Blog: Sustainable Cookware with Beatriz Garcia

 

 

 

 

Beatriz Garcia is my guest blog post writer this week. She reached out to me recently about sustainable cookware and I found her information useful. We often look at packaging as sustainable or not but what about our kitchen cookware? Summer is also a time for weddings and purchases for college dorms. I happen to be a fan of cast iron. Yes, they are heavy but I find them easy to clean and I like the even heating. What type of cookware is your favorite and why? Beatriz and I would love to hear from you.

Beatriz Garcia found out about the sustainable side of cookware when researching healthy cookware for her site Clan Kitchen.  You can find her writing there in the rare moments she isn’t busy looking after her family. Beatriz is keen to cook healthily and sustainably, but also has to balance this with quickly cooking foods her kids want to eat!

Coatings 

Whatever material you choose, you need to beware of the coating. If, for example, you want to avoid Teflon, then you should look for “PTFE free”.  Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is the active ingredient in Teflon. Unfortunately, many pans are advertised as PFOA free. This is not helpful – PFOA was banned years ago. Other chemicals are now used to manufacture PTFE!  Unfortunately, when reviewing different pans, I’ve found many ceramic or stone pans actually have a coating that includes PTFE. People buying those bands could be misled by this. I certainly wouldn’t expect a ceramic or stone pan to include Teflon. Dr. Mercola, the number one holistic wellness expert, and site in the world, says this about Teflon coatings:

“In fact, the convenience of a nonstick or stain-resistant surface comes at a steep price, as such chemicals persist in the environment, are contaminating water supplies and have been linked to developmental problems, cancer, liver damage, immune effects, thyroid problems and more.”

My advice here is that if you are buying a pan that advertises itself as non-stick; check if it is PTFE free. If it doesn’t state PTFE free, then it probably does have Teflon. This is especially the case with ceramic, stone, aluminum pans, or any pan with a special coating. Here’s the problem with coatings in general: They wear away over time. And when they wear away, the pan loses any non-stick properties it had. The underlying layer/body of the pan is also exposed. This is often not healthy. For example, Aluminum exposure may cause Alzheimer’s. Once the coating of any pan starts to chip, I’d recommend throwing it away. And here we are back to the durability issue!  One coating that you can repair is the seasoning on cast iron or carbon steel pans. 

Efficiency 

It’s not just the energy used in creating the pan that counts, but also the energy used every time you cook with it! The miles per gallon metric for cars is unachievable and unrealistic. But at least it allows you to compare different cars. Yet cookware doesn’t come with anything like that. How can we compare?  The overall conductivity of each material to get an idea of which cookware is best. This isn’t perfect, but it’s something. 

Examining this factor suggests copper and aluminum top the charts, followed by cast iron. Stainless steel is the worst of the typical cookware metals. You don’t normally expose food directly to copper or aluminum for safety reasons. One option is a copper or aluminum core to help conduct and spread the heat. Some pans even have a copper bottom. I can’t imagine a layered pan would make the job of recycling any easier though! 

This might also depend on how you cook though. Cast iron is in the middle of the conductivity range and takes ages to heat up. But there is a way around this! Heat the cast iron pan before putting the food on it, then turn it off the stove when the food is almost ready. The pan keeps its heat a while and carries on cooking. With a little bit of practice, you can get the timing right on this. 

What Next? 

So, you’re sold on sustainable cookware but you’re not sure what to do next!  Perhaps you don’t have money to just go and buy another cookware set.  Keep using the pans you have for now, and watch out for my next article, where I will give you 10 tips on how to buy and afford, sustainable cookware. 

Thanks, Beatriz, for sharing the above information on how to look at our cookware sustainably. Next week Beatriz offers 10 tips for buying sustainable cookware.

Remember your comments are appreciated.

Enjoy. Judith

 

Podcast: Holistic Nature of Us: Meet Dr. Ashley Burkman

Description: Our immune system is a complex system consisting of several organs that are interconnected and interdependent upon each other and our whole body. My guest this week, Dr. Ashley Burkman, comes to us from the field of Naturopathy, a licensed physician discipline valid in several states in the USA. She gives her perspective and expertise on strengthening the immune system especially important as we head into the holidays. She offers a great paleo-based recipe that helps us decrease refined sugars yet satisfies our sweet tooth. Join us for the naturopath point of view that is holistically based. 

About My Guest: Dr. Ashley Burkman is a naturopathic physician at Collaborative Natural Health Partners and has been part of the team for over six years now. Her favorite part of working with this team is the strength there is in collaborating on patient care. While she treats a variety of health conditions, her particular interests are in endocrinology, gastroenterology, and autoimmune disease. 

Transcript: #37 Dr. Ashley Burkman  

Blog: Mindfulness and the Brain

What are some of today’s challenges that that impact our daily life? What are the pillars of a healthy mind?

My podcast guest this week, Ajamu Ayinde, brought us into the field of emotions and mind as we deal with the COVID -19 virus. Ajamu uses transpersonal hypnotherapy to foster our imagination and inner resources. And for me, that is important. All the wise sages of our species acknowledge the simple yet profound wisdom that “We are an inside job”. Our inner awareness and development are more important in most ways than the attributes of our outside life. Which brings us to mindfulness practices.

Richard J. Davidson, professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Wisconsin and founder and chair for the Center for Healthy Minds, makes a compelling case for how our current challenges impact us. Statistics prove we are distracted, lonely, depressed and some of us are experiencing a loss of meaning.

He describes four pillars of health that can assist us in resetting our inner programs of loneliness, depression, distractibility, and loss of meaning or purpose.

In brief:

  1. Awareness; being aware of our mind’s thoughts at the moment is necessary for real transformation to occur.
  2. Connection: not just about having lunch with a friend or receiving a hug but showing kindness and patience, lending a hand, all contribute to our connectivity.
  3. Insight: listening to our inner narrative towards relationships. What do we sound like to ourselves? If we find we are negative, which can weaken our biology, can we find a way to turn them around, manage them differently?
  4. Purpose: when we wake up excited our biology responds in so many positive ways. When we laugh and engage in what truly matters to us we soar.

COVID-19 has turned some of our worlds upside down. Dr. Davidson suggests that three minutes of a day of quiet, focusing on the breath, maybe a prayer can change the way we respond to distractions, disruptions, and fosters a healthier mind.

I hope you enjoy his discussion as much as I did. The Host offers good reminders for today’s world as we still face uncertainty through this COVID-19 pandemic.
Do you have any mindful tips you find helpful? We’d like to hear from you. All comments are appreciated. Thanks again and enjoy. Judith

 

Podcast: Holistic Nature of Us: Meet Ajamu Ayinde: What’s on your Mind?

Description: COVID – 19 has disrupted our lives in so many positive and not so good ways. We’re quieter, not so busy, but many of us are separated from extended family and friends. How is that going? How does it feel to be limited or prevented from seeing family and friends in the way we considered normal? So much of normal is being redefined. Add to the mix the uncertainty we face with news reports, facts, and data that bombards us daily.

Our mental health is an important part of our wellbeing. I invited Ajamu Ayinde back to chat with him about what he is seeing in his clients at this time and what tips he can offer us. Mental health, mental stamina is needed as we all support and help each other, today. Join us for a thoughtful discussion.

About My Guest: Ajamu (Ah-ja-moo)  James Ayinde (Eye-in-day)
Ajamu is a Certified Medical Hypnotherapist and Transpersonal Hypnotherapy Trainer.  He graduated from Trinity College in Hartford with a BA in Asian Studies, emphasizing multicultural education and Performing Arts. His MA is in Motivational Psychology, emphasizing sports performance.  Certified in Clinical Hypnosis since 1995, Ajamu specializes in hypnotic childbirth preparation, pediatric hypnosis, and cancer support. He was honored as Therapist of the Year by the International Association of Counselors and Therapists in 2004 and he received further honors from the National Association of Transpersonal Therapists in 2012 and in 2017 for his work with athletes and pregnant couples, respectively.  He sees clients in Carmel, NY, and worldwide via Skype.

Transcript: Ajamu Ayinde 

 

Blog: 10 Facts You Need to Know About Plastic Bag Use Today.

 

 

 

 

My podcast guest this week, Nate Liebenberg, from South Africa reminded me how important our recycling efforts can be. They make an impact on so many lifeforms especially those in the ocean where the effects of our use of throwaway plastics are not so readily visible. So I am reposting the efforts two University of Connecticut students contributed to creating zero plastic waste on a college campus.

Students at the University of Connecticut are making a difference one issue at a time. Over this past year, the PIRG chapter volunteers got plastic bags banned from dining services. It’s all part of UConn PIRG’s zero waste campaign. Can we make a difference by decreasing plastic bag usage? These students, 2 of whom are my podcast guests this week and next, said yes. They researched the issue, offered education, got students and faculty to sign petitions, and basically got the job done. I’m proud of them for their efforts, their enthusiasm, and their willingness to create change, one that promotes sustainability and takes care of the earth for the future.

However, I wondered about the facts around our use of plastic bags today? So, I decided to look into the issue more deeply. It’s simply astounding. And I feel saddened to think we have waited so long to take action over a serious problem that has shown us the error of our ways so graphically. Why are we taking so long to make a difference for us and all species?

Let’s look at the UK: Anna Schavorion who writes in Forbes magazine:

England’s single-plastic bag use before 2015

“The use of plastic bags in England’s supermarkets was out of control in 2014. More than 7.6 billion carrier bags were handed out to customers that year and that figure had been on the rise for the previous four years.

England was the last country in the U.K. to introduce a charge for single-use plastic bags. Wales was the first to do so, in 2011, followed by Northern Ireland in 2013 and Scotland in 2014. All saw plastic bag use decreased by 70-80% year-on-year.”

That translates into a huge decrease in personal usage of plastic bags which means a huge decrease in production. Let’s look at more facts:

    1. Ireland alone reduced plastic bag consumption by 1 Billion bags between 2001 and 2011 by imposing a bag tax of $.37
    2. We use 1 trillion plastic bags worldwide, a product that consumes resources, contributions to species deaths, adds to pollution.
    3. The European Union is beginning to get behind promoting a decrease in plastic bags due to the great harm seen in our oceans and other waterways.
    4. Plastic bags contribute to malaria in Kenya.
    5. Camels and other animals such as cows and sheep die from plastic bag ingestion.
    6. 100,000 marine creatures a year die from plastic entanglement and these are the ones found. Approximately 1 million sea birds also die from plastic. A plastic bag can kill numerous animals because they take so long to disintegrate.”
    7. “There are 5 ocean gyres in the world where plastic gathers due to the current circulation. These gyres contain millions of pieces of plastic and our wildlife feed in these grounds.”
    8. According to National Geographic: 18 billion pounds of plastic waste flows into the ocean every year from coastal regions. That’s the equivalent of five grocery bags of plastic trash sitting on every foot of coastline around the world. And 40% of plastic produced is packaging, used just once and then discarded.
    9. How does the US rate in recycling plastics? We recycle 9% compared to Europe at 30%. Here in the Us, we throw away 100 billion plastic bags annually. That’s about 307 bags per person.
    10. If a ton of plastic bottles is recycled, the energy that is saved is the same as the amount of energy used yearly by a two-person household.

What can we do? A lot. Simply stop using plastic bags, straws and be mindful of packaging. Got your bags in the car and forgot to bring them in? I do that too. But, one student reminded me to reverse bag: put all items into your cart, take to your car and bag them there.  When I only have one or two items I tell the cashier that “zero waste is coming. No thanks, I don’t need a bag.”

Got any great ideas for zero waste? Let me know. Thanks. Judith

Podcast: Holistic Nature of Us: Meet Nate Liebenberg, Co-Founder: idiveblue.com

Description: Oceans are mysterious and deep. So many species color these waters that we scarcely see unless one takes to scuba diving. Then the panorama of life unfolds and it’s breathtaking.
I am a certified scuba diver. When one plunges into the depths of any ocean especially near reefs, colors and textures explode. Undulating waters speak of tides and cycles, of mysteries and treasures. However, our oceans are precious. They are taking a beating from dumping our garbage within her waters without thought to the long term consequences. My guest this week, Nate Liebenberg, co-founder of idiveblue.com, is passionate about bringing awareness to the problems we have created with throwaway plastics. They harm so many ocean species. They pollute these precious waters. And ultimately they harm us. 
Join us for a deep blue discussion about our oceans and what we can do to be part of the solutions.
Contact information: www.idiveblue.com
email: [email protected]

About My Guest: Nate is an ocean fanatic, who co-founded iDiveblue.com along with his brother Bill in2018. Nate previously worked in financial modeling for a medical group and at a genetics and bioscience company, before deciding to pursue his dream of running his marine
conservation and watersport business full-time in 2019. Although his business is centered around our beautiful oceans, Nate has a postgraduate degree in financial analysis and portfolio management from the University of Cape Town and is in the process of completing his Chartered Financial Analyst Certification. As the Brothers of iDiveblue.com, Nate and Bill are a couple of South Africans who have scuba dived, swum, snorkeled, sailed, skied, surfed, supped, freediving, fished, kayaked, canoed,
jet skied, kite surfed, body surfed and boated all around the world. They all hold several marine certifications across these activities including skipper licenses, PADI certifications, and more. They consider themselves waterborne and as such, they’ve made it their mission to help preserve our oceans and waterways. They take this on zealously. As such, iDiveblue.com provides community, work, and resources to t

Transcript: Nate Liebenberg 

https://idiveblue.com/ocean-plastics-environmental-disaster/

 

Blog: Anthropocene: How are Humans Influencing the Planet?

Ellen Bennett, featured in this TED Talk gives us hope. There are many stories and articles about our climate, for the most part, highlight existing problems. We get tired of that approach in our news, right? I know I do. Ellen offers a different approach, one that proves to be more sustainable.

She mentions Anthropocene. I wondered what that meant as my podcast guest this week, Alaya Young, founder of the 1 million redwood research and planting project mentions that too in her work.  So I looked it up and found this site and hope-filled talk about changing where we place our attention: Are we going to focus just on the doom and gloom or the stories filled with imagination, practicality, action, and innovation that are working today? We need both for balance but she offers 5oo seeds she found around the world; projects initiated that are sowing the seeds of sustainability and regeneration, changing community life for all.

But let’s step back a moment. Anthropocene relates to or denotes the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment. Anthropos means human with the root, cene ( the standard suffix for epoch in geological time). The current epoch we are in is known as the Holocene Epoch of Quaternary Period which began approximately 10,000 years ago. I don’t know about you, but for me, the important point to remember is: overall, how are we affecting our environment from all levels of progress during our current epoch, and what will the future consequences be?

I love how Ellen Bennett’s pathways to sustainability include positive stories. Humble listening is a key point that enables us to connect the dots in innovative ways for regeneration; one seed becomes one project at a time just like Wangari Maathai’s Green Belt project in Kenya. I hope my podcast series contributes too. It’s been my deepest desire to highlight positive ways that folks are impacting today. And, what we can do on a daily basis in the midst of our lives to make a difference today.

Enjoy this TED TAlk. I hope you come away inspired to know that at the grassroots levels folks are finding ways to innovate and create a healthy, regenerative world for all. Pretty cool! Your comments are always appreciated. Thanks. Judith

 

 

Podcast: Holistic Nature of Us: Meet Ayana Young

Description: Ayana Young is deeply concerned about environmental issues, including social justice, ecology, and land-based restoration. She has been the force behind a native species nursery and research center, including the establishment of the 1 Million Redwoods Project, and the film when When Old Growth Ends. Ayana is a podcast host on “For the Wild,” a weekly show featuring thought-leaders at the forefront of an environmental, artistic, scientific, political, and cultural shift.
Join us for discussions about her projects and how nature is teaching her and her team to have patience, slow down, and immerse within the community of plants.

About My Guest: Ayana Young is a podcast and radio personality specializing in intersectional environmental and social justice, deep ecology, and land-based restoration. With an academic background at the intersections of ecology, culture, and spirituality, Young was studying at Columbia when the Occupy Wall Street movement began and amid the burgeoning resistance in Zuccotti Park, she co-created the Environmental Working Group. Since then Ayana has been the force behind a native species nursery and research center, including the establishment of the 1 Million Redwoods Project, which was acclaimed as the most-backed farm project in Kickstarter history, the film When Old Growth Endsan ode to the complex interweaving of the irreplaceable Tongass National Forest during its last stand as a distinctly wild place in Southeast Alaska and the For The Wild podcast a weekly show featuring thought-leaders at the forefront of an environmental, artistic, scientific, political and cultural shift.

Transcript: Ayana Young 

Sustainable Landscaping: the Time is Now

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Sustainable Landscaping

Sustainable, edible landscaping is a hot topic today from at least four perspectives:

    1. Are we providing food in a way that builds soil for future generations?
    2. What will that food availability look like?
    3. What are the consequences of pesticide contamination in our food supply,
    4. Finally, what are the consequences of over-developed land-use practices?

We are rethinking land use. While turning a lawn into meadow is a favorite topic of mine there are a plethora of ideas flooding our internet channels on how to do just that:  create sustainable landscapes that serve vital purposes for the planet and ourselves and other species.

Sustain, in its simplest form, means “to give support to or relief to.” Sustainability, in landscaping, contains in its core, principles, efforts, and practices that enhance water and soil conservation, rebuilding wildlife habitat and prevention of further land degradation and provide food.

Fact: land degradation jeopardizes biodiversity. Doug Tallamy, in Bringing Nature Home, reminds us that 4000+ species are in danger today.

Fact: World forest cover continues to decline at an alarming rate.

Fact: Communities in the western part of the US face severe water restrictions due to intense development. Overdevelopment and the use of showy botanicals, often not native to the region, decrease food, water, and shelter for many species and I include humans in that mix.

The desertification of the planet (over 1/3 of our planet has been turned into the desert) creates food shortage problems.

The good news is “more than two billion hectares of land worldwide offer opportunities for restoration through forest and landscape restoration.”  Calamity, hardship, trials often create the soil for innovation and that is happening today in the use of land. For example: while city rooftops have been known to contain gardens, designers, architects, and engineers are looking at ways to convert flat building box store rooftops into gardens that produce the food they can sell. Front lawns are being turned into diverse landscapes that can produce food.

We are only limited by our imaginations. It seems to me there is a renaissance occurring planet-wide. Renaissance implies a renewal of life, vigor, interest, a rebirth, a revival. My podcast guest this week, Bettylou Sandy reminds us that our front lawns can be transformed into pleasant gardens with food. Start with one idea and section at a time. Get to know your land through the seasons and weather conditions specific to your area. This knowledge base will lead to your success.

Pinterest abounds in ideas, great visuals that take us to great articles.

What are your ideas? Have you changed your backyard into a more diverse landscape? Share your ideas, share your pictures. I would love to hear from you. Happy Gardening.

Enjoy. Judith

 

 

Podcast: Holistic Nature of Us: Meet Bettylou Sandy, Edible Landscape Ideas

Description: What grows in your yard, naturally? Where does the sunshine, and where does the wind blow in? My podcast guest this week, Bettylou Sandy, reminds us to get to know our land spaces in as much detail as we can. Plants that are naturally present tell us about the condition of the soil. What food sources can you place in the landscape? She says: “Observation is the key for the best results.” Bettylou gives us many practical tips for adding edibles to our landscape.  Have fun, explore, and experiment. Spring is here. We’re raking, cleaning garden beds and planting cold crops before things heat up. Tune in for many practical how to’s and tips.

About My Guest: Bettylou Sandy is an organic garden educator and consultant. She oversees the Spruce Street Community Garden and plays a major role at the Cheney House in Manchester Ct. And she has private clients.

Transcript: Bettylou Sandy 

 

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