Choosing Your Produce Wisely

With warmer weather on its way, many of us are seeing a widening variety of produce at the grocery stores. It is so tempting to grab a container of strawberries or blueberries now that they are more available and less expensive. At the same time, many of us still ask, “Do I have to be buying organic produce all the time? Is it worth the price?”

The impact of glyphosate and pesticides on our planet, our bodies and our food system is a huge ongoing issue for consumers, hands down. But, on a practical level, what does this mean for our shopping habits? Because these additives to the farming process have left much of our food nutrient depleted, it is more important then ever that we consciously choose the plants we eat to be healthy and nutrient dense.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG)is one of my favorite resources to see what vegetables and fruits are most effected by pesticides and antibiotics. They make an easy distinction between the “Dirty Dozen” foods that are most effected by these additives and the “Clean Fifteen” that are least effected and can be eaten relatively safely as either organic or conventional. Beyond produce, they are a wonderful way to find out about the safety of your water, skin care and body products and even the relative safety of common products from the grocery store shelf.

Not sure how to use the seasonal veggies and fruits you are finding? 101 Cookbooks is a great resources for recipes that are seasonally focused. The Golden Beet Hummus is a personal favorite.

Get cooking and enjoy those longer days!

 

Planning Ahead

With all the snow outside (at least here in Denver), its feels good to be dreaming about spring time with longer, sunnier days and warmer evenings.

In preparation for spring, I would like to share with you some updates within Integrative Health Denver. Coming in May, I will be stepping away from the office for a bit to do some traveling and learning. It is my hope that during this time, I will be able to share insights that I gain about the way different cultures use food as medicine, time in nature and mindfulness to stay healthy and balanced. I will be sharing those insights through the Evolve Personal Wellness blog on a regular basis.

However, just because Im stepping away, doesn’t mean Integrative Health Denver will be taking a break. IHD will be introducing a new addition to the team to continue the high quality acupuncture practice and one on one treatments here in Edgewater. Stay tuned for a full introduction to our newest team member!

For those who are interested in continued herbal and dietary management, mind body medicine guidance, you will be able to make phone appointments with me or have the option for email support while I am away. Please call, email or ask in person next time you make it into the office.

In the meantime, stay warm, stay healthy (remember how to prepare for allergy season– now is the time!) and keep on the look out for spring!

Winter Diet to Support Your Health

We are smack in the middle of winter right now, with about 6 more weeks until spring officially arrives. The warmer, longer days may seem far off but it is a good time to think about choosing some supportive foods to help your immune system stay strong. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the immune system is known as “protective qi” and the stronger it is, the healthier we stay. Coming out of the winter with strong protective qi ensures that when spring time allergy season hits, our bodies will be much more ready to cope with it.

Below are some general guidelines on how Traditional Chinese Medicine recommends we eat during the winter:

  • Soups and stews – warm, easy to digest, soups and stews make it easy for our bodies to absorb nutrients.
  • Root vegetables – including onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips.
  • Fruits: Apples, cranberry, dates, Dried fruit, grapes, Kiwi, oranges, pears, pomegranate, persimmon, Tangerine
  • Vegetables: Broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, chard, ginger, garlic, kale, leeks, onions, parsnip, potatoes, rutebega, spinach, squash, sweet potato, turnip
  • Nuts and seeds: Almond, Brazil, cashew, filbert, macadamia, pecan, pignola. Pistachio, walnut, Flax, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower
  • Beans : adzuki, black, black eye, carob, garbanzo, Great Northern, kidney, lentil, lima, Navy, peanut, pink, red, soy, white
  • Grains: (cooked): amaranth, barley, buckwheat, corn, millet, oats, quinoa, wild rice, rye, wheat
  • Miso paste and seaweeds- used to flavor or be the base of broths

Not sure how to use some of these items? Here are some of my favorite recipes to keep on hand, as you get through the winter months:

Magic Mineral Broth– Great for the beginning stages of a cold

Miso Salmon– Wonderful week night dinner

Root Vegetable Hash– Great with eggs in the morning

Roasted Nuts– Add the flavor of your choice. (I love rosemary)

Kitcheri– Great to warm the body and ease digestion

Stay healthy out there!