Crunchy. Typically, this adjective is used to describe a certain texture of food, but, in Colorado, it’s often associated with a certain kind of person. According to Urban Dictionary, “crunchy” persons are those who have altered their lifestyle for environmental reasons. Localvores, eco-tarians, nature enthusiasts, people who wear socks with sandals. Basically, being “crunchy” is prioritizing a healthy body, a healthy mind, and a healthy environment, and we are SO down with that. To help you get a little more granola, here are five crunchy things to do when in Colorado.
GO BAREFOOT (SORT OF)
Part of being in touch with nature is to actually touch it, and a growing body of research
shows that connecting physically with the earth may have definite health benefits. “Earthing,” or “grounding” is the practice of walking barefoot on grass, sand, dirt, or rock, and it’s believed to be a natural way to help reduce stress, chronic aches and pains, and improve sleep quality.
The theory is that our bodies have electrical energy. Positive electrons can build up in our bodies – thanks to things like electromagnetic waves, Wi-Fi, and mobile phone waves – and direct contact with the ground helps to balance this out, as the earth is a negative grounding charge.
Back in the day, we used to come into contact with the earth a lot more – walking, farming, etc. But now, we drive, buy our food sanitized in plastic, and wear shoes with rubber soles, so maybe all those barefoot hippies are actually ahead of the curve!
Of course, we all have to wear shoes at some point. Wump wump. For times such as these, you’ve got Xero shoe
s – a minimalist shoe that was born in Boulder. According to minimalist footwear enthusiasts (and they are very
enthusiastic), having as little as possible between your feet and the earth can also help improve foot alignment and gait, while strengthening muscles, tendons, and ligaments which are not used when wearing traditional footwear.
HUG A TEDDY
Legend has it that the term “teddy bear,” was coined by Teddy Roosevelt’s daughter, Alice, at the Hotel Colorado, after seeing a picture of her father with a bear that he had shot on one of his hunting trips. While this legend isn’t true – the teddy bear was invented by the Ideal Toy Company in Hollis, Queens – the teddy bear is still widely associated with Colorado, and you know what they say: never let the truth get in the way of a good story.
So, why are teddy bears crunchy? Because they’re more fun to hug than a tree, or an actual bear, and science shows that hugging is super good for your health.
A landmark study conducted at the University of North Carolina found that hugging for just 20 seconds increased levels of oxytocin – the “love” hormone – and reduced stress and blood pressure!
Hugs have also been found to boost the immune system, mood, and energy levels. What’s more, is that the giver of the hug receives just as much benefit as the receiver. So, go hug someone.
VISIT A MICROBREWERY
Colorado has more microbreweries per capita than any other state. A “micro” brewery differs from a traditional brewery in that it only produces limited amounts of beer – no more than 15,000 barrels a year – and it’s typically independently owned. Small-scale production enables microbreweries to experiment with different ingredients and brewing styles, making “specialty,” “boutique,” or “craft” beers. While Colorado didn’t invent the concept of craft beer – the microbrewing movement began in the UK back in the 1970s – the state does get some credit for perfecting the art. Colorado is home to more than 230 craft brewing companies, so you can take your pick on which one(s) to visit. As far as beer being unhealthy? When consumed in moderation, beer isn’t so bad. It contains silicon – a nutrient that supports bone health – and the same amount of antioxidants as wine! So, take that, Shiraz snobs.
SOAK IN A HOT SPRING
Imagine a hot tub that’s filled with health-promoting minerals, zero chemicals, and is bubbling right out of the ground! This is a hot spring and people have been soaking in them for thousands of years
to help promote circulation and absorption of essential minerals. From luxurious resorts to hike-in natural wonders, Colorado is one of the only places in the United States that you can sit outside while the snow falls and “take the healing waters” in your bathing suit (or birthday suit, depending on where you are.)
GET SOME HERBS
While Colorado has recently become known for one herb in particular, we’re talking about herbal tea! The state is home to one of the original herbal tea companies – Celestial Seasonings, which was founded in 1969, after founders Mo Siegel, John Hay, and Peggy Clute started gathering herbs and flowers in the mountains and selling them to local health food stores. Herbal teas have a range of health benefits depending on the herb. Our favorite Celestial Seasonings is their classic Sleepy Time tea, which contains chamomile, spearmint, and valerian root. It may not make you as sleepy as some other Colorado herbs, but it always does the trick for us.