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Articles Written by Beth Funari

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Beth is a Health and Wellness expert who believes sustainability goes hand-in-hand with self care. She’s the girl whipping up kombucha cocktails at parties, and extolling the benefits of canning vegetables to anyone who will listen.
Recipes

Chia Seed Pudding with Hemp Hearts

I don't know about you guys, but the last thing I want to do during the summer is labor over complicated recipes.  It was way.too.long of a winter for that nonsense. This recipe is perfect for days (summer or not) when you're craving a creamy, healthy and easy breakfast or snack. It only takes about 5 minutes to whip up. I like to make it at night and enjoy for breakfast. Since I've discovered hemp hearts a few months ago, I've been adding them to everything and I discovered they make a great topping for chia seed pudding.  They add a mild nutty flavor, and hemp seeds are an excellent source of essential amino acids - something uncommon for plant protein sources. Two tablespoons contains about 6 grams of fat, 2 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of protein. Find out the recipe, after the jump!
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Health & Beauty

7 Easy Steps to Become a Morning Person

Okay, becoming a morning person may not be high on your list of goals, but indulge us for a second. Consider your answers to these questions: Do you feel like there aren't enough hours in the day to tackle your ever-growing to-do list? Do you spend the first hour of your day feeling groggy and resenting the morning? Is caffeine an absolute nonnegotiable in order to feel like a human?   Most of us can probably answer  'yep' to at least one. You may think being a night owl suits you just fine, or maybe you find those who chirp about the "early bird" annoying. That may be the case, but studies consistently show that there's a slew of advantages to being an early riser including a more optimistic outlook, better ability to anticipate problems, and even an easier commute. Find out more about the advantages of waking up early, and how to become a morning person:
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Recipes

Banana Protein Muffins Recipe

I'm convinced that most banana muffin recipes are born as a result of a bunch of bananas sitting on the counter about to go bad. Well, at least that's the situation I find myself in every time I bake with bananas. So I had my browning bananas and I happened to be craving a good muffin.  BUT I really wanted these muffins to contain some protein. If I don't eat protein with my breakfast I'm typically hangry (angry hungry) shortly after. I also had hopes of keeping these fairly low sugar to avoid that post breakfast sugar crash that occurs with most bakery muffins. Suddenly I was inspired and these banana protein muffins were born. I was a little nervous baking with stevia for the first time, but ended up being pleaseantly surprised. These banana protein muffins are so good with a little bit of earth balance, peanut butter or even jam! (And they passed the husband test too). Click through for the recipe.
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Lifestyle

My Oil Pulling Experience

So you have heard some hype about oil pulling by now, the ancient practice is getting it's share of press lately. I'm not one to jump on every health fad, but I'm a bit of a hippie at heart and the au naturel aspect really intrigued me.  After hearing about oil pulling here and there for a few months I decided to give it a try. What is oil pulling exactly? Oil Pulling is an Ayurvedic technique which involves swishing oil around in your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes. The oil collects impurities brushing your teeth can't reach, and is then spit out. (But not into a sink because the oil could block a drain!) Afterwards, you can rinse your mouth with water and brush your teeth. I've heard that some people choose not to brush their teeth post oil pulling, but I'm not one of them. What does it do? Oil pulling is said to pull out stuck bacteria, and detoxify your system by allowing the oil to pick up these toxins (hence why you need to spit the oil out - don't swallow!) Read on to learn about my oil pulling experience.
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Health & Beauty

6 Reasons You Need to Stretch: And, No That Doesn’t Mean You Have to Go Do Yoga

For a lot of us stretching just isn't a priority. And,  I get that. If you're a gym person then you probably want to get in, get sweaty and get out. If you take fitness classes then you may have noticed that a lot of instructors skip stretching all together. (Some don't believe it's necessary, some expect that you'll do it on your own). In the fitness community stretching has become somewhat of a controversial subject. When I was studying for my Personal Training & Sports Medicine certification I realized that opinions of Fitness Experts are all over the board. So, I've made an effort to study and research the whole stretching she-bang for the past few years. Here's what I've learned - stretching is key - especially for those of us who spend a good portion of the day sitting. However, old school stretching before exercise is not of paramount importance and doesn't necessarily improve athletic importance. Personally I love my weekly yoga class as a way to work in stretching. But I'm an intermittent yogi and when I can't get to class I have to make an effort to carve out stretch time; Or, I feel it. I recently realized the hard way just how bad my body needs that stretch (and I'm not even a "desk worker" most days!) when I woke up feeling like a 90 year-old lady lacking full range of motion in my neck and complaining of creaky joints after a week without stretch time. If you aren't a regular stretcher I urge you to add even just 5-10 minutes into your routine two or three times a week. Do it first thing in the am pre-shower, as a mid-workday break or right before bed - just get it in and your bod will thank you. Click through for 6 reasons you need to stretch.
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Food

Farmer’s Road: Farm Fresh Fast Food in Chadds Ford

Picture this: You're taking a drive and hunger hits in in a major way. You realize you haven't packed your organic snacks (the horror!) and you cannot wait to eat. Although your hunger must be satisfied immediately, you don't have time for a sit-down meal. Panic sets in when you consider the limited, quick options... a plethora of greasy burgers, fries, MSG-filled fried chicken and soggy sandwiches. This was my predicament last weekend. Traveling from the Philadelphia Airport to the West Chester suburbs with friends, destiny collided when we stumbled upon Farmer's Road in Chadds Ford. The rustic sign advertising 'fresh fast food" beckoned to us and we pulled right in. Find out more about Farmer's Road, after the jump.
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Recipes

Gingerbread Smoothie Recipe

Ohhhh baby, holiday season is in full swing. I really love this time of year but it can be hectic as heck. When it comes to meals and snacks I find myself doing two things - 1. Craving sweets in a major way  2. Turning to quick & easy recipes that taste deceptively decadent. This is where my gingerbread smoothie recipe comes in. My gingerbread smoothie was actually born out of a failed attempt at gingerbread protein balls. I followed a recipe but they tasted super overpowering and the texture was off. I had just purchased a jar of molasses and have a husband who goes bananas for gingerbread so I was determined to achieve gingerbread flavor bliss. After playing around with a few combinations I found it. This smoothie takes less than 5 minutes to make and it tastes like the holidays. The protein powder provides extra sustenance so you may just be able to say no to that third or fourth holiday cookie.
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Philly

Saturday November 30: Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday > Black Friday . No contest in my book. Black Friday typically means lines, traffic, lines, cranky, tired people weeding through sale racks and more lines!  Small Business Saturday, on the other hand, is all about supporting the little, local guys.  I usually peacefully meander to my local coffee shop, then head to some independent boutiques and hit up some fav local restaurants for fuel in between. Here's a few more reasons I think Small Business Saturday kicks Black Friday's a**. Boost your local economy by spending within the community. Money spent at a local business generates 3.5x more wealth for the local economy compared to money spent at a chain-owned business. You'll likely lower your carbon output. Walk, ride your bike or drive a short distance to local, small business instead of the big, scary mall and you'll save gasoline. Plus, if you go out on Black Friday you can almost guarantee sitting in major traffic.  An idle car burns a whole lotta gasoline.
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Green Philly

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