For all those that haven’t heard or attended, their is this underground party scene full of rainbow colors and aromas of fresh herb filling the air! Haha, just kidding, well not really. It’s a salad in a jar party, where yes rainbow colored produce is overflowing on the tables and fresh herbs, nut’s, seed, and a ton of other good-for-you ingredients are all around.
A Salad In A Jar Party!
I got the pleasure to attend one of these awesome parties and I thought it was such a great way to bring like minds together, support each other in health, as well as share different salad combinations and salad dressing recipes, plus so much more. The best part is that you leave with prepared salads for later in the week! This is a BIG plus for me!
Here’s how it works…
Whether you are planning a party or attending one, this post is here to help. These Salad In A Jar Parties are great for your next girls night, neighborhood gathering, mommy lunch-ins, really whatever you want. It’s a fun group activity and a great conversation starter because everyone packs their jars so differently.
As an attendee, it’s pretty easy, just bring your own set of mason jars and an ingredient that’s already cleaned, chopped and ready to use and share with the group. It’s that easy! The hardest part is making your Salad In A Jar but even that’s pretty simple. Here are some tips to keep in mind.
How to Make A Salad In A Jar
01. Dressing. The first layer when building your salad in a jar is always the dressing. I like to use between 2-4 tablespoons of dressing per jar.
02. Hearty Bits. The next layer are hard chopped vegetables or beans. (Example: black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, carrots, cucumbers, celery, beets, fennel etc.)
03. Lighter Bits. The next layer is the lighter ingredients like fruits and soft veggies. (Example: tomatoes, strawberries, corn, peas, bell peppers, mandarines, mushrooms etc.)
04. Other Toppings. This layer is for grains, nuts, seed, dried fruit and fresh herb. (Examples: quinoa, mullet, couscous, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sliced almonds, cranberries, fresh basil, mint etc.)
05. Greens. The last layer is of course the greens. (Examples: romaine, kale, spring mix, arugula, spinach, chard etc.)
Salad In A Jar Q & A
These are some typical questions you might have if your new to the whole Salad In A Jar idea. Feel free to leave any other question in the comments below.
Q. How long do they last in the refrigerator?
To be honest you will probably eat them faster than you think. But they last for several days in the fridge, up to five days or so. If you’re making salads with soft ingredients or perishable proteins, like avocados, hard-boiled eggs, or cooked meats, I would wait to add those ingredients until the day you plan to eat the salad.
Q. Do the greens in the salad jar get soggy?
I have never had soggy lettuce in my salad jars. The key to non-soggy lettuce is to layer ingredients correctly and keep the dressing and lettuce away from each other. But even the times when my jar tips over in my bag and the dressing sneaks up to the lettuce everything is still fine.
Q. What’s the best jar to use?
I use a wide mouth quart size mason jar for my mason jar salads. These make for a lot of salad so if you wanted to use a smaller size you certainly could but the more veggies the better. Whatever size you use get, I highly recommend getting a wide mouth jar. It makes it much easier to fill up and dump out the ingredients. No matter what size you use always follow the same steps for layering.
Q. How does everything get mixed together?
They idea is that you can eat it right out of the jar but everything gets pretty compacted, so some vigorous shaking may be needed! If that doesn’t work then when you’re ready to eat your salad, just unscrew the cap and shake it into a bowl. Once the salad is in the bowl, you can toss it some more with your fork to make sure everything is evenly coated.
Q. How do I host my own party?
Yay! It’s party time. If your wanting to host A Salad In A Jar Party, here are some simple suggestions. It just takes a little bit of planning but believe me its worth it and everyone leaves happy and healthier :)
How To Host A Salad In A Jar Party
01. Make a flyer. Include a list of ingredient you will need and how many jars each person should bring.
02. Get a head count. Have people sign up for an ingredient and be sure to specify how much of it to bring. For each quart size mason jar, you will need about 2 cups of toppings plus 2 cups of salad greens. The party I attended did 5 jars per person which came out to lunch for the whole week, seriously awesome! We needed 10 cups of toppings per person plus 10 cups of salad greens per person. We had over 20 people, so the challenge was to make sure there was enough toppings and enough variety for everyone. (Tip: The dressing is the first thing to go.)
03. Send out reminders. It’s the worst thing if someone cancels last minute or forgets to bring their ingredients, then your rushing to the store trying to fill that spot, prepping and hoping to get it all done in time. Send out reminders and get confirmations on who will bring what.
04. Buy your greens either the day before or the day of the party. Since these jars will most likely be stored in the fridge for a few days, the fresher the greens are the better. Most people will want to fill their jars with more toppings than greens, so you may want to prep some extra toppings to have on hand. It’s better to be safe than sorry and anything extra usually stores well in the fridge or freezer.
05. The day of the party… Be sure to have a demo jar (so everyone can see what A Salad In A Jar will look like), a BIG table to store all the jars, a marker to label their names on the jars (you don’t want people mixing up each others salads) and lots of spoons so people can scoop all the toppings into their jars. Set up your ingredients almost like an assembly line, starting with your dressing and ending with your greens. Oh and clean up is a breeze. Since everyone brings and takes ingredients, the mess is packed up and taken home :)
Something about these Salad In A Jar Parties makes me so happy. Any way people can get more fruits, veggies and greens in their diet and support others to do the same, I’m all for it. So if your ever invited to A Salad In A Jar Party, definitely go but if you haven’t attended a party then I suggest you plan one. It’s a great way to empower others and bring together a community of health enthusiast. I’m lucky to have a friend who is as enthusiastic about good food as much as I am. Be sure to check her out or support her mission with One Simple Change. She had definitely motivated me to be the change :)
Did I mention this is also a great activity for kids. It is perfect for introducing different fruits and veggies and getting them involved in the cooking/ prepping process!
I hope this post has helped with learning other ways to incorporate more salads into your diet and how you can make it a fun group activity with hosting your own Salad In A Jar Party with your community. Stay tuned for more healthy tips and plant powered recipes :)
It’s that time of year and the sun is shinning and summer is finally here and in full effect. Our families are spending more time at the pools, beaches and/or outside in general, so I thought this would be a good time to touch on the subject of the best natural sunscreen that are safe for the body. Here in this post I will talk about sunscreens, why it is used, the do’s and don’ts of sunscreens, how to find a natural sunscreen, and which natural sunscreen brands I recommend.
Natural Sunscreens | The Do’s & Don’ts
Recently I was asked by a friend and mom about which sunscreen I use for my kids. I was scared to tell her that I actually don’t use sunscreen on myself or my children. I can hear the gasp now, yes, I really don’t. I’ve never found it necessary and the thought of rubbing all these unknown chemicals on my skin wasn’t really appealing to me.
Since so many are frequently using sunscreen, I thought to do some of my own research on the topic and share it here.
Are Sunscreens Safe?
Our skin is the largest organ of the body, and what many people don’t understand is that it is also an absorbent. Which means that anything we apply to our skin is absorbed and will enter the bloodstream directly. Eventually, making its way to the liver to be broken down, but not until it’s had it’s negative effects on the living tissue in our body. This is why I’m a BIG believe in that if we can’t eat it then it doesn’t belong on our skin.
I get that people don’t want to burned, that’s no fun, but using sunscreen as protection can actually be cause more harm than good. The sun gives us so much and the lack of sun has actually been linked to nutrient deficiencies, fertility problems, heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease, depression and, surprisingly, cancer.
Conventional sunscreens contain many different ingredients that have carcinogens and/or hormone disrupters. Experts believe that exposure to them can be changing us for the worse.
Here is an interesting find…
The EWG reveals that the chemicals commonly used in sunscreen are endocrine disruptors, estrogenic and may interfere with thyroid and other hormone processes in the body.
Researchers at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center here in Houston say that “there is no substantial evidence that sunscreen protects against any of the three forms of skin cancer.”
UVA & UVB Rays
Sunlight is made of 3 different wavelengths:
- Ultraviolet A (UVA), rays are more prevalent in the early morning and late afternoon hours.
- Ultraviolet B (UVB), rays are stronger during the middle of the day.
- Ultraviolet C (UVC), rays don’t reach the earth.
The difference between UVA & UVB rays is that the UVA rays penetrate your skin and eventually lead to long-term aging while the UVB rays gives you the best source of Vitamin D. Since most sunscreen only offered protection from UVB rays, this leaves many people with a major Vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D Deficiency
Using as little as a 15 SPF sunblock, this can minimizes your body’s ability to convert the sun’s rays to Vitamin D by 99%. If you want to increase your chances of avoiding diseases linked to Vitamin D deficiencies like fertility problems, heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease, depression and, surprisingly, cancer.
There are oh-so-many reasons why sun exposure is vital to our health. The biggest benefit of getting sun a few times a week is the reduction of cravings. When Vitamin D levels are low, the hormone that controls appetite stops working, making you want to eat and never really allowing you to feeling full. Vitamin D also helps increase serotonin levels, your happy hormone, for me, this is a good enough reason to let the sun shine in!
How To Pick A Natural Sunscreen
So how do we choose the best natural sunscreen with so many different types of sunscreens on the market? There are several things to consider when deciding which product is best for your lifestyle and your skin. When you browse EWG’s list of the best natural sunscreens, be sure to keep these guidelines in mind:
Do use a “Broad Spectrum” sunscreen. This means that the sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays. If you can, check that brand against EWG’s list to make sure that the UVA protection is valid—the FDA still allows U.S. sunscreen manufacturers to get away with much poorer UVA protection than European Union recommends.
Don’t go for powders or sprays, no matter how convenient they may seem. The concern with these forms of sunscreen is that during application, you can inhale nano-size titanium dioxide and other harmful ingredients. Inhaling is a much more direct route to your body than skin penetration.
Do look for the USDA Organic Seal. Sunscreens can market “organic ingredients” on the label even if they contain up to 30 percent synthetic materials, so identify the official seal to guarantee that every ingredient is organically produced from the National Organics Standards Board.
Don’t use high SPF’s sunscreens. SPF (sun protection factor) refers only to protection against UVB radiation, which burns the skin. It has little to do with protection from sun’s UVA rays, which penetrate deep into the skin, suppress the immune system, accelerate skin aging and potentially causing skin cancer. High-SPF products give people a false sense of security, tempting them to stay in the sun too long, suppress sunburns but upping the risk of other kinds of skin damage.
Do use a lotion base sunscreen that is water resistant and try to avoid the use of Vitamin A (Retinyl Palmitate) as an ingredient. The EWG shared a study from the National Toxicology Program and they found that when applied to the skin in the presence of sunlight, it could speed up the development of skin tumors and lesions.
Ingredients To Avoid
Not all sunscreens are created equal and in many cases sunscreen can be more harmful than helpful. The difference is that some are made with a mineral barrier and others a chemical barrier. Mineral barriers tend to be more on the safer side as long as they are non-nanoparticles. The safety of nanoparticles has not been proven, so caution is recommended. Below is a list of ingredients to avoid.
Mineral sunscreens typically include ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which create a physical barrier to protect the skin from the sun.
- nano zinc oxide
- nano titanium oxide
Chemical sunscreen use one or more chemicals and are absorbed by the skin and have a chemical reaction to the sun. Below are a list of some of the common chemicals to avoid.
- Octinoxate (Octylmethoxycinnamate)
- Octyl dimethyl PABA
- Titanium Dioxide
- Methyl antrhanilate
- Methoryl SX
Best Brands For Natural Sunscreen.
Below are some of my favorite sunscreen brands that are rated between 0-2 on the Environmental Working Group’s Sunscreen Guide. I’ve included the links on where to find these brands online if you can’t find them in stores near you, if they are kid friend, vegan and formulated for sensitive skin. Most of these can be found at natural health food stores and vitamin shops.
Top 10 Best All Natural Sunscreens
- Badger – Certified organic, several different SPFs and option for kids, babies and active people, unscented available.
- Thinkbaby/Thinksport – Great for athletes, kids and adults for prolonged exposure in sun.
- Raw Elements – Certifies organic, non-GMO sunscreen.
- Sunology – Kids, Face and Body Protection.
- California Baby – Formulated for sensitive skin, SPF 18-30.
- Poofy Organics – Certifies organic, non-GMO sunscreen.
- TruKids – Certified organic, eczema safe.
- Babo Botanicals – Great for sensitive skin, unscented available.
- John Masters – Certified Organic, vegan.
- Aubrey Organics – Vegan with a couple processed ingredients.
Foods That Protect The Skin
Protecting your skin from the sun isn’t only about covering up and finding a safe sunscreen. There are also ways to protect ourselves internally with food and proper nutrition.
Dr. Elizabeth Plourde, a Clinical Laboratory Scientist (CLS) who specialized in cancer and DNA research, was recently asked how people who spend a lot of time in the sun should protect themselves? She said:
“Antioxidants are the answer. Our skin is so well-designed that when the solar rays hit it, the antioxidants that are in the body actually move up and form a protective shield and act just like sunscreen. “
A plant powered diet are rich in antioxidant such as vitamin C, beta-carotene, flavonoids and lycopene. Here is a list of my favorite foods that are high in antioxidants and help to protect the skin.
- Goji berries
- Wild blueberries
- Dark Chocolate
- Kidney Beans
- Red Grapes
Sunscreen isn’t the only way to protect yourself from overexposure to the sun. There are many habits we can take on to practice sun safety, especially for children. It’s important to start these habits early. Below is a list of tips for sunburn prevention.
Do cover up. Use shirts, hats, shorts, pants and sunglasses, they provide the best protection from UV rays – and they don’t coat your skin with harmful ingredients.
Don’t over exposure yourself to the sun. Go outdoors in early morning or late afternoon, when the sun is lower. If possible, try to avoid outdoor activities during times when the sun is at its peak – generally between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Do use shade. Picnic under a tree, read beneath an umbrella, take a canopy to the beach. Keep infants in the shade – they lack the tanning pigments known to protect their skin.
Don’t be fooled by a cloudy day. The sun’s harmful UV rays can penetrate through clouds and even a thick fog! Cover up and plan appropriately.
Do start slow when summer hit. At the beginning of the season go out in the sun gradually, perhaps as little as 10 minutes a day. Slowly increasing your time in the sun so that in a few weeks your body becomes adjust to the summer season.
Sunscreen is a tough topic, I am NOT saying that we shouldn’t exercise caution in exposure to the sun, however, as more and more evidence emerges about the dangers of many sunscreens and their potential risks, it is important to be responsible. If you know someone that might be buying sunscreen with shady ingredients, please share this post with them, you could have a positive impact on their health!
I hope this post was as helpful for you as it was for me. Let me know what others products you would like me to cover. I’d love to hear what ways you all stay safe in the summer sun? Share in the comments below and like always stay tuned for more natural living tips :)
Salads are one of the greatest and easiest ways to get your veggies and greens in your diet. They are pretty simple to put together until you get to the dressing. Often people don’t know that this is where it can all go wrong. I see it quite often that someone makes an amazing salad full of all the vibrant colors and then puts a dressing that has all these unwanted highly processed ingredients. This makes me so sad. So I thought I’d share with you some of my transitional dressing recipes you can use that are healthy, vegan, and super simple to make. Here are my three simple Vegan Mayo salad dressing recipes that take less than 2 minutes to make and taste AMAZING!
3 Simple Vegan Mayo Salad Dressing Recipes
One of the brands we recommend often to people to use when transitioning into a more plant powered lifestyle is the Follow Your Heart brand. They make many different plant-based alternatives with ingredient labels that don’t cause confusion and I have loved every single one of them. I often use the Follow Your Heart Vegenaise, not just as a sandwich spread but as a base for many of our favorite dressing.
Garlic & Herb Dressing
This one is the one we use most because we love fresh herbs in our salads and mixing it in with a dressing is so much easier than trying to chop it up. I will use either cilantro or parsley for this recipe and often throw the whole bunch, stems and all, into the blender.
It’s not just for salads we also use it as a dip for veggies and sandwich spread to give it a more garlic and herb flavor. You can also play with the recipe and add more garlic to give it more spice, but don’t forget about your breath :-) I won’t eat jalapeño because for me it’s too spicy but garlic is easier for me to handle plus it has more healthy benefits.
- 1 1/2 cups fresh herb (cilantro or parsley)
- 4 garlic cloves
- 4 tablespoons vegan mayo
- 2 tablespoons water
- Combine all ingredients into small blender or food processor.
- Pulse to desired consistency. Enjoy!
- I used my Nutribullet to make this dressing and prefer it a little more chunky than other dressings.
Vegan Ranch Dressing
Now if there was anything I’d miss, especially with my salads was the Ranch dressing. Yes, I know it’s bad but I use to consider myself a ranch connoisseur, how silly is that? Now that I’m more focused on health and clean plant-based eating that’s not something that I enjoy anymore. Luckily I created this recipe and I was shocked with how close it really is with the flavor. It’s a little more liquid then I would prefer but besides that it’s perfect.
- 5 tablespoons vegan mayo
- 1 tablespoon fresh chives
- 1/2 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh or dried dill
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/4 teaspoon himalayan sea salt
- Combine ingredients in a small blender or food processor.
- Pulse until desired consistency. Enjoy!
Thousand Island Vegan Dressing
Thousand Island dressing wasn’t something I was always into but after meeting my husband and his uniques food combining skills, I learned to love it. We use this dressing with our regular house salads and to dip cauliflower in. Don’t ask me how this taste good but it does. My husband use to eat it as a kids and got all of us eating it. What can I say? If it’s another way to get more veggies in I’ll take it. Give it a try and let us know what you think.
- 1 large tomato
- 5 tablespoons vegan mayo
- 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 4 small pieces sun-dried tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon himalayan sea salt
- 2 tablespoons water
- Combine ingredients in small blender or food processor.
- Pulse until smooth. Enjoy!
One of the things I love about summer is all the abundant fruit the season offers us. It’s hard to say which ones are my favorite these days but mangos are high up on that list, I can’t seem to get enough of them. We are buying them by the cases these days and putting them into our smoothies, ice creams, and this amazing summer sprouts salad.
Sprouts are another favorite of mine during the summer as they offer a high concentration of nutrients, water content (which helps me stay hydrated) and they taste good with just about anything (especially avocado). I have good news! This recipe has all three, avocado, mango and sprouts. How great is that?!
This mango sprouts summer salad is easy to make, all you need is a handful of sprouts and top it with my favorite easy mango salsa recipe and it’s that easy. I sometimes add extra avocado and mix it all up to make it rich and creamy.
- 2 cup sprouts
- 2 mangoes
- 1 avocado
- 3 tomatoes
- ½ small red onion
- 1 lemon
- ½ cup cilantro (chopped)
- 1 tsp Himalayan Sea Salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 jalapeño (optional)
- Peel the mango and red onion and cut into small bit size pieces.
- Then cut tomatoes and place all your ingredients into a large mixing bowl.
- Add sliced avocado and finely chopped cilantro.
- Squeeze lemon juice over ingredients and add sea salt, ground pepper and chili powder.
- Mix ingredient together and place them over sprouts. Enjoy!
I hope you enjoy this recipe just as much as we do. If you do try this recipe, let us know what you think! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to take a picture and tag me on Instagram @LiveSimplyNatural! I love to see what you come up with :)
Sprouts contain a significant amount of protein and dietary fiber, as well as vitamin K, folate, niacin, thiamin, vitamin C, vitamin A, and riboflavin. In terms of minerals, sprouts contain manganese, copper, zinc, magnesium, iron, and calcium. They have a high number of enzymes which is an important part of the digestive process, helping to break down food while increase the absorption of nutrients by the digestive tract. Sprouts also contain a significant amount of protein making them a great protein source for vegetarians and vegans. Low in calories, sprouts are great for weight loss. Since they are also high in Vitamin A, which has a number of antioxidant properties, this makes them a great immune booster. Vitamin A is also great for improving vision and can help to prevent glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration. Some of the health benefits include prevent anemia, lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, prevent neural tube defects in infants, protect against cancer, boost skin health, improve vision, support the immune system, and increase usable energy reserves.