August 21, 2010 § 2 Comments
I’m probably over excited about this, but it’s the first time in my short blogging life that I’ve committed to MOST DEFINITELY WRITING ABOUT SOMETHING THIS COMING WEEK. If you’re a regular checker-inner to purewellnessamy, you’ll know that some weeks I write a bunch of posts and then like a month will go by without one single little post. I’m flighty like that.
Well, starting on Sunday I’ll be taking part in a blogathon to celebrate the flavors of Massachusetts. There’s a farmer’s market in Worcester that Peter and I go to at least weekly. All this coming week I’ll be putting the spotlight on the vendors who sit in the sweltering sun on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. to sell their locally produced goods and produce.
I’ll be posting pictures, the names of the participating vendors, and a recipe or two.
I’m just really thrilled to do this. Eating seasonally and locally is important to me and my family, I’d say it’s one of our core family values, and I would love to inspire a few other people to give it a try. I know I’m lucky in that I can go to the market at any time between 9:30 and 2, but even those who work can take a quick run to the market on their lunch break. Right?
My husband and I want Peter to know where food comes from and the work involved in producing it. And we want to introduce him to as many different kinds of foods as possible. Luckily as of now he’s a pretty adventurous eater– he’ll try anything. He loves going to the market, talking to the vendors, and looking at all the beautiful produce (and bread):
So, I hope you check in a few times this week to see what our local market has to offer. And I really hope you search out a market in your area soon and GO THERE to support your local farmers and pick up some delicious, local, seasonal food. You absolutely won’t regret it. As Peter would say, “I pwomise.”
May 11, 2010 § 2 Comments
So far, so good, thanks. Not that I have anything to do with it. I am merely the weekday waterer and photographer. My husband and his friend will–and should–take full credit for the bounty we are sure to reap this summer.
Most of these pictures were taken about a week ago; things are much greener now. The radish, however, was picked (and eaten) by my son this morning (“I wike wadish, mama. Mmmm”). I’m so happy that he will know that radishes and other vegetables come from the ground, from the sun-warmed dirt, not the misty chilled shelves at the supermarket.
April 23, 2010 § 1 Comment
Happy Earth Day! Did you give any thought today to how you can help make the Earth a better place?
Do you already bring cloth bags with you when you go shopping? (And not just grocery shopping. Did you know that Target takes $.05 off your bill for every reusable bag you use? True dat–at least at the Target I frequent. Frequently. Also, my grocery store has a weekly drawing for those who bring in reusable bags. The prize? A $25 gift card. [I haven't won yet, damn it!]).
Do you already recycle?
Do you try to buy organic and, even better, local produce and meat?
Do you turn off your computer when you’re not using it?
Have you installed energy-efficient lightbulbs in your house?
Do you not litter?
Do you compost?
Do you grow your own vegetables and/or herbs? (Don’t let city life or a small living space stop you.)
The list of little things you can do each day to improve our environment is practically endless. I was referred to this website today: http://www.goinggreentoday.com/. According to the website, after you take 20 minutes to fill out a questionnaire they provide a ” 90-day plan to save [you] $2000 and 30,000 pounds in CO2 emissions annually.” I haven’t done the questionnaire yet, but I think I may check it out.
As I’ve seen on many Facebook and Twitter posts today: “Every day should be Earth Day.” And that’s so, so, so true.
So, now on to food. I haven’t written about smoothies lately, mainly because I’ve found a combo that I like and I’ve stuck to it. Here’s the scoop:
Blueberry Cherry Smoothie
4 kale leaves (or Swiss chard leaves)
handful or two of frozen blueberries
handful of frozen sweet cherries
1 banana (optional)
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 tbsp. ground flax seed (I grind whole flax seeds in a coffee bean grinder)
1/2 c. water
Put in blender and blend it up. It’s really good and packed with nutrients.
I realized I haven’t mentioned lunches yet on the site. We do eat lunch. In fact, I prefer to eat big lunches and smaller dinners. Before I had a family I would eat big lunches and no dinners (or liquid dinners. Ahem.). So, today, Peter and I packed our lunches (in reusable containers) and met up with friends for a playdate. I made this big ole sangwich for myself:
Nestled between two pieces of sprouted grain bread were hummus, avocado, tomato, romaine lettuce and a slice of swiss cheese.
Peter had the same sandwich, but with an added piece of ham. As you may have guessed, I don’t eat meat. However, my husband does and we do offer meat to Peter. Usually just organic chicken and white fish, but we happened to have ham in the house, and he likes it, so I let him eat it. I was on the fence about raising him as a vegetarian and decided that it would be best to introduce him to meat–giving him only the best quality meat I can get my hands on–and later in life he can decide whether or not he wants to continue eating it. So that is that. We also packed red pepper slices, carrot sticks, whole grain Goldfish crackers, and homemade chocolate chip cookies. We ate very well and had a lot of fun hanging out with our friends.
I hope you had a great day, as well. One day to go until the weekend!
March 31, 2010 § Leave a Comment
An unlikely combination, but it works in a recipe I found over at Find Your Balance, a blog written by a fellow IIN grad. Red Velvet Coconut muffins are good and healthy when made with gorgeous red beets. I’ve never tasted real red velvet cake, as I was always put-off by the food coloring that’s used to make them red. But the beets in this recipe gave the muffins their red color naturally, and the beets’ flavor was nicely balanced with the cocoa powder and coconut so it didn’t taste like I was eating a Beet Muffin. Not that there would be anything wrong with a Beet Muffin, I guess. I topped the muffin with a bit of coconut butter, which, oh. my. God., brought it to a decadent level, honestly. It was my first time experiencing the wowness that is coconut butter, and I now think it’s worth the $12.79 I paid for the jar.
It’s not surprising that I came across this recipe since I’ve been seeing stories about beets and coconuts everywhere for the past month or so. I’m not sure what’s causing the sudden popularity of these two foods, but I’m not complaining. They are both healthy and tasty, which many people mistakenly think is also an unlikely combination. Yes, food can–and should–be healthy AND tasty.
So, I guess I want to join the crowd and put the spotlight on beets and coconuts today.
Let’s look at beets first. If you buy fresh beets with the greens attached, it’s almost like you’re buying two vegetables for the price of one. You can wash the greens and sauté them or eat them raw in a salad. And you can bake, boil, or roast the beet root itself. You know what’s good? Roasted beet roots served over sautéed beet greens topped with some goat cheese and toasted walnuts. Yep. Good. And relatively inexpensive (compared to the cost of coconut butter. Jeez.)
Here’s a Whole Foods story on beets, so I won’t go too far into nutritional specifics here. I’ll just say that beets are good for you, as they are high in folate, manganese, potassium, and fiber. Studies have shown that they help protect against colon cancer and heart disease, too.
I’ll admit that I thought I didn’t care for beets while growing up since I was exposed to only canned beets and soggy, limp, pickled salad bar beets. But once I tried fresh roasted beets, I realized what I’d been missing all those years. They’re delicious. I’m sure freshly pickled beets would be great, too. Pickled/fermented foods are wildly healthy for you, but that’s a post for another time. You’ll be able to find beets–in a multitude of colors–at farmer’s markets in the northeast from June through October. So, be sure you go do that. Then go home and make borscht or something.
Now, coconuts. Coconuts are unfortunately not local, but I may need to add them to my exception list along with coffee, avocados and the occasional banana (I wrote here about my obsession with local food). Coconut in its various forms can be used in, um, various ways. It can be eaten, used on the skin as a moisturizer, and used as part of an oral care routine. Eating coconuts, particularly coconut oil, had a bad rap for a while because of the high saturated fat content, but research has shown that virgin coconut oil can be part of a healthy diet. (As with other oil, you should avoid hydrogenated versions. Hydrogenated oil=trans fat= Blech). Virgin coconut oil is especially useful in cooking and frying as it can withstand high temperatures.
Have dry skin? Coconut oil can also be used as a moisturizer. Keep a jar in the bathroom. Run it under the warm water while you’re showering to liquify it and then smooth over damp skin after showering. It’s a great natural solution for dry skin compared to the chemical-filled moisturizers that are probably sitting in your cabinet now. And you won’t feel and smell like a greasy pina colada all day; coconut oil absorbs quickly into the skin and is virtually odorless.
My acupuncturist wrote a post about using virgin coconut oil as part of an oral care routine. His experimentation with it proved that in addition to being anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral, and thereby having the ability to kill pathogens that create gingivitis, periodontal disease, and tooth decay, it also appears to whiten the teeth (just swish 5-15 minutes first thing in the morning and spit out). It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? But, I think it’s worth a try.
Those are just some of the uses of coconut Here’s a site to peruse if you’re interested in learning more of its uses and benefits.
So, do you think you’ll do any experimenting with beets and/or coconut? I’d love to hear what you do…
March 15, 2010 § 2 Comments
I finally added more links to my blogroll the other day, and, looking at it now, I see that it may appear that this here blog is a little schizophrenic. I mean, ”purewellnessamy” sounds like the name of a wellness blog. Which it is. And so far most of my posts (3 out of a whopping 4) have been about wellness. I linked to quite a few food-related and wellness-professional sites that I rely on to keep me and my family well-fed and well-informed. But I also linked to various other types of blogs that may confuse some of you who come here to read about wellness and nutrition stuff only. I’ve noticed in my own blog-browsing life that certain genres of blogs link exclusively to blogs of the same genre.
But here’s the thing: in addition to having a wellness business and a huge interest in health and nutrition, I also–surprise!–have a life and I’m interested in many, many other things. I read about these things at the blogs I linked to and they are things that I may write about here in addition to wellness info. Here are some shout-outs (does anyone say that anymore?) to some of my favorite reads:
I linked to many so-called “mommy blogs” because I. am. a. mom. However, they are so much more than ”mommy” blogs — these women can WRITE. And they are FUNNY. And they are so OPEN and TRANSPARENT with their lives that I feel like we are friends. But, we are not friends; they have no idea who I am. It’s a completely one-sided relationship and I am okay with that! I started reading them even before I had Peter. They don’t know it, but they helped me through some hard times and I’m eternally grateful for their wisdom and humor. One of my fears about starting a blog is that I may unintentionally copy their writing styles, as they are so engrained in my brain. Like, right then I was going to write “so engrained in mah brain,” but that has Amalah written all over it. I suppose it’s inevitable that there will be some similarities, but remember: imitation is the best form of flattery. Or something like that. I am very sure that I will be writing some more mom-focused posts.
I also linked to an entertainment gossip blog. Reading entertainment gossip is one of my vices, in addition to red wine and dark chocolate. If I have all three at once it’s borderline obscene. I look forward to going to the hair salon not so that my grays will be gone at the end of two hours, but because I have two uninterrupted hours to read Us Weekly, In Touch, and People. The Superficial is my daily gossip indulgence. I doubt that I’ll devote any posts to gossip, but I provided the link as a gift to the readers who share my vice. You’re welcome.
I’ve linked so far to one gardening site–You Grow Girl– but there will be more links soon. My husband and I have big plans for our vegetable garden. It’s just a matter of putting those plans into action. We’re big talkers the two of us, but we’re a little slow on the action part. I procrastinate because I’m a cautious kind of person. I want to get our soil tested to make sure the NPK levels are good and to be certain that there aren’t any heavy metals lurking in it. That makes sense, right? Right?? We want to eat healthy home-grown vegetables, but they won’t be all that healthy if they’re filled with lead. Right??? Now, my husband here, he is not cautious. He’s generally laid-back, but when he decides that he wants to do something he becomes fre-freakin’-netic and just DOES IT without any planning or forethought. [Um, in case you're reading this Pete, hi and I love you xoxo]. So where was I going with this? Oh yes, gardening. We like it and are going to learn more about it, hence more links and possibly some posts to come in the future.
Gardening relates to the local food/slow food links. I simply believe that eating local foods is a good thing to do. It just makes sense to me. As I mentioned in my previous post, “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle,” by Barbara Kingsolver made a huge impression on me and pretty much changed my life. This year I am trying in earnest to buy as much local food as possible. We plan to buy a big freezer for the basement to store all of the fruit that Peter and I are going to pick this summer. I want to freeze enough blueberries to get us through next winter. It’s a weird little goal, but it’s something that I’m aiming for, nonetheless. I am 100% sure that I’ll write about local foods in the coming months.
I have one travel site link – Camels and Chocolate. Kristin is living my dream life, so I live vicariously through her blog posts. I love to travel and plan to do much more of it. In fact, we plan to live very frugally around the home in order to put our money towards travel. I want Peter to experience the big wide world as soon as possible. It’s funny, I thought traveling would be best when I was younger so I could party and whatnot, but now that I’m older I think the opposite. How much could I enjoy Greece being hungover every day? Now, we are so excited to bring Peter places, eat different foods, and explore other cultures with him. One of our trips will be to Lapa Rios in Costa Rica. We stayed there for part of our honeymoon and just loved it. It’s where I fell more in love with, not only my husband, but with avocados. Yes, the freshest damn avocados you’ll ever eat are at Lapa Rios. Seriously. If we travel, I’m sure that you’ll hear all about it. If I have my way, we may be going to Tuscany in October…
I also linked to an interior design site – The Old Painted Cottage - because her house is so pretty and I adore pretty things. I’m going for a beachy-cottagey look in our house–so appropriate for central Massachusetts–but I don’t have mad decorating skillz. I have great ideas, I know what I like when I see it, but it all gets lost in the execution. I don’t have a crafty bone in my body. And I don’t have the money to pay someone to be crafty for me. So, I just do the best I can. It’s safe to say that I won’t be writing any decorating posts, but I may link to some more talented designers.
So, there you go. I read about Wellness/nutrition, motherhood, entertainment gossip, gardening, local food, travel and home decorating on other blogs and I may write posts myself on any of those subjects. They are… what shall I call them besides “interests”? How about “spokes”? Sure, why not. They are seven “spokes” on my life wheel. How poetic. The axle of my wheel is my family. There are other spokes, too: yoga, reading, writing, and spirituality, which I may write about or find blogs to link to at some point. All these things help me roll through life on a relatively even, happy keel. If I were only interested in wellness and nutrition– just one spoke– I’d be a little wobbly. I need all of my other interests to keep me well and balanced.
And that is what purewellnessamy is. A little bit of this and a little bit of that and something about a wheel…
March 12, 2010 § 2 Comments
Read this post over at Momma Wisdom: http://mothersandcompany.wordpress.com/2010/03/15/snacking-on-the-run-is-okay-just-dont-snack-on-junk-food/