The Need to Recycle

I remember as a kid seeing the recycling logo (the 3 arrows, specifically) for the first time. I was in grade school, if I’m not mistaken. I never used to know what it meant until we had a representative for some environmental agency show up and teach us about how important the three Rs (recycle, reduce, reuse) were.

Fast forward to my late 20s, and here I sit watching a precious part of the world burn uncontrollably, all for our ridiculous consumption of meat.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older, it’s that the Earth matters far more than anyone is willing to believe. And those who believe that it matters are often derided as blindly believing things. It’s a weird and twisted cycle that honestly makes no sense considering the scientific evidence of what’s all going on.

Outside of drastically overhauling your diet, though, we really can take the appropriate steps to help reverse some of the damage we’ve done to the environment. Restoring our planet may take a long time, but it’s possible with the right help from everyone.

And one of the biggest things that needs to happen now is recycling. If the majority of people got on board with recycling, which is honestly such a simple task to carry out on a daily basis, the world would be in a much healthier state within a year. It’s honestly so simple to toss your cardboard boxes and paper waste into one bin, all your plastics into another, and then your glass into a third.

But for whatever reason, people act like it’s some incredibly tough and time consuming chore. All because it’s a little easier to just throw everything in a bin that gets taken out once or twice a week.

In reality, recycling takes little to no extra time, since it’s easy to visually spot which bin you want to throw your waste in. And if it’s food waste, which doesn’t belong in any of the three aforementioned categories, then you should be composting! Composting can even handle the likes of cardboard boxes, too, which can save your paper bin much more room than if you included both.

We need to start making this change here and now. No more putting it off. No more acting like our landfills are an endless abyss. No more being okay with plastics making their way into our oceans to the point of killing all sorts of species, both endangered and otherwise. We have to make a stand by making a change.

Surprise Snacks for Your Kid’s Lunchbox

I was always a big fan of my mom surprising me with little things in my lunchbox when I went to school as a kid. Sometimes it would be positive notes attached to the inside of my lunchbox, whereas others I may find a little treat that wouldn’t imbalance my diet by any means. And even others, there was a dollar or a trinket just to make me smile.

If there’s any situation that the phrase “It’s the thought that counts” applies to, I’d say it’s this one right here. But coming up with interesting and fun ideas to surprise your kids isn’t always the easiest, and we all know how simple it is to forget little acts of kindness.

So, instead of you doing all the legwork in brainstorming things you can do to surprise your kids at school, we’ve come up with the perfect way to let them know you care: candy boxes.

Okay, so initially those words scream “unhealthy!” Especially if you let them eat an entire box of candies. But there do happen to be some pretty popular candies that are lot healthier than you ever would have thought, and we’ve compiled a few to lessen your stress about the sugars your child is getting in a day. Let’s see what’s out there.

Reese’s cup minis.

Did you know that chocolate and peanut butter is actually one of the healthier candies out there? We all know Reese’s dominates that market, but it doesn’t have to be dominant since it’s unhealthy like so many other candies. Peanut butter is a wildly understated health food, and since it’s 50% of Reese’s recipe, your kids are actually benefiting from them. Just make sure they don’t eat the entire box in one go. Perhaps that means you need to send them along with a quarter of the box’s contents instead of trusting them not to clear the box out!

Yogurt covered raisins/nuts.

I’m sure you know the magic of these treats yourself. Unfortunately, they get a bad reputation for being “adult candies”. But that doesn’t have to be the case with these candy boxes. Once you let your kids try them, they’ll be hooked. It helps to hide the box’s name from them, so pouring some into plastic bags or tupperware may surprise them even more. They’ll give them a go and be hooked. That’s one snack that any parent wouldn’t mind their kids being hooked on!

Shipping Makes Eating Easier

The more I get into eating healthier, planning out my meals, learning about my diet and how it interacts with my ideals, and purchasing cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable food, I feel like I owe it to myself and to what I believe in to keep pushing forward.

The latest push forward I’ve been wanting to make finally took place this past weekend: purchasing shares from a community supported fishery (CSF). Basically, by paying a certain amount of money per month, you’re guaranteed a certain amount of fish by the pound in that given month. This is huge for fisheries considering that you’re paying them more money up front for their product (which allows them to expand, do better in their practices fishing, and pay more towards other causes). It’s also huge for the customer because they’re guaranteed a particular product that is unmatched by any competitors out there. Why is that?

Because there really aren’t many other competitors at the moment that matter. CSFs are basically competing with bigger stores (like Meijer or Walmart or Kroger) that sell fish at cheaper prices. The thing with their fish, though, is that it’s more often than not farmed, it’s not as healthy, it’s been frozen twice, and the methods of obtaining the fish are bad for the environment, bad for the ecosystem from which the fish came, and bad for the fish themselves.

So while you’ll be paying a little more for your food, the efforts that these CSFs go to in order to give you the best experience possible is outstanding. What’s cool for the consumer, too, is that once you’ve ordered your share, you’ll receive cardboard boxes full of your flash frozen fish (with dry ice to keep them frozen in transit!) on a monthly or bimonthly basis. All that you need will be sitting right there on your doorstep once you get home.

Even better, there’s no better way to get the freshest, most environmentally friendly and sustainable fish out there if you’re landlocked and don’t have access to truly fresh, wild caught fish. For example, I live in the Midwest and there’s no way I could find anything else as good as the product which I’m now buying in on.

CSFs made their model based around community supported agriculture (CSAs) that are becoming more and more frequent. Now that I’ve made the leap to a CSF, I know I’m extremely interested to be a part of a CSA around me. After all, I do live in the Midwest.

Healthy Snack Alternatives

When it comes to snacking, sometimes it can be a bit tough to adhere to your diet and stay away from the tastier snacks. I have always found it unfortunate that the most addicting and tasty snacks are always the ones that are unhealthiest. It’s a sort of irony that doesn’t elude me, at the very least.

However, after I did a bit of digging around on the Internet to find some healthier alternatives to popular snacks, I realized there really are some great options out there if you’re looking to watch your weight, stick to whatever diet it is you’re currently on, or just remain healthier in general. No more candy boxes and debbie cakes for you (well, every now and then it’s cool).

Yogurt covered raisins.

I think these may just be one of the best things to snack on out there, period. Healthy or unhealthy, for your diet or not, these have a lot of protein thanks to the yogurt, yet they also contain important vitamins from the fruit within. Talk about an addicting snack.

Hummus and veggies.

Whether you choose to use celery, carrots, or bell peppers, there are quite a bit of flavors of hummus out there that will blow your mind. And the great thing about this snack is that it fits any diet, from vegan to your typical omnivore diet. Stock up on multiple flavors if you want to try all of them out. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Apples and peanut butter.

I honestly hadn’t heard of this until about a month ago when my niece came up to me and asked if I wanted a bite of her apple. She had peanut butter on it, which I thought was different, but after giving it a bite I realized how amazing it was. The juiciness of the apple was able to cut how dry peanut butter can be, which made a perfect blend of dipping material and dipping “sauce.” As they always say, apples everyday are amazing for your health, and peanut butter is an underrated superfood that doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

These three snacks are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to healthy alternatives to your typical candy boxes and popcorn (funny how the tastiest, most unhealthy foods out there can be found right in a theater). Do your own exploration when it comes to healthier snacks. Even if it means getting produce and trying different dips or combinations, you’re far better off eating fresh things compared to processed foods.

Health Benefits of Candy

Most people like to indulge in a candy bar now and then, but doing so regularly has negative effects on your health. Candy is high in sugar and many types also contain unhealthy amounts of fat and calories. Sweets often contain no nutrients, making them empty calories that contribute to health problems. That being said – who doesn’t enjoy a handful of candy every so often! Below are some facts and ideas on exactly how candy and sugar can affect your health, and what changes need to be made in your life to combat candy and sugar!

Weight Gain

The ingredients used to make candy are full of calories. Sugar, chocolate, caramel, nuts and nougat are several examples of ingredients used to make candy that are high in calories and, in some cases, fat. Eating too many calories every day results in weight gain if you cannot burn them off. To keep weight under control and still enjoy candy, choose “fun-size” versions and stick to one piece. It’s helpful to purchase candy boxes that have a ton of the fun-size bars in the box, and then keeping that box in a place in the house you don’t often open up. That way, when you are really craving a treat, you can just grab one out of the box!

Reduces Nutrient Intake

If you are filling up on candy, you leave little room for nutrient-dense foods that support your health. Candy contains no vitamins and very small, if any, amounts of minerals, which means you are satisfying hunger but doing nothing to meet your daily nutrient intake requirements. Furthermore, high sugar intake actually robs you of much needed nutrients, such as calcium, because your body must use them to digest sugar. This contributes to the development of nutrient deficiencies, including iron, vitamins A and C, and calcium, which results in a variety of health problems, including anemia and a lowered immunity.

Increases the Risk of Disease

High-fat, high-calorie and high-sugar diets are responsible for a whole host of health conditions. Large amounts of sugar contributes to insulin resistance, which can cause diabetes. My roommate was recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Why there is not a definite connect to be made, we think that since he had so many sweets in high school and college led to his insulin becoming resistant and now his life is changed forever. In college, he often had whole candy boxes stacked up in his room, and would eat handfuls of candy as his dinner!

So try and reduce candy intake as much as you can, and it will lead to living a healthier lifestyle in general.