If You Build It….

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Some time ago I wrote about starting a health, wellness and community revolution.  After spending years hoping ‘somebody’  would show up and step up, I realized that person was me. 🙂 My close friend, client, and colleague Janice had a similar epiphany at about the same time; we were both overwhelmed with the need to do something.  With that, Project Generation Gap was born.  We incorporated our non profit organization in December of 2013 with the goal of supporting an accessible, healthy, sustainable food system. As we see it,  the key to it all is community; placing a high value on our elders and nurturing our children.   We learned early on that we had to create an organic experience through relationship building.

While our efforts are not new to most of you, this major, exciting announcement is!

The vineyard at The High Garden Center

The vineyard at The High Garden Center

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Real food abounds here!

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The original barn

Project Generation Gap has partnered with The High Garden Center.  Our office will be housed at their farm along side a community center we are building together.  We will work together to bring quality nutrition and food education to our community. In my next post I will introduce you to  the dynamic duo behind HGC, George and Krista. They have been quietly working on their garden center… they seriously have their hands on a little slice of heaven.

One thing I have learned in the last year working with farmers/growers is that they rarely see the magnitude of what they offer. I am blown away with how humbly they work the land and then graciously share the fruits of their labor with their neighbors.  In addition to the supporting the growth at The HGC,  we have identified other farmers, growers, and tradesmen/women to support.  We sent 11 kids to farm camp, facilitated  (along with our partner firm Atlanta Food &Farm) an opportunity for The High Garden Center to create 10 rooftop self watering planters  at the Pittman Park Community Center and  we’ve organized/ participated in volunteer work days on area farms.  Each of these efforts engaged the community, provided education, and supported farmers directly.  Our work is just beginning!   We are  creating a comprehensive internship program  that will provide an array of services to our farmers (we just brought on our first official intern to help us at the High Garden Center and she is AWESOME) and we have partnered with like minded businesses and other non profits to provide the funding and manpower needed to create quality programming. We have family and community events planned and ultimately (through our partner farmers/providers) we will provide access to array of seasonal, local fresh vegetables, humanely raised and  processed antibiotic free meat, and minimally processed prepared food.  It is our goal to make our neighbors aware of the importance of supporting local growers and the value of good quality food.

Equally as important to the work we will do to support the farmers and consumers is our outreach work.  We have found a great fit coordinating  food demonstrations for preschoolers. Such FUN!   We will continue to offer programing to children and adults of all ages  in the form of classes and seminars.  We will be in local schools, at community centers, and presenting at events across the community.  We will also share all that we know and learn about nutrient dense food and self-sustainability to our friends and supporters across the country.

So how on Earth are we going to do it?

Well, it’s a family affair! We’ve been working hard at establishing relationships in our community. The outpouring of support has been incredible.  Our  vision started with a small board of directors and has grown include the ideas/work of  farmers, business owners, other non profits, and agencies.  No need to re-invent the wheel!  We also  did outreach at local farmers’  markets during the summer in order to get to know our community better.  As a result, our network of volunteers has blossomed. The PGG team has  social workers, registered nurses, college students, nutritionists, chefs, social workers, teachers, accountants, health/wellness professionals, horticulturalists, artists, a graphic designer, saleswomen, consultants, a cosmetologist, engineers, stay at home moms, homesteaders, general contractors, a fireman… I am sure I am forgetting something!  We are Caucasian, African American, Columbian, Indian, Mexican, Biracial, Vietnamese, West Indian. We range in age from 9 months to 70+.

The point is, we are the community.

Look forward to getting to know our team better. You are going to love them!

Here are few ictures from our recent work weekend at The High Garden Center.  Magical things are happening there. If you’d like to be a part of it, please email us here. We’d love to have you! Next up:  a community bonfire!

Taking it down to build it back again!

Taking it down to build it back stronger!

Malik and Clarke are smiling!

Malik and Clarke are smiling!

The inside crew had more fun then should be legal. lol

The inside crew had more fun then should be legal. lol

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Natural Breast Care: Putting Your Health in Your Hands

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© Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporation

When it comes to breast health, a lot of emphasis is put on cancer treatment. Words like ‘survivor’ and ‘early detection’          are common this time of year. What is discussed less frequently is prevention. We now know that certain behaviors and choices can contribute to healthy breast tissue, reducing the chances of disease. The World Cancer Research Fund estimates that 38% of breast cancer in the United States could be prevented with diet, physical exercise, and weight management. Why is it that this isn’t discussed as much as how to detect cancer?

Cancer has touched my family tremendously. I lost my young mother to endometrial cancer in 2008. After her death, it seemed as if every year brought with it a cancer diagnosis for a close family member. Grief stricken, I began to wonder if getting cancer was inevitable.  There came a point, however, in which I had to decide to not let fear consume me.  Educating myself on what I could do  (instead of focusing on things beyond my control) has been empowering.   Here is some scientific support  for breast cancer prevention  that I’ve discovered in my quest to take ownership of my health.

 

Diet and Nutrition

It is widely known that eating antioxidant-rich foods (mostly fruits and vegetables) reduces cancer risks. Research on cancerous breast tissue shows high levels of chemicals such as aluminum and parabens. Eating fresh, organic vegetables and fruits instead of commercially raised and packaged produce can greatly reduce exposure to chemicals. It will also limit exposure to estrogen-like compounds (said to be a possible contributor to cancer in high amounts) often found in food additives and plastics. Limiting processed foods is also important for reducing breast cancer risks and improving breast health.  cancer-fighting-foods

Two nutrients that have made names for themselves in breast health are vitamin D and omega -3 fatty acids. It is very important for women to get their vitamin D levels checked regularly through a simple blood test. Currently, normal range is considered 32-100 ng/ml. Women should inquire what their actual number is; falling in the range is great but having optimal levels is even better. A study by prominent vitamin D researchers indicates that women whose levels are above 52 ng/ml have half the risk of the general population of developing breast cancer. As for the omega-3s, researchers in China analyzed the results of 26 international studies involving nearly 900,000 women; 20,000 of whom had breast cancer. They concluded that the women who consumed the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids from fish had a 14% reduction in breast cancer risk, compared to those who ate the least. Scientists found that for each 0.1 gram of fish oil women consumed daily, risk of breast cancer dropped by five percent. These findings support the World Health Organization’s recommendation to include at least two servings of oily fish per week in your diet.

Exercise

4450118_thumbnail_e32xIt is hard to talk about disease prevention without including the role of exercise. Breast health is no exception. In addition to helping one maintain a healthy weight–obesity is a contributing factor to many cancers–exercise improves circulation and lymphatic flow, helping remove toxins from the body. Movements like running and jumping rope are beneficial, because they increase the flow of lymph through the lymphatic system, aiding immune function. Yoga, Pilates, and other resistance workouts improve hormone responses and lower blood sugar levels. Exercise also reduces stress and balances moods by boosting serotonin. Like to exercise outdoors? You get an extra bang for your buck with sun exposure: vitamin D and an even bigger dose of serotonin!

 

 

 

While we can’t isolate all the variables that contribute to cancer risk, other lifestyle choices can also improve woman’s chances of maintaining optimal breast health. Here are some key factors in decreasing and increasing the risk of breast cancer. Some of them might surprise you!

Decreases Risk

Having more than one child

Having one child before age 20

Breast feeding each child for at least six months

Maintaining a healthy weight

Eating a diet rich in antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids           

Having vitamin D levels over 52 ng/ml

Exercising regularly

Getting adequate sleep

Increases Risk

Not having children

Having first child over age 30

Not breast feeding

Being overweight/obese

Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol; smoking

Having low vitamin D levels

Being exposed to hormone-mimicking chemicals

Poor sleep habits

So, although breast cancer has sadly become all too familiar, arming yourself with this knowledge and taking preventive measures can help you maintain good health.

Here’s to doing what you can do… you have two hands and two tatas… take control ladies!