Monday, December 29, 2014

New Year - Fresh Start!

Starting the New Year Successfully

January brings us to a new milestone.  This annual chapter change in our lives is viewed as a chance to start fresh and clean, just like the fresh air, and the clean, white snow that January brings to many locations.  We can leave the old behind,  but take the lessons from the past and use the experiences and lessons that we learned to enhance our lives in the months that lie before us.

Change is exhilarating and we hope for the best in the days ahead as we make way for the unknown. With a New Year before us, we vow to eat a little less, exercise a little more, and prioritize our time so that nothing is wasted.

Tracy Russell - Incredible Smoothies
January is the month that is known for getting back on the health wagon after slipping a bit during those indoor Holiday gatherings and loads of food and drink everywhere we turn.  It is time to take a look at our habits and choices and find ways we can improve on ourselves.  As improvements take shape we are showing by example that life is good and that it pays to be the best that you can be by taking good care of ourselves!

Incredible Smoothies has a website full of information and recipes, showing how to make green smoothies and use them as a tool for healthy weight loss and as a good health habit.  Tracy Russell shows her readers how to choose good components to make smoothies at home and know the nutritional value or you can simply use the recipes provided.  The nutritional content on the recipes leaves the guess work out of your meal planning.

Leanne Vogel - Healthful Pursuit
The Health Pursuit website has a host of information and recipes that are helpful for those battling food allergies.  Gluten free and other diet restrictions are no longer problematic once you learn to use some new ideas for ingredients and learn how to create a good food plan for yourself.  Leanne Vogel shows you the way to being vibrantly healthy.

Ashley Melillo - Blissful Basil

Blissful Basil is a website that is loaded with recipes, photos, and great food ideas while you stay with your plans toward healthy food preparation  Ashley Melillo 's Vegan lifestyle, menus, recipes and photographs inspire the reader to know that good health does not have to mean sacrifice! Browse around the website for true inspiration toward leading a mindful and balanced life while making best dietary choices.

One thing that all of these health plans have in common is how they use smoothies to incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables into your daily diet.  This practice works whether you are choosing Raw foods, Vegan lifestyle, or Gluten free. The plant based diet is clearly an important health choice as studies reveal it provides the best sources for vitamins and nutrients that keep our bodies balanced and resistant to disease.

All of the authors of these websites love GlassDharma straws! They work well for smoothies, keep the taste true, and are super durable so there is no waste.  So no matter what your own resolutions are this year, consider you waist - and your waste! ... As you make choices toward best health.  Healthier people on a healthier Planet! We all win!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

2014 Holiday Gift Guide

The First Annual GlassDharma Holiday Gift Guide is Here! 

Gifts for all ages from ($5.00 - $50.00)

GlassDharma finds ways to encourage us all to reduce our footprint by sharing ideas and products that help us (and each other) proceed toward a zero waste lifestyle. We want to share what we have discovered along the way! As each of us uses our purchasing power to show manufacturers what we want, we collectively make a difference toward sustainable living for a healthier planet. 

Gifting is a powerful element to inspire others with our choice of gifts and introduce our family and friends to solutions that demonstrate that avoidance of single-use plastic alternatives is possible and desirable. There are alternatives! Discovering that the concept of choosing reusable products is gaining popularity shows that sharing our solutions with others can help speed up the process of this trend, resulting in the increased reduction of our collective trash footprint.

So here it is, just in time for the gift giving season! Our first annual gift guide for 2014! We list gifts that are priced from $5.00 to under $50.00. Please consider your purchasing and gifting power - together, we make a difference!

stainless steel bottle, sports bottle, non toxic, eco, cork
The Gift of a reusable water bottle, for teens and adults: Klean Kanteen offers a new "Reflect" 18oz. water bottle. ($29.95)  Our Klean Kanteen bottles have lasted (and withstood a lot of throwing around and general abuse) over the years and are by far the sturdiest stainless steel bottles we have found! Check out the new Reflect bottles offered in 2 sizes. We prefer the  18 oz. because it is easier to carry around than the larger version. It is made of top quality stainless steel, bamboo, and food grade silicone.  That's it! No paint or plastic on this bottle that is made to last. Check out their other products on the site for child size options as well. You will find that all of their products have this same committed integrity toward sustainability.  

Camelbak, sports bottle, drink bottle, glass straw, straw inserts, glassdharma
The Camelbak Sports bottle called the Glass"Eddy" was an overnight sensation. ($32.00)  Many Camelbak customers began asking GlassDharma to retrofit glass straw inserts to replace the plastic parts. GlassDharma now sells a CamelBak Pakwith 2 inserts - one uptake straw + one mouthpiece insert for the Glass"Eddy" on the Underground menu. ($12.00)
The Camelbak Glass Eddy and the GlassDharma retrofit set make an excellent gift for those who love drinking from glass and like the convenience of a sports bottle. The straw inserts may also be purchased separately on the GlassDharma website. 
retap, bottle, glass bottle, drink bottle, glass, silicone
ReTap - There is a new glass bottle in town! has the glass ReTap Bottles in stock. ($12.00 - $23.00)  These bottles are simply elegant!  Designed in Denmark, these bottles have an interior that consists of a super sleek inner surface interior that resists the buildup of water deposits and bacteria growth. They are made of Borosilicate glass to resist breakage and come with an easy to use, leak proof silicone cap. They are simply beautiful!  Available in 3 sizes, these bottles are smooth, light weight, and beautiful.  See the video for more!  

While we are on the subject of travel drink-ware, there are a lot of cute ideas that include assembling components like lids, straws, and jars to make a gift for that person that is always on the go. Some are filled with "goodies" like dried fruit or candy which make a fun presentation. We have been checking out a lot of these "gift components" and we want to include what we have found in this guide.

ecojarz, stainless steel, lids, jar lids, drink jar lidsEcoJarz Stainless pack of three small mouth Stainless Steel Drink Jar Lids($19.99) We discovered that the GlassDharma Coffee Straws  for $7.50 were the only glass straws in our inventory that would fit into the drink holes of these lids. Now we manufacture an 8mm Glass Straw just for EcoJarz $10.95 that perfectly fits these EcoJarz lids and you can find them on the EcoJarz website as well as stores and websites many of EcoJarz's resellers. These lids do not include the jar bands needed to screw them tightly onto the jar, but any jar bands will fit them securely due to the silicone ring around the lid that prevents any leakage. Now you can make any of your Mason Jars into travel friendly drink vessels! These drink jars make a perfect non-toxic option for travel drink-ware and we found that our own GlassDharma coffee straws will work well in the stainless steel lids as well as the 8mm straws.

Another of our favorite lids by EcoJarz is their Silicone Drink Jar Lid offered in small mouth and large mouth sizes. ($8.95 to $9.95)  We figured out right away that the drink hole is flexible enough to accommodate the 9.5mm GlassDharma straw (with a super tight fit). The advantage?  Absolutely no straw rattling against the side of the glass jar no matter how bumpy a ride you are on in your auto, boat, or on your bike! The snug fit of the straw in the drink hole keeps the beverage from spilling out around the straw. Like the stainless steel lids, these lids will fit all standard jars, you just need to specify "large mouth" or "small mouth" sizes.  Do not forget to purchase some standard jar bands to connect them onto your jar or you can buy them on the EcoJarz website as well.
pint and a half jars, ball jars, mason jars, drink jars
Our favorite jars for a super size travel drinks are the Ball brand Pint and a Half wide mouth. ($12.99) Sold in a case of 9 at Bed, Bath and Beyond, these jars hold an extra large beverage serving and fit in most travel cup holders! These jars work well with GlassDharma 9 and 10 inch length glass straws.

Mason Jar makes a Re-cap, pour spout lid for canning jars ($7.00) This lid has an opening that will accommodate GlassDharma's widest straws, the smoothie straws and the bubble tea straws. The lids are available in different colors. For more about these lids, see this video!

weck jars, glass straws, GlassDharma, quarter liter jars
Weck Jars might be your favorite drink glasses!  These jars that come in unique shapes and sizes are awesome for food storage and canning but many never get past our cabinet for drinking glasses! The half liter or quarter liter jar with the curvy shape are available at Mighty Nest.  ($5.25 & $6.95) These are wonderful for water, lemonade, and iced tea. The quarter liter size make the cutest juice glasses.  All of the Weck Jars come with glass lids and rubber gaskets with two stainless steel clips that create a perfect seal for using these as canning jars. Simply remove the lids and you will love the way the glass straws work with these jars! Our company will often choose this style jar over other types of glassware when offered a choice.

bodum, earth day straw, glassdharma, glass straw

Bodum Glassware: We love the size and shape of the 8.2 oz. Pavina glasses that come in a pair. ($14.00) at are also available as a pair of 12 oz. glasses. ($16.00)  These are perfect for juice, wine and cocktails.  The shape and feel of the smooth glass will have you reaching for these glasses repeatedly. Made of borosilicate glass, they are light weight with very thin glass creating the double walls which keeps the temperature of your beverage constant, hot or cold.  We love these glasses to serve hot tea and even wine!

sipping stones, the handy house, drink, beverageSipping Stones. ($9.99) These stones are for cooling beverages in the glass and are available at The Handy While on the subject of drinks - you must try these cute little "sipping stones" offered by The Handy House!  Made of natural soapstone, you simply put them in the freezer then use to chill your whiskey, white wine, cocktails or mocktails without ever diluting the contents of the drink!  The set of 9 stones is enough for 2 drinks and the size is perfect for most drinkware.

Stainless Steel Ice Tray. makes this non-toxic and sturdy ice cube tray available. ($32.00) This is a gift built to last for generations. (unlike your grandmother's aluminum version). You will avoid BPA and other toxins using this tray for freezing juices and foods and this is the ultimate plastic alternative for all ice making! 

stainless steel ice cube tray, ice tray, glass straw

Set of three Bamboo Cutting Boards at the Wild Mint Shop($20.00) These cutting boards are the classic "must have" for all kitchens and cooks! The hard Bamboo is the perfect sustainable choice for performance and they look great on any counter. They are slim and light weight, so they are easy to clean and store in between uses. The three different sizes are handy for all kinds of uses including doubling as a trivet for hot pots on counter. If you have any cooks to buy for, novice or professional, this is a gift that will be used and appreciated for years to come.  

cloth napkins, birch print napkins, organic cotton dinner napkins
Organic Cotton Dinner Napkins
Cloth napkins and towels: Cloth vs. Paper or plastic is not just about
your shopping bags! Quality cloth napkins are a staple in our households. We do not buy paper napkins anymore and we do not even like the way they feel! Buying quality cloth napkins and dishtowels makes a lovely gift. Gail, co-owner of GlassDharma, likes to wrap presents with pretty dish towels. So many people just do not buy themselves nice cloth items but love having and using them! We keep stacks of clean cloth napkins on the kitchen table as well as on the patio table, handy for guests who need to be encouraged to use them as they look around for the paper napkins. It is really no bother to wash up a load of table cloths, dish towels and cloth napkins each week to keep this sustainable practice in your own home. Beautiful, quality linens will encourage this practice!

  • Check out this set of 2 cloth napkins in a cloth sac ($10.00) This 3 piece set by ECOLunchBox makes a cute gift for those who take a lunch to work or school.  The sack can be used to pack some nuts or dried fruit as well. Keep this handy set in the car for spills!
  • Mighty Nest offers the Full Circle brand of bamboo and organic cotton dish towels. ($4.99 each)  The waffle texture helps to wipe surfaces efficiently.  The 70%  bamboo fabric has natural anti-bacterial properties. These towels are lovely, absorbent, and will last many years! 
  • We love the simple grace of the birch tree screen print on these Organic cotton dinner napkins also offered by Mighty Nest , set of four. ($28.00)  These napkins will look good with any color scheme of table linens; they are white with black outlines of trees.
String Market Bags ($8.49) by - no one can have too many of these!  Plastic bag bans are current and trending and it's time to find a convenient solution to grocery shopping.  These string bags are made of natural cotton and are available in 14 colors.  They are easy to store in small places to have handy when you need them.  These bags can fit many odd shaped contents, from groceries to toys to housewares and hold up to 40 lbs! They are perfect for produce like apples, oranges, onions and potatoes, these bags withstand daily use and are machine washable.  Make sure everyone on your gift list gets one of these bags!

glass straw, decorative dots, hemp sleeve, cleaning brushReusable Straw - The gift of a glass straw, a hemp sleeve (to carry your straw) and a cleaning brush will encourage the recipient to use and take the straw with them when on the go! The gift shown is a from ($31.00) Organic Cotton/Rayon/Denim "Family Packs" are available to carry 4 straws or your straws and other utensils. ($29.00)  Glass Straw Sets of 4 make excellent gifts for any occasion: Weddings, Birthdays, Holidays and they make wonderful Hostess Gifts! ($28.00 - $48.00) Each set comes with a cleaning brush!

Berry Breeze - ($49.95) on the Berry Breeze website. This kitchen appliance may seem to be an odd gift, but when Cheryl received her Berry Breeze for her birthday last year, it took her about 2 months to appreciate the performance of this food saving unit. With Berry Breeze, your food in your fridge remains fresh about 3 times as long and there is absolutely no odor when you open your refrigerator, even when it is packed with  strong smelling foods! This compact unit oxygenates the air in your entire refrigerator. It takes 4 D batteries to perform and our batteries lasted well over seven months, though the company claims they will last over three months. Check out the video below for a product review from The Grommet!

stainless steel plates. camping plates, plates, eco, sustainable
EcoLunchBoxes offers the coolest, 3 section Stainless Steel Plates($15.00) each. These are David and Gail's favorite picnic, potluck, and camping plates! They are sturdy, yet light weight and stack easily for travel.  These plates are also attractive and super easy to clean. David and Gail receive many compliments from others at the campgrounds as they use these for almost every meal.
note:  David Leonhardt and Gail Johnson are the owners of GlassDharma.

eco lunchette, lunch bag, lunch box, cloth bagCheck out this awesome assortment of Stainless Steel Containers also from ECOLunchBoxes. ($25.95) This set is available at the Reuseit Store! These containers will be used (and reused) for generations.  This is a gift for the whole family!

Love, love, love the Eco Lunchette! ($30.00)  This beautiful lunch set, from ECOLunchBox is made of artisan printed cloth from India! This handy bag with a matching cloth napkin is a delightful gift for those who pack  lunch or take snacks along on outings! The bag has a zipper closure and can be laundered in your washing machine or easily spot cleaned by hand. It is the perfect size for holding your lunch items but fits easily into a larger tote or on your bicycle basket. 

Gifts that make a Splash!  
For less than $35.00 you can buy this combination of 2 gifts with a "Splash" theme!  We suggest this gift for the 8 - 12 year old, but we know many on either side of this guideline that will be delighted to receive this gift combo!
    splash box, stainless steel, silicone, lunch box, container
 The Splash Box ($22.50) at ECOLunchBox is a stainless steel leak proof container with a silicone lid.   This "take along container" fits easily in a lunch bag,  glove compartment or tote.  It is our favorite go-to container to take to restaurants for bringing home our leftovers as well as packing snacks for kids or lunches for the family.  Throw this in your picnic basket! The lid fits tight and the contents stay intact. It really does not leak when sealed properly. This makes a delightful gift for adults and kids alike!

The second part of our "Splash" combination is the new "Make a Splash!" paperback book ($11.82) - Amazon
by Cathryn BergerKayeM.A. (Author),
PhilippeCousteau (Author), 
"Make a Splash" is a beautifully illustrated book full of information and facts about water and the importance of this precious resource to our wellbeing. The authors encourage us all to take action to help protect our waterways and to preserve a healthy planet. Designated a children's book, (GlassDharma recommends this book for Junior High age) we find that many adults will learn and identify with the spirit in which this book is written.
"Plastic Free - How I Kicked The Plastic Habit and You Can Too" - (16.26) by Beth Terry at Barnes & Noble. This is a book that keeps on giving to our planet and makes a wonderful gift for the curious minded, the eco adventurer and also the person who might not realize the negative impact plastics are making on our world.  This guide helps us make choices that can change old habits while giving the reader information and ideas of how plastic free living is both doable and desirable. The book itself is even compostable!  Author Beth Terry continues to inspire through this book and her blog, My Plastic Free Life. You can buy a signed, hard cover copy of this book on Beth's blog. ($19.95) The Gift Bag Combo includes a signed copy of this book, and a DVD of the film, "Bag It" in a cloth bag. ($37.50) 

lelani, book, plastic, story book, story, kingdom
"Lelani and the Plastic Kingdom" - is now available for sale on Etsy. ($18.95) This book tells a charming story full of adventure that starts with a message in a plastic bottle that Lelani finds in the ocean.  This independently published book by Robb N. Johnston will delight readers into the fantasy of the story line as Lelani discovers the island of New Flotsam and finds that this mysterious land is made up entirely of plastic debris. There is even a plastic straw forest! The story takes the reader into adventurous plots while showing practical and real solutions to the problems at hand. The marvelous illustrations will keep the reader engaged throughout the story.  This 48 page book will make a wonderful read aloud bedtime story that may last a few nights while the readers look forward to what will happen next for Lelani and all that she encounters.  Lelani is a book that belongs in the classroom as well - a wonderful gift to an Elementary School Teacher!  We recommend this book for ages 5 to 11, but know that other ages, including adults, will most certainly love this story!

Tracy Russell from Incredible Smoothies, Author of the new print copy book "The Best Green Smoothies on the Planet", suggests that adding  green smoothies into your daily routine will help you gravitate toward a plant based diet loaded with nutritious foods as you work your way toward your own weight loss goals.  This book has all the information and recipes  that you will need to get started on your own journey toward better health using delicious smoothies!  Available now on Amazon for a special pre-order price.  ($12.94) This book will ship out on December 16. 2014 , just in time for last minute gifts! 

This Season of gifting brings so many possibilities on how to extend love and appreciation to others!  Let us know if these suggestions have helped you with ideas for buying gifts in 2014.  Please do email your own suggestions for consideration for our future Holiday Gift Guides to Cheryl Newcomb, our Community Manager. - cn (at) - or simply use the comment section of this blog post.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Back to School

Packing School Lunches

September is here and students everywhere are back in the classroom. Besides homework, this means students and parents will once again be faced with decisions about school lunches.

The best way to make sure kids are eating well at school is to encourage nutritious options from an early age. In addition, allowing children to pack lunches themselves helps to motivate good food choices in the long run. This way, less food (and money) will ultimately be wasted, and kids will be given a responsibility. This month, ECOlunchboxes is offering a free, step by step guide to help you pass the right tools (and duties) along to children to pack a good and healthy lunch.

Sign up for the GlassDharma newsletter where you will find instructions in the September issue on how to receive your own PDF showing you just how to successfully shift this lunch packing responsibility from you - and onto the kids!

Packing a healthy lunch does not stop with food and drink! Consider all of the food and beverage carriers in your house. What is the main ingredient in those? Ditch the sandwich bags, water bottles, and plastic wrap! Plenty of family friendly, Earth conscious options are now available to help transport you and your family's nutritious lunches to work and school. Cloth snack and sandwich bags make a great addition to any lunch box, and are easy to make yourself.

Glass and stainless steel containers are safer than plastic for transporting food as well, especially for hot or acidic foods.  BPA and Phthalates, as well as other known toxins lurk in most plastic containers.  When temperatures fluctuate, the risk of ingesting these types of toxins along with your food and drink is increased.  Do your research to assure food safety when choosing how to pack and what containers to choose.

Did you know that you can save an estimated $400.00 a year by choosing reusable lunchware over disposable products?  Green Child Magazine has published a list that shows how.  Over time, these habits add up to big savings!

As always, avoid single use plastics such as utensils, straws, even yogurt containers! Every bit of plastic we do not use is more that will not be created, and ultimately end up in a landfill or ocean.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Reducing Plastic!

by Angela Yannessa

Reducing Plastic Use Around the World
New technologies have brought great advancements to all aspects of life, allowing us to live with great conveniences. Shopping and contacting friends can be done with the click of a button, and we are constantly connected with the world around us. Though we are connected, are we conscious of our behaviors influence on the world? The summer months bring many of us to the beach, a beautiful place that in many places is becoming overrun by litter, and a major culprit is plastic trash. Items such as these cause many problems to our eco-systems, outweighing the convenience factor they may bring us.

Plastic Bag Bans 
San Francisco was the first to ban plastic bags in 2007. Cities following close behind include Portland, OR, Outer Banks, NC, Seattle, WA, and Aspen, HI. Each of these cases represents a big, positive step, but even though they are called a "ban" does not mean plastic bags are not used in the whole city. Rules apply mostly just to larger stores rather than all shops outright. There are ways around the ban, and also a limited number of cities have been successful in passing a ban.
Ban Plastic Bags

Does your city have a bag ban?

Bottles, Cans, and More
Water bottle deposits in the form of reverse vending machines have also been cropping up in an effort to get more people recycling and be able to personally benefit from it as well. Placing your bottles or cans inside will get you a refund on the bottle deposits you may of made.

We really need to consider the necessity of using single use plastics prior to purchasing.  In addition to considering the environment here, consider your wallet! Water bottles on average cost 1000 times more than tap water, and less regulated for cleanliness than water flowing from taps. It has also been found that the water going into those bottles is just coming from taps as well.
Other initiatives across the country, and even across the globe includes examining use of plastic utensils, water bottles, and straws. GlassDharma's friend Milo Cress started Be Straw Free urging restaurants to only provide a straw in a beverage when it is specifically asked for. The 1:1 Movement's sustainability mission focuses on educating everyone, students, teachers, business owners, and more about solutions everyone can take part in.  Both organizations continue to publicize the need for change when it comes to our "disposable" choices and habits.

Reusable lunch-ware instead of
single use containers.
Each of these causes has garnered a great amount of support from various communities. Resistance really comes as a matter of convenience, not having to remember to BYO bags to the store, or mug to the cafe. Cloth bags, reusable water bottles, and coffee tumblers are durable, washable, and great for the planet! Some plastics are biodegradable though waste facilities in different states and counties have various rules depending on whether or not the substances will degrade there. Otherwise, bags and other plastics often fly or roll away in the wind, ending up in parks, oceans, and the bellies of animals just looking for their dinner.

It is interesting to us at GlassDharma as we hear from many of our fans across the oceans that these ideas are not new to them. The reverse vending machines have been around for a long time in the Netherlands and in Germany. Reuseable items are seen as more practical in many other countries because they have many more uses than a "disposable" bag made of plastic.

As awareness travels to different regions, with innovation in the hands of so many, the momentum behind solutions increases. Living in a global age we can appreciate the quick exchange of ideas and ability to collaborate from thousands of miles away. Many sustainability movements already exist because of this very reason, and the possibilities for the future are bright and boundless.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Plastic Free Challenge

Reducing The Plastic Habit

Plastic Free July is HERE & Plastic free is a BIG DEAL, so BalmBaby has planned some BIG festivities! Join in on the fun, starting (and ending) with the BalmBaby Challenge + Giveaway.

Challenge Details:
  •  Challenge will start July 1& end July 31, 2014. Form must be filled out & filled out HERE (it’s short)
  • Switch one thing either within your household or your place of business within the month of July that helps to reduce plastic use. Then post a picture to our FB ( and please do tag @GlassDharma on your posts!
  • Make sure you ALSO enter the GIVEAWAY via Rafflecopter. (Details on the Balm Baby Blog)  We added a giveaway to show our appreciation for the support of you taking the challenge.
  • Prizes include: $100 Gift Card to be used at our online shop ( * GlassDharma $25 Gift Card * Pura $50 Gift Pack * PLUS Stay tuned for MORE!
Baby Steps Peeps! Don’t stress or get all “perfectionist”! It can be intimidating sometimes, so just focus on your one little baby step.

WHY Take the Challenge?

Most people are unaware that plastic is a huge issue, not just to our planet, but our health.
Our Planet: Plastic will NEVER break down. 2oz. of plastic will ALWAYS be 2oz. of plastic & can only be down-cycled / up-cycled so many times.Our Health: When plastic is used for food or skin care containers, there are health concerns because plastic can leach, especially when warmed up, making even natural products become full of toxic chemicals, and therefore, no longer natural.

Get Informed! Be Part of the solution!  

Switch Ideas:

* Switch items with plastic material to more sustainable materials (glass, stainless steel, wood, clay, fabric, aluminum, etc.)
 * Buy some re-usable stainless steel or glass water bottles instead of plastic ones.
 * Buy some re-usuable stainless steel or glass food containers.
 * Buy in BULK, taking your re-usable containers in to fill up.

Feel free to switch as MANY things as you’d like (just don’t overwhelm yourselves!).


Plastic Free July (the organization that started it all), has their Challenge that we highly recommend doing. You can find more info on it & sign up HERE:

Check out what Beth Terry of My Plastic-free Life & Ecology Center are doing in the Bay Area, CA all month long as well!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Sip The Solution - Winners announced!

And the winners are....

Congratulations to our 3 winners from our Instagram photo contest #sipthesolution!

We asked our winning contestants what they like about using GlassDharma glass straws and have included their quotes along with their winning photos.

Our first place winner for a GlassDharma $50.00 Gift Code is from Ohio.  Drum roll.....

IG, instagram, glass straw, straw, GlassDharma, sipthesolution

When I saw the amount of straws we use in our household, it was a no brainer to find a better solution for our love of straws. I saw a post on a friends Instagram account about GlassDharma straws and I knew we had our solution! We use our straws daily and love them! It is a perfect teaching moment for my kids as well.
~Nita C. @nitaleeann - Chesterland, Ohio

Two photos were chosen as 2nd place and each runner up contestant received a $25.00 gift code from GlassDharma.

IG, instagram, glass straw, GlassDharma, sipthesolution

I heard of GlassDharma first through Instagram where I saw one of their pretty straws featured in a photograph. I was instantly in love and was excited to hear they ship worldwide. As a nutritionist I love sharing healthy smoothie recipes with my clients and I recommend GlassDharma straws to everyone who's interested in living a more sustainable lifestyle. It's the perfect way to enjoy the fun of sipping AND taking care of our planet! I'm a fan and I'm sure you'll become hooked too!
~ Lianne B. @liannebeijer - The Netherlands

IG, instagram, glass straw, GlassDharma, sip, solution, sipthesolution

I was blessed to receive the Earth Day glass straw given away by GlassDharma and I have been in love ever since. I use them for sipping smoothies, juices, and even water and the taste in one word is "clean!" They are so much fun to use and they add a decorative and festive look and feel too your glassware. I will continue to add these awesome straws to my collection! GlassDharma, thank you for your commitment and dedication to improve the earth through the production of these phenomenal glass straws!
 ~ Cotenna C. @cdgitsme - Redwood City, CA

Please follow @GlassDharma on Instagram and watch for our next Instagram Photo Contest - July 16 - 30, 2014! 
#midsummersip14  #glassdharma
(Winners to be notified August 5th, 2014)
This will be our 2nd annual Mid Summer Sip.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Earth Day Straw Feedback

Can Earth Day Straws be a "Trigger" for Sippers?

by Cheryl Newcomb
and Yovana Mendoza
GlassDharma straws are designed with a specific purpose in mind. Over the years, the inventory has expanded slightly to include straws for different purposes. Different straw lengths and diameters with particular measurements meet requirements for certain beverages and glassware. There are even straws to replace those made of plastic that come in some reusable water bottles on our "underground" menu.

The goal at GlassDharma is to provide options for reusable, non-toxic drinking straws that are durable and elegant as an alternative to single-use plastic straws. Company policies include reducing the manufacturing, packaging, and shipping footprint as much as possible.

The majority of GlassDharma's fans and customer base consists of a community of health advocates: raw food chefs, vegans, vegetarians, juicing and cleanse advocates, and smoothie drinkers who love to use GlassDharma straws in their daily beverages. The creativity of this community is amazing as they show the many ways to use food as proper nutrition while their artful displays tempt the eye of the taster.

EarthDayStraw, Earth Day, glass straw, small straw, straw, straws
photo by Cheryl Newcomb
Every year, GlassDharma gives away free  glass straws for Earth Day!  The number one purpose of this campaign is to get these straws into the hands of those who have not yet tried them. In past years, GlassDharma gave away the standard 9.5mm by 8 inch straw to participants in the Earth Day Event. This year, the Earth Day Straw is a new length which designed for a 2 fold purpose; to use as much of our glass materials as possible, to reduce materials waste in our facility, and to provide a new length straw that properly fits certain cups, stemware, and glassware that our former designs are just too long for. 

Over the years since GlassDharma started production, a bit of online chatter was discovered making reference to how the glass straws are reminiscent of certain drug paraphernalia.
These comments have been few and far between as the momentum keeps building from those excited about GlassDharma products and the simple solution they provide towards a sustainable lifestyle.

Many letters and comments appear with thanks for the "Earth Day Straw" declaring how much participants from the GlassDharma Earth Day Trivia project love this straw for drinking beverages. As time went on, it was discovered that not everyone was happy with their Earth Day Straw.

One participant posted a comment on the GlassDharma Facebook wall regarding her surprise at receiving something from us similar to what she had used in her past as drug paraphernalia.  In response, we stated that we were not familiar with this type of use for our glass straws. Shorter glasses and stemware require a shorter straw so the function is in the design of the Earth Day Straw. We Congratulated her on her recovery and suggested that she might like to sip a smoothie or fresh juice in a fancy stemware glass like a martini glass to have a new association to healthy habits using our straws! Most of our thanks for these straws come from a huge community of health advocates and eco conscious consumers, so we also expressed hope that she might include herself in this kind of a community that has great love for herself, her health and our planet, where we all live together. We then wished her a Happy Earth Day!

The comment brought up a sensitive topic, but one that is important to address; the subject of "triggers" and how an object might be associated with a former lifestyle.  Triggers can be different for anyone affected by them.  Items that might be identified as "triggers" can be something like a shot glass for a recovering alcoholic, or an ashtray for a former smoker. The association of a "prop" from a former activity may bring certain feelings about a previous era for those who have since entered a new lifestyle.  Early stages of recovery from addiction include avoiding "triggers" that may become problematic for the success of an addiction recovery program.

With these ideas in mind, GlassDharma advocates that all of our straws to be used as drinking straws! Just as a good knife can be used to make wonderful and healthy food, it can also be used to cause damage; knives are still sold with the expectation that they be used safely. We are happy to see so many photos of our Earth Day Straws in drinkware that finally have the perfect glass straw to fit. The many notes expressing delight and thanks for a product that is functional and sustainable are still coming into our inboxes.  We have included this straw as a main menu item on our shopping cart.

GlassDharma advocates positive health practices and encourages straw users everywhere to consider real glassware and reusable straws as best choices for our environment and as chemical free, non-toxic options. A lifestyle change such as recovery from an addiction might eventually invite a former binge drinker to purposely choose the glassware that they once used for alcoholic beverages as a fancy new way to sip healthy juices and smoothies. This modification in their pattern of thought can create new and improved associations with objects once symbolizing an unhealthy lifestyle, and transforms them into feelings of self control and freedom.

We asked Yovana Mendoza from Rawvana on You Tube about triggers and how they play a part in a changed lifestyle toward healthy choices and healthy living.

rawvana, yovana mendoza, healthy lifestyle, smoothie, straw, glass straw
Yovana Mendoza - "Rawvana"
Here is what Yovana shares -

Over a year ago, I completely changed my lifestyle and left a very unhealthy habit of binge drinking. I turned to raw foods and living a healthy and balanced lifestyle filled with love, physical activity, productiveness, and connection with God. Living my previous lifestyle, I had completely forgotten about those missing aspects in my life, I tried to fill those voids with partying, and addictions like drinking and smoking cigarettes, even smoking marijuana. It was normal for me at the time, I was so caught up in that destructive world that it was impossible for me to see the light.

In one of those horrible hangovers I had, I decided I needed a DETOX from the partying and drinking. My mind was foggy; the moral hangovers were making me depressed, anxious, just being alone with myself brought up many negative feelings. I knew it was not normal for me to feel this way and I also knew that turning to anti depressants and anti anxiety pills was not going to fix it. I had tried that before and it did not work. After that, detox was when I turned to raw foods and made the decision to change and make the action steps needed in order to do it.

After more than a year without a sip of alcohol, I can now call myself a recovered addict. Was it easy? No. It took a lot of healing to get me where I am no, and I am still healing. Have I had triggers? YES! Many! I am now a health advocate and inspire others to lead a healthier lifestyle and leave behind addictions because they rob us from the purpose we were designed to have in this world.

I used to post pictures on my Instagram page of my champagne and wine glasses, now I post pictures of my healthy smoothies in champagne glasses, wine glasses, mason jars, and I often use Glass Dharma glass straws because they really add a lovely feel to drinking a smoothie or juice, it makes the experience much more enjoyable. I think they are unique and make people want to drink healthy beverages.

I am grateful for triggers because they are an indication I needed to do some inner work. I have learned that we cannot blame anyone for every negative feeling we have, we have to turn the camera around and point it to ourselves. When triggers come up for me, I take some time to relax, lay down, meditate, be in a calm space, maybe turn on some soothing music and just breathe deeply, slow down my mind and ask myself "what is really going on?". It also helps to talk to someone; I talk to my parents all the time about my anxious feelings. Letting it out helps because when you speak it aloud instead of just thinking it in your head, it becomes more powerful.

I am on a constant road of self-development, self-healing, and nourishment. The important thing is knowing how to cope with triggers and issues and work on them so we can become a better version of ourselves!

Yes, let us all be "a better version of ourselves"! Thank you, Yovana for sharing your experiences and insight.  Please visit Rawvana on YouTube where she demonstrates fabulous recipes. There is even a new Ravana's Raw Recipes App for recipes and shopping lists to make this healthy way of eating and drinking as easy as ever!  Watch for a new Rawvana revamped website - coming soon!

We invite your comments and opinions on this topic, and for general feedback on the Earth Day Straw.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Outdoor Cookouts and Entertaining

Outdoor Grilling and Summertime Meals

by Angela Yannessa
GlassDharma wants to help you Green your Barbecues this Spring and Summer! It is easy to do once you take notice of reusable options over their "disposable" counterparts.

dishes, napkins, reusable, reuse, BBQ, entertaining
photo by Didriks on Flickr
If you are hosting an event, use real stuff! Don't waste money on paper or plastic cups, utensils, and plates that will leave you with a large amount of waste, use plates and utensils you already have! A run of the dishwasher or a load of dishes in the sink is minimal to the amount of time and money you will save not buying plastic ware. In addition, it is  much better for the environment and health of you and your guests.

Have you invited more people than you have plates for? How can you cut out the need for "disposable" products in such a large party setting? Consider the number of people attending the event, and if you will not have enough plates/utensils/glasses on hand, ask someone who is helping coordinate or bringing a side dish to bring a set of plates. You can also borrow from a neighbor, or just ask everyone to bring their own plates and utensils. Cloth napkins can be used, and instead of plastic tablecloths that get thrown away, you can use cloth, towels, or sheets.  The main goal is to reduce waste, so get creative. Use leftover jars from pickles or jam for drinking glasses. For kebabs, use  a rosemary stem or metal skewers instead of single use wooden ones. Once you start coming up with new ideas, the rest will easily come to you.

In addition to lessening your footprint, food served from ceramic plates and glass dishes over plastic or aluminum simply looks more appealing. Let the foods do the decorating for you! Fruit plates, vegetables, and your grilled meals served in glass or ceramic show off the true beauty of the food itself, and you won't feel the need for space filler decorations. Beverages taste better from glasses over plastic, and we all know plastic knives have never been useful for cutting. What better way to impress guests than with real serve-ware, delicious food, all the while being conscious of the environment? This doesn't stop with forks, knives, and plates either; putting your GlassDharma straws in a vase for use in beverages will serve as a centerpiece, and will be sure to start some conversations.

grill, veggies, vegetables, BBQ, outdoor cooking
Photo by Jeremy Keith
Besides serve ware, the next place to cut the most waste is the grocery store. For food purchasing, bring your own shopping bags, and as much as possible, containers to carry your meat and vegetables out plastic free. Jars, Pyrex, and other glass options are best for meat, while light netted bags are great for vegetables and fruits. Try to buy local products as much as possible, which also reduces your footprint. As soon as you get home and unpack your bags, you will see the amount of waste reduced from bringing your own containers and bags.

When it comes time for food preparation, the grill is the perfect outdoor choice in the warm weather. It allows you to enjoy the warm, fresh air, and keeps the house cool in the midst of late Spring and Summer heat! In addition, it allows extra fats to be removed from meat in the cooking process, and retains more beneficial vitamins. Fruits and vegetables are also really great when grilled- and many maintain more nutrients when grilled, and overall grilled food comes out tender and delicious, retaining its best natural flavors.
Another consideration for the environment is the type of grill you use. Gas and propane grills have been found to be best, causing the least amount of pollution when compared with coal fired grills.

Below are some ideas for different types of food to grill to change it up for your barbecue. If grilling meat, be sure not to let it burn.** This can be done by first choosing small cuts of lean meat, and turning them often while cooking. Thicker cuts take longer to cook on the inside, so the outer portion is more likely to burn. Besides not tasting good, from a health standpoint this charring can expose the meat to carcinogens that are not good to ingest. These substances can also arise when fat drips from the meat hitting the flames and traveling back up in the smoke. For the best, healthiest results, make sure to start with a clean grill, and focus more of the meal on vegetables and fruits which do not produce these substances.

As a staple in many kitchens, chicken can become a boring meal throughout the year. When the warm weather arrives and the grill can be used,  it allows many different recipes and flavors to be used to enhance the dish and make it more interesting. Barbecue sauce, teriyaki, and peanut sauces pair perfectly with chicken and provide a great range of flavor.

Do you have a flat grill plate? While open grates work fine for many vegetables and fruits, the flat plate will give you more control from fallen pieces, as well as seasoning. This is a great way to make "fries" at home without the grease! Sweet potato OR regular, slice into centimeter thick strips, oil your grill plate and grill until tender. Close the lid of the grill to allow them to get crispy on the outside. Season with salt and pepper to taste, in addition to any other favorite flavor. Garlic and parmesan are a great pair for fries. "Baked" potatoes are easy on the grill, too!

Veggie burgers are easy to make at home with bread crumbs, quinoa, and sweet potato, or black beans, mushrooms, and corn. See the recipe here.

Heads of romaine can be grilled for a twist on your traditional salad, as well as homemade pizza!
For side dishes like potato, chicken, or egg salad, avocado can replace mayo; just peel, remove the pit, and toss it in the food processor with some lime juice and black pepper!

jars, drinks, ice, bowl
Individual Drinks in Jars
For keeping drinks cool, use a wheelbarrow or borrow a friends cooler so you don't have to buy one you might only use this once. Have an open flower box or two? Fill them with ice and beverages for cold drinks! Many pint sized jars are freezer proof- fill those with your drink of choice and put them in your cooler.

Any grilled meal pairs perfectly with a lavender lemonade complete with GlassDharma straw! Lemonade is great for any hot day, and the addition of lavender spices it up a little and provides an enjoyable and unique flavor. Lavender also contains many health benefits, is anti-inflammatory, and will help you digest your grilled meal. Try this recipe for your next barbecue. A splash of gin works wonderfully in addition, if desired.

All in all, keeping it simple will allow you to cut out waste from plastic and paper items, and have a beautiful party with delicious food.

** See how using a beer based marinade can reduce possible carcinogens in the INH Health Watch Newsletter

What are your favorite summer recipes? Please share your favorite recipes with GlassDharma in the comments.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Plant a Garden for Earth Day

Gardening in April

             by Angela Yannessa

plant, garden, tree, earth day, glassdharma,

Early spring is the perfect time to plant your garden, even if there is still a chill in the air. Do you dream of a large backyard vegetable garden that will feed your family through the Fall, or growing your own ingredients for smoothies and juices? Maybe you want to add some eye catching flowers and plants to your front walkway. In any case, GlassDharma has gathered some tips for you. These are great activities to do with friends and family through April for Earth Month. Give the Earth around you some care, and watch your future salad, smoothies, and juices grow!

Always consider the many different varieties within each plant group, and take some time to find out which will best suit your garden and local climate. Growing plants native to your area can make tending to your garden much easier and ultimately more successful. This can be achieved by asking your local nursery or doing some research online. Keep in mind the temperature and forecast for seed starting; some plants can handle a frost and others cannot.

Pick an area in your yard that gets sunlight and is not often disturbed by pets/kids, and check your soil. (If pets will be close by, be sure nothing you are planting is toxic to them.)  You will want to learn if the pH levels are balanced (though some plants will thrive in acidic soil, others in alkaline). The easiest way to check is with litmus paper (available online or at the local pharmacy store), which offer an inexpensive option and provide a speedy answer.

  • Mix about 2 teaspoons of soil from the garden area with 1/4 cup of distilled or rain water to form a thick liquid. Allow it to set for 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Dip the test strip in the mixture and let it sit for 30 seconds. Rinse with the distilled or rain water, and compare the color it changes to the pH chart (which will come with your litmus paper).

It is easy to check the consistency of soil, a factor that can tell you a lot about the nutrients already there. Check out Organic Gardening’s resource for checking soil. There are a lot of steps here, and it might seem a little time consuming at first. It is much better to start with the right soil then to only find out the condition is poor when your plants do not grow. Once this step is complete, start digging! Using a rake and shovel, work the soil and remove weeds to prepare for planting.

chard, leafy greens, garden, vegetable, plant
Swiss Chard
For some easy vegetables to start with, consider leafy greens like kale, Swiss chard, spinach, and lettuce. These are typically viewed as winter growth, but can provide many months of food when planted in the early spring. Kale is strong enough to withstand frosts as well as warmer temperatures, and will nourish you and your family with various vitamins. Lettuce and spinach are also healthy, easy, and fruitful leafy crops.

  • Plant in neutral soil during early spring (lettuce can be planted indoors first, then transplanted outside)
  • Water roots in the morning regularly. Kale and spinach thrive with moisture, lettuce can stand dryness. 
  • Once lettuce leaves grow, harvest to allow more to grow, until it bolts (forming flowers)
  • Kale and spinach are fantastic additions to smoothies and juices

Potatoes are easily planted for starter gardens as well. Being left too long in the pantry, potatoes will start to sprout. Take advantage of this! Planting sprouted potatoes instead of throwing them away avoids waste and can reward you with freshly grown vegetables for years to come.
  • Place sprouted potato in a warm, sunny place inside
  • After a couple weeks to a month, carefully cut the potato between the sprouts, leaving a couple "eyes" within each cut, and let them dry for 1-2 days
  • Plant eye side up, spread them out 6-10 inches to allow the potatoes to grow to an adequate size 
  • Enjoy roasted with herbs, mashed, in a potato salad, or one of the other endless possibilities
Green beans and snap peas are great to have on hand and easy plants to start from seedlings. These will survive much better if planted inside and nurtured for a couple of weeks prior to outdoor planting.
  •  Use eggshell halves for initial planters: they are the perfect size and the shell provides calcium to the growing seedling.
  • Rotting commonly occurs; it is a good idea to plant extra seedlings to make up for some lost. 
  • When planting a vining variety, be sure to provide a large stake, trellis, or plant them near a fence so the vines can climb.
  • If the season has a steady amount of rainfall, the peas/beans will only need watering weekly.
  • Eat them raw for a quick, healthy snack, or cook alongside your favorite meal
Lavender provides a beautiful and fragrant plant, and makes a nice addition to various main courses, side dishes, and even beverages. Include it in a dry rub for seasoning meat, juices/smoothies, lemonade, mojitos, roasted potatoes, and more! 
  • Lavender needs a plot or pot with good drainage. It can withstand drought and will not survive with too much moisture.
  • Line the bottom of the pot with stones to ensure good drainage.
  • At harvest, separate the lavender you plan to dry, tie the ends and hang upside down. Once dried, these will be best used for spicing, tea, and even for a calming smoothie to sip with your GlassDharma straw.
lavendar, garden, herb, plant, spring
Gaillardia or “Blanket Flowers” grow tall each year and produce beautiful, vibrant colors above many leaves. Have fun with different textures and styles in the garden, contrasting big blooming flowers to grasses and shrubs.

plant, kale, pot, garden, leafy greens
Kale Grown in a Pot from Seed
For those with limited space, planting in pots outside your doors can be the best option to serve as your garden and an inviting display. Baskets, pails, old coffee tins, milk cartons, and old juice bottles are useful tools for planting as well. Herbs can thrive right in your kitchen window. Whether you are roasting veggies, chicken, making soup, or pizza, additions such as basil and rosemary from your own garden will surely spice up the dish. The fragrance of herbs adds a nice touch in the house as well, acting as a natural deodorizer. 

To maintain all of your new garden plants, make your own organic fertilizer with compost from your kitchen/yard to be sure they thrive. It might take some getting used to, but fruit and vegetable scraps, pulp from the juicer, egg shells, used coffee grinds, grass, and leaves from your yard can help your soil nurture your plants.
Other options suggest including rock phosphate and kelp; you can make your own mixture if you make sure to have nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, and micronutrients. Organic fertilizers are also available commercially. 

Is Your Garden Complete?

We hope your gardens are prosperous and provide many years of beauty and nourishment for your efforts. If your home garden is complete or you would rather work with a group, consider volunteering for a cooperative garden that benefits a school, senior center, or low-income project. Other options include joining a local community effort of planting trees or cleaning up a beach or park, especially throughout April for Earth Month! Educational events like talks and expos can help you and your family learn more about an environmental cause, and serve as motivation to be kinder to the Earth.  


Where are the Friends of GlassDharma this Earth Day?

GlassDharma founders David and Gail are attending EcoCruz's Earth Day Santa Cruz event! Beth Terry of My Plastic Free Life will be joining them for the event on Saturday, April 19 for a day of fun, educational information and activities. 

Milo Cress of Be Straw Free will be speaking at the Monterey Bay Aquarium on May 10 for the Ocean Plastic Pollution Seminar, and later in the month at the  Marine Research Center in Port Townsend, Washington. Milo has won the Founder's Medal for the Daughter's of the American Revolution as a result of his hard work spreading the word about the downsides of plastic straws. Great job Milo!  

Carter and Olivia of One More Generation have written a Proclamation requesting an entire month during the school year be designated as "Plastic Awareness Month" so schools will be required to teach students about the issue and help them find solutions they can immediately introduce.  This Proclamation is now being introduced in Washington DC for consideration nationwide. 

If you will be in Pawleys Island, SC on Earth Day, be sure to see this fabulous movie, "Plastic Paradise" sponsored by a group of environmentally inspired peepers and the turtle conservation group, SCUTE. Plastic effects everything and everyone! 

Danielle and Chelsie of Balloons Blow will be focused on Beach Cleanups and spreading awareness to others to not wait for one day a year to get involved! 

What are you doing for Earth Day 2014? 

GlassDharma and friends focus beyond Earth Day/Month, spreading the word to treat every day like Earth Day! We hope you will participate throughout the year in these, or other, events.  Please share your own local events in the comments of this post and tell us about your own Earth Day festivities and celebrations. Sharing keeps the spirit of the day alive all year long!  

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Earth Day Cocktail

The Earth Day Cocktail and Mocktail Recipes

DIY - Anthony Caporale from Art of the Drink shows you how to create your own Earth Day Cocktail!  This recipe and a variation, The Earth Day Mocktail recipe is published by GlassDharma for your own celebrations.  Happy Earth Day!

The Earth Day Cocktail
           by Art Of the Drink

-In a mixing tin half-filled with ice, add:
1 oz. Gin
1 oz. St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
Juice of 1 fresh Lemon (1 oz.)
-Shake until the tin is frosted.
-Double strain into a rocks glass over blueberry ice cube.
-Serve with a GlassDharma Earth Day Straw.

Blueberry Juice Ice Cube
-Mix equal parts blueberry juice cocktail and water.
-Pour into ice mold.
-Freeze overnight.

Fresh Blueberry Juice Ice Cube
-Blend 1 cup fresh blueberries with 1 cup water.
-Fine strain to remove seeds.
-Pour into ice mold.
-Freeze overnight.

The Earth Day Mocktail
            by Art Of the Drink

-In a mixing tin half-filled with ice, add:
1 oz. Non-Alcoholic Elderflower Cordial
Juice of 1 fresh Lemon (1 oz.)
-Shake until the tin is frosted.
-Double strain into a rocks glass over blueberry ice cube.
-Top with club soda
-Serve with a GlassDharma Earth Day Straw.

Blueberry Juice Ice Cube
-Mix equal parts blueberry juice cocktail and water.
-Pour into ice mold.
-Freeze overnight.

Fresh Blueberry Juice Ice Cube
-Blend 1 cup fresh blueberries with 1 cup water.
-Fine strain to remove seeds.
-Pour into ice mold.
-Freeze overnight.

About the Earth Day Straw by GlassDharma

This year's Earth Day Straw has a two fold purpose, allowing GlassDharma's footprint to lessen at the same time as yours. The Earth Day Straw is made with the same specific annealing formula exclusive to GlassDharma straws. Their durability is comparable to all of our other straws and they come with the same Lifetime Guarantee against breakage.