Jessica Harlan | pg.3

Greener Car Washing

Jessica Harlan by Jessica Harlan | August 18th, 2009 | No Comments
topic: Green Living

We just got back from camping in the redwoods and I am truly impressed by the amount of dirt we ended up bringing back with us — on our clothes, in our hair, between our 6-month old’s fingers and toes and especially on our car. While it was easy to jump in the shower and give Riley a bath, the car posed a dilemma. After a week of camping and a lot of driving, neither of us really wanted to go out there and wash the car.

Julia’s Legacy

Jessica Harlan by Jessica Harlan | August 4th, 2009 | No Comments
topic: Health & Wellness, Healthy Eating

Maybe it’s simply because I’m so entrenched in the food world, but I’ve been surprised by how prevalent the buzz has been for the film, Julie & Julia, which opens tomorrow. Between the Twitter feed, the Facebook updates and anticipatory articles, I feel almost like I’ve already seen the film (indeed, there have been so many clips released that I finally decided to stop watching them for fear that I’d have seen all the good parts before even getting to the theatre).

Healthy By Convenience

Jessica Harlan by Jessica Harlan | July 22nd, 2009 | No Comments
topic: Green Living

The other day I was frantically grocery shopping at 6pm, trying to find something nourishing and wholesome I could make for dinner that very night. My idea was stir-fried vegetables over brown rice, but I knew brown rice would take way too long to cook.

Dining Out with a Conscience

Jessica Harlan by Jessica Harlan | July 8th, 2009 | No Comments
topic: Green Living, Health & Wellness, Healthy Eating

One of the biggest things you can do to support and encourage responsibly raised food is to vote with your wallet. You may be patronizing CSAs and farmers’ markets for local produce, buying organic brands from your supermarket and studying nutrition labels for evils like high fructose corn syrup and artificial preservatives, but if you’re eating in restaurants blissfully ignorant of where the food on your plate comes from, then you might be undermining your efforts.

Food Inc.: A Scary Movie

Jessica Harlan by Jessica Harlan | June 10th, 2009 | No Comments
topic: Green Living

A new film from investigative journalists Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) and Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma), along with producer/director Robert Kenner, digs deep into the U.S. food industry. Along the way, they uncover some very uncomfortable truths about the agriculture and meat industries, as well as the government’s seeming unwillingness to protect the American public from their dangerous and unethical practices.

Ice Cream, the Eco-Friendly Way

Jessica Harlan by Jessica Harlan | May 27th, 2009 | 1 Comment
topic: Green Living

If there’s on thing I like to do this summer, it’s to eat copious amounts of ice cream. Maybe it’s a holdover from my youth, and remembered trips to Dairy Queen, not to mention the one or two times per summer that my dad hauled out the rock-salt ice cream maker and we cranked away for what seemed like hours to churn homemade ice cream. Years later, I still love DQ’s Peanut Buster Parfait, and my fridge is rarely without a cardboard tub of ice cream between the months of May and September.

Kitchen Shortcuts

Jessica Harlan by Jessica Harlan | May 15th, 2009 | No Comments
topic: Healthy Eating

When Dolly Pardon laments about working 9 to 5, I want to slug her. With a full-time freelance career, a toddler daughter, volunteer work and myriad chores associated with keeping my house and car in relatively working order, I feel like I am working nonstop.

CSA’s and Culinary Wizardry

Jessica Harlan by Jessica Harlan | May 13th, 2009 | No Comments
topic: Green Living, Healthy Eating

It was with much excitement and trepidation that I picked up my first CSA share this week. The pickup was at a local Quaker meeting house, and I thought I was in the wrong place until I spied the steady stream of people toting greens-filled tote bags. I headed in their direction to find a harried-looking farmer, dispensing bags of veggies from huge plastic tubs.

Sustainable Eating, Year-Round

Jessica Harlan by Jessica Harlan | April 21st, 2009 | No Comments
topic: Green Living, Healthy Eating

I like Earth Day because it puts the environment front and center, at least for one day. But every year when the organic cotton "Earth Day" T-shirts are put away, the festivals and celebrations are shut down and put away, and the lights are turned back on, I hope that the message of Earth Day will sustain us for a little longer.

For instance, at my daughter’s school, her teachers asked us to pack their lunches in waste-free, reusable containers, and to include whole grains, fruit and vegetables. The latter was easy enough, that’s typical of my daughter’s lunch every day (and, I’m pleased to see when I’m parent helper, is the norm in most of her classmates’ lunch boxes as well). But as I was packing Sadie’s lunch up, I realized that I’d gotten pretty wasteful about what I use to pack her lunch. I’ve long since lost the lids to many of my reusable plastic containers, so I often just cover the containers with plastic wrap. Worse, I’ve gotten into the habit of buying little individual containers of applesauce and yogurt, instead of buying a less-wasteful (and more economical) larger package and doling out servings into reusable containers. I found myself reaching automatically for a zip-top bag to use for Sadie’s veggies, but stopped myself and instead put them in a container that could come back home with her. And although I normally wrap her sippy cup of milk in a layer of aluminum foil to keep it cool, I instead just put an ice pack into her lunch bag.

Being more aware as I was packing her lunch was a good exercise, and I hope that I can keep it up through the end of the school year, maybe even digging through my cabinet to find the lids to all those containers, and retiring my plastic wrap and baggies in favor of containers that can be used again and again. Some people I know even rinse out and reuse plastic bags.

portant as reducing waste is being more mindful of how you eat, and how this impacts the food industry. I recently came across the Sustainable Table’s list of 10 Steps to Eating Sustainable, and was eager to see how many of these tips I already followed. Some of them are no-brainers, but many of the suggestions offer easy, minimal ways that you can incorporate more sustainable choices into your everyday eating habits. For instance, one suggestion is to cut out meat consumption one day a week (Americans already eat far more meat than the recommended daily allowance) to improve our health and help the environment. There’s even a campaign afoot, Meatless Mondays, that encourages people to refrain from eating meat every Monday. We rarely eat meat for breakfast and lunch, and typically two to three dinners each week are meatless, so I can check that tip off my list. The tips also suggest reducing consumption of bottled water. I took a "Water Footprint" test and was pleased to see that although I do occasionally buy bottles of water in a pinch, my water consumption is still below that of the average American.

My favorite tip is to eat as much as you can of your favorite foods when they’re in season, gorging on them, so that you’ve gotten your fill of these foods when they’re at their tastiest, and you won’t necessarily crave it when they’re out of season and no longer as delicious. I’ll certainly do that this summer with corn, tomatoes, watermelon and other fruits and vegetables that just aren’t nearly as good when they’re not in season. If my daughter is anything like me, she won’t mind seeing watermelon packed in her lunchbox day after day.

Hopefully by Earth Day next year, I’ll be able to reflect back on the year and realize that from the realizations I made this week, I’ll have changed my habits for good.

Experiment in Frugality

Jessica Harlan by Jessica Harlan | April 9th, 2009 | No Comments
topic: Green Living, Health & Wellness, Healthy Eating

It doesn’t look like the economy is improving any time soon, so let’s revisit the concept of healthy on a budget. Can it be done?