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Category : Healthy Living

Routines are healthy – Argonaut

During this challenging time within our community, it can be difficult to remain in a routine and stay motivated. With numerous benefits to maintaining a routine, one main benefit is preserving our mental health.

Even though students are not constrained to a consistent class schedule, it is important to keep a routine. This can be as easy as planning to have meals around the same time every day and sticking with a consistent sleep schedule. With so much uncertainty, it is easy to feel out of control, however, having a routine allows us to feel more in control. Sleep is crucial to our mental state and it affects all of our overall well-being. Making sure to have downtime for ourselves is necessary, and it is likely that our days will be more productive and happier.

The word routine may sound daunting to some, but having a routine to keep the important stuff a priority is extremely beneficial. Whether this be rest time, exercising, socializing with friends or family, these things are what keep our mental health in check.

Another addition to a good daily routine is exercise. Sometimes life can be hectic, and it can be hard to fit things in such as exercise and rest, but these aspects have a huge impact on our day to day lives.

Exercise can boost our mood and if we feel able to make time to be active, it can bring about many positive aspects. Many of our campus buildings such as the Student Recreation Center are closed, and as we continue to adjust to these challenging times it can be hard to switch things up. At home workouts or fun activities can substitute for these changes.

One last activity that is helpful is eating a healthy diet. Eating foods that provide energy and nutrition is essential to having a healthy lifestyle. Working extra time into a routine for cooking and eating enables us to focus on our eating habits. When times are busy it can be easy to avoid cooking nutritional meals and eating well at consistent times, but if theres time blocked in a daily routine, it becomes a priority.

Maintaining a routine is essential to maintaining mental well-being and it is something that is important to focus on during this hard time. Having a routine allows us to keep important things prioritized and it can provide a sense of control in this state we are all living in.

It is difficult adjusting to the new normal, so know that many resources available such as the Counseling and Testing Center and VandalCARE Report. As well as these resources, the Vandal Health Education social media pages are a great way to find tips on enhancing your mental well-being with topics focusing on coping, motivation, and routine building. We are all in this together!

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Routines are healthy - Argonaut

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Exercise and enjoy healthy low carb snacks – kempercountymessenge

Compiled by Denise Swogetinsky

Kemper Messenger

Hope you are all practicing social distancing.

Use this time to begin working on you. Start exercising. If you don't know where to start, go to the internet and type in exercises in your search engine. Bad knees? Just say exercises for bad knees. You can taylor your search to fit your requirements.

Be sure to get outside and enjoy the sun and fresh air. You can trim your bushes, weed your flower beds, plant flowers and vegetables, or just sit quietly and enjoy the beauty of the day. While you do these things, don't forget about your Low-Carb snacks.

Just remember that living a healthy lifestyle takes planning and moderation.

Easy Baked Zucchini Chips

w/ avocado dip (6 carbs)

For the zucchini chips

23 mediums zucchini

2 tbsp avocado oil

2 tsp onion powder

2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp sea salt (plus more to taste)

For the green

goddess dip

1 avocado

2 tbsp fresh basil

1 handful fresh parsley

1 handful fresh cilantro

2 sprigs green onion

1/4 cup olive oil

Juice of one lemon

Preheat the oven to 250 F and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper Using a mandolin slicer, carefully slice the unpeeled zucchinis in 1/8 slices, lightly patting the slices with a paper towel or napkin as you go to remove excess water.

Place the slices onto the baking sheets, add the avocado oil and season with garlic, onion, and sea salt. Bake in the oven for 1 hour and 15-30 minutes.

Check the chips frequently throughout the last 15-30 minutes as different slices cook faster depending on where they are in the oven. Remove the chips once crisped to liking and add more salt to taste if desired. Serve by themselves or with the dip.

For the dip

Using a high-speed blender, blend all of the ingredients until thoroughly combined. Add 1-2 tbsp of more olive oil if the dip is too thick.

Baked Cheese Crisp

Cumin

Shredded cheese

To begin making crunchy baked cheese crisps recipe, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two Baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly toast the cumin seeds and then coarsely grind it in a mortar and pestle. Add it to the shredded cheese in a bowl. Mix it gently.

Take two tablespoons of cheese mixture and spread it evenly on the lined baking sheet to form a 4 to 4.5 inch round. Repeat this step for the rest of the mixture leaving a 2-inch gap between the rounds. Bake the sheets one by one in the preheated oven for 6-8 minutes until it begins to brown slightly. Take out the baking sheet and lift the cheese using a spatula and fold it gently over a rolling pin or lay it flat on a kitchen paper towel. Allow it to cool complete to become crisp and then serve.

Serve as an appetizer with roasted tomato sauce or can be serve along a green vegetable salad.

Fruit Energy Balls

1 cup chopped almonds

1 cup dried figs

1 cup dried apricots

? cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Combine almonds, figs and apricots in a food processor; pulse until finely chopped. Roll the mixture into small balls and dredge in coconut. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months.

Cauliflower cheddar biscuits

1 pounds cauliflower florets (about 7 cups)

1 large clove garlic, quartered

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, divided

2 large eggs

3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

1 tablespoon cornstarch

? teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Place cauliflower and garlic in a food processor. Process until finely grated. (You may need to do this in batches.) Transfer to a microwave-safe bowl.

Cover loosely and microwave on High for 4 minutes. Let cool slightly. Transfer the cauliflower to a clean kitchen towel and wring out excess moisture. Return to the bowl and stir in 1 cup cheese, eggs, chives, cornstarch, and salt until thoroughly combined. Using about 1/3 cup batter for each, mound into 2 1/2-inch biscuits on the parchment paper, leaving about 1 inch between each one, until you have 8 biscuits. Sprinkle tops with the remaining 2 tablespoons cheese. Bake until browned and crispy around the edges, about 30 minutes.

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Exercise and enjoy healthy low carb snacks - kempercountymessenge

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World Health Day 2020: Beware, These 5 Habits Can Ruin Your Health – NDTV News

World Health Day 2020: Get rid of these habits to fight to ensure better health

World Health Day is observed on every 7th April. The theme for World Health Day 2020 is to support nurses and midwives. This World Healthy Day you can make promises for better health. You can fight the risk of several health issues with a healthy diet and lifestyle. You might not know but some habits can take a toll on your health. From lack of exercise to too much snacking, there are several things that you need to change for a healthy living. On the occasion of World Health Day, here are a few habits that you must get rid of for a healthy living.

Many take their mobile phones to the bedroom. It can disturb your sleeping pattern. Using phone for too long can is not just bad for your eyesight but can affect your overall health. Poor sleep is linked with several health issues. Keep your phone aside and make sure that you ensure better sleep.

World Health Day 2020: Reduce screen time and ensure proper sleepPhoto Credit: iStock

Sitting for too long can make you gain weight as well as increase the risk of chronic diseases like heart diseases, diabetes and certain cancers. More physical exercise throughout the day can help ensure better health. Exercise every day and take frequent breaks if you sit for too long.

Also read:World Health Day 2020: 5 Secrets To Stay Healthy And Disease Free; Make These Healthy Choices Today

When having a meal, eat slowly and chew your food properly. Eating quickly will not give you the satisfaction. It can also make you consume more calories than required. You should avoid all distractions while eating and chew food slowly.

Consumes your meals slowly for better satisfactionPhoto Credit: iStock

Many skip meals to lose weight. But it will not help you lose weight. To lose weight you should eat small and frequent meals. Skipping meals will make you consume more calories in the next. Also, add enough nutrients to your every meal.

Also read:World Health Day 2020: What Happens When Your Diet Is Low In Protein? Nutritionist Explains

Do you consume a pain killer whenever you experience pain or minor discomfort? This is also linked with several health issues. You should not consume pills without your doctor's consultation. Also, try to skip the use of painkillers as much as possible.

Also read:World Health Day 2020 Honours Nurses And Midwives: Here's Everything You Need To Know

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

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Take control of your health using the latest technology – Gulf News

Philips' VitalHealth is a cloud-based patient-centered population healthcare management platform Image Credit: supplied

As we celebrate World Health Day today, let us first thank our healthcare professionals at the forefront of providing quality care, especially now as we face the Covid-19 pandemic.

Healthcare systems are under pressure like never before, and young and old alike have never been more eager to take control of their health evolving from passive healthcare recipients into active health consumers. Empowering people to take control of their own health is critical to transforming healthcare. Consumers are asking for it. Demographic developments demand it. And technology enables it.

Philips takes a holistic view of peoples health journeys, starting from healthy living and prevention, precision diagnosis and personalised treatment, through to care in the home, where the cycle to healthy living begins again.

Home healthcare solutions are a broad range of health services that can be provided at a patients home. This can be especially useful in the management of chronic diseases where a patient is enabled to lead their best possible life either through the regular use of technology support or by keeping track of their own health with the support of a connected group of physicians.

Philips has many solutions in this area including population health management systems such as VitalHealth and sleep and respiratory care such as the Respironics portfolio.

VitalHealth is a cloud-based patient-centered population healthcare management platform that allows caregivers to keep an overview of their patients and advise them individually without coming into the clinic. It also aggregates data from different information systems to provide quick insights for an entire patient population which help drive strategic decisions around improving health while reducing costs.

Philips Respironics empowers patients to rediscover confidence and the freedom to live a fulfilling life by restoring the ability to sleep and breathe naturally. Whether at home or on the go, Philips Respironics solutions makes it easy for the young and the old to take control of illnesses such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and other respiratory diseases by integrating care in their everyday life.

From birth to old age, health is a state to be treasured, promoted and supported. At Philips, we believe peoples health journeys should be connected, offering seamless, integrated and highly personalised experiences. These are journeys in which people are increasingly engaged with their own health and get support from professional care teams, as and when needed, journeys in which every single bit of information adds to a greater body of knowledge that patients, their care professionals, and science and society at large can benefit from.

Health technology solutions will become increasingly personalised, adapting to peoples needs and preferences, helping them to achieve their health goals. By connecting different data points from different sources over time, we will be able to develop a true continuum of care, bridging the hospital and the home.

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What is the secret to a long, healthy and meaningful life? – News – The University of Sydney

Here, we asked Professor Fontana to elaborate on just a few of the many questions and myths his book tackles.

The first step is to acknowledge our health problems and limitations and challenge the underlying assumptions. Most of us will reshape our behaviours only if we have a clear understanding of why it is important to change, and we approve of it. Then we just need to set our goals, pursue them and have faith in them.

Smart people never stop learning, because they know that this is the way to deeper insights and revolutionary changes.

None of these: many are just fads, oversimplifications of a complex reality. Our society has become obsessed with losing weight, but the real question we should ask is not How can I drop some extra kilos?, but How can I avoid developing chronic diseases as I age, and possibly live a much longer and healthier life?

As I have tried to explain in this book, the knowledge we have acquired over the past couple of decades about the metabolic and molecular mechanisms that regulate ageing is allowing us to more accurately choose what to eat, how much of it and when, to meet our nutrient needs.

Sleep regenerates the brain, improves the efficiency of the immune system and reduces the risk of infections, while also playing a vital role in consolidating memories and reducing the risk of dementia.

There is no magic number of hours that works for everyone. The most important thing is that sleep is deep and restful, and you wake feeling restored. This can be difficult for some so the book explores strategies like endurance exercise to improve sleep quality or using yoga and meditation.

One of the features of centenarians living in Okinawa and Sardinia is the strong sense of belonging to the family and to a broader social group of friends. One of the Okinawans mottos is Shikinoo chui shiihii shiru kurasuru, which means: We live in this world by helping one another.

Positive social relationships and friendship play a key role in promoting metabolic, emotional and mental health so seek them out as challenging as that may be in current times.

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What is the secret to a long, healthy and meaningful life? - News - The University of Sydney

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How to Keep Up Your Healthy Habits When Youre Working From Home – POPSUGAR

We've partnered with Revive Superfoods to help you prioritize your health and wellness and live well, no matter what. Use the code 60OFF to get 60 percent off your first box!

Weekdays are usually for being responsible. A typical Monday through Friday might include getting up early to work out before going into the office, where you'll eat your carefully meal-prepped salad and maybe snack on a protein bar.

Being told that you're working from home for the foreseeable future completely upends your usual healthy weekday routine. Now, your living room is your office, gym, and dining room plus, your snack stash is just a few feet away. Keeping up your same healthy habits while working from home requires a little more planning and a bit more discipline, but it's still totally doable. Rely on these six healthy-living strategies to get through it.

Even though you're not commuting to the office, try to still get up at the usual time. Sticking to a routine makes it feel more like a regular workday, and you can use extra time at home to ease into your morning. Spend a few minutes stretching, get some reading done, or just sip your coffee and enjoy some peace and quiet.

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No commute means you have no reason to rush right into the workday. Instead, make time to slow down and practice mindfulness before checking your inbox. Set a timer on your phone and spend five minutes quietly meditating, or jot down three things you're grateful for in your journal.

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Image Source: Revive Superfoods

Away from the office donuts and candy jar, it might seem like it would be easier to eat healthy at home. But, the temptation to pop into the kitchen for some chips can be really tough to resist when you're working just a few feet away. To encourage yourself to eat well, order healthy meals from Revive Superfoods, a meal delivery service offering everything from ready-to-blend smoothies to heat-and-serve burrito bowls. All of these nutritionally balanced meals are ready in minutes perfect for days with back-to-back conference calls and video meetings!

You can order on a weekly or monthly basis, and choose the number of meals that work best for you. Best of all, your order arrives through contactless delivery right to your doorstep. Knowing that you have a healthy (and tasty!) breakfast, lunch, and dinner on lock reduces the temptation to snack all day long.

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Just because you can work from your bed doesn't necessarily mean you should. As comfy as it might seem at first, a slouchy couch or squishy mattress can wreak havoc on your back after a few hours. Pick an area to designate as your workspace, then deck it out with everything you need to set yourself up for success. Consider a supportive yet comfortable desk chair, a big-screen monitor, a wireless mouse, an adjustable standing desk, and anything else you might need.

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With no water cooler to walk to, it's all too easy to forget to hydrate while working from home. Set calendar reminders to drink water, or fill a stylish glass carafe with water and place it near your desk.

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While you can't sign up for a barre class at your usual studio right now, you can still plan your workouts into your day. Countless studios and gyms are offering live and on-demand classes through their websites and social media accounts right now. Whether you choose to follow along at home or direct your own self-guided workout, try planning your fitness routine at the beginning of each week. Actually writing down a schedule will help you stick to your goals and ensure you don't fall victim to the siren song of the couch after a long day on the computer.

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How to Keep Up Your Healthy Habits When Youre Working From Home - POPSUGAR

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HEALTHY LIVING Healthy living, tobacco and you – Port Arthur News – The Port Arthur News

You have decided to work towards a healthier lifestyle. You have increased your activity levels. You are making better food choices based on fueling your body rather than rewarding yourself with calorie dense foods. However you are still using some form of tobacco, even if you have cut down, or even worse, you have switched to smokeless tobacco with the idea it is better for your lungs. You are still addicted to tobacco. Yes, that is the correct term, addicted. Tobacco is very addictive and smokeless tobacco is even more addictive that smoking.

Smoking in America is down but not out. Today, 20% of U.S. adults are smokers, compared to 45% in 1965, when smoking was at its peak. But even at the current level of tobacco use, an estimated 440,000 Americans per year lose their lives to lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, or other smoking-related illnesses. On average, smokers die 14 years before nonsmokers, and half of all smokers who dont quit are killed by their habit, even if they are following other healthy habits. Recent reports show tobacco use is on the rise in teens, a tragic situation.

Lets go over some very common myths, reasons, and excuses. I have heard them all. The most pathetic thing I see is people smoking while they walk across the parking lot to the front door of the gym and then stamp out the cigarette just before walking in. Worse yet, wads of tobacco spit out near the front door. Yuk.

Myth: My other healthy habits make up for my tobacco use. Some tobacco users justify their habit by insisting that proper nutrition and lots of exercise is enough to keep them healthy. Not so. Tobacco use affects every organ system in the body, and thinking that youre going to find the perfect lifestyle to counteract it effects are just not realistic.

Myth: Switching to light cigarettes will cut my risk. Smokers who switch to brands labeled light or mild inevitably compensate for the lower levels of tar and nicotine by inhaling smoke more deeply or by smoking more of each cigarette. Similarly, cigarettes labeled natural or organic are no safer than ordinary cigarettes.

Myth: Ive smoked for so long; the damage is already done. The damage caused by smoking is cumulative, and the longer a person smokes, the greater his/her risk for life-threatening ailments. But quitting smoking at any age brings health benefits. According to the American Cancer Society, smokers who quit before age 35 prevent 90% of the risk of health problems from smoking. A smoker who quits before age 50 halves his/her risk of dying within the next 15 years compared to someone who continues to smoke.

Myth: Trying to quit smoking will stress me out and thats unhealthy. True, tobacco withdrawal is stressful. But theres no evidence that the stress has negative long-term effects. In fact, research shows that smokers who quit begin eating better, exercising more, and feeling better about themselves.

Myth: The weight gain that comes with quitting is just as unhealthy as smoking. Smokers who quit gain an average of 14 pounds. But the risk posed by carrying the extra pounds is miniscule compared to the risk of continuing to smoke. Besides, you have already made that decision to live healthier and you arent filling your body with junk foods anymore.

Myth: Nicotine products are just as unhealthful as smoking. Nicotine is safe when used as directed. Even using nicotine every day for years would be safer than smoking. After all, nicotine products deliver only nicotine. Cigarettes deliver nicotine along with 4,000 other compounds, including more than 60 known carcinogens, according to the American Lung Association.

You can do this. No one can make you; YOU have to really want to quit. And lets look at another bright bit of news; the average one pack a day smoker spends $2,000. each year!! Just think of what you can do with an extra 2 Grand!

Its all up to you, living healthy is a total lifestyle commitment that you are in complete control of. I believe in you. You can do it!

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HEALTHY LIVING Healthy living, tobacco and you - Port Arthur News - The Port Arthur News

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Healthy Living: What you need to know about the coronavirus – Norwich Bulletin

Dr. John Graham of Day Kimball Healthcare provides information on the coronavirus.

By Dr. John Graham, For The Bulletin

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), continues to spread around the world and in the United States.

Coronaviruses, named for their crownlike shape, are a large family of viruses that range from the common cold to more serious diseases and can infect both humans and animals. The virus at the center of the latest outbreak is being referred to as a novel (new) coronavirus, since its something that health offices have not seen before.

Note to readers: All of The Bulletins coverage of coronavirus is being provided for free to our readers. Please consider supporting local journalism by subscribing to The Bulletin at https://www.norwichbulletin.com/subscribenow.

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person:

Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).

Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to limit exposure. This means staying home as much as you can and minimizing contact with others.

Symptoms can appear anywhere between 2 to 14 days after exposure and may include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

You should call your medical provider for advice if you experience these symptoms, especially if you have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or live in an area with ongoing spread of the disease.

Seek medical attention immediately if you experience emergency warning signs, including difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or ability to arouse, or bluish lips or face. This list is not inclusive, so consult your medical provider if you notice other concerning symptoms.

As you go about your day, you should assume that everyone has the virus including you and could possibly spread it. Although there is no vaccine available to prevent infection with COVID-19, you can follow safe hygiene practices to stay healthy and prevent illness including:

Practice social distancing. Physically distance yourself from others by at least six feet.

Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based gel.

Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Stay home if youre sick.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

As with any new infection, recommendations are changing frequently. For the latest information, refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, http://www.cdc.gov, and the CT Department of Public Health website, http://www.ct.gov/coronavirus.

Dr. John Graham is the chief medical officer and vice president of Quality and Medical Affairs at Day Kimball Healthcare. For more information on Day Kimball Healthcares response to the coronavirus disease 2019, visit http://www.daykimball.org/coronavirus.

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Healthy Living: What you need to know about the coronavirus - Norwich Bulletin

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Healthy lifestyle reduces risk of disease – Jill Lopez

he longer you lead a healthy lifestyle during midlife, the less likely you are to develop certain diseases in later life.

The more time a person doesn't smoke, eats healthy, exercises regularly, maintains healthy blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels and maintains a normal weight, the less likely they are to develop diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and cardiovascular disease or to die during early adulthood.

The American Heart Association (AHA) had recommended a renewed focus on prevention to reduce the development of risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) as part of its 2020 Impact Goal to improve population cardiovascular health (CVH) by 20 percent and reduce CVD mortality by 20 percent. While unhealthy lifestyle behaviors are associated with higher risks for certain diseases and death, the association of the duration in which people maintain a healthy lifestyle with the risk of disease and death had not yet been studied.

Using data from the Framingham Heart Study (FHS), researchers from Boston University School of Medicine observed participants for approximately 16 years and assessed the development of disease or death. They found that for each five-year period that participants had intermediate or ideal cardiovascular health, they were 33 percent less likely to develop hypertension, approximately 25 percent less likely to develop diabetes, chronic kidney disease and cardiovascular disease, and 14 percent less likely to die compared to individuals in poor cardiovascular health.

"Our results indicate that living a longer period of time in adulthood with better cardiovascular health may be potentially beneficial, regardless of age. Overall, our findings underscore the importance of promoting healthy behaviors throughout the life-course," explained corresponding author Vanessa Xanthakis, PhD, FAHA, assistant professor of medicine at BUSM and Investigator for FHS.

The researchers hope this study will help people understand the importance of achieving an ideal cardiovascular health early in life and motivate them to maintain a healthy lifestyle. "On the community-level, this will overall help reduce morbidity and mortality associated with diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and death during late adulthood."

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Urban farming is the future of healthy living – DAWN.com

Exploring the ins and outs of how you can begin to start growing in your own backyards and balconies.

Whether its a window, balcony, garage, patio or lawn what makes urban farming a particularly viable avocation in our fast-paced daily lives is that it can be tailored to fit the budget and space you have at hand.

And while eating food youve grown yourself sits at the junction of fulfilment, tradition and modernity, adapting to a rapidly changing world and new ways of eating it isn't an easy feat.

In fact, it requires seriousness and commitment.

Essentially, urban farming is all about growing food in a densely populated city or urban environment for sale, barter or consumption, and varies greatly in terms of productivity and scale and even extends to include raising animals as well.

In Pakistan, there exists a growing urban farming community that is not only involved in promoting sustainability and adaptive food consumption but also in encouraging habits of slow food, organic eating, buying local, seasonal produce and using traceable ingredients in cooking.

By speaking to those who know the ins and outs of urban farming and gardening, Images explores how you can begin to start growing in your own backyards and balconies.

Years ago, Sanaa Zubairi started her garden when she and her aunt decided to bring a dormant turai (gourd) creeper back to life in their yard with their gardeners help. It worked, and they added a few banana trees and a lemon tree.

They grew well and we had a lot of fruit, says Zubairi, a 36-year-old mental health counsellor, clinical supervisor and life coach.

Our maali started teaching me about [farming] since he had done it before in his village. Gradually, we experimented, researched online, picked up ideas and added more vegetables to the garden.

Zubairi and her aunt were never alone on their journey. The pair was inspired early on by others in their circle with already thriving kitchen gardens and consulted with their local Karachi chapter of Ikebana International the 20,000-strong international organisation to promote the Japanese art of flower arrangement where members meet once a month for workshops, lectures and discussions of plant and flower-related subjects and Tofiq Pasha, a renowned local farmer who regularly opens his farm to the public for planting workshops and lessons.

Along the way, we started hearing a lot about others growing their own food. I also met with Tofiq Pasha and saw his farm. It was pretty clear it is possible to grow [food] at home. The best part is opening up my window to a lush garden every morning, seeing the fruit hanging all around. Theres nothing like picking your own food, heading into the kitchen and cooking up a storm.

Zubairi revealed that for the past six or seven years, they havent needed to purchase the vegetables they already grow at home. That includes loki, turai, karaila and kakri, as well as spinach for six to eight months of the year and seasonal veggies besides.

There is always something that you can grow even if you don't have resources. Our pantries are packed with seeds; potatoes, garlic and ginger are always available to begin with. When you don't have everything listed in a gardening book or website, then you truly learn how to be creative and how nature finds a way to keep producing.

We have our lemons, basil and mint throughout the year. Seasonal vegetables like broccoli, tomato, eggplant, coriander and peppers keep us going for some months. We've added more fruit and have been enjoying mulberries (shaitoot) for a while now.

Every season, she says, We assess what we want to grow that time around and how much. Some stuff we manage to freeze as well and use whenever.

With a lot of produce coming through, Zubairi shares it with family, friends and house staff, and has also set up a barter system with other growers like her.

Seema Khuled has been regularly conducting gardening workshops and training sessions across Lahore and Islamabad for years.

Each session is three hours long and begins with basic theory the hows and whys followed by a tea break and an interactive practice session.

Workshops are registration-based and cover the basics like organic kitchen gardening, but also go beyond for the more serious enthusiasts with sessions on bonsai, vertical gardening, espaliering and growing mushrooms.

We have quite an informal interactive session where the participants are at ease to ask [questions] and understand. The best part which is very encouraging is that participants execute all the ideas that we discuss during the workshop, says Khuled.

I am always there whenever they need any further guidance but they are well equipped to try on their own.

And the interactive guidance goes beyond the weekend workshops. Khuled helps run Our Gardens, a Facebook group with over 114,000 members who use the platform for everything from help identifying plants (Is this lettuce edible?), to advice on techniques (Will this trellis be strong enough to hold up my vine?; Should I repot or transfer this into the ground?) to why their tomatoes arent thriving.

People also trade seeds and plants there are even giveaways from time to time and share photos and videos of the literal fruits of their labour for others to see. Plus, lots of wholesome memes.

I believe that nobody knows everything but everybody knows something. That is why an urban gardening community is important, says Khuled.

Everyone has something to contribute [with their] experience and knowledge.

Though she'd always had an affinity for nature and the outdoors since childhood, Karachi-based sustainability educator and writer Zahra Ali became a full-time urban farmer in 2008 after she had an accident that caused her to put her career on hold as a result.

During that one year, I asked myself, what will really make me happy if I had no pressures from society and no worry about my future?

I wanted to grow my own food and since then, I have found my way in the most magical ways possible. I gave up my career, which was all about consumerism and was totally not making me happy. It was a daring thing to do back then but amazing things happen when you follow your heart.

Around the same time, she started Crops In Pots, a blog that has since blossomed into a community of urban farmers and led to other projects and initiatives. Organic City, the organisation she started with her husband Yasir Husain, holds horticulture therapy sessions with The Recovery House, runs an heirloom seed bank and opened up the Organic City Eco-Store in 2016.

Then theres The Learning Garden, an initiative that promotes sustainability and conservation in schools through classroom and experiential learning via planting and caring for an organic vegetable patch. Over 7,000 children have participated in the programme over the last 12 years.

I learned gardening skills mainly through reading online and emailing experts from around the world who were very supportive. I watched [videos] and practised. That is why I started my blog in 2008: to share what works and what doesn't, says Ali.

I also got in touch with a group of urban farmers in the Philippines that emerged after the [2004] tsunami hit their area. They used trash to make fertilisers and planters; that truly inspired me.

At home and in the gardens she manages across the city, Ali mainly grows organic heirloom vegetables, herbs and fruits in containers or grow boxes and native trees for tree plantations, along with flowers, which help attract pollinating bees.

Flowers are always a part of any organic and permaculture garden. I have grown all kinds of plants, from orchids, cacti, bonsai [to] tropical and water plants as well. All these years, I have never planted hybrid or genetically modified seeds, and all my initiatives [have also grown] only heirloom vegetables each year since day one.

Lahore-based software project manager Muhammad Khabbab has a similar story. Back in 2008, he first got into gardening because of rising tomato prices at the time. Apart from the standard vegetables and some dwarf fruit trees, he is now growing hundreds of plants on his rooftop and is also a collector of rare and exotic flowers which can get tricky thanks to the fluctuating exchange rate and import restrictions.

Like Ali, he too created a community when he could not find one.

An active member of international gardening forums like Dave's Garden and Houzz, Khabbab started a blog, discussion board and an online store selling local and exotic bulbs, seeds and plants. His forum, Gardening Pakistan, often organises workshops and he makes sure to attend workshops run by others in the city.

I always learn a thing or two whenever I attend a workshop, says Khabbab. When you meet with other gardeners who see things from another perspective, then you get to know many new ideas and many solutions which you did not know in the first place. Learning is a process which never stops.

But for the urban gardening community, the learning is not all online.

Those who have access to or contacts in the rural farmlands regularly travel to interact with farmers on the ground to gain a deeper understanding of how to grow and how to grow better.

For example, Dr Sabeeka Kazilbash, who grows guava and mango trees at her home on the outskirts of Karachi, often visits her aunts in Punjab during the sugarcane or rice harvest seasons and consults with local farmworkers there to add to her knowledge.

She also writes directly to local nurseries in Karachi to ask what theyre up to and shares her own progress.

Extreme temperatures and deadly heatwaves in Pakistan over the past decade led to recognising the impact of losing green spaces in cities to concrete and urbanisation, resulting in government and private efforts to restore tree cover and urban forests.

Although climate change was named as a key contributing factor behind the exceptionally high temperatures of up to 49 degrees Celsius during the deadly 2015 heatwave which killed nearly 2,000 people in mostly Karachi and Sindh, what really drove the phenomenon (and subsequent heatwaves) are deforestation and the loss of green spaces in densely populated areas. This is known as the urban heat island effect.

Though urban gardening and farming also took off around the same time, campaigns calling to increase greenery in cities apparently arent responsible for their popularity.

According to Ali, heatwaves have not been the driving factor behind the growing interest in growing.

Speaking of lawns, Its important to point out that the gardens under discussion almost tend to be privately-held in homes and not, for example, public or commonly-held allotments or gardens, as is often the case in contemporary cities around the world.

Heatwaves did encourage mass tree plantations, she notes, referring to drives to plant trees in public spaces but people have always wanted to be closer to nature.

Over the years, so many gardening societies have bloomed and established, garden stores are spreading and nurseries are [more] accessible. People have also started growing vegetables now and are more aware of the harmful effects of genetically-modified seeds and chemicals used in agriculture.

Khuled concurs with Ali and says growing things has been an integral part of home life for generations. If we rewind our memories, we can see our elders growing a few things and surely having one or two fruit trees in our houses. It's kind of reviving that culture again.

Though they say the heatwaves arent directly behind the rising interest in gardening, both Khuled and Ali do credit a greater awareness of climate change and its effects and declining air quality among young people.

Zubairi who is also an active member of a Karachi-based gardening Facebook group acknowledges there are lots of pitfalls when it comes to growing and sustaining your own food and garden.

In fact, she says, failure is an important teacher. It hasnt been easy dealing with bugs and birds, but the experts shared their experiences, and desi fixes, totkas and failures here and there prepped me.

It takes patience and work.

While water is a constant and omnipresent challenge in Karachi, there are ways to work around it.

Dr Kazilbash, for example, grows according to Karachis climate in a limited space and is lucky her home is on the outer edge of the city, so the soil is richer.

Certain limitations of space and resources are a common factor here [in Pakistan] and turning them into opportunities is a collective effort beneficial to all. Small space gardening is one of the primary examples on which we have gone quite far, Khuled adds, referring to the most common type of setup group members have.

For the last 10 years, 29-year-old digital marketer Mavra Azeemi and her family have grown mostly fruit trees, flowers and ornamentals within their Lahore home: kinnow, mosambi, chikoo, red and green grapes, papaya, curry leaf, lemongrass, basil, date, guava, aloe, jasmine and rose.

Then theres the empty plot of land next door, where theyve planted moringa described as a miracle tree for all its nutritious benefits and a diverse vegetable patch.

She says, Thanks to the empty plot next to our house, we've been lucky enough to grow a whole bunch of different seasonal vegetables.

And though Lahore has better soil conditions and season differentiation, the smog and other irregularities can lead to an uneven or sometimes no output, which can get expensive in terms of time and effort.

Although, for Ali, who grows heirloom and organic, it was all about learning slowly through experience over the years.

She says, It was very challenging to find organic experts, garden shops or even local gardening social media groups back then.

Nearly a decade ago, she created a guide for starting a vegetable garden on a less than shoestring budget based on her own experience.

Dr Kazilbash, who is in her 30s, grew up watching her grandparents harvest their own kitchen essentials and took on gardening as a hobby as her interest grew.

Their encouragement, however, came from the pain of their own experience.

My grandfather often recalled his pre-Partition days and always advised that if a war-like situation [like that] happens again, [you must be prepared and] you have to plant food for your own survival. I always laughed, but this point always remains in my mind.

For some, the drive and satisfaction of growing food lies in maintaining family tradition and a kind of modern pastoral nostalgia. Linked to that are concerns like eliminating food miles or avoiding pesticide biomagnification. Plus, when you grow spinach and lettuce in your own yard, you know they havent been watered with sewage.

There is nothing as rewarding as picking up fresh food from your garden just before cooking, says Ali, who grows organic produce in all her gardens.

We are missing out [on] a diverse range of vegetables thanks to commercial farming. We need to revive heirloom seeds especially because over the past few decades, the world has lost a huge percentage of heirloom seed diversity.

The joy of picking a fresh orange from the tree that grows in your garden can never be matched by anything you get in the market, explains Azeemi, who comes from a landowning family in Punjab.

The connection you feel to the food you grow runs a lot deeper. You've shared the same piece of earth and gotten the same sun, grown up together, it's like the most beautiful friendship.

Food is the basic fuel for our body, says Khuled, who notes that pesticide intake tends to be highest when it comes to raw leaves and vegetables.

Growing your own food is taking charge of your health with your own hands. It also tastes much better.

I know we cannot grow everything but at least we can grow those which are consumed raw.

Organic farming can be challenging enough at subsistence level but even more so at scale, and is much less commercially viable in comparison to conventionally grown crops. Even when produce is labelled organic, its difficult to ensure it is 100% so and hasnt been exposed to harmful pesticides or fertilisers at some point.

This means the Pakistani urban garden is atomic, individual and domestic, with no infrastructure or sustainable model to turn it into a true community project that can build social cohesion and empower people.

Commercial farms cannot be completely organic even if they try [to be] due to pesticide sprays in adjacent farms, says Khuled, alluding to the fact that, though there are exceptions, organic farms are often located near or on the same properties as conventional ones.

For Zubairi, however, the benefits of urban farming go far beyond solely clean food: it can be revitalising in terms of mental health too.

Kitchen gardening and nature are a huge personal resource to help reconnect with the world and nature, ground the self and teach and encourage others to do the same.

It also helps to enjoy the many things we discover every now and then: butterflies, all kinds of winged bugs and different birds coming in to share the fruit. Some are just absolutely fascinating.

Dr Kazilbash, who also grows herbs, garlic, ginger, eggplant, potatoes and chillies, finds similar happiness when she gives much of her produce away.

When a friend shares her experience of how she used brinjal Ive grown in tarkari and raita, Im just overwhelmed with joy.

So what does the future of urban farming look like in Pakistan?

Ali is optimistic. It is bright, especially since [many] schools have started educating children about being close to nature. I am very hopeful to see our future community leaders shaping greener communities.

Urban gardeners are getting more active with the food growing movement now, says Khuled, which indicates a break from pristine balconies and the primly landscaped yet monotonous lawn.

"Along with beautiful, colourful and fragrant gardens, we are seeing edibles grown all along. This is very encouraging.

It's going to get even better if kitchen gardening can be introduced in every school and college, Khuled echoes.

She says, It's important to bring young children close to nature. I am seeing a much greener and healthier environment in years to come with all these youngsters joining us.

Speaking of lawns, Its important to point out that the gardens under discussion almost tend to be privately-held in homes and not, for example, public or commonly-held allotments or gardens, as is often the case in contemporary cities around the world.

This means the Pakistani urban garden is atomic, individual and domestic, with no infrastructure or sustainable model to turn it into a true community project that can build social cohesion and empower people.

Mid-February to early April is the spring planting season, which means right now is the perfect time to plan and start your very own garden.

Ali recommends growing locally available flowers, herbs and vegetables.

Try to include a water feature for bees, butterflies and birds, she adds.

There is always something that you can grow even if you don't have resources. Our pantries are packed with seeds; potatoes, garlic and ginger are always available to begin with. When you don't have everything listed in a gardening book or website, then you truly learn how to be creative and how nature finds a way to keep producing.

If that seems too daunting, Khuled recommends starting small.

Start with growing things you love to see or eat, she says. Always ask others for help and information with your gardening. Don't get discouraged if you fail to grow something. That is a part of learning.

Gardening is addictive. Once youre in, there is no way back.

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Urban farming is the future of healthy living - DAWN.com

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