Robust Gratitudes

Today my thankfulness grouped in a cluster, around the topic of health. I called these my robust gratitudes. Health is, sadly, one of those things we take for granted until a crises occurs or a chronic problem develops.

I’ve learned much in the last 2 1/2 years about living as the healthiest version of myself. Without deliberate intention today, I was reminded how very crucial wellbeing is.

Robust Gratitudes

Natural Grocers

This grocery store emphasizes robust health with 100% organic produce, a wide assortment of supplements, and products made from superior ingredients. Here I can find gluten free flour and pasta. Loose, dried herbs, spices and teas are available. Canned goods are non-GMO.

Without fail, I walk into this bright, cheerful store and inhale deeply as I cross the threshold. It smells so good in Natural Grocers. I feel so good, shopping here. I’m grateful that I have this store as an option.

This morning I got to share with another shopper about the benefits of fresh aloe vera gel. And I assisted a woman when she asked me if I knew anything about vitamin C.

Robust Gratitudes

Plant Based Products

As I continue to improve my health, I’ve learned that what I put on my skin, or clothes, affects my wellbeing. Chemicals, additives, dyes and toxins all end up in the liver, creating health issues. I’ve been intentionally swapping out bath, laundry and cleaning products full of chemicals, for plant based chemical-free versions.

Natural Grocers carries a better version of everything I once used. My hand soap, shower soap, shampoo and conditioner are all plant based, infused with essential oils. I wash my clothes with laundry soap free from chemicals and dyes. They are dried with plant based softener sheets scented with lavender. My dishes and my hands benefit from the dish soap I use.

I am so grateful for these alternatives. My liver and skin are grateful too!

Robust Gratitudes

Dragon Fruit

I’m excited to try a new-to-me fruit, for the first time tomorrow. Dragon fruit looks exotic in its strangeness. I selected a fruit that has bold color and gives slightly when I press in with my thumb.

Dragon fruit, also called pitaya, is so good for the liver. It slows down and stops liver aging, which helps to prevent disease. I’m looking forward to adding this beauty to my fruit smoothie in the morning. Watch for more info about dragon fruit on Friday’s Journey With Healthy Me blog post.

Robust Gratitudes

Robust Apple Cider

When the weather turns cold it’s time for one of my favorite hot drinks. This apple cider is full of flavor and healing properties.

In a large pan combine 8 cups of organic unsweetened apple juice, 4 whole cloves, 2 cinnamon sticks, 1 star anise, 1/3 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon ginger (or 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated), 1 orange cut into slices and 1/4 cup fresh or frozen cranberries. Simmer for 20 – 30 minutes. Strain cider and enjoy. Makes 8 servings.

Try the cider as a first line of defense, when dealing with cold or allergy symptoms, or enjoy as a warming drink on chilly evenings. I’m grateful for the healing power of food.

Robust Gratitudes

Healthy at Every Age

I visited a friend late this afternoon, at a local assisted care facility. What I am about to share is not meant as a complaint against such places. It is a heart cry for people to take better care of themselves now, so that health and vitality can be enjoyed throughout the twilight years.

I am disturbed by the quality of food served at the facility. The meals are nutrient poor, and feed viruses and inflammation rather than support health. What a difference more fresh fruits and veggies could make.

After leaving my friend’s room, I wandered down the hall, greeting people in wheelchairs, saddened by what I saw. So many men and women there, ravaged by disease and mysterious illnesses and mental confusion. It broke my heart.

I left the care facility with fresh determination to continue my healing journey..,and to walk alongside others so that they can heal too. It’s never too late to make changes that contribute to a healthier life. It’s never too soon either!

Robust Gratitudes

I’m grateful for the emphasis on health today. My intention is to live a vibrant life no matter my age. I’m ensuring my future by consuming life giving nutrient dense foods and eliminating those that create disease and inflammation in my body.

I want to be that old lady, living without regrets, that everyone wonders, “What is she up to now?”

I’m well on my way!

Robust Gratitudes

A Smorgasbord of Blessings

Sunday’s are self care days, special times set apart for focusing inward and on things that bring me joy. Occasionally I work on a Sunday afternoon or at the least do a bit of real estate online. And I always write on this day, no matter what else I do to care for my body, emotions, and spirit.

Today was no different, except that I was very mindful of blessings throughout the day. Because a definite food theme came together, I thought of the day’s gratitudes as a smorgasbord of blessings, with so many delightful choices. And then suddenly, an invitation threw in a bit of rhapsody.

A Smorgasbord of Blessings

Aloe Vera

The first gratitude arrived as I stepped through the doors of Joplin’s Natural Grocers. I love this health conscious store. The aroma of fresh herbs and produce greets me and makes me so thankful that I have this shopping option in my city.

I selected an aloe vera leaf and dropped it into my cart. Check out the health benefits and then you too can appreciate why it is a blessing that Natural Grocers carries these huge leaves. I can’t find them anywhere else in town. A two inch section of fresh aloe vera gel goes into my fruit smoothies each morning.

A Smorgasbord of Blessings

Milk Thistle Display

The next gratitude in my smorgasbord of blessings occurred before I got out of the store. I’m reading Liver Rescue by Anthony William. Greg noticed an end cap display featuring the supplement Milk Thistle. This herb benefits the liver by expelling old red blood cells and detoxifying toxins and debris from the hepatic veins.

It makes me smile and feel gratitude to see this healthy grocery store in sync with what I am learning. Plus they have Milk Thistle, in capsules and tinctures, on sale.

A Smorgasbord of Blessings

Comfort Food, Healthy Style

Continuing an emphasis on a plant based lifestyle today, and self care, Sunday lunch featured one of my favorite meals, Broccoli & Peas Macaroni Bake. This easy to prepare one pan meal pairs the satisfaction of a comforting meal with the health boosting nutrition of veggies and gluten free pasta in a yummy cashew based sauce. Find the recipe HERE.

I am truly thankful for healthy pasta options. I buy the Natural Grocers house brand of brown rice macaroni. It cooks up just like regular pasta and tastes the same. And I don’t suffer ill effects from gluten.

A Smorgasbord of Blessings

A New Dark Chocolate Bar

No smorgasbord, blessings or buffet, is complete without a bit of dessert. I don’t indulge in traditional desserts, preferring healthy versions without the refined sugar, eggs and dairy products. I do, however, occasionally enjoy a small amount of dark chocolate.

As we headed to the check out, I spied a new-to-me line of dark chocolate bars, with a twist of unusual flavor combinations. I chose a dark chocolate with blackberry and sage to sample. The Endangered Species Chocolate Company has this mission statement on their website:

“10% of our net profits are donated annually to current 10% GiveBack Partners;  each is guaranteed a minimum annual donation of $10,000 and is free to use the funds on projects they deem most important. With over $1.3 million generated in the past three years alone, each chocolate purchase adds up to big support that helps wildlife thrive.”

I am thankful that my purchase of a treat supports endangered species and other organizations that help wildlife and the planet. For afternoon tea I ate a few small squares of the dark chocolate and sipped on an herbal tea from Yogi. The treat was pure bliss.

A Smorgasbord of Blessings

Bohemian Rhapsody

Lest I get into a rut today, an invitation came this afternoon from my grandson Dayan, who is home from the university this weekend. The film Bohemian Rhapsody released in theaters Friday and Dayan invited me to join his mom and him for an evening viewing.

I am a big Queen fan, having appreciated their incredible music since my late teens. I’ve been excited about this upcoming movie that tells the story of Freddie Mercury and the formation of the band that would shatter stereotypes and expand musical boundaries. I’ll post a review of the film tomorrow.

Tonight I am grateful for Freddie’s willingness to unwaveringly be who he was, and to offer to the world the gifts he was uniquely created to give. He inspires me and I am still experiencing a range of emotions from the movie.

A Smorgasbord of Blessings

What a delightful day, this smorgasbord of blessings. Gratitude flowed for a place to purchase healthy food and supplements, great comfort food and a surprising flavor combo in a treat, and the power of a musical film experienced with my grandson and daughter.

Blessings abound, but they don’t pile up. They flow…to me…through me…and beyond.

A Smorgasbord of Blessings

Store Review: Natural Grocers

I have looked forward to this day since I first learned Joplin was getting a full service health-centric grocery store. I’ve watched with keen anticipation as the building went up, at the busy corner of 7th and Range Line.

This morning, Natural Grocers opened its doors in Joplin, launching the store with a day full of activities designed to draw the curious and the excited within. I inhabited both categories! I grabbed a shopping cart and wheeled through the store late this afternoon.

I went to their website to research this company, with 143 stores currently in its corporation, and I was impressed and inspired. Margaret and Philip Isely started Natural Grocers with $200 that they borrowed, and the earnest desire that everyone should be able to afford a healthy lifestyle and be empowered to take control of their health.

They began by going door to door in Golden, Colorado, lending out books on nutrition, talking to people about their health, and giving samples of whole grain bread. They would return after a couple of weeks to answer questions and take orders for the bread, nutritional supplements and natural, nourishing foods.

During a time when TV dinners and convenience foods were enjoying their heyday, the Iseleys bucked convention and taught that nutrition was the foundation of a healthy life. Margaret had personally experienced that change in lifestyle. After the birth of her second child, she became chronically ill. When traditional medicine did not help or heal her, she turned to eating nutrient dense, natural foods and taking dietary supplements. Margaret healed herself and that became the impetus for what she would offer to others.

In 1989 the Iseleys switched to a store format, incorporating an organic produce section. The following year they removed all partially hydrogenated oil products from their shelves, a move that was years ahead of the times. In 1995 they formalized their nutrition education programs, creating a Nutritional Health Coach position. Every store offers classes on health and nutrition. A few years later the stores went bag free, creating a huge impact on the health of the environment. And in 2014 the company rolled out their pasture-based dairy standards and began the process of removing products that came from confinement dairies from their shelves.

The Iseley’s story resonates with me and endears me to their story even more. I can identify with Margaret and her decision to reclaim her health. I believe there is currently another major shift taking place, led by people like Anthony William, as people become more and more sick. Facing diagnoses of mystery illnesses and autoimmune disorders, and finding marginal relief of symptoms with very few cures, people with chronic pain and illnesses are discovering the amazing healing properties of natural, nutritious food. I am among those taking back their health. And Natural Grocers desires to support and help me, and others, with that process.

Natural Grocers was a joy to be in today. The parking lot was full, as was the clean, well lit store. The staff was cheerful and helpful, in spite of being busy restocking shelves. For people weren’t just looking. They were shopping. They were asking questions and reading labels and dropping items into their carts.

I loved the store. One hundred percent of the produce is organic. The canned goods and frozen foods are organic and non GMO. There are shelves of bulk items such as raw nuts, dry legumes and rices, spices and seasonings and grains. I found non dairy products such a yogurt, made from almond and coconut milk, unsulphured dried apricots and a huge gluten free section.

In addition to an incredible array of nutritional foods, Natural Grocers sells healthy pet products, vitamins and supplements, environmentally friendly paper goods and body care products. I was delighted to see that I can pick up chemical and dye free hair and shower products, as well as hand soaps and cleaning products. One of my goals for 2018 is to eliminate chemicals from all of the products that I use in my home and on my body. I will be looking to Young Living Essential Oils for help in this area. However, it is great to know this grocery store supports my decision as well.

I was extremely impressed with Natural Grocers today. I love that they offer health and nutrition classes. I appreciate their ongoing mission and the passion this family owned company has for supporting people in their health journeys. I was wowed by their product selection and their competitive pricing.

This store became my primary grocery store this afternoon. I look forward to getting to know the product and attending classes and exploring new foods and ideas. As they support my healing journey, I will support them by showing up and making purchases and recommending their services and wares to others. Well done, Iseley Family. Let’s journey together.