Indie Coffee Shop Offers Healthy, Local Ingredients

Coffee shops in any city are a dime a dozen, especially in Boston where Dunkin’ Donuts are located on every half-block. Although I’m not a coffee drinker, I occasionally stop into different cafes to pick up a green tea or a healthy mid-day snack. When I moved into my new apartment in the Fenway area, I noticed Neighborhoods Cafe in the midst of a quaint restaurant strip down the street.

Founded by Boston locals, Neighborhoods management strives to incorporate other local food products, people, farms and other small businesses. Their website also features a different entrepreneur and cause each month, furthering their community engagement. The shop is only about a year old, but the staff feel more like family. Employee Noah Hodge said that:

The friendship that the owner and the managers have with the people that work here, it’s just a lot more personal, and that translates to the customers’ experiences.

And that experience just gets better with a look at the healthy menu options. All tea is Numi brand, which is organic fair trade certified. I highly recommend the Jasmine Green. The coffees are direct trade, from George Howell Coffee and Vermont Coffee Company. As for the crepes, Neighborhoods offers signature recipes, as well as a list of ingredients to create your own. My personal seasonal favorite is The Tudor. They also sell baked goods, with offerings that are gluten-free, raw, vegan, kosher, soy-free, and more, to satisfy every customer’s health habits. Check out the cafe for a guilt-free pick-me-up.

coffeesign

Address: 96 Peterborough Street, Boston, MA 02215

Closest MBTA stop: Fenway, on the Green Line (D train)

Hours: Mon – Fri: 6am – 10pm | Sat: 7am – 10pm | Sun: 7am – 9pm

Advertisements

Fitness Favorites

Happy Friday! We’ve made it. Take a break from work and check out these fitness links from around the web. And don’t let those 40 degree temps keep you from getting your sweat on today.

  1. Here are the top 10 fitness trends for 2014. Topping the list: high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
  2. This weather has me dreaming of a fitness retreat vacation, something I’ve had my eye on for a while.
  3. Experts caution you to not get too focused on comparing yourself to others’ fitness and health norms. Do you!
  4. To wear shoes or not to wear shoes? Benefits of barefoot running remain unproven.
  5. Adorable video of kids trying healthy Halloween candy. Personally, Halloween is definitely a cheat holiday. Calories who?

Fitspo: Inspiring or Appalling?

Last year, controversy surrounded thinsporation, or “thinspo” for short – a social media movement that promoted a skinny lifestyle through “inspirational,” but often contentious, images. Many photos were often self-admittedly pro-anorexia, and sites like Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram began banning these unhealthy posts.

More recently, the attention has shifted to fitsporation, or “fitspo” – words and images intended to inspire others to live active and healthy lifestyles. Maria Kang, a business owner and mother of three, posted a photo of herself looking very fit along with her children and the text, “What’s your excuse?” The photo has recently gone viral, and in the more than 30,000 comments on the picture, Kang receives an onslaught of criticism, claiming she is “fat-shaming.” Others come to her defense, holding that Kang’s post was simply an attempt to encourage other busy moms that fitness can fit into their lifestyle.

Kang recently issued an apology (sort of), and defended herself against critics.

I tend to side with Kang’s supporters, with the belief that she did not intend to offend anyone, but instead wanted to prove to doubters that fitness and family can coexist. What do you think? Should Kang and those like her be more cautious about the images and text they use to inspire others?

Farm Fresh

As I’m sure you know, staying fit doesn’t stop at exercise. Nutrition is just as much a part of fitness as your daily run, and ensuring you feed your body the right nutrients is crucial. But the produce section at your neighborhood supermarket can be unsettling, as you never know who has handled your food, what foreign country (or countries) it passed through, and how it was grown. I recently checked out the Copley Square Farmer’s Market in Boston, and talked to a few folks to get a handle on why local is preferable.

Click on the photos for quotes and descriptions:

Also, here is the link to the New York Times Magazine’s Farmer’s Market Recipe Generator that I mentioned above.

The Power of Protein

If you’re like I was a few months ago, you probably get overwhelmed when you hear friends discuss their protein preferences and see fitness junkies confidently sipping from their blender bottles after workouts. Like many others, I believed the myth that protein was only for bodybuilders and males who were trying to bulk up. However, after my (female) roommate started sipping post-workout protein shakes, I decided to investigate.  With the help of online resources, advice from friends, and trial and error, I am now a protein devotee (and definitely no bodybuilder).

According to WebMD:

Muscles need protein for recovery and growth, and the best time to deliver protein appears to be right after exercise. Providing high-quality protein after exercise gives your muscles the fuel and the building blocks needed for both repair and for growth…Whatever you choose, more isn’t better — only 10 to 20 grams of protein is needed to provide amino acids (the building blocks of protein) to muscles.

My Nature's Best Isopure protein powder in Dutch Chocolate, and a Protein QuestBar

My Nature’s Best Isopure protein powder in Dutch Chocolate, and a Protein QuestBar

There are, as I’m sure you have surmised, many different ways to consume protein. But chicken for dinner every night can get pretty repetitive, so switch it up and check out these other not-so-obvious high-protein foods.

Oftentimes however, it may not be mealtime (if you work out early in the morning or late at night), or you may be crunched for time or simply not hungry. That’s where protein powders can help. I took a trip to my local GNC and asked for advice by describing my goals and fitness habits. After settling on Nature’s Best Isopure in Dutch Chocolate flavor, I purchased a small bag to sample for a few weeks before buying an entire container. I’ve found that many proteins have a bad after-taste, but when combined with milk, this tastes just like chocolate milk. One scoop after a workout provided me with the fuel I needed to allow my muscles to rebuild and alleviated much soreness.

And a tip: proteins can be expensive, so shop online to find the in-store equivalents for half the price. I purchased my protein here for awesome savings.

If powders aren’t your thing, my roommate swears by Quest Protein Bars that she pops into the oven for 5 minutes to taste like a warm brownie. She also recommends Jamie Eason’s Cinnamon Swirl Protein Bread. Both are tasty treats that still pack the protein punch.

What do you use to satisfy your post-workout protein needs?