October 15, 2020

How Food Insecurity is Contributing to Poor Health

Show Notes

On this episode, Chuck Gaidica is joined by Shanthi Appelö, registered dietitian for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Together, they discuss how food insecurity is impacting the health of those experiencing hunger.

In this episode of A Healthier Michigan Podcast, we explore:

  • The different levels of food insecurity.
  • Obstacles people living in food deserts face.
  • How stigma prevents people from using food assistance programs.
  • The impact food insecurity has on the development of healthy habits.
  • What actions we can take to help surrounding communities.

Transcript

Chuck Gaidica:
This is A Healthier Michigan Podcast, episode 65. Coming up we discuss how food insecurity has a major impact on the health of those experiencing hunger.

Chuck Gaidica:
Welcome to A Healthier Michigan Podcast. This is a podcast dedicated to navigating how we can all improve our health and well-being through small, healthy habits we can start implementing right now. I’m your host, Chuck Gaidica.

Chuck Gaidica:
Every other week we’ll sit down with a certified health expert from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, and we dive into topics like nutrition and fitness and a whole lot more and that’s what’s going to happen today, I think. On this episode we’re discussing food insecurity and the impact it has on those struggling with hunger. With me today is a registered dietician for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Shanthi Appelo. Hi, Shanthi?

Shanthi Appelö:
Hey there, good morning.

Chuck Gaidica:
Now you are originally from Sweden and when you say your name it is way better than when I say your name but you gave me permission to call you Shanthi, say your name for us.

Shanthi Appelö:
I think you did a great job, but Shanthi Appelo is how my parents would say it.

Chuck Gaidica:
Oh, I love that. I should just pause and let you say it every time it’s time to say your name again it’s just so beautiful. We’re so glad you’re here and your depth of professional experience is coupled with real-life boots on-the-ground experience. You’re with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, you’re a native of Sweden. I know you’ve got a Bachelor’s of Science in Nutrition and a Master of Science in Public Health Nutrition from the University of Tennessee.

Chuck Gaidica:
You are from what I’m reading passionate about these topics of nutrition and behavior and you love the outdoors so there’s this wellness and healthfulness component to your own life. And yet, you have witnessed firsthand by being involved in food insecurity issues and in the Knoxville area, Knox County, helping to develop policy interventions, helping people literally one-on-one. Tell us a little bit about that background as you made your way from Sweden to Tennessee.

Shanthi Appelö:
Yeah, I was in Knox County working in the community with nutrition for the last seven years. And one of my primary objectives was to influence that policy and work one-on-one with patients who are struggling financially. But one thing that I noted was nutrition education is really helpful, it’s always helpful to know how you can prepare healthy meals, how to do it, but if you really don’t have the tools to do that it’s difficult to actually make that happen.

Shanthi Appelö:
One example I like to give is we’re provided a lot of canned goods at food pantries and things like that because they’re shelf-stable. They last a long time in your pantry and there are a variety of things you can do with them. But, say you don’t have the tools to prepare that or you don’t know how to. You don’t have a can opener for example, how are you going to prepare that food? And so those are a lot of things that I was faced with working with people who are struggling financially, is that they might want to make these healthy choices but it’s hard to do so.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah. And the impact in our country, much less worldwide because we take for granted just the numbers and when you hear them they are overwhelming. I mean, some of the data we’ve got as recent as 2019 according to Feeding America, more than 35 million people struggled with hunger in the U.S. and this includes more than 10 million children. So you are looking at food insecurity for families and for some that you may know and some that you may not know. I mean, there are just assumptions that we all tend to come to the table with of who is in need of food and we just don’t know the context of a family of what’s happened in their life that pushes them over the edge sometimes, right?

Shanthi Appelö:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). And you’re so right. And I think what’s really helpful to know is that there are so many different levels of food insecurity. There are those who may just feel a little bit anxiety about having adequate food where their quality of the food, the variety, or even the food that they like they’re not able to get on the table. Maybe they’re not able to get the quantity that they’re used to, but then there’s also a very low food insecurity and really that means that you are experiencing this in your body. You are going hungry, we can see it in micronutrient deficiencies with certain vitamins, really their eating pattern is disrupted.

Shanthi Appelö:
It can range from experiencing some hunger to experiencing hunger every day and like you said, this goes for a lot of families and children. With children especially we’re seeing higher rates of obesity. We talked about having a really hard time focusing in school because you don’t have a healthy breakfast. And there are so many things that children are faced with from a young age that influence their behaviors when they get older too.

Chuck Gaidica:
Well, you’re a dietitian so you have forgotten more about this than I know but I’m just going to speak for a large number of people in the audience. It’s counter-intuitive often that you would hear that a family is in the midst of food insecurity and yet they’re overweight. So tell me what is filling in the gap, what’s happening? Is it literally fast food, is that what they’re turning to or they’re just turning to the fastest least-expensive let’s-grab-a-box-of-donuts-and-go kind of idea for breakfast? What is it that’s happening then?

Shanthi Appelö:
You’re touching on something so important. And what’s important to realize is that access to healthy food can be really limited in certain communities. And so imagine that you live in a community where the closest store that you have is a convenience store. We all know that going to a convenience store you’re going to pay sometimes double for some fruits and vegetables than you-

Chuck Gaidica:
A gallon of milk, yeah.

Shanthi Appelö:
Sorry, yeah, absolutely. And so if you don’t have the transportation to get there, maybe you just don’t have enough gas to put in your car or money for gas, or you have to take public transportation to get there to a real grocery store, and of course if you take public transportation to a real grocery store how much can you really load up on when it comes to healthy food?

Shanthi Appelö:
And so oftentimes families are faced with being in the grocery aisles or being at a convenience store and they’re like, “I am hungry and I need calories.” And if you can get 600 calories with $1 on potato chips, or for that same dollar you could get one banana that’s not going to make you very full, which one are you going to choose? And so it does have to do with being able to afford healthy food and sometimes fast food being the only available option, but something really interesting too is that if you’re constantly experiencing hunger, it may be that when you do get access to food especially free food, you may overeat. You’re like, “This is my only meal for a long time and I am going to take advantage of this as much as I can.” So it’s always a two-fold.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah. And so much of what you’ve said really is making light bulbs go off in my mind because we’ve had people on this very podcast that talk about… What is it? It’s food density. Would you rather, in one hand here’s an apple and it’s 90 calories or 100 calories and in this hand are three Oreo cookies. You would think that it’s okay but if you want to really fill up your belly eating that apple is so much better for you and yet if you don’t have access to the good stuff, but the cookies come in a big package for three bucks and that’s what you get, well, then you’re filling up on the wrong stuff. And I think we sometimes forget that it’s not the actual choice to not be eating healthy, like you said that’s all people have access to, it’s get the cheapest box of whatever and that’s all we can afford to eat today.

Shanthi Appelö:
Yeah, absolutely. And that’s where that whole education component comes in, is that we can tell people how to eat healthy all day long but if you really don’t have access and if you don’t have the money, how are you going to do it realistically?

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah, yeah. One of the things you mentioned, that can opener idea, I remember reading years ago and it’s just because I’m a learner, it’s one of my top strengths, I’m a nut about knowing stuff that doesn’t matter. My wife always says, “How do you know that?” “I don’t know.” But I remember reading that the way the can opener was invented it was either in World War I or World War II, the soldiers had no way of opening up the can of beans or whatever they had, they were using a screwdriver and a hammer, literally, pop, hitting. And somebody went, “Hey, how about this invention?” And you think about the simplicity of saying you may have gone to the food pantry and gotten a box of green beans and stuff and you get home and you’re like, “Duh, I mean, I can’t even open the stuff, I can’t beat it on the ground to open the can.” You just don’t think about some of those basic things that would affect food insecurity.

Shanthi Appelö:
Yeah, and you make a good point about that too because a lot of food pantries are seeing that and having people donate canned food that have the little tab that you can just pull instead of using a can opener so there are ways to really help that. But when you are food insecure too I want to touch on what else happens. We may see that because you don’t know what to put on the table that day you may also forego getting medical care. Maybe you’re not filling your prescriptions as often as you need to, maybe you have type 2 diabetes and you need to control the carbohydrates that you eat throughout the day and you’re not able to do that because you’re limited in your food choices.

Shanthi Appelö:
Something that I experienced a lot working with moms is that infant formula for their children is important if you’re not breastfeeding, and of course you mix the infant formula with water. And so what happened a lot was these moms would dilute the infant formula with more water not realizing that it didn’t have as much calories but they were making just as much formula, right?

Shanthi Appelö:
And so there are a lot of trade-offs that you have to make some times when you don’t know what you’re going to put on the table with basic house necessities. You have to think about, “Well, I have to have a place to live, so I have to have money for that. I have to get to work in order to have a place to live and so I have to put gas in my car in order to get there.” And maybe in the summer you don’t need as much power and electricity but those are really hard decisions people have to make.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah, and I can’t even imagine the idea that you’ve got kids, you’re having to jump through all the hoops of even… We take for granted while we’re, “hunny, I’m just going to the grocery store” and you go and you pick up your stuff and you come home. And for some people all those hoops to jump through, getting the car to start, making sure it’s got gas, getting to the right place and then getting whatever it is. Whether it’s money from where you work or whether it’s a Bridge Card, whatever it is that allows you to go buy food, you’ve got a lot of stuff to accomplish. And if you’ve got a couple three kids or something and they’re all in the morning saying where’s breakfast, the pressure, the emotional and psychological pressure, you must have seen that too with some of the moms you’re speaking of, right?

Shanthi Appelö:
Oh yeah. And I mean, imagine depression and food insecurity is very linked. We know that, that’s what the research says. And when you are depressed it is really difficult to make healthy choices for yourself. And you’re talking about the stress too. Even if you have your own car, getting three kids in the car and situated can be really difficult, but then imagine taking public transportation in order to get to where you’re going and carrying all these goods and having all the kids with you and also juggling multiple jobs.

Shanthi Appelö:
I think one of the pieces of stigma that exist about people who are food insecure and maybe take advantage of SNAP benefits, that’s the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and one of the misconceptions is that people who take advantage of these programs are lazy and they’re non-working individuals that just receive free handouts, right?

Chuck Gaidica:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Shanthi Appelö:
And oftentimes people who receive SNAP benefits have multiple jobs, they have to support multiple people in their family and there are just so many things that you’re faced with when you have to make decisions about food.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah. And coming back to kids again because I know as we talked about these numbers are overwhelming. We all, I shouldn’t say we all, I grew up with the idea you’ve got to have a good breakfast before you go off to school. So another one of these touchpoints has got to be the idea that if you don’t have a mattress to sleep on at night and you’re getting a bad night’s sleep, obviously that’s going to affect your day, your performance, whether you’re a kid or an adult.

Chuck Gaidica:
But with kids if you’re not able to get a good “breakfast,” something to help you get your morning started so you’re not in a fog, well, now you can extend those lines out as you’re doing with the snap example right to see how that impacts education and testing and just wellness and wholeness in a classroom.

Shanthi Appelö:
You’re so right. And healthy habits start young. And if you’re faced with these struggles as a young child it’s very common for those to expand into adulthood and influence the decisions you make in adulthood. And that’s why making interventions when kids are young is so important. And luckily there are a lot of programs that exist for children to have a healthy lunch when they do come to school so that they can be fueled for a day of learning and play and all those things that are important. But oftentimes when you get home if there’s no food on the table that’s another issue.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah. Well, I have to admit to you that I was part of the federal school breakfast and lunch program when I was a kid. We had income as a kid and I didn’t know we were poor. I mean, I had a used bike and I played with army soldiers and a spoon in the dirt. I mean, I didn’t know, I mean, it was just fun it was stuff you did. I never felt food insecure because I got, this is in high school, it wasn’t during elementary school years, but I got to go to high school and if there was oatmeal and there was stuff and I got to get it because we qualified. But it wasn’t so much a stigma for my parents. For me a little bit because you’re surrounded by your buddies and some kids are buying their breakfast and then some of us get to show a special badge or something and that was a little strange, but there are lots of stigmas like that you just don’t even think about.

Shanthi Appelö:
Yeah. And I think there’s a lot of internalized stigma too. I’m guilty of the stigma myself. Back in Knox County I was teaching a cooking class for a clinic that I did some medical nutrition therapy and it was for people who were HIV positive and generally had a pretty low income to qualify to be in the program. And so during this cooking program I had a rule and it was when you come here we do not drink sodas and we do not bring unhealthy food because it just went against my mission.

Shanthi Appelö:
And so I see this person bring in a huge sheet cake and I’m like, “What are you doing? What? This is not what we’re having after, we have a perfectly healthy dessert planned after this.” And he informs me that, “Well, I actually just went to the food pantry and they had all these sheet cakes and I didn’t want them to go to waste and I’m going to take one with me.” And so I think it’s important to check yourself on what you see associated with taking advantage of systems programs like going to food pantries or SNAP or whatever it is.

Shanthi Appelö:
An example of that is, say you’re at the grocery store and you’re checking out. Someone’s checking out next to you and you see them using their SNAP benefits, and you say, “Huh, they’re buying beer too, shouldn’t they be focused on buying healthy food for their family?” And I think what’s so important to realize is that people deserve to have things that they want in life, they deserve to celebrate and there are so many things going on that we have to really wonder why they’re making that decision.

Shanthi Appelö:
And stigma really is so linked to depression and it makes food insecurity so much more bad when you are also experiencing depression linked to that stigma. But I touched a little bit on the internalized stigma but there are so many people out there that qualify for assistance programs that are really helpful because they don’t feel like they deserve to take advantage of it or that they don’t really need to, or because they have stigma of what that means about a person when they use that.

Chuck Gaidica:
Well, there’s a lot wrapped up in there that you’ve touched on a little bit with the emotional and the mental health aspects of this that I mean a lot of our self-worth, whether you’re an adult or whether you’re growing up in life is our self-worth can be derived from our jobs, we’re going off to do something. And when you’re not either hired or you’re out of a job or you’re between jobs and now you’re food insecure, you may be insecure about life in general. Do people love me? Why did I get fired?

Chuck Gaidica:
I mean, there’s so much that can be wrapped into that and then it just gets into this internal spiral dive that becomes issues like you mentioned depression and otherwise that, I mean, there’s just so much to this, that I applaud you for what you did because when I read how you got involved and I’ve gotten involved this way myself, there’s a big box store that everybody would… The biggest box store that you would recognize and they every other day will donate. And typically to be fair while they’ll donate bread stuffs, not so much canned goods and anything else, but they will donate a lot of pastries and cakes because there’s a date, I mean, it’s going to be kind of hard around the edges.

Chuck Gaidica:
A lot of that can go to our local food pantry here and like you’re saying somebody could walk out with a bun cake or something at the top of their shopping bag and people would think, “Well, you’re off the rails on your choices.” Well, that’s what we got. I’ve gotten my car filled with powder sugar because I went and picked up this stuff, and it’s great stuff. I mean, it’s either that or it’s going in the dumpster, right?

Shanthi Appelö:
Yeah. And the fear of food waste is real. We don’t want to see food going to waste. And oftentimes there’s a lot of food sharing going on in communities too where maybe you see someone taking home that sheet cake but they’re sharing it with 20 neighbors, so you definitely touched on an important point there.

Chuck Gaidica:
You’ve talked about SNAP, give us from your perspective what are the… not just the emergency plans that people can turn to but what are the things the organizations, the federal state programs that people can turn to that they may not be aware of?

Shanthi Appelö:
Yeah. And so, especially if you experience changes in your employment or whatever it may be it is really important to know about the different resources, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, it used to be called Food Stamps so people may be more familiar with that term.

Chuck Gaidica:
That’s what SNAP is now?

Shanthi Appelö:
That’s what SNAP is now. We’ve seen that that can really help people who are food insecure in getting the food that they need. We see less attendance, food pantries that are more of an emergency type resource when people utilize SNAP. There’s also the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, or otherwise known as WIC, and that can help moms get healthy food for she and her family’s when she’s pregnant and also after giving birth.

Shanthi Appelö:
It can provide some extra funds for healthy food for a mom who’s breastfeeding so that she can support herself sharing that and it can also help provide infant formula and things like that. And what’s really neat about that program is that it’s switched in a lot of places from a voucher system to an EBT card system and it’s becoming a lot easier to use and we also see less stigma, so that’s important to know.

Chuck Gaidica:
Oh, good.

Shanthi Appelö:
And in Michigan, there are so many food pantries for people who are in need. There are seven major food banks but they serve 83 counties with 3000 different agencies to help people who need that emergency food assistance. And we touched on the sheet cake and things like that but there are so many healthy food items available at food pantries and people who help food pantries are a huge part of that. Whenever you’re donating to causes especially during the holiday season, just thinking about the foods that we can donate and also calling the local food banks and seeing what they need can be really helpful. There’s a twofold there, you can definitely take advantage of resources but there are a lot of ways that you can help both in donating food but also donating your time.

Chuck Gaidica:
There’s something that we’ve talked about in previous podcasts, it’s sort of recurs every once in a while when we’re talking about diet, nutrition, et cetera, it’s the idea of a food desert. For somebody who may not know what does that mean and how do you see that impacting not just people that can afford to get, they actually can afford to go get the food, but how does it impact those who are struggling with good food choices?

Shanthi Appelö:
Yeah. Food deserts are common in the United States. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you live in an area where there’s no food at all, it just means that you don’t live in an area where you have access to healthy food. You may live on a strip of land that has all these fast food restaurants just lined up, right?

Chuck Gaidica:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Shanthi Appelö:
But there is not a healthy grocery store nearby, so because of that you have to travel a lot further to get your food and that can be difficult. With food deserts there are things being done. We are researching what communities are in need and really looking at how we can help bus routes function better and things like that. But yeah, food deserts are a really big part of why it’s difficult to eat healthy for certain people.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah. And I’ve seen with the food pantries that I’ve at least witnessed and even the larger groups, the Feeding of America or the Forgotten Harvest or The Gleaners, the big ones. And then there are the others who get stuff from them, like Northville Civic Concern and others that I’ve witnessed, oftentimes some of the organizations either don’t pick up perishable food, that’s not their thing, they want canned goods and bags of pasta and stuff that doesn’t spoil, and I get it.

Chuck Gaidica:
And then some of the local food banks, they just don’t have the cash, they’re not getting enough funding to put in refrigeration. You may be able to get a car load of vegetables or maybe apples when they’re in season here in Michigan as an example but you can’t keep that stuff forever. It’s just not in their business plan or they haven’t been blessed with a refrigerator that you can walk into a cooler.

Shanthi Appelö:
Yeah, absolutely.

Chuck Gaidica:
So that’s like a food desert issue too then, isn’t it? Even within food banks it’s just not there.

Shanthi Appelö:
Yeah. And an issue that can translate to your home life too. There are people who don’t have refrigerators at home and who don’t have a stove top to cook things on. And so it adds to that and it exists, like you said, in the food pantries and it exists at home and it exists in the community.

Chuck Gaidica:
You’ve actually developed local policy, you’ve served in communities within organizations. With your eyeballs, what have you seen are some of the most impactful ways that some of us listening can be helpful? Is it literally writing a check to a local group? Is it calling and asking what we can bring in a box tomorrow, when we’re shopping what could we bring? Tell us what are the I don’t know, top four or five things we can think about doing that you’ve seen direct impact right to people?

Shanthi Appelö:
Yeah. And so when we touch on the issue of food insecurity it’s so much bigger than any one person, right? It’s going to exist in the policy and that’s where we see those federal assistance programs really working. But what you can do on your local level is absolutely reach out to your local food bank. Food banks are the ones that distribute the food to the pantries that actually go directly to the people and so it can be really helpful to reach out to them, give them a call, see what they need. Sometimes if you can’t help in a monetary way you can help with your time. And so a lot of food banks function off of volunteers and those are needed oftentimes during the holiday seasons more than ever.

Chuck Gaidica:
And time is an important one. I’m a baby boomer so I’m far older than you, I suspect. But I’ve got 74 million of my local friends in America, baby boomers, right? And sometimes I talk to my buddies and I’ll say, “Well, what do you do with all your free time if you’re retired?” Which I’m not really but what do you do? Well, how much golf can you play or whatever your thing is? And collectively baby boomers have trillions of hours of free time. And I hope anybody listening to this whether they’re a boomer or a gen X-er millennial doesn’t matter are really listening to you as a catalyst to encourage us, we can do something and if all we can do is use our time, holy cow, how impactful is that?

Shanthi Appelö:
Absolutely, yeah. And things to keep in mind too when you are thinking about helping or if maybe you just want to help a neighbor is focusing on getting people a balance of different nutrients, right? When we think about my plate, that has protein, grains, dairy, and fruits and vegetables. Beans and peas in the protein group, they are great sources of protein, they are great inside dishes, good in soups, especially this time of the year and they cost far less than similar amounts of other protein foods like chicken and things like that.

Shanthi Appelö:
Eggs are a low cost option. You can make that into omelets, casseroles, egg bites, so much more. Canned tuna and salmon, they’re also shelf-stable so we want to make sure that people are getting enough protein because it does play such a big role in the way that our bodies function, our immunity functions and our strength. And then with grains buying oatmeal in a big pack rather than an individual serving can get down as low as like 5 cents a serving and so that can save a lot of money, and it’s also shelf-stable. Brown rice and whole wheat pasta, also really good inexpensive options.

Shanthi Appelö:
And then we moved to the dairy options too and that’s where we really have a big issue because they have expiring dates that are soon approaching, especially with milk and things like that. And so thinking about how much you will actually use, it’s so silly to think about that because you’re like, “Well, yeah, of course I’m not going to buy more than I need,” but really thinking and planning that out can be really helpful. I tell my boyfriend, like we go to the grocery store and he’s like, “Ooh, let’s buy this.” And I’m like, “Okay, well, I’m not going to eat that so you are committing to eating that.”

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah, we all go through that, trust me.

Shanthi Appelö:
Yeah, we’re not letting this go to waste. But just to think about that, for yogurt oftentimes buying a large container is way less expensive than individual packs. You can buy it with fruit and stuff but if you aren’t going to eat all that going for the individual packs is better. And then finally with fruits and vegetables, you brought up apples, great in season, anything in season is going to be cheaper, but cabbage and carrots, apples and bananas are probably going to be lower cost than other produce.

Shanthi Appelö:
And canned is a great option. And if you are in the position to buy canned food especially for food pantries and things like that, buying them in 100% fruit juice, just to make sure that they’re not in heavy syrup or light syrup, because that has a lot of added sugar. And then vegetables that are low in sodium or have no salt added. So those are things to really focus on and for people who are experiencing hunger and they’re really wondering, “What do I buy at the grocery store?” These are kind of the things to focus on.

Chuck Gaidica:
Well, but that’s an encouragement to me and I hope to others who are thinking about, “Well, let’s go buy some canned goods because you may not be assigning value to the idea of lower salt for somebody with hypertension or the amount of sugar because of somebody with diabetes, right? You’re able to be impactful while you’re still buying. I just happen to know this because I know I love black beans and different kinds, it’s 10 cans for 10 bucks if they’re not on sale, I’m just saying.

Chuck Gaidica:
I mean the impact of $10 with the protein and the fiber and as you mentioned the whole thing is just incredible so we can give a little thought to what we’re buying to donate as well as just cleaning out the pantry. And God love everybody who does it but it’s like, “Well, I don’t want that and I don’t want that I’ll just donate it.” Well, that’s nice if it’s not expired, but we can have an impact that goes out beyond the food that we’re actually giving.

Shanthi Appelö:
Yeah, absolutely. You’re so right.

Chuck Gaidica:
Well, as we wrap things up and it’s been such a joy talking to you and you are an encourager, you really are. Give us one more takeaway here as we leave, what is one thing we could think about today, holidays or otherwise that we can do to make impact with this issue?

Shanthi Appelö:
I think one of the biggest things is be kind to yourself and to other people who are struggling with this. It could be your neighbor, it could be anyone. And so if you are struggling don’t be afraid to take advantage of those opportunities that exist for you with assistance programs and food pantries. And just think about your health overall, one bad meal, one bad choice isn’t going to be something that ruins your whole health so keep that in mind and the decisions you make about your health in general.

Chuck Gaidica:
Now, that’s great advice. And for a lot of us it could be that you haven’t experienced it yet, sadly, I mean you just don’t know when you’re one phone call away from dropping to your knees, as somebody wrote the lyrics to you just don’t know what’s coming in life or in my case, from where I’ve come. I mean, I don’t really talk about it much but I was part of a program that helped me have a breakfast and a lunch too so you just don’t know how close you are to the edge sometimes until it happens. But what an interesting conversation and I think this bears more conversation about trying to help people. Shanthi Appelo, you go ahead say your name again for us. Come on, come on.

Shanthi Appelö:
Shanthi Appelo.

Chuck Gaidica:
See, look that. I just don’t even do it justice, I’m so sorry. But you are just wonderful, it’s a joy to have talked to you. And Shanthi is with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. She’s a registered dietitian, a health and wellness spokesperson for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, so thank you so much for you.

Shanthi Appelö:
Thank you, Chuck. And with all these fun facts I need to go to trivia with you one day.

Chuck Gaidica:
Okay, that’s great, yeah. Okay, we’ll do that. Take good care of yourself and stay well.

Shanthi Appelö:
Thank you.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah, thank you. And thank you for listening to A Healthier Michigan Podcast, it’s brought to you by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. If you like our show or you want to know more you can check us out online. Are you ready? ahealthiermichigan.org/podcast. You can leave us reviews or ratings on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. You can get all of our episodes, we’re up to episode 65 so there are a lot of great episodes and a lot of different topics and you can get them on your smartphone, take us for a walk, do whatever you want, get it on your tablet. Be sure to subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts or Spotify or your favorite podcast app. I’m Chuck Gaidica, stay well.