Tried &True Tips To Never Waste The Turkey

In my family there’s just one rule: Never let an ounce of turkey go to waste!

Afterall, when a roast this enticing only comes around a few times a year, you have to make it count!

never-wate-the-turkey

In fact, the USDA estimates that with the average cost of food waste in America, we could buy 21 whole turkeys for each person in the country! 

But with the abundance of food adorning the Thanksgiving table, we have the optimal opportunity to revamp the leftovers. And there is nothing like a turkey sandwich slathered in real mayo and stuffed with crunchy lettuce to ring in the post festivities!

These are some of my family’s favorite ways to never waste the turkey:

1. Have a heart

  • Organ meats (otherwise known as offal) not only enhance the flavour of your roast, they are one of the most nutrient dense superfoods on the planet!
  • With an impressive resume, organ meats contain all B-vitamins (particularly B12), are nature’s most concentrated source of vitamin A (in the liver), are a perfect protein source, high in easily absorbable iron and and contain coQ10 for cardiovascular health (so you can run off the weekend’s feast!).

2. Make a “game”plan

  • Plan ahead so that you can properly store and prep for the weeks to come. Post-dinner, our turkey heads straight for the fridge where we cover and store it for turkey sandwiches, salads etc.
  • After a week, freeze the leftover meat to prevent it from spoiling and thaw it for dishes over the next month. Our turkey never lasts this long (not a chance!) but I imagine with the 27 pound turkey a friend of mine purchased, this is the time to haul out the freeze wrap!

turkey-roast

3. Brew bone broth

  • Bone broth is packed with all things that counteract a large feast. It is made by boiling bones in water with an acid (such as apple-cider vinegar) and adding (optional) spices, vegetables and herbs for flavouring.
  • Its high gelatin, L-glutamine and amino acid content is healing to the digestive system which allows you to reap more nutrients from your food and get the most out of your leftovers.
  • Bonus: Illness often encroaches with the shift in seasons and since an approximated 80% of all illness stems from the gut, this healing broth makes the ideal immune-boosting antidote.

4. Stir in a turkey stew

  • You can drink your bone broth on its own, or add your turkey meat and a plethora of vegetables to make a hearty turkey soup. We boil a big pot on the stove top and re-heat it over a few days for filling lunches and dinners. This being my personal favourite way to savour the remainder of our roast!

Suzanne Eden

4 Ways Your Pumpkin & Chai Spiced Autumn Addiction Is Boosting Your Health

As Autumn arrives, everything turns to spice!

Pumpkin spice.jpg

ABOVE: Dairy-free, gluten-free, pumpkin spice scone from Kelly’s Bake Shoppe.

~*~

Its seems the moment fall fell upon us, the air turned crisp and pumpkin emerged from its slumber. From smoothies, to lattes (with coconut milk of course!), from cookies to chili’s, pumpkin slips its orange carotenoids into just about everything.

While my favourite fall produce remains forever faithful to the apples of our backyard and aromatic notes of chai, this year I decided it was high time to snag some squash and plunge into the popular world of pumpkin spice! After all, who could go wrong when cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves are involved?!

Whether a chai girl such as myself, or with pumpkin spice as your vice, these are 4 ways to validate your autumn addiction!

1) They spice Up The Season

  • As the weather cools, spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg are thermogenic foods that boost your internal body temperature and raise your metabolism. This is one reason why we intuitively crave pumpkin spice and chai when the temperature drops.

2) Enhances Digestion

  • According to Ayurveda, spices heat up our digestive “fire” (otherwise known as Agni) to enhance energy, increase digestion, reduce bloating etc. Adding warming spices to your foods is like wrapping your digestive system in a winter parka so that it can comfortably and efficiently continue doing what it needs to do!

3) Daily Detox

  • The spices found in traditional pumpkin spice and chai are equipped with both natural detoxifying and anti-inflammatory agents.
  • Take ceylon cinnamon, for example, used prominently in Chinese Medicine for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and blood purification properties. Cinnamon is the base to both spice blends and a powerhouse at that!

4) Immunity

  • Just in time for cold and flu season!
  • And as the famous French biochemist Francois Beauchamp once said: “The terrain is everything.” By keeping your internal systems working efficiently, we effectively keep our immune system strong, and spices, through all of the wonderful benefits listed above, assist in doing just that!

Balzacs.jpg

Your favourite fall brew may just be the perfect medicinal boost in a mug. But of course, when aiming for the therapeutic effects of these spices, look to quality and potent sources. Making your own blend is the best way to ensure the quality of the product but if ordering out, search for those made without syrups -you want the real deal! At coffee shops, I ask for unsweetened, coconut/almond milk chai tea lattes brewed with the tea bag instead of syrup.

All in all, your autumn addiction can be both nutritious and delicious with full permission to indulge… responsibly 😉

Spicing up September,

Suzanne Eden

Cookbook Launch Tour: The Quinoa Sunshine Salad

I am thrilled to announce the release of Jesse Lane’s collaborative cookbook: “Healthy Fresh Salads” with a personal feature of my Cranberry Apple Kale Slaw!

Healthy salads.jpg

Jesse and I share this one simple thing: we love our salads!

And in her latest cookbook addition, she beautifully encapsulates this flare for fresh flavour. Bursting with recipes for vibrant, creative creations and complementary dressings that would entice the most leery of plant-eaters and transform any vegetable enthusiast into a masterful salad connoisseur.

As a fellow Holistic Nutritionist, Jesse delves into the health benefits of eating the rainbow, avoiding GMOs, properly cleaning vegetables, and how to save money, all the while enjoying a plethora of palate stimulating salads.

sunshine salad.jpg

To give you a taste of the cookbook, this recipe is a sunny burst of flavour featuring hydrating cucumber, crunchy carrot, spicy radishes, sweet cranberries, and detoxifying coriander. With flavours that fuse together over a bed of arugula and protein-rich quinoa to keep you feeling full for hours.

 The Quinoa Sunshine Salad

Recipe by Andrea Kmecza

(no soy, dairy-free, vegan, vegetarian)

Prep time: 20 minutes | Inactive prep time: 30 minutes | Serving size: 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (1/2 cup dry cooked in 1 cup water)
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 1 large carrot, shredded or thinly diced
  • 4-5 radishes, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chopped coriander (or parsley depending on your preference)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp hemp or flax oil
  • 4 cups of baby arugula (optional)
  • 2 avocados (optional), sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Toss all ingredients in a large mixing bowl (minus the arugula) and let it sit for 30 to 60 minutes.
  • Place 1 cup of arugula in bowl and 1 cup of quinoa salad on top. Top with ½ avocado if using.
To cook quinoa:
•Rinse quinoa well and drain.
•Bring water to a boil in a medium sized pot. (1 quinoa:2 water)
•Add quinoa and bring to a boil again.
•Cover, lower heat and simmer for approximately 10 minutes.
•Once cooked, allow time to completely cool.
~*~
It was such a pleasure to be a part of this collaborative cookbook! To purchase your personal online or paperback copy (and for a further sneak peak), click HERE!
With a sunny take on a fresh cookbook,
Suzanne Eden

A Student Survival Guide For Back To School Stress

It’s been a few years since my university days and without hesitation I can say : I miss it!

I loved learning and being surrounded by like-minded thinkers. I loved digging into text books and the sounds of laptop keys furiously clicking through lectures. I loved the in-betweens of classes, sneaking off into the trails, the late nights working away with friends.

And then I happened upon my friend, Denis, here in the streets of Montreal and I too remembered: the once considered mandatory exam coffees (I don’t even like coffee!), the all nighters, the deadlines, the hunched shoulders, the sugar cravings… oh yes! I remember. And while it took me a few years, by my final year I felt I had just about learned the ways of university and the most useful and practical subject I have studied: nutrition.

Denis.jpg

Perhaps you are off to school, or simply feeling the stress of the September season. In either case, remember that the psychological key to reducing stress is not in the situation itself, but in your mindset towards it. And as a clean body equates to a clean and clear mind, these are my holistic tips (with the help of our good friend Denis) for a September that’s stress-free!

Refine Your Take On Refined Foods

  • You’re under enough stress as it is, you don’t want food to be another!
  • Refined foods are stressors to the body as they create unsteady blood sugar levels causing you to crash on the school couch, and create a rapid spike in cortisol – our stress hormone! As the icing on the cake, a junk food diet has been shown to affect your brain’s synapses, thereby impairing learning and memory.
  • Instead? Ditch the fried french fries spewed over the bench and burger bag hidden behind Denis’ shoe and opt for fast, fresh and wholesome foods instead!
  • Bananas, for example, are conveniently prepackaged, naturally sweet, and packed with stress busting nutrients such as calming magnesium, energizing vitamin B6, and components that increase the production of serotonin in your brain to promote optimal stress relief.

Kick The Coffee

  • As my professor once said “coffee is stress in a cup!”
  • But as a staple of many students’ daily routines, caffeine is often relied on to boost energy and reduce stress. The issue? This boost of energy is only short lived and unsustainable, and the coffee can actually trigger the body’s stress response.
  • Instead? Opt for green tea or matcha (concentrated green tea powder) with the amino acid L-theanine that helps to reduce stress, boost energy and enhance productivity, while promoting a sense of relaxation.
  • NOTE: In either case, caffeine should be used as a boost when needed but not as a crutch. For the everyday, opt for energizing B vitamins (a supplement that supports the adrenals, your body’s “stress glands”), and ginkgo biloba which not only works as an adaptogen to help you cope with stress, but is well known for boosting blood flow to the brain to enhance learning and memory – all without the caffeine jitters!

McGill.jpg

Move To Manage Stress

  • While excessive sitting, on city benches or otherwise, has been proclaimed “the new smoking”, exercise has long been known for its stress busting benefits. Movement will instantly refresh and energize you while oxygenating the brain and boosting your feel-good neurotransmitters.
  • While movement is a necessity in health, vigorous exercise is a stress to the physical body, so engage predominately in light to moderate movements on a daily basis. Run the stairs at your breaks, take a hike through campus trails, and participate in group activities in between lectures such as yoga (my favourite way to de-stress on a long day!).

A+ For Denis

  • What Denis did get right? He’s taken it outside! In fact, I have a feeling he spends an awful lot of time here.
  • Fresh air and nature spaces have both been shown to dramatically reduce stress. With the last of our beautiful summer weather and fall on the horizon, it is the perfect time to soak up the sun. Bonus points for removing your shoes to harness the stress relieving benefits of earthing!
  • Can’t get outside? Bring the outdoors in with green plants and open windows.

Study these tips and you are well on your way to a healthy, happy, stress free semester!

From A(+) to Zen,

Suzanne Eden

(20)15 Gifts For Every Wellness Enthusiast On Our List

For those of us with an appetite for the world of wellness, the feast of advocates for sustainability, the soul seekers and rejuvenation junkies, we may beg the question: what on earth does one buy for us?! Well, if you’re thinking earth, you’re on the right path. A path paved by aloe plants, bouquets of kale and petals of Echinacea, if it’s earthly and earth-wise, chances are we’ll dig it!

For us wellness enthusiasts and every holistic personality on our list, this is our ultimate holistic gift guide of 2015!

 Gift guide

For The Scent-sational

This is the individual who is seduced by the allure of perfumes and fragrances but forgo’s the chemical cocktails linked to neurotoxicity, asthma, migraines and irritability. The ones distributing fragrant pine branches throughout the home, with simmering pots of blood oranges and cinnamon steeping on the stove top…

1) A Diffuser + Essential Oils

  • My work party did something very special this year. We all regifted items from our home, (funny or otherwise) drew numbers and decided to open a new gift or steal someone else’s. It’s a great way to reduce excessive Christmas spending, rid your basement of lingering junk, and is all fun and games until the diffuser you stole gets stolen from you! I begged, I pleaded, I drew the “I’m new” card, to no avail.
  • At the top of my list, essential oil diffusers make the perfect home air fresheners without the synthetic chemicals. These oils also offer a host of medicinal properties when you are sick (oregano) and the ability to relax and enhance sleep (lavender) or revigorate and energize (citrus).
  • They can also be used as perfumes (forgoing the up to 3,000 chemical constituents of conventional fragrances) and in beauty products.

For The Wild Soul

 

Those of us with a flaming passion for wildlife, the preservation of endangered species and the deep longing for the safari’s of Africa …

2) “I want a hippopotamus for Christmas”

  •  Give or receive an ACTUAL hippo! My guinea pig, Aussie, was my “all I want for Christmas” last year, but animals (even miniature ones) are big, daily commitments. Not yet ready for that responsibility? Thankfully there are “pets” we can give with  no clean up, free to roam their natural habitat, and bypass the aggressively deadly behavior of the territorial hippo. Sadly, no, the house hippo is not a real thing.

aussie

Remember this? Though he no longer fits in the palm of my hand, Aussie still loves Asian pears too (the perfect stocking stuffers)!

For The Holistic Culinary Adventurist

Those of us who are no strangers to the kitchen. The ones who dare experiment in the mishaps, the joys, the dangers of blenders on turbo and the triumphant successes of gluten-free, dairy-free baking, this is for you!

3) CUPCAKES

  • Kelly’s Bakes Shoppe cookbook is topping off my list this year as I’m eager to replicate their decadent baked goods in my very own kitchen. Featuring dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free recipes that would trick even the most health weary members of our family. To all local family and friends; expect some special deliveries with the overflow of desserts guaranteed to be wafting through my home.
  • Order here: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/made-with-love-more-than/9780147529831-item.html
To give you an idea of the truly special treat you’re in for, check out my review of the bake shoppe; https://lifeofeden.com/2015/07/24/restaurant-in-review-kellys-bake-shop-burlington-on/
triple fudge brownie

For The ACTIVE-ist

The trail runners, the rock climbers, the insatiable ACTIVEists. For those of us who can’t last the movie without a good stretch..

4) Yoga Membership

  • The gift of exercise, stress reduction, increased circulation through the winter and detoxification sounds like the holy grail of gifts to me! Bonus; there’s minimal wrapping required.
  • Deals on memberships surface this time of year to entice us in for our resolutions of the New Year but should this be too much, opt for an instructional yoga DVD (Crunch Yoga Body Workouts) or the Yoga Girl series you can purchase from her website here: http://practice.rachelbrathen.com/
 christmas tree

The Lovers Of SOUL-itude

Those of us silently retreating beneath the christmas tree for steaming herbal teas with a juicy soul read…

5) Eckhart Tolle’s : The Power Of Now

  • Or any Eckhart Tolle. Originally brought to light by Oprah Winfrey, he has been a transformative spiritual spark for millions. If you have yet to read this, add it to your list!

 

6) A Course In Miracles

  • Coming about the same way Eckhart Tolle did, I’ve seen, heard, and read about this book everywhere recently, taking its spot on my wish list!
  • For a more easily digestible read, showing how to apply the principles of A Course in Miracles; opt for “A Return To Love” by Marianne Williamson.

7) Robin Sharma’s: The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

 

  • An equally eloquent and insightful writer, this book is a soulful adventure laced with meaning, purpose and inspiration. A must read for us all.

 xmas tea

8) Japanese Tea Steeper

  • The all-in-one Steeper and mug and the necessary companion to every warming read. Pair with a loose leaf bag of herbal tea, particularly digestion reliving peppermint or cleansing chai.

For Us Who Know: Theres No Place Like OM For The Holidays

For those of us who beg the question:”are they resting… or meditating?”…

9) Oprah And Deepak’s Latest Meditation Series

  • With Oprah and Deepak as our guides, we are whisked into effortless meditation, relaxation, rejuvenation and empowerment. This, in my personal opinion, was their most powerful series yet. Welcoming you whether you are a seasoned meditator or are new to the experience, we will all benefit from coming OM for the holidays.
  • For only $39.99, this CD pack comes with online access to meditate anytime, anywhere. https://chopracentermeditation.com/store/product/116/become_what_you_believe_streaming

Beanth the christmas tree

To Our Natural Beauties

Those of us whose beauty routine is practically edible, doubling as a wholesome breakfast and equally exfoliating skin mask…

 

10) Giddy Yoyo’s Edible Body Butter

  • Made from cacao butter, coconut oil, olive oil and vanilla, you will smell (and taste) like chocolate! Need I mention it’s organic, vegan and cruelty free? Oh, and it all acts as a natural lubricant… Just be sure to remove this tip when sharing this gift guide with your mother. 😉

11) A shower head filter

  • Want  shiny, healthy hair and smooth, glowing skin? This is a must! If not filtered, that water is flowing with chemicals including chlorine which binds to hair and strips it of its natural oils leading to oily, frizzy and unruly hair as well as dandruff and an irritated scalp. It also disrupts the beneficial bacteria on our skin causing excessive dryness and irritation.
  • The water flowing over our skin (the largest organ of our body) is absorbed into our blood stream, intensified in hot showers where our pores are open.  This lending the case that we are not just what WE eat but what our BODIES eat. For our healthiest, most radiant hair and skin, this is a MUST.

The Rejuvenation Junkie

Likely to be caught soaking in a tub of epsom salts (a great socking stuffer) with lavender essential oils and the soulful harmony of Trevor Hall, our rejuvenation junkies will revel in gifts that sooth their wellness souls.

 

12) A Bed Of Nails

  • It is the de-stress mattress of 2016. Though it doesn’t sound comfortable, it feels amazing! The acupressure mats have thousands of non-toxic plastic spikes that stimulate energy to induce deep relaxation, stress reduction, improve clarity and mental alertness.
  • Some find the experience intense and may benefit from a sheet or shirt between themselves and the mat. I, on the other hand, enjoy the full effect and will stand on it, lay bare backed on it and even sit on it.
  • Find them here: http://bedofnails.org/products/

Acupressure mats + Aussies

Tip; its rejuvenating effects are amplified when coupled with your favourite Aussie!

13) Himalayan salt lamp

  • Responsible for the eery, luminescent glow from my bedroom, these lamps are soft, non stimulating lights with medicinal and rejuvenating properties from its illumination of negative ions. I received this last year and use it all day everyday until I go to sleep at night as we should aim for total darkness for the adequate release of our sleep hormone melatonin.
  • Disclaimer; for these potent benefits, be sure you are purchasing one made with authentic Himalayan salt.

For The Foodies

For those of us more enticed by the unveiling of the christmas feast than the unwrapping of gifts beneath the tree…

14) Giddy Yoyo Dark Chocolate

  • Of course we love chocolate! Chocolate is a superfood after all, so long as it’s done right.
  • Real chocolate is high quality  with at least 70% cacao (which means less sugar is added), and only real, whole food ingredients. With a rainbow of flavours to choose from, there is something for everyone on your list! My top picks;
    • Spicy for those who love their chocolate with a kick (my personal favourite)
    • Vanilla salt, or raspberry, for those who enjoy the sweetness
    • And mint which comes in 76% and 100% dark.
  • Read more here: http://shop.giddyyoyo.com/chocolate-bars-1

 

15) Kale Bouquets

 

Whether this is your wish list or your cheat sheet gift guide to the holidays, grab your favourite ones and share! 🙂

 

Happy shopping wellness enthusiasts!

Suzanne Eden

 

 

 

Ask Eden // The Quickie Guide To Blending Vs. Juicing

Hopping from Easter to a post-chocolate cleanse?
 
I hope you all had a holistically healthy holiday yesterday but if chocolate and sweets jumped their way onto the menu, you may be feeling in need of a little reboot today! A great place to start is to increase the amount of vegetables and leafy greens you consume to alkalinize the body and provide valuable fibre to push out the toxins. But what if you already feel pressed to incorporate enough into your diet on any given day? One of my favourite holistic life hacks to increasing your intake of greens is through green smoothies and juices, which leafs us with this week’s Ask Eden and one of the questions I’m quite frequently asked from clients;
“Which is better; juicing or blending?” 
 
The answer? I love them both! Both are beneficial when applied properly.
Saturday morning, for instance, I blended a large smoothie for a quick breakfast on the go as my best friend and I set off for a mini road trip.
A blend of; banana | coconut water | chaga | cinnamon | spirulina | acai | cacao (I love chocolate as an energy boost!)
Smoothie on the go
Last night, on the other hand, I was spoiled with a buffet of delicious food and veggie trays at my grandparents’ house in the country and woke this morning not feeling the need for a big meal. Instead of reaching for my regular green smoothie, I dusted off my juicer and pressed my favourite sunrise juice of orange, carrot and ginger and added romaine lettuce and lemon. The orange being graciously supplied by the Holistic Easter basket left for me with equal parts Giddy Yoyo dark chocolate and fresh fruit!
Holistic easter
So what is the difference? Is one more beneficial than the other? And how do you eat them to reap the most benefit from them?
It’s not the first time I’ve had this question asked and it’s a great one so without further ado, this is
your quickie guide to smoothies vs juices:
The WHOLE story
  • When you eat a smoothie, you are consuming the whole food and keeping the fibre intact to reap its full spectrum of benefits.
  • When you juice, you extract the water and nutrients and discard of the fibre. This allows you to make the nutrients more readily available to your body in much larger quantities. For instance, you could easily use an entire head of lettuce in a juice as opposed to a few leaves you might pack in your smoothie. However, you lose the beneficial properties of the fibre.

Smoothies are full of it

  • The fibre in smoothies will help to fill you faster and keep you satiated for longer as it provides bulk. This makes smoothies filling and suitable as a light meal. It is also the fibre that will bind to toxins to excrete them from the body when cleansing.
  • Without the fibre content in juices, you are likely feeling hungry faster. However, this makes a juice an ideal snack or addition to a meal when consumed 20 minutes beforehand (drinking too close to your meals will dilute your natural digestive juices).

Digest This

  • Smoothies are fantastic for digestion as they do much of the “breakdown” for your body. Blending your smoothie with a powerful blender (I use a Vitamix), breaks down the cell walls and pulverizes the food, taking a load off of your system which means more energy for you to go about your day. The high fibre content of a good smoothie will also help to regulate your bowels that may be compromised from poor diegstion.
  • With the fibre removed from juicing, it’s that extra step to make it even easier on your body  to digest and absorb the nutrients making it an ideal, energizing option when digestion is sluggish (after a delicious Easter dinner perhaps?).

 

The Nutrient Zap

  • The fibre in smoothies assists in slowing the digestive process to steady the flow of nutrients that hit your blood stream.
  • Without fibre, juicing creates a rapid surge of nutrients straight to the bloodstream so that you get the instant nutrient zap. The warning: this means that without the fibre, fruit will rapidly spike blood sugar and must be balanced with greens to avoid the potential jitters, mood swings, energy slumps and so forth that may result from imbalanced blood sugar.
Pressed for time 
  • With smoothies you simply blend and go with only the need to quickly wash out your blender.
  • Juices take more time to cut veggies and funnel through the nozzle into the blade. Then comes the washing of all of the separate parts, including the mesh cylinder.

 

Sunrise Juice

The above is this morning’s sunrise juice and the official sign that spring has sprung in our flower garden!

To Juice or to Blend, That is the Question!

My main beverage of choice? A smoothie! Quick, filling, and a whole food, smoothies are a staple of my diet and my number one go to through busy days. However, if I need a big dose of greens or my digestion is feeling a little sluggish, I will pull out my quality juicer and give it a go.

The key to blending or juicing? It is all about the right time, for the right person, in the right amounts.

A few keys:

  • Juices must, I repeat MUST be organic! Without the fibre to steady and bind to the toxic pesticides, you are absorbing those straight into your bloodstream. Be very careful of this when going to juice bars.
  • Because of the ability to jam pack juices with nutrients, it can be easy to overdo it on a given nutrient and aggravate certain conditions of the body. Be aware of this and practise moderation and variety.
  • Juices should be consumed ideally within the first 15 minutes of being made as light and air will destroy the vulnerable and valuable nutrients.
  • Smoothies MUST be chewed as drinking makes the body think that there is nothing to digest. The act of chewing stimulates the entire digestive system to prepare to digest food.

So, to juice or to blend, hopefully this post answers that question and whichever you choose for today, I wish you all an Easter Monday packed with green leaves and green hikes full of spring’s budding blooms!

 

Hopping into a juicy post Easter cleanse,

Suzanne Eden

Your Holistic Guide To a Greener White Christmas (In just 14 steps!)

Dreaming of a green Christmas but a little stumped on where to begin?

Tuesday afternoon my step father and I bundled in fluffy coats and warm winter mitts and set off to scout out the perfect little Christmas tree as the evergreen centre peice to our family room. Nessled in a swirl of pine we spotted just the perfect one with a full, dense, bottom, white frosted tips and a bald spot at the nap of the long spindling neck. It was beautiful and though the car ride home savoured a road side stop as the trunk flew open, we made it home with the tree still intact. Success! Now getting it out was the real test of strength. How many Christmas tree enthusiasts does it take to yank a tree from its snug fit in the back of the car? Answer: 3.

With the tree perched in the family room, awaiting tomorrow when we will be trimming its branches with DIY decorations, I snuck a branch to my room to satisfy my lust of the aromatic pine. The perfect, chemical free air freshener as it is. And in the spirit of chemical free and green, let us spruce up this Christmas with an evironmental twist. Here are my top easy holistic steps to a greener white Christmas!

A Green Home

  1.  “Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, how real are your branches?” – Buy a real christmas tree
  • There has been much debate over whether or not to go real or fake with both sides issuing a valid debate. But I will continue to support real trees. Though chopped down each year, at least they are grown in the first place and continue to be. Bonus: they are recycleable!
  • Make it green:
    • Buy local
    • Choose from farms that utilize the least chemicals possible
    • Recycle your tree after Christmas

2. Make all natural air fresheners

  • Whether or not your fresh pine tree is enough freshener, there are plenty of delicious smelling, stove top recipes that simmer and fill your home with aromatic fragrance. You can see my pinterest here: http://www.pinterest.com/Lifeofeden/  for recipes. The board: Christmas Cocoa and Fairisle Sweaters.

3. Save your energy putting up the lights

  • Save time and electricity but using lighting sparingly. This goes for inside and outside the home.
  • Opt for energy efficient, LED light bulbs.
  • Set a timer to turn them off around your bedtime.

4. Decorate with natural decorations

  • Instead of bowls of christmas bulbs, have vases and bowls of festive edible fruit arrangments (apple, oranges etc.) and nuts
  • Utilize pine cones and fallen branches etc.

ever green

Gifts that keep on Giving

5. Less is more

  • There is no need to go overboard on gifts. Focus in on less gifts that mean more.

6. Create a wish list

  • Others will thank you (we all want to give you a gift you will love) and you will recieve something you actually want. Bonus: you can relax your facial smiles – no forced smiles needed!
  • Make it green:
    • When making your list, think more about what you need instead of want. Ask for things you would have had to buy anyway, things that you will use time and time again, things that will last. And, of course, sneak in an item or too that is a complete splurge. Something you want but wouldn’t otherwise buy yourself, you deserve it!

7. Please Purchase Responsibly

  • Look for fair trade, support small local buisness as much as possible, less is more for packaging and steer clear of anything from China.
  • Bonus: When buying at small, local buisnesses, you tend to avoid the massive crowds of the Christmas mall rush and inevitable run ins with “Canada’s worst drivers” in the parking lot

8. Go DIY

  • Make as many gifts as possible! Or get crafty and think outside the box. Gifts don’t have to be store bought, they can be your friends’ favourite cookies (with – gasp! – your grandmother’s secret recipe for them), or skating lessons, a yoga membership, a gift card for something you two can do together, you name it!
  • Bonus: Buying something active will save that person from the post christmas overload of consumer workout equipment purchases and you may not have to wrap these gifts at all!

9. DIY your cards

  • Commercial cards use an expansive amount of waste. Make your own, make them smaller and add your personal touch. I am the official card writer in my family because of my quirky (or otherwise utterly corny) sayings littered with puns, but a nice, little handwritten message will go a long way
  • Make it green: the best and easiest way is through e-cards! Nothing to dispose of, just be sure to add your own personal touch to these too.

10. “Packages, boxes or bags!” Reusable wrapping!

  • From our adorable printed bags (no doubt from China) popping with tissue paper, you would never guess that they are moderatly eco-friendly. But what’s encased in them isn’t the only surprise, many of these bags have been in my family since I was a child. And the tissue paper is used until it’s brimming will holes. I, myself, try to get away with reusing it as much as possible so don’t look at your wrapping too closely 😉
  • Make it green:
    • Reuse your bags and gently tear the tissue paper from them as you unwrap them so that you can fold it neatly and reuse them next year. This can be done with bows, tags and even wrapping paper too.
    • I like to use old newspapers for wrapping. One Christmas I was able to fit a Christmas tree crossword on the front of my Mom’s cookbook and Dexter (one of the shows he watches) with blood splotches on the front of my brother’s gift.
    • Choose hemp or wrapping paper from recycled materials

11. TAPEr this down

  • Use tape sparingly or not at all. My step father uses tape at every crease possible. The tell tale sign he wrapped the gift: tapping the paper to the gift! TAPEr this down.

12. Regift!

  • This is a fantastic trend! Have something you don’t want or need but know someone who will appreciate it? Pass it on!

flowers

Festive Feasts

13. Splurge on the Bird

  • This is not the time to be cheap. Opt for a turkey that is local, free range, organic, grass fed, antibiotic and hormone free! Now thats a roast to feast on. By buying local, you can reduce your ecological footprint up to 75%!

14. Taste, don’t waste

  • On average, Americans waste up 96 billion pounds of food each year, according to the USDA
  • Keep it green:
    • Take a taste of the food and remember, you can always go back for more.
    • Utilize the left overs. Something you don’t think you can eat before it goes bad? Freeze it or divi it up for your guests to take home and savour the next day. I’m sure they will appreciate not having to cook for that meal.
    • To make good use of this, let your guests feed themselves! It easier for you and it allows them to take only what and how much they want.
    • Plan your meals and how much food you will actually need to avoid waste later. Compost what doesn’t get eaten and cannot be salvaged

I will still be wishing for a white Christmas of course, but will be doing my part to make it a green one too!

Sprucing up Christmas,

Suzanne Eden