This is it. The last weekend to shop for Christmas or Hanukkah. I always wait until late minute and subsequently get super stressed out. But studies say giving actually makes us feel better and is beneficial to our health.

Well, once we have figured out what to give, I guess it does…

To reap the benefits of giving, you don’t even necessarily have to spend money but just perform acts of kindness like volunteering your time working with charities. A 1999 study found that elderly people were less likely to diet over a 5 year period if they volunteered for two or more organizations compared to their peers with similar health. They believe one of the reasons is because volunteering reduces stress which is associated with a variety of healthy problems.

Don’t feel bad skipping a workout if you made plans to volunteer with a pal after work because giving also helps release endorphins making us feel happy. A 2006 study suggested that altruistic behavior releases endorphins in the brain, the same ones you get when you exercise known as “runner’s high” or I guess “helper’s high”.

There are other benefits to giving such as evoking gratitude, and building stronger and healthier relationships. Giving is also contagious (think of the pay it forward trend at coffee shops). We’ve all heard the stories about the woman who paid off all items on layaway at discount store or the neighborhood that donated presents to the family whose house burned down a week before Christmas. These stories warm our hearts, make us smile and remind us how grateful we are to have a roof over our heads, family to watch over us and food to eat for dinner.

If you are at loss for what to give to your loved ones, you could even get them a gift that doubles as a gift to them and to a charity close to heart like Warriors In Pink clothing. There are quite a few brands that donate a portion of their earnings to charities or supply their products to communities in need.

Each year, Ford Warriors In Pink creates original wear and gear that you can feel doubly good about buying. It’s not just great to own and give, but 100% of the net proceeds support the cause. Plus you can choose one of four breast cancer charities at checkout.

I love this Swing Tank which is just $22, $11.63 is donated to your choice of one of four charities when you purchase.

And hey look, who’s that!? These Strength of the Warrior Yoga Pants have a super cute fold over top that are my weekend go to pair of pants. They cost $36 and $17.50 gets donated to your choice of one of four charities of choice when you purchase.

And now, I’m off to finish up my shopping!

Each year Ford Warriors in Pink creates original wear and gear that you can feel doubly good about buying. It’s not just great to own and give, but 100% of the net proceeds support the cause. Plus you can choose your charity at checkout – See more at: http://www.warriorsinpink.ford.com/#sthash.1AESeTIC.dpuf
Each year Ford Warriors in Pink creates original wear and gear that you can feel doubly good about buying. It’s not just great to own and give, but 100% of the net proceeds support the cause. Plus you can choose your charity at checkout – See more at: http://www.warriorsinpink.ford.com/#sthash.1AESeTIC.dpuf
Each year Ford Warriors in Pink creates original wear and gear that you can feel doubly good about buying. It’s not just great to own and give, but 100% of the net proceeds support the cause. Plus you can choose your charity at checkout – See more at: http://www.warriorsinpink.ford.com/#sthash.1AESeTIC.dpuf

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I always complain that Boston has no good specifically healthy restaurants. While I still think that is true, if you drive 20 minutes outside the city center they do exist. My buddy, Sara, and I made a lunch date to finally try Root, a vegan restaurant, located in Allston yesterday.

The drive took about 15 minutes. Street parking seemed full but I managed to find a free spot. It’s located on an unassuming corner of Cambridge Street, on bus routes but not near the T. There is counter service only and the space is quite small but we arrived around 1 on a Wednesday, and had no problem grabbing a table or 5 if we needed them. 

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We both ordered a juice to start. Sara ordered the Green (Cucumber, Celery, Green Apple, and Lime) and I followed up with a small Veg Cleanse (Carrot, Celery, Orange and Lemon). Sara’s was tart and refreshing while mine was more mild but still delicious. I loved that they had two sizes to choose between, 8 oz or 16 oz (I think). 

For our meals, I ordered the tostadas after much debate. 

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Tostadas: Chili-spiced roasted sweet potatoes, black bean and corn salsa, avocado and crema on crispy corn tortillas. Served with greens and mango habanero sauce.

The hot sauce we not spicy enough for me so I got a side of spicy gochujang aioli and think it was a flavorful addition. Otherwise, this dish was amazing and I would totally get it again. 

Sara ordered the MacroBowl which I almost got too! It sounded delicious. 

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MacroBowl: Organic Golden Quinoa topped with pickled carrot, kale, chickpeas, and avocado. Served with nori, gochujang aioli, and a citrus miso vinaigrette.

Sara said it really good but since it mostly consisted of steamed veggies didn’t have as much flavor as you wanted it to. We both agreed that we need to come back to try their Root Burger and Fries which looked amazing! 

Next door to Root is FoMu, the vegan ice cream makers of Boston. We saw it on the way in and knew we couldn’t pass up our opportunity to hit two amazing veggie loving places in one Allston trek. (Ok Ok, I know it’s not that far…) 

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I ordered a kiddie “magic bar” which is a coconut based vanilla ice cream with a vegan magic bar mashed in (think coconut 7 layer bar with chocolate chips and graham crackers seen below). It was amazing and you could not tell for one second this wasn’t real ice cream.

The kiddie was still $3 and about a 1/2 cup serving size which should be noted is what most ice cream nutrition labels list as a serving. I also got a chocolate peppermint whoopie pie to go. I couldn’t resist. When in Allston… I guess??? Needless to say, I was glad I worked my butt off at Barry’s Bootcamp with Derek on Wednesday Morning. 

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I can’t wait to go back to Root but also discover more vegan/vegetarian restaurants in “Boston”. I lived in Allston when I first graduated college but didn’t care about vegetarian cuisine back then. To find the gems, I often have to leave my ‘hood which is OK but hard to do on a regular basis since parking and driving in a city is a bitch and our subway system doesn’t exactly hit the hidden gems along their routes.

I love having friends like Sara that will go with me to funky “healthy” places. If you’re visiting Boston and want to know where to workout, check out my blog post featuring my favorite fitness studios. I’m working on a post with my favorite healthy restaurants but I gotta check them all out first!

Let me know your favorite down below….

You know how much I love Life Alive and Sweetgreen, where else should I go? 

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Roasted Vegetable Tacos Recipe & LARABAR Giveaway

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