Kraft Cheese and Mold

I buy cheese - manchego, cheddar and sometimes a lot of it when there is a party. But once the party is over and it stays in my fridge for a week or two, a new thing shows up on the cheese – MOLD.

The interesting thing is my Kraft Singles and any Kraft Cheese never gets mold. Like NEVER. I always wondered why and here is what I found out today. Kraft Cheese has something called as Sorbic acid, which prevents mold from forming.

Due to the recent awareness of the side effects of chemicals in our food, Kraft after a long time has decided to move away from Sorbic Acid in its cheese.

Here is the news of Kraft replacing it with another item.

You will read along with what Subway has been using these years on their sandwiches.

Gatorade removes controversial BVO from their drinks

I used to drink Gatorade, very regularly during my early 20s. It was very much refreshing after a long game or run. Some how I have moved away from drinking Gatorade in the past 5-6 years and today I ran into this article about BVO.

It is amazing and shocking to learn that I have been drinking a flame retardant. I always thought Gatorade was sugar, salt and some orange food color. Interestingly BVO is banned in Europe and Japan. When asked about it, Pepsico, the company that manufactures Gatorade added that they are using BVO here in the US and Canada because it not banned.

This is not fair. A food company ought to do what is right for people. If they cared only about their bottom line, we all will suffer for their actions. Do everybody a favor, and let people, especially kids be aware of what is in Gatorade. Pepsi has recently said that they will remove BVO from Gatorade, so when you buy any drink next time, check if it has BVO in it. If it has BVO, try something else.

Best remedy for Dry Skin during Winter

If you live in a modern home ( built after the 80s), then there is a high chance you suffer from Dry Skin during winter. We all crave for Lubriderm to Vaseline during the winter. You even have a bottle of that in your car. For the really dry skinned folks there is Aquapour.

We were visiting Seattle last winter and as always we always were looking for Lubriderm. After years and years of scratching and lotion usage, I got a wonderful tip from my cousin’s MIL. That is to use Johnson’s Baby Oil for moisturizing skin.

We were skeptical initially, but a tip from one of the our favorite family member, who is an expert in this field, forced us to try it. And boy! I would never go back to using any creams.

This works like magic and is not that expensive.

If you look at the first paragraph, I started like – “If you have a modern home”. There is a reason for that. Modern homes do not have convection heat. The vent for A/C carries the heat too and it sucks the moisture out of your home. Here are few tips to improve humidity/reduce dry skin in your home during winter.

  • Run a humidifier ( doh!)
  • See if you can attach a humidifier to your heater ( this is in the basement or garage )
  • Ensure your heater air filter is clean and breaths fine
  • Drink a lot of water
  • Reduce drinking coffee/soda drinks
  • Buy a convection heater and heat your room locally.

Of course the best remedy for dry skin for winter is Baby Oil. Try it and let me know how it works for you!

New Helicopter Parenting Trend – Parents follow their children to their work

I am scared of Helicopter Parenting. Kids usually turn out very insecure about a lot of things if their parents tend to be “Helicoptering” around them. They just suck big time later in their lives when they have to make decisions for themselves.

I just read about this new trend that is happening in North America. If you are a parent, please please try to stop this act. Here is the article from Vancouver Sun talking about this recent trend.

Helicopter parents increasingly follow kids to college, the workplace and beyond. New research by Brigham Young University finds that about one-quarter of college students say their parents make important decisions for them.

If you have interesting stories about helicopter parenting, please do share them in the comments !

 

Organic Shopping Homework

One of the biggest problems both my wife and I had, was to find the right stores to do organic shopping. We didn’t want a big hole in our budget either. So that means doing some homework on where organic groceries/foods can be purchased and comparing their prices.

When we decided to start an organic food lifestyle, it was very, very tempting to go one of  Longos,Metro or Loblaws(For fellow Canadians) and finish our shopping. (Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s for our friends in the US). What we ended up seeing was that our grocery bills doubled and that left scratching our heads.

We budget our lifestyle. You will see me writing more about ‘budgeting our lifestyle’ in the coming days. Back to the topic – our expenses were going high and we didn’t like that. Our organic milk in Canada costs about $12 a gallon and one day walking through Longos we found our favorite organic milk priced at $6 a gallon. That was surprising! Our regular milk used to cost us around that. Our initial thought was that it was close to expiry and that the store is trying to get rid of the milk. Our surprise increased multi-fold when we saw that expiry was a month away.

There was a revelation for us. Organic foods can be bought close to the prices of regular foods. You just have to find the right stores to find the right thing. Just like if we need to get a specific Indian spice, we go to a that corner Indian grocery store. We now go to Longos for milk, eggs and some vegetables. Metro for bread and baked goods.

So we started doing this organic shopping homework last month and so far things are good and this month should show us how much we saved due to this homework.

 

Limits of Multitasking

Just watch this video to start with.

Now, unless you are a select few, you must have missed it.

I am a poor multi-tasker. The reason is obvious, as I like to focus on one thing and getting it done correctly. Whenever I multi-task, I end up doing things very, very poorly.

Infamously, when Larry Page became the CEO of Google ( he was one of the google founders who took over the company last year), he went to Steve Jobs ( Google’s competitor on different fronts) to ask for some advice.

Steve Jobs, notoriously famous for his mood swings and attention to detail, advised Larry Page to focus on building a fewer products and building them well. If you have lately seen Google closing down many products, it is probably because of Steve’s advice.

Some people are expert multi-taskers, and some people believe they are. I would love to hear back from you on why you do it that way and also want to know if you saw what I missed in the video.

Also what are your limits on multitasking?

 

Happy New Year and New Year Resolutions

Happy New Year to all of you !

Wish the New Year bring all your dreams come true.

With every new year, we also get New Year Resolutions. We all plan for months to begin these resolutions and to not follow it after a few months. My wife and I have been thinking how to avoid getting stuck in this resolution rut and it just dawned that that the best way to have an year is just to be happy.

So yes, our resolution for this year is to be – “Happy!”.

I think everything else will follow if one is happy.

Water bottles – the search for the perfect bottle

Truth be told, I find it difficult to drink water until I am very very thirsty. During the winter months, that means I end up having severe headaches due to dehydration. My major problem is with the water bottles that I end up buying. I have a trophy collection of water bottles that I dont like to use.

Using one off water bottles like evian or even the kirkland bottle just goes against my “green” thinking.

After years of searching, I ran into this water bottle during my regular costco run last year and I haven’t looked back. That bottle is AUTOSEAL® Madison Water Bottle. It is manufactured by Contigo. Its BPA free. It fits in my car coffee cup holder. But here is the part I like the best and helping me drink water. – “When I have to drink it, I just a press a button and I can drink water like I drink water from a cup or fountain.”

Just like a kid going to school, I’ve dropped this bottle a hundred times on the floor and it still is holding up fine.

So kudos to Contigo for making me drink water and as always Costco for bringing another great product into our lives.

P.S: As we all know how Costco works, these bottles were sold out and they are just back in stock at our nearest Costco. We just bought a set of bottles for my in laws too.

Change to Organic Organically

I have had a lot of internal and external (with my wife) debates about organic food.

  • Health: Will it help us being healthy?
  • Taste: Why is that the food from a restaurant that buys locally, tastes much better than, say McDonalds?
  • Cost: Why does organic food cost so much compared to regular food?
  • Obesity: And why is that the current generation is much more obese than the previous one?

The more I thought, I had more questions than answers. One day, just like that ( it happens a lot ), it dawned on me that – “There are no perfect answers for everything”.

Our ancestors ate organic food. Yeah! they didn’t know it was organic :) It was just normal food in those days.  They lived long and healthy. So it should not hurt to do the same. But going all organic was expensive.  It was also very hard to get every vegetable locally.

To solve the above problem, my wife and I decided to move to organic food organically :) Yes! Organically !!! Let me explain it.

We started with milk, eggs, spinach, spring mix, onions, potatoes and tomatoes. Yes, just 7 items. We will eventually expand to more vegetables as we learn how to get them easily. But choosing the above items was quick and easy.

It has been a few months after our move. Truth be told, I am not seeing any big changes in me. But on the back of my head, it feels good to be eating organic food. Our monthly expenses didn’t go up too much either. Because buying organic food kind of forces us to cook food at home on a regular basis. And our dishes tastes ‘yum‘. May be it is in the “head” or may be, organic food really tastes nice. I don’t know so far, but we are enjoying this organic move.

We are going to try this experiment for an year or so and see how much of an impact it has on our lives. You will hear time-time about how this experiment of us is working out.

P.S: We buy most of our organic food from brand stores like Metro, Longos and Loblaws in Toronto. Whole foods has lot more options, but they are just not near our home.

Have you thought about moving to Organic food?

Baking Soda – A wonderful way to eliminate odor

When we moved to our apartment a few years ago, once in a while, we would find out that our fridge smelled weird. Our shoe rack also had a distinctive odor and there was another subtle smell with our closet. Our neighbors who live next to the garbage chute had even bigger complaints.

Of course we went by and bought Febreeze and whatever latest thing that was on TV. It worked for us quickly but we were looking for something that was old style and worked for a longer duration.

And finally we ran into baking soda – a good old friend that is a wonderful odor eliminator. But we were puzzled how to keep baking soda in different places safely and make it work effectively. To solve that I picked up some old Mason Jars, punched a few holes in the lid. We filled half of the jar with baking soda and kept in all different places – bathrooms, fridge, closets, shoe racks etc.,

Its been a month now and we can say it works amazing.

Cost wise we saved a bunch.

This is the mason jar we are using at our home.