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Year of Wellness 2016

January 7, 2016
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green smoothies to the rescue!

This is a year to get excited here in Tillamook County in NW Oregon because 2016 is the Year of Wellness. If you think back in over your life events, as most of us do this time of year, the years that we were healthy and vibrant are standout years. That is what 2016 is lining up to be, a year of taking our health back and feeling full of life and possibilities.

This idea was hatched by a group of food-centric organizations called the “Tillamook County Good Food Alliance” led by county commissioner, Bill Baertlain. Through brain storming and enthusiasm to bring more health to our county, the Year of Wellness 2016 (YOW) was set in place. The goal of this year is to increase awareness of what creates a healthy lifestyle and provide support and motivation to make it happen.

A website has been set up just for this occasion. At this web stie you can sign up to join the wellness challenge as an individual or as a group. On this website you will be able to track your exercise, water intake, sleep and what you eat and you won’t be alone. There will be many people there wanting the same thing as you, to take back their health. (I even got all excited and started a new blog, thegolightlygourmet.wordpress.com, to highlight eating healthy this year. Come over the check it out!)

YOW will also be bringing many speakers who are leading experts in their field to our humble Tillamook county to share their knowledge.

It has been proven in many studies that having a like-minded community around you will help significantly towards reaching your goals. Social media has opened up a whole new horizon on this subject and researchers have found that people who engaged in social support online lost twice as much weight as those that went at it alone. The research also shows that social media support helps people to reach other goals as well like quitting smoking and improving physical activity.

The YOW will be focusing on helping people through community support to quit smoking, replace sugary beverages with water, get 8 hours of sleep a night, move more and eat better. I will be beating the drum and getting on my soapbox for us all to go get on board and even harder……stay on board.

There are some great resources out there to help with healthy eating other than the YOW web site and my columns. OSU extension office will be offering free samples of their innovative, healthy recipes that are healthy, affordable and delicious at pop up locations. The YOW website will be listing those locations each month but meanwhile you can pop on over to their website that is available 27/7 in both English and Spanish for all of their recipes and tips and tools. The web address is https://foodhero.org/ and is well worth the visit!

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Look at these beautiful whole foods to eat!

Another wonderful resource is Choosemyplate.gov, which is a government run website that focuses on the 5 food groups, fruit, veggies, grains, dairy and protein. It has all kinds of fun tools on there for figuring out the healthiest way to eat and exercise. Their food pyramid is a bit outdated but they do have some good tools for tracking. My personal favorite food pyramid however is health guru Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory food pyramid. It is smart, thoughtful and up to date with vegetables and fruits being the base of the pyramid and chocolate (oh yeah!) being at the top.

One of the easiest ways to get off sugar and get feeling healthy is to start making green smoothies. When I am drinking green smoothies in the morning for breakfast I experience a loss in cravings of naughty foods, mental clarity (yup, a high commodity) boosted immunity, increased energy, weight loss, glowing happy skin and excellent “regularity” if ya know what I mean. Now you know why I am amazed that I ever stopped consuming green smoothies. (Slap forehead)

There is no way to go wrong with making them but there are a few tips to making them delightfully delicious. Leafy greens to start with are spinach, romaine, and rainbow or Swiss chard since they are more neutral tasting. I love kale, mint and parsley too but they have a bit of a stronger flavor. Some folks prefer to use all fresh, raw ingredients, but I like using some frozen fruit since it lends a thicker, ice cream-like texture.

So come on board the YOW train and make a pledge to create 2016 as your healthiest year ever. I know I’ve signed up and am very excited to be sharing about my very favorite subject, healthy eating, with you. I am committed to making this a healthy and stimulating year for all of us. Let’s all put our energy into our greatest wealth, our health, for 2016.

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These green jewels will revive you!

Basic recipe for a Green Smoothie
This is enough for two people or one huge serving

2 cups of chopped deep leafy greens or veggies
2 cups of liquid (preferably no sugar added)
3 cups of fruit

Add leafy greens to the blender and then pour in the liquid, blend till green and bright. Add the fruit one cup at a time if frozen, dump it all in if not; blend till green and frothy. Drink. Simple. Perfect.

Leafy greens to choose from; Kale, chard, romaine, spinach, collards, dandelion, mint, parsley, and green salad mix. (remove stems from chard, kale and collards)

Veggies to choose from; chopped up cucumber, zucchini, celery, sprouts, carrots and whatever else you feel like experimenting with.

Liquids to choose from; Coconut water or milk, almond milk, diluted juice (I only use 1/2 cup of coconut milk or juice and the rest water)
Fruits to choose from;
Low glycemic to be used liberally; Berries, apples, pears, grapefruit, peaches, apricots, kiwi, lemon, lime, cranberries, plums or figs (not dried)
Medium glycemic fruits; Banana, oranges, grapes and papaya
High glycemic to be used sparingly; pineapple, mango , melons, honey and dried dates
Add ins; A slice of ginger root, chia, avocado, hemp or flax seeds, supergreen powder, nut butter, unsweetened coconut meat, cinnamon, pure vanilla extract, protein powder, acai powder, salt, lime or lemon juice, cocoa powder and coconut oil.

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