Mario Lopez Joins IWF

A man of many trades, Mario Lopez has the overwhelming desire to always keep active. Mario is the Emmy winning host of EXTRA, a nationally syndicated daily show. Concurrently, Lopez is the host of the nationwide iHeartMedia radio shows On with Mario Lopez and iHeartRadio Countdown with Mario Lopez. Not only does Lopez have a proclivity for the entertainment industry, he is also an avid sports fan. He has taken his love for sports, specifically boxing, to the next level as a recurring commentator on HBO Boxing.

In September 2014, Lopez released his first autobiography, Just Between Us. In his memoir Lopez shares his successes and disappointments, never before-told stories and family values. Lopez became a New York Times bestselling author for his healthy eating guide Extra Lean. In May 2011, he released the follow up to Extra Lean entitled Extra Lean Family. This new book featured recipes and tips that are beneficial to the entire family. Additionally, Lopez penned Mario Lopez’s Knockout Fitness a bestselling fitness book that offers readers a look into his impressive workout regime, and Mud Tacos, a vibrant children’s’ book he co-authored with his sister Marissa. As a follow up to Mud Tacos, Lopez released Mario & Baby Gia, a children’s book he wrote for his daughter, Gia. The book is currently being developed into an animated series.

No stranger to rigorous routines, Lopez danced his way to the finals in the third season of ABC’s hit show Dancing with the Stars. Shortly after, in summer 2009, Lopez successfully completed his first run on Broadway. He starred in the long running hit musical A Chorus Line as the audience loved character ‘Zach.’

Mario was named the Alumni Ambassador of Fitness by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA), while joining the ranks of some 25 other prominent alumni, including Denzel Washington and President Clinton, in the organization’s BE GREAT campaign. Mario helps bring to light the major issues affecting today’s young people, including the importance of graduating from high school and maintaining a healthy lifestyle and the key role community-based organizations like Boys & Girls Clubs play in the positive development of children.

Most recently Mario has gotten close and personal with some of today’s hottest celebrities and most influential Latino superstars on NUVOtv’s exclusive interview series, Mario One-on-One. Special guests include Eva Longoria, Mark Sanchez, George Lopez, Emilio & Gloria Estefan, Anjelah Johnson, and Kat Von D among others.

Even with all his other ventures, Mario is still in love with acting. Lopez reincarnated his guest-starring role as Dr. Mike Hamoui on the final season of F/X network’s popular show Nip/Tuck. Lopez’s run on the series garnished an instant and well-deserved cult following. He previously starred in the highest rated program in ABC Family history, Holiday in Handcuffs. He also starred opposite Mark Consuelos in the made for TV movie Husband for Hire, which was the most watched program ever on the Oxygen Network.

Mario currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife Courtney and their daughter, Gia and son, Dominic.

Big Boost from UPENN

By Mark Scherzer

This past summer, Ironwill Kids was excited to learn we were among 9 companies chosen to participate in an ed-tech incubator run by Education Design Studio, Inc. (EDSi), an organization based in Philadelphia. If the words “ed-tech incubator” are foreign to you, think of it as a place where education companies go to speed up the growth of their businesses by getting support and guidance from ed-tech pros, as well as access to investors and partners. Some incubators have more muscle than others, and that’s certainly true of EDSi, a collaboration with the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania and a very influential group of investors.

Dr. Barbara “Bobbi” Kurshan Executive Director of Academic Innovation at the Graduate School of Education University of Pennsylvania
Dr. Barbara “Bobbi” Kurshan
Executive Director of Academic Innovation at the Graduate School of Education University of Pennsylvania

The 9 companies in our incubator range from an early child care startup to a syllabus creation platform for college professors. We all head to Philly for four intense days once a month for 5 months, traveling from places as far away as Nairobi Kenya which, in case you’re wondering, is a 30 hour trip. (That kicks our two hour drive’s butt!).

At our last intensive I sat down with Dr. Barbara “Bobbi” Kurshan, Chairman of the Board. Dr. Kurshan is Executive Director of Academic Innovation at the Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania. Here is what she had to say.

IWK: Talk to me about the genesis of EDSi. How did it all start?

BK: I’ve been an academic, an investor, an entrepreneur, a teacher and a professor, and I figured that there had to be a better way to connect these groups together, so I came to Penn with the strong belief that I could start an incubator. I basically went to the Dean and said I’m going to raise a fund and we’re going to start this incubator. And I also wanted to start a Masters program in entrepreneurship and education. Since I’ve been at GSE (Graduate School of Education), we’ve graduated two EDSi cohorts, we’ve invested in two companies from our first cohort and we’re pretty close to investment in two companies from our second cohort.

IWK: What do you look for in companies that you accept into the program?

BK: We look for great teams and great ideas. And we look for ideas that we think can be scalable and are fundable. So, we first look at the team and see how committed they are and how much work they’re going to do. For example, in this cohort we have a lot of people who are working on other things full time. That was a consideration because that changed the sort of commitment time, when they’re available to work and when they’re available to get online. We also look for companies that we think have unique ideas, what’s really going to disrupt education and what is innovative. Now those are really hard terms. If I had a crystal ball I wouldn’t be sitting here running these, I’d be very wealthy because I would have already picked the one big winner.

Mark Gary Lindsey 1

IWK: At the risk of fishing for a compliment, what did you see in Ironwill that you liked?

BK: What I saw was a company that has revenue and has already built product. You know what your market is. Now you need to capture more of the market and migrate your product to a digital solution.

IWK: What do you think of our product?

BK: I think it’s really really good. We believe that we can help you because you have the basis of a good company, and if you look around the table you’ll notice that we picked unique teams with really unusual ideas. And of course, we looked at whether we thought it was scalable or not.

IWK: What do you hope that we’ll take away from this program?

BK: We hope you’re taking a set of tools that will improve the way you operate your business. It’s obvious you take seriously what we do and you go back and try to apply it. So we hope every month you’re taking away something that you can apply. We also hope that you’ll understand the market better by being in a room full of other people trying to traverse the education market. And we hope that you’ll learn to build a network, because that’s what we’re sharing. Our value is our network, and I don’t share my network with just anybody. We think access to our network is one of the things you should take away, and know how to use it.

IWK: Trust me, we will! (Laughter). Finally, what advice do you have for someone with that “Million Dollar Idea?”

BK: I think they should one, apply to a business plan competition and two, they should really do their homework. There are three reasons why early stage education companies fail. One, they don’t know the academic research. They come in and tell me they’re going to build this product to teach reading. And they build it in blue and all the research says red. I’m not against that, that’s how innovation occurs. But I want to know why they think their red model will be better than the blue model. Second, they fail because they don’t know their competitive market. And third, they don’t understand their economic or financial model. They underestimate the amount of money they’ll need, the amount of time they’ll need to do it and the costs for development. That’s why we spend so much time on the financial model, even though people come to us and say we only want to spend time working on our product. We want to take it digital. That’s an easy thing to do. Tomorrow, you can have your product in a digital solution, or at least pieces of it. So those are the three reasons.

EDSi-groupshot

IWK: Is there anything else you’d like to add? Anything I’ve left out?

BK: One of the things we hope we’re building is a community of people, because in being part of EDSi for the next 12 months you can have access to our space, to our network and to our help. We’re trying to build an ecosystem around this, and one of the next things we’re going to be doing is connecting incubators around the world. It’s nice that you meet the 9 companies that come here, but what if you were in an ecosystem of 100 companies? So that’s what we hope.

IWK: We look forward to being part of that ecosystem and to a long and prosperous collaboration. Thanks for your time, Bobbi.

BK: You’re welcome.

To learn more about EDSi: http://www.e-designstudio.com/

Photos courtesy of EDSi

UPenn Incubator Program

We’re excited to be participating in the 2015 EDSi seed fund accelerator, a collaboration with the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania and the Michael Milken Foundation.  Out of over 300 applicants worldwide, Ironwill Kids was chosen for this distinction along with 8 other companies.  EDSi supports education ventures from around the world by providing financial support and systematically applying business tools and frameworks through the EDSi Fellows Program.  Working with leaders in business and education gives us the opportunity to grow our business across multiple platforms.  Click on the link for more info.

 http://www.e-designstudio.com/
 

Goodbye Trans Fat

By Dr. Katy Roberts, EdD, MPH, MCHES

The FDA is proposing to eliminate artificial trans fatty acids, commonly called trans fat, from our food supply1.  The problem with artificial trans fats is that they are artificial!  They are man-made, created in a factory, not from nature.  Trans fats are made by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil, which turns the oil into a solid or semi-sold state and increases the shelf life of food products.  Although many food manufacturers have removed trans fats from their products, you still have to look out for them.  A lot of highly processed baked goods such as cookies, crackers, cakes, as well as margarines and fried foods, still contain hydrogenated oils.

Trans fat came on the market a little over a century ago with the introduction of Crisco (name derived from “crystallized cottonseed oil”) in 1911.  Since then, we have found that trans fats increase LDL (or bad) cholesterol, triglycerides, and inflammation, essentially damaging cells and clogging arteries which puts you at a higher risk for heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.  By not consuming artificial trans fats we could prevent 10,000-20,000 heart attacks and 3,000-7,000 coronary heart disease deaths each year in the United States2.

So how do you know if a food contains trans fats?  You read the ingredient list.  This is by far the most important information on any packaged food.  Forget the label, and go right to ingredients.  If you see the word, “partially hydrogenated” in the ingredients, which is another word for trans fat, don’t buy it.  (If you only read the nutritional label, you might not realize a food contains trans fats, because a food that has less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving can be labeled as having 0 grams.)  

Not all trans fats are artificial.  Some occur naturally in animal meat and dairy.  However, it is thought that these are not as harmful, since they’re not man-made.  The ban would only include artificial trans fat that occur in processed foods.

As students learn in Ironwill Kids PowerUp!, there are lots of steps that processed food goes through, including hydrogenation, which affect not only those who consume these types of foods, but also the environment.  We’re all much better off eating food directly from nature.

 

Reference

1. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (11/2013). FDA Targets Trans Fat in Processed Food. Retrieved from http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm372915.htm

2. Centers for Disease Control. (4/2012). Trans Fat: The Facts. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/fat/transfat.html

Fast Food Companies Target Children

By: Dr. Katy Roberts, EdD, MPH, MCHES

Advertisements for unhealthy food products are everywhere and children and teens continue to be a main target audience. Television is still where you will find the most fast food advertising; however there has been a rise in advertising through mobile devices and social media, which are popular with young people. More fast food advertisements than ever before are appearing on Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, and kids’ websites. There are even fast food mobile apps available that offer special deals and games, called “advergame” which prominently features the company’s products and reinforces the brand.

The latest report by Yale Rudd Center found that the fast food industry has increased its spending on advertisements, up 8% from 2009, to $4.6 billion a year to advertise mostly unhealthy products. Every day on television, preschoolers view, on average, 2.8 ads, children view 3.2 ads, and teens view 4.8 ads for fast food. The problem is that advertising is effective, with research showing that children exposed to fast food advertising are more likely to consume fast food and have increased weight. Advertisements targeting children encourages consumption of nutritionally poor items and contribute to poor diet and obesity among young people.

So what can we do? We can learn more about the issue and support public health initiatives that advocate fast food restaurants stop marketing to children, stop advergame apps, and increase the number of healthier items as well as provide healthier options in kids’ meals (instead of French fries, provide fruit; instead of soda, provide water). We can limit our children’s television viewing and not allow advergame apps. In addition, we can teach children media literacy skills. One way to do this is to encourage children to critically analyze advertisements. Just like in the Ironwill Kids program, we can discuss the tricks that food companies use to get kids to buy their products, ultimately spending money on food that isn’t good for them or the environment. Some of these tricks include the use of food stylists to make products look amazing in ads, endorsements by celebrities who tell kids how great these products are, and the promotion of toys and games as incentives. If instead, ads were created that told the truth about what was really in fast food meals and where the ingredients came from, as well as the consequences of eating fast foods, we would be clamoring for healthier options such as fruits and vegetables, which come from a farm and have only one ingredient.

For more on fast food marketing to children and teens see: http://www.yaleruddcenter.org/fast-food-facts-2013-fast-food-companies-still-target-kids-with-marketing-for-unhealthy-products

Pass the Almond Milk, Please

By: Mark Sherzer

Many people opt for almond milk over dairy milk for their morning brew or bowl of oatmeal. However, a lot of the store-bought varieties have ingredients that don’t necessarily promote good health. Some use carrageenan, a food additive and thickening agent that, in animal studies, has been linked to diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. Others add sunflower lecithin, tricalcium phosphate and xantham gum. Because we’re all about eating less processed food, preparing almond milk from scratch is the way to go. It’s made with whole foods, it’s super easy and it’s fun for kids. Here’s how you do it:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of organic raw almonds
  • 4-6 pitted dates
  • 4 cups water
  • ½ tsp raw vanilla powder and/or cinnamon
Directions:
  1. Soak the almonds in a bowl for at least 8 hours (or overnight).
  2. Soak the dates in a bowl for at least 4 hours so they are soft.
  3. Drain and rinse the almonds to remove the tannic acid and enzyme inhibitors.
  4. Place the rinsed almonds and dates (with the water they soaked in for extra sweetness) in a blender or Vitamix. Add 4 cups of water. You can also add ½ teaspoon of raw vanilla bean powder and some cinnamon. Blend until almonds are pulverized, about 2 minutes.
  5. Strain through a cheesecloth or nut milk bag into a bowl. Carefully squeeze and press out all the liquid.
  6. Transfer to a glass jar with a lid and store in the fridge for up to one week.
  7. Use the almond pulp – add it to your cereal or use it in a recipe.

Makes 4-5 cups

 

Education Design Studio Inc.

We’re excited to be participating in the 2015 EDSi seed fund accelerator, a collaboration with the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania and the Michael Milken Foundation.  Out of over 300 applicants worldwide, Ironwill Kids was chosen for this distinction along with 8 other companies.  EDSi supports education ventures from around the world by providing financial support and systematically applying business tools and frameworks through the EDSi Fellows Program.  Working with leaders in business and education gives us the opportunity to grow our business across multiple platforms.  Click on the link for more info.

http://www.e-designstudio.com/