Sunday, January 29, 2012

My Eco-Friendly Weekend Activities

Between work, friends, and family, I have had a pretty busy week. I have not posted as much as I would have liked to. Nonetheless, my mind has been racing with lots of fun eco-friendly activities and plans for this weekend. I am highlighting some of my eco-friendly weekend activities.
  1. Carpooling - offered to pick up our friends twice this weekend.
  2. Garden - going to start some of my seeds and begin planning for others. I still have a few cold weather and companion plant seeds to purchase.
  3. Reusing/Recycling - cleaned out half of the old/expired bottles from the fridge door. Recycled the plastic ones (yes, Rumpke accepts them!) and kept the glass ones for bulk bin purchases.
  4. CSA - downloaded the application, will print at work and fill out.
  5. Haircut - asked my mom to cut my hair. She is pretty good at cutting my hair with a little style in it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Bulk Bin Tags

(Disclaimer: this is a somewhat-Wordless Wednesday post)

Buying from the Whole Foods bulk bins has resulted in a large collection of the tags that you write the bin code on. I do not know an alternative to using these (aside from writing on the bag with a permanent marker or making the employee search for each code) or what to do with these in the mean time (other than storing them in a container). HELP!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Speed Bumps and Solutions to Green Living [#CTWW]

This week's challenge comes from Reduced Footprints.

This week, please share road blocks to green living. If you're not struggling with any road blocks at this time, then please share ones which you've heard from others. For example, one of the most common reasons is that it's too expensive.

Then ...Take a look at the road blocks shared and offer solutions. The idea of this challenge is to help us all find solutions and "bust" all excuses for not living green.

Today, I am sharing some of the road blocks I have experienced on my path to more eco-friendly and green living. I am going to take after Jen and Joey and call them "speed bumps." I have learned to pick my battles because they are slightly bigger eco-friendly fish to fry (no, not frankenfish).

Speed Bump: 
The amount of paper products used in our house is unimaginable. Sometimes, I feel like little evil elves come out at night to steal our toilet paper, tissues, and paper towels. There is nothing better than throwing away a used tissue and not having to worry about washing a handkerchief, but the guilt reminds me that paper used one time is very wasteful!


1. Purchase and use cloth napkins and rags (we already reuse old socks and washcloths for cleaning rags)
2. Offer, do not force, for others to use them

Speed Bump:  Heat

My husband hates to be cold (and I do also). If he could move to Florida or Mexico, he would in a heartbeat. The man walks around in short sleeves and shorts while I am sporting 2 wool sweaters over a long sleeve shirt. When we are at home, we keep the house at 67 degrees (68 degrees recently because it has been very cold). During the night, I bump it down to 64 degrees. One degree can make a big difference, but a husband complaining every 5 minutes might not be worth it.

1. Drink more hot tea
2. Put more blankets on the couch and the bed
3. Snuggle up to stay warm
4. Add eco-friendly insulation (long term solution)

Speed Bump:  Water
My husband's solution to the above speed bump (when I do not allow the temperature to be set above 68 degrees), is to take a hot bath. Oh, the amount of water that baths use is unbelievable! In addition to letting water run in the bathroom and in the kitchen when not actively using it also increases water usage.


1. Turn water off when I walk by (not recommended)
2. Offer to wash the dishes (use cold water, turn off when soaping up)

Final Note:
I do not mean to call my husband out so much here because I am wasteful myself. My husband has come a long way in supporting me and being more eco-friendly. I am grateful for his support! I hope that we can continue to remove waste from our lives.

>> What road blocks or speed bumps have you experienced?  How have you dealt with them or going to deal with them?

Stop Unwanted Mail

We receive junk mail every day. I feel like every time I submit my home address online, I receive 3-5 junk mailings. I have found that ordering something online automatically signs me up for a mailing list. In order to reduce the amount of junk mail that I have to recycle and gain time from not having to pick out the junk mail, I signed up for a few services to help me stop unwanted mail.

Catalog Choice assists by submitting the unsubscribe request on my behalf. I have to do a little more on my side by searching for each catalog I would like to unsubscribe from. I could only think of one catalog off the top of my head, so I will save any unwanted mail I get and submit it on there.

Catalog Choice

We receive Val-Pak coupons, look through each one, save a few, and never use them. Very wasteful, so I stopped this also! I hope my husband does not notice...

Val-Pak Removal

We also get the weekly local ads, which always get recycled. Supposedly, there is a box with mailing list removal somewhere on there, so I will look next time I receive the ads.

Red Plum Removal

A few clicks of the mouse, a few taps of the keyboard, and I feel better already. Less unwanted mail, less clutter!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Smart, Stylish Shopping with SnapSac Totes [Review]


I think I am become a reusable bag addict! I have bags of different sizes, colors, and styles. I decided to stop accumulated more reusable bags, but when I had an opportunity to review SnapSac Totes, I said, “yes” I had to add SnapSac totes to my collection!

SnapSac Totes are responsibly made by 1 Bag at a Time with a focus on style and sustainability. The new line of SnapSac Totes includes totes of different sizes and fun colors that fold up and snap in different areas so that you can take them anywhere and put just about anything in them.

• more durable fabric (35% thicker than average grocery bags)110 gsm NWPP
• inside pocket 
• foldable with a snap in three places: at folding, at the top, and at the pocket
• machine wash cold, line dry

Petite Tote: Pop                          
               $3.50 $2.99
Super Tote: Pop                                         $4.50
Mega Tote: Pop                                          $7.50
SnapSac Tote Bundle: Pop                       $12.50
Rating: total green check marks out of 5.

Promotion Code: Use ALLNATRALKATIE20 to save 20% (expires January 26, 2012, cannot be combined with other offers, one code per customer)

The Good
The Not So Good
Holds a lot of stuff
Synthetic fabric
Durable NWPP fabric
No base liner/support
Adorable color and style

Longer straps to fit over your shoulder

Easy to fold

Great price

My Review: I received the SnapSac Petite, Super, and Mega Totes in the Pop color. I love the colors and the style. I actually WANT to use these bags because they are so adorable and fun! I took the Petite Tote with me to the grocery store because I planned only buying 2-3 items. I ended up buying 10 items. Nonetheless, all items fit into bag and there was room to spare. I especially love that the straps are long enough to put the bag over my shoulder.

SnapSac Totes fold up in almost the size of a piece of paper (a little bigger for the Mega Tote). I never had any troubles folding up the totes as I do with some of the other reusable bags where you basically have to do origami to get it back into the pocket size bag.

Since the SnapSac Totes are so light, yet durable, I could see myself taking a tote instead of my purse during a long shopping trip.

Uses: I used SnapSac Totes on two occasions: grocery store and birthday party. Yes, the Super Tote actually held two big present bags with 3 books each! Instead of carrying each present separately and using two hands, I put them in the SnapSac Super Tote and threw it over my shoulder. My hands were free! SnapSac Totes would also be great to throw in your luggage in case you need an extra bag to carry souvenirs home.

Overall Review: Although I prefer reusable bags made out of a natural fabric like cotton/jute/canvas, I do admit that SnapSac’s synthetic fabric makes the bag lightweight, durable, and machine washable. The three sizes are perfect for any type of occasion or purpose. I would like to see the base of the bag supported by either thicker material or an insert so that the bag is even more durable for hauling lots of heavy items.

Disclosure: I received the sample from 1 Bag a Time in order to facilitate my review. No other compensation was received. This product review is based on my personal experiences. This review is objective and completely honest.

Happy 100th Post!

Wow! I cannot believe that this is my 100th post! Between my eco-friendly ramblings, reviews, a few giveaways, some sponsored posts, and a couple awards, I actually made it to my 100th post. I have enjoyed writing about our eco-friendly adventures. I plan on giving you more insight into my life, the struggles and successes of going green.

>> What would you like to read about? What eco-friendly interests do you have?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

No Artificial Ingredients in Natural Joy Beauty [Review]

Natural Joy Beauty is a company focused on two goals: offer 100% natural products and provide exceptional Customer Service. After learning how much greenwashing occurs, even at health food stores, Joy started doing her own research to find natural alternatives for makeup and body care. Each product is chosen carefully. All ingredients are disclosed on the website so you can be confident that you are purchasing non-toxic products.

I spent almost one hour looking through the extensive product selection. I have switched to all natural cosmetics and body products, but I still have one toxic item left that I use on a daily basis - mascara! To be honest, I was a little skeptical at first, but the testimonials page made me confident that all natural mascara could work for me. Let me tell you how the Real Purity Mascara compared against my toxic mascara.

Real Purity Mascara
Rating: total green check marks out of 5.

Promotion Code: Save 15% off your order with ANK15, expires 2/29/12

Other Promotions:
Free samples with every order.
Product samples are also available for purchase.
Free shipping on orders over $100.

The Good
The Not  So Good
All natural ingredients (EWG Skin Deep: 2)
Slightly “spidery” eyelashes
Thickening and lengthening mascara
A little crumbly to touch when dried
True to color (black)

Quick application

Did I mention no toxic ingredients? J

How did Real Purity Mascara Compare to My Standard Toxic Mascara?
Mascara by Real Purity 
Standard toxic mascara is any commercial, off-the-shelf mascara that you can get at any store that has a lot of artificial, synthetic, and toxic ingredients. I have been afraid to switch to a natural mascara because my lashes are pretty fine and light. I like to apply several layers of mascara. I was afraid that any natural product would not provide the same results as my toxic mascara. Natural Joy Beauty proved me wrong!

Real Purity Mascara was a little different the first few times I used it. However, I remembered that every time you switch between any mascara brand, the application method will be a little bit different. The application method depends on the size/shape of the wand and the consistency of the mascara. After a few days of applying Natural Joy Beauty’s Real Purity Mascara, I got the hang of the wand and was able to get the desired effect. The wand is slightly smaller than my toxic mascara, but the consistency is the right thickness and the color is true black. This all natural mascara provided the same thickening and lengthening results as my toxic mascara. No toxic ingredients, same results!

Application Method

Apply one or two coats to lashes. Let the mascara dry for about 10-20 seconds. Apply a second coat, let dry. Repeat a few times. This allowed me to get the best fullness and length effect from Real Purity Mascara. I had to apply only 1 or 2 more coats that I would with my standard toxic mascara. However, this was not a downside. If I only have to apply 1 or 2 more coats and I am able to use an all natural product, then I call this SUCCESS!

Overall Review: I would highly recommend Natural Joy Beauty because all of the products have been careful selected based on their ingredients. I know exactly what I am buying! I am no longer afraid of natural mascara and hope to explore some other natural mascara brands. 

Disclosure: I received the sample from Natural Joy Beauty in order to facilitate my review. No other compensation was received. This product review is based on my personal experiences. This review is objective and completely honest.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Not All Plastic is Recyclable

I have a problem - this bag of #6 plastic containers and lids. Rumpke does not take #6 plastic containers. Whole Foods does not take #6 plastic containers. Only the trash man takes #6 plastic containers, but the trash man does not recycle them. Hence, a problem!

I researched online. I have no other options for recycling these. I am going to take one for the team and hand these over to the trash man. Some of the containers I am keeping to reuse for starting seeds, but they will eventually be thrown in the trash also.

Lesson Learned: When grocery shopping, check what type of plastic container I am purchasing to make sure I can recycle it with Rumpke or at Whole Foods. If I cannot, then I will either find alternative packaging or not purchase the product. This is the next step for recycling - being aware of what I am buying and if I can recycle the packaging.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Renewal Fitness Solutions - Week 2 [Review]

Please refer to my previous post about Renewal Fitness Solutions to get some background information and my summary of Week 1. For my post this week, I would like to focus on the different Workout Plans and how they have worked for me.

There are two types of workout plans: Customized and Pre-Designed. Kim works with each trainee to design a workout that fits their goals, fitness level, and availability.

The Customized workouts would be perfect for a busy mom because they include 10 minute bursts of ab workout, arm endurance, cardio, lower body, etc. These exercises can be performed at home because they do not require any specialized fitness equipment. Kim even provides the schedule for each type of workout.

The Pre-Designed workouts are geared more toward a trainee who has access to fitness equipment like dumbbells, exercise balls, bands, and weight machines. Workouts are available at the Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced level. The Pre-Designed workouts are a better match for me because we recently joined the gym. (I have realize the gym is not very eco-friendly, but I cannot get myself to run in 20 degree whether and I have really enjoyed all of the classes.)

After discovering the Pre-Designed workouts, I realized they were all focused on strength. I mostly do cardio workouts and here is a workout plan to do strength. Ugh! But of course, strength workouts are what I need, not more cardio workouts. Kim definitely has a plan!

Disclosure: I received the services/products from Renewal Fitness Solutions in order to facilitate my review. No other compensation was received. This review is based on my personal experiences. This review is objective and completely honest.

Dreams of Joining a CSA

For 2012, one of my goals is to write more posts about our attempts, successes, and fails at living an eco-friendly life. We have been talking with another family about joining a CSA, which stands for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). A CSA is a group of individuals who pledge to support a local farming operation where the growers and the consumers share the risks and the benefits of food production. A CSA consists of a system of weekly delivery or pick-up of vegetables and/or fruit.

I have been wanting to join a CSA for several years, even before I become "green." Honestly, I have been overwhelmed and did not know how to approach deciding on which CSA to join. So many options, so many decisions. How much of a share do we get? What produce will we get and eat? When and where do we need to pick up the box of produce? Do we need to put in a certain number of hours on farm? I decided to throw out all of the decision criteria and analysis I always do and just go with it!

We choose a CSA based on a convenient schedule and pick up time and because they use organic growing practices. The first year will be trial and error as we figure out what works and what does not work for us. I am excited about eating local and organic produce because the flavors will be out of this world! Our next step is to write a check and submit the application. I pray that this will finally be the year my CSA dreams will come true!

If you are interested in identifying CSAs in your area, check out Local Harvest (this is not a sponsored post, Local Harvest is a good resource).

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I Am Showing My Support for Walgreens!

This post brought to you by Walgreens. All opinions are 100% mine.


You might ask, “what is going on with Walgreens?” Walgreens, your 24-hour and drive-thru neighborhood pharmacy, is no longer part of the Express Scripts network. Thousands of customers are upset because they have come to rely on Walgreens and Express Scripts!

Express Scripts Causes Disruption

Express Scripts acts as a middleman between pharmacies that provide health care services and employers and health plans who pay for the medication. Payers pay Express Scripts. Express Scripts pays Walgreens.

Since negotiations between Walgreens and Express Scripts were unsuccessful, many of Walgreens patients will now be forced to find another pharmacy to continue using their in-network pharmacy benefits. Express Scripts is causing disruption to the Walgreens patients who currently use Express Scripts because they have to change pharmacies, potentially drive farther to fill their prescriptions, and potentially be constrained by inconvenient hours.

Removing Walgreens from the Express Scripts Program will not result in any lower costs for patients, just inconvenience and disruption to their normal routine. Thousands of customers are upset! How would you feel if you had to switch to another pharmacy?

Express Scripts Affecting the Military

Tricare, one of Express Scripts’ clients, is a health and prescription drug program for men and women part of America’s Military. Walgreens wants to help support the military troops, so it offered a price match or beat guarantee to help protect the military from being caught in the middle. Express Scripts rejected the offer. The men and women in the military deserve better prices and benefits; Express Scripts is standing in the way of this!

Are You Affected? What to do!

Patients with certain prescription insurance plans managed by Express Scripts are affected.  Check with your local Walgreens pharmacist or the back of your insurance card. If the back of your card says Express Scripts, you may be affected. Are you ready to give up your Walgreens pharmacist, with whom you have built a relationship and trust? No? Then, contact your local media and voice your dissatisfaction!

What is Walgreens Doing?

Patients who are members of the Prescription Savings Club at Walgreens will receive a special discount on the annual membership. This will help minimize disruption to patient’s pharmacy visits. Walgreens cares about its patient and wants to make this transition as smooth as possible.

What Am I Doing?

Walgreens is one of the two pharmacies I use for filling prescriptions. I am supporting Walgreens in this dispute by liking Walgreens on Facebook and following Walgreens on Twitter. I encourage you to also show your support.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Cafe Well Social Network - Get Well and Stay Well

This post brought to you by Cafe Well. All opinions are 100% mine.

Inbox (16 messages, 1 unread)

What is Café Well?

I just joined Café Well, the Social Network to Get Well and Stay Well. This social network is very unique because it offers a corporate wellness program to keep employees healthy and well. The community is safe, secure, and anonymous. You can register on Café Well even if you are not associated with any corporate wellness program.

Café Well covers a variety of health topics, from healthy living to heart disease to cancer. Think of Café Well as your online support group. Not only do you have access to communities for specific health topics, but you can connect with Coaches and Experts who can help you with your toughest question.

What Can You Do at Café Well?

  1. Explore and join discussion groups to share your experiences and get support
  2. Connect with other Café Well members with similar health interests by giving advice and sharing your experiences
  3. Join fun challenges to improve and maintain your health

The best feature of Café Well is a corporate wellness program called Cafe Well Race to the Moon. This program motivates people to become more active (walking or running) by offering a free wireless pedometer to track their steps. A participant gets rewarded for their total steps and milestones. By leveraging positive peer pressure from the support and power of a social network, you can achieve amazing success. Incentives help too!

Race to the Moon is sponsored by HealthAmerica. If you are a member of HealthAmerica, you may be eligible to join the Race. Register to find out if you are eligible for this free program!

What Would My Challenge Be?

I am always trying to motivate my friends and coworkers to be more active. If I were to create a challenge for my coworkers, it would be two-fold: a 5K Run with our office team and a healthy food challenge, focused mostly on a plant-based diet. Café Well would be a perfect home for our office challenge so we can stay connected, update each other on our progress, and provide motivation.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Winner Announcement

The giveaway for the $30 Gift Certificate to Skin Free has concluded! Thank you to all those that entered! Winner is listed below and has confirmed.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Renewal Fitness Solutions - Week 1 [Review]

Please refer to my previous post about Renewal Fitness Solutions to get some background information. I completed Week 1 of the training program, my thoughts are below.

The Good
The Not So Good
Easy access to workout program
Website difficult to navigate
Daily or weekly workout log
Website content is somewhat static
Nutrition Log and Recipes

Customizable workout routine and length

Convenient - access on your own time

The Good

I love that I can access the website whenever I want. Any busy mom or dad would be able to log in, get their workout program, and complete it in 15-30 minutes. These workouts can even be done at home without any equipment.

My usual workouts are pretty cardio heavy. Renewal Fitness has helped me to supplement with strength exercises to build muscle.

The Not so Good

I have been working out at the gym a lot more and my workouts are mostly cardio based. I would love to see more gym strength exercises that are customized for me.

The website also has an opportunity to become more user friendly by offering on-demand and user customizable content.

Disclosure: I received the services/products from Renewal Fitness Solutions in order to facilitate my review. No other compensation was received. This review is based on my personal experiences. This review is objective and completely honest.

How to Become Eco-Friendly at the Office

Whether you work at home or work in an office, there are many changes you can implement to make your office space more eco-friendly. Whether you are a seasoned pro or just started on your eco-friendly path, my five practical tips can quickly get you started. Check out my guest post at My Baby's Green blog. While you are there, take a look around. My Baby's Green offers 100% organic green tips.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Gratitude to our Christmas Tree

Our live Christmas tree has lasted for over one month! About 6 weeks (43 days to be exact)! Can you believe it? Of course, it got a little "crunchy" and droopy a couple of weeks ago, but it was still green a little fragrant. Now, the tree is laying on its side in our front yard, ready to be picked up by the local force to be shredded and reused for something else.

Thank you, Christmas tree, for filling our house with a delicious smell and for making our living room look festive.

Friday, January 6, 2012

I Received a Green Award!

I officially started blogging about 5 months ago. I never imagined I could accomplish so much in such a short period of time. I attribute this to the knowledge and best practices that I learned from other bloggers. What a great network of people! I already received two awards this year! What a great honor for this new blogger!

Pocket Change Shopping Blog awarded me the "Green Award" for being Editor's Choice! Pocket Change features a Be Green category with lots of tips and advice that anyone can follow. I am proudly displaying my award on the left side of my blog.

Be Green Blog

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Renewal Fitness Solutions - My Online Personal Trainer

When Kim Brockway contacted me about trying out her new Online Personal Training Program from Renewal Fitness Solutions, I jumped on the opportunity. I participate in all forms of fitness, but I am mostly a cardio junkie. I am confident that Kim can help me out with strength training.

Renewal Fitness provides personal training online. Very convenient for those of us who spend a good amount of time online! Kim specializes in Online Personal Training for Moms to help moms everywhere reach their fitness and weight loss goals. She is passionate about helping women find the time they deserve to take care of themselves, so she has designed her programs to fit into even the craziest schedule.

Let me tell you about the program. The workouts are created for me, so all I have to do is log in and get my workout plan for the week. I have access to an online nutrition log where I can keep track of everything I eat, recipes, and a journal where I can document my progress. Some of the other resources include educational and motivational emails to keep me updated on health and fitness. There is nothing better than daily motivation from another person. My favorite part is that the workouts and the meal plans are tailored to my goals! Kim is acting as my Online Personal Trainer for the month of January. At the end of each week, I will write a summary of my experience.

If you would like to learn more about Renewal Fitness and help Kim to grow her business, please check her blog: Kim also writes about healthy and fitness topics here, so you can get some great (free) tips on a daily basis.

Disclosure: I received the services/products from Renewal Fitness Solutions in order to facilitate my review. No other compensation was received. This product review is based on my personal experiences. This review is objective and completely honest.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Kreativ Blogger Award

Sarah at The Giveaway Lifestyle, a blogger of many different topics, was gracious enough to award me the Kreativ Blogger Award. Please show Sarah some love and check out her very adorable blog.

This is my first blog award!

Here are the rules you have to follow when receiving this award: 
  1. Link back to the person who gave you this award 
  2. Complete the form below 
  3. Award 10 other blogs and let them know in a comment or email 
  4. Share 7 random thoughts about yourself

1. Name your favorite song:
Current one is My Wish by Rascal Flatts

2. Name your favorite dessert:

Flourless Chocolate Cake

3. What ticks me off:

 drivers and rude people
4. When I'm upset I:

Vent and dwell for hours

5. What's your favorite pet:

No current pets, but I like cats, dogs, and fish

6. Black or white:


7. Biggest Fear:

Living the rest of my life without my husband

8. Everyday attitude:

I'm usually in a pretty good mood, especially when I can fit in a good cardio workout

9. What is perfection:


10. Guilty Pleasure:

Sweets and extra dark chocolate


10 Blogs

In no particular order:
7 random facts about me
  1. I am an amateur organic gardener
  2. I love to travel internationally
  3. I love working from home when snow is falling outside
  4. I despise going to the dentist
  5. I would love to be at least 50% self-sustainable
  6. The last toxic commercial/off-the-shelf body product I still use is mascara (but I am currently reviewing a natural version)
  7. Green smoothies make me gag (this might be related to the green smoothie I made from raw radish greens a few months ago; it was not good)

Hoppin' John Salad [Recipe]

Not only is this scrumptious salad part of a Southern New Year's Day tradition, but it is Vegan! I made the Hoppin' John Salad tonight, as it was one of the first recipes on the 21 Day Vegan Kickstart menu. I love the mix of rice, peas, and vegetables. I add a couple dashes of cayenne pepper for a bigger kick.

Hoppin' John Salad

Serving size: about 10 1/2-cup servings

2 cups cooked black-eyed peas, or 1 15-ounce can black-eyed peas, drained
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1/2 cup finely sliced green onions
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
1 tomato, diced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-2 garlic cloves, crushed 

Combine black-eyed peas, rice, green onions, celery, tomato, and parsley in a mixing bowl. In a small bowl, mix together lemon juice, oil, salt, and garlic and pour over the salad. Toss gently. Chill 1 to 2 hours if time permits.

Nutrition per 1/2-cup serving
  • Calories: 91
  • Fat: 1.9 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.3 g
  • Calories from Fat: 18.5%
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Protein: 3.7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 15.4 g
  • Sugar: 1.3 g
  • Fiber: 3.6 g
  • Sodium: 68 mg
  • Calcium: 20 mg
  • Iron: 1.2 mg
  • Vitamin C: 5.4 mg
  • Beta Carotene: 137 mcg
  • Vitamin E: 0.4 mg

Source: Turn Off the Fat Genes by Neal D. Barnard, M.D.; recipe by Jennifer Raymond M.S., R.D. via 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Day Traditions

Happy New Year!

Our plans for New Year's Eve celebrations have varied over the past few years. However, our New Year's Day activities have always been focused on spending time with family or friends. Instead of staying up way too late and drinking way too much, we prefer to spend the first day of the new year with the people we love. Today's plans are focused on spending time with friends, enjoying delicious "slow food." I am preparing Giada's Panettone Bread Pudding. Panettone is always part of our holidays traditions.

>> What are your traditions for the first day of the new year?

21 Day Vegan Kickstart - Why Am I Doing It?

I wanted to offer a bit of an explanation for why I decided to do the 21 Day Vegan Kickstart. Eating vegan is a stretch from what I usually eat because I love chicken, fish, European butter, and cheese. This year, as I started learning more about eco-friendly and environmentally-friendly living, I began to realize the impact meat has on the environment. Do not even get me started on factory farming, GMOs, or preservatives in meat (just watch the movie Food, Inc.). I began cooking more vegetarian meals. I have been eating less and less meat. I do not miss meat most of the time because I have been enjoying vegetables and grains in all kinds of new ways. There are so many amazing vegan/vegetarian recipes that any meat lover would be satisfied with.

Although I do not see myself going 100% vegan (I would miss European butter and cheese way too much), I do see myself eating very little meat/fish going forward. My reasons are below.
  1. Finding organic, grass-fed/grain-fed meat is difficult and it is usually expensive
  2. Meat has a huge negative impact on the environment from the cost to raise it to the cost to transport it
  3. Grains and beans are extremely healthy
  4. Organic produce is readily available
In some ways, I wish I had been eating vegan/vegetarian all along. In other ways, I am intrigued and excited by this journey. I am forever grateful to my blog and online network of friends because they have opened up my eyes to vegan/vegetarian eating. There is something greater than all of us pulling me in this direction. I am seeing the many signs all around me and I am listening to them. I am being the change in the world that I want to see. Please join me on this journey to a better lifestyle and less impact on the environment.

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