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  #1   ^
Old Wed, Apr-18-18, 06:03
LebenRedux LebenRedux is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 106
 
Plan: Dr. Westman
Stats: 242/225/150 Female 5' 5.5"
BF:39%/39%/24%
Progress: 18%
Location: Knoxville, TN (USA)
Default Food co-op (more sad than angry)...feedback requested.

Greetings All --

I recently had the opportunity to visit a very large local church to see how their food co-op works. It is an (almost) free program that distributes food to needy families every two weeks. Space is limited, one must qualify for enrollment in it, pay $3 for each co-op day one attends and receives food, and the food includes a rarity among food pantries: generous$ quantitie$ of preciou$ protein items including whole chickens, fish, beef (ground and roasts), ham, pork chops, etc. They also distribute canned goods (veggies, beans), and packaged items.

I was appalled, though, to see no fresh produce whatsoever and further distressed when I saw the sheer quantity of refined sugars and wheat being doled out. In fact, the lion's share of the food being distributed was large packages of candies, cake, brownie, biscuit mixes, breakfast cereals, macaroni, rice, and a load of other refined crap. The clients walked away with their baskets overladen with boxes and packages and bags of refined non-foods.

I suspect any family that consumes all of their food items over the particular two week period will, one and all, have serious insulin issues.

The church works hard and proactively to help meet the needs of those in poverty and their intentions are clearly sterling. But, oh, the harm they're doing, perpetuating a fierce insulin resistance among a population comprising, almost exclusively, those who are already suffering from metabolic syndrome as well as struggling with making healthy food choices/purchases for their family on a nearly non-existent budget. The church members simply cannot be aware of the dangerous, even deadly, effects of their "Christian generosity and compassion."

For a few months now, admiring the compassion behind the church's various outreach programs, I've been considering joining. Now, however, seeing the food co-op program, I'm trying to figure out how to, first, diplomatically, gracefully and inoffensively help them modify it so they are distributing those foods that are most likely to enhance, not destroy, their clients' health and well-being. Although I personally think it would be appropriate and wise to eliminate the refined crap-foods entirely from the distribution program, I do not think that suggestion would work. But I would like to see them achieve a far better, healthier balance that will help their co-op clients receive foods that do not actually harm them but nourish them instead.

It is a delicate situation but, seeing clients leave with baskets full of refined carbs and wheat, makes me so terribly sad and I feel that, now that I know the health risks associated with refined carbs, remaining silent on this matter would be nothing more than a self-serving moral compromise. I am just unsure how to approach those who make the decisions for the food co-op program with my concerns, and further, how to help them get those more nutritious foods for their clients.

I would greatly appreciate any suggestions or thoughts on this.
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  #2   ^
Old Wed, Apr-18-18, 06:25
SilverEm SilverEm is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 1,018
 
Plan: VLC Pastoral
Stats: 137/136/136 Female 67"
BF:
Progress: 100%
Location: Maintenance since 2001
Default

Hi, LebenRedux. What you described has been what I have observed at other church, food pantry ministries.

Do you know, and/or, are you friends with, the folks on the board for the food co-op? I have found that developing friendships with the people in charge builds a foundation of shared values, which then puts the "arms of love" around the truth which needs telling.

In my experience, without that substance of love having been built and nurtured, the truth will probably not be received.

Once that reciprocity of respect and caring is established, I have tested the waters with addressing sugar, processed and refined foods. I have not had success with any managers or department supervisors, but only with individuals. I've been able to help a few individuals, but not any groups or institutional projects.

I hope you have more success than I have had.


Last edited by SilverEm : Wed, Apr-18-18 at 06:26. Reason: corrections
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  #3   ^
Old Wed, Apr-18-18, 06:56
cotonpal's Avatar
cotonpal cotonpal is online now
Senior Member
Posts: 4,094
 
Plan: very low carb real food
Stats: 245/128/135 Female 62
BF:
Progress: 106%
Location: Vermont
Default

You can try to plant the seeds of nutritional wisdom, with kindness of course, but since change tends only to happen slowly do not expect it to germinate quickly if at all. I have not been successful changing the minds of individuals about how they need to eat to improve their health and this is with people who have requested my assistance. It is much harder to change an organization with established practices and procedures. So plant the seeds of knowledge if you can find a way to do it comfortably and non-confrontationally and then try to let it go. Otherwise you will drive yourself crazy.
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  #4   ^
Old Wed, Apr-18-18, 07:29
thud123's Avatar
thud123 thud123 is online now
Senior Member
Posts: 4,753
 
Plan: ~25NC/IF
Stats: 342.2/196/000 Male 182cm
BF:
Progress: 43%
Default

This these thoughts came into my head while reading. A) You'll piss off the members, B) you'll piss off the people that are counting on food, even junk food, C) you'll get pissed off yourself at trying to change things rather than letting them be.

My solution, to use the same tactics as some church folk, who good heartedly and with full intent of saving my eternal soul, place little tracts in interesting places. Like porta-potties, bars, night clubs, and places of ill repute. Delivering a straight forward message to the ones that they think need it most without a middle man.

Perhaps you could place a "healthy eating, when you are back on your feet" pamphlet in each outgoing package.

Some food is better than non food if there is a need. If there is not a need and people are taking advantage of the generosity of your church, they would not likely care about the health of the food they are stealing.

So those are my random thoughts on the matter and I hope you don't take offense. These ideas sprang up as I was reading your post and have not been edited for PC consumption ha!

-be well, stay calm and continue to be of service to others
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  #5   ^
Old Wed, Apr-18-18, 07:37
Bonnie OFS Bonnie OFS is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 2,198
 
Plan: Dr. Bernstein
Stats: 188/160/135 Female 5 ft 4 inches
BF:
Progress: 53%
Location: NE WA
Default

Fresh vegetables are difficult - they go bad so quickly. Whenever our local food bank gets fresh vegetables & fruit, they put them out where anyone can take some. Generally, they are already in the process of spoiling.

High carb foods - especially those made from grains - have been a mainstay of food programs for years. They're looking at available calories & try to get the most calories with the least expense.
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  #6   ^
Old Wed, Apr-18-18, 07:52
LebenRedux LebenRedux is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 106
 
Plan: Dr. Westman
Stats: 242/225/150 Female 5' 5.5"
BF:39%/39%/24%
Progress: 18%
Location: Knoxville, TN (USA)
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverEm
Hi, LebenRedux. What you described has been what I have observed at other church, food pantry ministries.

Do you know, and/or, are you friends with, the folks on the board for the food co-op? I have found that developing friendships with the people in charge builds a foundation of shared values, which then puts the "arms of love" around the truth which needs telling.

In my experience, without that substance of love having been built and nurtured, the truth will probably not be received.

Once that reciprocity of respect and caring is established, I have tested the waters with addressing sugar, processed and refined foods. I have not had success with any managers or department supervisors, but only with individuals. I've been able to help a few individuals, but not any groups or institutional projects.

I hope you have more success than I have had.




Great suggestions, SilverEm, thanks. Yes, fortunately, I know a couple of the co-op administrators, and was looking forward to getting to know them, the church membership and other administration better, and I'll keep your recommendations in mind as I do so. They have another program, a rather intensive, multifaceted, eight week course designed to help those coming from settings of generational or situational poverty move out of those unsafe places and into a life of self-sufficiency. I have been impressed with the considerable detail/thoroughness of the program. But I have noticed that, while the program helps the attendees identify and enhance their most useful individual resources, it has left entirely unmentioned the role of sound nutrition in establishing and maintaining the good health necessary to enjoy a physically productive, stable, self-sufficient lifestyle. Most unfortunate, because the vast majority of attendees are ill/disabled with reversible conditions directly related to insulin resistance. [Off on a tangent here, this sorry state of affairs among the attendees is exactly what Robert Lustig, MD, addresses in his “The Hacking of the American Mind”: the program attendees are, as a group, the perfect illustration of his warnings about how our poor-diet-induced chronic diseases are in the process of completely overwhelming our personal and national budgets] I've been thinking of proposing an addition to the program materials to briefly introduce concepts of improved nutrition to the attendees with take-home handouts. So, no matter what quality of foods they might encounter at the co-op or elsewhere, they'll be better equipped to make healthier choices about what foodstuffs they'll actually take home. Your suggestions will help me do that in a way that will just come naturally, with no undue pressure, as I've already been looking forward to fostering deep friendships among the good folks of this community of faith. Thanks again. My concerned sadness about these issues is turning to excitement!
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  #7   ^
Old Wed, Apr-18-18, 08:00
LebenRedux LebenRedux is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 106
 
Plan: Dr. Westman
Stats: 242/225/150 Female 5' 5.5"
BF:39%/39%/24%
Progress: 18%
Location: Knoxville, TN (USA)
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by cotonpal
You can try to plant the seeds of nutritional wisdom, with kindness of course, but since change tends only to happen slowly do not expect it to germinate quickly if at all. I have not been successful changing the minds of individuals about how they need to eat to improve their health and this is with people who have requested my assistance. It is much harder to change an organization with established practices and procedures. So plant the seeds of knowledge if you can find a way to do it comfortably and non-confrontationally and then try to let it go. Otherwise you will drive yourself crazy.


True, Jean! I'm going to aim low and hope high: we can't change the world overnight but if I can get even a few people to re-think or question the bad science they've been taught for the past sixty years, who knows what could happen?...

And I really like your quote:

If you want the results you have to create the causes.

I'll have to think on that one!
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  #8   ^
Old Wed, Apr-18-18, 08:06
Bonnie OFS Bonnie OFS is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 2,198
 
Plan: Dr. Bernstein
Stats: 188/160/135 Female 5 ft 4 inches
BF:
Progress: 53%
Location: NE WA
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by LebenRedux
. [Off on a tangent here, this sorry state of affairs among the attendees is exactly what Robert Lustig, MD, addresses in his “The Hacking of the American Mind”: the program attendees are, as a group, the perfect illustration of his warnings about how our poor-diet-induced chronic diseases are in the process of completely overwhelming our personal and national budgets] I've been thinking of proposing an addition to the program materials to briefly introduce concepts of improved nutrition to the attendees with take-home handouts.


I noticed this especially on the reservation, where decades of crummy government food programs kept people fed, but with very poor health. I keep thinking that if the Indians returned to their ancestral foods (and I don't mean fry bread!), they would have better health. Ancestral foods are generally low carb. My own ancestry is partly Norwegian & I found out I LOVE seafood - especially sardines (but I'm not going near lutefisk ).
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  #9   ^
Old Wed, Apr-18-18, 08:28
LebenRedux LebenRedux is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 106
 
Plan: Dr. Westman
Stats: 242/225/150 Female 5' 5.5"
BF:39%/39%/24%
Progress: 18%
Location: Knoxville, TN (USA)
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by thud123
This these thoughts came into my head while reading. A) You'll piss off the members, B) you'll piss off the people that are counting on food, even junk food, C) you'll get pissed off yourself at trying to change things rather than letting them be.

My solution, to use the same tactics as some church folk, who good heartedly and with full intent of saving my eternal soul, place little tracts in interesting places. Like porta-potties, bars, night clubs, and places of ill repute. Delivering a straight forward message to the ones that they think need it most without a middle man.

Perhaps you could place a "healthy eating, when you are back on your feet" pamphlet in each outgoing package.

Some food is better than non food if there is a need. If there is not a need and people are taking advantage of the generosity of your church, they would not likely care about the health of the food they are stealing.

So those are my random thoughts on the matter and I hope you don't take offense. These ideas sprang up as I was reading your post and have not been edited for PC consumption ha!

-be well, stay calm and continue to be of service to others


No offense taken, thud, since I have no interest in sitting on a personal pulpit about this, I recognize the delicacy required, and in any event, I am admittedly not optimistic of any significant changes. I am encouraged, however, because the church already does TRY to offer what they believe are healthy food choices, with two different buffet lines at their fellowship dinners: one labeled "regular" diets and another what they call "healthy" diets [which is strictly low fat ] I just want to suggest to the powers that be that there may be a different interpretation of the phrase "healthy diet," an interpretation that might justify some changes in the administration of their intervention programs for the needy as well as in the dinners the kitchen provides the congregation. BTW, I really like the pamphlet idea for program graduates!

--just trying to remain calm here, and not piss off any fellow Christians.
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  #10   ^
Old Wed, Apr-18-18, 08:40
LebenRedux LebenRedux is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 106
 
Plan: Dr. Westman
Stats: 242/225/150 Female 5' 5.5"
BF:39%/39%/24%
Progress: 18%
Location: Knoxville, TN (USA)
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonnie OFS
Fresh vegetables are difficult - they go bad so quickly. Whenever our local food bank gets fresh vegetables & fruit, they put them out where anyone can take some. Generally, they are already in the process of spoiling.

High carb foods - especially those made from grains - have been a mainstay of food programs for years. They're looking at available calories & try to get the most calories with the least expense.



Hey Bonnie, I think it was the mountains of candies, cookies and such that was freaking me out the most. Regular fresh produce in a "manna house" is such a rarity -- though I do like the gardening program I've heard about at some churches, where a plot of land (etc) is donated by the church and the fresh produce is grown by the program participants themselves. Smart solution, at least for those who are physically able to labor in a garden.
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  #11   ^
Old Wed, Apr-18-18, 08:43
LebenRedux LebenRedux is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 106
 
Plan: Dr. Westman
Stats: 242/225/150 Female 5' 5.5"
BF:39%/39%/24%
Progress: 18%
Location: Knoxville, TN (USA)
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonnie OFS
I noticed this especially on the reservation, where decades of crummy government food programs kept people fed, but with very poor health. I keep thinking that if the Indians returned to their ancestral foods (and I don't mean fry bread!), they would have better health. Ancestral foods are generally low carb. My own ancestry is partly Norwegian & I found out I LOVE seafood - especially sardines (but I'm not going near lutefisk ).


Sardines & hot sauce...mmmmmmmm.
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  #12   ^
Old Wed, Apr-18-18, 08:49
SilverEm SilverEm is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 1,018
 
Plan: VLC Pastoral
Stats: 137/136/136 Female 67"
BF:
Progress: 100%
Location: Maintenance since 2001
Default

LebenRedux, I think the community garden is a super idea.

And what if the co-op gave away tomato or pepper plants, and pots and soil, etc.? Or even seeds? Perhaps with short instructions on potted plant care.

That appeals to me, along the lines of:

"If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day...."
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  #13   ^
Old Wed, Apr-18-18, 08:59
Bonnie OFS Bonnie OFS is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 2,198
 
Plan: Dr. Bernstein
Stats: 188/160/135 Female 5 ft 4 inches
BF:
Progress: 53%
Location: NE WA
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverEm
LebenRedux, I think the community garden is a super idea.

And what if the co-op gave away tomato or pepper plants, and pots and soil, etc.? Or even seeds? Perhaps with short instructions on potted plant care.

That appeals to me, along the lines of:

"If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day...."


I recently found out that one of our libraries lets people "check out" packets of seeds. Then you are supposed to let some of the plants go to seed, collect them, & give them to the library for the next year.
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  #14   ^
Old Wed, Apr-18-18, 09:01
SilverEm SilverEm is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 1,018
 
Plan: VLC Pastoral
Stats: 137/136/136 Female 67"
BF:
Progress: 100%
Location: Maintenance since 2001
Default

Bonnie, what a lovely thing to do. Thanks for the nice news.
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  #15   ^
Old Wed, Apr-18-18, 09:20
Meme#1's Avatar
Meme#1 Meme#1 is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 9,063
 
Plan: Atkins DANDR
Stats: 210/183/160 Female 5'4"
BF:
Progress: 54%
Location: Texas
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Most of all those packaged baked goods (day old) are donated so it's free for the food pantries to give out. A friend of mine has a father who use to pick up big loads from SAMS a couple of times a month and take that to the pantry.

A lady I know use to work with Family Services (United Way) and would be send into the homes to help them learn how to cook for their family. She would leave with a nice pot roast on the stove and in the morning it was still sitting out unrefrigerated.

You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink....
People have the free will to do what they want and eat what they want.
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