palm oil

Palm Oil Update

palm oil

After writing my post on the importance of reducing our consumption of palm oil I had a look through my cupboards and was shocked to see just how many foods had palm oil in them.  A bag of raisins?  Covered in the stuff.  Oatcakes?  Full of oil.  Crackers.  Naan breads. Garlic bread.  So much palm oil they’re practically dripping in the stuff.

But to be completely honest, trying to reduce our consumption of palm oil has been difficult.  Really difficult.  If not impossible.   I think it’s easier to start slow, and replace some things as you go, rather than trying to cut it all out completely.  I’m not sure if we’d eat and clean and wash otherwise.  It’s not helped when you email companies to ask if any/which of their products are palm oil free and weeks later you still haven’t had a response (hello Lush and Little Me Organics).

I have had some joy in replacing some products and foodstuffs with palm oil free stuff.  I think.  It’s such a minefield – with the 30 different names for palm oil I can’t be sure, so please don’t take my word for it that these products are indeed 100% palm oil free:

palm-oil-free-laundry-liquid

Palm Oil Free Food

Sunpat peanut butter (crunchy) – we’re big peanut butter fans.  I like it on apple as a snack.

Equal Exchange peanut butter – my daughter loves peanut butter but the Sunpat stuff we like is full of sugar and salt.  I was buying Whole Earth peanut butter before as it’s unsugared and unsalted, but it contains palm oil, so I found this one in Earthy Edinburgh, which is unsugared, unsalted and palm oil free.

Mackies Crisps (available at Sainsbury’s) – made with sunflower oil.

Walkers Crisps – made with sunflower oil

Divine Chocolate – too delicious for words

Weetabix

Ready Brek and generally any other plain oat cereal (i.e. no chocolate, raisins or other additions)

Dorset Cereals – all varieties (click on the link to read Dorest Cereal’s palm oil policy).

Palm Oil Free Toiletries

Sarakan Toothpaste –  has an unusual taste and texture that takes a bit of getting used to, but palm oil free, unlike other brands of natural toothpaste, like Kingfisher, which are made with palm oil.

Palm Oil Free Cleaning Products

Bio D cleaning products – palm oil free products that cover the whole spectrum of cleaning and washing from dishwashing liquid, bathroom cleaner, kitchen cleaner, laundry liquid, hand soap, dishwasher powder and more, at an affordable price – e.g. £4.55 for 1 litre of laundry liquid and £1.88 for washing up liquid.

Ecos Laundry Liquid –  does 50 loads of washing.  Bargain.  It also smells lovely.

Palm Oil Worst Offenders

I was genuinely shocked when I looked at a bag of raisins (a favourite snack in our house), to see it contained palm oil as a glazing agent.  Consequently my favourite cereal, Fruit and Fibre, is out, and to be honest I’m a little wary of anything with raisins in them.  I’ll replace this with porridge or Dorset Cereals when I’m feeling flush.

I’ll share any other food stuffs and products I come across, and if you have any you want to share then please do in the comments below.  I’ll also update you in a little while with how I’m getting on.

 

*main image from here

greenterest

Greenterest – A Gardening Based Social Network

greenterest

Are you social media savvy?  Green-fingered?  Or perhaps (like me!) not particularly green-fingered, but enthusiastic to grow your own?

You might be interested to hear that Sidekick Studios have recently created Greenterest (it’s working title) – a prototype social media platform for amateur gardeners.

The idea is to “connect amateur but enthusiastic urban gardeners with others, to learn and share in a specially-designed social network“, says Katie, one part of Sidekick Studios, ” Greenterest is made for people who already Instagram their growing efforts but aren’t sure where to turn to when they get stuck“.

gardening social network

Greenterest has a variety of functions:

  • You can create your own ‘plot’, a virtual space where you can upload snapshots of your garden/allotment; tell people about your space (whether it’s a windowbox of a few herbs, or acres of manicured gardens); tag your plants and connect with others.
  • You can plan your future plot.  If you like someone’s else’s photo, it gets added to your ‘trug’ – a stored collection of inspiration for your own garden, sortable by label.
  • Explore labels of different flowers, vegetables, soil types, growing conditions, etc, to find gardens similar to yours ; share advice and tips; and plan what will work in your plot.

social network for gardeners

This gardening based social network sounds really exciting, and really useful for garden or allotment planning and for some gardening inspiration.  At the moment, as it’s still a prototype, it contains just the bare minimum of functionality – you can join, upload photos and discover others.  However Katie says they have lots of ideas for other features that would make this a must-visit site for amateur gardeners.  The plan is that eventually you’ll be able to follow others and see their updates on your homepage, you can tag and follow certain plants or types of plant (veg, herbs flowers), there will be forums for questions and advice, and possibly even a marketplace to trade seeds and cuttings.

For me, I would love this to be fully developed as with my garden I always start out with such good intentions, but then I often fall at the first or second hurdle.  Last year it was slugs – they ate everything, and I mean everything.  I tried coffee grounds and egg shells then ran out of ideas/will to beat them.  This year, however, we have renewed vigour to get things going to recreate the success we had in 2010, where we grew a bumper crop of giant courgettes and carrots!  I think something like Greenterest would help keep up your enthusiasm – the social aspect of it would certainly encourage you to keep going, and being able to connect and talk to other gardeners and swap hints and tips would be really handy.

Update 02/06/14: sadly I’ve heard that Greenterest was shelved by it’s creators, which is such a shame!