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May 9th, 2013
EVOL is love backwards. Did you see that right away when you looked at the logo? I have to admit that I didn’t. I’ve walked by the EVOL display hundreds of times in the frozen section at our local Whole Foods, but it never dawned on me that EVOL was love backwards. I needed my 12, 11 and 9 year old to tell me. Not cool.
I love to cook, my husband loves to cook and our kids cook, but cooking doesn’t always happen. This time of year we generally find ourselves sitting on a field most nights watching soccer or baseball with a little karate thrown into the mix. Somehow we manage to pull together an edible meal most nights, but there are those occasional evenings when it’s just not going to happen. On those rare days I like to have quick meal options available. Not fast food, but something that I don’t have to put much thought into.
Enter EVOL. EVOL isn’t your average frozen food. Their frozen meal options hit high on the “healthier food” scale.
- NOTHING ARTIFICIAL. EVOL’s products have no artificial flavors, colors, additives, preservatives or fillers.
- ALL NATURAL PROTEINS. EVOL’s Chicken, beef, pork, eggs and cheese come from animals on US Family Farms that are fed a 100% vegetarian diet and raised without the use of Antibiotics or Hormones.
- HORMONE-FREE CHEESE. EVOL’s cheese is rBGH, rBST and rennet free.
- NON-GMO GRAINS, VEGETABLES & OILS. EVOL’s grains, vegetables and oils are GMOFree.
Where is EVOL sold?
EVOL can be found in over 7,000 retailers nationwide such as Whole Foods Markets, Stop N Shop, Costco, Safeway, Kroger, Target and Publix.
The back story
You can find the full story on their site, but in a nutshell three talented guys came together to make this company happen. If you’re a Survivor fan you might recognize one of the company’s founders.
What we thought
I’m not a meat eater (unless it’s really expensive turkey -organic and raised without antibiotics) or cheese eater so I wasn’t able to try most of the samples sent over. That didn’t stop my kids from digging in and they gave everything a thumbs up.
My oldest really loved the gluten-free Chicken Enchilada Bowl and my youngest loved all of the burritos.
The best part on my end was recognizing every ingredient listed and knowing that most of them were products generally stocked in my fridge. EVOL’s products have no artificial flavors, colors, additives, preservatives or fillers. Nothing but real food.
We did notice that the Chicken Enchilada Bake didn’t look quite like the photo on the front of the box, but that didn’t stop them from eating every last drop.
- The sodium count was pretty high on some of the products-the Chicken Enchilada Bake came in at 630 mg.
- The bowls are compostable and made from a chemical-free process that uses very little water.
- The box that some of the products come in is made from recycled paper board.
Bottom Line: EVOL’s products were top of the line when it comes to gluten-free frozen foods. The company is the complete package: solid ingredients including many organic and natural, great sustainable intentions, and great taste according to my kids. I would not recommend eating their products daily since they are no substitute for a fresh, home cooked meal. In a pinch they do the job and they do it well.
To see there entire line of products click HERE.
If you want to see who’s behind this fast-growing company check out their EVOL Team page. Very cute. Very clever.
Disclosure: I was sent a package of gluten-free EVOL products for review. The opinions in this review are my very own.
January 15th, 2013
Walking up and down the bulk food aisle at your local supermarket can be somewhat overwhelming. There are so many bins to choose from filled with grains, cereals, dried fruits, nuts, spices or baking ingredients. I’ve learned the hard way that I should never head down the bulk food aisle when I’m hungry-that generally leads to a lot of extra bags filled with chocolate and candy!
Why shop the bulk bins?
Buying from the bulk bins at the grocery store is a great way to save money on your food bill, but that’s not the only reason to shop the bulk bins. Here are a few more:
- Get more bang for your buck
- Bye bye wasteful packaging
- Buy only what you need
- Ability to test out new products without a big investment
Why are bulk bins less expensive?
Bulk foods are generally cheaper than pre-packaged foods because-
- No packaging needed. All that plastic and paper needed to wrap and protect food is very costly. Bulk foods have no packaging, which in turn reduces the cost of the product.
- No brand name. There are no marketing or advertising costs needed to sell the products.
- Less cost for transportation. Bulk products are less expensive to transport since they can be carried in large containers.
How to save big when bulk food shopping
A little planning is needed before you hit the bulk bins.
- Make a list before you head to the market. Buying in bulk allows you to buy just what you need. Make a list and stick to it.
- Bring your reusable bags or containers. The stores generally have plastic and/or paper bags available for carrying your bulk food home. Bring your own reusable bags or glass containers to cut down on waste. Glass Mason jars are a good option.
- Save on cost by determining the tare weight of your container before filling it. Stores will allow you to deduct the weight of the container (tare weight) from the total weight. Check with the customer service department regarding the stores procedure-they may want to weight the jar or bag for you.
- Bring a measuring cup or spoons to ensure that you don’t buy more than you need.
- Look for organic ingredients (generally clearly labeled). Organic products in the bulk bin are generally much less expensive than their packaged counterpart.
- Take time to compare the bulk bin prices to the cost of prepacked products. In most cases bulk bin prices will be much less.
Do you use bulk food bins? Do you bring your own containers?
photo credit: bcmom via photopin cc
January 11th, 2013
Organic bedding has come up a lot in conversation lately. Seems strange I know, but here’s why. A few weeks ago I had some time to myself so I headed to the store. My youngest son needed new bedding-the cars and trucks weren’t cutting it anymore now that he’s nine. I brought home what I thought was the greatest bedding set for his room. Just as we were about to break open everything we started to talk about chemicals in the bedding.
If you’ve been following my blog for a while you know that I’m all about everything in moderation. I know that we can’t be perfectly bright green all the time (at least I can’t). We do the best that we can to keep our families safe. I began thinking about how much time we theoretically spend in our beds. My kids spend a good 10 plus hours in their beds each night. I shoot for a solid 8 hours of sleep or I’m a frightening force to be reckoned with.
Toxins in sheets?
If bedding has been treated so it’s permanent press, no-iron, crease resistant, shrinkproof, stretchproof, stain-proof, water repellent, water-proof or flame resistant it could be emitting toxic chemical vapors.
Cotton is considered the world’s ‘dirtiest’ crop due to its heavy use of insecticides, the most hazardous pesticide to human and animal health. Most bedding is made from cotton or a cotton blend.
After this realization I was officially driving myself crazy. I couldn’t in good conscience buy any new bedding that could be off gassing toxins. The entire bedding set went back to the store.
With almost 1/3 of our lives spent in bed, what we have in our bedrooms does affect us. Organic bedding doesn’t contain any of the chemicals that regular bedding has.
Organically produced goods must be produced without the use of:
- Synthetic hormones
- Genetic engineering
- Other excluded practices
- Sewage sludge
Now I’m on the lookout for organic bedding. It’s not easy. There are very few cute patterns or colors. Everything seems very neutral. But I decided that was the route I was going to take. So slowly, over time I’ve been replacing our bedding with organic sheets, covers and pillow cases.
Magnolia Organics offers organic bedding (including crib sets), towels and reusable bags. The company is committed to fair labor, sustainable materials, minimalist packaging, and they keep a close eye on the carbon footprint of each product.
The timing was perfect. The nice folks at Magnolia Organics were kind enough to send me an organic sheet set to try out on my own bed. The sheets are 200 thread count percale and come in a variety of colors, which is unusual for organic sheets. I chose the sheets in a neutral Ecru color.
After washing the sheets I crawled into bed, excited to test out them out. My initial impression was that the sheets weren’t as soft as my previous conventional sheet set.
I’ve been using the sheets for about a month and they are finally feeling much softer. Several times through the washing machine has really helped to break them in. The sheet set is well made and I’m guessing it will be around for a long time.
The price point for these sheets is pretty reasonable as far as bedding is concerned- ranging from $64.99 for a twin set to $79.99 for a king set.
Now on to replace my kids bedding. All in good time.
Do you buy organic bedding?
photo credit: || UggBoy♥UggGirl || PHOTO || WORLD || TRAVEL || via photopin cc
Disclosure: I was sent an organic sheet set from Magnolia Organics for review. The opinions contained in this review are my very own.
December 2nd, 2012
Finding a box from Ecocentric Mom on my front steps made my day. As I pulled up to my driveway after a long day of travel- 2 airports, 3 kids, Thanksgiving traffic-there it was waiting for me.
A monthly box filled with green and non-toxic products
Finding safe, eco-friendly products can be overwhelming, costly and time consuming. Ecocentric Mom sends a monthly box your way containing healthy, natural and organic products exclusively for moms, moms-to-be and babies. Your monthly box will be packed with natural and eco-friendly goodies from businesses that care for the planet and our health. The part I love the most about this company is being introduced to new brands that I may not otherwise discover.
Here’s what was in my box this month
Yummi Bears with Omega 3′s-Gummy Vitamins for Children-Made for children, these vitamins are allergy, dairy and gluten free. They’re made with natural fruit flavors and no artificial colors. One thing to note-the vitamins do have added sugar.
Vapur 0.5 Litres Anti-Bottle (Red)-This water bottle is BPA free, foldable, and reusable. Vapur reusable water bottles can be rolled up, folded up and squeezed into a small suitcase or bag. As an aside, these reusable bottles are plastic and I try hard not to use plastic when it comes in contact with food or drinks.
Eli’s Earth Dream Organic Bar-The Ecocentric box came with one Celebrate Bar filled with caramel, coconut and almonds. The bars are organic and Fair Trade. They also give back 5% of every sale to charity. After eating one delicious bar I took a peek at the ingredients and discovered the bars are dairy free!
Nardo’s Natural- Face Cleanser & Exfoliant, Body Lotion and Lip Balm Set. The lip balm rocked and the body lotion had a delicious vanilla scent. I took a quick peek at the Skin Deep database to check out the safety of the ingredients and couldn’t find this brand. The Nardo’s site has an ingredient list and most of the ingredients looked fine-there were a few that I was unfamiliar with. I did notice that there were no artificial scents added.
Natural Newborn Vapor Rub-I will be testing out this product the next time one of us has a cold or congestion. The rub is made without petroleum products and without menthol so it’s safe for babies and the entire family. The ingredient list was fantastic and included sunflower oil and shea butter. This product shouldn’t be used by anyone with a nut allergy-it does contain almond oil.
Happy Family Happy Squeeze Smoothies-2 samples were included in the box. These are not just for kids-use them hiking, cycling or as a quick snack in the car. They are all organic with no added sugar and packed with nutrition. One downside: they are single-use containers which do create additional trash.
Valuable coupons for other natural and organic products-Green Cupboards $10 gift card, one free Lunapads and Herbal Animals Eye Pillow $5 gift card as well as many discount codes for the purchase of each of the items included in the box.
Ecocentric Mom has 3 membership boxes to choose from, the mom, mom-to-be or baby box. Your box will be delivered in chic eco-friendly packaging and the products inside will be a surprise until they arrive at your door.
A monthly subscription costs $17 and there are a few deals if you sign up for multiple months. If interested, you can sign up for your very own Ecocentric Mom subscription HERE.
Is the box worth $17?
I always wonder whether or not a subscription box is worth the investment. Ecocentric Mom breaks down the price of each product in the box showing a total value of $76.15! The subscription costs only $17-now that’s a great deal.
Disclosure: Ecocentric Mom send me one box for review. The opinions expressed here are my very own.
October 24th, 2012
Happy Food Day! Food Day is an annual celebration and a worldwide event designed to increase awareness, understanding and promote action to alleviate hunger. This year we are again combining forces to celebrate Food Day as a celebration and movement toward more healthy, affordable, and sustainable food. Now that’s reason to celebrate.
According to the Food Day site:
The foods we eat should bolster our health, but the contemporary American diet is actually contributing to several hundred thousand premature deaths from heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and cancer each year. What’s more, the way our food is produced is all too often harmful to farm and food workers, the environment, and farm animals. The American food system has created a diet of cheap, salty, overly processed packaged foods, high-calorie sugary drinks, and fast-food made of white bread, fatty grain-fed factory-farmed meat, and French fries.
Food Day aims to transform the American diet.
It’s also Wordless Wednesday-Wordless Wednesday is meant to be a simple post which features a photo to convey a message that speaks for itself without using words; well not a lot of words!
Recently I had lunch at one of my favorite local Boston restaurants, Life Alive. The sign “Why Organic?” pictured above is displayed front and center on the Life Alive counter. This restaurant is a role model when it comes to transforming the typical American diet by serving fresh, local and organic foods.
So in keeping with the Wordless Wednesday tradition I’m going to stop using words now and share a few more photos from my visit to this incredible vegetarian restaurant in honor of Food Day.
Are you doing anything special to celebrate Food Day?
Linked up with Better in Bulk, I Thought I Knew Mama, Dagmar’s Momsense, The Progressive Parent, Live and Love Out Loud, Project Alicia.
October 12th, 2012
Edible seeds have been making their way into my smoothies, soups and chili over the past few weeks. The assortment of edible seeds that lines my kitchen cabinets continues to grow as I learn more and more about the incredible health benefits associated with these seeds. Having a Blendtec certainly helps since I’m able to ground up the seeds in a way that I wasn’t able to with my regular blender. Here’s the low down on the edible seeds in my cabinets.
Chia seeds happen to be my new favorite edible seeds. Chia seeds come from a flowering plant in the mint family.
- Chia seeds are very rich in omega-3 fatty acids-even more so than flax seeds and salmon.
- They are rich in antioxidants
- One serving size includes 18 percent of recommended daily calcium and four grams of protein
- They’re low in cholesterol and sodium.
- There’s been talk that chia seeds aid in weight loss, but the evidence in inconclusive.
- Chia seeds are packed with fiber, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, manganese, copper, iron, niacin, and zinc.
Flax seeds pack a big nutritional punch. They have a crunchy and chewy texture and a slight nutty flavor.
- They are chock full of nutrients, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, minerals and essential vitamins.
- They are low in carbohydrates and high in fiber.
- High in B vitamins, magnesium, and manganese.
- Rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are a key force against inflammation in our bodies.
Sesame seeds are thought to be one of the first condiments as well as one of the first plants to be used for edible oil.
- High in omega-6 fatty acids, flavonoid phenolic anti-oxidants, vitamins and dietary fiber.
- Sesame seeds are especially rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acid oleic acid. Oleic acid helps to lower LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increase HDL or “good cholesterol” in the blood.
- Good source of protein.
- 100 g of sesame contains 97 mcg of folic acid.
- They are filled with potent anti-cancer and health promoting properties.
This time of year pumpkin seeds can be found everywhere. Don’t toss those seeds. Roast or toast those seeds with a little salt or spice and you’ll have a delicious snack. Pumpkin seeds are known for their many health benefits.
- Pumpkin seeds are a great source of anti-oxidant vitamin E.
- They are also know for being a valued as a source of the mineral zinc.
- They are packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other health promoting antioxidants.
- Pumpkin seeds have a high dose of essential minerals like copper, manganese,potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium.
Edible seed tip: buy organic when you can.
What other types of edible seeds do you use?
photo credit: Nomadic Lass via photopin cc, photo credit: little blue hen via photopin cc, photo credit: HealthAliciousNess via photopin cc, photo credit: katherine.a via photopin cc, photo credit: justgrimes via photopin cc
October 9th, 2012
I introduced you to Late July Organic Snacks a few weeks ago when my kids were desperately trying to find a few new snacks to add to their lunch box routine.
Back in August when I was in New York for a BlogHer/Stonyfield party I had the pleasure of meeting Gabrielle from Late July Organic Snacks. She shared with me a lot of interesting facts about this fantastic company.
- Late July Organic Snacks is a family owned and operated company that cares deeply about family and the integrity of their products.
- All their products certified USDA organic and proudly wear the organic seal.
- Their research and development team includes their two sons- ten-year-old Stephen and six-year-old Benjamin.
- The company is a local company for me-based in Massachusetts on Cape Cod.
- Nicole (the co-founder of the company) and her family have always believed in the consumer’s right to know what’s in the food they eat. The company recently made a $25,000 donation to the California Right to Know Initiative!
The Multigrain chips
My son is a picky eater so when he wants to try a new food we generally encourage him (provided it’s not junk). A few months ago he grabbed the Late July Organic Snacks Sea Salt by the Seashore Multigrain Tortilla Chips when were at the supermarket. Now we’re all hooked. Every Late July chip flavor is delicious and works extremely well in our lunch boxes. These chips have a lot of good qualities:
- They’re gluten-free
- They’re organic
- You won’t find any GMOs, artificial colors or preservatives or trans fats
- The company donates 10% of their profits to summer camp scholarships
The only downside-the chips can be pretty pricey.
Late July Organic Snacks has graciously offered to give ONE Groovy Green Livin reader a Multi Grain Snack Chips Assortment from Late July. By entering your name and other information you acknowledge that you have read and are agreeing to our Official Rules.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: I was sent an assortment of Multigrain Late July chips for review. The opinions expressed in this review are my very own.