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Healthy Eating

Cooking classes help Detroit youth knock out bad eating habits



This article is part of Stories of Change, a series of inspiring articles by people delivering evidence-based programs and strategies that enable communities to eat healthily and get more exercise. This is made possible with funds from the Michigan Fitness Foundation.

The youth at Detroit’s Downtown Boxing Gym are learning more than just how to line up their dukes. Through a program called The Learning Kitchen offered by GenesisHOPE Community Development Corporation, the gym’s third- through eighth graders are top candidates when it comes to eating more fruits and vegetables.

During the six-week course, GenesisHOPE staff will share a nutrition lesson, interactive cooking demonstration, and tasting every week with a group of children gathered in the downtown boxing gym’s kitchen. The Study Kitchen is just one of several GenesisHOPE programs made possible by funding from the Michigan Fitness Foundation (MFF) ‘s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) funding. MFF is a state executive agency of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for the educational component of SNAP. SNAP-Ed is a U.S. Department of Agriculture educational program that teaches people who are eligible for SNAP how to live healthier lives. MFF offers grants to run SNAP-Ed programs across the state of Michigan.

The partnership between GenesisHOPE and the Downtown Boxing Gym was a natural one. The gym offers free programs to more than 150 teenagers ages 8-18 from across Metro Detroit that focus on academics, career readiness, social-emotional skills, and health and wellness. GenesisHOPE works to improve the quality of life for people who live and work in the Islandview and Greater Villages neighborhoods of Detroit.

“We are working towards balanced health care,” says Courtney Morrow, GenesisHOPE Deputy Director. “”Our overarching goals and visions are healthy people and healthy places. Physical health depends on what you eat and what you do. SNAP-Ed includes that. “

Micah Wilson, GenesisHOPE Youth Development Program Coordinator, leads The Learning Kitchen sessions. Due to COVID-19, Wilson taught the classes remotely. However, she is practical about buying ingredients and then delivering them to the club before class. After an initial nutrition lesson, two employees of the boxing gym lead the students to participate, cook with them and take turns reading the recipe instructions.

Participants cook food during a session of The Learning Kitchen.
“After everyone has finished cooking, we cover together what we have made and tried. I’m so proud that they know we’re waiting for each other before we taste, ”says Wilson. “After the tasting, they give input. I ask her, “What would you do differently if you could cook this at home?” Then we start cleaning up. I let them know that you clean up on the go and that an organized kitchen is safe kitchen. “
Students take lessons in the study kitchen remotely.
Using the study kitchen curriculum developed by Hunger Free Vermont, Wilson shares key nutrition lessons each week with simple, delicious recipes that emphasize affordable, healthy ingredients. Her greatest joy comes when her students tell her mom, dad, or grandma let them cook the recipe for the whole family at home.

“Most of my students couldn’t cook at home,” says Wilson. “From the moment they leave, they are told to stay away from the kitchen. After a few hours they come back and say, “Oh, I made breakfast over the weekend” or, “Mom let me cook dinner with her.” Now their families are confident that they can do so. The students teach the parents. “

“The children can influence decisions that are made at home,” agrees Jeanine Hatcher, CEO of GenesisHOPE. “Changes in behavior take time. What we found out through our SNAP-Ed programming is how people encounter several barriers to eating healthy, and our goal is to reduce them. “

Participants cook food during a session of The Learning Kitchen.
In the Detroit neighborhoods where GenesisHOPE operates, people face high rates of poverty and all of the challenges that come with it. This creates a vicious circle in which chronic health conditions can prevent people from finding employment, generate more costs, and seriously affect the quality of life.

In addition to the activities of The Learning Kitchen with teenagers in the Downtown Boxing Gym, GenesisHOPE offers the program The Learning Kitchen for adults. Together with a cooking demo, they learn portion control, ways to process more fruit and vegetables and how to cook with less fat and salt.

“Our SNAP-Ed programming really helps people choose healthier foods on a budget,” says Hatcher. “We’re sharing how to take advantage of not only their SNAP perks, but other programs like Double Up Food Bucks, Senior Project Fresh, and things like that, and offer overall healthy recipes that are a budget strain.”

Hatcher’s own health story inspires her work at GenesisHOPE. She was diagnosed with lupus in 2015.

“When I eat healthier and mainly consume fruits and vegetables, I feel wonderful,” she says. “That’s what I like best about my SNAP-Ed work: educating young and old about the relationship between diet and health. I especially like that we work with young people to help them avoid unhealthy habits that are difficult to break. “

Through its SNAP-Ed work, GenesisHOPE is also engaging residents so that they can actively campaign for policy change. Hatcher admits that GenesisHOPE employees haven’t seen the kind of change they want to see in their community – yet. She hopes that SNAP-Ed funded programs will help catalyze this change in conjunction with an upcoming Policy, Systems and Environmental Change (PSE) Forum that GenesisHOPE is coordinating with like-minded organizations.

“All organizations have some relation to nutrition and health. We worked on an individual level. I think the PSE will bring it to the community, ”says Hatcher. “I’m curious what will become of it.”

Hatcher, Morrow, and Wilson see the SNAP-Ed Youth Cooking Classes as an opportunity not only to help youth become thriving adults, but also to shape future Detroit leaders and inspire the next generation to become community leaders and change makers.

“Our overall mission is to promote healthy living and to work towards balanced health care for Detroit residents, especially Islandview residents. It starts with eating – by helping people, many of whom are taking advantage of SNAP, learn how to shop and eat healthily on a budget, increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables, and eat healthy foods more often, “says Morrow .

“I firmly believe that I can look to the future,” adds Wilson. “Our children are our future leaders. We need to educate our children about how to eat healthily and get active as they grow so they know how to care for themselves as they grow up. It doesn’t just happen – being healthy is a learned process. ”

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Healthy Eating

One Major Effect Garlic Has On Your Gut, Says Science



Your gut is arguably one of the most important things to look out for when it comes to your overall health, as it can affect your risk for things like excessive weight gain, gastrointestinal disorders, and even cancer.

As more research is done, experts find that Food and nutrition play a huge role in maintaining your gut health. In fact, foods like yogurt, sprouted grains, salmon, and garlic have all been shown to make a positive contribution.

Particularly noteworthy is garlic. Not only because it is delicious, but also because it has been used medicinally for thousands of years. One important effect of garlic on your gut that researchers recently discovered is its Ability to act as a prebiotic for your gut microbiome.

But why is it so important? Well, maintaining a balanced gut microbiome is vital as it is the group of bacteria, fungi, and other components that live in your digestive tract that directly affect things like your digestion, immune system, and even your mental health!

Read on to learn exactly why prebiotic foods like garlic are necessary for maintaining a healthy gut.

First, what is garlic made of?

Garlic may be small, but it’s actually a complex food, with many different types of nutrients and compounds that make it a common medicinal meal supplement.

According to Nutrients, garlic cloves are mostly made up of carbohydrates, but they also contain protein, fiber, amino acids, water, and organosulfur compounds (which are also found in broccoli, onions, and cabbage).

Most of the carbohydrates in garlic are fructose polymers known as fructans. Although the health benefits of fructans are constantly being researched, many experts consider them “health-promoting food ingredients”.

For example, a report published in the Scientific World Journal states that fructans are known to promote better immune health, act as antioxidants in the body, and potentially act as prebiotics in the gut.

RELATED: Secret Side Effects of Eating Garlic, Science Says

How garlic helps your gut


It is important to note that much of the current research on garlic and gut health is conducted through animal testing, so more specifically related to human health needs to be discovered.

However, current knowledge about garlic and human health is positive and shows many specific benefits for the human gut microbiome.

According to Food Science & Human Wellness, the fructans contained in garlic act as “prebiotics” in the intestinal microbiome and promote the production of “good” intestinal bacteria (also known as bifidobacteria).

Prebiotics can do this by passing through your digestive tract without actually being digested, which allows them to be used as nourishment for the good bacteria in your gut, helping to keep the other bacteria in your gut at bay.

In addition, prebiotics are known to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of cancer and other serious diseases, according to the Encyclopedia of Food and Health.

So it’s easy to see that garlic really does have some amazing gut health benefits, and while more research needs to be done, the current results are promising!

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Healthy Eating

Craving food vs. choosing food – FIT Talk With Tania



Photo: Contributed

When we use food to create hormonal balance instead of dieting, amazing things happen to our health.

When it comes to food, here in North America and in all of the First World countries we have choices – an overwhelming variety.

Aside from the rush for toilet paper over the past year, how many times have you gone to the grocery store and seen empty shelves? It never happens.

Some call it a blessing, some blame it on their poor food choices.

Regardless of where you sit on this food spectrum, we know for sure that we should be one of the healthiest nations on earth. But we are not. As a wealthy First World country, we have an abundance of food, but the vast majority of the population is nutritionally starved. One wonders how that can happen. It all depends on the choice.

Many diseases such as cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, digestive problems and leaky gut are all referred to as lifestyle diseases today. Why? Because the lifestyle that the individual has chosen over time is what caused the disease.

It would therefore seem logical that if our decisions could have a negative outcome, it would seem reasonable that they could elicit a positive response as well. And there is science to back it up.

A study published on the NCBI website by the National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health, shows how diet and lifestyle changes are key to reversing these lifestyle ailments and restoring general health.

“But Tania,” you say, “there is heart disease in my family, so sooner or later I’ll get it.”

So why not do it as late as possible?

And to address the genetic elephant in the room, our DNA only controls about 20 percent of the result of our health. Some scientists are now saying that it is even less. This means that we have about 80 percent control over the outcome of our health. Pretty amazing, isn’t it?

So why do most of our population continue to make poor food choices?

There are two aspects that play a role in how and what we eat – physiological and psychological.

The way our bodies are made up, our physiology requires us to ingest food. When we deprive our body of what it needs – restricting calories, removing food groups, forgetting to eat, skipping meals, eating junk food – blood sugar crashes and appetite hormones like leptin and grehlin are out of whack. .

However, the brain – the psychological component – still needs nourishment.

When we withdraw the energy it needs from our body, Grehlin goes into full swing and causes the brain to tell the body that it needs food quickly. Leptin, which normally tells us when we are full, is switched off.

Hello cravings and overeating. And then people are most likely to resort to packaged, processed, and / or sugary foods rather than healthy, healthy foods. It is a good thing to ignore cravings for bad food, but if you don’t refuel with good food on a regular basis throughout the day (for whatever reason – time, working late, dieting), your body will get its own Muscles take it away to form glucose and send it to the brain. Oh, and for your information, in case you’re wondering, it won’t take away from your stored fat.

It is quite difficult to make good food choices when hormones and “hangry” feelings are working against you when you demand to be fed as soon as possible. The thing is, you can get these hormones to work in your favor, to work with your body and brain to get rid of cravings, overeating, and spontaneous snacking. Believe it or not, you do it with food. The thing is, when food is used to restore hormonal balance, health happens.

Hormones are balanced when blood sugar levels are stabilized. And the way to stabilize blood sugar is to eat small, macro-balanced meals every three to four hours throughout the day.

I call this all three PFCs. Simply put, it’s a balanced mix of high-quality protein, healthy fat, and colorful carbohydrates combined within an hour of waking up and then every three to four hours throughout the day until about an hour and a half before bed.

It’s a simple concept that requires a little organization and preparation to get started, but the benefits are well worth it.

Blood sugar levels become normal, hormones are balanced, menopausal symptoms are minimized or eliminated, inflammation is reduced, joint pain is relieved, digestion is improved, cholesterol and blood pressure are normalized, the immune system is improved, it could help reverse some diseases, the Metabolism will turn on and stay on and the body will release stored fat and burn it for energy.

Just a little trivia for you – Did you know that for every pound of fat, there are 3,500 calories of stored energy waiting to be consumed? And as soon as the stored fat is broken down, will the excess weight that you possibly carry also be released?

It’s a wonderful side benefit that occurs when you stop dieting and focus on creating health.

Do you want to create health in your body? Join the 8 Weeks is All it Takes Facebook group today.

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Healthy Eating

The Surprising Snack You Should Avoid Because It Causes Bloating And Fatigue Throughout The Day



Snacking is a normal and healthy part of any diet, as long as you choose the right snacks. When deciding which foods to include in your diet to bridge the gap between meals, it is important to choose nutrient-rich ingredients that can help boost your energy levels and support an increased feeling of satiety to help you achieve the Avoid consuming excess calories throughout the day.

However, not all high macronutrient density snacks are actually ideal for weight loss, and some can make sweeping claims while they may get in the way of your weight loss success or even cause weight gain, inflammation, and discomfort. If you are struggling with a tight and bloated stomach after snacking, there comes a point where nutritionists agree that you should consider eliminating it from your diet.

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Protein is hands down one of the most important nutrients to include in any balanced diet, but the way you consume your protein is important to consider. While protein bars are a simple snack, they are generally not well suited to promoting weight loss and wellness, and are often full of preservatives, excess carbohydrates, and added sugars, but they can make inflammation in your body worse.

“Unfortunately, the quality of most bars on the market is very poor and should not be considered healthy,” warns registered dietitian Trista Best. “The vast majority are made up of refined carbohydrates, sugar and gluten, all of which can lead to gas and fatigue . “

If you’re snacking on a protein bar, chances are you’re looking for a quick protein boost and enough energy to get you through to your next meal. However, opting for a bar over a naturally occurring source of protein can come with a number of side effects, many of which are uncomfortable for the body. “As the body works to process these ingredients, it becomes inflamed, especially the intestines, and this inflammation leads to gas and fatigue, among other things,” says Best.

Although gas isn’t directly related to weight gain, it can make your body feel uncomfortable and negatively affect your mental health. If you feel that your clothes are tighter you may be inclined to ditch your healthy eating plan, but it is better to identify the foods that are causing these problems rather than assuming your weight loss plan will fail.


Since protein bars are often filled with additives and excess sugar, they can also have an inverse effect on your metabolism, making it difficult to burn fat at rest and consequently, weight gain over time. This snack may go well with your healthy diet as it provides one of the most important macronutrients you need to streamline your diet, but at the end of the day, getting your protein from more natural sources like chickpeas will serve you better Salad, lean meat, or even Greek yogurt.

These foods are more likely to keep your body energized while also being low in calories, sugar, and unhealthy preservatives, making them better at limiting inflammation, fatigue, and weight gain.

If you’ve just finished a difficult workout or are severely low in calories for the day, a low-sugar, high-protein bar may not be the worst option for getting a quick burst of energy. However, make sure that you don’t rely on this highly processed snack in your daily diet to banish gas, unnecessary fatigue, and discomfort and try to find more natural alternatives to give your body the energy it needs needed to make it between meals.

As with any food, you can enjoy protein bars in moderation and still see success with your healthy diet, but contrary to popular belief, in order to feel optimal about your body, they shouldn’t be a part of your diet. A good rule of thumb is to eat as many natural, whole foods as possible, and there are a variety of different sources that will benefit your body in the long run.

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