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Unrestricted Resolutions
by Kate Safin

So often resolutions to eat better and live a healthier lifestyle are framed in restrictive ways: no more sugar, no more fattening foods, no more cookies and sweets.  But what if instead of focusing on the things we are going to remove, we focused on things we can add? A resolution to eat more fruits and vegetables is so much more positive and gives us space to indulge in sweets every so often, which will likely make your resolution last longer than the average 2-3 weeks.

Here are a few other unrestrictive resolutions to consider for the new year:

Add more local food to your plate
Selecting local foods when possible keeps money in the regional economy and provides strength to communities. Food grown close to home is picked at peak freshness and travels shorter distances to its final destination. While most farmers markets are closed during the winter, you can still find local foods in many places. Root vegetables and herbs are available from local Pennsylvania farms in cold winter months. You can also look for preserved foods, like a jar of healthy fermented sauerkraut or pickled beets.

Learn to garden and grow your own food
Resolve to learn a new skill! February is the time for garden planning and seed starting. Grab a book or attend a class and learn how you can provide your own fresh herbs, fruits, and vegetables come spring and summer. Gardening also provides an easy way to exercise and get fresh air, and many people have reported how uplifting time spent in a garden is.

Add new recipes to your meal planning
Rather than following a rigid diet plan, get creative in the kitchen. If you're typically a meat-eater, add a vegetarian or vegan meal to your weekly routine. You'll be exposed to new ingredients, flavors, and cooking methods and will find that your grocery bill is much smaller when you don't rely on cuts of meat to build each meal.

A healthy approach to resolutions is to keep them positive, not restrictive. And remember, a resolution doesn't have to wait for a new year! The things you need for a healthy lifestyle are around you every day.

Submitted by Kate Safin, Marketing & Member Services Manager, at East End Food Co-op. East End Food Co-op is the last natural foods co-op left in Pittsburgh from those original, back-to- nature stores. The Co-op offers all of the products of a full-service grocery store, but with a natural and local touch. For more information, visit www.eastendfood.coop

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