Saturday, December 24, 2011

Is it really more expensive to shop organic?

This question is often on my mind. When I talk to friends and acquaintances who don't shop exclusively organic/local/natural, they will often comment about how they only buy organic when they want a special treat or how organic food is only for the wealthy. I disagree!

Organic/local food is more food for your dollar.  By eating more organic food you are investing in your health by limiting the amount of toxic chemicals exposed to your body. You are also taking part in protecting the environment, water supply, and sustainable farming.

Local foods, especially produce, has travelled fewer miles and spent less time in a dark truck, road tripping across the country (or the world!). Foods that are grown closer to home can be picked at peak freshness and therefore have more fully developed nutrition.

My friend Liz helped me with an experiment (thanks Liz!). As we both learn more about how to keep ourselves healthy we often talk about our healthy cooking adventures. She shopped at her local Conventional Grocery Store for one week of groceries. The next week the shopped at the nearby Whole Foods. She shared that her grocery bills were comparable, about $120 each trip, for one week of meals for herself and her hubby. AND she got herself a delicious lunch from the hot bar at Whole Foods.

My organic groceries, total: $85.77, including most of the ingredients for a curry dish, turkey chili, wheat free pasta bake, and green breakfast smoothies for one week.

Some folks seek health coaching with this exact goal in mind: feeding themselves or their family healthful food on a budget. With some savvy shopping, a commitment to home cooking, and a plan, organic and whole food shopping can be affordable and do-able. Promise. If you need support around healthy shopping and cooking contact me for a health history to learn more! 


Take a look at this beautifully gnarled and deliciously sweet carrot from our friend's winter CSA, paused here on the cutting board before becoming an important part of my root vegetable crock pot stew (contact me for the recipe, super easy!)

As a recovering perfectionist, I often need to breathe into my present moment and accept myself for who I am, imperfections and all. We spend so much energy creating this illusion of perfection (and after all, it is an illusion) that we can miss the beauty and gifts of our blemishes. Dark and light parts, yin and yang, all important to our whole selves and our whole experience. We learned it in grade school, right? Time to start practicing that universal acceptance. I trust that it is one of the many ways to true happiness, balance, and health.

By the way, if you like your perfect morsel-sized baby carrots, click here to learn how baby carrots are made

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Birthday to Grandpa Gene

My Grandfather turned 89 year old last week. And I am proud to say that he is living a healthy and rich life complete with healthy expressions of all of the areas of primary foods. He and my grandmother live in a retirement community with amenities to satisfy nearly every need. Knitting groups, woodworking areas, outdoor garden plots, fitness rooms, the list goes on. He remains connected in fulfilling relationships, stays physically active, eats a healthful diet, and continues to participate in past times that feed him. For example: Math.

In an email response to my birthday phone call Grandpa said:
 "it's still fun celebrating birthdays probably because I am still able to do what pleases me, as one example: I always wanted to return to my study of physics. This is my principal occupation now---- but I first had to enroll in the local community college to relearn math up to and through graduate school math, such as calculus, to handle the graduate level physics I'm dealing with....everyone here at Seabrook, where Edith and I live, knows that I'm the campus math tutor of the kids working in our dining rooms

While advanced math classes would not be my chosen principal occupation (yikes!), I admire the way Grandpa continues to value new learning, stretching his brain, and the search for knowledge and truth. It is my opinion that this is a large part of what has kept him is such good health. 

In our youth obsessed world, I invite you to take a different attitude toward aging. The winter of life does not have to be a time of stagnation, deterioration, and loneliness. Winter months are full of slow change and growth less aggressive and visible, but still present. Ice forms and slows but water continues to flow, animals become more quiet but many continue to roam and feed and need each other all the more to continue to thrive.

They say "use it or lose it." Or, taking a more positive spin, the Alzheimer's Association's slogan is "Maintain your Brain." Experts say that taking care of your whole body and health is the best way to maintain brain health and prevent Dementia. My favorite tip from the Alzheimer's association is "Connect with Others: Leisure activities that combine physical, mental and social elements may be most likely to prevent dementia. Be social, converse, volunteer, join a club or take a class." 

What can you do now and throughout your life to Maintain your Brain and your health?