Re-thinking the 3-R’s

I often feel like the kitchen is my home. But I definitely didn’t always feel this way. I remember around 16 having the desire to help my full-time working mom by cooking dinner a few times a week. As a family of 4 kids, 2 parents and a handle of friends always around, I knew this would be a great way to help my mom out and show her how much I appreciated her efforts for our family.

The first day I decided to cook I remember like it was yesterday. I made grilled chicken parmesan with mixed veggies. Everything went perfect, until my dad cut into his chicken to see bright pink! It took me a few months to get the whole dinner thing down.

And although I have learned a lot in terms of cooking, and baking… oh boy was I a terrible baker. But that’s another post! Anyways, I still have so much to learn in the kitchen. Mainly because, well to me the kitchen is only where we cook our meals. It’s where we nurture ourselves, and our families. It’s an opportunity to work with our hands, our minds, and our hearts to create something that helps others grow. Whether it’s a young child going through a growth spurt or an unborn baby still in their mother’s womb. Sometimes it’s not physical growth but helping someone grow mentally to see that the color green isn’t really so yucky! And I believe much of the time there is a solace at the dinner table. A place for people to feel loved and welcomed in a world that other wise doesn’t make them feel that way.

Today I had the opportunity to go on a field trip with a sweet little girl I know to the local recycling center. I learned so much! And to my great surprise and excitement, it was learning that relates to the kitchen.

We ave all heard of the 3-R’s

1. Reduce

2. Reuse

3. Recycle

And today, while speaking with the woman who did our tour she said she likes to add the “R” re-think! Since I place so much value on the kitchen, I felt as if today’s lesson was definitely for me. I learned today that communities (cities) get charged  ($27 p/ton) for their trash pickup service, but get paid ($50 p/ton) for their recycling pick up service. I also learned that plastic takes 1,000 years to decompose completely. I also learned that by setting up a small food compost in my back yard, I can enrich my own garden while saving money on fertilizer. For me, and the stage of life I am in, taking a step forward to recycle is a win-win.

Honestly, I immediately started planning in my head all of the things I could do. But I have learned in my own life that by making one small changing and then going from there I get the best results. So i found a few ideas for myself and anyone who might be interested in changing your life – the effect you have on our environment, by stepping into the kitchen.

1. Pick one thing to start recycling – glass, plastic, paper or metals, and build upon it once this first step is a true habit.

2. If you pick anything other than glass, start re-using your glass. For instance, a mason jar can be washed out an re-used for anything from a drinking glass, to a flower-pot, to a container to hold soap and other household item.

3. Use foods in your refrigerator that are about to go bad rather than throwing them away. Now a days, between soups and smoothies, there is no reason to through away produce. And any other products, such as meat and dairy can be frozen immediately after being cooked for later use.

4. Re-use your grocery shopping bags or buy cloth bags. I find it most beneficial (because I forget to easily) to immediately place the bags back into my trunk after unloading my groceries.

I don’t think that by starting to concentrate a little bit more on recycling that I am going to change the world. I do think however that I am going to build something with in myself to be proud of, as well as character that will affect my life in other ways.

And here are a few great recycling container ideas I found for later use as I build upon this activity, that I though I might share.                                            3 way recycling                         portable recycling storage

This first container  (the one on the left) would be a great system for homes looking for sleek recycling, you could also try storing in one compartment bags for grocery shopping trips. The second (on the right) is great for portable storage. These bags can easily sit on the front lawn for pick up and could also be placed in the garage or outside if appearance is an issue.


A Purposeful Breakfast

Everyone already knows the importance of breakfast. Actually, let me re-phrase that… everyone has already been told that breakfast is important. But do we really know why? Does it really start our metabolism? Will it help you lose that belly fat?

I thought today, some of those questions could be answered. Not answered based on my opinion but pure fact.


1. Does eating breakfast really start your metabolism for the day?

I read one study that I thought put the answer to this question in terms wonderfully. Here, it is described that our bodies must be woken up everyday from their night of shut down mode in which our bodies do a lot of internal cell work – think new blood cells and other subconscious tasks. When we wake up to crying children or a nagging family member  our bodies have yet to really be turned on. To really flip the switch, food AND water must be consumed for true “go” mode to be started. This is much to do with the fact that consuming food requires the processes of digestion and absorption to occur. These processes require help from many places including, your nervous system, muscular system, digestive system, endocrine system, and circulatory system. See how eating food really get’s things happening, because that’s just the beginning…

2. So what does this mean for loosing belly fat?

Belly fat is usually extra fat that is on the body that is put there from poor eating choices and lack of exercise, rather than fat on the hips and but that is more controlled by hormones… USUALLY. So what does this mean about loosing belly fat and how eating breakfast can help you do so? Recently, a study came out from the Imperial College of London that shed some very interesting light on how fighting  belly fat with breakfast is much more mental than physiological. The article took subjects and tracked their responses to images of food as well as whether or not they ate breakfast that morning. After many days, many participants, and many images of food, the results showed that those who didn’t eat breakfast went to the images that showed high sugar AND high fat foods as well as claimed they would eat the larger portions of the items.

3. What if my child (and their parent) doesn’t like eating breakfast.

Breakfast doesn’t need to be hard, and it doesn’t need to be big. Anything from a granola bar to an apple, even some of last nights dinner will do the job. The point is that you are waking up and within reasonable time (think an hour), you are putting food into your mouth to wake up all of your beautiful body systems.

4. My family eats breakfast, we LOVE breakfast! So why aren’t we all thin?

If you are a breakfast lover, well first off that is great and kudos’ to you for doing something that most people don’t do any more. But there is always more improvement that can be made! Here is a great article about some of the hidden dangers in our favorite breakfasts.

Think quality when it comes to your morning bites and try something new.  Maybe look at your current breakfast and see what the macro-nutrients are. Are all of the carbohydrates sugars on the package? Are there more grams of fat than anything else? Make a change in the quality of breakfast you are getting. And if you are doing well in the macro-nutrient area as well, consider looking into eating a breakfast that is made of only whole foods, or even opt for only organic ingredients in your breakfast.

Over time, the lifestyle choices you make to change your health will eventually pay off on the scale, until them (if that is your goal), try to focus on how making healthier decisions impact the way your feel when you wake up, or after climbing a flight of stairs.

For anyone else looking for more information on how breakfast impacts you, here are a few more great articles.