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Archive for Healthy Living
March 6th, 2014
Most of us know the best way to get Vitamin D is through exposure to the sun.
Adding Vitamin D to my diet has been a top concern lately. I live in the cold North East where below zero temperatures have made it challenging to head outside this winter. Even when I do spend time outside (I’m an avid skier) I’m covered head to toe so there’s no chance of daylight hitting my skin. I used to be forced to head outside a few times a day when our dog was with us. Now I find myself in my office or at the gym, running from my car to a warm building.
Even when I’m more likely to spend time outside in the sun I’m still covered from head to toe in sunscreen. So the likelihood of the sun hitting my skin at any time of the year is slim.
What is a Vitamin D Deficiency?
It is estimated that 30 to 100% of Americans, depending upon their age and community living environments, are deficient in Vitamin D. And more than half of all American children are vitamin deficient.
How to Add Vitamin D to Your Diet
Vitamin D is essential for bone health, cold prevention, fighting depression and more. If sunlight isn’t in your future there are a few other ways to add this critical nutrient.
Salmon is my favorite sources of this nutrient. One serving of salmon contains more than the suggested daily value. Make sure to use wild caught salmon.
The Vitamin D in an egg comes from its yolk so it’s important to eat the entire egg to get a portion of your daily dose. Use organic eggs when you can.
Specific types of mushrooms are grown in ultraviolet light and will produce this vitamin. Sun-grown brands are the only mushrooms with this nutrient, with shiitake mushrooms being one variety with a high level of Vitamin D.
Cod Liver Oil
This one doesn’t sound appetizing, but one tablespoon of cod liver oil contains 1,300 IU’s which is about twice the recommended daily allowance.
I’m not a fan of anything canned because of the BPA concern. Also tuna can contain mercury. But three ounces of light tuna in water has 154 IUs of Vitamin D, which is about 1/3 of the daily recommended dose.
Although not high in this vitamin, cheese does contain some. On ounce of swiss cheese contains 12 IUs, which is about 4 % of the daily value.
This fish is another great natural source of Vitamin D.
Fortified Foods. As you can see, there aren’t many foods that naturally contain Vitamin D. There are plenty of foods on the shelves of your market that have been fortified including milk, orange juice, cereals etc… Please know that Vitamin D doesn’t naturally occur in these foods, and has been added during processing.
In my opinion it’s best to get your Vitamin D from natural sources and small amounts of sun.
How do you get your Vitamin D?
photo credits: MendezEnrique via photopin cc , ulterior epicure via photopin cc , pietroizzo via photopin cc, Maggi_94 via photopin cc, justmakeit via photopin cc, kennymatic via photopin cc, thenoodleator via photopin cc, synes via photopin cc
March 4th, 2014
Every lunchbox needs to have a snack or two.
This time of year my kids start to complain about their lunchbox snack selections. They’re getting bored bringing in the same thing every day.
I’m always curious to hear what others are tacking in for a snack. I’ve found that taking my kids to the grocery store with me is always helpful. When they’re part of the snack selection process they’re more likely to chose healthy snacks that they will eat.
Before the complaining becomes too loud and out of control I thought I would share a few healthy snack options that will hopefully work in your children’s lunchboxes.
Grape and Pineapple Skewers. This is so simple and fun to make. It’s also easy to swap out the grapes and pineapple for different types of fruit. I would suggest using fruit that will hold together on the stick. Also, pack the snack in a stainless steel container such as a Klean Kanteen Food Canister (affiliate link–>Klean Kanteen Food Canister 16 OZ) or a LunchBots Canister (affiliate link–>LunchBots Stainless Steel Food Container) to prevent leakage and crushed fruit.
Almond Date Balls. These are so simple to make with only 5 ingredients. Have your kids help out too. They’ll be excited to show off their hard work to their friends. Recipe is HERE.
No Bake Granola Bars. Micaela from Mindful Momma has a great recipe for Go Bars in her book, Practically Green (affiliate link–>Practically Green: Your Guide to Ecofriendly Decision-Making). These are an easy homemade, no-bake granola bar that make a perfect lunchbox snack. Also try this Homemade Chocolate LaraBar Recipe from EcoKaren.
Homemade Fruit Roll-Ups. My kids still love to unroll the entire fruit roll-up and eat the entire thing in about 5 seconds flat. I love this recipe for homemade fruit roll-ups. Such a simple way to add a little fruit to your child’s diet. There’s no processed sugar added, no artificial colors and they taste delicious!
Granola. There is a great recipe in the novel, Julia’s Child (affiliate link–>Julia’s Child). The author, Sarah, explains her reason for making her own granola: I find that many commercial granolas have a lot more sugar than I’d like, and they also tend to taste stale. This recipe makes a big batch, but at our house it only lasts a few days. Enjoy! Sarah also wrote The Ski House Cookbook: Warm Winter Dishes for Cold Weather Fun.
Please share your favorite healthy lunchbox snack! I can always use a little inspiration.
Disclosure: Please know that if you make a purchase using a link on this page, I may earn a commission and I am very grateful for your support of this site. Thank you. (Read all the fine print here.)
photo credit: mcdarius via photopin cc>
February 28th, 2014
I’m dreaming of a warm vacation. Preferably one that requires a swimsuit. When I woke up this morning the outside temperature was 9 degrees. I know I’m not the only dreamer. Many places are still covered in snow with no sign of spring in the near future.
So all I can do is dream of warm weather and beach filled days.
Thanks to the kind folks over at ECO SWIM by AQUA GREEN I have a new eco-friendly swimsuit, making my dreams of summer feel within reach.
ECO SWIM by Aqua Green recently released a fabulous line-up of swimsuits in their 2014 collection. This company does it right – showing us how a swimsuit and sustainability can work hand in hand.
Finding a swimsuit that fits in all the right places isn’t an easy task. I have a pretty high standard and generally end up spending too much time on the hunt for the perfect suit.
Last year right around this time I tried an Eco Swim suit and it ended up being my favorite suit last summer. The suit actually fit and it covered everything it needed to be covered. The quality of the material was impressive. After a lot of time in the water and on the beach there was no pilling and no thinning. It will make an appearance again this swimsuit season.
Driving Change One Swimsuit at a Time
ECO SWIM by Aqua Green is doing so many things to help preserve our planet. They said it best: “We all share one planet. We don’t get another shot.”
Here are some of the eco things that they’re doing:
- New this year: they’ve added waterless dyeing to the brands 2014 collection, which means ECO SWIM by Aqua Green is able to save even more precious resources and is more ocean-friendly than ever before.
- They strive to source locally and make their products in the USA which reduces the use of fossil fuel up to 96.9%
- Their fabrics are made from recycled nylon, polyester and cotton. They are also introducing recycled fabrics from renewable sources such as coffee grinds and corn.
- They are incorporating processes that use less water.
- ECO SWIM does not just talk the talk, they walk the walk. They regularly conduct beach and waterways cleanups in areas of need. To date, ECO SWIM by Aqua Green has removed over 4 tons of ocean pollution from oceans and waterways in the United States.
Swimsuit From Eco Swim 2014 Collection
This year I chose a swim suit with a splash of color. Turquoise. I already knew my size and was thrilled that it fit when it arrived. It felt good knowing that the hanger it arrived on was made from recycled materials.
What I love most about the new 2014 swim suit collection:
- The suits are flattering-not too low in all the wrong spots.
- The material is luxurious and last much longer than other suits I’ve worn.
- The color combinations are perfect. There’s something for everyone.
- The swimsuits are made for ALL sizes. There are bikinis, tankinis, halters and everything in between.
Where Can I Get a New Eco Swim Suit?
Good news! ECO SWIM by Aqua Green are sold at some of my favorite retailers including Nordstrom, Sundance, Macy’s, Lord & Taylor and more.
Let’s get ready for summer together. Did you find a swimsuit that you liked?
photo credit: visualpanic via photopin cc
February 26th, 2014
The apartment wasn’t anything special, but the location was amazing.
The North End of Boston was a happening place. At any moment of the day or night people were roaming the streets with a fresh cannoli in hand. The locals and the yuppies were constantly competing for space. It wasn’t uncommon to see a random chair in the street as an attempt to save a parking space for later use. We all knew not to mess with that spot. It’s been a few years, but I’m guessing things haven’t changed much.
The apartment belonged to my boyfriend at the time (now my husband). We were both in school and I spent most weekdays and weekends living there, although I had my own apartment not too far away.
On a cold and windy Thursday night I was sleeping alone in the apartment while my boyfriend was up in Maine doing an externship for school. My plan was to head to classes the next day and then drive up to Maine to meet him for a weekend of skiing.
Early Friday morning, while I was still deep asleep, someone yelled “fire” and began pounding on the door. The apartment was on the first floor, directly across from a famous North End restaurant where the customers could easily look across and wave (which they often did). The photo above is the actual apartment building.
I’m a deep sleeper so someone yelling “fire” didn’t register for a few seconds. Once I realized what was happening I grabbed what I could, which happened to be my ski gear, and ran through thick smoke to the street outside.
There I stood, along with the other residents of the building and several onlookers, for what seemed like an eternity watching the building burn.
Everyone made it out.
I remember a very kind woman taking me into her home and giving me shoes to wear. The ski jacket, hat and gloves worked, but the flip flops on my feet weren’t going to cut it on this cold and wintry day.
My boyfriend’s sweet mother (now my mother-in-law) drove to the North End at an ungodly hour. We sat in her warm car together watching the building continue to smolder.
Thankfully everyone was fine. Our possessions were not. The flames impacted the upper apartments the most, however everything was severely smoke damaged. Virtually nothing was salvageable.
A kind firefighter escorted me back into the apartment after the flames subsided to help find my car keys and a few important pieces of paper. It was a crazy scene. Everything was covered in soot and the walls were ripped apart. It was hard to imagine that we had lived there just a few hours before.
To this day I still love heading to the North End of Boston. The North End has some of the best people watching in the city and the restaurants are fabulous. The apartment building has been rebuilt and now looks like something special.
Now I’ve become one of those parents who points at the building, makes her kids stop talking to look at the building and then tells them the same story over and over.
I didn’t ski that weekend, but I survived a fire and I thank my lucky stars.
I felt inspired to write this after seeing the #WhereILivedWednesday prompt over at Ann’s Rants. Head on over to Ann’s wonderful site to see where others have lived.
photo credit: Michael Kappel via photopin cc
February 25th, 2014
It’s National Pancake Week! Time to whip up a batch of your favorite pancakes in celebration.
The back story: the week leading up to Ash Wednesday was traditionally a time to purge your kitchen of all rich and dairy foods. A brilliant marketing major declared that this week would be National Pancake Week- since traditional pancakes are made from dairy products like butter, milk and eggs.
I have to be honest, every week in our house is National Pancake Week. We make a lot of pancakes over here. My kids love making them and I love mixing in secret ingredients such as flax seed, chia seeds and ground nuts.
In honor of this yummy celebration I’ve teamed up with Stonyfield to create some tasty pancakes with their delicious organic Greek yogurt.
My kids love to cook so they were ready to roll up their sleeves and help.
We had some extra time this morning before school so everyone could enjoy their pancakes.
Time to Make the Pancakes!
Organic Vanilla Greek Yogurt Pancakes
Author: Lori Popkewitz Alper Groovy Green Livin
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 cup nonfat vanilla Stonyfield Organic Greek Yogurt yogurt
- 2 eggs
- 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
- 1 tsp. chia seeds
- Extra milk (any type of milk is fine. I used rice milk)
- Cooking oil (preferably coconut oil or olive oil)
- Blueberries and maple syrup for topping
- Mix together in a bowl flour, baking soda, salt, yogurt, eggs, chia seeds and oil. If batter seems too think add milk to reach desired consistency.
- Heat a stainless steel or cast iron frying pan without oil for 2-3 minutes over medium heat.
- Add light layer of cooking oil to heated frying pan.
- Spoon batter into the heated frying pan in the shape of round cakes.
- Let cook until bubbles form on the top of the pancakes (generally takes 2-3 minutes).
- Flip and cook the pancakes until golden brown on the bottom side, about another 2-3 minutes.
- Serve pancakes hot, with organic maple syrup and blueberries.
Enjoy! What’s your favorite ingredient to add to pancakes?
This post was created in partnership with Stonyfield. All opinions are my own.
February 24th, 2014
Do you recycle?
Recycling allows us to reuse materials, which in turn conserves natural resources. It also saves water and energy, improves air and water quality, lowers pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and preserves landfill space. The national recycling rate has increased every year for the past 30 years. The current recycling rate is about 34.7%. We can certainly do better!
There are many creative ways to improve our recycling statistics. Here are a few surprising things that we can all try to recycle.
Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe Program
Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program takes old running shoes that would otherwise end up in a landfill and grinds them down to create a new material called Nike Grind, which is used to make high-quality sports surfaces including courts, turf fields, tracks and more. Since 1990, they’ve transformed 28 million pairs of shoes and 36,000 tons of scrap material into Nike Grind for use in more than 450,000 locations around the world. You can drop off athletic shoes of any brand for recycling at a Nike or Converse retail store (call before coming) or mail them directly to the recycling center.
One World Running
One World Running is an international program promoting an awareness of health, fitness and nutrition by providing running shoes to those in need in the United States and around the world. These are the shoes that aren’t quite ready for the landfill. Check HERE to find a drop-off location near you.
If you drink a lot of wine start saving those wine corks. Recork wants your old corks to recycle. Recork is North America’s largest cork recycling initiative. They take our corks and turn them into footwear or other upcycled products while also planting new cork trees. I just typed in my zip code and found a local drop off location.
What should I do with old batteries? I’m asked this question constantly. My response: don’t throw them in the trash. Single-use batteries contain materials that are both recyclable and considered hazardous. You can drop them off at a household hazardous waste (HHW) facility in your area or participate in the many mail-in or take-back programs that are available.
OK. Time to dig through those drawers and recycle your old bras. The Bra Recyclers, an organization based in Arizona, finds your gently-used bras a second home overseas. You can drop off or mail in your gently used bras and prevent them from ending up in a landfill.
Blue Jeans Go Green is a denim recycling program that converts collected denim into housing insulation for communities in need. Blue Jeans Go Green™ has diverted more than 600 tons of waste out of landfills and generated approximately 2 million square feet of UltraTouch™ Denim Insulation to assist with building efforts in communities in need. You can contribute your old jeans by mail or at participating retailers.
Stuffed into almost ever drawer in our house are a few crayons. We also have a big bin of crayons tucked into our art supplies. There are times when I’m tempted to dump a few crayons into the trash, but there’s good news- National Crayon Recycle Program operated by Crazy Crayons, LLC. The recycling program has diverted more than 47,000 pounds of crayons from landfills by taking old crayons and turning them into new crayons. Ship your unwanted crayons directly to Crazy Crayons or find a drop-off location in your area!
What strange or surprising things have you recycled? Share your tips!
photo credit: Rafa from Brazil via photopin cc
February 13th, 2014
I carried the Olympic torch through the city of Boston for the 2002 Salt Lake City, Utah winter games.
I was 8 months pregnant.
For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about-the Olympic torch relay is the ceremonial relaying of the Olympic Flame from Olympia, Greece, to the site of the Olympic Games. It was first performed at the 1936 Berlin Games, and has taken place prior to every Games since.
How I was selected
My sweet brother submitted my story into a large pool of applicants and magically I was selected. He must have made up a pretty fantastic story.
It Almost Didn’t Happen
At the time, the torch carrying committee had a heated discussion about whether or not I could participate since one of the requirements for carrying the torch was running through the city. I was 8 plus months pregnant and could barely walk, let alone run. The committee thankfully decided that it was OK for me to participate. We were all assigned a running partner. My partner (I can’t remember his name) was amazing and agreed to walk with me.
My husband made a video way back when of my run (speed walk) through Boston with the Olympic torch. The quality of the video is pretty poor-remember it was in 2001. It’s hard to miss me in the video. I’m very pregnant and wearing a very purple Olympic outfit with my hair in two braids.
Do you know anyone who’s carried the Olympic torch? If you didn’t before, you do now!
photo credit: Welsh Government / Llywodraeth Cymru via photopin cc