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October 1, 2014

WATCH: IT'S PIE TIME!

Our annual Slice of Life pie sale begins today and we want you to be a part of it! Buy your pie from Food & Friends and brighten the holidays for our neighbors facing HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-challenging illnesses.

When you buy pies from us, not only will you serve a delicious and homemade pie from our local artisan baker, Baguette Republic, but each pie purchased will provide one full day of meals for the people we serve.It’s never too early to start thinking about your Thanksgiving spread.

You can also sign up to be a pie seller and encourage your friends and family to get involved!

Check out our Slice of Life video to see the steps that go in to making our delicious pies.







September 30, 2014

The Road to Recovery: Helping a Teacher Work through Cancer

For Heidi Marohn, every step on the road to recovery from ovarian cancer means returning to the things she loves doing: taking walks, reading the newspaper and teaching. After receiving her diagnosis in May, the 49-year old teacher spent her summer differently than her students and colleagues – her summer “vacation” consisted of frequent trips to the doctor’s office for surgery, chemotherapy and check-ups.

Food & Friends is helping her fight her ovarian cancer every step of the way.

The side effects of chemotherapy are debilitating, and can include fatigue, nausea and anemia. While it may take Heidi a little bit to get down the 25 steps to her front door when Food & Friends deliveries arrive, her optimism and positive spirit remain undaunted. Most importantly, Heidi says the chemotherapy also has done little to dampen her appetite.

“I count myself as very fortunate to be able to have a great appetite and taste all that Food & Friends gives me,” Heidi says, with a bright smile. “Food & Friends has more than met my standards as far as interesting, delicious, delectable food.”

Food preparation can be a time-consuming process. Preparing a meal means brainstorming a recipe, then going to the grocery store to get ingredients, and finally making the food. For Heidi, that was a big ask. There were times during her treatment when just getting to the dining room table was a triumph.

“Just having those meals, and all of those elements done for me, has been amazing,” Heidi says. “It’s allowed me to sleep more, it’s allowed me to read the newspaper more, and pursue my interests which help me grow stronger and engage with [my] recovery.”

With the help of one of Food & Friends registered dietitians, Heidi was able to tailor her meal plan around her individual health needs, helping her keep her weight up while maintaining a healthy level of iron in her diet.

Food & Friends has lifted tremendous burden of Heidi’s shoulder, and the shoulders of her family. Food & Friends helps beyond food deliver, Heidi says. “It’s time, it’s relief, it’s comfort.”

Friendly, cheerful volunteers and staff make Heidi feel like she is part of a caring community. When Heidi gets to the front door when a delivery arrives, the volunteers are always looking through the front door for her.

“They are always kind and professional, even the little 12-year old boy who delivers to us,” Heidi says. “It gives you this sense of humanity, like you’re in contact with a larger community than yourself, and it just give you this little pin prick happiness.”


September 18, 2014

Malnutrition & Cancer

“Weight loss in cancer patients is due to depletion of both adipose tissue and skeletal muscle mass, while the non-muscle protein compartment is relatively preserved thus distinguishing cachexia from simple starvation”.
-Michael Tisdale, Professor of Cancer Biochemistry, Aston University
What this means is when a person without cancer loses weight intentionally or unintentionally, they lose primarily fat (adipose tissue). Weight loss for a cancer patient is much more detrimental; in addition to losing fat, they also lose muscle. This indiscriminate type of weight loss places cancer patients at great risk for serious infections like pneumonia, which causes a disruption to their treatment plan.

Malnutrition prevalence in cancer patients varies widely from 20% to 80% based on the site of their primary tumor. A weight loss of 10% of a person’s weight pre-cancer increases their risk of all-cause mortality while going through cancer treatment. Notice, there is no mention of whether or not a person’s starting weight was considered within normal limits or healthy; even when someone is obese at the beginning of cancer treatment, our goal should always be to help their weight stay stable throughout treatment.

As dietitians, our primary goal in working with cancer patients is weight stability which in turn reduces disruption to treatment and protects a patient’s performance status. Providing the high quality nutrient dense foods that we do at Food & Friends helps make weight stability an achievable goal for our clients.


Robin Brannon, MS, RD,CSO, Nutrition Services Manager

Robin Brannon is the Nutrition Services Manager at Food & Friends. Previously she spent three years as the Clinical Nutrition Manager at The George Washington University Hospital. She serves as the associate editor for Oncology Nutrition Connection, the peer-reviewed journal of the Oncology Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group. She also serves on the Chesapeake Food Leadership Council, The Dietetics Program Advisory Board at the University of the District of Columbia, and Patient Education Committee Member of the Aplastic Anemia & MDS International Foundation. Robin earned a Masters in Clinical Nutrition from New York University, and a specialty certification in oncology nutrition from the Commission on Dietetic Registration. She received her Bachelor’s in Dietetics from College of the Ozarks.


September 17, 2014

Malnutrition & HIV/AIDS

Our clients who live with HIV and AIDS have an especially difficult time staying properly nourished because of how the virus impacts their body’s ability to retain and properly metabolize certain nutrients.

Many people with HIV/AIDS are deficient in the following nutrients:
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • B6
  • B12
  • Riboflavin
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Copper
Having prolonged nutrient deficiencies can cause problems with Coronary Artery Disease, Dyslipidemia (this can be high cholesterol, but may also be high triglycerides—high triglycerides when untreated lead to liver failure), insulin resistance (making diabetes more likely) and increase in overall inflammation, which makes heart disease in general more likely.

Malnutrition in HIV/AIDS clients comes in two forms: undernutrition and overnutrition. When a client is overnourished, they will generally be far over their ideal body weight for their height. Overnutrition causes a cascade of hormonal shifts that cause clients to be more susceptible to opportunistic infections.

Undernutrition can be evaluated by reviewing weight history over the past 4-6 months. A weight loss of as little as 5% of a person’s usual body weight makes them more at risk for a drop in their CD4 counts as well as increasing their risk for opportunistic infections.

These are just a few reasons why it is vital to our clients' health and lives that we focus on sending out healthy and balanced meals and provide opportunities for nutrition education.

Robin Brannon, MS, RD,CSO, Nutrition Services Manager

Robin Brannon is the Nutrition Services Manager at Food & Friends. Previously she spent three years as the Clinical Nutrition Manager at The George Washington University Hospital. She serves as the associate editor for Oncology Nutrition Connection, the peer-reviewed journal of the Oncology Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group. She also serves on the Chesapeake Food Leadership Council, The Dietetics Program Advisory Board at the University of the District of Columbia, and Patient Education Committee Member of the Aplastic Anemia & MDS International Foundation. Robin earned a Masters in Clinical Nutrition from New York University, and a specialty certification in oncology nutrition from the Commission on Dietetic Registration. She received her Bachelor’s in Dietetics from College of the Ozarks.


September 15th-19th Marks Malnutrition Awareness Week

This week is Malnutrition Awareness Week.

Malnutrition is more than being "too skinny." Malnutrition can be any type of imbalance in a person’s nutritional intake—this may mean a person has lost weight too quickly or it may mean the food they eat most of has too few nutrients.

The type of malnutrition we see the most of here at Food & Friends is malnutrition in the context of chronic illness.

As dietitians, we assess clients for malnutrition by looking at the following factors:

  • Weight loss over time
  • Actual energy intake vs. estimated energy requirements
  • Body fat: especially looking for body fat loss on bony prominences like temples or the ribcage
  • Muscle mass: again looking for muscle loss, this is most easily seen on the upper arm and calf
  • Fluid accumulation: when a person is malnourished they will have difficulty keeping body fluids in the correct body compartment, so you will see fluid building in areas of the body it shouldn’t be in such as the ankles
For more information about our nutrition services program or to access healthy recipes, visit our website.


Robin Brannon, MS, RD,CSO, Nutrition Services Manager

Robin Brannon is the Nutrition Services Manager at Food & Friends. Previously she spent three years as the Clinical Nutrition Manager at The George Washington University Hospital. She serves as the associate editor for Oncology Nutrition Connection, the peer-reviewed journal of the Oncology Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group. She also serves on the Chesapeake Food Leadership Council, The Dietetics Program Advisory Board at the University of the District of Columbia, and Patient Education Committee Member of the Aplastic Anemia & MDS International Foundation. Robin earned a Masters in Clinical Nutrition from New York University, and a specialty certification in oncology nutrition from the Commission on Dietetic Registration. She received her Bachelor’s in Dietetics from College of the Ozarks.



September 10, 2014

Test Your Food Safety Knowledge - Week 2: Cross Contamination

How did you do on last week's National Food Safety Month quiz? Time to test your knowledge about cross contamination. Take the quiz and let us know how you did. Find the answers here.




September 5, 2014

Test Your Food Safety Knowledge - Week 1: Cleaning & Sanitizing

September is National Food Safety Month and we are celebrating it here at Food & Friends. This year’s theme is "20-Year Anniversary: Top 20 Tips," offering the best tips from the past 20 years! Test your knowledge regarding Cleaning and Sanitizing with this week's quick and fun quiz. You can find the answers here.





August 28, 2014

Stay in the Know: Your Guide to the Latest Happenings

From restaurant openings to festivals, fundraising galas to food tastings, happy hours to cultural events – the DC Metro Region is an exciting place to live and work. We are lucky to receive support from an online community who works hard to make sure you’re kept up to speed on these latest happenings. If you’re looking for something to do or experience, check out this list of our blogging friends.

All Life is Local
Been There Eaten That
Bitches Who Brunch
Brunch and the City
Capital Cooking
Cloture Club
Cook In Dine Out
DC On Heels
DC Minute
DC This Week
Dining in DC
DMV Dining
Girl Meets Food
Greg’s List DC
Guest of a Guest
Hungry Lobbyist
In a DC Minute
Johnna Knows Good Food
KStreet Kate
Little Black Blog
Luri and Wilma
Mango Tomato
RUNINOut DC
Taste DC
The Aubergine Chef
The List Are You On It
Washington Lobbyist
What Micky Eats
Woman Around Town
Yelp.com
Young & Hungry
Zagat


Top 4 Reasons to Become a Slice of Life Pie Seller

There are thousands of people in our community too sick to shop for and prepare their own meals. You can make a difference in their lives by becoming a Slice of Life Pie Seller.

Each pie you sell will provide one full day of meals to a critically ill child or adult. By giving just a little of your time, you will bring food, health and hope to thousands.

Here are 4 reasons why you should sign up today!

1. MAKE A DIFFERENCE
It might sound cliché, but you CAN make a difference! Your involvement in Slice of Life is crucial to ensuring that the most vulnerable people in our community have the nutrition needed to fight serious illnesses including cancer and HIV/AIDS. Each pie you sell provides one full day of home-delivered meals to a critically ill child or adult.

2. HELP YOUR NEIGHBORS
Because of your generosity we are able to provide nutritious food for over 3,000 Washington, DC Metro Region residents. Your support will impact their lives in very real ways:
"Your food delivery and support have made life easier. I have felt much despair over these illnesses. Your generosity gives me hope to continue on."
3. IT'S FUN & EASY
As a Pie Seller, you’ll receive an online profile for accessing sales, e-cards, selling tips and more! Plus, you can personalize your profile by uploading your own photo!

You can also start a Pie Team with friends, family and colleagues. Nothing’s better than a little friendly competition!

4. PIE-TASTIC PERKS
As if making a difference in the community is not enough, the winning Pie Seller will receive a $250 US Airways gift card!



Food & Friends Receives $350,000 Multi-Year Grant From Carefirst

We are proud to announce that Food & Friends was awarded a $350,000, three-year grant from CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst) to provide home-delivered groceries, including fresh produce, non-perishables, frozen soups and entrees to clients in its Groceries-to-Go program. In addition to supporting the Groceries-to-Go program, the funds will be used to leverage matching support from the community.

The grant will support the delivery of 2,069,000 meals and 50,900 bags of produce to 3,400 critically ill clients over a three-year period. A significant part of this grant is to help Food & Friends improve the nutritional composition of its Groceries-to-Go offerings by providing fresh produce, olive oil, fish and whole grains to its clients.
“For those who are ill and often living with limited mobility, it can be nearly impossible to obtain fresh produce and other nutrition staples,” says Craig Shniderman, executive director of Food & Friends. “Our partnership with CareFirst will help us continue to raise the nutritional component of our services, fill the void left by ‘food deserts’, and help clients prevent and treat serious health conditions. We greatly appreciate the sustained interest demonstrated by CareFirst in helping Food & Friends meet the needs of critically ill residents in Greater Washington.”
Since 2006, Food & Friends has received nearly $900,000 in grants from CareFirst to support nutrition programming for critically ill residents in the region.
"In addition to CareFirst's larger mission of increasing access to quality, affordable health care services, CareFirst is committed to supporting programs and initiatives that foster healthy communities," said Maria Tildon, CareFirst's Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Community Affairs." Part of this support includes funding for programs targeting obesity rates and the chronic diseases associated with obesity. Through Groceries-to-Go, Food & Friends is not only going into our communities to meet a basic need, it also is encouraging individuals and families to adopt healthy lifestyles and good eating habits."
CareFirst has long been known to collaborate with the community to advance healthcare effectiveness and quality. An additional purpose of this grant is to provide Groceries-to-Go clients a chance to take charge of their overall health and nutrition by enrolling in free cooking classes led by a Registered Dietitian and hosted at Food & Friends. The classes will teach participants and their families and caregivers to prepare healthy meals from the food provided by Food & Friends and help to increase their understanding of how to maintain a healthy diet.