Settling Down on The West Coast

I recently moved across the country: from NYC to Northern California to be exact.  To say this was an extreme decision is an understatement.  Needless to say I had never done such a thing before, but I had a burning desire to be in a different locale and to explore a few things, primarily in the wellness arena, a bit deeper.  In order to create more space I needed to shed a few familiarities, one being the hustle and bustle of Manhattan.  NYC: I love you, you have seen me at my worst, and you have provided me with more strength than I could ever have asked for.  Now it is time for me to ditch the pavement and hit greener pastures (one can dream:).

It is a known thing that a move is one of the most stressful times one can go through.  I had mentally prepared for it as much as possible, but nothing takes the place of actually living through the stressors and unexpected trials that one is forced to experience during a move.  I won't use this article as a place to list out all of my worries (both former and present), but what I will do through my next few postings is try to bring some salvation to a huge focus in my life right now: eating healthy and saving time!

I have had all sorts of odd relationships with food and diet.  This past year I completed an online course at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN) that really shifted my way of thinking about food.  And as I begun to heal other aspects of my life, which I will dive in to down the road on A Healthy Shelf, I began to heal my body from the inside out.  A huge part of digesting the IIN course material for me this past year was by understanding the food I consumed and how it affected my body, both positively and negatively.

Fast forward to present day: once I started to settle in to my new apartment in a quiet town in Northern California, I knew that eating a well-balanced, whole food, non-processed, mostly vegan diet was going to be very important for me.  In order to keep up my mental strength through all of these changes, I had to give my body the right fuel.  But who has the TIME to go grocery shopping every other day!  Fresh produce is a huge component of well-balanced eating.  I have been finding myself at Costco one day, buying a bushel of sweet potatoes and a 2.5 lb bag of spinach (and yes I am over 1/2 way done with it!) , then Trader Joe's is the next stop, stocking up on some avocados, lemons, etc.  On some days, I'd stop at Costco AND TJ's one after another.  This cycle already seems to be endlessly repeating itself and it had only been two weeks of living it.  

I am averaging 1-2 hours of grocery (mostly produce) shopping every 3-4 days AT LEAST.  I just don't envision this being sustainable - from a time perspective.  Which brings me to my little experiment I am going to undertake over the next few weeks: finding the perfect produce delivery service in my area!

7 Reasons I Love Supporting Local Farms

I have always enjoyed the idea of CSA's (CSA stands for "Community Supported Agriculture") for a slew of reasons. There are several delivery services in the Bay Area that distribute boxes filled with local produce as well as several farms that produce CSA boxes. All of these companies operate on providing healthy, organic, and local produce to the community. Here are a few common goals between these services :

1. EAT LOCAL! Any individual household can get access to fresh produce directly from local farms.  Talk about supporting your local economy, too.  

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2. TIME SAVER!  I have found it so easy to buy in bulk my staple grains (quinoa, rice, pasta, oats) that live in the pantry.  They have an extremely long shelf life and I use them as a base for my meals over and over and over again.  But produce stays fresh in the fridge only for so long, therefore you can't really stock up for weeks at a time.  In a few days if I have not used the produce, the veggies just don't seem to have a crispness to them.  Granted I probably am not storing them the best, but I'm sure you can relate to the quick de-crisping of veggies in the fridge!  With a CSA, a fresh box of veggies has already been selected FOR you, and is either delivered to your front door or you can swing by a close by pick up point, grab the box, and jet on home.

3. SAVE MONEY! I cannot complain about this one.  CSAs always show great pricing as they source direct from the farm. I always try to highlight inexpensive purchases on this site (Check out my article on an inexpensive skincare line that is all-natural.)  

4.  EAT FRESH! Forget about any added chemicals; this stuff is as fresh and clean as you can get.

5. BE CREATIVE! Don't be scurred if you are not familiar with one of the items that you receive in your CSA box.  We are in the year 2018, and there is this thing called 'Google'.  It takes about 5 seconds if you type in the search bar 'what can I make with broccoli rabe', for example.  Or you can email ahealthyshelf@gmail.com and I can help you out.  OR, when in doubt, slice the unknown vegetable and chop it up, turn your stove on medium, heat a tbsp of oil, add the veggies, salt and pepper, and sauté for 10-15 minutes, or until you see a little wilting going on.  It'll be so sweet!

6. DIVERSIFY YOUR DIET!  This kind of goes along with #5.  And some of you may not think that you should care, or that you have better things to worry about.  But let me tell you, the human body is a pretty miraculous thing - a thing that will operate at its prime if it is given the correct vitamins and minerals.  Those vitamins and minerals are found in fresh, local, organic produce.  It truly is as simple as that to build a well rounded 'you'!

7.  CONVENIENCE!  Last but not least: These boxes are either delivered to your door, or can be picked up from a local spot on certain days and times during the week.  I found Local Harvest, Yelp, or a Google search as great places to start to see which services are available in your area.  If you are out of town for a week, or simply want to press pause on the influx of produce, many deliveries allow you to do just that. 

My Project

This is really all about convenience, and about receiving some of the freshest, most nutrient dense eats available in my local area.

So with all of that said, I am going to choose 10 different produce delivery services in Northern California and the Bay Area.  

I will order one box per week.

I will show you the unboxing.

I will show you the produce.

I will cook with it and share my recipes as much as possible - I will most definitely include a lot of photos.

I will share my feedback.

This is all in search to find the perfect produce delivery service that Northern California and the Bay Area has to offer.

And of course, to save some time!

 

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