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Wiser Living
Finding a natural solution

Take a Moment to Get Calm

Photo by Unsplash/Madison_lavern

The summer issue of Mother Earth Living is about learning to love the skin you’re in.  This can be interpreted many different ways from best, natural facials to accepting who you are right now, to various ways to practice self-love. Our current health crisis is stressful and the human immune system is at its best when the whole person feels good.  Mary Kathleen Rose, a massage therapist who writes in the next issue, shared the following relaxation technique with me so that I could pass it along to our readers.  It’s easy, and will certainly help take your focus off the news and place it on your pulse and your breath. I hope that the calm that results gives you, and your immune system, a small boost today.

—Jean Denney, Editor 

A Quick Breathing Exercises for Health and Relaxation

If you catch yourself in the middle of a stressful thought, notice that you are not taking full breaths, or if you realize you’re feeling overwhelmed, it might be time to take a break. While meditation is great for stress relief, we may not be able to do so when in the middle of change or even crisis. What we can do is focus on our breathing, even if for a few minutes. Fortunately, a few moment is all it takes to find a little more calm.  This simple exercise allows you to focus on your heart rate, your pulse, and your breathing at the same time.  It will help coordinate and synchronize these two vital systems and help reduce stress and bring some relief. 

Breathing with Your Pulse

Sit comfortably in a chair or on a cushion on the floor, and close your eyes.

  1. Place the fingers of one hand along the radial pulse points of the opposite hand (at the wrist below the base of the thumb).
  2. Inhale to the count of 4 pulse beats, and then exhale to the count of 4 pulse beats.
  3. Continue to inhale and exhale with your pulse and enjoy the relaxation that comes with tuning into your body this way.

During this exercise, you can continue to hold the pulse points, or let go and continue to relax and notice your breathing. The pulse may change, or it may slow down in this process. Be aware that the pulse can be variable, weak, or pounding. Don’t be concerned about the character of the pulse, simply do the exercise as given and notice the pulse without judging or analyzing it.

Even a few minutes of this practice can calm your body and mind. This exercise is particularly helpful in allowing you to get in touch with what your body needs in the moment.

A Mindful Quarantine: Being vs. Doing

Photo by Pixabay/Mabel Amber

As the prospect of an extended COVID-19 quarantine becomes a reality, social media feeds are now awash with ways to stay busy during the coming months of ‘social distancing’.  Take a coding course, ‘Marie Kondo’ your home, learn to play the ukulele, complete that Advanced French course with Rosetta Stone—the list seems endless. Despite the variety of activities on offer, there is one clear message driving it all: don’t miss this opportunity to do more! 

Of course the anxiety about COVID-19 is real and while “to-do lists” can be a useful distraction, they can also create stress in already stressful time. Modern life is inextricably associated with being busy, and not being ‘busy’ is seen as a sign of failure. When life is measured in Instagram updates, the pressure to show everyone that you are doing more can be intense. 

The universe has hit the PAUSE button and yet the pressure is on to DO even more. 


My husband is from the west coast of Ireland and I remember distinctly something he said to me over 20 years ago. We were newly dating and after gathering for a meal with friends on a Saturday evening I causally asked: “What did you all do today?” His response was one of exasperation as the Americans in the group had been busy listing out all the sites they had seen and things they had done. “Why do you Americans feel you have to do something all the time?” 

It’s taken some time but I think I finally have an answer. 

There are many reasons why we fill our schedules with such missionary zeal; why we busy ourselves with Doing. Along with a sense of achievement, doing gives us a sense of control. Of course there is nothing wrong with activity per se, but its very nature is future centric and that takes us away from now — the moment in front of us. A life on constant activity, especially when there is always something else to do next, distances ourselves from the richness of the present moment. 

Like with most things in life, it’s about balance: being versus doing.

The coming weeks (or months!) of self-quarantine is an opportunity, an opportunity to be more present to how we live and to get to know ourselves at a deeper level. Focusing on being as much as doing can help us cultivate a greater sense of self and a deeper connection to the world around us. 


Many of us cling desperately to a life of doing because being in the present moment can be daunting. It can feel both empty and intimidating. The essence of being is difficult to describe bit ultimately it is about acknowledging what is without wanting or trying to change it. It’s only when we extricate ourselves from the ‘busy culture’ of doing that we can become aware of the fullness and intricacies of our own lives. We become aware of what is truly important to us. So how do you move from a constant state of doing to cultivating more being?

A first step involves being ready to stop and make time during the day. Clear your mind, feel your feet firmly on the ground, take a couple of deep breaths, and be mindful of the moment.  But ultimately the thing to ask yourself is how do you want to feel and what will help you feel this way? If you would like to feel calm, then adding more to your to-do list isn’t going to help you feel relaxed.   If you want to feel joy, embrace things that engender more happiness. Be joy. Be calm

A few months ago, I realized I was craving more quality time with my five-year-old twin boys. My initial reaction was to find more activities to do with them when I was free. It took someone else to point out that what I really wanted was to be with them in a more joyful and relaxed manner. The key question was how I wanted to be and feel in their company, yet I was focused on what I wanted to do. But how do you make this happen? The answer was staring me straight in the face once I thought about it.  If I want to presence joy with them, getting more sleep was step one.  This would help me be more rested and relaxed in their presence and channel joy. 

In the coming weeks, the pressure to do will be overwhelming for a lot of people. What if the quarantine ends and I haven’t mastered 12 new yoga poses? What is the schools reopen before I’ve taught the kids how to resist the urge to be swept along by a tide of bustle and commotion. 

This time is a gift — use it wisely. 

Currently based in Hong Kong and practicing acupuncture at The Round ClinicRoxanne Issurdatt  is a licensed acupuncturist with a Master’s degree in Oriental Medicine from the Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH). Along with running a successful acupucture practice while living in Washington, DC, she has also worked and taught Traditional Chinese Medicine  in Baltimore’s inner city and Mumbai’s Dharavi slums.  For more information about her and her work, please visit Tula Acupuncture.

10 Zero Waste New Years Resolutions

With the new year here, you might be wondering what resolutions you should adopt for the coming year. While I’m sure you’ve got a few personal goals you’ll be striving for this year, why not add a few zero waste resolutions to your list? Here are 10 easy zero waste New Years resolutions you should consider striving for. You don’t have to pursue each one, but consider adopting at least one or two!

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

1. Remember to bring your reusable bags

It may seem like a small ambition, but we all know what happens when we forget our reusable bags. Miles of plastic bags take their place. The worst part is most cashiers will put only a few items into one bag, which just leads to more plastic bags being used. Do the planet (and yourself) a favor by making it a goal to remember your reusable bags. A good way to do that is to stash a few in your purse, car, work bag or even attach a fold up reusable bag to your key chain. You can also remind yourself by saying “keys, wallet, phone, bags” before leaving your home to make sure you have all your important items on hand.

2. Hit up the farmers market more

The farmers market doesn’t just have to be a summer thing, or a once and a while visit. If you have one available to you year round, support it by going every weekend! Not only will you be supporting a small business, but you’ll also be lowering your carbon footprint. Think about it: Farmers markets support local farmers. Their food is grown locally and with few to no pesticides. It takes less time to get to you, which results in a smaller carbon footprint (meaning it doesn’t need to sit in traffic and spew out emissions for days upon days). Plus, it’s generally easier to shop plastic free at the farmers market. Most items will be sold without packaging. Just remember to bring your reusable totes and reusable produce bags! You can get a surplus of veggies and fruits at the market year round. Most markets also sell dairy, meat, and bread.

3. Start composting

If you aren’t already composting, make it a goal to do it this year. You don’t have to have an actual compost pile in order to compost either. I personally live in an apartment so I don’t have the room for that either. Instead, I have a stainless steel compost pail I put all my food scraps in. Then, come Saturday, I take it with me on my weekly farmers market visit and dump the food scraps off. They collect them there and turn them into fertile, rich compost for me. It’s very hands off and I highly recommend you do the same. See if your local farmers market has a food scrap drop off you can participate in. If not, you can try to find a local community garden that will take the food scraps off your hands. Share Waste is a great resource that can help you find someone near you who will be willing to take the scraps off your hands. This will divert so much waste from the landfill!

4. Reduce food waste

Being zero waste isn’t just thinking about plastic waste, after all. It’s reducing waste in all forms. Food waste is a big problem: 40% of food in America is wasted. Plus, that food waste just ends up in a landfill where it produces methane emissions that contribute to climate change. Not to mention the average American family loses $1500 to food waste every year – isn’t that insane? Join the fight against food waste and give my ebook, How to Reduce Food Waste, a read this year. You’ll become a food waste warrior in no time and save yourself hundreds of dollars!

5. Bring your own containers for restaurants and takeout

Sometimes, we can’t finish the food on our plate at a restaurant. And, sometimes we just want takeout. In both scenarios, our food tends to get put into plastic packaging. This is avoidable, if we just plan a bit ahead of time. If you’re going to a restaurant and know ahead of time, I recommend swiping a mason jar or a stainless steel tiffin. Even Tupperware from home will do. At the end of your meal, when you can’t finish anymore, you can just put everything into your container. For takeout, just call the place ahead of time and ask them if you can bring your own container. Just make sure the container you bring is clean. For certain food items, a mason jar or glassware works well. Multi-tiered tiffins are best for buffets or several different food items when you don’t want your food to touch.

6. Prepare more meals and snacks at home

It can be tempting to buy a snack or even a full meal while out and about, especially when you don’t bring anything from home. But this ultimately results in more waste. And, it tends to be unhealthy. Lets face it – the snacks in the vending machine aren’t designed to keep you healthy, they’re designed to make you impulse buy them. You can avoid this altogether by prepping ahead of time at home. Making your own lunch and packing a few snacks for yourself at home will save you money, be healthier, and reduce waste. Who could argue with that? You can pack your lunch in a tiffin or glassware. Double points if you also bring a reusable water bottle and reusable cutlery from home with you. Snacks can be packed in reusable cloth or silicone bags. Or, if it’s uncut fruit (like a whole apple or orange), just wrap it in a cloth napkin.

7. Make your own cleaning products

Conventional cleaning products are not only toxic, but also come in plastic packaging. Instead of relying on them, I suggest making the switch to DIY cleaning products if you haven’t already. They’re not only easy to make, but also great for your wallet too – you also won’t have to worry they put your health at risk (I’m looking at you, bleach). Personally, I love cleaning with orange peel vinegar cleaner. It’s an all-purpose spray that really does wonders for every room of the house.

8. Create a zero waste laundry routine

Speaking of cleaning, take it a step further and develop a zero waste laundry routine that works for you. I personally love a combination of soap nuts, DIY liquid detergent, wool dryer balls and a plastic-free stain remover stick. That always gets the job done and reduces the amount of waste my laundry routine makes.

9. Eat more plant based

The more plants you eat, the lower carbon footprint you’ll have. You don’t have to completely give up meat and dairy, but cutting back on them will certainly help. Plus, more often than not, meat and dairy tend to be wrapped in plastic anyway. You might as well forgo the waste, and the carbon footprint, these food items have altogether. If you must eat meat and dairy, try to get it organic, package free and local whenever possible.

10. Donate unwanted, but good quality items to thrift stores

Sometimes, when you’re cleaning and de-cluttering, you’ll notice some items you no longer want. Instead of just tossing them out, where they’ll go to a landfill, consider donating them to a local thrift store. As long as the items still functions and is in good quality, this will give it a second chance at life and you will reduce one more thing from entering the landfill. Look and see what your local thrift store accepts before you bring it there, of course. Generally speaking, glassware, plates, clothing, books, toys and even some furniture items will likely be accepted.

What are some of your zero waste New Years resolutions? Will you be attempting anything off this list?

Eco Tourism in Bend, Oregon

Bend lies in the center of Oregon, and if it keeps going at the current rate of evolution, the vibrant mountainous town could easily rival any outdoor urban destination in the world. But something extra special is going on with Bend. Yes, it’s growing, but rather than compromise the natural environment and local economy, they are using the opportunity to enhance it.

Guides educate visitors of the importance of conservation, whether hitting the lava fields on wheels with sustainable Outriders Northwest, or just canoeing the rivers. The food scene is hyper local or organic, even when it comes to beer and spirits. Not only is Bend becoming quite trendy, the destination is paving the way, along with other cities, for a world centered around eco-conscious travel.

LOGE Bend at night


Bend isn’t just tearing down buildings to erect towering hotels, old motels are being restored, into something truly eclectic and modern. Simultaneously, more luxurious options exist, that still center around the outdoor surroundings.

LOGE Bend is one example of this revitalization, as it used to be an outdated Travelodge. But with its optimal location right at a Deschutes National Forest trail head, and within bike-able distance to downtown, LOGE is an outdoor adventurists’ haven. Rooms feature bike and ski racks, hammocks hanging from the ceilings, and rustic touches. Guests can roast marshmallows around the outdoor fire pits, or grab a local kombucha and paleo muffin from the cafe.

Riverhouse on the Deschutes has had a steady presence over the years, and offers glimpses of the well preserved river. The onsite restaurant is local ingredient focused, serving coffee from nearby Thump roasters, and wholesome breakfast, lunch and dinner menus.

meal at riff
Riff Craft Food and Beverage


There’s a local circle that exists among the Bend food scene. Restaurants source ingredients from nearby farms, many of which are organic— you’ll notice sandwich shops source bread from neighboring businesses like Sparrow Bakery. Vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and allergen free choices aren’t hard to find amongst the vast selection of restaurants in the city.

Riff Craft Food and Beverage not only has amazingly interesting cold brew coffees with hops and other unique flavor profiles, they have a fresh menu with vegan, vegetarian and gluten free picks, like the taco bowl with cauliflower rice, avocado, and cream sauce, topped with local meats, or blackened tempeh. The Huevos Riff-cheros with coffee infused enchilada sauce is an incredible lacto-ovo vegetarian pick.

Angeline’s Bakery is actually in Sisters, Oregon, but is more than a worthy mention, as the adorable shop whips up decadent baked goodies like the gluten free “jam jam” and a mouthwatering selection of vegan cookies and breads.

flight tray at worthy brewing
Worthy Brewing


Bend’s water source, from a mountain top fed spring, is so pristine that it has attracted an impressive list of breweries and even distilleries. Ancient volcanic rock serves as a natural filter, leaving crafters with an optimal base for making crisp beer or smooth spirits. If you wanted to travel to the Willamette Valley, you’d get a taste of a complex wine scene.

Worthy Brewing is one of the dozens of breweries in the area, who has their very own hop varietal discovered through a university program. Some hops are also grown in an onsite garden, which go into a special batch of brew each year. To reduce the impact of production, Worthy takes advantage of Bend’s 300 plus days of sunshine by partially using thermal energy. Leftover grains and hop remnants are sent to local farms for feed or natural fertilizer. Topping off all the eco-conscious efforts made by the brewery, they source ingredients from the same farms, for their restaurant menu.

Crater Lake Spirits by Bendistillery can be sampled at either the actual distilling facility, or the downtown tasting room—you’ll notice drinks from other restaurants feature the brand. Lava rock filtered water is used to create smooth vodkas, gin and other specialty spirits that are soaked with regional ingredients to cultivate unique flavors. A special brew of coffee from Sisters Coffee Company is used to make the hazelnut espresso vodka. But the pepper vodka ingredients are imported from Mexico, and make for an unreal Bloody Mary.

cascade lake
Cascade Lake


Bend’s volcanic land has cultivated a diverse eco system, and striking terrain over many, many years. While ensuring habitat protection and conservation, the people here encourage exploration of the buttes, forests and rivers.

Sometimes diving in with a tour is the best way to get your feet wet. Wanderlust Tours works to educate its adventurers about the local environment, while leading the way in a variety of nature explorations, from kayaking the crystal clear Deschutes River, to canoeing the cascade lakes. Motors aren’t allowed on these waters, to prevent pollution. In the summer, nighttime canoe trips offer a special way to view the dark sky stars.

Worthy Brewing is also home to the “Hopservatory”, a huge tower adjoined to the brewery that houses a powerful telescope for viewing Bend’s dark sky. Guests can see star clusters, the most detailed glimpses of the moon, and sometimes planets, like Saturn.

Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway loops through the Deschutes Forest, and allows travelers to see a multitude of bright blue and green lakes.

Pilot Butte offers an overview of the city that has formed below. In the morning, people walk up the steep incline for an ultimate reveal of 360 degree views of volcanic mountains and landscape. If you can make it up there for sunrise, you’ll be treated to something truly magical.

When visiting, the opportunity to support the surrounding community, and a sustainable way of life, will be all around you. Visit Bend asks visitors to take a “leave no trace” pledge when visiting, to protect the special land that has been cultivated by the love and care of their own citizens, and past travelers—you could even win a free trip. From the places you choose to eat, the things you choose to do, to where you stay, one can practice an eco-conscious way of travel in beautiful Bend, Oregon.

Photos by Erick Wofford

The Fall Five: Still a Time For Living Green

The magic of fall…wood piles and wood smoke, golden days and chilly evenings, it’s my favorite time of year, and October my favorite month.  And if you asked me why, I’d say it’s a combination of things. The welcome relief of cooler temperatures after a long, hot summer, the brilliant colors of the leaves, the crackle of a cozy fire, hayrides in the country, pumpkin carving, evening shadows, and the harvest moon.

A friend recently told me she’s trying harder to live “green” but that she finds it difficult once spring and summer are over. Her concern made me think…how do I transition to “green” once the growing season is over? The farmers’ market on the town square is closed for the season and my garden has been put to bed for winter…what else can I do? I wanted to make sure I was doing more than composting and using canvas shopping bags over plastic.

My friend and I spent over an hour chatting, and it turns out we discovered most of us are doing more than we think we are. We brainstormed, made lists, and bounced ideas back and forth…here are what we called The Fall Five.

Photo Credit: Mary Murray

1. Use nature’s bounty when decorating for the season…

Pumpkins, gourds, leaves, bittersweet, pine cones, acorns, fall flowers, and broom corn make terrific centerpieces. And the best part is they’ll compost naturally…never ending up in a landfill.

Photo Credit: Mary Murray

2. Look for a winter farmers’ market…

We’re fortunate that our small town has a great shop off the square that offers a variety of foods grown and baked locally. Homemade pies, cookies, breads, honey, jams, root vegetables, lettuce, and winter squash are a few of the seasonal, local foods available now. Buying local not only supports the farms in the community, but when our food travels such a short distance, it's fresher and results in fewer emissions.

3. Forget the leaf blower…use a rake!

I understand…leaf blowers are convenient and quick, and when time is short, they do the job of corralling leaves faster than raking. However; raking leaves not only gives me a little workout, it’s a family affair.  Yes, sometimes those piles get jumped in, but that’s the fun of it! Leaves can then be spread on the garden and in flowerbeds to breakdown over winter, or they can be added to the compost pile.  For us, our goats enjoy most of our dry leaves (maple only, never oak or wild cherry…they’re toxic to goats). A treat they look forward to and we have plenty to share.

Photo Credit: Mary Murray

4. Walk, bike, hike!

Autumn is a magical time to get outside…walk and hike nearby trails or bike along the country roads. Invite a friend to come along, or unplug and enjoy some quiet time. No exhaust and no emissions. Bring along a picnic…there’s no better time to enjoy the glorious colors that are found in this perfect sweater weather.

5. Cozy candlelight…

When the days become shorter, I love the coziness of candlelight. I eagerly look for the seasonal scents on the market…pumpkin, maple, balsam, but looking for greener choices mean now I look for candles made from beeswax. Not only do I love the aroma, they burn cleanly, and I feel better knowing I’m supporting local beekeepers.

Yes, while it’s summer’s end, it’s the beginning of autumn’s glory. Enjoy every minute savoring the sights, sounds, and aromas that mark this new season…all while “staying green.”

6 Reasons You Should Follow Your Dreams and Start a Farm

Many people go through life the same way. It's expected that everyone goes to college, earns a degree and then works a full-time position. That may mean you've ended up in an office setting. And while the job pays your bills, you long for something more fulfilling.

You're not alone. Plenty of people feel the same way about their full-time jobs. The good news is that working in your current job doesn't have to be your future. You can always follow your dreams and start a farm.

Farming may seem like something you have to be born into to be successful at, but that's not true. With some time spent researching and learning, anyone can run a farm and make a living doing it.

Check out these six reasons you should follow your dreams and start a farm. The right motivation will help you finally put in your two weeks' notice at your current job, so you can finally start working on something you're passionate about.

lettuce, farming, produce

1. You Should Feel Fulfilled

No one enjoys working a job that leaves them feeling miserable. If you dread going to work on Sunday nights or feel like you can breathe again when you clock out every day, you're working one of those jobs.

Figuring out how to leave your job can be difficult. It may never feel like the right time to go when you have constant deadlines, projects and team members depending on you. Even if that's the case for you, you still have to think about yourself first. Your mental health is vital to maintain, and it can be badly damaged by working a job you hate.

Ohio State University recently published a study where they reviewed the job satisfaction of young adults and checked back in after the subjects turned 40. It turns out that working a job that made them miserable made the subjects more susceptible to mental health issues later on in life.

Starting your own farm will benefit your mental health just by making you happier on a daily basis.

2. Farming Helps Your Community

In urban areas, some people struggle to access food regularly. They may not be able to afford what's in the grocery store or even drive to town often because of the distance.

Starting your own farm helps your community in so many ways. Because the produce won't need to be shipped in, the overall price will be greatly reduced compared to what's available at your local grocery stores. More people will be able to afford it, too, resulting in more business for you.

You may also end up employing locals to help run your farm when it gets big enough. You'll single-handedly help reduce the unemployment rate in your area, which goes on to help those people and their families.

3. Farms Create Legacies

Many people work full-time jobs that they hate because they're determined to leave something for their kids. If they work their job long enough, they'll build up savings that can then go on to their kids when they pass.

Farms will help you do this too, plus pass on other benefits. A legacy farm will keep your children employed and making money, so they'll never have to worry about working a job that makes them miserable.

A farm can also be passed down to their kids, and the kids that follow after them. Running a successful farm creates a legacy that will help the generations that follow in your footsteps.

4. You'll Be Your Own Boss

For some people, the idea of being your own boss is much more appealing than working for someone else. There's power that comes with being in control of your schedule and your own paycheck.

If you want to feel reassured that you know what your future holds for you, being your own boss on your farm could be exactly what you're looking for.

Always remember that even when your farming experience begins, you don't have to be alone. Network with other farmers to have a support group for those moments when you encounter new challenges.

You also don't have to feel like you have to start your farm on your own, even if you're the one in charge. There are USDA rural loans that can help, which have already provided more than $20 billion to U.S. families since 2014.

5. Farming Helps the Environment

Farming may interest you because it can help you live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. When you're not buying products from farms that have used chemical fertilizers and gas to transport the food, you're minimizing your carbon footprint.

Starting your own farm helps the environment in so many ways. One of the biggest is by reducing the impact of the transportation sector. Electric power used to emit the most CO2 in the U.S. But in 2017, the transportation sector overpassed it with 1.9 billion tons of CO2.

Selling your produce locally will reduce how much food needs to be transported to your town, minimizing the town's CO2 footprint. You can also help the environment by avoiding chemical plant sprays and rotating yearly crops.

6. Farming Can Be Personalized

One of the most boring aspects of a traditional 9-5 job is that you're stuck doing the same routine every day. While minor elements of the job may change, you can still anticipate doing the same thing when you clock in.

When you run a farm, you can change things up if you ever get bored. There are plenty of different types of produce you can try to grow, as well as livestock you may want to take care of.

You can also participate in farmers' markets in different areas, so you can widen your customer base. Then there are the exciting changes that will come as your farm grows, like expanding your fields and upgrading your supplies.

Once you start your farm, there are so many benefits that you'll discover along the way. Helping your community, improving your mental health and protecting the environment are just a few of the things that will make your old full-time job a distant memory.

Summer Activities for the Healthiest You

Summer is here, which means the time has come for long, lazy days sipping umbrella drinks on the beach, right? Not necessarily, at least if you want to look stunning in a sleek new swimsuit. Fortunately, the warmer months mark the perfect time of year to take better care of your health.

From trying new fruits and veggies fresh in season to pumping your ordinary workouts up outdoors, summer offers a host of ways to care for you. Here are ten ways you can benefit your health and well being this summer while looking and feeling your best.

summer time splash

1. Workout on the Beach

If you normally walk or jog on sidewalks or in parks, taking your workout to the beach can rip the muscles of your thighs and calves while burning major calories. Sand makes your leg muscles work harder, as if you were riding the Zero Runner with the intensity amped all the way up to max resistance. Plus the fresh seaside air smells much better than the sweaty stench of the gym.

2. Or Take It to the Mountaintop

Hiking is excellent cardiovascular exercise, and when it comes to toning your glutes, few workouts compare. Start with easy strolls around local museum grounds and parks and work your way up to more vigorous mountain climbing. Include as much bouldering as you like to super strengthen your hamstrings and quads as well as build upper body strength.

3. Learn Some Self-Sustainability

If the zombie apocalypse hit and you fled civilization, how long could you subsist on food you grow yourself? If you're an experienced gardener, your answer may be, "indefinitely," but if not, why not take the summer to learn how to grow food in case of disaster?

Foods you grow at home are naturally organic as long as you avoid chemical fertilizers. Take your knowledge a step further by starting a compost bin for your veggie food scraps to help your garden grow strong year after year. Dining on the fruits of your labor will improve your health by upping your fresh veggie and vitamin intake.

4. And Discover Native Fauna

Beyond gardening, how well would you fare if you had to forage? Many people cannot identify the majority of plants indigenous to their local region. Correct this by participating in an educational program which teaches you about native habitats including which plants are edible, which prove medicinal, and which are best left alone.

5. Try a New Team Sport

Many of us played sports as children, but roughly 70 percent of us gave it up by the time we reached age 13. Sure, maybe you despised getting cracked in the shin by a field hockey stick, but you might enjoy a volleyball league at a local park. You'll get fit while having fun and meeting new friends.

6. Hit Up a New Gym Class

What better time than summer to try innovative classes such as Sky Yoga or HIIT? Trying new classes means working different muscles, which shatters fitness plateaus. Plus, you may find a new practice you can enjoy indoors at home when winter rolls around again.

7. Visit the Farmers Market

Farmers markets offer organic produce and other natural food goods for crazy low prices. Some, such as certain markets located in PA Dutch country also offer meats from humanely-raised animals for those who do not practice vegetarian or vegan eating plans.

Eating plants in a variety of colors boosts your overall health by insuring you consume the full range of phytonutrients available. Mix up a summer salad of leafy greens, cucumber, tomato, mushrooms, chives, carrots, purple cabbage and radishes for a rainbow salad with an irresistible crunch.

8. Make a Jar of Sun Tea

Sun tea is delicious and makes the perfect alternative to sugary or diet colas and sports drinks. Add lemon slices for added flavor and nutrition. If you find the brew not sweet enough for your taste, try adding a teaspoon or two of organic local honey which will help bust seasonal allergies and provide an antioxidant punch.

You can find a beekeeper near you to snag the goods and also learn about the craft of raising our buzzing buddies. Considering the importance of bees to fertilizing food crops, the more you can learn about how to protect these tiny creatures, the more you can do to help them.

9. Enjoy a Good Swim

Is any form of exercise more refreshing than a cool swim on a warm day? Swimming makes for the perfect summer workout as it leans and tones your muscles without requiring you to sweat yourself stinky. Plus, if you rock a sporty short 'do or have natural waves, you can hit the pool before work and let the warm air dry your tresses naturally.

If the crawl or backstroke isn't your thing, give an aqua aerobics class a try, especially if you suffer chronic pain such as from arthritis. The water supports most of your body weight, making movement less painful (and you can protect your hair with a swim cap).

10. And Yes, Take a Spa Day

Practicing good self care means more than eating right and taking 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days, so go ahead and book yourself a day of pampering. Treat yourself to a nice massage, pedicure and a new 'do.

Short on cash but long on love? Learn how to give your partner a proper massage on the grounds they will return the favor. Alternate weekends of pampering each other to grow your relationship through healing touch.

Make 2019 the Healthiest Summer Yet

When days are long and temperatures warm, getting in shape proves easier. Plus, you want to be able to show off your toned legs in shorts and rock your fave strappy sandals with sexy, pedicured toes. Follow the tips above and make the summer of 2019 your fittest season yet!

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