Healthy Soil Compost Partnership!

Last night I lucked out and got last-second entry to see Stephanie Izard, Top Chef winner and owner of Girl & The Goat, discuss food sustainability. Between obscure lines from Mrs. Doubtfire, ordering cocktails via her microphone, and hilarious side-stores (I’m all about a tangent), Stephanie discussed her new cook book “Gather & Graze” about how to repurpose leftovers instead of throwing them away, and how her Goat team implemented sustainable practices to redirect 10,000 pounds of kitchen scraps to the compost pile each month!

Five days ago, MindBodyGreen shared a podcast interview with Lauren Singer, the environmental kween who popularized the zero-waste movement through her blog, Trash Is for Tossers.  I loved this podcast – it reminded me to think about everything you throw in the trash… is it worth producing trash that is literally going to rot away for practically EVER?! What can we do to reduce? She offers practical solutions so you can gradually reduce your impact.

Both Stephanie Izard’s chat and Lauren’s podcast interview didn’t reveal any mind-blowing environmental practices we should all be doing… everything mentioned was relatively simple and doable, dare I say obvious, but we sometimes just forget we can do these things when you’re not in the habit. Lauren may have even convinced me to start concocting my own toothpaste – apparently it’s simple!

One of the things I can happily say I do is HOME COMPOSTING. Composting is such an obvious choice to save food waste from getting stuck in landfills and releasing dangerous CO2 emissions. And even if you live in a city with no yard (#highriselife) your city likely has a composting option. I started using Chicago’s Healthy Soil Compost Community compost program, where they drop off a bucket and you pay depending on how many times they pick up per month. All you do is leave the bucket by your door and they replace with a fresh one, and you compost, compost, compost. We have saved SO MUCH doing this. I throw any food waste that falls on the floor during Lil Bucks production in here.

I am stoked to partner with Healthy Soil Compost and you will see Lil Bucks promoting them at our upcoming events (see the end for our upcoming events). Also if you sign up (WHICH YOU REALLY SHOULD THIS IS SO EASY AND AWESOME), mention Emily from Lil Bucks so we get a discount 😛If you know anyone who owns a cafe or restaurant, send them this list of Chicago partners and get their restaurant on board. Lil Bucks may save a few lbs per month of food waste, but like Girl & The Goat, restaurants who compost can have a HUGE impact.

Have a great Thanksgiving, and GET CREATIVE with those leftovers friends!! Xoxo

UPCOMING LIL BUCKS EVENTS & HOLIDAY MARKETS

November 25th: Chicago Vegan Test Kitchen, 12pm – 5pm at Emporium Logan Square

November 27th: Lil Bucks x Vital Proteins x Title Boxing Club Wellness Event!! Come in for an evening class at Title Boxing Lincoln Park. Some other amazing brands will be there… DM @Lovelilbucks to get a spot / first class is free

December 7th: Revival Food Hall First Fridays Party and Holiday Market, 5pm – 9pm. This will be fun – kick off your weekend with some fun brands, a DJ, drinks, friends, etc.

 December 9th: Covet Markets at Revel Fulton Market 10am – 5pm! DM @lovelilbucks for a discount code for entry. I love this market!!

December 11th: Member appreciation event at AIR Lincoln Park – take a class and have fun with some cool brands!

December 12th: Sampling at The Startup Food Bash, 6pm – 8:30pm.


Greetings From Oaxaca + Lil Bucks Update

Hi friends!

Emily here – the founder of Lil Bucks. I decided to start posting more on the website to give you insight into the Lil Bucks journey, more information about Lil Bucks and the ingredients, and recipes of course!!

Writing from Oaxaca City, Mexico today. Things have been busy, launching on Amazon and working on some exciting new things coming up (updated packaging…  more products on Amazon… limited edition flavors…!! ). I also still freelance full-time to fuel the Lil Bucks hustle (…and my need for RXBAR peanut butter packs and acai bowls and paying rent and workout classes etc 🤷).

Yeah, technically Lil Bucks is still a “side hustle”, but the hours spent on this biz every week are really creeping up. 😁 Lil Bucks is #1 in my heart (after bf and family), and I have so many ideas to spread the Lil Bucks love and make your experience better, get into more stores, add more flavors… These ideas dominate my mind and I intend to make it all happen.

Amidst the craziness, my weeklong trip to Mexico with my Aussie friends really snuck up on me. I was so stoked to see them again (it’s been 1.5 years since I moved from Sydney!) but thinking about everything I wanted to do for Lil Bucks, using my free time to travel almost seemed like a waste of time (GASP I’ve never said that – but I did say “almost”).

Any pre-trip anxiety ended the moment I landed. It’s so good to take a step back and peek into another world, just chill out. As a cultural mecca, the “food capital” of Mexico, and its epic location surrounded by mountains, Oaxaca is the perfect place for that (and it’s warm – missed the first Chicago snow 😅).

On the flight over I also made a gameplan for when I get back. Just before leaving, I helped FroyoToFitness design and launch this EPIC 6-week challenge guide (it’s seriously so awesome), and her planning, passion and action really inspired me to do the same. So, when I get back later this week, expect some exciting things to come before the end of the year. Bear with me as Lil Bucks evolves as I’m sure I’ll test + fail on some things.

In the meantime, comment below or DM @lovelilbucks and let me know any ideas of things you’d like to see Lil Bucks do, an event we should attend, or stores/cafes we should reach out to. In the first half of 2019, I’d also like to start a Brand Ambassador program – if you’re interested, fill out this quick form so you’ll be the first to know.

Xoxo

– Em, founder, Lil Bucks


Why We Sprout and Dehydrate

WHY WE SPROUT AND DEHYDRATE LIL BUCKS

Buckwheat groats are the superfood you’ve never heard of. Long utilized by Eastern Europeans and Russians in cooked dishes (mainly in kasha), innovative health foodies found delicious uses for the uncooked seeds in the past decade, mostly in Australia and the U.K.

HOWEVER, in order for our bodies to process all the incredible nutrients in raw buckwheat groats, the seeds must undergo the sprouting process to release enzyme inhibitors that block our bodies from absorbing all the seed’s nutrients. For Lil Bucks, we first sprout them and then dehydrate them to cut out all the moisture, so you are left with shelf-stable, raw nutrient-packed seeds that have a wide variety of uses.

For the cacao and matcha, we add the flavoring before dehydrating to deeply infuse the flavors (and amazing antioxidants from cacao and matcha) into the sprouted seeds. All varieties of Lil Bucks are never processed at a temperature above 115°F – keeping the bucks at a low heat preserves the most nutrients and protein possible (high heat causes nutrient damage). Most importantly, this preserves the extremely high level of antioxidants found in buckwheat (10x more than quinoa).

Read our previous post “Buckwheat Benefits (+ About Antioxidants)”. You’ll learn more about buckwheat benefits, comparing buckwheat to quinoa, and why you want antioxidants in your system.


Buckwheat Benefits (+About Antioxidants)

BUCKWHEAT BENEFITS VS. QUINOA BENEFITS

(and why you want antioxidants in your system!)

The health benefits of sprouted buckwheat seeds are mind-blowing. 6g of protein and 5g of fiber per serving, these nutrient-dense seeds also contain 25% of your daily value of magnesium–you’d need to eat a pound of salad to get that much magnesium! (more on why magnesium is amazing in a future blog post).

Furthermore, buckwheat has an antioxidant capacity of 620 DPPH per 100g (for context, the superfood quinoa has 58 DPPH). Buckwheat actually has quite a similar nutritional makeup as quinoa (information from HealthWithFood):

WHY DO I WANT ANTIOXIDANTS?

Hint: Good for your heart, blood sugar control, and protection against cancer!

You’re probably more likely to feel good about eating a certain food if it contains “tons of antioxidants,” but what does that even mean?

Antioxidants are shown to fight off cancers, aging, and promote overall immune system functions. Numerous studies show that antioxidants may protect cells in your body from “free radical” damage that can occur from exposure to certain chemicals, smoking, pollution, radiation, and as a byproduct of normal metabolism.

Buckwheat specifically contains a rich supply of flavonoids, particularly rutin. Flavonoids are a diverse group of “phytonutrients” (plant chemicals) found in almost all fruits and vegetables, and buckwheat!! Flavanoids can:

  • Help protect you from chronic conditions such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.
  • Fight against the free radicals that can cause cell damage leading to cancer.
  • Help lower LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol and decrease plaque in the arteries
  • Reduce the risk of hormone-related cancers, such as breast, uterine and prostate
  • Increase bone density

As antioxidants are researched more every year, we will continue to update our customers with more education on the particular antioxidant benefits of buckwheat, but trust us, this is a great food to include in your diet.


Raw Lil Bucks Fudge

Ingredients:

1/2 cup virgin coconut oil melted
1/4 cup raw almond butter (or nut butter of choice)
1/2 cup cocoa powder (or raw cacao powder)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
pinch fine grain sea salt, to taste
1 cup Lil Bucks
option to add 2 scoops (about 1/4 cup) of Vital Proteins Mocha Collagen Creamer to make it a mocha fudge – this is seriously DELICIOUS!!!

Directions:

  1. With electric beaters or blender, beat together the coconut oil and almond butter. Make sure the coconut oil is melted or the texture won’t work out (learned from experience)
  2. Sift in the cocoa/cacao powder and beat again until combined.
  3. Pour in the maple syrup, vanilla, and salt and beat until smooth.
  4. Pour into a bowl if in a blender, and stir in the Lil Bucks with a spoon.
  5. Line a loaf pan with a piece of parchment paper. Scoop the chocolate mixture into the pan and spread out until even.
  6. Freeze for about 1 hour, or until solid. Slice into small squares and fall in loooove.


Lil Bucks Energy Balls

1 cup Lil Bucks
1/2 cup peanut butter (or another nut butter, or you can omit. This amounts to about 8 spoonfuls. I have gone overboard on this before and they became a little too melty/mooshy, so be careful)
1/3 cup RAW honey or maple syrup
1/2 cup ground flax seeds
1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks or 1/4 cup cacao nibs
1-2 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut
1 tsp vanilla

Here’s what you do:

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate 45 minutes to an hour
Roll into small balls and keep refrigerated. I usually ‘frost’ with a little peanut butter on top because peanut butter… 😋


Signature Smoothie Bowl

Lil Bucks Signature Smoothie Bowl

Smoothie bowls are heavenly, but you must be careful of what goes in it! Some restaurants go over-the-top with sugary fruits and/or use fake juices or sugar-ed up acai, so it’s best to get it from a place who truly understands superfoods (Chicago: Hi-Vibe Juicery) or just know what to look out for in ingredients (we’ll expand on that eventually).

At home, you really can’t go wrong with this bowl:

  • 1 pack of sambazon protein acai or supergreens acai mix (only 5g sugar – watch out for their acai packets mixed with fruit… high sugar). You can also use their pure unsweetened acai
  • 1 banana (or half banana + half avocado for a creamy bowl)
  • 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup almond milk (or milk of your choice) – start with 1/4 cup and blend, test the thickness, and then add more. I prefer a thicker smoothie bowl base
  • 1 scoop of spirulina – start with half scoop if you are just getting used to the taste – but eventually you’ll crave it!
  • If you’re really making this a meal – add a tablespoon of your nut butter of choice

Blend, and then top with Lil Bucks (yum), chia seeds and cacao nibs. <3