No More Plastic K-Cups

I believe in the importance of small steps when it comes to living a more eco-friendly life. Sometimes, making changes too drastically or depriving yourself too much leads to overindulgence later. Consistent progress in the right direction is my method.

Coffee

Each month, try to remove something unsustainable from your grocery list. You can either do without the product or replace it with something more eco-friendly. The best way to tell companies what you’d like is to vote with your wallet! Support companies that you agree with and pass on products that don’t align with your sustainable efforts.

This month, try removing plastic K-Cups from your grocery list.

Why? According to an eye-opening article by Elif Koc, about 9 billion K-Cups ended up in landfills last year. Nine BILLION. I can’t even wrap my head around that number. The Atlantic estimates that this many K-Cups could circle the entire planet 10 times. That’s an incredible amount of plastic waste.

In addition to being environmentally harmful, K-Cups are also really expensive. In her article, Koc estimates that the amount of coffee you actually receive in a tiny K-Cup would retail at $40 a pound.

I do love my single-cup coffee maker, and I understand why people love K-Cups. I think a good compromise is to use a reusable K-Cup with your favorite ground coffee inside. It’s convenient, there’s much less plastic waste, and it’s affordable.

kcups
Reusable single-serve cups, such as mine pictured above, are available at most retailers in the coffee aisle.

I have reached out to Keurig on Instagram about K-Cups, asking them if there is a sustainable alternative coming in the near future. Much to my surprise and appreciation, they responded that they were working on a more eco-friendly cup. Hopefully that will be available in stores soon!

A Sweet Valentine’s Treat

Valentine’s Day is almost here, and soon, there will be sweets everywhere. Sugar is my personal weakness. Although it may be tempting to dive right into the chocolate, you may want to think twice, because there are many chemicals lurking in mass-produced sweets. Reese’s cups, for example, are known to contain a dangerous chemical made from petroleum called Tertiary Butylhydroquinone, or TBHQ. Many other well-known companies, such as Godiva and Russell Stover, use artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives (think Yellow #5!) in their chocolates.

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This year, instead of buying questionable sweets for your sweetheart, try an alternative! I highly recommend the Enjoy Life Brownie Mix I recently purchased at Wal-Mart. It was so easy to make these little cupcake brownies, and Enjoy Life’s mix is free of eight common allergens (including gluten) and doesn’t contain anything artificial.

brownies

I finished by topping with a few fresh berries and crushed walnuts. Voila! A delicious treat minus the gross laboratory ingredients.

Keep it simple and sweet this Valentine’s Day. Browse the gluten-free or health food section of your local grocery store; you may be surprised at the natural alternatives to conventional snacks. Look for products that are free of artificial preservatives and colors, and be sure you can read and understand each ingredient listed. Laboratory ingredients like Tertiary Butylhydroquinone wouldn’t be found in your pantry next to the flour and sugar, and therefore, they don’t belong in your food!

brownie-bites-1

Sources:

“Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups – Too Cheap and Full of Toxic Chemicals.” Living Traditionally.

“Are You Getting Conned by Cheap & Toxic Chocolate?” Food Babe.

The Importance of Sustainable Coffee

I enjoyed an amazing cup of coffee over the weekend. It was a ginger and turmeric latte with a delicious layer of foam and an artful leaf. I don’t usually get “fancy” with my coffee and I splurged on this one. It was worth it.

coffee-whitfield

It got me thinking, though, about the importance of sustainable coffee. I love coffee and because the rest of the world does too, I wondered what the environmental impact of the coffee industry could be. So, I began to do some reading.

The world’s love of coffee is promoting inappropriate and unethical farming trends. Although coffee was once primarily grown in the shade, most now is being grown in full sun, meaning that many acres of forest must be cleared to grow it. Although the full-sun method allows for more plants to be grown close together, and aids in photosynthesis, it causes numerous environmental issues. Growing coffee in cleared patches requires farmers to use more pesticides because the natural bug-eating bats and birds have no trees in which to live. Additionally, cleared land encourages climate change, erosion, and wastewater runoff.

coffee

As a coffee lover, I want coffee to exist for a long time. It only will exist sustainably if consumers support full-shade growing operations. Take a stand with your wallet and look for the Rainforest Alliance seal on the coffee you buy. I know I will be looking at the coffee aisle differently from now on!

Healthy Little Limes

Good morning and Happy Friday!

After doing some reading this morning, I learned about the many health benefits contained inside a little lime. I had no idea. Did you know that drinking unsweetened water with lime, or adding lime slices to a recipe, can offer the following health advantages?

limes

Digestion Helper
A lime’s acidity works with saliva to break down food. Limes stimulate the bowels and are also a good source of fiber.

Infection Fighter
Due to a lime’s high Vitamin C content, they can help the body fend off infections. If you’re already sick, limes can help shorten your cold or flu. Citric acid kills bacteria and is often used to preserve foods.

Inflammation Reducer
I had no idea, but Vitamin C can decrease the levels of inflammation in your body. (I’ll have to pass this one along to my dad, who suffers from psoriatic arthritis.)

Cancer Fighter
Citrus fruits have been shown in studies to help fight various cancers.

Asthma Reliever
This one is personal for me because I have asthma. Lemons and limes are effective for asthma relief and I will certainly try this out firsthand.

I just poured myself a tall glass of lime water to enjoy as I finish typing this post. I had no idea limes were so healthy, and it’s so easy to add them to your favorite recipes (so many possibilities: tacos or burritos, salads, black bean burgers, chicken…). I will definitely try to increase my lime intake after reading these amazing health benefits.