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DietsInReview.com Chosen by Kalso Earth Shoes to Receive a $1000 Earth Day Grant

Earlier this month we learned that Kalso Earth Shoes was giving three $1,000 grants to three sites who aligned with their vision but ultimately who could do a whole heck of a lot of good with that money to celebrate Earth Day. The deadline was on a Thursday, we got wind of the promotion on a Tuesday. I was out sick, like at home, in bed, sick. But, I knew I wanted this for DietsInReview.com and I also knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. So I sucked it up, and against the wishes of my beloved caretaker, knocked out an article telling Kalso about DIR, about how thinking green is second nature to us, and how there was an organization that we really, really wanted to help with this money.

Working through a sick day paid off, because DietsInReview.com was chosen! This month, we’re receiving a $1,000 grant to do an Earth Day project. Just as we described in our Earth Day project application, we’ll be using the funds to build vegetable gardens at Carpenter Place, and we’re more or less stoked about it! We’re not alone, though. We already let Carpenter Place in on our little secret.

“We are so excited to have DietsInReview come help us with gardens for our campus!” Jennifer White, a Carpenter Place house mom, told us.
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Hey Kalso Earth Shoes! We’d Like to Plant Veggie Gardens at Carpenter Place this Earth Day

Here at DietsInReview.com, we pride ourselves on being a fairly conscientious bunch. Recycling is second nature, supporting our local community through CSA and farmers market purchases is a no-brainer, Meatless Monday is always on the calendar, buying organic whenever possible simply makes sense, and being an active part of the communities in which we live is something we truly enjoy. We do yoga, we bike to work, we run full and half marathons, and complete bi- and triathlons. We really do walk our talk!

When we learned about the Kalsø Earth Shoes “Project Earth Day” scholarships, our interest was immediately piqued and we knew we were a perfect fit for the $1,000 prize they’re offering. They said, “3 online bloggers will have the opportunity to carry the spirit of the company’s annual service day into their own local communities. All you need to do is create your own Earth Day-related service project plan.”

Before we’d finished reading the information we knew exactly what we wanted to do – build a vegetable garden at Carpenter Place in Wichita, KS, where our editorial team is based. In the past few months, this incredible organization has remade itself and we want to be a part of that by making fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs readily available. As in, right out their back door.

From CarpenterPlace.org, “Carpenter Place provides residential treatment for girls in crisis ages 6 – 21 in Wichita, KS. A faith-based agency affiliated with churches of Christ, services are provided in a family setting in four group homes on a 13-acre campus.” These young women come from a variety of backgrounds, and each one of them in dire need of setting their feet firmly in the right direction. Often, within days or even a week or two of arriving at Carpenter Place, they are completing GEDs, learning to drive, interviewing for jobs, and even considering running half marathons.

In January, I was invited to prepare a healthy homemade dinner for the young women who live in the private residences (which are furnished through donations of used furniture – a valuable way to recycle). Over chicken and black bean enchiladas with fresh guacamole (my specialty!), they learned how easy homemade meals can be, I learned how hard each one of them is working to put their lives on track. House parent Jennifer White passionately shares these girls’ successes through social media and makes all of us fall in love with them and support them.

As Carpenter Place is a privately funded, non-profit 501(c)(3) entity, money is tight, like it is for most non-profits. They often receive food donations and have to make grocery budgets stretch across multiple live-in residents (they can house up to 25 young women). Having their own supply of fruits and vegetables right out their backdoor would open up their grocery budget to buy other healthful and nutritious foods these girls need to heal their minds and bodies from the inside out.

During the creation of our fruit and vegetable garden, which we could do on Earth Day 2012 (April 20), we’ll have lively conversation about the benefits that even two or three small beds can provide for the consumers, as well as the impact it will have on the environment. We’ll also be giving these young women first-hand experience so that they can grow their own garden when they graduate to living on their own.

Our early plan is to create two or three raised bed gardens with a large variety of fruits and vegetables, and even herbs. Budget permitting, we’d like to set them up to compost as well, and reduce the amount of food waste and create rich soil so that the gardens can live on.

We hope Kalsø Earth Shoes will consider our application for one of the Earth Day scholarships, and allow us to plant seeds of hope, change, health, and veggies at Carpenter Place.



Skip IHOP’s Free Pancakes, Support Children’s Miracle Network with Donations

Tomorrow is National Pancake Day, and since 2006 the most well-known purveyor of pancakes gives away short stacks to celebrate. Tomorrow, on February 28, you can visit your local IHOP restaurant and be served a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes. You are encouraged to leave a donation in exchange for the free pancakes, which will be given tot he Children’s Miracle Network, an incredible organization that makes dreams come true for terminally ill children.

We say, give the gift of a donation directly to Children’s Miracle Network and let IHOP keeps its over-processed stack of cakes. The event has the best of intentions, but charitable calories count the same as any others.

IHOP’s short stack comes with three buttermilk pancakes, which has 490 calories before you add butter and syrup. If you plan on ordering a full breakfast by adding sausage, bacon, ham, hash browns, or even doctoring your cup of coffee, you’re going to send the calories, fat, and sodium for this “free” breakfast through the roof. You’ll need one hour of high-intensity aerobics just to burn the pancakes before condiments. Plus, this nutritionally void meal will leave you running out of steam well before lunch.
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Marathoner Nick Williams Runs for Fallen Soldiers

We runners run for a plethora of reasons. For health, stress relief, for competition, and often times, simply because we can. Among the many great reasons to run is running in honor of those who cannot. There are many fantastic organizations that dedicate the sport solely to those who can not lace up their shoes. I have the honor of running side by side with one who’s got more than the finish line in his sights.

Nick Williams is surprising. He’s an Air Force pilot, a phenomenal runner, a dancer, and a talented chef. It’s hard to learn these things about him because he’s such a kind and caring individual, an excellent friend, and devoted son- qualities that are the loudest parts of his personality. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Nick as we’ve trained on the streets of Wichita, Kansas together. In a short time, I’ve made more than a great running buddy. I’ve made a life-long friend.

Nick and I even ran the 2011 Boston Marathon side-by-side. We laughed, pushed, and fought our way to the famous finish line on Boylston Street together. We’re like “war buddies” now. We’ve been to “hell and back” together, the hell we call the marathon.


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The Chicoine Family Runs the Continent and Raises Obesity Awareness in a Marathon of Health

“Have you ever seen a family of eight running together as a team across the country with a common purpose?”

That’s the question displayed across the Marathon of Health website, and we can honestly say, no, we’ve never seen that until now. The Chicoine family is currently running their “Marathon of Health,” a personal vision come to life by a unique family of eight. The adventure is a 20,000 kilometer, or nearly 12,500 mile trek around North America with the purpose of creating a Wellness Revolution and inspiring people of all ages to live healthier, more active lives.

The family of two parents and 6 kids is lead by Dr. Ed Chicoine, a chiropractor. They began their journey on May 8, 2011 in Vancouver B.C. and just recently entered the eastern sea board of the United States. Along the way, the family has visited many towns and communities and on their stops are speaking and motivating people to make fitness and nutritional changes to improve their lives. The family wants to see a change in the rising problem of adult and childhood obesity and are running to raise $5 million to support the efforts of charities that fight against childhood obesity.


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