Safer Sunscreen

☀️ Summer is here and we’re outside more and using sunscreen more and on more of our bodies. But how do you know your sunscreen is safe? Does the label say dermatologist recommended? Did you find it at Whole Foods? Unfortunately those alone aren’t enough.

The Environmental Working Group recommends a mineral sunscreen that provides a physical barrier between you and the sun. But sometimes those even have junk in them.

Have you used this Sunscreen from Neutrogena?

NO THANK YOU:

AVOBENZONE – chemical sunscreen; not reef safe; concerns of damage to the DNA with exposure to UVA light

OCTOCRYLENE – chemical sunscreen; not reef safe

PEG-100 STEARATE – known to be contaminated with carcinogens

DISODIUM EDTA – linked to organ toxicity

FRAGRANCE – a blanket term for many ingredients that do not have to be disclosed because it is proprietary

Have you used this Sunscreen from Aveeno?

NO THANK YOU:

AVOBENZONE, OCTOCRYLENE, FRAGRANCE, PEG-100 STEARATE, and DISODIUM EDTA for the same reasons listed above.

OXYBENZONE – linked to reproductive hormone disruption like degraded sperm quality and endometriosis

Have you tried the baby line from Neutrogena?

This labeling is a good example of Green Washing. It uses words like “pure”, “eczema association accepted”, and “#1 dermatologist recommended”. It sounds good and it is certainly better – it is a zinc based sunscreen (mineral sunscreen). This is a recent reformulation. Here is what the EWG used to rate this sunscreen as:

This sunscreen from Alba Botanicals must be better, right?

NO THANK YOU:

AVOBENZONE and OCTOCRYLENE for the same reasons listed above.

HOMOSALATE – possible endocrine disruptor; linked to organ toxicity; sunlight breaks down this chemical into toxic byproducts.

CITRUS PEEL OIL – sensitizes the skin to UV rays (which is why I do not recommend citrus essential oils applied topically to skin that will be getting sun exposure).

**All information about ingredients obtained from the EWG’s app Healthy Living.

I hope that learning this doesn’t make you feel fearful. My intention is to empower you with knowledge, because once you know better, you can make the empowered decision do better.

And, luckily, Beautycounter’s Countersun has made on the EWG’s recommended sunscreen list! It is my go-to sunscreen because it is 1) effective, 2) safe for me, and 3) safe for the planet.

What’s your go-to sunscreen?

The Not-So-Sweet-Truth about Chocolate

People ask why I don’t eat the candy in the office candy dishes and they are often surprised when I tell them it’s NOT because of the sugar. The number one reason I walk past the office candy dish is because I can’t support modern slavery in the cocoa industry. Probably not what you were expecting, right?

To continue to be a buzz kill, coffee, bananas, and chocolate are the biggest source of modern day slavery in the food industry.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s go back to chocolate. I believe I first learned about the modern day slavery involved in cocoa production in 2016 when I went to talk from Diana Rogers at Paleo (F)x . The more I dug into the topic, the more disgusted and angry I felt. While I’m enjoying a cheap treat, thousands of people are enslaved, many of them children. Talk about blood diamonds, well chocolate is no different.

As a result, I stopped eating chocolate that doesn’t have a fair trade label and we opted out of Halloween. I couldn’t in good faith hand out chocolate to children that had been made by enslaved children. My conscious wouldn’t let me. You may be thinking, that’s easy for you, you don’t have kids. And true, it was an easier decision for me. But we can all make better decisions.

Here are my thoughts on other options for still enjoying Halloween:

🎃 Pass out candy that is fair trade (see the brands pictured below).

👻 Have an old fashioned Halloween party, costume contest, candy apples, the whole nine yards.

🎃 Create a new tradition with your kids: cookie baking, pumpkin decorating, watching Halloween movies, etc.

👻 Spread the word. Share this post, talk to your friends about this, the more people that are putting pressure on Nestle, Mars, and Hershey’s the faster we’ll see systemic change.

🎃 Be the change.

Rainforest Alliance

“The Rainforest Alliance certification seal means that the product (or a specified ingredient) was produced by farmers, foresters, and/or companies working together to create a world where people and nature thrive in harmony.” Rainforest Alliance Website

Fair Trade Certified

“We are building an innovative model of responsible business, conscious consumerism, and shared value to eliminate poverty and enable sustainable development for farmers, workers, their families, and their communities around the world.” Fair Trade Certified Website

Fair for Life

“A world where trade, through ethical, fair and respectful partnerships, is a driving force for positive and sustainable change benefiting people and their environment.
Producers and workers who are at a particular disadvantage – no matter the country where they work – are actors of their own development, together deciding on meaningful projects adapted to their local situation.” Fair for Life website

Direct Trade

“Direct Trade is an ethical, responsible and social connection between farmers and manufacturing companies without any intermediaries, in a way that the created value is shared between both parties equally.  Hence, both parties work in a symbiotic relationship, outputting labor and effort in order to maximize the value of the raw materials and finished goods, and become dependent on each other’s success.” Direct Trade website

Grain-Free Stuffed Peppers

I’ve been making a version of stuffed peppers for many years now. I’ve played with the recipe and finally found one where, Jim and I both say, “Nailed it!”. Stuffed peppers just say fall and winter comfort to me, know what I mean? This batch will also feed a small army, so have some friends over or plan for leftovers!

If you prefer not to eat dairy, it can easily be made without cheese. You can also use whichever type of ground meat that you have on hand.

Grain-Free Stuffed Peppers

cleaneatingwithkatie
There's something about stuffed peppers that just says warm comfort fall food to me. This recipe is great for family Sunday Night Dinners or just a weeknight meal, but beware – there'll be leftovers!
Cook Time 50 mins
Course casserole, Main Course
Cuisine American

Ingredients
  

  • 5 bell peppers halved, seeds & stem removed
  • 2 tbsp cooking fat
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 4 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 package cauliflower rice fresh or frozen
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 32 oz Otamot Foods Tomato sauce
  • 2 lbs ground bison or any ground meat
  • 2 tbsp Italian spice blend
  • 8 oz mozzarella cheese, grated

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Add the bell peppers to a 13 x 9 in. baking dish, facing up. When the oven has preheated, add the baking dish to the oven for 20 minutes. 
  • You may need to cook the meat in one pan and the veggies in another pan, unless you have a very large saute pan. Add 1 tbsp. of the cooking fat to a large saute pan over med.-high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes until fragrant. Add in celery, carrots, and cauliflower rice. Stir and continue to cooking over med.-high heat. Add sea salt and pepper. Add in one jar of Otamot Tomato Sauce. Stir and cook for 20 minutes until veggies are cooked through. 
  • While the veggies are cooking, add the remaining cooking fat to a separate skillet on med.-high heat. Add in the ground bison and season with Italian seasoning. Continue cooking for about 10 minutes. Add in the second jar of Otamot tomato sauce, stir, and cook until meat is done.   
  • Combine the ingredients from both pans in the larger skillet or in a large bowl. Stir to combine. 
  • Remove the par-baked bell peppers from the oven. Using caution with the hot peppers. Add stuffing to each pepper – they will likely be overflowing – that's ok. Top with grated mozzarella cheese. 
  • Place the baking dish in the oven and cook for 15 minutes until cheese is melted. Serve and enjoy!  
Keyword casserole, gluten-free, gluten-free dinner, grain-free, grain-free dinner, main dish, stuffed peppers

Paleo Chicken Adobo

This is quite possibly the most delicious recipe I’ve ever created. Inspired by a Manila Chicken Adobo recipe I had, I *needed* to recreate this recipe to be able to eat this delicious meal again and again. It isn’t a quick meal, but it is worth it. Make enough for leftovers, you’ll thank me later!

Paleo Chicken Adobo

cleaneatingwithkatie
This recipe packs a flavor punch and will not disappoint! This will be a recipe you come back to again and again.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Filipino
Servings 6 people

Equipment

  • Cuisinart Food Processor

Ingredients
  

  • 2 large white sweet potatoes
  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 large onion diced
  • ¼ cup coconut aminos
  • ¼ cup coconut vinegar
  • ½ cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp ground pepper
  • ½ tsp chili flakes more or less depending on preference
  • 6 tbsp grass-fed butter
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chiffonade optional garnish
  • black sesame seeds optional garnish

Lemongrass Paste

  • 2 stalks lemongrass, cut into 2 in pieces dry outer leaves removed
  • 3 in. piece ginger peeled
  • 4 garlic cloves peeled
  • cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tsp dried turmeric
  • ½ tsp sea salt

Instructions
 

Lemongrass Paste

  • To make the lemongrass paste, add all of the ingredients to a food processor and pulse for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and pulse again. Scrape down the sides again and pulse again. It should have a pretty smooth consistency and no longer have a woody texture. Set aside. (This can be made up to 3-4 days ahead of time and stored in a jar.)

Recipe

  • Add the sweet potatoes to a large pot and add enough water to cover the sweet potatoes. Add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. The potatoes are done when easily pierced with a knife, about 15-20 minutes.
  • While the potatoes are cooking, rinse the chicken thighs and pat dry. Then season on both sides with turmeric, sea salt, and pepper.
  • Drain potatoes and return to the pot. Add 4 tbsp. of butter and mash with a potato masher. Set aside.
  • Add 1 Tbsp. of the butter to a medium pot and heat over medium high heat. Once the butter is hot, add the onions. Stir onions and cook until translucent. Remove the onions from pan and set aside.
  • Add the remaining 1 Tbsp. of the butter back to the medium pot on medium-high heat and once the butter is hot, add the chicken. Brown the chicken on both sides. Continue cooking and add the coconut milk, coconut aminos, and coconut vinegar and mix. Then add the onions, the chili flakes, and 5 Tbsp. of the lemongrass paste. Continue cooking for about 10 minutes on medium heat.
  • To serve, place a large scoop of sweet potato mash in a bowl. Then top with chicken and lemongrass gravy mixture and garnish with cilantro and black sesame seeds. Enjoy!
Keyword main dish, paleo, paleo chicken adobo

Kale Chips

Is it just me or are those bunches of Kale enormous?? Sometimes they can be more that I know what to do with. Besides juice kale, making kale chips is the easiest way that I know of to use up the Kale and you get a great snack.

Kale Chips

cleaneatingwithkatie
Kale chips are a great way to use up a big bunch of kale!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 1 bunch kale
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic sea salt

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Destem the kale leaves and coarsely chop the leaves. Add them to a bowl.
  • Drizzle olive oil and massage the olive oil into the kale leaves.
  • Spread the kale leaves on a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with garlic sea salt.
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until crisp but not burnt. Watch closely towards the end to avoid burning. You may need to use a spatula to rotate the kale leaves on the sheet as they are cooking.
Keyword kale chips, snack

Paleo Plantain Nachos

Nachos have been my favorite food since I was about 12. They always seemed like a perfect food. Fat, protein, carbohydrates – they have it all. That is until I learned about how bad vegetable oils are. Not sure what I’m talking about? My post on fats should help to clear things up. Anywho, I got real ambitious one day and decided to make plantain nachos from scratch. If you aren’t up for that, there are some “clean” plantain chips available out there. You can also use Siete chips if you want to keep it paleo.

Paleo Plantain Nachos

cleaneatingwithkatie
Nachos are an ultimate comfort food for me, but if I eat them now, I feel very uncomfortable. So having a clean version of Nachos comes in super handy!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Tex-Mex
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

Plantains

  • 2 green plantains
  • ¼ cup cooking fat coconut oil, ghee, or bacon fat
  • 2 tsp sea salt

Guacamole

  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 tsp garlic sea salt
  • ½ tsp chili powder

Remaining Nacho Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground meat beef, turkey, chorizo, chicken, or pork
  • 1 tbsp cooking fat
  • 2 tbsp taco seasoning
  • 1 cup shredded cabbage
  • 1 bunch radishes thinly sliced
  • ½ cup cilantro, chiffonade
  • Cotija cheese optional (not pictured)

Instructions
 

Plantains

  • Peel and thinly slice the plantains about one-quarter inch thick.
  • Add the cooking fat to a large saute pan deep enough to fry the plantains. Heat fat over med-high heat.
  • Add plantains in a single layer and cook in batches. Cook for 3-5 minutes per side until golden brown. Flip using tongs and brown on the other side.
  • As you remove the plantains, place them on a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with a wee bit of sea salt.

Guacamole

  • Add avocado flesh to a bowl along with lime juice and spices. Add a couple of pinches of the cilantro that is being used for garnish. Mash until you achieve the desired consistency. Set aside.

Remaining Nacho Directions:

  • Add the cooking fat to a large skillet and add the meat and begin to brown over med-high heat. Add taco seasoning and continue cooking.
  • On each plate, layer ¼ of the following ingredients: plantains, meat, cabbage, guacamole, cilantro, and radishes. If using Cotija, crumble on top and serve.
Keyword nachos, paleo, paleo plantain nachos, paleo tex-mex, plantain nachos

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are a great option if you’re missing popcorn or chips, OR if you’re like me, and you just love them. I save all winter squash seeds and follow the same recipe (tweaked only based on quantity of seeds). To get more nutrition from the seeds AND to make easier to digest, soak them overnight in filtered water.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

cleaneatingwithkatie
Pumpkin seeds are the unsung hero of pumpkin season. Pumpkin spice everything gets all the attention, but I'm a major fan of pumpkin seeds.
Cook Time 25 mins
Course Snack
Cuisine American

Ingredients
  

  • 2-4 tbsp grass-fed butter
  • pumpkin seeds winter squash seeds work too
  • sea salt
  • garlic powder
  • ground pepper

Instructions
 

  • Soak seeds in filtered water overnight. Drain and clean
  • Preheat oven to 350° F. On a rimmed baking sheet, add seeds, several pats of butter (use your judgement here on butter to seed ratio, and sprinkle with sea salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  • Since I don't melt the butter beforehand, be sure to mix seeds to make sure that all the seeds are coated with butter or they will burn.
  • Cook for 15-25 minutes. Here's how I really judge them: when the seeds have absorbed the butter and are golden brown. Enjoy!!
Keyword pumpkin seeds, snack, winter squash

Paleo Spaghetti Casserole

Who doesn’t love spaghetti? And casserole? I’m in. When going paleo, grain free, or just avoiding processed foods, sometimes spaghetti and casseroles are off limits, but not this one! There are plenty of options for the base – zoodles (zucchini noodles), sweet potato “noodles”, mashed sweet potatoes, or as the recipe calls for, mashed potatoes. Choose your own adventure here friends!

Paleo Spaghetti Casserole

cleaneatingwithkatie
Spaghetti and Casserole is comfort food times two! We substitute noodles for either sweet potatoes or white potatoes in this recipe.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Course casserole, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 people

Ingredients
  

  • 2 lbs grass-fed ground beef or other ground meat
  • 2 large yukon gold potatoes cut into 1-in. half moons
  • 32 oz tomato sauce Rao's or Otamot are my favorite
  • tbsp Italian spice blend
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 med. onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp basil chiffonade
  • 1 tbsp grass-fed butter
  • 2 tbsp cooking fat ghee, butter, etc.
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • shaved parmesan cheese optional garnish

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350º F.
  • Add the potatoes to a large pot and add enough water to cover the potatoes. Add a pinch of sea salt and bring to a boil. The potatoes are done when easily pierced with a knife, about 15-20 minutes.
  • While the potatoes are cooking, add 1 tbsp. of the cooking fat to a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Once the fat is hot, add the ground meat. Sprinkle with a small pinch of sea salt and the Italian spice blend. Use a spatula to stir and break up meat while browning.
  • In a medium skillet, add the remaining 1 tbsp. of cooking fat to the pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until translucent. Turn the heat down to medium and add the spinach and cook until wilted. Remove from heat.
  • When the meat is cooked through, add the jar of tomato sauce and mix to combine.
  • When the potatoes are done, drain and mash with a potato masher. Add a pinch of sea salt and a tbsp. of butter.
  • In a large casserole pan, layer the mashed potatoes, the spinach/onion/garlic mix, and then meat sauce mixture. Put in the oven and cook for 15 minutes.
  • Before serving, garnish with basil and parmesan cheese and serve.
Keyword casserole, gluten-free, grain-free, main dish, paleo, spaghetti casserole

Blistered Shishito Peppers

Shishito peppers (not hot) and Padron peppers (a few a hot) are one of my favorite summer veggies. I’ve only recently started to see them in grocery stores, before that I could only get them at the farmers market or at restaurants. One of the reasons that I love them is that you can only get them for a couple of months (so don’t wait!) and the other reason I love them is that they a quick to prep and quick to cook.

Blistered Shishito Peppers

cleaneatingwithkatie
You can use either Shishitos or Padrons depending if you can handle the heat! These make a great side dish, but also like making these as an appetizer.
Prep Time 10 mins
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese grated
  • 1 tbsp grass-fed ghee
  • 3 pints shishito peppers
  • pinch sea salt

Instructions
 

  • Rise, dry, and remove dried flower from shishitos (if any).
  • Add ghee to large skillet over med-high heat. Add shishitos and stir pan frequently to evenly blister the peppers. Add a pinch of sea salt.
  • Remove from pan and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve. Best eaten immediately.
Keyword appetizer, paleo side dish, shishito peppers, side dish

Clean Sport Drink

It’s probably no secret that sports drinks are often filled with junk. They usually have lots of ingredients, tons of sugar, questionable ingredients, and artificial colors and flavors. It’s a hard pass for me. Before my most recent surgery, they suggested I drink gatorade (hard no). I asked if instead I could drink some coconut water and if I could bring coconut water to the hospital for my post-op recovery and the nurse loved that I idea.

This recipe is by no means complex, but you can also just drink mineral water, coconut water, maple water, or birch water, all of which have electrolytes to help replenish after a workout. But here you have my Clean Sports Drink that was wildly popular at several local corporate health fairs.

Clean Sports Drink

cleaneatingwithkatie
This is a simple recipe with easy to gather ingredients that will help with workout recovery without all the junk of typical drinks.
Prep Time 5 mins
Course Drinks
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 32 oz coconut water
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • pinch himalayan sea salt
  • ice

Instructions
 

  • Mix all ingredients in a large pitcher and add ice before serving (if desired). Taste taste and determine if you need more lemon, more salt, or more ample syrup.

Notes:

  • You can substitute lime, orange, or grapefruit for the lemon juice. Mineral water, birch water, or maple water can be swapped for the coconut water. I like Harmless Harvest coconut water the best. You can use honey instead of the maple syrup. For an anti-inflammatory effect, add dried or fresh turmeric.
Keyword clean sports drink, drinks, sports drink