Top 5 Reasons to Choose Local and In-Season Produce (and where to  find them)

Top 5 Reasons to Choose Local and In-Season Produce (and where to find them)

Top 5 Reasons to Choose Local and In-Season Produce

This morning, while sipping your coffee or tea, did you happen to think about where those beans or leaves were harvested? What about the fruit in your smoothie? Did you wonder if they were picked in their natural growing season at peak ripeness?

Most people don’t take the time to mindfully source the foods they’re eating, and I’m going to tell you, not choosing purposefully is a missed opportunity for both your health and your wallet. Today I’m going to share with you the top five reasons to choose both local and in-season when it comes to the produce you’re eating, plus two great resources to find out what’s in season and how to get it farm to table!

Farmers market sign selling fresh produce

First, and arguably most important, local and in-season produce is more nutrient dense. This means more vitamins and minerals are available in that fruit or vegetable for your body to utilize. The longer produce spends on a truck or in storage before being delivered to you, the greater the loss of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients1.

Second, if nutrient density isn’t convincing enough, foods that are grown locally and purchased seasonally are less expensive. This is because the farmers need to do less to encourage a bountiful crop and they don’t need to factor in transportation and delivery costs.

Third, fruits and vegetables harvested locally and in-season are fresher and taste significantly better. This is because local produce has a shorter distance to travel, and farmers can pick at the crop’s peak ripeness; which means more delicious and flavorful food. Conversely, foods harvested in other countries must be picked before they are ripe to make the trip overseas, and to your local market, without spoiling.

Produce Farmer

Fourth, seasonal food grown locally needs fewer “interventions”. For certain produce to be available year-round, post-harvest treatments, known as ripening agents, are used. These include chemicals, gases, and heat processes2. Some produce, like apples, pears, carrots, and celery, may be coated with an edible film to protect it3. Other produce, like strawberries, lettuce, melons, and grapes, may be treated with anti-browning agents so it artificially is kept from rotting4. Then, the same produce may be treated with a chemical called ethylene, which triggers the ripening process to improve fruit color and quality5.

Lastly, purchasing in-season and local is a great way to vote with your dollar. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather support a local farmer who is avoiding ripening agents, anti-browning chemicals, and heat-treatment that kills off precious nutrients. The more money spent locally means the more crops our farmers will get paid to produce which directly benefits our health. It’s a win-win!

If these five points have convinced you that local and in-season produce is far superior, let’s find out what’s growing in your zip code right now! is a valuable resource that shares what’s currently in season and tells you a little bit about that fruit or vegetable. What a fun way to explore new produce you’ve never tried before! 

Now that you know what’s in-season, the next step is farm to table! is a great website to find farmers’ markets and CSAs (community-supported agriculture) that will get those delicious, in-season fruits and veggies from the market to your table in no time.

Mindfully sourcing in-season fruits and vegetables supports your health, your wallet, and your local economy. Choosing seasonal produce is a great way to boost nutrient density and avoid many toxic chemicals that otherwise would have made their way onto your plate.


How the simple practice of Mindful Breathing can have a huge impact on your health.

How the simple practice of Mindful Breathing can have a huge impact on your health.

This simple practice can have a huge impact on your health.

The act of mindful breathing has been practiced for thousands of years amongst Eastern cultures to restore or enhance health1. This slow, mindful breath is an overlooked practice that affects every single aspect of your health. In this article, we’re going to discuss your breath and its powerful role in taking you from “fight-or-flight” to “rest and digest”. We’ll discuss how deep breathing can be a powerful tool for managing stress, reducing anxiety, improving digestion, and finding your inner calm (among many other benefits).

The autonomic nervous system plays a crucial role in the maintenance of homeostasis yet functions without conscious, voluntary control. There are two divisions of the autonomic nervous system in the body: sympathetic and parasympathetic. Each of these systems are dominant under certain conditions.

The sympathetic division forms the “fight-or-flight” response to an emergency or stressful situation. The overall effect of the sympathetic system under these conditions is to prepare the body for strenuous physical activity. More specifically, sympathetic nervous activity will increase the flow of blood that is well-oxygenated and rich in nutrients to the tissues that need it, in particular, the working skeletal muscles2.

The parasympathetic division forms the body’s “rest and digest” response when the body is relaxed, resting, or feeding. The parasympathetic works to undo the work of the sympathetic division after a stressful situation. Among other functions, the parasympathetic division works to decrease respiration and heart rate, increase digestion, and permit the elimination of wastes3.

The amount of stress we’re under and how we control that stress will determine which branch is firing most often. With a pandemic, homeschooling, working from home, financial struggles, social media, air pollution, water pollution, plastics everywhere, and a food-system that pushes processed Frankenfoods leaving many malnourished, the majority of us are in a constant state of “fight-or-flight”. This sympathetic dominance creates an overall imbalance in our bodies, affecting all non-emergency processes, such as digestion, detoxification, and sleep.

Here is where voluntary and conscious behavior comes into play. Mindful, slow breathing can be a potent and pivotal practice to toggle your nervous system from sympathetic to parasympathetic. This conscious breath will bring your body into balance, permitting digestion, detoxification, repair, and relaxation.

Mindful breathing calls for a focus on your breath. It encourages the shift from short, shallow chest breathing to deep belly breathing with a slow inhale and extended exhale. There are many different mindful breathing techniques and strategies, and I encourage you to explore the type of slow breath that works best for you. One helpful strategy is to take the 5, 6, 7 approach. Before you begin eating, when you’re feeling tense, or anytime you’d like to further relax, try inhaling for a count of five, holding your breath for a count of six, and slowly exhaling for a count of seven. Repeat five times or until you feel yourself relaxing.

Slow, mindful breath is a simple yet powerful practice that will encourage your body to find balance and function optimally. Our breath is a potent tool to support the parasympathetic nervous system and many vital functions within the body. As an act of self-love and self-healing, be sure to find time each day to come back to your breath.


The three major culprits of air pollution in your home

The three major culprits of air pollution in your home

The three major culprits of air pollution in your home

It’s common knowledge that good indoor air quality is incredibly important for your health. To achieve clean air, people may purchase air purifiers or even display air-purifying plants, but few understand what contributes to poor air quality in their homes. Today we’re going to explore three major contributors that pollute indoor air: candles, air fresheners, and fragrance plug-ins.

Let’s first ask what causes poor indoor air quality? According to the American Lung Association, there are many sources of indoor air pollutants including, but not limited to, bacteria and viruses, building and paint products, carpets, cleaning supplies, household chemicals, dust, water damage, formaldehyde, lead, mold, pet dander, secondhand smoke, and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Candles, air fresheners, and fragrance plug-ins all fall under the last category of VOCs.

VOCs are toxic gases that are released into the air when you use certain products. They evaporate readily at room temperature, so they can quickly become part of the air that you breathe1. Breathing VOCs can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat, can cause difficulty breathing and nausea, and can damage the central nervous system and other organs. Some VOCs can even cause cancer2.

Fragranced Candle burning air pollution into the air

When you burn candles, spray your pillows, or even plug-in an air fresher, the fragrance and accompanying VOCs are polluting your air. The terms “fragrance” or “perfume” are used as placeholders on products for a wide range of VOCs and other toxic chemicals3. Unfortunately, companies are not required to disclose the ingredients that make up their scents because they are considered trade secrets4. A survey of selected scented consumer goods showed many products emitted more than 100 VOCs, including some that are classified as toxic or hazardous by federal laws5. Even products advertised as “green,” “natural,” or “organic” emitted as many hazardous chemicals as standard ones6.

This leaves us, as consumers, in a position where we’re forced to do more research to protect our health. The Environmental Working Group, to empower consumers, has rated 307 air fresheners, including sprays and plug-ins. Over 77% of those products were rated a D or an F. This should be worrisome and shocking, as any exposure to these VOCs can negatively affect your health.

So how can you swap these products that make your house smell so good?

Instead of paraffin or petroleum-derived wax candles (which additionally release chemicals into the air when burned), opt for all-natural beeswax candles. Beeswax is the purest and most natural of all waxes and acts as a natural air purifier! Etsy is a great place to find high-quality beeswax candles while also supporting small businesses. Fair warning, a lot of companies are greenwashing their candles, so be sure to read the ingredients. A beeswax candle should have one ingredient: beeswax!

Instead of sprays and fragrance plugins, opt for diffusing high-quality essential oils. Essential oils capture the “essence” of a plant through distillation or mechanical pressing. Essentially, these oils are concentrated extracts that retain, and even magnify, the fragrance and effect of their source7. Ensure you’re purchasing from a reputable company, as many essential oils on the market are fake and made from the same chemical fragrances we’re trying to avoid. If you’re interested in learning more about sourcing high-quality essential oils, Plant Therapy is a great resource!

Ensuring your home is a safe and non-toxic space that promotes health is incredibly important. Small swaps, like the type of candles you burn or scents you spray, can be a significant step on your journey to living a more holistic and non-toxic life!


Top 5 Questions About Paleo

Top 5 Questions About Paleo

I have been living the paleo lifestyle for seven years now. It truly changed my life and I want to share some of the common questions I have gotten over the years about my transition. Check them out!

1. What is Paleo?

Often referred to as the Caveman diet, paleo is short for Paleolithic when humans ate what was foraged, and moved many distances to find food. The concept of consuming a diet based on what Paleolithic humans ate was first promoted by Walter L. Voegtlin in his 1975 book The Stone Age Diet. He suggested that there’d been little genetic change in human digestion since the Paleolithic era and yet large changes in human diet, much to the detriment of human health (, 2021). The man responsible for the more recent popularity of the paleo diet, however, is Loren Cordain. His 2002 book The Paleo Diet popularized the diet’s most common name and helped it become the nutritional phenomenon it is today. Essentially, Paleo is a nutrient-dense, whole foods diet that focuses on quality proteins and fats with a large variety of vegetables.

2. What can you eat?

This is the most common question, although what it really means is, “What CAN’T I eat?”. The truth is you can eat all the amazing food your body needs to function at its best. That does translate to removing refined/processed foods, grains, dairy, legumes, and most things in a box or bag. Sure, there are great options out there for grain-free and dairy-free foods, but the key is to check the ingredients before you buy anything. Marketers like to use buzz words (organic, natural, healthy, etc.) to get you interested. Then you flip over the product and you can’t read half the ingredient list or the first ingredient is some sort of sugar derivative.

Please enjoy: quality meats, seafood, and eggs; all the vegetables, lots of fruits, edible fungi; nuts and seeds, healthy fats; herbs and spices, probiotic, and fermented foods. See! Not so bad!

3. What are the benefits?

While there is no one-size-fits-all diet for anyone, the Paleo diet does have some amazing benefits that most people experience after transitioning. Once you remove known allergens such as, grains and dairy, you will start to feel the effects. Your digestive system will begin to improve as you are feeding it nutritious foods, like reduced bloating and nausea. Another benefit is reduced inflammation by eliminating those allergens and a supported immune system as you start absorbing essential nutrients. Blood sugar regulation is a major benefit to those that are battling with pre-diabetic or diabetic symptoms, such as, high blood pressure and cardiac dysfunction. Once you get your digestive system functioning more optimally, you will start to see a change in your bowel movements and perspiration levels. This means your body is being supported for detoxification appropriately. An unintended benefit of transitioning to Paleo is weight loss. I am sure you have heard of or experienced weight loss from simply cutting out soda. Imagine what could happen if you cut out all the other SAD foods?

4. Are there any negative effects?

While there are some unpleasant effects in the first couple of weeks, they are temporary and the benefits far outweigh them. In the first week, some people have experienced headaches, fatigue, and flu-like symptoms (known as carb-flu). Our bodies react to changes in diet three ways: digestive, allergic, and healing. A digestive reaction occurs within minutes to 12 hours, when the body is not equipped to handle the change, and examples include: diarrhea, cramping, heartburn. An allergic reaction occurs within minutes to days, when the immune system reacts to a specific food or substance, and examples include: rashes, swelling, rapid heart rate, congestion. A healing reaction looks like the symptoms you are trying to support, occurs within minutes to weeks, when the byproducts of pathogens die-off, and examples include: flu-like symptoms, nausea, diarrhea (NTA, 2019, p.72). If you make small changes over time, you can mitigate the body’s reaction to those changes.

5. What makes Paleo better than other diets?

It’s not better, it’s comprehensive and easy to maintain over a long period of time. If anything, eating a nutrient-dense, whole foods diet is what is better. Call it whatever you want! Transitioning to Paleo doesn’t require a strict diet or counting anything (calories, macros, your sanity level), like some of the others. I wouldn’t even call Paleo a diet because it is a lifestyle change not a short-term diet. With that said, there are some programs out there that can be beneficial for some people as a jump-start. Keto has gained a lot of traction for its weight loss benefits and blood sugar regulation(great for diabetics); however, over the long-term this way of eating can become overwhelming and plateau at a certain point. I would only recommend keto for someone that needs significant blood sugar support as it reduces carb intake and increases protein and nutrient-dense vegetables.

The main point to transitioning to Paleo and why it is beneficial is that it is not so much a diet as a lifestyle. When you change the way you eat your body changes: you gain more energy, you lose weight, you lose the bloat, you feel more alert, you gain confidence, and you tend to want to have fun learning who the new “You” is. I would love to be the person that helps you discover who that is. Keep a lookout for my 5-day Kitchen Detox Challenge later this month. If you participate you can get my Everything You Need to Know About Transitioning to Paleo Guide for FREE! Drop me a line and let’s talk! (2021, 03 02). Paleo Diet. dictionary.

Macri, I. (2021, 02 03). Paleo Diet Benefits.

NTA. (2019). Immune System. Student Guide, 1(1). NTA.