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November 13, 2014

It's More Than Pie - It's Helping a Mother Support Her Family

Your support of Slice of Life will make a tremendous impact on our clients. Naomi Ryan is one of them.

For Naomi, undergoing treatment for breast cancer meant frequent trips to the hospital. Naomi’s radiation therapy was five times a week, for two hours a day, and left Naomi feeling weak and tired when she got home. Preparing meals was the last thing on her mind.

When good nutrition was becoming increasingly important, Naomi struggled to find the time or energy to prepare meals for herself or for her son.

“Right after surgery, I would come home and be exhausted,” says Naomi. "All I wanted to do was sleep - I didn't have the energy to cook."

Food & Friends is helping Naomi and her family by delivering meals 3 times a week, supplying them with the nutrition Naomi needs to help her stay healthy. Lifting that burden allows Naomi to focus on her treatment and stay healthy. 

Naomi’s 10-year-old son, a Type-1 diabetic, also benefits from Food & Friends services.

“For him it is important to eat, and watch what he eats,” Naomi says. “The things Food & Friends brings are good for him.”

Oranges and apples Food & Friends delivers provide daily nutrition to mother and son at a time when a healthy diet is important in their lives. Before going to school, Naomi’s son loves to eat the eggs and turkey sausage that Food & Friends brings them. He uses the milk to have cereal in the morning too.

"[Before Food & Friends], sometimes there wasn't enough food,” says Naomi. “When Food & Friends comes, we're like 'Thank god we have meals.'"





October 31, 2014

What is a ghost's favorite pie? | Pie Flavor of the Week


LET'S GO NUTS, IT'S HALLOWEEN!

Nutty Pecan is crazy about Halloween - his clown costume is perfect for today's festivities! He also loves telling his favorite Halloween joke:

Q: What is a ghost's favorite pie?

A: "Boo"berry pie!

But Nutty Pecan knows he's way better than any "boo"berry pie - our Slice of Life pecan pie has a delicious buttery crust overflowing with pecans. This traditional Southern pie has the consistency of a scrumptious torte and tastes even better warm!

Nutty Pecan is just one of the FIVE DELICIOUS FLAVORS that are sure to make you extra thankful this Thanksgiving. Order online and pick up your pie on November 25th at a pick-up site in DC, MD, or VA.


Not local? Buy a pie for a Food & Friends client that will be delivered with their Thanksgiving meal.

Don't wait! Order by November 20th and do something sweet this holiday season that will help thousands of our neighbors in need.



October 30, 2014

Food Insecurity and the Chronically Ill



Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season. For many, it can mean overindulgence in heavy plates loaded with turkey, rich stuffing and mashed potatoes. However, for food insecure households in our community, celebrating the holiday festivities is a bit more difficult.

Lack of access to healthy food contributes to poor health outcomes.
Access to affordable healthy food is a challenge for many DC Metro Region residents. In the District of Columbia, more than 13% of the population faces food insecurity. Along with hunger, lack of access to healthy food contributes to poor health outcomes.

Food insecurity frequently leads to a diet which is void of basic vitamins and minerals but overwhelmingly high in saturated and hydrogenated fats, simple carbohydrates and sodium. Elevated rates of depression, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, increased risk of infection and malnutrition are all associated with food insecurity.

For those living with a chronic illness, proper nutrition can minimize the side effects of harsh medications and treatment, risk of infection and hospitalizations. Consistent access to good food plays a powerful role in preventing, treating and surviving serious health conditions.

People who are HIV positive are more likely to routinely face food insecurity. Food insecurity within the HIV positive community at the national level impacts an estimated 48-50% of the population. Food & Friends’ consistent provision of well-balanced and nutritionally complete meals is beneficial to clients by improving adherence to antiretroviral therapies and supporting CD4 cell levels, helping to keep HIV clients’ viral loads in better control.

Rates of food insecurity are also much higher for people living with cancer (approximately 56% of the population). Delivering food to these individuals and their families helps them maintain their weight throughout treatment which reduces rates of malnutrition, decreasing overall mortality and disruption to treatment due to infection or hospitalizations.

Chronic illness has profound impacts on the demand for food nutrition services, especially the need for medically-appropriate nutrition. Food & Friends’ clients have unique nutritional needs and challenges that need to be met. With the support of our partners, volunteers, and donors, Food & Friends will continue to connect the community with our most vulnerable neighbors to ensure that they receive the nutrition needed to battle their illness.



October 22, 2014

Slice of Life Pie Flavor of the Week: Pumpkin

TRADITIONAL | PERFECT MIX OF SPICES | FRESH PUMPKIN FLAVOR

Howdy! Each year our Spiced Pumpkin Ranger hopes to lasso his friend Homemade Apple as they duel to be the most popular pie flavor in town. But every year he falls a little bit short.


This is your chance to help Spiced Pumpkin bring home the prize!

Buy a Slice of Life pumpkin pie, or any of our 5 delicious pie flavors, and you will help provide ONE FULL day of meals to one of our clients. These meals will provide critical nourishment as they struggle with HIV/AIDS, cancer or another debilitating illness.

Spiced Pumpkin is a Thanksgiving staple, and ours has a creamy filling with the perfect mix of spices and fresh pumpkin flavor in a delectable crust! Get yours today!

Here are some other ways that you can support Slice of Life:

BUY A PIE FOR A FOOD & FRIENDS CLIENT
You can ensure that in addition to a FULL Thanksgiving dinner for 4, our clients will also receive an apple and a pumpkin pie with their holiday dinner.

GIFT A PIE
Send a pie as a gift and the recipient will receive an e-card with a redemption code. They can even select the pick-up site that's best for them.

SPREAD THE WORD
Tell your friends to buy their Thanksgiving pies from us! Here are a few Tweets you can post:
  • #Thanksgiving is JUST a few weeks away. Buy a #SliceofLifeDC pie & provide a day of meals for @foodandfriends clients www.foodandfriends.org/pie
  • Deliver hope 1 pie at a time! Buy your #SliceofLifeDC T-Day pies from @foodandfriends. Sales end 11/20. www.foodandfriends.org/pie

Sales Close Thursday, November 20th so ACT NOW!


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.