Dispelling Food Myths

By Kim Lowman
Wellness Program Manager

If you are anything like me, you have tried all the short cuts to get to your ideal image of what you want to look like. You drank liters of Diet Pepsi, replaced solid foods with Slimfast, or bought into the Atkins Diet, eating all fats and no carbs. Despite your efforts, none of it seemed to work. Why? Because it’s unreasonable to think that eliminating an entire food group—or worse eating only from a specific food group—would be possible to maintain for life. Unless you are a dedicated vegan or diagnosed with celiac….you can enjoy all foods. But here are the important words….only in moderation. You are what you eat and the massive food industry has tricked you into thinking that the cereal with the leprechauns will bring you good luck. It’s magically delicious until your blood sugars spike and crash and you need a nap at 10 a.m. But enough about my morning—let’s dispel some myths.

Myth #1: Carbs cause weight gain. WRONG! Carbohydrates are energy and without them you will be tired, cranky, and possibly depressed and any weight you may lose will just be water weight. Carbs are tricky, because there are two kinds. Whole grain breads, oats, quinoa, brown rice, and sweet potatoes are all complex carbs, which means they have nutritional value and won’t spike up your sugar levels leading to that inevitable sugar crash. Simple carbs like cookies, cakes, some types of crackers, candy, white pasta, and some breads are the carbs to avoid. Forever? No. But you do need to be mindful that those kinds of carbs are not adding nutritional value and can cause mood swings and lethargy. And don’t fall for the biggest trick of all…believing that the instant oatmeal that has had sugars and preservatives added to it is healthy for you.

Myth #2: Fat makes you fat. NOPE! Not true at all. Healthy fats like avocado, nuts, olive oil, salmon, and hummus will actually keep you full longer and help control the need for the unhealthy snacks we reach for when our energy dips. We need the healthy fats to support our metabolism and also to keep healthy moods. The other fats known as saturated are not healthy and can eventually contribute to medical conditions. What types of fats are these? Animal fats or oils that you find with pizza or fried foods. If you are sticking to the proper proportions and only splurge once in a while, you’ll be just fine. Cook with olive oil or avocado oil in place of vegetable oils or lards. Remember Crisco? My grandfather called me Crisco… for real… because I was ‘fat in the can.” No joke. True story. Anyway—throw it away. Use applesauce instead when baking.

Myth #3: Avoid meat. WHY? Unless it’s a conscience choice, meats are valuable sources of protein and vitamins. Lean cuts in correct proportions (think of a deck of cards) will help keep your muscles stronger and belly fuller. Trim excess fats and be careful with the sauces and marinades you use because some of them are high in sugars or fats (gravy). But once again—everything in moderation.

Myth #4: Tons of fruit is better for you. FALSE! Fruits are high in natural sugars but sugar is sugar is sugar. Choose berries and fibrous fruits like apples and bananas. Look up a portion size. You’ll be shocked. A banana is 2 servings. Fruit has tons of nutritional value but too much of a good thing can reverse the goal. Moderation!

Myth #5: Veggies are free foods. TRUE! You can’t go wrong with a plate full of colorful veggies. Oh sure there are some veggies with less value like corn but frankly if you replace a cookie with a serving of corn then you’re way ahead of the game nutritionally.

Getting Started

By Kim Lowman
Wellness Program Manager

The number one question I get asked about wellness is, “how do I get started.” It’s daunting to read all the trends on this top and plow through all the information and options out there–from health clubs to studios to private trainers and outdoor meet-up clubs. My best answer is to this question is, “what is realistic for your lifestyle.” Let’s be real… if you hate to run as much as I do, then don’t choose that exercise regimen because you are not going to stick with it. There must be some activity you did as a kid or teenager that you liked; start there!

If am going to encourage you to take the plunge into a wellness lifestyle, I guess it’s only fair that I tell you how I “got started.” I was a dedicated and passionate cheerleader, starting at age 11, and it was all going well until my sophomore year of high school. My parents grounded me for some infraction at home and I had to miss two games. The co-captain, (whose name I still cannot say without rolling my eyes), was promoted to wear my captain’s uniform in my absence, and she altered it a size smaller to fit her. When I returned to the team, I had two options: wear a regular uniform or quit the team. So I quit. A brilliant decision at the age of 16. I spiraled from there and never did an ounce of exercise for years. I was the most inactive person on the planet—that is until I was 24 years old. I had just given birth to my son and had gained over 50 pounds. One day, as a new mother visiting my parents, I saw them talking in hushed tones. When the whispering stopped, my mother said to me, “Dad is going to watch Timmy and you are going to Nina’s jazzercise class with me.” OK—whatever. So, off I went, wearing my husband’s brown nylon tracksuit. They were popular in the 80’s and made a nice swish sound when you walked. (Looking back, it may have been that outfit that prompted my parents to intervene.) Anyway, off I went to jazzercise and I loved it! I loved the dancing part. I loved the social part. It was cheerleading all over again without the uniform issues. I found my passion and lost the tracksuit!

The best advice I can give you is to find something you love doing otherwise you most likely will not stick to it. If you like to dance, try Zumba. If you need to de-compress, try yoga. If you love the team spirit and coaching style, Crossfit may be a perfect fit. Love to ride bikes? Try spinning. Love the water? Why not try aquatic classes or kayaking. Loved ballet as a kid? Try barre classes. Love nature? Hiking or mountain climbing may just fit the bill. If you feel like your body is the shape of your chair, try a stretch class. Join a meet-up group that does the types of activities you like to do: soccer, basketball, biking, running, etc. If you want to “get started,” but don’t have anything that speaks to you just yet—get up and walk! It’s free and everyone can find a few minutes in their day for this activity. And don’t be surprised if you suddenly find yourself doing new things that you never thought you would try. Forget the trends and the magazine’s advice – just go back to your own roots and “get started”.

Down on the Farm

By Mary Stanley, PR and
Marketing Coordinator, Mary Stanley

On the last day of February, as the mercury in the thermometer inched its way up to 60 degrees, we couldn’t help but to think about the upcoming spring season and look forward to seeing the daffodils and crocuses that would soon pop their heads up from the ground. We could certainly feel spring in the air.

Nobody is more excited about the change in the weather than Farm Manager Jim Lough. He has eagerly been preparing for his first planting season with Colchester Farm. That’s not to say that he was idle during the dark days of winter. Since taking over the reigns as farm manager, Jim has been busy injecting life into this Baystate Certified Organic farm. In December, he and the individuals who work on the farm, sold Christmas trees and decorated the barn, preparing it for young guests who attended our annual Community Christmas event. Then in February, he and his friend Nate Wallace put on a free concert for people in the community. Jim played the guitar while Nate played the fiddle, filling the barn with the sounds of Blue Grass music, entertaining the standing-room-only crowd who brought their own drinks and snacks to the event.

Jim is now in the process of planning a family-friendly Easter Egg hunt for children in the community, complete with plastic eggs filled with candy hidden throughout the property as well as an egg coloring activity.

Some changes have been made to the CSA shares and among these changes is the ability for customers to choose what they want, how much they want, and when they want it. The hours of operation for the farm stand have also changed—it is now open every day in the winter from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. and 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. in the summer. In addition to these changes, there will be a little more variety at the farm stand, including grass fed beef, sweet corn, peaches, plums, apples, and pasture raised chicken and pork. Goat cheese, garlic salt and pure honey will also be available for sale.

With so much in the offering at Colchester Farm, there is certainly something to whet everyone’s appetite. Visit the  Colchester Neighborhood Farm website today to order your CSA share for this year.


The Candy Man Comes to NEV

By Mary Stanley, PR and
Marketing Coordinator, 

When the weather is cold and the nights are long, there’s no better—or more productive way—to pass the time than rehearsing for a magical production like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

If this show is anything like The Wizard of Oz performance that New England Village put on in March 2016, you had better reserve your tickets now.

Ginger Comeau, who is organizing the show and plays a role says the performers have been working hard, getting their lines down, and singing their hearts out. “Rehearsals are twice a week for 90 minutes each. And everyone is showing up—from the lead characters to the minor roles. Even people with minor roles have multiple roles so everyone is actively involved. Now that the actors are doing better with their lines, we are not spending a lot of time on each scene and they are having fun and the rehearsals are getting more enjoyable,” she says.

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is based on Roald Dahl’s book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Kenny Delmonte, star of the YouTube show, Cooking with Kenny & Kyle, is playing the title role of Willy Wonka. So who exactly got the golden ticket to play Charlie Bucket? Well, that would be Graham Snow, a  member of the community. There are six residents from New England Village and seven people from the community participating in this year’s production. Along with Ginger Comeau, Assistant Program Manager Matt Stone, a veteran actor who has appeared in many community theater productions, is lending his talents to the show.

The work that goes into a production like Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory is immeasurable and goes well beyond the performances of the actors appearing on stage. The art department at New England Village has been working feverishly to put together scenery and create props for the show. “They are busy creating background scenery as well as small props such as pieces of candy,” says Ginger.

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory will perform at the Pembroke Community Middle School on March 9 at 7 p.m. and March 10 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the door or by contacting Ginger Comeau at 781-293-5461, ext. 208.


The Promise of Tomorrow

By Mary Stanley, PR and
Marketing Coordinator, Mary Stanley

As we welcome in the new year, we cannot help but to look back on 2017 and to acknowledge some of the more profound moments that occurred this past year. For instance, we were selected to be a beneficiary of FundFare at Whalburger’s, a fundraising event hosted by the restaurant chain. And what an event it was! New England Village raised the most money that evening of any nonprofit organization that has participated in the restaurant’s fundraiser. We were also selected to be a beneficiary in Rogers and Gray’s Comedy for the Community event.  It was a night filled with laughs as comedians performed their routines on stage. At the end of the evening, New England Village received a check for $11,638!

We are grateful to these local organizations as well as others who have given so much to NEV and as we glance through some of the photographs of this year’s flurry of activities, we notice how much our participants have given back to the community. From the Toys for Tots drive to ringing the bell for the Salvation Army to other community service projects throughout the year, NEV participants know what it means to give of their talents.

Over the past year, we said good bye to some long-time residents and very good friends. We think about them often and will continue to hold them in our hearts. We also welcomed some new people to the Village and they are quickly becoming familiar faces around here as well as dear friends.

In the past 12 months, our Sollar Wellness Center is truly becoming a community center—for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as those without. Our art classes are extremely popular as people in the community look forward to the next Paint Night class or other craft project and our fitness offerings have developed a loyal following of participants. We fully expect the SWC to continue to be a hub of activity for the local community.

As we look back on the past year—and all that we have given and all that we have received—we cannot help but to feel optimistic about the year ahead.

“Tis the Season”

By Executive Director Gail T. Brown, CRC, LRC, LCSW

Like Santa’s elves, employees from our facilities department have been hard at work bringing the spirit of the season to New England Village. They have done a stellar job of decorating—putting up all of the lights, ornaments and other decorations—to create a winter wonderland.

Staff throughout NEV kicked off the holiday season with a potluck “friendsgiving” luncheon. Held in the Ray Assembly Hall, many employees, and some participants, stopped by to have turkey with all the fixings as well as lots of desserts and to mingle with one another.  NEV truly is one big family. Continue reading

Weathering the Storm

By Executive Director Gail T. Brown, CRC, LRC, LCSW

October was a busy month for us at NEV, filled with lots of events and parties, but before the month ended, our emergency preparedness plan was tested, adding a bit more to our task list. A storm that packed powerful winds blew in on a Sunday night, leaving most of the South Shore, as well as other parts of the state, without any power on Monday morning.  As is typical of New England Village, our staff—from administrative personnel to the DSPs to the maintenance Continue reading

Family Values

By Executive Director Gail T. Brown, CRC, LRC, LCSW

The importance and value of family and friends cannot be understated and that is why New England Village takes special pride every year in organizing its Family Day event. Over the years, however, this day has become something that staff looks forward to as much as the individuals we serve and, as expected in any close tight-knit community, we have developed personal meaningful relationships with the family and friends of individuals supported. There is no question that this event generates an enormous amount of love, happiness, and joy for everyone in attendance.

Family Day 2017 was a huge success thanks to the efforts of so many.  It really does take a Village to plan and orchestrate this annual event so that individuals supported by our Continue reading

Beaming With Pride

By Executive Director Gail T. Brown, CRC, LRC, LCSW

It is with great pride and gratitude for our compassionate and dedicated staff that I share the impressive results of our recent Licensing and Certification review conducted by the DDS Office of Quality Enhancement.  We were, once again awarded a two-year license for all of our day and residential programs and the results were outstanding!  Our Residential Services and In- home Supports received a rating of 99%  for licensing standards and 86% for certification standards and our CBDS and Employment Services received 100% for licensing standards and 93% for certification Continue reading

Brotherly and Sisterly Love

By Mary Stanley, PR and
Marketing Coordinator, Mary Stanley

“Siblings – the definition that comprises love, strife, competition and forever friends” – Byron Pulsifer

There is no question that the bond between siblings is a special one.  They are the link to our past and the ones most likely to be with us in the future. Who else but a sister or brother has known us from our very youngest self to our present? We cheered for them, shared our secrets with them, celebrated with them and grieved with them. We have seen them at their best and their worst. Siblings are the people we teased and fought with as children and then made up with; they are the people we protected and defended, because they were, above all else, family. Continue reading