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09.08.22 | Sage Advice

Breakfast is Still the Most Important Meal of the Day

Yes, that old saying you’ve heard your whole life is correct: breakfast is still the most important meal of the day! Whether you’re an everyday breakfast eater or unfamiliar with the practice, September is the perfect month to pick up the habit and learn more about the importance of the meal during Better Breakfast Month. 

Besides filling your body with healthy nutrients, vitamins and other energy-rich minerals, studies have found that eating breakfast regularly comes with many benefits you would otherwise not have access to if you skipped the meal. One key benefit is the jumpstart of the body’s metabolism, encouraging it to burn calories throughout the day. While starting your morning off with a meal informs the body that there are calories to be burnt throughout the day, skipping the meal tells your body to conserve them. 

And while we all love bacon and eggs or syrup-layered pancakes, there are countless other nutrient-forward recipes you can incorporate into your morning diet to reap the most of the meal’s benefits. Yogurt parfaits and smoothies are a perfect way to fill up on fresh fruit and protein in the morning, and homemade energy bars make for powerful boosts on the go. However, there are still ways to bring added health to favorite meals; make your waffles using a whole-grain mixture or pair your eggs with a slice of toast and mashed avocado.

It makes sense; by filling your body with healthy foods first thing in the morning, you’re less inclined to reach for your favorite, less-healthy snacks later throughout the day! To learn more about Better Breakfast Month and discover recipes you can make on your own, visit here.

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05.05.22 | Sage Advice

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month

Every year, millions of people deal with the daily struggle of living with a mental illness. One in five adults in the United States live with a mental illness, and because they are so prevalent today, the spotlight is beginning to shift to explore just how society collectively can work together to setback the concerning numbers. 

Throughout May, we will be celebrating National Mental Health Awareness Month. First celebrated in 1949, Mental Health Awareness Month remains as significant as ever for a myriad of reasons. Mental illness often goes ignored unless tragedy strikes. This month-long observation helps shed a spotlight on the importance of caring for mental health and the weight of taking it just as seriously as any other disease. 

Not only is it critical to care for your own mental well-being, but also those around you. Regularly checking in on family, friends, and even neighbors can leave a profound impact on each of their lives. However, maintaining good mental health includes everything from your food choices and physical activity to your sleep schedule and stress management

By taking the initiative to care for yourself and your loved ones and being open to discussing mental health with others, the more normalized it will become, creating a healthier, more vibrant world. Although the stigma around mental health treatment still exists, thanks to celebrations like National Mental Health Awareness Month, more and more people are beginning to learn to be more open about their mental well-being. 

Because mental health is even less commonly discussed in adult communities, we encourage you to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month and help pilot the movement for a healthier, more vibrant world where mental well-being is at our forefront.

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12.14.21 | Sage Advice

Deliciously Healthy Winter Dishes For Any Gatherings

When winter comes around, no matter where you end up, it’s not difficult to find the sweet treats and savory meals that are traditionally associated with the season. However, for those inspired to maintain or start conscious eating habits, the winter can be a difficult time filled with temptation. Today, inspired by our vibrant living principles, we’re sharing a few deliciously healthy winter dishes that anyone can enjoy this winter. 

Sweet Potatoes

A favorite during this time of year, sweet potatoes are hard not to enjoy. While most people enjoy sweet potatoes even sweeter, baked with brown sugar and marshmallows, there are various methods to cook the vegetables that are just as enjoyable but much healthier. Like a standard potato, sweet potatoes can be served in a variety of ways. Baking them whole, mashing them, and even dicing them in a salad proves how versatile the vegetables can be. No matter how you cook them, we promise they won’t lose the sweetness that makes them so delectable in the first place. 

Winter Crudités

Who doesn’t love a mix of fresh vegetables? Crudités make the perfect winter dish for that reason. Not only can the appetizer appeal to virtually anyone, but it comes with a plethora of highly vitamin-packed vegetables that you can personally pick and choose. If you want to put a twist on the classic appetizer, make your own tasty dip to pair with the refreshing produce. 

Festive Fruit Salad

While it might seem out of season, a festive and healthy fruit salad is sure to excite taste buds in the winter. Similar to the crudités, not only is this dish healthy, but you can bring it and eat it anywhere and anytime. The nourishing food makes a perfect option for a morning snack or a late-night dessert. Along with the fruit, don’t be afraid to add in extra ingredients that bring even more flavor to the salad like mint, basil, lavender or even cayenne pepper for a little heat. 

Seasonal Squash

Another versatile food, squash is the perfect vegetable to substitute in and out of almost every traditional meal. Typically harvested in the fall, the nutrient-packed acorn squash, sugar pumpkins, spaghetti squash and butternut squash are available for cooking your favorite dishes year-round. Some seasonal favorites include butternut squash mac and cheese, soup and casserole, stuffed acorn squash and roasted spaghetti squash with kale

Even with the sweet temptations that surround us throughout the holiday season, healthy options are never too far out of reach. Whether you’re serving food at home for yourself or preparing a dish to bring to a gathering, there are various methods we can each take to continue practicing conscious eating habits and living vibrantly.

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10.14.21 | Sage Advice

Pass Your Time With Podcasts: What You Should Be Listening to Right Now

While autumn is a favorite time for many to pick up new books and revisit forgotten ones, podcasts also serve as a great choice for those looking for a mix of entertainment, education and reflection. Podcasts are usually free to listeners and extend knowledge on everything from how to cook healthier meals to entertaining history facts to current government and public policy news. Here are the top five podcasts Sage Collective believes you should be listening to right now: 

Ten Percent Happier

Hosted by Dan Harris, a famed journalist who suffered a panic attack live on national television, Ten Percent Happier explores how keeping your spirits up is imperative to aging well. After his traumatic on-air experience, Harris discovered meditation and now invites experts on the subject, scientists and celebrities to share their own epiphanies and experiences of success. Topics on the show vary from What to do About Eco-Anxiety to Joy Vs. Happiness. Anyone interested in hearing motivational stories about coming back from what seems like life’s lowest points will enjoy this outstanding selection. 

Into America

Into America is a podcast that sheds light on what it’s like to be Black in America. Trymain Lee, Pulitzer Prize and Emmy Winning journalist hosts the enlightening show. The MSNBC-produced podcast explores how public policy and government action, and the lack thereof, affects Black Americans’ lives. Previous topics include The Vaccine Gap, Justice for Black Farmers and The Black Firefighters of 9/11. Into America produces an in-depth look into the continued injustice that Black Americans endure and what it means to hold the country to its obligations.

History Unplugged

A show that celebrates obscure historical facts and events, History Unplugged uncovers and revisits lost stories that changed the world. History buffs and amateurs alike will enjoy the unique narratives, expert interviews and call-ins that make up the podcast. Previous episodes of the show include The Japanese-Americans Who Fought Nazis in Europe, Electric City: Ford and Edison’s Vision of Creating a Steampunk Utopia and An Alternate History of the Lincoln Assassination Plot. Chocked full of amusement, myth-busting and a range of wisdom, almost everyone is guaranteed to relish over History Unplugged.

Not Old – Better

Award-winning journalist Paul Vogelzang hosts the fascinating, high-energy podcast, Not Old – Better. The inspiring show reminds its audience weekly that it is never too late to pursue your passion and purpose in life. Vogelzang invites a mix of well-known entertainers, intriguing role models and ordinary people to discuss aging and how to overcome the stereotypes and stigma that come with it. Previous guests have included actress Octavia Spencer, Dr. Anthony Fauci and activist Khary Lazarre-White. Listeners and critics alike have praised the podcast as a perfect choice for middle-aged and older adults.

Homemade

Homemade is the paramount podcast for anyone looking to explore the food world. Foodies and amateur cooks alike will enjoy the entertainment show hosted by industry insider Sabrina Medora and author Martie Duncan. Each week the hosts invite celebrated cooks from all walks of life to discuss and share their memories behind their favorite recipes. Past topics on the show include growing ingredients at home, delicious vegan options, repurposing leftovers and rethinking prep time. Get your cooking gear ready, put on your apron and prepare to join the fun with Homemade

Whether you need something to listen to on your way to work or while doing chores around the house, don’t hesitate to press PLAY on any of these wonderful podcasts. You can listen to each of the podcasts on their websites, Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music or Google Podcasts. 

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10.07.21 | Sage Advice

October is Eat Better, Eat Together Month

October is National Eat Better, Eat Together Month, an annual tradition that celebrates a basic human need that many of us don’t think twice about — eating. While the history behind this special day is elusive, its aim is noble, and encourages us throughout the month to share meals with family and friends, and to promote healthier eating habits. 

When was the last time you ate a meal with your family? Today, it isn’t uncommon for families to take meals separately due to busy schedules and increasing commitments. However, making the time to share a meal with family and friends is something we should all make more of an effort to do. Breaking bread with others has long been associated with improved social skills and allows you to reconnect with the people you care about. Since engaging in social life and family life are part of our 9 Ways of Vibrant Living, we encourage you to make it a priority to carve time out of your month to plan a thoughtful meal (or two) with family, friends or for your community.

Dining together is also linked to better eating habits and reduced stress levels. Preparing meals with a number of food options encourages people to fill their plates with a mixture of nutritious eats. Previously, we explored a number of “superfoods” that can easily be incorporated into any meal, which you can read about here. For those concerned about time constraints, planning preparation for multiple meals is a perfect way to produce sizable servings of healthy meals without the added pressure of making them last minute. To discover more healthy eating tips to implement this month and throughout the future, explore one of our former blogs here

This month, Sage Collective encourages you to dedicate a few nights a week to eating better and eating together. Make a meal with your family, organize a community dinner or simply clean your cupboards of unhealthy snacks and replace them with smarter alternatives.

A family sits around a dinner table serving food to one another.
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09.02.21 | Sage Advice

6 “superfoods” you can incorporate to boost your health

As we continue to change with age, eating healthy can be a vital step in caring for your future self. Taking inspiration from our 9 Ways of Vibrant Living, which you can read more about here, we compiled a list of our favorite “superfoods” you can easily introduce into your diet. These highly nutritious items can be added to a larger meal or snack to boost your health and help to achieve a balanced diet.

Tea

Not only is tea low in calories, it is also a refreshing alternative to coffee, soda and other beverages. Notably high in antioxidants, tea can be a tool for weight management and has anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic (cancer-suppressing) benefits. One study suggested that the regular consumption of white and green teas resulted in a vast reduction of stress for most participants.

Avocados

Avocados are much more than the brunch staple or spread for toast that they’ve become over the last decade. As a great addition to a salad, guacamole or being eaten simply with a pinch of salt and pepper, avocados provide numerous health benefits. Rich in fiber and and healthy fats, avocados can be a great substitute for eggs, mayonnaise, sour cream and even butter.. 

Mushrooms

Mushrooms have been used in Eastern medicine and culture for millennia. They are known to increase the health of the immune system through their many therapeutic properties. After much scientific research, we are learning more about the dramatic positive effects mushrooms can have on preventing cancer, lowering blood pressure and overall increasing well-being. You can incorporate mushrooms into your diet by cooking them along with other vegetables, adding them to salads and pasta or simply frying them with healthy oil. Some of the most popular mushrooms you should look out for at the farmer’s market or grocery store are Portabella, Shiitake, Buttons, Oyster, Enoki and Lion’s Mane. 

Dark Leafy Greens & Cruciferous Vegetables

There is a wide consensus among nutritionists that vibrant green vegetables and those in the cabbage family offer some of the best nutrients and vitamins. These include arugula, kale, collard greens, kohlrabi, radishes and turnips. Most of these are full of zinc, calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin C, fiber, and what seems like a never-ending list of enriching minerals that can reduce the chances of heart disease and diabetes while lowering blood pressure and preventing some cancers. 

Salmon

Salmon is both tasty and full of healthy protein, B vitamins, potassium and omega-3 fatty acids. Because of its abundance of rich nutrients, salmon has more health benefits compared to other animal products and is known to help prevent heart disease and diabetes. One way you can enjoy this hearty fish is by baking it with lemons, herbs and a healthy (oil, avocado or sesame).  

Garlic

Garlic packs a punch in flavor and delivers huge nutritional benefits, too. Each clove of garlic contains magnesium, vitamin C and fiber, which are all essential to a balanced diet. Research indicates its effectiveness to support the immune system while reducing cholesterol and blood pressure. One study even found that garlic provides antibacterial and antiviral characteristics. 

However you incorporate these superfoods into your meal planning and cooking regimen, they offer delicious and easy ways to boost your overall health and well-being.

A dinner plate contains salmon, mushrooms, tomatoes, broccoli, and a mix of other vegetables and sauce.
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07.27.21 | Sage Advice

Celebrating Bronzeville’s historic Pearl’s Place

The feeling of an enriched shared experience is something we at Sage Collective advocate for ourselves as well as for the community around us. That’s why we love to highlight some of the most culturally rich and lively locations in the neighborhood near our future King Drive properties.

One of these locations is Pearl’s Place; a food staple that is often voted one of the best restaurants in the neighborhood — and has secured its place as one of the most beloved spots for large gatherings and some of the most delicious meals in Bronzeville. From being featured on Windy City Live with Carla Hall to being chosen as a top 5 soul food locations by Midwest Living, their feel-good food and welcoming atmosphere say it all. 

Having been owned and operated by community leaders and running successfully for more than 30 years, Pearl’s has become the heart of the neighborhood in many ways. It’s a perfect place to stop for their legendary buffet after visiting Bronzeville’s numerous art galleries, shopping at local boutiques or leaving a church service.

The dining environment has always been a huge part of Bronzeville’s culture and landscape — read more on that and Bronzeville’s history here — and Pearl’s is a big part of that tradition. Whether they are celebrating the neighborhood’s history or offering their southern-style soul food classics, Pearl’s is proud of their cozy environment that’s meant for everyone to enjoy.

Not only does Pearl’s show passion towards the success of the Bronzeville community in ways like hiring locally and within the neighborhood, but they also offer sponsorship for local events. Pearl’s continues to support the neighborhood’s deep roots as one of the most vibrant epicenters for Black culture and history, and never ceases to give back to the community all while looking towards our future. For all this and more, Pearl’s Place has earned a special place in the community. Pearl’s Place is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and located at 3901 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60653.

A picture of Pearl's Place in Bronzeville
Bronzevile's Historic Pearl's Place
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05.04.21 | Sage Advice

The Health Benefits of Gardening

At Sage Collective, our philosophy of vibrant living encompasses everything from engaging in moderate, regular physical activity to eating a primarily plant-based diet and having an active social life. Interestingly enough, gardening touches on all three of these facets of vibrant living at once. Adopting gardening as a hobby brings a wide array of health benefits and beyond — let’s take a look:

Physical Health Benefits

Naturally, spending time outdoors gardening leads to higher levels of Vitamin D exposure. Adequate Vitamin D exposure is particularly important for older adults, as it increases calcium levels, therefore improving bone health and providing a boost to your immune system. The act of gardening is also an accessible, aerobic form of exercise that aids in increased flexibility, strength and stamina. Additionally, if you’re growing a vegetable, fruit or herb garden, all that fresh food is great for your diet! 

Mental Health Benefits

Growing and nurturing a living garden brings with it a deep sense of accomplishment, pride and self confidence. Just look at what you can do with your own two hands! Gardening is also believed to help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. In fact, one scientific study even posits that inhaling M. vaccae, a healthy bacteria that lives in the soil, can increase levels of serotonin – the key hormone that stabilizes our mood, feeling of well-being, and overall happiness.

Social and Cultural Benefits

While it can be a solo activity, gardening is also a great way to spend time with family, friends or neighbors. Community gardens in particular help many older adults to combat loneliness, all while contributing to the greater good of their neighborhood. Gardening has long been a way for communities to come together, to nurture each other, and to practice healing, sovereignty and even resistance

At Sage Collective, we advocate for older adults to adopt gardening as part of their lifestyles for all these reasons and more. In support of this belief, we will continue to promote the adoption of community gardens in the residential environments in which we engage older adults (including our own residents currently in development in Bronzeville), as well as bringing farmers’ markets to such communities. Stay tuned for more!

An older African American woman smiling while holding flowers she is about to plant in her garden
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