Three Eco-friendly Swaps to Ditch Plastic in Your Kitchen

Written by Bronwyn Cawker

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Happy Earth Day! Earth Day is a moment we often use to reflect on the small changes we can make that have a positive impact on environmental health. Whether that’s being more conscious of food waste in the kitchen, bringing reusable produce bags to the grocery store, or cutting down on how much plastic we are using in our lives.

The theme for Earth Day 2018 is all about ending plastic pollution. According to Earth Day’s Plastic Pollution Primer, if plastic production and waste management trends continue as they are right now, 13.2 billion tons of plastic will enter landfills or the environment by the year 2050. If that wasn’t startling enough, our oceans are already swimming with plastic waste; an estimated 8 million metric tons entered the ocean in 2010. Plastic not only poses a major threat to environmental health, but contains chemicals such as bisphenol-A and phthalates that have been studied for their negative effects on human health.

Being conscious of how much plastic we’re consuming is well worth your time. We've compiled three easy swaps  you can make to cut down on how much plastic you're using in the kitchen.

1. Swap Plastic Straws for Glass or Metal Straws:

Single serve plastic straws are a hot button issue right now, with Britain completely banning the sale of plastic straws and urging Canada to follow suit. Locally speaking, Torontonian collectives like Last Straw are calling for restaurants to stop giving plastic straws with their drinks. Last Straw estimates that 57 million plastic straws are used in Canada each day, which are often not recycled. 

An excellent alternative to plastic straws are reusable glass or metal straws from companies like Strawesome and Keep Cup. Their straws are lightweight, portable, and easy to clean with a small brush. Strawesome even offers a lifetime warranty and will replace your straw if it accidentally breaks. 

2. Swap Plastic Wrap for Silicone Jar Toppers or Reusable Beeswax Wrap:

Silicone jar huggers like these ones from Food Huggers are easy to clean and can be used to cover half-empty cans, containers, and half-cut produce. Beeswax wrap like Abeego is a fantastic alternative to plastic wrap. It comes in four different sizes and through human heat becomes malleable enough to seal bowls or wrap produce in the fridge.  It can be washed, dried, and reused for up to a year after it’s purchased.

3. Swap Plastic Food Containers for Glass, Stainless Steel, or Mason Jars:

Glass food containers, while typically more expensive than plastic ones, are a worthwhile investment. They are microwave and dishwasher safe, great for storing leftovers, and for taking your food on the go. If you’re worried about potential breakage search for tempered glass containers like Wean Green, which are stronger than traditional glass. Not into glass? Stainless steel containers like Lunch Bots are another eco-friendly non-plastic alternative.

Mason jars are a popular alternative to plastic due to their versatility and affordability. Large jars can be used for storing batches of soup or bulk items like flours and legumes; while medium and small jars can be used for storing salads, smoothies, dressings, and spices.

mason jar, glass container, eco friendly, earth day

Let us know what your favourite eco-friendly kitchen products are, or what you're doing to reduce the amount of plastic in your life.

Leave us a comment below, or connect with us on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.

Our Top 5 Favourite Snacks

One of the most creative and fun parts of our job is to create menus for our clients.  When working with dietary sensitivities and allergies, we have to be more creative than usual because we often need to avoid using common ingredients.  Avoiding dairy and gluten is our jam.  It’s basically our “normal” and there’s never a moment of hesitation when it comes time to plan a gluten and dairy free menu.  But, those aren’t the only ingredients that we work without.  Many of our clients also avoid eating sugar (and sometimes even healthy sweeteners, like maple syrup and honey).  And, some of them are taking a break from eating grains.  Some of them are vegan, so no eggs or other animal ingredients allowed.  Or, no nightshades. There are a lot of other foods that clients need to avoid and often come to us with their food sensitivity test results.  No matter how many limitations, we’ll always get creative with planning a menu for each client we work with.

Sometimes though, we also like to recommend good products to our clients.  And, quick, easy snacks that they can carry with them and eat on the go or in between meals.  

Here, we’ll share our top 5 favourite snacks, some of which happen to be local Canadian based brands or our recipes that we actually prepare for our clients.


1. Kale Chips

We’re sure you’ve seen kale chips everywhere, as they have quickly gained popularity.   The only downside is that they tend to crumble and break easily.  If you are bringing kale chips along for the day, we recommend packing them in a container instead of a bag.  Make sure to read the label when you pick up a bag of kale chips to avoid any sweeteners or specific ingredients that you might be sensitive to.  Kale is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, which we always recommend that you eat because these veggies specifically support the liver and help with detoxification. Many studies have looked into kale (and other cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cauliflower) and its link with cancer prevention, due its high content of antioxidants that can help protect cells from stress and damage.


2. Homemade Guacamole and Veggies for Dipping

Although there are so many guacamole recipes out there, we usually end up whipping up the easiest version of this classic dip to save time.  Avocadoes help your body properly absorb carotenoids (the orange-yellow pigment found in orange vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes).  Carotenoids are a type of antioxidant that help protect your cells from damage, and your body is able to absorb and utilize them better when eaten with some healthy fat.  Avocadoes are known for their high content of monounsaturated fat, especially oleic acid, which is linked with supporting heart health and reducing inflammation.

 

Easy Guacamole:

1 large ripe avocado (or 2 smaller ones)
Pinch of sea salt (add to taste)
1 small clove garlic, minced
Handful fresh cilantro, chopped
½ of a lime, juiced

Serve with:
2 carrots, chopped in sticks
2 stalks of celery, chopped in sticks
1 cucumber, chopped in sticks

Directions:

  1. Slice the avocado through the center.  Carefully remove the pit.

  2. Scoop out the inside of the inside of the avocado.

  3. Chop the cilantro and mince the garlic.

  4. Mix together the guacamole ingredients and mash together in a bowl.

  5. Serve with  chopped veggie sticks.

 

3. Dates and Nuts (or Nut Butter)

Dates are packed with many minerals, such as potassium and magnesium, and are one of the best energy boosting foods you can eat.  They are great as a mid-afternoon pick me up, especially paired with nuts or nut butter to ensure you get some protein and healthy fat as well to keep you energized for longer.  Although dates are sweet, studies have found that they do not raise blood sugar levels as quickly as other types of sweets. And, studies have also found that dates have antioxidant properties, so they can actually help keep your cells healthy.


4. Roasted Chickpeas

Chickpeas are one of our favourite snacks because they’re a great option if you need something savoury and can’t eat a lot of sweet things. Whether you’re doing a sugar detox, candida cleanse, healing your digestive system, balancing hormones or are going through cancer, it can be challenging to find snacks that are not sweet.  It’s always easy to find muffins, cookies, and even granola bars, but they are all sweet.  So, we are quite excited about roasted chickpeas!  You can now find packaged roasted chickpeas at most grocery stores.  Just make sure to read the ingredients and check to see that they are made with real food and don’t contain any artificial flavourings, yeast, or other items that you don’t recognize.  Chickpeas are a great source of protein and fiber, which helps keep your blood sugar and energy stable throughout the day.  And, if you want to make your own roasted chickpeas, here’s one of our recipes:

Roasted Chickpeas

1 small can of chickpeas
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp paprika
¼ tsp sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375.

  2. Drain and rinse the chickpeas.

  3. If the chickpeas are wet, dry them off as much as possible with a clean dish towel.  They will roast better if they have less moisture on them.  

  4. Toss the chickpeas together with all of the spices and olive oil, ensuring they are coated well.

  5. Spread the out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

  6. Roast in the oven for 40 minutes or until the chickpeas are crisp on the outside.

  7. Remove from oven, let cool, and enjoy.

  8. Store them in a closed paper bag on the counter to keep them crisp.


5. Nud Fud Crackers

We love Nud Fud crackers (not only because we went to nutrition school with Julia, the founder) because they are grain-free, paleo and vegan.  They are made with really simple, but nutritionally dense, ingredients.  For example, the Goji Chia Banana Crisps are made with banana, sesame seeds, coconut, goji berries and chia seeds.  They also make some savory flavours as well, so if you can’t eat banana or sweets, then there are still delicious choices.  Sesame seeds provide healthy fat and protein, and are also one of the best sources of calcium that we recommend to our clients.  We haven’t found a ton of snacks that contain sesame seeds, so these crackers are a great option, especially if you don’t eat nuts.

For more information you can visit their website: Nud Fud  

If you don’t have access to these crackers, look for a similar type of product made by another brand.  Look for crackers made from seeds, such as flax seeds and chia seeds, as they are high in fiber and tend to also include other nutritionally dense ingredients.

 

Need Help?

If you want more homemade snacks, but don’t have the time to cook or just hate cooking, we can help.  Our private chefs can prepare customized snacks and meals that are made fresh for you!




References:

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=38

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=5

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf901559a

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0963996910002243

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780124081178000106

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23587027

Protect Your Skin Naturally- Do you know what's in your sunscreen?

written by Jamie Shaw

 

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Why is sunscreen dangerous? 

With the weather starting to brighten up we need to pay more attention to properly protecting our skin. Even though using sunscreen may seem like the right “health conscious” thing to do, you may be doing more harm than good! Some of the hazardous active ingredients in sunscreen may actually deplete the sun protecting actions.

 

Special attention needs to go into choosing the right sunscreen. Many sunscreens out there are packed full of hazardous chemicals. So you may be protecting your skin from sun damage but you are also polluting your body with unwanted chemicals. According to Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) sunscreen guide many sunscreens contain possible skin irritants and hormone disruptors. EWG also states that the majority of the sunscreens on the market contain chemical filters such as: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, hemosalate and octinoxate. Make sure that you check the ingredients in your sunscreen for these unwanted chemicals.

 

Are there healthy alternatives?  

Now enough about all the bad stuff and on to the good!! Thankfully we have other options out there with the plethora of natural sunscreens on the market today. Some can be a bit pricey but not all of them are. Sunscreens which contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are safe sunscreens which protect from the sun and aren’t hazardous to your health.

 

Things to look for when purchasing sunscreen:

  • Waterproof- you want your sunscreen to last and not deplete from sweating

  • Natural ingredients and non-GMO

  • Check different sunscreens ratings on Environmental Working Group to make sure the ones you are purchasing are safe and free of hazardous chemicals

  • Health Canada Approved- this shows that the sunscreen has been clinically tested and deemed safe


Now, for my favourite organic sunscreens!!

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  1. Certified Organic Green Beaver I have tested many brands, and this one is definitely one of my favourites! It contains the active ingredient zinc oxide, you can find the complete ingredient list

     

    2. Goddess Garden SFF 30 spray sunscreen

    3. UVNatural Sport Sunscreen SPF 30+ 

Keep your skin and body healthy and safe this summer by using proper sunscreens!! Use this amazing resource, from Environmental Working Group, to find out if your sunscreen is safe for you and your family!!

Enjoy the sunshine!!

 

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 Jamie Shaw is currently studying to be a Certified Nutritional Practitioner at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition. Prior to this she completed an Undergraduate Degree in Kinesiology from Western University. Jamie has worked as a Kinesiologist at a Physiotherapy clinic where she also did personal training and sports rehabilitation. Jamie is very enthusiastic about all things involving health, nutrition and overall wellness. This being why she has founded Pure Life Nutrition and Wellness. She is excited to share her knowledge and do everything she can to help others. Jamie has an online presence which she maintains through blogging for her website.  You can also find her on Facebook and twitter.

The Living Kitchen Spring Detox Program

We are accepting ONLY 5 PEOPLE to take part in the Living Kitchen approved and guided Healthy Detox.  This is because we want to make sure that you get the personalized support and guidance that you need in order to experience the best unique detox for you.

 

A gentle detox doesn't mean that you have to stop eating or only drink juice or water for a week.  In fact, when doing a food based detox- enjoying and experiencing food is one of the best parts about it.  In a food based detox we focus on adding in foods that are nutrient dense and support the cleansing of toxins out of the body, while removing foods that contribute to inflammation, congestion, and chronic health issues.   After 3 weeks of eating a gentle detox based diet, you will feel refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to keep on eating well.

 

Week 1:

  • Slowly transition into your detox diet.
  • Menu plan includes recipes that use alternatives to sugar, refined flour and packaged foods.  This week is all about making some basic healthy recipes from scratch so that you can quickly put together detox friendly meals.
  • You will lean about the foods to eat on a detox, the foods to avoid on a detox, and the benefits of doing this.
  • Support call from Certified Nutritional Practitioner

 

Week 2:

 

  • This week is the most intense week of the detox.  This week is when we avoid eating the most ingredients- so that you can deeply benefit from the healing foods you will be eating.
  • Menu plan includes cleansing smoothie and juice recipes.  There will also be plenty of more recipes to keep you supported with lighter foods this week.
  • Support call from Certified Nutritional Practitioner

 

Week 3:

  • This week will help you transition back to a healthy sustainable diet that you can continue to enjoy.
  • Menu plan includes recipes with foods you can reintroduce into your diet after doing the cleansing detox diet.
  • You will also learn about the healthiest desserts out there- that taste great and are nourishing for your body.
  • Support call from Certified Nutritional Practitioner

 

What Your Detox Includes:

  • 3 weeks of detox menu plans and recipes
  • 7 Days of Green Smoothies E-Book
  • Weekly personal call consultation with a Certified Nutritional Practitioner
  • List of "The Best Detox Foods" and List of "The No-No Foods"

 

Register by Friday April 19, 2013

Detox Starts on May 1, 2013

Registration is limited to 5 people only

$150 + HST

Do You Do Intuitive Eating? WIN WELLNESS TEA!

Do you know what your body wants to eat?

You know the moments when you have those intense cravings for something and you just can't think about anything else?  Or what about those times when you are busy and on the run and you need to eat something, but you just don't know what to grab?  And how about those evenings when you come home after a long day, need to eat dinner, but have no idea what to cook?

 

It sucks.  It's stressful.  And sometimes you end up feeling worse and gross after eating certain foods.

 

Even as holistic nutritionists, we often find ourselves facing these questions.  We are the same as you.  The only difference, is that, we have the tools to help you understand what to do with these questions.

 

We want you to have freedom to powerfully choose what you eat not only because you want it, but because you know it will nourish your body and your life.  We want to put the power into your hands and show you that you can figure out what would be best for your body.  We want you to break free from rules, restriction and anxiety around food and instead find freedom and joy in loving your body, honoring your inner voice, and enjoying your experience with eating food.

 

The Intuitive Eating Handbook

So, we have compiled some of our favorite exercises and tools into a handbook for you, so that you can intuitively know what to eat, love your food, honor your body, and live your purpose.

 

In the Intuitive Eating Handbook you will:

1. Understand the connection between intuition, your body, and living the life you love.

2. Develop your intuition through exercises and practice.

3. Find freedom around enjoying food, eating for your body, and breaking through cravings.

4. What your cravings really mean.

5. Bring your new found skills to your whole life and live with purpose.

 

Take a Peak Inside to see what it looks like:

 

The Intuitive Eating Handbook is only $9.99!

 

The information, tools and exercises that you will find inside are valued at $150.

But, we wanted to give this information to you because it is so valuable, useful and essential for your health and life.

Order online and receive direct to your Inbox 

 

Win a Wellness Tea from Tealish!

 

Ready to delve into your Intuitive Eating Handbook?!  Reading and exploring the Intuitive Eating Handbook is so much better when you have a cup of hot tea sitting next to you to sip on.

Order the Intuitive Eating Handbook by Friday August 31st at midnight EST, and be entered into a contest to win a Wellness Tea of your choice from Tealish.

We love Tealish, a wonderful local Toronto based tea company.  But, if you win, we will ship a tin of wellness tea directly to you!  (Canada and United States)

 

The Wellness Tea line of teas is a fabulous collection that will support your health.  Purchase the Intuitive Eating Handbook and you could win:

 

 So what are you waiting for?

Start using the Intuitive Eating Handbook today, win a Wellness Tea, and start to fall deeply in love with your body, food, and life.

Click Here to Purchase your Intuitive Eating Handbook!

I'm Going Raw for 30 Days...And I'm Kind of Freaking Out!

I know you just started reading this post, but make sure you get all the way to the very end.

Because...you could win your very own FREE MONTH of the ALKALINE LIFE

a 30 day guide to:

eating mostly raw foods education about how to heal your body and prevent illness by eating alkaline foods tons of recipes to make it easy

30daynutritionchallenge

So, I guess it’s official now because i’m telling all of you!   As a holistic nutritionist, eating raw has come up a lot - yet, it’s always been something I shied away from.  There are definitely raw foods that are a part of my diet but I always felt that I liked cooked food more.   The truth is, I never really gave myself a chance to experience eating a heavy dose raw diet and it’s actually been something i’m quite terrified of!

 

When I think of raw food I think of it as lot of work - tons of prep, dehydrating, sprouting - all AMAZING ways to prepare food that take forethought and effort.   So, I’ve decided July is experimenting month.   If there ever is a month to go raw, why not choose one that’s smack dab in the middle of summer!

 

I’ll be writing about my journey periodically in the blog.   Mostly what I’m excited to see is how it makes me feel.   Even though I eat well, this past year i’ve been feeling really tired, sluggish and low energy.  To be honest, I don’t think it has a lot to do with my eating - rather, it has to do with what is going on emotionally and psychologically in my life.

 

Some of you know that for the past 8 months Sarah, my partner in Living Kitchen crime, has been going through an immigration process and this has taken a toll on our business, our bodies and on our emotions.   This process has definitely been a self-reflection one, in terms of thinking about what do we want to do, how can we be of the most service to others  and where do we want our business to operate from.   That’s why I am so excited about our online classes - it allows us to be of service to so many people in helping to transform their lives (and it goes way beyond food and diet) and it also allows us to be located any where in the world.

 

Ok - back to eating raw.  So I’m excited to see if it helps alleviate my feelings of exhaustion that I’ve been experiencing for the past 7 months, obviously, I will be pairing it with emotional and spiritual work because, you most certainly cannot do one without the other!

 

Let me know if you want to join this journey with me or better yet, what you are committing to for July... eating a certain way, doing a certain exercise, seeing more of family and friends, etc.

 

Ok, I want to make a raw pun now but I can’t think of one.... so, love to all instead....oh and you rawk! (I know, kind of lame, but it works..)

Sooo, you ready to join me?!

Here are the steps you can take to WIN a free spot in the ALKALINE LIFE, starting on July 1st!!!

 

For each action that you take- you will be entered into the draw.   (so if you did 4 actions, you would be entered 4 times!!)

We will pick a winner on June 28th!! So, there is ONLY ONE WEEK to win the ALKALINE LIFE.

 

1. Tweet this blogpost on Twitter

 

2. Share this blogpost on Facebook

 

3. Leave a comment below this blog and tell me why you want to take on being raw for a month

 

4. Pin this blogpost on Pinterest

 

5. Email this blogpost to a friend or family member (and CC me on the email, so that I know!!  tamara@livingkitchenwellness.com)

 

In love, health and sprouted chickpeas, Tamara