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What's in Season Right Now? (Fall 2018)

Seasonality of what you consume is more important than ever. Not only are restaurants adopting the practice of creating dishes that use ingredients that are in season, but many grocery stores are also beginning to do the same.

One of the most important things you can do is to arm yourself with the knowledge of what's in season during certain months so you can make the most out of the produce.

In-season produce not only tastes better, but you're also supporting the local farmers and eliminating your carbon footprint by minimizing orders for items that aren't available in your area, but are grown across the world and have to be shipped.

Here's what's in season during Fall 2018. Continue reading “What's in Season Right Now? (Fall 2018)” »

The Connection Between Growing Plants and Mental Health

Gardening has proven to be beneficial for one's mood. Beyond seeing your hard work pay off, studies have shown that horticulture can actually assist with mental health. In fact, gardening has even be prescribed in some situations where patients experience such things as anxiety and depression. Here's how it works.

1. Soil can act as an antidepressant—really!

It may seem dirty and the smell may not be the bet, but soil has shown to create similar effects on one's brain as antidepressants. This is due to the fact that soil contains "good" bacteria that's often found in soil, and this can alter parts of your brain, promoting positive moods.

In particular, the bacteria Mycobacterium vaccae has shown that it can activate neurons that promote the creation of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood. So, the more you inhale and have physical contact with this bacteria, the more positive effects you'll experience.

2. Gardening gives individuals a strong sense of responsibility

Naturally, caring for a living thing will encourage a relationship between you and your plant. It can help you learn to look after and respect other livings, while helping you create a stronger bond with nature.

3. It helps us keep connected with living things

Similar to the previous point, gardening helps you focus your attention on something else other than yourself. Since being too insular can send some people depressive states, gardening can help alleviate that. Being outdoors helps, too. Group gardening is also another option that you can partake in, which will encourage you to meet new people—another factor that can help you feel connected and less alone.

4. Horticulture helps us to be more mindful

Mindfulness is the idea of being present, and focusing one's attention to experiences that are occurring in this very moment. It's something that's kind of lost in this day and age, but research has proven that it can heavily impact your stress levels. Having mindfulness can help prevent anxiety, depression risk, help with insomnia, and boost productivity. Gardening can promote this as it forces you to focus on your senses as you repot plants or tend to one of your favorite succulent; it can be a very restorative experience.

5. It promotes brain health

Gardening has shown to keep our minds active, challenging us with specific brain functions that include problem solving, sensory awareness, and learning. Studies reflect gardening's many benefits, especially in dementia and Alzheimer's patients. These benefits include improvement in attention, lowered stress levels, and reduction of pain. Horticulture can also help those with a range of mental health problems, including individuals suffering from PTSD, improving mood and sociability.

Evidently, gardening is a great thing to get into, improving both mind and spirit. The seasons, however, can limit what you can grow, which is where the Urban Cultivator can come in handy.

Not only do you get to experience horticulture all year 'round, but you get to grow your own food, which can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Featuring a wide variety of seeds for you to grow, it's a great alternative to outdoor gardening.

Do you like to garden? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments section!

The Most Used Herbs Across the Globe

Indian food

Food is nothing without spices, and every country has its own preferred ones. It's these unique combinations that give different cuisines their uniqueness.

Ever wonder what spices and herbs are popular and most used in which countries? Data Dial and Kit Stone did some research on 36 world cuisines to see what were the most popular spices and herbs, and whether or not there were any common ingredients.

This was determined by studying the ingredients of the national dishes of said countries, and with that data, they created a fascinating infographic. Continue reading “The Most Used Herbs Across the Globe” »

8 Irresistible Recipes Featuring Basil

There is something fundamentally "summer" about basil. Brightly flavored and wonderfully herbaceous, it's one of our favorite herbs to grow in an Urban Cultivator. Its versatility is also unmatched, perfect in everything from sauces, to cocktails, to desserts.

Here are some of our favorite recipes featuring the herb of summertime, basil.
Continue reading “8 Irresistible Recipes Featuring Basil” »

Magic Mushrooms: Chaga, Reishi, and Lion's Mane

Fungi get a bad rap. Many people are off-put by the idea of yeasts and mold, but most plants in existence require some sort of fungal symbiosis to flourish. Fungi are also hugely important in creating the oxygen that we breathe, as well as their part in breaking up organic debris and recycling them back into soil. Needless to say, they are much more important than they are given credit for.

More recent uses include taking advantage of fungi's medicinal properties, though certain Asian cultures have been incorporating specific strains into their daily lives for centuries now. Specifically, reishi, lion's mane, and chaga have become more and more popular over the years.
Continue reading “Magic Mushrooms: Chaga, Reishi, and Lion's Mane” »

5 Impressive Herbaceous Cocktails Perfect for Summer

Summertime is here, which means it's time to mix up a cocktail, kick back, and relax. If you're tired of the same old, same old, we've got some exciting herbaceous cocktails for you to try. Featuring some delectable herbs, these will really leave an impression while tantalizing your tastebuds.

Here are five impressive herbaceous cocktails that are perfect for summer.
Continue reading “5 Impressive Herbaceous Cocktails Perfect for Summer” »

Learn About... Kelp

Kelp makes the ocean look beautiful, creating underwater forests, but they're so much more than just plants that exist in the sea. Kelp, also known as seaweed, is brown algae seaweed. There are 30 different types in existence, and is believed to have existed anywhere from five to 23 million years ago.
Continue reading “Learn About... Kelp” »

Plant-Based Meats: The What, Why, How, Where, and When

For some vegans and vegetarians who gave up meat, a juicy burger is a faint memory of the past. While there are a number of vegetable patties widely available, not many brands have been able to perfectly mimic the way a meat burger tastes and feels in your mouth.

Thankfully, two California-based companies have come up with incredible solutions to your burger woes: Beyond Meat of Los Angeles and Impossible Foods from the Silicon Valley.

Created in an effort to improve human health and animal welfare, address global resource constraints, and positively impact climate change, these flavorful and convincing alternatives have taken the world by storm. Here's what the companies are all about.


Beyond Meat


Using pea-protein, this burger is packed with protein: 20 grams of protein is in each patty, and red beets are used to give it a meaty look and mouthfeel. Beyond Meat is available at Whole Foods, Ralph's, Amazon, and a number of other retailers. Two patties cost about $5.99, and the company also offer other plant-based alternatives like sausages, chicken strips, and more.

For a full list of their retailers and restaurants that carry Beyond Meat, visit their website.


Impossible Meats


Impossible Foods' Founder Dr. Patrick O. Brown (M.D., Ph.D) was simple: make the global food system more sustainable. Guided by the question, "why does meat taste like meat?" Brown and his team spent years researching and answering this question. Using only plants, they managed to recreate the impossible: meat.

According to their website, an Impossible Meats burger uses only "1/20th the land, 1/4th the water, and produces 1/8th the greenhouse gas emissions" when compared to a burger made from cows.

The patties consist of wheat protein, potatio protein, coconut oil, and heme. Heme is a molecule that contains iron and is what gives beef burgers their distinctive taste, look, and scent. The patties actually "bleed" when you cook them, too, and the flavors are so similar to that of meat, even omnivores are fooled by Impossible Burgers!

Each patty contains 20 grams of protein and is currently not available at retailers, but can be enjoyed in dishes at restaurants throughout New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Texas.

See where you can try it here.

Another way of helping reduce your carbon footprint is to grow in an Urban Cultivator. Offering a wide variety of seeds for you to grow at home, it offers not only convenience and flavor, but also encourages a healthier lifestyle and positively impact climate change.

Have you ever tried one of these plant-based meat alternatives? What did you think? Let us know in the comments section!

Mind Over Matcha: Learn All About the Delicious Tea

Certainly, you've heard of matcha before. It's widely available at almost every coffee shop, it's for purchase at a number of groceries, and you've seen it on more than one dessert menu.

In addition to its complex, mildly bitter flavor and caffeine kick, matcha provides a number of other benefits.
Continue reading “Mind Over Matcha: Learn All About the Delicious Tea” »

What's in Season Right Now? (Summer 2018)


Seasonality of what you consume is more important than ever. Not only are restaurants adopting the practice of creating dishes that use ingredients that are in season, but many grocery stores are also beginning to do the same.

One of the most important things you can do is to arm yourself with the knowledge of what's in season during certain months so you can make the most out of the produce.

In-season produce not only tastes better, but you're also supporting the local farmers and eliminating your carbon footprint by minimizing orders for items that aren't available in your area, but are grown across the world and have to be shipped.

Here's what's in season during Summer 2018. Continue reading “What's in Season Right Now? (Summer 2018)” »

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