Vegan Cauliflower Alfredo

vegan cauliflower alfredo

I’m not a huge fan of recipes, because I lack the patience involved in carefully measuring everything out. I prefer meals that are difficult to get wrong, and which can easily be upgraded with whatever veggies I have on hand.

Last night, with a head of broccoli and cauliflower in our fridge, I decided to make a dressed-up cauliflower alfredo.

My advice for anyone just entering the world of plant-based cooking is to not overthink it, and to learn how to recreate your favourite recipes without needing processed, pre-packaged, soy-based dairy and meat alternatives. (For the record, I sometimes eat those foods too, but am in favour of eating whole foods, often)

vegan cauliflower alfredo

For the sauce, I blended up:

  • 1 cauliflower, cut into large pieces, boiled for about 10 minutes
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • Salt, pepper, and olive oil to taste
  • 1 cup of the water used to boil the cauliflower

To dress it up, I baked the following at 350 degrees:

  • 1 head of broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped

I used spaghetti, which is what I had on hand. I also happened to have some of Doug McNish’s Pumpkin Seed Parmesan, which I added because I love the texture.

The whole meal takes just over 20 minutes to whip-up, and I made enough sauce for about 4 or 5 full dinners.

What are your favourite plant-based substitutes? I’m crazy about butternut squash mac and cheese, but after tonight I might be adding this alfredo pasta to the dinner rotation.

— Laura

vegan cauliflower alfredo

Episode 58: Is The IUD Right for Me?

nrm_1415742274-iud

I’m quite confident that some right-wing forces were conspiring against the creation and release of this episode (more on that in the episode itself), but we’ve been promising a discussion on the IUD since summer, and at Guinea Pigging Green we make good on our promises!

Today we’re talking about my experience getting an IUD. The good, the bad, and the mildly graphic.

You can listen to the episode using the player below, or you can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes (while you’re there, leave us a rating! It really helps us reach more ears).

Good information on getting an IUD is hard to come by, which is why it was important for me to put it “on the air” for anyone who, like me, had questions (and I had a lot of questions).

Some quick facts:

  • I got my IUD through the Bay Centre for Birth Control in Toronto. They were amazing.
  • My copper IUD (which you can use for up to 5 years) cost $50.
  • Insertion feels like acute period cramps, and for me it wasn’t nearly as bad as other accounts I’ve read online.

For everything else, you’re going to have to listen to our show! We referenced a few resources including:

Have any questions about the process of getting an IUD that we didn’t answer? Leave a note in the comments, or send us a tweet @GreenGuineaPigs and I’ll do my best to respond to anything you may ask!

Have a fab week,

— Laura

The IUD image above is not mine (you’re welcome), and is from the Cosmopolitan article 12 Things Every Woman Should Know About IUDs.

An Introduction to Green Deodorants

guinea pigging green deo

If you aren’t already dabbling with green deodorants, I urge you to give up your drugstore brand. Conventional antiperspirants and deodorants often contain ingredients that are harmful to you and to the planet, even if it’s a “natural” brand. This includes ingredients such as:

  • Parabens, a common ingredient in cosmetics which has been linked to breast cancer
  • Aluminum Compounds, used to plug sweat ducts to stop the flow of sweat, and are also linked to breast cancer
  • Triclosan, which kills both good and bad bacteria on your skin (and is listed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer [IARC] as a possible carcinogen)
  • Talc, which is also considered a carcinogen by the IARC
  • Fragrance, which can include a number of chemicals that are known to cause skin irritation and allergies.

If this is the first time you’re stepping away from conventional products, definitely check out the Environmental Working Group (EWG) ‘s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. It breaks down every product in it’s database by ingredient, giving it a ranking for how potentially harmful (or safe) it is for you and the planet. Treat the things you put on your skin the same way as you treat your food; Read the label and look for clean ingredients you trust.

 

Gateway Deodorants:

If you are more comfortable using a stick deodorant that you can find on the shelves in your local drugstore, you may have already seen brands like Tom’s and Jason. Each have received an EWG rating of 1 and 2 respectively, overall low risk, with a few moderate risk ingredients in each. They’re not perfect, but they’re definitely better than many of the things that you will find on the shelf.

To give you a reference point, a stick of Old Spice has an EWG rating of 3, for moderate hazard, with it’s most harmful ingredient being fragrance.

If you’re feeling adventurous, I recommend you try something further down on this list.

Spreadables

Right now, these two are my favourite deodorants. Both are sold in small tubs, and are applied using your finger tips.

Lately I’m using Crawford Street Lemon Deodorant, which has a low risk EWG rating of 1. I find that I still smell fresh after spending half a day teaching yoga in the hot room, and I like its consistency.

I also quite enjoyed a sample of Routine that I received through work, a deodorant made in Calgary. While they have not yet been rated by the EWG, a quick glance at the ingredient label shows that the company is dedicated to using recognizable oils and clay. I loved the subtle smell of this one and a little bit went a long way.

While I think I marginally preferred Routine over Crawford Street, the price tag definitely has me leaning towards the latter for my next purchase.

diy deodorant

DIY

A few months ago, Steph started making her own DIY deodorant and shared the recipe here. What better way to verify the ingredients in your cosmetics than to make it yourself! Not to mention, making your own deodorant from household products is the most economical option on this list.

The Wild Side

If you’re looking to go as close to natural as possible, I recommend checking out Lafe’s Crystal Deodorant Stick, made only from sea salt. I’m aware at how bizarre it sounds to use, but it’s as simple as wetting the sea salt stone, and rubbing it under your armpits. Some people swear by it. When I used it throughout university, I really liked it some seasons of of the year, but I found that during the winter I actually preferred to have something that was lightly scented.

 

Please tell me what you are using these days! I love discovering new products and putting them to the hot-yoga test.

— Laura