Cinnamon Ginger Peach Butter

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It’s peach season here in North Carolina! Blake and I went to a little farm this past week and got more peaches than we could handle.

Who am I kidding… I can handle them!

I canned peaches yesterday, and today I gave a shot at peach butter! I’m not going to lie… I am absurdly proud of this recipe. I’m so happy with how the flavors turned out. A lot of the “butter” you find in stores is too sweet- this is JUST right. The cinnamon and ginger add extra dimension and a little spicy kick!

This is a great recipe for that fruit that is bruised or just to ripe to be palatable. #teamnofoodwaste! You can also can this recipe if you are into that… Then you can have local peaches all year around!

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Ingredients

  • 6 medium-large sized ripe peaches

  • 1 cup water

  • 1/2 inch nob of ginger- peeled sliced

  • 1/3 tsp cinnamon

  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar (or white sugar)

Method

  1. First, we have to remove the skin of the peaches! Cut all peaches in half and remove the pits. Place peaches in a small saucepan of boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove them with a slotted spoon place them in ice water, After soaking in ice water for 15 seconds, the skins should slide off easily. If not, return them to the boiling water for another 15 seconds and try again.

  2. Once all the skins are removed, cut the peaches in half again. Add the chunks to a small sauce pan with the 1 cup water. Bring water to a boil and them simmer for 25 mins. Stir occasionally to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom and burn.

  3. Remove the peaches from the burner. Add the peaches and ginger to a blender and puree until very smooth and no chunks remain.

  4. Add the puree to the saucepan again. Stir in the sugar and cinnamon. Cook the puree again over medium heat- stirring constantly so that it doesn’t burn! Do this for about 15 minutes. (sorry I know it’s a while- but it’s worth it to ensure it doesn’t burn!) The point here is to cause the water to evaporate and the butter to thicken.

  5. You will know it is ready when it is thick enough to somewhat hold its shape when you stir. (Picture of this below!)

  6. Allow to cool, pour into a jar, and store in the fridge! Serve with toast or biscuits on a fine Sunday morning! 

I hope you make this and LOVE it! It will last about 2 weeks in the fridge.

xo,

meg

This is how you’ll know if it’s ready! See that texture on top? it does not immediately melt back.

This is how you’ll know if it’s ready! See that texture on top? it does not immediately melt back.

Local and Seasonal Eating 101

As a dietitian, I got into sustainability via my food choices. As I went through nutrition school, I began to really ponder my food philosophy. What did I believe about my food? How did I want to interact with the food system? How did I want to participate in the greater picture - in the global picture?

I have always felt a deep love for the earth and once I saw the correlation between my food choices and their environmental impact- I was all in.

I STARTED my instagram out of this love. A love for local and seasonal foods. Supporting our local food culture. Supporting local farmers and growers. Supporting those who are working with the earth- not taking from it.

I realized there were many environmental and personal benefits to eating locally and seasonally!

The local food movement is an alternative to the global food model where food travels long distances to reach our supermarket shelves. “Food Miles” have a big environmental impact. Transporting food contributes to greenhouse gas emission and therefore, global warming/climate change.

Local food also promotes a relationship between the consumer and the producer. Very little gives me greater happiness than Saturday morning farmer’s markets! Being able to speak directly to the people who produce your food is a priceless joy that relatively few take the time to invest in. 

When you buy local meats, veggies, dairy etc, you know that you are doing what you can to further small business, promote environmental health, support animal welfare, and of course, invest in the health of your family. 

Benefits of eating locally

  1. Reduced food miles and therefore, reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

  2. When buying locally, you by default, eat in season. This means your food is going to have maximum flavor and nutritional value!

  3. You are supporting local small business and your local economy!

  4. You help maintain farmland and green space in your area and therefore, you contribute to regenerative agriculture!

  5. You get to try new and fun produce specific to your area! I’m telling you- nothing is more culinarily inspiring than a stroll at the market!

  6. As you buy more local foods, you will find you naturally buy less industrialized and processed foods- which is a win for you and the environment!

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If you’re new to all of this, I know it can seem quite overwhelming! LIKE WHERE DO I EVEN START?! So here are my tips for local eating! 

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  1. Know what is in season in your region. This is a great resource for that. This is especially helpful to keep in mind when you are shopping at a grocery store! (If you are shopping at the farmer’s market, it is by default going to be seasonal.) If something is in season in your area, that probably means that it had to travel less distance to get to your grocery store shelves! For example, if it is summer in the Carolinas, opt for the summer squash vs the butternut squash! When a product is not in season, it will either be grown in a hot house or shipped in from some place in the world that it is in season. The taste and quality difference between something that is vine ripened and something that is shelf ripened is undeniable.

  2. Go to the farmer’s market! Do a quick google search (use this site!) for farmers markets in your area- typically they are on Saturday mornings.

  3. Join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). These programs are designed to connect local farmers/growers with the consumers. Typically, you will purchase “a subscription” for the season or year. Local farmers will put together a basket of produce that varies based on availability and season. (How fun is that?!) Read more about them here.

  4. Find your local co-op! Co-ops are basically locally run grocery stores. They are a great place to find local and organic foods at a less costly price. See what options are in your area at localharvest.org.

  5. Plant a garden. If this sounds like too much work, simply growing your own herbs on a window is not only as LOCAL AS IT GETS, it also saves you money!

  6. Stop at that random farm stand on the side of the road.

  7. Go to U-Picks! Berries and peaches are a very popular food group for this type of thing. It’s also a fun experience for kiddos! 

  8. Support farm to table restaurants! Visit restaurants that practice farm to table by supporting and purchasing from local growers and famers.

  9. Invest in organic and fair trade when possible. Probably not everything you might need can be bought locally. Such as coffee, chocolate, sugar, etc. When this is the case, I encourage buying organic and fair trade when possible  and within your budget! Fair trade will help promote communities through agricultural development and ensure a fair wage for their labor and product.


I hope this was helpful for you all!

Let me know in the comments below! And share my graphic with your friends- I’d much appreciate it! <3

xo,

meg

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Digestive Tincture Recipe - bitters & carminatives and what they are

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Isn’t it amazing how our bodies are supported so beautifully by ingredients found in nature? Humans have used herbals since the beginning of time to heal and support their bodies in countless conditions and in all life phases.

One of my favorite ways to naturally support my body is through tinctures of digestive bitters and carminatives. Digestive tinctures are traditional, medicinal preparations of bitter plants used to treat digestive ailments like gas, bloating, cramps, heart burn, and to support overall digestive health.

Bitter herbs support your body’s own ability to release digestive enzymes, HCL, and bile and therefore, help you to digest and absorb your food properly.

You may be familiar of bitters as an addition to certain cocktails like old fashioneds! Not only do bitters provide another flavor element, but they also help to aid in digestion! Examples of bitters include dandelion root, burdock root, ginger root, orange peel, and many more.

When it comes to digestive support, bitter herbs work especially well in combination with a class of herbs that we call “carminatives”. While the bitters help to stimulate gut motility and digestive secretions, carminatives address gas/bloating as they reduce the formation of gas in the digestive tract! They are also often antispasmodic and so help to relieve digestive cramps.

You can find some high quality and effective bitter blends online, but you can also have fun making your own!

This digestive tincture recipe is my own and is made of fresh & dried foods/herbs to promote good digestion and get your digestive fire revved up!

Application: I recommend a few drop in your mouth pre meal. You can also mix it in a little tea or water and throw it back or use a little spray bottle and spray it into your mouth.

Each ingredient here has a specific digestion promoting role. For example, chamomile is a carminative. It is antispasmodic- meaning it soothes muscles throughout the body- this Includes the digestive tract. Dandelion root is a bitter which helps to stimulate the release of digestive enzymes.

As far as sourcing goes, I always like to purchase from organic sources- my preference being Mountain Rose Herbs!

Comment below with your favorite digestive support herbs/spices!

Digestive Tincture Recipe

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup dried dandelion root

  • 1/2 cup chamomile

  • 1/2 cup fennel

  • peel from a fresh orange

  • 4 in knob fresh ginger, chopped

  • 1 cup fresh mint, chopped

  • Two pint size wide mouth mason jars

  • vodka (40 or 50-proof)

  • wax paper

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Method:

  1. In jar #1: Add equal parts chamomile, fennel, and dandelion root. Fill jar to the 1/2 mark.

  2. Fill to the top with vodka. Take care to cover the plants completely.

  3. In jar #2: Add enough mint, ginger, and orange peel to fill jar 3/4th full. Fill to the top with vodka. Cover plants completely.

  4. Cap both jars with parchment paper and add the outer part of the lid mason jar lid. (as seen in the photo) If you are not using mason jars, simply apply a rubber band to secure parchment paper.

  5. Shake several times a week and check the alcohol levels. If the herbs are not fully submerged, top off with more alcohol. Allow to sit in a dark place for 6-8 weeks.

  6. Once the wait time is over, line a wire mesh strainer with a cheese cloth. Strain the jars one at a time.

  7. Once you’ve strained them, combine the tinctures into one large jar. Fill up little droppers or spray bottles with the tincture for your use!

  8. Don’t forget to label your tincture with function, ingredients, and date.

I hope you all enjoy! Let me know know you’re digestive tinctures turn out and how you like them!

xo,

meg

*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

SEED THE REVOLUTION:  Hemp is now legal to grow in the US! Here is what that means.

I’m often asked about my stance on agriculture. And the way I respond each time is: I believe in the power of regenerative agriculture.

This effects and dictates how I practice sustainable living and my consumer choices every single day, especially in my food and clothing choices.

This is why when First Crop reached out to me to collaborate in their Seed the Revolution campaign to raise awareness on the regenerative power of hemp, I was ecstatic.

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These days, there is a lot of talk about reducing our carbon footprint, but there is not enough talk about sequestering the carbon that is already in the atmosphere. 

Why is this important? 

Friends, according to the world scientists who study climate change, we need to collectively reach carbon neutrality by year 2040. In order to achieve neutrality, simply reducing our greenhouse gas emissions is not enough -we must pull back and capture what is already there. Escaped greenhouse gasses (carbon being one of them) is trapping heat in the earth’s atmosphere and heating up the earth’s temperature.

Last October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), issued a chilling report. In it, some 90 world climate scientists from 40 countries concluded that if humans don’t take immediate action to reduce global warming, extreme conditions such as droughts, devastating wildfires, massive floods, deadly hurricanes, and widespread famines will be commonplace.

So the big question is this: how do we sequester carbon?

Well, the Earth naturally sequesters carbon on it’s own! (Mother Nature wins again.)

Vegetation, the oceans, soil - these things naturally capture and store carbon. Therefore, reforestation, preserving wet lands & and restoring the vitality to our soils is incredibly important in our escape from global warming.

This is where First Crop and HEMP come into play.

Healthy soils sequester and hold on to carbon. Unfortunately, commercial agriculture destroys soils, strips them of their richness and in turn, contributes to the global warming crisis. Their methods are far from traditional and far from the way Mother Nature intended. Soils must be regenerated and tended to. When they are not, they will eventually be useless for growing and for carbon sequestration.

We need a regenerative movement - AND WE’RE LOOKING AT YOU, HEMP.

Hemp is a naturally regenerative plant and the ultimate soil healing catalyst, with a unique ability to remove pollutants from the soil, take carbon out of the air and store it back into the earth. 

The power of hemp:

  1. It can thrive in a variety of climates and soil types.

  2. It has a fast growing rate and therefore, higher yields.

  3. It is naturally resistant to most pests and therefore, does not need herbicides, fungicides or pesticides.

  4. It has the ability to remove toxins and pollutants from the soil and groundwater through a process called photo-remediation.

  5. It absorbs carbon dioxide via photosynthesis.

  6. It makes a durable textile and uses half as much land and water as cotton.

  7. It is a superfood- hemps seeds, hemp oil, CBD everything.

  8. It can be used to make paper and therefore can save our trees.

I could go on… but I think you get the gist! Hemp is a Super Plant if there ever was one.

 This is the heart behind First Crop. First Crop believes that our soils and farmers, particularly our small to mid-sized farmers, can be greatly empowered with hemp as part of their cultivating activities. First Crop hopes that farmers will begin to integrate hemp into their fields as it not only has great benefit to them as growers, but to the world and the climate condition as it is.

First Crops is standing alongside farmers to help and ensure that their hemp crop is not only successful, but that it is optimized for its ultimate use in its CBD health and consumer products. They even subsidize hemp farming inputs to lower the upfront costs for farmers. Currently, the company is supporting farmers with 150+ acres of hemp under cultivation in Colorado and New Mexico and is working with its farming partners and community leaders to revitalize the local economies there. 

It’s a win for the environment, it’s a win for the farmer, and it’s a win for the consumer.

“Our ‘soil to soul’ regenerative hemp ecosystem is a truly collaborative effort that empowers farmers at every step to grow and integrate this miracle crop into their cultivation activities,” - co-founder, Michael "Mr. Hemp" Bowman.

What can you do to support:

  1. Support hemp products. When you buy hemp derived products, you are essentially voting YES to the hemp industry and helping to propel its place in the US. You are supporting small-medium sized farms that are invested in regenerative practices.

  2. Spread the word about hemp! Many people are misinformed about hemp. The truth is, CBD is not the same as marijuana! It is not psychoactive and will not get you high, but it may help anxiety, pain, digestion, and more. Furthermore, with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp is now legal to grow in the US! Hooray!

  3. Support the First Crop efforts to Seed the Revolution by joining the campaign. This campaign is to support Amiercan Farmers to help them plant their First Crop of legal hemp and help heal people and the planet.

*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

[This post sustainability sponsored by First Crop]

Remaining Optimistic In the Face of the Climate Crisis and Other Environmental Issues

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People often ask me, “how do you remain optimistic in this environmental space?”

In a sense, people want to know- how are we who care about the earth so deeply, suppose to live without feeling the weight of the world on us at all times?

Every single day, we are bombarded with stories of destruction, injustice, pollution etc. For many of us, these stories stick with us. We marinate and dwell on them. They ruin our day. They break our hearts.

For many of us, we feel so overwhelmed that we are paralyzed with sorrow and fear. I’ve been in that place. And to be honest, sometimes I’m still in that place. This past week was one of those times for me. I felt like I kept getting hit with another discouraging environmental story over and over again. From Carnival cruise ships dumping their trash into the ocean, to stories of forests being cut down for Kleenex.

It seems like the environmental challenges - from climate change to deforestation, are insurmountable. 

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So this morning, I wept. And I asked God- what am I suppose to tell people, when I don’t even have it figured out myself?

I cried aloud- “Where are you in this, God? There is so much injustice in this world and it seems like you are doing nothing to stop it.”

Even just typing this I have tears streaming down my face. It would be so much easier to walk away from this platform. Walk away from my passions and convictions. To live in a bubble where I didn’t think about the woes of the world. Living in ignorance truly would be bliss. And yet, it would be cowardice and against what we are called to do.

Because I know my God is good. I know it breaks my God’s heart over and over as humans pillage and destroy His creation. Because, in fact, God is nature. He created the world - the animals, the mountains, the trees, the ocean, from the outpouring of His own heart and His own spirit. How could He not care?

I believe that God weeps with us in these moments. I don’t believe He’s turning a blind eye to it all. God is nothing but GOOD, and anything other would be contrary to His character. 

So as I was walking my dog, thinking on these things, I was reminded of this:

A few days ago, I posted a story on my Instagram about a huge oak tree in the neighboring yard. It was getting cut down that morning. Watching it come down up tore me up inside and I had to leave the house to maintain my sanity.

I desperately wanted to know why this beautiful tree was cut down. Coincidentally, I ran into my neighbor in the alley later that day. I kindly asked her about the tree. She said this:

“The tree was having issues with some of it’s branches- they kept falling off. It was a heartbreaking decision to make, but I was so scared that one of my young boys would be in the backyard when one of them came down. I didn’t want to run that risk.”

In hearing this, I had immediately relief and a peace in my soul. She cut the tree down in order to minimize risk to a little human’s life- and I respect that very much.

The part of this story that melted my heart:

She continued to say, “My youngest son (probably about 8 years old), sobbed about it coming down. He said, ‘Mom, we’re killing the tree and everything that lives in it”. 

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I tried not to tear up and start crying in from of the mom but in that moment, I was overwhelmed with hope in humanity again. This little boy- is like many young people being raised up today- he loves the earth and wants to preserve it. I was reminded that it is people like him who are going to save the Earth and continue to work that many before us have started.

God reminded me in this- that even though we may not always see it, He is raising up a generation that loves the earth and will protect it. God does not call any of us individually to carry the entire weight of the world, but when many of us care simultaneously, amazing things happen and will continue to happen. 

We have no choice but to be optimistic in this time. In my opinion, you can’t be a pessimist to care about environmental issues- otherwise, it will eat you alive and you will be crushed under it. You will lack motivation to do anything to promote any sort of change- because you would have already given up. 

It’s not “game over”, friends- it’s game time.

But now for a few practical things I do to remain positive (read: sane) in this space:

  1. Monitor what you intake. You don’t have to be exposed to and read about anything and everything that is going on environmentally. Know your limits and censor yourself. If you’re beginning to feel down or heavy or discouraged, maybe time to add a little more censorship. To walk away and take a break.

  2. Balance out the good with the bad. Believe it or not, there is SO much good that is being done in the world! There are people who care greatly about the environmental and conservation issues and exposing ourself to good stories like this is inspiring to say the least. I literally search for good environmental news such as articles like this one if I need a little pep in my step that day.

  3. Believe and KNOW that your actions make a difference. Weather you see it or not, your everyday decisions to take your own water bottle, change to LED lightbulbs, reduce fast fashion consumption, buy less plastic etc. makes a difference. Never ever doubt it. Know that your actions also encourage others to evaluation and change their own choices- and this is how we’re going to change the world for the better.

What do you do to remain optimistic in this space? Leave it in the comments below!

Our Great Smokies KOA Camping Trip + Campfire Recipes

Blake and I had the best time this past weekend!

My heart feels full and revitalized. Being in the woods makes me feel a certain way. It reminds me of all the power and resilience that is found in Mother Nature. In a world that can feel heavy, it is something special to immerse ourselves in unadulterated nature that is so full of hope.

People often ask - how do you remain optimistic in thinking about environmental issues? When everything seems so down and the challenges seemingly impossible to surmount?

Well, there are a few things I do - one of which is book time away. Hiking, camping, exploring. Giving myself time to be still in awe of nature.

The Great Smoky Mountains are so full of life. Blake and I stayed at the Cherokee/Great Smokies KOA Holiday. Wedged between the foothills of the Great Smokies and a the Raven Fork River, this KOA Holiday was honestly stunning.

We drove quite a way to be there, so the fact that we got to immediately walk into a cabin vs having to pitch a tent made all the difference. I was happy for it, to say the least.

Our cabin was one of the Deluxe Cabin and therefore had a full kitchen and bath. It was also quiet, secluded, and nestled away on a creek that branched from the Raven Fork River. One night we even saw a silver fox come up to the water! My background in camping being strictly tent camping, this cabin was a LUXURY for me! Haha!

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The first morning, we woke up to the sound of birds chirping. Thankfully, it was followed quickly by the smell of coffee. One of the perks of the Deluxe Cabin was having a stove top where I could heat my water for the French press!

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We cooked pancakes that first morning. These were easy and the perfect fuel for the hike we had ahead. We used my cast iron and the campfire for this, but you could have just as easily (actually more easily!) used the stove top in the cabin.


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Driving from our KOA in Cherokee to the trail heads was one of the most magical experiences I’ve ever had. Every scenic overlook took my breath away.

Blake and I hiked the Andrews Bald trail. It is one of the most popular, but with it being our first visit to the Smokies, we felt we had to do it. We were lucky that the trail was not crowded at all. We passed maybe a handful of people.

The altitude of the hike got to me more than I’d like to admit… or maybe I just need to do more cardio workouts. Haha! But it was all totally worth it and made our sandwiches even more tasty!

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That evening, I made steak and potatoes in the cast iron and a quinoa salad. I don’t know why or how, but food cooked while camping tastes 10000xs better. HECK, you could be eating Oscar Mayer hot dogs and they’d taste gourmet.
This recipe does not have to be made on a campfire! It can be made in a regular skillet or in a cast iron on top of a grill! (The KOA Deluxe Cabins also come with a nice grill.) Whatever you have- work with it!

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Herbed Steak and Potatoes Recipe

Ingredients:

  1. 1 pound flank steak, sliced into strips

  2. 1 yellow onions, sliced

  3. 1 cup mushrooms, sliced

  4. 1 cup potatoes, wedged

  5. dried thyme and rosemary


Method:

  1. Make a cooking fire in a fire pit. The goal is to cook over coals as opposed to a crazy flame. This means you make a fire and allow it to burn down until coals remain. This is what you’ll set your cast iron on top of.

  2. Once the cast iron is heated, add the veggies to the pan. (careful! Its hot!)

  3. Cook veggies down until they are almost tender to your liking. Flip and turn often. Cook time will vary depending on the temperature of the fire. Add about 1 tbsp chopped dried rosemary and dried thyme.

  4. Move the veggies to the side and add the steak. Allow to sear on one side and then flip. Cook until medium rare. Remove cast iron immediately from the fire or heat source using THICK oven mitts. The meat and veggies will continue to cook until you are ready to eat!

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Quinoa Salad Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups quinoa, cooked

  • ½ cup cucumber, chopped

  • ¼ cup dried cranberries

  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped

  • ¼ cup cashews

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Simply combine all of the ingredients together! Top with the cashews and season to taste!


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Of course, a true camping dinner MUST be followed up by s’mores! You can bet we ate our fair share.

We had to leave back home the next day - I certainly wish there was more time! Blake and I are already planning our next trip with our friends. We didn’t even get to take advantage of some of the other amenities that the KOA offered - outdoor and indoor pools, hot tub/sauna, fishing, bike rentals, and more. Next time!

Cheers!

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Sustainable Living "Off the Grid" with Madrone Hill Cottage (sponsored by Sol Organics)

I sat down with my mom- Karin Cantlon, of Madrone Hill Cottage this past week. 

At Madrone Hill Cottage, she and my Dad- Joe, live off the grid. When i say “off the grid” I don’t mean they just live in the middle of nowhere (which they do), I mean they live off of the electrical grid and they have no city plumbing or city water. No, this does not mean they are living like campers!

Instead, they power their home with solar, use a compostable toilet, and collect their own rainwater. 

They practice sustainable living in some very big ways. But I asked Karin, what about the small things? What are some ways they practice sustainable living in their everyday choices that the rest of us can reap inspiration from? 

Karin gave me 4 things she does to foster her environmentally conscious lifestyle while living off the grid. 

  1. Karin is mindful to purchase her linens and towels from companies that are sustainable and ethical. She, like myself, uses SOL organics! Sol Organics is fair trade, uses zero plastic in their packaging, and even donates $7.50 per sale to charity! SOL uses 100% organic cotton grown from non-GMO seed. They are committed to supporting better farming practices that reduce carbon footprint, conserve and protect drinking water, and keep us and our communities safe. Being certified fair trade, they have a commitment to no child labor- EVER, and they partner only with facilities that pay a LIVING wage and are committed to the wellbeing of the people who work there. (use code RFF20 for 20% off)


    Not to mention- how beautiful is this bedding bundle in their cottage?! 

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2. From day one, Karin was conscious of her interior design. I learned thrifting and antique shopping from my mom. She’s been popping tags since before it was cool. (haha- Macklemore anyone?!) Instead of buying new, most of her items are up-cycled! She has a whole blog post HERE dedicated to sustainable and affordable ways to design, but here are a few examples:

  • The “kitchen table. Karin and Joe used the top of of my childhood table that we’ve had since I can remember to create their island table. They simply cut off the legs and mounted it to the metal storage base that they wanted.  In her blog post, Karin says, “I was going to purchase hardwood lumber for our island table, which was going to be somewhat pricey. Joe realized that our current tabletop would fit perfectly, we just needed to remove the legs! I was super happy we could incorporate it, since it was the first piece of furniture Joe and I purchased as a married couple and both our kids grew up eating meals, finishing homework, and making crafts at this table.”

  • The green “pantry” door. A great score from an antique store!

  • The bathroom “vanity”. To create this lovely piece, Karin cut a hole in the top of an old dresser that she repaint and put a sink in it! The plumbing process was a more intensive than that… but you get the idea!

  • The kitchen sink. She found this old barn house sink from Craigslist. She looked for 8 months before she found the perfect one. According to Karin, patience is KEY in sustainable design.

The kitchen table.

The kitchen table.

The pantry door.

The pantry door.

An antique dresser from an estate sale.

An antique dresser from an estate sale.

The barn house sink from Craigslist.

The barn house sink from Craigslist.

3. She shops in bulk. 

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4. Karin is conscious of her water usage. When you live in Central Texas that is prone to droughts and you are responsible for collecting all your own water from the rain, you become highly aware of your water usage. This is true even in times of plenty. At this point, Joe and Karin have built up enough water supply that they really don’t NEED to “watch” their water usage, but water becomes more precious when you know where it came from and have a realization that it is a finite and valuable resource. This is a lesson we can all apply!! 

Use code RFF20 for 20% off @ Sol Organics.

Sustainably Supported by SOL Organics. As always, all opinions are mine & these are products I truly love!  #sponsored


A Few of My DIY Bathroom Staples + Tips to Support a Healthy Urinary Tract

Hi everyone!

I’m so excited and honored to partner with MegaFood® to discuss women’s health along with a few tips you can do to maintain urinary tract health* and keep your downstairs area feeling clean & pristine!

I was introduced to MegaFood fairly recently, but once I started looking into their company, I realized how profoundly our missioned aligned. Megafood supports regenerative agriculture and they are dedicated and committed to getting glyphosate (Round-up) removed from our food systems. They partner with like-minded farmers who are committed to organic and regenerative agriculture to bring us the most high-quality supplements derived with real food. In fact, they are the first supplement company to have their entire brand certified Glyphosate Residue Free! They are also a certified B Corporation and therefore, have the highest standards of social and environmental performance, product and supply chain transparency, and legal accountability. Honestly, I couldn’t be more obsessed with the mission behind this company.

But I digress. MegaFood Women's Health Shelf-Stable Probiotic has become one of my most favorite (and crucial) bathroom hygiene essentials! I, like most women, am determined to support a healthy urinary tract.* Right next to my hair salt spray (for beach like waves) and homemade salve (the ultimate moisturizer), this probiotic keeps me feeling fierce & motivated to take on the world.

But before we get to the recipes for the salt spray and salve, here are my tips for supporting urinary tract health! These are tips that I’ve found personally helpful and also derived from my clinical experience working in women’s health at Nourishing Minds Nutrition.

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Tips to Support a Healthy Urinary Tract:

  1. Tend to your vaginal microbiome by taking a quality women’s health probiotic. A good women’s health probiotic will have strains indigenous to the vagina - such as lactobacillus gasseri and lactobacillus crispatus. These lactic acid producing bacteria acidify the environment to make a natural barrier to pathogens! The vagina is actually very acidic - maintaining a ph between 3.5 & 4.5.

We often hear “microbiome” in reference to the gut microbiome. But the truth is, there are numerous microbiomes throughout the body- the vagina being just one of them. This microbiome is made up of lactic acid producing bacteria (lactobacillus) and organisms we call strict anaerobes. The balance between anaerobes and lactobacillus microbes is very important. I recommend MegaFood Women's Health Shelf-Stable Probiotic for a healthy urinary tract and the added bonus of supporting gut health.* It contains 50 Billion CFU of live bacteria to promote good gut health.* Did I mention it’s shelf-stable? That means you can toss these in your purse or gym bag and you’re good to go!

2. Tend to your gut health! Gut health, vaginal & urethra health all go hand in hand. Without getting too technical (just get to the point, Meg!), the gut microbiome is in a sense, the “command center” for all other mucosal tissues. This means that if there is a compromised ecology in the gut, this will translate into the other microbes- such as the urinary tract & vagina. Of course, a good probiotic and/or fermented foods is imperative to gut health. Another practical way of improving your gut health is diversifying your diet! Most people in our modern culture only eat around 15 foods. Their ancestors would have consumed between 600 and 800 varieties throughout the year! Have fun and play with different fruits, veggies, herbs, spices etc!

3. Don’t Douche! Your vaginal microbiome is everything! And douching disrupts that. Lactobacillus bacteria are very fragile, and they don’t cling on to cells easily. This means that when you douche, you are disrupting that protective ecosystem. Don’t do it!

4. Add cranberry to your diet. Cranberries are age-old wisdom for helping ladies maintain a healthy urinary tract. Fortunately, the MegaFood Women's Health* Shelf-Stable Probiotic already has cranberry in it with a mighty dose of CRAN d’OrTM.*

5. Don’t hold your pee & pee after sex. Simple, but important.

6. Change clothes after the gym. If you workout, don’t sit in your sweaty clothes all day if you can help it! Switch out of those leggings and let your body breathe.


You can take every precaution in your lifestyle choices, but if you are not addressing your gut health (which then translates to your vaginal and urethral health) you will miss the most crucial part of building an optimal foundation to good health.*


Alas, my recipes for the salve & sea salt spray:

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Sea Salt Spray- to spritz on your hair in the morning for a beachy waves!


Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup warm h2O

  • 1 tbsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp of your home condition

  • 2 drops essential oil of choice (I use eucalyptus currently)

Method:
Simply combine all ingredients into a small spray bottle. Shake until the salt dissolves. Will last 3-4 months or longer.

Rose Petal Infused Salve

Ingredients:

  • ~ 3/4 cup dried roses

  • ~ 1 cup sweet almond oil

  • 1 ounce beeswax

  • double boiler

  • 2 clean, empty 16 oz mason jars

  • Kitchen scale

Part 1: Infuse your oil

  • Fill one of the mason jars about 3/4th way with dried rose petals. Don’t worry about being exact! This ain’t candy making people!

  • Fill the jar with sweet almond oil- ensuring the petals are covered completely by at least 1 inch.

  • Cap the jar and shake well!  Shake the herbs at least once a day.  After 2-4 weeks, strain through a mesh strainer. Whala- you have your infused oil! This infused oil is lovely for healing ointment on scars, eczema & psoriasis, wrinkles, sun damage, and just general maintenance on dry areas. I even use it around my eyes before I go to sleep.

Part 2: Make the salve!

  1. Prepare your double boiler with simmering water. (You can make a make shift one at home if you don’t have one! That’s what I do.)

  2. Pour 7 oz strained & infused rose petal oil into the double boiler. Add 1 ounce beeswax and stir until the beeswax has completely dissolved.

  3. Carefully pour hot salve into clean jar and cool completely before use.

*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


Creating Closed Loop Systems with Plaine Products

When I found Plaine Products, I was literally giddy with excitement. GIDDY!

Why?

Plaine Products has made personal hygiene products waste free. WASTE FREE PEOPLE! And not the kind of waste free where you have to compromise quality. And not the kind that you have to make all your own from apple cider and be a full on crunchy hippie. (Even though that’s cool too! haha!)

This is the kind that provides a high quality, “clean” product that is also vegan and cruelty free. See why I was giddy? This product is almost too good to be true. But it’s not!

Sisters Lindsey and Alison Delaplaine- founders of Plaine Products, have made reducing our plastic consumption and creating a close loop system in our bathroom as easy as putting something in the mail. Their bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, body wash, and hand soap are REFILLABLE. You simply send your bottles back in and get them refilled with your favorite products to keep you squeaky clean and moisturized!

I know I sound like a broken record at this point- talking about the “plastic problem”, but stats and facts are eye opening, motivating, and therefore empowering. So a few plastic stats:

  • The shampoo bottles thrown out every year in the U.S. could fill 1,164 football fields.

  • Globally, we produce 300 million tons of plastic waste every year, 78 percent of which is NOT reclaimed or recycled.

  • Global, 32% of the annual plastic production ends up in the oceans. This equates to pouring one garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute. This number is projected to increase.

Scary huh? Does this create a sense of urgency inside of you? Me too.

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How Plaine Products is Changing the Game

After witnessing first hand the damaging effects of plastic in our oceans, Lindsey and Alison Delaplaine decided to do something about it and set out on a mission. They wanted to lead the way for a new kind of consumerism. To create circular economies and closed loop systems in households instead of linear ones that lead to landfill or our oceans.

As time goes on, our world is in increasing need for circular systems to be implemented- on both a global scale, as well as on in smaller scale- such as in our own homes. What is a circular economy you ask?

A circular economy or system is one that connects the ends- so there is no end. There is no trashcan or landfill. Resources are simply repurposed and returned back to the “circle of life”. Some simple examples include: 

  • Repurposing a dish sponge to a bath cleaning sponge and then composting it instead of throwing it away. 

  • Buying clothing second hand or giving your unwanted clothes to a friend instead of throwing them away. 

  • Composting your food scraps and organic waste instead of throwing them away.

In this model, companies evaluate their supply chain and implement reduction, reuse, and various recycling techniques to minimize the waste their product generates. Here are some examples:

  • Timberland is partnering with Omni to make shoes out of tires. 

  •  HP is recovering plastic from used ink cartridges and toners via the Planet Partners program and recycles it to produce new ink cartridges

  •  Southwest Airlines partners with Loopworks to repurpose its used seat leather into LUV seat weekender duffle bags, shoes, and soccer balls.

HOW COOL IS ALL OF THIS?!

This type of innovative thinking not only saves and repurposes natural resources, it reduces CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions. There are countless more examples of companies making big strides to more sustainable production values, but still, we need more to be on board.

In supporting Plaine and companies like Plaine, you are voting with your dollar. You contributing to the tipping point that is needed for our economy to continue to shift to more circular thinking. You can also feel good that staying clean and our personal hygiene does not come at a cost to our environment. 

But what about their ingredients, you ask? What about the actual products.

Check it out: 

  • Free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates and palm oil

  • Blended with whole essential oils (instead of synthetic fragrance)

  • Vegan and have non GMO ingredients

  • Designed to biodegrade

  • Baby safe and hypoallergenic 

  • Cruelty Free, Leaping Bunny certified 

They derive their high quality ingredients from Mother Nature. They utilize things like aloe vera extract and mango butter, vitamin E, green tea, and essential oils in their products. 

And I’ll vouch first hand- not only are they  “clean”, they actually get you CLEAN. I have think hair that does not come clean very early to be honest. Ive tried a handful of “clean” shampoos, including shampoo bars and none have been nearly as effective as Plain Products. I give Plaine a 10/10. And so does my husband! He’s even harder to please than I am. haha! 

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Sustainably Supported by Plaine Products. As always, all opinions are mine & these are products I truly love!  #sponsored


How to Make Your Own Wool Dryer Balls- and why you need them!

Do you have a less than amazingly efficient dryer system?

Me me!! Sadly, I fall into this camp. My husband and i have a stacking system as this is all our tiny space will fit. Well, do yourself and the environment a favor by making some dryer balls! Believe it or not, they actually REDUCE dry time! Plus you can spray them with essential oils and infuse your clothes with a lovely sent!

Benefits:

  • They decrease drying time! As they bounce around, the separate your clothes and allow air to circulate.

  • They’re chemical free alternatives to putting tennis balls in your dryer! (Yes, people actually do that haha)

  • They increase fluffiness & reduce static in your clothes

  • They can infuse your clothes with smell good essential oils- a GREAT alternative to single use, chemical infused dryer sheets!

You can make dryer balls with nothing but wool yarn. However, to make my wool yarn go farther and to get more bang for my buck, my directions involve cutting up an old, thrift store wool sweater. This allowed me to spend $12 on 3 large dryer balls vs $30 on 3 small.

Supplies:

  • skien of 100% wool yarn (choose one not labeled “super wash” or “machine washable”

  • a 100% wool sweater from a thrift store. (Preferably an ugly one so you don’t feel bad cutting it up! haha!)

  • panty hose

  • scissors

  • pieces of yarn or twine

Method:

  1. Cut your wool sweater into long, thin rectangles. Mine are about 3x8.

  2. Create a ball with the wool strips.

  3. Bind the wool ball with the wool yarn. Twist it around tightly to completely cover the ball several times. Tie it off on itself.

  4. To felt the ball, put it in a pantyhose leg. Tie it off the ends with the piece of yarn.

  5. Wash the balls(s) with a load of laundry on HOT. Then dry them on the highest setting you have. Do this twice- or until the ball is completely felted.

  6. Now, they’re ready to roll!! (literally) Add a few drops of essential oils on them before drying your clothes to add  fragrance to your clothes.

    These babies will last your for years! 100+ loads!

Photo Instructions:

Gather your supplies:    * skien of 100% wool yarn (choose one not labeled “super wash” or “machine washable”  * a 100% wool sweater from a thrift store. (Preferably an ugly one so you don’t feel bad cutting it up! haha!)  * panty hose  * scissors  * pieces of yarn or twine

Gather your supplies:

* skien of 100% wool yarn (choose one not labeled “super wash” or “machine washable”

* a 100% wool sweater from a thrift store. (Preferably an ugly one so you don’t feel bad cutting it up! haha!)

* panty hose

* scissors

* pieces of yarn or twine

Cut your wool sweater into long, thin rectangles. Mine are about 3x8.

Cut your wool sweater into long, thin rectangles. Mine are about 3x8.

Create a ball with the wool strips.

Create a ball with the wool strips.

3. Bind the wool ball with the wool yarn.

3. Bind the wool ball with the wool yarn.

Twist it around tightly to completely cover the ball several times. Tie it off on itself.

Twist it around tightly to completely cover the ball several times. Tie it off on itself.

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To felt the ball, put it in a pantyhose leg. Tie it off the ends with the piece of yarn. Wash the balls(s) with a load of laundry on HOT. Then dry them on the highest setting you have. Do this twice- or until the ball is completely felted.

To felt the ball, put it in a pantyhose leg. Tie it off the ends with the piece of yarn. Wash the balls(s) with a load of laundry on HOT. Then dry them on the highest setting you have. Do this twice- or until the ball is completely felted.

Mine could use a few more rounds in the washer to get felted better, but you get the idea!   Now, they’re ready to roll!! (literally) Add a few drops of essential oils on them before drying your clothes to add&nbsp; fragrance to your clothes.

Mine could use a few more rounds in the washer to get felted better, but you get the idea!

Now, they’re ready to roll!! (literally) Add a few drops of essential oils on them before drying your clothes to add  fragrance to your clothes.

6 Enticing Environmental & Global Health Reasons to Switch to the Menstrual Cup

I am so proud to partner with OrganiCup to discuss these important topics!

Most women I talk with are a little weirded out by the idea of a “menstrual cup” at first. They think it sounds weird or painful or ineffective or just “gross”.

Well, I’m here to tell you - it is none of those things! In fact, menstrual cups are the SHIT.

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The irony is, the convention methods (think tampons & pads) of managing our periods can be all of those things! But in many ways, because they are what is “normal” and “accepted”, we don’t think much of it. So I challenge you to challenge the paradigms around your period! I was stubborn for far too long and now I’m kicking myself for the years I wasted not using the cup. The cup has changed my period experience forever!

Apart from the hygienic and mere convenience benefits of the cup (think 12 hours of coverage!) there are tremendous health and environmental benefits to switching over!

But first, let’s cover a few period stats and facts:

  • It is estimated that over 45 billion products related to periods (tampons, pads, applicators) are thrown away each year.

  • The average woman uses between 11,000 and 16,000 feminine products in her lifetime.

  • Pad and tampon brands are not required by law to list the materials and ingredients used in the production of their products. (eeekk!)

All to say, periods are a big deal! How we manage them can have significant health & environmental implications. Becoming aware of the bigger picture surrounding our periods and the management of them can allow us all to make the most informed decisions. I think you may be surprised to realize, your period management choices not only affect you- but the planet and people around the globe as well.

So let’s get to it! 6 reasons to consider switching to the cup:

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  1. Cotton is one of the most pesticide- intensive crops grown on the planet- and your vagina is hella absorbent!! In fact, because the vagina is so rapidly absorbent, researchers have explored the possibility of delivering drugs vaginally! If you’re buying non organic tampons, you’re most likely purchasing something that contains non-organic cotton and therefore sprayed heavily with pesticides & other chemicals. These companies often use bleach and whitening agents as well as chemical fragrance & dyes. Side note: glyphosate is the herbicide found in Round-up weed killer. In once study, 85% of tampons tested contained glyphosate. Yeah, it’s not a pretty picture. Women have the right to know what is in their products so that they can make informed decisions for their own health. I’d bet that most of us don’t want to absorb chemicals up our vagina for a week out of every month.

  2. Hazardous pesticides associated with global cotton production represent a substantial threat to global freshwater resources. Although it is only grown on 2.5% of the world’s agricultural land, cotton consumes 16% of all the insecticides and 6.8% of all herbicides used worldwide. In fact, it is responsible for the release of US$ 2 billion of chemical pesticides each year, within which at least US$ 819 million are considered toxic enough to be classified as hazardous by the World Health Organization. (WOWZA!) Not only do these chemicals have personal health implications (as seen in #1), they also have incredible environmental implications. When these pesticides are washed out of the soil, they pollute rivers and groundwater- especially those in neighboring communities! Cotton pesticides have been found to contaminate rivers in the USA, India, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Brazil, Australia, Greece and West Africa. Furthermore, monocultures grown in this way strips the soil of its biodiversity and inherent ecosystem. This continues to contribute to the degradation of our farmland and to climate change.

  3. Cotton is a very water intensive crop. Organic or not, cotton requires a large amount of water in its production and processing. In fact, it is considered to be the world’s “thirstiest crop”. When soil quality is poor (more likely in the case of non-organic crops), this causes the crops to require more water due to reduced water infiltration rates. This leads to a vicious cycle of soil degradation and increased water usage. To give some perspective, according to WWF (World Wildlife Fund), it takes more than 5,283 gallons of water to produce just 2.2 pounds of cotton, which roughly equals one T-shirt and a pair of jeans.

  4. The people (and children) involved in the cotton supply chain. It’s easy for those of us living in developed countries to buy our cotton tampons (or clothing for that matter) and not think much of who was involved in the supply chain of these products. But when we stop to consider these things, the truth isn’t pretty.

    According to the Environmental Justice Foundation, 99% of the world’s cotton farmers live and work in the developing world where low levels of safety awareness, lack of protective equipment, illiteracy, poor labelling of pesticides, and chronic poverty exacerbate the damage caused by cotton pesticides to low income communities.

    Children are often involved directly with pesticide application even though they are particularly vulnerable and often the first victims to pesticide poisoning.

    According to organicconsumers.org, in Egypt, more than 50% of the cotton workers in the 1990s suffered symptoms of chronic pesticide poisoning. That’s just one example of the realities of conventional global cotton production. Cheap cotton comes at a price, and someone is paying it.

  5. Tampon applicators and pads are forever. This shit doesn’t degrade. And if it does, it will take centuries. The Ocean Conservancy collected nearly 30,000 used tampons and applicators on beaches in just a single day in 2015.  When tampons are flushed, they can end up in sewer systems and waterways. When they are thrown away, they go to landfill. Pads are majority made of plastic and therefore, are also not biodegradable.

  6. CUPS ARE CHEAPER! Let’s be honest, we’ve all complained of buying tampons! They are by design, single use and they are certainly not cheap! Invest in a cup- typically around $30, and you’ll save a mad amount of money over your lifetime. This point is not necessarily environmentally based, but it is if you consider that you are not giving your money to support the corrupt global cotton industry!

There are many more benefits of switching to a cup, but I think you get the picture.

It’s cool and empowering to know that by merely switching to the cup, you can have a global impact.

Menstrual cups take a bit to get use to, but once you go to one, you will never go back!

Grab yours HERE. You'll want a size A if you’ve never had children and a size B if you have. Use code ROOT for 20% off.

Sustainably Supported by OrganiCup. As always, all opinions are mine & these are products I truly love!  #sponsored


Ginger & Turmeric Juice Shot

The Mr. and I and I have been doing a shot of this juice in the morning for the past few weeks and we’re so into it! It’s super simple and easy to make without a juicer. It’s such a good energy boost and makes my stomach feel great. 

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Ingredients:

  • 4 inch knob of ginger root

  • 2 inch knob of turmeric root

  • 4 tbsp raw honey

  • a pinch of black pepper (optional- but increases bioavailability of turmeric)

  • 4 cups of water

Method

  • Simply combine ingredients in a blender. Blend well until everything is ground. Pour through a mesh sieve into a storage glass. Dilute and sweeten as needed to fit your own preferences! The ginger can be QUITE spicy!!

  • Enjoy! It’s good for about 4 days in the fridge. If you don’t think you’ll drink that much, just cut the recipe in half.

xoxo,

meg

Fermented Radishes with Garlic & Dill

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Pros of living in Florida — produce year around!

Pros of living in Florida — produce year around!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of filtered water

  • 1 tbsp of pink salt

  • 2 bunches of radishes

  • 1 handful of dill

  • 5 garlic cloves (you can use less.. I just really like garlic!)

  • Pint size large mouth mason jar

  • Smaller jar to use as a weight

  • Cheese cloth (or any cloth, really) & rubber band

Method:

  1. Make the brine by boiling 2 cups of filtered water with 1 tbsp of salt.

  2. Wash your radishes well with warm water. Remove tops and tails. Slice into thin quarters or halves.

  3. Add dill and garlic to the bottom of the jar. Add radishes. Pour in the brine - enough to submerge the veggies by a few inches.

  4. Weight down the contents with the smaller jar to prevent the veggies from rising above the surface. (They must remain submerged under the water!)

  5. Cover the jar with cloth and rubber band.

  6. Allow time to ferment- at least 3 days. Store in a dark, room temp location until desired flavor / texture is achieved.

  7. Store in the fridge. I personally love serving them with hummus and crackers! SO delicious!

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Sustainable Home Decorating with SOL Organics

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This past weekend I redid my bedroom. To be honest, Blake and I have been married for almost 5 years, and for the first 2 years with him in med school, we never really had enough money for me to spend even a cent on something that seemed so frivolous as bedroom decor.

Maybe some of you can relate?

But even after med-school, in our quest to be frugal and allocate resources appropriately, it never seemed like a worthwhile cause.

Well, I’ll have to say, getting this stunning, fair trade organic cotton bedding set by Sol Organics changed everything this past weekend. It was like getting a new pair of jeans and all of the sudden wanting to get a new haircut or upgrade your makeup too.

You may say- bold move ordering all white bedding with 4 animals. And I’d say… touche. But I’m a SUCKER for clean, light and bright spaces. I love how crisp and clean it looks. (as long as I keep my dog off of it!)

You may say- bold move ordering all white bedding with 4 animals. And I’d say… touche. But I’m a SUCKER for clean, light and bright spaces. I love how crisp and clean it looks. (as long as I keep my dog off of it!)

I’m thrilled about Sol Organics because their mission is so aligning with my own. They are sustainable, organic, fair trade, and transparent. Honestly, even their “about” page on their website gives me chills and makes me proud to use this bedding. They have a commitment to no child labor- EVER, and they partner only with facilities that pay a LIVING wage and are committed to the wellbeing of the people who work there. I will be sleeping well at night knowing the sheets I’m using were made fairly and justly.

I can’t help but think about the people making those products. Who are they? What are their working conditions? Are children involved? How can I be sure? How can my customers be sure? –Vishal Naithani, Co-Founder

SOL uses 100% organic cotton grown from non-GMO seed. They are committed to supporting better farming practices that reduce carbon footprint, converse and protect drinking water, and keep us and our communities safe.

SOL uses 100% organic cotton grown from non-GMO seed. They are committed to supporting better farming practices that reduce carbon footprint, converse and protect drinking water, and keep us and our communities safe.

SOL uses 100% organic cotton grown from non-GMO seed. They are committed to supporting better farming practices that reduce carbon footprint, converse and protect drinking water, and keep us and our communities safe.

Sol Organics bedding bundle. Includes:  • 1 Fitted Sheet  • 1 Flat Sheet  • 2 Pillowcases* • Duvet Cover • 2 Pillow Sham Covers* • 100% GOTS Certified

Sol Organics bedding bundle. Includes:

• 1 Fitted Sheet
• 1 Flat Sheet
• 2 Pillowcases*
• Duvet Cover
• 2 Pillow Sham Covers*
• 100% GOTS Certified

And one of the best things about them is that in all of this, they have made their products affordable.

Affordability is the tipping point. It promotes access, which in turn creates demand and conversion to organic cotton. It creates a symbiosis in which everyone wins: the farmer, the consumer and the earth. – Sachin Chauhan, Co-Founder

So back to my bedroom… receiving my SOL bedding in the mail sparked something inside of me- why do I care about styling the rest of the home to be a representation of Blake and I, but our bedroom- this sacred space where there is precious sleep, pillow talk, cuddles… has been put on the back burner?

The cool thing is- 90% of the decor you see in these photos are things I already had. Most of it found at antique or thrift stores. But a new bed set (white instead of dark grey), a few throw pillow and some shelves made the BIGGEST difference. (I wish so badly that I had taken a before picture of our bedroom!!! You honestly would not have recognized it now.)  

Shelves: Made Scratch (thanks Home Depot)  Pillows: Made from fabric I found on sale @ Whimsodoodle in St Pete, FL  Shades: Blackout shades I’ve had for years. I sewed the blue ribbons on top to make them hang prettier  Bedding: SOL organics  Lamp: Thrift store  Signage: Our wedding  Ladder, wool blanket, mountain scape photo: antique stores

Shelves: Made Scratch (thanks Home Depot)

Pillows: Made from fabric I found on sale @ Whimsodoodle in St Pete, FL

Shades: Blackout shades I’ve had for years. I sewed the blue ribbons on top to make them hang prettier

Bedding: SOL organics

Lamp: Thrift store

Signage: Our wedding

Ladder, wool blanket, mountain scape photo: antique stores

I would describe my style as midwestern mid-mod. And I am a full believer that with a little time and patience, you can decorate your home sustainably. I’m now going to walk you through some of my tips for sustainable home decorating and how I applied them to this latest project.

The biggest thing to remember when decorating sustainably- patience is key! It’s so tempting to run to target over the weekend and grab everything you need to make a well decorated room, but sustainable decorating is a much slower process as you acquire quality, unique and sustainably created pieces.


Tips for sustainable decorating:

1. Less is more. Question everything that comes into your home. Instead of trying to fill every nook and cranny with something, embrace blank space. Only buy what you LOVE and brings you joy.

2. Go with classic vs trendy styles. This is true in your wardrobe, but also in your home decorating! Will the items you buy be out of style in a year and will you want to “upgrade”? Consider this when you are finding and honing in on your style!

3. Quality > Quantity. This is applies to everything- furniture, throw blankets, pictures etc. When you purchase something- ask, will this last for years to come? This is why I love to find furniture and the bigger items at thrift and antique stores. I can get amazing quality for a fraction of the price.  In the case of throw blankets- consider investing in a quality, organic cotton throw blanket instead of 10 synthetic ones.

4. Shop local & support local artisans. For example- instead of buying a macrame from target, look for a local artisan! If you don’t have many  local artisans, check Etsy! It’s so rewarding to support small companies and creatives who are trying to make a living with their craft.

5. Hit up thrift stores and garage sales: I have found the BEST things at thrift stores. Just remember- consistency is key. You probably won’t find THE piece if you go to the Salvation Army 1 time.

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6. Decorate with (real) plants instead of “things”. Plants are so hot right now! haha! Huge bonus- you have a natural air filter!

7. Utilize what you already have. For example, the curtains are nothing special- they are blackout shades Blake and I have had for 5 years. To spruce them up, I added the light blue ribbon on them to act as hooks. It made the way they drape much cutter! In my opinion.

8. Of course, the final tip I have for sustainable decorating is to invest in high quality, sustainably sourced bedding, such as SOL organics.

*** Use code RFF20 for 20% off***

I hope this has been helpful and encouraging in your sustainability journey,

Xoxo,


Meg

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Sustainably Supported by SOL Organics. As always, all opinions are mine & these are products I truly love!  #sponsored

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Calendula & Lavender Infused Salve

It’s winter in the states right now! And that means for many of us… DRY, CRACKED SKIN. Well, I have the antidote. And that is this recipe right here! 

I adore this herbal combination! It is healing, soothing, anti-inflammatory, and smells like floral heaven! Calendula is a super flower. It is most often used to treat scrapes, burns, minor cuts, rashes and bug bites. Lavender oil is great to combat acne, soothe dry skin, and reduce redness.

This salve is SO simple to make. The only bummer is that you have to wait 2-3 weeks in order for the oils to infused. But patience little butterfly! It is so worth it.

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dried lavender 

  • 1/2 cup dried calendula flowers

  • 3, clean, empty 8 oz mason jars

  • 2 cups sweet almond oil

  • 1 ounce beeswax

  • double boiler

Part 1: Infuse your oils

  1. Fill one of the mason jars half way with dried lavender. Fill another 1/2 way with dried calendula flowers/petals. 

  2. Fill the jars with sweet almond oil- ensuring the herbs/flowers are covered completely by at least 1 inch. 

  3. Cap the jar and shake well!  Shake the herbs at least once a day.  At this time, also inspect them and ensure no herbs are traveling above the surface. If they do emerge, they will grow mold and your oil will ruin! After 2-3 weeks, strain through a mesh strainer.

Part 2: Make the salve!

  1. Prepare your double boiler with simmering water. (You can even make a make shift one at home if you don’t have one!) 

  2. Pour 1/2 cup Infused lavender oil and 1/2 cup infused calendula oil in the double boiler. Add 1 ounce beeswax and stir until the beeswax has complete dissolved. 

  3. Carefully pour hot salve into clean jar and cool completely before use. 

Fresh calendula flowers

Fresh calendula flowers

I infused this oil with fresh flowers- but I HIGHLY recommend using dry instead. Fresh goes rancid easily.

I infused this oil with fresh flowers- but I HIGHLY recommend using dry instead. Fresh goes rancid easily.

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Lavender & Citrus Infused Cleaning Vinegar

I’ll let you all in on a little secret… you don’t need a different type of cleaner for every crevice of you home!

The truth is, vinegar does quite well as a multipurpose cleaner! Especially when you spruce it up with things like essential oils and herbs. ;)

You may say- well what about the germs?! Will this kill the germs?! The truth is that our modern society has waged war on “bugs” when in fact, we can’t live without them. Just as we are waging war on our beneficial gut microbiome (the colony of bugs that live in your intestines) with antibiotics, we are waging war on the bacteria around us using harsh cleaning agents. In doing this, we are creating “superbugs”- bugs that adapt and survive and can’t be killed with antibiotics. This has been recognized by the CDC as a huge public crisis and they are now making steps to remove antibiotics from hand soaps and other cleaning agents. Each year in the U.S., at least 2 million people get an antibiotic-resistant infection, and at least 23,000 people die. The truth is- we can’t defeat bacteria- we have to foster a symbiotic relationship! Okay, rant over. All to say, vinegar and essential oils clean and disinfect without disrupting the environmental microbiome and creating superbugs.  YAY MOTHER NATURE!!!

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My neighbor has an orange tree that’s making oranges like its her job. I’ve been collecting the peels from the one’s we’ve eaten and used some fresh lavender from my garden to make this lovely scene.

Ingredients:

  • half gallon mason jar (64 oz)

  • glass spray bottle

  • orange, lemon, and/or lime peels- as many as you want/have! The more you use, the stronger the infused smell will be! 

  • 3 bunches of lavender and/or rosemary leaves 

Method:

  1. Collect your citrus peels over a week. (Store in the fridge.)

  2. When you have collect an ample amount of peels, transfer them to your 64 oz mason jar and fill it up  3/4 high with vinegar. Add herbs.

  3. Cover with a cloth and rubber band. Let the peels infuse the vinegar for 3-4 weeks.

  4. Strain vinegar and compost the peels.

  5. To use, pour into a spray bottle until 1/2 full. Fill the rest with water. Use as you would any multipurpose cleaner. (Just avoid using it on stone countertops or wood as it can gradually wear down the sealant!)

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8 Easy Ways to Reduce Plastic in 2019

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1. Ditch single use grocery bags.

This is huge. Check out these stats from biologicaldiversity.org:

  • Americans use 100 billion plastic bags a year, which require 12 million barrels of oil to manufacture.

  • It only takes about 14 plastic bags for the equivalent of the gas required to drive one mile.

  • The average American family takes home almost 1,500 plastic shopping bags a year.

  • Plastic bags take 1000+ years to break down.

The best solution to single use bags is not to buy reusable plastic bags. While that is certainly better, these bags are still plastic and not biodegradable. They will eventually end up in landfills. So the best alternatives are those made of cotton or hemp or other compostable material.

When my cotton bags get dirty, I simply throw them in the wash.

Alternatives to plastic bags:

2. Ditch plastic baggies.

Yes, they are so so convenient for snacks. But a great and reusable alternative are reusable silicone bags, and beeswax wraps.

Alternatives to plastic baggies:

3. Shop in bulk

Think about it- essentially everything you buy is packaged. That is a LOT of packaging. You can easily reduce this dramatically by shopping in bulk. Bonus points- you save money and have a very spiffy and tidy looking pantry!

For shopping in bulk, take your own mason jars and/or small cotton bags for things like nuts and legumes. Ask the merchant to weigh the jars and write the tar weight on the lid so you are not paying for the weight of the jar. Most stores will have no issue doing this.

If they do, just use the bags/containers they provide and reuse them for next time.

Google search for a bulk store in your area! Of course, many grocery stores have a bulk section, but you’ll really hit the jackpot if you can find a store dedicated to BULK!

Some of my favorite bulk items are:

  • Oats

  • Pasta

  • Baking ingredients such as cocoa powder, flour & sugar.

  • Nuts

  • Dried fruit

  • Grains & legumes

  • Tea

  • Spices

  • Balsamic vinegar

  • Apple cider vinegar

Items for bulk shopping:

  • Eco bag produce bags

  • Mason jars

4. Make your own multi-purpose cleaner.

The truth is, you don’t need a different cleaning product for every crevice of your home! You can simply make your own multi-purpose cleaner to reduce money and waste.

(note: not for use on granite or marble countertops - the vinegar can damage the natural stone.. But it’s great for everything else!)

Cleaner Recipe

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar (I use this because I can get it in bulk- but you can use white vinegar as well. Both of these vinegars you can get in glass jars.)

  • 2 cups water

  • 25 drops essential oil of choice  (I recommend you choose a citrus or green oil, such as, lemon, orange, tea tree, or eucalyptus. They are super fresh and antibacterial as well.)  

Method:

Mix ingredients together and pour into a glass spray bottle. Use as needed. (You can grab some glass spray bottles here! Use code ROOTFORFOOD)

5. Switch to a safety razor.

Plastic disposable razors have a very short lifespan. Per the EPA, we throw away billions of razors every year. Where to these end up? Landfills and oceans never to decompose.

On the contrary, safety razors are meant to last a lifetime! Only the razor blades need to be recycled and unlike multi blade razors, standard double-edge safety razor blades are fully-recyclable.

Grab yours here! ( promo code ROOTFORFOOD)

6. Switch to a compostable toothbrush.

3.5 billion toothbrushes are sold every year. We can assume that the majority of these are not compostable or recycled. Need I say more?

Grab your own compostable toothbrush here. ( promo code ROOTFORFOOD)

7. Switch to a menstrual cup.

Ladies, how environmentally friendly are your periods?

It is estimated that over 45 billion products related to periods are thrown away every year. This includes tampons, pads and applicators. Sadly, the Ocean Conservancy collected nearly 30,000 used tampons and applicators on beaches in just a single day in 2015.  When tampons are flushed, they can end up in sewer systems and waterways. When they are thrown away, they go to landfill. Plastic applicators take centuries to biodegrade- cardboard is a better alternative.

Pads are majority made of plastic and therefore, are not biodegradable.

As an alternative, menstrual cups take a bit to get use to, but once you go to one, you will never go back! Seriously- this thing has changed my period experience. Grab yours here. You'll want a size A if you’ve never had children and a size B if you have.

8. Switch to Plastic Free Skincare!

My absolute favorite skin care line is Primally Pure. Not only do they use glass jars, they take their sourcing very seriously with ethical and sustainable standards! You can listen to their esthetician talk about their company, their product, and holistic skin care here.

Not to mention, this stuff has changed my face.

My favorite items are:

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Why Recycling Your Christmas Tree is Important - and how to do it!

Someone asked me yesterday why it mattered if Christmas trees end up in landfills. What difference does it make? What harm does that cause and what is the alternative? 

I thought this was a great and valid question! Especially since there are approximately 25-30 million Christmas trees cut down (and therefore requiring disposal) in the US alone! 

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The downfall of trees and really any organic matter going to landfill is this: 

Organic matter (i.e. lawn clippings, leaves, food scraps, wood etc) does not compost in landfills. This is due to the lack of oxygen present during the breakdown process. Methane gas develops and is released due to the anaerobic (absence of oxygen) decomposition that takes place in a landfill. Alternatively, a compost (and Mother Nature) decomposes organic matter with oxygen. This does not produce methane emission. This is important because methane is 26 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. (It holds 26xs more heat in the atmosphere and therefore; is a key player in global warming.)

Organic matter thrown in landfills instead of sent back to the earth is a significant contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions. 

In fact, the estimate that 16% of all methane emissions are from organics that can't decompose and compost properly in landfills.

So this is important shit and applies not only to the proper disposal of Christmas trees, but of all organic matter! But that’s for another day. :)

The upside of consciously disposing of our Christmas tree is this: 

In repurposing/recycling our trees, we are returning them to the earth and respecting the natural process of nature. This has tremendous environmental benefits. As always, mother nature knows best and does best. When trees are recycled, they are often repurposed as mulch or compost. When we do this, we are contributing to a circular economy and finding purpose and value in our “waste”. In doing this, we also minimize the environmental implications of this holiday tradition by reducing greenhouse emissions, and providing benefit to our communities, soil, and environment.

When trees are turned into mulch, they can be distributed on public land or given to those who need it (such as gardeners for weed control!). Mulch can serve as a natural wildlife erosion control and as a organic nutrient supply. When Christmas trees are added to compost, they add valuable nitrogen that is essential for good soil capable of growing life.

How to consciously dispose of your tree:

The easiest way to dispose of your tree properly is to take advantage of county christmasy tree recycling programs! Every country will be different, but most major cities have recycling programs in place that are compost and/or mulch focused.

Some counties provide curbside recycling programs, and other provide drop off locations. So even if your county won’t pick it up, chances are you’ll be able to find a drop off location near you!

Search this site for you county recycling options.

Regardless your recycling options, do not put your tree in a bag and ensure all of the ornaments, tensile, hooks, etc are removed. There may also be other requirements for your tree recycling program such as bundling your tree limbs, specific days etc- so again, check with your county requirements.

Alternatively, you can donate it to a conservation group in your area. Some conservation groups will take Christmas trees to use to prevent erosion around shorelines or to sink at the bottom lakes to use as artificial environments of fish! Sadly, there is no a resources for this (that I’m aware of), you’ll just have to do a little google research in your area.

If your county does not provide a recycling program, check with the Boy Scout chapter near you. They often have a recycling program and will come pick it up for a small fee of $5.

I really wish I could just give a blanket recommendation- “this is what to do!” But sadly, every county across the States is going to be different and it will require just a little google searching on your part! But I hope you are motivated to do so! If all 25+ million Christmas trees in the US were recycled and repurposed every year, this would have such a great impact.

xoxo,

meg


Traditional “Christmas Tradition” Cinnamon Rolls

Traditional “Christmas Tradition” Cinnamon Rolls

Traditional “Christmas Tradition” Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients

Dough: 

  • 3/4 cup warm water (110 degrees) 

  • 2 1/4 tsp active yeast 

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 5 tbsp butter, unsalted

  • 3 1/4 cup flour 

  • 1 tsp salt 

Filling:

  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

  • 2 tbsp cinnamon

  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar

Cream cheese frosting:

  • 3 oz cream cheese, softened 

  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter, softened 

  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar 

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 

Method:

  1. First, activate the yeast. Dissolve yeast in 3/4 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F) Add 1/2 tsp sugar. Wait 5-10 minute for mixture to foam. (TIP: if you do not have a thermometer, heat water in a small sauce pan until it is warm enough to where it “stings” your figure, but you are able to leave your finger in the water. If you have to pull it back, it is too hot. If there is no “sting”, it is not warm enough.) If you yeast does not foam, throw it out and start over.

  2. Once yeast is done, add to the bowl of an electric mixer. Add in sugar, salt, eggs, and butter. Mix well until combined. Next, gradually add the flour. Add as much as you can until it becomes too much for the mixer. Remove from the bowl and continue to need by hand for 5-8 minutes. 

  3. Transfer dough ball to an oiled bowl. Cover with a warm bowl. Allow dough to rise for 60 to 90 minutes- until dough has doubled in size. 

  4. Transfer dough to a well-floured surface and roll out into a large rectangle- about 15X8. 

  5. In a small bowl, mix coconut sugar, butter, and cinnamon. Spread this sugar mixture all over the surface of the dough. 

  6. Tightly roll the dough into a wheel- starting at the shorter side. Cut with a sharp knife into 9 rolls.

  7. Place rolls in an oiled 9x9 inch baking dish or a round 9 in pan. Cover with a warm towel again and allow rolls to rise for another 30 mins. 

  8. Preheat oven to 350. Remove towel from rolls and bake for 20- 25 minutes. 

  9. To make the frosting: combine cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth and fluffy. 

  10. Allow rolls to cool for 5 mins before adding icing. Serve immediately. 

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