One of the most difficult tasks in getting healthy is understanding food labels, packaging, and marketing. If you find yourself overwhelmed or unaware, my best advice is to go straight to the label ingredients and look at what’s in your food, not what the package wants you to believe. Food marketers spend extensive time and energy doing everything possible to get YOUR attention, appeal to your desire to be healthy, and make you believe that what you are about to consume is indeed “good for you”. The problem is that ingredients lurking in our food trigger reactions in our body that might as well be prompted by something obviously unhealthy. Here are 10 culprits to look for that just might have you thinking twice before you bite into that next “healthy” looking food.
1. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
3. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
4. Agave Nectar
5. Artificial Food Coloring
6. BHA and BHT
7. Sodium Nitrite and Sodium Nitrate
8. Potassium Bromate
9. Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH)
10. Refined Vegetable Oil
For an indepth look at each ingredient and why you should avoid them like the plague, check out the full article here. And start reading those ingredient lists!
Off The Front is proud to be the recipient of a $2000 Grant from the Walmart Foundation which, “supports local charitable causes that are important to the communities it serves. In 2011, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation contributed $28.9 million in cash and in-kind donations to community organizations in California. Local organizations in Fresno County include the Community Food Bank, Fresno First Steps Home and the Foundation for Clovis Schools.”
According to the Walmart Community Giving Website….
“Giving people access to a better life. One community at a time.”
“It’s our mission to create opportunities so people can live better. We consider it our responsibility to make a positive impact in the communities we serve. Whether it’s through the grants we provide to the thousands of organizations that share our mission or through the inspiring volunteer efforts of Walmart associates, we are passionate about helping people live better. One community at a time.
In 2012, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation gave more than $1 billion in cash and in-kind contributions around the world. This includes $1 billion in cash and in-kind gifts in the United States and $82.2 million in cash and in-kind gifts in international markets. In addition, Walmart, Sam’s Club and Logistics associates volunteered more than 2.2 million hours, generating $18 million to U.S. nonprofits.”
Thank You Walmart for your donation and desire to impact lives in our communities!
STUDENTS4GIVING PHILANTHROPY PROJECT GRANTS $12,000
May 7, 2013 – Fresno, CA – Humanics@FresnoState will present a grant awards ceremony and press conference on Monday, May 13that 10:30 am in the Community Hall of Fresno Rescue Mission. As part of the service-learning pedagogy embedded throughout the Humanics Program, thirty-three Fresno State students formed three boards during this semester’s Students4Giving Philanthropy Project with a funding focus on: Education, Youth Programming, and Poverty Alleviation. Each board conducted its own grant review process and will be awarding a total of $12,000 to Fresno Rescue Mission, Foundation for Fresno County Library and Off The Front.
The funds are a true sign of philanthropic spirit, as university faculty, staff, alumni, students, and individual donors, including the Geil Family Foundation, have financially contributed to provide the funds for these grants. In addition, Students4Giving at Fresno State is part of a national initiative of Campus Compact and Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund.
The Poverty Alleviation Board of Trustees is pleased to award $4,000 to Fresno Rescue Mission to support the development and implementation of the Spero Case Management System, which will be used to track the hours of over 1,000 volunteers and facilitate at greater speed the mentor program made available to its service population. The system includes a mobile app for ease of access of for future volunteer sign ups.
The Education Board of Trustees is pleased to award $4,000 in memory of Philip T. Manoogian to the Foundation for Fresno County Public Library in support of the Downtown Branch’s Summer Reading and Meals Program (this memorial grant was provided through contributions from Mr. Manoogian’s family and friends, including Dr. Harry Moordigian and Brian and Darci Tatarian, in honor of his 35 years of professional service and commitment to public education). Children in Fresno’s downtown will have a rich and exciting program to participate in this summer, as the Fresno County Public Library seeks to expand the joy of reading through a unique program that will feed children’s bodies and minds.
The Youth Programming Board of Trustees is pleased to award $4,000 to Off The Front (OTF) to fund its “Earn A Bike Program.” This program combats child obesity by motivating children to get out and ride! Fourth grade students in the impoverished areas of Fresno Unified receive the opportunity to earn their own bike through measured academic progress. OTF provides an incentive for children who live in our community to form habits that will benefit their physical, mental and academic health.
Of each grant award, $3,000 goes towards the funding of the special project and $1,000 supports a scholarship for a Humanics Intern to assist the organization during the implementation and evaluation of the project. Students working towards the Humanics Certificate in Administration and Leadership for Community Benefit Organizations are required to engage in 300 hours of supervised field experience and participate in a professional development conference.
The $12,000 in grants awarded this year means that the Humanics Students4Giving Philanthropy Project has granted a total of $62,000 to 20 organizations over the past seven years, with significant financial support having come from Fresno Regional Foundation, Campus Compact, Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, Geil Family Foundation, Kennel Bookstore, Dr. Harry Moordigian, DDS, Brian & Darci Tatarian, and The Bruce and Katherine Tatarian Family Fund.
Past recipients include: Animal Rescue of Fresno, Boys & Girls Club of Fresno County, Break the Barriers, Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Project, Encourage Tomorrow, Fresno County Child Abuse Prevention Program, Fresno Institute for Urban Leadership, Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries, Inc., Fresno Reel Pride Film Festival, Fresno Street Saints, Naomi’s House, RiverTree Volunteers, Rotary Storyland Playland, The Binational Center for the Development of Oaxacan Indigenous Communities, Tree Fresno, Valley Teen Ranch, and Wesley United Methodist Church. This Students4Giving Philanthropy Project, like the Humanics Program in general, is designed to prepare the next generation of leaders for CBOs in Central California through REAL®—Relational, Experiential, Applicable, and Learner-centered—experiences.If you would like more information about Students4Giving or to schedule an interview with a representative of Humanics@FresnoState, please contact Grethel Chacon at (559) 269-1691 or email@example.com
I just finished texting back and forth with a sweet friend of mine. We are reading a book about all the emotions that prompt us to completely “lose it”…our tempers, our words, and I’m quite sure self-control towards food would fit in there somewhere. We talked about how much easier life would be if the results we wanted did not require change, discipline, or self-control. Who doesn’t want to get healthy while still having the luxury of eating whenever and whatever they want?
As mentioned in my previous post, 75% of overweight individuals struggle with emotional eating. One of the main purposes of last week’s post was to have you figure out what’s at the core of this battle with food. This can be quite the task depending on your life circumstances, your age, your work environment, or living situation. Below are some questions to help you through this process. I encourage you to be boldly honest with yourself as you read through the list. My hope is to help you find the courage to stop making excuses, figure out “what’s eating you” (literally), and begin recognizing the pitfalls that keep you from progress. Here are some questions to think through as you start:
- What emotions/habits make you more prone to overeat?
- Where are you when you overeat?
- What situations/environments/people make you want to make unhealthy choices?
- What foods are difficult to stop eating and/or prompt eating beyond the normal portion size?
- When do you find yourself to be most self-controlled?
- Do you have anything that triggers overeating?
- What times of the day do you find most difficult?
- What habits are hard to break right now? (i.e., time of day you “treat yourself”, things that sabotage you?)
- Do you tend to go along with what everyone else is eating/doing?
- What are some other things you could do to minimize food being the focus?
- What excuses and/or justifications do you make regarding your eating behaviors?
Facing the cold hard facts where responsibility must be taken might be one of the hardest, but best steps in the process. Over the past 20 years of trying to become healthy, I have had to ask myself these same questions. I have habits that seem to form in days, yet take months or years to undo. (I should never be left alone with pita bread and hummus, chips and salsa, or birthday cake…especially in the middle of the day, and especially when I have waited way to long to eat…it’s just not pretty.) Somewhere along the way, whether in childhood, after having kids, after a traumatic time in our life, or even in the midst of something tragic, we need to find our way back to a healthy perspective on eating. My friend that just finished up her season on “The Biggest Loser” said something so profound, yet simple. She said, “You have to fall in love with the process.” The process! Not necessarily the destination or the ultimate results, although they are a part of this often messy equation. Maybe the first step in a long line of “baby steps” is awareness of what’s going on inside. And maybe the next time you head for that tub of ice cream in the middle of the day or find yourself pulling through that drive-thru for something you know you’ll regret later, maybe you will remember how you answered these questions. And just maybe something will stop you…And just maybe you will be on your way to making one good decision in a long line of them.
As I sat across the table from a friend of mine, I listened as she shared her desperate desire for freedom. She felt trapped in a body where excess weight seemed to have made permanent residence. Because being overweight was a struggle for me when I was a kid, relating to this sweet downcast soul came effortlessly. I know what it feels like to be trapped in a body you abused over time by poor food choices. A great deal of importance these days is placed on making good food choices and exercise. While I wholeheartedly agree that changes have to be made in these areas, I have great concern for individuals who don’t find out what’s at the core of their unhealthy lifestyle.
According to the Institute of Heart Math (IHM) website, “researchers, along with many weight-loss specialists and health professionals, believe today’s weight-control programs neglect the No. 1 cause of overeating and obesity: Emotional eating.” Emotional eating is defined as the unchecked habit of using food to cope with our feelings. ”Experts now agree that about 75% of overeating is caused by emotional eating, which means that a lot of us are using food to cope with our feelings,” observes the HeartMath book, Stopping Emotional Eating®. “In today’s high-stress society, many of us, adults and children, eat high fat or high sugar foods to soothe our emotions or temporarily relieve our stress and anxiety.”
My struggle with my weight as a child was no different. After my initial weight loss at the age of 17, I remember thinking…now what? So much pain was still buried inside this heart of mine. It was only a matter of time before college and the magical freshman fifteen would sabotage my success. Just like my discouraged friend sitting across the table, no one had given me any indication that the link between food and life circumstances could be so powerfully intertwined. Most of us struggling souls have something we turn to when emotionally out of sorts. Out of whack feelings can lead to all sorts of addictions and ultimately, dependence on anything we might idolize. Unfortunately, food had become mine.
Emotional eating sufferers, like myself, begin to pine for something to satisfy, make them feel good, or take away pain, if even for a moment. The problem is that the void or emptiness deep down usually returns but at the cost of weight gain, health concerns, and feeling trapped in a downward spiral. Before I began my journey towards healthy, I would wake up each day with renewed hope and decide today was “the day”. Ugh…then utter failure. Start over again. Fail. The cycle seemed never ending. The road to get healthy and strong has been a long process. Looking back, there are so many things I wish I would have known. With all the wealth of information “out there” now, I want to give people the tools needed to fight what feels like a lost cause. Food does not have to win!
So why does emotional eating entrap some of us when life gets crazy or we have unmanageable pain? What you may not realize is that many foods contain a great deal of that sneaky substance, familiar to us all: sugar. No matter what its form, sugar triggers something in our brain that says, “THIS. IS. YUMMY!” Pleasure centers in our brain are tripped, and we just want more! Another problem is that most of us assume “sugar” is only found in sweets like candy, ice cream, chocolate, and desserts. We continue to consume things that unknowingly are just as addictive and trigger the same reactions. The admonition here is to be careful and read labels. You would be surprised at how easily sugar or its sneaky forms make their way into some innocent looking foods. You might be surprised to find out that any and all of these apply because of the reaction they create in our bodies’.
- Agave Nectar
- Barley Malt Syrup
- Corn sweetener
- Corn syrup, or corn syrup solids
- Dehydrated Cane Juice
- Fruit juice concentrate
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Invert sugar
- Malt syrup
- Maple syrup
- Raw sugar
- Rice Syrup
- Sorghum or sorghum syrup
- Turbinado Sugar
AND…Sugar meets all the criteria for an addictive substance:
• Sugar stimulates release of neurotransmitters in the brain, such as dopamine and
serotonin, in a manner similar to alcohol, cocaine, and other drugs of abuse.
• People eat it compulsively, despite negative consequences and the intention to stop.
• Individuals may develop a tolerance to its effects with continued use.
• Heavy sugar consumers have trouble functioning without it.
• Withdrawal symptoms occur when consumption ceases.
What I don’t want you to assume is that I am encouraging everyone to completely eliminate sugar from their eating. What I am trying to accomplish is some insight into why food seems to be such a draw, what happens as a result of over-indulging, and how it can just as easily become an addiction. With all that said, there is still a great deal to be said about emotional eating and the root issue that might be plaguing you instead. Can I encourage you to keep trying to figure out what that is…stress, anxiety, boredom, hormone imbalances (careful not to overuse or assume this term), unhealthy habits or environments, fear of change, and so many other possibilities? We will be addressing so many topics over the next several posts with the hope to motivate and encourage you on your journey! For now, start looking at labels and educate yourself on these sneaky little ingredients that want to claim the pleasure centers in your brain. Thanks for reading and I am excited to keep us all moving towards a healthy lifestyle!
Thinking about riding or running in the California Classic Weekend? Partner with us & you can participate for free!
Completely caught off guard by my tears, I watched as fourteen grateful contestants made their way to the stage. For the first time in apparently 14 seasons, my husband and I were watching the reality show, “The Biggest Loser.” A sweet friend and supporter of Off The Front is on the show this season. What is just as enthralling is this season’s unique spin to deal with the issue of childhood obesity. After only moments of listening to the contestants’ stories, and specifically those of the three kids on the show, I was teeming with emotion. When the motivation of your organization meshes with the energy on a nationally syndicated television show, something in you suddenly feels connected. You begin to find encouragement in the fact that there are others out there tackling the same issues and using the same statistics and verbiage you use when communicating your cause. Needless to say, we are excited to see our friend Lisa Rambo on the show and cannot wait to see lives changed as a result.
While this is not a plug for you to watch “The Biggest Loser”, I have to admit the show is compelling and motivating. It also tugs at your emotions, is painful, and not for the faint of heart. These contestants are exposed physically and emotionally in every way possible. I find myself rooting for them and silently begging them to pull through. Other times I want to yell at the screen, prodding them to them to complete that final rep, hang in there on the treadmill for 5 more minutes, or make that final sprint to the finish! But all that pushing seems to under control thanks to the very passionate and verbal Jillian Michaels.
The obesity epidemic is crippling our country literally. The statistics are daunting and there seems to be a myriad of emotions surrounding the topic – hopelessness, despair, frustration, apathy, ignorance, denial – just to mention a few. I remember the overwhelming feeling of wanting to change the world through the activities of our non-profit, but seeing the faceless images of the millions of lives needing help. While my compassion is real, feeling that way only does so much. My husband once said that compassion without action is pity. Most people don’t want to be the victim of pity; they want someone who can offer them change.
So what do you do with such a huge problem? Do you sit back and wait for someone else to hopefully feel the burden? Do you merely have passion filled soapbox level conversations about what needs to be done without any intentions of really doing anything? I believe the answer lies within one of the most profound quotes made by Mother Teresa, someone who knew all too well what it meant to create change. “Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.” Maybe this is one reason watching “The Biggest Loser” is so incredibly inspiring. They may have 14 lives that get daily attention at an isolated ranch, but they have an audience that is even greater. I wonder how many lives are affected by the change seen by just one individual? Does a mom, sister, cousin, dad, friend, and on an on, now decide they can make changes as well? My point is that if we spend our time thinking this task is too daunting, we will never jump into the life of the one that might start a chain reaction of events.
Who is that one person? Is it you? Is it a friend? My hope through this blog is to give you some practical tools to start impacting the horrible statistics about obesity, as well as keep others or yourself from becoming one. Would you be willing to be the catalyst? Would you find the courage to go tell someone you are willing to help or need to be helped yourself?
While our country has a very hard uphill battle, each individual decision made in the healthy direction has the ability to create a much-needed change. Join us as we continue to fight childhood obesity one kid, one family at a time.
Here are the pictures from the Fitness Testing Day even at Susan B. Anthony Elementary School in Fresno. From the looks of the picture everyone had a great day and enjoyed the results of their hard work over the year. Hope you enjoy the pics!
Tomorrow at 8:00 am from the Clovis East High School Parking there will be a memorial ride for this Crystel. Many of you already know the story but if you don’t you should read about this fun loving and exciting woman who lost her life last weekend at the Eye-Q California Classic Weekend.
There is os much to say about Crystel and I am not going to just copy what everyone has siad. I believe you should take a few minutes and if you can read about her life, her loves and her will to help others.
For all of the information here is the link from Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=190465177668463
Thanks and hope to see you out there.
We wanted to take this opportunity to update everyone on dates and events for the rest of this year. As we close this year out there are so many details that have to be dealt with and volunteers are greatly appreciate and needed.
Underneath the events is the number of volunteers we need to help us in that event and a brief description of what will be happening.
Hope to see you there.
PHYSICAL FITNESS TESTING
Wednesday, May 25
7:30am – 3:00pm
Susan B. Anthony Elementary School *10 volunteers needed…includes helping with a running test and taking measurements for height, weight, blood pressure, and waist circumference
Thursday, June 2 Saturday, June 4
5:00pm – 8:00pm 9:00am – Noon
Both events at Neighborhood Thrift Distribution Center
*40 volunteers needed…includes building 96 bicycles that will be given away
BIKE AWARDS CEREMONY
Tuesday, June 7 Wednesday, June 8
Pinedale Elementary School Susan B. Anthony Elementary School
*4-6 volunteers needed for each site…includes helping with the logistics of the event
Wednesday, June 8
11:30am – 3:00pm
Susan B. Anthony Elementary School
*10-20 volunteers needed…includes helping kids on a bike safety course, giving bikes, locks and helmets to parents, and collecting paperwork
More events and dates coming soon