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THE U.S. SPOTLIGHT INDEX RESULTS ON NUTRITION

Before 2013, there was no easy way for consumers to track whether food and beverage corporations were focused on the public’s best interests. Fortunately, there are now several ways to hold the industry accountable. An online database called the Access to Nutrition Index (ATNI) was created by the Access To Nutrition Foundation (ATNF). This is a non-profit corporation based in the Netherlands and it’s funded primarily by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wellcome Trust, and the Children’s Investment Fund. The organization is completely devoted to making fair, unbiased assessments of food and beverage manufacturers based on their nutrition policies and approaches. Data comes from a variety of sources, including the World Health Organization (WHO).

In addition to the ATNI, there is now the U.S. Spotlight Index. This is a new ranking system that was developed in 2018 to give the stakeholders of major food and beverage manufacturers the ability to track companies’ responses to nutrition and food industry patterns around the world. There are two metrics by which major corporations are ranked: corporate profile and product profile.

A company’s corporate profile is scored based on their policies, practices, and transparency regarding affordable and healthy foods and beverages. The score takes into account several categories, such as quality, affordability, and accessibility, among others. The average Corporate Profile score was 3 out of 10. The Swiss company, Nestle, took the lead with a score of 5.3, Unilever was in second place (4.7) and PepsiCo placed third (4.4).

To score product profiles, they used a nutrient profiling system which ranked foods according to their nutritional composition. The focus was on preventing disease and promoting healthy living and companies were given a health star rating based on data. Conagra came in first with a score of 5.8. Kraft Heinz was a close second (5.6) and General Mills placed third (5.2).

The summary of the Spotlight Index outlined both their findings and their recommendations. The results showed that, although the United States has notoriously high levels of obesity-related diseases, existing food and beverage manufacturers still lack the necessary strategies to effectively address the issue. Companies are also not promoting healthy options for low-income and geographically-challenged consumers. The recommendations based on these findings were that lines of product choices need to include healthier options, and there needs to be an increase in availability for all economic and geographical groups. Businesses also need to work harder to market healthy food choices and they need to provide complete transparency. In addition, foods and beverages produced should aim to meet the dietary guidelines set forth by the US government.

This article was originally published at joshuawagschal.net.

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JUST WHAT EXACTLY IS NUTRITION?

Nutrition is the study of all the nutrients that come from the food we consume, how our bodies use those nutrients, and the connection between our overall health and our diet.

A nutritionist is a person who advises other people regarding the food they eat and how it impacts their overall health. Dieticians are also experts in nutrition and diet, but contrary to popular belief, a nutritionist is not the same as a dietician. There are regulatory laws in the US that dictate license and certification requirements before a dietitian can work in their field, and the job of nutritionist nowadays has evolved to merge with other industries, such as journalism and teaching. One thing that both nutritionists and dieticians understand is that the building blocks of nutrition fall into two main categories –  macro and micro. Macronutrients are ones we require in large amounts and can be further broken down into two groups – energy-producers and non-energy producers.

Energy-Producing Macronutrients

Energy macronutrients provide the human body with energy. The amount of energy is measured in kilocalories (kcal) and each macronutrient provides a different amount.

Carbohydrates – 4 kcal per gram

Carbohydrates provide the fuel your body and brain need in order to function from day to day. The carbohydrate family includes a variety of starches and sugars such as glucose, fructose, galactose, disaccharides, and polysaccharides. There are also “good” and “bad” carbs and those are determined by how nutrient-rich they are and how they affect the spikes in blood sugar during digestion. Carbs that take longer to digest are considered good because blood sugar remains steady, helping you feel fuller longer.

Proteins – 4 kcal per gram

Proteins are broken down inside the human body into smaller molecules called amino acids. There are two kinds – essential and nonessential. Nonessential amino acids are made naturally by the human body. Essential amino acids are not produced naturally by the human body so they need to be consumed in other ways.

Fats – 9 kcal per gram

Fats are called triglycerides because they are composed of three molecules of fatty acid around one molecule of glycerol. They are necessary to help absorb vitamins, reduce inflammation, lubricate joints, maintain brain health, and help certain organs produce hormones.

Non-Energy Producing Macronutrients

Fiber

Despite being made of mostly complex carbs, fiber is not easily absorbed by the body. Because of this, the sugars and starches that come from these carbohydrates don’t enter the bloodstream the way that plain carbohydrates do. Fiber aids in the process of digestion and helps clear bacteria from the colon, lowering the risk of colon cancer.

Water

About 70 percent of the human body is composed of water. It is essential for flushing out toxins and keeping cells hydrated, as well as aiding in digestion.

Micronutrients

Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals. While not as large, they are still vital to the human body. They help mend injuries and sustain the immune system. Micronutrients can be found in supplement form but experts agree they are better consumed in a whole food state, such as in dark leafy vegetables or vibrantly colored fruit. The general rule of thumb is that darker foods are healthier and have more nutrients.

This article was originally published at joshuawagschal.net.

How Much Is Too Much? Sharing Company Information with Your Employees

One dilemma many new entrepreneurs and small business owners face is in knowing how much information to share with their employees. This is an especially large concern today, because many young professionals are looking for employers who offer more transparency. While this doesn’t mean you should share every detail about the operation of your business, there are a few factors to consider in deciding just what information to share with your employees.

 

Is the Information Confidential or Sensitive?

There is definitely information that should be available only to a select few individuals within the organization. This includes confidential information, such as the secret ingredients in a patented formula or recipe. Additionally, plans to fire or promote an employee should be considered sensitive and should only be shared with those involved in the determination. However, anything that doesn’t fall into one of these two categories should be readily available to your employees.

 

Can the Information Connect Your Organization?

Another consideration to consider is how the information will affect your employees. While keeping company goals and methods on a need to know basis can often divide workers and make them feel alienated, sharing information will help you to bring everyone together. When you’re more open about the objectives of the company and how each department contributes towards reaching that goal, everyone will feel more involved in the company.

 

Will Sharing Information Contribute to a Positive Work Environment?

The information you decide to share should not be presented in a way that minimizes the accomplishments of your employees. If the information can’t be shared in a way that doesn’t come off as boastful or condescending, it may be better to keep that information to yourself. The goal of sharing should always be to promote a team atmosphere and to encourage pride in the organization as a whole. This can often be a judgment call on your part, so let your intuition guide you.

 

Generally, most information can and should be shared with your employees. Greater transparency helps everyone understand the plans for the company and how their individual tasks contribute to the company’s growth. It will also encourage your employees to get more involved in the organization, if they feel more like valued team members. You can achieve this by instituting a more open policy of information sharing, whenever it seems appropriate.

 

Originally posted at JoshuaWagschal.com

The 5 Best Bulk Foods to Buy

When someone wants to save money on her groceries or have extra food supplies during the winter, there are several nutritious bulk foods available. These types of foods will remain fresh for several months and are often sold in larger containers. Here are some of the best bulk foods to keep in a home’s kitchen cupboard.

 

Nuts

 

If someone enjoys eating nuts, then she can find this food in the original shells to maintain its freshness. Shoppers can find almonds, walnuts and cashews at local supermarkets. Keep the bags of nuts in a cool and dry environment in containers that prevent infestation from pests. Make sure to have tools for cracking the nuts along with picking the nut meat from the shells.

 

Rice

 

Rice is a low-cost bulk food that can last for several months when it is stored in the correct environment. A shopper can find brown, white or specialty varieties of rice at a supermarket to cook in an assortment of recipes. This cooked food is suitable for serving at breakfast, lunch or dinner.

 

Dried or Canned Beans

 

Canned or dried beans can provide essential protein during a power outage that prevents the storage of perishable meats. The best way to find bulk-priced beans is by looking for large plastic bags or cans of this food at nearby supermarkets. A cook must understand how to soak the dried beans in clean water for several hours before cooking the foods alone or with other ingredients.

 

Pasta

 

Pasta is an excellent food to buy in bulk because it is versatile and remains fresh for several months. There are whole-grain and white flour pastas that are sold in huge cardboard boxes or plastic bags. It is possible to combine pasta with other foods to create a nutritious and filling meal during an emergency situation.

 

Dried Fruit

 

While fresh fruit has a short shelf life, dried fruit can last for several months, making it a great choice for long-term storage. Supermarkets have bags of single or mixed dried fruits such as raisins, oranges or cherries.

 

Originally posted at JoshuaWagschal.net

The Important Truth for All Entrepreneurs

Taking the step toward entrepreneurship is often an intimidating process, particularly when you stop to think about the possibilities of failure. While no one can guarantee your success, there are steps you can take to ensure a better chance of success. This means being mindful of your thoughts and deviating from self-defeating philosophies.

 

Put Your Business Ahead of Your Needs

Sure, it would be nice to be able to say you did it all by yourself, but that road often leads to failure. While your specific product or service may be your brainchild, getting it in front of the public will require a team effort. Don’t be afraid to hire professionals with the expertise to help you build a better business.

 

Wealth Should Not Be Your Goal

Your business might earn you millions or it might not, but that goal in itself shouldn’t be your primary focus. Your true objective should be to supply a product that makes the world a better place. If you can do that and the public is attracted to your business because of it, some degree of success will surely follow.

 

Don’t Let Your Fear of Failure Inhibit You

Some people are reluctant to sell to family and friends out of a fear of being ridiculed. If every entrepreneur had that mindset, our society would never have advanced as far as it has in such a short time. Take every opportunity to pitch your product, because you never know when that next sale will happen.

 

Don’t Discount Your Most Valuable Resource

Your most valuable resource is your customer and listening to their feedback will help you improve your product. As passionately as you believe in your product, it’s not perfect and others may have better insight into how it might be improved. By listening to customer feedback and implementing changes that make sense to you, you’ll be boosting the marketability of your product.

 

Your approach to your business will help determine your entrepreneurial success just as much as more practical resources. For that reason, you should train yourself to be fully aware of your mindset each and every day. By taking a more positive mindset and treating your business like a living and evolving entity, you’ll ensure it will grow at a steady rate into the future.

 

Originally posted at JoshuaWagschal.com

3 Tips for Working Remotely

Working remotely is becoming more and more of a trend as our technology advances. It gives both you and the company more freedom, and fewer expenses, in terms of traveling and office space. But when you work from home, it can be difficult to stay motivated, especially when there’s no one else in your vicinity.

 

Here are a few suggestions on making the most of your day and remaining engaged, even when you’re not in the office:

 

Find your routine.

We all function better with some semblance of consistency. It keeps us organized and focused, and when you work remotely, the more routine you can rely on, the better off you’ll be. Finding your routine means you’ll be able to get into “work mode” more easily than if you just do whatever you feel like doing every day. You’ll be more productive, and if you change workspaces, you’ll still have your routine to fall back on even in a new space.

 

Get dressed.

This one is so much bigger than people realize. Although the temptation to work in your pajamas will be there, make the active choice to change and get dressed before you start working for the day. It’ll change your entire mentality, and it’ll help you get more in “work mode.” It’ll even boost your confidence, because when you look put-together, you generally feel better about yourself and the work you complete that day. Do yourself a favor and make sure to get dressed for each day, even if the only other person you’ll see that day is your roommate.

 

Minimize distractions: physical and mental.

It’s too easy to get distracted nowadays, when entertainment is as simple as opening a new window to watch a YouTube video. Keep your desktop clear, your mind focused, and know where everything is so you’re not frantically searching for the right folder. Make sure your physical desk is organized, too, because otherwise you’ll be distracted by the clutter, and then you won’t work as well.

 

And, on that note, make sure you actually have a space specifically for work, to help you get into that workspace. Doing work in bed might sound relaxing, but the truth is, you won’t be able to focus as well because a nap would just be so easy. Don’t do it. Find your space and organize it. Put your phone on airplane mode if you need to, or a website blocker if you know you’re going to hop over to Buzzfeed every five minutes. There are a ton of tools at your disposal to help with the digital aspect of this. You might as well use them!

 

Originally posted at JoshuaWagschal.com

The 5 Most Nutritious Vegetables

When shopping for groceries at the supermarket, you will want to select the most nutritious vegetables to obtain the highest levels of minerals and vitamins. But with so many choices and articles about which vegetables to choose, there can be some uncertainty. Fortunately, researchers have determined that there are several vegetables that offer the best nutrient levels.

 

Broccoli

 

Look for fresh or frozen broccoli at a local supermarket to add it to salads or to create a side dish. Cooks can also use broccoli to make a cheesy soup for a cold autumn day. Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamin C, calcium and iron, and can be used in a wide variety of dishes.

 

Spinach

 

Spinach is a dark leafy green vegetable that many individuals have only eaten cooked, but they don’t like the flavor. However, cooks can use raw spinach in other ways, including on sandwiches or in salads. If an individual can’t eat wheat bread, then she can make roll up sandwiches using large spinach leaves. Spinach is high in iron and antioxidants.

 

Brussels Sprouts

 

Brussels sprouts look like tiny cabbages, but this vegetable has a milder flavor. Cooks can find frozen or fresh Brussels sprouts at a grocery store at anytime of the year. This vegetable is low in calories, but it contains vitamin C, iron and magnesium. In addition to boiling Brussels sprouts in water, cooks can bake this vegetable in a variety of recipes.

 

Sweet Potatoes

 

Sweet potatoes contain more nutrients than white potatoes, and cooks can prepare these potatoes in similar ways. It is possible to bake or mash sweet potatoes for meals, and these vegetables contain an assortment of nutrients such as vitamins A and C along with magnesium and calcium.

 

Carrots

 

Shoppers can find carrots in a supermarket at anytime of the year, and this is a versatile vegetable that anyone can eat raw or cooked. There are numerous recipes that include tasty carrots that contain nutrients such as vitamin C, iron and protein. A shopper can find fresh, frozen or canned carrots for his recipes.

 

Peppers

 

There are numerous types of peppers at local supermarkets, including hot and sweet varieties. Shoppers can find peppers in several colors such as red, orange, yellow or green. Peppers are eaten cooked or raw, and supermarkets often have frozen chopped peppers.

 

Originally posted on JoshuaWagschal.net!