When most people see a food item that is labeled organic, they automatically assume that it is healthy for you. The truth is, food is labeled organic based on how it is grown, raised, or prepared, not based on the nutritional value. Unhealthy foods can be made with organic ingredients and be labeled as such, but will still be lacking in wholesome, nutritious ingredients. Check out this fun video that explains the difference between organic and healthy and will let you know what to look for next time you are shopping for a healthy meal:
Father’s Day is a great time to recognize all of the wonderful things dads have done for their children this year. There are many ways to show appreciation, like planning a special event, finding that perfect gift, or doing something nice to help him out. Here are some ideas that are fun for Dad and friendly for the environment.
Prepare an organic breakfast-in-bed
Buy him a nice organic-cotton tie, shirt, or bathrobe
Take him on a trip to a farmer’s market or a local restaurant
Take him to a concert, festival, or sporting event
Set up a hammock for him in the backyard so he can relax
Take him bird watching and take pictures of birds you see
Go on a hike or bicycle ride and spend some quality time together
Get a pair of fishing poles and take him out to the river
Find a nice recipe for dinner that the two of you can make together
Whatever you decide to do, the best part of Father’s Day will be spending some quality time together!
Now that school is out and the weather is hot it’s time to think about what kind of fun activities you can plan to keep the whole family happy. Here is a list of 25 ideas we came up with. Use some of our ideas or come up with a few of your own.
- Volunteer at a local animal shelter, nature center, or organization that you support.
- Plan a camping trip and head out to the great outdoors.
- Visit your local farmer’s market for some yummy produce and local goods.
- Pick berries.
- Use the berries you pick or the farmer’s-market finds to make delicious smoothies!
- Have a picnic at a park.
- Go canoeing at a local lake.
- Have a backyard campfire – with s’mores.
- Go biking on a trail.
- Plant a garden of herbs and veggies.
- Have an outdoor painting party using huge canvas or cardboard.
- Visit a museum.
- Learn about stargazing and identify as many constellations as possible.
- Go outside and play. Volleyball, basketball, baseball, badminton- whatever game you love, get out and start playing.
- Get a map of the US and mark off all the exciting places you want to visit.
- Lace up your skates and go rollerskating.
- Make popsicles with your favorite organic juice.
- Visit a flea market.
- Pick up a new hobby like painting, writing, fishing, etc.
- Visit a national park. The kids can even become Junior Rangers!
- Have a game night with charades, Pictionary, Jenga, Monopoly, etc.
- Attend an outdoor festival or concert.
- Find a local carnival.
- Have homemade-pizza night.
- Fall into a good book.
Whatever you decide to do, enjoy the summer, be sure to stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun!
Memorial Day Weekend is the perfect occasion to pack a picnic and head outdoors to enjoy the beautiful weather. First you have to decide what dishes to bring. Typical picnic foods can include hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, and cookies, which are not the healthiest choices (though they may be delicious). If you’re looking for better options, here are 10 healthy finger-food ideas for your next picnic outing!
2. Ants on a Log (celery with peanut butter and raisins)
3. Grilled Vegetables (zucchini, squash, mushrooms, etc.)
4. Pita Chips with Hummus
5. Homemade Trail Mix (dried fruits and nuts)
6. Turkey Sandwiches with low-fat ingredients (whole-grain bread, lettuce, tomato, sprouts, and low-fat cheese)
7. Shrimp and Lemon Skewers
9. Fruit Salad
10. Angel Food Cake (low in calories) with fresh fruit and fat-free whipped cream
Now that your basket is packed with delicious foods, it’s time to head out and enjoy the beauty of nature!
Spring is here, the flowers are in bloom, and it’s a beautiful sight, except for those who suffer from allergies. Allergens such as pollen can cause all sorts of symptoms for allergy sufferers, such as itchy eyes, congestion, and sneezing. Many people take prescribed or over-the-counter medicines that help allergy symptoms, but some of these medicines can cause side effects that are worse than the original problem. For a more natural solution to ease mild, spring-time allergy suffering, here is a list of 10 home remedies that may be helpful:
- It’s hard enough to avoid allergens outdoors, so try not to bring them into your home, too. Keeping windows and doors shut during allergy season can help keep pollen out of your house. Eliminate any cross breeze by shutting off fans that circulate air in and out of the house. Indoor air purifiers/HEPA filters are a great added step to keep your house as allergen-free as possible.
- While being outdoors it is difficult to avoid allergens, so one great step is to wear eye protection. Wearing sunglasses (with side shields) or goggles while outside will keep pollen and other allergens from landing in your eyes and causing swelling or itching.
- Taking a steaming-hot shower has two major benefits for allergy sufferers: First, the steam soothes sinuses and clears nasal passages. The second benefit is that the shower washes away pollen and allergens from the skin and hair, preventing the spread of contaminants into your home.
- Peppermint tea has essential oils that act as an anti-inflammatory, decongestant, and mild antibacterial. A nice warm mug of peppermint tea can help alleviate irritated nasal passages and a sore throat.
- For those who don’t want to take a shower every time they feel congested, a steam bowl is a simpler way to get similar results. Fill a large bowl with steaming water (add eucalyptus oil for added relief), place a towel over your head, and take deep breathes of the eucalyptus steam.
- Another way to clear your nasal passages is to use a saline nasal rinse. There are many different methods of delivering the solution into your nasal cavity, but the basic concept is to flush out the congestion and keep the passages dry.
- For those who can handle spicy foods, wasabi and horseradish are great for clearing your sinuses. Allyl isothiocyanate is the ingredient in these two foods that activates your sinus and tear ducts to promote mucus flow. Also foods like walnuts, flaxseed, and cold-water fish, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids, are great for fighting inflammation when eaten regularly.
- There are a variety of herbs and supplements which have been studied for allergy relief, such as spirulina, goldenseal, and eyebright. The plant extract butterbur has had strong results with reducing airway inflammation, as well as bromelain, which is an enzyme found in pineapple. The stinging nettle is a plant with natural antihistamines, which can be extracted, consumed through tea, or absorbed a variety of other ways.
- Consuming locally produced honey on a regular basis is thought to build up your body’s immunity to local pollens. When bees transfer pollen from your region into honey and you eat it frequently, it can slowly inoculate you against regional pollens.
- Since you spend a third of your life in bed sleeping, it is important to protect yourself from allergens in your bedroom. Dust mites are microscopic pests that live in warm, humid environments and feed on discarded human skin cells, therefore your mattress and pillow are an ideal location for them to live and thrive in. The excrement and buildup of dead dust mites can be the cause of allergic sensitivity. To protect yourself from being exposed to dust mites and bed bugs, consider purchasing OMI’s certified-organic cotton Bed-Bug and Dust-Mite Pillow and Mattress Barrier Covers. The tight micron weave prevents these pests from invading your mattress and multiplying, giving you peace of mind and a healthier night’s sleep. Here is a link to view more information about our barrier covers:
Since Phil the groundhog saw his shadow this year on Groundhog Day, I am pulling out a favorite dish to celebrate this extra-long winter. Found on Pinch of Yum is a recipe with a twist on the traditional broccoli and chicken casserole, with extra protein from bacon and quinoa!
CREAMY CHICKEN QUINOA AND BROCCOLI CASSEROLE
Author: Pinch of Yum
- 2 cups reduced sodium organic chicken broth
- 1 cup organic milk
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- ½ cup flour
- 2 cups water, divided
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
- ¼ cup cooked, crumbled bacon
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 teaspoons seasoning (like Emeril’s Essence)
- ¼ cup shredded Gruyere cheese (any kind will work)
- 3 cups fresh organic broccoli florets
1.Sauce: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and generously grease a 9×13 baking dish (seriously, be generous because it really really sticks to the sides). Bring the chicken broth and ½ cup milk to a low boil in a saucepan. Whisk the other ½ cup milk with the poultry seasoning and flour; add the mixture to the boiling liquid and whisk until a smooth creamy sauce forms.
2.Assembly: In a large bowl, mix the sauce from step one, one cup water, quinoa, and bacon and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Slice the chicken breasts into thin strips and lay the chicken breast strips over the top of the quinoa mixture. Sprinkle with the seasoning. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
3.Broccoli: While the casserole is in the oven, place the broccoli in boiling water for 1 minute until it turns bright green and then run under cold water. Set aside.
4.Bake: Remove the casserole from the oven, check the mixture by stirring it around in the pan, and if needed, cover and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. When the quinoa and chicken are cooked, add the broccoli and a little bit of water (up to one cup) until the consistency is creamy and smooth and you can stir it up easily in the pan. Top with the cheese and bake, uncovered, for 5 minutes, or just long enough to melt the cheese.
You will know the quinoa is done when it is soft and looks as if it has popped open, with the germ of the kernel visible as a little spiral. If you want the chicken to get that browned exterior, leave the foil off for part of the cooking time, but be aware that the quinoa does take a lot longer to cook without the foil.
For the full recipe and many other delicious recipes check out Pinch of Yums website here.