It’s my favorite time of year: peak blueberry season! If you’re anything like me, you can’t get enough of these little balls of deliciousness. Farmers markets, U-Pick berry fields, or from the local produce store, I can’t gobble them up fast enough.
Peak season is anytime from late June through early September, so I’m even known to buy extra large amounts in bulk and freeze* for the rest of the year. Then I add them to smoothies, pancakes (my favorite recipe is this one), oatmeal, you name it! I even found a way to add these little guys to a savory salad. Don’t believe me? We’ll let you try the recipe for yourself!
Why the love affair with blueberries? These little blue dynamos…
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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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As a health coach, I have had dozens of people provide me with their definitions of “healthy living” and “healthy eating”. Although they’ve made an appointment with me, these people are pretty sure they have most things health figured out and are proud to share the rules they have imposed on their kitchens. The problem is, the difference between good and bad eating habits isn’t aways black and white.
It’s easy to get caught up and confused by the overload of information about nutrition out there, especially because some of it is contradictory. Enchanted by the latest celebrity endorsement or buzzword of the day, well-intentioned dieters easily make misguided decisions, setting rules and restrictions based on good intentions but not actual science. Here are the health traps I see people fall into most often, habits that actually aren’t all that healthy in the long run.
1. The Fat Fearers
Yes, large amounts of saturated fats found in steaks and candy bars can increase your risk for cardiac events, but don’t forget the good fats! “Low-fat” products simply replace the fat with more chemicals and sugar and should be avoided in favor of full-fat options. It’s also smart to add in more healthy fats like those found in avocado, olive oil, and flax seeds to feel full and satisfied with each meal.
2. The Cheating Vegetarian/Vegan
No question that a plant-based diet is a safe bet for overall health. More and more people are experimenting with vegetarianism and veganism and that is wonderful! But did you know products like Oreos are vegan? A lot of new vegans do—and they’re filling up on them! The idea behind vegetarian and vegan diets is to have most all of your food sources come from natural fruits, veggies, beans, legumes, seeds, and good fats (with the occasional cookies of course!). Eating packaged junk like mac & cheese and veggie pizza means you avoid meat, but these diets don’t satisfy the plant-based foods requirement. To do this diet right, make one of our meat free recipes, like these delicious vegetarian stuffed peppers.
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By Team Best Life
As the weather warms up, you might be looking for easy meal solutions that don’t require turning on the oven. We’ve got a suggestion: Salad! Think your salad has to leave you hungry or dissatisfied? We can help! To create a full-meal salad that really fills you up, use the following tips:
Go green. You may be most familiar with iceberg and romaine lettuce, but why not experiment with other greens that offer different flavors and provide different nutrients? Give these greens a shot: arugula, butterhead, escarole, kale, mache, mizuna, spinach and watercress.
Choose a variety of veggies. The classics, like carrots, radishes and celery, are no-brainers. But if you want to be more adventurous, you can sprinkle on some roasted red peppers, canned artichoke hearts, or hearts of palm. Best Life lead nutritionist Janis JIbrin likes blueberries, beets, pomegranate seeds, butternut squash and fresh mint.
Get your fat fix. Stir in just one high-fat addition, such as 2 tablespoons of shredded cheese, 1 tablespoon of nuts, or ¼ cup of sliced avocado. That will help keep you satisfied without adding too many calories to your bowl and help you absorb some of the vitamins from the vegetables.
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A delicious new trend has been popping up everywhere lately, and I am all for it: Cauliflower is having a moment, sprouting up in all sorts of recipes and proving that it is one of the most versatile vegetables out there. (It’s a side! It’s a main dish! It’s probably even a dessert somewhere!)
Have you noticed this trend? We’ve been spotting cauliflower recipes all over the web and cauliflower dishes on restaurant menus, sort of like Brussels sprouts circa 2007.
So what are the best things to do with this hearty veggie, which is low in fat, but high in fiber, water, and vitamin C? I’m so glad you asked! With no further ado, the best cauliflower recipes to try out ASAP:
Mock Potato Salad
Like the mashed potato idea you may have heard of but with a summery twist! This recipe for “mock potato salad” is brilliant. There are no potatoes in this salad, but cauliflower instead. Everything else you will recognize from your favorite potato salad recipes: eggs, mayonnaise, celery, mustard, dill. Warm weather friendly!
Cauliflower Tater Tots
There is not a potato in sight in this phenomenally addictive recipe. Only (spoiler alert!) cauliflower! Served as a side dish or even the main course, the recipe calls for not much more than cauliflower, coconut oil, and seasoning. Yum.
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