Today's winner is Nancy Stepney of Edmonton.
Defining what is difficult about being green can be just those couple of changes we aren't willing to make. At the beginning, remembering to recycle could be difficult and a bit of a pain. Once I got used to that, then composting was the new difficult. I find that every time I get used to a new green habit, I am only then ready for the next step. So when they say it only starts with one small step, it's true!I base how well I am doing on our local environmental store here in Edmonton:
Earth's General Store. Once upon a time, I would go to this store just to look and my inner dialogue involved statements such as "oh man, that's for crazy hippies" or "I could never change to that extreme" and " That's just NOT for me." Now, many years later, these things that once seemed extreme and opposite to my lifestyle are now easy to accomplish and have become habit! Now when I am able to make it to this same store, my inner dialogue goes something like this: "I do that, yep, I do that too" or "I've been doing that for ages, who can't do that??" and "Oh that would be something I could try doing!"Now I find the challenge of being green a gratifying and satisfying game! I am an example of starting small and getting bigger with time. I constantly talk about my new trials with friends and know I am making a difference when they tell me of my influence. I encourage everyone to just try making that one change that seems difficult, and then it will become easier...and then, find a new challenge!! Way to go Canadian Living on your awesome work in promoting this green lifestyle! I give your
Green Issue out to friends and family when it comes out! Looking forward to next year's issue!
Thanks to Nancy for sending in her story.
Nancy wins a
TS-1200TG Green Calculator, courtesy of Canon, and a copy of
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss, courtesy of Random House.Today's code word: change Read more: •
Canada's greenest communities •
6 green celebs and their eco causes •
Top 10 ways to save energy in your kitchen
Dainty and flavourful, everyone loves to indulge in tiny bites of traditional tea sandwiches. Though they appear finicky to make, these tea sandwiches are easy to assemble and entirely make-ahead.
Pinwheel Sandwiches Trim crusts from 5 slices white or whole wheat sandwich loaf, cut Pullman-style. (Ask bakery to cut sandwich loaf horizontally, or Pullman style.) Using rolling pin, flatten slices slightly. Spread with 1/3 cup (75 mL) butter, softened; spread with filling.
Place 1 asparagus spear (or 2 baby gherkins) along 1 short end of each. Starting at asparagus, roll up tightly without squeezing. Wrap each roll tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour. With serrated knife, trim ends; cut each roll into 6 slices.
Makes 30 pieces. Pinwheel Sandwich recipe: Curried Egg Salad Triangle Sandwiches Spread 16 thin slices whole wheat or white sandwich bread with 1/3 cup (75 mL) butter, softened; spread filling evenly over 8 of the slices. Top with remaining slices, pressing lightly. Place on rimmed baking sheet and cover with damp tea towel; cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Trim off crusts. Cut each sandwich into 4 pieces.
Makes 32 pieces. Triangle Sandwich recipe: Ham Pickle Spread Square Sandwiches Make sandwiches as in Triangle Sandwiches above except use 8 thin slices white and 8 thin slices whole wheat sandwich bread. Cut each sandwich into quarters.
Makes 32 pieces.Square Sandwich recipe: Pimiento Cheese Spread Finger Sandwiches Make sandwiches as in Triangle Sandwiches above. Cut each sandwich lengthwise into 4 fingers.
Makes 32 pieces. Finger Sandwich recipe: Tuna Olive Salad
Choose the best-quality bread. Never serve end slices. Freezing bread before cutting and then spreading makes for easier handling.
Bread should be lightly buttered no matter what the filling. Butter should be at room temperature before spreading. Sandwiches will not become limp and soggy as readily if you spread butter right to edge of bread.
Cut crusts off bread with long, sharp knife after (not before) assembling sandwiches. This keeps everything neater.
Since tea sandwiches should be delicate, cut each sandwich into thirds or quarters or in half diagonally. Or use cookie cutters to cut into decorative shapes.
Whip up a dozen moist muffins on a leisurely Sunday morning. Or better yet, set out the muffin recipe ingredients the night before and let the first person up bake a batch for everyone. Most of these muffin recipes can be made in advance and frozen.
No one wants to feel hangry or get hit with a midday crash—but that doesn't mean you have to visit the office vending machine. Instead, curb hunger pangs with these healthier, expert-approved alternatives.
1. Swap: Microwave popcorn for cauliflower popcorn
Even light microwave popcorn can be loaded with sodium, trans fats (which raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol) and artificial colours and flavours, says Kelowna, B.C.–based registered dietitian Tristaca Curley. Instead, cut a head of cauliflower into bite-size pieces, then roast in the oven with some olive or coconut oil and sprinkle with sea salt flakes. This low-calorie, folate- and potassium-rich sub is a satisfying twist on that movie-night favourite.
Photography by Angus Fergusson
2. Swap: Store-bought gorp for DIY trail mix
Ready-made trail mixes can be full of sugar and salt, so create your own snack of walnuts (the nut with the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids), unsalted sunflower seeds, dried apple bits and unsweetened shredded coconut. Add chocolate chips for an extra hit of sweetness. "For a tart superfood top-up, add golden berries, which resemble golden raisins," says Toronto-based registered nutritionist Joey Shulman. "They're lower in sugar versus other small berries, and they contain linoleic and oleic acids, which help with fat oxidation." Or add resveratrol-rich mulberries for their antioxidant punch.
3. Swap: Potato Chips for kale chips
"Regular chips contain trans fatty acids, the bad fat that can lead to heart disease and elevated cholesterol," says Shulman. "This superfood alternative is loaded with vitamins A, C and K." Tear kale leaves into bite-size pieces (discard thick stems), toss with olive oil and salt, then roast until crisp.
4. Swap: Salted pretzels for roasted chickpeas
Sure, pretzels may be low in fat, but they're loaded with salt and have no real nutritional value, says Curley. For a crunchy alternative, try oven-roasted chickpeas. These legumes are high in fibre, protein and iron, making them an ideal "fill me up" snack. Toss together chickpeas, olive oil, sea salt and your favourite spice (think smoked paprika, ground cumin, cayenne pepper or garlic powder), then roast until golden brown and crunchy.
5. Swap: Cheese crackers for a seaweed snack
Most crackers are processed carbs laden with artificial colours, preservatives and other additives. "In their place, top a sheet of nori with some canned tuna, smoked salmon or a meat alternative, like grilled tofu," says Curley. The seaweed is super satisfying and guilt-free: There are only five calories per sheet. Plus, sea vegetables are full of vitamins A and C, calcium, iodine (essential for metabolism) and iron.
6. Swap: Chocolate pudding for avocado and cocoa pudding
Chocolate puddings can be drowning in high-fructose corn syrup. For a healthier treat, mash an avocado, then stir in two tablespoons each of cocoa powder and hemp seeds and a quarter cup of honey, says Curley. This pudding is low in sugar and a great source of monounsaturated fats, vitamin C and fibre.
7. Swap: Granola bars for energy balls
Granola bars can contain as much sugar, fat and refined carbs as a chocolate bar. "Instead, stir together a cup of oatmeal with half a cup each of nut butter, hemp seeds and dried fruit," says Curley. Maple syrup or honey will help it stick together. This homemade option is high in fibre and protein, low in sugar and free of additives.
8. Swap: Chips and dip for hummus and carrot or zucchini coins
Processed foods like chips can raise blood sugar, triggering a release in insulin, which then lowers blood sugar. In the short term, these highs and lows actually increase cravings; in the long run, they can lead to weight gain. Try this clever swap from Curley. Using a mandoline or a sharp knife, slice carrots or zucchini into coins. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, then bake until golden brown and crisp. Serve with a side of hummus. (Brownie points if it's homemade!)
9. Swap: Banana chips for a loaded banana
This snack is often coated in sugar and deep-fried to give it crunch, so choose a fresh banana, which is glycemic index–friendly, suggests Curley. (Foods with a low-GI value are digested more slowly, so they won't cause a spike in blood sugar.) Top the banana with two tablespoons of your favourite nut butter, then roll it in hemp seeds. "You'll get a slow, steady rise in your blood sugar, so you'll feel full for longer," says Curley. Plus, this satisfying switch-up delivers potassium, protein, iron and omega-3s.
10. Swap: Chocolate-covered almonds for apple rings with nut butter
Almonds are a great snack, but when they're coated with chocolate, they turn into a treat. For a healthier option, slice a cored apple into rings. Top each slice with natural peanut, cashew or almond butter and sprinkle with hemp seeds, which are a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. "Apples are loaded with fibre and vitamin C," says Shulman. "Look for unprocessed nut butters; they're rich in good fats, which contain essential fatty acids such as omega-3s and monounsaturated fats."
Try these tips to feel energized and awake even when you tossed and turned the night before.
Whether brought on by sick kids or the stress of a looming deadline, restless nights happen. Fortunately, it's possible to eat, drink and rest your way back from a sleepless night. Here's how to feel energetic and rested after a bad night's sleep.
Choose the right foods
Why does that doughnut look so very good when you're so very tired? "Sleep restriction has been clearly shown to increase appetite for calorie-dense foods," says Dr. Charles Samuels, founder and medical director at the Centre for Sleep and Human Performance in Calgary. Tara Maltman-Just, pharmacist and executive clinician at Vitality Integrative Medicine in Winnipeg, agrees. "After a night or two of sleep deprivation, we tend to go for things that will give us that instant energy surge: sugar, energy drinks, coffee, even carbohydrates," she says. "However, we'd be best served over the course of the day by making sure we're balancing each meal or snack with protein and a healthy fat."
If you're struggling to keep your eyes open, enjoy eggs with veggies for breakfast or a salad with nuts and avocado for lunch. That way, says Maltman-Just, "you give your body continuous good-quality energy that will release gradually."
Get to know joe
As caffeine-crazy Canadians, many of us can't get by without our morning (and afternoon) cups of joe. But consuming too much caffeine makes it less effective—even when we need it most, like after a long night spent tossing and turning.
To keep your brew working for you, reduce your daily caffeine consumption to one or two cups of coffee in the morning, says Dr. Samuels. "Then, interject caffeine where required," he says. "For instance, if you're sleep-deprived and need to be awake for a meeting that afternoon, that's the time you would use caffeine."
Nab a nap
Add some force to that caffeine kick by adding a 15- to 20-minute nap after you've downed a cup. "A nap is far more effective than caffeine, and a nap plus caffeine is most effective," explains Dr. Samuels. Because caffeine's alertness-boosting effect takes 30 to 60 minutes to peak, drinking a cup of coffee before snoozing will provide the benefits of a rejuvenating short stretch of sleep as well as a natural limit to the nap.