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04.24.24 | Arts & Culture

Tea Traditions from Around the World: A Journey in Mindfulness and Wellness

In cultures around the globe, tea is much more than a mere beverage — it’s a ritual, a tradition, and a way of life. At Sage Collective, where we champion wellness and mindfulness, exploring the diverse tea traditions from around the world offers us a unique lens through which to understand different cultures, as well as to appreciate the profound ways in which this ancient drink promotes health, community, and peace of mind.

The Art of Tea in Japan: Chanoyu
The Japanese tea ceremony, or Chanoyu, is a revered art form that embodies the principles of harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility. This intricate ritual of preparing and serving matcha (powdered green tea) is a meditative practice, inviting participants to be fully present in the moment. The ceremony is not just about drinking tea, but about appreciating the beauty in simplicity, the changing seasons, and the craftsmanship of the tea utensils. Chanoyu encapsulates the essence of mindfulness, encouraging a deep connection with oneself and with others.

China: The Birthplace of Tea
China, where tea was first discovered, boasts a rich and diverse tea culture. From the ceremonial Gongfu tea ceremony, which emphasizes the skill and precision of brewing tea, to the casual enjoyment of Yum Cha, or “drinking tea” in Cantonese, accompanied by dim sum in the morning or afternoon. Each region has its own preferred type of tea, from the delicate green teas of the east to the robust pu-erh teas of Yunnan. Tea in China is more than a drink; it’s a bridge to conversation, friendship, and philosophical reflection.

Moroccan Mint Tea: Hospitality in a Glass
In Morocco, serving mint tea is an act of hospitality, friendship, and tradition. Prepared with green tea, fresh mint, and a generous amount of sugar, this sweet and refreshing beverage is served throughout the day, especially to welcome guests. The pouring of the tea from a height creates a frothy top, a skillful display that adds to the enjoyment. Moroccan mint tea is not just a drink; it’s an invitation to sit, chat, and enjoy the company of others.

India: Chai, A Spiced Brew of Unity
In India, chai is more than just a tea — it’s a way of life. This spiced tea, made with black tea, milk, sugar, and a blend of spices such as cardamom, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon, is enjoyed by millions across the country. Chai is ubiquitous, from bustling city streets to quiet rural villages, and its preparation and consumption are a time for pause and connection. The act of sharing chai fosters a sense of community and belonging, making it a potent symbol of unity in diversity.

British Afternoon Tea: Elegance and Etiquette
The British tradition of afternoon tea is a quintessential ritual that speaks to the elegance and etiquette of tea drinking. Introduced in the 1840s, this mid-afternoon break was meant to bridge the long gap between meals. Today, it’s an elaborate affair often accompanied by scones, sandwiches, and cakes. Afternoon tea is a celebration of social interaction, an opportunity to gather and converse in a relaxed setting.

Peru: The Healing Mate de Coca
In Peru, the traditional tea known as Mate de Coca is made from the leaves of the coca plant, revered for its healing properties. This herbal tea has been a staple in Andean culture for centuries, used both in daily life and sacred rituals. It is believed to alleviate altitude sickness, a common ailment in the high altitudes of the Andes, making it a vital part of Peruvian hospitality towards visitors. Mate de Coca symbolizes the deep relationship between the Andean people and their environment, showcasing how tea can be a bridge between health, culture, and the natural world.

Mexico: The Aromatic Tisanes
Mexico’s rich herbal tea tradition, or “tisanes,” involves brewing a variety of local herbs and flowers known for their medicinal properties. Among the most beloved is Manzanilla (chamomile), often consumed for its soothing and digestive benefits. Another popular choice is Flor de Jamaica (hibiscus tea), celebrated for its vibrant color, tart flavor, and healthful qualities. These herbal teas reflect Mexico’s biodiverse landscape and the indigenous knowledge of natural remedies, offering a comforting and healthful embrace in every cup.

Nepal: The High Mountain Teas
Nepal, with its sprawling tea gardens in the foothills of the Himalayas, is renowned for producing some of the world’s finest teas. Nepali tea traditions blend the cultivation practices of China with the processing methods of India, resulting in unique flavors and aromas. Drinking tea in Nepal is a daily ritual that signifies hospitality and friendship, often accompanied by light snacks. The practice of sharing tea, whether it’s the robust black teas or the delicate green and white teas, is integral to Nepali culture, symbolizing a moment of rest, reflection, and connection amidst the majesty of the mountains.

Tea as a Universal Language of Wellness
Across these diverse traditions, we are reminded of tea’s remarkable ability to bring people together, offering solace, health, and a profound sense of belonging. Each cup offers a moment of reflection, a pause in our busy lives, and an opportunity to connect with others. At Sage Collective, we encourage you to explore these tea traditions as a pathway to understanding different cultures and embracing our journey towards vibrant living.

Photo: koko rahmadie, Pexels
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04.10.24 | Arts & Culture

The Healing Power of Melody and Rhythm

Music transcends mere entertainment, serving as a universal language that speaks to the soul. Its profound impact on human emotions and cognitive functions has been recognized for centuries, leading to the development of music therapy as a powerful tool for healing and wellness. At Sage Collective, we explore the intricate ways in which music therapy harnesses melody and rhythm to foster health, offering valuable insights for audiences seeking to understand its benefits, particularly for older adults.

The Essence of Music Therapy

Music therapy is a clinical and evidence-based practice that uses music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship. It addresses physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs, providing a holistic approach to wellness. For older adults, music therapy offers a versatile means of improving quality of life, whether it’s through reminiscence, movement, relaxation, or cognitive exercises.

Emotional and Psychological Benefits

One of the most immediate effects of music therapy is its capacity to enhance mood and alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. Familiar tunes can evoke memories, transporting individuals to moments of joy and comfort from their past. This connection not only combats loneliness but also strengthens identity and personal history. Moreover, active participation in music-making can empower individuals, providing a sense of achievement and boosting self-esteem.

Cognitive and Memory Support
Music therapy plays a significant role in cognitive health, particularly for those experiencing memory loss due to conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s. The rhythm and repetition inherent in music aid in memory recall, helping patients remember lyrics and melodies long after other memories have faded. Furthermore, music therapy can stimulate cognitive function, encouraging focus and engagement through listening, singing, or playing instruments.

Physical Health and Rehabilitation
The benefits of music therapy extend to physical health, aiding in the rehabilitation of individuals recovering from strokes or other conditions that affect motor skills. The rhythm of music can facilitate movement and coordination, improving gait and hand-eye coordination. Additionally, the soothing properties of melody can lower blood pressure, reduce heart rate, and alleviate pain, contributing to overall physical well-being.

Social Connection and Intergenerational Bonding
Music therapy also fosters social connections, bridging gaps between generations and promoting shared experiences. In group settings, music serves as a communal activity that encourages interaction and cooperation. For older adults, these connections are vital, enhancing a sense of belonging and community. Intergenerational music therapy sessions can further enrich this experience, allowing older adults to connect with younger participants through a shared love of music.

Incorporating Music Therapy into Everyday Life
While professional music therapists offer tailored interventions, the principles of music therapy can be applied in everyday life to enhance well-being. Creating personalized playlists of favorite or meaningful songs can serve as a simple form of self-care. Engaging in communal music activities, whether it’s attending concerts, singing in a choir, or participating in drum circles, can provide both the therapeutic benefits of music and the joy of social engagement.

Conclusion: A Symphony of Wellness
Music therapy stands as a testament to the healing power of melody and rhythm, and makes it an invaluable tool for enhancing the quality of life, especially among older adults. As we continue to explore innovative ways to support wellness at Sage Collective, the harmony of music therapy resonates as a clear, melodious call to soothe, inspire, and heal.

music_heals
Illustration credit: Creative Commons CC BY-ND 4.0 Deed
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01.04.24 | Community

The Importance of Setting Resolutions in the New Year

Now that 2024 is upon us, it brings an opportunity for reflection and renewal. At Sage Collective, we understand the importance of this time as an opportunity to set resolutions – not just as a tradition, but as a meaningful practice in our journey towards vibrant living.

The Power of Resolutions
Resolutions are more than just yearly promises we make to ourselves; they are declarations of intent and pathways to personal growth. They provide us with a chance to pause, assess our lives, and decide what changes we wish to make. For us in the older adult community, this is particularly powerful, as it aligns with our ongoing pursuit of vibrant living at every stage of life.

Setting Achievable Goals
The key to successful resolutions lies in their realism and attainability. It’s about setting goals that are challenging yet achievable, and that contribute to our overall well-being. Whether it’s adopting a new fitness regimen, learning a new skill, or dedicating more time to a beloved hobby, each resolution should be a stepping stone towards a fuller, richer life experience.

The Importance of Health and Wellness
Many resolutions revolve around health and wellness, and for good reason. As we age, taking care of our physical and mental health becomes increasingly important. Resolutions can serve as commitments to ourselves to nurture our bodies and minds, whether through healthier eating, regular exercise, or mindfulness practices.

Staying Connected and Engaged
Resolutions can also foster social engagement and community involvement – key components of vibrant living. This might mean resolving to spend more time with family and friends, participating in community events, or engaging in volunteer work.

Lifelong Learning and Growth
The new year is also a perfect time to commit to lifelong learning. This could be through reading more, enrolling in a class, or even traveling to new places. Each of these resolutions enriches our lives, keeps our minds active, and supports our overall sense of joy and fulfillment.

As we stand on the threshold of a new year, let’s embrace the tradition of setting resolutions with optimism and enthusiasm. Let these resolutions be reflections of our aspirations and values, guiding us towards a year filled with health, happiness, and vibrant living.

Remember, the journey is as important as the destination. Let’s approach our resolutions with flexibility and kindness towards ourselves, understanding that each step forward, no matter how small, is a victory in its own right.

View of the sky looking up through a stand of trees
Credit: Ken Lane (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License)
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12.14.23 | Community

Embracing Food as Medicine

At Sage Collective, we often explore the different facets of vibrant living, and one aspect that continually resonates is the relationship between our diet and health. The age-old adage, “You are what you eat,” rings especially true as we delve into the concept of food as medicine – a philosophy that aligns perfectly with our journey towards holistic wellness.

Rooted in ancient practices like Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine, the idea that food can be used as a healing tool has been around for centuries. Today, modern nutritional science echoes these traditions, highlighting how our dietary choices can significantly influence our health and well-being.

Imagine your kitchen as a treasure trove of medicinal remedies. The foods we choose to consume can act as powerful agents in preventing and managing various health conditions. For example, leafy greens and berries, laden with antioxidants, fortify our defenses against chronic illnesses. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like walnuts and fatty fish, are not just tasty but also champions for heart health.

Our dietary habits play a crucial role in shaping our health landscape. Heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension – prevalent concerns in our community – are deeply linked to what we eat. By focusing on a balanced diet, rich in whole foods, we wield the power to reshape our health and reduce the risk of these conditions. The gut microbiome, an ecosystem within us, is crucial in maintaining our health. Foods that are friends to our gut – think probiotics like yogurt and fiber-rich vegetables – not only enhance our digestive health but also strengthen our immune system, a key factor in vibrant living.

Recognizing that one size does not fit all in nutrition, personalized dietary choices cater to our unique health requirements. This approach, emphasizing individuality, is at the heart of treating food as medicine. The connection between our diet and mental health is an area of growing interest. Nutrient-dense foods not only nourish our bodies but also our minds, influencing our mood and cognitive functions.

While we champion the idea of food as medicine, it’s essential to remember that it’s not about strict dietary limitations or deeming certain foods as off-limits. It’s about balance, variety, and making mindful choices that enhance our health without sacrificing the joy of eating.

As we continue on our path of vibrant living, let’s view our dietary choices as joyful selections for health. Our plates can be a palette of nourishing, flavorful foods that serve as our daily dose of medicine. Embracing this holistic approach, we not only cater to our physical health but also to our overall sense of well-being and joy.

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11.16.23 | Community

Savoring Thanksgiving: A Healthy Twist on Classic Favorites

Thanksgiving – a season of warmth, gratitude, and delectable feasts. It’s a time when family recipes and hearty dishes take center stage. While these traditional favorites are deeply cherished, they often come loaded with calories. This year, why not infuse the Thanksgiving table with a healthier twist, keeping the flavors rich but the fare lighter?

Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be a choice between taste and health. By weaving in more vegetables, opting for lean proteins, and embracing whole grains, we can transform our feast into a balanced array of nourishment and flavor. It’s about celebrating the holiday’s culinary traditions in a way that also honors our commitment to vibrant living.

Stuffing is a Thanksgiving staple, but this year, let’s turn it on its head. Swap out the bread for quinoa, a gluten-free grain that’s rich in protein and fiber. Mix it with aromatic herbs like sage and thyme, add some chopped vegetables like carrots and celery, and throw in a handful of dried cranberries for a sweet twist. This stuffing isn’t just a side dish; it’s a conversation starter.

The turkey is the centerpiece of most Thanksgiving tables. This year, let’s opt for a leaner cut by choosing turkey breast. Marinate it with rosemary, garlic, and a bit of olive oil to keep it moist and flavorful. As it roasts to golden perfection, it fills the kitchen with an aroma that promises a mouthwatering main course, minus the unnecessary fats.

End the meal on a sweet note without overindulgence. Core some apples and fill them with a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, and a splash of honey or maple syrup. Bake them until they’re tender and serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt. It’s a dessert that satisfies the sweet tooth and adds a festive, healthy finale to your Thanksgiving meal.

Thanksgiving is more than a feast; it’s a celebration of togetherness, gratitude, and the bounty of the season. By giving our favorite dishes a healthier makeover, we not only cherish these moments but also nurture our well-being. Enjoy this day of thanks, filled with love, laughter, and a feast that’s as good for the body as it is for the soul.

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09.14.23 | Community

The Secrets of Longevity Diets

Much like how joyspotting brings small bursts of happiness into our lives, longevity diets offer a passport to a healthier future. They’re not the latest diet fad but a treasure trove from cultures celebrated for their centenarians. These diets aren’t about restriction, but celebrating foods that have nourished generations.

The Mediterranean region, with its lush olive groves and sparkling blue waters, gives us a diet rich in healthy fats, fresh produce, and fish. Then there are the Blue Zones, regions scattered across the globe, each boasting their unique recipe for longevity. Okinawa offers sweet potatoes, while Loma Linda champions plant-based delights. As varied as they are, each region offers a culinary experience that keeps its inhabitants thriving.

Peel back the layers of these diets, and you’ll find common heroes: vibrant vegetables, whole grains, and natural ingredients, bursting with antioxidants. These foods don’t just fill our stomachs; they fortify our cells, combat oxidative stress, and can even put chronic ailments at bay. It’s like finding those hidden joys in our surroundings; these foods are tiny marvels waiting to be celebrated.

Of course, food is just one slice of the pie. The longest-living people don’t just eat well; they move, cherish community, and embrace positivity. It’s a holistic dance of diet, activity, and mental well-being. Just like the vibrant energy a pet brings into a home, longevity diets infuse life with a zest that extends well beyond our plates.

As you savor your next meal, think of it as an invitation to a life rich in both years and experiences. Whether you’re trying out Mediterranean recipes or simply adding more whole foods, remember: every bite is a step towards a future bursting with health and vitality.

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07.20.23 | Community

Plant-Based Picnics: Delicious and Sustainable Recipes for Outdoor Dining

Just as we appreciate the evolving nature of foods in their flavor, color, and shape, we at Sage Collective similarly believe in the potential for personal growth and evolution, especially when it comes to our dietary choices. So today, we’re shifting our spotlight to the realm of plant-based picnics – a delightful fusion of health, sustainability, and flavor.

Have you ever been on a picnic, basket in hand, blanket over your shoulder, and felt the simple joy of dining in the great outdoors? Picnics have a certain magic about them, blending the nourishment of food with the rejuvenation of nature. We’re here to enrich this experience even further by introducing a plant-based approach.

Why Plant-Based?

A plant-based diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes, is a powerful way to enhance your health and vitality while reducing environmental impact. As with the curious and colorful heirloom foods, diving into the variety of plant-based foods can be an exciting exploration of new flavors and nutrients. Plus, who says nutrition can’t be delicious?

Plant-based picnics provide a unique opportunity to share this exploration with loved ones. Whether you’re a seasoned plant-based eater or just beginning to dip your toes into this lifestyle, a picnic is a relaxed, enjoyable setting to experience and share these vibrant foods.

Ideas for Your Plant-Based Picnic:

  1. Colorful Veggie Wraps: Pack some whole-grain tortillas with a rainbow of fresh vegetables, hummus, and a sprinkle of herbs. They’re easy to make, easy to carry, and a delightful blend of flavors and textures.
  2. Quinoa Salad: High in protein and filled with fresh vegetables, a quinoa salad is a satisfying and versatile picnic choice.
  3. Fruit Skewers: Thread some fresh seasonal fruits onto skewers for a light, sweet treat. They’re refreshing, fun to eat, and packed with healthful vitamins.

So, why not plan your next outdoor feast around plant-based foods? You’ll be treating yourself, your loved ones, and our planet to a meal that truly nourishes. Remember, vibrant living is not a destination but a journey, filled with exploration, creativity, and open-mindedness. Embracing a plant-based picnic is one delicious step on this journey.

We invite you to share your favorite plant-based recipes with friends, family, and our Sage Collective community. Who knows, your favorite dish might just become someone else’s too. After all, part of vibrant living is sharing what brings us joy and wellness. Happy picnicking!

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05.04.23 | Arts & Culture

Five Engaging Hobbies You Can Pick up to Keep Your Mind Active

Growing older doesn’t have to mean slowing down! In fact, our golden years can be an excellent time to embrace new hobbies that challenge our minds and help us live life to the fullest. Engaging in activities that stimulate the mind can help you stay sharp, enhance cognitive function, and add a touch of zest to everyday life. Today, we’re diving into five engaging hobbies that anyone can explore to keep their minds active and their lives vibrant:

Family History Research

Unearthing your family’s past can be a thrilling and rewarding journey. As you dive into genealogy, you’ll develop research skills, learn about history, and discover fascinating stories about your family’s heritage. It’s a wonderful way to connect with distant relatives and preserve family history for future generations. Online resources like Ancestry.com and FamilySearch make it easy to get started, and don’t forget to check out local libraries and historical societies for additional support. 

Photography

Capture the beauty around you with photography! This creative hobby can be enjoyed both indoors and outdoors, giving you the freedom to express yourself artistically. With the increasing accessibility of digital tools and platforms, anyone can explore various photography styles – from stunning landscapes to captivating portraits. Share your work in online photography forums or join a local photography club to meet new friends and learn from fellow enthusiasts. 

Learning a New Language

Say ‘bonjour’ or ‘hola’ to a new language! Picking up a new language can be a delightful challenge, keeping your mind sharp and opening the door to new cultural experiences. Learning a new language not only improves memory and critical thinking skills but can also provide a sense of accomplishment. Online platforms like Duolingo, Rosetta Stone, and Babbel make it easy to get started, and you can also join local language classes or conversation groups for a more interactive experience. 

Experimental Cooking 

Spice up your life by venturing into the world of experimental cooking. This delicious hobby allows you to nurture your creativity while tantalizing your taste buds. Develop your culinary skills by exploring new recipes, ingredients, and cooking techniques. Travel the world through your kitchen by trying out international cuisines or challenge yourself with unique cooking methods. Who knows, you might just discover your next signature dish! 

Bonsai Artistry

Enter the tranquil world of bonsai, where the cultivation and maintenance of miniature trees transform into living art. This unique and captivating hobby requires attention to detail, an appreciation for the natural world, and a touch of mindfulness. As you nurture your bonsai creations, you’ll find a sense of relaxation and accomplishment. Resources like books, online tutorials, and local bonsai clubs can help you embark on this beautiful journey.

Whether you’re exploring your family’s past, capturing the world through photography, learning a new language, whipping up culinary delights, or nurturing miniature trees, there’s a hobby for everyone to enjoy. So go ahead, embrace these activities and add a touch of vibrancy to your golden years!

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03.23.23 | Community

The Role of Self-Empowerment in Overcoming Ageism

As we age, society often places unfair limitations and stereotypes on older adults. These assumptions can lead to a loss of confidence and a sense of hopelessness, while taking a heavy toll on our overall well-being. At Sage, we recognize that ageism doesn’t have to define our lives. By embracing self-empowerment, we can break through these negative beliefs and live life fully. Let’s explore some practical tips for empowering yourself and redefining aging, from crushing negative self-talk to staying active and cultivating a positive mindset!

Crushing Negative Self-Talk and Limiting Beliefs

Negative self-talk related to ageism can quietly take over and put a damper on fully embracing life and all it has to offer. If you find yourself slipping into a frame of mind that feels limiting, take a moment to challenge yourself to adopt positive, self-empowering affirmations such as, “I am capable of trying new things at any age” or “My best years are ahead of me.” Remember that you have the power to redefine aging and to live life vibrantly

Staying Active and Healthy

Staying active and healthy is also key to self-empowerment and living a vibrant life. Time and again, it has been scientifically proven that physical activity is key to improving physical health, mental health, and overall quality of life for older adults. And there’s no shortage of physical activities to choose from — walking, swimming, yoga, strength training, and did someone say pilates? It’s important to choose activities that you enjoy and that fit your individual abilities, all the while setting realistic goals and tracking your progress to stay motivated and celebrate your successes.

Cultivating Positivity

Beyond thinking positively, It’s equally important to act positively — through practicing gratitude, seeking enriching experiences, focusing on solutions, and surrounding yourself with people who are upbeat and optimistic. You can practice gratitude daily by reflecting on things you are thankful for each day. By focusing on solutions, you may come to find that opportunities lie within routine challenges. And when taking the time to commune with positive people, you soon realize that those around us deeply influence the way we think and feel. 

Ultimately, self-empowerment is about taking control of your life and shaping it in a way that aligns with your values, goals, and aspirations. At Sage, we believe that with intentional actions and determination, we can nurture a more vibrant and inclusive world for all ages.

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02.09.23 | Community

Less Sugar, Less Salt, Less Fat: Foiling The American Diet With Indigenous Ingredients


You will find that among the sheer vastness of our world’s culinary palette — America ranks very low. We face an affliction of fast food restaurants seemingly on every corner and processed foods on every grocery store shelf. That isn’t to say any of these places don’t have tasty foods, because admittedly, some do. But finding healthy food choices can seem like an impossible feat in a Western diet full of excess sodium, saturated fat, refined grains, and calories from solid fats and added sugars. In the past we’ve talked about our 9 Ways of Vibrant Living and how one of the ways we can live more vibrantly is through the use of plant-based dieting. What if many of these healthy options could be found right outside our back door? Today, we introduce you to the indigenous diet.

The Indigenous Diet

Picture this, sweet corn roasting over a fire. Poached eggs lapped over a bed of soft cornmeal within a hearty bowl of black bean soup. None of these dishes are intrinsically difficult to make. Yet every ingredient can be found outside our back door. Poor dietary choices can contribute to many chronic conditions and can put a strain on our body and healthcare system. Indigenous diets serve the purpose of being hyperlocal, ultra seasonal, and ridiculously healthy. They contain no processed food, excess sugar, no wheat (or gluten), no dairy, and no-high cholesterol animal products. It’s naturally low glycemic, high protein, low salt, plant based with lots of grains, seeds, and nuts. Did we mention that it’s utterly delicious? (eat your heart out fast-food!)

It’s easy to miss many of the foods that lie in our backgrounds such as; dandelions, purslane, plantain, and lamb’s ear. These are typically ripped out of the ground as weeds and then thrown away. Most people probably have never taken the time to think of how delicious, interesting, and nutritious they are. So next time, instead of dismissing them, try tossing them into salads, soups or stews. The very acorns we crush beneath the wheels of our vehicles can even be turned into a gluten-free flour. There’s wealth to be discovered on the roads we drive on too — wild hazelnuts, raspberries, strawberries, chokecherries and herbs like sage, juniper, and mustard can all be found along the highway.

Implementing indigenous ingredients into your own plant-based meals can seem daunting. But once your pantry and wares are fully stocked, we can assure you that improvising meals and creating your own recipes will come easily. Through this act of exploring indigenous plants and vegetables that grow in our own backyards, we discover what it truly means to nurture ourselves from mother nature herself.

Indigenous Ingredients
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