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 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 

Blog: The Gift of the Hummingbird

 

 

The tiny Hummingbird is having a huge impact on my life today. I revisited an African tale highlighted in my recent blog post, watched a youtube story about Wangari Maathai’s vision for replanting her neck of the woods in Kenya, Africa. Her story, with a hummingbird as the main character and her day to day actions, inspired me to do more, one step at a time.

What does the hummingbird mean to you?  This little bird delights us with her flying ability and how she stores food in early fall. These birds seem to migrate south based on shortening daylight. The hummingbird finds its primary nutrition in insects. They especially love baby spiders. Nectar gives them instant energy for their high metabolic needs but the fat, oils, minerals for their overall needs come from insects they find while flying or in the flowers they seek for their nectar. And contrary to local lore, they do not suck nectar through a “straw” but grab the sweet droplet of energy with a tongue.

In my dream work with animal totems, I found that the hummingbird is associated with air (intelligence, higher thought, the ability to see the bigger picture.) They seem to be constantly in motion, rapid wing beats that represent persistence and a feeling of endlessness or infinity. Many cultures in the Americas believed the hummingbird represents rebirth. They also represent joy which can be a fragile thing as we are witnessing today. Spring is here and Hummingbirds will be back in the NE soon.

For a more comprehensive look at Hummingbirds, I suggest this site: World Birds by Garth C. Clifford. I enjoyed his many tips and photos for attracting and supporting these little creatures in our yards.

“Hummingbirds in the U.S. and around the world have the benefit of being garden and backyard favorites. Many people put out hummingbird feeders or grow flowers that attract hummingbirds in the warmer months that allow these birds to refuel during their long migratory journeys. What’s insight is often in mind, and many fans of hummingbirds are doing what they can to keep every backyard, park, and garden a friendly place for these beautiful birds.”(quote from Defenders of Wildlife )

And, here’s a trivia fact: “Percentage-wise, the hummingbird has the largest brain of all birds (4.2% of its total body weight).”

The hummingbird like many species is suffering the loss of habitat. We can provide a suitable habitat by placing flowers and trees, shrubs, and vines that will attract them. Another link from Bird Watching, showcases 28 plants to attract Hummingbirds: flowers, trees, shrubs, and vines listed as possible additions to your garden this year. The site includes zone hardiness for each plant and the best growing conditions. The flowers tend to range from orange to reds with trumpet type shapes.

Persistence, knowing I am enough, and knowing I am doing enough at this moment are great personal, daily reminders. I would like to suggest that we spend a few moments today contemplating this marvelous, tiny creature. Spring is here in New England and soon these delightful birds will be back showing off their shimmering iridescent wings. One more question: do you dream of hummingbirds? What do they mean to you?

I hope Wangari Maathai’s folk tale and her work in creating the Green Belt in Kenya are inspirational and motivational. The isolation we are under gives us time to reflect and be in our yards and with our realtime.  I welcome your stories and your sharing. Sending Blessings to all.  Judith

 

Blog: Seeds of Love with Vindana Shiva

 

Vindana Shiva is one of my heroines. Courageous, intelligent, an “environmental feminist,” activist and defender, a female warrior against the propaganda machine of Agri farming run by corporations, is also tough and resilient like the seeds she is saving in her country and even around the world. Organic seeds can handle the storms and trials of farming, conserve water resources and build soil. She has had to be tough against ridicule and accusations. In standing up and creating solutions to devastating problems in her country she has made positive healthy changes. She has decreased farmer suicides in India by creating seed banks, saying no to patented seed products and putting real seeds back in farmer’s hands.

She reminds me again that this planet is built on biodiversity. The more diverse our landscapes the healthier is the soil, the plants and ultimately the food we consume. In general, diversity creates harmony in ecosystems with natural checks and balances.

Seed freedom is related to food freedom. The right to know and chose is a part of a democracy. Uniformity and separation are the qualities of a dictatorship. She suggests that maybe the food/seed/pharmacy industries have created an “intellectual dictatorship” and are creating monopolies that hinder, obstruct our basic rights to grow and produce healthy food.

We’re catching on, we are mobilizing to have our food labeled, and we are signing petitions to stop the insane use of applying more and more pesticides as an answer to a problem created by pesticides in the first place. We are waking up to the connectedness of each other and all species and kingdoms that exist on this planet. We are diverse. We are connected.

So many of us believe that patenting seeds, designing food without seed so we cannot save that seed is wrong on so many levels.

Farmers noticed at the beginning of the introduction of Bt corn done in the early 1990’s, that livestock and wild animals refused to eat that type of feed. Cancers, deformities, miscarriages increased and have been reported. I have reported in previous posts the work of current scientists who are proving that pesticide injected seed and application in fields is contributing to the increases in serious diseases on our planet.
Patenting our seeds creates uniformity, creates scarcity, and limits diversity and eventually freedom while meeting the needs of the corporate bottom line in the form of royalties.

In India, Vindana and her organizations have created farming diversity which has improved health and decreased the alarming rate of farmer suicides. Incomes have improved. She calls this “health per acre”.

I invite you to check out her programs, especially navdanya.org, vital and necessary not only for helping the nourishment of a country that admits to poverty but they are also guiding lights for the rest of us deeply concerned that Big Agra is allowed to get away with patenting our food, controlling our seed bank, increasing pesticide use all which contaminates our food supply and eventually deteriorates our health. I include all life in that statement; our livestock, insects, water, and air etc.

Please join me in signing petitions that let our lawmakers know we’ve had enough and we have the right to know. There is a lot of fear out there about our ability to feed ourselves. Sometimes the stats are daunting. We live on a planet that can hold 2 billion of us but we are now a planet of 7 billion.

I think her reminder to shift our focus from “lack of” to “abundance” is worthy and necessary now:
Full Earth, an abundant earth and a generous earth”, Vindana Shiva, environmental feminist, in GMO-Summit.

Vindana Shiva inspires me to keep writing and getting the word out in any way I can. I sign petitions, contact my lawmakers, support organics too. She is an author of several books on this important issue. Inspiring women are changing the world. Did you enjoy the video? I hope so. Share your thoughts. All comments are appreciated.

Enjoy. Judith

 

 

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