BLUE ZONES: The great pumpkin
DODGE COUNTY BLUE ZONES PROJECT

BLUE ZONES: The great pumpkin

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Trina Justman Reichert Community Health Advocate

You can’t escape it even if you tried. Pumpkins have taken over our décor, our coffee, and our autumn recipes. You can even find pumpkin as an ingredient in high end natural facial products. To help you fully embrace all that is around you this season, we compiled a list of benefits of five of our Blue Zones Project Power Nine principles with a pumpkin twist:

Move Naturally: Pumpkin picking at a local patch is an incredible way to move naturally. Dodge County has many opportunities for you to lace up those sneakers or boots and find your perfect pumpkin.

Downshift: The calming smells of autumn can encourage some wonderful time spent downshifting. While the pumpkin is baking or stewing, allow yourself to sit quietly and breathe in the aromas. Pumpkin candles are also in abundance, so if you find candles relaxing, try that. For some, this can be a stressful time of year in preparation of the holidays. Reflect on things you are grateful for and let your mind transition into the new season with intention.

Friends at Five: Can you say pumpkin spice latte? There are some great recipes that include healthier options than the popular sugar laden ones. We made some blended iced lattes with a group of teens using pumpkin, espresso, vanilla, cinnamon, honey and coconut milk. Delish.

Plant Slant: Pumpkins are packed with vitamin A and fiber and are a low calorie food. They positively impact not only digestion, but provide antioxidants that pack a powerful punch for immunity, healthy eyes, and skin. Their little seeds boast protein, magnesium, copper, and zinc. Pumpkin can be easily frozen as cubes and added to stews and shakes. Pumpkin seeds can be eaten alone or as a powerful nutrient rich topping or addition to granola and snacks. There are options-o-plenty.

Family First: Pumpkins bring people together. With my children nearly grown, I delight in memories of our pumpkin decorating parties. As a child, I remember carving pumpkins with my brothers. One of them would cut, one would scoop the seeds and prepare them to roast, and we’d all design and proudly display our finished artwork illuminated on our front steps. Create moments you will cherish for a lifetime.

Harvest time in the Midwest can be a time of abundance and celebration of the seeds we sow, both actual seeds and those of the figurative variety. As you witness the bounty of pumpkins around you, may it be accompanied by healthy choices and happy days.

Blue Zones Project is a community-led well-being initiative designed to make healthy choices easier through improvements to a city’s environment, policies, and social networks. Blue Zones Project is brought to Dodge County through sponsorship by Beaver Dam Community Hospitals a member of Marshfield Clinic Health Systems, in collaboration with Sharecare, Inc. and Blue Zones, LLC. Dodge County is the first Blue Zones Project demonstration site in the state. For more information, email bluezonesprojectdodgecounty@bdch.org or visit bluezonesproject.com.

Blue Zones Project is a community-led well-being initiative designed to make healthy choices easier through improvements to a city’s environment, policies, and social networks. Blue Zones Project is brought to Dodge County through sponsorship by Beaver Dam Community Hospitals a member of Marshfield Clinic Health Systems, in collaboration with Sharecare, Inc. and Blue Zones, LLC. Dodge County is the first Blue Zones Project demonstration site in the state. For more information, email bluezonesprojectdodgecounty@bdch.org or visit bluezonesproject.com.

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