I’ve lived in Denver for one month now, and by the end of the first week it was clear to me why Colorado as a state and Denver as a city own the top of the healthiest lists. From activity to fresh air and an attitude that supports wellness, how could anyone not feel their best here?
Year after year, Colorado remains at the top of the list for healthiest states. The CDC’s map of obesity trends starts in 1985, and it wasn’t until 1990 that Colorado even showed up for having less than 10 percent of its population qualify as obese. The most current map is from 2012 and puts Colorado as one of only nine states with an obesity population under 25 percent. Fitness and hiking clothes seem to be The Official Denver Outfit, as everyone at brunch, the park, the grocery store, and the office seem to be dressed down and ready to move!
While there are no doubt more, these are seven killer reasons that Denver residents look and feel so darn good!
Very Bicycle Friendly. I’m confident I’ve seen more bicycles in the last four weeks than I’ve seen in the last four years. Whether for commutes, fun, or exercise, bicycles own the roads in Denver. As recent as 2011, bicycle commuters were 2.4 percent of Denver’s population, a number up 183% since 1990. Bike racks and lanes exist everywhere, making it a no-brainer for cyclists to get out and ride to work, to the grocery store, or just out for fun. B-Cycle has 83 rental stations and 700 bikes throughout the city, making it pretty impossible not to bike.
Vegetarian Food Abounds. You can throw a stone and find vegetarian and even vegan dining options. Bonnie Brae makes a titillating homemade vegan ice cream, Native Foods has a mock fast food menu that will knock your socks off, and the locally-based Chipotle even puts sofritas (organic tofu braised with chilis and spices) on the menu. Every restaurant we’ve visited (and there have been a lot!) has hearty vegetarian options that even the most carnivorous will consider noshing on. The Goodness Truck roams around near Ft. Collins serving their grilled brie sandwich — to die! And all around the area you can dine at farm to table events.
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The first time I tried sunflower seed butter was at a farmers market in Portland, Oregon several years back. I had just passed by the third strawberry stand lining the market’s north side when I stumbled upon a tent with a middle-aged gentleman pedaling exotic-looking nut and seed butters. One of the butters was made of sunflower seeds. Despite my initial reservations I dipped my toothpick in, gave it a lick and walked away with a half pint.
That’s the kind of thing that happens when you visit a bustling farmers market. You try new exotic flavors and discover little gems of health like sunflower seed butter. Thanks Portland. I owe you my love of yet another nut butter for that one.
Since trying sunflower butter that first time I’ve experimented with making my own nut and seed butters at home in order to venture outside the peanut butter realm. Almond, cashew and chia seed nut butters are all delicious but I’d yet to try my hand at sunflower seeds. That is, until now.
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Are you like me? Do you see all of the farmers markets during the summer and just stare in wonder? I drive by, crane my neck, but continue on. I’ve even said I want to go to one, but I never do. Or if I happen upon one, I tend to feel lost as to what to buy or how much or whose product is better.
Yes, I’m farmers market phobic. I want to use them, I believe local is the best way to shop, but I’ve always been full of excuses not to. Well, this summer I decided ‘no more.’ I was ready to get past my reservations and earn my farmers market newbie badge. And I decided I was going to go to a market blind and manage to find all of the ingredients for that night’s dinner, even if I had to ask questions.
So I rolled into the nearest market to my house on a recent weekday morning. There were plenty of tents to choose from so I started at one end and got quite an education as I weaved my way through the various stands.
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By Rachel Berman, RD, Csr, Cdn for Calorie Count
As summer rolls in everyone wants to take full advantage of the longer days and warmer weather. This year, make the most of your summer by focusing on simple, healthy activities that you can do every day of the week!
Get moving together with your friends or family every evening for a walk, jog, or bike ride. This is a great way to enjoy the weather, have some bonding time with your loved ones, and get your exercise in. Working out with others will motivate you and keep you accountable, too. On the weekends, head to the local pool for a great full body workout.
Take a trip to the farmers market and check out what’s in season. You’ll be surprised at the vast variety of fruits and vegetables available, and each week you’ll find something new. Because this produce is recently harvested it will be more fresh and nutritious than produce from the supermarket. Buying from the farmers market also supports the community and local farmers!
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