Is Gardening the Key to Health?

vegetables-to-grow-in-winter3-640x360Growing your own food is a powerful tool for eating healthily, staying fit and enjoying nature in a fun, unique way. If you spent the summer gardening, grabbing fresh produce from friends, or even visiting your local farmers’ market, you know all too well the benefits of growing and having access to fresh, delicious and healthy food. Even better, fresh produce makes for the most nutritiously divine recipes!

The Problem
Fresh food holds a special, irreplaceable spot in our lives. So we started to wonder, could gardening be the solution to a few of our nation’s health problems? With childhood obesity rates doubling in the past thirty years, incorporating the importance of fresh food and gardening into our country’s youth education seems like a worthwhile endeavor.

The Solution
Many schools around the country are starting to incorporate gardening into their curriculum, whether in the classroom or outside in the early spring. The Green Bronx Machine, a non-profit operating in the Bronx, brings agricultural and gardening programs to inner-city neighborhoods in New York and beyond. Teaching children to plant and grow their own food has increased attendance rates significantly while making kids want to eat their fruits and veggies… after all, they grew them themselves!

gardenwkidsHaley House Kitchen in Boston offers cooking classes for groups of kids in the toughest neighborhoods, teaching the importance of learning to cook in regards to health and cultural expression. Through food, these professional chefs teach the kids about other cultures, decreasing the animosity that leads to gang violence in the area.

Make it Happen
These programs are super successful in what they do, making kids happy and healthy around the country. Start your own with your kids! Using container gardens indoors or a small outside plot in the warmer months, gardening with your kids is a great way to teach them to love their fruits and veggies while spending time together. Cooking the produce afterwards is just the cherry on the nutritional pie!

How has gardening impacted your life? Do you see these types of programs being effective in your area? Share with us!

 

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Stay Fit… Despite your Busy Schedule!

shutterstock_134044355Each and every one of us has our own personal health goals, constantly in the back of our minds yearning to be accomplished. But, as we all know well, sometimes life just gets in the way. Between jobs, kids, errands and a variety of other important things that occupy our time, it can be increasingly difficult to fit in those 6 workouts you were dying to accomplish during the week.

However, with a few tips and tricks, it can be a bit simpler to fit in smaller workouts and habits to stay healthy and strong despite your busy schedule. Do you do any of these regularly?

Always be prepared
Having a bag of workout clothes in your car, along with some deodorant and face wipes to freshen up, allows you to be prepared just in case you have a spare hour to fit in a gym trip. Driving by the gym with forty-five minutes to spare before picking up your kids? Run in and run out!

Invest in a fitness band
Even if you’re unable to get in a full workout during a busy day, you can still feel good knowing how many steps you took. Wearing the band silently persuades you to increase your mileage, encouraging a walk to grab lunch rather than driving.

Utilize workout cards
Exercise-cards-workoutabs1
This awesome deck of cards contains forty plus strengthening exercises that utilize only your bodyweight, no equipment needed! Keep them in your purse and pull them out when you have a spare couple minutes.

Try High Intensity Interval Training
All good workouts don’t have to be long. High Intensity Interval Training is a type of exercise routine that alternates periods of working really hard and resting for short periods of time. Just thirty minutes of this type of exercise will give you the heart-pumping time you need.

Delight in your accomplishments
Rather than bumming at the end of the week over anything you were unable to accomplish, be happy with what you were able to do. Being positive and optimistic will only encourage you to try again next week. :)

Not too tough, right? We hope you’re able to incorporate even one of these tips into your week! If time gets the best of you, there’s nothing better than focusing on eating right when you don’t have time to work out. Check out weekly meal plans from your favorite food blogger for ideas. We recommend Oh My Veggies Weekly Meal Plans!

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7 Protein Sources for Your Yummy Meatless Monday

toasted-pumpkin-seeds-1Whether you’re interested in eating less meat for health reasons, to decrease your carbon footprint or simply because you don’t really enjoy it, decreasing your intake can be tricky at first. Many who start with Meatless Mondays end up with pasta and veggies, which while healthy and delicious, doesn’t pack much of a protein punch.

As protein is super important for overall health and muscle-building, it’s important to continue your regular protein intake without simply adding calorie-and-fat-laden cheeses to your regularly vegetarian meals (you can add a little, of course… yum!).

We’ve compiled a list of easy, versatile and accessible foods high in protein and nutrients that aren’t meat-based or uber-processed. Make sure you let us know how you cook them up!

Chia Seeds
These little seeds pack quite the nutritional punch! Famous for their omega-3 fatty acids, they also contain tons of protein and fiber. Throw them into smoothies, baked goods or veggie burgers.
4.7g protein/oz

burgerPumpkin Seeds
A perfectly protein-packed, in-season addition to this list, roasted pumpkin seeds are super simple to roast by just throwing them into the oven (try chili powder or cinnamon depending on your taste buds). One of the best ways to reduce waste from Halloween carving!   
5g protein/oz

Quinoa & Beans
Yes, we know it’s rice and beans that are regularly paired together, but quinoa and beans packs a much higher amount of protein into the same tasting meal! Quinoa’s texture is exactly like rice, just a bit more nutritious. Toss cumin, cayenne pepper and chili powder in the mix and top with feta for a tasty, zesty kick.
Quinoa: 8 grams protein/cup
Black beans: 42g/cup

Cottage Cheese
If you’re looking to maximize protein intake with cheese, cottage cheese is definitely the way to go. It’s filled with two proteins, whey-based and casein-based, making it even closer to a complete protein than normal cheeses.
25g protein/cup

chickpeasChickpeas
These little garbanzo beans are super versatile and easy to throw into salads, mash into veggie burgers or roast with cinnamon for a snack (they taste like mini cinnamon buns!). At 39g protein per cup, they’re well worth a spin in the food processor for a yummy flavored hummus.
39g protein/cup

Ezekiel Bread
This bread is made with a complete mixture of grains, coming together to make a nutritious whole that also contains all essential amino acids. Any veggie sandwich gets an instant protein add when placed between two pieces of this healthy loaf!
4g protein/slice

Peanuts
Delicious to snack on, peanuts are filled with protein. While they’re high in calories, the protein intake and taste can make these nuts a welcome addition to your diet.
7g protein/oz

Now let’s put it all together! Make the ultimate veggie burger: place chopped vegetables, black beans, quinoa & ground pumpkin seeds into a food processor, form into patties and bake. Top with a slice of cheese and put between two slices of Ezekiel bread.

Then top with peanuts? And smother in chia seeds?

Just kidding. But really, any combination of these is guaranteed to give you quite enough protein to substitute for meat! Check out our high protein Pinterest board for recipe ideas.

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Introducing our Planet Shops!

header3We’re curious… what makes you tick? What’s the best part of your day? Is it making a delicious, in-season spinach salad for lunch? Do you love perusing your local street shops for the latest in fall fashion? Does it simply delight you to head out of work and run straight to your yoga class to de-stress?

We know you all have a variety of interests and activities that make up your lifestyle, and there’s nothing we’d love more than to fit you with the perfect shoe to help you enjoy whatever makes you smile. To do this, we’ve created custom categories—our Planet Shops—to help you shop by boutique! Check them out:

obsess


Our Autumn Obsessions

Looking for the best boots of fall? Our must-haves will keep you ahead of the trends! From Chelsea boots to ornamented styles, we’ve got you covered.

 

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Fun Eco-Friendly Fall Getaways

denverSummer is often touted as the ultimate getaway season, but we’d argue that fall is just as wonderful. Perhaps the beaches aren’t as warm and you don’t only need to pack shorts and sandals, but fall weather stays fairly comfortable for at least the first couple weeks. Even better, many resorts, hotels and campgrounds tend to clear out after Labor Day… dropping prices and overcrowding.

We’ve found some wonderful, eco-friendly vacations to inspire your adventurous side this fall. Pack up your best bag and get going!

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Your Ultimate Fall Farmers’ Market Produce Guide

fotor_fallproduceWhile summer may bring some deliciously fresh garden produce, fall is a whole new story. The in-season veggies get richer, heartier and are filled with the same amount of yummy nutrition as their summer counterparts. From berries to apples to spaghetti squash, fall opens up a whole new world of fresh, local produce to explore at your closest farmer’s market.

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