Coffee: Healthy or Harmful?

Starbucks. Jobot. Cartel Coffee Lab. Lux. Fair Trade Cafe. One Coffee Co. They’re all downtown coffee shops that a sizable amount of the community frequents regularly. But are we really drinking to our health?

Choose your coffee wisely!

Choose your coffee wisely!

I’m sure you’ve heard arguments that promote and demote the regular consumption of coffee. The question is, which argument is most convincing?

As a regular coffee drinker downtown, I think it’s essential to really understand how to drink coffee in a healthy way — if that’s even possible. Don’t worry, you’ll know by the end of this post.

According to the Mayo Clinic, drinking coffee can help reduce the risk of many illnesses, including but not limited to Parkinson’s disease, liver disease, Type 2 diabetes, liver cancer and even depression.

Harvard’s School of Public Health reports that coffee really doesn’t have any detrimental effects on health, and for people who don’t have high blood pressure or high blood sugar, coffee could actually be a healthy drink option.

But hold on! One thing you must keep in mind when reading the statistics behind how coffee is healthy for you is that when the researcher mentions “coffee,” oftentimes it’s black coffee with no milk and no sugar. Let’s be honest, now, how many of us really drink our daily coffee like this?

Probably not the majority of us.

On the flip side, the Mayo Clinic also reports that drinking high volumes of “unfiltered” coffee (boiled or espresso) can increase unhealthy levels of cholesterol and ultimately induce heart disease.

After referring to the Harvard School of Public Health’s analysis on coffee, it’s apparent that whether your coffee intake is healthy is highly dependent on the individual. Some people can drink six cups of coffee and be just fine. Others might do the same and begin to feel jittery or uneasy. It’s a highly variable substance, because everyone reacts differently to caffeine based on their medical history.

So as you can see, in order to drink coffee the “healthy” way, you have to walk a thin line. But don’t worry — this line isn’t as thin as you think.

Honestly, the most unhealthy way you can drink coffee is to get a drink filled with tons of syrup and fattening milk. Yes, once in a while, splurge! But on your daily grind, try to order a house coffee blend with nonfat milk and a moderate amount of sugar.

Not only will you be doing your heart and liver a favor, you’ll be doing your waistline a favor too.

Read more about what the Mayo Clinic has to say about coffee consumption here.

Read more about what Harvard’s School of Public Health has to say here.

Stay healthy, my friends! Cheers to healthy coffee consumption!

Downtown Dining Decisions

It’s finally April, and New Year’s resolutions of healthier eating have fallen off and been replaced with a greater desire to go out for a delicious meal delivered right to your table. Those vows of “bringing your lunch to school” no longer seem realistic, especially when stopping somewhere near ASU’s Downtown campus is so quick.

Bowl of Greens is a great option!

Bowl of Greens is a great option!

Going out to eat near campus doesn’t have to put an end to your resolution of eating healthier. Most restaurants Downtown include just-as-good, healthy options in addition to some of the less nutritious items on the menu.

Here are some students’ favorite spots downtown and their healthier options:

Corner Bakery Cafe – Arizona Center
Many students on the Downtown campus rave about Corner Bakery, and with good reason! Their fresh, comforting food and relaxed environment make it ideal for studying or hanging out with friends. A few food swaps also make it a healthy choice.

  • Egg whites: There are lots of breakfast scramblers and sandwiches that can be high in calories. Asking for only egg whites instead of the whole egg can drop the calorie count by almost 200 on some dishes! It hardly tastes different and still offers plenty of protein and flavor.
  • Combos: Staying healthy is all about portion control. Corner Bakery makes that easy by offering sandwich and salad combos. You can still have half of a sandwich or soup, but you can also pair it with a low-calorie salad. My favorite is the California Grille Panini paired with a garden salad with balsamic vinaigrette, which is a filling 410 calories.
  • Pastries: If you can’t walk by their pastries without giving in, indulge in the oatmeal raisin cookie — the healthiest option — and enjoy it!

Jimmy John’s – CityScape
Sub sandwiches delivered right to your door might be the greatest invention of all time, especially with Jimmy John’s’ unbelievable French bread (which has fewer calories than their seven-grain wheat bread option — even though the wheat sounds healthier). It’s my go-to for when I’m looking for something super quick and just have that craving that can only be satisfied by Jimmy John’s.

  • Turkey Tom: I’ve tried a few other sandwiches, but I always go back to the classic Turkey Tom. Order it with extra veggies and light mayo, and you have yourself a well-rounded, healthy meal!
  • Unwich: If you’re really trying to cut carbs or gluten, try the unwich –sandwich fillings in a lettuce wrap. I recommend ordering extra meat so you’re not sacrificing too much flavor or filling protein.

Matt’s Big Breakfast – 825 N. First St.
Matt’s Big Breakfast is classic breakfast served in a classic diner and perfect for a weekend brunch!

  • Classic Breakfast: It can be hard to sacrifice a plate of waffles for a bowl of fruit, so I encourage you to get both. Just fill up a little on the fruit first, then dig into the less-healthy dish. Still enjoy it … just take some home for tomorrow’s breakfast.
  • Oats: Oatmeal is one of those healthy carbs that is necessary for optimal health and should be integrated into your diet. Ask for the toppings, such as milk, raisins and brown sugar, on the side and sweeten it as you go, so you don’t overdo it and save some calories. Still feel like you’re missing out? Get a side of bacon, hash browns or eggs so you still get a taste of the good stuff.

Starbucks Coffee – Taylor Place
Starbucks always has picturesque pastries on display that can easily lure a hungry college student in. If you look just below the sugary treats, you’ll see many delicious options that have significantly more nutritional value.

  • Protein Bistro Box: It’s the perfect combination of protein, healthy carbs and healthy fats in a portable box. There is plenty of flavor and it will keep you full for hours.
  • Evolution Products: Evolution, the relatively new brand that Starbucks is carrying, has some great granola bars, drinks and bags of nuts that fit perfectly in a “clean” eating plan.
  • Fruit: If there isn’t fresh fruit, there are dried fruit and bottled smoothies that offer a wide range of fruits to sip on. It’s still sweet, but not 500 calories per treat like the iced lemon pound cake is.

Bowl Of Greens – Walter Cronkite Building
Almost any choice you make at Bowl Of Greens will be healthier than other restaurants. There are a few choices that provide the most nutrition and plenty of flavor.

  • Vinaigrette: With whichever salad you create or order, get a vinaigrette dressing. It will likely be olive oil-based, which provides all of the omega-3 fatty acids that our bodies need. It helps us absorb all the other nutrients being consumed from the salad.
  • Protein: If you’re building your own salad, make sure you include beans in the four included toppings. If you’re willing to pay a little extra for premium toppings, get seeds/nuts, meat or a hard-boiled egg. Protein helps keep you full so you’re not snacking an hour later.

With smart choices and smarter eating, you can cut down on calories and still enjoy a great meal out!

Are Sub Sandwiches Really as Healthy as They’re Made Out to Be?

We all saw and heard the ads for the oh-so-witty “JanuANY” special Subway chains around the country were advocating as soon as the first light on New Year’s Day was visible. So, with all the hype about any regular footlong now being a $5 footlong, I became curious.

Fill your plate tastefully: avoid sub sandwiches that could compromise your intentions of eating healthy.

Fill your plate tastefully: avoid sub sandwiches that could compromise your intentions of eating healthy.

Subway is widely considered the “healthiest” fast food option to many people. But, exactly how healthy is a sub sandwich?

I mean, don’t meatball marinara and Philly cheesesteak subs make you question exactly how healthy a sub can be when it’s drizzled in cheese or loaded with potentially fattening meatballs?

It definitely got me questioning the health behind sub sandwiches. So, naturally, like any other 20-year-old, I consulted the internet.

According to NY Daily News, a $5 footlong at Subway might, in fact, be less healthy than a McDonald’s Big Mac. After citing a fascinating UCLA study, they uncovered some very intriguing realizations.

They found, for instance, that Subway’s Big Philly Cheesesteak sub sandwich weighs in at a whopping 1,000 calories and has nearly 2,560 grams of sodium. This turns out to be double that of the esteemed McDonald’s Big Mac, which clocks in at 550 calories with 970 grams of sodium.

What does this mean for that avid sub sandwich eater? Well, don’t freak out right away.

After consulting the NY Daily News article and other sources, I came to the realization that there is a way to avoid consuming all these excess calories that are masked behind a brand that people automatically equate with health.

It’s the added cheeses, excessively oily meats and calorie-rich sauces that really make the sub sandwich you think is a healthy choice an unhealthy one instead.

So, when you’re at Subway, or any other sub sandwich shop for that matter, be conscious of what sort of sub you are getting! Don’t overload on three different types of cheeses, salami and ranch dressing. Remember, moderation is key.

Your best bet is to customize your sub by adding a single slice of cheese of your choice, any cold-cut meat and a lighter dressing.

Wherever you are, whether it’s at downtown Phoenix’s beloved Carly’s or just the Subway on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus, be sure to be cognizant of what type of sub you’re consuming. Don’t fall victim to a great price and a healthy logo!

Stay healthy, my friends!

Late-Night Snacking 101

Hello, hello! Devilishly Healthy is back and is off to a running start! Welcome back, readers. To be honest, I may or may not have gone completely overboard this winter break. Okay, I definitely went overboard. With food, family and so much fun, it was hard to stay on track healthwise. But hey, it’s a new year and now is my chance and your chance to revamp your dietary habits!

Fruit is truly the best option for those late night munchies!

Fruit is truly the best option for those late-night munchies!

This week’s topic is going to focus on late-night snacking. We’re now at that point in the semester where classes have definitely started to pick up, and at this breaking point, our bodies might not have adjusted to the workload. So, we may start to overcompensate when it comes to our nutritional needs.

So can we speak in layman’s terms now?

Do you find that after a long day of classes and a mediocre dinner at 6 p.m., that by 10 p.m. or later your stomach is grumbling? If your answer is yes, good news! You’re not alone.

The bottom line is, sometimes we don’t get the most out of dinner, or we feel inclined to eat a few hours after dinner for no legitimate reason at all. That’s okay — as long as you regulate what you consume after about 6 p.m.

The metabolism is a fascinating thing. It is known that metabolic processes are linked to the time of day you consume food. So what does this mean for you?

Generally speaking, unless you’re some metabolic anomaly, the metabolism functions at its best during the day and slows during the night. So, it’s ideal to eat your biggest meals during the day time and then eat smaller portions as the day goes on.

But what happens when you’re starving at 11 p.m.?

I interviewed ASU sophomore Ashley Garcia, a nutrition major with a concentration in dietetics. She said, while eating late isn’t ideal — the reality is that it does happen.

So we should all be prepared for this!

Garcia said that eating heavy foods with lots of fats and oils are generally not the best options for a midnight snack. But she did say that eating fruits and even dark chocolate is a good option for that late night fix.

Being a college student in the lovely downtown Phoenix, where can you get some good tasting, healthy late-night snacks?

For one thing, Devil’s Greens is a great option. It has the fruit bar and a yogurt bar that can satisfy the sweetness craving while maintaining decent calorie intake.

Another option is to buy some fruit and keep it. I would highly recommend getting your fruit from the Phoenix Public Market. It’s always a good feeling to know you’re shopping locally and eating fruit that isn’t covered in pesticides.

Well, friends, the motto of this week is: when in doubt, eat fruit! When you’re up late studying and you need a quick pick-me-up, whip out a healthy snack that’s fiber-rich. But also, remember that portions are important too!

Stay healthy, my friends!

10 Healthy Holiday Treats

There’s a certain chill in the air, stores are marketing their sales like crazy and Christmas music is playing almost everywhere you go — the holiday season is here!

Traditional holiday treats are so tempting!

Traditional holiday treats are so tempting!

During this festive time, families gather and celebrate the bonds they have. It’s truly a beautiful time. But, often during this time of year, one simple yet vital thing tends to go by the wayside: your health.

The champagne is flowing and buttered ham is roasting on the spit and unhealthy habits are waiting for the opportunity to hijack your fitness progress or push back your future fitness goals.

Don’t let this time of year compromise your health! Make these 10 holiday treats and cut back on your holiday splurging!

  1. Whole-wheat sugar cookies: With less than 300 calories per serving, whole wheat flour can take you a long way with sugar cookies! So when you bake Santa’s cookies, you’ll be doing him a huge favor by making this healthier alternative.
  2. Chocolate-covered strawberries: 57 calories? Who knew? Get that fruit serving in while on break and indulge a little. After all, 57 calories is nothing — but be careful to not have to many of these delectable delights!
  3. Avocado chocolate mousse: This might sound repulsive, but I promise, it’s not. Using avocado as the main ingredient in mousse is one of the most ingenious ideas out there. You can’t taste the avocado replacing the chocolate mousse filling, and it’s so much healthier than regular chocolate mousse.
  4. Oatmeal toffee cookies: Adding oatmeal to almost anything makes it a lot more nutritionally friendly to your body, and especially when it comes to toffee cookies. Throw a handful of oats into your cookie dough, savor the amazing taste and relish in the fact that you’re actually being healthier this holiday season.
  5. Sugared cranberries: Avoid those other confections that are loaded with everything unhealthy. Try a sugared cranberry instead! Yes, it’s sugared, so it’s not the healthiest possible option, but it’s certainly better than the piece of candy you might be tempted to eat.
  6. Cardamom-coconut creme caramel: Creme caramel is a holiday classic for my family, and the way that it’s prepared is anything but healthy! Try adding cardamom and substituting coconut milk for the cream, and you have a concoction that is extremely unique and way healthier than the traditional recipe.
  7. Dark-chocolate orange cake: A derivative of chocolate cake will probably be at every Christmas party you attend. If you host a party or just feel inclined to eat chocolate cake one day, try making a dark-chocolate orange cake. Dark chocolate is much healthier than milk chocolate, and fresh oranges to top the cake add great flavor and nutritional value.
  8. Gingerbread pumpkin bars: Gingerbread is a traditional holiday food for many families. While it’s not the worst thing in the world for you, there are ways to make it a healthier indulgence. Try mixing gluten-free gingerbread with bits of pumpkin! It’s an interesting taste that will have you coming back for more — and at little cost to your waistline.
  9. Gingered cranberry-pear cobbler: Cobblers are a must; everyone knows this. Try marinating cranberries and pears in ginger puree and making cobbler out of it. It’s divine. Also, it’s a lot better for you than a traditional cobbler, because ginger extract is actually full of many nutrients the body uses.
  10. Light eggnog: You can make your own eggnog with reduced-fat milk to cut back on a slew of calories traditional mixes contain. Just mix low-fat milk, eggs, nutmeg, vanilla and cinnamon, then boil. Serve over ice. Adding alcohol to the mixture just increases the calorie count without adding any nutritional benefit, so avoid it.

As you can see, these 10 items are fairly easy to make, and each of them has a unique flair. Be that person who has the “cool” food. Be unique and be conscious of what you’re eating.

Well, friends, I wish you an absolutely delightful holiday season, no matter what you celebrate. Have a joyous time this last month of 2013, and make good choices!

Stay healthy!

How to Stay Moderately Healthy this Thanksgivukkah

A week from today, we will experience something extremely rare — the intersection of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah!

Budget your calorie intake this Thanksgiving!

Budget your calorie intake this Thanksgiving!

So how are you celebrating this holiday anomaly?

Whether you’re having a romantic, candlelit Thanksgiving for two or you’re enjoying the company of your jubilant extended family, one thing’s for sure — this Thanksgiving has to be celebrated on epic proportions.

And no, I don’t mean pig out. This Thanksgiving, I challenge you to control your portions and eat smartly.

This doesn’t mean miss out on your holiday favorites! It just means that you’ll make a few adjustments that shouldn’t affect your overall Thanksgivukkah experience.

Follow these eight steps for a healthier Thanksgivukkah celebration:

  1. Practice portion control: Even though Thanksgiving only comes around once a year, and you might have this raging urge to just eat and eat and eat some more, don’t. Take a little bit of everything at the Thanksgiving buffet, and eat with moderation.
  2. Use low-calorie substitutes: If you’re making any sort of sweet delight this Thanksgiving, cut back on a lot of calories by using a sugar substitute or honey! Any way you can cut back is beneficial to your health, even if it’s as simple as a sugar substitute.
  3. Eat a meal early: Most people think that if they starve themselves all day and “save” up for the big Thanksgiving meal, they will somehow be budgeting calories in an efficient way. This couldn’t be more false! Make sure to eat a meal before the huge feast. That way, you won’t binge later. High-fiber meals in the morning are highly recommended.
  4. Avoid eating seconds: Yes, I know this one may be hard, but try your hardest! Even though everything is going to taste so good, you don’t need more than one serving in one sitting.
  5. Go for the veggie options: Be sure to eat your veggies! Whether they’re boiled, steamed, baked or fresh, eating veggies as part of your Thanksgiving meal will only make your diet that much more balanced.
  6. Try to stick to water as your primary drink: Thanksgiving is one of the many holidays with delicious drinks everywhere, and whether it’s an aged wine or a nice glass of sparkling apple cider, be careful not to drink too many calorie-filled drinks. In fact, if you can stick to water as your main drink, you will be even healthier in the long run. Think of this as calorie budgeting.
  7. Savor your food: Really take your time when chewing. Research has shown that when you chew slower, your digestive processes work better. So be sure to slow down and really enjoy what you’re eating.
  8. Stay away from turkey skin: Turkey skin is a huge no-no! While it may taste delicious to some, it is extremely high in fat. Instead, you should eat the white meat of the turkey.

Ultimately, it’s about sacrificing a little in order to be your healthiest this Thanksgiving. Making a few of these small changes will benefit you immensely! So try them. Give them a shot and notice how much better you’ll feel.

Well folks, now you know how to have a healthy, happy Thanksgivukkah! Follow these eight steps and you won’t feel bad when you’re trying on that new pair of jeans on Black Friday!

Happy Thanksgivukkah – make the most of this special time!

Healthy Ways to Snack When You’re Always on the Run

When life is a whirlwind of academics, jobs, relationships, gym memberships and other commitments reaching top speeds and giving you few to no breaks, it can become very difficult to make healthy choices.

Avoid these at all costs!

Avoid these at all costs!

Oftentimes, this is where bad eating habits develop, simply because with everything else going on in your life, eating just isn’t a priority. It becomes more of a chore, especially on weekdays when going out with your friends might not be an option.

This is where many of us fall victim to unhealthy but oh-so-enticing snacking. We get so caught up in our daily routine that a bag of Cheetos or quick soda is simply a means to an end.

But it has to stop. Our bodies deserve better fueling, and it’s up to us to make that happen! So, instead of grabbing a few Oreos on the way out, grab a granola bar!

Invest in your health by choosing snacks off the following list. They’re quick, satisfying and healthy.

Granola bars: Full of fiber and with a little kick of sugar, granola bars can keep you going for hours. I highly recommend Fiber One bars – they make a great in-between snack or quick breakfast.

Carrots: You’d be surprised how full you can get by eating carrots with any sort of dip or just plain. They are a great on-the-go snack! Just pack a few in a baggie and you’ll be good until your next meal.

Almonds: Almonds are fantastic. They help keep you filled up and they are also a very good filler between meals. They also have a lot of folic acid in them and help promote digestion.

Grapefruit: Grapefruit is known to help you manage appetite and lower insulin levels, making it an ideal diet snack. Sprinkle a little brown sugar on your grapefruit and enjoy!

Avocado: Also known as a “super food,” avocado benefits your health in countless ways. Whether you make a quick dip or just eat it plain, avocado is one of the best veggies you can eat when you’re in a bind.

Yogurt: Full of probiotics and fiber, yogurt is a very good on-the-go snack. Top your yogurt with granola or fresh fruit and you should be full for a couple hours at least.

Kale chips: We all get urges to eat junk food. Outsmart your urge to munch on something crunchy by eating kale chips! Top them with a little sea salt, and you will satisfy your chip craving and maintain your health.

Hard-boiled eggs: With only 70 calories, hard-boiled eggs are a great option. They are protein-rich and promote eye health.

Milk: Believe it or not, milk fills you up. It’s a good source of protein and Vitamin D. It can also be a really good post-workout drink.

Whole-wheat cereal: Cereal is one of the best snacks you can eat between meals, as long as it’s whole-wheat and low in sugar content.

Smoothies: Sometimes, all you need is a properly blended smoothie to hold you over until your next meal. Blend up some kale, blueberries and almond milk on your way out!

The list goes on and on; these are just a few healthy options that can change the way you snack forever.

But you have to make the first step. Don’t be lazy and grab the first packaged thing that comes within your reach!

Putting an extra five minutes into making a nutritious snack is definitely worth it in the long run. Do yourself a favor and put more time and thought into your daily snacking.

Stay healthy, my friends!

How to Combat Allergy Symptoms without Medication

Allergies are never a convenient addition to your daily activities. Especially not now, when school and work are picking up right before the holiday season arrives! Severe allergies sometimes force us to resort to various drugs and steroids to suppress annoying sniffles, coughs, sneezes and more.

Go natural!

Go natural!

However, it doesn’t always have to be like this.

There are other ways to treat your allergy symptoms without getting loaded up on prescription drugs. And no — these aren’t just old wives’ tales! They are legitimate ways to treat your allergy symptoms without the harsh chemicals found in prescription drugs.

  1. Probiotics: The probiotics found in yogurt and other dairy products are beneficial to your body in more than one way. Not only do they strengthen your immune system against foreign invaders, they also help regulate digestive processes.
  2. Cardamom: Despite its bitter taste, it’s a keeper! Cardamom has been used over the centuries to clear sinuses, and boy, does it work. Grinding up some cardamom and tossing it on top of your tea is sure to clear up a stuffy nose and prevent future congestion.
  3. Honey: Buy local honey! Local honey arms your immune system with the tools it needs to combat allergens that are around you. It’s one of the few ways to prevent allergies as a whole. It’s definitely worth buying!
  4. Herbal teas: Nothing soothes a throat sore from coughing and nasal drip quite like a hot, steamy cup of herbal tea. Green tea, black tea, red tea — you name it! Herbal teas are full of antioxidants and will calm your allergy symptoms within seconds upon consumption.
  5. Cherry juice: Quirky, I know! But it’s true. Cherry juice has actually been shown to decrease allergy symptoms because it is so tart. Much like cardamom, cherry juice opens sinuses and clears your throat, making breathing much easier.
  6. Assorted nuts: A mixture of a variety of nuts has shown to strengthen the body’s reaction to allergens. Aside from being filled with lots of beneficial proteins and fiber, nuts can really help prevent certain allergy symptoms.

Well, there you have it! Avoid going to the pharmacy this winter unless you’ve tried these six options. Unless you’re at risk for pneumonia or bronchitis because of worsening allergy symptoms, these home remedies should help you through the rough patches you may experience this winter!

Make sure you’re ready for the holiday season by frequenting the six options above! Even if you don’t have allergy symptoms, these six options will fortify your immune system and prevent any pathogen from ruining your plans!

Stay healthy, my friends!

10 Ways to Stay Healthy this Halloween

It’s almost Halloween! Have you thought about how you’re going to keep those candy corn calories off?

Make moderation key this Halloween.

Make moderation key this Halloween.

If not, you need to follow these 10 steps so you can successfully stay healthy this Halloween!

Every Halloween, thousands upon thousands of people fall prey to synthetic fillers and high-fructose corn syrup as they enjoy their Halloween candy. They fail to realize how much damage certain Halloween candies can do!

Don’t let Halloween hijack your fitness progress or make future fitness goals even harder to achieve. Follow these 10 steps, and you’ll be golden.

10 Ways to Stay Healthy this Halloween:

  1. Eat three distinct meals. Eating distinct meals, especially dinner before trick-or-treating or attending a party, will help you refrain from binge-eating items that have less nutritional value than a balanced meal.
  2. Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated will not only help you stay alert this Halloween, but it will also fill you up to an extent.
  3. Provide healthier treats if distributing snacks to the trick-or-treaters. They say it takes a village to raise a child — they’re not lying! It starts with you.
  4. If you’re throwing a party, have a few veggie trays as snacking options. You’ll be surprised how far munching on veggies instead of chips or other salt-filled munchies  will take you.
  5. Serve low-calorie drinks at Halloween parties. Everyone knows there will be drinks at a Halloween party. Do yourself a favor and indulge in lower-calorie options — and drink with moderation.
  6. If you’re going to eat a chocolate Halloween treat, eat dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate.  Dark chocolate is actually full of antioxidants, unlike its lighter counterpart.
  7. Buy Halloween candy at the last minute. That way, you aren’t tempted to eat it before distributing it that night. It’s also cheaper when bought closer to Halloween.
  8. If you’re trick-or-treating, take the long route around the neighborhood to get in a few extra strides and ultimately more exercise for a healthy heart and fit body.
  9. Set boundaries as to how many candies you or your loved ones can eat a day. Fun-size candy is always a good option!
  10. Never, ever fill up a whole pillowcase with candy. That’s just asking for trouble.

With these 10 steps in mind, you’re sure to have an amazing Halloween your body won’t regret partaking in!

Get out there, be active, make good choices and have a great Halloween!

A Farmers Market: The Ultimate Organic Pharmacy

When I think about farmers markets, I envision the bustling, happy experience I had when I was in small-town Washington.

Flowers from farmer's markets are among the best...just look at these peonies!

Flowers from farmers markets are among the best… just look at these peonies!

Orange leaves were scattered across the semipaved dirt ground as families went from table to table buying anything from arugula to artwork. Boy, was it a surreal experience.

I relive this pleasant experience every time I’m at farmers markets around the downtown Phoenix area.

I see the same vision, only with slight modifications. I see the vibrant downtown community composed of ASU students, young professionals and families engrossed in the urban lifestyle, all intermingling in the name of consumerism — but there’s something different about this consumerism.

Investing in items from farmers markets is very different from investing in items from your average grocery store. Not only do you buy veggies and other organic products that are naturally grown without the perils of preservatives, you also nurture your community and your neighbors by supporting them financially.

In the downtown Phoenix area, the Phoenix Public Market provides the most accessible farmers market for students and has quite a few key items that could enhance your health greatly.

Here’s a list of healthy items you can find at the Phoenix Public Market farmers market:

  1.  Free-Range Eggs: Eggs produced from chickens that are allowed to roam have less fat and cholesterol than the average egg and also provide extra vitamin A, vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids.
  2. Local Honey: Honey produced from bees in your local area contains pollen specific to your area of residence, providing increased defense against seasonal allergens that could hijack your winter experience. Downtown Devil’s HERBan Explorer even did a feature on local honey you can find at the Public Market farmers market.
  3. Organic Produce: Studies have shown that organic fruits and vegetables contain more vitamin C, trace minerals and antioxidants than the average spread of produce. Also, less pesticides are used on these vegetables.
  4. Organic Dairy: Organic dairy is known to contain higher levels of vitamin E, beta-carotene, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and beneficial fats.

While investing in items from the farmers market can be slightly more expensive at times, it’s definitely worth it when it comes to the health benefits they provide. The most profound benefit you can reap from products produced and grown locally is the significant lack of extra chemicals and preservatives masking the produce in the grocery stores.

So get out there! Go to the local farmers markets around the Phoenix area. The Phoenix Public Market is a great place to start due to vicinity. But, definitely branch out! There’s much to be experienced at farmers markets, and they truly are an organic alternative to some of your pharmaceutical needs.