Eating organic is a personal choice, and for some, it may go beyond nutrition and be a political or social choice as well. Whatever your motivation, here are some notes on the advantages of eating organic foods.
There are uncountable health effects associated with exposure to the chemicals, pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics used on and in our food sources; including systemic inflammation, depletion of nutrients, and impairments in normal functioning of various organs and body systems (hormonal, immune, nervous).
There’s no denying, organic foods can cost a lot more, so it’s important to sit and reflect on the factors that might help you prioritize where you’ll spend your food dollars.Firstly, if it’s a food you rarely ever consume or consume in very small amounts (such as a certain type of spice) perhaps the associated risk with non-organic is not as great. Thus, this may not be a food worth spending the extra money on to buy organic. Whereas if you eat apples daily, thus increasing your exposure to harmful pesticides, you may decide organic apples are worth the extra money.
Another important factor is the degree to which a food might be contaminated. There are foods we know are typically grown in areas where chemicals and pesticides are not used as much, or that the nature of the food itself – perhaps due to it’s impermeable outer skin for example, absorbs chemicals to a lesser degree.
The Dirty Dozen/Clean 15 is an annual evaluation of just that, by the EWG (Environmental Working Group), and provides to the public a guide to determining where the greatest risk is and where your extra grocery dollars may be best spent.
See original post here: https://www.mipstick.com/organic-food-budget/
But there is a way, even with a busy schedule and only a small amount of energy to spare to STILL GET IN ACTIVITY.
We have all heard about the advantages of exercise so I will not go into the long list of benefits. However, I will highlight one. This is for all of the people who come to me looking to improve their energy levels: MOVEMENT = ENERGY. Living in a society that is becoming more stagnant, it is no surprise that we lack energy. Spending all day in front of a computer will do that to you. So why does exercise increase energy levels?
- Exercise boosts energy promoting neurotransmitters (i.e. dopamine, norepinephrine, & serotonin)
- Exercise = more muscles. Muscle building can increase the number of mitochondria. Mitochondria means more ATP (energy) because it increases more usable energy through the breakdown of nutrients.
- Along the same lines as above… Strong muscles become efficient in energy usage – using less and storing more. Hence, you have more energy for other activities.
So how can we be active every day?
1) Commit to 15 minutes of intentional movement a day. I am not kidding. This was a huge motivator for me. I knew I could make time in my day to do at least 15 minutes of continuous activity no matter how busy my day was. Like they say, only bite off how much you can chew – so why not start small?
2) Do something you enjoy! PLEASE for the love of all beings, don’t try to do a movement practice you don’t enjoy. You will not stick with it – PERIOD. Consistency is more important than intensity. If you don’t know what you enjoy, think back to what you use to do when you were young. As stated, I use to love to explore the forest near where I lived. So that’s what I do now? I go for walks and hikes in nature.
3) Think what is functional in your everyday life. What I mean by this, is how can you incorporate activity throughout the day that adds up to the same amount of activity that you would get from a 30-minute session at the gym. For example, maybe every time you go out to your car, you have to do 30 squats before getting in the driver seat. Or perhaps you take the stairs instead of the elevator. Another idea I have started doing is instead of sitting and having tea with a friend or a seated business chat –we go for a walk (you can also do this when chatting over the phone). Be creative. Check out this Podcast by The Minimalist (Ep. 174 – Minimalist Fitness) that discusses this concept in more detail. This podcast changed my outlook on exercise and promoted the idea that you can build habits that stimulate activity so that at the end of the day, you do not need to find the motivation to workout at a gym.
4) FINALLY, don’t wait for motivation. Doing = motivation.
One thing I want to note is I usually take one day a week where I don’t have to do any exercise at all. This is typically on a day that I have a really full schedule or when I am just in need of rest. Balance is key.
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See full article here https://www.greensidewellness.com/blog/how-to-be-active-every-day
Here are 7 reasons you should be making homemade broth on the regular:
1. IT’S USEFUL
Homemade veggie broth is both nutrient dense and flavor enhancing and can be a delicious addition to so many meals. Different kinds of broths (veggie, bone, seaweed, mushroom, etc) can all be used in place of water when cooking rice, legumes or noodles, and broth is an essential ingredient in many sauces, soups and stews.
2. IT’S DELICIOUS
Once you’ve tried homemade you will never want to go back to using water or store-bought. You can even consume veggie broth alone for a low calorie, low glycemic, nutrient dense, easily digestible snack anytime. Try adding hot sauce, toasted sesame oil, chopped green onions, wakame seaweed, etc and don’t forget to season with salt and pepper!
3. IT’S CHEAP
You can make delicious, nutritious, vegetable broth using the kitchen scraps that would normally go into your compost or garbage. It is literally free to make this absolutely delicious ingredient. If you are currently paying $ to buy store-bought veggie broth, you’ll be saving that money and getting a better product for free.
4. IT’S EASY
Homemade veggie broth is super easy to make. (simply throw veg/scraps in water & boil) It’ll stay good for a week in the fridge, or you can freeze for convenient use later.
5. IT’S GOOD FOR YOU
In many cases the skins and stems of vegetables are actually the most nutrient dense part of the food. When we peel and discard these, all those vitamins and minerals (and flavor!) goes to waste… make broth! Broth contains water-soluble vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients (These may be lost when we steam/boil vegetables without also consuming the cooking water) and these nutrients in liquid form are easiest for the digestive system to access and absorb.
6. IT’S ALSO NOT BAD FOR YOU
Homemade veggie broth is free from the added salt, sugar, artificial flavors, colors and preservatives that you’ll often find in commercially made versions. Anytime you swap commercially processed food to homemade food is a bonus.
7. IT’S CATHARTIC
Do you love cleaning out your fridge and also not wasting fresh food and using the old stuff up so you can get on with the new, fresh stuff...? SO. DO. I.
Making veggie scrap broth is a super opportunity to rid your ‘fridge of old fugly limp vegetables that you don’t really want to eat… add garden herbs, spices, limp greens, even certain leftovers can all go right into the stock pot to turn into delicious broth…
Read the entire article here on Homegrown Nutrition's Website:
This basic Yoga Nidra practice brings listeners through intention setting, body sensing, breathwork, and opposites. Enjoy this meditation as a way to rest and restore the body, mind, and spirit. It can be used before bed to induce a deeper sleep.
WHAT IS MEAL PREP?Essentially, meal prep means maximizing your time in the kitchen so that when you are able and willing to cook, you are cooking not just for one meal, but for 3 or more. Maximizing your time like this means that you’re not tied to the kitchen every time you need to eat (or tied to the local coffee shop or fast food restaurant).
By mastering meal prep, you become the person who places those dishes of healthy meals in front of you when you need them, on a regular basis. And you become the person who is consistently eating in a way that supports your goals and feeling amazing.
Meal prepping helps you consistently eat in a way that supports your goals and feel amazing.
I know I don’t need to convince you of the benefits of meal prepping (save money on wasted groceries and eating out, support your weight/health goals, be less stressed, make grocery shopping easier, have less food waste), but I understand that the biggest obstacle to meal prepping is time. That is the time in which meal prep takes – which is ironic, because the very reason meal prep is so crucial is because we don’t have time to cook healthy meals on a daily basis! So what’s easier? Trying to fit in the time each and every day, regardless of what might be going on in your busy life that day, or strategically selecting a time that is most convenient for you to spend the time in the kitchen doing your meal prep for the following days?
PRO TIPS:Here are some helpful ideas for meal prepping, some tips that have made a world of difference to me and those I work with, tips that make meal prepping less overwhelming, less time-consuming, and even rewarding.
1. FIRST & FOREMOST, MAKE IT WORK FOR YOUJust as the amount and types of food you eat must be selected with your individual body and goals in mind, the schedule or methods you use for meal prep must also be fully customized for you. What works great for one person may not be a fit for you. Identifying your needs and creating a plan that works for your lifestyle and schedule is key to meal prep success.
Most meal prep programs have you spending a few hours on a Sunday cooking and packing food for the entire week to follow. Although this works great for many people (those who work full days Monday to Friday perhaps), it’s not for everybody. Maybe you ski, cycle, or camp every weekend with the family, and the last thing you want is to be tied down to your kitchen every Sunday.
Your schedule, your family, your like/dislike of cooking – all will determine how you meal prep to best support your goals and keep you on track with your nutrition plan.
A few things to consider when determining how to meal prep:
2. WHAT DAYS & TIMES WORK BEST FOR YOU?This may change from week to week. We recommending spending a few minutes each weekend to consult with your schedule for the upcoming week, and determine in advance what days and times are going to work best for you to go grocery shopping and for cooking. Sunday may or may not be the most convenient time for you. Think about when you will be home anyway, think about whether there’s anything else on your schedule at that time. If you’d like to make cooking a family affair, think about when the kids are home and can spend quality time with you in the kitchen. As for the grocery shopping, think about where your grocery store is and when you might just happen to be driving by that way for something else, making your outings more efficient. Think about when you have energy and enthusiasm and when you are tired and less patient. For me, mornings are great for food prep. As I’m relaxing with my coffee catching up on social media or emails, I put a pot of quinoa on the stove or bake a sheet of a dozen chicken breasts. Think outside the box and don’t be pigeon-holed by the conventional “you cook dinner at dinner time only” model. If you are rushed and hangry at 6pm when you get home from work, wouldn’t it be nice to already have your dinner ready and waiting for you – the dinner you prepared that morning while you were enjoying your morning coffee and not rushing around?
3. DO YOU ENJOY COOKING?If you enjoy cooking, great! Meal prep will not only help keep you on track with your diet, but also provide a creative outlet that likely brings you relaxation and personal fulfillment. If you don’t enjoy cooking or it stresses you out, it’s a good idea to pick times that are clear of other additional stresses; ie: if it stresses you out already, maybe don’t meal prep while your family has The Walking Dead blaring on the tv in the next room. Also chose simple and basic meals, rather than complex recipes that are out of your comfort zone, at least until you’ve established a good rhythm for yourself and feel more comfortable in the kitchen.
4. CAN YOU SEE THE TV FROM THE KITCHEN?Time is our greatest resource and I am all about multitasking! I can get a ton of food prep done in the hour that I’m watching The Voice or Survivor from my kitchen. Multitasking is truly an art when it comes to meal prepping!
5. DO YOU HAVE A FAMILY?I highly recommended you get everyone involved in cooking and packing snacks. 1) it’s for them also, why shouldn’t they share in the task? 2) it takes the sole burden off you, 3) it’s an opportunity for role modeling and “teachable moments” (educating on food quality and health), and 4) it’s quality time. Yes, quality time! Picture this – your teenager comes home from school and you ask how his day was, and he says “fine” and walks away. Now picture this – you’re in the kitchen anyway (cause you’ve strategically starting doing some meal prep at that particular time) and your teenager heads to the fridge – because what kid isn’t hungry after school?! As he’s standing in the kitchen munching, where you just happen to be, he breaks out in a story about math class or lunchtime antics with his buddies. Strategically timing food prep in the kitchen provides opportunity to connect.
6. KEEP IT SIMPLEA structured meal plan can be a lifesaver and has so many benefits. It takes the guess work out of things for you, and provides a framework for peace of mind. We develop our meal plans at Mipstick will 2-3 breakfasts and typically 2-3 dinner ideas. This way, you’re taking advantage of leftovers and not having to prepare something different every single day.
If working with exact recipes overwhelms you, chose only a couple recipe dishes each week. In between, simply cook up a large batch of the core components: your protein, complex carbs, and veggies. Have large bowls of these cooked foods ready to go in the fridge, so that when you get home late and are starving, you simply plate and heat.
Likewise, keep your ingredients list simple on a weekly basis. Chose meals that have similar ingredients and eat that same ingredient in several dishes all week. For example, an extra large bag of fresh spinach can be used in spinach salads, omelettes, in smoothies, and as a veggies side dish. This saves you money and shortens the grocery list. Next week, you can use kale instead.
7. GROCERY SHOP LIKE A BOSSChoose specific days of the week to look at your upcoming schedule and plan your meals, and different specific times for grocery shopping. Make sure you have your list of required ingredients to make the meals and snacks you’ve planned. Purchase those ingredients and only those… unless… and here’s our next tip:
8. BE OKAY PIVOTING ON THE FLYYou’re at the grocery store and fresh tomatoes are drastically marked down. You can’t not take advantage of this great sale price. But nothing you planned for the upcoming week has tomatoes in it! Pivot. Think about what you can change slightly to accommodate this new twist. Are there salads you can add fresh tomatoes to? Is there a soup or stew on your plan you can add tomatoes to? Perhaps you can add making a slow cooker pasta sauce to your week that can be frozen for later use. The tomatoes themselves can also be frozen and perhaps next week you can build more tomato-based recipes into the plan. The more comfortable you become with grocery shopping and meal prep, the more you’ll confidently make adjustments as needed.
9. MAKE DELICIOUS FOOD & INCLUDE TREATSJust because you’re prepping healthy meals doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Experiment with spices and different flavor profiles, and be sure to include snacks and treats that you enjoy eating. We have many recipes for cleaned-up versions of pizza, butter chicken, cookies and fudge. There’s nothing like food boredom to derail your best intentions, so be sure to enjoy cleaned-up treats and snacks as well.
10. BEING REALISTIC IS BETTER THAN BEING PERFECTIf you often eat out, or foresee social occasions in your upcoming week, allow for it on your meal prepping schedule. Leave some gaps in your calendar so you don’t overspend on groceries that end up going to waste.
Take it easy. You don’t have to change your entire life all at once. Take small steps toward making better food choices and toward being prepared in advance. Perhaps you aim for having 2 lunches and 2-3 dinners prepped in advance for yourself at first, and go from there.
Regulating the Nervous System - Part 1
One of the biggest things I teach in my therapeutic yoga classes is ways that my students can regulate their nervous system. Specifically, how to “turn-on” the parasympathetic response (rest and digest mode) in the body. Given that we live in such a high-pace society, meaning we are constantly in our sympathetic (fight and flight) response, I feel this is an important topic to discuss. When our body feels that it needs to be constantly on edge, it is not a surprise that overtime this can contribute to a lower sense of wellbeing such as exhaustion, poor sleep, disruption in digestion, etc.
On the plus side, there are many things we can do to support the body and bring back a sense of balance. If you would like to learn how you can do this, keep reading.
Staying healthy at home
Habitat for Humanity Victoria is connecting families with valuable local resources to help them stay healthy at home during these uncertain times.