Go Ahead… Pick Your WIC!!

Well, I am currently in full swing of rotations! As of right now, I am rotating in the morning at Taziki’s Mediterranean Café for Institutional Foodservice and at West Virginia’s Monongalia County WIC office in the afternoons.

WIC is available for so many different types of families. The program is available to married and single parents, working or non-working, those receiving other types of aid or not participating in any other programs. Even if you are a grandparent, foster parent, or other legal guardian of a child under the age of 5, you can even apply for WIC.

WIC is available to expecting mothers, up until 6 months after the end of their pregnancy. Infants are categorized in another group and covered from birth – 5 months old. Children are covered from 11 months – 5 years of age. And throughout their childhood, they have appointments every 6 months.

Today marked my “official” first day at the WIC office. Every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, the Mon. County WIC schedules their nutrition clinics to see participants for follow-up and new client assessments. This afternoon, I observed a Registered Dietitian at WIC, assess 4 different appointments.

Each participant with a nutrition clinic appointment attends or completes an online nutrition education class 3 months prior to their appointment. The nutrition education classes cover a variety of topics like infant nutrition, nutrition during pregnancy, and shopping on a limited budget. Within the participant’s assessments, WIC RDs ask the parent(s)/proxy, who may also be the primary food preparer, a series of assessment questions. More importantly, these questions should spark a conversation with the participant(s) to try and get the most information about the nutritional status of the client. The suggested assessment questions are broken into three categories: women, infant, and children… How fitting!

Once the participants are seen and finished their clinic appointment, they are given food vouchers which can be used at WIC-approved stores. These vouchers are designated for specific foods through the WIC program. Here are some types of foods that are WIC-approved:

        Milk- Whole milk during infancy, 2% or less during childhood

        Cheese

        Infant Cereal

        Fresh Fruits

        Eggs

        Peanut Butter

        Infant Formula

        Fresh Vegetables

        Juice

        Canned Fish

        Beans

        Whole Grains Breads

        Cereal

        Baby Food

        Soy Milk

Participants receive certain foods based on their individual nutritional needs. If for any reason, mothers are incapable of breastfeeding their infant, WIC provides vouchers for formula. Yes, WIC is major advocate of breastfeeding but, sometimes women are not physically able to do so. Formula that WIC offers is grouped into 3 categories:

1.     Powder: Powder formula that is combined with water, usually cereal formula.

2.     Concentrate: Liquid formula combined with water, usually producing a bubbling effect. This formula may not be best choice for a child with nutritional problems like spitting up or reflux.

3.     Ready-to-Feed: Requires no addition of water.

The WIC is to improve the health of participants by providing the following benefits:

        Nutrition Workshops on a Variety of Topics

        Breastfeeding Support

        Nutritious Foods

        Referrals to Other Health and Social Service Agencies

Overall, I think the first day went really well. I still have a lot to learn and honestly, I’m soaking up the entire experience. I have a list of other projects that I will be completing at WIC so; I’ll have much more to talk about in the upcoming weeks!

A laminated visual that an RD at WIC has on-hand to show clients at appointments.

A laminated visual that an RD at WIC has on-hand to show clients at appointments.

Information that is provided within one of WIC's several pamphlets for participants, based by age of child/infant.

Information that is provided within one of WIC’s several pamphlets for participants, based by age of child/infant.

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Our Healthy Roadtrip

Our Healthy Roadtrip

This past week, I had yet another Extended Community Action Team meeting. Within this meeting, I have 3 undergraduates on my Action Team. They each represent a different aspect of community nutrition off-campus in the Morgantown, WV surrounding area. One of those interns is responsible for community nutrition education at the Shack Neighborhood House. Since we instilled a rainbow nutrition curriculum last semester, I wanted to try something a little different.

I remembered a show that Rachel Ray hosted, where she would travel the country and try different foods and restaurants based on that region and she was on a budget. So, since the ISPP Dietetic Interns most recently were solely responsible for a successful food culture nutrition and culinary education class… I thought this could be like a food culture program but, only within the US. So, out came the new nutrition education curriculum called “Our Healthy Roadtrip”. Each week, for 6 weeks, students from the Human Nutrition & Foods department at West Virginia University will educate children in grades 3-5 on different food culture based on different regions of the country. Then, they will focus on one specific food and have a snack and interactive activity corresponding with the curriculum.  This new program starts on March 4th and will continue until mid-April. I think the students at the Shack Neighborhood House will really get a better sense of the country and what it has to offer, in regards to nutrition and food culture as a whole.

The location of our new nutrition education curriculum!

The location of our new nutrition education curriculum!

A poster I created that will be on display at the SNH for the remainder of the programming!

A poster I created that will be on display at the SNH for the remainder of the programming!

 

Community Wellness Action Team Meeting

Undergraduate Action Team Meeting

Well, let’s see… As the Community Wellness ISPP (Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway) Dietetic Intern, it’s my responsibility to get my Action Team in the community and promoting nutrition education and overall healthy thinking and decision-making by Morgantown’s population. So, for this meeting that took place on Monday February 11th at 5:30pm on WVU’s Evansdale campus, we had a mapped out plan of what we needed to address and where we need to go, in terms of community wellness.

WV Action For Healthy Kids (AFHK) Undergraduate intern:

The Shack Neighborhood House Undergraduate Intern:

  • We’ve decided that most of our projects/presentations that we work on in our group, we will work as a team. I made this very clear at the very first meeting. I want to make sure everyone is involved with everything. That being said, an after-school nutrition education program was assigned to this Undergrad intern. Thankfully, the intern has help from our Community Wellness Action Team. So, I already had the thought in my mind that I wanted an after-school program based on something similar to a Rachel Ray show where she travels around the country. I wanted to implement a program where children at the Shack Neighborhood House can get the opportunity at becoming exposed to different regions of the country and still have that nutrition component as well. So, we created a program called “Our Healthy Roadtrip”. This program will last 6 weeks long and be held every Monday from 4:15pm-5:15pm. Our start date is March 4th and we’ll need a minimum of 2 volunteers for every lesson. Each lesson will consist of a nutrition education component, a section on exposure to that specific region’s food habits, and then a snack and interactive activity for the students.
  • Another project is organizing the Oxfam Hunger Banquet, that the Undergrad intern has named Mountaineering Against Hunger. Right now the beginning process is in effect where committees are filling up. Then, once these 3 committees are fulfilled, then further actions like venue planning and food donations can take place.
  • Other projects and events that our Action Team is in the process of organizing is Father’s HAND, Cross-Country Casserole Club, and Family Fun Night.

The Children’s Discovery Museum of West Virginia Undergraduate Intern

  • All of the events for the CDMWV for the semester are, for the most part, set in stone and already organized. It is this intern’s responsibility to complete these tasks and delegate any other duties needed. This Undergrad intern is working with another Graduate student on developing a program called “Healthy Passport”.
  • I also assigned this intern to develop a timeline of all events that take place at the CDMWV throughout the entire semester. This way, we can organize, and possibly even collaborate with another organization, other events and programming within the Morgantown, WV area.

As a Community Wellness Action Team I have decided that we will have our own National Nutrition Month campaign. National Nutrition Month is celebrated throughout the entire month of March and this year’s theme is “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day”. Specifically, March 13th is National Registered Dietitian (RD) Day.

Sooo…… I think I somewhat caught my team off guard by telling them my idea. I want us to use guerrilla marketing with National Nutrition Month and utilize the Student Dietetic Association to do so. My plan is to recruit HN&F students to draw USDA’s MyPlates ALL over the Morgantown area, specifically on all 3 campuses, in different colored sidewalk chalk. And I plan on having people doing so on a daily basis, in case weather prevents us from our guerrilla nutrition parade. Then, on March 19th, the Student Dietetic Association will have a table outside of the Mountainlair on the downtown campus and have a GIANT MyPlate drawing in front of our table on the ground. At our table we’ll have lot of fun interactive nutrition activities, handouts, healthy recipes, healthy snacks, and food guide pyramids from all over the world, including USDA’s MyPlate- of course. I think this will be a really innovative and unique approach at National Nutrition Month (NNM)  and promoting health awareness on a large scale.

USDA MyPlate Food Guide

USDA MyPlate Food Guide

One of the intern's assigned projects

One of the intern’s assigned projects

The Shack Neighborhood House. A primary stakeholder within our program!

The Shack Neighborhood House. A primary stakeholder within our program!

WV AFHK is a stakeholder within our ISPP Dietetic Internship

WV AFHK is a stakeholder within our ISPP Dietetic Internship

The Children's Discovery Museum of WV collaborates with our program for special eventing and nutrition programming on several different levels.

The Children’s Discovery Museum of WV collaborates with our program for special eventing and nutrition programming on several different levels.

This year's NNM theme for 2013

This year’s NNM theme for 2013

 

 

 

 

Food Allergens and Restaurants

Restaurant Owners and Food Allergies

Chef Ming Tsai remembers ordering a sandwich without bread for his then-3-year-old son David because the toddler was allergic to seven of the eight most common food allergens. Tsai approached the restaurant manager, a man in a suit and tie standing off to the side.

“He just looked at me and said, ‘We’d rather not serve him,'” Tsai said, adding that waiters and restaurant managers used to roll their eyes when he mentioned David’s food allergies. “Don’t open a restaurant if you don’t know what’s in your food. This is absurd.”

From that day on, Tsai made it his mission to promote allergy awareness. He developed an allergy safety system in his restaurant, Blue Ginger in Wellesley, Mass. He became the spokesman for the nonprofit Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FARE). He worked with the Massachusetts state legislature for five years on an allergy safety bill.

David went into anaphylactic shock during Tsai’s father-in-law’s 70th birthday, Tsai said. He was in the kitchen preparing roast tenderloin for 80 guests when the babysitter accidentally gave 5-year-old David whole milk instead of rice milk.

“David comes down and says, ‘My throat is itchy, and it’s tightening up,'” Tsai said. “You could tell in his eyes that he’s not overreacting here.”

David’s breathing became labored, and Tsai’s wife, a nurse, sprang to action and jammed an EpiPen in David’s leg.

“That was the most horrible scream I ever heard in my life,” he said. “My body still tingles from that scream.”

“My first reaction was that’s a really unfunny joke from upstairs,” he said. “I couldn’t wait to cook for my kid. That was my dream.”

Eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts, and wheat make up 90 percent of food allergies, according to a 2008 CDC report that found an 18 percent rise in children diagnosed with food allergies between 1997 and 2007.

As David grew up, Tsai said it was especially hard to visit restaurants, something he loved to do as a kid. As allergies and allergy awareness have become more prevalent, he said people’s attitudes have shifted. He usually serves between 6 and 10 tables a night with some kind of food allergy, and he’s happy to do it.

———-

As you can tell by the story of Chef Tsai, food allergies have become all too common in society today. With the increase in food allergies among people, especially in children, parents are becoming more educated and becoming proactive on the issue at hand. People like Chef Tsai are even becoming advocates for food allergies. This being said, this is why Chef Tsai put a solid effort into becoming an advocate for food allergies and pushed for this bill to be passed.

http://www.mass.gov/legis/bills/senate/185/st02/st02701.htm

This is why, in my opinion, more restaurants in America should take a role in nutrition education. If more restaurants would identify food allergens on their menus, both in-house and out-of-house, this could potentially save children from hospitals visits, parents from stress and worry, and healthcare costs across the country.

This being said, the WVU Human Nutrition & Foods is currently working on a food allergens project with a restaurant in the Morgantown, WV area. We were approached by the restaurant, Taziki’s Mediterranean Café, to identify their food allergens on their menu. The restaurant is owned and operated by the College of Business and Economics at WVU and was donated by a B&E alumni who not only promotes entrepreneurship but, also promotes fresh hospitality. This alumni’s company, called Fresh Hospitality, is joining the HN&F department and proactively making positive changes to address food allergens.

http://www.freshhospitality.net/

Hopefully, other restaurants and chains will see companies like Fresh Hospitality, making conscious efforts on their menus to address nutrition issues, like food allergies, and make changes themselves. When other restaurants begin to catch on to these healthy trends that the rest of American restaurants are beginning to adopt, WVU’s HN&F department will be here to help out every way we can!

http://www.foodallergy.org/section/about

http://community.kidswithfoodallergies.org/

http://www.foodallergy.org/files/WVGuidelines.pdf

http://wvde.state.wv.us/nutrition/calculator.html

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/food-allergy-awareness-chef-ming-tsai-inspired-son/story?id=17879455#.UMEqi4bJpqQ

food allergies

fresh hosp