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Archive for the ‘farmer’s markets’ Category

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Sugar Snap Peas – Nature’s Snappy Candy

Every year around this time, one of my favorite healthy whole food snacks begins to appear in the local farmer’s market – sugar snap peas.

If you have never eaten these little green jewels in an edible shell raw, you are in for a tasty surprise. They are sweet, yet low in sugar.

They’re refreshing, especially when stored in the fridge. They make the perfect dipper or can be eaten as is. And their crisp personality will satisfy the snacker in you.

The best news is they’re fast food! Just wash, drain and toss them in a to-go container. You can pull the tops off and “de-string” them as you eat.

These delicious members of the legume family pack some nutritional punch as well. They contain vitamin K for bone health and blood clotting, B-vitamins including folic acid, and plenty of vitamin C.

Look for ones whose pods are firm, velvety and smooth. Their color should be a lively medium green. Those whose green color is especially light or dark, or those that are yellow, whitish or are speckled with gray, should be avoided.

Enjoy them right on the spot or store in the refrigerator for tomorrow’s feast.

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fruits_vegetablesMany times when we start to incorporate more fresh produce into our diets, there is a learning curve regarding how much to buy and how to store it optimally. No body wants broccoli rotting in a back corner after 5 days!

So, here are some quick and easy tips to maximize freshness and your dollars – less waste.

1) Buy as much as possible from your local farmer’s market where it has been picked that day. The majority of produce from local grocery stores is weeks old when you finally buy it.

2) To extend the life of your produce, store it in Green Bags (Ever Fresh  at http://www.evertfresh.com/ or Debbie Meyer at https://www.greenbags.com/?cid=587724 or www.hsn.com) or use the new E.G.G. (Ethylene Gas Guardian, found at http://www.4theegg.com/).

3) Store as much as possible in your “crisper”.

4) Try wrapping the ends of greens with wet clothes or organic paper towels. This seems to help them last longer and keeps them from wilting.

5) To save time and plastic, take your green bags to the market with you. Then everything is ready to be stored upon arrival.

6)Mushrooms, jicama and Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes) should be store in paper bags to prevent them from molding.

7) Tomatoes should be kept at room temperature.

8) Potatoes and onions should be stored in a cool, dark, dry environment. Not in the refrigerator.

9) Avocados should stay at room temperature until they ripen, then refrigerate.

10) Items like apples and oranges can be left out in a basket, but will last longer in the fridge.

11) Berries will do best refriderated in a container that allows some airflow.

12) Asparagus will stay freshest if you put the ends in water and cover them with a bag. Use as soon as possible.

13) Fresh herbs should be used within a few days. To store them longer, try processing in the food processor with a little olive oil. Divide into ice trays, freeze, then store the single portion doses in the freezer in baggies or glass containers.

Now, happy produce shopping!

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Budget-minded Healthy Living

“Health is wealth”, says the old Chinese proverb, and I have to agree. When we have our health we can live vibrantly, joyfully and creatively to best draw in the abundance that we need and desire. As the current economy may be posing challenges for many, it is really an opportunity to re-evaluate unsustainable personal and global systems.
In this article, I wish to address the issue of staying healthy without breaking the bank. As you will read below, there are many ways to eat well, live, play and work within a budget. It may take a little initial effort, but the rewards will be well worth it!
One note: I packed quite a bit of information into this article, it may be something to save and reference as needed. Remember to always take one step at a time.

Explore new ways of getting your needs met.

Can you darn your socks instead of buying new ones? Can you shop for whole food ingredients instead of packaged meals? Can you prepare your own foods instead of getting take out?
This aspect really encompasses all the other subjects below. Essentially, the first step is to be open to creating new habits, new activities, and new ways of thinking that will begin to support you in better ways than the old.

Freedom, not Fear

This is another fundamental guiding principal. Keep reminding yourself that you have the freedom to make choices, one of the most critical being to choose joy/love/optimism over fear.
This takes practice and discipline especially when the media and others are drowning in doom and gloom, but there is always opportunity and light to be had. Make conscious decisions about what you listen to, whom you spend time with, etc. As I said in the first principal above, these require some rewiring and perhaps discomfort, but ultimately will lead to freedom.

Simplify your lifestyle

Do you need to have the biggest, newest TV with 200 channels (180 of which you do not watch)?
Is it serving you to try to keep up with Jones’?
Can your family survive with 1 car instead of 2, or 2 cars instead of 3?
Can you include some well-rounded vegetarian meals to cut down on the grocery bill?
Can you make your own snacks instead buying pre-packaged ones?
Can you get a home filter instead of buying bottled? (The environment will love you for this as well)
Can you take a family hike instead of paying a premium at the movie theater?
(See free entertainment below)

Enjoy Free (or almost free) Entertainment

Hiking, beach walks, dinner parties, picnics, pot lucks, games around the fire, bike rides, bird watching, borrowed books and movies from the library, connecting with distant loved ones with Skype, mealtimes with friends and family, etc. These are all free or low cost ways to not just be entertained, but be interactive and just plain active.
Studies show children are overweight and getting heart disease and type 2 diabetes by age nine. Both children and adults are losing a connection with the earth and the abundant fun to be had in our natural world. Simple face-to-face communication is weakening for many.
Why not schedule time outdoors with family and friends. Be entertained by each other, stay fit, stay healthy and save your money.
When you do just want to curl up with some good ol’ passive entertainment, most public libraries have growing collections of VHS, DVDs, video games, books, magazines, etc. Many counties will even send specific requests from other branches to your’s.

Shop the local farmer’s market or join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)

Farmer’s markets and CSA’s have grown rapidly in the last decade. Here on the Monterey Peninsula we are blessed with four year-round markets per week. Although I keep myself plenty busy, I schedule in my weekly visits to the markets as a way to nourish and support my health and well-being. It is a chance to enjoy some community, take in the sights and smells and get some of the best prices on the freshest organic produce around.
If time just does not allow, consider joining a CSA. This is essentially purchasing a share of a farm. In return you receive a weekly box of fresh goodies. There are usually some options around delivery vs. pick-up and different box sizes to suit household needs. Just visit http://www.localharvest.org/, enter your zip code and instantly find out what is in your local area.

Educate yourself on drug and antibiotic alternatives

Herbs, plant medicines, essential oils and good quality supplements and super foods are usually less expensive and definitely less destructive when taken mindfully and appropriately. It is important to seek the guidance of an educated professional and discuss options with your traditional or alternative health care provider.

Below is a sampling of resources to get your feet wet.

Books – Click the titles below for more information:

The Green Pharmacy: New Discoveries in Herbal Remedies for Common Diseases and Conditions from the World’s Foremost Authority on Healing Herbs

Asian Health Secrets: The Complete Guide to Asian Herbal Medicine

Herbs and information:

Mountain Rose Herbs (mail order bulk herbs and more) has plenty of educational books and resources
Click here

The Best Day Ever
This is a membership site run by David Wolfe, a leader in the world of raw foods and herbal healing, that includes a massive media library, a vibrant and helpful community and a panel of health and longevity experts.
Click here

Young Living Essential Oils – the most healing oils on the planet!

These are the only essential oils I recommend therapeutically. Try Abundance, Longevity or Valor just for starters.

http://vibrant-health.younglivingworld.com

Young Living essential oils testimonials:
http://www.oil-testimonials.com/

Practice prevention to avoid disease – Evaluate diet, exercise, lifestyle, thoughts, environment, etc.

Rather than sticking with unhealthy habits simply because it feels easy, begin taking small steps every day to support and maintain ideal health and happiness. By making small investments now, you can save yourself from the resource depletion that serious disease or hospitalization can bring. The reality is that most disease can be avoided. It is only the catastrophic accidents that are truly beyond our control (or are they?).

Grow your own food and herbs

With a little dirt, preparation and care growing your own edibles can be a fulfilling and economical way to go. There is a bit of a learning curve, but the cost of seeds is cheap, cheap, cheap!
Do a little research into local growing conditions, seasonal crops and what is easy to plant and you can be on your way. It can help to do a communal garden to get some help.

Bring your own bags

Many natural grocery stores now honor those who bring their own re-usable bags. I have taken this to a new level and have recycled any plastic bags that make it my way for as long as I can. Once they are “dead” I will use only my cloth, mesh, silk, etc.
Whole Foods will give you a 5-cent refund (hey, every little bit counts) and Trader Joe’s will give you a ticket to enter their weekly raffle to win a bag of groceries.
In some European cities, you will be charged if you do not bring your own bags.

Buy in bulk

It is almost always cheaper to buy in bulk than in smaller amounts, especially when it comes to grains, nuts, seeds, beans, herbs, and even mail order organic meats.
At your natural foods store opt for the bulk section over prepackaged foods, although I do recommend price comparing as this is not always true. Also, check out case discounts on other items like beverages, oils, canned goods, etc. If a case is too much for your household, consider going in on a case with one or more other households.

I also find some good bulk options online and have listed some favorites below:
(Click each item for more information):

Nutiva Organic Shelled Hempseed, 5-Pound Bag

Larabar Fruit & Nut Food Bar, 1.8-Ounce Bars (Pack of 16)

Ancient Harvest Organic Quinoa, Traditional, 12-Ounce Bags (Pack of 12)

Quality over quantity

Opt for nutrient-dense foods, a fewer number of high-quality supplements instead of a high amount of cheap (ineffective) ones, and evaluate the “things” you really need.
Nutrient-dense foods are foods that give you a lot nutrition in a smaller volume and caloric load. Examples include raw nuts and seeds, fresh vegetables, grains, organic meats and eggs. When you fill yourself with these foods, you need less because they give your body what it needs. Consequently, you will crave less if you are eating appropriately for your needs.
I am a believer in searching out a select few quality supplements that are readily absorbed and supply real nutrition. Again, you will need less and get more. One of my newest discoveries is Moxxor, a concentrated omega 3 that is almost 300 times more potent than fish oil and processed in a sustainable manner. Please see http://www.naturalnews.com/moxxor_health_benefits.asp?ID=ana
For more info on recommended products see my recommended products page:
https://devanawellness.wordpress.com/recommended-wellness-products/

Try buying clothes and other goods from a good second-hand source if appropriate or even do swap with friends. Second hand stores can have some gems, so they can be worth visiting to do a sweep every now and again. Also, you may be sick of your sweater collection, but perhaps your friend has commented on liking what you have. If you are of similar size and taste, a swap could freshen both your wardrobes.

Cook at home

The less you eat and out and the more you prepare at home, the more you save. It is that simple. Always prepare enough for leftovers, so that you can . . .

Pack a lunch

This is just an extension of the above. You will not only save money, but generally those who pack a lunch from home make healthier choices when lunchtime rolls around.

Try a “stay-cation”, home spa day or mini-retreat

If you really set this up right, it can be quite restorative. A “stay-cation” is basically a vacation that you take at home. You carve the time out of your schedule just like any other vacation, but you do not worry about travel and arrangements. You can just plan on lounging and enjoying your home and book collection or take in the sights from an out-of-towner’s perspective. By choosing a stay-cation, you may even use the money you save to book a daily massage or other indulgence.
A home spa is like a mini stay-cation and can be done in a few ways. You may choose to purchase some products and do-it-yourself (facial, bath, body scrub, etc.), invite a friend to pamper each other, or hire a therapist to come to your home for a massage.
Another option is a one-day retreat. You can prepare your food in advance and devote the whole day to yoga, meditation, journaling, walking and relaxing. This is a very restorative, expanding and economical option.

Become a distributor or affiliate

Support your own health, share health with others and potentially earn additional income (or at least pay for your products). There are many health product companies who offer affiliate or direct sales opportunities. The one caveat is that not all the products are of a high quality. In my research, I have come across a few who have shown themselves to be of the utmost quality in products, manufacturing, business practices and environmental guidelines. Some of these I have chosen to become affiliated with and some I simply recommend. The wonderful thing about such a set-up is that you can have access to some of the top health products and if you share with others there is the opportunity to create a little or a lot of extra income. It is helping yourself through helping others.
Amazon Herb Company – http://amazon-herb.amazonherb.net/Default.aspx
Young Living – http://vibrant-health.younglivingworld.com
Moxxor – http://mymoxxor.com/ana

E3 Live – Click Here

Elements For Life – http://www.noblelifeelements.com/

Practice yoga/meditation/prayer

Whenever we are faced with change or uncertainty, there is nothing like connecting to spirit, our bodies and our breath. I admit that I am biased, but these are invaluable tools.

Invest in renewable resources and green businesses

I am not a financial advisor, but it would seem that to invest in the future could only give a handsome return in the end. There is a very real shift happening towards greener technologies and business practices that extends beyond just the counter culture. A worthwhile exploration at the very least.

Be generous

You cannot receive what you do not give. It is important to remember this even if you feel strapped. Remember that there are others who literally have nothing or very little. Give of your time, resources, energy, spirit, etc. There is always a return on such generosity.

Be Grateful

To be grateful for what we do have opens us up to receive more of what is working. By focusing only on lack, tends to bring more of the same. It is so simple and worth a shot

And most importantly . . .

Be Well,

Ana

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