American diet is not a lost cause! Try a new stew recipe to celebrate Food Day Oct. 24


The American diet is not a lost cause, despite our over-reliance on drive-throughs and so-called “convenience foods,” according to Rachel Fox, a registered dietitian pursuing her master’s degree in public health at the University of Michigan while working as an intern with the Ecology Center’s Healthy Food in Health Care program.

 “Several factors came together to create this situation, large and small, from federal agricultural policy to over-scheduled families trying to get a meal on the table,” Fox said. But the good news is that individuals, organizations and institutions are working together not just to eat better, but also to address broader issues including hunger, nutrition, farm policy, animal welfare and justice for farm workers.

Many of those groups are coming together to celebrate Food Day on Oct 24 this year, with the overall goal of transforming the American diet. Food Day was created by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, along with more than a hundred other groups, to move our nation towards “healthy, affordable and sustainable food.”

In our ownhydroponic production at Henry Ford greenhouse region, the Henry Ford Health System is doing its part, making significant efforts to prevent disease as well as treating it by addressing food issues.

Most recently, the Henry Ford facility in West Bloomfield dedicated a new greenhouse growing produce hydroponically to provide food for their patients, staff and visitors. “Producing food is not the only goal though,” Fox said. “It extends into the arenas of patient care and community education, showing patients and community members benefits of eating fresh, healthy produce.”

The hospital’s educational programs are reaching out to school and community groups, as well as patients with diabetes and other issues. “The greenhouse offers behavioral, relaxation and recreation therapy for patients,” Fox said,. “It also helps work against chronic diseases in adults and children.” 

This year, you might want to celebrate Food Day at your own home with this recipe for an autumn chicken stew that includes seasonal ingredients like apples, parsnips and carrots or continue to read more about how the health care sector is building momentum and celebrating on Food Day.

Autumn Chicken Stew

(from Eating Well magazine)

6 servings, 1 ½ cups each

Total time 45 min


  •   5 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  •  1 pound chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
  •  1 large onion, chopped
  •  4 medium parsnips, peeled and chopped
  •  2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  •  2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  •  ½ teaspoon salt
  •  ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  •  4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  •  2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped
  •  2 teaspoons cider vinegar



  •  Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until just cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  • Add the remaining 3 teaspoons oil to the pot. Add onion, parsnips, carrots, rosemary, salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables begin to soften, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Add broth and apples; bring to a simmer over high heat.
  • Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Return the chicken to the pot and stir in vinegar.


Per serving: 208 calories, 6 grams fat, 42 mg cholesterol, 21 g carbohydrates, 19 g protein, 4 g fiber, 621 mg sodium, 630 mg potassium.

EcoLink — October 2012 Ecolink
An online publication of the Ecology Center

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