As the Irish celebrate St.Patrick’s Day, the color green is in the air but while some might like to dye their beer (or beards) the color of grass, we think that there are other ways to be green, whether this means using renewable resources, being less wasteful or using organic and bio-dynamic ingredients.

The ‘green’ jargon can be confusing and also seems like it gets slapped onto just about everything and anything. Is it really that green to ship organic bananas from around the world? What does bio-dynamic even mean? How is a product certified organic?

Rather than being an absolute standard, sometimes being green can simply mean being aware of one’s decisions to consume a product rather than another and to make small decisions with the belief that these can have a great impact, on the planet and on our bodies.

Being green is a tricky balance and perfection isn’t the goal. Small mindful gestures can get us all a long way in making improvements to the world we live in, while putting better quality ingredients into our bodies. It doesn’t need to be rocket science, it’s just about mindfullness.

Following is a selection of products we stock because we think they make a difference to our general well-being and to the planet. Being green should be as simple as a big glass of cold water but if you’re planning on celebrating St.Patrick’s day with a tall pint of green beer, then that’s OK too!

GREEN_WITH_ENVY1 – The lifefactory Go Glass reusable bottles are bringing glass back into the world of drink bottles. Free of BPA and PVC, these bottles are easy to clean and ensure a clean pure taste free of the flavor transfer one gets with plastic and metal bottles. It’s better for you and tastes better. The bottles come in a wide range of great colored sleeves and various sizes, including a very cute baby bottle size.

2 – The Valira Aire Induction range is a new range of frypans by a Spanish manufacturer. The pans are ultra light and undeformable but most importantly, they use a non-stick PFOA free coating. PFOA (or Perfluorooctanoic acid) is an acid used to make Teflon. It is popular because of it’s non-stick property but requires great care and any scratches in the coating surface technically make the pan toxic. These days most good quality manufacturers use PFOA-free coatings so make sure you do too.

3 – Totally Bamboo Greenlite chopping boards are, you guess it, totally made of bamboo. Apart from being dishwasher safe, harder than maple and easy on knives, bamboo is commonly accepted as a fairly sustainable material. It grows extremely fast (much faster than conventional wood) and so is highly renewable and also absorbs large quantities of Co2 as it grows.

4 – Peaberry’s Gourmet Coffee offers a wide range of different brews, including a NASAA certified organic blend and a fairtrade blend which are created with a commitment to the environment and the working practices of developing countries. While some of the beans travel a long way, sourced from fields all over the world, all the roasting takes place right here in Newcastle. For the freshest beans, buy small quantities often. You can read more here about how producers earn the right to call their products organic, it’s no simple task!

5 – Since we’re talking about coffee, we might as well mention these Hookturn BYO Coffee Cups which are made to ressemble take-away coffee cups without the waste. They fit perfectly into cafe coffee machines, are more enjoyable to drink from and reduce the considerable amount of waste from discarded cardboard (or god forbid polystyrene) cups. They are made from food grade silicone which surprisingly contains to plastic or petro-chemical materials as silicone is in fact a natural resource. These guys are based in Melbourne but there is no reason we can’t borrow their coffee culture here in Newy.

6 – Natvia’s 100% natural sweetener makes a healthy alternative to the more common artificial sweeteners and sugar. It contains no aspartame, no saccharin, no sucralose and, well, no sugar! With 95% fewer calories than sugar, there is nothing to hesitate about.

7 – Honey is the natural sweetener (and natural antibacterial) which requires the least effort between the bees and the consumer. In fact, the less is done, the better. Imported from Italy, this organic honey is a dark, slightly creamed honey which has undergone minimal intervention, hand-harvested from the hives and filtered into the jars. That’s it and that’s how it should be.

8 – Mount Zero bio-dynamic falafel mix begs the question, ‘what does bio-dynamic mean?’ Bio-dynamic is the ultimate form of organic agriculture where producers adopt a holistic approach in which the relationship between soil, plants and animals is recognized as a self-sustaining system. You can read more here. More importantly, this mix is easy to cook with the addition of a couple of ‘wet’ ingredients and tastes delicious!

9 – The Epicurean chopping boards are a new kind of board made with multiple layers of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood fibers,compressed with a food-safe resin. The boards are lightweight, easy to care for, dishwasher safe and easy on knives. They come in a great range of shapes and sizes. You can see more here.

10 – Made from Australian Blue Swimmer Crabs responsibly fished to avoid depleting the species, The Stock Merchant Sustainable Crab Stock makes a delicious alternative to fish stock. Australia has recently developed some top notch sustainable fishing practices and products like these support those efforts. The Stock Merchant has a great range of stocks which include Free range chicken stock and grass fed beef stock. It’s the little things that matter.

11 – The Essential Ingredient offers a wide range of organic grains, from quinoa (red, white and black) to amaranth and spelt. These ancient grains are full of amazing properties and make a great alternative to rice, pasta or couscous in salads, risottos, soups etc… You can learn more about ancient grains by reading this essential guide to grains.

12 – A more recent addition to the TEI range, this Camargue Organic Red Rice is an unmilled slender grain rice from the wetlands of Southern France. It has a deliciously nutty and firm texture, an appealing red-ish hue and is ideal for slow-cooked rice dishes like pilaf, risotto or braises.

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