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5 Ways to Grow Your Own Food (No Garden Required!)

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Photo by Akil Mazumder on Pexels.com

Even if you don’t have a yard or balcony to grow your food, there are other creative ideas you can use to make sure you’re getting fresh produce regularly. No garden required.

If you’d love to save money on groceries and have fresh food ready for the pickin’ any time, here are five ways to grow it yourself without having your own garden to weed through.

1. Create an indoor growing situation

Perhaps you won’t be able to grow everything, but a sunny kitchen windowsill is a great place to grow smaller things. Think herbs, scallions, or tomatoes! Some great options that are easy to regrow from a windowsill include celery, lettuce, onion, green onion, bell pepper, and herbs.

2. Become a member of a community-supported agriculture program

Also known as CSA, it’s a great way to get local food for a great deal. It works by taking in members that purchase shares of produce from local farmers. You get your share every week or even biweekly during the growing season. And not only do you always get the freshest local foods without getting your hands dirty, but you also get the opportunity to help your local farmers, which boosts your community.

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3. Strike up a symbiotic deal with friends or family

If your parents or a good friend have space to spare, you might be able to talk them into letting you garden on it. You could negotiate the area by offering to care for and cultivate it while sharing the bounty. It never hurts to ask!

4. Work with a local farm

Live near the farms? Another way you can get growing on your food is to volunteer at your local farm. If you’re willing to roll up your sleeves to gain experience and a few fruits and veggies in return, they might be willing to let you help out. The worst thing they can say is “no,” so give it a try!

5. Become a member of your community garden

In most communities today, community gardens are popping up in abundance. Look online near you, and you should find them. Don’t be afraid if you’ve got a brown thumbthey’ll show you the ropes. You’ll make new friends, learn something new, and get fresh and tasty produce without having to maintain your own garden yourself.

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In a community that doesn’t have a community garden? Talk to your neighbors and see about starting one. It could be the next big thing, and it will do so much good for everyone.

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Superfoods That Boost Your Immune System

As the temperature starts to get colder, the sneezing and sniffling noises surround us. Many of us are just expecting to get sick, feeling as if it’s unavoidable. If you eat the right foods and take the proper precautions, you
could strengthen your immune system and avoid getting sick this year. Here are six powerful immune-boosting superfoods that can help your body fight off sickness and infections.

  1. Garlic
    Garlic adds so much flavor to food, but you might want to use it a little extra during this cold and flu season. Once garlic is crushed, it produces a compound called allicin, which has strong anti-bacterial properties. It also boosts your immune response. However, this compound only lasts for a short moment after the garlic is crushed. If you’re seasoning your food with fresh garlic, make sure to eat it shortly after you crush it for maximum benefits.
  2. Matcha
    Matcha is a true superfood. It contains exceptionally high levels of antioxidants, which help your body fight off disease-causing free radical compounds. The antioxidants in matcha boost the function of your immune
    cells and decrease inflammation, which means that if you do get sick, matcha can help alleviate your symptoms. Matcha also contains antimicrobial properties that can fight off any invading pathogens, such as
    viruses and bacteria.
  3. Probiotic-rich foods
    The billions of good bacteria residing in your body are a defense system of their own. However, when we get sick or our immune system is down, the population of good bacteria in our bodies decreases. As a result, the pathogenic bacteria now have space to reside and invade, causing infection and inflammation. By eating probiotics, we are ingesting more of these good bacteria and restoring this defense system. Yogurt, kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, and tempeh are all great sources of probiotics.
  4. Cinnamon
    Cinnamon is a powerful spice that is rich in immune-boosting antioxidants. Antioxidants are some of the most important compounds for strengthening your immune system, so make sure to load up on them to prevent getting sick. Cinnamon also has anti-inflammatory properties, meaning that it can decrease inflammation in your body that is responsible for many of the symptoms you have when you do get sick.
  5. Ginger
    Ginger is not only useful in relieving nausea and digestive issues, but it also contains potent anti-microbial properties that can help the immune system fight off infection. Ginger contains a powerful compound known as gingerol, which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
  6. Acai berries
    Acai berries might be challenging to find fresh, but they’re equally as powerful as a powder or frozen. They contain an extremely high number of antioxidants and are one of the most effective free-radical fighting foods on the planet. They also have a high fiber content, which not only aids digestion but also serves as food for those good bacteria in our gut. This means that high-fiber foods, such as acai berries, help increase the population of healthy bacteria in our bodies and, as a result, inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria.
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[RECIPE] Tastes like a cookie, helps you sleep like a baby

I have one of my latest favorite recipes for you today, and it’s perfect for evenings you want a sweet treat and/or are feeling a little stressed.

Herbal “sleepytime” teas like chamomile are great, but sometimes you just want something a little richer and more comforting. This Moon Milk recipe definitely fits the bill.

It’s warm, soothing, and it tastes like a spice cookie! (For real.) Plus, it’s packed with ingredients that are designed to help you beat stress AND get to sleep faster.

The spice mix might look a little intimidating, but please don’t let that stop you.

All of these spices are readily available at grocery stores and they contain so many benefits: cinnamon helps stabilize your blood sugar, turmeric helps eliminate inflammation, and nutmeg contains sleep-friendly phytonutrients.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, it’ll become a regular part of your nighttime routine. And if that’s the case, you can make the spice mix in bulk so it’s ready to go any time you want it! (A serving is about 2 teaspoons of the mix made in bulk, but you can adjust that to taste.)

Notes: I don’t use the honey because this recipe is pretty sweet as-is, but feel free to adjust this to your taste. Organic maple syrup would make a nice variation, too.

Also, ashwagandha – which is an adaptogen that helps your body both relax and handle stress – is available at most supplement stores or online. The recipe is just fine without it, so if you can’t find ashwagandha or you don’t want to use it, no worries!

Golden Moon Milk

  • 1 cup (240 ml) unsweetened cashew, almond or hemp milk
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground clove
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp ground ashwagandha (optional)
  • 1 tsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp raw honey (optional)

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, bring the nut milk to a simmer. While that’s heating, in a small bowl whisk together all the spices and ashwagandha (if you’re using it).

Next, whisk the spices into the milk, making sure to dissolve any clumps. Add the coconut oil and lower the heat, and continue to cook for 7-10 minutes.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and let it cool slightly before adding the honey. Pour into a mug and enjoy.

I hope you enjoy it!

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Is Eating Organic Food Really That Important?

You likely are no stranger to the benefits of organic foods over conventionally grown foods — organic foods ‘aren’t allowed to be cultivated with nasty pesticides, synthetic growth hormones, and GMOs. But perhaps the price tags of organic items make you wonder if it’s possible to fill your cart with only organic items.

There are many benefits of eating more organic food, like lowering your exposure to hormone-disrupting toxins.  The costs of healthcare are more astronomical now than ever, so it makes great sense to take better care of yourself through nourishing foods that don’t have harmful agents in them.

Going organic can have a bit of a higher price tag, but it is worth it in the long run.  If going all organic isn’t an option, you can still take small steps to get safer food on your table. 

Here are a few tips to help you on your next grocery run:

Always give your kids organic

Because kids are still in a crucial period of growing, if you have to make sacrifices in your budget for organics, then you could just buy organic for your children to start with.  Those pesticides and growth hormones can affect their growing bodies. You can start by picking up long-lasting produce that won’t go bad quickly, so you aren’t throwing money down the drain. There are some items that you don’t HAVE to buy organic – because it will not matter… but those are in an earlier post.

Go organic on meat and dairy items

Conventionally-raised livestock is given synthetic growth hormones, and they’re fed grains that contain GMOs.  If that’s not upsetting enough, these animals are often kept in inhumane conditions that you’d be appalled to see.  If you do choose to eat meat, choose organic meats from farms that have an excellent reputation. 

Even fruits and vegetables

Want to know something really alarming? Even fruits that have peels that you don’t eat can absorb the pesticides they’re sprayed with. So when you thought it was fine to choose a banana that wasn’t organic, think again. It’s even more critical when it comes to fruits and vegetables where you do eat the skin.  Check out the EWG’s yearly Clean 15 / Dirty Dozen list (I posted about that on FB back in May – let me know if you want that information again) to see what items you should definitely be purchasing organic, and which items have the lowest amount of pesticides where you can skip the organic label.

Avoid GMOs at all costs

GMO’s cause a host of problems and should be avoided.  Just a few years ago, GMO’s weren’t as widely understood as they are today.  Because of this awakening, it’s quite simple to find GMO-free products, primarily because they’re clearly labeled.  So lucky for you, it’s not difficult to make sure you are getting GMO-free items before you head to the check-out aisle!

Switch your coffee

Love coffee? Make the switch to organic. Regular coffee is chemically-treated, and since it penetrates into the beans, you’re brewing up a pesticide-laden beverage for yourself that can take a toll on your health over time.  Since coffee is typically consumed daily by coffee drinkers, it’s worth the extra money to invest in organic coffee.

So yes, going organic everywhere is really best for your benefit, but especially important for your kids. And if money is a factor, consider shopping for produce at your local farmer’s market where you can be sure you’re getting organically-grown produce which has the added benefit of being local, too. You can also join a co-op where everyone pitches in for fresh organic produce from local farms. There are options for your better health organically that don’t have to cost a fortune, so check them out and find what works best for you and your family.

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Save money with this coffee shop FAV at home…

Have you ever tried matcha green tea? Whether you are new to it or a long-time fan, I have I have a recipe for you today that I can’t WAIT for you to try.

It’s packed with superfoods but tastes like a treat (really!). I came up with this recipe after dropping too much $$$ on Starbucks’ version, which isn’t as tasty or nearly as nutritious.

It’s perfect as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up and you also can drink it before your workout if you need a little oomph to get moving.

Here’s why: you’ll get a definite energy boost from the matcha, which some studies show also can increase mental focus AND the rate your body burns fat. Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, and cinnamon has been proven to help balance blood sugar. Win-win-win!

Not only that, but this tastes amazing. Note: Starbucks version uses vanilla syrup, but I switched that out for protein powder. If you have some vanilla stevia drops, those might work as well, or you can add a drop or two of pure vanilla extract!

Matcha Iced Protein Latte

1 tsp. organic matcha powder

¼ tsp turmeric

¼ tsp cinnamon

1 cup coconut milk (I used the milk from a carton, not a can)

1 tbsp. vanilla protein powder (or to taste)

Optional: stevia or honey, to taste

Ice cubes

Mix the matcha, turmeric and cinnamon together in a bowl until fully blended, and then slowly add the coconut milk, whisking as you go along to avoid clumps.

Pour the mixture into a blender, and add protein powder. Blend until frothy! Taste, and add stevia or honey if you want more sweetness – this is plenty sweet for me as-is but your tastebuds might think differently. Pour over ice cubes and enjoy. 

Be sure to let me know what you think if you give this a try!