How To Buy Organic On a Budget For Holiday Parties

Vegetables

Holiday parties are all about sharing food and love with friends and family. But serving a large group of people the healthy, organic food you give your family can get expensive. So, how do you treat everyone to a wholesome meal without compromising on nutrition or breaking the bank?

Consult the EWG’s “dirty dozen” list and buy these ingredients organic. The dirty dozen are non-organic fruits and veggies that are often contaminated by pesticides (you can download the EWG’s app for iPhone or Android and take it with you to the grocery store). For the “clean 15” – non-organic items typically found to contain less pesticides — feel free to buy whatever is on sale to make your meal. No matter what you bring home, always give produce a good washing. To remove residue and grime you can use Honest’s Fruit & Veggie Wash.

Go for bulk. Instead of buying a box of organic quinoa or a bag of organic flour, check out the deals you can get in the bulk section of the supermarket. It’s amazing how much you can save when all you have to do is scoop it yourself.

Veggie-fy your meals. Juli Novotny of PureMamas says buying organic meat and dairy can up your grocery bill, but when you stick with organic fruits, veggies, and grains, it’s actually pretty affordable. An organic kale salad for 6-7 adults will only set you back about $10, and a vegetarian lasagna can feed a group for about $15 (see Juli’s shopping lists below — prices are approximations).

Kale Salad
Serves 6-7

  • 2 heads of dino kale is (about $4.00)
  • 1 -2 cups of uncooked organic cooked brown rice ($1.00 – $1.50)
  • 4 ounces walnuts ($3)
  • Sea salt, lemon juice & olive oil dressing ($1.00)
  • 1 non-organic avocado ($1.00)

Total= $10

Vegetarian Lasagna
Serves 5-6 adults

  • Organic noodles ($1.50)
  • Organic tomato sauce made from scratch ($8)
  • Cheese ($5.00)
  • Spinach and zucchini ($1.00)

Total= $15.50

Shop farmers’ markets. This is a great way to buy organic produce at affordable prices. According to Christopher Gavigan in Healthy Child Healthy World: Creating a Cleaner, Greener and Safer Home, if you can’t buy all your food organic just going organic with the “dirty dozen” can reduce your family’s pesticide exposure by 90 percent. Bonus! Buying in-season organic produce is less expensive, so consider purchasing it over other items and highlight that ingredient in a stand-out appetizer or specialty organic cocktail.

An organic holiday party doesn’t  have to begin and end with the menu. Inform your guests of your get-together by sending electronic invitations (Evite and Paperless Post have tons of cute templates that’ll save on paper and stamps). Create some ambiance with solar-powered lanterns for outdoor parties and soy-based candles for indoor soirées. And make your job as the host easier with eco-friendly biocompostable or biodegradable bamboo plates in case your reusable plates aren’t an option.

Monday Meditation: Kennedy on Thanking People

kennedy_mm

Friday Finds: Tait Design Turbo Flyer

Friday Finds

Artisan Matthew Tait says, “I want to make awesome stuff and share it with my friends.” We couldn’t agree more! This  beautifully made Turbo Flyer will look great in the hands of every design lover, plane enthusiast, and kid at heart we know. The collectible’s nostalgic look and feel — not to mention the fact that Tait handcrafts the plane at his Michigan home and nearby TechShop Detroit — will leave our friends (and children) smiling.

Tait Design Co. Turbo Flyer

Image by Tait Design Co.

Meet Product Manager Irene Kong

Meet Honest Product Manager Irene Kong

What do you love most about working at Honest?

There are so many reasons why I love Honest! If I had to choose, it would definitely be the people. I’ve worked in a number of different roles and industries prior to coming to Honest, such as in manufacturing, R&D, and even banking. But I’ve never worked with such a group of intelligent and passionate people as I have here at Honest! Not only are they fun to work with, but I feel like I learn everyday from them. Everyone truly believes in the mission of making healthier, safer products for families, and there’s no better feeling than to walk into work knowing that I am surrounded by them.

What is your favorite product?

This isn’t even a fair question — seriously! I have to choose at least two. I use our body oil everyday. It has a great light scent and is absolutely perfect for dry skin. I also love our wipes. The wipes not only clean, but they are extremely moisturizing. I actually use them in place of lotion sometimes when my hands are feeling dry (I kid you not!).

What is your most memorable Honest moment?

I was one of those people who used antibacterial hand gel all the time before starting at Honest. On my first day of work, Christopher Gavigan handed me his book, Healthy Child, Healthy World. I started reading the book and came across the not-so-fun fact that there could be up to 275 active ingredients in traditional antibacterial products classified as pesticides. I was putting pesticides on my hands, thinking that I was “cleaning” them!! Needless to say, I found all my my antibacterial bottles (trust me, I had many) and threw them out immediately.

How do you embrace the Honest lifestyle at home?

I always felt like traditional cleaning products didn’t feel very safe, but I never did my research to confirm it. After starting at Honest, I learned about all the harmful chemicals that I could be exposing myself to. I threw out all the traditional cleaning items I’ve used for years, and replaced them with Honest cleaning products. Not only are they safe, but they work so well!

If you weren’t at work, what would you be doing?

I just moved to LA from NY less than a year ago, so I try to force myself to explore around the area. I am also trying to get back into outdoorsy adventures, such as 5K mud runs or another skydiving trip, like I’ve done back home. Surprisingly, I haven’t done any here with this amazing weather, but it’ll eventually happen! I’ve been trying to get into hiking, but it’s a little too slow and the city girl in me hasn’t learned to enjoy it quite yet.

I am a huge football and basketball fan, so on weekends you will find me glued to a TV in my NY Giants jersey yelling at the top of my lungs. (And, no, I do not want to talk about their season so far. It’s depressing!)

But, unfortunately, there are times when neither football or basketball are on. If that’s the case, I’ll do some leisure reading or catch up with my family. I am a huge science nerd, so naturally I am reading A Little History of Science by William Bynum.

On the weekends, I try my best to call my family back in NY as well. I am one of five kids (yes, you read that right) and very close to my parents and siblings. I am either on the phone with my mom listening to her latest shopping excursion, or Skyping with my 3-year-old nephew Maxwell about his new toys. The little man’s latest favorite “toy” is the Honest Kid’s Strawberry Toothpaste, which he carries around in his pocket (he can do no wrong in my eyes!).

Do The Honest Company Products Contain Allergens?

The Honest Company's Commitment to Making the Safest Products

Here at The Honest Company we regularly get questions about allergens. Do we use specific allergenic ingredients? What does our “Honestly free of most common allergens” claim mean? Do we conduct any product testing for allergies? With it being such a common area of community concern, we decided it was time to tackle it on our blog and try to clarify a few things.

Here’s the 411:

When we originally developed the formulas for our products, we were not only intent upon avoiding toxic ingredients, we also prioritized skin and respiratory allergens. In the world of body care and cleaning products, this meant avoiding things like VOCs, formaldehyde, phthalates, fragrances, and perfumes. To this day, whenever we consider an ingredient for our products, we assess studies regarding toxicity and allergenicity.

Soon after we launched, though, we learned that parents were also concerned about the presence of common food allergens in their children’s care products. We honestly didn’t consider this at first because you don’t eat cleaning and bath & body products. But we learned very quickly that people with severe food allergies can’t use ANY products containing those ingredients, and we’ve been adjusting our formulas ever since to eliminate common food allergens. According the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), these include milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts (such as almonds, cashews, walnuts), fish (such as bass, cod, flounder), shellfish (such as crab, lobster, shrimp), soy, and wheat. Although gluten isn’t on the FDA list and celiac disease isn’t technically an allergy, we include gluten on our “try to avoid” list because so many people have sensitivities and want gluten-free products.

Now, if you’re familiar with our products, you might be thinking: “Wait a minute…you still use some allergenic ingredients!” You’re right! We say our products are free of “most common allergens” because some do contain things like coconut oil and soy-derived ingredients. It’s really tough creating products that are not only natural and safe for the general population, but also don’t include any allergens (especially when the prevalence and different types of allergies keep increasing!)

Here’s a general overview of where we’re at in addressing this issue:

  • Ingredient Transparency: Because it’s virtually impossible to create products that are 100% allergen free, we label all of our products very clearly with detailed ingredients lists. Ingredient transparency helps empower families dealing with allergies.

  • RIPT Testing & Hypoallergenicity: We conduct “repeated insult patch testing” RIPT on all of our personal care products to determine the irritation and/or allergic contact sensitization potential and to ensure they are hypoallergenic. It’s important to understand, though, that “hypoallergenic” only means a product is less likely to cause a reaction. No one can truly claim a product is completely non-allergenic.

  • Gluten: All Honest products are gluten free. We’re currently exploring third-party, gluten-free certification so consumers can quickly and confidently identify that our products are safe for them. Even ingredients that often “hide” gluten (like hydrolyzed wheat protein and sodium lauryl oat amino acid) have been processed to remove gluten proteins and should not cause any problems. If you have any concerns whatsoever, we recommend you consult a physician.

  • Peanuts & Tree Nuts: While we do use tree nut oils in some of our products, we do NOT use peanut-derived ingredients. In addition, we do not process peanuts or peanut products at the facilities where our products are made.

We’re doing our best and appreciate hearing from customers about allergenic ingredients they need to avoid. It truly helps guide our decision making as we strive to create the safest, most accessible products possible.

And, if you ever have questions about whether or not we use a specific allergen, we’re happy to help you better understand our products. Empowering you with the information you need and offering peace of mind are core to our Honest mission!