Lindsey Becker, founder of Farm Cut Meals

Lindsey Becker was once part of the “Corporate America” pool who worked as a Strategic Consultant at Deloitte after being an Investment banker. But as it happens to many, one gets tired from sitting in front of the computer all day, not knowing if the work done is making any difference in the world. And sleep and a healthy lifestyle? What is that!? Becker actually found herself spending more of her time thinking about the catering orders for her team than her actual work. Everyone got excited when the company catered – except her. Simple, cold sandwiches and tasteless salads did not seem very appealing. And so realizing how naturally gravitated she was towards providing nutritious, wholesome foods to her colleagues, friends and family, Becker was ready to take the next step.

After working for a luxurious magazine where she planned events and dined with the most prestige clients, Becker decided to go after her dream of becoming a chef. She started to take evening cooking classes at ICE (Institute of Culinary Educations) while working at her day job in the restaurant Gramercy Tavern. But after a while, Becker knew she could do more in the restaurant than simply peeling tomatoes and cutting bread. She went from working in one of the best consulting firms to the “kitchen bitch” in no time. The simple tasks she was given did not provide much motivation to improve her skills and techniques. What it did provide, although, was an eye-opening experience of seeing how hard people in the restaurant industry work. “No one works harder than those in here. Long shifts, no air, always standing, minimal breaks, and working either super late at night or very early in the morning. It is definitely not easy”.

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By working at Gramercy Tavern, Becker had the advantage of being exposed to the most elite society in NYC and foster a relationship with them. Because of that, she found herself cooking as a personal chef to many of them – some for the tastiness of the meals and others for their health problems such as cancer, diabetes, obesity, and infertility problems. Because she struggled herself with an eating disorder during college, Becker knew that food is in fact medicine. After all, helping society to become healthier through the power of organic, whole foods had always been her passion. But after many years, Becker realized she “wasn’t making any impact in the world by cooking for one rich family”. And so Farm Cut was born.

Farm Cut is a corporate catering service that features customized and à la carte menus available for delivery across New York City. Its menu bases itself on “comfort foods made from superfoods”. The mission is to enable masses of people to eat healthier foods and not have to worry about what ingredients are put since they are all listed in their labels. Farm Cut also tries to educate its community when catering their meals by listing the superfoods in their dishes and explaining why they are good for you as well as what the benefits are for your body.  “I want to show Americans just how “gourmet” healthy food can be and encourage them to get in the kitchen and cook with organic, local, nutrient-dense ingredients”. And so after catering her meals to Tone House in 2017, Becker realized her business could be scalable without needing millions of dollars of investments. Farm Cut even catered to the NY Knicks for their post-game meals! A lot of feedback was given during this time – understanding that people do not want the super healthy meals like a simple salad. They want something that fulfills them just like a bowl of pasta would. Basically comfort foods in a much healthier way. Which is what Farm Cut is all about. For example, some of their delicious items include Quinoa Mac & “Cheese” (GF quinoa pasta blended with turmeric, cauliflower, and butternut squash “cheese” sauce) or Not Your Mom’s Meatloaf  (beef with onions, carrots, celery, fennel, oregano, coconut flour, and homemade refined sugar-free tomato sauce).

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Everything on the menu is gluten-free, diary-free, soy free, and refined sugar-free. It is all created in order to boost the nutritional content in your meal without you noticing the swap of ingredients. Eating healthy should not be so hard nor so confusing. But that is a big problem in today’s society due to companies playing with our minds through their marketing scams. It is of no surprise why this country is having major issues with cancer, type-2 diabetes and obesity in five-year old children. According to a research study in 2018, the percentage of adults aged 20 and over with overweight, including obesity is 71.6%. The medical costs associated with obesity are enormous – and growing. One study estimated the annual medical care costs of obesity in the United States in 2008 dollars at $209.7 billion. It has escalated ever since. And because American society is structured around productivity and convenience, what is more convenient than going to McDonald’s and ordering a large Coke, some french fries and a double cheeseburger under five minutes? The temptation of unhealthy food greets us on every street corner, in our breakrooms and at our favorite supermarkets…

For many families struggling between paychecks, the foods that make the most financial sense are the processed, packaged, fatty choices serving up the most calories. Unfortunately it is because of poor governmental choices. It is absurd that it costs you more a pound of broccoli than eating at a fast-food chain. Everyone cringes at their grocery bills and it is saddening to see how politicians support corn and soy produce instead of local vegetable farmers, for example. But the government is not the sole cause. Education also plays a big role. If we start teaching our children’s palate to smarter food choices, the problem will definitely stop augmenting. Getting more nutrient dense meals at schools and kindergartens is necessary. But tricks can be applied to eating healthier on a budget. For example, get your poultry in different cuts like thighs or legs for a third of the price. Or frozen produce like vegetables and fruits that won’t go to waste after a week (also one of the reasons why there is so much food waste). Or eating seasonally is also a cheaper option.

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Education is also needed for young women who do not know what a proper meal looks like. They focus on counting calories and carbohydrates instead of the nutrients that need to be put in the body. Society doesn’t talk about it, but over 10 million American women suffer from eating disorders in the U.S. Many think that eating less will make you skinnier and beautiful. But in order to be healthy, bare children and have kids, like Becker, one needs the proper nutrients, vitamins and minerals. It is not about how many calories but about how many nutrient dense foods one puts on its plate. One does not need to pay attention to calorie counting as long as one does not eat more processed than unprocessed foods. Stick to the 80/20 rule -an approach to healthy eating teaching balance, moderation and indulging without a guilty feeling. In order to be healthy and balanced, you don’t always have to make 100% healthy food choices. 80% is enough. The remaining 20% you can choose less healthy food and indulge yourself!

As what the future holds for Becker, “I would like to focus my efforts more towards children’s nutrition and cooking classes in schools, where I believe I can make a tremendous impact on healthy eating habits.  I also hope to launch a nutritional consulting and menu development firm in a few years, with the goal of partnering with schools throughout the region. And I would love to have a fast-casual concept or a potentially ghost kitchen to be available for orders from delivery platforms to all individuals”.

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Need catering for you and your team? Contact us!

 

Halloween Party at Work Never Looked So Easy

Nothing screams “best company culture!” than a well-executed Halloween celebration at work! It is a great way to promote engagement and camaraderie among your employees, while also having them talk about how thoughtful the company is with their personal network. And don’t be afraid of the workload – let the Halloween fans get involved and have them take care of it. Either way, every tip written here should not take you more than 5 minutes to prep nor to have a high budget!

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Halloween brings out the kid in most of us. Before you know it, you’ve turned every single desk at work into a pumpkin feast. No need to run to Macy or Target to drop hundreds of dollars. Most of these ideas just require a few tools, some supplies and your imagination to have a spook-tacular Halloween this year.

  1. Cut bats out of black construction paper and hang them from your office ceiling.
  2. Create realistic cobwebs out of stretched cotton and simply add plastic spiders to it.
  3. Wrap your desks with orange tablecloths or white paper and put red paint on it.
  4. Use your lungs and start blowing up some orange and black balloons to scatter around the office.
  5. Treat your employees by placing goodie bags in each of their desks with simple colorful candy and black/orange office tools like pens and erasers. You can also have each bring a flavorful dessert to share around and have a contest!
  6. Talking about contests, choose a few costume categories and have a contest among your employees. You can even set themes for each department to encourage participation. Don’t forget a winning prize!
  7. Happy hour… every employee’s favorite time of the day! Decor a certain part of your office, play some monster mashing music like Thriller from Michael Jackson and set out Halloween themed snacks like the ones below.

Devilishly Food Snacks

Look no further, we’ve got the best (and easiest!) Halloween appetizers for you to impress your boss – and they are just as delicious as they are spooky! Each of these Halloween party foods are very easy to throw together, fun to stare at and will have everyone complimenting you about them. Halloween is truly the only time that you can serve anything and it will be acceptable – eyeballs on eggs? Weird looking sausages with “blood”? Hell Yeah!

With less than two weeks to go, it is crunch time so you don’t have your coworkers feeling disappointed – much less hangry ’cause THAT would be frightening. So have no fear, FoodtoEat is here!

  • Green Matcha Popcorn – Just whisk together matcha powder and a little bit of salt and toss it with the popcorn. Voila!

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  • Blood Drip Cupcakes – Channel your inner vampire with these delicious cupcakes. You can either buy or bake dark chocolate cupcakes and decor it with fake, edible blood. (Full recipe here )

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  • Harvest Hash Trail Mix –  As easy as serving in a big bowl some pretzels, almonds, dark chocolate chips, sour worms, and M&Ms. (More trail mix ideas here)
  • Deviled Spider Eggs – Seriously can’t get any easier than this and will be the ones disappearing first! Just boil your eggs, cut them in half, and decorate with olives to have a spidery look (Recipe here) http://www.shockinglydelicious.com/halloween-deviled-spider-eggs/

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  • Ghost Kabobs – healthier options are always good to have so build some fruit skewers and add marshmallows with painted eyes like these ones !
  • Ghost Smores Dip – Scary yet easy
  • Jack O’ Lantern Quesadillas – Treat yo self by tossing shredded chicken, lime juice, chili powder, garlic powder into a bowl. Then sprinkle some cheese and top it with pattern flour tortillas looking like Jack-o-Lantern. Serve with hot sauce and now THAT’S a treat!
  • Spooky Spider Halloween Dip –  Pepper spider? Edamame monster green dip? We gotchu!
  • Bloody Mary Syringes – Take your happy hour to the next level with these spooky cocktails 

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  • Frozen Banana Boo Pops – As another healthier option, these are super easy with just dipping bananas in white chocolate and adding mini chocolate chips for the eyes (Recipe here)

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So yes, everything can be done easily and with a tight budget. But if you don’t even want to bother creating those, FoodtoEat works with lots of vendors that provide AMAZING halloween treats from mummy hot dogs, to sinister salsa and mice meatballs!

Bhavana Phul, co-owner of Masala Times

Creamy curries, spices and complex flavor pairings. This is what you will find at the extravagant Indian restaurant Masala Times, located in Bleecker St. Owner Hemant Phul and his wife Bhavana are turning New Yorkers on to Mumbai’s best exports: Bollywood and street food. Masala Times is a tribute to everything Bollywood. It is the place for spicy Kebabs and healthy Indian BBQ fares that are very close to those coming out of the tandoor at restaurants around Mumbai.

At Masala Times, you will find an array of barbecue dishes that include baby lamb chops, massive cubes of paneer, and fragrant kebabs of ground chicken that sizzle while you eat it. Their menu also include biryanis, rolls, and pillowy paav bread. A definite must-try is their Tandoori Mushroom – spicy marinated shiitake mushrooms served in a warm, thin roll. If looking something more carnivore, the chicken achari arrives as tangy pieces of charred meat cooked in Indian spices and served with saffron-tinged basmati rice and flatbread fresh off the griddle.

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But Masala Times was born out of an unusual idea. In 2009 Phul owned a nightclub in the Meatpacking area while on the lookout for the right venue to open a pure desi kabab place in the city. He wanted for people to taste his menu first, so he started serving late-night foods in his club. And since we’ve all been in that situation, there is nothing better than indulging and sinking your teeth into some juicy street food after hitting the bar all night. They did this to not only test the food but also to see if there was a true opportunity to create something more than simple late-night snacks. People wanted something more satisfying, and so it couldn’t be clearer to them. In 2010, Masala Times opened its door to the public and serves food Friday and Saturday until 5am. Just your perfect solution when going bar hopping around Greenwich Village!

The opening of the restaurant was a big transition for them as the couple was also going into parenthood. The shift from owning a nightclub to a restaurant was a complete different experience but a good one. “Masala, in Indian cuisine, is a combination of spices that gives our food the flavors that it’s known for. However, in Bollywood lingo, Masala defines the essence of what Hindi movies are all about – Bollywood potboilers with melodrama, fight sequences, song-and-dance. This is our tribute everything Bollywood”.

Interesting enough, Phul graduated with an IT degree but realized at the age of twenty-six it was not exciting at all (shocker!). When he was 13 years old, Phul worked as a busboy and then climbed the ladder to chef and now restaurant consultant. He went through the whole spectrum to obtain as much as experience to teach others what he had never been taught. This is why the food and business part is all handled by him. His wife Bhavana, on the other hand, is a graphic designer who performed all the creative side of the restaurant. From the Bollywood signs, to the color of the walls, to the light decor – everything reflects the quintessential Bollywood ambience.

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Since Masala Times is now on to its 9th year, the owners were able to share the hardest part of the business to control – the staff. To consistently meet customer demand is a very hard task for restaurant managers. They need to train employees to value and offer a level of customer service appropriate to the level of food provided. In addition, they have to deal with distinct learning styles, the continual influx of inexperienced personnel, and the unpredictable amount of customers eating each day. It is extremely important that if you want to remain competitive, managers need to train employees to be just as passionate as they are with the food served so quality is not missed.

If there is consistency, people will come back and be excited to try new menu items. “Fortunately, we have created a community of customers that love our food. Our customers always say to us that even after eating in so many fancy restaurants they keep coming back to us as it transports them to either the streets in India and or to a home-cooked meal”.

Masala Times offers a selection of dishes that vary from Northern India to Kebabs. It is also very contemporary, keeping up to date with the most popular dishes they know not only their Indian clientele will enjoy but also immigrant one. Masala Times has changed the consumer mindset by making us crave Indian food during the latest times of the night instead of a double cheeseburger from McDonalds. Hemant and Bhavana are very enthusiastic about their future with Masala Times and are not afraid of taking more risks. A lesson that many young entrepreneurs are trying to follow…

The Common Mistakes Of Diversity and Inclusion Among Our Workplace

Today’s society is being shaped by not only technological advancements, but also by the complex diversity of cultures that surrounds us. And because of that, there has been a huge focus on the importance of being inclusive and fair with employees. Many leaders think they know what diversity and inclusion means, and think they are doing an outstanding job at implementing it. But unfortunately they do not. And here is why.

The most common mistake many company leaders make is assuming these two concepts, diversity and inclusion, are the same or very similar. By being completely ignorant in what these two actually mean, it is impossible that such initiatives will actually work. Most leaders simply do the bare minimum to comply to the regulations of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and disregard to do deeper research on more substantial ways that benefit the current workplace culture. Many just want to be recognized on the typical BS “Top 100 D&I companies of 2019!”. To these leaders, “stop looking for recognition and start thinking how to earn the respect from the actual people in your workplace. Give them influence over the growth of the company” (Llopis, 2017). Make that change and you will find yourself involved in a very successful growth strategy.

So since ignorance is the main problem, let’s solve that. Diversity is mainly seen as bringing people with different skin colors, physical traits, ages, and gender to a work environment. But that is only the tip of the iceberg. People who want to diversify their workplace need to also look at invisible traits such as religion, socio-economic status, cultural and ethical values, work backgrounds, sexual orientation, and even geographic location. It is a collective mixture of differences and similarities that need to be embraced as a whole, not separately. Simply having a wide roster of demographic characteristics won’t make any difference to an organization’s bottom line. Having five colored skin individuals, two bisexuals, and a few female colleagues won’t cut it. It is crucial that besides those factors, you have individuals that encourage their participation, want to know their thought process, and promote innovation. And this is where inclusion finds its place.

Inclusion, on the other hand, is how people behave and ensure a welcomeness feeling to those who are “different”. In a more scientific term, inclusion is “the achievement of a work environment in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully, have equal access to opportunities and resources, and can contribute fully to the organization’s success” (SHRM).  Not including your employees will negatively impact your business by not allowing it to grow and having employees’ performances decrease. No statistics or fancy graphs need to be displayed here for you to know this is true. I am sure that you have felt not being included in some way – either a friend’s dinner you weren’t invited, a meeting you were not being listened, or even at work when a group of coworkers grabbed lunch without you. That moment sucked, right? Feeling left out feels so painful to us humans because our desire to belong is primal. From the beginning of our species as Homo habilis, we have been taught that in order to survive one must remain with the group. Being excluded meant missing out on resources and protection which led to, not being overly dramatic here but, death. Not saying this will happen to you if you get excluded…

Long story short, as FoodtoEat’s founder Deepti Sharma always says, “Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance”. Last night she even hosted, along with Product of Culture, a communal table dinner event to promote D&I. Three distinct Immigrant NYC based chefs created a three course menu that highlighted their culture and later shared their personal stories with the group. The mission behind this dinner was, besides enjoying the delicious food, to have individuals understand they can in fact promote D&I besides the usual process of hiring women and people of color. They can do so in multiple ways, way funner, by using their purchasing power to invest in small businesses like of those three chefs – either attending their restaurants, ordering their food through FoodtoEat, or going to such dinner events!

Businesses have the transformative power to change and contribute to a more open, diverse and inclusive society. It is a no-brainer the benefits and financial impacts it has proven to our organizations. “Employees in inclusive environments feel appreciated for their unique characteristics and therefore comfortable sharing their ideas and other aspects of their true and authentic selves” (Washington and Patrick, 2018). Stirring away from like-mindedness and embracing and honoring other people’s differences should be the goal of many, or even all of us. Maximizing the full potential of the people and the business will drive growth, innovation and opportunity for both.

 

 

 

 

Citations
https://www.forbes.com/sites/glennllopis/2017/01/16/5-reasons-diversity-and-inclusion-fails/#2bda6a350dfe
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/04/business-case-for-diversity-in-the-workplace/
https://builtin.com/diversity-inclusion
https://www.gallup.com/workplace/242138/requirements-diverse-inclusive-culture.aspx
https://www.forbes.com/sites/danabrownlee/2019/09/15/the-dangers-of-mistaking-diversity-for-inclusion-in-the-workplace/#1411b1924d86
https://hbr.org/2017/02/diversity-doesnt-stick-without-inclusion

 

Natasha Case, CEO and Co-Founder of Coolhaus

There are some things in life that makes us feel just so good! Things like jumping in bed after an exhausting day, feeling the sun on your face during a cold winter, or getting an ice cream on a hot summer day… For us, the latter fulfills our feelings the most. Isn’t ice cream the cure for everything? After all, it is cheaper than therapy!

After being criticized for an architectural model that looked like a layered cake, Natasha Case thought to herself “Well, why is that bad!?”. Natasha had the passion for both food and architecture inside of her; she just didn’t know how to put the two together. Food was something she took seriously, as she grew up in a house where having ice cream after dinner was a ritual. So it made sense she evolved her idea into what is now known as “farchitecture” . In 2009, while working at Disney Imagineering, Coolhaus was born “out of the recession to bring awareness to architecture by using something nostalgic and comforting as ice-cream”. She started bringing ice cream sandwiches named after architects like “Mies Vanilla Rohe” and “Frank Behry” to relieve some tension in the office. And after seeing its success, Coolhaus was born from “a triple pun on the name of architect Rem Koolhaas, the Bauhaus movement and the idea that an ice cream sandwich is like a tiny, cold house”.

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Lucky for her, Natasha was introduced at that time to her current business and life partner, Freya Estreller. Freya was in real estate, but also shared the interest in food. After many conversations and finally deciding to take their business to the next level, Coolhaus got its first real job as a food truck vendor at the Coachella Music Festival.  Everything was running smoothly – checked the boxes with giant freezers and enough inventory to sell. But as every startup owner knows, challenges can come up pretty quickly! With as little as $2,700, you can imagine what type of ice cream truck they were able to buy on Craigslist. “We are pretty sure the previous owners were selling drugs out of it. It was a total POS! It didn’t even come with an engine”, said Natasha. So no money, no engine. How DID they manage to get to Coachella? Well, hats down to the creative minds of these two ladies for buying a AAA premier membership to receive a free 200-mile tow all the way to Coachella! Now THAT is some entrepreneurial thinking. And so thanks to their Coachella’s success, an audience was building up in L.A. After expanding their food trucks all the way to New York, Culver City and Pasadena, Coolhaus made its debut in the wholesale industry. They are now also available in more than 6,000 stores like Whole Foods and Safeway and are the biggest women founder and led company, “uniquely taking over the novelty section whereas most of our competitors are playing in the pint space”.

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But it took more than free toll rides and social media to get Coolhaus where it is today. “In the beginning we experienced more age-based bias, where people did not take us seriously. This attitude made those individuals less liable to risk-taking which is necessary to make anything big happen. And by being millennials, we recognized what other millennials actually wanted which gave us a level of authenticity”. Natasha also talked how as a gay woman, it has definitely been a different journey but a positive one.

During the five-year mark, Natasha and Freya worked on the business, not in it. After their tenth year, Coolhaus finally settled as a household brand. And as everyone knows, hard work pays off eventually. As of today, Natasha has done brand partnerships with MeUndies, Bustle, Lexus, and K-Swiss among others. She has been featured as well in media outlets like Cosmo, Bon Appetit, Vice, NPR, Food52, and TV shows like Good Morning America, The list goes on and on…

Without her amazing team, she says, Coolhaus would never be be what it is today. “I value the culture, energy and passion they bring to the company. The fact that they show up every day and dedicate so much of their time helping make this dream a reality is incredibly meaningful. Also thanks to them, I’ve been able to take a step back and focus on my family”.

Natasha and Freya hope that Coolhaus will be the household brand of millennials. “There is an incredible opportunity for us to do that as a culture of women leaders – so to lead and change by example.. that alone is a revolution. To be a powerhouse of women who are behind that brand, who created and are running its vision, that is our true aspiration” – Natasha Case.

Takeaways? Never settle for anything, not even one scoop!

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Need catering for you and your team? Contact us!

Plant-Based Companies: The Disruptors of Today’s Era

From Del Taco, Qdoba Mexican Eats, Burger King and now McDonalds, vegetarian options are on the rise. With World Vegetarian Day on Tuesday, how could we not talk about it!? This phenomenon has become so widespread around the world, people are achieving this lifestyle without major difficulties. Everyone has probably come in contact with non-dairy milks and cheeses, coconut yoghurts, and imitations of beef, chicken, lamb, fish on any supermarket. The first trend came from people wanting to cut on animal products for their welfare. Some staggering numbers include:

  • 11 million people died in Hitler’s holocaust. The U.S. alone slaughters 112 million pigs per year – source
  • Every year, we slaughter 950 million birds for food consumption through electrical water baths or gas – source 
  • We kill between 1 and 2.8 trillion fish every year; 143-400x the amount of the entire human population – source
  • Domesticated cows have an average lifespan of 20 years; on dairy farms 5 years.

The trend eventually shifted from ethical reasons and religious convictions to concerns about personal health and most importantly, our planet. Some follow a vegetarian diet because they cannot afford to eat meat. But for whatever personal choice, you can’t deny “meatless Mondays” are not a thing.

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According to Dr. Springmann from Oxford University, “if the world went vegan, it could save 8 million human lives by 2050, reduce greenhouse emissions by 2/3 and avoid climate damages of $1.5 trillion”. Beyond Burger alone generated 90 percent less greenhouse gas emissions, required 46 percent less energy, and had far less impact on water and land use than the beef burger, said the New York Times. With an almost-full plant based diet, we will not only improve our environmental carbon footprint but also reduce the cost of food in developed and developing countries.

The Economist recently published that 25 percent of Americans (age range from 25-34 years old) identify themselves as vegan or vegetarian; New York City being the third most vegan-friendly city in America (HOORAY!). This number is exponentially growing, but unfortunately meat consumption is increasing worldwide especially in the Chinese market. It is yet unclear if whether plant-based proteins are replacing meat or if consumers are eating them in addition to meat. But in order to decrease meat consumers and the drastic climate changes occurring, plant-based companies have to continue making these products available, inexpensive, and tasty with the right texture. Otherwise, not many will be willing to make the change.

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A look at several datas have suggested, as you may all know, that improvement in health is in fact very true. Because vegetarians consume less saturated fat and cholesterol and receive more Vitamins C, E, fiber, folic acid, and potassium just to name a few, they have lower blood pressures, body mass index, and LDL ( bad cholesterol). A reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart attacks, type-2 diabetes, and cancer as well as longevity are also associated with a vegetarian/vegan diet. And for both mind and body, you are what you eat. What we consume mentally influences how the mind feels—”pleasant and happy or roiling with indigestion”. Whole-food diets heavy on the fruits, vegetables, and unprocessed protein can lift our moods and protect us from depression.

Now let’s be honest. This article will probably not stop you from consuming animal protein products, but hopefully it will lean you to make some little shifts in your diet. Adopting an overall healthier diet will lead to reduce symptoms of depression, trouble sleeping and chronic diseases. And I mean, if there are so many articles talking about vegetarian/vegan diets then some of it must be true!

Climate Change: It is real, and it is happening.

“The ocean is warmer, more acidic and less productive. Melting glaciers and ice sheets are causing sea level rise. Through the last century, global sea level has rose about 8 inches.” – the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states.

“Glaciers are projected to lose more than 80 per cent of their current ice mass by 2100” – UN News

“Our world is now about one degree Celsius hotter than in the pre-industrial period” – Weiss, 2019.

“Tropical deforestation is now responsible for 11 percent of the world’s CO2 emissions” – UNGA

“Carbon emissions from global energy use jumped two per cent in 2018, according to BP’s annual world energy study. The unusual number of hot and cold days last year resulted in increased use of cooling and heating systems powered by natural gas and coal. The energy sector accounts for two-thirds of all carbon emissions” – BP Statistical Review of World Energy.

These are just a few of the million scientific statements that mention how climate change is real and it’s happening. But unfortunately, millions of individuals believe that climate change is a hoax. Some say it’s fake science, others do not believe it because of misleading articles written by unknowledgeable individuals, and some live in areas of the world that have not yet experienced severe changes. According to a research conducted at Yale University in 2014, only 63 percent of Americans believe that global warming is happening. This number is now lower after President Trump said he does not believe in it as well.

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So to give you an update, here is what you need to know on how our world is standing as of today:

  1. Our summers and winters keep getting warmer and warmer. 2018 was hotter than any year since 1850. The past four years have been the hottest years ever measured. “29 countries including France, Germany, Italy, Greece, and the United Arab Emirates hit 123 degrees Fahrenheit in June. Last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that if global warming exceeds 1.5 degrees Celsius—just 0.4 degrees Celsius above where we are now—then widespread environmental upheaval could result. Perhaps as soon as 2040, climate change could leave hundreds of millions of people with scarce food and water” (Meyer, 2019).
  2. Wildlife population has dropped by 60 percent in just 40 years, according to the biennial Living Planet Report published by the Zoological Society of London and the WWF. An estimated 5 percent of all species would be threatened with extinction by 2 degree Celsius of warming above pre-industrial levels. Such damage to the ecosystem will increase poverty and hunger.
  3. The is more CO2 in our atmosphere than any time in human history. We have currently reached a CO2 concentration of 415.26 ppm. The last time Earth’s atmosphere contained this much CO2 was more than three million years ago. “Scientists have warned that carbon dioxide levels higher than 450ppm are likely to lock in catastrophic and irreversible changes in the climate” (Weiss, 2019).
  4. Ecological resources are depleting. Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. July 29th, 2019 was the day we used up all the regenerative resources from 2019. That means that from July 30th onwards, we are consuming more resources that the planet can regenerate in a year.
  5. “Two thirds of extreme weather events in the last 20 years were influenced by humans”( Carbon Brief, 2019). Climate change has led to heavier precipitations, more frequent hurricanes, higher seas, and flood consequences.
  6. Shrinkage of tropical forest. 120,000 square km of tropical forest was lost in 2018. Deforestation contributes to global carbon emissions because trees naturally capture and lock away carbon as they grow. As for recent news, tens of thousands of fires have been recorded across the Amazon forest. Various factors that increase fires in tropical forests include climate change, agricultural production such as palm oil and meat eating, and deforestation for city enhancements.

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With all this tragedy, we are fortunate to have strong, global organizations such as the United Nations whom are committed to avoid the worst effects yet to come of global warming. With the United Nations Climate Action Summit taking place this week, we will hopefully see some future changes made by presidents, prime ministers and corporate executives. “77 countries had announced efforts to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, several asset fund managers said they would aim to get to a net-zero portfolio of investments by the same year, and dozens of businesses said they would aim to abide by the Paris Agreement targets”, said António Guterres (The United Nations secretary general).

But even if countries and organizations claim they will make the necessary efforts to reduce the effects of climate change, past evidence have shown us they do not move fast enough to hit the desired goals. Because of this reason, more than ever before, individual actions should be taking the pressure! During this week, streets around the world and in the U.S. have been filled with students and activists as part of a Global Climate Strike. Our founder, Deepti, joined thousand of others at Battery Place for the sake of her kids’ future. “I marched because our earth is on fire and we have to take action. I marched because my kid’s future depends on it. I took my kids because I wanted to show them activism in action. As a mother of two young boys, I want them to understand that they have the power to make a difference by leading or showing up for causes that matter to them. Recycling and using less plastic is NOT enough. We need to show up and rally to be heard. Activism WORKS” – Deepti Sharma. 

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Practical, implementable change on an individual level is what it is needed in order to see actual change. More practical solutions for governments, businesses and communities should be more showcased and educated so that they can be implemented at local and national levels. “The world can reverse this biodiversity crisis but doing so will require proactive environmental policies, the sustainable production of food and other resources and a concerted effort to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions” , said Jeff Tollefson.

So, what little step are you going to start taking to save our planet? If wanting to brainstorm, this article is perfect for simple, individual solutions that do not require much!

 

 

 

Citations
https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/01/nasa-noaa-shutdown-2018-warmest-climate-record/581221/
https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/03/its-getting-warmer-but-americans-may-never-notice-climate-change/583570/
https://www.wired.co.uk/article/climate-change-facts-2019
https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/09/1046712
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-01448-4
https://www.carbonbrief.org/mapped-how-climate-change-affects-extreme-weather-around-the-world
https://www.carbonbrief.org/media-reaction-amazon-fires-and-climate-change

Break bread together, not alone.

“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art” – François de La Rochefoucau.

We live in an era were we spend more time communicating with each other through our smart devices than through physical contact. Let’s not even talk about how most of us prefer to sit in our work desks alone with our soggy lunches from last night’s leftovers instead of laughing about it with colleagues who also brought unsatisfied meals. Sadly, Americans rarely eat together anymore. “In fact, the average American eats one in every five meals in their car, one in four Americans eats at least one fast food meal every single day, and the majority of American families report eating a single meal together less than five days a week” (Delistraty, 2014). It is definitely a pity to see so many Americans missing out on an opportunity as small as a 15 minute break to simply relax and have a meaningful conversation with someone. And a meaningful conversation is just one of the multiple other benefits eating around a communal table can bring to an individual.

Unfortunately, in America it seems snobbish or unprofessional if you take more than 20 minutes to have your lunch. There is also a cultural misconception that only bourgeois families can afford to have family dinners as both parents are able to be at home for that time. It is true many cannot afford to have both parents stay at home to cook and spend a desirable amount with their children. But that does not mean there doesn’t exist a way to make up for that time, or even find it. We, individuals, always find the time for things that we feel important. Sacrifices have to be made, but for good causes. So yes, socioeconomic situations make it more difficult, but that should be of no excuse to let a child grow by himself. One does not need to spend an hour dining with their beloved. It is okay to have small meal times since we all have things to do. All that matters is putting in the effort.

Getting accustomed to eating alone has quantifiable negative effects both physically and psychologically. Many research studies mention how children who do not eat dinner with their parents at least twice a week were 40 percent more likely to be overweight since they make poor food choices by choosing convenience (McDonald’s) over quality (a homemade meal). On the other hand, those who do have less trouble with drugs and alcohol, eat healthier, show better academic performance and report being closer with their parents (Columbia University). Dining with others cultivates our minds, allows us to pay attention to the whole eating experience, strengthens relationships and builds new ones. The communal table acts as a unifier, a place of community. It is the perfect excuse to catch up and talk about life.

At one point, people saw communal tables at restaurants as retrograde, awkward and a painful experience. Restaurants wouldn’t dare placing a communal table as part of their setting. But people now clamor for more interaction in their daily lives – especially when living in such an exhausting city like New York. And so when the restaurant industry started to experiment and take the “risk”, it was a total success. From Starbucks to Le Pain Quotidien to Momofuku to Son of a Gun in LA, the communal tables have found their ways in all types of restaurants around the country. It is a win-win for both the restaurant and the individual: the restaurant does more covers in the same space (more money) and the individual expands his/her network of relationships.

Human connection is necessary for human evolution, and the dinner table does it better than almost any place. Our company, FoodtoEat, has partnered with Product of Culture in order to push this statement further and break barriers. For one night, Product of Culture and Food To Eat will create a communal dinner table for 50 people to have a culinary experience curated by NYC based immigrant chefs. The mission is to unite people around the communal table and add diversity to the food community by championing small businesses that offer a unique and delicious selection of cuisine from across the globe. This experience is much more than just eating healthy and delicious food. It is about grasping the experience of building a connection with a stranger and also going through the culinary journey of three distinct immigrant chefs. It is why this article started with a phrase from a 17th-century French writer. It mentions the necessity of eating intelligently, which is not only eating food that nourishes our bodies and souls. It is also psychologically speaking of sharing a meal with a friend, a family member, a roommate, or even a stranger. 

 

Citations
https://www.centeronaddiction.org/addiction-research/reports/importance-of-family-dinners-2012
https://labelleassiette.co.uk/blog/4-reasons-why-the-dining-table-will-always-be-important/
https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/07/the-importance-of-eating-together/374256/
https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/apr/14/health-benefits-eating-together/
https://www.menshealth.com/nutrition/a19532062/common-meal-prep-mistakes/

María Iglesias, founder of Corazon de Mexico

No matter where you are in the country, you will definitely find a Mexican restaurant in any city. According from an analysis made in 2018 by food service firms like CDH Expert, there are over 60,000 Mexican restaurants in the U.S. But that should come as no surprise to any of us. Mexican cuisine has been well-admired throughout the world for its vibrant, authentic and delicious taste. The healthy ingredients, the wonderful aromas of fresh spices, the hot sauces that make you cry, and the deadly margaritas are the perfect combo to be a very popular cuisine.

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From fast-food chains to high-end Michelin star restaurants, one can find any type of Mexican food out there. But one thing is for sure: only those with great quality products and great service survive. And that is why Maria Iglesias along with her daughter and other women employees have been in this business since 2012. Born and raised in beautiful Puebla, Mexico, Chef María brings more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry to bear as owner and the brilliance of family Mexican food recipes passed down through generations of her family to your dining experience. She opened her very first restaurant and bakery called La Adelita in Woodside, NY where she served typical Mexican dishes and pastries like donuts, cemitas and hot beverages. The name is attributed to Adelita, a woman who joined the Mexican Revolution and fought for Mexico’s independence. She was a vital force in the revolutionary war efforts due to her participation in the battles against Mexican armies. Adelita came to be an archetype of a woman warrior in Mexico and a symbol to many of action and inspiration. Even today is her name being used to refer to any woman who struggles and fights for her rights – just like Maria, her daughter and her employees are doing.

Not many details were shared for personal reasons, but Maria and her daughter suffered domestic violence as well. It is because of their past experiences that they feel the urge to help other women who currently face similar situations. “We support women who have been mistreated and abused. We want them to find their inner independency just like we did. Our vision is to build a community where they are not afraid of being independent, rather afraid of being dependent to their partners. We want for these women to have a voice. We want them to know that we are here for them”, said Cynthia. She also mentioned how they want to hire more female personnel but have failed because either their husbands do not want them to work or do not want for them to have a place somewhere else than at home with the children.

“It has not been easy, not going to lie to you”, said Cynthia. La Adelita restaurant had to close their doors because the building they were established in was soon-to-be demolished. This is why the business has now moved to another location in Long Island called Corazon de Mexico. The change of name, as explained by Maria, was because Long Island’s inhabitants are completely different from those in Woodside. The community is built around a more American mentality, rather than a Hispanic one. If people in Long Island would walk by a restaurant called La Adelita, they would have never imagined it was a Mexican place. And it was not until a few months that Corazon de Mexico is now warming people’s hearts. Before that, Maria and Cynthia would receive threatening notes saying “You don’t belong here! Go away!” and other that are not being said.

La Adelita meant so much to these women not only because it was their business, but because it reminded them every day what they have accomplished with their own blood, sweat and tears. And now that exact same ideology is being translated into Corazon de Mexico. These women wake up every day at 4:00am to start unloading the fresh products delivered, start cooking the upcoming orders and then deliver the meals themselves. No matter the time the order was placed, the location of the delivery, or the volume of the meal, these women will get the job done.

These women are committed to exceptional quality and use only natural ingredients and spices that are imported straight from Mexico. The dishes created are fresh and uniquely flavorful, giving diners an opportunity to relish an authentic Mexican dining experience with the best Mexican food in Long Island. The charming Corazon de Mexico is the realization of these women’s determination and passion for not just the culinary arts, but also for other women to know they do not have to be afraid to pursue something of their own. Just like female soldier Adelita did for her beloved Mexico.

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Need catering for you and your team? Contact us!

Mindful Meditation at Work: A Company’s Road to Success

Sadly, statistics show us that one in five New Yorkers have a mental health disorder, and over 700,000 New Yorkers suffer from symptoms of depression (Department of Health). Psychiatrists say “people experience panic attacks while riding the subway here in New York but have no problem riding the metro in Paris”. But these numbers should be of no surprise to anyone. New York is mostly enclosed spaces, crowded places, tall buildings and people with a frenetic pace.  New York basically screams anxiety everywhere you go – except for Central Park.

As more and more New Yorkers experience mental illnesses, many around them have created a stigma against them. Pervasive stereotypes have emerged by defining these people as dangerous, emotionally unstable, and unpredictable. This stigma has encouraged those with mental illnesses to avoid treatment for fear of being associated as someone who is not well. And this stigma continues to exists because mental health research institutions do not receive the same funding levels as other systems, individuals with mental illnesses do not share their personal stories, and the education available regarding symptoms and treatments of a mental illness is very low. “It has come to the point we need to declare war on mental illness and place a priority on funding innovative neurobiological research for better prevention, diagnosis, early intervention and treatment” (Borenstein, 2016).

But as technology progresses, more in-depth advances have been seen in this field. Now more than ever we are seeing a community slowly building up that wants to create a robust environment that encourages the path of recovery without fear of labels or diminished opportunities. Companies are aware that “mental health conditions cost employers more than $100 billion and 217 million lost workdays each year” (NAMI). And it is no secret that addressing this issue in the workplace and investing in mental health care will increase employee’s productivity, confidence, and overall retention.

The ultimate problem many us have is that we can’t seem to fit the time in our crazy schedules to work in our mental health. Many of us are in the office until late at night, and the last thing we want to do when getting home (after an intense subway ride) is to think how we can work on ourselves. Netflix and chill just seems like a better idea. But because of that, the office should be the place where the team gathers and has a moment to ultimately detach from our smart devices and our surroundings. This is why FoodtoEat has teamed up with MNDFL, New York’s premier meditation studio, for their new “Launch & Sit” program.

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With “Launch & Sit”, certified teachers bring meditation straight to your office, leaving behind the worry about squeezing this personal time into your busy week. MNDFL comes to you with a 30-minute guided meditation session and then finishes with a delicious, healthy meal catered by FoodtoEat. As a company that creates more and better opportunities for women, immigrants and minority groups, it is important for us to partner with companies that align with our values and help create a healthier workplace. Given the chaotic city we live in, it is necessary to have spaces that allow people to sit quietly and simply reset and reflect. A space to breathe is necessary from time to time.

 

 

Citations:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/brain-and-behavior/201608/increase-funding-mental-illness-now
https://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/releases/stigma-as-a-barrier-to-mental-health-care.html
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/humans-of-new-york-anxiety_n_56c4c6cbe4b08ffac1274edd
https://www.mndflmeditation.com/work.html