Got dirt?

Have you ever thought about composting? I hadn’t either until a few years ago when I realized how easy it was and how much waste I could save from the landfills. Why should you give a fuck? Because our food scraps make up around a third of what we throw away, and keeping that waste out of landfills frees up space and lowers the release of methane (a greenhouse gas). Add to that the fact that food scraps really aren’t waste at all! They are awesome, nutrient rich material that can be used to help your plants grow. Compost will lock moisture in the soil, keep away diseases and pests, reduce the need for chemical fertilizers and encourage beneficial bacteria. In a nutshell, it’s food for your garden.

Since we are mostly plant-based over here, we go through an enormous amount of compostable food scraps. When we re-did our kitchen I insisted on building out a compartment under our sink where we could house a great little compost bin like this. There I would collect food scraps. 

Then, we bought the mother of all outdoor compost bins (sort of like this one) which took no less than 2386 hours for my husband to put together. He was really loving me during this time (see exhibit A). When he finally finished, we stood in awe of the greatness. Even if our compost was shit, our process was on point.

Exhibit A

About a year and a half has gone by. I have saved hundreds of pounds of waste from our landfills. My biceps have grown bigger and stronger from turning our compost bin. And nothing makes me feel more green than when I march from my indoor bin to my outdoor bin with my little bag of waste. But guess what… my compost is shit.

Until a few weeks ago I honestly didn’t care. I figured my garden was growing so amazingly well (wink, wink) that I really didn’t need to add anything to it. So what if my compost sucks, I am saving the world and the world is more important than my compost being perfectly perfect. One day once I figured out the right ratio of green to brown I would open the bin and my perfect mixture would appear. That was my story and I was sticking to it.

But the following text from a friend change it all. For sake of anonymity, let’s just call my friend “Betty.”

Here’s how it went down:

 

 

I spent a few minutes looking at the web site and price tag and quickly decided my gloppy sub-par compost was just fine. I wasn’t going to spend $350 on something I didn’t need.

A little while later that little person on my shoulder showed up and said “don’t you want to just try it?” “Wouldn’t it be kinda cool if it worked?” “Don’t you want to share this information with your friends?”  And just like that, guess what just showed up on my doorstep a few days ago? My husband was once again pumped…or something.

At first inspection I was intimidated. For someone who wants nothing more than a kitchen without clutter I wasn’t quite sure where this thing would go. I hadn’t planned for this to be a part of our space…and this life changer isn’t exactly small. But, I needed to take one for the team (that’s you guys – you’re my team) so I unboxed the thing and got rockin’.

The FoodCyler promised to deliver odorless, ready to use fertilizer in an energy-efficient way in less than three hours… and I was counting on it. It seemed too good to be true when traditional compost can take weeks or months to create. But, I am here to tell you this thing actually works. The process is really simple. You fill the container with food waste, lock the top into place, and press the start button. The machine is quiet, it’s easy, it shuts itself off… and the end result is a soil amendment I can take right outside and shake onto my garden. Oh, and there is NO ASSEMBLY REQUIRED. If you factor in what you might spend for a nice indoor and outdoor compost bin and compostable bags – the cost difference isn’t far off.

I played around with places to put this thing and determined that it really didn’t have to go in the kitchen. As luck would have it, we just recently moved our upright vacuum out of our laundry room closet because we got a smaller, sleeker Dyson (which I am also in love with). That move freed up just the right amount of floor space for the FoodCycler.  Just goes to show – where there’s a will there’s a way.

Do you want to make some usable dirt too? Shop here and use the following codes for 25% your order:

foodcycler25usd – save 25% off FoodCycler (USD)

foodcycler25cad – save 25% off FoodCycler (CAD)

Killin’ it at the Gym

The past few years have brought no shortage of incredible boutique gyms to the masses. Pilates, bar, boxing, interval classes, yoga, hot yoga, megaformer, zumba, spinning, crossfit… the list goes on and on. Layer these upon the already plentiful mega-gyms, in-office gyms and recreational centers littered across our towns, and nobody really has an excuse not to get a workout in anymore.



But something is awry.

We go to the gym, we workout, we eat well –  but then we are unknowingly bombarded with chemicals through the equipment we use and the air we breath. Even those of us who do know can’t do much about it unless we chose to forgo our favorite workouts.

From the yoga mats, to the chlorine filled pools, to the barrage of cleaning supplies and toiletries covering the vanities…we can hardly finish a class before we are hit with chemicals that are worse for our heart than the big macs we so adamantly stay away from. These chemicals are linked to things such as asthma, cancer, heart irregularities, allergies and more. Some gyms even pipe in their own “air fresheners” via a system like this exposing us to indoor air quality that rivals that of the the worst cities in the world.

We can’t really blame the gyms because just like our doctors who have no formal nutritional training yet who everyone turns to for food advice… most gym owners have no idea that air quality has as much to do with health as a good workout.

Rewind to a recent conversation I had with a friend to talk about the new gym he is opening in town. After reviewing the materials and learning about the concept, I told him he had me at “steam cleaning.” He laughed. I was serious.

The good news is while it is counterintuitive to change what so many of us have
been doing our whole lives, it really is pretty easy to be green. There are already examples of gyms like this and this and this (locally!!) doing amazing things to promote a cleaner, healthier environment.

Here are some simple ways our gyms can do BETTER with minimal effort and cost:

First off, the products in the bathroom are a waste of money and none of us need to use them. Let’s bring those $24 a pop class prices down a notch and agree that cleanliness, safe soap, water and toilet paper are the only things we expect out of our gym bathrooms. Bring your own toiletries if you’re showering at the gym.

The times when I have cleaned up after my workout I felt like I was back in younger days hotboxing (not me personally, but you know – friends of friends) …yet this wasn’t quite as fun. From the spray deodorants, to the hair sprays, perfumes and such, the smells overwhelm. And, unlike being poolside when someone sprays their aerosol sunscreen and you can move out of harms way – you’re pretty much trapped when you’re inside a gym bathroom.


If the cleaning supplies you see have words like “warning”and “hazardous” on them, that’s your cue that it’s time to swap them out for less toxic options which are effective, economical and won’t cause human health problems. Need suggestions? Hit me up. If your management won’t budge, in the very least, ask that they reserve deep cleaning for after hours as most schools and offices do.

Those wipes we use to “clean” our equipment after use aren’t doing anything for us either. The kill claims on them are only valid when they are used for a certain amount of time and I can assure you a quick sweep does nothing to help. There is a reason that the fine print on wipe packaging frequently recommends that you wash hands immediately after use.

Hand sanitizer is so 2015. Some of the ingredients commonly used are not even legal anymore. You just worked out for an hour… you can walk the extra 10 steps to the bathroom and wash with soap and water. Plus, if you just used a wipe you are supposed to go to the sink and wash anyhow.


If you’re using a yoga mat opt for a sustainable one made of natural rubber, organic cotton or hemp. Skip the PVC. Try one like this or this. Nowadays they are easy to find even at stores like Target.

If you’re swimming in saltwater, consider yourself lucky. If you swim in a chlorine-filled pool be sure the levels are checked often and shower after your swim.

Finally, next time you buy workout clothes, check out how they are made. That’s a conversation for a different day and another post…

Share this info. with your favorite workout spot. It’s likely they have no idea and may even welcome a cleaner environment themselves, after all –they are the ones who spend the most time inside their space.

xx,

Angela

 

What in the World?

Have you ever googled “plastic island?”

It’s crazy.

Every bit of plastic ever made, still exists somewhere. 

Every. Bit.

Plastic pieces in our ocean outnumber sea life 6:1. 

Seriously.

93% of Americans have BPA in our body. BPA alters hormones and disrupts our endocrine systems. 

What the what?

The average American tosses away more than 4.5 lbs of garbage every day. 

No shit.

More than one million plastic bags are used every minute.

One million. Every minute.

One million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed annually from plastic in our oceans.

Insanity.

When plastics break down it forms teeny tiny little pieces that fish eat. Then people eat fish. So people eat plastic. 

Do you want to be eating plastic?

So, what can we do? 

Choose reusable bags and bottles.

They are cuter anyway.

Refuse single-use, disposable plastics.

Just say no (thank you).

Ditch the microbeads in your toothpaste and exfoliator.

There are safer alternatives.

Reduce the use of everyday plastics like sandwich bags. 

Choose other alternatives like stainless steel and silicone.

Say no to straws.

Just drink from the cup!

BYO Cutlery or to-go containers.

Who really likes eating with a plastic fork?

Teach your children well.

Remember we are just borrowing the earth from them.

Go plant a tree or at least hug one.

Then just breath…

Happy Earth Day to the Mother of all Mothers.

For more tips on ditching the plastic, click here.