The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 12 No. 9 - December 14, 2011


NFL Flag Football Preview

The Anna Maria Island Community Center last week formed 23 youth NFL Flag Football teams. More than 175 boys and girls, ages five to 16, showed up for the two-day draft process. The players were put through a new format of tryouts similar to what the NFL Combine uses to assess the college athletes entering the draft. The children and volunteer coaches seemed to really enjoy the 40-yard dash times. In football, speed kills and the coaches used these times frequently in deciding their next draft pick.

The teams will be practicing hard for the rest of December. After the children return from winter break, official games will begin. The season starts off with a kick-off season dinner donated by the Beach Bistro & Eat Here on Wednesday, Jan. 4. Regular season games will begin on Friday, Jan. 6.

This is how the leagues stack up: In division I, (13- to 16-year-olds), there are six teams; in division II, (10- to 12-year-olds), there are seven teams; in division III, (8- to 10-year-olds), there are six teams; and in the Instructional league, (5- to 7-year-olds), there are four teams.

Adult flag football tryouts are Thursday, Dec. 15. New this season is anyone who has not played in the league before must try out or they will not be placed on a team. There are currently over 100 players anxiously awaiting the formation of this league.

By Thursday night's draft, the Center will probably be forming 14 to 18 teams for this highly anticipated league. Uniforms for the adults will be handed out at the Wednesday, Jan. 4 dinner and the season games begin on Thursday, Jan. 5.


Yes you can eat afford to eat healthy

Any story or study that has the word "poverty" or related words glides onto my radar. As a financial consultant for five years at a major Wall Street firm, my Earth-Mother-in-a-Suit nickname was born as a result of focusing on socially responsible investing. In short, that meant finding companies for clients who wanted their investments to be mission consistent with their values. So if clients didn't support alcohol, animal testing, firearms or tobacco, they didn't want any part of their portfolio to be a company that did either.

In my working with corporations that were designated by Wall Street as suitable socially responsible investments, I found that some companies didn't really care about being socially responsible until you could show them that having great employee benefits, or super recycling programs, for example could save the company money.

It was this education that inspired me to write my book. Harry Dent and other gurus have long been predicting a huge economic slow-down as the baby boomers retire. No matter how much you may hear on the news that the economy is improving, many polls show that most Americans believe we may have seen our prime. A growing number believe the studies that show the disparity between the income classes will keep growing; in short, the rich will get richer and poor, poorer. My husband recently saw someone fill up a huge pleasure motorboat at the dock with 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel at more than $4 a gallon!

Contrast that with this recent CBS News survey: one in two Americans are concerned that they will not be able to afford the holiday gifts they would like to buy this year.

The latest U.S. census figures say that one in six Americans live below the poverty level of $22,000 for a family of four. As any financial planner will tell you, one-quarter of your income should go to food. Some stories that say Americans are spending up to half their income on food. Taking the one-quarter percentage, this works out to $4 a day for food. So that means that one-sixth of America is already living on a food budget of $4 a day.

I wrote my book after I saw many stories on the news showing obese women, some on food stamps, loading their grocery carts with Twinkies saying, "You can't eat well on a budget."

I spent the past three years on the floors of big-box stores tracking food prices. I believed that if you could show how cheaply people could eat, they almost wouldn't care what it was that they were eating. Show them how much better they would feel, and as a result of feeling better, how much money they could save by avoiding disease, doctors and hospitals, they would flock to the vegan table. The price of dry beans is one-sixth the cost of the cheapest (30 percent fat) hamburger meat. Add that up over a lifetime, and the savings are significant.

My own family history would appear to be a testimonial to the health of eating this way. I ran my first marathon last year and continue to place in my age group at 5K races. I help coach our high school girls' cross-country team.

I've yet to meet anyone who has my identical family history. My mom, aunt and both sisters had breast cancer. One of those sisters, both parents and all grandparents had diabetes and major heart disease. My mom, uncle and grandmother had Alzheimer's. Most adults had osteoporosis, arthritis and varicose veins. I have none of it. I didn't get all the good genes. Genes take a trigger. I keep asking to be studied. Either I am a genetic freak or I'm doing some things right. But since there's no money in broccoli, I may be waiting awhile.

Changing your diet is so much easier than losing a limb to diabetes or having your chest cracked open for heart disease. The money it takes to maintain a healthy lifestyle is much less than the cost of living a debilitating life from diseases that can be easily prevented. Every time I buy running shoes, I think, "It's cheaper than a co-pay."

You can follow Island resident Ellen Jaffe Jones on her Facebook page and keep up with her just released book:,"Eat Vegan on $4 a Day," or her website: She is also a nationally certified personal trainer and running coach. For training in a gym or private hire, contact Ellen at or 941-704-1025.

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