Everything That Has Happened Since Angelina Jolie Filed For Divorce From Brad Pitt

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Fans were thrown for a loop when news broke in September 2016 that Angelina Jolie filed for divorce from Brad Pitt after 11 years of being together. Following their breakup, the By the Sea actress’s attorney, Robert Offer, said her decision to split was “for the health of the family.” Brad released a statement of his own not long after, telling People, “I am very saddened by this, but what matters most now is the well-being of our kids.” While it’s still unclear what led to their shocking breakup, keep reading to get all caught up on everything that has unfolded since then.

Angelina files for divorce from Brad. The actress filed papers to end their marriage on Sept. 19, 2016, citing irreconcilable differences and requesting sole physical custody of their six children, Maddox, Pax, Shiloh, Zahara, and twins Vivienne and Knox. She also asked the judge to grant Brad visitation rights.
Angelina’s attorney, Robert Offer, releases a statement on her behalf. After their divorce news grabbed headlines on Sept. 20, 2016, Angelina’s attorney said her decision to divorce was made “for the health of the family” but did not answer any further questions.
Brad releases a statement. The actor spoke out about the split in a statement to People that same day, making it clear that he’s putting their kids first. “I am very saddened by this, but what matters most now is the well-being of our kids. I kindly ask the press to give them the space they deserve during this challenging time,” he said.
More details about their divorce surface. In an exclusive report from Us Weekly, a source close to the pair revealed that “they fought a lot over the years and disagreed about many things. . . . The fighting got worse and they disagreed a lot about parenting.” The insider also noted that they would also “fight over their schedules and politics.”
Angelina’s manager, Geyer Kosinski, releases another statement on her behalf. Later that week, Angelina’s manager told E! News, “Angelina will always do what’s in the best interest of taking care of her family. She appreciates everyone’s understanding of their need for privacy at this time.”
Celebrities react to Brad and Angelina’s shocking split. Once the news broke on Sept. 20, 2016, it didn’t take very long for GIFs and memes to flood the internet. Stars also quickly chimed in, and Chrissy Teigen tweeted, “Brad and Angelina. How am I supposed to go to work today?” Meanwhile, their friend George Clooney found out about the breakup while attending the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees at the United Nations. During an interview with CNN, a reporter asked him to comment on their split, to which he shockingly responded, “What happened? . . . I didn’t know that. I feel very sorry then. That’s a sad story and unfortunate for a family. It’s an unfortunate story about a family. I feel very sorry to hear that.” Adele also dedicated her NYC concert to the couple, telling the audience, “I need to address to elephant in the room . . . But it’s the end of an era.” Courteney Cox said the divorce is “not about” Jennifer Aniston, and Jen’s husband at the time, Justin Theroux, made a similar comment about her inclusion being “nonsense.” Melissa Etheridge also chimed in, calling Angelina “nasty” and saying that the allegations of child abuse against Brad were “completely unfounded.”
The New York Post releases a cover featuring a laughing Jennifer Aniston. On Sept. 21, people were furious when The New York Post released its Brad and Angelina split cover, showing a massive photo of Jennifer laughing hysterically. Not long after, Jennifer’s pal, Chelsea Handler, spoke out about the breakup, saying, “Brad and Angelina always said they wouldn’t get married until everyone could get married and I always said I wouldn’t get married until they got divorced, so I’m officially accepting proposals. I’m ready.” She then continued, “There are rumors that part of the problem was that Brad was allegedly drinking and smoking too much weed. I wonder why he would need to self-medicate? Maybe because he could have been spending the last 12 years at Lake Como hanging out with George Clooney and Matt Damon instead of being stuck in a house with 85 kids, speaking 15 different languages. Oh yeah, and because he married a f*cking lunatic, that’s why.”
Marion Cotillard breaks her silence on Brad and Angelina’s split. On Sept. 21, 2016, Marion took to Instagram to announce her pregnancy with longtime partner Guillaume Canet and shut down rumors that she had an affair with Brad in a lengthy post. “This is going to be my first and only reaction to the whirlwind news that broke 24 hours ago and that I was swept up into,” she wrote, adding, “Firstly, many years ago, I met the man of my life, father of our son and of the baby we are expecting. He is my love, my best friend, the only one that I need . . . And to all the media and the haters who are quick to pass judgment, I sincerely wish you a swift recovery. Finally, I do very much wish that Angelina and Brad, both of whom I deeply respect, will find peace in this very tumultuous moment.”
Brad is investigated for child abuse. On Sept. 22, 2016, People magazine reported that the actor was under investigation for child abuse by the Los Angeles Police Department and LA County Department of Children and Family Services after someone anonymously reported that he got “verbally abusive” and “physical” with one of his six children. The incident allegedly occurred on Sept. 14, 2016 on his and Angelina’s private plane, where the rest of the kids, as well as Angelina, were also present. The report also suggests that he had been drinking at the time of the incident. Not long after the news broke, the LAPD denied the report with the statement: “We have no criminal investigation that we are actively pursuing. To my knowledge, [Pitt talking to police] never happened. And right now, that is where our office is. We are not investigating any case, nor do we have any allegations against Mr. Pitt. We understand how rumors get spun up and hopefully we can put a few of them to rest. We have no investigation involving Mr. Pitt.” People later clarified that the DCFS is still investigating Brad for child abuse, but the LAPD has not been involved. TMZ has also further reported that the child abuse allegations have been transferred to the FBI.
Brad gets a lawyer. On Sept. 22, 2016, The Hollywood Reporter reported that the actor enlisted help from Lance Spiegel, a family law attorney from Beverly Hills, for his upcoming divorce.
The FBI releases an official statement. The FBI responded to Brad’s child abuse investigation in a statement to Us Weekly saying, “In response to your inquiry regarding allegations within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States; specifically, an aircraft carrying Mr. Brad Pitt and his children, the FBI is continuing to gather facts and will evaluate whether an investigation at the federal level will be pursued.”
Brad backs out of an event and releases another statement. On Sept. 27, 2016, Brad revealed he wouldn’t be attending a previously planned screening of Terrence Malick’s Voyage of Time. “I’m currently focused on my family situation and don’t want to distract attention away from this extraordinary film,” he said.
Brad offers to take a drug test. In an effort to prove he has nothing to hide, Brad agreed to a drug test, according to a report from Us Weekly on Sept. 28, 2016. A legal source confirmed that the test would not not be conducted against Brad’s will, stating, “The DCFS [Department of Community & Family Services] wouldn’t compel someone to provide the urine sample for the drug test; it would be voluntary.”
Angelina hires the real-life Olivia Pope for her divorce. On Sept. 29, 2016, People confirmed that the actress hired famous crisis manager Judy Smith, who inspired Kerry Washington’s character in Scandal, to help with her divorce. “Judy has been asked to consult with those working with Angelina on divorce negotiations,” a source told the magazine. “Judy and her firm have a long history of handling issues that have unfortunately garnered too much attention in the public eye, and she knows how to push towards resolutions that are swift and discreet.”
Brad and Angelina reach a temporary custody agreement. On Sept. 30, 2016, it was revealed that the former couple reached a temporary custody agreement, which will be in effect for three weeks before the LA County Department of Children and Family Services will draw up another arrangement or turn the jurisdiction over to the court. The agreement states that Angelina will get full physical custody of their children, and Brad will have visitation rights, although hist first visit will be monitored by a therapist, who will determine if he is allowed to then have unsupervised time with the kids. Angelina and Brad also have to attend individual counseling as well as family counseling with the kids, and Brad has to take random drug and alcohol tests.
Brad won’t be prosecuted for alleged plane incident with Angelina and Maddox. On Oct. 8, 2016, it was reported that the FBI never opened an investigation against Brad because there was “no case,” though TMZ says the FBI is still working on gathering all the facts from the incident.
Brad sees his kids for the first time since announcing the split. E! News confirmed that Brad was able to visit some of his children on Oct. 8, 2016, with a therapist present to monitor his behavior. It’s not clear which of the kids were present and which weren’t, but a second source also told E! that the therapist would be present for all of Brad’s visits through Oct. 20, 2016 and that the actor happily volunteered to complete drug and alcohol testing (even though it was not required).
Maddox Jolie-Pitt refuses to attend the reunion with his dad. While Brad reportedly “wanted to make sure the meeting would be the most productive for the kids,” Maddox refused to attend the family reunion and stay with Angelina. According to a source close to Angelina, “He chose not to go and stayed with Angie,” adding, “It wasn’t full of joy and happiness.”
Angelina and the children are reportedly interviewed by the FBI. In an attempt to get to the bottom of the alleged physical altercation that happened between Brad and Maddox on the plane, the FBI reportedly visited Angelina and the kids at their Malibu, CA, home on Oct. 19, 2016, according to TMZ. Law enforcement, who is taking the allegations of child abuse seriously, spent three hours interviewing everyone about the incident. Brad was not present for the interview.
Brad and Maddox reunite. After a month-long standoff, E! News reports that the two met on Oct. 20, 2016 with a therapist present.
Brad and Angelina are selling Chateau Miraval. According to Us Weekly, Brad and Angelina put their estate and vineyard in the village of Correns, France, up for sale. “The home has been valued and is going on the market any day now,” an insider revealed, adding, “It currently says Jolie-Pitt on the Chateau Miraval bottles, and the next season’s batch will have a new reprinted label with no names written on it.”
Angelina meets with the FBI. Angelina reportedly met with two FBI agents in her rented home for four hours on Oct. 18, 2016, answering questions about the claims made against Brad.
The investigation into Brad is extended. On Oct. 25, 2016, Us Weekly reported that the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services has extended their investigation into Brad Pitt. The investigators are looking into “whether there are additional incidents or a pattern that may suggest a history of abuse that involves more than one of Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s six children.” The investigation was initially scheduled to conclude on Oct. 20, 2016.
Brad seeks joint custody. NBC News confirmed on Nov. 4, 2016 that the actor filed for joint physical custody of the children. Angelina initially asked for sole custody when they first split, just allowing Brad visitation rights. Although that might have only been a part of the temporary custody agreement that was originally agreed to by a judge, the allegations made against Brad regarding child abuse certainly complicate things.
Brad and Angelina reach another temporary custody agreement. On Nov. 7, 2016, Angelina’s rep told ET in a statement that “childcare professionals have encouraged a legal agreement accepted and signed by both sides over a week ago.” The agreement states that “the six children will stay in their mother’s custody, and the children will continue therapeutic visits with their father . . . This has been determined by childcare professionals to be in the children’s best interest.” Her rep continued, “We are not in a position to discuss the details. We hope, now that it is clear that the events which led to the dissolution filing involved minor children and their wellbeing, there will be understanding of the sensitivity of the family situation. We believe that all sides are committed to healing the family and ask for your consideration during this difficult time.”
Brad has been cleared in child abuse investigation. On Nov. 9, 2016, law enforcement sources confirmed to Us Weekly that Brad did not abuse his son Maddox during a plane incident back in September. TMZ also reported that the Department of Children and Family Services ruled out any reports of any patterns of misconduct on the actor’s part. Later that day, Angelina’s rep released a statement to TMZ, saying, “Angelina said from the beginning that she felt she had to take action for the health of the family and is relieved that after their eight-week involvement, the DCFS is now satisfied the safeguards are put in place that will allow the children to heal.”
The FBI closes Brad’s child abuse investigation. On Nov. 22, 2016, the actor was officially cleared by the FBI of any wrongdoing involving his kids, NBC News reported. FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller released a statement, saying, “The FBI has conducted a review of the circumstances and will not pursue further investigation. No charges have been filed in this matter.”
Brad’s lawyers file a motion asking a judge to seal the childrens’ records as it relates to the divorce. On Dec. 22, 2016, news of the files were released, alleging that Angelina’s attorneys compromised their privacy in a bid to “undercut” Brad during the custody battle. They added that Angelina releasing “the names of [the children’s] therapists and other mental health professionals” violated their initial agreement to protect the children’s privacy. “[She] appears to be determined to ignore even agreed upon standards relating to the children’s best interest,” the filing reads.
Brad spends Christmas with his kids. According to Us Weekly, Brad saw his children over the holiday weekend for a gift exchange that Angelina organized. An insider told the publication that “[Brad] gave them presents and it was cordial.”
Angelina’s lawyer slams Brad. According to TMZ, Angelina agreed to seal court documents related to their six children. The site also reports that the actress’s lawyer filed legal documents that claim Brad only wants to keep the details private because he’s “terrified that the public will learn the truth.” “[Brad is trying to] deflect from [his] own role in the media storm which has engulfed the parties’ children,” the document reads. “There is little doubt that [Brad] would prefer to keep the entire case private, particularly given the detailed investigations by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Dept. of Children and Family Services into allegation of abuse.”
Brad and Angelina release a joint statement. After agreeing to seal their divorce and custody documents, the actors’ reps told Us Weekly, “The parties and their counsel have signed agreements to preserve the privacy rights of their children and family by keeping all court documents confidential and engaging a private judge to make any necessary legal decisions and to facilitate the expeditious resolution of any remaining issues. The parents are committed to act as a united front to effectuate recovery and reunification.”
Angelina opens up about her new family dynamic. During an interview with BBC World News in February 2017, the actress was asked about the split by reporter Yalda Hakim. “I don’t want to say very much about that, except to say it was a very difficult time,” Angelina said. “We are a family and we will always be a family, and we will get through this time and hopefully be a stronger family for it. Many, many people find themselves in this situation. My whole, my family . . . we’ve all being through a difficult time. My focus is my children, our children . . . and my focus is finding this way through . . . I am coping with finding a way through to make sure that this somehow makes us stronger and closer. It’s been a difficult few months. Right now, I’m going through a moment when just everybody’s in my room. Two dogs, two hamsters and two children at the moment. It’s wonderful. But, usually, I just wake up trying to figure out who’s going to get [the] dog out, who’s going to start the pancakes and did anybody brush their teeth.”
Brad reportedly reaches out to ex Jennifer Aniston. Brad allegedly tracked down Jen’s phone number through “a tangled web” of contacts in order to reach out to her on her 48th birthday in February 2017. “They started talking once he wished her a happy birthday,” a source told Us Weekly, further explaining that Brad has “confided in Jen” and “told her he’s having a hard time with his split.” His olive branch has supposedly led to them “exchanging a few texts reminiscing about the past.”
Brad and Angelina are talking again. According to Us Weekly, the former couple is back on speaking terms. “They are in a place where they can put anger or hurt aside to focus on their children and how they plan to coparent.” Brad also “lost a ton of weight” in the wake of their divorce, but it likely isn’t all due to stress. “He’s focusing on himself again, watching what he eats and has a chef making him healthy meals. He’s exercising. He’s been outdoors a lot, hiking and walking. He’s had a lot of time to focus on himself,” an insider revealed.
Brad opens up to GQ in a big way. In his first interview since the split announcement, Brad talked about his divorce in GQ, admitting he’s going to therapy, and speaking about his drinking. He also got incredibly honest about his family being “ripped apart” but only had good things to say about Angelina.
Angelina gets candid about her “difficult” split from Brad. In Vanity Fair’s September 2017 issue, the actress opened up about her divorce from Brad, saying, “Things got bad. I didn’t want to use that word . . . Things became ‘difficult.’ . . . [Our lifestyle] was not in any way a negative. That was not the problem. That is and will remain one of the wonderful opportunities we are able to give our children . . . They’re six very strong-minded, thoughtful, worldly individuals. I’m very proud of them.” She also revealed that in addition to hypertension, she developed Bell’s palsy (a condition resulting from damage to facial nerves), which caused one side of her face to droop. “Sometimes women in families put themselves last until it manifests itself in their own health,” she explained. Angelina credited acupuncture for her full recovery.
Angelina and Brad reportedly put their divorce on hold. According to Us Weekly, the estranged couple may be having second thoughts. “They haven’t done anything to move it forward in several months and no one thinks they are ever going to,” a source told the publication. Angelina has allegedly considered taking Brad back now that he’s started going to therapy for drinking and smoking. “He knew he had a problem that he had to take care of and that’s all she ever wanted,” the source explained. “Everyone thinks they are going to get back together. It wouldn’t be surprising if they announced that they’re calling it off and trying to work things out.”
Angelina and Brad reach a new temporary custody agreement. According to Us Weekly, the Superior Court of Los Angeles County determined that “not having a relationship with their father” would be “harmful” to their six children. The court said that the kids “are safe with their father” and that it is “critical that each of them have a healthy and strong relationship” with both of their parents. However, Maddox is essentially free to go with either parent because he’s older. The former couple was asked to arrange a phone call between them, their children, and two psychologists “to explain the Summer schedule.” Brad had physical custody of the minor children (except for Maddox) for four hours a day from June 8, 2018 to June 17, 2018 in London, where Angelina is currently living.
Angelina and Brad’s custody battle takes a nasty turn: In new court documents obtained by ET in August 2018, Angelina accused Brad of not paying child support for a year and a half and stated that she’s planning to get a court order to demand that he pay it. “The aim of Angelina’s routine court filing is to provide closure to the marriage in a way that clears a path toward the next stage of their lives and allows her and Brad to recommit as devoted co-parents to their children,” Angelina’s spokesperson Mindy Nyby told the outlet. Brad fired back, claiming he paid Angelina over $9 million since their split, however, Angelina’s lawyer said “a loan is not child support.”
Angelina and Brad’s custody battle heads to trial. According to documents obtained by E! News, the former couple’s trial will start on Dec. 4, 2018. Retired Judge John W. Odenkirk has been appointed to the case, which is a continuous dispute over custody of their children. “They’re still working together towards an out of court settlement,” a source told the outlet. “Angelina is not seeking sole custody of the kids, she still supports the reconciliation of the children with their father.”

The novel Dumplin ‘is coming to TV, and the cast begins its transmission

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A movie adaptation of Dumplin’ is heading to Netflix, and Jennifer Aniston is taking the lead. Dumplin’ is a comedy-drama based on the New York Times bestselling book by Julie Murphy and will be available on Netflix and in select theaters on Dec. 7. It tells the story of Willowdean Dickson, a “self-proclaimed fat girl” played by Danielle Macdonald (Patti Cake$), who’s dubbed “Dumplin'” by her former beauty-queen mom (Aniston).

An always-confident Willowdean doesn’t care what anybody else thinks, until she falls for Private School Bo at her fast-food restaurant job — and he likes her back. Per the book’s description, “Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant — along with several other unlikely candidates — to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City — and maybe herself most of all.”

Dumplin’ is directed by Anne Fletcher (The Proposal, 27 Dresses). In addition to Aniston, confirmed cast members include Odeya Rush (Lady Bird), Dove Cameron (Descendants), and Harold Perrineau (Lost), and Dolly Parton will debut original music in the film’s soundtrack. Get even more details about the Dumplin’ movie, cast, trailer, and music ahead.

How do you feed a family?

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In the first installment of our new series on feeding households, meet Sarah Smith, kindergarten teacher and busy mom of two who “reads the flyers like a magazine subscription.”

When I sent out a general message to a number of friends, asking how they feed their hungry families on a budget, I wasn’t expecting to get such a flood of detailed responses. I quickly realized I’d touched a nerve – in a good way. Parents work so hard to feed their children and themselves, to put healthy meals on the table, to avoid spending a fortune at the grocery store, and to fit it all around busy work and school schedules.

It’s a feat worthy of more praise than we give it, which is why we at TreeHugger have decided that a new series profiling different households’ grocery shopping, meal-planning, and food-prepping strategies would be both interesting and helpful to our readers. Introducing our first featured family… the Smiths!

Smith family© Sarah Smith (used with permission)

Did scientists just find the ancient whisky distillery from the legends?

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Archaeologists unearthed what may be the world’s oldest whisky still.

It was only a legend. King James IV of Scotland kept a record of a whisky distillery from 1494, the first record of Scotch whisky distillation. It was the oldest record of a whisky still, but for a long time, it was just that: words. No one could actually find this supposed distillery.

That just changed. A group of archaeologists uncovered the whisky still in the ruins of an abbey in Scotland. It’s one of the oldest whisky distilleries in the world (possibly the oldest — people weren’t great at keeping records back then). The archaeologists found traces of barley, charcoal, oats, pottery and wheat from medieval times by the still.

“It is hard to overestimate the potential significance of this discovery,” said Drew McKenzie Smith, the Lindores Abbey Distillery founder. “Many signs point towards this being one of the earliest stills ever discovered, and this is almost certainly the site referenced in the Exchequer Rolls of 1494 that include the first ever written record of aqua vitae or whisky, as we know it today.”

The Abbey itself was already the stuff of legends. It was founded in 1191. William Wallace, a Scottish knight depicted in “Braveheart,” hid out in the abbey after he fought the English in 1298. Poor guy may have got there too early for the whisky.

“Lindores Abbey has long been considered the spiritual home of Scotch whisky, and this discovery underlines the historical importance of this site,” added McKenzie Smith.

Whisky has been a big part of Scottish culture for hundreds of years. This is somewhat problematic, as whisky creates a lot of waste — most of the water and grain used in whisky production doesn’t make it into the final product.

But Scotch distilleries are trying to be more environmentally-friendly. The Scotch Whisky Association launched an environmental strategy in 2009.

“Our ambition is to become world leaders in sustainability. Scotland has an abundance of natural attributes which can support this,” writes the Association in a report. “Our Strategy aims to protect Scotland’s natural capital for generations to come.”

The industry has been focusing on renewable energy and waste reduction.

“Only 2% of waste was sent to landfill in 2014 and many sites already have met the target of zero,” continued the report.

Of course, industries are hardly the most reliable organizations to be reporting on themselves. Still, it’s heartening to see that even very old industries are willing to update their practices for the environment. And it’s a great excuse to get some whisky this winter.

This pan gets better the more you use it

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If you’ve never heard of cast iron skillets, it’s time you were introduced. People have been using variations of these iron pans for thousands of years, and they’re still the best pans you can buy. They’re no secret, but I’ve met tons of people who had never heard of them, or never learned why they were so great. Cast iron skillets last longer, are healthier and just generally better than other kinds. Let me count the ways.

They get better over time

Many commercial pans nowadays are coated with some sort of finish that wears off over time. Eventually, you’re left with an old pan that makes food burn.

Cast iron skillets, however, aren’t just coated with a cooking surface. They are the surface. The entire pan is made of iron, so it doesn’t degrade over time.

In fact, cast iron skillets actually get better the more you use them. As you do, the oil you use to cook seeps into the pan itself, making the surface less sticky. An old cast iron skillet cooks better than a new one.

They’re healthier

Normal pans leach chemicals and degrade overtime. Eventually, the surface flakes off into your food, which is both gross and unhealthy.

But cast iron skillets are made of … say it with me … iron. So instead of chemicals, iron flakes off into your food. And iron is actually good for you.

“In addition to eating more iron-rich foods like meats, beans, and spinach, cooking in a cast iron pot is an easy way to boost your iron intake,” says a writer from Columbia University.

One Journal of the American Dietetic Association study even found that spaghetti sauce cooked in a cast iron skillet had almost 10 times more iron than sauce cooked in another skillet.

So all you vegans, vegetarians, and well, just about everyone else, take note.

They’re versatile

You can’t put a regular pan in the oven. But cast iron skillets can handle the heat. You can even fry up some eggplant on the stove, add some veggies, and roast the whole thing in the oven if you want.

They make food taste better

Cast iron skillets have memories like elephants. They absorb the flavors of the food they’re cooked in, giving all future dishes a much richer taste.

They’re better for the environment

Disposable products turn natural resources into trash. But cast iron skillets can last pretty much forever, so they won’t be filling up the ocean anytime soon. (Besides, if I were a fish, I’d rather have a hunk of iron in my ocean than a hunk of degrading plastic.)

They’re not expensive

These are pretty much the highest quality pans out there, so you’d think they’d be pricey. But they’re not. I bought mine for $11. And they last a lifetime, so I don’t have to buy replacements like I would with regular pans.

So that’s why you should buy a cast iron skillet. If you do, or end up cooking with a friend’s, just know they require a little extra care than regular pans. Soaping a cast iron skillet down or throwing it in the dishwasher is a great way to get the pan’s owner mad at you.

Is Idaho turning wastewater into beer?

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A company lured me into investigating a rumor about the northwestern state.

A couple months ago, a company sent me an email with a subject I couldn’t ignore: “Putting recycled water to use – in beer.”

The email claimed that the city of Boise, Idaho was taking water seriously, in that it was using it to get drunk.

“Come October, recycled water will start to appear at local hotspots thanks to a new partnership with the City of Boise,” continued the email. “The initiative … pushes the use of pure, 100 percent recycled water for brewing.”

Joking aside, this sounded great. Lots of places are facing water shortages. While some countries are confronting the problem head-on (Israel, for instance, recycles 90 percent of its water), the U.S. has lagged behind. Good for Idaho! I agreed to interview a company spokesperson.

After several failed interview attempts (once, a marketing person and I awkwardly waited on the phone for the spokesperson, only to discover he was ditching us for another meeting), we finally talked. That’s when I learned this company had nothing to do with turning recycled water into beer. It was just a company that turned recycled water into drinking water, and they’d used the beer angle to lure me in.

But I was now even more curious about Boise. Was the city really turning wastewater into beer, or was that another exaggeration?

According to the Boise government (who would probably know), it’s real. The city is using an intense purification process and working with local breweries “to create tasty new beers and cider” says the government website.

“Right now, we take all of that water that comes from Boise’s homes and businesses, we treat it to a really high level, and then we put it back into the river, where it just flows away down the river and we lose all that comes with that water,” explained Colin Hickman, a Boise government spokesperson. “We know as a high-desert city [that] how we utilize every drop of water is exceedingly important, so this project is really to see, ‘Are there different opportunities where we can use the water that we’re already treating?'”

Not everyone in Idaho is psyched about drinking what was once wastewater. But the cleaning process is intense and tightly controlled. Plus, that company spokesperson made a good point: we’re already doing it. In fact, all our water is recycled. That’s how nature works.

“We’re just speeding up the process,” he pointed out. “Your wastewater will reach your tap one way or another.”

So did Idaho actually go through with the plan? And if so, how did it go?

“It went really well!” Jami Goldman, Boise’s sustainability coordinator, told me. The Idaho brewers trying out the reused water are still selling the new beer on tap. The city is looking into making a regular delivery process for the water.

“We will begin strategizing what that might look like for us in the future,” Goldman added. “We think the best way to start a conversation about reusing used water is over a beer.”

Lettuce is stupid and you shouldn’t be eating it now anyway

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It’s little more than “a vehicle to transport refrigerated water from farm to table.”

Romaine lettuce is being pulled off the shelves across North America right now because of E.coli contamination. The Centers for Disease Control are advising Americans to not only throw it away, but also to “wash and sanitize drawers or shelves in refrigerators where romaine was stored.” They haven’t figured out exactly where the contamination is happening yet, but most of the lettuce we are eating now is grown in California.

TreeHugger types on the east coast might think twice about drinking a plastic bottle full of California water, but in fact, if you eat lettuce, that is what you are doing. Tamar Haspel wrote a controversial article in the Washington Post where she noted that lettuce is 97 percent water:

A head of iceberg lettuce has the same water content as a bottle of Evian (1-liter size: 96 percent water, 4 percent bottle) and is only marginally more nutritious.

But shipping a bottle of Evian is easier. Katherine has described how, “By the 1950s, iceberg lettuce was the most commonly consumed lettuce in the U.S., with average per capita consumption around 20 pounds. Refrigeration technology developed to the point that iceberg lettuce was even shipped to American soldiers in Vietnam.” Haspel writes:

Lettuce is a vehicle to transport refrigerated water from farm to table. When we switch to vegetables that are twice as nutritious — like those collards or tomatoes or green beans — not only do we free up half the acres now growing lettuce, we cut back on the fossil fuels and other resources needed for transport and storage.

canning cottageLloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

6 tips for eating mindfully this Thanksgiving

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Don’t stress about the bountiful spread. Enjoy the special occasion.

A Thanksgiving table done right is overflowing with mashed potatoes and gravy, fresh white rolls with butter, sweet potato casserole, bread stuffing, cranberry sauce and, presumably, a roasted turkey or other impressive centerpiece. There’s pecan pie, pumpkin pie, or apple crisp for dessert, topped with whipped cream. It is a feast for the eyes, body, and soul – exciting for most, but stressful for some.

Food is emotionally charged at Thanksgiving. Not that it isn’t at other times of the year, but it can feel worse during the holidays, when the spread is so sumptuous, rich, and extensive, and there’s almost an expectation to overeat. For anyone trying to make healthier food choices or maintain a healthy weight, the stress of navigating a Thanksgiving table can overshadow enjoyment of the experience.

One strategy for coping with Thanksgiving excesses is to eat mindfully. Dr. Susan Albers, a psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic and author of seven books, calls mindful eating “an antidote to dieting.” She told Good Morning America,

“It’s about eating the foods you love but in a mindful way, your awareness of hunger cues, your awareness of taste. When you tune into these cues, you enjoy food more and you’re more in control of your eating.”

So how does one apply mindfulness to Thanksgiving dinner?

Don’t panic. This is a celebration, not the norm, and it’s OK to deviate from a strict plan for a special occasion. Realize that expending energy stressing about food choices is energy that’s not going into interacting with people around the table.

We live in times of plenty. Fortunately it’s possible to find all of these foods year-round, so you don’t have to gorge yourself in a single sitting because you feel like it’s your only chance to taste cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie till next year.

Eat slowly. You have all evening, so don’t rush it. Take time to see what’s being served, to smell and taste and chew. Choose what appeals to you most. Fill up on healthier options if you wish. Pay attention to how hungry you are and respect what your body is telling you.

Look around and relax. Sitting down with family at a beautiful table is a treat these days. Revel in the experience and note how it differs from your usual high-speed meals.

Beyond the dinner table…

Find other ways to celebrate the holidays that don’t involve food. Little things like lighting a candle, listening to seasonal music, singing with friends, going for a walk on a snowy evening, or sipping tea by a fire are all lovely ways to mark a special time. (This suggestion comes via University of Wisconsin’s guide to eating mindfully during the holidays.)

Practice self-care. If you’re feeling stressed out, don’t turn to food or alcohol to cope. Take a hot bath, read a book in solitude, go for a massage or facial, go for a walk or attend a yoga class. You’ll feel better, no calories added.

The top 10 healthy food trends for 2019

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The spot-on prognosticators at Whole Foods have released their predictions for the new year – here’s what to expect.

When it comes to upcoming food trends we may not have soothsayers looking into crystal balls – but we do have the global buyers and experts from Whole Foods, and they seem to be super savvy. For 2018 they predicted advanced plant-based foods – Beyond Burger and other products proved them right. For 2017 it was wellness tonics and coconut everything, check and check. For 2016: Wine in cans and fermented foods … maybe we need to ask them about lottery numbers?

According to the company, their seasoned trend-spotters thoughtfully compile the reports “based on more than 100 years of combined experience in product sourcing, studying consumer preferences and participating in food and wellness industry exhibitions worldwide.” Given that Whole Foods is in the, you know, food business, it makes sense that they’d have a crackerjack team sniffing out the trends for the upcoming year. Here is what they predict for 2019 – let’s see how well they do.

1. Pacific Rim flavors

One might think we’re running out of novel global flavors, but fear not: 2019 will be the year of the Pacific Rim. Think Asia, Oceania and the western coasts of North and South America – not exactly local to us in North America, I realize. I’ve already seen jackfruit as a meat alternative all over the place, and the keto darling, monkfruit, has been replacing sugar for the carb-conscious for a while. But Whole Foods (WF) says to watch out for things like guava, dragon fruit, passionfruit, longganisa (a Filipino pork sausage), dried shrimp, cuttlefish and shrimp paste, among other flavor inspirations.

2. Shelf-stable probiotics

The fermented food craze has been fueled much in part by their being rich in probiotics. Now, says WF, we can expect even more innovative probiotics in food, and in more novel iterations. “New strains of probiotics such as Bacillus coagulans GBI-30 and Bacillus coagulans MTCC 5856 are making more shelf-stable applications possible. Wellness-focused brands are making it easier to get more probiotics in your day by adding functional probiotic ingredients to your pantry staples through products like granola, oatmeal, nut butters, soups and nutrition bars.”

3. Trendy fats

Oh how times have changed. Once the bad boys of the food world, fats are now the darlings thanks much in part to keto, paleo, grain-free and paleo-vegan diets. “Along with these phat fats, higher protein and lower-carb combos will continue to trend across simple and easy snacking categories,” they predict. Look for keto-friendly nutrition bars made with MCT (Medium chain triglyceride) oil powder, coconut butter–filled chocolates, “fat bomb” snacks and a new wave of ready-to-consume vegan coffee drinks inspired by butter coffees. And ghee will be bigger than ever.

4. Next level hemp

Hemp hearts, seeds and oils have been around for a while, but with the explosion of the cannabis industry, new interest has many brands looking to explore the field. WF writes, “While CBD oil is still technically taboo (prohibited in food, body care and dietary supplements under federal law), retailers, culinary experts and consumers can’t miss the cannabis craze when visiting food industry trade shows, food innovators conferences or even local farmers markets.”

5. Non-meat meaty snacks

As more and more people are transitioning to plant-based eating, we are really seeing plant-based fake meats reach new heights. “Bloody” veggie burger, anyone? Now the trend is expected to invade the meat snacks segment as well. “Mushrooms like king trumpet will play a key role here, flexing their flavor and texture powers in tasty jerky, ‘pork’ rinds and ‘bacon’ snacks.” Expect a number of other inventions as well.

6. Eco-conscious packaging

This can’t come a minute too soon: A number of brands switching their packaging in response to the environment. Among other initiatives, there should be more compostable packaging and less plastic. “Expect to see an emphasis on reusing, with more produce departments going “BYOVB” (bring your own vegetable bag) and traditionally single-use packages going multi-use, like multi-use (and compostable!) food wraps made from beeswax, as well as waxed canvas or silicone alternatives to the usual plastic storage bags that can be used for sandwiches and snacks. Some movements start as trends, then become necessities. This is one of them.” Yes, yes, and yes.

7. Innovative frozen desserts

The ice cream market is going loco! And in the best way: Think frozen treats that include avocado, hummus, tahini and coconut water. Prepare for ice creams with ribbons of savory cheese and globally-inspired desserts like Taiwanese snow ice and Mexican nieves de garrafa, not to mention “stretchy, chewy, Turkish ice creams that get their unique texture from mastic and other unique sources.” Bring it on.

8. More delicacies from the ocean

Sea vegetables have gone from near obscurity to seaweed snacks in all the kids’ lunch boxes – now expect even more influences from the watery abyss. “Sea greens are showing up in dishes like seaweed butter and kelp noodles while consumers are exploring new depths of ocean flavors with superfood properties like unique varietals of algae and kelp. Puffed snacks made from water lily seeds, plant-based tuna alternatives with algae ingredients, crispy snackable salmon skins with omega-3s and kelp jerkies are just a few testing the waters.” Ahoy!

9. Snacking grows up

It appears we are entering a new era of snacking: “Snacking across the board will take a turn toward the fancy, and snacks, as they start to usurp the usual three-meals-a-day routine, are anything but ordinary.” Hey, I love snacking, I consider myself an expert, but this one worries me a bit because of snippets such as: “one-ounce portions of Cypress Grove cheeses,” “portable snack packages,” and “new packaged snacks” … the last thing we need to be promoting is small servings of food in individually wrapped packages. Buy in bulk and make your own to-go snacks in reusable containers – and then snack to your heart’s content.

10. Brands that empower

As more people want to vote and/or influence with their wallets, consumer purchasing power continues to inspire decisions in the food, beverage and body care industries. In 2019, WF predicts that companies that focus on environmental stewardship, animal welfare, and social issues will be more popular than ever. Right on! It’s interesting, now that Whole Foods is owned by Amazon it’s easy to kind of forget the market’s original vibe and ethos, that of an ethically-minded vegetarian natural foods store. So for me, at least, it was heartening to read this prediction for the future, one that sounds like a memory from Whole Foods’ past: “Contributing toward social movements via purchasing goods and services with missions you believe in can make for big changes that extend far beyond the world of retail.” Now that’s a trend we can get behind.Read more about the predictions at the Whole Foods newsroom.

Carnivore diets are ridiculous

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Some people think only eating meat is the best way to lose weight.

Meat-heavy diet trends have been popular lately. Various diets — paleo, keto, low-carb — extoll the values of hitting fat and/or protein hard. But nothing is as extreme as the “carnivore diet,” a plan that consists of just eating meat. There’s even a 1920s study going around claiming two guys ate meat for a year and were basically fine. (This counts as proof? I guess?) The whole trend is idiotic, and I will tell you why.

People who follow this high meat lifestyle claim it helps them lose weight. And they may not be wrong. I know someone who started eating way more meat, and he DID lose a lot of weight.

Here’s the thing: It seems like it’s not the “more meat” aspect of these diets that is causing the weight loss. I think it’s the “less sugary, carby stuff” that does the trick. Refined carbs like white flour and sugar break down in your system and get turned into fat a lot faster than protein or, ironically, fat. If you go from eating a lot of pasta, waffles and sugary snacks to eating steak, then, yes, you’ll probably lose weight.

But if you want to lose weight, you don’t have to replace all your macaroni with hamburgers. You can replace it with veggie stir fry, baked eggplant, salads and a ton of other vegetable-based dishes. “Paleovegans” even manage to be both paleo and vegan at the same time.

Some humans can survive on animal products. Native peoples living in the far north can’t grow much and rely heavily on things like seal meat and fat. But I doubt even they’d call those diets desirable. One Siberian girl even told me part of the reason she left her home was for the cheap vegetables.

On the other hand, vegans eat only plants, and people in developing countries often depend mostly on plants, with meat as an occasional treat. Thanks to vitamins, supplements and the fact that we’re omnivores who can eat a lot of different things, there are a wide variety of diets out there.

But there are a lot of good reasons to eat less meat, not more. There’s animal welfare, obviously, but that’s just one of the zillion ways meat consumption is a problem for the individual, the human species and the planet. High meat consumption is linked to heart disease, diabetes, stroke and obesity. Farming animals leads to epidemics like swine flu and bird flu. Raising animals for slaughter creates greenhouse gasses that contribute to climate change and uses a ton of land and water, making species go extinct and putting everyone at risk of running out of water. It’s also a really inefficient way to make calories, contributing to starvation around the world.

Besides, humans are clearly not carnivores. We evolved from apes that ate mostly plants. We have nails, not claws. We have more flat teeth for breaking down vegetables than sharp teeth for piercing meat. Even your typical hamburger meal includes more vegetables than meat. When you add up the bun, mustard, ketchup, lettuce, onion and side of fries, you’re looking at a plant-based meal, not an animal-based one. That’s because humans are made to eat more vegetables than meat, and most of us know it.

All-meat diets are ridiculous. I suspect people pay them so much attention because they’re a bit revolting, no? But there are plenty of healthier, more ethical and, frankly, tastier ways to eat more naturally and lose weight.