Colored Foods Matter: Five Creative, Fresh Ways to use the color red to stay healthy.


-Berry melon bruschetta

-Turkey burgers with grilled watermelon

-Infused watermelon water

-Watermelon salsa w/mint and feta

-Greek yogurt and watermelon salad dressing

Benefits of Watermelon:

-Great source of Potassium, Magnesium, and Thiamine

-Has zero saturated fat, zero cholesterol, and zero sodium in a standard serving

-92% of watermelon is comprised of water; fantastic way to increase your water intake

-L-Citrulline (an amino acid within watermelon) helps to maintain blood flow in the heart

-Tasty in smoothies, fruit salads, yogurt parfaits, and cupcakes

-Its sweet taste makes it an easy, healthy dessert alternative

Fun Facts about Watermelon

-Makes delicious grilled kabobs

-Africa’s Kalahari Desert is watermelon’s place of origin

-American’s consume watermelon more than any other melon

-One watermelon can feed 3-dozen people

-Available year round

As you can see, watermelon can be used simply as an ingredient in a fresh fruit salad or as something more complex like a watermelon-based cupcake. This summer, I urge you to try a new recipe adding watermelon into it—whether it is integrated into your 4th of July cookout in a grilled watermelon burger or into your daily smoothie. Watermelon is a wonderful way to satisfy your sugar cravings and not feel guilty about it. For more kid/family-friendly recipes staring watermelon, visit Enjoy!

Ashley Benton– UpLift Solutions Summer Intern

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Why do Colored Foods Matter – June Blog

I grew up thinking that eating meat and potatoes for every meal was the definition of a healthy diet.  As I got older, the pounds quickly packed on and I felt tired and sluggish.  Today, I’m re-learning the real meaning of eating balanced meals.

I’ve recently come on board as the Communication Manager at UpLift.  I quickly learned America is sick.  Very sick.  40% of us are overweight, 50% are on cholesterol medications. And we spend over 2 trillion annually on health care.  And even though we spend massive amounts of money on ‘health care’, over 1 million Americans are killed each year by heart disease and cancer.  Even still, ⅓ of people born in the U.S. today will develop diabetes during their lifetime. These numbers are even worse if you live in a low-income community with no access to healthy food.

UpLift’s Director of Health Innovation, Victoria Della Rocca RD, LDN preaches the notion that food is medicine. Just imagine—food as medicine.  Can chronic diseases be controlled or even be reversed just by eating the right foods?   Victoria and the team of dietitians at UpLift promote healthy lifestyles and provide nutritional education that is making a difference.

Thomas Edison said–“The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.”

Now is the best time for you to load up on in-season fresh fruits and vegetables.  Red, blue, yellow and the entire rainbow of bright colored fruits and veggies provide amazing health benefits.  We call it —Colored Foods Matter.

Anthocyanins are responsible for red and purple colors in foods can help keep your mind sharp.

Lycopene that turns watermelon and tomatoes red may also help prevent certain types of cancers.

Beta carotene that makes carrots and sweet potatoes orange can help keep your bones strong, your eyes healthy and boost your immune system.

Eat your (Greens):
List several different green fruits and vegetables: Spinach, Kiwi, Avocado, Kale, Broccoli
There are various green fruits and vegetables that can lower cholesterol, help prevent certain cancers, boost your immune system, and stabilize blood sugars.

Red fruits and vegetables have anti-inflammatory effects and can help reduce blood pressure.

Stay tuned this month as the UpLift health solution staff will continue talking about how Colored foods matter. Join our Facebook Group page —Health Bites with Health Solutions.  We’ll have tips, interesting information and recipes you can use every day.

Having access to fresh and healthy food is a fundamental right for everyone. Yet over 23 million Americans live in areas without supermarkets or other places where they can access fresh, nutritious foods. The problem may not lie solely with food accessibility; it could also be due to people’s shopping and eating habits.  Health and nutrition education will lead to a healthier America.

Audrey Fish – UpLift Communications Manager

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UpLift’s MAY BLOG: Workforce Solutions

The stress of searching for a job with a criminal record can be overwhelming. Over 40,000 people return to Philadelphia from state and federal prison every year, approximately 44,000 people in Philadelphia are on probation at any given time and over 300,000 people living in Philly have criminal records.

When individuals are released from jails or prisons, they are faced with the task of finding resources with limited guidance and immediate needs. Many of these men and women re-entering our community from incarceration struggle with a social stigma that can make it even more difficult to find stability and feeling accepted. Stable employment is one of the strongest predictors of a returning citizen’s post release success, including recidivism, whereas finding employment is one of the greatest barriers to successful reintegration. The potential is great, therefore, for work programs to improve their financial, personal, and professional success and ability to contribute more fully as citizens.

I’m proud to be part of a new program at UpLift called Workforce Solutions. My name is Barry Johnson and I’m the Director for Workforce Solutions. We are a heartbeat away from cutting the ribbon on something that will bring new life for those struggling to find a new beginning. We are going to train formally incarcerate individuals to reenter the workforce. The program will focus on developing both hard and soft skills of re-entering citizens; whereas, each participant that successfully completes the six-week classroom portion of the program will be offered a position at Brown’s Super Stores.

During their enrollment, the Workforce Solutions staff will provide supportive services such as finding GED classes, applying for a State ID and taking their driving permit exam. Workforce Solution’s is also proud to have partnered with community organizations to assist with any other challenges such as housing and mental health. Additionally, program participants will maintain engagement with case management personnel throughout their employment.

When we started looking for recruitments, I did not expect the overwhelming level of responses. My voicemail and email have been filled daily with stories from men and women who have been struggling to find a job. Some are just worn out from years of being turned away. Others are close to giving up. They are desperate and looking for a way to make a living for themselves and their families. We know that employment is the key to keeping people from returning to prison. Many of these individuals, due to a lack of opportunity, decide their only option for survival is to re-engage in past behavior. This cycle has led to an 80 percent recidivism rate and long-term structural poverty.

UpLift Workforce Solutions is creating opportunities where they don’t exist. We are developing strong partnerships to strengthen this unique training program. Uplift’s Workforce Solutions understands the priority of employment and self-sufficiency and has taken reentry to a new and exciting place. Uplift Workforce Solutions are thrilled about this initiative and are looking forward to helping returning citizens rebuild their lives.

# # #

Barry Johnson is the Director of Workforce Solutions for UpLift. For nearly fifteen years Mr. Johnson has spent his career leading reentry programs and ensuring a successful transition for returning citizens. His diverse background and focus on community collaboration has led him to several opportunities and leadership roles. Mr. Johnson is a Navy veteran who has previously worked for the Pennsylvania Prison Society, JEVS Human Services and the Center for Literacy.  Barry Johnson received his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from University of Maryland, College Park and holds an MBA from the University of California at Irvine.

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UpLift Blog #2 comes from our Health Solutions dietitians who are creating healthy changes for people around the Philadelphia area. For more information on how they can help your company please email

Today, we are exposed to nutrition information on TV, in the newspaper, and from family and friends. It can become overwhelming to determine what is fact and fiction. “Registered dietitians — RDs — are the food and nutrition experts who can translate the science of nutrition into practical solutions for healthy living.” 1 The registered dietitian credential differentiates those that have completed years of education and training, from those that call themselves “nutritionists” and have not.

Health Solutions is bringing these food and nutrition experts directly into the community. They will offer free wellness services through an innovative health program. Our goal is to provide quality care to neighborhoods in the Philadelphia area with support from Uplift solutions and AARP Foundation. The Health Solutions dietitians are currently located at the ShopRite of Cheltenham Square and Fox Street in Philadelphia.

Health Solutions retail dietitians provide customers with complementary services such as one-on-one consultations, grocery store tours, diabetes classes and support groups, weight management classes, cooking classes and health screenings. Dietitians also provide nutrition education to community organizations such as retirement homes, gyms, schools, churches, and more. As a partnership with our in-store pharmacist, we offer coordinated care, free immunizations and free select generic diabetes medications.

Individual Counseling

Our dietitians provide tailored individual advice by getting to know the person, their eating habits, health conditions, and desired state of health. Initial counseling sessions focus on how to increase the client's understanding of their health condition and skill development such as label reading and menu planning. Your current eating habits will be reviewed and you will work with a dietitian to create a plan to make positive changes. Dietitians then help you craft personalized goals to meet your health and wellness needs. Follow-up visits focus on maintenance, monitoring progress, and setting new goals if applicable.

Health Conditions

Are you unsure of what foods to eat for your health condition? Health Solutions dietitians can focus counseling sessions on a variety of health conditions such as food allergies, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, prediabetes and diabetes. We can help you understand how to improve your health condition with food and lifestyle changes.

Weight Loss

Many individuals seek dietitians for help with weight loss or maintenance. While fad diets may seem like the way to go, they are not sustainable long-term. Dietitians provide safe and effective tools to lose weight such as meal planning, portion control, recipe revamps and mindful eating. 2

Contact us to schedule a free one-on- one consultation or to sign-up for one of our events!

Registered Dietitians:
Anita Anim, MPH, RD, LDN
Cheltenham Square
241 Cheltenham Ave, Wyncote, PA 19150
856-631- 3722

Danielle Sanislow, RD, LDN
Fox Street
Fox St & Roberts Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19129
856-473- 5999


1 What is an RDN and NDTR? (n.d.). Retrieved December 7, 2016, from is-an- rdn-and- dtr

2 Ansel, K. (2014, February 5). What an RDN Can Do for You. Retrieved December 7, 2016, from about-rdns/what- an-rdn-can- do-for- you

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I’m not talking about what you had for lunch.  I’m talking about the number of people…right in here in American who do not access to fresh and heathy food all due to where they live.

23.5 million Americans live in food deserts—making it impossible for them to get fresh healthy food.   So, what’s available to people who live in food deserts?  Fast food outlets, corner stores and quickie markets which provide a wealth of processed, sugar, and fat laden foods that are known contributors to our nation’s obesity epidemic.   This epidemic leads to other health issues including high blood pressure, diabetes and sadly a much shorter life all due to their where the call home.

UpLift works with businesses across the country to improve access to food by bringing supermarkets, co-operatives, farmers markets and healthy corner stores to underserved communities.  Our expertise provides the tools to develop successful food businesses in the places that need them most.

This is the first in a series of blogs from UpLift.  Our mission-to build strong communities and social equity by increasing access to food, healthcare, nutrition education and capital in underserved communities.  In our monthly blogs, you’ll hear about the four programs powered by UpLift which include:

  • Sustainable Food Solutions
  • Health Solutions
  • Financial Solutions
  • Workforce Solutions

All programs support the one main goal: to create access to fresh healthy food and nutrition education for low income communities.

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Uplift Solutions will be hosting a private screening of “Can You Dig This,” Wednesday, April 5th, 7:30PM at the Landmark Ritz at the Bourse in Philadelphia.  A $25 donation is requested.  You can get tickets here.

From Executive Producer, John Legend.

South Los Angeles. What comes to mind is gangs, drugs, liquor stores, abandoned buildings and vacant lots. The last thing that you would expect to find is a beautiful garden sprouting up through the concrete, coloring the urban landscape. As part of an urban gardening movement taking root in South LA, people are planting to transform their neighborhoods and are changing their own lives in the process. Calling for people to put down their guns and pick up their shovels, these “gangster gardeners” are creating an oasis in the middle of one of the most notoriously dangerous places in America. CAN YOU DIG THIS follows the inspirational journeys of four unlikely gardeners, discovering what happens when they put their hands in the soil. This is not a story of science and economics. This is a story of the human spirit, inspiring people everywhere to pick up their shovels and “plant some shit.”

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Check out some of the photos from the Heaven 600 Spring Holiday Harvest held at the Shoprite in Howard Park, Baltimore

Link to Full Article

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Our executive director, Atif Bostic, was recently mentioned in a article published by AARP. The article dealt with the struggle for an increasing amount of older Americans to find sources for healthy, affordable food. Check out this excerpt, as well as a link to the full article below:

New allies in the fight against hunger come from the health care industry, government agencies and nonprofits like AARP and AARP Foundation. And they’re joined by members of the agricultural food chain, from farmers to major supermarket chains. Atif Bostic, executive director of the nonprofit Uplift Solutions, which helps grocery stores open in low-income areas, says such collaborations are win-win. “The customers have access to healthy, affordable food and the store becomes an essential, profitable part of the community.”

Ryerson adds: “Let’s widen the circle of collaboration to identify and carry out real solutions. This is a land of plenty — no one should have to go hungry.”

Link to Full Article

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