Holiday Gift Ideas for the Health Conscious

There is bound to be someone on your list who is a fitness fanatic or who follows a specialty diet or who is working really hard to establish a healthier lifestyle. You can show them how much you care by choosing a gift that is tailor-made for their healthy lifestyle. These gift ideas are sure to be a hit with the health conscious folks on your list.

Cookbook gift give gift of lessons Gift of CSA share Fitness Tracker Kitchen Gadgets juicer Gift Card
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How to Celebrate the Holidays- Arizona Style

This is the time of the year most Arizona residents love. The weather is perfect, sunny and in the 70’s and low 80’s. And we just can’t help but gloat a little bit when our friends everywhere else in the US are complaining about cold and snow!

The perfect weather provides a perfect backdrop to celebrate the holidays Arizona style! Here are some tips:

1.  Incorporate Arizona grown into your holiday meals.

Arizona’s warm winter climate makes it the perfect place for agriculture. Here are some of the crops in season in the winter, just in time for your perfect Arizona holiday!!

Pecans:  Arizona pecans are at their best this time of year.

Arizona Pecans

Arizona-grown pecans are perfect for your Arizona-grown holiday. Photo of pecans grown by Crooked Sky Farms in Duncan AZ

Use Arizona-grown pecans in recipes like:

Beef:  If you love beef, you’ll love Arizona-grown beef!! You can buy 100% natural, range fed beef directly from Arizona ranchers like the Tomerlins who own Arizona Legacy Beef in Prescott.  Check out our “Find a Farm Product” on our Fill Your Plate website to find other Arizona ranchers who sell direct to the public. You can also buy Arizona grown beef at many Arizona meat shops and grocers!! This year’s prime-rib dinner will be the best ever.

100% Natural Porterhouse Steaks

Porterhouse steaks grown by Arizona Legacy Beef, sold by Proper Meats.

Wine:   You might think that grapes need lots of water and cool weather to grow, but that’s just not the case. In Arizona, our grapes are grown with love!  There are many award-winning wines available from Arizona wine producers such as Pillsbury Wine Company, Carlson Creek Vineyards, and more! Arizona wines are available at many local grocery stores.

Arizona Wines

Arizona wines are a perfect way to celebrate the holidays in Arizona. Photo from Pillsbury Wine.

2.  Decorate your home for the holidays-Arizona style!

Cotton Burr Wreath

Cotton Burr Wreath made by Arizona cotton grower Tiffany Shedd. Purchase the complete wreath kit on her website: http://tiffanyshedd.typepad.com/cottonshedd/farm-products.html

 

Cotton: Cotton is one of Arizona’s major crops and you can incorporate it into your holiday decorating by making Arizona cotton burr wreaths such as the ones made by Arizona cotton grower Tiffany Shedd!

Sun dried red chili pods:  Sun-dried red chili pods are an icon of the southwest and perfect for decorating you home for the holidays.  Use them around your house, in your tree, and on your patio. You can buy them from Arizona farmers like the San Simon Chili Company as well as at Arizona farmer’s markets! Find more Arizona chili farmers on FillYourPlate.org.

Citrus: Citrus is in season and makes a wonderful decoration for the holidays. Poke oranges with cloves and place them in bowls around the house for a wonderful holiday fragrance. Cut oranges, lemons and limes into thin slices and put them in a 200 degree oven.  Use them for garlands or Christmas tree ornaments!

Dried Orange Slices

Dried orange slices make a perfect holiday centerpiece. Photo credit: Bigstock.com

If you’re fortunate enough to live in Arizona during the holidays, flaunt it! Use some or all of our tips to make this the best Arizona holiday yet!!

 

 

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8 Tips for Getting Enough Healthy Protein

protein food

Follow these tips if you are looking to get more protein in your diet (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

Protein is essential to good health because it is involved in every critical function within your body. On average, American adults should be getting 10-35% of their calories each day from protein. For men that means about 56 grams and for women it means about 46 grams. You can get ample protein simply from eating a diet based on meat. Of course, you want a balance of meat and plant proteins. These eight tips will help you get enough protein.

1.   Focus on Lean Meats

Meat definitely has a place in a diet filled with healthy protein and you have easy access to lean pork, beef, and chicken. The reason you need seafood and red meat in your diet is because it’s the best source of zinc, an essential mineral required by the body for maintaining a sense of smell, keeping a healthy immune system, building proteins, triggering enzymes, and creating DNA. While some plant proteins can provide this important mineral too, they can’t at the level and quality of seafood and red meats. Beef and other red meats are also a good source of iron, choline (that supports our nervous system development) and selenium (helps protect cells from damage).

2.   Diversify

When most of us think of protein, meat is all that comes to mind but there are many other sources of protein that are not meat based. Varying the sources of your protein can help you manage calorie and fat intake while also keeping meal time interesting and inviting.

3.   Re-acquaint Yourself with the Incredible Edible Egg

Eggs, like the ones produced by Arizona farms, are a great source of protein. Adding an egg to your morning breakfast plate or eating a hard boiled one for a snack are both easy ways to get this healthy protein into your day.

4.   Go Nuts!

Nuts, seeds, legumes, and beans are all excellent sources of healthy proteins. Nuts and seeds make great snacks and beans, lentils, and other legumes are perfect ways to add protein to a soup, stew, or salad.

5.   Dip Into Some Dairy

Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt are all also good sources of healthy protein. Including low-fat dairy products at various points throughout the day will help you get your protein and boost your calcium intake.

6.   Eat it on the Side

Many times the protein in our meal features prominently on the plate and is considered the main course, but there are lots of delicious side dishes that also provide healthy protein. Eating things like hummus, bean salad, and lentils which are all excellent sources of protein will make it easy to get the right amount of protein without the entire meal centering on protein.

7.   Have a Salad

Many of the dark leafy green vegetables that are so good for us also provide a healthy source of protein. Vegetables like spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and even artichokes serve us a solid helping of protein along with all the other vitamins and nutrients they provide.

8.   Go for the Grain

There are some ancient grains like quinoa and amaranth are packed with protein and full of fiber. Using them instead of carb heavy potatoes or rice can help you get more healthy protein without the extra calories.

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6 Easy Ways to Warm Up Your Home this Fall

Christmas holiday decoration ideas

Follow these tips to get your home decorated for the holidays. (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

The nights are shorter and a little bit colder and there is Christmas music playing in all of the stores. There is no denying that we are in the heyday of the fall season. It is time to pull out warmer clothes, long pants, and maybe even a jacket to get your wardrobe ready for the winter. While you are sprucing up your wardrobe, take a minute to make a few seasonal changes around the house as well. Changing small aspects of the décor along with the changing seasons keeps things fresh and bringing a little fall warmth into your decorating can make those short days seem less depressing.

Whether you are entertaining for the holidays or just looking for a way to make the early evenings seem less dark and dire, these ideas will help you add a little fall flare and welcome warmth to your home.

 

  1. Choose Different Art

Most people pick some pictures or art work that they like, hang them on the wall, and never consider changing them until they redo the room or need to paint. However, swapping out art work in main areas like the dining room, hall, or even kitchen can be an easy way to freshen things up with each season. For fall, choose art with warm, rich colors like reds, yellows, oranges, and greens.

 

  1. Seasonal Pillows and Throws

Another quick easy way to incorporate the warm feelings associated with the fall season is to replace standard throw pillows with some that have a seasonal flavor like fall leaves. Choosing seasonally themed throws can also bring warmth to any room – both figuratively and literally!

 

  1. Light Up the Night with Candlelight

There are few light sources that inspire a sense of warmth and comfort like candlelight. Turn down the harsh overhead lights and use the flickering glow of a few candles to create an ambience that is all fall. Choosing candles scented with fall scents like pine or wind can also bring the season inside your home. Old fashioned canning jars make great candle holders that fit perfectly in with the harvest season.

 

  1. Give Your Entranceway Some Seasonal Curb Appeal

Simple touches like a pile of well-placed pumpkins, a few pots full of fall mums, or an autumn wreath on the door can make your home feel warm and inviting to anyone who comes to call.

 

  1. Bring the Outside In

Natural elements like acorns, pressed leaves, and pinecones can quickly dress your home up for the fall season. Use these elements on mantles, in floor vases, or frame them and use them as your seasonal art installation.

 

  1. Feature Fall Fruits

A large glass vase filled with fall fruits like cranberries is beautiful, seasonally appropriate, and simple to do. You can quickly create a beautiful centerpiece with some fall fruit and couple glass vases and bowls. Add some pressed leaves and acorns and you have a fall centerpiece worthy of the fanciest table.

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Let’s Celebrate Arizona Grown Leafy Greens

lettuce Arizona

Check out these delicious recipes using Arizona grown leafy greens (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

November is the month of gratitude and if there is one thing we have to be grateful for here in Arizona it is the abundance of locally grown leafy greens produced during the fall and winter months. While you might not think ‘leafy greens’ when you think ‘desert climate’, the winter weather in Arizona is actually perfect for growing these healthy veggies.

Our climate is so leafy green friendly in fact that Yuma, Arizona is the winter lettuce capital of the world and more than 1,000 truckloads of lettuce leave the Yuma Valley every day this time of year. The leafy greens produced in Arizona from November to March will account for about 85% of all the leafy greens consumed in both the U.S. and Canada during that timeframe.

In addition to contributing to the food supply, these leafy greens also play an important role in Arizona agriculture by contributing $1 billion a year to the economy and employing more than 20,000 people.   To help you celebrate these locally grown veggies and get more of them in your daily diet, here is some basic information about the top Arizona grown leafy greens according to Arizona Leafy Greens and some ways you can use them to fill your family’s plate.

Arugula

Popular in Mediterranean cuisine, arugula has a distinct peppery flavor and an excellent nutritional profile. It provides vitamins A, C, and K, folates, and beneficial phytochemicals.

Cabbage

Most people are familiar with cabbage, which is a good source of fiber.

Chard

This leafy green stands out from the others because of its brightly colored stalks and veins which come in a rainbow of colors. With a taste similar to beets, chard is a good source of fiber and provides both vitamins A and C.

Kale

This leafy green powerhouse is packed with nutrition and provides vitamins A, C, and K, folate, potassium, and even calcium. It has a more bitter taste than most lettuce varieties and comes in a range of colors.

Lettuce including Butter, Iceberg, Green Leaf, Red Leaf, Baby Leaf, and Romaine

Lettuce provides a good source of vitamins A, C, and K, and potassium, the darker the leaves, the higher the concentration of nutrients. It is also a good source of dietary fiber.

Spinach

Spinach provides folate, vitamins A and C, and is actually better for you when it is cooked, unlike most of the other leafy greens.

 

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