Remember a few days ago when I promised more collaboration posts and more wellness centered posts???? Well, here is me making good on that promise! I am so excited to share this guest post with you guys and I hope you find it as useful as I did! I am currently in California, just like Jordan talks about in this post and I NEED to find a farmer’s market ASAP/go to the City Market in KC as soon as I get back home!!

Jordan lives with her boyfriend in Arlington, VA, but was born and raised in Missouri like myself. We actually went to high school together! Jordan is an integrative nutrition health coach and I am somewhat obsessed with all of the wonderful REAL foods she posts on her instagram account! You can follow her at @jordyrack

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Jordan!

Now, on to to the guest post that is making me so excited for Spring and fresh produce shopping at River Market!!

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Do you sometimes make the mistake of going to the grocery store on an empty stomach and throwing sugar-filled, processed, empty calorie foods in your cart? Well I’ve got a hack for you! Do your shopping at your local farmer’s market and the odds of making one of those regretful decisions drops significantly! It is the only place I would say its okay to shop hungry because instead of impulsively buying a package of Oreos you’ll be scooping up bundles of leafy greens, seasonal fruits and veggies, high quality meats, dairy, and eggs just to name a few! When you are in an environment free from deceiving labels, tricky advertisements, packaged and processed products, it makes the quest of eating healthy much much simpler.

It’s such a rare opportunity to have the chance to connect with the farmers who grow your food and to ask them how they farm their crops. You can also get their help picking out the perfect produce! I also enjoy being surrounded by like-minded individuals focused on their health or bringing along friends and family to browse the many vendors! I highly recommend checking out local markets when you are traveling to experience and taste the foods that make that region unique!

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit a farmer’s market in southern California and my oh my was it a treat! We were excited to pick up a few fruits & vegetables to snack on during our stay but this market went above and beyond what we had imagined! We rode our bikes into a massive lot filled with four long rows of tents, countless tables spilling over with fresh produce, and excited farmers eager to share samples and information about their current crops. I truly could have spent hours wandering the aisles, tasting the west coast fruits, taking photos, asking questions, and quite literally spending all the cash I had tucked into my leggings. Unfortunately, we only had about 45 minutes before we needed to hop back on our bikes for a 4.5 mile ride back to our hotel. Needless to say, having an efficient plan was a must!

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So grab your reusable bags and I’ll show you how to stay on track and make your visit to the market a successful one!

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Whether you came prepared with a list or are prepared to listen to your cravings, produce that is in season is going to taste the best and be packed with the most nutrients! Outdoor markets are the best for finding seasonal, fresh items but indoor markets are a great option too.

The majority of my meals start with leafy green so I always make sure to stock up on that first! There are many varieties including kale, spinach, arugula, swiss chard, cabbage, and the list goes on. All of these options are packed with antioxidants to help reduce inflammation in the body which is the root cause of most chronic disease. If you’re not incorporating dark leafy greens into your meals, you should start TODAY! Look for perky leaves, dark green color, and no holes. Take these home and allow yourself to be surprised by their versatility!

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Next on my list would be sweet vegetables. Carrots, onions, beets, bell peppers, radishes, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes (technically a fruit if ya want to get technical) are excellent for curbing sugar cravings and also boosting your immunity! It’s important to keep a variety of these on hand for supplementing your meals, tossing into salads or soups, snacking, and more!

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You’ve also got to snag yourself a couple squashes while you’re at it! My favorites include spaghetti, butternut, and acorn squash all of which can be used in many different ways.

Moving on to fruits! This is the category where you can usually taste lots of samples before making your final decisions. Personally, I make a special effort to regularly stock up on organic apples and berries at the farmers market. Depending on where you are located in the country it might also be a great place for finding local organic citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes! This was definitely the case in sunny California and I was in heaven tasting every single variety they had to offer (my sister was too)!

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Another great farmer’s market find is the fresh herbs! You can often find basil, sage, oregano, peppermint, rosemary, and cilantro just to name a few. Excellent for adding flavor to your food without added sugar, salt, or other mysterious additives found in store bought spices.

But wait! There’s more. You can also find high quality animal products at most markets. Quality is important in this department! Where else can you speak directly to the farmers and ask about the details of their farming practices?! Spending your money on local, organic, grass-fed meats, eggs, and dairy can ensure that you are evading the hormones, antibiotics, and inhumane practices found in factory farms. Which would you rather eat?Picture5Picture6

Get those bright orange yolks you see on Instagram by purchasing your eggs from a local farmer. This is a sign that the chickens were raised humanely and fed what they are supposed to eat. You’ll notice the improved taste too!

There are dairy options available most of the time as well! High quality dairy can be very nourishing to certain body types but it is again important to be conscious of where it comes from. Ask those questions you are wondering about!

Other fun finds you could be lucky enough to stumble across would be raw honey, fresh flowers, coffee, fermented foods, dehydrated fruits, fresh baked breads, salsas, and much more! It’s so exciting to go back each week to see what’s new and say hi to all your favorite farmers! Pick up something new or exotic and get to experimenting in the kitchen!

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All in all, shopping at the farmers market takes a lot of the guess work out of eating healthy. The overwhelming amount of options and tricky marketing schemes can make choosing wholesome options quite complicated at times. If you are lucky enough to have a market in your area I urge you to check it out and maybe make it a part of your weekly routine. If not, plan a trip to a neighboring community and gather some fresh goods!

-Jordan

 

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