I'm packing up the van and heading through the parts of the hood they call "food deserts" with an exciting way to teach an important message.
"How To Eat Healthy On A Budget!"
I've been doing this for a while with my own money. It’s been so awesome. It is indescribable, that look on a person's face, when they realize that some guy (me) who isn't paid by the government or hired to do a job or trying to get them to attend a church just wants to extend kindness and concern. A chance to share our knowledge and give of our compassion. This is truly life.
So many struggle with fundamental eating mistakes about what are, and are not, good meals to eat.
I've owned and operated one of the top a fitness facilities in the chicagoland area over 12 years. I’ve seen some of the brightest minds, even doctors, completely struggle with putting together a healthy food plan. But by sharing a simple strategy and a list of healthy alternatives, even a family on a tight budget can eat healthy.
A good friend who has asked me to provide this service in the past suggested to me that I create a fundraising campaign. YIKES!
I was intimidated about doing it because of my shame for asking hard working people for anything and just sheer embarrassment that I don't always have enough to do it all myself. Some of you will naturally feel uncomfortable and I respect that. Please, do not think for one moment I would take any offense to you being disinterested. I understand completely. Just disregard without a second thought. This is for those who have it in the hearts and wallets to spare. If this contribution is to be from you than you've already felt a tug and this is just a sort of confirmation.
100% of all proceeds will go directly towards meeting the desperate need of supplying our blighted communities with healthy fruits and vegetables.
I used to quietly do traditional food pantry work but as I studied and became more aware of the long-term effects of so many of the foods given to our less fortunate. I have the deepest desire to share the healthiest foods and recipes but more importantly, share in understanding how to make it happen on a real-life budget.
For clarity, I am a certified nutritional counselor. I received my education in plant-based nutrition through Cornell University. I have been certified to help people lose weight and make healthy food choices. I do not try to diagnose or prescribe food plans to people who are in need of a doctor or a clinical nutritionist as that is outside of my scope and interest.
I make a very fun and lively presentation on how to eat healthy on a budget. We help to better disseminate what healthy foods actually are and what the inexpensive alternatives are when your on a budget. Basically, I show people how easy it is to make being “healthy” work. When people can see the simplicity they begin to feel more empowered about it. And that makes me feel a deep sense of accomplishment.
The fun really starts when we gather everyone around to make delicious, mouth watering, nutrient quenching smoothies. I have all professional juice bar equipment and a great sound system that I take with me. So, my personal investment is top notch.
My goal and prayer is to keep everyone engaged and able to take away a little knowledge (and maybe some healthy foods) in a time where our nutrition and physical health for many in these communities are as endemically threatened as is their physical safety.
If I never get a dollar, it is totally okay. I've been doing this for a long time but I am never alone. In my heart I know I am lead by our God to be a servant to our brothers and sisters in the spirit who we are sent for. I will just follow as I am lead.
I provide these services at churches, schools, and various community organizations. I work thru different nonprofits as a designated 501C3. I also take store gift certificates and freshly purchased perishables if you want to ensure the money will go directly as you intended.
I only use one hundred percent natural fruits and vegetables, organic when possible. I don't use dairy or supplements of any kind. Just these wonderfully satisfying foods supplying the nutrients we've increasingly lack, yet desperately need. My smoothie offerings are always dependent on the budget, the size of the intended audience and the location. I'm always prepared to give a quick lecture, make something delicious and share in the Spirit.
Why this is so dear to me is because as a young kid I ate at the neighborhood church every day for dinner. I knew a few of my classmates that went there, even though we never spoke. For many of us then and now our families regularly find ourselves highly dependent on others generosity and kind spirit. When all you care about is where you're getting your next meal the quality of that meal isn't your greatest concern. Overtime this creates the kind of habits that can have serious consequences. Obesity is only the start with many of our children already experiencing plaque in their arteries and early onset diabetes. People, many at least, just need a little info and a help with a few the tools to help incorporate them.
Moreover, we see people who are going through hard times and are often emotionally deflated. The chance to share in a person’s nutritional health is a chance to share the foundational message; You are worth it and you can do it!
My “why” is simple. If not me, who? If not now, when?
If you can please give us a hand.