only through generous donations and strong partnerships in the community that we can continue our work.

Tonja van Gorp is the Community Programs Coordinator at the Foodbank.

 

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persimmon-season

Persimmon Bread

Persimmons are delicious, exotic fruits that do more than serve as a sweet and tasty treat; they have a wealth of vitamin and minerals packed inside them, including vitamins A C, E and B6, as well as dietary fiber, manganese, copper, magnesium, potassium and phosphorous.
INGREDIENTS
SERVINGS 10 – 2 loaves
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2cups sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1cup persimmon pulp
1 3⁄4 cups flour
1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄2 teaspoon nutmeg
1⁄2 teaspoon clove
1⁄2 teaspoon allspice
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1⁄2 cup chopped walnuts
1⁄2cup chopped dates (optional)

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl blend sugar and oil; add eggs and persimmon pulp.
3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices; add nuts and dates then mix well.
4. Stir flour mixture into persimmon mixture. Turn into two greased and floured loaf pans. Bake for one hour or until done, testing center with a pick.
5. Turn out on wire rack to cool.

Pancake pic

Raspberry Buckwheat Pancakes

Antioxidant-packed raspberries paired with buckwheat flour make a terrific-tasting, health-promoting breakfast. Raspberries are in season from July to October; pick up a box of freshly picked raspberries from the local farmers market and use this recipe for your brunch inspiration.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 ripe banana, mashed
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 cup fortified soy or rice milk
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
Vegetable oil spray

Directions:

Mix buckwheat flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate large bowl, combine mashed banana, maple syrup, vinegar, and non-dairy milk. Add flour mixture, stirring just enough to remove any lumps and make a pourable batter. Stir in raspberries and add a bit more milk if the batter seems too thick.

Preheat a non-stick skillet or griddle, then spray lightly with vegetable oil. Pour small amounts of batter onto the heated surface and cook until tops bubble. Turn carefully with a spatula and cook the second sides until browned, about 1 minute. Serve immediately.

Per serving (1 pancake): 55 calories; 0.5 g fat; 0.1 g saturated fat; 8.1% calories from fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 1.5 g protein; 11.8 g carbohydrates; 3.8 g sugar; 1.1 g fiber; 81 mg sodium; 32 mg calcium; 0.6 mg iron; 1.6 mg vitamin C; 9 mcg beta carotene; 0.3 mg vitamin E

Makes 16 3-inch pancakes

Family Friendly Recipes: Scrambled Eggs with Artichokes

 

scrambled-eggs-ArtichokeRecipe_FoodbankRecipesScrambled eggs are easy to prepare and adding artichokes keeps the eggs moist and fluffy. A quick, healthy breakfast the entire family can enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2–3 hearts of medium artichokes, steamed and sliced
  • 4 eggs
  • 1⁄4 cup reduced fat milk
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

  1. Heat 1 tbsp. of the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1–2 minutes. Remove garlic and add artichokes. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, then transfer to a bowl and keep warm.
  2. Wipe out skillet, then add remaining 2 tbsp. butter and melt over medium heat. Beat eggs with milk and 1 tbsp. water. Add eggs to skillet, season with salt and pepper, and cook, folding gently with a spatula, until eggs are set and fluffy,about 2 minutes.
  3. Fold in artichokes, then spoon immediately onto warmed plates. Serve garnished with parsley.

YOUR NUTRITION – Summer Pasta Salad

Foodbank_TLCRecipe_Graphic_Blog

Here is a summer recipe from our Teens Love Cooking classes, which we offer in Santa Barbara, Santa Maria and Carpinteria. Try cooking this recipe at home!

Picking up the basil and tomatoes from your local farmers market will make this recipe taste that much fresher! It’s the perfect dish for sharing at picnics or potlucks.

SERVES 4

  • Ingredients:
    • 8 ounces dry whole-wheat rotini or other shaped pasta
    • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
    • 1⁄2 red onion, thinly sliced
    • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
    • 1⁄2 cup chopped fresh basil
    • 1 15-ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    • kosher or sea salt, to taste
    • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Drain and rinse.
  3. Combine pasta with remaining ingredients and let stand for 30 minutes at room temperature prior to serving.

 

 

Meet Stephanie Sokolove

Preface: This interview took place last year. She is graciously hosting this year’s Table of Life Event at her Estate. What a wonderful partner she has been to the Foodbank!

Onto the Interview: September 2014

The-BEET Stephanie Sokolove

Many of you have heard of the Table of Life Fundraiser that supports the Foodbank’s Feed the Future programs, a sequential series of programs created by the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County that fosters nutritional health and independence in children of all ages. This year, on October 5th, the Foodbank is thrilled and proud to have Stephanie Sokolove as Table of Life’s keynote speaker. Stephanie is Owner and Executive Chef to THREE nationally recognized restaurants in the Boston area, Stephanie’s on Newbury, Stephi’s on Tremont, and Stephi’s in Southie.

Stephanie has built her business on a style of cooking that she calls “Sophisticated Comfort,” a style that is fresh, interesting, and yet familiar. “Sophisticated Comfort Food” is the next generation of comfort food in that it blends traditional favorites with today’s food preferences. Dishes are imaginatively created with current, fresher ingredients and bolder flavors then artistically presented. At the restaurant, Stephanie spins familiar classics into elegant dishes that comfort and surprise without being fussy or intimidating.

http://www.stephaniesonnewbury.com/stephanie-sokolove-bio.pdf

I sat down with the gracious Stephanie Sokolove to ask her some questions about her health and food philosophies, and of course I couldn’t help but ask a little about her restaurants.

The BEET Question 1To me healthy is waking up and feeling good; feeling energetic, clear headed and ready to face the day.

The BEET Question 2

It’s important to be able to function at your top level.  If were not healthy it’s hard to get through the day.  For example, I play golf.  To feel and play my best, I don’t eat big meals beforehand, as I need to feel light to play well.

The BEET Question 3

It’s got to play into it. But I believe survival probably comes first before health. If people knew where healthy choices were offered, I think they would make the right choice. But people don’t always know where to get healthy foods.   If we can get this message out to the community, I think that would be amazingly welcomed. What kills me is to see overweight kids, eating unhealthy foods, they can’t feel well!

The BEET Question 4

Personal health choices and restaurant services can be conflicting, as, what makes food delicious is not necessarily what you should eat every day.  However in my restaurants, everything is fresh, nothing comes out of a can; fresh is best.  That is a requirement to make food delicious.  Sugar, butter, and salt tend to make food taste better but we have cut back on these things for our health.   So we also offer dishes with less butter, less cream, and use fresh sauces instead of cream sauces for fish. California food has seen an evolution over the last 20 years.  It was known for its heavy comfort foods, but now we are seeing lighter comfort foods and fresher options like all kinds of amazing salads.

The BEET Question 6 I believe the Avocado is the healthiest single food we could eat.  And it is so versatile!  Substitute for oil and butter.  It’s a Fruit/ vegetable that is worth experimenting with;  Salads, sauces, baking.  Salads don’t need oil, ripe avocado gives salad a lovely creamy texture.

The BEET Question 8 Working in a restaurant where food is abundant, you become unaware of how much food is needed.  Working with the Foodbank has been an eye-opener to me.

 

 

What is Plant Based Eating? And Why Should I Care?

The environment and its health is a hot topic right now.  Similarly, OUR health is a hot topic right now.  Many of us have seen the warnings…

Global Impact Infographic

Ecological Footprints Tim De Chant, Per Square Mile

1. If the whole world lived like we do in the United States, we would need 4.1 earths.1

2. More than one-third (34.9% or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults are obese.2

3. This generation of children may be the first in U.S. history to live sicker and die younger than their parents.Heart Disease and Diabetes

4. 1 in 4 Americans will die from heart disease.4

5. 29.1 million Americans, or 9.3% of the population, have diabetes.5

According to journalist and blogger Tim De Chant, the USA makes up 5% of the global population, but we use 20% of the world’s energy. We eat 15% of the world’s meat (that’s 10 BILLION Animals Every Year), and we produce 40% of the world’s garbage, which includes 16 BILLION disposable diapers every year.  In addition, each American throws away 1200 pounds of organic garbage every year that can be composted. We consume an awful lot of STUFF and hardly take a minute to think about its effects.

I want to zero in on those 10 Billion animals we kill and eat every year.  What are the implications for our environment and our health?  Many researchers will argue that it is this animal consumption that is responsible for our obesity, our lower life expectancy, our sick hearts, our out-of-control blood sugar, and our very sick planet.

And OH BOY there are a lot of implications! Over the next several posts, we will dive into all the dangers our planet and we face if we don’t change our attitudes about and consumption of animals. Let’s start with:

Our Health

As stated, many will agree that the overconsumption of animals is directly related to the health crisis Americans find themselves in today.  (Sugar plays a big role in this too.)  According to renowned Food Writer, Author and New York Times Columnist Mark Bittman who follows a “Vegan Before 6pm” lifestyle:

  • Americans are consuming close to 200 pounds of meat, fish, and poultry per year, an increase in 50 pounds in the last 50 years.6
  • Each average animal eater takes in about 110 grams of protein every day, which is double the recommended daily allowance. About 75 grams of these come from animal foods.6
  • According to the Institute of Medicine we only need approximately 10 to 15 percent of our calories to come from protein. The average woman needs about 46 grams per day and the average man, 56 grams per day.7
  • Many current nutrition experts would argue that 55 grams of protein (half of the average 110 grams) a day is more than we need, and roughly 30 grams, strictly from plant sources, is perfectly adequate.6

These staggering numbers showcase how overindulgent we are with protein. High protein, low carbohydrate diets are all the rage; Paleo, Atkins, even the new Whole 30. They are encouraging us to consume an alarming amount of animal protein that is directly contributing to our epidemic rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

Dr_-Richard-O-Dr. Richard Oppenlander, a sustainability consultant, researcher, and author who has spent 40 years studying the effects food choices have on our planet and on us wrote about the HUGE cost animal consumption is to our health and healthcare system in his new book “Food Choice and SustainabilityWhy Buying Local, Eating Less Meat, and Taking Baby Steps Won’t Work.The BEET FOod CHoice and SustainabilityRecently featured on Julianne Heaver, Plant Based Dietitian’s blog, a nationally recognized advocate and expert on plant based nutrition, she provided a quote from his new groundbreaking book: I quote:8

“In the U.S. and other developed countries, eating animals is one of the most significant risk factors found in nearly all of the most common diseases. It is, therefore, heavily implicated in rising health care costs, health insurance premiums, foods prices, and even labor costs for businesses. Those who eat animals are driving up all these costs while driving down productivity.

More than $3 trillion dollars were spent on health care in 2012 ($2.83 trillion in 2009, growing at 6 percent per year) in the U.S. Of that, minimally $130 billion dollars spent were due to dietary choices related to livestock. I believe this figure is quite conservative and could be as high as $350 billion due to eating animals, because this is how some of the $3 trillion was spent:

  • $300 billion—heart disease
  • $200 billion—diabetes
  • $190 billion—obesity
  • $124 billion—cancer
  • $88 billion—food-borne illness

These figures are truly staggering and are for just one single year. They also do not reflect loss of productivity. For obesity alone, it is estimated that the annual cost of the workdays missed is $30 billion, with employers losing, on average, $3,800 per year for a single obese person. These are not just figures or statistics to me; they’re patterns that tell a story about what we choose to eat as a society and what happens to us afterwards—the stark and very real consequences. Eating animal products increases risks of contracting diseases that contribute to all of these health care costs. Eating plants, on the other hand, will take you in the other direction, protecting you from developing these diseases.”

According to Dr. Oppenlander, it is estimated that eating purely plant-based foods provides the following protective benefits, as compared to individuals eating the average amount of meat:

  • 50 percent less risk of coronary heart disease (CHD)
  • 40 percent less risk of cancer (breast, colon, prostate, ovarian, 
pancreatic, lung)
  • 70 percent less likelihood of adult onset diabetes
  • 50 percent less likelihood of developing hypertension

Most people are unaware any foods other than animal foods have protein! Seriously! This cartoon below is actually a pretty accurate portrayal of most Americans.

photo

This is far from true! As a plant based eater myself, I can’t tell you how many people have asked me in a panic “BUT WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR PROTEIN?” Here’s the meme I want to show them:

mostinterestingman

You CAN find plenty of protein in plants! And Veggie protein has so many more positive benefits! Here are just some of the plant-based protein superstars and the amount of protein they contain per cup: (featured on Plantbaseddietitian.com)9

vegan

For now, on this complex and complicated topic, I leave you to think about your health, what you eat, and how much you spend annually on healthcare costs. Do you think you have room for improvement? Does this post make you think twice about having your typical eggs and bacon breakfast? How about a deliciously deceiving Tofu Breakfast Scramble with a side of sweet Good Morning Quinoa Breakfast Cereal!   Both are protein packed, will send you off to work/school/or wherever with the sustained energy to make a difference and advocate for a more kind and healthy food culture! YEA!!The BEET-I am Not a Hamburger

Stay tuned in the next few months for how consuming animal foods is extremely detrimental to our planet and to the welfare of animals. And trust me, there is light at the end of the tunnel. People are doing amazing things to turn the health of our planet around. In addition, many leading experts in plant based nutrition are fervently spreading the word about the harmful effects of too much animal protein, so hopefully we as a nation can turn our health around too!

References:

  1. PopSci
  2. CDC
  3. State of Obesity
  4. CDC
  5. Diabetes.org
  6. Mark Bittman, New York Times
  7. IOM
  8. Julianne Heaver
  9. Julianne Heaver 

End Summer Hunger Recipe: Honey Dew Melon

Honey Dew Melon

HoneyDewSmoothie

Refreshing, delicious, and healthy — what more could you want from a smoothie?!

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Serving size: 1/2 cup
Servings and Tastings: 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup diced honeydew melon
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup Almond Milk, Unsweetened Original
  • 2 cups crushed ice
  • 8 mint leaves

Directions:

  • Put all ingredients into blender
  • Blend on high until mixed well, but still thick and creamy
  • Garnish with fresh mint leaf
  • Serve and enjoy!

End Summer Hunger Recipe: Black Bean Guacamole

Black Bean Guacamole
Guacamole

Guacamole is a staple summer dip. Perfect for parties, picnics or get togethers! The black beans in this recipe give the guacamole a whole new element of flavor that’s healthy, hearty, and nutritious!

Prep time: 10 minutes
Serving size: 2 tablespoons
Servings: 16
Tastes: 8

Ingredients:

  • 5 avocados, diced
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • ½ cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Place avocados, scallions and lime juice into a large bowl and mash avocados to a coarse puree
  • Stir in tomatoes, cilantro and beans
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Serve immediately with assorted dippers such as toasted whole wheat pita bread triangles, multi-grain tortilla chips, or crunchy veggies

End Summer Hunger Recipe: Summer Fun Fruit Kebabs

Summer Fun Fruit Kebabs

fruitbowll

 

Super fun summer recipe – Fruit Kebabs! These kebabs are made with peaches, strawberries, plums and bananas. Also the dipping sauce is a divine combination of cream cheese and honey.

Prep time: 30 minutes
Serving size: 1 kebab
Servings and Tastings: 12

Ingredients:

  • 3 fresh peaches, washed, pitted and quartered
  • 3 fresh plums, washed, pitted and quartered
  • 3 bananas
  • 12 strawberries, washed
  • 12 wooden skewers
  • 8 ounces low fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 Tablespoons honey

Directions:

  • Slice the green part off of the strawberry and then slice the strawberry in-half
  • Cut bananas into 1 ½ inch coins
  • Thread a peach quarter, a plum quarter, a banana coin, and strawberry half onto each skewer
  • Prepare dipping sauce by mixing cream cheese, honey and orange juice in small bowl
  • Dip fruit kebabs in sauce and enjoy