Posts Tagged ‘Whole Foods Market’

MOM WOW Summit 2013

On October 6-8th 2013, the first ever Moms Meet WOW Summit took place in Philadelphia at the Sheraton Society Hill. The conference was open to all moms, or moms-to-be, interested in networking and learning more about raising healthy families. Tickets ranged from $149 for a day pass to $249 for a Full Summit Pass. Moms Meet Bloggers qualified for discounted rates and Early Bird discounts were also available. The event kicked off on Sunday night, with a cocktail reception sponsored by Zevia at the hotel’s Taste Restaurant.

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The clever cocktails made with my favorite healthy soda were a big hit with everyone!

The following two days, as a Mom Ambassador for greenmomsmeet.com, I joined fellow moms, moms-to-be, and Green Blogger Moms as we were treated to a variety of seminars, workshops, products reviews, giveaways and even an awards banquet. Guest speakers included: Dr. Lawrence Rosen, Green pediatrician; Jess Kolko, Registered dietitian and educator with Whole Foods Market; Paige Wolf, Mom Blogger and Author living in Philly, and several others. Topics included: natural parenting, healthy eating, holistic remedies, and much more.

Every attendee also received a t-shirt and eco gift bag. The best part, however, visiting the Exhibitors hall and filling up that tote bag! The room was lined with tables of some of our favorite brands, as well as some new ones. The friendly and generous representatives made sure we sampled all the great products and filled our bags with green, natural and organic products to take home with us. (See some of them in the slideshow below.)

In its first year, Moms Meet and KIWI Magazine organized a great event. Can’t wait to see what they bring us next year. For more info and to keep up-to-date with next year’s WOW Summit: Click Here

Enjoy the slide show. 🙂

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Back-to-School Green Giveaways!

For most of us, back-to-school season is in full swing. However, it is never too late, nor too early, to pack a healthy and eco-friendly lunch for our kids.  I have three great ways and products for you that will help make that an easy task. Even better, I am hosting TWO giveaways so you can get started on packing your child healthier, green lunches…for free!

Up first…let’s discuss those darn lunchboxes!

If your lunch box from last year is still in good condition…use it! It’s all about reducing, reusing and recycling…upcycling too! However, if you need to shop for a brand new lunch box…I have a great alternative to those plastic boxes or brown paper bags. Introducing the New Wave Enviro Litter-Free Lunch Bag Kit!

PicsArt_1378416196824The unique, colorful designs will definitely set your child’s lunch apart from the rest.  My daughter loves hers. I love it because it makes packing lunch such an easy task. The litter-free lunch kit comes complete with a BPA free water bottle (avoid waste from juice boxes and plastic water bottles) and four “green” reusable containers (made to fit sandwiches and other snacks perfectly). No need for wasteful plastic baggies or tinfoil or other unnecessary trash!  The lunch bag itself is insulated and lead-free. The whole set is so easy to clean and maintain. You can find them online and at Whole Foods Market for an average price of $25. Considering you’ll be using it for years to come, you will be saving lots of money…and the Earth!

Now how about what goes into that lunch box?

PicsArt_1378415603027Well, a few months back I posted about a healthy, organic snack bar for children by CLIF Kid.  (To read the original post: Click Here)  CLIF Kid Zbars are nutritious, perfectly proportioned, vegan (except honey variety) bars containing about 8-10 grams of whole grains, 12 vitamins and minerals, 120 calories, 3 grams of fat, 11 grams of sugar and 3 grams of fiber per bar. They are also made with 95% Certified USDA Organic ingredients and do not contain any high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, trans fats, preservatives, artificial flavors or colors. They are the perfect snack alternative to traditional granola bars and even special treats for young active kids. You can find them for as little as $1.69 per bar at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Market. Zbars are soft and chewy and come in a variety of flavors like Iced Oatmeal Cookie, Honey Graham, Chocolate Brownie, Smore’s, Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip.

Right now I am offering one lucky reader the opportunity to win a 6 count variety pack of CLIF Kid Zbars! Winner must live in the USA, provide a valid email (that you check often), and be at least 18 years of age. Raffle ends on Friday September 27, 2013 at 11:59 pm.

To enter Raffle click link below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Final “Green” Touch…

To complete your healthy and eco-friendly lunch, a reusable napkin is the perfect final touch. A few months back I wrote a review and hosted a giveaway for Funkins. (To read original post: Click Here). PicsArt_1378480549703Funkins come in a variety of colorful designs for all ages. Put one in your child’s lunch and it can be used as a place mat and then a napkin too!  You can avoid creating unnecessary waste from paper towel and napkins. Just wash your Funkins and reuse over and over again.  Place it in your Litter-free Lunch bag and you have a truly waste-free lunch, saving money and the planet.

Right now I am offering one lucky reader the opportunity to receive a set of THREE colorful reusable napkins/place mats from Funkins!  Winner must live in the USA, provide a valid email (that you check often), and be at least 18 years of age. Raffle ends on Friday September 27, 2013 at 11:59 pm.

To enter raffle click the link below: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Philly Farm & Food Fest 2013

CAM01006Last year I attended the very first Philly Farm & Food Fest, a collaboration between Fair Food and PASA and presented by Whole Foods Market. You can read my original post here: Philly Farm & Food Fest 2012. I was excited to experience the second year. Once again this unique annual event brought together local farmers, organizations, and businesses and other producers of organic, sustainable and eco-friendly products and foods.

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The 2013 Farm & Food Fest took place on Sunday, April 14th from 11am-4pm at the Pennsylvania Convention Center Annex. Tickets were only $15 pre-sale and $20 at the door. This gave you access to workshops, cooking demonstrations from acclaimed local farm-to-table chefs, family activities, food and product samples from a variety of exhibitors (for list click here) and more.

You could also pick up lots of  informative and educational material on anything from CSAs to GMOs to tips on conserving energy. Speaking of energy, this year the event was powered by Clean Currents with 100% Pennsylvania wind. What could go better than local food and local wind energy?!

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Activities for the kids

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Yummy Organic Chicken samples

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Famous Wild Flour Bakery in Philly

The Farm & Food Fest proved to be a success once again. Last year brought in a big crowd but this year there were even more exhibitors and guests. There was also a chance to purchase sustainable meats this year. The biggest and best change to the fest, however, was the addition of the Local Libations Lounge. For an additional $15 you could enter the “lounge” where you could experience 5 guided tastings of different local wine, beers and spirits. It was a great time. Looking forward to next year!!!

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Frecon Farm’s new Early Man hard cider

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For more information and to keep up-to-date with the event for next year visit the following links:

Happy National Nutrition Month!

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Did you know March is National Nutrition Month?

Do you know the difference between a food allergy and food sensitivity?

Did you know that 79-89% of soy and corn in the USA are genetically modified?

Do you know what GMOs are?

Well, you should…so read on!

In a society where nutrition and health are becoming a bigger priority, there is still a lot of misinformation. Even though today technology allows for a lot more access to these topics, certain facts tend to be left out of the mainstream and there are plenty of contradictions that leave us feeling confused and frustrated.

The fact is our food and water supplies, as well as the products we use in our home could potentially be dangerous. Anything we put in our bodies or makes contact with our skin is going to effect us in either a positive or negative way. As consumers we are tricked with labels and contradicting information regarding what we should and should not eat or purchase. When we are trying to make healthier life choices and teach our children about nutrition, this can be more than frustrating and overwhelming.

When my daughter was born I wanted only the best for her. I spent hours researching and looking into the healthiest and safest foods and products. Through this process I started learning about GMOs, food allergies and food sensitivities. I soon began to make the correlation between the food I gave my daughter and certain reactions she had. Even though I was giving her balanced meals of veggies, fruits, proteins, dairy, etc., I was not convinced that things like dark circles under her eyes (though she slept great), or not having a bowel movement for two days, “just happen” sometimes.

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Fortunately, I met a fantastic family doctor who understood my concerns and how I felt. She gave my daughter several blood tests (not completely covered by my PPO) and I soon learned that my daughter had food sensitivities…not allergies, but still very significant. In fact, just about everyone has food sensitivities….some of the biggest culprits being corn, wheat, dairy and seafood. Interestingly enough, in this country, these groups are some of the most processed and/or toxic foods.

One of my daughter’s biggest sensitivities is to corn. No surprise there. It is found or hidden in just about every packaged food you find at the store and, again, about 80% of U.S. corn is genetically modified. It has been a huge challenge over these past few years to avoid foods that contain corn. Even though she is not allergic, being highly sensitive can still trigger negative reactions. The first thing I notice when she has eaten a lot of corn is that she will become constipated for a couple of days. This is considered a short term side effect. I can only imagine what long term side effects she would suffer if she ate corn all of the time. While I do not deprive her of eating it, I do closely monitor it.

  1. I make sure I do my best to avoid genetically modified corn.
  2. When she does eat something containing corn, we wait four days until she is able to eat it again. This gives her body adequate time to digest and process it.
  3. On days she does eat it, I make sure she also gets extra water and organic green veggies.

Lastly, I also make sure to explain all of this to her so she understands. Some days, she is the one who turns down foods with corn because it has not been 4 days. This is just one personal example I wanted to share of my experiences with the importance of learning and teaching about proper nutrition and its relationship to GMOs.

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Last year in March, I also wrote a short post regarding GMOs and why it is important to buy local, organic and green foods and products. Sadly, organic labels and foods have gotten a bad reputation because of loose labeling. However, in the last year a lot of progress has been made to change things around. While the labeling of GMO foods continues to be controversial with big companies spending lots of money to stop it from happening (even some “organic” labels), more and more people are becoming aware of the problem and our right to know what is in our food. Petitions are being signed throughout the country, voices are being heard. Many honest, reputable food producers are using non-GMO ingredients and labeling it so on their packages already.

The latest breakthrough announcement came from Whole Foods Market just weeks ago when they declared that by 2018 all of their stores in the U.S. and Canada must label their products to indicate whether they contain GMOs. While some might argue that 5 years is a long time from now, this really is a positive step in the right direction and they have set a strong example that hopefully many will follow. Whole Foods has listened and responded to its customers. They already have over 3,000 products that are verified and labeled by The Non-GMO Project. However, we still have a long way to go and we need to continue getting involved in any way we can. If you want to learn more about GMOs and how you can help ensure our children receive proper nutrition, visit The NON-GMO Project. It is the most reliable and accurate resource on the topic. Be informed and help your family make safer, healthier choices.

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 Happy National Nutrition Month!

Rainy Day BPA-free Soup

 

Sunday is the one day a week I attempt to be lazy. Usually, I fail miserably. Today, however, all-day rain along with colder weather has me curled up on the couch, watching football and daydreaming my Sunday away. The realization that Fall is in full effect, the holiday season is near, and Winter is far too close, has brought me a sense of serenity today. (The calm before the storm perhaps?) Ok, maybe I’m just lazy because one glance at my calendar shows I may not get another chance to just sit here till 2013!

 

This weather also has me craving a bowl of soup.  Since I’m in no particular mood to slave away at the kitchen, I turn to my Organic Butternut Squash Soup from Trader Joe’s. A few minutes on the stove-top and I’m back on my couch enjoying a delicious, warm and comforting bowl. This Trader Joe’s soup contains only real organic ingredients: butternut squash, potatoes, onions, honey, carrots, garlic, and other spices, etc.  It is low in sodium and calories, gluten-free and GMO-free! You can garnish with some cinnamon or nutmeg, but my daughter and I like to sprinkle some shredded cheese on top.  It makes a great, light lunch, appetizer or snack. Other varieties available include: Sweet Potato Bisque, Pumpkin, Organic Creamy Tomato and Organic Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper….all delicious!

Besides being healthy, convenient, yummy and perfect for a chilly Autumn afternoon, these Trader Joe’s soups come in a Tetra-Pak. You can find several different products at your local grocery store that are packaged with it. This type of packaging does not contain BPA. It is also recyclable.  You really won’t find many canned soups or foods in my pantry. Sadly, most of them (even Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Market) contain this hormone disrupting chemical in their packaging, which has been linked to cancer and other complications. You may have heard that Campbell’s announced earlier this year that they would be phasing out the use of BPA in their can lining. (Though some controversy exists in this claim.) While I don’t completely trust the ingredients in their actual soup, it is definitely a step in the right direction from such a big, well-known company. Hopefully others will follow their example.

For a list of brands/companies that are BPA-free: CLICK HERE

To read more about Tetra Pak: CLICK HERE

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Organic Autumn Reds

Now that Fall is in the air and we are in the midst of work and school routines, an evening glass of Red Wine sounds like the perfect way to unwind. It gets me anxious and excited for the holidays….my favorite time of year.  As we approach the festivities, I wanted to share some of my favorite Organic Wines. I’m a fan, not just because they’re organic or taste good, but also because these organic wines are very affordable, contrary to popular belief. They range in prices from $3.99 – $10.99 per bottle.  Here on the East Coast I can buy Organic Wines at my local Wine & Spirits. When in California, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Market never fail in introducing me to a fantastic Eco-Friendly, Sustainable and/or Organic Wine.  It is important to read the labels carefully. A true Organic Wine can be much more beneficial to you. It does not contain grapes treated with strong chemicals and pesticides, nor does it contain added sulfites. We’ve all heard that a glass of wine a day is good for your heart, but if your wine is loaded with added chemicals and preservatives, the harm to your overall health is greater.  Additionally, because most Organic Wines are produced at Wineries and Vineyards that practice Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Farming methods, the soil and water will guarantee a flavorful wine.  After all, wine gets it’s flavor from the minerals in the soil. Lastly, in drinking Organic Wine you support the current Green Movement to ensure a healthier, safer planet for all living things and the future generations.  Hope you’ll consider one of the following, or something similar,when shopping for the holiday celebrations this season…

EMILIANA NATURA CARMENERE

Year: 2009

Region: Colchagua, Chile

Alcohol: 14%

Smell: Dark fruit aromas with a touch of pepper spice

Taste: A great fusion of plum, cherry and chocolate

Food Pairings: Beef, lamb, chicken, olives, tomatoes, green peppers, etc.

FINCA LUZON VERDE

Year: 2010

Region: Jumilla, Spain

Alcohol: 14%

Smell: Unoaked Red berries and floral aromas

Taste: Unoaked, intense cherry & dark fruit flavors with a kick of spice

Food Pairings: Beef, chicken, white fish, pasta, rice, vegetables, salads, etc.

GREEN FIN CABERNET SAUVIGNON

(only $3.99 at most Trader Joe’s!)

Year: 2011

Region : Madera, California

Alcohol: 13.5%

Smell: Aromas of dark fruits, cherries & hint of vanilla

Taste: Raspberry and red fruit flavors with traces of chocolate; oaky

Food Pairings: Steak, Buffalo, Pasta with tomato sauce, mushrooms, or drink alone.

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My Cassava (aka Yuca) Chips Craze

Earlier this year, while shopping at my local Trader Joe’s, I was approached by one of the employee’s who saw a bag of these Cassava Chips in my shopping cart. She asked if I was aware that they would no longer be carrying them. SAY WHAT? I rushed back to the Chip Aisle and grabbed 3 more bags. The following week I noticed the shelf restocked. I asked if perhaps there had been a mistake. Sadly, the chips were definitely discontinued. They had simply put out the last stash from the back. That was it. No more Cassava Chips at my Trader Joe’s. So, I did what seemed the natural thing to do. I bought the last 12 bags! NO shame, that’s how much I love them. The employees were not surprised at all. I’m in there every week and they were used to me buying a bag just about every time I shopped. My family loves the healthier snack alternative (see nutrients and simple list of recognizable ingredients below). They are gluten-free, low fat and calorie, lightly salted and very satisfying. In two months we went through all the bags. I’ve learned that they are still sold in certain Trader Joe’s throughout the country. So, if you happen to be one of the lucky ones, you need to try them asap!

If you are unfamiliar with it, Cassava is a root found in tropical lands, particularly South America. Known as Yuca (often confused with Yucca, spelled almost the same but entirely a different plant species) in many Latin cultures, it is high in calcium and vitamin C and can be cooked in so many different ways. It has both a sweet and bitter taste, at the same time. Being of South American heritage, it was a very common dish in my home while growing up. I’ve enjoyed yuca patties, stews with yuca in place of potato, boiled yuca, yuca fries, etc., etc. Today I continue in the tradition of serving yuca with my own family’s meals. One of my daughter’s favorite side dishes (and mine) is Yuca Frita (fried cassava).  I am fortunate enough to find frozen cassava (by Goya) at my local Super Giant grocery store. I boil the yuca chunks, cut them into thinner slices, then fry them in some Grape Seed or Olive Oil, sprinkle with some sea salt, and serve with sliced cheese, specifically Queso Blanco Fresco. Deliciousness.

Fortunately, while disappointed not to find the Cassava Chips at my Trader Joe’s anymore, I have been comforted in finding very similar products since then. While in California, I discovered Crisp Root Cassava Chips at a local Whole Foods Market. Same convenience and delicious cassava taste, but these chips have a couple of advantages. First of all, they are thick and ridged, making you feel like you’re indulging in some fantastic potato chips, only with less fat and more fiber! Crisp Root Chips also come in different flavors. Our favorites are the Original and the Sea Salt. You can also find BBQ flavored and Thai Ginger Chips. Lastly, and best of all, you can order these great chips online!!! Back here in PA, my Whole Foods does not carry them, so this is a huge plus for me. Just click the image to the right to visit their website for more info and/or place an order.

What I was able to find at my local Whole Foods are Inka Chips, by Inka Crops from Peru.  This brand offers different snack products and are committed to providing healthier more eco-conscious alternatives.  The Mixed Variety bag pictured below contains all my favorites: Plantain, Sweet Potato and Yuca Chips. Individual bags of each are also available. Inka Crops’ products can also be ordered online. Visit their website for more info and/or to order.

If you have not tried Cassava yet (be it as chips or at the growing number of trendy restaurants offering it as a side dish) I hope I’ve inspired you to give it a chance.