Monday, January 17, 2011

Hydroponic Strawberry Pickin' and an Intro to ANDI

While the rest of the country experiences snow days, winter coats, and lots of hot chocolate, we get to do some strawberry picking! We went two weekends ago to a place in Coconut Creek that grows strawberries, greens, tomatoes, peppers, and other fruits, veggies, and herbs. Here are a few pictures!

This year, Lydia was able to help us pick some. We just had to show her which strawberries were ready to be picked...oh, and stop her from eating all of them before we paid :-) We went home and baked a chocolate cake, layered with buttercream and strawberries. It came out a bit too sweet for me, but still yummy!

Last week was my 3rd of 4 meetings for the Whole Foods Ambassador Club. This month, they launched their Health Starts Here program. The program is based on 4 pillars:
1. Eat whole, unprocessed food.
2. Eat a colorful variety of plants.
3. Eat healthy fats.
4. Eat nutrient dense food.

For me, the most interesting pillar is actually the 4th one. Basically, our bodies want to eat. We want to feel full...but why fill our bodies with foods that we can't actually use? In order to help customers to choose foods that are more nutrient-dense, they created the ANDI (aggregate nutrient density index) scoring system. There are large signs throughout the store displaying the top 10 most nutrient-dense foods in each department.

I decided that I do not eat enough leafy greens (besides just lettuce and spinach). The speaker from Whole Foods who taught us about the Health Starts Here program suggested adding one new nutrient-rich food to your diet weekly. Two weeks ago, I tried Swiss Chard. I made homemade whole wheat pasta with some bacon, onion, garlic, pecorino romano, and swiss chard. It was delicious! 

A few days ago, I made a kale and cannelini bean soup. Also very yummy!

I also want to add that I tried one of the most delicious cheeses EVER recently!! It's a triple cream from Cowgirl Creamery. So delicious served room temperature with some crusty bread.

So my new years resolution? Continue to enjoy, appreciate, and cook delicious, healthy food.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ecostore USA Product Review

When Ecostore USA asked me to do a product review, I gladly responded YES! They had a brief form to fill out, allowing you to request what type of products you would like to review. I chose the Laundry Liquid and Baby Body Wash. When Lydia was just a few months old, she started getting very dry, red skin, especially in the folds of her skin (behind her knees and elbows). The pediatrician told me she had eczema, so from that point forward we have made a genuine effort to use only eco-friendly products free of dyes and chemicals. We also use cloth diapers, so I need to find detergents that work well with our diapers.

The Ecostore USA Laundry Liquid has a strong, but pleasant, eucalyptus scent. It is a super-concentrated, clear, plant-based detergent. A small amount goes a long way with a regular load of laundry, although I do suggest using double the suggested quantity when washing cloth diapers to remove all odors/residue.
The Baby Body Wash has a mild lavender scent. It is also plant-based. While it does not make a lot of lather as a product with synthetic chemicals may create, it works well to clean baby's skin without making it dry, and it leaves the skin smelling beautiful. As with the detergent, a small amount on a washcloth goes a long way.

Compared to other eco-friendly home/baby products, the products at Ecostore USA are reasonably priced. In fact, if you order $25 worth of products through their website, shipping is free! Ecostore USA is a great option for parents who really care about limiting the toxins in their children's surroundings.

Check out their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter for more information!
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