Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)

Welcome to Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)! If this is your first visit, please click HERE for information and a complete list of all the challenges we've taken on so far.

There's a lot of great information in this post and I encourage you to read through it ... however, if you don't have the time right now, you might find the following quick links helpful:

Last week we continued our food theme and restocked our shelves ... not just with anything but with foods containing 6 ingredients or less. While that may sound like an easy challenge, one trip down the grocery store isles will show that it can be quite difficult. Shelves are full of processed, convenience foods ... and reading the list of ingredients is like taking on an epic novel ... one with a tragic end. Even seemingly innocent foods, like bread, are often full of preservatives, fillers and weird-sounding chemicals. This challenge definitely showcases just how far society has moved away from whole foods.

The Honor Society are those people who help us spread the "green" word by writing an article about our challenges and/or leaving pertinent comments. Here's what they had to say:

Kris accepted our challenge and shared that reading labels is confusing. In this POST she talks about the foods she and her family eat. Here's something impressive ... she has made almost all of her daughter's food since birth. Way to go, Kris!

Sarah took the challenge and had this to say, " Another great idea, can also see that it will make more home cooking from this. I'm planning on making lots of 'home ready meals' to make it easier to eat good food fast when I get in from work." As I browsed Sarah's blog this week, I read a post about the meals her family enjoyed ... many of them were home cooked. How did they go over? Well, she heard this from her son: "this weekend has been a fantastic food weekend". I'd say that the challenge was a total success!

Argentum Vulgaris normally avoids processed foods so this challenge wasn't difficult for him. There is one item, though ... one he's not willing to give up ... that may have more than 6 ingredients. Can you guess what it is? Find out HERE. By the way, AV ... I did a little checking on that item and I think you're safe (tried to leave you a comment but things weren't working that day).

Catherine already eats whole foods ... she cooks a lot of dried beans, makes her own salad dressing, and eats plain yogurt. But, for this challenge she started reading labels and found out that some of the foods in her kitchen have way more than 6 ingredients. Check out this POST to find out which foods she'll be making at home instead of buying them. By the way, a little twitter bird told me that Catherine made her first loaf of bread this week ... and that it was yummy. WhooHoo ... nicely done, Catherine!

Scarlet joined us. Here's her comment, " Good points. The 6 ingredient list is a great idea!"

I'd like to welcome Kevin ... so nice to "see" you, Kevin. He shared this, "I like this 6 or less. We could even up the ante by trying to do most as produce/ vegetables / fruit etc, but also attempting to keep even 50% of our grocery choices to 1-3 ingredients. Food manufacturers are beginning to take note and offer us good selection here (like my fantastic 'just peanuts' peanut butter - it tastes WAY better than the leading brand!!!)" I like the "up the ante" challenge, Kevin ... and I apologize for not getting it into the post last week. But ... while we post a challenge for a week, we really want the activity to become a lifestyle so ... EVERYONE ... let's try out Kevin's challenge, shall we? :-)

Mrs. Green wrote Could you take the six ingredient challenge? Basically she's mastered this challenge and primarily buys whole foods. She does keep a few convenience items around ... for those times when she needs a meal quickly. She makes an excellent point ... buying processed foods doesn't mean one can just ignore the ingredients. When she buys a convenience food, she reads the list to ensure that the ingredients are basically healthy. As she said about a fish pie, "No different to the ingredients I would use for a home made dish."

Valerie joined us and had this to say, "I love the idea of a six ingredient challenge! We are already very careful about no HFCS or partially hydrogenated oils (yuck!) but I know we still buy plenty of things with long lists of ingredients. :/ This week I'll focus more on short lists! Thanks for hosting this challenge."

Charlie shared this GRAPHIC on her blog ... I think it sums up this challenge nicely!

Alicia left an interesting comment, " This is an awesome idea! We tackled this one a few years ago. We only buy fresh or frozen veggies or use the ones from our own freezer.We don't eat dairy or meat and buy no processed food.I make our salad dressings from olive oil, balsamic vinegar, our own herb vinegar and dried herbs and spices. You have to watch because some commercial seasoning blends have a lot of junk added to them. We use coconut and almond milk to drink, cook with and make sauces. I just looked at the ingredients on the almond milk and there are 12 listed! Most are vitamins that have been added but I am going to check into making our own. I heard it was pretty easy. I hope so! Again this is such a good challenge because there are so many ingredients that are lurking in the foods we eat and we sure need to be aware of them." Wow, who knew that almond milk had so many ingredients. So here's a question for everyone ... how do you feel about the addition of vitamins in your food? Thanks, Alicia ... that got me thinking!

I loved CelloMom's comment, " Since we're gluten free (and have to make a lot of our food from scratch) and I am lazy, many of my staple recipes have very few ingredients. When we do buy ready made foods, I do go for the ones of which the ingredients are few and pronounceable to those without a degree in organic chemistry."

Aly whipped up a delicious meal for this challenge ... Slow Cooker Spinach And Macaroni Cheese. Mmm!

Lauren, aka Hobo Mama, stopped in. You might remember that she was the inspiration behind this challenge. Here's what she had to say, "Thanks so much for giving our Six Ingredient Challenge such a lovely shout-out! I've mentioned you in my post today. Eating this way has made such a difference in the quality of food we buy and prompted a mostly painless reduction in our processed food purchases." Check out this POST to see her lovely "shout out". Thanks, Lauren ... we hope you'll come by and join us again!

Lady JC embraced this challenge and learned a few things. She shares, " This is a great challenge and it was certainly food awareness week for me. I read two articles that made it even more important to try to follow the 6 ingredient rule. One was the NYTimes: The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food, which basically made me feel like a test subject and the next was about truly disgusting food additives. (carmine for example). Well, let's just say I'll be reading my food labels with a loupe from now on. In my household we've been pretty careful about ingredients thus far, but to fulfill the challenge I baked oatmeal cookies with organic raisins with less than 6 ingredients and all of those ingredients had less than 6 ingredients. The new motto is: If I crave a particular food, I can find a way of making a healthier version at home rather than buying a packaged item with potentially questionable ingredients. That way I know exactly what's in it and there is no packaging to recycle or dispose of. :) 2nd Article: " Great point about the packaging ... and love your new motto!

Lady JC also gave us an update on a previous challenge about organizing. In Tea Paradise she talks about one of her projects and how it turned out. Nicely done, JC!

From our challenge on food waste, Ann comes up with a very clever idea ... feeding fish. Check out this POST for one of her favorite fish ponds.

Our Twitter friends joined the conversation ... here's what they had to say:

From @pinkladyapril
- this is a good idea - I think most of the stuff I buy already fits in to this - but I'll be more aware this week!
- home made pineapple cake: flour, sugar, butter, eggs, pineapple, sultanas = 6 ingredients. It's gorgeous & lasts ages

From @bylittlenea
- Wohoo! Nu funkar det som det ska igen :-) Och idag är det dags för #CTWW .... (translation by Bing: Wohoo! Now it works like it should again:-) And now it's time for # CTWW ....)
- This weeks #CTWW: 6 ingredient challenge! Since we cook most of our food at home this one should be easy for us!
- It really does! It gives you control so you know exactly what you eat, and choose not to eat. Plus cooking is fun :)

From @lowimpactmama
- I can't tell how I glad I am to participate in #CTWW - it brightens up my midweek brilliantly!
- Making my 1st ever loaf of bread! All thanks to #CTWW and @smallftprints challenge to use 6 ingredients or less #happydays

From @plus2point4
- Preserving stuff today.Frozen sloes with be turned into jam.Then I'm making slow cooker citrus marmalade.And maybe orange gin

From @gwened02
- Malteasers are out but shortbread is ok
- Home made pie
- So things that pass the #ctww test: chicken dippers, cherry coke (!), pancakes.
- Things that fail: all types of shop bought bread, teacakes, brioche :(

The #CTWW Gang are those folks who share our challenges on twitter using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're a Twitter member, I highly recommend following them ... they have a lot of great things to say. Let's meet them:

@wrenmeyers @skipbang @ginavalley
@jamericanspice @mombloggerplr @lowimpactmama
@intricateknot1 @crazedkitchen @mamasmoney
@ban_monaka @mcmillendc @crazy4grnlivn
@phebeohyes @lizbethsgarden @givetreegifts
@plus2point4 @turningclockbac @bestrawesome
@momgamerwriter @biggreenpen @groovygreenlivi
@89linz @marjoriemcatee @almosttruth
@wencdj @theriverwanders @laalicia
@eclothguy @clubcontent @bylittlenea
@gwened02 @groovygrapevine @earthyurban
@beatepdx @rozdb @sleepybard
@nolamixn @timsimms @familyfocusblog
@ladyjcmuses @cleansediva @jadekerrion
@pinkladyapril @esideecodesign @lorcadamon
@greenforu @kellybakes @ithoughtiknewma
@nolafusion @a_kiasi @seachildmag
@ecoexpert1 @treesgroup @littlegreenblog
@spilldmilkshake @hobo_mama @theworld4realz

My Final Thoughts:

This challenge was meant to encourage whole foods which have a lighter environmental footprint than their processed counterparts. But there are other issues to consider as well. Processed foods are not healthy. More and more studies are emerging which show that ingredients, designed to improve shelf life or cheaply flavor a food, hurt us. We owe it to ourselves and our families to provide healthy, whole foods ... foods which are good for us and the planet.

Thanks, everyone! If you wrote an article, I have Stumbled, Tweeted, Facebooked and posted it on Google +. You can help spread the "green" word by using the share feature at the bottom of this post.

This Week's Challenge:

Let's do something different this week. How about a group review?
Here you go ...

This week review the body soap you are currently using. Please include such information as how the product performs, how it was packaged and the ingredients. Perhaps do a little research on the ingredients to determine if they are all environmentally and personally safe. You may include the name of the soap or not ... your choice. You may also post your review on any platform, including a comment here. The idea is for us to take an honest look at the soap we're using and share information so that we all learn.


If you'd like a little visibility for your post, come back here and add it to the linky directly following this challenge. Or, to make things even easier, add the following linky code to your post:

Link your reviews here:

This is going to be fun!

As always ...