Taking back our streets, one meal at a time

Taking back our streets, one meal at a time

Taking back our streets, one meal at a time
Cindy and kitchen crew prep ingredients for healthy, easily transportable turkey burgers. (Dan Rosenstrauch photo)

(Aug. 18, 2023) — The number of people living on the streets is a warning sign, and the problem is increasing.

I see more and more people living on the streets and drifting into psychosis and addiction. Our communities are becoming more dangerous, and this is bigger than just a housing issue.

At one time or another, many of us fear we might lose control of our health or descend into psychosis – which is a disconnection from yourself. Could our system of fast food, relying on sugar and processed food, be aggravating such conditions?

There’s a lot of fear in our society. You can see it in the eagerness of many people to grasp at conspiracy theories to explain society’s ills and confusions. Maybe it’s more simple.

It seems to me that 80 percent of an individual’s health problems originate in the food system, whether you’re living under a bridge or you have a stable home but suffer from Alzheimer’s, dementia, cancer or alcoholism.

No quick fix

I recently had a chat with a local trainer who has people coming to the gym for a physical solution for problems like Type 2 diabetes, aching joints, obesity or failing memory. They are looking for a quick fix. She told me her response is, “I can give you 20% of a solution, but 80% is what you’re eating.”

That got me to thinking that the same applies to our homeless neighbors. Could the common denominator be our highly processed, sugar-laden food?

When you start eating well, you understand that healing comes from your food choices.

Sometimes the first step is on the level of one human being helping another human being. We all want to tackle homelessness, the lack of safe streets and chronic illness. You can help by bringing a healthy meal to that hungry human being on the streets.

It might just be the first step of us taking back the streets. It could be as easy as a home-cooked meal.

Here’s a healthy recipe to try.

Turkey Burgers on ­Garlicky Greens

Makes 4

  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 tsp. fresh minced garlic
  • ¼ lb. red or green onion, chopped
  • ¼ lb. red or green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 T avocado, olive or coconut oil

Optional: Be creative. Add chopped fresh herbs or a teaspoon of turmeric or cumin.

For additional protein, add ½ oz. of cheese or ¼ c. black bean salsa as a topping (equivalent to 1 oz. of additional protein).

Mix all ingredients and shape into four patties.

Grill until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

After burgers have cooled, add optional protein toppings and place burgers on garlicky greens.

Garlicky Greens

  • 1 lb. bag of prechopped broccoli
  • 1 lb. bag of prechopped kale
  • 2 T avocado, coconut or olive oil
  • 1 T chopped garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chili flakes (if desired)

Optional: Use 1 T chopped shallots instead of garlic.

Or, for an Asian flavor, use sesame oil and top cooked kale and broccoli with sesame seeds.

Steam broccoli until fork tender, 4-5 minutes. Steam kale 2-3 minutes. Both should be bright green. Place kale and broccoli on a tray to bring to room temperature.

Put oil in a 9- by 12-inch frying pan. Heat to medium. Put garlic or shallots in the pan and sauté 1-2 minutes.

Turn off heat and toss broccoli and kale into the pan. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add pinch of chili flakes if desired.

Let me know how it went at cindy@cindygershen.com.

Cindy Gershen
Cindy Gershen

Cindy Gershen is an educator, nutritionist, chef, and co-author of “Fat Chance Cookbook.”