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I’m a sucker for a good list. Even better if that list is going to help me improve my life in some way. If you give me a “Top 5 habits to bring more peace to your life” type of article, I’ll 100% click on that. If it’s positive and wholesome, count me in! I want to be healthy and happy and all the good things.

I also love to see what other like-minded people are doing to create the type of life I want to create for myself.

So, for those of you pursuing wellness and cultivating vitality in your lives (as this blog has set out to do), let me share a few things I am loving this year and I think you might, too!

Bountiful Baskets

I know food co-ops are not a new concept and many of you may have tried one; I’m a little late to the game. But I’m so glad I gave it a shot!

Bountiful Baskets is a food co-op that aims to get more produce and healthy foods to more people at a cheaper price. They have several locations throughout the United States – mostly on the western half. 

Different sites vary slightly on the details of how it works. Basically, you are committing to join up with a bunch of other people to pool your money together and get bulk produce at a cheaper cost. Each site has someone in charge that keeps things organized. Those who participate (by contributing to that week’s purchase) are invited to volunteer to help out on occasion.

On Monday and Tuesday, the website opens for anyone to login and purchase their share of the produce for the week. All participants must get at least one basket, which is about 50% fruits, and 50% veggies. Then you also have the option for add-ons of additional produce or other foods.

So you make your contribution at the beginning of the week, and then you go pick it up on Saturday morning. 

What do I love about it?

First of all, the element of surprise is actually really fun. You don’t know what you’re going to get from week to week, and it’s exciting to see what produce you’ll be having. My toddler loves looking through the basket when I bring it home and choosing different items to eat right away.  I tried a persimmon for the first time last week because it came in my basket, and it was delicious!

So far it has not been difficult to find ways to use the food we get. It’s all “normal” enough, but not all of it is my usual go-to. So I’m getting a bit more variety and thinking a bit more outside the box, but not going too far out of my comfort zone. 

The savings is a huge plus, of course. Each week I pay about $22 and get so much food! This photo shows what we got in our basket a couple weeks ago.  

Finally, I love the people! It’s fun to meet and talk to the site coordinators and other volunteers. They are just great people looking to eat healthy, save a little money, and help others do the same.

Check out their site bountifulbaskets.org to see if they have a location near you. If they don’t, just google food co-op or produce co-op in your area and try one local to you!

Food Dehydrator

A couple weeks ago we got two bunches of kale in our basket. With all the potatoes that came too, it was obvious we were going to make a delicious zuppa toscana soup for dinner one night. But what would we do with the other bunch?

That’s when we pulled out the dehydrator! A friend sent me a recipe for some “cheezy kale chips” that involved blending soaked cashews, nutritional yeast, and some spices and herbs into a creamy sauce. After ripping the kale leaves into large pieces, we poured the sauce over them and rubbed it into every crack and crevice. And finally we stuck those kale pieces on the dehydrator trays and let it run for about 3 hours. 

They turned out crisp and full of flavor, and held their structure well, too! It was yummy, easy, and healthy.

Another favorite for the dehydrator is mangoes. During the summer we like to put thick slices of fresh, sweet mangoes in the dehydrator and let it run for 6-8 hours. I like to stop it before they are completely dry to leave them a little chewy. They have such a great texture and everyone loves them. 

If you don’t have a dehydrator yet, make this your year to get one and then use it! They are so great for making your own healthy snacks to bring on the go. I love knowing there’s no additives or sugar because I made it! It’s just good, wholesome food.

Salt Cave

We’ll end on a non-food love: The Salt Cave! Another thing I’d been hearing about for years, but didn’t try until a couple months ago. 

Search online for “salt cave near me” and schedule yourself a time right now!

Why?  

Most of us are aware of the many trace minerals found in the Himalayan sea salt that we eat. Imagine bathing in that stuff. Your body gets to soak it all in, but perhaps more importantly, so do your lungs! So many of the benefits touted for salt caves revolve around the respiratory system. They say spending time in the salt cave can help improve asthma, allergies, colds, congestion, and improve your breathing, killing viruses, bacteria, and microbes in the sinuses and lungs.

Even if your respiratory tract is fine, your mental health, sleep, and inflammation levels could benefit, too!

The cave near me has “Family Sessions” that are super cheap and children of all ages are welcome to join! They pull out shovels and buckets, and the kids love to dig and explore like they would at the beach. 

It’s also very calming and relaxing – a bit of a refuge from regular life. 

As one who suffers from pretty bad asthma, I was excited to give this a try. After several nights of struggling to breathe, we went to the salt cave last week and slept so much better that night! We have been back several times and it’s always a joy.

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Resource: Himalayan Salt Cave – The Centered Stone

About the author

Hey! My name is Brittan and I live in Utah with my husband and one adorable toddler. I love finding holistic and natural ways to care for myself and my family. I particularly enjoy learning about nutrition, herbal medicine, the emotional, spiritual, and energetic aspects of health, and anything else that contributes to complete wellness. Thanks for joining me!

I am not a doctor. Everything I write about is from my personal experience and perspective. Consult a physician if you have questions specific to your health.

2 Comments

  • Hello Brittan
    Thanks for this information. A source I discovered in 2023 is Azure Standard – we have organic pantry staples, produce (that I cannot find locally to support our farmers) and more shipped once a month. Orders can be delivered to the door or participate in a community drop ship – which is a fun way to meet like minded people as well. I also started with the dehydrator you shared, but upgraded to the Cosori 7 tray model since I garden myself and had so many vegetables and herbs to dry. With silicone deep trays I can even dehydrate soups and tomato sauce to make powder that takes so little storage space. I love dehydrating and love that you have discovered it as well!
    Rita Shimniok1

    • Brittan Bender says:

      Rita, thanks for sharing! I have heard of Azure Standard, but haven’t tried it yet! I always thought they were mostly big bulk stuff, so I’m interested to hear they have a lot more. And I’m going to be getting into gardening this year as well, so I’m looking forward to trying more dehydrating. I’m actually just borrowing this one from my sister, so I’ll look into the Cosori 7 when I’m in the market for my own.

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