Friday, August 5, 2011

Adventures in Social Entrepreneurship, week six: breaking the fast

This week’s curriculum had two themes: the benefits of breakfast and the distinction between good and bad fats. We applied both themes to our recipe: breakfast burritos filled with sautéed veggies (sautéed in healthy oils—safflower and olive—instead of butter).

Many of our participants struggle with breakfast. Gilda B. tells us that she rarely puts anything into her body before 4pm. Going this long without eating slows down your metabolism and makes it difficult to maintain a healthy weight. To demonstrate an easy breakfast solution, we served our “fruit + veggie” smoothie made of bananas, fresh strawberries, frozen berries, milk, yogurt, and loads of fresh spinach. Our participants were shocked to learn there was spinach in the smoothie, and also surprised that we hadn’t added any sugar or honey. Gilda B. especially loved the smoothie as a way of getting greens in her body.

(Photo: Gilda B., Brenda, Jade, and Sandra S. listen to the weekly lesson while enjoying a fruit and veggie smoothie)

While drinking smoothies, we spent some time talking about good and bad fats. Good fats include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These fats lower LDL (aka “bad”) cholesterol and some of them raise HDL (aka “good”) cholesterol. Good fats are found in nuts, avocados, canola oil, olive oil, fish oils, soy, and safflower oils. Bad fats include saturated and trans fats. These fats raise both total cholesterol levels as well as LDL cholesterol. Trans fats also lower levels of beneficial HDL cholesterol. Bad fats are found in animal products, packaged foods, and commercially fried foods.

After the lesson, we hit the kitchen to sauté veggies, scramble some eggs (and egg whites for our participants concerned about cholesterol), and brown some fresh-made turkey sausage. We mixed together these ingredients and rolled them into whole wheat tortillas to form breakfast burrito. Participants individually wrapped each burrito so they can store them in their freezers and pull them out when they’re in need of a quick breakfast.

(Photo: Sandra S. wraps up her egg white breakfast burritos)

Another theme of this week that arose during the session is the question of what’s going to happen next. With only two sessions left following this Tuesday’s class, everyone wants to know if they’ll be able to come to more Get Cooking! sessions. They are hungry for new recipes and more lessons around eating healthy. Josephine R. talked to me about how much she values the lessons and discussion time we have each week, “I really love the exchange of information I get from the other participants and the staff.” We’ve also loved operating this pilot every week and we’ve gained some invaluable insights. We’ve proven that our model is meeting a community need and we (New Foundry and our partner organizations, People’s Grocery and LifeLong Medical) are currently thinking about how we can best serve this need going forward.

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