03 Jun

SPOTLIGHT: New Program Recipient – Urban Village

The 501c3 non-profit organization, Urban Village Center Association of DC, was founded in 2003 to educate, empower, and train the low-income residents of the Urban Village Apartments and the surrounding environments in Columbia Heights. By supporting community activities such as computer lessons, literacy programs, and English learning programs, UVCA accomplishes their goal of enriching the lives of these people. As a part of the renovations of the apartment buildings, a multi-purpose room, a computer lab, and an outdoor community space, the people of UVCA are able to gather and work closely with these people.

urbanvillagephoto

Jose Gonzales who manages the Urban Village Senior program, took the initiative to introduce himself to the FEED director, inquired about the process, and single-handedly pursued the FEED intake process and was accepted into the program as a distributor.  We commend his personal interest and commitment to serving the needs of humanity

11 Oct

Managing Your Diabetes with Natural Remedies!

Raeby Rae Patterson

Managing your diabetes with natural remedies is easier than you think! The most important factors in the health of a diabetic person are, just as for anyone else, a generally healthy diet and regular exercise. If you’re looking for extra (and natural) ways you can improve your diabetes condition, a great place to start is these two areas.

“Most of physical activity’s benefits on blood glucose are the result of acute and

long-term improvements in insulin action, accomplished with both aerobic exercise and resistance training.” In the same way, making adjustments to your every day diet can make a world of difference. “Practitioners agree that nutrition is the cornerstone of diabetes management, and that a range of nutrition intervention strategies can be used to meet the metabolic goals and individual preferences of the person with diabetes.”

Switching out meats for beans and grains as your protein is a powerful step you can take. Less than 1% of Americans consume the recommended intake of whole grains or beans.

“Research has demonstrated that consumption of wholegrains improves diet quality and is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.”

Beans and grains together provide all the essential amino acids and make for a perfect whole protein.

Here are a few suggestions for tasty dishes including both beans and whole

grains:

  • Red beans and rice
  • Black bean soup with whole grain rolls
  • Corn chips and bean dip
  • Quinoa and black bean casserole (Quinoa chips are amazing too, if you haven’t
  • had them!)
  • Rice salad with white beans
  • Mexican Freekeh Chili with Beans
  • Edamame and brown rice

Further nutritional support may be important for you because diabetes is a nutritionally wasting disease. Elevated glucose levels … cause substantial loss of nutrients in the urine. Therefore, people with type 2 diabetes are likely to be deficient in important water-soluble vitamins and minerals.” Try adding a daily multivitamin to your breakfast routine and see if you can feel the difference.

In addition many common herbs and spices are claimed to have blood sugarlowering properties. Plant-based therapies such as these are commonly used in

India and China:

CAUTION: “Certain herbs, vitamins and supplements may interact with diabetes medications (including insulin) and increase their hypoglycemic effects, … so, you must always discuss your plans with your doctor and diabetes healthcare team first to ensure they are safe for your condition and determine a suitable dose.” Just because a product is natural does not mean it is safe to use.

  • Aloe Vera
  • Bilberry extract
  • Bitter melon
  • Cinnamon
  • Fenugreek
  • Ginger
  • Okra

Aloe Vera is a succulent plant, and its leaves’ clear gel is widely used in lotions and dental care. Aloe water for rinsing and/or drinking can be found at most local health food stores, such as Family Health Market. Aloe has been linked with:

 Decreased blood lipids (fats) in patients with abnormally high levels of

these molecules in the blood (e.g. some people with type 2 diabetes)

 Decreased swelling and faster healing of wound injuries. Leg wounds and

ulcers are common complications of diabetes, and they typically take

longer time to heal than in healthy non-diabetic individuals.

These positive effects are thought to be due to the presence of compounds such as lectins, mannans and anthraquinones. Bilberry extract are a dark blue fruit, similar in appearance to blueberries but are smaller, softer and darker. They can be taken in supplement form, often as tablets or capsules. Bilberries can be eaten, in fresh or dried forms, or drank as bilberry tea or as a smoothie. Research studies indicate that a compound in bilberries, anthocyanosides:

 Appear to promote blood vessel strength which could have protective

properties against forms of retinal damage in people with diabetes.

 Improve circulation and prevent cell damage. These substances either

work individually or together to help reduce blood sugar levels.

Bitter Melon. It is the edible part of the plant Momordica Charantia. It can be used in the form of a decoction by boiling pieces of the melon in water. Alternatively,bitter melon extract can be bought as a herbal supplement. Bitter Melon:

 Contains a lectin that reduces blood glucose concentrations by acting on

peripheral tissues and suppressing appetite - similar to the effects of

insulin in the brain

 

Results from a clinical study published in the Diabetes Care journal in 2003 suggest that cassia cinnamon (cinnamon bark) improves blood glucose and cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes ... A daily intake of just 1 - 6 grams was shown to reduce serum glucose, triglyceride, LDL or bad cholesterol after 40 days among 60 middle-aged diabetics.” Click here to find links to more studies on the positive affects of cinnamon.

While you must never take your medical care fully into your own hands, some ofthese natural, home treatments may help manage your condition. Each person’s body and diabetes is unique. Something new may work for you!

05 Aug

How to Make Time for Charity Work

Raeby Rae Patterson

 

“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” ~John Holmes, author

 

Many of us feel the draw to help others in our community but aren’t sure how to make time for charity work in our busy schedules. Here are a few suggestions to help you clear the time you need so that you can engage in the meaningful and rewarding practice of charity work.

 

Managing Your Time

The best way to make time for charity work for any activity in your schedule is to make sure you are utilizing the time you have in the best ways possible.

 

Begin by ridding yourself of the mentality that “staying busy” is the best path to productivity. Jordan Bates, writer for The Creativity Post, says that people who follow this track often “waste time on menial tasks.” He says, “Managing my time isn’t about squeezing as many tasks into my day as possible. It’s about simplifying how I work, doing things faster.”

 

In fact, rather than trying to do more, it is better to consider how you can do less. “Eliminate your time-wasters.” Think about how many times you check Twitter or Instagram, or sneak onto YouTube for ‘just a minute.’ Make a resolution to reduce your time on these. Set a timer, delete the apps off your phone. Help yourself with your resolution by “remov[ing] them from your browser quick links and bookmarks … Replace those bookmarks with important work-related sites.”

 

Now sit down to work. Start with your most important chore. According to Bates, “This is the golden rule of time management … Once you’re done, the day has already been a success. You’ve finished the essential.” My dad has always taught me that procrastinating on the thing you dread most will only make it worse when you’re stuck with it late at night. If you finish it, you’ll be so relieved! Once you being your work, “focus completely,” remove distractions: close out other browsers and put your phone on silent, in another room.

 

Habits are easiest to keep up. It’s a good idea to schedule yourself to work at your charity at the same time every week. Even if you do something from home, mark it on your calendar on the same day. The consistency will help you.

 

Picking the Right One

 

When choosing a charity to work with only pick something “you truly care about”. If you find yourself dreading your upcoming appointment every week, you’ll no longer be willing to give it your time. It is great to start with a goal of helping others but even better to find a specific cause you are passionate about and want to commit to.

 

Websites such as Charity Navigator can help you find a company that “matches your interests.” You should read up on the organization you plan to work with, in order to be sure they manage their finances and assets well. Then you can feel certain that your time is well spent.

 

It’s okay to ask what you can get out of your experience as well. What sort of networks can you build through this charity? What skills can you learn or practice here that you might apply to other areas of your life, including your career? Double the effectiveness of your work by making it work for you too.

 

Once you’ve chosen the perfect fit for you, be careful not to overcommit at the start. Don’t feel you have to spend extravagant amounts of time to make a difference. Just start out with a few hours a week, so that you don’t get overwhelmed.

 

05 Aug

How to Grow Fresh Greens in the Winter

Raeby Rae Patterson

 

Want to know how to grow fresh greens in the winter? Don’t fret! With a little creativity and a lot of leafy love, you will be on your way to delicious, organic veggies even if it is freezing outside. Here are two awesome methods to grow fresh greens in the winter.

 

  1. Indoor Window Gardens

bottle-garden

 

This hobby is growing in popularity and is not as difficult as you might think. All you need are the right location in your home and the right seeds. Tomatoes and peppers (miniature varieties suggested) are perfect for this method. Since these take more time to push through the soil, click here to learn how to grow them in hanging upside-down bottles.

Your plants are going to need around 6 hours direct sunlight, so observe the way the light moves through your rooms over a few days and pick the room that receives the most. If you have a south-facing window, that will be your best bet. It is not only the sunniest but also the warmest spot in your home during the winter.

 

Simply gather a few pots, planters, window boxes, or even empty cans and jars. Any container will do, as long as you use high quality potting soil. If you have fertile garden soil outside, you can take from that supply to fill your pots, giving it time to warm up before planting.

Cold hardy and easy-to-grow plants are perfect for the dimmer sunlight of winter days. Here are some good choices:

 

  • Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Cabbage
  • Arugula
  • Beans and peas – These are pretty home décor and perfect for apartments! Remember to give them something to climb: bamboo sticks or twine.
  • Culinary herbs like basil, parsley, and mint
  • Edible flowers such as lavender, violets, or calendula – Use as seasoning or in some hot tea.
  • Sprouts, such as lentils, radish, and quinoa – Click here for tips on growing. These only take a few days to poke their heads out of the soil!

Be careful not to overwater your indoor plants. They won’t be drying out from the sun as much, and the water can rot their roots.

 

  1. Hoop Houses and Other Coverings

window-garden-ground hoop-house

 

If you want to brave the harsher outdoors, there are ways to protect your gardens there. Harvey and Ellen Ussery of The Modern Homestead discuss forms of “protected growing,” or “putting into place a structure that can help mitigate winter’s extremes.” They remind us to try to get outdoor plants “well established by the onset of ground-freezing temperatures.”Cold frames, purchased or homemade from window frames, and cloches, “also known as bell jars,” are possibilities for protecting small gardens or individual plants.

hoop-garden

 

Hoop houses are made for larger areas of gardening. If you already have an outdoor garden, protect it with “a series of large hoops or bows … covered with a layer of heavy greenhouse plastic” and just keep right on growing, simply changing to more cold-hardy plants. You can even build your own. The materials and instructions are simple and can be found all over the internet.

 

29 Jun

Food Cures You Can Grow

ALOE VERA

Aloe Vera()

PHOTOGRAPH BY OLGA BERRIOS/FLICKR

Grow
Plant in pots placed in full sunshine. Water well.

Use
Break open the thick leaves and apply the gel that seeps out to your skin to soothe sunburn. “It’s 96 percent water and 4 percent active ingredients, including amino acids and enzymes that nourish damaged skin,” says pharmacist Margo Marrone, founder of The Organic Pharmacy in the United Kingdom.

 

BASIL

Basil()

PHOTOGRAPH BY OLIVER BACQUET/FLICKR

Grow
This sweet, fragrant annual is ideal for growing in pots. Pull off the white flowers as soon as they appear to keep it from going to seed and your herbs from tasting bitter.

Use
Rub crushed leaves on your temples to relieve headaches. Pour boiling water over basil leaves for a pain-relieving footbath.

Read more: Check out this Basil Growing Guide.

 

LAVENDER

Lavender()

PHOTOGRAPH BY ELMINIUM/FLICKR

Grow
This sun-loving plant needs good drainage. Use a small pot filled withgravel and a light soil.

Use
It has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Crush a handful of the heads and add to a bowl of boiling water to use as a steam bath for your face. You can also dab the oil from the flowers on blemishes, says Marrone.

 

LEMON BALM

Lemon Balm()

PHOTOGRAPH BY QUINN DOMBROWSKI/FLICKR

Grow
Pot it, or it will colonize your garden.

Use
Use for healing and preventing cold sores. Also, rub leaves directly onto skin as a natural insect repellent or to soothe bites.

 

MINT

Mint()

PHOTOGRAPH BY DAVID MCSPADDEN/FLICKR

Grow
Use a sunken pot, because it grows vigorously.

Use
Ideal for treating the collywobbles, which you might know as butterflies in the stomach. Sip tea made with fresh peppermint leaves to soothe stomach cramps, nausea, and flatulence. For a natural decongestant, place a fistful of mint leaves in a shallow bowl and cover with boiling water. Lean over it, drape a towel over your head, and breathe the steam.

Read more: Check out this Mint Growing Guide.

 

PARSLEY

Parsley()

PHOTOGRAPH BY COOKBOOKMAN17/FLICKR

Grow
Thrives in a pot in the sun as long as the soil is kept moist. Feed withorganic fertilizer.

Use
Immune-system booster. Eat one tablespoon of chopped flatleaf or curly parsley daily. Chewing parsley neutralizes mouth odors.

Read more: Check out this Parsley Growing Guide.