RHODY LIVE

Healthy food has never been more important than now

By LINDA PETERSEN
Posted 1/13/21

The way to a man's heart is through his stomach. The above idiom is probably familiar to most people. It was a way of saying that if a woman cooks for a man, he will love her because he loves to eat and he loves someone who does something nice for him.

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RHODY LIVE

Healthy food has never been more important than now

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The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

The above idiom is probably familiar to most people. It was a way of saying that if a woman cooks for a man, he will love her because he loves to eat and he loves someone who does something nice for him. It is a sexist remark, of course, and in my case, Hubby warms my heart by doing all of our cooking.

Eating, and consequently shopping for food, during pandemic times can be problematic. There is always the concern about catching COVID when out and about. Hubby shops the sales at stores like Dave’s Fresh Marketplace during “off peak” hours or senior hours early in the morning. He is a fastidious shopper, knowing exactly what he wants before he gets there. At places like Dave’s, though, he is known to vary from his list to get the awesome prepared meals; adult macaroni and cheese with bacon and onions, shrimp lo mien, chicken broccoli alfredo and apple cider pork chops. Suffice it to say that we are not going hungry despite what is going on around us. Many other people are not that lucky.

The Rhode Island Community Food Bank did a random sample of households in August and found that one in four lacked adequate food, with the largest percentage being people with underlying medical conditions. With the unemployment rate hovering at 10 percent, many families who were never before food insecure find themselves obtaining provisions from food pantries and churches.

Good nutrition has always been important, but during this pandemic it is even more so because a well-balanced meal of nutritious foods helps support our immune systems. A strong immune system, of course, is vital if we were to catch COVID-19. Additionally, a healthy diet can also reduce problems associated with heart disease, obesity and diabetes. For those of us who have not been able to exercise as well as before the pandemic, weight gain has been a problem. Although I blamed it on not getting enough exercise, a cardiologist recently told me that exercise is not as important to weight loss as we think. We gain weight if we eat more calories than we should. Theoretically, if I were to eat all low calorie foods and spend my time sitting on the couch watching television, I would lose more weight than were I to eat higher calorie foods and exercise. Goodbye chips and dip. Hello celery and peanut butter. Still crunchy and satisfying, but only 100 calories as opposed to 800.

Getting healthy food is imperative to a healthy life. As indicated, one in four households in Rhode Island is food insecure, defined as “the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.” The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act has provided many organizations in Rhode Island with extra financial resources to support assistance in this area. One example of such a program, designed for individuals with disabilities, is currently being conducted by Ocean State Center for Independent Living. This agency provides a wide range of independent living services to enhance, through self-direction, the quality of life for individuals with disabilities. While one in four families is the state average, that number is much higher for individuals with disabilities due to such issues as transportation, family support and finances. OSCIL’s program, co-sponsored by Dave’s Fresh Marketplace, will be conducted during the week of Martin Luther King Day. Five full boxes of healthy, non-perishable food will be provided, along with a COVID supply bag of items such as sanitizer, masks, gloves, wipes, toilet paper and disinfectant cleaner. Even the fur babies in the household will benefit with the provision of dog and cat food. Although the program is limited to the first 100 individuals who are eligible, that is, have a significant disability, there are still open slots available. (Please e-mail info@oscil.org if interested, or use the QR code below.)

There are many other programs around the state using CARES financing to provide healthy food. The Food Bank website includes a list of all programs servicing every community in Rhode Island.

The way to all of our hearts is through our stomach, and healthy food has never been more important than it is now.

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