notorganicWe have used and loved Silk Soymilk for years and years. I use soymilk in baking and cooking, and Chet loves chocolate soymilk. Recently, we noticed that Silk Soymilk is no longer made from organic soybeans. The package is exactly the same, minus the “organic” label. Keeping the packaging the same, but altering the product is very, very sneaky and in bad faith. Please consider boycotting Silk products, contacting Silk, or speaking to your grocer about other organic soymilk choices. Silk now makes a line of organic soymilks in very different containers. I have not found these new organic Silk milks locally, but I wouldn’t buy them anyway. We have switched to Giant’s Nature’s Promise Soymilk.

FYI: According to the Center for Food Safety, 85 percent of soybeans are genetically modified. Organic soybeans are not genetically modified. Genetic modification has never been proven safe, and a number of studies have revealed that genetically engineered foods can pose serious risks to humans, animals, and the environment.

Evil Monsanto’s Roundup Ready soybeans account for most of the GM soybeans. Roundup Ready soybeans are engineered to withstand repeated does of Roundup, which means more pesticides can be applied. One study showed that 55% of the offspring of female rats fed genetically engineered soy flour died within three weeks and only 9% of the offspring of rats fed non-GM soy died.

Are your soy products organic??

More Info:

UPDATE 9/10/10: Silk is certified non-GMO. Click here to see their Non-GMO certification.

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This dish washing liquid works great and is gentle on your hands. It doesn’t make many suds, but we know that suds don’t clean (the surfactants in a “soap” attach to greasy and dirt and wash away with water). For example, automatic dishwasher detergent doesn’t suds, but it cleans.

We also use this dish washing formula to safely wash our fruits and veggies.dishsoap

So why make your own dish washing soap?

First, by using a few common ingredients to make all of my household and beauty products, I can reduce the amount of waste that we produce because I am not buying separate bottles of everything. I buy large quantities of my ingredients, and they last a very long time. I make my products in reusable containers. I am also saving money, trips to the store, and fuel in transporting products from the factory to the store.

Second, I know exactly what is in my homemade products. I used to buy many Seventh Generation products, and I like that their company fully discloses all of their ingredients and makes an effort to be good to our environment.

However check out the ingredients of their dish washing liquid: Aqua, sodium laureth sulfate, cocamidopropyl betaine, cocamide MEA and coceth-7, sodium chloride, magnesium chloride, citric acid, essential oils and botanical extracts* (citrus aurantifolia, lavendula angustifolia, mentha spicata, mentha piperita, cananga odorata), hexahydro-1,3,5-tris (2-hydroxyethyl)-s-triazine (preservative, less than 0.05%). *d-limonene is a naturally occurring component of these ingredients.

Are all of those safe ingredients?? I don’t know, I don’t have the energy to look up all of them.

Here are the ingredients of my dish washing liquid: Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild Liquid Soap (Water, Saponfied Organic Coconut Oil*, Saponified Organic Olive Oil*, Organic Glycerin, Organic Hemp Seed Oil, Organic Jojoba Seed Oil, Citric Acid, Vit. E), vegetable glycerin, lavender essential oil.

Are these ingredients safe? Absolutely, 100% yes. Also, most of Dr. Bronner’s ingredients are organic and many are fair trade (*signifies fair trade). The Environmental Working Group rates Dr. Bronner’s a level 1 out of 10 for hazzard. And I know my products are vegan.

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Chet and I have been concerned about the the dangers of using plastic to store food and beverages since fall 2005. We had Klean Kanteens back when the company was a church group in California. The only way to order Kanteens was to call long distance and talk to a person.

Anyway, we are happy that the new research is bringing attention to the issues of plastic food storage and the dangers of Bisphenol A (BPA). Two important recent academic articles are listed below. They are a bit technical, but good info.

Association of Urinary Bisphenol A Concentration With Medical Disorders and Laboratory Abnormalities in Adults – The scariest part is their conclusion: Higher BPA exposure, reflected in higher urinary concentrations of BPA, may be associated with avoidable morbidity in the community-dwelling adult population.

Bisphenol A and Risk of Metabolic Disorders

If you have not already switched, consider using a nonplastic reusable water bottle – good for the environment, good for you.

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I was hanging out at my friend Maggie’s house recently while our friend Amy was visiting from Pittsburgh. Maggie is a great inspiration for all things environmental. At her house, we ate every meal with cloth napkins. Chet and I have made many changes in our home to lessen our footprint on earth, but we were using paper towels for napkins (ugh, embarrassing!). Honestly, I never thought of using cloth napkins. I thought they were only for fancy dinners. We immediately switched to cloth napkins for every meal.

Then this morning I was searching for a new environmental podcast to listen to on my jog and came across EcoFact.Tv. EcoFact.Tv is developing a series of short informational films to promote an ecofriendly lifestyle and encourage personal change. You can participate by sending an idea or video to them. They made a mini-commercial about napkins. They claim the average person uses 6 napkins per day, about 2,200 per year, yikes!

I thought it was cool/ironic that I had just made the switch to cloth napkins and then found this video. I truly believe that if we all do enough little things to help the environment we can make a big difference.

 

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Compact fluorescent light bulbs are supposed to save tons of electricity so they are a wise choice for the environment. That being said, it is important to know that compact fluorescent light bulbs contain MERCURY which can harm you and your family if you break the bulb and horribly damage the environment if they go to landfills. The are classified as “Hazardous Waste,” and disposing of them properly is EXTREMELY important for the environment!

US Environmental Protection Agency “Mercury-Containing Light Bulb (Lamp) Recycling” including a link to find information about collection in your area

MSNBC article “Shining a light on hazards of fluorescent bulbs”

PA Department of Environmental Protection a pdf of Information for Proper Disposal of Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority “Household Hazardous Waste Recycling” information for collection in Lancaster, PA

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The Global Benefits of Eating Less Meat

 

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Compassion in the World of Farming has many great publications and resources. They are not a vegan organization, but they want to improve the environment, human health, and the wellbeing of farm animals worldwide.

One of their publications, The Global Benefits of Eating Less Meat, is comprehension and informative. This 78 page free pdf includes health benefits, world hunger issues, pollution, food safety, and animal welfare. Download The Global Benefits of Eating Less Meat. A must read!

Also, check out all of their publications on Farming and the Environments (the movie Eat Less Meat gives a very good overview of why people should eat less meat).

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As vegans we eat a lot of beans. Dry organic beans are CHEAP! Using dry beans instead of canned beans, not only saves money, but it reduces packaging materials and reduces the amount of fuel used to transport the beans (since dry beans are lighter in weight).

I use my environmentally friendly pressure cooker to make beans and freeze them (you can also boil then in a large soup pot). It takes a while, but it is kinda like doing laundry, you don’t have to stand and watch the magic happen, you can do other things while they cook.

There is plenty of info on the web about the proper way to use a pressure cooker, but here is what works for me.

  1. Night before: Pour beans 1-2 pounds of black beans on a light colored towel. Pick through and discard rocks, debris, and nasty looking beans. Put in pressure cooker or a large bowl, cover with water, and soak over night. (They will expand to double the volume.)pressure.jpg
  2. When ready to cook, pour soaked beans in a colander, strain, and rinse.
  3. Pour into pressure cooker, cover with fresh water. I fill the cooker about 2/3 full.
  4. Put on lid and set to pressurize.
  5. Turn stove up to high for about 5 minutes, when you start to hear sounds, turn down to medium, and cook on medium until the pressure indicator pops up (about another 5 minutes).
  6. Once pressurized, turn down the stove to the lowest setting and set the timer for 11 minutes for black beans (15 min for kidney beans).
  7. After 11 minutes, turn off heat and remove cooker from burner. Allow to sit until it de-pressurizes, about 10-20 minutes.
  8. Pour into colander and rinse. Allow to drain for a bit.
  9. Fill glass containers with beans, cover, and freeze. They will remain good for at least 4months (probably longer), but ours never last that long .

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I read about the PB&J Campaign in the Jan/Feb Sierra Club Magazine. Check out the PB&J Campaign website to see how changing your lunch can help the environment. Their site has great info and ideas!

Eating Green Calculator

To see how your diet is effecting the environment, check out Eating Green Calculator.

The Meatrix

In support of family farms and sustainable agriculture, check out this animated video The Meatrix II.

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