Garden Grown: A Fresh Take on Hospital Food

You can’t get any fresher or more local than just-picked produce from the garden. That’s why Heidi Thompson, food-and-nutrition services manager at Westside Medical Center, decided to try growing herbs and vegetables right there at the hospital.

Parsley from the garden garnishes patient trays, and the herbs and veggies enliven menu offerings at Westside Medical Center’s Courtyard Café. The experiment fits in perfectly with Kaiser Permanente’s mission of helping members choose healthful, plant-based foods.

“Being very local is cost-effective and great for the environment. It’s also very fresh, which is good for nutrients,” Thompson said. “That’s the beauty and benefit of growing your own and having it right there.”

She and her staff started with an 18-foot diameter round bed for herbs in spring 2017. They harvested $ 700 worth of herbs that season, including mint, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano and parsley.

Last May, staff planted 115 vegetable starts in four on-site raised beds that are roughly 12-feet-by-4-feet. Over the summer, the garden produced lettuce, beets, spaghetti squash, leeks, purple scallions, heirloom tomatoes, a variety of peppers and such edible flowers as nasturtiums. For fall, the staff planted fall crops of rainbow carrots, scallion, purple broccoli and beets.

Evolution to healthier menu

The Courtyard Café treats customers to creations featuring the garden’s bounty — for example, chicken marinated in herbs from the garden, grilled and served over the ultra-local Red Sails and Buttercrunch Bibb lettuces. Look for the “Garden Grown” logo on the café menus and patient tray tickets.

Westside Medical Center’s food-and-nutrition service department — like those at other Kaiser Permanente facilities — strives to provide a bulk of café choices that are lower in fat and sodium. The café does not sell any sugar-sweetened beverages.

“The menu has evolved bit by bit to offer more interesting and healthier choices,” Thompson said.

Scott Sales, Westside Medical Center chef and food and nutation supervisor harvests a spaghetti squash from the medical center’s garden.

Scott Sales, Westside Medical Center chef and food and nutrition supervisor harvests a spaghetti squash from the medical center’s garden.

She credits the ingenuity of her staff. For example, Scott Kaopua, one of the cooks, focuses on creative salads with grilled protein as his specialty. He candies nuts, toasts cornbread croutons and mixes dressings to give salads extra oomph.

Courtyard Café diners appreciate his and other staff members’ effort. Customer feedback has been 95 percent positive so far this year, Thompson said. One customer remarked, “I no longer go to out to eat. My friends and family meet me here instead.” Other customers said they go to the medical center for lunch, even when they don’t have doctor appointments there.

Now that patients are enjoying eating the ultra-local produce, Thompson would like to get them involved with growing it.

“Eventually I would like this to be an education piece for our patients,” Thompson said. Gardening not only produces fresh vegetables packed with nutrition, but the activity itself also provides many benefits including fresh air, light exercise and a feeling of accomplishment.

The post Garden Grown: A Fresh Take on Hospital Food appeared first on Kaiser Permanente.

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Hair Accessories for Grown Women: What’s Appropriate for Work, Play, and Beyond?

hair accessories for grown women

Because everything old is new again, scrunchies, headbands, and claws are back in style and being offered as hair accessories for grown women, and I can’t wait to hear readers’ thoughts on them. I know some people have always been Team Scrunchie; I myself have always been Team Claw (and of course, the old black Ouchless elastic I wear on my wrist pretty much every waking hour). But there are strong opinions about this! Are you going to give headbands a whirl in 2018? Are some of the more decorative options (like the goldish star claw) just not appropriate for most women over a certain age (like 16)? For those of you who have strong opinions FOR hair accessories, which stores make the best hair accessories in terms of comfort, durability, price, look, etc?

Psst: our last poll on what kind of hair accessories are appropriate for the office … in 2009!


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(Pictured above, all from Free People because I happened to be browsing the site: kimono clip / scrunchie / claw / headband. And for those of you who are on Team Drugstore Elastic, do you prefer Goody Ouchless or Scünci? Has anyone tried “Amazon choice” of Munax?)

For my $ .02, I probably will give headbands a whirl again — but only with ones I already own. I’ll probably skip the scrunchies just because I don’t think my round face shape looks particularly great with a low ponytail, and I feel like that’s where scrunchies excel. I’ve always like claws for comfort and an easy half-up-do or (with a huge claw) a French twist — but those tend to be bad hair days for me so I probably don’t want to try more attention to my hair with something really decorative.

Looking for more sedate options for hair accessories for grown women? Ann Taylor, J.Crew, and Nordstrom (particularly from these two drool-worthy brands) have a ton of similar styles.

Ladies, let’s hear from you — what are your thoughts on hair accessories for grown women? What looks do you wear the most for work and play — what products are you excited about to be back in style?

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