Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Tips for Planning Your Vegetable Garden

If you’re looking to eat more vegetables in 2016, have we got the blog post for you! Thanks to “The Farmer’s Almanac,” we’ve brought you a short and sweet guide for the beginner vegetable gardener.

Start Small
If you thought you needed space to start a garden, well, you’re kind of right. But one of the most common errors for beginners is planting too much too soon, so experts across the board recommend a small garden plot to start. So whether you’ve got a spacious backyard or live in a fifth-story apartment, you’ve got enough space to start growing vegetables.

The Basics
  • -Sun Exposure: Vegetables need at least 6 hours (preferably 8) of full sun every day, so make sure to pick a sunny spot for your plot. 
  • -Soil: Your soil is your plant’s source of nutrients, so make sure you know what you need before you plant. Vegetables need good, loamy, well-drained soil. Check out this post on preparing your soil for more info. 
  • -Placement: It’s everything. Avoid planting too close to trees, and keep in mind that a garden close to the house will help discourage wild animals from chowing down on your veggies. The Gardener’s Supply Company has this neat little garden design planner to help you create blueprints for your most productive garden. 
  • -Water: Vegetables need at least 1 inch of water a week. If you’re in a dry area, make sure you’re able to accommodate this. 
  • -Tools: You’ll need to make sure you have some basic planting tools in your undertaking. These include a spade, garden fork, soaking hose, hoe, hand weeder, and wheelbarrow (or bucket). 
  • -Frost Dates: Find out the dates for the first and last frost dates in your area here.

Veggies to Start With
Here are some of the most common, productive plants you may want to consider growing:
     -Tomatoes          -Zucchini squash          -Peppers
     -Cabbage            -Bush beans                  -Lettuce (leaf and/or Bibb)
     -Beets                  -Carrots                         -Chard
     -Radishes            -Marigolds (to discourage rabbits)
When to Plant
When to start planting all depends on where you are regionally and whether you’re planting seeds or transplanting plants from a nursery or greenhouse:

While it may not be time to start planting just yet, the time to start planning is here. So be on the lookout for more gardening and vegetable tips from communEATi here, on our Facebook, and on Twitter.

Read More »

Friday, January 8, 2016

6 Benefits to Clean Eating

When we last met, we launched a communEATi New Year’s Resolution Challenge: to eat clean in 2016. And while we gave you some guidelines on how to go ahead and get started, some of you might still be waiting on the why before you make a complete lifestyle change. So we found six of the most important benefits to ditching the overly-processed foods and green-ifying your kitchen!

Boost Your Mood
Feeling mopey? Down in the dumps? Getting unnecessarily irritated over these questions? If your mood is constantly more “woke up on the wrong side of the bed” than it is “Disney princess awoken by singing birds,” it could be because of what you’re eating. A New Zealand study found that a higher intake of fruits and veggies resulted in more energy, calm, and greater feelings of overall happiness, and that these effects lasted past the days more produce was consumed.

Reduce Your Environmental Impact
While eating meat isn’t strictly prohibited from when eating clean, it does require more processing for human consumption, so eating less tends to be a natural side effect of a clean diet. Which is good news for the Earth, because meat preparation takes a significant toll on the environment. Animals raised to be eaten require far more land and resources than raising vegetables do (although fish farming can be fairly sustainable when it involves fish lower on the food chain, like tilapia and shellfish). Eating mainly vegetable-based foods rather than meat greatly reduces your environmental footprint.

Sleep Better
More and more sleep research is indicating that eating the right foods can help you get better sleep at night. And as numerous studies have already pointed out, better sleep improves overall wellness. Not surprisingly, many of the staples of a clean diet - like fish, whole grains, nuts, and dark leafy greens - have been linked to getting a better night’s sleep.

Start Glowing
University of Nottingham scientists found that healthy, clean eating really does give you a natural glow. And another study at the University of St. Andrews found that people who ate more fruits and vegetables daily over the course of six weeks were rated as more attractive than those who didn’t eat as many. So it’s true: if you’re feeling good on the inside, you’ll look your best on the outside too!

Get the Most from Your Workouts
It’s not surprising to hear that several healthy foods have been shown to enhance athletic performance, either by building muscle, boosting recovery, or improving endurance. After all, diet and exercise are the keys to healthy living, right? But did you know that beet juice is great for stamina? Or that honey can provide time-released “fuel” for endurance if eaten before exercise? Or how the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish like salmon can help build muscle while fighting off heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes? If you’re really serious about your workout, start with what you eat.

Optimize Your Brain
You may have heard people talking a lot lately about the Mediterranean diet, which is a good starting off base for clean eating. This diet requires eating a lot of vegetables and fruit, along with fish, beans, whole grains, olive oil, nuts, and seeds and requires you limit your intake of fatty meats, dairy products, refined grains, and sugar. Sounds familiar, huh? Well, the research shows those who eat a diet similar to this were less likely to have brain infarcts, which are small areas of dead tissue in the brain linked to cognitive problems. Mediterranean diet eaters were also found to be 36% less likely to have brain damage and have a 28% lower risk of developing mild cognitive impairment with aging, with a 48% lower risk of cognitive impairment progressing to Alzheimer’s.

“You are what you eat” is much more than that weird vegetable man poster from high school health class. What you eat affects essentially every part of your life: from your mental to physical health, from your skin cells to the whole, wide world. Isn’t it time to start putting in the effort to eating your best so you can have the best life possible? We certainly think so!

So let communEATi help you as you take the steps toward a happier, healthier you! Follow us here, on Facebook, and on Twitter for more healthy food and lifestyle tips. And keep an eye out for the launch of our app, which is guaranteed to help you stock your kitchen with some of the freshest, cleanest, healthiest food around.

Read More »

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

10 Guidelines for Eating Clean in 2016

We’re only five days into 2016 and already the phrase “New Year, New Me” is overdone. And while your eyes might roll into the back of your head after the 45th Facebook status you’ve read that contains those words, the sentiment behind them shouldn’t be brushed off so quickly.

While it’s easy to be a skeptic, we all have plenty of things we could do to improve our day-to-day lives and overall health. So why not start making those improvements now? And if you’ve been looking for a sign, here it is: we challenge you to eat clean in 2016!

Now, we’re not saying this will be easy; in fact, we’ve got a whole blog series lined up this month to help teach you about and get you in the habit of clean eating. Because if we’re going to make this resolution stick, it needs to not feel like a chore.

So What is Clean Eating?
It’s easiest to think of clean eating less as a diet and more as a lifestyle. The guidelines are pretty simple, but your meal plan could change drastically if you decide to make the switch. The main thing to remember about eating clean is that it’s about consuming food in its most natural state, or as close to it as possible. Clean eating is an approach to food and food preparation that leads to an improved life one meal at a time.

The Guidelines
“Clean Eating” magazine came up with this list of guidelines to help you on your clean eating journey. While they may seem like a lot at first, they’re really teaching you how to make better decisions regarding healthy eating:

  • -Eat 5-6 times a day.
    • -Three meals and 2-3 small snacks, including lean protein, fresh fruits and veggies, and a complex carbohydrate with each meal
    • -A steady intake of clean food energizes the body and burns calories efficiently all day.
  • -Choose organic, clean foods whenever you can.
    • -If you’re on a limited budget or have picky eaters, make meat, eggs, dairy, these 12 fruits and vegetables your main grocery priority.
  • -Drink at least 2 liters (that's about 8 glasses) of water a day.
  • -Read the labels.
    • -Clean foods typically contain just one or two ingredients, so put back the products with long lists of human-made ingredients.
  • -Avoid processed and refined foods.
    • -This includes white flour, sugar, bread, and pasta. Try whole grain foods instead.
  • -Know the enemies of clean eating.
    • -Steer clear of anything high in trans fats, anything fried, or anything high in sugar.
    • -Also avoid preservatives, color additives, stabilizers, emulsifiers, and fat replacers.
    • -For a more comprehensive list, Hungry for Change has come up with this list of the top 10 food additives to avoid.
  • -Aim to have essential fatty acids incorporated into your clean diet every day.
  • -Learn about portion sizes, and work towards eating within them.
  • -Reduce your carbon footprint.
    • -Opt for produce that is seasonal and local. It’s less taxing on your wallet and our environment.
    • -P.S. communEATi can really help with this one!
  • -Take it with you.
    • -Pack your lunch for work or on outings so you always have clean food on the go.

We hope you had a great New Years celebration, and we hope to help you on your clean eating journey! Make sure to keep up with us on here, Facebook, and Twitter for more clean eating tips, gardening how-tos, and communEATi app updates. We’re excited for all that 2016 has to offer and glad to have you growing with us!

Read More »