Be Simple!More with Less
Overall, I’d say I’m a pretty stable and balanced person. Of course, a survey of family and friends might reveal a slightly different opinion, if I’m caught at the “right moment.” And, I’m guessing you have had some of those “right moments” too, when everything in your life is in overdrive, when every box on your little calendar is full. Sometimes it is just the simple and natural change of seasons that can push me a step past coping, especially if all the other factors are in play. And this pretty much describes my September 2019. But still I try to be strong, soldier through, resist help.
Can you say “stubborn”?
Yes, I think we are talking tradition now. At the end of last summer, I decided to review the many delicious items that arrive quarterly in my New Hope Blogger Network Box for perfectly healthy lunchbox treats. It went so well, I have decided to repeat the idea with some new selections that are tasty, healthy and planet-friendly. So no excuses as you pack up the family lunches because there are both kid-friendly and grown-up choices that will help you keep highly processed foods out of your kitchen and missing from your desk at the office
So, candy. Should it have a place in your diet? Well, if you read this blog consistently, you will know that I feel candy, despite its usually terrible rep, has a place, albeit a conservatively small place, in a healthy diet. What we eat, whether we are conscious of it or not, is more than just nutrition and, in my mind, shouldn’t be restricted to the point we feel deprived.
My friend Mary Lynn is always sharing these wonderful little stories that show how food is so much more than just sustenance, just nutrition for the body. You may recall the post from a while back on her banana bread story. She also tells this touching tale about a woman—quite old and sadly in a nursing home—who was unexplainably failing quickly after living a vigorous and healthy life on her family’s small farm.
Okay, here is a not-so-happy idea: the older I get, the more unwelcome changes my body presents. Perhaps, you’ve had similar ideas as the years have passed. We can whine and pout, but I think it would be more productive to face maturity head on—embrace the wisdom of age with gratitude and don’t let those growing-old cliché’s get us down. Because, while aging is inevitable, growing “old” is not. My grandma was a young—very young—97 when she left this world for a new one.
I let a lot of things go in Summer: the garden is happier with native weeds; just ask it. The house is usually empty because we are outside, so if no one’s there to see the dust fall, is it really dirty? The kitchen is due for a rest, too, I think, though there is the issue of healthy food and market goodies. OK, not everything is “let go.” But my grip is certainly more relaxed.
I was at Dayempur Farm near the end of April, learning about this self-sufficient Sufi community’s sustainable spin on farming and living in Southern Illinois. The journey took me to the edge of the Shawnee National Forest, onto 60 acres of pristine land, some cultivated, some left wild and wooded, but none sprayed by pesticides and herbicides that mar most modern commercial agriculture.
My friend Sally Burgess is a fellow environmental activist—a member of my new group of comrades, the Confluence Climate Collaborative, and a student working quickly toward her PhD. But today, she’s somebody else: Today, Sally is the Green Gal guest chef for March and has developed a delicious Protein Recovery Ball, using the featured New Hope Influencer Product Natural Factors CurcuminRich Muscle Recovery & Growth Optimizer.
Remember Project Drawdown— and the Eco-challenge issued through the Northwest Earth Institute to take small everyday actions that were proven to mitigate climate change? Well, I’m happy to report Project Drawdown continues and is gearing up for another round of challenges this spring beginning April 3 and running through April 24. You can register your team or just join as an individual to begin your own drawdown on climate change. But why wait! I have an immediate suggestion….
How homemade can you go? If we are really committed to eating a diet of REAL food and promise to know exactly what is in our food and how it got there, we have a lot of work to do before breakfast, don’t ya think? Is there a simple approach to health and wellness that includes sustainable decisions and foods we actually like?
Well, OK. Don’t we all love real food, especially when our favorite dishes are on the table? Mmmmm….what are those dishes? Did you prepare them or did you open a box of stuff prepared by someone unknown…in a laboratory…for a major corporation?
Well here we are once again—saying goodbye to the old year and ushering in a new one, promising to never to “that” again and vowing to change all our evil ways overnight. Good luck.
Or better than luck, why not go with “healthy curiosity and personal-best strategies”? Make your new start into 2019 an exploration rather than an ultimatum. Start with a few small changes and keep building. I know, you are rolling your eyes and thinking: “There she goes again with her anti-New Year’s resolution stuff.” Well, ok, I hear ya. So I thought this year, I’d let someone else share her success and hopefully inspire you to find yours—meet my friend Jane, an accomplished educator, master baker, beautiful woman (inside and out) and recent convert to a Ketogenic way of life.
One of the most important ideas I try to impart here at Green Gal of the Midwest is to buy responsibly—to buy local and green whenever possible—and to choose carefully when products come from far away. There is a greater impact on the world than you might think when you speak with your hard-earned dollars. And, of course, buying less big stuff and spending more on simple and healthy gifts from local artisans, business people and my wonderful farmers is echoed all the time in these posts—but particularly at this time of year when the shopping frenzy reaches an all-time peak and grasping for the best deal, not matter what the cost to your health and wellbeing—not to mention the planet’s wellbeing—can be downright toxic.
I often wonder if the next generation will take up these causes because, let’s face it, I’m old. This Earth and these rights I’m fighting for belong more to the next generation than they do to me at this point. So when my friend Sasi asked if I would share my activism with his Environmental Anthropology class, how could I refuse? Of course, the first thing I did was bake up some Granola Bar & Pumpkin Pudding Squares because food closes the generational divide pretty quickly, in my opinion.
We all get a little down in the dumps sometimes. And in today’s fast-paced, instant-fix world, we might be overlooking some simple solutions and healthy healing strategies. If you are like me, the dwindling days of fall can weigh particularly heavy on your soul, causing you to wonder if you could use a little help staying positive, grateful and motivated.
Well of course, I’m hoping you will make your own Ground Cherry Chews for a healthy afterschool snack—even if you need to substitute a peach, nectarine or mango for those scrumptious ground cherries. But what about the at-school and at-work snacks? Ground Cherry Chews are kind of a no-go there. Thanks to the great selection of healthy treats from the New Hope Network Blogger Co-Op, I’ve got some yummy selections to recommend that your kids will love…and so will you because you won’t have to sacrifice nutrition or green choices to make your little ones smile when they open that lunchbox.
Ahh…summer! Ahhh…swimming pool! Ahhhh…cocktails on the porch! Ahhhh…Ah-chu!
It is true. Cold and flu season may be on vacation, but it’s not a symptom-free ride for many of us during the summer. And what could be worse than summer colds and allergies that keep us indoors on bright , sunny days?
Once we hit July and everything steams up and the sun is up in the East before 6 a.m. with its glow on the western horizon until about 9 p.m., I am seldom in the mood for long hot days in the kitchen. I want to come home from the pool, hop off my bike, hit the shower and plop myself down with a bowl of fresh veggies. So my newest version of classic Middle Eastern Tabbouleh is a perfect summer dish. It will also make a great side to the chicken and pork Molé, if you are planning something more intense—like a party!
Heather and I and a few of our friends and family decided to “pretty up” this summer with new products featured in the New Hope Network Blogger Box. We had a blast testing products to which we rarely treat ourselves. Some worked from the outside in and others from the inside out. Of the many selections, we found a few high-performing products from ethical companies that we will continue to use, so we thought we’d share of favorite finds…
Here’s one incredibly simple idea for an impressive, delicious, yet embarrassingly easy side dish to go beautifully with that grilled chicken or burger next week. In minutes, you can take a few fennel bulbs, some red globe radishes and a few peeled turnips and transform them from ordinary fair to something entirely unexpected… just toss with oil and salt and roast or grill as follows.
No, I didn’t make a typo. But I did use a lot of food scraps to create a pretty tasty cracker bread. Here’s how it happened…
Many years ago now, one of my very best friends Mary Lynn had a second thought about some overripe bananas and turned them into a miracle. I remember the day she and I were on one of our marathon phone calls, and she told me what she’d done just a few days before, saying that, though she wasn’t sure why, this simple act made her feel as if she had done something BIG. And as we continued to talk, we both realized she had. Here’s the story:
While I am usually encouraging you to fill your bowls with wholesome breakfast grains and good-for-you soups, I’m suggesting something a little different this time: prayers and blessings. Near the end of January, I attended an online event hosted by Elsie Kerns, a wellness educator with over 20 years of training and expertise in the field of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. The seminar was called Prayer Bowl Blessings & Healing. It was a free event and will continue this month on Wedensday, February 28. I’ve already signed up for the second class; here’s why…
While watching this particular Nature episode on arctic wolves, I was also feeling a little sorry for myself. It’s doubtful my husband and I will be doing much traveling this year. Our decisions about less paid work and more family time—which I will never regret—have left us with less expendable income for stuff like vacations. So PBS may be my only brush with what is truly wild… or maybe not.