Hi everyone! My blog will be going through a renovation period. I will begin to use this blog for my portfolio, most of my previous posts can be found under my Online Journalism Blog Posts and Assignments page. I will leave the posts on the main blog for a while longer, but if later you can’t find a post, you can find it there.

Never Stop Exploring Nutrition

“This is an asset to the neighborhood.” Joe Brown, a local resident in the La Salle community, stated when he was interviewed about fresh grocer. “This is one of the best things La Salle has done for the community.”

Fresh Grocer is part of an initiative, Exploring Nutrition, that focuses on increasing the access to food in the area surrounding La Salle that was previously a food desert. Dr. Allen, one of the founders of Exploring Nutrition said, “Before Fresh Grocer was built, the La Salle community was a food desert. There was essentially no access to supermarkets.”

One effort Exploring Nutrition has done in partnership with Fresh Grocer to help local food pantries so that people in the community who are not as close to Fresh Grocer can have access to food is holding an annual Easter Food Drive. This food drive is also helped by LGU, Leadership and Global Understanding, students at La Salle University. With the Easter Food Drive, students help package and deliver food that is donated by Fresh Grocer to food pantries.

One of the food pantries that La Salle is working with through Exploring Nutrition is the Canaan Family Life Center. The Family Life Center works in association with the Canaan Baptist Church, but it is a separate entity. Their mission is to provide the people of Germantown with the services and resources necessary for a quality life. They offer services such as counseling, education, job training, incarceration re-entry assistance, food and clothing, and housing assistance.

One of the leaders of the Canaan Family Life Center is Peggy Sims. Sims founded Sisters Returning Home in 2007 after working with women in prison. By working with these women, she learned that there was a specified need for women in prison because their special needs were not being met and they had fewer resources than most prisons for men and she is now working at the Canaan Family Life Center.

Kellsey Turner, one of the LGU students at La Salle assigned to work at the Canaan Family Life Center stated, “Peggy is a passionate woman. She loves helping others and she loves her work. A member of the Canaan Baptist Church who attends regularly, Peggy is an inspiration and a joy to work with.”

LGU is not the only group that works with Exploring Nutrition though, many groups on campus work closely with Exploring Nutrition in efforts to help the community and to show the community members that La Salle does care and is doing everything they can in order to help.

One of the groups besides LGU that is working with Exploring Nutrition is Eco. ECO is  helping the community by starting a community garden. One of their hopes for the community garden is that the people of the community will be more likely to value the healthy food that is offered in both the garden and the local Fresh Grocer as well as enjoy the beauty of the flowers that are also planted there. One of the efforts ECO has made along with Exploring Nutrition was food mapping, which allows community members to locate local food assets. They have created maps similar to the one seen below.

The need for food mapping is evident in areas similar to the area around La Salle and food desert areas so community members can locate the nearest places for them to get fresh healthy food. If community members have more access to fresh healthy food, hopefully we can start witnessing a decrease in plate waste.

Plate waste is a huge issue in not just food desert communities, but across America in general. There has been an increase in plate waste in recent decades, but hopefully as we start to see a decrease in food deserts, we can see a decrease in the plate waste trend as well.

Food waste 1

For a better idea of how much food is really wasted:

food waste 2

Plate waste is not the only area in which these food desert communities have trouble in. Many food desert communities also have problems with disordered eating, especially when they do not have access to fresh food and are only able to access processed food or even fast food.

Dr. Edie Goldbacher, an assistant professor at La Salle University, who has performed research on disordered eating, recently stated that “Between 1990 and 2010 obesity trends have seen over a 10% increase.”

The work that La Salle is performing in the community is important especially due to the   poverty rates in Philadelphia. The area that La Salle is in can be considered an area that is in poverty. By working to have a food market that is local to both students, faculty, and community members, this area is no longer a food desert. Brown stated, “I think if you got rid of this market here, I think this neighborhood would lose something.”

La Salle made a great decision by choosing Fresh Grocer as the local food market as well because they are so willing to donate time and resources to the neighborhood in order to help those who truly need it.

LGU Students Help Local Food Banks

In a previous post, I had mentioned a program at La Salle known as Leadership and Global Understanding. It is a minor offered at La Salle and one of the primary focuses of the program is service.

The Students of the LGU prgram at La Salle, along with the Exploring Nutrition program organized a food drive to donate food to local food banks and programs. The local grocery story, Fresh Grocer, also takes part by donating food and produce.

The food drive takes place around Easter and is known as the Easter Food Drive. The students this year did an outstanding job and helped many families.

Red Meat Impacts Both the Environment and Our Health.

Professor Jule Ann Henstenburg is the director of the Nutrition Program at La Salle University. The program is part of the school of nursing and health sciences.

Henstenburg recently discussed the new dietary guidelines for Americans in 2015 to an audience of college students. These guidelines are the basis for all of the nutrition and dietary guidelines for American citizens. By law, these guidelines have to be updated every 5 years. The group who makes the guidelines consists of academics and researchers across the United States. But, many people see controversy in these guidelines because they are believed to be influenced by the food industry. The report goes into the federal register where the public can comment on the report.

The report states that diets should be low in red and processed meats, but due to the public comment space people who work for the meat industry commented that Americans need to have meat on their tables.

Henstenburg also discussed the Meatless Mondays Movement. She also discussed the different ways that meat production impacts the environment. Some of the impacts she discussed was that meat production produces more greenhouse gasses than the world’s transportation. She also stated that just by eating a burger you can contribute to the destruction of the Amazon Rainforest because burgers are made from cows and cows are fed soy; soy is grown in the Amazon Rainforest. By making one burger, approximately 55 percent of rainforest is destroyed. Henstenburg stated that the slides she used in her presentation were from Johns Hopkins University and that they were not sensationalized. Henstenburg also emphasized that these were warnings against red meat not whit meat.

Henstenburg emphasized that people can reduce their carbon footprint by eating less red meat and also by opting for grass fed meat as opposed to soy fed meat.

Overall, while eating meat can cause many environmental impacts, it can also impact your health in ways such as heart disease and diabetes.

The Issue of Disordered Eating

Dr. Edie Goldbacher, an assistant professor at La Salle University, is interested in and has performed research on disordered eating . In addition, Goldbacher supervises a clinic that helps people who suffer from disordered eating and observes their eating patterns.

“Between 1990 and 2010 obesity trends have seen over a 10% increase.” Goldbacher said in a recent discussion. One suggestion on why studies have seen this increase is due to the large cuts on recess that many schools have made causing kids to have less time to run around and play outside.

Some reasons Goldbacher listed for the increase were genetic and environmental factors and living in a food desert. Goldbacher made sure to inform her audience that genetics do not cause obesity they just increase the risk.

Goldbacher also mentioned that increased portion sizes, as seen in the documentary Super Size Me, not being able to afford a gym membership, living in a bad neighborhood, and mindless eating. Mindless eating is also part one of the unhelpful eating patterns that multiple people have developed.

Goldbacher began discussing exactly what a clinic that focuses on disordered eating does when targeting obesity. The clinicians help their clients take part in behavioral weight loss. They educate them on skills helpful in self-monitoring and they also help clients set goals for themselves. Clinicians help clients with problem solving and stimulus control as well. For many people, behavior is hard to change therefore the clinicians educate their clients on coping and relapse prevention.

Goldbacher said that most of these programs last for 12-20 weeks and usually consist of a 50 minute meeting a week. The clinicians will track the weight of their clients and provide an education in nutrition.

Something important to remember is that disordered eating is not an eating disorder. If you are concerned about someone you know there are many resources that you can access.

Food on Plates or Continue to Waste

food waste 3

There is a new bill making its rounds through Congress that is supposed to minimize food waste and help feed the hungry. It is being dubbed an anti-hunger bill, but many people do not think this bill should be passed. A bill that is supposed to try and end the hunger issue in our country sounds like it would be a great thing. Why is President Obama threatening to veto it? Could it possibly be so bad that it should not be passed?

The new bill proposes that instead of discarding produce that is not sold, corporations can offer this produce to food banks. The bill also proposes that whatever crops farmers cannot sell should also go to food banks. Produce from both locations would otherwise end up in a landfill, it would be logical to pass the bill. If you think about it, what good would it do the corporations and farmers to donate the produce they would just normally throw out anyway besides making them feel good about themselves? The bill offers corporations and farmers who donate their food a tax break for making these donations.

A tax break, for making food donations. If that’s the case why doesn’t the government offer a tax break for donating clothes or donating toys? That’s because it would cost the government money and ultimately raise the debt. If this bill were to pass, it would cost the nation $1.9 billion dollars. Our nation simply doesn’t have 1.9 billion dollars to pay out and it would just be added on to our national debt which grows increasingly higher by the day.

Why is President Obama threatening to veto a bill that seems so good? Our nation simply cannot afford it. People should not be donating for the money anyway, they should donate their food because it belongs on plates not in landfills.

For more information about food waste and how it is seen by school nutrition professionals, you can follow this link:
Insights from School Nutrition Professionals on Students’ Plate Waste

Food waste 1

For further information about the food waste in our country you can follow the following link:
The Food Not Eaten

food waste 2


If you read my previous post about Exploring Nutrition then you know that La Salle was in a food desert before Fresh Grocer was built. I took the time to try and talk to some of the people living in the neighborhood about how they felt about the Fresh Grocer. My goal was to get at least three people to let me interview them, but unfortunately only one person allowed me to record some of her answers. This can be found here: Exploring Nutrition Interview

The general consensus in the neighborhood, whether they lived here for 12 years or two was that they liked having a grocery store so close to home. The people of the neighborhood also believed that the grocery store really improved the community.

Note: I wish I was able to have more people for you to listen to so you could hear their perspective, but many people did not want to be recorded and didn’t have the time to be interviewed. Also, no one wanted to have their picture taken.

Exploring Nutrition

Dr. Marjorie Allen is involved with many organizations on campus including LGU, a minor students can take in leadership and global understanding, as well as Exploring Nutrition.

Exploring Nutrition was founded four years ago when a group of faculty got together and pulled together resources that the university had. Many of the faculty had projects such as food drives, but they weren’t always coordinated. Exploring Nutrition allowed the University to have an umbrella organization to organize fundraising and it gave the university an identity in the community as caring about the hunger issue.

Exploring Nutrition’s mission is “to create a model by which urban universities can, in partnership with local businesses, community organizations, and religious institutions, utilize collective resources and expertise to have a positive impact on their neighborhood’s health and nutritional well-being.”

La Salle donated land to Fresh Grocer, the local supermarket, so there would be a supermarket that was easily accessible to all people in the community, especially the elderly.

Dr. Allen said that, “Before Fresh Grocer was built, the La Salle community was a food desert. There was essentially no access to supermarkets.” The two closest supermarkets to La Salle, before Fresh Grocer was built, were ShopRite and Pathmark. Both stores were far, considering many families living in the community do not have access to cars.

Dr. Allen also put it into perspective by adding that the elderly members of the community would have to carry their groceries on buses and to their homes as well as young parents having to take their young children with them on buses along with the groceries they bought.

La Salle donated the land to Fresh Grocer because not only was the community in desperate need for it, but it would benefit the students, faculty, and staff to have a closer supermarket.

Exploring Nutrition has not stopped with the opening of a closer supermarket. They have plans that include food mapping, which allows community residents to know where they can get food. They have also proposed an obesity study and treatment program as well as an adolescent cooking program to teach members of the community to cook easy, healthy dinners.

Exploring Nutrition has many more proposed projects that they are hoping to work on, as well as many goals that they have already reached.

Some helpful links:
Exploring Nutrition
Hunger Coalition
Philadelphia Poverty Facts
Census Bureau Releases Philadelphia Poverty Data