Here's to a Healthier New Year

 

http://www.healthyway.com/a/10-hygiene-habits-its-time-to-ditch/

Here's a few of my favorite excerpts from this blog. Click the link above to see all 10!

6. Refusing to Share

Odds are, if you and a pair of friends want to share an oversized dessert at your favorite restaurant, you’ll ask for three spoons with the dish. You might assume using separate spoons is healthier than sharing. Not necessarily, say researchers. Encouraging the spread of healthy bacteria in our guts is something we need to do more of, the researchers say. Sharing saliva among healthy friends and family members—and thus introducing their microbes into your own microbiome—may actually help your immune system. Not only does sharing cut down on calories, then, but it also builds up the body’s supply of good bugs. It’s important to note, though, that you really don’t want to share food or drinks with people who are actively sick. That’s especially true of drinks, Sunny Jung of Virginia Tech explained to Popular Science. No matter how careful you may be, there’s always some level of backwash left in the cup after a sip. Yuck.

5. Over-Reliance on the Fridge

It goes without saying that some foods (such as meat) need to be refrigerated. But according to a study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, purposefully allowing other foods like fruits and vegetables to be exposed to warm air (thereby slightly fermenting them) can actually cultivate your own homemade and delicious probiotics! Long before the invention of refrigeration (and the concept of hygiene), milk, bread starter, and vegetables were often fermented before eating. The researchers found that eating slightly fermented foods actually boosts your immune system and increases the nutrient content of the food. Who doesn’t love sourdough?

4. Skipping the Dirt

According to researchers at Cornell University, a little dirt in your diet is a good thing. Maybe you shouldn’t wash your garden vegetables so scrupulously.They say that geophagy, or the consumption of soil, has existed in humans for millennia—and it may actually help protect the stomach against pathogens, toxins, and parasites. The data shows that geophagy shows up most commonly in women in the early stages of pregnancy and in pre-adolescent children. Both categories of people are especially sensitive to parasites and pathogens, according to the study’s authors. A little dirt goes a long way.

 

Does All of My Food HAVE To Be Organic? (Guest Blogger)

Does All of My Food HAVE To Be Organic? (The Answer Might Surprise You!)

by Adrienne Neale July 27, 2017

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So you're trying to eat cleaner and make better choices with your diet... AWESOME!

Then you go to the grocery and you realize..... organic can cost so FRIGGIN much, AMIRIGHT? So you ask the question... does everything have to be organic?!

Ideally, yes. Realistically, unless you're making mad cash, or you're an organic farmer (which I can hook you up with potential in both of these areas, but that's for a later time), you can't blow every penny on all-organic. Right? The kids need shoes. You must have a house to live in. Air-conditioning and hot, running water are a must, and dadgummit, so is your high-speed Internet connection. #firstworldproblems But I digress.... No, not all of your food has to be organic, but you do have to be smart about it.

If you're overwhelmed with where to begin in eating a cleaner diet, TAKE HEART! I am here to give you some EASY tips that will save you some $$$ as you improve your health by making better food choices.

#1. Get Familiar with The Dirty Dozen. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) puts in all the hard work in testing the dirtiest, most pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables and compiles them in a tidy list for you every year. It's like a virtual pat on the back, assuring you they're watching out for you and your family. If possible, buy these dozen fruits and veggies organic-only, or avoid them altogether. 2017's list can be found here, and this cute list is perfect for printing and sticking to your fridge, right next to your shopping list (OK, I'm old-school, I like paper lists... you can save and Pin it, add to your Trello board, or whatever, too.)

#2. All Hail the Clean Fifteen! Again, EWG saves the day with listing the cleanest produce of the year, showing which fifteen are safest to buy non-organic. It all adds up to some serious dough if you're making and prepping 99.9% of your meals at home like we do; you'd better believe I have this list on my fridge, too!

(Image Credit: Environmental Working Group, 2017)

#3. Eat In Season. Choose produce that's in season (read: on sale!)-- garden-fresh choices like melon, tomatoes, corn, cucumbers, berries, summer squash in the summer; mushrooms, carrots, onions, parsnips, pumpkins, cranberries, turnips, kale in the fall and winter. When you eat in season, you're going to save $ on groceries, as well as encourage sustainable farming practices by not choosing things out of season (which are more costly to import, more expensive for you, and harder on the environment to keep going year-round). There's an incredible, comprehensive guide for each season found here; just remember to adhere to the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen.

#4. Go Local. Depending on where you are in the country, you may not be far from a local farmer's market or CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), where you can pick up your produce for less than at the grocery, and it will be fresher, locally sourced and go back to supporting your hard-working neighbors instead of going into the pockets of big-box grocery stores. If you buy into a CSA and you aren't sure what in the world to do with your 5-lb box of squash/potatoes/corn/etc., don't let it go to waste-- cut up and freeze what you know you won't use so you can pull it out of the freezer for a quick add-in to your favorite soup/stew in the colder months that really are just around the corner. We have an amazing local farmer (what's up, Farmer Todd?!) AND an incredible Farmer's Market just down the street from us (hey-o, Nolensville Farmer's Market!)

#5. Grow It Yourself! Now I know this isn't for everyone, and not everyone wants to take the time to do this, but growing an organic garden can be a rewarding and cost-effective way to enjoy fresh produce. It may sound daunting if you've never grown anything in your life, but keep your eyes peeled- I have a friend who does nothing BUT teach others how to grow their own amazing, organic gardens and she'll be a feature on the blog in just a few short weeks with tips on how to get started! (Here's looking at you, Nina! <wink>)

Until next time, eat clean, treat yourself well, and cheers to health and wellness through natural solutions!

Adrienne

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Homemade Coffee Creamer

Thank you to  Partselect Blog for sharing some recipes on making homemade creamers for our coffee fans! We are sure you will love these recipes!

Spice Up Your Coffee:

By: Kristen Nunez

Preservative-Free Homemade Coffee Creamer and More!

or some, a hot cup of morning coffee is the best part of waking up. It gets even better when delicious creamers are added to the mix. They are perfect for savoring seasonal flavors while lightening up your java. But when store-bought creamers boast a full roster of mysterious ingredients, you might be wondering if there is a healthier option.

This is where homemade coffee creamer recipes come in. By making your own, you can have full control over the ingredients. Moreover, you can adjust the flavors to fit your preferences and dietary restrictions. And with dairy-free foods becoming increasingly popular, it is worth checking out the list of nontraditional possibilities. To top it off, homemade coffee creamers are budget-friendly, healthy, and easy to make. Read on to learn how to do it yourself.

Though She Be....

By:  Kim Abdallah

 Though She Be But Little She Is Fierce~ William Shakespeare


With the last month of the Nolensville Farmer's Market in effect, the changes in the market are evident.  The abundance of fresh produce phases into fall vegetables, handicrafts, baked and home goods.  This last weekend at the market I overheard a child say, "This is small," referring to the event.  I absolutely love the honest opinions of little ones!  I know I can count on them to let me know what they think.  


As I looked around, I agreed that this isn't the biggest farmer's market I've ever been to.  What may be a lack of quantity, is made up by quality.  


Talk to any of the vendors and you'll find something surprisingly in common with or something interesting about their story.  You'll meet people risking a lot to start a business they truly believe in.  You'll meet people working full time jobs that they aren't that thrilled about and wish and hope to become full time farmers.  You'll meet people having just moved to Tennessee and are just now meeting their Tennessee friends.  You'll also meet parents teaching their children how to start and run a business and families working together to keep their businesses alive.  There's no doubt the people at the market are high-quality, top notch, friendly, hard working individuals.  More importantly, are the quality goods and services they are offering to Nolensville!  I made a meal today from 100% NFM ingredients and I'll get to that in a second.  


Something I noticed this past week were several individuals not expecting to Holiday shop at the market and were not prepared!  Don’t let this happen to you and don't miss out on the opportunity!  There are so many unique, local, homemade items that make amazing gifts especially for the recipient who seems to 'have it all.'  Check out this next week's vendor list with upcoming birthdays and holidays in mind and you are sure to cross someone's name off your list.  Get 'er done.


ANYTIME MEAL that seems like breakfast
Fresh, local ingredients bought from people you know taste better.
Ingredients:
Bread
Egg
Bacon
Tomato
Favorite Cheese
Toast bread, prepare egg how you prefer, cook bacon, slice tomato and grate cheese.  Doesn't get any easier than this and this was one scrumptious sandwich.  

Thank you, vendors!

 

Fall Markets

By: Rena Ooi

Despite temperatures still reaching the 90’s most days, our internal and external environments are preparing for the crisp cooler weather of autumn.  It is a time when we naturally gravitate towards hearty, warming meals such as casseroles, stews, and delicious roast dinners. Choosing to use locally sourced seasonal ingredients increases the nutritional content of those meals while supporting our local farming community.  Our bodies recognize and assimilate the naturally occurring phytonutrients in food rather than their synthetic forms.  Considering approximately 80% of our immune system resides in the gut, we actually can help our bodies fend off invading seasonal threats by feeding them high quality nutrients.  By adding in some of the foods below, we can improve our health this winter.  I have included some simple recipes from Chef Jenny of Seeds of Success, a well-known face at the Nolensville Farmers market.   If you would like to try more recipes like these, you can email me at turningyourleaf@gmail.com.


1.    Apples:
Apples are nutritional powerhouses leading to the well-known phrase, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”  While that may not be entirely truthful, they do pack a lot of nutrients into a small, sweet package.  They contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.  An apple may contain 5g of fiber which is 20% of the recommended daily amount.

2.    Carrots:
Carrots are another superior source of phytonutrients for maintaining optimal body function.  They contain beta-Carotene which gives carrots their bright color.  Beta-Carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body which is necessary for healthy skin, immune system, and eye function.  Carrots also contain fiber, vitamin K, potassium and high water content.

3.    Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are another root vegetable and one of my personal favorites.  Each one packs in an impressive amount of vitamin A and potassium.  They also contain fiber, vitamins B6 and C, calcium and iron.

4.    Mushrooms
Mushrooms are fungi and may be used in place of meat in some dishes.  They may not be brightly colored but they sure contain many micronutrients which actually survive the cooking process.  These include ~copper, potassium, folate, niacin and selenium, all of which are vital for healthy cell function.

5.    Cabbage
The cabbage plant is a member of the Brassica family which also includes broccoli, kale, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts.  This family of veggies is known for its disease fighting benefits with numerous studies showing that their consumption may reduce the incidence of both heart disease and many cancers.  They contain vitamins A, C, and K; calcium; potassium and magnesium.  Cabbage may be fermented and provides a valuable source of probiotics or healthy gut bacteria which improves immune function.

Below are 2 recipes that I hope you will try.  They incorporate some of the foods mentioned above and provide a healthy, delicious “dose” of plant-based medicine.

Fruits of our Labor

By: Alex Powell

You know the old adage, “When life you gives you lemons, you make lemonade”. Well, that’s all fine and good, but lemons are small, and easy to store. I can name easily 20 things off the top of my head to do with this tiny yellow citrus or its juice.  No friends, the real test of character is what you do when your farmer hands you a 15-pound watermelon as part of your CSA basket.  And then it happens again the following week. 


A brief overview of this monstrosity that rules over the market this time of year, it is thought to have originated in southern Africa where it grows wild.  Watermelon seeds were found in the tomb of Tutankhamen. The Spanish were growing it in Florida in the 1500s. It is the state vegetable of Oklahoma. Wait, what? Technically it is a pepo, which is a special berry that is characterized by being fleshy, many seeded, and having a hard rind. Aka, pumpkins, cucumbers, and other gourds.  Mind blown. Nature is a kooky thing. 

Because I am trying to teach my almost three year old to appreciate food, and those who grow it, no food gets tossed in our house. I’ll even overlook the things I don’t like about watermelon. It’s messy, the seeds stick to everything, and the squelching sound it makes when you cut into it… I actually read somewhere it is used as a sound effect for more than a few horror movies. So without further ado, I present to you 

Watermelon-4 Ways.

1.    Cut up. 
Because picnics. And lunches. It is simple and easy, as well as traditional, or lazy, whichever adjective suits you. I left the rind on some and not on some for variety. I froze some for later use in smoothies or just to enjoy post summer. Some people puree it and add a little sugar, then freeze it in ice cube trays. Frozen watermelon will lose some sweetness, so it depends on how you plan to use it. 


2.    Watermelon and cucumber salad.  (These measurements are not exact, increase or decrease depending on taste and desired serving size)

½ red onion thinly sliced
6 Tbsp lime juice (2 to marinate onion, the rest for dressing)
4 cups watermelon, cubed
1 cucumber seeded and chopped
Torn mint to taste
½ cup of olive oil
Feta cheese to taste

In a small bowl combine 2 tbsp of lime juice to onion and marinate for ten minutes.
Combine watermelon, cucumber and mint. Drain onion and stir into watermelon mixture. 
Stir together olive oil and remaining lime juice. Pour over salad, stirring to combine. Top with feta.  

3.    Watermelon ice cream
    6 cups watermelon, cubes
        1 1⁄2 cups heavy cream
    1 1⁄2 cups milk
        1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vodka
Remove the black seeds from the cubes if needed. Puree the watermelon cubes. Press the watermelon puree through a sieve to remove any chunks or seeds. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until the sugar is fully incorporated. Put into your ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s instructions.
    http://www.food.com/recipe/homemade-watermelon-ice-cream-503242

4.    Pickled Watermelon Rind
http://www.food.com/recipe/watermelon-rind-pickles-39027 There are countless recipes online. I happened to use this one, but make sure you read up about canning safety if you, like me are a novice.

Truth be told, I’ve never heard of such a thing, When I saw the carnage that remained after gutting my poor melon, I knew the rind had to be good for something. My husband had just returned from NOLA, and declared pickled watermelon rind a life-changing thing. Challenge accepted. It was our anniversary after all, and how better to say, “I love you” than pickles? So I go to the store and get the necessary equipment  (canner, jars, etc…). As I am simmering the rind, I prepare the canner to place on the stove, and happen to catch a line on the warning. NOT FOR USE ON GLASS TOP STOVES. Hmm… how important is that? “Siri, why can’t I can on a glass top stove?” There are three basic reasons. First, most glass top stoves do not maintain a consistently high temperature that is required to kill the bacteria that may be present. Second, this was not a flat-bottomed canner and it is possible for it to create a seal with the burner that will shatter the top when you lift it. Finally, the weight of the canner, jars, and water can be too heavy for the stove and crack the top.  I have friends who have taken this risk for years and have never had an issue, so your best bet is to double check with the manufacturer of your stove. Ours is already at the end of its lifespan, and while I would love to have a reason to get a new one, I did not take this chance. I still jarred the pickled rind; I just have to leave it in the refrigerator instead of the pantry.  I have to agree with my husband; pickled rinds are an amazing thing. You can also adapt this recipe to pumpkins and other winter squash. 

Lastly, I won’t count this in the recipe count because I didn’t try it personally, but you can roast the seeds. Toss watermelon seeds in a little olive oil and sea salt. Roast on a baking sheet in a 325-degree F oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Oh well, there’s always next year… All in all though I would say that’s definitely using your melon! 

 

Yinz to Y'all

By: Alex Powell 

I’m not from the south. The humidity, the bugs, none of this is for me. However, between college and career, I did little jaunts along the coast where I was introduced to a dish called shrimp and grits. At approximately 1 pm on a sunny day in May, at the Full Moon Café in Manteo, North Carolina, my life changed.  This food! It goes down as one of the most memorable meals of my life. I wish I could tell you my next course of action was carefully thought out, and I did a thorough job search and cost of living estimate, but this is not so. In less than three months after this life altering meal, I traded in my yinz for y’all. I moved to the south in large part because I was charmed by the cuisine. 


 Once settled into a life in Olde Towne Portsmouth, I devoted my Saturday mornings to coffee and a stroll through town.  I stumbled into the farmers’ market, and immediately felt lost among a sea of greens and vegetables I kinda knew, but had certainly never tasted. I was embarrassed by what I did not know. One weekend, I saw Brussel sprouts. I think “I know what those are! I’m going to get those, even though I’ve never been successful at cooking them.” As I’m paying, I say as much to the woman, Lisa. She tells me, “Look, I don’t know what to do with half this stuff. But I do have a really good recipe. I’ll bring it next week.” And she did. I was amazed she remembered. From that day forward, I was a loyal customer. Bobby would see me coming and say, “here. Try this.” Showing me some random greenery. He would tell me the way to prepare it, and I would take it home and report back. I know he was amused by my comments, “This is a turnip, right?” and the fact that I had never had greens aside from spinach.  It quickly became the highlight of my week.  


When they announced the following season they would be starting a CSA program, I jumped at the chance. I was absolutely giddy to see what was in the basket every week. I discovered a love for parsnips; mashed turnips are amazing, and radishes! Sautee those suckers in some butter and it is positively decadent, melting in your mouth. I became acquainted with produce I would have never bought in a grocery store. Relying on Lisa and Bobby to provide for us has created a relationship beyond friendship and more like family that continues despite our move to Nashville. Yes, we are in a sense business partners, and I am financially invested in their success. But that is a secondary concern for me.  Not only do I know where my food comes from and have walked on the land that grows it, I know the hands that pick, pluck, and bundle it from start to finish.  I know exactly where my dollars go. It was harder leaving my farmer than it was leaving some neighbors.

 


The first thing I did when I got to Nashville was try on the local markets. This one was too big, that one was a little heavy on the man buns. (Not that there is anything wrong with man buns but a friend hit that nail on the head when she said, of this neighborhood “it’s almost aggressively hipster”) These were not for me.  A neighbor told me about the Nolensville market, so off I went. It wasn’t huge, but still bigger than my home market. It was bustling, but not so much that I couldn’t talk to the vendors. I was on a mission. I had to find a new farmer. It was clear I had found my tribe here.  I walked out that day with eggs, veggies, and a pledge to sign up for both a produce and a meat CSA.  Before I had a Tennessee driver’s license, I made sure I was feeding my family, and supporting local producers. 


I’ve come a long way from my first farmers’ market, but I know it can be a daunting experience when you feel like you don’t know the difference between a carrot or a parsnip, or how to prepare any greens, let alone tell them apart. The beautiful thing is, almost any grower or producer here at the Nolensville Farmers’ Market is happy to help you. All you need to do is ask. Or, just swing by the information booth, and leave your question in the “ask a farmer box”. I will do my best to get it answered for you here on the blog! 

 

So Fresh and So Clean-Clean

 

By Kim Abdallah

You'll find some of the most beautiful produce at the Nolensville Farmer's Market.  I love the variety of vendors and I have yet to visit the market this season without running into a friend or neighbor!  It's like Happy Hour without the loud music and the alcohol, well, sometimes there's music, but it's never dimly lit, okay, maybe it's not like Happy Hour but it's still awesome.  Some of my favorite picks right now are the sweet potatoes, the yellow squash and zucchini, but you really can't go wrong with any of the goodies! 

Everyone can find something they or a loved one will love from the market.  You don't have to be a chef or an ambitious home cook either.  Are you one of those who can't cook?  Wrong.  It's not that you can't, it's just that you don't enjoy cooking.  I can dig that. But if you enjoy eating delicious food, consider the following crazy-easy recipe.

 

Vegetable Hash for Two

2 teaspoon oil (canola, olive or coconut)

1/2 red onion, chopped

1/2 bell pepper, chopped

1/2 medium sweet potato, shredded

1/2 cup broccoli florets, chopped

2 eggs

Directions:

Pour 2 teaspoons of oil into a saute pan over medium heat.  Add the vegetables and stir until softened, about 5 minutes.  While that's cooking, fry the eggs in a separate nonstick pan.  Eggs like it slow and low so make sure your pan isn't too hot and cook them slowly until they're done how you like them. 

Divide the vegetables between two plates and top with a fried egg.