Sunday, February 22, 2015

Saturday night in nature

Yesterday after work I headed to Nature's Pantry in New Windsor, a local alternative grocery store with a huge selection of everyday groceries as well as nutrition supplements, bulk grains and nuts, and prepared foods. The store, previously in Newburgh, moved into this bigger storefront off of Blooming Grove Turnpike a little over a year ago.

My mission? Sunflower seeds and chlorella. A few years ago I decided almond butter would be a healthy addition to my diet. It's spread on whole grain toast or crackers and topped with dried cranberries and I bring it to work every day for a snack. After awhile I noticed my fingernails were growing longer, and it turns out almond butter is loaded with  nail-strengthening omega-3 fats. Earlier this month I read about the benefits of sunflower seeds including nutrients vitamin E, selenium, and magnesium. I picked up a container of raw seeds from the bulk bins. I think raw may be healthier, though not as tasty as if they were toasted and flavored.

Chlorella, an extremely nutritious blue-green micro-algae, is popular for its immune-boosting and anti-cancer properties. It offers liver support and helps balance blood sugar levels. I bought a bottle of lemon-flavored powder and this I'll spoon into my water bottle that I bring to work each day. (Update 3/7/15-it looks and tastes like swamp water *gag* must find chlorella plan B)

The above photo is the store's supply of turmeric, a member of the ginger family. It's ground into an orange-yellow powder and is common in India as a spice and a dye. Last year I took a yoga class in New Paltz with Elizabeth Gross of Embrace Space Yoga Therapy and she told us about its health benefits including the alleviation of arthritis, stomach pain, headaches, and kidney problems. She had the powder powder mixed into water and used in class for hydration.  

Nature's Pantry keeps on display a Spanish and English copy of Prescription for Nutritional Healing: The A to Z Guide to Supplements by Phyllis A. Balch CNC. This 300-plus-page directory is a bible for those with nutrition on the mind.  It covers just about every physiological affliction of modern society.

The store prides itself in carrying lots of Hudson Valley-sourced items, from produce to eye pillows, giving us a local connection to the complexity of health issues we face in 2015.

Nature's Pantry:
Embrace Space Yoga Therapy:

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Yoga day

February is my yoga-versary. During this frigid month back in 2012 I started one of those 30-day yoga challenges, honestly with no intention of continuing into March. The resulting increased energy, fitness, and happiness helped me to not only finish, but turned the challenge into a steady home routine. To celebrate my 3-year milestone, I replaced a day at the office with a class at Happy Buddha Yoga in Goshen.

This studio and its teachers have great energy. At every visit I find a teacher who not only acts as a fitness guide, but ties in the yogic spirituality aspect that makes the tradition so strengthening for body and mind. I took the 9:30am Wednesday class with Kelly who happens to be the owner. Happy Buddha also offers merchandise including yoga mats, lotions, and clothing.

They offer classes every day of the week with descriptions like "Universal Buddha" (all levels), "Buddha Delight" (intermediate level with chanting and philosophy), and "Karmic Buddha" (pay-what-you-can fee). Every month there are workshops, many featuring special guests, on topics like teacher training, sequencing, Ayurveda, and Sanskrit.

Happy Buddha offers multiple-class cards. You can sign up and pay for classes on the website, but they say it's not mandatory and dropins are always welcome. I've seen Kelly hold a yoga-for-beginners bundle of classes. Kind of like a yoga challenge which I personally recommend as a good start to a regular practice.

Happy Buddha Yoga:

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Riverside deals

Big retailers offer a shopper's dream. They draw us in with slashed prices and online dealers sweeten deals with free shipping and easy returns. How can small businesses compete? By giving shoppers what the big guys can't. Simply put--the small business experience. Second-hand shopping has long been a hobby of mine and one of my favorite shops is Encore Consignments in Matamoras, Pennsylvania.

The store stocks a huge variety: clothes, cookware, greeting cards, books, DVDS, crafts, skincare, kids stuff, and more. The owner, Robin, certainly has a knack for display. Clothes are organized by color and gorgeous custom shelving spread throughout the store gives the place a curated and clean feel. She sets up seasonal and holiday sections, most recently for Valentine's Day. I visited a few months ago during the Christmas season and found not boxes of decorations, but a full-size tree decked with ornaments and garland. I vividly remember touching these handmade Eskimo ornaments, which for some reason I passed over. Like the quote that recently popped up on my Pinterest feed, "Nothing haunts us like the things we didn't buy." Maybe I'll see them when the season comes back around.

What I find unique about Encore is that she has a good mens section. I've seen hockey skates, sports memorabilia, dress shoes, and tech gadgets. Pretty cool since I find male customers usually underserved in the second-hand world. The store went through a big expansion late last year, adding a bunch more rooms.

"Can you take my picture? Will I be on your blog? Did you get that camera here?"

Working for a not-for-profit, second-hand office supplies are always a cool find. I recently picked up from Robin's store some colored paper, crayons, stickers, and books to make my "office kids kit" that I pull out when working with parents. Now I can notarize in peace without worrying their kid is bleeding Sharpies through copy paper onto my office's wall and work table (true story).

Though big-box retailers have their advantages, let's be mindful to support small businesses like Encore that add color and creativity to not only our closets, but our community, too.

Encore Consignment: