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Natural Awakenings Northwest Florida

Vegging Out

Finally March is here, escorting winter out the back door. Most of us are glad to see it. But winter won’t leave without a fight. Often she snaps back with her last frosty breath in March, trying desperately to hold on. But she won’t win. Spring will begin on the 20th, giving way to the most pleasant time here on the Gulf Coast, with warm days and cool, breezy nights that make it worth the hot, sticky summer to come. For the next three months, pleasant weather will prevail, interrupted by the occasional last gasp of winter, protesting her departure with strong storms.


It’s the season of sowing our backyard gardens with seeds that will first become tiny green shoots, then grow into food that will grace our tables. I love watching local farmers tilling and planting their fields, knowing that the land will soon explode with yummy goodness.


This issue of Natural Awakenings, which is all about making the best of the earth’s bounty, conjures up memories of fresh vegetables straight from my grandmother’s garden—snap peas, black-eyed peas, eggplant, field peas, squash, collard greens, strawberries, okra (fried, of course)—and of sitting on her porch, shelling black-eyed peas and trimming bushels of snap peas, grumbling with every snap. But on the other side of discontentment would be the payoff: loving every forkful come dinnertime. Gram’a would throw a fit every time I opened the lid to smell her simmering batch of southern-cooked vegetables, which would have been the envy of Paula Dean, Justin Wilson or  Emeril Lagasse.


Thanks to the abundance of farmers markets on the Gulf Coast, even those of us without a garden can enjoy food fresh from the earth. Don’t miss our article on farmers markets, page ??, and then swing by the 30A Farmers Market, which has locations in Rosemary Beach, Mirimar Beach and Niceville. (See ad, page ??.) 


Another sure sign of spring is the Pensacola VegFest, which returns for a fourth year on April 9. We’re proud to be a regular sponsor of this popular event, which continues to prove that vegan food is both nutritious and delicious. On page ?? you’ll find festival details, as well as two articles on veganism: “Plant-Based Eating Goes Mainstream” and “Easing into a Vegan Lifestyle: Clever Meat Substitutions.”


We also have some ideas for personal transformation during this season of renewal. First, consider unplugging for a weekend at Stone Soup’s family-friendly retreat, Turning Off and Tuning In, set for March 26 and 27 in Fort Walton Beach. (See the back cover for more information.) Second, if you’ve been living with chronic pain—as a fifth of American adults do—read our interview with the owner of Mini Escape Massage, in Navarre (page ??). She discusses natural, proactive ways to ease day-to-day discomfort. Third, consider hypnotism as a tool for personal or professional growth. On page ??, local expert “Dr. Peggy” Hyde explains how this widely misunderstood technique can reverse negative behaviors and limiting thoughts that can keep you from living your best life.


So happy spring—and see ya next year, winter. It’s time to get out there and enjoy the wonderful gifts that come from the soil. Be sure to share this issue of Natural Awakenings with your family and friends so they also learn the latest in healthy living. And make sure you never miss an issue: Use your phone’s camera to scan the QR code on the front cover, and you’ll receive the digital version each month. Let’s veg out, turn off, tune in, heal up and always be ready to help ourselves and others.

Peace!
Scott & Daralyn
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