E3:💧 Water, Made Interesting, Cottage Cheese for the Win

Plus, eco-cleaning, 'killer' spaghetti, better-for-you pantry revamp

Happy Wednesday. Thank you again for being here, and for subscribing.

Get ready for today’s diet of healthy, snackable news: we’re dedicated to providing valuable (and entertaining) need-to-know items that can help improve your morning/day/week/life. What we’re covering:

  • Why is one of the world’s most basic human needs, water, all of the sudden so interesting?  

  • For this week’s Pantry Raid, we’ve got tips on cleaning it and how to stock it with the coolest better-for-you staples

  • Speaking of, it’s Earth Month so we’ll also be spring cleaning the house in the most eco-friendly way

  • Stock up: Cottage cheese fever continues

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H2OHHH

Who knew that water could be so interesting?

Image by Andrea Piacquadio for Pexels

The Skinny: As a most basic human need, water continues to be one of this year’s buzziest beverage topics. Canned water is alive and well, led by Liquid Death. And hydration tablets, powders and liquids are what’s new/next as consumers are increasingly aware of the need for the right balance of salts and minerals in their diets. However, before spending money on these new brands and forms, definitely research why electrolytes are important and when you need them: it’s all explained in this story from the trusted team at Good Housekeeping. Most of the time, it’s noted, a glass of water and a nutrient-rich meal is all you need. Exceptions are when you’re working out, and when you travel.

In other hydration news: While the Stanley Cup itself is seemingly indestructible, the hope was that at least news about this “big dumb cup" would eventually die off (especially since this kind of behavior was a consequence). Yet, they’ve dropped a Mother’s Day collection and now H20 pundits are cautioning about over-hydration (don’t worry, it appears to be pretty hard to do). But since there are shopping personas out there who need to purchase items simply because others do, we feel compelled to mention. That, and thanks to what sounds like a little social media karma/luck, their 2023 sales are reported to be $750M+. We’ll leave you with an LA Times non-scientific roundup of “What Your Water Bottle Says about You.” Bottoms up.

“Some marketers have gone so far as to proclaim 2024 the ‘Year of the Water Bottle.’ Hydration vessels, they say, could be the year’s ‘most covetable, most fashionable accessory.’”

- Los Angeles Times (in article linked above)

Pro Surfer Nathan Florence approved, for long days on the water.

ADD TO CART*: This hydration formula from Protekt is neither tablet nor powder; it’s liquid and comes in portable single-use packets. Just tear, pour and hydrate with no powder, no mixing or mess. We tried the watermelon-flavored Hydration Formula and what we love is the simplicity, but also the flavor (a “real” flavor and not too sweet, and with zero sugars or artificial sweeteners). These are perfect for traveling (PSA: you can lose 8oz of water per hour during plane travel), and they also come in formulas for Rest, Energy and Immunity. Bonus: it’s veteran-owned and U.S.A. made.

*While we only suggest add to cart products that we genuinely love and have tried, if you purchase something linked in The Skinny, we may get an affiliate commission—but at no additional cost to you.

Pantry raid

Your cleaned-up pantry just got a lot more exciting

Photo by Aaron Doucett for Pexels

The Skinny: We love pantry foods and finding creative ways to use them, but every pantry is hiding dark, unspeakable secrets that must be confronted and sent to the grave. Ours includes several precious jars of tartufi—possibly gifted in the aughts—and some elderly seasonings referred to as “Kevin’s spices” (a roommate from well before we were married).  

For your pantry, the basics matter. In your spring clean restock, think about small changes that can have a big effect on your health—and your wallet. With so much innovation, don’t settle for the same-old, same-old routines and brands? For example: How many times have you purchased an expensive spice for a certain recipe and never used it again (and then, thrown out)? This brand Occo has the solution: micro, pre-measured spices for meals. Or take our friends at Spicewell, who make functional, Ayurvedic seasonings that are made with 21 vitamins from veggies and provide 10% of your daily amount of A, C, D, E, K, and Zinc. (And the New Salt has 30% less sodium than regular table salt.)

“When I start to feel sick, I head to my pantry, not my medicine cabinet,” says Spicewell founder Raina Kumra. “I designed these products as an incredibly simply way to help keep your body in top form with something you use every day: salt and pepper. It could not be easier.” With that, Raina’s top tips to clean up your pantry (both literally and nutritionally) are:

  • First, clear out: use up or donate any of those forgotten cans or pouches hiding in the back (but first, check the expiration date)

  • Speaking of expiry dates, make an appointment with your pantry at least twice a month and use up foods that are nearing the end. A simple search will yield scores of recipes for that dusty can of beans

  • Support new brands creating delicious, better-for-you products! Pantry foods are often superfoods (like fish, beans and grains). Some of her faves are: 

Heyday Canning: “I love them so much because they took a sleepy, dusty old category with poor ingredients and turned it into something. It's high-quality and nutritious and just has awesome, fun throwback branding” (The Skinny sidenote: Best ever name for a pantry brand blog: “Shelf Life”)

Fishwife: “This has just gotta be a pantry staple in a world where we're constantly searching for good clean seafood that is also high in Omegas—and already ready to go and be put on your lunch

Paro: “I just love that they made Tarka in a jar. It's the best thing that has ever happened since sliced bread and it is really the Indian chili crisp”

Photo courtesy of Spicewell

ADD TO CART: Spicewell was featured on The View as a fabulous find from Oprah Daily, and through 4/20 or while it lasts, you can still get this insane deal on their New Salt, New Pepper & Sea Salt Pouch Trio ($27, normally $54).  

Clean & green

3 things we didn’t know about eco-cleaning

Photo courtesy of Common Good

The Skinny: To celebrate Earth Month, and inspire your cleaning all year round, we spoke with cleaning expert Sacha Dunn. Sacha is also founder & CEO of Common Good. a plant-based sustainable cleaning products brand that's been doing refillable home cleaners since 2010. 

While yes, everyone should be cleaning throughout the other seasons as well, spring cleaning is symbolic, Sasha says. You’re opening up the windows to let air in and “it’s a fresh start, making your home feel just as fresh and new as springtime feels outside.”

1) You can get a solid, deep clean with liquid soap, baking soda, and vinegar.

That’s truly the most eco-way to go about it, says Sacha. A few examples:

  • Clean and deodorize rugs by sprinkling baking soda lighting over them and rubbing into any stains before vacuuming it up

  • Unclog your drains by pouring a quarter cup of baking soda down followed by a quarter cup of white vinegar. Allow to fizz up before pouring a kettle-full of boiling water down.

  • Dilute white vinegar in water and use as surface spray

2) Preservatives are important to control bacterial growth, but some can be allergens or environmental toxins.

Sacha recommends avoiding some of these “newer” preservatives, which include methylisothiazolinone and isothiazolinone. They explain more in their blog, which states to “look for products with better-known and tested preservatives like sodium benzoate and phenoxyethanol. They're also not suspected to be environmental toxins and are much less likely to cause adverse reactions.” 

With plant-based and eco-friendly products, Sacha says, “you don’t have to worry that you’re breathing in poison or putting toxic chemicals into the ecosystem.”

3) It’s reported that the average family uses 30 bottles of plastic dish soap annually.

That’s a LOT of plastic bottles that will end up in landfills, the ocean or your local waterways. And everyone knows by now that, despite your best intentions, only 5-6% of them will get recycled. The good news is that, according to Sacha, more consumers than ever have a desire to reduce single-use plastic usage.

“In the 14 years since I launched Common Good, I’ve seen consumers make the switch to using refillable packaging,” she says. “They are also looking for cleaning products with less intense fragrances, that are free from dyes, and use ingredients that are gentler on the environment and their health.”

OHM, THERE'S MORE

This week’s newsfeed

What is '“killer spaghetti?”: It’s pasta all’assassina, and we’re dying to try it

Lowering the needle: April 20 is World Record Store Day so what better way to enjoy bottle night than with some new LPs. We also have these top NYC vinyl bars, as well as all the happenings from our fave brewery, Dogfish Head, the official beer of World Record Store day

Fashion for the beautiful game: Be the best dressed on the sidelines with the best kind of covetable soccer style: High-end pieces, made with vintage items, that “integrate the appreciation for the game”

Pajama party: We love a big night out, but we also like the idea of the adult sleepover 

Cottage cheese for the win: Cottage Cheese Toast is the new Avo Toast. Dairy sales are up in 2024 thanks in part to cottage cheese, and while this has been hot with Gen Z since the yesteryear of 2023, if you don’t start making cottage cheese toast now, you’re missing out. We’re betting on cottage cheese to follow in feta’s footsteps and be in short supply thanks to social media, so best load up. LFG, cottage cheese. We know you can do it.

STILL TIME TO WIN

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**Winner will be determined by which subscriber is on top of the referrals Leaderboard by Wed., April 24 at noon EST. We will disclose the winner in an upcoming newsletter.