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Alfalfa’s Roots: Volume I Issue I

Roots

by Steven Paul Winkelstein

The history of Alfalfa’s Market is a rich one, grown in the eclectic, spirited soil that is the Boulder community. As some native Boulderites may recollect, we started germinating as Pearl Street Market over 35 years ago in 1979. 

From our inception, we were a community gathering place, and a small, local business. From there the company moved to Arapahoe & Broadway, took on our current name, and blossomed into eleven stores. It was at this time that the merger between Alfalfa’s and Wild Oats took place. Eventually, the original owners and ideals that took root so long ago on Pearl Street faded. They were not gone forever.

When the original founders got together on Earth Day four years ago, and decided that they were going to bring back a natural grocery icon, they pledged to hold dear the same values that made Alfalfa’s special over three decades before. Though Alfalfa’s Market has gone through many changes, we are still, to this day, a community center and a small, local business. Today, we are taking a hard look at what our community looks like in 2015. Knowing that we are still a “cutting” of an immensely beautiful organization, our goal is not to start over. It has been almost four years since we started taking root again. We’re proud of what has grown so far, but the way we Alfalfians see it, the fruits of our labors are bearing now, and the flowering potential of our community impact, is just beginning. Enough with the plant metaphors? OK, but just for now.

The first step for us is to reconnect with what is most important to us– you. For the past few years our work has been great. We’ve consistently delivered the best Bike to Work Day spread in town, thrown legendary tasting fairs, hosted speakers and meetings in our community room, featured and promoted local vendors, and continued to honor you by choosing to be responsible with our voluntary GMO-labeling, composting efforts, and our continuous commitment to bring in the best products we can find. Our recent “lowering prices” campaign was enacted because we are listening to what you want. We even opened up a gorgeous second location in Louisville when the community sent thousands of Alfalfa’s seeds our way, asking us to come. Yes, we’ve been working hard and doing a pretty swell job for a small, local grocery store! The best part about all of this community love, is what’s to come.

Number one? We want to have fun. The Alfalfians are bringing it back, and we need you to help us. We’ll start today, but let’s celebrate in Boulder on our anniversary– 4/25. We want to invite you to party hardy with us on that following Saturday, the 25th. All of the event information will be posted on our Facebook page, our website, and sent out in our email newsletter, The Fresh Press. By the way, I really hope you follow us on Facebook and Instagram, because we have been posting special offers, hilarious photos of our COO in funky blonde wigs, and of course, event news.

It’s not just our birthday that we celebrate. Events are happening all the time at Alfalfa’s, both in Boulder and our beautiful Louisville location. In Boulder, we celebrate our amazing beer and wine cellar twice a week with free tastings on Tuesdays and Fridays. The first Saturday of every month is “Taste of Alfalfa’s” where one of department managers feature free samples and expert knowledge in our demo kitchen. In both stores we feature a “Chef of the Month” that we hand-pick from our local communities. In Louisville, we host story time for the kids and enjoy amazing talks and demos in our state-of-the-art community room.

As an Alfalfian of three years, I look forward to continuing the Alfalfa’s tradition of community, commitment to the highest food standards, and having a blast every day of our lives. If you haven’t been in to see us in a while, please pop in. We’ll be looking for you. And incase we don’t see you, have a delicious day.

–Steven Paul Winkelstein is the editor of Alfalfa’s Roots, award winning author of six books, and the Marketing Coordinator for Alfalfa’s Market.

 

Local Spotlight: Boulder Lamb

Founded a little over two years ago on a quiet 27 acres west of Longmont, Boulder Lamb owners Clint and MaryKay Buckner endeavor to succeed in the livestock industry’s middle space, between the small hobby farm and the huge factory feed-lot. “It takes patience and perseverance to sustain a 100% grass-fed, and anti-biotic and GMO-free flock, but that’s what people want and what we believe in,” says MaryKay. “It gives us great pleasure to raise our animals the way nature intended.” 

Ranching and farming run deep within both sides of the Buckner’s families, with 6 generations running flocks and raising produce from Vermont, to Nebraska, to Idaho, and now Colorado, for over 130 years. Bred, born and raised on GMO-free pastures, the Buckner’s lambs are a product of a Columbia/Ramboullet ewe cross-bred with either a Suffolk or Hampshire buck.  The result is a wonderfully mild, tender lamb that appeals to those who don’t care for a strong “gamey” taste, and won’t disappoint true lamb lovers. “From meatballs to chili, tacos to stews, our lamb is so mild that we use it in recipes the same way we would beef and even pork,“ says MaryKay.

In partnership with Bar-J Quarter Circle ranch, another local ranch with 3 generations of roots in Boulder County, Boulder Lamb provides Alfalfa’s customers with a truly home-grown, 100% grass-fed beef.  The ranch’s 100 shorthorn breeding pairs roam Boulder County’s open spaces, feeding on GMO-free alfalfa and grasses.

The Buckners take great pride in producing the freshest and finest quality meat, at a local ranch where you can see first hand the pastures the animals graze, how they are cared for, and the Buckner’s thoughtful approach to sustainable land management. “This work can be challenging physically and in many other ways, but it’s what we love doing,” Clint explains. “There is a great deal of satisfaction in it.” 

On a whim about 6 months ago, Clint and MaryKay purchased a few Berkshire pigs, wondering what it would be like to add pork to their rapidly growing ranch.  “The result was incredible,” says Clint. “Folks just couldn’t get enough. They tell us it actually tastes like pork – what it used to taste like before factory farming turned it into ‘the other white meat’.”  Since then they have been raising a small passel for Alfalfa’s and a few local restaurants exclusively. “Our plan is to continue to expand our number of sows, as pork seems to be one of those meats that is really hard to find sustainably and humanely raised,” continues MaryKay. 

“Ultimately, we want people to know where their food comes from,” Clint said. “We truly believe that what we’re doing is the essence of what Boulder County stands for – feeding local people with local products.”

 

Produce Pride

Having the largest selection of organic produce in Colorado isn’t just a great tagline for us, it’s part of our core values. Since produce is a part of nearly every meal, and because our fruits and veggies have the most direct relationship between mother earth and your belly, we take extra care to offer the cleanest, best-tasting produce available. When possible we buy from local farmers, and if you’ve ever been our store, you know that we buy from a LOT of local farmers! Take a sneak peak at some of the upcoming stars of the early spring season.

Red Spring Onion

Description– These sweet and savory favorites will begin to pop into our stores in February. They are typically harvested for their juicy, bulbous roots.
History– Onions are one of the oldest of all cultivated veggies on the planet. Thought to have native roots in Central Asia, it’s been cultivated throughout history in India and the Middle East.
Selection– Look for freshness and glossy textures. Stems should be firm and bright green to red.
Nutritional Benefits– From flavonoids to sulfides, Alliums (of which onions are a part) are shown to help with cardiovascular, support bone, act as an anti-inflammatory, and may provide cancer protection. 
Preparation– Grill or roast these babies alone or with other veggies. Try pairing with fish or poultry, or using as a spice. Add salt and oil to taste.

Mizuna

Description– Mizuna starts at the end of winter and comes in through Spring. It’s a Japanese mustard green with long, flat leaves with a bright, pleasantly sharp taste.
Selection– Look for fresh, bright green leaves. Avoid wilting and over-floppiness.
Nutritional Benefits– Beta carotene, vitamins, and minerals are a product of this plant chlorophyll-rich dark green leaves. May reduce risk of cancer.
Preparation– Garnish salads, burgers, and sandwiches with raw Mizuna. If cooking, lightly steam or sauté these delicate, peppery greens.

Spring Green Garlic

Description– Length shoots, light to dark green, with petite garlic bulbs that result in a more concentrated flavor. Look for Spring Green Garlic after the winter breaks.
History– Garlic is native to Central and South Asia, and was later brought in and cultivated in Egypt and India.
Selection– Firm shoots with strong green colors follows by a sturdy, bright bulb of garlic with unbroken skin.
Nutritional Benefits– Garlic has a whole host of nutritional benefits, from anti-inflammatory properties to cardiovascular health and antiviral/antibacterial abilities. HEALTH TIP: let your garlic sit after you chop it for increased effectiveness of the garlic’s Alliinase enzymes.
Preparation– The sky is the limit when preparing garlic. The latest research shows that eating raw garlic is the most beneficial for your health. But whether you are sautéing, grilling, or roasting, it is always recommended to crush your garlic first, in order to maintain the health benefits and get the most out of its signature flavor.

 

Old Alfalfian, New Alfalfian

By Paul McLean

I started off in the natural food industry at Alfalfa’s back in the 1990’s because I wanted to understand where my food was coming from. Believing that food should be clean and healthy, I’ve always longed for an organic lifestyle. You’ll understand why that’s important to me in a moment.

When Alfalfa’s merged with Wild Oates, I went along for the journey. Soon after, I was a part of Whole Foods, where I became an industry leader, guiding over 30 stores all over the North East. As I grew during my 25 years of experience, so did the industry. It’s been a real pleasure watching the natural foods world become a powerful force for changing lives. I know it’s changed mine.

In October 2014 I decided to return to Alfalfa’s, where my roots began. I wanted to come back to a brand that had deep meaning, deep standards, and took care of their people. For Alfalfa’s it’s always been about that trustful bond we keep with our customer. 

The old saying, “You are what you eat” is solid truth. It’s all about what kind of lifestyle you want to live. I have a daughter with special needs. She’s the sun in my solar system, and when she entered my life, I wanted to improve our lifestyle, because I saw how important those decisions are. We’ve done that through our healthy choices, and returning to my roots here at Alfalfa’s Market is one of the healthiest choices I’ve ever made. I look forward to having fun again with our amazing team of creative, innovative, people.  

I’ll see you in the store!

 

Guest Spotlight: Michael Sandrock

Michael Sandrock is an accomplished sports journalist with over 10 years of sports writing experience. He’s a two-time winner and two-time runner-up of the Colorado Press Association Best Sports Story of the Year and has received the Colorado Society of Professional Journalists award for sports writing. Michael is currently sports editor of the Colorado Daily newspaper and freelances for several running publications, including Running Times, Runner’s World, American Runner, and Footnotes.

An avid runner for 25 years, Michael is a training partner for many elite runners. He earned varsity letters in track and cross country from the University of Colorado, where he graduated with honors, and holds personal bests of 2:24 marathon, 30:23 10K, and 14:48 5K. He coached high school track and cross-country and also coached track for the United States Information Agency in Africa.

Michael is the founder of the “Shoes for Africa” project where runners donate new and used running shoes and clothes for underprivileged athletes in several countries, including the United States.

Michael is a member of the Colorado Press Association and the Colorado Society of Professional Journalists.

Michael eats at Alfalfa’s about 8 days a week.

 

Artists At Alfalfa’s

Emily Snyder from Boulder

I am a passionate creative who specializes in graphic design and jewelry design. Art has always been my joy, ever-growing from oil paints, to pottery, to silver wire and crystals. I am also passionate about wellness & sustainability, initiatives which I try to incorporate as themes into many of my pieces.

Jewelry has become a focus for me because it allows me a way to share my art with others in a way that I feel is more personal than a painting or sculpture, and provides healing energy to the owner. I frequently create custom pieces for clients where we discuss issues they might be having, or qualities that they would like to bring into their lives, and I use the energies of the crystals as tools in bringing that intention to reality. You can check out more pictures of my work at www.emilysnyderdesign.com.

I am very excited to be a part of the Alfalfa’s team. It has been a journey for me to find the right fit as a graphic designer, because standards of quality and product safety are very important to me. Alfalfa’s is the first company whose mission I have found to be in line with my own, and I am elated to have the opportunity to work on creating the visual expression of the company.

Marie Grubb from Louisville

I love being able to come to work and be creative. It makes it even better that Alfalfa’s is committed to using the best available all natural and organic ingredients in their bakeries. My two girls are what originally got me into cake decorating and my wonderful husband has been supportive of my cake decorating and baking hobbies. I am grateful I have had the chance to expand the cake program at Alfalfa’s.

I am currently a student at Eco Tech Institute studying Electrical Engineering Technologies and plan to work in the renewable energy field upon completion of my studies.

 

Local Partner Spotlight

Conscious Cleanse

Jo Schaalman and Jules Peláez are co-authors of the book The Conscious Cleanse: Lose Weight, Heal Your Body and Transform Your Life in 14 Days, a best-selling, step-by-step guide to help you live your most vibrant life. Together they’ve led thousands of people through their online supported cleanse through their accessible and light-hearted approach. They’ve been dubbed “the real deal” by founder and chief creative director Bobbi Brown, of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, beauty editor of the TODAY show. To learn more about Jo and Jules and to download a free e-cookbook for a sampling of the delicious food served up on the Conscious Cleanse, please visit consciouscleanse.com. 

Be sure to look for the Conscious Cleanse seal of approval stamp throughout the store starting March 3. Jo and Jules have personally hand selected an array of delicious, healthy, cleanse-friendly products throughout Alfalfa’s. Be sure to try one of their very own recipes in our prepared foods section (deli? not sure what you call the culinary section) today.  

KellyElle Larisey

I am so excited to announce that I will be partnering with Alfalfa’s Markets as their paleo expert. My intention is to make Alfalfa’s your one-stop-shop for all things paleo! 

Over the past two years, I’ve reversed my patterns of emotional eating and have lost over 65lbs by living, eating, and embodying the paleo lifestyle – just a shift in my relationship to food completely transformed my life. 

My favorite place to shop in Boulder is Alfalfa’s – the vibrant energy, the fresh and delicious foods, and the wonderful feel of true community – the seeds had been planted and I fell in love with Alfalfa’s. 

It was only natural that my relationship with Alfalfa’s blossomed!

You may have met me in-store during one of my cooking demos – you’ll begin to see me around the store more often, and, if you do, stop me and say HI! 

Starting March 3, my cast-iron skillet stamp of paleo approval will be on all of my favorite paleo products throughout the store. Also, my original recipes will be available on store shelves to help create simple, easy, and flavorful paleo dishes with my favorite paleo products. In addition to finding the recipes in store, you can also follow my blog at www.thepaleobite.com.  

Cheers!

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All Businesses Should Recycle

Written by our very own Edmée Knight and Steve Carr from Boulder Valley Credit Union.

Recycling and composting are easy actions we can take now to reduce our negative impact on the planet and, more specifically, to help slow down climate change. Many of us assume Boulder is a leader when it comes to conserving resources. Unfortunately, we are not. As a city, according to 2013 City of Boulder data, we recycle 33 percent of our total waste. Other cities such as San Francisco, San Diego, Portland, Ore., and Madison, Wisc. far surpass us, recycling and composting between 60 and 80 percent. That is why we, Alfalfa’s Market and Boulder Valley Credit Union, are asking the Boulder City Council to pass a city ordinance to require all Boulder businesses to recycle and restaurants and grocery stores to compost.

We strongly believe adopting a mandatory commercial recycling and composting ordinance should be a priority for the City Council as they work on a new Zero Waste Strategic Plan. The aforementioned cities with high recycling and composting rates are successful thanks in large part to an ordinance requiring businesses to recycle.

When we look at the different sectors of Boulder’s community, according to recent city data, single-family homes are leading the way by recycling and composting close to 60 percent of their waste while businesses are only recycling and composting 28 percent of their waste. Sixty-five percent of Boulder’s waste stream is generated by businesses and industry. Businesses have been encouraged to voluntarily recycle for more than 25 years, yet the sector continues to lag behind.

At Alfalfa’s Market, we take recycling, composting and over all waste diversion seriously. Not only is it part of every employee training but it’s part of our core values. We believe it is our duty to take responsibility for the negative externalities that our business creates- waste from food production and packaging. On average, we divert 93 percent of our waste from the landfill and we’re proud of this as we know that landfills account for more than 20 percent of the greenhouse gases emitted every year.

Similarly, Boulder Valley Credit Union believes that sustainability is the right thing to do. Our “green” efforts are based upon programs designed to further our culture of environmental responsibility within the communities we serve. We recycle and use compostable paper products at all of our branches, we compost at our larger branches, and we have installed solar panels at our main branch. In addition, we collect grocery bags, electronics, and other hard-to-recycle materials for recycling, and all of our marketing materials are printed on post-consumer recycled paper with 100 percent soy or corn ink.

We know there are many Boulder businesses similar to ours that are doing their part. But unfortunately, there are many who are not. Passing a city-wide ordinance will level the playing field and create a new standardization for Boulder. The ordinance could require property owners to offer recycling and composting to their business tenants. It can also address land use codes that currently limit recycling and composting by considering exemptions for some businesses (e.g. allowing recycling and compost trash containers to occupy existing parking spaces when appropriate). Businesses can adjust their trash costs by switching to recycling and composting and as result substantially reduce their trash service frequency or volume. The new ordinance could be phased in over time to give businesses the opportunity to adapt to the new standard.

In addition to the environmental benefits, a mandatory commercial recycling and composting ordinance can help our local economy. Boulder businesses currently spend approximately $1 million every year to landfill an estimated 10,000 tons of cardboard, paper, bottles, and cans that could have been recycled. If those 10,000 tons were recycled instead, they would be worth $200,000 to local businesses and haulers. A recent city Zero Waste evaluation study concluded that a mandatory business recycling policy in Boulder would create between 15 and 33 new jobs.

We at Alfalfa’s Market and Boulder Valley Credit Union are doing our part to lighten our load on the environment and it’s time for the rest of Boulder businesses to step up and take responsibility too. If every business in Boulder recycled and all restaurants and grocery stores composted, behavior change would happen much faster and we’d have a great chance to reach our community goal of recycling and composting 85 percent by 2017.

Passing a new mandatory commercial recycling and composting ordinance is the right thing to do for our environment and our economy. We look to the Boulder City Council to make this a priority.

Edmee Knight is Shareholder Relations and Sustainability Manager at Alfalfa’s Market; Steve Carr is Public Relations and Education Specialist at Boulder Valley Credit Union.

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Recall of “Sweet 2 Eat” and “Sweet O” Stone Fruits

Wawona Packing has instituted a voluntary recall of specific lots of peaches (white and yellow) and nectarines (white and yellow) which were packed between July 1 and July 12th, 2014. The recall was initiated due to the discovery of a trace of Listeria found during routine testing of the facility and is following all guidelines set by the FDA for recalls. It is very important to note that there have been no reported illnesses linked to this recall and the most of the fruit has likely been consumed by the public.

It is likely that Alfalfa’s Market did receive one lot of the recalled Yellow Peaches and White Nectarines during the period in question, around the 7th of July. The label is called “Sweet 2 Eat” or “Sweet O” and that is the sticker on the fruit. We do not have any of these products in our store, currently. But if you might have any at home, or have fruit that doesn’t have a label that you are nervous about eating, please return it to either Alfalfas stores for a full refund. No receipt is necessary, but please bring any fruit in question in for return.

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How Well Do You Know Alfalfa’s?

Well, we’ve done it! We’ve opened our second store, and we’re thrilled to be a new part of the Louisville community. So to our new customers, and to our most loyal ones, we want to take a moment to introduce (or reintroduce) ourselves and ask “How well do you know Alfalfa’s Market?”

When I first started working at Alfalfa’s, I asked people here, “So, how are we different from the other stores in town? What makes Alfalfa’s so special?” My passionate co-workers quickly spouted off a long list. First, we’re locally owned and operated, so when you shop here you know that the money you spend is staying in the community. Because we’re local, we have a strong commitment to our local vendors and we proudly support up-and-coming businesses. In fact, we stock over one hundred local brands on our shelves every day. 

We also believe in the power of organic. Our produce is the highest quality that you’ll find in the area, and the department is always 98% organic or better. It’s so nice to be able to throw any veggie or fruit in my cart and know that it hasn’t been grown with pesticides.

In the rest of the store, Alfalfa’s takes the time to make sure the products we carry don’t have any unhealthy additives. Some of our main competitors will lead you to believe that their product selection is additive free, but that’s simply not the case. I trust our buyers to adhere to our strict standards, so my shopping experience is completely worry-free.

We invite you to come get to know Alfalfa’s (or, at least reacquaint yourself). See you in Boulder and Louisville!

– Bea Steiner, Marketing Director

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Hemp for a Healthy Future

Thomas Jefferson once said, “Hemp is of greatest importance to our nation.” Boy, did he have the long view. Today, the U.S. hemp industry has estimated annual retail sales of $500 million dollars. Yet the crop that was planted by the nation’s founding fathers, and is today a rising star in healthful living, is currently prohibited from being grown on U.S. farms.

Nutritious, sustainable and versatile, hemp is for a healthy future. Hemp is the distinct oilseed and fiber varieties of the plant species Cannabis sativa L. It is a tall, slender, fibrous plant that has been cultivated worldwide for over 10,000 years.

A nutrition powerhouse, hemp is also an environmentally sustainable solution for potentially thousands of products ranging from body care to plastics, paper, textiles, building materials and even ethanol. With a rapidly expanding market for hemp products, cultivating hemp is an untapped opportunity for American farmers.

Good for Our Bodies

Hemp seeds are a nearly perfect food source. High in digestible protein, healthy Omega essential fatty acids (EFAs) and naturally occurring minerals, hemp seeds are also free of gluten and have no known allergens.

Foods made from hemp seeds have become staples in co-ops and grocery stores across the country. The light, nutty flavor of hemp seeds make them a perfect raw ingredient for delicious breads, cereals, waffles, nut butters, protein powders, nutritional oils, non-dairy milk and even ice cream.

Hemp seeds have a perfectly balanced 1:3 ratio of naturally occurring Omega-3 and Omega-6 EFAs for our body. And unlike other seeds and nutritional oils, such as flax and fish oil, hemp seeds also contain Super Omega-3 Stearidonic Acid (SDA) and Super Omega-6 Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA).

Hemp’s oil’s Omega-3 EFAs and vitamin E content make it an ideal ingredient for body care products. The EFAs soothe and restore skin in salves and creams and give excellent emolliency and a smooth after-feel to lotions, lip balms, conditioners, shampoos and soaps.

Good for the Earth

Hemp is an environmentally sustainable solution for potentially thousands of products ranging from plastics, paper, textiles, building materials and even ethanol. A low-impact agricultural product, hemp is renewable resource that can be grown without pesticides or agricultural chemicals.

Hemp is gaining popularity among leading clothing designers for its look, feel and breathability. Hemp can replace cotton, a crop that accounts for nearly 25% of all pesticide use in the U.S. The strength of hemp fiber makes it a favorite for specialty paper. And paper pulp made from hemp hurds (the woody core fiber) is an ideal additive to strengthen recycled post-consumer waste (PCW) pulp, thus expanding PCW’s use.

Today, millions of cars built by Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Lotus, Mercedes Benz and BMW contain hemp composites for door panels. Energy-efficient homes are built with hemp concrete, and retail stores are using hemp fiberboard displays. Imagine a future where hemp is just another useful material for all kinds of earth-friendly products.

Good for our Farmers

Hemp is a part of America’s agricultural heritage. First gown in 1600′s at Jamestown, hemp is best suited to regions that also produce wheat and corn. Hemp can be grown organically and aids in weed suppression and soil building, making it a favored rotation crop.

The market for hemp products is an estimated $500 million dollars annually and growing. Even with Canada’s entry into hemp production in the late 1990′s, demand for hemp seeds and fiber is exceeding supply. U.S. farmers want an opportunity to grow this crop once again and share in the rewards of hemp’s soaring popularity.

What Hemp Isn’t

It is important to note that hemp has no drug value. Hemp seed contains little to no measurable amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in drug varieties of Cannabis. Using hemp products will not cause a false positive drug test. Learn more about the issue at www.TestPledge.com.

By HempHistoryWeek.com

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Estrogen Dominance and Your Health

Written by Elise Tyrie originally for Wish Garden Herbs.

Most of us don’t think about our hormones that often, but I assure you, they play a huge role in our lives! When we’re feeling great, chances are our hormones have something to do with it. If we’re feeling chronically unwell, our hormonal health could probably use some attention. This is particularly true for women, as the “dance” our hormones do is especially intricate. It’s not just about maintaining homeostasis, as it generally is for men; our bodies must prepare for pregnancy each month. This means at any given point in the month our estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone levels will fluctuate. Every step of the delicate dance our hormones do must be perfectly choreographed.

Having excess estrogen paired with insufficient progesterone (what experts call “estrogen dominance”) is a common form of hormonal imbalance for women. Chronic stress is one sure-fire way to get it. Exposure to xenoestrogens, or synthetic estrogens, which are found in a wide array of plastics (your water bottle!), toothpastes, deodorants, sunscreens, canned food linings, preservatives, and cosmetics, is another. Eating meat and dairy from conventionally raised (factory farmed) animals is another source of exposure. Some women have a genetic predisposition to hormonal imbalance, which may become more noticeable as they age. If this is you, don’t worry! It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy having healthy hormones, but you might need to pay a little more attention to it than others.

Symptoms of excess estrogen can include

    • heavy, painful and early periods
    • a light period followed by a heavy one
    • endometriosis, water retention, breast tenderness and cysts
    • trouble loosing weight
    • hair loss
    • fatigue
    • insomnia
    • brain fog
    • migraines
    • PMS
    • mood swings
    • irritability
    • anxiety
    • depression

Wow, that’s a long list of things no woman wants to experience! Aside from what’s listed above, balanced estrogen and progesterone levels will ensure that you have strong and flexible bones, smooth and tight skin, a good metabolism, and arteries that are free of debris.

Ok, so you’ve read through the list of symptoms and thought, “That’s me!” and you’re anxious for me to tell you how to get your hormones back in check. My first recommendation is to add 1,000mg of the herb Vitex, also known as Chasteberry, to your daily regimen. Vitex works by stimulating your pituitary gland to balance your hormones on its own. This strategy works particularly well for women who have not yet gone through menopause. Hang tight if you decide to try Vitex – it can take a couple of months before you really start seeing results, but trust me, you will. Secondly, eat more cruciferous vegetables and turmeric. Cruciferous veggies like broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower all contain DIM, a phytonutrient that promotes normal estrogen levels. Turmeric prevents estrogen from encouraging growth in cancer cells, which it tends to do when present in excessive amounts.

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Tread Lighter at Alfalfa’s!

by Edmée Knight

April is a special time for us here at Alfalfa’s.With both Earth Day and our Birthday (B’earthday, if you will) celebrations, we’re putting sustainability in the spotlight! Looking to lighten your environmental load? Here are a few things you can do to tread lighter when grocery shopping:

  1. Buy Bulk -

    One of the best things you can do for the environment and your wallet is to purchase your staple products such as rice, flour, sugar, grains oils and vinegars in bulk. Bulk allows you to purchase the amount of product you need without having to succumb to pre-packaged sizes. It also allows you to use your own containers – two things that not only help reduce packaging waste but food waste too.  It is estimated that if Americans purchased all their coffee in bulk for 1 year 240,000,000 lbs of foil packaging would be saved from the landfill. At Alfalfas we offer a variety of items in our bulk section and unlike most other stores in Boulder, 98% of the options are Organic, which leads to the next green tip:

  2. Shop Organic –

    By choosing to buy organic you are using your purchasing power to help the environment and your health too. Organically grown food helps the soil, water, air and helps to promote a healthier environment, here’s how: Organic agriculture reduces non-renewable energy use by decreasing agrochemical needs (these require high quantities of fossil fuels to produce). Organic agriculture mitigates the greenhouse effect of global warming through its ability to sequester carbon in the soil – in fact it’s estimated that one acre of organic farm land can sequester up to 700 tons of co2 annually. Organic agriculture greatly reduce the risks of groundwater pollution while helping to condition and stabilize soil and increase pollination and natural habitats. Need I say more? The only thing better than shopping Organic is shopping Local and Organic.

  3. Buy Local –

    It’s estimated that food in the United States travels an average of 1,500 miles to reach a grocery store. The average delivery truck delivers food once a week that means food is travelling 1,500 miles every week to get to grocery stores around the U.S.,  that’s 78,000 miles or 44.7 tons of CO2 annually, ick! Compare that to a local product in Alfalfa’s, let’s use our Boulder raised grass fed beef and lamb who are located 40 miles from Alfalfa’s. The meat travels 44.5 to be processes so it’s a total of 89.1 miles per trip or 4,633.2 mile a year or just 2.66 tons of C02 annually. So, by buying local you can reduce the carbon foot print of your food by at least 94%! The only thing better than buying your organic food locally is using a reusable bag when you shop.

  4. Think about the packaging –

    In the U.S. we love our shiny colorful packages, especially those made of plastic. But before that shiny colorful package of salty crunchy goodness lures you into the purchase stop and think about where that bag or wrapper will go after you’ve satiated your craving. Is it reusable or recyclable or will it end up in the landfill? At Alfalfa’s we provide a place for that shiny wrapper, or bag or sachet or small tube of Chap Stick to be recycled. We partner with Terracycle who takes our energy bar wrappers, baby food pouches, and beauty care products, chops them up, melts them down then creates park benches, plastic wood and other useful products out of it. This isn’t keeping your trash out of the landfill forever but it gives it a second life. 

With earth day just around the corner its good to think about the impact your purchasing habits have on the earth. There’s always room for improvement and at Alfalfa’s we’re doing our best to make it easier for you to tread a little lighter. 

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Be Heart-Healthy This February

February is the month for romance, but it’s also a time to think about keeping your heart in tiptop shape. After all, the heart pumps vital nutrients and oxygen throughout our bodies, and is arguably the most important organ in our system. Why not devote an entire month to reflect on its importance and how to keep it working well for the long haul?

Possibly the most important key to maintaining a healthy heart is exercise. Running, walking, swimming, hiking, or other aerobic activity keeps your body strong and your heart young! Coupled with exercise, it’s also extremely important to follow a healthy diet. For example, the American Heart Society recommends at least two servings of fish each week, to ensure you’re getting enough heart-healthy omega-3s.

Because fiber is known to significantly reduce cholesterol levels, it’s important to choose whole grains over starchy white stuff. Steaming, baking, or grilling meats is a great way to avoid uncessary fats; and you should especially focus on eating lean meats.

Finally, increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables– especially organic ones!— can lead to a healthy heart.

Here’s to staying young at heart this February and beyond!

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January Is Time to Cleanse!

by Helen Vernier and Mary Kloberdanz

In today’s world we absorb unwanted toxins, which can limit our body’s potential. Juicing floods our system with powerful nutrients and antioxidants that eliminate toxins by providing nutrition on a cellular level. Doing a juice cleanse is a great way to take control of your health by detoxifying your body and resetting your relationship with food. January is a perfect time to cleanse, as we focus on renewal and rejuvenation.

When embarking on a juice cleanse, it’s important to prepare yourself. In the days preceding your cleanse, you should be sure to drink eight glasses of water and to only eat fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and eggs. Once your juice cleanse starts, make sure to take good care of yourself. Use your juices as meal replacements, and try not to eat anything else, as it slows down the juice cleansing process. If you feel you must eat, stick to organic fruits and veggies or soaked nuts and seeds. And remember: continue to drink lots of water. Don’t over-exert yourself and make sure to take plenty of time to relax.

Lucky for you, fresh, healthy, 100% organic juices are available at our very own Alfalfa’s Market Juice Bar. We’ll juice everything for you and also blend up a nutrient-dense smoothie to help curb your appetite. We have various cleanse programs to pick from, ranging from the one to seven days in length. We’ll make your juice fresh and ready for you to pick up!

Alfalfa’s juice cleanse offers the variety needed to support the body each day, as it relies on just juice. “The Nutrifier” combines eight ingredients into one perfectly balanced juice. The kidney-supporting citrus helps to push out unwanted toxins by acting as a diuretic, while the ginger warms and stimulates the digestive system, and fruits and vegetables round out its overall nutritive properties. “The Mighty Cleanse” is packed with eight varieties of greens, all strong in flavor and bitterness, which help detoxify the liver and bring homeostasis to organ functions. “The Beet of Life” is rich in flavor and color! By nature, it is satiating for the stomach and the heart, because it promotes blood circulation and oxygenation. Finally, “The Night Cap” is truly satisfying. It helps to curb hunger at the end of a day of cleansing and is packed with protein, fiber, and raw sweetness. All of these drinks combine to help detoxify, relax, rejuvenate, energize, and renew the body. 

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Oatmeal Month

January happens to be Oatmeal Month, so why not add this amazing breakfast item to your daily routine? Here are just a few reasons:

Did you know that oats have been proven to reduce cholesterol levels, and therefore reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and hypertension? They also have special antioxidants called tocotriencols, which aid in the production of vitamin E.  Those who are looking to control blood sugar levels can eat oats, because they slow down digestion and prolong the absorption of carbohydrates into the bloodstream. This property of oats also makes them good for people who are trying to control their weight, because they feel fuller longer. The phytoestrogen compounds in oats have been linked to decreased risk of hormone-related diseases such as breast cancer. In addition to all these benefits, oats are also rich in carbohydrates, making them perfect for runners and other athletes. For those who have a gluten sensitivity, oatmeal is a perfect part of a balanced diet, because oatmeal is naturally gluten-free. Finally, be sure to make your oatmeal the old-fashioned way and forego the instant kind, as these kinds usually have added sodium and sugar.

 With all these amazing benefits, it’s hard to pass up a nice warm bowl of oatmeal on a winter morning!

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