Now that we’ve all stuffed our faces this past week, it seems appropriate to talk about food. As I’ve mentioned before, preventative medicine needs to be improved in this country, especially if our health reform.. read more
Capital Impact, COO, Annie Donovan, is interviewed in Forbes Magazine, to talk about the work that Capital Impact does to support people and communities to live to their highest potential at every stage of life, “Our overarching goal is to improve access to high quality health and elder care, healthy foods, housing and education in low-income communities.”
The purpose of NCB Capital Impact is to “make capital available in underserved, low-income markets; to go where traditional banks would not, either because they didn’t understand the risks, or they thought the returns were not commensurate with the risk.”
At Capital Impact, we’ve taken that initial $25 million in equity capital and grown it and stretched it in every way imaginable resulting in $1.7 billion invested to date in low-income communities, most of which are highly distressed. We’ve financed the creation of 35,000 units of affordable housing; 200,000 school seats for low-income children in high quality charter schools; 3 million square feet of health center space that provides for more than 1 million patient visits annually; 9,000 units of affordable assisted living; healthy food retail in over 60 locations; and more than 26,000 jobs for low-income people. We think that’s an excellent return on taxpayer investment – and we’re not finished yet.
Money alone will not solve societal problems, there are problem solving, educational and innovative components that create the impact. Ms. Donovan speaks about The Green House Project as an example of the marriage between creative financing and innovative implementation,
We are currently diffusing a disruptive innovation in the nursing home market called The Green House Project (GHP)www.thegreenhouseproject.org. GHP is a complete remake of the skilled nursing environment, from an institutional setting concerned with efficiency and medical care to a warm, nurturing, small-scale home that cares for the whole person, allows elders to age with maximum control and dignity, and does so at operating costs on par with typical nursing homes. Our role in financing for these initiatives is important, but has been secondary to that of developing them.
The Green House Project has big goals over the next few years to expand our development to communities across the country. Being a part of Capital Impact, a company who sees every challenge as an opportunity, will make our audacity for change, an attainable reality.
To read the full article in Forbes Magazine, click here
Over the weekend, as I caught up with reading email and blog comments I had missed while I was down with the flu last week, I was surprised at how many requests there are for more information about my weight loss.
I thought I had covered it pretty well here and here, but questions arrive and maybe there is a bit more to say especially because, at age 70, I don’t want to ever again need to lose this much extra poundage and over the past months, I’ve put a LOT of thought into how to do that.
What I want is food in its proper place, enjoy it within the confines of maintaining a healthy weight and get on with the rest of living. The following is what I have so far developed toward that end.
I am not interested in becoming a vegetarian, a vegan or whatever else people who don’t eat meat and/or dairy declare themselves to be. That has always sounded too much like religion for me. I have no moral or political objection to meat eating, but even small amounts are so high in calories and fat (not to mention antibiotics) that it doesn’t fit in my daily diet.
Sure, I’ll roast a leg a lamb for company once or twice a year. Yum. There is nothing like beef stew to warm you up on a cold winter’s day. Chicken is a terrific vehicle for all sorts of interesting flavors and small chunks help bulk up salads when they need more heft. Just not regularly for me now nor often.
My main animal protein is fish or seafood two or three, maybe four meals a week. Sometimes, but no more than once a week, I can have pasta – there is a delicious mushroom variety of ravioli in the stores lately that I like with a home-made fresh mushroom/red wine sauce.
Almost all dairy should be no-fat – yogurt (plain), milk, sour cream, etc. It’s not dairy but lite mayonnaise falls into this category too. I’ll tell you that no-fat sour cream and lite mayo are awful tasting. But I use them and/or no-fat yogurt entirely for their textures as a base for some salad dressings and sauces and when combined with strong flavors, you can’t tell how terrible they are.
The dairy exception is cheese – full fat, triple cream, runny, gooey or whatever kind I feel like, fabulous cheese – one small wedge with fruit no more than twice a month as a substitute for one meal in a day.
(By the way, the speed at which time flies at our age is helpful; it doesn’t feel nearly as long between cheese meals as it would have when I was younger and time passed more slowly.)
At first, I called these “rules” but that’s too rigid. These are guidelines that should be followed most of the time but can be ignored on rare special occasions like holidays and dinner at friends’ homes or bent a little for variety.
• When vegetables are not the entire meal, the amount of them on my plate must be at least twice the volume of the main dish, preferably three times the volume.
• Without fail, eat three meals a day; never go so long between meals to become hungry. (This isn’t about health as much as keeping myself feeling full enough to not start thinking about cookies or ice cream.)
• Always buy fresh vegetables and fruits. When they are not available, check the frozen foods which are often fresher because they are flash frozen within a day of picking and haven’t spent a week or more on a truck. Be sure to check that there are no added ingredients – no butter, salt, sugar, etc.
• In general, always substitute olive oil for butter.
• Spend whatever money necessary on the best flavorings and condiments available; they keep meals interesting.
• Don’t forget whole grains with meals. I’ve never liked brown rice much, but I do like wild rice – which is really a grain. These can be mixed in with vegetable salads and stir fries.
• If you want soup, make it yourself.
The reason is that all prepared soups, even the supposedly healthy ones are sky high in sodium. I’ve never used salt in my cooking; other flavorings are more interesting and just as effective. But I was shocked when, a few years ago, I discovered that single servings of commercial soup can have nearly a full day’s limit of sodium in them.
• Always have healthy food around that can be prepared quickly for hunger attacks.
I eat so many vegetables now and they are so filling that I hardly ever feel hungry. But it happens. I’ve always disliked the diet “expert” admonition to keep cut up carrots and celery handy. That just screeches diet and feels like deprivation. Therefore, mostly this guideline means food that can be eaten straight from the refrigerator or heated quickly in the microwave. So…
WEEKLY FOOD PREPARATION
It’s hard to cook for one without having a lot of leftovers going green and fuzzy in the back of the fridge. In the past six months of this weight loss period, I’ve developed a system to feed myself with little hassle and few leftovers that isn’t time consuming when I’m tired.
Here is my refrigerator after Saturday’s early morning shopping trip to the farmers’ market.
This is enough food for the week. In that drawer on the left is a three-quarter pound piece of chinook salmon caught on Friday. I poached it in wine and herbs and it will provide part of three meals this week.
There are jars and containers of several kinds of fresh berries for breakfast smoothies or to add to hot oatmeal (it’s already getting a little chilly here some mornings).
The rest of the containers hold steamed veggies: broccoli, romanesco, cauliflower, beans, asparagus, beets, parsnips, etc. along with some roasted red peppers, some cooked wild rice and there are other vegetables in the crisper that can be added raw to salads and stir fries or heated briefly with other veggies in, for example, an olive oil and balsamic sauce.
All this cutting up and steaming has become my Saturday morning ritual after the shopping. It pays off in that it’s so easy to prepare a meal, there is no temptation for pizza if I don’t feel like cooking. I have no excuses not to eat well.
I play around with the vegetables. Sometimes I’ll prepare a salad by color – all green, for example, with just a touch of red – roasted peppers or sun-dried tomatoes. Or, I might combine them by texture and once I did it by name – only veggies with three or more syllables. Silly.
A big treat this week is that fig season has begun and I bought a dozen or so black mission figs I’m having for dessert this week with some tiny, tasty melons – about the size of grapefruit – that are still available at the farmer’s market.
Here’s a new trick I learned: if you want to lose a lot of weight quickly, like six or seven pounds in a week, get the flu. KIDDING, just kidding. Not a good idea. Still, I dropped a lot of weight last week while I was sick.
It’s great to have so much new energy and I’ve mentioned that I can bend over again to tie my shoes and feed the cat. (For those of you who have asked, here’s a recent photo of Ollie when I was still fat and he was eating on the counter.)
Just a week ago, I discovered I can cross my legs. It’s been so long since I’ve been able to do that I’d forgotten its usefulness. Most of my pants now make me look like I’m wearing a clown suit and some are altogether unwearable now – they fall off. All this is good, but there is a weird part.
Although my hips and thighs have slimmed way down, although my abdomen in nearly flat again, although the bulkiness is gone from my upper back and shoulders, although I can feel, if not see, my ribs, my waist sticks out farther than my hips or chest wall by an inch or two on either side so that the middle of my body – ew! – looks sort of like this:
(Well, that’s the general idea although my drawing is a bit exaggerated proportionately. I’m not much of an artist).
Good god. I don’t expect to regain the 21-inch waist I once had but geez, this doesn’t seem right. Either weight does not come off the body evenly or I’m about to give birth to an alien – maybe two.
I’ll just have to wait and see what happens over the coming months.
NOTE: All of the above is what works for me. In no way is any of it meant to be understood as recommendations for anyone else.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Maureen Moore: My Lead Foot and My Precious Father
Where has the time gone? It has been three years since we moved to Travelers Rest and what an exciting and fulfilling time it has been. It seems so long ago when I was consumed with cleaning out the accumulation of stuff in our Vadnais Heights house, staging the house, worrying about getting a mortgage, finding a moving company, selling the house in 10 days, packing, moving, unpacking, etc.
It has taken Bob much longer than me to feel comfortable here but then he is the worry person in our household so I guess that shouldn’t be surprising.
I have to say we had high expectations of living near Greenville and the area has exceeded our expectations. Greenville Newcomers, the Woodworking Guild and OLLI have enriched our lives in so many ways. Yes we did many activities with these organizations but more important that is where we made new friends. At first everyone was a body with a name tag but now we have friends to do things with, to call if we need help with something and we can help them. We have absolutely no regrets about moving here. For us it was the right decision.
Bob’s woodworking shop has certainly exceeded his expectations and the things we are creating amaze us. We are still a few weeks away from finishing our last three projects and I can’t wait to show you. The summers are longer and hotter than we expected but everyone tells us the last two summers are the hottest in anyone’s memory. I hope that is just a fluke and not permanent global warming. The winter season is barely noticeable, at least to someone raised in MN.
We have really enjoy all the people who have visited us and hope you keep coming. After 16 years we said goodbye to our little cat Tanya. Smoky and Sabrina keep us entertained, when they aren’t sick. We have had so much fun on long and short vacations exploring this part of the country and have several more trips in the planning. Our trip to Alaska last summer was a dream come true.
Looking forward we want to continue to be active volunteers in our community, improve our woodworking and other artistic skills, travel and have fun with our new friends. Hopefully we can play host and hostess to out of town visitors.
Time flies when you are having fun.
These are the faithful volunteers at Dorado who sort out the donated food from Second Harvest for their neighbors. (Remember to click on the photos to enlarge them!)
Contributed by Nancy Goodhart
For dinner tonight I made my first attempt of preparing Swiss Chard, which I got from the Furman Farm yesterday. When cooking it looks like the perfect Christmas food. Really pretty red and green. It tastes like a blend of beets and spinach, that’s my best description. It was a flavor unlike anything I have tried so my brain and taste buds didn’t quite know what to think of it. I decided that this, like collard greens, is something I need to try at least two more times before I say I don’t like it.
How fun is it at age 60 to try a new food!
Grilled fresh peaches over ice cream for dessert! I know I love that.
There is a mint julep in my future. Got my mint from the Furman Farm and have some TN Jack Daniels in my liquor cabinet. Stay tuned tomorrow to hear how it went. Bob turned a muddler last weekend so we have everything!
EngAGE Social Service Coordinator Nancy Goodhart reports that she and the team of kitchen volunteers – Scott, Emma, and Meloney, as well as Manager Linda – went into pancake, sausage and egg shock after preparing breakfast for sixty-five folks! Looks like they had lots of fun, too!
Contributed by Nancy Goodhart
Just picked up my first batch of fresh produce from the Furman Farm CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Now I have to figure out what to do with swiss chard and pole beans. Also got cucumbers, potatoes, green pepper, tomatoes, beets and two kinds of mint.
With all the produce coming into season, this week I made chilled cucumber soup, chilled peach soup and peach crisp. Now the freestone peaches are coming in and I hear the peach season lasts until labor day. So fun and oh so very good.
While fresh fruit and lots of vegetables are still recommended for everyone, pudding, ice cream and other comfort foods can help seniors get the nutrition they need and stimulate their appetites. So if you or your elder is having trouble eating, try making their menus a little more sweet!
From The Green House Project Blog:
Food is pleasure. Preparing it, smelling it and eating it, regardless of our dining rituals, food brings meaning to our lives and defines a part of our individuality. The Green House Model protects this philosophy through teaching the importance of simple pleasures and knowing relationships for creating meaning and value for elders.
Our sense of smell is arguably our strongest sense and is intimately linked to the parts of our brain that process emotions and learning. Memories of smell are processed differently than memories of sights or sounds in that smell memories do not diminish or change over time. That’s why certain smells — particularly food — can trigger intense feelings of homesickness, flashbacks and other sensations.
What better way to celebrate our sense of smell and pleasure in food than to share your favorite recipe? Please visit The Green House Project Blog here and share recipes of foods that will always be part of your life.
Janice has been blogging about food fort he old and the young. Here are some thoughts from Europe. In Switzerland, we are not serving “slop“ any longer; most of the nursing homes serve good food, the ones in my community and the neighboring villages deliver great meals for people at home who are no longer able to shop and cook for themselves. Volunteer drivers pick the food up from the nursing home kitchen in “airline containers“ and deliver it to people’s homes. Many very old and frail people depend on this service.
However, eating alone is not always what people want and need. Food is not just eating. What, I was thinking – would happen – if the drivers picked up the people from their home and bring them to a communal table to share a meal, coffee, dessert and look into friendly faces, and talk, and laugh. Even once a week would – for many – make all the difference in the world.