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Health Packaged Food

KIND Announces KIND HEROES to support Mental Health

Although the coronavirus crusade continues, humanity has somehow managed to achieve some semblance of normalcy. The strength we exhibit during difficult times should be no surprise, there’s no match for our togetherness.

Much of this strength can be owed to those who work on the frontlines, day in and day out, risking their lives to ensure our health and safety. Commendably, we’ve done well expressing our thanks to essential works through billboards, commercials and community initiatives. One area that has received less consideration though, is the impact frontline work has had on their mental health. Imagine having to do your job in an atmosphere of uncertainty for months on end, all while being expected to maintain a semblance of strength.  

To help bring more awareness and support to the mental health crisis frontline workers face, KIND is launching a multi-faceted project named KIND HEROES. A recent study by JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association) found that over 50% of physicians working on the frontlines felt depressed. With no clear end in sight to the pandemic, and without sufficient support, continual trauma is likely.

The KIND HEROES initiative will donate 100% of proceeds to NAMI, the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization. They plan to pledge a minimum donation of $25,000, matched by an additional $25,000 from The KIND Foundation that supports mental health programs for our true American heroes such as healthcare workers, first responders, military service members and veterans.

KIND HEROES was inspired by a survey conducted by The KIND Foundation’s Frontline Impact Project, a platform which directs donated resources to workers on the frontlines of COVID-19 and other natural disasters. Results revealed an increase in mental health challenges for essential workers, following PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), mental health resources were cited as the most important need.


You can show your support for our American heroes on October 6th, when the KIND HEROES bar releases online and at select retail stores.

Categories
Health Packaged Food

This ‘Dream Honey’ Is Made To Help You Sleep

In May 2020, Sleep Standards conducted a survey with 1,015 respondents in the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 70 on their sleep habits during lockdown. The results have found that a whopping 98% of Americans have developed new sleep problems post lockdown. Further, 68% feel stress or find it hard to sleep during these times.

Though the high percentages of those that have trouble sleeping are quite startling, the current state of the world and the anxieties brought on by it come as no surprise. Simply put, we need help to fall and stay asleep.

Enter Potli’s new ‘Dream Honey’, designed with a special formula that includes CBN, CBD, and either melatonin or THC to promote deep, restful sleep. The effectiveness of the honey lies in CBN, a minor cannabinoid known to inhibit optimized sleep. The raw honey itself is from wildflower and harvested from their own proprietary bee hives. For specifics, 120mg of CBN and 6mg of melatonin are in there to help you fall asleep, while 60mg of CBD help you stay asleep.

I tried the ‘Dream Honey’ myself, given my own struggles with sleeping and I found it to be beneficial in what seemed like a rejuvenating night’s worth of sleep. It’s been a long while since I’ve felt that, making me a believer in the honey’s abilities.

Shop ‘Dream Honey’ on Potli.com now, with a 4oz jar of hemp-derived honey priced at $32 and a 4oz jar of cannabis-derived honey going for $40.

Categories
Fast Food Health

Ireland Supreme Court Says Subway Bread Isn’t Bread

There’s something about Subway bread that’s always so addicting. I always chalked it up to extreme hunger every time I order from the fast-food sandwich chain. Turns out that there’s something in the bread. 

CBS News reports that a recent ruling by the Ireland Supreme Court deemed that Subway bread isn’t technically bread at all. 

A tax dispute from an Irish Subway franchisee, Bookfinders Ltd., brought forth this decision after they argued that items such as teas, coffees, and heated sandwiches should not be subjected to value-added tax. 

The appeal was rejected earlier this week by a panel of judges and ruled that the bread at Subway had way too much sugar to be considered a “staple food.” Staple foods are typically not taxed. 

To be considered “bread,” the sugar content in the flour cannot exceed 2%. Subway’s contained 10%.

Maybe that’s why I find their bread so delicious. 

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Food Policy Grocery Health Packaged Food Science Sweets

Berkeley Passes ‘Healthy Checkout’ Bill, Clearing Junk Food From Checkout Aisles

Photo: David Tonelson // Shutterstock

The checkout aisle of grocery stores isn’t home to just a cash register; there’s also a variety of candies, chips, and sweets you can pick up. This front of store promotion is often where kids of all ages can get their sugar cravings satisfied, but also helps push and market junk food products.

If you could change the products available in the checkout aisle to be less caloric and sugar-laden, it might have an effect in helping combat obesity. The city of Berkeley is willing to give that a shot, as they became the first city to pass a “healthy checkout” bill.

The new law, as reported by the San Jose Mercury News, applies to grocery stores larger than 2,500 square feet. It restricts products available at the checkout stands to those with no more than 5 grams of added sugar or less than 250 milligrams of sodium per serving.

Junk food itself isn’t banned in these stores, and could be found in the regular candy, chips, or snacks sections. This law just takes that prime product placement section and has stores give better-for-you options a shot in that area.

Policymakers hope that the new ordinance helps redefine what “treating yourself” means when picking up convenient snacks on the way out of the store. Replacing candy bars and the like with better-for-you snack bars, fruits, nuts, and more could help encourage healthier snacking habits.

Berkeley is known for establishing precedent for laws involving nutrition and sustainability that get passed elsewhere. Their 2014 soda tax, for example, has led to similar actions in other parts of the United States.

How this law will change snacking habits, and whether it catches on nationwide, will be seen when it goes into effect in March 2021. Enforcement via health inspections will begin in 2022.

Categories
Food Policy Health

Free Meals Schools Have Been Serving Through The Pandemic Extended Through 2020

One of the major concerns of the coronavirus pandemic is how to get kids the meals they would normally have at school. Some of this was accounted for through districts that have been giving free meals to all children under the age of 18, regardless of eligibility for the free and reduced lunch program.

This was achieved thanks to waivers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that allowed all schools to serve free breakfast and lunch to children. Those waivers end on August 31st, at which point schools would have to start charging for meals and tracking meal debt for those unable to pay again.

However, as the pandemic rages on and the deadlines on those waivers fast approaching, there’s no sign that the government is going to renew or extend those waivers.

Photo: Annie Spratt // Unsplash

According to The Counter, lawmakers asked the USDA on August 14th to extend those regulatory waivers, which would allow schools to continue providing free breakfasts and lunches for students. In a letter dated August 20th, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue stated that he could not honor the request, saying that “the scope of this request is beyond what USDA currently has the authority to implement and would be closer to a universal school meals program which Congress has not authorized or funded.”

The initial waivers were funded by the Families First Coronavirus Act, one of the early rounds of funding passed by Congress. However, with current negotiations on any new stimulus packages at an impasse, it’s unclear whether any money will be made available to continue to allow kids to get those meals.

Perdue claims that there are “already opportunities… for children in need,” seemingly suggesting that charities and nonprofits could pick up for where schools had been providing before.

A perspective review paper in the New England Journal of Medicine, published in April 2020, suggests that interruptions of these programs to families in need could hamper households in both the short and long term, decreasing immunity (and increasing the risk to contract diseases) as well as decreasing health and academic performance of children in those households.

Unless the USDA reverses its decision by August 31st and decides to extend those waivers, meals will be distributed under the old free and reduced lunch standards once again. For those who have already been struggling during coronavirus, this could present an even bigger challenge.

If waivers are not extended, families would need to wait until Congress returns from recess and agrees on a coronavirus stimulus package to see if funding could be extended to allow those waivers, and free meals from schools, to continue.

UPDATE: On August 31st, the USDA moved to allow free meals from schools to continue through the end of 2020, as long as funding allows it.

Categories
Food Policy Grocery Health Packaged Food Sweets

Mexico’s New Junk Food Labels Face Fierce Opposition From U.S., Other World Powers

In October 2020, Mexico is poised to take a monumental step forward to combat junk food and obesity issues the country faces. Already, black octagon labels are showing up on the front packaging of food products that warn of foods with excessive calories, sugar, salt, and saturated or trans fat.

Photo: Erick Schmal // MexicanElite on Instagram

These labels are designed to meet requirements the Mexican government will enforce starting in October: requirements that, apparently, the US and other world powers oppose.

Photo: Erick Schmal // MexicanElite on Instagram

According to Reuters, a meeting minutes document from the World Trade Organization shows the US, Canada, the European Union, and Switzerland trying to persuade Mexico to delay their labeling enforcement for anywhere from 1-2 years.

The United States, for example, expressed support to combat obesity, but thinks the regulations are “more trade restrictive than necessary to meet Mexico’s legitimate health objectives,” arguing that “Mexico has chosen more stringent nutrient thresholds than the thresholds set by other countries.”

Photo: Erick Schmal // MexicanElite on Instagram

All of the countries supported a delay, with reasoning behind it being the impact of COVID-19 on the food and beverage industry. A Mexican government official told Reuters that they objected to delaying the rules.

Laws that combat obesity and reveal high-calorie and junk foods are gaining more traction globally. Chile was one of the first to introduce such laws in 2016, and saw a reduction in the consumption of sugary drinks by 23%. Some American cities, including Berkeley, have also implemented sugar taxes in recent years that showed similar results. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also found that regulations such as these are instrumental in reducing obesity globally.

The United States itself has food labeling regulations that require added sugars to be marked in the Nutrition Facts, but the Trump Administration’s FDA has indefinitely delayed enforcement of the labels.

Photo: Erick Schmal // MexicanElite on Instagram

Lobbyist groups from both the United States and Canada have also put pressure on Mexico for these laws in the past. Mexico first passed the legislation in October of 2019, giving the industry a year to make the labeling changes.

Initial rules in the now-ratified US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) would have prevented any front-of-packaging labeling of the sort to be issued. While this did not make it into the final agreement following media attention to the rules, the finalized version still has a clause that “technical regulations concerning labels… do not create unnecessary obstacles to trade.”

The United States is a known bully when it comes to food packaging labeling, having challenged multiple countries over their laws in the past, claiming them to be a threat to US trade and business interests. According to the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, USA officials criticized multiple countries for such regulations in their most recent National Trade Estimate report.

Canada, who has its own front-of-packaging law, is already facing such challenges from US and Canadian lobbyist groups over its rules.

Photo: Erick Schmal // MexicanElite on Instagram

Combatting junk food through labeling has already proven to have a significant effect in reducing obesity. Mexico is taking a stronger approach than most countries, including local trading partners like the US, with its new regulations, leading to such political pressure.

We’ll have to see if any more challenges come to Mexico’s legislation as the October enforcement of the labeling draws nearer.

Categories
Health Science

Study Suggests Eating Kimchi Could Help Protect Against Covid-19

As scientists have been scrambling for potential treatments and vaccines to combat against the COVID-19 pandemic, some have begun testing different unique foods that could play a role in disease prevention.

One food, kimchi, has shown in an early study to be a possible food that could help protect against COVID-19 when consumed.

The pre-printed study took a look at data of death rates from different countries and found that those that eat fermented vegetables, including fermented cabbage products, tended to have a lower death rate. The countries surveyed in this study were European ones, but authors noted that this could be similar for other countries with lots of fermented vegetables in their diets, which includes kimchi.

One could infer from these results that kimchi, sauerkraut, and other fermented cabbage products could help in protection against the disease as a result.

Scientifically, the theory behind this is that fermented vegetables like cabbages have high antioxidant activity, and can inhibit an entry point for coronavirus into the cells called the ACE-2 pathway. ACE-2 is a protein on the membranes of cells that some coronaviruses, including the one responsible for this outbreak, can enter the cell through.

Could eating more kimchi and other fermented cabbage products help prevent you from getting COVID-19? It’s possible, but this study was done to establish some possible hypotheses on how diets could affect the spread of the pandemic. That means that while the possibility is there, now is the time for massive epidemiological research to prove that it’s actually the case.

Categories
Grocery Health Science

Walmart Requiring Face Masks To Enter Starting July 20th

Walmart has added on to the growing list of retailers implementing face mask requirements for customers to help limit the spread of COVID-19 in the United States.

Photo: ungvar // Shutterstock

Starting on July 20th, all Walmart customers will need to be wearing a face mask to gain entry into stores to shop. Walmart will be deploying trained “Health Ambassadors” to remind guests of the new requirements.

At Walmart’s Costco-like subsidiary, Sam’s Club, complimentary masks will be available for members, who can also purchase face masks inside of the store.

Walmart has cited the CDC in their decision to add this policy, saying that “face coverings help decrease the spread of COVID-19, and because the virus can be spread by people who don’t have symptoms and don’t know they are infected, it’s critically important for everyone to wear a face covering in public and social distance.”

The new policy was announced the same day that Starbucks’ own face mask requirements are scheduled to take effect. It also comes shortly after CDC Director Robert Redfield stated that if everyone wore face masks and practiced social distancing, COVID-19 could be controlled within 1-2 months.