As the holidays start to sneak up on us, we have been pulling together some of our favorite homemade gifts. All of which happen to be plastic-free, zero waste, edible (because food!). Bonus, they are all delicious and help cut down on both the plastic you and your loved ones are exposed to, plus how much ends up in the environment. Not to mention they look really awesome and a homemade gift is a unique way to show you really care. One more benefit, you can pull them together super last minute, get pretty much everything you need at the grocery store (most of it in bulk even) and avoid the heinous parking scene at the mall.
Why the extra effort to cook without non-stick is worth it
Ugh, and there it goes, your non-stick pan just can't survive another round of frying up your favorite eggs for brunch. You've avoided this for as long as you can, but you just can't put it off any longer. Yup, you have to go shopping for pots and pans. If the thought of choosing between the seemingly hundreds of different brands promising different things scares you, we get it! I mean, who wants to try and figure out the difference between non-toxic and toxic cooking pans between running errands and going grocery shopping? We're here to help you cut down on your shopping time and anxiety!
Here's a simple swap on how to pick swoon-worthy plates without the toxins
If you're kitchen obsessed like me, you've probably poured over every IKEA, Pottery Barn, William Sonoma and Magnolia Home magazine scouring for the prettiest dishware to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Whether you're a food styling pro, or wouldn't mind eating off any type of plate, here's what you might not know. Depending on the style and manufacturer of dishware, there might be lead and cadmium hiding in the paint.
The ultimate crash course on artificial colors, sugars and flavorings
Whether you're team Pumpkin Spice Latte or prefer flavors other than Fall packed in a coffee cup, you've probably wondered what makes that addicting-ly good taste or Instagram-worthy rainbow of colors. Artificial colors, sugars and flavorings are in a lot of the food and drink products that we consume every day, and sometimes, it's really confusing to figure out the difference between "natural" flavors and artificial flavors and which ones are safer. We're here to help you out!
Plus tips from a chef on how to cook with dried beans and ditch the cans
We all know having a can of beans on hand means whipping up dinner can happen pretty quickly. While we love a quick and easy dinner, we aren't as thrilled by a meal that might introduce us to some unnecessary chemicals. Why would whipping up some rice and beans do that? The quick answer is that cans are often lined with BPA, a substance often used to line aluminum cans to keep the food inside from reacting with the metal. So, we talked to a chef Mei Li, co-founder of restaurant Mei Mei in Boston, MA, forthcoming cookbook author, and co-founder of Food Waste Feast, to figure out what's up with dried beans.
Guess what we learned - dried beans aren't that scary.
Everyone has their favorite water bottle - a Camelbak with the chewy straw, or a new shiny S'well bottle, or the Hydroflask that keeps your drink icy for days. And, we know that reusable plastic water bottles have some perks- lightweight, see through, indestructible- but they also have one big drawback, the plastic. Plastics, even ones that are BPA free, are often made of chemicals that can seep into water and affect your health. So, that's where this big question comes into play. Do I have to (or should I) ditch my beloved Nalgene with all my stickers from travels throughout the years?
Our answer is - you don't have to pitch it, but it probably shouldn't be your primary bottle either. You can stop reading here and check our our roundup of a dozen glass and stainless steel reusable water bottles if that's enough info for you, or you can keep reading and well give you some tips and nuggets of info on why those tips will make a difference.
What to eat when those snack-attacks hit
With fall approaching fast and back-to-school right around the corner, it means that long summer nights and making s'mores might be replaced with long study nights and a need for some brain-fueling, healthy snacks. Even though the convenience of goldfish and fruit gushers might be calling your name at the grocery store, these snacks are full of unhealthy refined sugar and might even potentially contain small amounts of phthalates due to packaging (1). Instead, try making your own snacks at home! It's healthier, extremely easy and better for the planet. Think about all the snack packaging that you toss away each year - I know for me, even though I try to recycle, sometimes I'm not sure if something can be recycled and it all ends up going into the trash. It's definitely more sustainable to make your own snacks in bulk and pack them in reusable (and healthier!) alternatives to grab to-go. The recipes that we've rounded up for you are low in refined-sugar, high in whole-grains, and full of healthy fats that will keep your stomach full and your brain juices flowing. Bonus, you can personalize each of them to taste exactly how you want and making them can be a fun activity with your kids or friends.
Remember: leafy berry skins
No matter where you turn everyone has suggestions for how to prioritize when to shop organic. Some swear by the dirty dozen (props to you if you can remember a dozen different fruits and veggies - I sure can't) other say just do what you can. While that advice is a start, sometimes we get confused and want a little bit of guidance. So, we went through the dirty dozen and other lists to break it down into a silly 3 word phrase. Like when you had to study vocab in school and you would make up stories, leafy berry skins helps us remember the 3 things to opt organic for in the produce section. Leafy greens, berries of all kinds, and things with skin you eat.