Being Frank with Ben

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ben_franklinBen Franklin is known for a lot things. From signing the Declaration of Independence and later the Constitution to kicking back with his buddies for a bit of experimenting in electricity, meteorology (he identified and named the Gulf Stream), or even early refrigeration. He was a worldly guy who was one of the first and formative examples of American inquisitiveness, civic activism, and DIY entrepreneurialism. He also became a vegetarian early in life. I’m reading his autobiography right now and was excited to learn from his own words that he was a guy who cared about workplace health.

When he was just 17, he traveled to England and worked in a print shop as a pressman. He and 50 other men would work the presses that churned out pamphlets of news and opinion each day. The men working in the press shop drank beer pretty much all day long as they went about their work, which Franklin found detestable. One of the men said it was “necessary, he suppos’d, to drink strong beer, that he might be strong to labour.” Franklin tried to convince the men that “bodily strength afforded by beer could only be in proportion to the grain or flour of the barley dissolved in the water of which it was made; that there was more flour in a pennyworth of bread; and therefore, if he would eat that with a pint of water, it would give him more strength than a quart of beer.” He showed his coworkers that spending money on quality bread and soup was more cost-effective and better for them. He claims to have helped men save money and become more productive at their work.

Fast forward about 250 years. While workplace drinking has been addressed by OSHA, I like to believe that the trend of eating healthy fruit at work would make the vegetarian Franklin proud. There have also been lots of advances since Franklin’s time in the 18th century to understand what is good for us and why. Please check out this story by Rebecca Taggart summarizing the last decade’s worth of research on why apples are so good for you. One hint: eat the peel. And click the ladybug icon on our homepage or check out our regional mix pages and see exactly what’s in your box.

Enjoy and be fruitful!

—Chris Mittelstaedt,


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Our online magazine offers a taste of workplace culture, trends, and healthy living. It features recipes for easy, delicious work meals and tips on quick office workouts. It's also an opportunity to learn about our GoodWorks program, which helps those in need in our communities and supports small, sustainable farms.