0 comments on “Diverse Catering Lunches Create More Than Just Team Building”

Diverse Catering Lunches Create More Than Just Team Building

Food can be used as a great foundation to enhance your company’s culture. It can be used as an effective, yet simple, resource to build camaraderie at the office. No matter where you work, you eat at least two full meals in your office. And so does everyone around you. Eating together should be seen as a fun, engaging and enjoyable experience; not one that makes people anxious and uncomfortable. Some people do love gathering around the communal table and learning more about others. But others feel an unnecessary pressure to socialize, especially with a boss or a colleague, and think is work for them. It is important for the company to have an engaging pool between employees as it reflects well on the organization’s vision, values and goals. Consequently, great for retention and recruitment. So if you haven’t thought about using food as a tool, you should start now.

catered lunch

A catered lunch will foster collaboration, add value to the company’s benefits, its CSR and more. And I mean, who doesn’t enjoy free food!? But according to recent studies, only one in five workers get up from their desk for lunch. Yet nearly 90% of the American workers surveyed felt that team lunches/breaks “helped them feel refreshed, more engaged and ready to get back to work”. When introducing innovative catered lunches instead of boring sandwiches and salad options, companies saw significant returns on these investments. One of the most prominent returns was, in fact, team building. But why?

Food is the universal language that unites people. “Through breaking bread together, we can break down walls and boundaries that can unfortunately separate individuals, races, ethnicities and cultures”. With today’s workforce being more diverse than ever, people cherish when you provide a food option that comes from their homeland. It makes them feel welcomed and appreciated. It also creates an environment where people from other cultures want to learn more about the food and therefore, their colleague. For example, in 2018, “the highest-rated cuisines for office meals were Vietnamese, Middle Eastern, Mexican and Indian”. Ordering more diverse meals also widens people’s perspectives about inequality. Having an amicable relationship with a certain type of cuisine, say Indian or Mexican, creates less resentment towards individuals who are culturally from there. As you enjoy how flavorful and aromatic your Chicken Tikka Masala is, you no longer feel uncomfortable among the presence of strong Indian smells or individuals. Those of different races, genders, and socioeconomic backgrounds are seen more equal with food serving as major bond force. Even author Alice Julier expressed this ideology in her book Eating Together , promoting the “social dynamics of diverse and shared meals”.

food around world

At FoodtoEat, we are on a mission to unite people around the communal table and add diversity to the food community by championing small businesses from every neighborhood. Providing your team an assortment of delicious culinary adventures will not only surprise and delight your colleagues, but also promote inspiring conversation. We have a vast array of cuisines from all over the world such as Africa, Turkey, India, Colombia, Sudan, Japan and Cuban that will suit all your team members. By offering interesting food options like those mentioned, employees will not want to miss such opportunity. Hence, not missing the opportunity of broadening their palates and getting to know each other better. Moreover, having team/office lunches make leaders more accessible. This promotes an environment of transparency, innovation, less intimidation, and better sense of connection. This is all because the so-called “small talks” enables individuals to connect on a more meaningful level with, say, their bosses. Consequently driving employees to be more open on commenting about others’ opinions during “intense” conversations. Sharing and enjoying food together is a basic human expression of friendship, pleasure and community. That’s why people say “a full stomach equals a happy heart”, right?

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Why Do American Moms Struggle The Most?

American mothers are struggling. Social, cultural, technological and economic changes have altered the clear path of motherhood in recent years. While it was common in the 70’s and 80’s to see more than half of the mothers stay at home with their kids, it is certainly not like that anymore. Nowadays both parents work in 70% of families with children for several reasons; a main one is the constant rising prices of the costs of child care, especially in NY. In New York City, for example, the cost of child care is increasing $1,612 per year, with families spending up to $16,250 per year for an infant, $11,648 for a toddler and $9,620 for a school-age child. It is no wonder moms are stressed out…

Research says U.S. mothers have it “the worst when it comes to work-life balance because they lack cultural support”. Americans have this idea that in order to be a good worker one has to devote all the time and energy to the workplace. But what about the people who have non-work responsibilities such as family? They are not excellent employees because they don’t stay after hours? American moms, according to sociologist Caitlyn Collins, do not expect to have external supports from their employers, partners or federal government. “Mothers from Sweden, Germany and Italy, on the other hand, expected this and more”. Moreover, men in these countries devote the same amount of time as their partner in taking care of the children. “It is a cultural ideal supported through their federal policies, and we lack that sort of cultural consensus here in the U.S.”. American fathers do participate in the care of the children, but research found that their leisure time actually increased after parenthood during the weekends. Men watch TV, play sports and spend time with friends while women spend their “free time” planning birthday parties, play dates, and school meetings. And even if they do have leisure time, it is often interrupted.

working mom

It is important to salute every working woman and acknowledge that their successes have required a much greater amount of effort than their male counterparts. Let’s be clear though that today’s dads are doing more at home than those in previous generations – cheers! But as mentioned before, mothers still “shoulder greater responsibilities: childcare, housekeeping duties and invisible chores like making appointments, keeping track of activities, school schedules, booking the babysitter, and many more that doesn’t get noticed”. It’s little surprise that constant juggling and multitasking at home leads to negative mental health stability like depression and anxiety. And this is not just for the mother. “Studies point out that when moms suffer, kids suffer too. When the child’s primary caregiver is stressed or mentally ill, that stress tickles down to kids with bad results”.

American moms constantly blame themselves for their own stress and think it is only up to them to help resolve that. They want to be both successful at their jobs and dedicated to their family. But in the end, they find themselves in a no-win situation. There is so much pressure for mothers to fulfill the image of “an ideal motherhood” that they don’t get to enjoy the process. They are constantly trying to find the latest hacks whether is the perfect schedule planner, waking up earlier to meditate and workout, or the typical bulk cook on Sundays. One would think social media outlets would help relieve some of this tension. But social media is pervasive, and research shows mothers who frequently compare themselves to others “feel more depressed, less competent and less positive about their co-parenting relationships”. Mom-shaming is nothing new, and it needs to stop.

Mothers need to stop feeling so much pressure and being conflicted about work and family life. They need to also stop thinking they need to become better, work harder, try harder, and find the new parenting hack. Being a mother isn’t supposed to be easy, but it certainly isn’t supposed to feel impossible. Yes, it involves sacrifices and certain levels of commitment. But it needs to be perceived as a joyful experience for both the mother and the father. With better support groups, less social media shaming, better governmental resources and more work flexibility, women will feel less anxious and more grateful. For mothers to thrive, we need to lighten their load. And together we can knock down those hurdles. Together we can create a better work-life balance.

 

 

0 comments on “Stop Asking Small Restaurants/Catering Services For Free Food”

Stop Asking Small Restaurants/Catering Services For Free Food

Stop asking us for free food. 

Size matters

Within the past month, we’ve had a couple large, Fortune 100 companies reach out to us, highlight our mission and importance in the community…and ask for free food.

So we’re trading a shout-out that we’re “sponsoring the meal”…for a hit to our bottom line.

Unfortunately, as honored as we are by their acknowledgment, goodwill and pats on the back don’t pay the bills – for us, nor the vendors we represent.

Everyone knows that small restaurants need much more than mom’s classic recipes to survive. According to a frequently cited study by Ohio State University on failed restaurants, 60% don’t make it past the first year, and 80% go under in five years. Restaurants pop up in New York like a game of whack-a-mole and they disappear just as quickly. But why? There are of course the usual suspects: crowded market, subpar food and service, bad people management, or a lack of accounting skills. 

But we tend to overlook another critical factor: a small business owner’s individual lack of negotiating power.  

Big businesses – like the ones who reached out to us – have power, and power means they’ve got leverage. They’re in a much better position to espouse the same beliefs as us, but still dictate the terms.

For small businesses, it’s much harder because they’re truly at the mercy of of consumer spending. When a large company knocks on their door looking for a favor, there’s a fear that they need to compromise in the short-term to please the customer and lock-up the business long-term. 

But it never seems to work out that way. That initial discount, that early favor, becomes a permanent part of the business, and often acts as a gateway to other favors or special requests. The big company – which may in fact believe its furthering its mission of investing in the local community – instead exerts greater leverage over the small business. Instead of trading equal value for money, each special request turns into an implicit threat – “help us, or else…” 

Don’t these small businesses deserve at least the consideration of full price, just like any other company for their services. Would you even consider asking Apple for a free laptop? Hell no! Would you ask a lawyer for a free session when you know they need to invest a good amount of their time researching and reading about a specific case? Of course not.

Then why should you ask that of someone who’s working minimum wage? The chef works just as hard as the developer making your iPhone, or the lawyer researching your case. They’ve also spent years training and perfecting their skills and techniques.

We certainly applaud the increased focus in the past 12+ months on diversity, inclusion, and corporate social responsibility. But to do proper justice to any of these efforts, companies need to focus on the “responsibility” part. It’s not just about voicing your support for various causes, or shifting budget around to still hit your CSR goal while keeping short-term profits in check.

If you want to truly want to invest in diversity, inclusion, and CSR, you need empathy. In this case, where either you’re coordinating a meal with a small local vendor or asking FoodtoEat to curate it, you need empathy for your supply chain. What truly goes into the food that I’m ordering and how does it all come together?

Empathy for the supply chain

While a couple (sizeable) requests triggered this post, far more common are the requests for severely discounted options. A typical day at FoodtoEat involves explaining that there really is no respectable way to feed 250 people at $3 per person (seriously), or that no, entrees in NYC are not typically priced at $10 all-in (including tax and tip).

On one hand, we know that sometimes budgets get set at a higher level, so that’s all you have to work with. But on the other, if your job is to source diverse, delicious food that will truly elevate the experience of you and your coworkers, your budget can’t be fitted for the traditional “salad and sandwich” combo.

In the food business, asking for a really tight budget means you’re taking money out of someone’s pocket. To get a sense of what restaurant operators go through, here’s a list of the myriad costs they’re juggling. This is the full supply chain of your catering order: 

  • Rent: notoriously high for even the smallest shoebox. Restaurants can expect to pay $120 per-square-foot in Manhattan and trendy Brooklyn.
  • Utilities: water, electricity and gas. At peak efficiency, this – along with rent – comprises total occupancy, and should come in around 10 percent of monthly revenue. So if you’re paying $10k a month on occupancy, you need to be doing $100k in revenue.
  • Equipment: ovens, refrigerators, fryers, freezers, and dishwashers can cost from $100,000 to $300,000 or more. This is not accounting small devices like spatulas, pots, pans. storage containers, cutlery, thermometers, etc.
  • Technology: monthly subscriptions, installation and licensing fees for point of sale, the reservation system, online ordering / delivery, in-store wifi…each of these are essential pieces of the restaurant tech stack, but can quickly stack up to thousands of dollars in monthly recurring fees.
  • Seating, Renovations and Decorations: each restaurant never knows exactly how much of these items will cost them. There’s always the risk of leaks and electrical complications. Oh, and that’s after you’ve already paid up for chairs, tables, lighting, art, etc.
  • Salaries: The biggest line item – aside from rent – squeezing restaurants right now with minimum wage in NYC moving up to $15 an hour. Between front of house, back of house, delivery, etc., the costs here continue to rise.
  • Sales, Marketing and Advertising: with so much competition, restaurants have to start spreading the word before their doors even open. These expenses vary, but mainly include web design, menu development and social media. 
  • Licenses, Permits and State/City Requirements: restaurateurs looking to operate in New York city are subject to a number of permits and licenses like food protection, gas authorization, waste removal, food service establishment, etc.
  • Food Expenses: last but not least, at least 30% of the restaurant’s revenue gets eaten up on food and beverage costs given that it costs a week of produce around $600 for just 30 items.

Restaurants are mini factories – each one as numerous moving pieces that need to work in harmony to serve a great, consistent product…and any wrench in the works throws off the process and costs valuable time and money.

We’re not saying don’t have a $10 budget all-in. That’s totally fine. That’ll work for pizza or more cost-effective fast food options. But asking your local vendor – or a concierge service like FoodtoEat that coordinates everything for you – to satisfy a below-market request adds further pressure to a business that’s already dealing with its fair share.

Understanding the supply chain will deepen your empathy for a key aspect of the local community. And more importantly, emphasize the importance of paying a fair price for a high-quality product.

Collectively, we need to start valuing other people’s work and understand why it’s simply not acceptable to routinely ask for someone to provide their services for free. You can’t realistically say you invest or believe in social impact businesses, and then turn around and ask for an >80% discount on their services. 

We’re not saying that discounts are flat-out bullshit. Rather, there always needs to be an equivalent value of exchange – fair pay for fair work. 

Luckily, there are a few ways you can make this happen while still asking (and receiving) a discount.

Putting your money (or effort) where your mouth is

So now that we know the dynamics of why smaller businesses are at a disadvantage, what can we do about it? Here are some actionable tips to still achieve your CSR goals on a reasonable budget while not hampering the vendor.

To mitigate adding pressure to already thin margins, companies can instead exchange services. When there is a clear exchange of services, small restaurants/catering services can provide some services at cost or discounted. Some examples include:

  1. Speaker opportunity for the vendor at the event catered
  2. Provide the vendor with the contact information of attendees
  3. Create a dedicated post-event email
  4. Market the vendor through a dedicated social media post

You won’t get that 250-person catering for free, but maybe in-line with a more acceptable budget.

We already see this dynamic play out in personal dining – with influencers. When an influencer asks to eat at a restaurant at a discount, it’s a completely valid request, since they’re actively marketing the food and experience to their following. Because the influencer exposes the restaurant to potential customers, they in turn receive a tangible benefit. 

New York City is a culinary mecca, made up of so many of the small businesses that make our city so vibrant. And FoodtoEat loves promoting them. They are a part of our city’s culture, shaping us as global citizens and reminding us of the hard work and determination that comes with running any business. 

In our current social climate, supporting your local food community is more important than ever before. When so many factors divide us, food is a common denominator – a reason to come together and share different parts of ourselves, our cultures and our identities.

So from the bottom of our hearts, as part of the community of small businesses, stop taking advantage of our lack of power in the market. We’re not the biggest companies out there, but we’re a vital part of our social fabric, employing more people in this city – and country – than are larger counterparts, entrusted with sustaining peoples’ hearts, minds, and stomachs. 

How will you start utilizing your purchasing power to improve local communities around you?

0 comments on “Halloween Party at Work Never Looked So Easy”

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!

Decor

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)

Banana-Popsicles-for-Halloween  ghostkabob4

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!

0 comments on “The Common Mistakes Of Diversity and Inclusion Among Our Workplace”

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

 

0 comments on “Plant-Based Companies: The Disruptors of Today’s Era”

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!

0 comments on “Climate Change: It is real, and it is happening.”

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
0 comments on “Break bread together, not alone.”

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/
0 comments on “Mindful Meditation at Work: A Company’s Road to Success”

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
0 comments on “Get To Know Our Team: 20 Questions with Jaimie!”

Get To Know Our Team: 20 Questions with Jaimie!

Interested in learning more about the people who make the magic happen at FoodtoEat?! Here’s your chance! We’re giving you a behind the scenes look into our team and their personalities with a brief Q&A where they spill everything from their biggest fear to the most unusual thing they’ve ever eaten.

Next is Jaimie Adkins, our kickass saleswoman! Learn more about Jaimie below!

What’s your role at FoodtoEat?

I’m the Director of Business Development

What’s your favorite part of your job?

Creating a memorable experience for our clients and helping vendors grow their businesses.

What’s an accomplishment you’ve had at FoodtoEat that you’re really proud of?

Deepti (our founder) was asked to keynote an event called “Agents of Change” for IIDA, an architecture firm, at Lincoln Center. We also coordinated the catering through one of our local food vendors, Jaa Dijo Dom. At the event, Charles Chipengule, the owner of Jaa Dijo Dom, told me that it was surreal to be catering Lincoln Center, as it wasn’t long ago that he would be waiting here during the day with the homeless for his wife to pick him up after he got off of his shift as a dishwasher. And today he was catering Lincoln Center. Chills! That’s why we do what we do.

What’s something you worked on recently OR are working on right now that you’re excited about?

Our new partnership with Warby Parker! They’re so appreciative of the fact that our service helps them to streamline the food ordering process and the team is coming together to experience all kinds of new cuisines. As a company they have such a great mission; it’s so exciting to be feeding them!

Where did you grow up and where do you live now?

I grew up in beautiful Sussex County, New Jersey, home of Mountain Creek Ski Resort. Over the years, I’ve lived in San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia, Florida, and Alabama; and I’m currently back in my hometown!

What’s your favorite hobby?

Spending time outdoors: biking, kayaking, swimming, beaching

What’s something unique about you?

I’m a singer and a certified yoga instructor

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Palma de Mallorca

What’s your biggest pet peeve?

A disorganized fridge

What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done?

Recently, the Vertigo water slide at Mountain Creek.

What’s one thing you’re determined to do in your lifetime?

Go to Machu Picchu

What do you wish you knew more about?

Bitcoin

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Set your intention and be clear with your ask.

What are your top 3 favorite movies?

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Star Wars:  A New Hope and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

What’s your biggest fear?

Sharks

What’s one motto you try to live your life by?

Lead with kindness

What’s your food kryptonite?

Crème Brulee

What’s one food or food trend that you can never get behind?

Fried oreos

What’s your favorite restaurant?

Get Juiced in Sussex County, NJ

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve ever eaten?

Escargot