Recipes

Reducing Food Waste- Lentil Pasta Curry Recipe!

 

The other day I found myself with overcooked lentil pasta. Instead of throwing it away, I thought how could I turn this mistake into a tasty recipe! What about a Curry?! This is by no means a traditional curry recipe, but it has all the flavors and definitely does the trick when you are still hungry and don’t want to start from scratch.

I am going to be starting a new series on my blog that talks all about the creative recipes that I make out of items that I would normally throw away!

This recipe is for a single portion!

The mushy Lentil Pasta that

Ingredients:

Lentil Pasta

1 tablespoon of coconut butter (or 1/3 cup of coconut milk)

1/4 teaspoon of turmeric

1 teaspoon of curry

1 teaspoon of masala spice

1/4 teaspoon of veggie broth paste

a pinch of salt and pepper to taste

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Recipe:

(I cooked this in a microwave since I don’t have a stove, but the recipe I have made it so that you can cook it on a stove)

Add the lentils, coconut butter or milk and spices into a pan on medium heat. Once it has combined add about 1/4 cup of water to thin out the mixture and the veggie broth. Continue to cook on low until desire texture.

Serve over rice and veggies! Enjoy!

 

Why I am Vegan for the Environment~ My Diet History!

When I tell someone that I eat a mostly plant based diet, I get a lot of mix reactions. Some people think that it is a great idea but explain that they could never give up cheese. Others ask me how I get my protein, calories, etc. There are even people who think I am some sort of weird hippie that is going to get into an argument with them about their personal diet. The last on is a little bit less popular, but does still happens. 

Now, many people are vegan or plant based for ethical reasons. However, people are very shocked when I explain to them that the main reason I don’t eat a ton of meat, dairy, and eggs are for health and environmental reasons. For years I have been flexatarian, vegetarian, dairy-free, and even completely vegan before. I honestly believe that eating a mostly whole foods plant based diet filled with fresh fruits and veggies is best! I do also eat a ton of whole grains like steel cut oatmeal, brown rice, beans, and legumes. Not to say that I don't eat processed food, but I try to keep it to a minimum. It's most important to note that I am doing this completely for my health and environment.

In the video below, I talk a lot about why I have decided to start eating some animal products to help save them from going into the landfill. However, in this article I will be focusing on my personal diet history. This will hopefully help motivate some of you to start researching various kinds of diets, the destruction factory farms have on our planet and health, and most importantly that no one is perfect. 

When I was in high school, I took an environmental science class that really opened my eyes to the issue of factory farms and animal products in general. At first I wanted to get rid of all the animal products in my life. Unfortunately, I didn't know how to go vegan correctly, so I decided to only eat meat, dairy, and eggs from my house, since I knew they were organic. When I went out to eat, I wouldn't order any sort of meat, dairy, or egg product. This is something that I was ok with doing, but was also somewhat difficult when going out to certain restaurants that didn't have may vegan friendly options. Eventually I went back to eating the normal Western Diet. 

When I was in college however, I decided that I would become a Flexatarain. This meant that I wouldn't eat meat products unless I knew they were organic. As a result I never got sick from the mystery meat that was found in the dining hall. It was also during this time that I realized that dairy played a significant part in my cystic acne, especially on my chin and jawline. So, I decided to cut that out as well. This was the best, considering that I didn't eat many eggs that often. However, I found that I would still cheat occasionally when I was home with my parents.

While, I was in college I also started binge watching a ton of amazing vegan documentaries, like Cowspiracy, What the Health, Food Inc (the documentary that first opened up eyes to the dangers of the meat and dairy industry), and a few other ones. As a result, I decided I would try veganism for my last year of college. This was amazing! My anxiety began to lessen, despite having a harder work load than in previous years, and I even saw a reduction in my acne.

For a while after graduating from college, I stuck to a mostly vegan diet. However, after learning about the zero waste lifestyle, I absolutely hated seeing perfectly good food going into our landfill just because it had meat, dairy, and eggs in it. I believe that we can all do our best to help save our plant. I have decided to do what is best for my health and the environment by only eating meat and eggs to help them from going into our landfill. That means I eat animal products about 2-4 times a week. Which, according to many health nutritionists, is around the recommended amount for most people. Above that, these products can lead to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart attacks, clogged arteries, and a bunch of other health issues. I know that this isn't a very popular topic to explore, especially since many Zero Wasters are also Vegan. However, I believe this shows that we all have to do what is best for ourselves. Hopefully, when I move out of my parents house, I will be able to go fully vegan. For now, this is what makes me happy! 

 

 

 

Zero Waste Recipes: Homemade Gluten Free Bread

This recipe is my go to Gluten Free Bread! The original recipe comes from Gluten Free Baking! I don't think I could ever try a different recipe! I have added her original recipe below the video incase you are interested in it! I have replaced Mullet flour for Brown Rice flour, since I can purchase it in brown bag packaging or make it myself by grinding up brown rice from the bulk bin! I also use flaxseed eggs instead of regular eggs, since I eat a mostly vegan diet! 

This recipe is quick, easy, and will make your house smell amazing!!! Please let me know if you try it out! 

 

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup warm water, about 110° F (6 ounces; 170 grams)
  • 1 packet instant/rapid rise yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons; 7 grams)
  • 1 1/2 cups millet flour (6 ounces; 170 grams)
  • 1 cup tapioca starch (4 ounces; 113 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (1 ounce; 28 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon table salt (not Kosher salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 large eggs , whisked (about 5 ounces; 150 grams total, out of shell)
  • 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • *if desired , replace the eggs with 3 large egg whites.

Instructions

  1. Whisk together water and yeast in a small bowl. Allow to stand for five minutes.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine millet flour, tapioca starch, granulated sugar, xanthan gum, salt, and baking powder. Whisk to combine. Fit the stand mixer with the flat paddle attachment. Add the yeast mixture, eggs, oil, and vinegar. Mix on medium speed until smooth. Dough will be thin.

  3. Spray an 8-1/2" by 4-1/2" by 2-3/4" loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Spread dough evenly into the pan. Spay a piece of plastic wrap with nonstick cooking spray and place plastic wrap loosely on the pan. Allow dough to double in size. This takes about one hour.

  4. When dough has doubled in size, preheat oven to 350°F. Remove plastic wrap from the top of the pan.

  5. Bake until the internal temperature of the bread reaches 210°F, about 45 minutes. (If the crust gets too dark before the internal temperature reaches 210°F, place a piece of foil onto the bread. This prevents the crust from burning.)

  6. Remove bread from the oven and allow to cool for two minutes. Transfer bread to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

  7. When cool, slice into pieces with a serrated knife.

  8. Store bread on the counter for up to three days or freeze sliced bread, wrapped in freezer wrap with waxed paper between each slice, and placed into a freezer container, for up to six weeks.

Let's Talk About....Anxiety!

Mental Health and Wellness is a huge part of my personal zero waste lifestyle. Now, I have been struggling with anxiety since my First Year in College. It seems that the most popular way to deal with anxiety is to scramble around until you figure out what's "wrong" with you and try to find simple medications that will "fix your anxiety". Now for many, I do recommend that they take some forum of medication. However, I have such a mild forum of anxiety, that even the lowest doses of medications actually creates more problems than solutions. That's when I started conducting some research and trying to figure out where my anxiety was coming from, and if their were any natural supplements that I could take to help control my supplements. (Side Note: I did see a counselor from my first year to my senior year of college who helped tremendously with my anxiety.)

I have talk about this before on my Instagram, but I don't drink coffee anymore. Back in college I use to drink a Medium size latte every morning. Unfortunately, the caffeine would still be running in my body at 3am. As a result, my body would go into ultra panic mode, making me feel like I had to run a marathon. During my junior year of college, I decided to quite drinking coffee. To this day, I have decided to only drink green tea to help me wake up! Green Tea has a ton of great antioxidants, vitamins, and other amazing properties for your health and well being! It has just enough caffeine that it helps wake me up, without also waking up my anxiety! (Side Note: I also have to be careful about Black Tea as well, since 2 cups of black tea equals one cup of regular coffee, whereas 4 cups of Green Tea equals 1 cup of coffee.) 

During all four years of college I had bad cystic acne. I have struggled with acne since I was 12 years old. Once I entered college, it got even worse. I hated it so much. I tried everything to make it clear up. That's when I first found out about my hormone imbalance and decided to go on birth control. Now, this didn't change my anxiety and actually made my skin clear up a little bit, but wasn't the solution to my problems. (Side note: I will go more in-depth in another post about why I have decided to stay on the pill.) During my senior year in college, I decided to go on a hormone supplement that would change my life. The name is Spirolactone, and it's a hormone supplement that helps regulate the testosterone in your body. It sounds great right?! Just to let you know, I don't take the medication anymore.

The medication helped to drastically clear up my skin! (Side Note: the water at my college was also very hard, which was problematic for my skin.) As a result, I thought that I should go off of the medication. It went really well for about 5 months off of the medication, until I go laid off from my job. I wont go into to much detail since I have talked a lot about my personal job search. I will say that this caused my anxiety to spike, causing my skin to flare up.

The majority of people would just go back on the medication RIGHT? Well, I didn't want to because I thought that I needed to start taking care of my anxiety and my skin by myself. I am still on birth control pills, because it has helped a lot with my hormone imbalance. It definitely took some time getting use, but now I feel AMAZING!!!!! It was around this time that I also stopped wearing makeup everyday as well.  I realized that makeup, or no makeup, acne, or no acne, nothing changed. My bosses still respected me, I felt empowered to speak up and with others, and I have lead a social platform with people that couldn't be more awesome!!!! I did it all with acne!!!! 

Makeup has always been a creative outlook for me, which is why I do wear it occasionally. I love DARK LIPS!!!! I also feel like I use to wear it as a shield to hide my anxiety and skin problems!!! Last night, I went to dinner in New York City with my parents without any makeup on, which is something I would have never done a year or two ago. 

I know that many of you have been waiting for a video all about my essential oils. However, instead of doing one long video; I am going to break them up into a seires of videos! Here is the first one all about the oils I use to help combat my acne and anxiety!!! Enjoy!!! 

 

Getting Ready for Back to School Zero Waste Style!!!

It’s that time of year again!! For many of you that means going away to college! I graduated from college last year, and miss it more everyday. If I could go back, I would definitely be more conscious of my waste. I can’t believe the amount of coffee to go cups, plastic utensils, and to go containers that I used whilst in college. What’s even crazier is that my school was against plastic water bottles. And yet they still used plastic utensils, straws, and plastic cups for parties and other college events. In this guide, I will explore how you can go zero waste whilst in college! 

(Side Note) Whilst in college, I was vegan and a minimalist. By avoiding the meat, I didn’t get sick as often as my friends. The minimalist lifestyle helped me get ready in 10 minutes. This allowed me to get more sleep, stay organized, and get all of my work done and go out with my friends on the weekends.

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Books:

After the first day of classes, you will see a whole bunch of people swarm into the local book store to find all their necessary books for class. Once they grab their books and go to the register to check out, their eyes will go from happy to anger. "How did I spend around 1,000 dollars on books alone?" What if I told you that I only spent 100 dollars on books each year? As an anthropology major, who also took way to many English classes, I had to purchase at least 30 books each semester. Instead of purchasing them brand new from the bookstore, I used sites like abebooks.com, to find cheap second hand books. A couple of times I was also able to find free pdf’s online of the books, but I recommend checking with your professor to make sure it’s the correct version.

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Tote Bag:

This one is easy, but not everyone thinks about it. Fun Fact: No one cares what you use as a backpack in college. It’s crazy when people feel the need to spend all of this money on an expensive backpack because they are going off to college. For my freshman and sophomore year I used the same bag from high school. After it fell apart, I decided to buy a new one. Why did I purchase a new bag, when I had a ton of good bags laying around the house?! Instead of investing in something that you are only going to use for the next two years, use a tote bag that you already own as a backpack.

Reusable Water Bottle:

My school would allow us to re-fill your reusable water bottles for free! Why did I buy bottles of water?! Seriously, I am kicking myself right now for all the plastic bottles I wasted. My school even provided everyone with a reusable water bottle, but I wouldn't use it because it made the water taste like metal. The more I drank from the bottle, the less the water taste like metal. Always bring your reusable water bottle.

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Shower Items:

I bought a plastic caddy, that definitely came in handy all four years. Once I graduated from college, I threw it away. Looking back at my four years, I definitely think that I could have gone without it. You can use metal containers to put your shampoo and soap bars into when you go into the shower.

(Side Note) I would invest in a nice pair of flip flops or water shoes for the shower. By purchasing items that will last, you will also be able to use these flip flops or water shoes for the beach or pool.

To Go Items:

I had back to back classes with only a few minutes to woof down some food that was supposed to last me for the next five hours until dinner. Class schedules are tough, and I understand that it’s more convenient to grab some take out. I would recommend grabbing some food at the dinning hall during breakfast for later. I know my school was completely against bringing in your own containers because of “germs”, but I knew tons of people who did it without any problem. You just need to know how to work within the system.

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Clothes:

I am guilty of purchasing a whole bunch of new clothes from H&M, Forever 21, and Zara for my freshman year of college. I also brought all of my clothes to school with me. I only wore about half of the clothes that were in my room. I realized that by having a capsule wardrobe in college, I was more productive and it only took me 10 minutes to get ready in the morning. I would recommend looking at your wardrobe before getting rid of anything that you think makes you look like a high schooler, because no one cares in college. Everyone is too concerned with their own problems. Also, my school had a free bin that people who throw clothes into when they didn’t want them anymore. Anyone could go into the free bin at any point throughout the year and take some clothes. Just make sure to wash them before you wear them.

Cleaners:

I know that everyone in your school probably uses clorax wipes and other chemicals to clean their spaces. For your daily cleaning needs, I highly recommend using white vinegar and water in a spray bottle, to clean your dresser and floor, vodka and water in a spray bottle to help freshen up your bed and pillows, and soap bar, washing soda, and baking soda for laundry detergent. These are all easy to make and you will feel better using on a daily basis. 

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Makeup and other non-necessity items:

For many, makeup isn’t a necessity but I love wearing it. I love it more now that I am can make it myself. I use arrowroot powder and cacao powder as a face powder. For my mascara I will burn a tablespoon of almonds, crush or grind them until they forum a powder, add a tablespoon or two of melted coconut oil and beeswax. Put it into the fridge to solidify over night. Both of these recipes are fun, easy, and don’t break the bank, which is an essential in college. 

For other items like bed risers, storage containers, and other items that seem useless after graduation, I would recommend purchasing them second hand from previous students. Each year, seniors are constantly trying to pawn off their stuff for super cheap, fridges, hot plates, microwaves, and other items that they can’t take home with them.

Get Involved:

Why stop your impact with just yourself. Start a club and get others involved in making your school a little bit more waste free. During my time in college, there was a big initiative for the campus to go plastic bottle free. Why stop there. Why not try to help your school go entirely plastic free. By standing up for your belifs, you are inspiring others to make a difference and spread positive reinforcement. I wish that someone had inspired me to join their club and help make my life a little bit more package free whilst in college.

Remember that these next four years will be the best four years of your life, but it will also be the most stressful, anxiety inducing four years of your life.  By using this guide, you will make your next four years a little less expensive and package free! Zero in on Your Impact and make sure that you leave your college better than you found it. 

All Natural and Zero Waste Bug Repellent!!!

Summer is mosquito season. The bugs LOVE ME. It doesn’t matter if I use natural repellent or DEET repellent. Some how I end up getting bite. Sometimes my bites are so bad that I need to take Benadryl to sleep. This is one of the main reasons why I don’t like summer.

During my vacation in Antigua, I was attacked by the sand flies. My legs and arms were on fire because of the bites. I could only spend an hour or two in the sun before the pain became unbearable. It took a week of anti-itch cream, tea tree oil, and ice packs to get rid of the pain and the bites. When I got home I was on the hunt to find an effective bug repellent that was both zero waste and natural!

Ingredients:

Apple Cider Vinegar: It’s the strong oder that actually repels the mosquitos. It has been said that if you drink enough apple cider vinegar, you will develop a strong oder that will also repel the mosquitos.

Essential Oils: I use Young Living essential oils that have been proven to repel mosquitos. One of my favourites is R.C because it contains lemon grass and citronella. I also add tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil, and lavender oil. 

Directions:

Fill up the bottle half way with apple cider vinegar. Fill it almost to the top with warm tap water. Put 3-5 drops of Young Living's R.C oil (or something applicable), Lavender, tea tree oil, and eucalyptus oil. Shake the bottle and start using it.

I put mine in a roller ball bottle so I can carry it in my purse, pocket, or keep it in the car.

Since using my new mosquito repellent, I have noticed that it is just as effective as the other ones with or without DEET. I only get bites when I don’t use it or if they get underneath or through my clothes. The best part is that it’s Zero Waste and All Natural!!! I wish I made this before I went to Antigua. 

Homemade Gluten Free Almond Crackers

I usually added the pulp from homemade Almond milk into my smoothies, or in my granola. My sister used it to make some awesome homemade crackers. It's a great way to reuse something that many usually just throw into their compost.

Ingredients

Almond Pulp

1 egg

1 teaspoon of sea salt

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  • Mix the almond flour and sea salt in a large bowl. Add the egg and mix well, until a dough forms. (You can also mix in a food processor.)

  • Place the dough between two large pieces of parchment paper. Use a rolling pin to roll out to rectangle, about 1/16" thick. (It will tend to roll into an oval shape, so just rip off pieces of dough and re-attach to form a more rectangular shape.)

  • Cut the cracker dough into rectangles. Prick with a fork or toothpick if desired. Place on the lined baking sheet. Bake for 8-12 minutes, until golden.

Recipe taken from: https://www.wholesomeyum.com/recipes/paleo-crackers/

Make your own Toothpaste!

One of the first zero waste DIY recipes that I tried was making my own toothpaste. There is a ton of different recipes that have swarmed the zero waste community. I believe that I have found a super simple recipe that won’t clog your sink and will help keep your teeth nice and clean. I used this recipe for about 3 years without any new cavitates or teeth issues! (Currently, I am trying out some brands of natural toothpaste, just for fun- not because this recipe stopped working for me).

Disclaimer: I would like to also state that I am not a dentist, doctor, nutrient, or any other health care provider. If you have any health issues that could lead to tooth decay I would recommend going with your dentists recommendations. I also understand that many dentists assert that fluoride is an essential part of one’s tooth regime as it helps prevent plaque buildup and cavities. However, I have used fluoride-free toothpaste for years and my dentist has never said anything about tooth decay or rotting gums from the lack of fluoride. I have also been to the dentist since using this recipe and the only thing they have told me is to floss more or get an electric toothbrush.

This recipe only contains three ingredients: Bentonite Clay, Baking Soda, and Cinnamon

I used to add coconut oil to this recipe, since coconut oil is an anti-bacterial and can help with the rebuilding of the enamel. During this time I would spit it out into my compost pile. After a few months I decided to take the coconut out- since I didn’t notice a big difference with the batch, I decided to remove it because coconut oil can clog your sink drains. This can cause a ton of long term issues in your apartment, condo, or house. Despite all of the wonderful properties of coconut oil- I would keep it in the kitchen! If you want to keep it in your recipe- then spit it into the compost.

Baking soda is the main ingredient to my homemade toothpaste because it helps scrub plaque and buildup off your teeth. According to studies published in The Journal of The American Dental Association, “baking soda-based dentifrices are effective and safe for tooth stain removal and consequently whitening.” If your in a pinch and can’t find your toothpaste- I recommend using baking soda by itself. However- I wouldn’t recommend doing so long term, as it can cause tooth sensitivity.

The Bentonite Clay,  like the baking soda, helps get rid of plaque buildup while simultaneously attracting “heavy metal toxins” out of your mouth. We can encounter these specific toxins in highly processed foods, some kinds of fish, paint, chemicals, and some pesticides. Bentonite clay is also known to contain an abundance of minerals. From Dr. Axe, 10 Bentonite Clay Benefits and Uses - The mouth is one of the most susceptible areas of the body when it comes to harmful outside “invaders” taking over, like bacteria and toxins. Bentonite clay binds to unhealthy substances in the mouth, such as around the teeth and on the tongue and gums, and helps to remove them before you swallow them and become sick.

Cinnamon- bad bacteria in the mouth but allows good bacteria to thrive. It also helps prevent inflammation.

Many people also add essential oils, like peppermint, to their toothpaste to improve the taste. I don't mind the taste without and therefore prefer not to include it.

Disclaimer: when using natural products internally, investigate the labels thoroughly to ensure that they are safe for ingestion. In the case of both bentonite clay and essential oils, some are safe for internal use and some are not. If you are unsure of the purity of the clay, contact the manufacturer. When ingesting essential oils, look for 100% pure oils with no added ingredients, or career oils.

Recipe =  

1 tablespoon baking soda  

1 tablespoon of Bentonite Clay

½ tablespoon of cinnamon powder

8-10 drops of peppermint essential oil (optional)

If you have sensitive teeth, I recommend adding about ½ a tablespoon at first and then work your way up to the full tablespoon. One time I put too much baking soda in my toothpaste and I had severe tooth sensitivity for the next few months. None of the other ingredients should be an issue for your sensitive teeth.

I have also adapted my tooth regime to include compostable floss, made out of plant based waxes and materials. I was able to find a pack of 2 for 6 dollars at my local health foods store. A few other options are Dental Lace and Tree Bird Eco’s, refillable silk floss options. My toothbrush comes from Brush with Bamboo. I currently do not use any type of mouthwash.