Monday, April 29, 2013

4-Step Cleaning Magic!

Have you ever cooked something and found that all your scrubbing and scrubbing does nothing to remove the burnt-on bits left on your pan or baking dish? As much as I love making and eating a frittata, cleaning the pan afterward has always been a chore.

Well...no more! That's because I've discovered the easy and non-toxic way to clean my pots and pans. All you need is baking soda and hydrogen peroxide (or warm water), a sponge, and some time. I swear, it truly is that easy! And you don't even need to wear gloves. Follow along...

Step 1: Gather supplies. You'll need Baking Soda, Hydrogen Peroxide (or warm water), and a bowl to mix it in.
Supplies
Step 2: Put about 1/4 cup of Baking Soda into a bowl, and add enough hydrogen peroxide to make a paste. It's too thin in my picture here, I added more baking soda to thicken it up after the shot was taken.

Making the paste
Step 3: Take your dirty pan, and smear the paste over it. Let the paste sit for at least 2 hours, overnight is even better.
My burnt pan :-(
Covered in the paste.
Step 4: Scrub clean with a soft sponge, rinse with warm water, and TA-DA! Your pan is shiny again!

My pan is shiny and new-looking!! :-)

What's your favorite non-toxic cleaning secret? Share in the comments below!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Plastic is Gross!

For one day, use your smartphone or a journal to make a note of every time you use or come into contact with PLASTIC. Keep a running tally, record what the item was, it's up to you. But I think you'll discover (as I did) that plastic is EVERYWHERE! There is so much plastic used in our daily lives, yet not many people stop to think of the impact. Here are some facts and statistics I came across, I'd love to hear your responses in the comments section on this food for thought...

image source: Wikipedia Great Pacific Garbage Patch
- Plastics are a huge source of pollution in our oceans. Have you heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? There is one in the Northern Pacific Ocean that we've known about for a while, and another garbage patch was recently discovered in the Atlantic Ocean. The majority of the debris in both patches consists of plastics, which affects the health of marine life all up and down the food chain.

- Plastic bottles (like the one your bottled water came in) are one of the biggest source of pollution on beaches across the globe. Do you want to contribute to that?

- Each plastic bag takes approximately 1,000 years to degrade. That's a really long time! Do you bring reusable bags to the store with you? They're not just for groceries!

image source: Tumbler user MessageBottles
And then there's the toxins...

- Research has shown that bisphenol-A (as well as cousins bisphenol-S and bisphenol-F), one of the chemicals used to harden plastics, leach into our food and beverages and cause hormonal disruption that contributes to weight gain, low sperm counts, thyroid issues, early onset puberty, cancer, ADHD and more! Yikes!

- One type of chemical found in plastics is a toxin called an obesogen. This causes a change in the way your body stores fat cells. Not something I want in my body!

But before you freak out, STOP and take a deep breath. Ready? Breathe in...Breathe out...
My intention here is not to scare you, but instead to educate you a bit on the effects plastic has on us.

It's going to be okay. Now that you know these facts, you can keep them in mind when shopping for new products. It can be overwhelming to do a total overhaul of your kitchen and lifestyle, but I promise it doesn't have to be. By taking small steps and eliminating sources of environmental toxins one by one, you make your home, your body, and your environment a healthier place!

As a first step, I suggest you stop buying bottled water, toss your reusable plastic water bottles and get yourself a snazzy glass or stainless steel bottle. They come in all different colors and sizes. One of my favorites (and I'm not an affiliate or anything) is Miir. With each purchase, they donate $1 toward building wells for fresh water in developing nations. A water bottle you can feel good about drinking out of!

Miir Classic Water Bottles
When you're ready for the next step, take a look in your pantry and toss all of your plastic food storage containers. You know you can never find the right lid for those things anyway! Throw it all in a big trash bag and sent it packing! Wondering what you'll use to take your leftovers to work? There are some great options - insulated steel will keep things hot so you won't need to use a microwave later in the day, or a glass container is another great option. Check out online retailers if you can't find them at your local store.

One example from PlasticFreeBottles.com
Want to know more about how to rid your kitchen of plastics and other environmental toxins?
Check out my website for info on my Kitchen Detox: Simple Solutions to Support Your Total Health.

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

National Peanut Butter & Jelly Day!

It's April 2nd. Do you know what today is?? It's National Peanut Butter & Jelly Day! The big question is...will you choose smooth or chunky PB?


I don't know about you, but I sure enjoyed my share of this sandwich as a kid. I think I had one for lunch almost every day in middle school. Thanks, Mom! :-)

Today, I still enjoy a PB&J every so often, usually for breakfast when I'm in a hurry to get out the door, or sometimes I make a half sandwich as a dessert after lunch. But instead of the white bread I ate as a child, despite my mom's best efforts to get me eating whole wheat, today I make PB&J sandwiches with sprouted whole wheat bread, organic peanut butter, and jam from a fantastic local company. (Check out We Love Jam for their info - the fact that so many products are sold out tells you how great they are!)

Organic, all-natural peanut butter is delicious and nutritious, but there are also many other types of nut butters on the market today. Eating organic nuts is a great way to give your body a boost of healthy fats and provides some protein to keep your mind and body fueled. Another favorite snack of mine is Almond Butter on a rice cake, or smeared onto apple slices. And those of you who are on my facebook page know that I love Ants on a Log - which is nut butter on a celery stick, topped with raisins or currants. I'll never be too old for these childhood treats!

Zwick's Picks PB&J Tips:
- Nut butters should only have one or two ingredients, the nuts and maybe salt. Stay away from anything with added oils, sugars or preservatives. Smooth or chunky is your call!
- Breads should have "whole wheat" listed as the first ingredient. Or, if you're not eating gluten, experiment with things like rice cakes instead of breads!
- Check stores and farmer's markets for a local jam that uses fresh, local (not frozen, imported) fruit and has a low sugar content. Stay away from anything highly processed.
- Buy nut butters and jams in glass containers, not plastic. Reduce your exposure to environmental toxins!

In the comments below, tell me: What's your favorite way to eat PB&J?