Monthly Archives: September 2020

Berkeley, CA Restricts Junk Food Sales In Retail Checkouts With New Ordinance

Berkeley, California is set to become the first city to ban the selling of junk food and candy in the checkout aisles. This is part of a larger health initiative. The new legislation is expected to be effect March 2021

The Healthy Check Out Ordinance was approved in a unanimous vote by the city council. It will require that any store bigger than 2,500 square-feet needs to have 25 square-feet of healthier items within a three-foot radius of the registers. This effectively making it impossible make room for the junk food and candy which has traditionally lined checkout spaces.

Berkeley shoppers can expect to see “junk” replaced by whole grain alternatives to snacks, lower calorie beverages and perhaps even fresh fruit when the checkout. The city council noted that shoppers are more likely to give in to junk food at the end of their shopping trip when they are tired and their willpower may be low.

25 large retailers in Berkeley are likely to be affected. These include brands like Whole Foods, Walgreens, CVS and Safeway.

The city council wanted to make it clear that this is not a ban. These stores are free to sell candy, junk food and soda but within the restrictions of the new ordinance and not at your child’s eye level when you are checking out.

They also pointed out the tests around the country in different stores have shown an increase in healthier buying choices when such restrictions are put into place.

 

Mental Health Break: Fat Bear Week is Back!

Amid anxiety about the pandemic and the coming election we could all use a break, a distraction. This is the one we all deserve. The so-called “Fat Bear Week” is back. This is an annual competition held by Alaska’s Katmai National Park. The goal? To crown the chubbiest bear in the Brook River.

This will be 7th annual Fat Bear Week. It is what some would call a full-on competition with chubby brown bears going tummy to tummy in bracketed tournament. The voting begins on 30 Sep. 2020. You can participate here https://explore.org/fat-bear-week .  The final winner will be picked on 6 Oct. 2020.

Newcomers to the competition should understand that for bears gaining weight before hibernation is very important for their health. The National Park Service stated there is no shame in winning this contest as those large amounts of body fat in brown bears is a sign of good health and having a strong chance of survival.

Alaskan Brown Bears are the world’s largest of the variety and usually weigh between 600-900 lbs. They are typically half their weight by the time the come out of hibernation in spring.

 

App Assisted Quit Smoking Method Effective According to New Study

Many experts agree that when trying to quit smoking that avoiding your craving triggers doesn’t work but acknowledging and accepting them does.

Additionally, downloading an app which employs this approach could increase one’s odds of quitting, this according to a study found in JAMA Internal Medicine.

The authors of study claim that avoidance creates a paradox in which avoidance actually creates more of the feeling on is trying to avoid.

On the other hand, one problem with the tech assisted approach is the availability of technology itself. People trying to quit need a phone, a phone plan and an app (which may or may not be free). While for many of smartphones may feel ubiquitous many Americans below the poverty line do not possess a smartphone.

Even though smoking tobacco is now at a record low in the U.S. some 34 million Americans still smoke.

The researchers could not rely on simple data provided by the app companies so had to conduct their own study to generate more accurate data. They created a randomized clinical test in which smokers using two different apps were compared. They found that the app assisted acceptance to avoid cravings method was 50% more effective.

 

SpaghettiOs: Salve for the Human Heart

Though we usually don’t think of canned pasta as health food, for one Massachusetts mom SpaghettiOs have calmed both her and her autistic daughter’s souls during the pandemic. Because her autistic daughter’s routine has been so sorely interrupted it is the only food she will eat and it has been in short supply during the pandemic.

While many went crazy buying toilet paper and hand sanitizer, Crystal MacDonald had just one product she needed to find: SpaghettiOs. Her daughter, Ashlyn, is mostly nonverbal and the 11-year-old has taken comfort during the pandemic in SpaghettiOs with meatballs.

MacDonald believes that because food is a more intense experience for her daughter than the average person that the SpaghettiOs are the only food with the right balance of texture and flavor she could handle. Without her routine, which is vital to her daughter’s and many other autistic people’s mental health, she couldn’t handle eating other foods. MacDonald believes the predictability of taste and texture bring Ashlyn a sense of control in these troubling times.

When local stores ran dry MacDonald spent her time calling or visiting up to 20 out of the way stores each day. Eventually she took her quest to social media and the Sun Chronicle eventually featured MacDonald in a August piece about food shortages amidst the pandemic.

MacDonald has already received hundreds of cans in support and the Campbell’s Soup Company has now heard of her story and is committed to sending MacDonald and Ashlynd a one-year supply of the calming SpaghettiOs.