Buying Organic & Local Does it Really Matter?

The beauty of buying organic local fruits and vegetables ensures freshness, sustainability and supports smaller family farms. In addition, the quality and taste of the produce is amazing, it is also healthier because they don’t require long distances for transportation. According to Dr. Alejandro Junger, “The time has come when we are waking up to an alarming truth. We are polluting ourselves with the very chemicals we invented to improve our lives. ” The fact of the matter is that conventionally grown produce is swarming with pesticides, herbicides, and GMOs. The roots of these plants absorb chemicals into the cell walls of the plant itself, so guess what? washing isn’t enough. In this way, buying organic will pay off in the long run. Take the next step, and support local organic farmers by seeking out sustainable farms, co-ops, and farmers markets. Also, consider growing your own garden.

Learning how to eat to be healthier, means shopping at local farmers markets, and going back to the way things were done years ago. The time has come to consider how fruits and vegetables are grown and even starting your own garden. How important is it to be, “fresh” and “safe to eat” are the main reasons consumers purchase organic local produce. A big benefit of farmers markets is your ability to look the farmer in the eye and ask anything you want about how the food was grown. Ask about how to cook it, and whether it is coming in or out of season. Learn all you can about the farmer’s growing practices. Be sure and bring your own bags or maybe a cooler, it’s good for the earth too and is the hippie chic thing to do. As a bonus, you are being kind to the farmers, by not cutting into their already slim profit margins. You are also being kind to yourself because there is no way to carry a watermelon in a plastic bag. Most farmers markets are cash-only operations, and most farmers do all their daily dealings from petty cash. It takes time to change habits, and try something new, just like with anything, but when one experiences more energy, less sick days and improved well-being, it makes good sense.

Eating sustainably-grown unprocessed fresh fruits and vegetables, has a number of health benefits, including; decreased total cholesterol levels, decreased risk of cancers, improved digestion and elimination, and increased intake of important nutrients and minerals. While increasing intake of fruits and vegetables is important, there is evidence that sustainably grown fruits, vegetables, and grains are higher in nutrients. This is related to several factors, including the way in which food was grown, harvested and transported. Organic production improves soil health, which in turn improves plants’ root systems and the ability to absorb vital nutrients. Additionally, using organic fertilizers provide a wider range of micronutrients that the plant can take up through the root system. To elaborate, organically grown tomatoes have higher levels of flavonoids, and potent antioxidants found in plants. In general, all organic local fruits and vegetables have higher levels of nutrients, such as vitamin C, antioxidants, and phytonutrients.

Fruits and vegetables that are in-season, harvested closer to peak ripeness, and transported in a shorter distance retains more nutrients and tastes much better. Industrially produced fruits and vegetables are frequently picked unripe, then artificially ripened, which decreases vitamin C content, other nutrients, ecofriendly and is noticeably different. It’s true it really matters how fruits and vegetables are grown. The proof is in the taste. Organic fruits and vegetables taste better. It’s not my opinion; it’s science. Eating at home and preparing fresh fruits and vegetables for you and your family is healthy and easier because less time is needed to prepare foods when they are fresh. Food is a source of fun for most people, and so is shopping local and organic, as well as consuming and feeling a sense of well-being.

The Environmental Working Group, (EWG), guide is a great tool for reference when it comes to targeting the fruits and vegetables with pesticides of special concern. The shoppers guide named it the dirty dozen, and they are; Apples, Celery, Cherries, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Grapes, Hot Peppers, Nectarines (Imported), Peaches, Potatoes, Spinach, Strawberries. Additionally, Collards and Kale, Summer Squash, Sweet Bell Peppers and Zucchini, are rife with pesticides and herbicides so make sure and buy these organic when possible. On the flip side of the coin, the guide named several you don’t have to be so concerned with, the clean fifteen, and they are: asparagus, avocado, cabbage, cantaloupe, corn, eggplant, grapefruit, kiwi, mangos, mushrooms, onions, papayas, pineapples, sweet peas (frozen), sweet potatoes.

Everything around us is energy. Food is no different. Have you ever noticed how your surrounding’s effect your mood, and outlook? You can make healthier food choices and invest in your health, not only will you notice physical changes, but it boosts your energy level, improves your outlook and reduces health issues. The bonus with buying local foods are many; vegetables taste more vibrant, farm fresh eggs have a brighter egg yolk (more nutrients), grass fed meats are nitrate & antibiotic free. Eating healthy is a lifestyle because it takes time and intention to shop and prepare meals yourself. Who knew healthy eating could be easy & taste delicious? Did you know that fresher foods are more nutrient rich and vitamin fortified? Healthy eating is about raising your vibration or life force energy. When you change your eating habits you start to feel better and have more energy throughout the day too. These elements are responsible for the nourishment of your mind, body and spirit.

I have coordinated a Farmers Market Co-op in my neighborhood for over eighteen years. It is a great way to keep a seasonal variety of fruits and vegetables on hand. It ensures high quality whole foods and keeps the prices down. This time of year, when the heat is unavoidable, fruits and vegetables can help keep you hydrated. To mention a few; watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew melon carry a lot of water so they help keep the cells hydrated and the body balanced. Vegetables like cucumbers, eggplant, and summer squash have a lot of water content too. There’s no time better than the present to reap the benefits of healthy produce that’s in season. Our bodies are made up of 75% water, so during the 100 degree days not only will water keep us hydrated and thriving but fruits and vegetables help out too. So consider shopping one of the many farmers markets in the area. Farmer’s markets are open year round, but peak season is considered the summer time. So, stop in and pick up some local produce or purchase organic in the grocery store.

Peace of Mind

Meditation is the act of sitting quietly with our spine erect, and focusing inward. It can be practiced anywhere, but is preferable to have a sacred place for you and a time for regular practice. Since there are different forms of meditative practice, the technique itself is less important than the act of inward attention. It is the inward attention itself that calls forth the meditation state. Our bodies seek to move inward, to rest, and to reflect during the season of winter.

mediatation photo 1

The ability to sit still and keep the mind focused on one thing is dharana, concentration. When that concentration becomes continuous and uninterrupted, it is called dhyana, meditation.
Meditation is not to be experienced as a process of going somewhere else with the mind; rather, the state of meditation is the state of being present. In this state we experience samadhi, the self-realization which is the ultimate goal of yoga.

Benefits of Meditation

• Meditation is the only activity that reduces blood lactate, a marker of stress and anxiety.
• Meditation increases calming hormones melatonin and serotonin, and reduces cortisol.
• Meditation has a positive effect on three key signs of aging: hearing ability, blood pressure, and vision of close objects.
• Meditators secrete more of the youth-related hormone DHEA as they age than non-meditators. Forty-five year old men who meditate have an average of 23% more DHEA than non-meditators; meditating females an average of 47% more. DHEA helps decrease stress. It heightens memory, sexual function, and the ability to control weight.
• 34-36 % of people with chronic pain were able to decrease medication when they meditated.

How Meditation Changes the Brain

• Increases the density of grey matter in the hippocampus and other areas associated with learning and memory
• Decreases grey matter density in the amygdala, the area associated with fear, anger and anxiety.

Psychological Benefits of Regular Meditation

• Increases positive emotions like love, compassion, clarity, warmth, generosity.
• Gives focus and clarity
• Spiritual Benefits of Meditation
• Meditation helps to free us from the fears, tendencies and limiting ideas that keep us from recognizing our kinship with others, and with the earth.
• Meditation connects us with others, with the animal and vegetable kingdom, with the earth, and with the source of life itself.

The Farmer’s Market

Have you been shopping at the Farmers Market Lately?

I have been in a local farmers market coop over the last fifteen years and it helps keep a seasonal variety of fruits and vegetables available for healthy eating. My coop partner and I went shopping just this week and picked out the winter seasonal fruits and bought lots of root vegetables. One of my favorites is butternut squash, it is so flavorful and full of nutrients like potassium, B6, vitamin A, and magnesium. It’s really tasty in soup, I made my sister’s Power Soup recipe and it is a hit and healthy too. On a cold winter evening, this really can warm up just about anybody.

Shopping at the Farmers Market is more of a summer and fall thing to do but being apart of the coop encourages shopping year around. The prices are so reasonable and it’s a way of helping the Texas local farmers make it through the tough months. It’s one of my favorite thing’s to do. There are restaurants, shopping and gardening Vendors in the Pavilion. I have found the best organic olive oil at the market called” Hill Country Olive ” it is phenomenal.

Some helpful hints when shopping at the Farmers Market: bring cash, take your time to browse, and bring your own bags.



power soup


Power Soup from the kitchen of Laura Shinefield


1 medium butternut squash (peel & dice into 1 inch cubes)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 med onion chopped
2 gloves garlic
1 cup wheat berries
6 cups vegetable broth
1 -28 oz can tomatoes
1- 2 inch piece parmigiano reggiano cheese rind
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-3 cups coarsely chopped green kale
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese


Heat the oil and sauté onion, add garlic, then add wheat berries, broth, squash, tomatoes, cheese rind, thyme and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer until the wheat berries and squash are soft about 30 minutes. Stir in the Kale and simmer 2 minutes. Discard cheese rind, ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with grated parmigiana reggiano.

Pairs well with Sauvignon Blanc Acidic, refreshing white wine.

Why Detox?

Leanne-Hutcherson 184-BWLiving it up with the holiday cheer and fabulous foods can bring on the feeling of needing a quick purge. However, there are greater reasons to detox than just the obvious. When the seasons change so do our bodies. A Detox can rid the toxins in our system that enter through chemicals in the foods we eat and drink, plus the air we breathe. Often times we wait until the New Year to make a plan to be healthy. When taking time to reflect and reboot our body, we simply have a better immune system which helps in all areas of our life. By taking time to be intentional about eating and giving up the goodies we improve digestion too. The key to improving health and wellness in our body is by improving digestion. As one of my teachers says, “You are what you digest.”

A simple Detox promotes a wealth of improvements in our life by getting rid of toxic habits. Once the toxic residue is released from your body you can process foods more efficiently, and experience a number of benefits. To name a few:

• Physical energy improves

• Boost Digestion

• Improved Metabolic function

• Rekindle your life

• Improve Sleep habits

• Strong immune system

• Reduce Inflammation

• Reduce Doctor Visits

• Reduce Stress

I found some helpful hints on foods to promote and support detoxification during the winter season. Check out the link here:

Also, Join me on January 1, 2014 in Southlake to learn about Detox in my The New Year, New You Workshop.


Yoga for Weight Loss

natural balance
Yoga can be a great tool for anyone trying to shed a few pounds. It doesn’t take the place of cardiovascular exercise but teaches the mind body connection which benefits how we look at ourselves. When our mind is set with healthy intentions the body follows. In Yoga practice the postures allow the central nervous system to de-stress which reduces cortisol levels. In my experience with students it is impossible to lose weight when cortisol levels are going crazy because of eating habits and stressful lifestyles. When cortisol is regulated through diet and yoga practice the metabolism functions more efficiently and weight lose is achieved.

In yoga practice intentions are set which develop good habits on and off the mat. It is said “that the efficacy of our food determines the efficacy of our digestion.” The old adage “garbage in, garbage out,” applies here. Many illnesses and diseases are rooted in the food we ingest and the body’s ability to digest, absorb and eliminate properly.

Pranayama helps purify the body. The breath purifies our bodies. On the inhale oxygen is brought into the body and when exhaling toxins are released, including chemicals from processed foods, air, stress, and emotions.

The yoga approach to weight loss is different in that it is holistic and healthy. Your body is a temple and in yoga it is treated with good care and intention. The poses strengthen, balance and create flexibility in the body. Meditation is a tool for weight loss too. It is medicine for the mind. It helps make the mind attentive to yourself and your surroundings to such a degree that it remains peaceful and happy even when going through a change or adverse conditions.

It maybe time to look into yoga for weight loss, simply practicing a disciple that encompass the entire body and brings healing, balance and longevity is a good thing. When consistently aiming to eat and live healthy your body transforms. As one of my teachers says ” yoga is the discipline of consistency.”

See you on the mat!


Eating Well to Stay Well

Food, Nutrition and Health Tips by Leanne

• Boost the nutrition in all type of sandwiches by adding tomato, lettuce, shredded carrots, peppers and vegetables.

• Try a smoothie made with juice, fruit and yogurt for a light lunch or snack.

• Visit the local farmers market to buy vegetables season, like oranges, grapefruits, raspberries, pomegranates, brussels sprouts, potatoes, onions, kale, etc.

• Refrigerate carry-out leftovers if the food won’t be eaten right away. Toss foods kept at room temperature, the food danger zone is anything more than two hours.

• Carry a healthy snack like mixed nuts, and single serving tomato juice.

• Crazy cravings? Keep dried apricots, mango chips, and apple chips handy.

• Say no to GMO Genetically Modified Organisms or GMO foods, like canned foods, frozen dinners, canola oil, etc.

• Avoid high protein intake; keep a happy balance of all food groups on your plate.

• Notice how healthy food makes you feel. Go back to what gives you good energy.

• Drink plenty of water every day. Hunger can be mistaken for thirst.

Staying Healthy on the Run can be Festive, Simple and Fun:

• Tempted by sweets, creamy desserts? Order one dessert with enough forks for everyone.

• For desk-top dining, keep fruit, peanut butter, soup, or tuna in your desk for a quick lunch.

• Always eating on the go? Tuck portable, nonperishable foods in your purse, tote or backpack for an on-the-run meal. Some suggestions are peanut butter and crackers, granola bars, and fruit.

• Eat your low-calorie food first. Soup or salad is great. Follow-up with a light main course.

• Enjoy ethnic foods such as Chinese Stir-fry by ordering the sauce on the side.

• Hunger drives us to eat lots of bread before meals. Hold the bread, out of sight out of mind.

• Think about your food choices for the entire day. If your planning a special restaurant meal in the evening have a light breakfast and lunch.

• Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. Alcohol tends to increase your appetite.

• Be size-wise about muffins, bagels, croissants and biscuits. A jumbo muffin has more than twice the fat and calories of the regular size.

• Build a better breakfast sandwich; replace bacon or sausage with spinach, green peppers, tomato, etc.

Healing Energy through Self Expression

CharkasOver the last month, I have been studying about the Chakra’s in my yoga training.  I find them fascinating and a healing part of the journey. The throat chakra, also known as the fifth chakra, is associated with the color sky-blue.  As a Mom, Teacher and all the other roles and responsibilities in this world, I find myself using my voice to express and speak from truth all the time. Sometimes, it can be tricky when faced with obstacles and easy when days have no surprises.   I have found some helpful  insights to share and develop the throat chakra in the most truthful manner.

 When we live in truth, there is a resonant continuity between ourselves and others.  When this gets interrupted, we experience discontinuity.  Perpetual discontinuity breaks down our health.  Our bodies need to be running smoothly, just as an engine needs all its vibrating parts to be coordinated smoothly.  This allows growth, harmony and grace, creating good Karma. The voice is such a blessing because we connect to each other sharing our inner self with others. Self expression is a gateway between the inner world and the outer world. The voice is a vehicle which the mind uses for its manifestations. “It is the womb impregnated with the seed of ideas.” says  Laurel Elizabeth Keyes

All life is rhythmic. From the rise and fall of the sun to the rise and fall of our breath, from the beating of our heart to the infinite vibrations that miraculously resonate together as a single system. Our ability to function as ourselves depends on the coherent resonance of the vibrations, and the energy within us. That means we create energy through our thoughts, feelings, actions and spirit.  The throat chakra has the ability to enhance this resonance. To speak in the most truthful way is beautiful. It’s simple, just be your genuine self, in every moment of your life.

Living in truth allows us to speak from the heart. It’s a natural energy that resonates and allows connection. Trust in your heart; for it’s the wellspring of life. By allowing your voice the freedom from judgement of others to speak the truth gives life much purpose, contentment and joy. Allow truth, passion and full expression of self to guide your life. Each of us has the power to give life meaning. To make our time, our bodies and our words into instruments of love and hope.

For more information on Chakra 5 visit this link

Fitness, Flexibility, and Friendship

Working out empowers us in many ways. In our busy world of kids, carpools and work, we creatively squeeze in workout time whenever we can. Also finding time for friends, gets tricky. These days our workouts and social circles often overlap.

You’ve seen them- groups of runners, or cyclists at local coffee shops and Yoga friends sharing laughs over a protein shake. I have observed after teaching a class, people feel good, they’re more open to talking and to relationships, so that fuels frienship.

Benefits for you:

 * Working out can help lift your mood.

*  Stimulates brain chemicals leaving you feeling more relaxed.

*  Boosts confidence and improves self-esteem.

If we all take time to care for ourselves and others, we create healthy relationships. When we have the same feelings about being healthy it creates a bond. Being fit has many rewards. Yoga helps people become more of a positive person. It brings peace and serenity every time you practice. If you have a stressful day, kids pushing your buttons, or feeling overworked take time to find balance. Finding a workout that relieves stress and restores your soul is a good thing. Fitness, Flexibility, and Frienship brings harmony and longevity to your life.

In Shape this Spring is Simple!

In Shape this Spring is Simple!
What does everyone have in common?  one thing jumps out at me, we all consume sugar. This Spring Season can be the healthiest ever with a new attitude!
Simply Curb those Crazy Sugar Cravings!
I’m convinced, sugar is like a drug, the more we consume the more we rely on it.  It’s always offered at social events, like parties, meetings, lunches, and especially when on the road.  It is like poison, so beware of the skull and crossbones you consume.  To much is bad for you, it’s hidden in all kinds of food. Sugar spikes blood sugar levels , for short periods of time.  It’s like fuel, our engines want premium, which to us means foods that are low in glycemic index, slow releasing in our bodies, like fiber, protein, and complex carbs. 
Once you know what to do and where to look, it’s easy to moderate and get back in balance and battle bloating in the belly. Just by removing food items that have hidden sugar helps you slim down, especially in areas that  cause chaos.
Some examples to Jump Start being In Shape this Spring or better yet work on your Beach Body:
Avoid theses No No’s
* ketchup and sauces
* sugar loaded cereals, and white bread
* beverages; i.e. juice, energy drinks, lattes
Instead Go with:
* Seasoning foods with low sodium spices and herbs
* Oatmeal and whole grain products
* Stay hydrated with water, unsweetened tea, and sparkling waters
Mantra for the foodie in you: Healthy isn’t a number it’s a lifestyle.
Some quick healthy ideas for your next Spaghetti Dinner at home.
Recipe: Viva Italia Spaghetti   Mantra: Keeping it fresh today
 Bolognese Sauce
Ingredients: Avoiding processed products
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons oregano
3 tablespoons basil
1 teaspoon thyme
3 carrots
1 celery stalk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
28 ounces organic tomato sauce
6 ounce can of tomato paste
1 cup reduced-fat low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
Fresh parmesan Cheese optional
Fresh Parsley optional
1 package whole wheat organic spaghetti or can be replaced with Spaghetti Squash (low calorie option)
Fresh Ground Italian Sausage; Chicken, or Turkey preferably.
Put onion and garlic in a food processor and chop.
Put olive oil in a skillet and add the onion and garlic, cook until
mix softens, 2- 3 minutes.Meanwhile, put carrots and celery in the food
processor and finely chop; add to the skillet and cook 3-4 minutes longer.  Then add the oregano, basil, thyme, salt and pepper.  Set the Herb and Vegetable Mix to the side in a separate dish.
Increase the heat to high, add ground meats and begin to brown, 3 – 8 minutes.  Add the tomato sauce, paste and broth.  Reduce the heat to low and add the Herb and Vegetable Mix, cover and simmer, stirring
occasionally, for 20 minutes.  This gives it a kick. Optional sprinkle with fresh parmesan cheese and parsley.
Cook pasta in a large pot of water according to  package directions until al dente. Drain in a colander, then return the pasta to the pot, add a few spoonfuls of sauce to keep texture nice. When ready to eat pour sauce over pasta and serve.
For Spaghetti Squash low calorie option
Preheat oven to 375
Place the Squash in a glass pan and fill with 1/4 inch of tap water.
Poke a few holes in it. Bake 1 and 15 minutes.  Cut the squash in half and
clean the center, then scoop the strands of spaghetti squash back into baking
dish, roast 3 – 6  minutes for best results. When ready to eat pure Bolognese
Sauce over spaghetti squash.