Why We Love Eco-Friendly Giving

veganshopHere at PlanetShoes, we know that shoes take quite a while to decompose. In fact, it takes the typical shoe sole over 1,000 years to fully break down! That’s a statistic that doesn’t sit well with us. That’s why we try to offer a wide variety of shoes that tread lightly on the planet, from vegan shoes to those made with renewable or recycled materials.

While the eco-conscious options on our site are great, we wanted to do a bit more to help the planet that nourishes us. That’s why we joined up with 1% for the Planet, an amazing organization that provides funds to thousands of environmental organizations all over the world!

Through 1% for the Planet, a network of thousands of businesses including Patagonia, Kleen Kanteen and Clif Bar, we give customers the choice of carbon offset through Carbonfund.org as our way to offset the carbon emissions that occur through shipping our shoes around the country. Together, we offset approximately 26 tonnes of emissions each year!

Carbonfund.org’s motto is to “reduce what you can, offset what you can’t”, a realistic, wonderful tactic at helping decrease carbon’s negative impact on our environment.  While we realize we can’t Carbonfund.org Carbon Offset Certificateship your awesome shoes without fuel (at least, not with today’s technology!), we can at least work to offset the emissions from doing so.

Even better… this Earth Month, you all took to our site with your $1 donations and made an impressive collective donation to 1% for the Planet. We couldn’t have done it without you!

And remember- you can always opt for CarbonFree Shipping when buying a pair of shoes on our site to offset shipping emissions!

Learn more about Carbonfund.org
Learn more about 1% for the Planet

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Accomplish Your Running Goals this Spring!

There’s a new trend in New Year’s Resolutions… the May Resolution! By now, those ambitious resolutions you set at the beginning of the year have begun to fall to the wayside, or better yet, have already been accomplished! And with the weather changing, it’s time to update those goals for the newer, brighter days ahead.

outdoor runWarm weather makes it even easier to accomplish workout goals, especially ones in the running sphere. Treadmill and elliptical lovers and haters alike can all rejoice about the idea of bringing their endurance-building exercises outdoors for some fresh scenery. With a few simple alterations to your normal running routine, this could be the perfect time to lengthen your endurance!

Segment the distance mentally
Instead of thinking of the full distance you want to run, consider it in increments. A five mile run can be thought of as two 2.5-milers, which oftentimes makes these longer runs seem less daunting.

Interval training
Don’t have a ton of time for a long-distance run this week? Try a short, high-intensity interval workout. Alternating between strong bursts of energy and periods of rest in quick succession builds up your stamina without taking hours out of your day.

Slow your pace
When attempting to lengthen the miles you run, it’s okay to slow down your pace. Running at a keepmovingdecreased clip will get you used to the mileage, later allowing you to bump up to your regular speed.

Eat & hydrate well
Make sure to eat a snack filled with healthy carbohydrates before taking off on a run for optimal performance. For a run under an hour, a banana or English muffin is a great snack. If you’re planning on running for over an hour, something a bit heavier, like Greek yogurt or a cup of oatmeal, are wonderful choices. And as always, remember to hydrate heavily before and after your run!

Be patient
This rule may be the most frustrating! Although you may have lofty running goals, it’s important to build gradually to that mileage to reduce the risk of energy. How far you run depends completely on your skill level and strength. Be confident in your ability to get there, but practice patience for the happiest, proudest outcome.

How do you build your endurance for longer outdoor runs? Share your tips with us in the comments below! 

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Continue your Green Habits Post-Earth Month

April has brought us a wonderful Earth Month filled with reminders of how we can cherish the planet on which we reside. With red-breasted robins emerging and flowers finally starting to bloom, April seems like the perfect month to celebrate the earth and our grand environment.

The celebrations don’t have to stop there though! It’s important to remember those tips, tricks and habits you’ve adopted during Earth Month and carry them with you throughout the year. Be mindful of the following to continue this year as a greener, healthier you.

hikingsunsetRemember the source
Always check the source of what you’re purchasing when it comes to food. Buying organic and local helps protect the land, reduces emissions, and in the case of local, helps your neighborhood thrive.

Get outdoors, exercise outdoors
There’s no better way to appreciate the earth than to get outside and revel in it! Make a point to exercise or play outside at least once or twice a week. The fresh air will remind you to take care of the land that nourishes you.

Shop at 1% for the Planet Companies
When shopping, look for the 1% for the Planet logo on websites and in stores where you purchase your clothing and other goods. Even making a small impact like 1% does a whole lot of good in supporting awesome environmental organizations!

Look for eco materials when shopping
It’s getting easier and easier to find all the items you want made from sustainable materials. From household cleaners made with natural ingredients to shoes and bags made from jute, hemp, and reducequiteorganic cotton, it’s become super simple to buy goods made from eco-friendly fabrics and resources.

Reuse/DIY/Recycle
Lastly, it’s super important to be mindful of your waste. There’s a very small percentage of items that actually need to be thrown away… the rest can be recycled, composted, reused, or upcycled. We’ll continue to post DIY and Upcycling tips all year long, so you’ll never be without fresh ideas!

How will you continue your eco-friendly habits? What’s your favorite way to go green?

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Tips and Tricks to Buying Organic

We’ve all heard, and many of us believe, in the benefits of buying organic food. However, buying solely organic can come with a serious price tag and time commitment. Lucky for you, turns out that many fruits and veggies aren’t actually all that impacted by pesticides due to their thick skins and other materials. Check out the top five dirty dozen you should definitely be buying organic, and those that you can skip if need be.

peachesTop Pesticide-Laden Conventional Plants

  1. Apples
  2. Strawberries
  3. Grapes
  4. Celery
  5. Peaches

cornThe Cleaner Produce

  1. Corn
  2. Onions
  3. Pineapples
  4. Avocadoes
  5. Cabbage

Notice that many of the top dirty vegetables have thin skins, making it easier for that produce to absorb pesticides. Veggies and fruits like corn, avocadoes and pineapples have protective outer layers that allow less chemical through the outer membrane and into the flesh of what you’re consuming.

Tips for Buying Organic, On a Budget

1. Shop farmer’s markets: Buying from farmer’s markets means saving on the cost of shipping produce from one part of the country to the other.

 2. Grow your own: Start your own organic garden this spring! The fresh produce and sense of personal accomplishment will make the hard work well worth it. :)

 3. Freeze it: If you see organic produce on super-sale, buy in bulk and then freeze it.

farmersmarket 4. Shop around & online: Organic produce can be even more expensive at your local grocer than it is at a specialty store, and vice versa, depending on the produce. Make sure to shop around to find the best prices, as you do with your other groceries.

 5. Meal planning: Find organic produce on sale and then plan your weekly meals around those sales. Meal planning also has some great health benefits, making sure you balance nutrients and protein throughout the week!

For more tips, see this article by Food Matters

Identifying Organic Food
The only sure-fire way to know produce is organic is to look for the USDA Organic Label on that item. You can also look at the barcode; if the sku number starts with a 9 (i.e. 90001), the produce was grown organically.

How do you fit organic into your life? Do you steer clear of the dirty dozen? 

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Stuffed Peppers with Goat Cheese & Corn

roastedpeppers1This week’s recipe mimics the change in season; as bright sunshine and gorgeous red flowers become more frequent, so does our desire for fresh, delicious veggies! With bright red peppers, yummy sweet corn, goat cheese and a pinch of cilantro, this recipe is absolutely jam-packed with flavor and veggie-derived nutrition.

We’ve also been inspired this week by our Taos gift with purchase… when you buy any Taos shoe, you can grab this New Mexican-inspired cookbook for free! Filled with awesome recipes inspired by the rich, creative culture of the American Southwest, this cookbook is a must-have for delicious summery goodness. From the Fiesta Frittata to the Sautéed Shrimp with Ancho Chile, there’s a great recipe for everyone in this cookbook.

STUFFED PEPPERS WITH GOAT CHEESE & CORN

  • 2 bell peppers, sliced in half with the seeds removed
  • 4 ounces of goat cheese
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sweet corn kernels
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon cilantro, chopped

First, we must roast the peppers! You can either do this over a gas grill if you have one handy or in the oven under the broiler setting. I opted to do the broiler setting and just put them under the broiler on each side for about 5 minutes (but check often because broilers are tricky things and we don’t want your peppers burning to a crisp just because my broiler doesn’t get as hot as yours!). You want them to have blackened spots on both sides. Remove from heat and stick in a plastic bag until they cool. Once cooled, remove and peel the burnt outer skin. Set aside.

roastedpeppers2

While waiting for the peppers to cool, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium. Add the onions and sauté for about 5 to 7 minutes or until they begin to soften. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute. Then add the butter, corn, salt, and pepper. Sauté for another 5 minutes or until the corn is cooked all the way through. Remove from heat and stir in the lime juice.

Divide the goat cheese evenly between the 4 pieces and spread along the inside. Top with the corn mixture and garnish with cilantro.

About Vegetarian Ventures
Vegetarian Ventures is a vegetarian food blog that shares vegetarian and vegan recipes with a twist of adventure and inspiration. Shelly is a 20-something year old, fresh out of college who lives in the heart (if you’d like to call it something of that kind) of the Midwest. She works with indie-rock music by day and blogs by night.

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