• 11Feb

    Today’s post is contributed by Joy Goetz

    Chocolate Heart

    What comes to mind when you think of Valentine’s Day?  Hearts, chocolate, flowers and candlelight, just for starters. Most commonly, this day is used to celebrate romantic love, but who says that we can’t take this time to celebrate all the love in our lives? As I reflect on my life, I feel so grateful to have a wonderful community of friends, family, neighbors and of course, my dog, Gracie. This year, I am redefining the holiday to include all people in my life that I cherish. Of course, as a dietitian and foodie, I want give people the best, so I did a little research about chocolate. Did you know that:

    • The cacao bean contains potent antioxidants called flavanols that help protect cells from damage. 1
    • Eating small amounts of dark chocolate (as part of a healthy diet) can help reduce blood pressure and improve blood flow to the brain and heart. 1
    • There is actually research supporting cacao’s stress relieving properties. 2

    The trick is to pick the right chocolate and eat it in moderation. Since all of the health benefits can be attributed to the cacao bean, when choosing chocolate, the darker the better, generally, 70% cacao or more.  Also, you can add cocoa powder, which is just ground cacao beans without added sugar or fat, to lots of recipes, from pancakes to chili. Hershey’s website has tons of recipes that I can’t wait to try. Look for cocoa powder and chocolate that does not say, “processed with alkali” or “Dutch chocolate,” as this processing reduces the flavonal content.

    Another way to get a great bang for your buck is to pair dark chocolate with fruit. Everyone knows fruit is good for you, and it naturally has fewer calories than chocolate, so it helps the chocolate go farther. Most of the research on chocolate used about 20-40 grams of dark chocolate (about the size of 4-9 Hershey kisses) or 1-2 tablespoons of cocoa powder. That’s not very much, it looks like a lot more if you drizzle it on fresh strawberries or bananas. Plus, it’s more special and delicious!

    I hope you enjoy some chocolate this week, in moderation of course. And no matter who you celebrate with, may your Valentine’s Day be filled with love, happiness and gratitude.

  • 22Oct

    Contributed by GMM Health Promotion Intern, Emily Mooney.

    Joy GoetzLet me introduce Joy Goetz, a garden guru, and one of Open Hand’s and Good Measure Meals’ Community Health Dietitians.

    Born in Miami-Dade County, Florida, Joy grew up as a racial minority in a predominantly Latin American culture. She attended Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Health Promotion. She continued her education at the University of Georgia where she earned a Master’s degree in Nutrition.

    At Open Hand, Joy serves as a link between Open Hand and the community it serves. She regularly implements and assists with communal nutrition programs and provides routine nutrition education to Atlantans of lower economic status. Pulling from her experiences as a minority growing up, Joy can relate to the families and community members with whom she works on a daily basis. She tries to do her best to meet people where they are on their respective health journeys. As a Community Health Dietitian, she strives to assist people with challenge of making quick, healthy meals on a budget.

    Joy_GoetzAdditionally, Joy acts as a representative for the local food system, regularly working alongside the Atlanta Local Food Initiative and Georgia Organics to spread awareness about local economies and bridge the gap between Georgia’s rural and urban communities. Joy is also Open Hand’s Resident Garden Expert, offering advice and consultation services in gardening to the greater Atlanta community. She uses gardening to teach people from where food comes; a visual representation of food’s journey from land to table.

    In general, Joy immensely enjoys being out in the community as part of her job, and loves interacting with people from all walks of life. She strives to be the best teacher possible, working to establish health literacy in Atlanta. Most importantly, Joy enjoys helping those with whom she works to reach their “ahha” moments, and meet their respective health goals.

    When she’s not working for Open Hand, Joy enjoys practicing acroyoga and aerial dance, spending time with friends and family, experimenting in the kitchen, playing with her dog, and, of course, gardening in her front yard.

    ***TOMORROW, Joy will be live on air on Atlanta & Company, promoting Good Measure Meals as part of the Northside Hospital New Start Weight Smart Challenge. Tune in to hear her talk about Eating Real and to catch our weekly FLASH SALE!***

    joy i eat real salad

    Emily Mooney is a native of Lexington, Kentucky. She attended Elon University in Elon, North Carolina where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in Dance. Following her graduation last year, she moved to Atlanta, Georgia where she now works as a legal assistant at a small firm in Midtown. Emily is currently in the process of preparing to apply to graduate school to study Nutrition and ultimately become a registered dietitian. She has joined forces with Good Measure Meals in the interim to learn as much as she can from this fabulous team of GMM registered dietitians.