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All Businesses Should Recycle

Written by our very own Edmée Knight and Steve Carr from Boulder Valley Credit Union.

Recycling and composting are easy actions we can take now to reduce our negative impact on the planet and, more specifically, to help slow down climate change. Many of us assume Boulder is a leader when it comes to conserving resources. Unfortunately, we are not. As a city, according to 2013 City of Boulder data, we recycle 33 percent of our total waste. Other cities such as San Francisco, San Diego, Portland, Ore., and Madison, Wisc. far surpass us, recycling and composting between 60 and 80 percent. That is why we, Alfalfa’s Market and Boulder Valley Credit Union, are asking the Boulder City Council to pass a city ordinance to require all Boulder businesses to recycle and restaurants and grocery stores to compost.

We strongly believe adopting a mandatory commercial recycling and composting ordinance should be a priority for the City Council as they work on a new Zero Waste Strategic Plan. The aforementioned cities with high recycling and composting rates are successful thanks in large part to an ordinance requiring businesses to recycle.

When we look at the different sectors of Boulder’s community, according to recent city data, single-family homes are leading the way by recycling and composting close to 60 percent of their waste while businesses are only recycling and composting 28 percent of their waste. Sixty-five percent of Boulder’s waste stream is generated by businesses and industry. Businesses have been encouraged to voluntarily recycle for more than 25 years, yet the sector continues to lag behind.

At Alfalfa’s Market, we take recycling, composting and over all waste diversion seriously. Not only is it part of every employee training but it’s part of our core values. We believe it is our duty to take responsibility for the negative externalities that our business creates- waste from food production and packaging. On average, we divert 93 percent of our waste from the landfill and we’re proud of this as we know that landfills account for more than 20 percent of the greenhouse gases emitted every year.

Similarly, Boulder Valley Credit Union believes that sustainability is the right thing to do. Our “green” efforts are based upon programs designed to further our culture of environmental responsibility within the communities we serve. We recycle and use compostable paper products at all of our branches, we compost at our larger branches, and we have installed solar panels at our main branch. In addition, we collect grocery bags, electronics, and other hard-to-recycle materials for recycling, and all of our marketing materials are printed on post-consumer recycled paper with 100 percent soy or corn ink.

We know there are many Boulder businesses similar to ours that are doing their part. But unfortunately, there are many who are not. Passing a city-wide ordinance will level the playing field and create a new standardization for Boulder. The ordinance could require property owners to offer recycling and composting to their business tenants. It can also address land use codes that currently limit recycling and composting by considering exemptions for some businesses (e.g. allowing recycling and compost trash containers to occupy existing parking spaces when appropriate). Businesses can adjust their trash costs by switching to recycling and composting and as result substantially reduce their trash service frequency or volume. The new ordinance could be phased in over time to give businesses the opportunity to adapt to the new standard.

In addition to the environmental benefits, a mandatory commercial recycling and composting ordinance can help our local economy. Boulder businesses currently spend approximately $1 million every year to landfill an estimated 10,000 tons of cardboard, paper, bottles, and cans that could have been recycled. If those 10,000 tons were recycled instead, they would be worth $200,000 to local businesses and haulers. A recent city Zero Waste evaluation study concluded that a mandatory business recycling policy in Boulder would create between 15 and 33 new jobs.

We at Alfalfa’s Market and Boulder Valley Credit Union are doing our part to lighten our load on the environment and it’s time for the rest of Boulder businesses to step up and take responsibility too. If every business in Boulder recycled and all restaurants and grocery stores composted, behavior change would happen much faster and we’d have a great chance to reach our community goal of recycling and composting 85 percent by 2017.

Passing a new mandatory commercial recycling and composting ordinance is the right thing to do for our environment and our economy. We look to the Boulder City Council to make this a priority.

Edmee Knight is Shareholder Relations and Sustainability Manager at Alfalfa’s Market; Steve Carr is Public Relations and Education Specialist at Boulder Valley Credit Union.

 

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Recall of “Sweet 2 Eat” and “Sweet O” Stone Fruits

Wawona Packing has instituted a voluntary recall of specific lots of peaches (white and yellow) and nectarines (white and yellow) which were packed between July 1 and July 12th, 2014. The recall was initiated due to the discovery of a trace of Listeria found during routine testing of the facility and is following all guidelines set by the FDA for recalls. It is very important to note that there have been no reported illnesses linked to this recall and the most of the fruit has likely been consumed by the public.

It is likely that Alfalfa’s Market did receive one lot of the recalled Yellow Peaches and White Nectarines during the period in question, around the 7th of July. The label is called “Sweet 2 Eat” or “Sweet O” and that is the sticker on the fruit. We do not have any of these products in our store, currently. But if you might have any at home, or have fruit that doesn’t have a label that you are nervous about eating, please return it to either Alfalfas stores for a full refund. No receipt is necessary, but please bring any fruit in question in for return.

 

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How Well Do You Know Alfalfa’s?

Well, we’ve done it! We’ve opened our second store, and we’re thrilled to be a new part of the Louisville community. So to our new customers, and to our most loyal ones, we want to take a moment to introduce (or reintroduce) ourselves and ask “How well do you know Alfalfa’s Market?”

When I first started working at Alfalfa’s, I asked people here, “So, how are we different from the other stores in town? What makes Alfalfa’s so special?” My passionate co-workers quickly spouted off a long list. First, we’re locally owned and operated, so when you shop here you know that the money you spend is staying in the community. Because we’re local, we have a strong commitment to our local vendors and we proudly support up-and-coming businesses. In fact, we stock over one hundred local brands on our shelves every day. 

We also believe in the power of organic. Our produce is the highest quality that you’ll find in the area, and the department is always 98% organic or better. It’s so nice to be able to throw any veggie or fruit in my cart and know that it hasn’t been grown with pesticides.

In the rest of the store, Alfalfa’s takes the time to make sure the products we carry don’t have any unhealthy additives. Some of our main competitors will lead you to believe that their product selection is additive free, but that’s simply not the case. I trust our buyers to adhere to our strict standards, so my shopping experience is completely worry-free.

We invite you to come get to know Alfalfa’s (or, at least reacquaint yourself). See you in Boulder and Louisville!

– Bea Steiner, Marketing Director

 

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Hemp for a Healthy Future

Thomas Jefferson once said, “Hemp is of greatest importance to our nation.” Boy, did he have the long view. Today, the U.S. hemp industry has estimated annual retail sales of $500 million dollars. Yet the crop that was planted by the nation’s founding fathers, and is today a rising star in healthful living, is currently prohibited from being grown on U.S. farms.

Nutritious, sustainable and versatile, hemp is for a healthy future. Hemp is the distinct oilseed and fiber varieties of the plant species Cannabis sativa L. It is a tall, slender, fibrous plant that has been cultivated worldwide for over 10,000 years.

A nutrition powerhouse, hemp is also an environmentally sustainable solution for potentially thousands of products ranging from body care to plastics, paper, textiles, building materials and even ethanol. With a rapidly expanding market for hemp products, cultivating hemp is an untapped opportunity for American farmers.

Good for Our Bodies

Hemp seeds are a nearly perfect food source. High in digestible protein, healthy Omega essential fatty acids (EFAs) and naturally occurring minerals, hemp seeds are also free of gluten and have no known allergens.

Foods made from hemp seeds have become staples in co-ops and grocery stores across the country. The light, nutty flavor of hemp seeds make them a perfect raw ingredient for delicious breads, cereals, waffles, nut butters, protein powders, nutritional oils, non-dairy milk and even ice cream.

Hemp seeds have a perfectly balanced 1:3 ratio of naturally occurring Omega-3 and Omega-6 EFAs for our body. And unlike other seeds and nutritional oils, such as flax and fish oil, hemp seeds also contain Super Omega-3 Stearidonic Acid (SDA) and Super Omega-6 Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA).

Hemp’s oil’s Omega-3 EFAs and vitamin E content make it an ideal ingredient for body care products. The EFAs soothe and restore skin in salves and creams and give excellent emolliency and a smooth after-feel to lotions, lip balms, conditioners, shampoos and soaps.

Good for the Earth

Hemp is an environmentally sustainable solution for potentially thousands of products ranging from plastics, paper, textiles, building materials and even ethanol. A low-impact agricultural product, hemp is renewable resource that can be grown without pesticides or agricultural chemicals.

Hemp is gaining popularity among leading clothing designers for its look, feel and breathability. Hemp can replace cotton, a crop that accounts for nearly 25% of all pesticide use in the U.S. The strength of hemp fiber makes it a favorite for specialty paper. And paper pulp made from hemp hurds (the woody core fiber) is an ideal additive to strengthen recycled post-consumer waste (PCW) pulp, thus expanding PCW’s use.

Today, millions of cars built by Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Lotus, Mercedes Benz and BMW contain hemp composites for door panels. Energy-efficient homes are built with hemp concrete, and retail stores are using hemp fiberboard displays. Imagine a future where hemp is just another useful material for all kinds of earth-friendly products.

Good for our Farmers

Hemp is a part of America’s agricultural heritage. First gown in 1600′s at Jamestown, hemp is best suited to regions that also produce wheat and corn. Hemp can be grown organically and aids in weed suppression and soil building, making it a favored rotation crop.

The market for hemp products is an estimated $500 million dollars annually and growing. Even with Canada’s entry into hemp production in the late 1990′s, demand for hemp seeds and fiber is exceeding supply. U.S. farmers want an opportunity to grow this crop once again and share in the rewards of hemp’s soaring popularity.

What Hemp Isn’t

It is important to note that hemp has no drug value. Hemp seed contains little to no measurable amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in drug varieties of Cannabis. Using hemp products will not cause a false positive drug test. Learn more about the issue at www.TestPledge.com.

By HempHistoryWeek.com

 

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Estrogen Dominance and Your Health

Written by Elise Tyrie originally for Wish Garden Herbs.

Most of us don’t think about our hormones that often, but I assure you, they play a huge role in our lives! When we’re feeling great, chances are our hormones have something to do with it. If we’re feeling chronically unwell, our hormonal health could probably use some attention. This is particularly true for women, as the “dance” our hormones do is especially intricate. It’s not just about maintaining homeostasis, as it generally is for men; our bodies must prepare for pregnancy each month. This means at any given point in the month our estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone levels will fluctuate. Every step of the delicate dance our hormones do must be perfectly choreographed.

Having excess estrogen paired with insufficient progesterone (what experts call “estrogen dominance”) is a common form of hormonal imbalance for women. Chronic stress is one sure-fire way to get it. Exposure to xenoestrogens, or synthetic estrogens, which are found in a wide array of plastics (your water bottle!), toothpastes, deodorants, sunscreens, canned food linings, preservatives, and cosmetics, is another. Eating meat and dairy from conventionally raised (factory farmed) animals is another source of exposure. Some women have a genetic predisposition to hormonal imbalance, which may become more noticeable as they age. If this is you, don’t worry! It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy having healthy hormones, but you might need to pay a little more attention to it than others.

Symptoms of excess estrogen can include

    • heavy, painful and early periods
    • a light period followed by a heavy one
    • endometriosis, water retention, breast tenderness and cysts
    • trouble loosing weight
    • hair loss
    • fatigue
    • insomnia
    • brain fog
    • migraines
    • PMS
    • mood swings
    • irritability
    • anxiety
    • depression

Wow, that’s a long list of things no woman wants to experience! Aside from what’s listed above, balanced estrogen and progesterone levels will ensure that you have strong and flexible bones, smooth and tight skin, a good metabolism, and arteries that are free of debris.

Ok, so you’ve read through the list of symptoms and thought, “That’s me!” and you’re anxious for me to tell you how to get your hormones back in check. My first recommendation is to add 1,000mg of the herb Vitex, also known as Chasteberry, to your daily regimen. Vitex works by stimulating your pituitary gland to balance your hormones on its own. This strategy works particularly well for women who have not yet gone through menopause. Hang tight if you decide to try Vitex – it can take a couple of months before you really start seeing results, but trust me, you will. Secondly, eat more cruciferous vegetables and turmeric. Cruciferous veggies like broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower all contain DIM, a phytonutrient that promotes normal estrogen levels. Turmeric prevents estrogen from encouraging growth in cancer cells, which it tends to do when present in excessive amounts.

 

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Tread Lighter at Alfalfa’s!

by Edmée Knight

April is a special time for us here at Alfalfa’s.With both Earth Day and our Birthday (B’earthday, if you will) celebrations, we’re putting sustainability in the spotlight! Looking to lighten your environmental load? Here are a few things you can do to tread lighter when grocery shopping:

  1. Buy Bulk -

    One of the best things you can do for the environment and your wallet is to purchase your staple products such as rice, flour, sugar, grains oils and vinegars in bulk. Bulk allows you to purchase the amount of product you need without having to succumb to pre-packaged sizes. It also allows you to use your own containers – two things that not only help reduce packaging waste but food waste too.  It is estimated that if Americans purchased all their coffee in bulk for 1 year 240,000,000 lbs of foil packaging would be saved from the landfill. At Alfalfas we offer a variety of items in our bulk section and unlike most other stores in Boulder, 98% of the options are Organic, which leads to the next green tip:

  2. Shop Organic –

    By choosing to buy organic you are using your purchasing power to help the environment and your health too. Organically grown food helps the soil, water, air and helps to promote a healthier environment, here’s how: Organic agriculture reduces non-renewable energy use by decreasing agrochemical needs (these require high quantities of fossil fuels to produce). Organic agriculture mitigates the greenhouse effect of global warming through its ability to sequester carbon in the soil – in fact it’s estimated that one acre of organic farm land can sequester up to 700 tons of co2 annually. Organic agriculture greatly reduce the risks of groundwater pollution while helping to condition and stabilize soil and increase pollination and natural habitats. Need I say more? The only thing better than shopping Organic is shopping Local and Organic.

  3. Buy Local –

    It’s estimated that food in the United States travels an average of 1,500 miles to reach a grocery store. The average delivery truck delivers food once a week that means food is travelling 1,500 miles every week to get to grocery stores around the U.S.,  that’s 78,000 miles or 44.7 tons of CO2 annually, ick! Compare that to a local product in Alfalfa’s, let’s use our Boulder raised grass fed beef and lamb who are located 40 miles from Alfalfa’s. The meat travels 44.5 to be processes so it’s a total of 89.1 miles per trip or 4,633.2 mile a year or just 2.66 tons of C02 annually. So, by buying local you can reduce the carbon foot print of your food by at least 94%! The only thing better than buying your organic food locally is using a reusable bag when you shop.

  4. Think about the packaging –

    In the U.S. we love our shiny colorful packages, especially those made of plastic. But before that shiny colorful package of salty crunchy goodness lures you into the purchase stop and think about where that bag or wrapper will go after you’ve satiated your craving. Is it reusable or recyclable or will it end up in the landfill? At Alfalfa’s we provide a place for that shiny wrapper, or bag or sachet or small tube of Chap Stick to be recycled. We partner with Terracycle who takes our energy bar wrappers, baby food pouches, and beauty care products, chops them up, melts them down then creates park benches, plastic wood and other useful products out of it. This isn’t keeping your trash out of the landfill forever but it gives it a second life. 

With earth day just around the corner its good to think about the impact your purchasing habits have on the earth. There’s always room for improvement and at Alfalfa’s we’re doing our best to make it easier for you to tread a little lighter. 

 

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Be Heart-Healthy This February

February is the month for romance, but it’s also a time to think about keeping your heart in tiptop shape. After all, the heart pumps vital nutrients and oxygen throughout our bodies, and is arguably the most important organ in our system. Why not devote an entire month to reflect on its importance and how to keep it working well for the long haul?

Possibly the most important key to maintaining a healthy heart is exercise. Running, walking, swimming, hiking, or other aerobic activity keeps your body strong and your heart young! Coupled with exercise, it’s also extremely important to follow a healthy diet. For example, the American Heart Society recommends at least two servings of fish each week, to ensure you’re getting enough heart-healthy omega-3s.

Because fiber is known to significantly reduce cholesterol levels, it’s important to choose whole grains over starchy white stuff. Steaming, baking, or grilling meats is a great way to avoid uncessary fats; and you should especially focus on eating lean meats.

Finally, increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables– especially organic ones!— can lead to a healthy heart.

Here’s to staying young at heart this February and beyond!

 

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January Is Time to Cleanse!

by Helen Vernier and Mary Kloberdanz

In today’s world we absorb unwanted toxins, which can limit our body’s potential. Juicing floods our system with powerful nutrients and antioxidants that eliminate toxins by providing nutrition on a cellular level. Doing a juice cleanse is a great way to take control of your health by detoxifying your body and resetting your relationship with food. January is a perfect time to cleanse, as we focus on renewal and rejuvenation.

When embarking on a juice cleanse, it’s important to prepare yourself. In the days preceding your cleanse, you should be sure to drink eight glasses of water and to only eat fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and eggs. Once your juice cleanse starts, make sure to take good care of yourself. Use your juices as meal replacements, and try not to eat anything else, as it slows down the juice cleansing process. If you feel you must eat, stick to organic fruits and veggies or soaked nuts and seeds. And remember: continue to drink lots of water. Don’t over-exert yourself and make sure to take plenty of time to relax.

Lucky for you, fresh, healthy, 100% organic juices are available at our very own Alfalfa’s Market Juice Bar. We’ll juice everything for you and also blend up a nutrient-dense smoothie to help curb your appetite. We have various cleanse programs to pick from, ranging from the one to seven days in length. We’ll make your juice fresh and ready for you to pick up!

Alfalfa’s juice cleanse offers the variety needed to support the body each day, as it relies on just juice. “The Nutrifier” combines eight ingredients into one perfectly balanced juice. The kidney-supporting citrus helps to push out unwanted toxins by acting as a diuretic, while the ginger warms and stimulates the digestive system, and fruits and vegetables round out its overall nutritive properties. “The Mighty Cleanse” is packed with eight varieties of greens, all strong in flavor and bitterness, which help detoxify the liver and bring homeostasis to organ functions. “The Beet of Life” is rich in flavor and color! By nature, it is satiating for the stomach and the heart, because it promotes blood circulation and oxygenation. Finally, “The Night Cap” is truly satisfying. It helps to curb hunger at the end of a day of cleansing and is packed with protein, fiber, and raw sweetness. All of these drinks combine to help detoxify, relax, rejuvenate, energize, and renew the body. 

 

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Oatmeal Month

January happens to be Oatmeal Month, so why not add this amazing breakfast item to your daily routine? Here are just a few reasons:

Did you know that oats have been proven to reduce cholesterol levels, and therefore reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and hypertension? They also have special antioxidants called tocotriencols, which aid in the production of vitamin E.  Those who are looking to control blood sugar levels can eat oats, because they slow down digestion and prolong the absorption of carbohydrates into the bloodstream. This property of oats also makes them good for people who are trying to control their weight, because they feel fuller longer. The phytoestrogen compounds in oats have been linked to decreased risk of hormone-related diseases such as breast cancer. In addition to all these benefits, oats are also rich in carbohydrates, making them perfect for runners and other athletes. For those who have a gluten sensitivity, oatmeal is a perfect part of a balanced diet, because oatmeal is naturally gluten-free. Finally, be sure to make your oatmeal the old-fashioned way and forego the instant kind, as these kinds usually have added sodium and sugar.

 With all these amazing benefits, it’s hard to pass up a nice warm bowl of oatmeal on a winter morning!

 

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Book Review: The Cookiepedia by Stacy Adimando

Reviewed by Edmée Knight, Corporate Relations and Sustainability Manager

Because holidays are full of baking treats for family and friends, I thought it was time to step up my cookie baking skills. So I grabbed a copy of The Cookiepedia by Stacy Adimando and set to work in the kitchen. For the first time in my life I made cookies that were three-dimensional and not flat semblances of what cookies should be. For the first time, too, I learned about the basic chemistry behind baking – i.e. use butter that is warmed by sitting out on the counter all day and not nuked to boiling in the microwave. I learned this and many more tips in this colorful, organized, and beautifully designed cookie book. After reading The Cookiepedia, you’ll be the semi-professional hobby baker you always wanted to be!

In an attempt to branch out from making my usual aforementioned two-dimensional chocolate chip cookies, I chose to bake Stacy’s Pistachio cookies.  Since her cookie recipes are organized into genres such as: fruity, spicy, fancy, nutty and seedy etc. it was easy for me to choose; I’m a nutty seedy kind of gal. The recipe was very straightforward and included simple ingredients most of which I could easily find in the bulk section of Alfalfa’s, saving me money and time.  Since I followed all of the directions and learned some basic baking chemistry in the “ABC’s of cookie baking” section, I baked cookies that came out fluffy, chewy (how I like them), even and craggly – yes that is a real adjective used in the book. Although the pistachios turned the dough a slight greenish hue and many wondered what was really in them, these cookies won most hearts over – this is saying a lot considering I work in an office filled with Boulder “foodies.”

Any of Stacey’s recipes can easily be made 100% organic or gluten free by simply using all organic ingredients or Pamela’s Gluten Free flour. So, if you are looking for a beautiful and whimsical gift for your favorite baker or cookie monster, check out Stacy Adimando’s Cookiepedia!

 

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