Wednesday, 30 January 2013

What's the Difference Between Natural and Organic?

"All natural"


"made from sustainable resources"

"locally produced"

Have you ever wondered exactly what these catch phrases mean?  Unfortunately sometimes these are just that, catch phrases and marketing tools to confuse health conscious consumers with pure intentions.

You can read my post about green washing techniques here.

The Canada Organic logo was designed to help clear up some of this confusion.  When you see the logo below you can be sure that the product is certified organic using Canadian standards.  That means no artificial pesticides or fertilizers and no genetic modifications.

Here's a quick summary from a recent article in the Globe and Mail:

If you are still in doubt use this handy organic check list made by the Canadian Organic Trade Association.

I know, I know, now you're probably thinking "hey what about my favourite booth at the local farmer's market?  There's no logo on their apples, should I abandon them and go to Wal-Mart instead?"  (Yes, there are certified organic products in Wal-Mart and many other chain stores).

Generally I would recommend, no logo, no buying (referring to the Canada Organic logo of course).  However there are some exceptions.  If you can talk directly to the producers and can be assured of how their products are grown and prepared, then certification may seem unnecessary.  In fact there are lots of smaller farms that are growing organic food that could meet certification standards, but they cannot afford to officially certify. 

The Canada Organic logo is a result of the increasing distance between consumers and the producers of their food.  When I'm in the grocery store buying an apple I only have the tiny produce sticker to tell me where this apple has come from.  I have no information regarding it's treatment, growth or conditions of transportation to the store.  Basically I am uninformed.  The Canada Organic logo, on the other hand, provides a wealth of information about the food it is found on, allowing consumers to make informed choices on the food they purchase and eat. 

So keep on hunting for that little red, green and white logo ...

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

5 Ways To REALLY RECYCLE Your Yoga Mat

Here in India it's custom to take off your shoes when inside, so I spend a lot of time without shoes.  Yesterday while barefoot I almost got into a rickshaw because I am so used to not having any shoes.  While I love not being attached to shoes or sandals, it does make my feet more dirty.  No matter how many time I rinse my feet throughout the day, it seems like just a few minutes later they are dirty again.

So when I step onto my yoga mat ... guess what?  My mat ends up dirty as well especially at the very front and back from repeated surya namaskars.  The yoga place where I'm staying goes through this clean - dirty yoga mat cycle very quickly.  I began to brainstorm some ways the mats could be reused or upcycled.    

When I looked around on the internet I found lots of DIYs and crafts for recycling yoga mats, but a lot of them seemed inappropriate for a thoroughly loved and down and dirty mat.  In fact some of these DIY projects appeared to be only for brand new mats.  For instance one "recycling" idea was to cut the mat and use it to line kitchen cupboards to rest underneath glasses and plates.  Hmmm ...

I definitely won't be doing that with any of the old mats that are seen around here.  So what should we do with those?  Toss them in the landfill?  I hope not.  Instead here are some ideas:

Make Confetti (use the edges and corners that are not damaged)
Source: Namastilo

Cut out shapes for kids' yoga (endless imagination here)
Photo Source: Namastilo

Use under a blanket fora dog/cat bed

 Gardening knee pads (maybe 2-3 layers glued together)
Source: Brit + Co.

Here's a great idea for those really grudgy mats.  Cover up the grudge!

 Source:  Let's Get Crafty
(The author here suggests still using it as a yoga mat, but I think it would be too slippery.  Instead cut to size and use as a door mat.  Try using different mediums to glue to the old mat.)

What do you do with your old yoga mats?? 

Monday, 14 January 2013

Raw Vegan Lunch & Dinner Ideas

I know it's been a million years since my last post, but I just couldn't resist posting another list of raw vegan dishes to make once I return "home".  Yep, I'm still in India ... my home away from home.

I guess I will just have to drool over these photos until I get back to Canada in March. 

If anyone is still out there, thanks for reading!!

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