Moving about Alaska
Including Produce in Your Diet While Living in AK
Fresh Produce in Anchorage: The Reality
Alaska is listed as the second most expensive state to buy food in, shortly behind Hawaii, and continues to be ranked amongst the cities with the lowest access to fresh fruit and vegetables 1,2. Most of the fresh produce in Alaska is grown in other parts of the world and due to the travel time, a short growing season, and lack of farmland, food insecurity (uncertain or limited access to food on a regular basis) is a serious problem in Alaska. The cost of groceries for a family of four in Anchorage ranges from and estimated $700 -- $1,800 3,4 per month. Even those who are not suffering from food insecurity, buying quality produce is expensive and frustrating. Unless you have a specific plan for the fresh produce that you are buying and are going to use it in the next couple of days (especially fruit or berries), it will most likely spoil before it gets eaten. Given the circumstances, what are our options?
1. Frozen Vegetables: <view entire article>
When I was a kid, I often lost or forgot my coat (somehow) in the Winter. You would think that with it being overly cold here in Alaska, I would be careful not to forget something so important, right? The biggest pitfall that a kid without a coat should encounter is getting cold. In my neighborhood, that wasn't true. In my neighborhood, there was Mr. Smith (name changed for confidentiality). Mr Smith was the law and the only reg on the books was that if it was cold outside, you wear your coat. If he caught you outside without your coat, you got whitewashed. For those new to the term, whitewashing is pushing a person face down into the snow and rubbing snow all over their face. It is not fun, and Mr. Smith was mostly successful in reminding the kids of the importance of wearing a jacket in the Winter. As awful as this anecdote my seem on paper, it wasn't that bad and we still liked Mr. Smith even if we were (slightly) afraid of him. On reflection, I feel lucky to even have a coat to begin with. Not every kid is so lucky and those from families with lower income may feel a pain that is deeper and longer lasting than a face full of snow: social rejection.
Recently, I was approached by the Anchorage Fire Department to see if I would be interested in helping with a charity program they participating in. It called Operation Warm and the long and the short of it is that the program aims to empower children from low income backgrounds by providing brand new coats free of charge. Many of us take for granted the fact that we got new coats as kids and may not realize that children from low income situations may rarely see new clothing of any type and in some cases aren't even equipped with used jackets to wear in the Winter. Some kids will refuse to wear a used coat to school because of the social implications. We all know that kids can be sweet but they can also be mean. Who among us does not remember the sting of social rejection at that age? This program aims to help children's self esteem by elevating their sense of worth and providing them with something that is new and theirs alone. I conceded that it's a pragmatic solution to a larger social question but by and large it is a righteous cause and has been met with positive feedback in the past. This year, the firefighters at Station 3 (on Airport Heights) are teaming up with Operation Warm to provide coats to a number of children at Williwaw Elementary.
As a business, Community Chiropractic Clinic, LLC maps out our annual public service and charity contributions for the next year in December. We do this for a number of reasons but principally we do it because it guarantees that we perform a certain amount of service and it helps us focus our service so that it has a more meaningful result. As an added bonus it makes it easier to say "no" the the myriad of opportunities for service that we are presented with on an annual basis. One can only do so much and we want to a good job on that which we choose to do. That being said, Operation Warm was not part of our 2014 annual plan but we felt that we could make a little room for it this year. It is one of the things that we felt would truly make a difference for these kids. Next Tuesday, a fundraising event will be help to help secure the funds needed to provide these coats. Have I mentioned that the coats themselves are made right here in the good old U.S. of A and help provide additional jobs to our economy? We are proud to be a part of this program for the 1st time this year (I believe this is the 3rd time they have done this program) and look forward to the results it will bring. Personally and professionally, I have a few different public service avenues that I like to participate in, and I encourage you all to have at least 1 thing that you do too. Giving from the heart is non-zero-sum and if everyone gave a little beyond what we do for our jobs, we would all be better off. It's also part of living a truly happy and healthy life.
Until next week!
Kelly Ryan, DC
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I hiked a portion of Power Line Pass this last weekend and not only are the Fall colors are out there in full force but so are the people! It was great to see the Flat Top parking lot (and new overflow lot) full to the brim with a half dozen cars driving in circles looking for a spot as it is a sign of an active and vibrant populace. As always, every person we came across was friendly and most importantly enjoying themselves as they roamed about nature. The weather, views, and the exercise provided a perfect opportunity for hundreds of people to get in a little activity and frankly, who couldn't use just a little more of that? For those who happened to get out on Sunday, you also were treated to some amazing colors courtesy of our Chugach State Park. Take a look for yourself:
Pictured: This isn't a painting by Bob Ross
My wife and I took our dog and his friend on a little day hike down to the bridge and ended up having a great time, but would you believe that it almost never came to be? A few hours prior to the hike my wife and I discussed what we would like to do for the day as we enjoyed brunch at the Torchon Bistro (Note: the food is awesome there!). As we compiled our list of things my wife ventured a hike as possible agenda item. On paper, a hike seems like a lovely idea but it involves a measure of effort not only to get there but also to decide where to hike. I had been dealing with some sore legs courtesy of my hockey season opener a few days earlier and combined with the lofty task of choosing which trail head to drive to, I did not have much motivation for exercise (even though it was something that I needed to do!). Have you had a similar experience? Thankfully, my wife pushed me to do it and I have no problem giving her all the credit for a job well done. The hike was wonderful, it alleviated much of the delayed muscle soreness I was experiencing, and most importantly it was a great way to get exercise and spend time with my family.
The window of opportunity to take little day hikes like Power Line Pass without the bother of ice and snow is rapidly diminishing and I urge you as you struggle with ways to carve out periods of activity in your week to consider one. Motivation in and of itself can be difficult to come by and especially so if you are dealing with a current injury no matter the severity. In some cases a little activity may be just the ticket you need to overcome whatever minor ailment you are having. It can be a good cardiovascular workout, a good strengthening exercise (depending on grade) and it is healthy for the mind. Additionally, most day hikes in and around the Anchorage area are not too difficult and there is accessibility for people of all skill sets. The list of trails in the Chugach Park website has information on trail difficulty and there are also local groups that you can connect with that will hike with you. If you have doubts about your abilities to physically perform a hike, I would love to consult with you to determine your ability and any potential problems that you may have so that we can get you ready. In the meantime, if you are ready today why don't you get out there and have some fun!?!
Pictured: Dog's having fun
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