Guiding WOC Through The Process Of Returning Natural

This is How to Shop for Fresh Ingredients

Belle Bar Fresh Foods

At Belle Bar, we’re all about living a life that’s natural, healthy and takes the environment into consideration – whether that’s using Ayurvedic herbs in our haircare, to how we source our ingredients. We always choose organic! Not only is it better for the environment, it’s better for us because it wasn’t grown with pesky stuff that we’d rather not put into our bodies. Our #FRESHFOODSONLY challenge starts on Saturday 27 June. If you haven’t heard about it, find out all about it here. We’re offering TWO masks at 15% off with the code ‘2HAIRMASKS’, and encouraging you to mix them in with fresh ingredients over 30 days, and show us the results. We can’t wait to be wowed!

We’ve listed our top 10 fresh ingredients to mix in with the masks. To carry out the challenge properly and see ultimate results, we’re encouraging you to use fresh, sustainably-sourced ingredients, and to keep food waste to a minimum. So here’s our guide to shopping for fresh ingredients. Take care of your hair, while taking care of the environment!

Belle Bar Fresh Foods

Reduce plastic 

We all know plastic is pretty much the devil personified, so we’re all for trying our best to avoid it however we can, and substitute it for more responsible options. Many large grocery stores still sell fruits and fresh ingredients wrapped in plastic. We recommend staying away from this if you can, and opting for the ingredients that aren’t packaged. Also, be sure to take your own tote bags or reusable bags to the grocery store to avoid having to use their plastic bags at the till. 

Go for local 

Shopping at your local green grocers, or bodega is a great way to get your fresh ingredients. That way, you’re supporting local businesses and putting money back into the immediate community around you. Going for local also means going for locally sourced produce. Oftentimes, fruits and vegetables are transported across towns, states and even countries to make it to our tables – and all that contributes to climate change. Try to go for ingredients that were farmed as close to you as possible. An easy way to do this is to shop at farmers markets! And more often than not, locally sourced ingredients are better quality, with richer textures and juicer tastes. Support small, local businesses, while giving your curls and kinks the love they deserve. 

In season is best

It’s easy to want what you want exactly when you want it! And we totally understand – most of us have spent our lives being able to head to the grocery store, and find every fruit available, whether or not it’s in season. However, this isn’t the most sustainable way to approach what we put into our bodies. Ideally, we should be eating off the land and eating what’s in season. Not only do the ingredients taste better and fresher (because they are!), they often tend to cost less because they are ripe and ready to be harvested!

Belle Bar Fresh Foods

Go for imperfect

So much food is wasted because they are ‘imperfect’ – too small, too big, not the right color shape. But the truth is, perfect fruits aren’t really a thing, especially if they are organic. Just like people, fruits and vegetables will often vary in shades, sizes and shapes. Don’t shy away from going for the funny-shaped ones you see. As long as they’re organic, they should be good to go, and just as tasty!

Freeze it!

It’s time to become best buds with your freezer. Freezing is a great way to preserve the freshness and integrity of food – even fruits and veg! It prevents  microorganisms from growing in them, causing them to last longer and remain fresher. If you happen to buy too much of a specific ingredient – especially one that’s in season – freeze it and enjoy it on a later date. You can freeze fruits and veg for a few months, but when you take it out, just let it thaw naturally first before eating. 

Don’t bulk buy

Many of us have the tendency to bulk-by. The inner aunty in our heads telling us “what if”, or “what about” makes us get more of something than we actually need. And yes, although bulk buying works for people with large families, or when you’re getting pantry staples, it doesn’t work well when you’re shopping for fresh ingredients. This is because they have a shorter shelf life, and if you don’t use them all up before they spoil, all you’re doing is contributing to food waste. So when buying fresh ingredients such as fruits or vegetables, go for an amount that you’re sure you’ll get through within a few days. Most times, this means going for less than what you put in your cart. We know, it’s hard! But it’s well worth it. 

Store them properly 

Part of the reason why fresh food seems to go off so quickly is because we aren’t storing them properly. Believe it or not there’s a correct way to keep these ingredients to make sure they last as long as possible and stay fresh throughout. Ingredients that shouldn’t be refrigerated, and should be kept at room temperature are: 

To reduce overippening and spoilage of the food in your fridge, be sure not to place certain fruits and vegetables (like berries, peppers, apples and leafy greens) far away from ingredients that produce ethylene gas, as ethylene gas makes them ripen quickly, leading to them becoming rotten. Fresh ingredients that produce ethylene gas are: 

In season is best

It’s easy to want what you want exactly when you want it! And we totally understand – most of us have spent our lives being able to head to the grocery store, and find every fruit available, whether or not it’s in season. However, this isn’t the most sustainable way to approach what we put into our bodies. Ideally, we should be eating off the land and eating what’s in season. Not only do the ingredients taste better and fresher (because they are!), they often tend to cost less because they are ripe and ready to be harvested! 

Belle Bar Fresh Foods

Compost and be resourceful with seeds

Reducing food waste and giving energy to plants at once? Yes please! Composting is a great way to do both! Even if you might not have the space for an outdoor compost system, there are many companies now offering small, easy ways to compost in your kitchen and with limited room. Being resourceful with seeds is also a great way to reduce food waste and give to the environment if you have a garden for example. Apples, peaches and figs are great to grow from seeds – although they take time and a lot of work and love, they are well worth it. Fun tip: don’t throw away your pumpkin seeds! They are great to toss on salads and are packed with omega-3 and protein. 

To find out more about our #FRESHFOODSONLY challenge, join our Facebook group! 

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