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A Greener Lunch

I try to be as green as possible in my daily life. I compost. I recycle (even though we have to pay for curb-side service in my city). I buy a majority of my food at various farmers markets, and talked my family into joining a CSA this summer. I store my photos online (okay, that may be more laziness than a conscious choice). I buy all natural cleaning products and refuse to use chemicals on my lawn or in my gardens.

On point with this post, though, I have a resuable lunch bag that I bring to work (almost) daily. The thing about lunch bags, though--at least the size I like to carry--is that it doesn't hold much. There's plenty of room for the (reusable) plastic container holding my main course and my fork, but that's about it. If I want to pack some trail mix or some grapes, I usually find myself begrudgingly shoving them into a resealable bag because there's no room for another container. And, although I really want to use those bags more than once, I just end up throwing them away because I don't like mixing the flavor of yesterday's snack with today's.... read more

Sustainable Fish

Sustainable Fish

So what’s for dinner???

This question is heard countless times a day around the world, and for some the answer is fish.  For most people that answer is sufficient but today more than ever YOU need to ask more questions.  What kind of fish?  Where is it from?  Is it farmed? Is it wild? Is it sustainable?  These are all important questions as the world’s fisheries see constant decreases in their populations and overall fish size.

What kind of fish? This is important because some fish have different names, and suppliers may choose a name that they believe will sell.  As an example the Chilean sea bass is also known as Patagonian toothfish, Antarctic cod and icefish.  Know what you are eating, ask the question, and if there is no answer make another selection.

Where is the fish from?  A very important question that needs to be answered if you are trying to use sustainable fish.  As an example shrimp can be found in many parts of the world.  Shrimp that are harvested in Southeast Asia should be avoided because shrimping in this region can have negative impacts on the environment.  In comparison wild caught shrimp from Oregon, is a better choice because it does not have a negative impact.  Next time you see shrimp for sale at the local food store ask the fish monger, “where are these shrimp from?”  At the restaurant, ask the server “where are these shrimp from?”... read more

Aquaponics - the inside scoop on the closed-looped, fish and produce yielding system

What is Aquaponics? 

It is a closed-looped, symbiotic process involving fish and produce where fish waste provides a food source for the plants and the plants provide a natural filter for the water the fish live in. So that means you can raise your own fish and grow your own produce in a self sustaining nutrient system.... read more

Can and Jar Your Own Food: Jams, Jellies, Preserves, Ketchup, Pickles....

The green benefits of canning and jarring your own food are numerous...

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  • It's healthier.  You know exactly what goes into what you're eating.
  • Tastier!
  • Cheaper.  It's particularly cheap if you can things that you grew in your own garden!
  • You can keep eating locally even during off seasons.  If you make jam from raspberries you bought from the farmers market in June, you can enjoy those local raspberries as a jam in December!
  • Cut down on waste.  You can reuse your jars over and over again!

The Benefits of Eating Local!

Local food movements have been exploding over the past decade.  There are many benefits to yourself and to the Earth for eating local. Here are some tips for finding local foods in your area and a rundown of why eating local is so beneficial to the environments.

Why eat local?

  • Eating local lowers your carbon footprint, because it doesn't need to travel far.
  • Local food is usually fresher because it didn't have to spend days in a truck being transported.
  • Local farmers often engage in organic practices, even if they aren't certified organic.  (Being certified organic is costly, so some farmers forgo the certification process but still avoid harmful chemicals.)
  • Local food often contains less packaging.  Sometimes fruits and veggies from the grocery store (even organic ones!) come in plastic containers, are shrink-wrapped, etc.  If you shop at a farmers market and buy local produce, you can bring your own bag.
  • It's important to support local farmers, local economy, and your community.

How do I find local foods?... read more

  • Garden!  What's more local than a tomato picked from your very own backyard?  Or, if you don't have a yard, find a local community garden.  
  • Go right to the source!  Find you-pick farms in your area.  It's fun, too!
  • Find a local farmers market -- and visit regularly.
  • Join a CSA.  (Community Supported Agriculture) 
  • Find farm stands and produce markets -- but read the labels.  Whole Foods often has local stuff, too.  

Killing two birds with one stone (not literally)

How about saving the planet and its animals, all at once?

Many people give up the consumption of animal products for numerous reasons, which may include personal health and well-being, ethical beliefs, food expense reduction, and more. Thinking today about the reasons why I choose to follow a vegan lifestyle lead me to considering the environmental impact of the lifestyle. For those of you who are opposed to giving up your cheeseburgers regardless of the information presented, this will at the least provide you with some food for thought (a small side order for your burger).

In the past, the United Nations issued a report, somewhat like a call-to-action, for the world to reduce its consumption of animal products (both meat and dairy). As quoted in the U.K. Guardian, the UN feels that a "global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and the worst impacts of climate change." Clearly, this is a pretty serious issue.

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Bottled Water can give you cancer?

Is bottled water any better than the water flowing from your tap at home? Most people assume if you’re paying money for something in a plastic bottle then it’s of superior quality compared to something that’s piped into your home for a lot less money. This isn’t always true. Many times the bottle being labeled as “spring” water is really just filtered or unfiltered tap water. According to the NRDC there isn’t much of a difference in quality either. Our conclusion is that there is no assurance that just because water comes out of a bottle it is any cleaner or safer than water from the tap.... read more

Costco and Unsustainable Fish

I love Costco.  I get my eye exams there, I love their Kirkland organic peanut-butter, I greedily accept all of their free samples, and I even own lots of clothes from there.  They also are known to treat their employees well and they also tend to donate money to Democratic candidates. That's why I was so disappointed to hear about all of the unsustainable fish they sell.  Unsustainable fish includes Chilean sea bass, orange roughy, grouper, and more.  AND, AND, AND...they tell their shareholders that they support sustainable seafood!  Bad Costco!

Greenpeace has launched a website and campaign to urge Costco to stop selling those types of unsustainable seafood.  With the amount of food that Costco sells coupled with the number of locations they have, if they stop selling those varieties of fish it will really make a big difference with the over-fishing problems.... read more

What Organic Labels Mean

Shopping for organic food can be very confusing, especially when it comes to reading labels.  What do the different certifications really mean?  

100% Organic - The product must contain 100% organic ingredients.

Organic - At least 95% of the ingredients are organic.

Made with Organic Ingredients - At least 70% of ingredients are organic. 

Natural and All-Natural - This type of labeling drives me crazy.  They mean nothing.  There are no government standards to dictate what can be labeled Natural or All-Natural.  I wrote a more in-depth article about this back in August.  ... read more

Homemade Baby Food: Getting Started

If you're thinking about making homemade baby food for your little one, it's so easy and cheap cheap cheap.   Here's what you need to do to get started:

- Have your baby try different types of food.  I didn't want to make a huge batch of squash, only to find out that my baby hates squash.  Before making our own baby food, I bought a few jars of different types to get a feel for what my baby likes.    For store-bought baby food, I like Earth's Best the most.  I also like that they come in glass jars, which you can reuse for your own homemade baby food.  Wild Harvest and Beech Nut also still come in glass jars; Gerber Organic comes in plastic containers.


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