by G. Scott Brown
Urban Gleaners + Farm to Fit = Less Waste
For most, Thanksgiving week centers around food. Heaps of potatoes, gravy, pie, turkey, rolls and . . . . more leftovers than we could ever finish.
Excess has become part of our holidays. Except for those who live with food insecurity.
A few years ago, we were shocked to learn the average middle-class, American family of four throws $1,500 in the garbage from their plate, annually.
Which makes us proud of our relationship with a local food-waste reduction program. For the past two years – once a week – a crew from Portland’s Urban Gleaners (a local non-profit) picks up Farm to Fit’s edible, surplus food and redistributes it to agencies feeding the hungry across Portland.
Yet, everyone can do something in their own home. In fact, the USDA and EPA just announced an initiative to reduce U.S. food waste by 50 percent in 15 years! This wave of change and awareness is just beginning; we’re hopeful for the future of better food management across America. And, we’re excited to be a part of this movement.
Waste-Less Food Tips
- Many fruits give off natural gases as they ripen, making other nearby produce spoil faster. Store bananas, apples, and tomatoes by themselves, and store fruits and vegetables in different bins.
- Befriend your freezer and visit it often. For example, freeze food such as bread, sliced fruit, or meat that you know you won’t be able to eat in time.
- Buy boxed milk or milk alternatives that can be shelf-stable until you need to use them.
- Wait to wash berries until you want to eat them to prevent mold.
- If you can’t reduce waste. Divert it from landfills. Donate to food banks and learn about composting.
- Learn the difference between “sell-by,” “use-by,” “best-by,” and expiration dates.
– Tips courtesy of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
*Photos courtesy of Urban Gleaners
by Rachael Lamb
November 1st marks four successful years of providing Portland with healthy, delicious, and convenient meals! Being a part of our community in this way has been an amazing journey thus far, with its conceivable challenges and unforeseen rewards. In the past year alone, we have grown considerably, (even almost out of our brand new kitchen!). We have doubled our sales every year since we opened and just this month have hired even more kitchen and packaging staff to help bring Farm to Fit to your door! We’ve spent this year focused on giving back too. We have donated meals, weekly, to kids who don’t have food for school lunches, food insecure adults throughout the city in need of meals and medical care, and even sponsored a dinner for instructors teaching girls and boys about violence prevention. We are humbled to be part of this community and We are so grateful to YOU, our loyal customers – for all of this would never been possible without your support!
In the coming year we are looking forward to another move, (this time to a GIANT kitchen!) in order to accommodate even more Portlanders, and those living beyond the city limits. With the plan of expanding our delivery parameters, launching a vegetarian menu, and giving our clients the opportunity to manage their own schedules and meal selections with our brand new app, we will be that much closer to our original goal of creating an easy way to always eat well.
Thank you all for joining us in this journey!
Win a Farm To Fit t-shirt by posting your favorite F2F meal this week on Facebook or Instagram with: #farmtofit
by Rachael Lamb
It’s post-dinner. You’re jammied-up and cozy in your favorite chair watching the last season of Mad Men (because somehow you never saw it), when Joan appears on screen with a box of doughnuts for a client meeting. Your highly satisfying and healthy dinner (Farm to Fit’s Blackened Rockfish with Green Bean Casserole) suddenly begs a sugar companion. Your mind quickly goes to the pantry: “dark chocolate dipped in peanut butter; homemade brownie bites; that pop-tart your friend left one time…” and then to the freezer: “ICE CREAM.” Suddenly your body no longer wants that dessert it NEEDS it. Your internal dialogue continues with the usual pros and cons of Just Going For It or holding strong to the commitment you made to curb your cravings and stick to healthy eating. In the midst of all the turmoil you’re exhausted and overwhelmed and by the end, feel entitled to that chocolate bar. (This may or may not be based on a true story, by the way…) We’ve all been there though right? Cravings are intense and powerful because they exist at a chemical level. When you take a bite of that doughnut, your brain releases feel-good chemicals like dopamine, which the body seeks over and over again. Willpower is only half of the equation. What can we do to break this cycle and curb our cravings?
- Ask Yourself: Am I Eating Enough?
Intense cravings sometimes happen when we restrict calories, or an entire food group (like carbs). According to research from the University of Toronto, restrained eaters are more likely to experience cravings and to overeat the “forbidden” food when given the chance. Making certain foods off limits can lead to obsessing and binging. Instead of ‘cutting out’ certain foods, try allowing foods, in moderation. For some people, subbing a lower-calorie snack in place of that food your body is really craving, is the answer. For others this just doesn’t work, as your brain’s memory is pretty darn good. That yogurt just isn’t gonna cut it when the brain wants ice cream. You may even take in more calories than what your body would have ingested if you had just stuck with ice cream to begin with. In this case try sharing a slice of cake after dinner with friends, or having a slice of pizza on your lunch break instead of a whole pie for dinner.
- Identify The Source
Try this fill-in-the-blank exercise “I am feeling _______because of ______”. Once you identify the emotions behind the craving, you can take better steps to satisfy it without food.
- Make It Harder
Clean out your pantry. Having no chocolate to reach for makes it much easier to ……. (see below)
- Wait It Out
Sometimes it feels like there is no end to your need for nachos. But, in reality, a craving will build and fall, just give it time.
- Distract Yourself
Researchers have found that distracting your brain really does work. The next time you find yourself daydreaming about a mound of oreos, shift your focus to something completely non-food related, like making a phone call or washing the dishes.
- Stop And Say
Bob Maurer, PhD, author of One Small Step Can Change Your Life, tells clients to say “STOP” when they start craving, and replace the food thought with a healthy image (say, you fit and lean). Hey, it’s worth a try.
What are your tips to curb cravings?
by Rachael Lamb
Fall is upon us, believe it or not! And though we’ll be enjoying sunny, 85 degree days for another few weeks, we are entering that time of year when things start to slow down, and we have the space to collect ourselves and refocus our energies. Fall is the perfect season to create new goals, try something new, and let go of that which no longer serves. I spent the morning with NASM certified personal trainer Emily Strome of Last V Fitness, who has some tips for those of you who want to focus on getting fit this Fall!
Rachael: “What are your recommendations for starting a workout routine, and keeping it?” (more…)
by Rachael Lamb
I arrived at Flamingo Ridge Organic Farm a few minutes late for my meeting with owner Charlie Harris, as my journey out to Gaston, OR had me slowing to a roll at every idyllic ranch, winery, and overlook. So when I arrived, I found Charlie on his flip phone doing business. He told me to give him a second while he made things right with a client. I heard him apologize for the miscommunication and insisted they take a new shipment free of charge tomorrow. Later he told me that he doesn’t do “iPhones, computers, internet, etc.’ for his business transactions. He insists on “hearing the other person’s voice” and keeps things simple with a couple of huge dry erase boards. I immediately got the sense that Charlie was just an all-around good guy. (more…)
by Rachael Lamb
What a record breaking summer here in the northwest! Though we’ve had a bit of a break this past week, GEAR UP for another spell of high 90 and 100 degree days – starting tomorrow! Even though us Portlandians go a good chunk of the year without sun, heat like this is too much for most of us. Especially when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. It can be frustratingly impossible to sleep on nights that have barely started to cool down by 9:00 pm. And when heat comes in week-long waves, lack of sleep can really start to take a toll on balance and health. So, in preparation for this upcoming week/weekend check out these 7 tips to beat the heat at bedtime!
by Rachael Lambposted in Foodie PDX, Healthy Living, Ingredients, Recipes, Seasonal Eating/Local Partners, Weight Loss
We are all aware of the term ’empty calories’ and the foods that are associated with them. Baked goods, processed foods, soda – anything with added sugar. Oh, sugar, you sweet little devil! That tasty sweetener has been linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease – and the list goes on. It’s becoming common knowledge that the ‘healthy’ choice is to avoid sweets and sugar altogether. But, that being said, there is a time and a place for a lemonade on a hot day. (There’s GOT to be, right??!) And, lemonade isn’t lemonade without a little sweet to balance out the sour. (Lemon water is also refreshing on a hot day, and a great alternative to lemonade, but I’m trying to prove a point!) Every now and again something sweet just hits the spot, and it’s not a bad thing to indulge – especially when you choose your sweetener wisely. The good news is that there are alternatives to sugar that will satisfy that sweet tooth without leaving you sugar-sick! (more…)
by Rachael Lamb
Ok, so it’s technically an herb, and technically the month is pretty much over, but we’ve been ALL about the basil at Farm to Fit this June and thus, it deserves some spotlight!
by Rachael Lamb
If weight loss is your goal, eating less is probably your best bet. The New York Times just published an article citing studies that suggest exercise doesn’t necessarily lead to weight loss. It’s an interesting twist in the world of dieting, as it seems like “EXERCISE” has been pounded into our heads as the key to dropping pounds. Of course, it doesn’t hurt and obviously helps keep weight off – as long as the calories you’ve expended are greater than the calories you’ve consumed. Story short: exercise alone will not save the day, nor will it even make a dent in your waistline if that equation gets reversed. The article made a good point – that on average, most people don’t maintain a daily exercise routine long-term, and even those who do are not burning as many calories as they may think. For example, a 30 minute run may burn 350 calories. The same amount of calories could easily be cut from one’s diet by eliminating 2 sodas (or beers – hey, we do live in Portland) per day. The advantage of cutting the calories vs. burning them stems from the fact that most people don’t exercise due to lack of time. Making better dietary choices, and consuming less can be a challenge of it’s own, but it is definitely more efficient! (more…)
by Rachael Lamb
This May, you may have noticed a sweet little addition to more than a few of our menu items. Spring onions, (or ‘scallions’, ‘green onions’ ,’bunching onions’, ‘baby onions’, etc.) are the perfect addition to salads, soups, stir-fry’s and sandwiches. We like to use them in the Teriyaki Rice Bowl, as a garnish on the Black Bean Enchilada, or in the Polenta aside the Tuscan Beef Stew – just to name a few! They’re mild, but still flavorful in a way that isn’t overpowering. This is because they are harvested prematurely, before the bulb has time to fully develop that sharp, bold flavor. Green onions are part of the Allium family which contains over 300 species; this also includes Leeks, Garlic, Spring Onions, Shallots and Chives. (more…)