Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day first began in April of 1970. This now yearly holiday occurs every April 22nd as a day to put the environment first. Celebrations around the country focus on key environmental issues and ways to tackle them. Although a lot of change needs to occur at the policy level, there is a tremendous amount we can do as individuals!

Sourced from: www.involvement.mtu.edu

Show your support for local food and other local products by visiting a market. If you have children consider taking them to a local farm so they can see where their food comes from. Have a picnic in the park. Whatever you do, go outside and enjoy the beautiful earth we live on!

New Orleans celebrates Earth Day in a big way

This past Saturday Louis Armstrong Park hosted the 2014 New Orleans Earth Day Festival and Green Business Expo.

The festival brought together local food vendors (selling things like solar-powered drinks), sustainable clothing businesses (using bamboo, organic cotton, and natural dyes), alternative energy companies, environmental clean-up organizations, committees petitioning for more bike lanes, several demo booths, and of course live music. It was truly a celebration of environmental progress, and instilled a sense of empowerment.

Five ways to celebrate Earth Day everyday

1. Buy only what you need, from local and sustainable sources when possible.

2. Think before you throw away. STOP and think about how you can reuse it (or compost it, see our post on how to compost here: http://sankofacdc.blogspot.com/2014/03/composting-part-2-of-2-how-to-compost.html)

3. Recycle as much as you can. For a list of acceptable curbside recyclables in New Orleans visit: http://www.nola.gov/sanitation/recycling/sort/

4. Eat more plants. Meat production is a large contributor to global warming.

5. Waste less electricity and water by turning off lights when you leave a room, turning off appliances and electronics when not in use, taking shorter showers, turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

All About Fiber

What is it?

You hear the word all the time, generally paired with "eat more". So what exactly is it and where can I find it?

Facts about fiber:

  • Type of carbohydrate
  • Doesn't add any calories to the diet
  • Only found in plant foods 
  • Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds are all good sources
  • Two fiber types (soluble and insoluble)

Soluble vs. Insoluble Fiber

Soluble fiber is good for lowering cholesterol and blood glucose levels. This type of fiber is generally found in the flesh of fruits and vegetables.

Foods high in soluble fiber include:

  • Oranges
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet potatoes (flesh)
  • Black beans
  • Oatmeal

Insoluble fiber is needed to maintain a healthy digestive system. It helps move food through the large intestine (colon) while it digests. This prevents constipation, helps increase regularity, and may also protect against colon cancer development. This type of fiber is generally found in the edible peels of fruits and vegetables.

Foods high in insoluble fiber include:

  • Okra
  • Carrots
  • Kidney beans
  • Lentils
  • Fruit and vegetable peels

Remember the key is to eat more fiber in general, don't worry about what type you're eating.

How much fiber should I eat?

Women should consume at least 25 grams per day.
Men should consume at least 38 grams per day.

Curious about how many grams you should be getting?
Try out this fiber calculator: http://www.nationalfibercouncil.org/fiber_calculator.php

How can you tell if a food product is a good source of fiber?

All you need to do is look at the nutrition facts panel on the product. Locate fiber on the label and check out the percent daily value. This number is the percentage of your daily fiber requirement contained in one serving of that food.

Low source: 5% or less of your daily value or 1 gram or less
Moderate source: 6-19% of your daily value or 1.5 - 4.5 grams
High source: 20% or more of your daily value or 5 grams or more

6 ways to increase fiber in the diet*

  1. Switch from fruit juice to the whole fruit (eat the apple instead of drinking apple juice)
  2. Enjoy edible peels of fruits and vegetables (eat the sweet potato skin and eggplant peel)
  3. Eat more whole grains/whole grain products rather than refined (ie. brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat pasta, whole grain bread)
  4. In food products look for a whole grain listed as the first ingredient (especially in pasta, cereal, and bread)
  5. Pick high fiber snacks (ie. carrot sticks and hummus/apple slices and peanut butter)
  6. Add legumes to soups, chilis, and gumbos! (swap out some of the meat for black eyed peas and kidney beans)

*Note: As you increase fiber in your diet, you must increase your water intake as well. While fiber is eliminating that bad cholesterol in the intestines, it's also taking water with it.

More Fiber + More Water = Happy Healthy Body

Want more reasons to eat more fiber?

Heart disease: Fiber decreases cholesterol levels lowering your risk for heart disease
Diabetes: High fiber intake lowers blood glucose and may decrease risk for type 2 diabetes development
Colon Cancer: Eating fiber helps keep digested food moving in the body, possibly lowering colon cancer risk
DiverticulosisThis highly preventable disease can be avoided simply by eating more fiber
Weight loss: High fiber diets are generally lower in calories and keep you full longer causing you to eat less

Friday, April 11, 2014

Re- Opening of Sankofa's Mobile Market

After a few months closed due to the freezing weather, we officially re-opened The Sankofa Mobile Market this past Saturday April 5, 2014 at 5030 St. Claude Avenue in the Lower 9th Ward.

Produce in the market included : hydroponic tomatoes, radish, turnips, Ponchatoula strawberries, collard, mustard greens and fresh herbs from our garden.

Plump tomatoes from Cajun Growers
Turnips and Radishes from Frank Fekete Farms
Juicy Ponchatoula strawberries from Fletcher Family Farm

Through the Mobile Market, we are bringing fresh vegetables, fruits, and herbs to the Lower Ninth Ward every week. We are currently developing plans to expand to additional stops in the neighborhood during June. Through offering low-cost produce sales we are working to address the ‘food desert’ problem , a major issue in New Orleans, address some of those barriers that affect access to fresh fruits and vegetables in low-socioeconomic communities.

We recently started a new Rewards Program for our loyal customers to continue to support healthier eating. Many shoppers signed up for the Rewards Program and will receive a free item when they purchase vegetables and fruits at the Mobile Market at least two times a month.  

Sankofa is working to improve health and wellness in our community and create progressive programs that bring quality of life resources to the area. Community collaborations are critical to our work and the success of the Mobile Market. We appreciate the support of Reverend Dyson and Mr. Parther for their support in hosting the Mobile Market at St Paul Church of God in Christ at 5030 St Claude Ave.

Community members picking out local strawberries

Please come by and visit us for fresh local produce, and join us in this movement to improve community health and wellness. We hope to see you this Saturday, April 12!