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Monthly Archives: March 2008

No, not the kind you eat, the kind you plug things into.

Well, we’ve been doing this one with our upstairs computers for a while but for some reason I’ve had a mental block about doing the shut down (or hibernate) and turn off all power bars with the downstairs computer. But last night I asked my mom for some challenge suggestions and that was one of them so I started last night!

You’ve got to love the changes that will actually save you a few bucks as well…

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downward dog with little onesI’ve been doing yoga since my first pregnancy in 2004 (great recommendation from a friend) but in the past year have been going more regularly (weekly). For one reason or another for the past 3 weeks the classes were cancelled or I had to miss them, so I have been doing a little yoga at home (which I clearly should really have been doing all along). This has sparked the interest of my 3 year old son. (The photo on the right shows what happens every time I do a downward dog with my boys around, but it makes me laugh so I keep it up. I’m basically a human tent.) I told him I’d get him a mat and we could do it together.

So, I had a quick look online for yoga mats and, of course, there are issues with regular yoga mats. They’re mostly made from PVC, rubber, or latex and can contain phthalates, (and, apparently, heavy metals?). Rubber and latex are an issue because they produce toxic effluents in the processing. (effluent defined in wikipedia). PVC… well, we’ve talked about it before. There are a few different options, but as I was up by the Big Carrot the other day I went for their offering, the Eco Mat from Relaxus, made from TPE (thermo plastic elastomer) foam, which is apparently toxic free in its production, PVC and phthalate free and decomposes under landfill conditions.

Another quick note about The Big Carrot (conveniently located around the corner from Grassroots where I get bulk cleaning vinegar, baking soda and liquid hand soap): they now sell bulk fair trade organic (Cocoa Camino) chocolate chips and bittersweet chocolate! Woo hoo! It’s cheaper than buying fair trade organic chips in 228 gram bags and chocolate in 100 gram bars and there’s so much less waste! Next time I’ll bring my own containers or bags and be waste-free. Sorry to be so exclamation-mark-happy, but I’ve been looking (Noah’s, Whole Foods, etc.) for a long time and it’s great to finally find exactly what I’m looking for.

In other news, we did our token part in Earth Hour this evening – extending it to two hours.

First of all, I know a couple of people are curious to hear about the beef…

We picked it up just over a week ago. It was a quick and easy pick up near Bloor and Bathurst but the fact that you are buying from a farmer, who is so thankful for your business (“Thanks so much for buying from us – we really appreciate it!”), is really gratifying. My parents were farmers for many years, and our favourite business was directly with the customer (we had pick-your-own apples on weekends), rather than the retailers and wholesalers. The beef itself is delicious and you can really taste a difference. It’s richer than store-bought, much more flavourful. We’ve had burgers (best burgers I’ve had in quite some time – I had two!) and last night we had a rib steak which was delicious (as I’ve said before, we don’t eat a lot of meat). As for the beef, we bought 25 lbs which was broken down into: 5 lbs of ground beef, 2 lbs of stew beef, 2 t-bones, 3 rib steaks, a large round steak, a large sirloin, 2 shank slices, a prime rib roast and a cross rib roast. It was actually just over 25 lbs. On the box label they tell you the name and info of the farm the beef was produced on, which is great! I highly recommend Beef Connections.

Secondly, although we really like Front Door Organics, we’ve signed up for a CSA (community supported agriculture) this summer. Again, I really like the idea of cutting out the middleman and supporting the farmer directly. Community supported agriculture is basically about consumers signing up and paying the farmer a lump sum (paid in installments or whatever) so that the farmer has a budget from which to work with (buy seeds, etc.) for the year. The consumer then receives produce from the farmer for a set number of weeks during the harvest season. There is risk involved because you’re basically investing in the farmer. Whatever they produce, they divvy up between their shareholders. I’ve been looking for CSAs that deliver to Toronto and only managed to find two this year. We are going with PlanB Organics, and I’m looking forward to the growing season! I’ll miss the farmers markets, but the one in walking distance isn’t organic anyway. In the late fall we’ll likely sign up with one of the organic food delivery services again.