Valentine’s Day is supposed to be all about love, thoughtfulness, and maybe a few decadent treats. But did you know what’s really involved in getting some of the traditional Valentine’s Day gifts to your loved one? It’s not always so rosy. This year, Do Your Part as you send flowers, prepare dinner, or even deliver the sweetest of gifts.
There are lots of reasons to cook at home – everything from trying out a friend’s fabulous dessert to serving up your family’s favorite meal. Most times, it’s enjoyable to cook and usually a whole lot healthier and affordable than eating out. But here’s the thing. Do you know how safe the cookware you use is? It may not be as harmless as you think. Do Your Part to find out how your cookware choice can impact you and your family.
What are the chances you are buying and bringing BPA right into your own home? Probably pretty good and there is reason to be concerned. BPA is linked to everything from developmental problems to infertility. Do Your Part and reduce your exposure today.
BPA can be found in plastic food containers. Any time you buy foods or liquids in plastic check the bottom. Avoid plastic marked number 7 because it usually contains BPA.
Another way BPA gets into your house is in canned goods. The chemical is used in the liner of the cans and can actually leach from the liner into the food itself. Seek out cans labeled “BPA-free” or choose food items packaged in safer materials.
Glass and ceramics are safer materials. Use them to heat up foods in the microwave to avoid any risk of BPA leaching into your foods.
Many baby bottles and pacifiers used to be made with BPA. Now, many manufacturers have changed this but it’s still important to look for baby products labeled BPA-free.
And, be careful how you handle certain store receipts. BPA shows up on receipts printed on thermal paper. If you can make an outline with your nail..it probably has BPA on it.
And don’t forget about those reusable water bottles. You want those to be BPA-Free too. bottom line? Reducing BPA exposure is an important way to create a healthier home for you and your family. Do Your Part to make sure it doesn’t contaminate your food, your body, or our planet.
I consider myself a pretty good gardener, a common sense “greenie”, and a person who does her best to reduce, reuse, and recycle. But, there’s something I must admit. For years now, I’ve resisted composting. It just seemed a bit too difficult and bit too time consuming. That’s all changed. And, if I can make it work, you can too. Let me help you Do Your Part to keep food scraps out of the garbage and turn them into something quite valuable.
Does your family go through several cartons of juice each month or dozens of juice boxes? The problem is that both can create a lot of waste. Instead, Do Your Part and buy concentrated juice. You’ll create less trash and you’ll even save some money.
Concentrated juices simply mean that the water has been taken out. Then, you rehydrate it at home by adding a few cans of water.
So, one can can produce the same amount of juice as a much larger jug of juice. The concentrated varieties also take less energy to store and ship because they arrive without all the extra water. And, its packaging is easily recyclable.
It’s also more economical. You’ll save about a nickel on ounce. And that adds up. If someone in your home drinks 12 ounces of juice a day – you’ll save more than 200 dollars a year. You’ll save even more if you swap out juice boxes for concentrated juice you can put into a reusable container. If your child uses one of these a day, you’ll save more than a hundred dollars a year. Plus, juice boxes a tricky to recycle and will be tossed into the trash at most schools.
Do Your Part when shopping for juice. You can go easy on the planet and your wallet by making a few better choices.
There’s a whole lot of talk these days about what organic foods shoppers should buy. It can be confusing to figure out what’s the best bang for your buck and what’s also the healthiest options. Do Your Part and get to know the Clean 15.
The Clean 15 is a list of the specific fruits and vegetables that have been tested to have the lowest levels of pesticide residue after having been grown on a conventional farm. The ‘Clean 15’ includes onions, avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, mangoes, sweet peas, asparagus, kiwi fruit, cabbage, eggplant, cantaloupe, watermelon, grapefruit, sweet potatoes, and sweet onions.
The reason these fruits and vegetables are free of many pesticides is because they naturally absorb less of the chemicals during the growing process.
The Environmental Working Group conducted the testing and has an online guide to get more information. They also have a free smart phone app that’s helpful on the go.
Pesticide-free produce is clearly better for you and your family. Now you can stretch those organic dollars wisely by knowing which organic options are better for you and your wallet.
With Halloween coming up, many of you will be carving a pumpkin or two but many times we simply throw out the pulp and seeds that we scoop out of the pumpkin. Of course you can roast the seeds to make a healthy snack or cook the pulp down to use in a recipe but here’s another use for this scooped out treasure. Use it on your face! Pumpkin is rich in anti-oxidants and beta-carotene plus it’s loaded with vitamins A, C and E. The same vitamins that are found in many expensive skin care lines. When you make a simple mask from pumpkin you’ll be creating less waste, you’ll save money and it’s good for your skin.
It’s super simple. Just put the scooped out pumpkin into a food processor. You can add a few seeds for extra exfoliating power. Rub the pumpkin on your face and neck and let it set for 10 to 15 minutes and then rinse. You will be amazed at how good your skin feels afterwards. You can store any remaining mask in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
So this Halloween, Do Your Part and treat yourself by putting the entire pumpkin to use.
Are you someone who enjoys that morning cup of coffee? You’ll enjoy it even more if you Do Your Part to seek out fair trade and organic coffees.
Besides looking for your favorite flavor – look at the labels to find out how the coffee is cultivated and produced. Seeking out organic coffees is important. Look for the USDA organic seal and you’ll know that your coffee bean was grown without pesticides that pollute our land and water. This also means the farmers working that land and the people living in the surrounding communities won’t come into contact with those toxic chemicals either.
Another important label is one that says ‘fair trade’. This ensures that those working to produce your coffee are paid a fair price and are working in good conditions.
And here’s one last thing to look for; if you can, seek out shade-grown coffees. This means the valuable land used to grow the coffee wasn’t clear cut which means the natural habitat for birds and other animals remains intact.
Do Your Part as you enjoy your cup of joe knowing that you picked the perfect blend for you and the planet.
There’s no need to make homemade dinners from scratch every night or resort to ordering out. Instead, whip up some ‘make ahead meals.’ It’s one way to Do Your Part to eat better, conserve energy, and save some money all at the same time.
Here’s what I do: when I’m making a dish that would freeze well…I simply make a double batch. Casseroles, soups, and pasta sauces and the like all work perfectly. So, when I make if I make a double batch of meat sauce, I can either make spaghetti one day next week or use it a lasagna another time.
Freezing dinners doesn’t just save you time – it can save you money. If chicken, beef, or organic produce is on sale at the grocery store, you can create two good meals for a whole lot less than you normally would spend. Making double batches also means you’ll use less overall energy. Plus, you’ll know exactly what ingredients are in them…and the things that are left out – like preservatives.
When freezing foods, make sure they are put in air tight containers to avoid freezer burn. Most meals can stay in your freezer for up to three months. Mark them with the date so you use the oldest first.
With just a little planning, you can easily work some make ahead meals into your weekly routine. It’s another way to Do Your Part while enjoying a home cooked meal.