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Healthy Eating

Des Moines delivery service Dinner Dispatch opens store amid COVID boom



When the uncertainty of coronavirus restrictions and lockdowns led to panic buying and sparse shelves in grocery stores last year, co-owners LeAnn Thongvanh and Jennifer Oredson watched sales of their Des Moines-based package delivery service grow.

Dinner Dispatch’s revenue grew 300% in just one quarter, the owners said.

“I think we became one of the panic companies,” Oredson said. “We sold out within 48 hours when we put a new menu out because people said, ‘I’m going to use these meals so I don’t have to go to the store.'”

In the first year, Dinner Dispatch sold around 1,150 meals and 4,600 servings. By the end of 2020, 7,624 meals or around 39,776 servings had been sold.

Due to the dynamics of the pandemic, Thongvanh and Oredson were able to expand Dinner Dispatch from a team of two to 20 employees. They opened their first storefront at 7246 University Ave last month. in Windsor Heights.

Their business is similar to other companies that have grown in popularity over the past few years. Every Monday, drivers drive a 20 miles radius from the store to deliver the kits to 100 homes on the Des Moines metro. They also supply several customers in Ames.

But Dinner Dispatch differs from well-known meal sets like Hello Fresh or Blue Apron in one important way – the food is already cut, seasoned and ready to take away, Oredson said. The whole goal is to make it easier for people to cook and eat well-rounded meals without having to plan, shop, or prepare.

“(Hello Fresh is) essentially a meal plan with a box of groceries. … In other words, you do everything,” Oredson said. “Your part in us is turning a bag upside down into a tin or something. We cut everything, we seasoned everything.

LeAnn Thongvanh, co-owner of Dinner Dispatch, is packing a meal package at her store in Windsor Heights on Wednesday June 9th, 2021.

As busy mothers, the two simply wanted to cook: “We are our customers”

Dinner Dispatch’s origins lie in the friendship between Thongvanh and Oredson and their shared experiences as mothers leading full-time careers.

The duo met in 2014 while working for Wildtree, a spice and spice company that offers meal preparation workshops.

Thongvanh, who has two children and worked as a teacher, and Oredson, who has three children and worked as a maternity and childbirth nurse, said they came to Wildtree during a busy time in their lives making healthy meals for their challenging families .

“We are our customers,” said Oredson.

The couple said working at Wildtree inspired them to create an even easier option for those who find it hard to fit cooking into hectic schedules. You launched Dinner Dispatch in March 2019.

“Our people are busy people who eat unhealthy convenience foods far too often,” Oredson said. “And if our service replaces pizza or transit, that’s healthier.”

To begin with, local grocery stores prepared Thongvan and Oredson’s recipes and menus while they waited for an approved food license. Dinner Dispatch sold 10 meals some weeks and 100 other rare weeks.

Until November 2019, Thongvanh and Oredson were able to rent a commercial kitchen at the Robert Mickle Business and Neighborhood Resource Center in the Sherman Hill district of Des Moines. The center has an affordable communal kitchen designed to help food entrepreneurs grow their businesses.

“I’m so glad we started there,” said Oresdson. “There was a lot of freedom to take risks and do our own thing without much financial worries. Whenever we needed time, we could rent there with no major commitments.”

Business picked up speed there.

In those early days, Thongvanh said it wasn’t uncommon for her to slice bell peppers for six hours or Oredson to stare at 15 pounds of carrots for chopping.

It became increasingly clear to both of them that they needed to expand and they started hiring.

Jennifer Oredson, co-owner of Dinner Dispatch, is mixing a meal at her store in Windor Heights on Wednesday June 9, 2021.

From food deliveries to new in-store takeout options

Last month, Thongvanh and Oredson moved Dinner Dispatch to a dedicated commercial kitchen space in the Apple Valley Shopping Center.

In their first permanent location, they added a cool box with grab-and-go options for customers who may have missed the deadline for ordering meals for the week or who want coffee and a snack.

The kitchen is open and spacious with industrial-size cool boxes and prep tables less than 10 feet from the entrance. Customers stopping inside can get a firsthand look while the dinner dispatch team prepares and compiles meals.

Oredson is largely the mastermind behind Dinner Dispatch’s 250+ recipes. Your visions go through a test committee before they are offered to customers.

“I really need to curb my desire for new recipes,” Oredson said. “My passion is recipe development and optimization. If you leave it to me, I’ll never calm down. The list of recipes that I develop in the background is endless.”

Oredson’s favorite is the Asian sriracha chicken salad with honey; Thongvanh is the beef stroganoff.

While their business is primarily geared towards busy families, the couple said the service has evolved as more and more customers give away dinner dispatch meals to friends and family who have an illness, childbirth, or surgery, which is work at Can make cooking difficult.

“Sometimes there is just never the right gift,” Thongvanh said. “Food is always something that gives comfort and is a blessing to prepare a meal in times of crisis or change. So we love to see these gifts. “

LeAnn Thongvanh, co-owner of Dinner Dispatch, will have a freshly wrapped meal set ready in her shop in Windsor Heights on Wednesday June 9th, 2021.

How does dinner delivery work?

Meal packages are delivered weekly based on the customer’s recommendations for that week. You can choose as many items as you want from a fresh and frozen food menu, updated weekly.

The menu includes recipes such as spicy sausage and sweet potato hash, roasted pork fillet with snow peas salad or chilli and beef tacos.

Prices differ depending on the meal and portion size, and discounts are offered to customers who also order groceries for a month. Delivery is based on the mileage and is limited to $ 10.

Dinner shipping requires orders placed by midnight Wednesday for delivery the following Monday. You can find more information on the Internet at

Hannah Rodriguez covers retail for the registry. You can reach her at Follow her on Twitter @ HRodriguez15.

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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.

We are giving away a clean, environmentally friendly hand soap package from Cleancult


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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