Q&A: What Do You Want For The Holidays?

  • December 7, 2011 12:16 pm

THE QUESTION

Dear Alexandra,

What do YOU ask for for the holidays?

Thanks.

Jake

THE ANSWER

Hi Jake,

You’re not the only one who asked me this! This year I’d like to go entirely waste-free. Though I did—full disclosure—pre-purchase myself some shoes the other day. I love them/they make me feel a little guilty.

Here’s my whimsical stuff-free Top Ten though some of it is really for real.

  1. A clone and more hours in the day
  2. A television show starring yours truly where I get to be totally honest with people about how badly they need to green their lives (usually I’m pretty polite!)
  3. Sleep (this can actually happen if you give me an IOU for babysitting)
  4. Theater tickets (still haven’t seen/am dying to see Book of Mormon)
  5. Dinner out at an organic/local spot
  6. A massage
  7. Food/wine gifts – I know this is technically stuff, but I can hardly bring myself to put sustainably-grown grapes in the same category as plastic gadgets; local cheese is always welcome
  8. A plant or paper white bulbs (they smell sooo good!)
  9. A 10 class pass to my favorite yoga studio
  10. A museum membership

I’m not without stuff wishes of course. I work at home most of the time so nice comfy pajamas are always a treat. I could stand a new-to-me/faster computer, too. I’ve researched and written three of my four books (not to mention countless articles and blogs) on the one I currently have and it is starting to s l o w down. But I can certainly live without either.

Mainly I’m just hoping for some restorative downtime and meals with my family.

You?

Best,

Alexandra

Q&A: Safe Ice Cube Trays

  • December 1, 2011 2:27 pm

THE QUESTION

Hi Alexandra,

My question is –  I wanted to get metal ice cube trays, the kind with a lever so you can easily get the cubes out (we don’t have an ice maker).  Online, I’ve found aluminum ones for $7 and stainless steel “BPA free” ones for $30.  Is aluminum bad for you?  Does it have BPA  in it?  Inquiring minds want to know.
Thanks,

Matt

THE ANSWER

Hi Matt,

A perfect question just in time for holiday cocktail season! And what a great idea to avoid plastic.

There should be no bisphenol-A in unlined aluminum ice cube trays (there has been, however, BPA in epoxy linings of aluminum reusable water bottles — the company SIGG got in hot water over this a few summers ago and has since changed the lining they use to something else that is also proprietary, if I’m remembering correctly).

The issues with aluminum are that it isn’t durable, it’s not great environmentally as it is energy intensive to extract from the earth (though the components of stainless steel aren’t exactly energy neutral either), and there have been lingering concerns over the years–largely unsubstantiated but enough to warrant multiple studies–re links to Alzhiemer’s disease.

The long and the short of it is that I prefer stainless. The price evens out as you will probably have to buy five rounds of aluminum trays before your stainless shows any wear and tear. I’m not sure if aluminum is recyclable where you live, but that’s also something to consider. Stainless also goes easily into the dishwasher without any rusting (a big issue with flimsier aluminum). What else can I say? I’m big on the Precautionary Principle — if the risks of aluminum are unsubstantiated, what’s 23 bucks to err on the side of caution? Stainless steel is considered very safe and won’t leach chemicals into your ice.

Hope this helps. And cheers!
Best,

Alexandra