Category Archives: Lifestyle

Cheeseburgers, Pizza & Wings, Oh My! How I Beat My Fast Food Cravings

I absolutely love cheeseburgers, chicken wings, French fries, francheesies, pizza, M&M’s, Snickers & ice cream? What’s your favorite? Mine depends on the day, but high on the list are wings, ice cream and pizza.

Photo Credit Jake Weirick

But, America is getting fatter and sicker and so was I. Worse? Big Food, the conglomerate of corporations that make up the bulk of our food supply, aren’t going to come to our rescue. They use cheap, ultra-processed ingredients that are stripped of nutrition to maximize profits. And, they want us to eat more and more as illustrated by one of their goals: To make food craveable.

The term, craveable, is defined by dictionary.com as: “having qualities that engender an intense desire for more: All too often, salt, sugar, fat, and “crunch” make a food craveable.”

As a Health Coach I like to help clients make some of those craveable foods healthier, and simple to prepare.

Let’s start with a cheeseburger and how I made it healthier:

  1. Start with organic grass-fed beef. Season with salt, pepper, parsley flakes, garlic, and onion powder and cook it in a frying pan, under a broiler, or in an air fryer.
  2. Buy organic, pastured cheese, or a plant-based variety. Once you flip the burger the first time, lay the cheese on top.
  3. Now for the bun. Good luck. I eat mine without, but if you can find a locally sourced fermented bun (KC, think Farm to Market) it can be a decent choice.

You can make some sweet potato fries in your air fryer but instead, how about making a lovely green salad? No? Okay, fries then? Slice the sweet potatoes and spray with either olive, avocado or coconut oil, sprinkle with salt and toss in your air fryer for about 15 minutes (or whatever time your fryer suggests). No air fryer? Heat up your oven and cook at 400°

You can still have the salad. 😉 I’ve got a simple homemade dressing that you can make and store in the cupboard … all healthy oils and stuff.

Francheesies are one of my fave junk foods. Who doesn’t love a hot dog stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon? This one is easy, but I don’t recommend adding deli meats to your daily plan. Just have this every once in awhile and enjoy!

  1. Uncured, organic, grass fed hotdogs. I like Applegate Farms. Make a slit lengthwise being careful not to slice through.
  2. Same cheese as above, make into ½” wide, thin slices and put one or two in each slit.
  3. Wrap uncured bacon from humanely raised pigs around the dog and secure with toothpicks about 1” from each end.
  4. Cook in your preheated air fryer for about 7-9 minutes at 400°

Are you only feeding yourself or two of you? Make up mini meal kits by putting a burger, a slice of cheese and a bun or two hot dogs, two slices of bacon and a slice of cheese into storage bags and store in the freezer. Easy dinner when plans go awry.

Pizzas are easy to make healthy. You can buy or make a healthy crust. There are a lot of recipes available to create one that fits your health needs from gluten free to low-carb and keto. Organic pizza or barbecue sauce and cheese, uncured meats from humanely raised animals or organic, pastured poultry along with fresh or frozen veggies make pizza a breeze.

This is especially easy if you have a day of the week when you prepare a few meals for the week. If you’re making your own crust, start your dough and let it rise while making another dish. When it’s ready, top with your favorite ingredients and freeze for another day. (You can also freeze just the crusts and top when you bake.)

Chicken Wings If you live near a Trader Joe’s or Natural Grocers, you’re in luck! They have reasonably priced frozen organic chicken wings. If you also have an air fryer you can have dinner ready in 25-minutes. At the time of this writing the wings ran around $7 for two pounds. For the sauce, melt grass-fed butter or Earth Balance (1/4 c) and mix in 2 tsp. of hot pepper sauce and 1 tsp. of vinegar. Toss the wings and sit back and enjoy! This is much cheaper than buying them at the local bar.

For anything fried, from potato chips to French fries, the oil you use will make the difference between healthy or not. Check out this article for more info and instead, use avocado or coconut oil.

Snickers your thing? Purchase Lily’s chocolate bars (available on Amazon, Natural Grocer’s and many other stores) with whatever add-ins you like. They are significantly lower in sugar. Try gradually increasing the cocoa content of your chocolate. That automatically reduces the amount of sugar. Lily’s also makes semi-sweet baking chips … you can easily swap them for M&M’s.

For tacos, buy organic corn tortillas and use organic chicken, sustainably caught fish or grass-fed beef. Top with the cheeses above, add in organic sour cream …

Okay, I’ve got to stop. I’m getting hungry as heck. I’m going to cook some wings in the air fryer and toss a salad with my dressing. Oh wait! I promised you a salad dressing recipe. My kids simply call this Gramma’s Salad Dressing.

½ c Avocado Oil
½ c Olive Oil
½ c Apple Cider Vinegar
½ tsp Garlic Powder

½ tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Dried Parsley Flakes
Salt & Pepper to taste

Add all the ingredients to a bottle (I use an empty GT’s Kombucha bottle) and shake. If someone in your family likes a creamy dressing, add organic cream to taste, but you’ll have to use it rather quickly. (Alternatively, just add it to that person’s salad.)

Healthy fast food is more than a myth. By taking control of the quality of the ingredients, you can still have your faves. Experiment with spices to find your perfect combo. Most of these can be prepped ahead of time, on a day that works for you, so that they become fast food at the end of a busy day.

If you liked this, please consider sharing it with your favorite fast food junkie. Then follow me so you don’t miss any other incredible, amazing, life-changing words of wisdom. 😉

You can find more ideas in my book, No Kale Required: Healthy Eating Ideas for the Rest of Us,and over on my website, www.enjoylifebewell.com

Affirmative!

Affirmations only work when you use them, when you step into the belief. In order to do that, you must answer any negative thoughts that arise as you read each affirmation. Begin by writing each negative on a separate sheet, and then create a response that debunks its truthfulness.

For instance, the affirmation you’ve written reads: “I enjoy healthy foods that nourish my body,” but what’s going through your mind is, “Oh yeah, like that fried chicken you ate was healthy … right” or, “Who are you kidding? You don’t even like salads!”

In response, you might choose to write: “Hey, I have many years of successfully choosing healthy foods, and when I was doing that, I loved the taste of a fresh, healthy salad!”

Here’s another example: “I enjoy regular exercise.” My monkey chatter tends to follow this line: “Sell it to someone else because I’m not buying! You hate working out because you get bored and feel every ache.”

In response, try this: “I enjoy the sense of accomplishment I have after a workout session. It’s especially encouraging that I feel stronger and healthier.”

Science has proven that attitude is everything. If you step into the belief that you enjoy the positive change you’re making, write an affirmation to support it, and answer the negatives, you will come out a winner.

As you say your affirmations a couple of times a day, one day you’ll feel a shift as your negative thoughts drop away. You are on your way to success! But, don’t take my word for it, check out affirmations on Google. You’ll find a lot of information, along with a lot of examples. Find ones that work for you, answer the negatives and you’ll reach the stars!

7 Ways to Take Out a Killer!

1 7 WAYS TO TAKE OUT KILLERStress is a killer. It’s that simple. It might seem like you have no options, but the reality is that you do. With that in mind, let’s look at how to discern how you can best reduce the stress in your life. We’ll start out easy and move into the more challenging areas:

  1. Exercise. This is basic. Exercise reduces the stress load by burning it off.
  2. Eat nourishing foods. The healthier your diet, the better equipped your body is to cope with stress.
  3. Get enough sleep. If you’re overworked and running from one thing to another, make a list of what you need to get handled the next day right before you go to bed. Chances are you will quit waking up in the middle of the night with a long to-do list running through your brain.
  4. Drink water. Water flushes the toxins from your body. Stress creates more toxins. Drink water.
  5. Meditate. If you don’t know how, check out what’s available on YouTube or at your local library. If you want a more personal approach, find a teacher who will help you.
  6. Slow down. Make a list of all that you do and rank everything on it by A) How much you enjoy it, and B) How much it stresses you out.
      1. Next, find solutions for some of the stressors. If you can’t see your way to solutions, ask for help. Often we’re too close to see what actually can be done. Even if the suggestions aren’t workable, one might be the seed of your eventual solution.
      2. Take the least enjoyable and most stressful item off of your plate. Often we find that our jobs fit that description and while it would be great if we could just walk away, that isn’t always practical, but we can look at ways to make our job more enjoyable and/or less stressful. We can also plan our exit which often gives us a bit more control and a sense that things will improve. In the meantime, take the next item that fits the criteria off your plate.
      3. Journaling is a great way to identify what you like about your current situation and what you don’t. Then you can journal about what you think you’d like to be doing. Somewhere in the middle you’ll find what you next step can be. That is exactly how I became a health coach.
      4. Use this exercise regularly to find the stress-causing factors in your life. They do change, you know.

    A word about taking something off your plate … ladies. Women have a tendency to say yes far too often, feeling it’s their job to take care of everything and everyone. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard, “But, if I don’t do it, it won’t get done!”
    So what? Unless it’s a matter of life and limb, or something so important that you couldn’t stand it if it didn’t get done, let it go. You do know that volunteer coordinators know exactly who will say yes the easiest, and who will say yes if approached in a certain way and that they go to the easiest people first? Don’t be that person!
    Volunteering is wonderful! It’s amazing! It’s a gift to the giver and the receiver! Unless it’s just too much. So, volunteer when it’s the best fit for your life. Do not overcrowd your plate or you will pay the price down the road with chronic illness and potentially early death. Yikes!

  7. Get out and get moving! On the flip side is the stress from a lack of outside stimulation. For some people going to work is the only outside activity they have. This can be incredibly stressful as well. Research shows that people who are connected to others, who have healthy social relationships are happier, healthier and live longer.
    1. It can be challenging to find friends when you are on your own, either without children or with grown children. Kids make it easy: Parents tend to congregate where there kids are, and conversations strike up organically. What can you do when you’re not at that stage of your life?
    2. Try out new churches. If you find one that resonates, join some of the classes or groups that they offer or volunteer to help out.
    3. Volunteer at an animal shelter, library, hospital or performance venue.
    4. Join library book clubs.
    5. Take classes (fitness, art, dance) through your local park district or college.
    6. Check out MeetUp.com for groups with similar interests. There are some very active groups that hike, walk, bike, kayak, visit theaters, concerts, symphonies, go to wine tastings, restaurants … the list is endless!
      Always remember that it takes time and courage to form friendships. Relax and enjoy the activities that you’ve chosen and when you meet someone you think might be a friend outside of the class, consider inviting them to meet for coffee. Over time, friendships will begin to form.

Whatever your first step is in reducing the impact of stress on your body, I urge you to begin today, right now, like immediately. This is important stuff and it will impact your health for years to come.

If you, or someone you know, would benefit from a Strategy Session, in person or over the phone, just visit my website at http://www.healthworkskc.com/

Thinking peaceful thoughts!
Nancy Oglesby, the Practical Health Coach
simplifying healthy lifestyle changes

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Come One, Come All …To The Carnival of Well-Being

Everyone Loves a Carnival!
But…have you heard of a Blog Carnival? It’s an online magazine. Each edition of the carnival is one blog post that contains a series of links pointing to posts on other blogs, written on one particular topic by many authors.

On the first day of each month, our Carnival of Well-Being will proudly present fresh articles from local bloggers who are experts in one aspect of well-being. Each blog post is packed with information you can use immediately to enhance your well-being.

How to Play
Step 1. Click a link to a blog post that intrigues you. Read as many posts as you like!
Step 2. Support your local, free-range, organic bloggers by:
• Commenting on the posts you like
• Sharing your fave posts freely and liberally with your friends and family
• If you’re inclined to, contacting the blogger for more information about the services they offer.

On to the Carnival! Have fun!
This month, each blogger is serving up a post on this topic:
What’s the single most important thing you could STOP doing that would have the biggest impact on your well-being?

Posted by: Nancy Oglesby at HealthworksKC … ME!
Description: When I was asked to write about what people should stop doing, this came to mind: They should stop trying. What!? Stop trying to lose weight/quit smoking/quit drinking/quit eating sugar/get to bed on time? How will that improve my well-being?
Scroll down to the second post on this blog for more.

Posted by: Alicen at Former Fitness Flunky
Description: There’s one little thing you can stop doing today that may be holding you back from succeeding in your fitness routine. We’ll look at what that one little thing is and how you can overcome it once and for all.
Click here to read the entire post.

Posted by Linda Putthoff at Plaza Wellspring
Description: Stop letting fear rule your choices. Fear becomes a patterned response to many situations in our lives, but it is most often a response to what WAS in the past, or what we are afraid MIGHT BE in the future. Mind/Body practice is transformative because it brings us into the present moment. In the present moment, through listening (attention) and using our creative energy (intention) we can choose love and compassion to be the guiding forces in our decision making.
Click here to read the entire post.

Posted by Judy Widener at Inner Frontiers Life Coaching
Description: We all know that stress causes illness. So why do the majority of those surveyed say their stress is increasing instead of decreasing, with a sobering 25% saying they’re under extreme stress? Debunk the myths about stress and start permanently lowering your stress level today.
Click here to read the entire post.

The next Carnival of Well-Being will be July 1, with four more bloggers joining this group. Until then, Be Well!

My Neighborhood

My Street

I am truly blessed to have moved into such a nurturing neighborhood. My old house was on a busy street and I was younger than most of my neighbors who had already raised their children. I was a single parent and felt judged by some of them, but now wonder if that wasn’t partly my inherent distrust of the ‘establishment.’

I moved into my current house in May of 2006 and was promptly greeted by a tiny, elderly woman about 87 years old. She introduced herself (Jean) and told me about a group of single, widowed and/or divorced women who got together on holidays and birthdays to share a meal. I was invited to join them on Memorial Day and am so glad that I did.

Poor Stray Kitty

Jean passed on in 2009 leaving me fully in charge of the stray cat she fed and provided a heated garage for. Today, that cat sleeps on my bed since I don’t have a garage. Jean named her Gypsy and it’s still appropriate.

The cast of characters in our little group is: Kay (ageless), Margaret (91), Martha (73) and Sonya (74) and sometimes Rachel (ageless). I am the baby of the group at 62. We go to Taco Bell on Thursday nights … Margaret’s choice. Do I go for the food? Nope! I rarely eat anything and when I do it’s just beans without cheese. I go for the company and the good feeling I get when I spend time with my friends.

We learn so much from each other! I begin to move at a slower, friendlier pace and they get a little insight into the world of Facebook style communication. They give me flowers to plant (I’m certain they pray they’ll live.) and I hook up their televisions or figure out what’s going on with their phone. When I had my hip replaced they brought me food and went to the store. When Sonya dislocated her shoulder, I took her to the hospital, Martha took her to doctor appointments and we all got her groceries. We sing a song of thanks before we break bread at our birthday get togethers. It’s a very comfortable, warm place to be.

Another neighbor is closer to my age and also single but doesn’t often take part in the group activities. It’s been in the last year that we’ve connected and I am thrilled! We go to movies and out to dinner, we ran errands together the other day. She is a gardener and gives me perennials when she thins them out. She came over and helped me plant all of my new shrubs and replant the coral bells and dianthus that had been removed when they poured my new driveway and sidewalk. (I’m certain she did it for the plants’ sake!)

The neighbors up and down my street are all known by name and when I walk the dog we stop and chat as we make our way down the street. The neighborhood is getting some younger people: Ashley with her 10-year-old daughter and Jennifer, who moved into Jean’s old house, just had a lovely baby boy. There are new neighbors with a 13ish-year-old boy.

I know most of the dogs’ names on the whole block and if I don’t know them, I make one up! There’s Oliver and Bella, Riley, Rosco, Leaping Labrador and Squeaky Dog. There’s Casey, Cinnamon and Benny. Who can forget Spot, Spot and Spot, the three Dalmatians and Molly, the newest member who might be the oldest member. Zeker and Pattiane walk with Mikey the Wonder Dog and me. We let their mom, Sonya, join. Bella, a little Shih Tzu hears us coming, runs to the front door and stands up on her hind feet, pawing at the door. Of course, she’s my favorite!

This is my neighborhood … I am blessed. If you don’t have a warm, friendly neighborhood, do you see something in what we have that you could begin doing? Sharing plants? Hosting a neighborhood Potluck? Or start small and go for a daily walk, smile and say hello. Before you know it, it’ll take you forever to make it back to your house because you’ll be stopping and chatting just like me!

Word Wednesday – PLAY! Part Two

ImageI have a vision of a neighborhood gang of adults, all gathered on two sides of someone’s yard singing out, “Red Rover, Red Rover let … NANCY … come over!” All the kids are clamoring to get in the game and the adults are telling them to wait their turn, but they don’t really mean it; they’re just stalling for more time for themselves. Wouldn’t that be awesome!

Here are some old favorites. Red Light, Green Light, Simon Says, Dodge Ball, Duck, Duck Goose, Freeze Tag … The list goes on! Maybe you could get your neighbors to play every night? Just like when we were young! Just think of the fun of taking turns with the kids. One game played by the adults, the next by the kids … Fun!

Can you picture the game of Statue? John tossing Mary … Kay landing sideways and having to hold it for, how long? How about Jump Rope? Do you remember the rhymes? Double rope? I’ll stick with one for now! I see the neighbors who aren’t jumping playing clapping games!

ImageWho’s going to bring the jacks and marbles? ImageDig out some hula hoops and break out the wiffle ball and bat! Someone can print out some jump rope and clapping rhymes and bring them along for those who aren’t as mobile. Rotate yards and times so that everyone can be included. We used to play ball in my back yard and jump rope on my neighbor’s driveway. Red Rover was a couple of doors down and Statue was wherever we were.

I have fallen in love with this vision! Spread the word.

Visit GamesKidsPlayfor rules and ideas.

Tips for Tuesday – PLAY!

In my mind’s eye I see myself as a 12-year-old tomboy, so when I saw* what Stephen Jepson, a world-renowned potter with pieces in several museums including the Smithsonian, was doing at the age of 72, I knew I had to share it with people: He plays! There is a video of his day and his games and I encourage you to watch. Never Leave the Playground Video

It's easier to learn to juggle with something that has grip: tennis balls or these softer juggling balls work best.

I have tennis balls that I juggle occasionally and have been known to toss them up against the house. I’ve tried to remember the sequence to a game we used to play that we called Seven Up. You toss the ball at a wall a certain way; turning in a circle between it hitting the wall and you catching it, or throwing it under one leg, straight toss, one bounce and there was something in there with claps … I don’t remember them all but have played with the game the way I remember it. I love to play!

Stephen suggests that if you play using both your dominant and non-dominant hands it will improve your memory and brain function. I found support for his theory at the Franklin Institute which states that working with your non-dominant hand will strengthen existing neural connections and even build new ones.

Other games that Stephen plays are critical to developing and maintaining balance which is essential in limiting/eliminating falls as we age. His passion for spreading his style of play as a fun way for people to help themselves is inspiring. Part of what makes it difficult for people to choose exercise over television, reading or video games is that exercise is usually boring. Stephen shows us a way to make it fun!

Some of my favorites include tossing a ball (I just enjoy that) and juggling. I love the rock walk (I grew up with streams and creeks and rocks). I am going to figure out a way to incorporate that in my yard so that it’s not a pain to mow around. Stick flipping also looks like fun to me. When was the last time you played jacks, and with your non-dominant hand? Yikes!

A few weeks ago I came across a colorful chalk hopscotch grid while out walking The Wonder Dog. I was immediately all smiles … and yep, I played! (Found out I needed hopping practice.)

And here’s something I hate to admit: I’ve never thought of hopping on my bike for the fun of it post childhood … What’s up with that? I don’t have to ride it for miles. On a nice day I can just hop on and ride it around the block or the neighborhood; play.

I’d love to regularly hop the balance beam and step over pipes and jump over things, but I’m not sure how I’d get that equipment set up. I don’t have a lot of storage, so I’m looking around at things and wondering what would work. I’d definitely have to start small with the jumping games. Since my hip replacement in 2008 my jumping skills leave much to be desired. I’d better stick with hopscotch for awhile.

Do you live by a playground? Lucky you … Go PLAY!!

*Big thanks to whichever Facebook friend posted the video. I tried to find it again, but after 10 minutes of looking up and down and back and forth, I gave up … THANKS!

Thanks Thursday – Vitamin V

Nutrition isn’t something we get by food alone. We are nurtured through our relationships, spirituality, exercise and career; what the Institute for Integrative Nutrition calls Primary Food.

When it comes to Primary Food, there’s nothing quite like Vitamin V for an energetic, healthy and happy life. Ahhh … Never heard of Vitamin V? It’s the essential nutrient that you can only get by volunteering. It is a gift to yourself when you step into the service of others: Your entire system is flooded with Vitamin V, and is a powerful feeling!

I understand that for some it will be a bigger step than for others; not everyone is outgoing and comfortable trying new things, but step through your fear and into volunteering by giving time to an organization that you admire. Your body will thank you for being adventurous and for sharing your gifts. If it’s too uncomfortable to step out alone, invite a friend … Share that Vitamin V!

If you regularly step into service, try something or somewhere different. Seeing needs from a different perspective can speed that Vitamin V straight to the heart!

Not sure where to start? Here are some ideas:

  • Schools, hospitals and libraries
  • Soup kitchens and food pantries
  • Battered women’s shelters
  • Homeless shelters
  • Ronald McDonald Houses
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Foster Child Services
  • Animal Shelters
  • VolunteerMatch.org (national database where organizations list their needs)
  • Meetup.com (search for ‘volunteer’ near your zip code)
  • If you don’t belong to a church, call local ministers and ask where the need is the greatest
  • Call Social Service Agencies in your area for opportunities

If you have children make it a habit to feed them a heaping portion of volunteerism regularly. I have worked with kids at a food warehouse packing boxes of food and at a soup kitchen. They are incredible workers and add joy to the process … They are a gift to the rest of us. There is no better nutrient than Vitamin V to help build kind, caring and aware adults.

So, along with healthy, nutritious whole foods add a nice serving of service to your routine and you’ll be well on your way to a fabulously healthy and happy life! If you would like support on your journey to health, I would love to share the ways I can support you in achieving your goals. Contact me for more information or visit my website, HealthWorksKC.

Namaste

Mad About Monday – Meditation

I tried it; meditation. I even thought that I had managed it a couple of times. Meditating never got me where all of the teachers along the way said that it would. I thought that my ADD prevented me from staying focused or unfocused. The only successful meditation I’ve ever done was guided. I clearly wasn’t mad about meditation!

The last lecture of my one-year health coaching program was by Deepak Chopra and the topic was Consciousness. About two-thirds of the way through the two hour lecture; he had us set two intentions, and then led us in a meditation using the phrase “I am” as a mantra. I had trouble staying with it.

First, I had no idea it would be twenty minutes long and it was so silent (absolutely no sound) that I kept thinking that my iPod had paused. Of course, I broke the whole eyes-closed-quiet-mantra deal and checked.

Second, I kept thinking of my affirmations which begin with, “I am …” The most common being “I am Energetic, Healthy & Happy.” It was very distracting.

Sign up for a Free Health Consultation at http://www.HealthWorksKC.com to Receive Your 8x10 Poster!

When he brought us out of the meditation and explained that a mantra is a word or words that don’t have a history or meaning to you, I decided to try again the next day … today. What a difference!

This morning a mantra came to me that isn’t words at all, rather sounds. I set my intentions, and then set my timer for twenty minutes. Today I got to that space between things; the discontinuity as Dr. Chopra calls it. During the lecture he said that if you think you’re there you aren’t because awareness of time and space disappears. You see, you can only know you were there when you are finished.

When the timer went off I was surprised that the time was over; quite a difference from any other meditation attempts when I was sneaking open one eye to see how much longer I had to go. I felt as if I had gone deeper and made a connection; to what or whom I am unsure, but it was a rich experience.

I believe we receive things when we’re ready. After so many failed meditation attempts I had no intention of trying again; but the Universe had heard my earlier intention to meditate daily and it formed its own plan. Meditation snuck up on me in the guise of a lecture … sneaky. The Universe knew something else: It was time.

Is it time for you to step into better health? I would absolutely love and be grateful to be able to support you in your quest to get healthy, gain energy, lose weight and love yourself through making positive, long-lasting changes that lead to you achieving your personal health goals. For more information, or to sign up for a free Health Consultation visit my website at www.HealthWorksKC.com.

Thursday Thanks – Food Activists

Badseed Farmers Market, 1909 McGee in KC, every Friday beginning May 4th 4-9PM

I am grateful for the people at the grassroots level that are choosing to grow their food and mine; urban farmers, family farms, beekeepers, herbalists … those who are doing things the old fashioned way trying to heal the land, their families and mine. These folks are leading the charge to freedom from poisons deemed ‘safe,’ including chemical fertilizers, pesticides, growth hormones, antibiotics and feed that is laced with all of the above.

The food from people that care is energetically superior to that which is factory farmed. There is true love and commitment involved in farming organically and sustainably. That is the energy that’s in the food from a Farmers Market … love, and sweat, and tradition. Have a little of that with your dinner!

There are many places to purchase grass fed, grass finished beef and pastured chickens. They are usually more expensive, but as demand grows, prices keep getting a little bit lower. This brings me to previously quoted Michael Pollan, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Eat the best that you can afford. Learning to replace some meat entrees with bean dishes is a really healthy choice that helps to keep costs down. (Chili with beans, bean soup, salads with beans and black bean burgers are just a few choices.)

Many urban areas are lucky to have farmers bring what’s been ordered to a central location for pickup, or they attend

Brookside Farmers Market in Kansas City on Saturday Mornings

Farmers Markets and bring pre-ordered items along. Check out Local Harvest for growers in your area. In the KC area you can download a directory of members at KC Food Circle.

Most of the farmers I’ve met are full of advice for how to use their products; many offering plants and recipes. There are a growing number of new businesses springing up to teach homeowners how to cultivate their yards for organic food production. What a fantastic way to save money and teach children where food really comes from!

So, thank a food activist this weekend … visit a Farmers Market in your town.