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Inquiring minds want to know! What healthy suggestions are on the list today? Stop by frequently for the lastest listing of healthy tips, ideas and resources.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fall Yard Workout

As we edge closer into the arena of fall weather, many of us find ourselves with a long list of outside cleanup and yard work needing to be done. Besides the ususal benefits that can be prescribed to fall clean-up tasks, add to that list the extra advantage of the physical workout, and you can come out ahead in the calorie burning department.

Below is a list I discovered post by Diane Griffith, in her article entitled The Ultimate Fall Workout

Similarities between yard work and traditional exercise:

Push mowers exercise leg, arm and shoulder muscles.

Digging involves weight lifting, abdominal stretching and squatting

Digging requires as much energy as aerobics and swimming.

Weeding involves forearm stretches and squatting.

Carrying wood, clearing land, hauling branches and laying sod give you a workout equivalent to stationary bicycling.

You can burn as many calories in 45 minutes of yard work as in 30 minutes of aerobics. And here is the rest of it.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

A Modest Proposal for Sustainable Eating

Slow Food USA is a program that envisions a future food system that is based on the principles of high quality and taste, environmental sustainability, and social justice – in essence, a food system that is good, clean and fair.

They seek to catalyze a broad cultural shift away from the destructive effects of an industrial food system and fast life; toward the regenerative cultural, social and economic benefits of a sustainable food system, regional food traditions, the pleasures of the table, and a slower and more harmonious rhythm of life. Belwo are their 10 Point Suggestions for a healtier life

TEN POINTS TO BETTER HEALTH

1. Know what you're eating.
Find out where it comes from and what's in it. Think about what's in season now - what's ripe, not just fresh. A lot of these foods will turn out to be local.

2. Get cooking.
And try making things from scratch. You'll save money and rediscover skills you forgot you had.

3. Plant something.
It could be an herb pot on your kitchen counter or, if you have space at home, a small kitchen garden, or a communal plot in your neighborhood that you tend with family and friends. (The Victory Garden on Civic Center Plaza is a landscape of ideas, staffed by experts who can guide your hands to the soil.)

4. Pack a bag lunch.

5. Drink tap water.
It's healthier for you, and it's free.

6. Learn about and celebrate the food traditions your family still possesses.
These are like seeds, long stored and just waiting to be planted.

7. Invite someone to share a meal.
Strengthen the bonds of friendship and community by cooking and eating together.

8. Learn about endangered foods and how we can bring them back to our tables.

9. Conserve, compost and recycle.

10. Vote with your fork.

Well I certainly can appreciate this list! It contains steps that are easy to implement without making huge shifts and jumps all at once in the way one lives. Some of the things I am doing already and some I do some of the time, and some I need to make a much more concentrated, focused effort to do on a regular basis. What are your thoughts?


Go to A Modest Proposal for Sustainable Eating to read the entire article

. And here is the rest of it.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Growing Foods From Scraps


Maybe now is not the time to be talking about this, because we are still into the summer growing season and so much can be grown outdoors. BUT, as I was driving my daughter to field hockey practice this morning I was thinking about our garden. I just love this time of the year!

Go outside and pluck some fresh grape tomatoes, or pick a large beefy one for a sandwich, along the way, pick a few cucumbers, hot peppers, and fresh basil for a yummy tomato salad. Nothing could be fresher or healthier than this!

Then my mind fast forwards to mid September, early October, depending on the weather conditions. The fresh produce begins to slow down and the juicy, succulent red tomato is just a lingering memory. If we are lucky, we can find a handful of hardy ones that will make it up through the end of October.

That is when I started thinking, this year I should grow more indoors other than houseplants. In the past I have attempted some herbs for indoors but had not been so successful, but now I am ready to try it again. As I was thinking about it and researching what to do, I came across this article on growing foods from scraps in the kitchen. It seems simple enough and fool proof!

Garlic:
1. Plant a few garlic cloves with pointed tip facing up in a pot with loamy organic soil.

2. Place the pot on a sunny windowsill and water regularly like a houseplant.

3. Green garlicky shoots emerge in a week or so. Harvest with a scissors to using in cooking or as a tasty garnish for soups, salads and baked potatoes.

Green Onions:
1. Use green onions with healthy, white roots attached to the bulb. Snip off green tops for cooking with a scissors. Leave a little green top on the onion bulb.

2. Plant the entire onion while leaving the short top above ground in a small pot filled with a loamy, organic potting soil. Make sure your container has drainage holes. Put in a sunny windowsill and water once a week or when soil feels dry to the touch.

3. Harvest new green shoots with scissors to use for cooking or as a tasty garnish. Continue to leave the onion in the soil. With each new growth the onion will taste more potent. After each harvest of onion tops, dress the topsoil with organic compost. Enjoy green onion tops in stir-fries, omelets, and in sandwiches all winter long

Pineapple:
1. Indoor pineapple plants rarely produce flowers and fruit, but their striking foliage adds a touch of exotic to any houseplant collection. All you need to grow one is the green top you cut off when you eat the pineapple. For best results, use a pineapple that has fresh center leaves at the crown. Lob off the top, right where the crown meets the fruit. Peel off the bottom leaves and clean off the leftover fruit. Let the top rest a day before planting.

2. Fill a shallow pot with rich, loamy organic soil mixed with a few tablespoons of well-rinsed coffee grounds. Pineapple grows best in an acidic soil. Plant the pineapple top so the soil is even with the bottom of the crown.

3. Water well and mist the leaves and crown with a diluted, organic liquid fertilizer. As a member of the Bromeliaceae family, which also includes air plants, pineapple plants take much of their nourishment not from the soil but from nutrients in the moist air.

Avocado:
1. For best results use only a ripe avocado. Carefully halve the fruit and rinse the pit. Pat dry and let sit overnight in a warm, dry spot. The next day, peel off any of the parchment-like skin from the pit.

2. Place the pit with the base (the wider end) toward the bottom in a 7-inch pot full of loamy, rich organic soil. Make sure the tip is above the soil, exposed to light for proper germination. Water thoroughly.

3. If your apartment is dry, place a clear plastic cup over the exposed seed tip to serve as a mini-greenhouse. Though the plant does not need direct light to germinate, placing the pot on a sunny windowsill will speed growth.

4. Continue to water every week and make sure the soil doesn't dry out completely. The pit may take over a month to germinate so be patient.

5. When the sprout emerges and grows to about 4 inches, add another layer of organic soil to cover the pit completely. This not only protects the seed, but also any roots that may poke through the soil in search of nourishment.

6. Once the plant starts growing, it may remind you of the story "Jack and the Beanstalk." You can watch the plant grow tall for a year (supported with a wooden rod) and let it branch on its own, or make a decision to prune it and force it to branch, making a sturdier plant. If you choose to prune, it's best to trim with a diagonal cut 2 inches from the top. Be careful as you prune not to cut the main stem more than 1/3 of its height.

7. Continue to add organic compost to fertilize the soil with each pruning and water as you would a houseplant. Only repot the fast-growing plant when it is 6 times taller than the diameter of the pot.

8. Though avocado plants do not bear fruit if grown indoors, you can plant multiple avocado pits at various times in the same pot for a more interesting arrangement.

Source


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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Safety Tips During an Earthquake

EXTRACT ARTICLE ON THE: "TRIANGLE OF LIFE"

My name is Doug Copp. I am the Rescue Chief and Disaster Manager of the American Rescue Team International (ARTI), the world's most experienced rescue team. The information in this article will save lives in an earthquake.

I have crawled inside 875 collapsed buildings, worked with rescue teams from 60 countries, founded rescue teams in several countries, and I am a member of many rescue teams from many countries.

I was the United Nations expert in Disaster Mitigation for two years. I have worked at every major disaster in the world since 1985, except for simultaneous disasters.

The first building I ever crawled inside of was a school in Mexico City during the 1985 earthquake. Every child was under its desk. Every child was crushed to the thickness of their bones. They could have survived by lying down next to their desks in the aisles. It was obscene, unnecessary and I wondered why the children were not in the aisles. I didn't at the time know that the children were told to hide under something.

Below is a list of tips that could save lives in the event of an earthquake.

TIPS FOR EARTHQUAKE SAFETY

1) Most everyone who simply "ducks and covers" WHEN BUILDINGS COLLAPSE are crushed to death. People who get under objects, like desks or cars, are crushed.

2) Cats, dogs and babies often naturally curl up in the fetal position. You should too in an earthquake. It is a natural safety/survival instinct. You can survive in a smaller void. Get next to an object, next to a sofa, next to a large bulky object that will compress slightly but leave a void next to it.

3) Wooden buildings are the safest type of construction to be in during an earthquake. Wood is flexible and moves with the force of the earthquake. If the wooden building does collapse, large survival voids are created. Also, the wooden building has less concentrated, crushing weight. Brick buildings will break into individual bricks. Bricks will cause many injuries but less squashed bodies than concrete slabs.

4) If you are in bed during the night and an earthquake occurs, simply roll off the bed. A safe void will exist around the bed. Hotels can achieve a much greater survival rate in earthquakes, simply by posting a sign on The back of the door of every room telling occupants to lie down on the floor, next to the bottom of the bed during an earthquake.

5) If an earthquake happens and you cannot easily escape by getting out the door or window, then lie down and curl up in the fetal position next to a sofa, or large chair.

6) Most everyone who gets under a doorway when buildings collapse is killed. How? If you stand under a doorway and the doorjamb falls forward or backward you will be crushed by the ceiling above. If the door jam falls sideways you will be cut in half by the doorway. In either case, you will be killed!

7) Never go to the stairs. The stairs have a different "moment of frequency" (they swing separately from the main part of the building). The stairs and remainder of the building continuously bump into each other until structural failure of the stairs takes place. The people who get on stairs before they fail are chopped up by the stair treads - horribly mutilated. Even if the building doesn't collapse, stay away from the stairs. The stairs are a likely part of the building to be damaged. Even if the stairs are not collapsed by the earthquake, they may collapse later when overloaded by fleeing people. They should always be checked for safety, even when the rest of the building is not damaged.


8) Get Near the Outer Walls Of Buildings Or Outside Of Them If Possible - It is much better to be near the outside of the building rather than the interior. The farther inside you are from the outside perimeter of the building the greater the probability that your escape route will be blocked.

9) People inside of their vehicles are crushed when the road above falls in an earthquake and crushes their vehicles; which is exactly what happened with the slabs between the decks of the Nimitz Freeway. The victims of the San Francisco earthquake all stayed inside of their vehicles. They were all killed. They could have easily survived by getting out and sitting or lying next to their vehicles. Everyone killed would have survived if they had been able to get out of their cars and sit or lie next to them. All the crushed cars had voids 3 feet high next to them, except for the cars that had columns fall directly across them.

10) I discovered, while crawling inside of collapsed newspaper offices and other offices with a lot of paper, that paper does not compact. Large voids are found surrounding stacks of paper.

Spread the word and save someone's life... The Entire world is experiencing natural calamities so be prepared!

"We are but angels with one wing, it takes two to fly"

In 1996 we made a film, which proved my survival methodology to be correct. The Turkish Federal Government, City of Istanbul , University of Istanbul Case Productions and ARTI cooperated to film this practical, scientific test. We collapsed a school and a home with 20 mannequins inside. Ten mannequins did "duck and cover," and ten mannequins I used in my "triangle of life" survival method. After the simulated earthquake collapse we crawled through the rubble and entered the building to film and document the results. The film, in which I practiced my survival techniques under directly observable, scientific conditions , relevant to building collapse, showed there would have been zero percent survival for those doing duck and cover.

There would likely have been 100 percent survivability for people using my method of the "triangle of life." This film has been seen by millions of viewers on television in Turkey and the rest of Europe , and it was seen in the USA , Canada and Latin America on the TV program Real TV
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Thursday, May 29, 2008

7 Steps to a Healthy Lawn

Unless you live in a plastic bubble somewhere, you are aware of potential damage and hazards associated with both pesticide and herbicide usage. Even when we are aware of possible problems, sometimes we don't act upon the information we are given, for a variety of different reasons.


Below is a simple and easy list of some of the steps you can take if you are considering making the shift to a more organic approach to lawn care. As with anything, this is a process and not something that can be done overnight, but with a commitment to taking a healthier approach, healthier results can be achieved over time.

1. MOW HIGH & MULCH
Grass cycling (sharpen those mower blades!) returns clippings to the lawn providing about 1,500 pounds of free fertilizer to the average lawn. Scattered clippings break down quickly and feed the roots of the grass plants. Grass cycling can be done with a mulching mower or regular mower. Clip only 1/3 of the grass length at each mowing. This will keep the plants less stressed.

2. USE NATURAL, ORGANIC, SLOW-RELEASE FERTILIZER
Use natural, organic, slow-release fertilizer in May and September. When nutrients are released slowly, the plants absorb them better, getting more bang for the buck. The goal here is to keep the lawn a healthy shade of green. A "too green" lawn is a sign of overuse of chemicals...a lawn on drugs.

3. WATER DEEPLY & LESS FREQUENTLY
Deeper watering will penetrate the root zone more effectively. Over-watering promotes lawn diseases and can leach nutrients from the soil. Aeration helps water reach the roots and corrects problems with compaction. If there is thatch buildup, de-thatch! Let the lawn go dormant in the summer. Dormant lawns need only one deep watering per month. Otherwise, water about one inch per week in July and August. Use less in late spring or early fall. Water slowly to avoid puddling and runoff. Newly planted lawns, of course, may need some additional TLC.

4. AERATE AND OVER SEED
Aeration and over seeding go a long way toward creating a beautiful, healthy lawn. You can rent a power aerator or hire a professional. If your soil is compacted deeper than 2", find a lawn care professional that has equipment which can penetrate 6-8" for full aeration. Over seed after aeration with a lawn seed mix designed for the northwest. Ask about these mixes at your local nursery. April or May as well as September are the best months for aeration and over seeding.

5. AVOID PESTICIDES & HERBICIDES
Avoid 'weed and feed' products or other pesticides/herbicides. Pesticides and herbicides create problems, rather than solve them. For example, diazinon is thought to have been responsible for the deaths of dozens of birds in the Puget Sound region, while feeding on treated lawns. Instead, use compost on the lawn to feed the soil and enhance healthy lawn growth. Apply compost about 1/2 " deep on established lawns once a year. To prepare soil for a new lawn, apply 2" of compost to 6-8 inches of soil. Water well. Microorganisms in a healthy lawn help fight pests naturally.

Remove problem weeds by hand in the spring and fall. Long-handled weed pullers are a great tool! Other tools work well for dandelions by letting you go deep and getting the whole root. Try using headphones with your favorite music playing to help make hand weeding more pleasurable, or hire local youth to do the job for you.

Sometimes weeds are telling you something. For example, moss means you are trying to grow lawn in a place that is just too wet or shady for grass. Clover may mean you need more nitrogen.

Some folks believe that your lawn is anything green that grows to a height of a few inches and can be mowed! For many of us, clover and moss look just fine in the lawn.

6. REDUCE LAWN
Honey, I shrunk the lawn! We encourage people to minimize the amount of lawn they have, in order to reduce chemical use and save water and your own labor. Using native plants, ground cover, pathways, etc., instead of lawn, makes a lot of sense for many homeowners. To reduce lawn area, simply smother mulch the area of lawn to be converted to garden or other use. Cardboard works well as does a thick layer of newspapers. Apply several inches of compost over this layer and plant a new bed. It's an easy and effective way to make unwanted lawn disappear.


7. ATTEND THE NATURE LYCEUM
Now that you have an idea of some tips that can be done, complete your education by checking out the place to go for an "out of the box" education in Organic Horticulture and the Environment. Known as the home of the "Green Guerrilla", The Nature Lyceum, presents a 2 Day Course in Organics.

As a much needed response, to shift both the approach and education of the green industry into greater balance and harmony with the environment, founder Jeff Frank, opened The Nature Lyceum over a decade ago. His school offered a unique educational opportunity for those looking to be more connected with organics long before Green became trendy.

Working with horticulturists, landscape companies, tree care companies, estate care, grounds maintenance, wineries, golf course superintendents, farmers and the back yard gardener, The Nature Lyceum has helped to spread to the work of organics through their pro-active Green Guerrilla program. Students from around the world have graduated from the program and have taken back to their specific communities a holisitic approach to approach to plant and soil health.

The 2 day course is taught by talented and awesome professional co-instructors. Some of the topics covered in the program include: An Introduction to Organics, Soils, Microbes, Water, Dowsing, Organic Turf & Tree Programs, Compost and Compost Teas, Organic Fertilizers, and much more. Classes are offered monthly.

For information on the next class, contact Jeff Frank at 631-283-1915. Both Scott and I have attended programs at the Nature Lyceum and we highly recommend this to any one looking to expand their perceptions, abilities and knowledge basis as they work more co-creatively with the environment. Website

Natural Lawn Care Tips 1- 6 provided by: Natural Landscapes Project

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Five Ways to Lose More Weight with Walking Workouts

Article By: Debbie Rocker Source


CROSS TRAIN
“Cross train” by varying your walking workout. I’ve been seeing it for over a decade — people tell me they’ll walk the same six-mile route every day. Usually you can cut your workout time in half and get the same results, simply by changing up the way you walk!.

If you always do the same things, your body knows exactly what to expect and it goes into conserve mode. It’s part of maintaining stasis. And your mind goes to that same place — the workout gets boring, and you don’t keep walking at a vigorous pace. It loses what I call the “training effect.”

If you can swim and cycle and walk, that’s fantastic. But walking is something you can take with you anywhere and do throughout your lifetime. You can walk anywhere — outside, in front of your TV, in a gym. Your heart rate conditioning is varied based on different terrain. And when you walk indoors, you’re using completely different muscles in different ways, with different levels of resistance.

Use a treadmill once a week. Another day, take your dog, meet a friend and do a casual stroll. It’s not as dramatic a cross-training effect as going from cycling to swimming, but it’s a big difference compared to walking the same path for three years.

ADD SOME INTENSITY BURSTS
One school of thought is that the longer your work out, the more likely your body is to go into fat burning mode. But another theory goes that after a long workout, 60 to 90 minutes, the body goes into conserve mode.

People will tell me, “When I started spinning I lost 15 pounds; now I’m not losing anymore.” And I say, “You’re just spinning more; you have to spin more efficiently.” The research on this seems to indicate that if you mix short intense bursts, you go into fat-burning mode after your workout rather than into conserve mode. It’s six of one, half-dozen of the other.

Try doing run-walks. Add an interval workout, with intense bursts mixed in every few minutes, twice a week. If you can get in two intense 15 to 20 minute interval workouts per week, plus one moderate but longer workout, that’s a great start. Then work up to adding an additional really long workout that’s very intense. That’s an incredible workout week.

Once or twice a week I walk with a friend for over an hour wearing a Walkvest, and I’m telling you we hoof it — it’s intense. Other than that, most of my workouts are 15 to 20 minutes long. My friend’s dog is a very fast, vital dog. I’ll take the dog out and walk fast for a block, jog for a block, and do that for 15 to 20 minutes. Or I’ll walk, then do lunges for half a block, then tricep extensions, then walk for a block.

WORK OUT WIHT A COACH
Via DVD/CD or in person, three days a week. I know how hard it is to change. We all need help!

Effective training tools are important, but coaching is imperative to reaching new levels of fitness. A good coach can take you places you can’t go alone. My training as a professional coach and motivator helps me know what it will take to bring out the best in you; and as a former pro athlete, I know what will work.

Your coach will be with you every step of the way. You’re starting from scratch, working from the ground up, together.

Even when you’re walking intensely, you can listen to a CD with coaching and music. It motivates you and reminds you of how powerful you are, how valuable your workouts are, how positive it is on every level. This can help in a very physical way too, moving your heart rate around and constantly changing the levels of intensity in the body.

WORK OUT TO LIVE BETTER
Not just lose weight. Your body starts losing bone mass at 30! I want to build and support my body, not wear it down. I want to be better at the movements I do all day long. I want my balance to be sharp and my joints strong, with no more stress on my body than necessary.

Anyone over 25 may be too old to run. I had a training regimen that kept me pounding the pavement for hours on end, and ultimately it had negative effects on my body. I switched my exercise routine to weight-bearing walking, and I started to love my workouts again. I looked forward to walking. Clearly you’re more likely to work out if you actually look forward to it.

I’m going to be 49 this year and I plan to look like this until I die!

CHANGE YOUR MIND

I am a huge proponent of, “Don’t even bother changing your body if you don’t change your mind.” It will be temporary, and it will add to past failures.

We condition ourselves to fail. People are convinced they can’t do it based on their past experience trying to diet and lose weight.

This is another great reason to add intensity bursts to kick-start fat burn. The faster you can get results, the more you build your belief that you can do it. It’s the fastest way to change your body, and your mind changes too.

I also believe the universe brings us what we’re thinking about whether we want it or not. Our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, fears and obsessions drive our actions and behaviors. So focus on what you want, not what you don’t want.

If you want to lose weight, think about how much you want to lose and what you want to look like and feel like, not how much you hate being heavy. If you think about what is, you just get more of what is. Think how much you want to be healthy and fit.

SOURCE
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Friday, May 23, 2008

Foods to Help Fight Arthritic Pain

The idea that food can cause or relieve arthritis isn't new. More than 200 years ago, English doctors prescribed cod-liver oil to treat gout and rheumatism. More recently, some health writers have insisted that arthritics should eat or not eat specific foods. The debate is in full swing. Do certain foods cause arthritis? Is there an "Arthritis Begone" diet? All the evidence isn't yet in, but thanks to the studies currently available, more and more physicians are convinced that diet plays a valuable role in arthritis treatment plans.

Foods for Arthritis Relief
Which fruits, vegetables, meat, or fish should you eat? There are no absolute rules, but the results of studies and case histories suggest that these foods may be helpful:

Anchovies: Three-and-a-half ounces of anchovies contain almost a gram and a half of omega-3 fatty acids. The omega-3 fatty acids help regulate the prostaglandins, which play a role in inflammation and, hence, pain. However, anchovies are extremely high in sodium, so if sodium-sensitivity or water retention is a problem for you, choose a different kind of fish.

Apples: Not only can an apple a day keep the doctor away, but it may also help to hold your arthritis at bay. Apples contain boron, a mineral that appears to reduce the risk of developing osteoarthritis. Moreover, when boron was given to people who already have the disease, it helped relieve pain.

Cantaloupe: This sweet fruit contains large amounts of vitamin C and beta-carotene, the plant form of vitamin A. These two powerful vitamins help to control the oxidative and free-radical damage that may contribute to arthritis.

Chile peppers: Chilies contain capsaicin, which gives the peppers their heat. These vegetables also help block pain by encouraging certain nerve cells to run through their supply of substance P, which they normally use to help transmit pain signals.

Curry: A combination of spices that often includes turmeric, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, and so on, curry contains powerful antioxidants that may help relieve inflammation and reduce pain.

Fish: The omega-3 fatty acids in Norwegian sardines, Atlantic mackerel, sablefish, rainbow trout, striped bass, and other fish may help reduce inflammation and pain.

Garlic: An ancient treatment for tuberculosis, lung problems, and other diseases, garlic also appears to relieve some forms of arthritis pain. Although never tested in large-scale, double-blind studies, garlic has been found helpful in many case reports. These helpful benefits may be due to the fact that garlic contains sulfur, which has been known for many years to help relieve certain arthritis symptoms.

Grapes: These bunches of sweet, bite-sized fruit are good sources of the mineral boron, which is important for strong bones.

Mango: A sweet treat, mangoes are packed with three powerful antioxidants: 90 percent of the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowances) for vitamin C, 75 percent of the daily dose of beta-carotene, plus vitamin E.

Nuts: Almonds, peanuts, and hazelnuts are good sources of boron, a mineral that helps keep bones strong and certain arthritis symptoms at bay.

Papaya: Long used as a folk medicine for diarrhea, hay fever, and other problems, a single papaya contains three times the RDA for the antioxidant vitamin C, plus more than half the daily allotment of beta-carotene.

Read the entire article Fighting Arthritic Pain with the Right Foods Adapted From: Arthritis For Dummies, 2nd Edition Source.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Natural Air Fresheners

Indoor air pollution can be a big problem, having a major influence on the health, comfort and well being of building occupants. Poor air quality has been linked to problems such as Sick Building Syndrome and has been shown to reduce productivity in offices as well as learning in schools. Depending on the source of contaminants, individuals may be extremely sensitive and have great difficulty remaining healthy and balanced in an environment that contains numerous pollutants.

Read on to find out some of the natural alternatives to keeping your home, office, or indoor space smelling fresh, clean, and healthy.


Open the Windows
This almost sounds too simple to be typing, but how often do we see open windows these days? Let the fresh air in, allow the stale, polluted air out. Even if you can only do this for a short time every day, it does make a difference.

In homes without air exchange systems, open a window and run a central vacuum for a while to get fresh air in and stale air out. Or put a fan in a window drawing air out, and open another window to increase air circulation.

Baking Soda
An oldie but goodie, baking soda is economical, effective and healthy. Place an open container in an area that you want freshened and it will absorb the odours in that enclosed space. It does not need to be relegated to just the refrigerator and the cat's litter box.

Zeolite
This is a natural mineral, which absorbs odors and excess moisture in the air as well as heavy metals. It can be used as a general deodorizer and to combat mildew or mould. When used in refrigerators and freezers, it can reduce electricity cost by up to 12% by maintaining optimum humidity, and it helps keep food fresher. Zeolite is usually sold in packets that can be hung in strategic locations.

Because of the honeycomb structure, zeolite is able to absorb moisture and gas molecules that total about 65 percent of the weight of the zeolite itself. The material has virtually no fragrance, and it releases nothing as it absorbs other materials. A day in bright sunshine is usually enough to release the contaminants and restore the zeolite to working condition. Packets can also be recharged in a 200-degree oven for an hour. The low temperature will keep the plastic bags from melting. (Zeolite itself can withstand temperatures of 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit before it degrades.) Source it can be purchased from Environmental Home Center.

Simmerring Herbs & Spices
Simmer water and cinnamon or other spices on stove. Or another option is to purchase from the Thrift Store one of those miniature crock pot type devices for a few dollars. Plug it in and add your spices...it will send fragrance throughout the room you are freshening. In addition to herbs and spices, pure essential oils work well also...but they must be the pure essential oils, not an artificial fragrance.

Place Bowls of Fragrant Dried Herbs & Flowers in a Room
Not only does it look nice, it helps clear up the air. Lavender is wonderful for this, make sachet as well so a fresh fragrance can be released into small confined spaces like the closets and dresser drawers, an added benefit some will also ward off moths.

Household Plants
Plants are the great equalizer in helping with the inflow of oxygen into an area. Rather than relying on chemical-laden air fresheners, try floral scents from the source: fresh flowers! As for potted plants, Dr. Bill Wolverton conducted studies for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration showing that some houseplants can clear carbon dioxide and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from indoor air.

For example, of the fifty indoor plants tested, the Boston fern was the most effective at removing formaldehyde and the peace lily worked best on acetone. Three types of palms — areca, lady and bamboo — received the highest overall ratings, which included ease of growth and maintenance, resistance to insects and amount of moisture released by the plant, along with ability to remove chemical vapors. See my earlier post Plants that Boost Indoor Air Quality to get a list of the most useful household plants that are up for this task.

Incense
One of my most favorite ways is to burn a natural incense in the house to re-energize or clear. A few of my favorites are sandalwood, palo santo, and cedar. Sage I save for clearing and smugding work. Be sure to use the real deal product, good natural incense and not a cheap knock-off that may be filled with toxins and chemicals.

Just by incoporating one or two of these suggestions you can go a long way toward revitalizing your enviroment's indoor air quality.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Benefits of Using Raw Butter

Butter has gotten a bad rap over the past decades, mostly due to commerical interest rather than health interests. Butter is a rich source of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. The saturated fat in butter actually enhances our immune function, protects the liver from toxins, provides nourishment for the heart in times of stress, gives stiffness and integrity to our cell membranes, and aids in the proper utilization of omega-3 essential fatty acids. Butter will add extra nutrients and flavor to your vegetables, whole grain breads, and sautéed dishes.

Butter is a completely natural food essential to your health - especially when you eat organic. Also, please make the extra effort to obtain high-quality organic, raw butter.

Margarines, on the other hand, are a processed food, created chemically from refined polyunsaturated oils. The process used to make these normally liquid oils into spread-able form is called hydrogenation. Margarine and similar hydrogenated or processed polyunsaturated oils are potentially more detrimental to your health than any saturated fat.

So take a look at the long list of benefits one can receive from eating butter, especially if it is organic raw butter..

1. Butter is rich in the most easily absorbable form of Vitamin A necessary for thyroid and adrenal health.

2. Contains lauric acid, important in treating fungal infections and candida.

3. Contains lecithin, essential for cholesterol metabolism.

4. Contains anti-oxidants that protect against free radical damage.

5. Has anti-oxidants that protect against weakening arteries.

6. Is a great source of Vitamins E and K.

7. Is a very rich source of the vital mineral selenium.

8. Saturated fats in butter have strong anti-tumor and anti-cancer properties.

9. Butter contains conjugated linoleic acid, which is a potent anti-cancer agent, muscle builder, and immunity booster

10. Vitamin D found in butter is essential to absorption of calcium.

11. Protects against tooth decay.

12. Is your only source of an anti-stiffness factor, which protects against calcification of the joints.
13. Anti-stiffness factor in butter also prevents hardening of the arteries, cataracts, and calcification of the pineal gland.

14. Is a source of Activator X, which helps your body absorb minerals.

15. Is a source of iodine in highly absorbable form.

16. May promote fertility in women.

17. Is a source of quick energy, and is not stored in our bodies adipose tissue.

18. Cholesterol found in butterfat is essential to children's brain and nervous system development.

19. Contains Arachidonic Acid (AA) which plays a role in brain function and is a vital component of cell membranes.

20. Protects against gastrointestinal infections in the very young or the elderly.

Sources:
BodyEcology.com



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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Master Numbers

One of the phenomena occurring at this time is to pay attention that we are living with Spirit, and one way our guides and teachers help us is by making us become aware of the energies and the meaning of numbers...such as in the appearance of 3 or more of the same digits.

111
Energy flow - enhancing whatever level you are in presently

222
Resurrection and ascension process. Twenty-two (22) is the master number that reflects POWER ON ALL PLANES AND THE ABILITY TO CHANGE THE COURSE OF HISTORY

333
Decision number - Either directs you into a phase of 999 completion, or negatively, it puts you in the 666 frequency which throws you back into the third dimension, watch what you are doing VERY carefully

In the crystal book by Melody "Love Is In The Earth", this is what it says for the 333 Master number. Power over the total physical realm is revealed and the application of same is facilitated. Understanding of the "right time" is expedited and the act of non-action is furthered; patience is a keyword. The concept of ease in actualization and the understanding of the abstraction of manifestation is reflected on the 333 vibration.

444
Presence of Angels and ability for Angelic communication or you have completed an important phase and it is the number of resurrection

555
Experiencing the energy or level of CHRIST CONSCIOUSNESS

666
Material world, third dimensional frequency, density, pay attention to everything around you and ask if making this decision in this way will hold me back from my spiritual growth in some way?

777
Symbolizes an integration of some portion of the four lower bodies with higher spiritual frequencies within the Third-dimensional plane, or at the level in which you are manifesting your physical reality on the Earth Plane.

888
Symbolizes infinity. The unified spiral of the physical merging with the spiritual. Moving toward the completion of the ascension process through the energies of 222 and 444.

999
Symbolizes the three levels of the triune, completion.

000
The great void, experiencing a null zone. Switching or moving into a new energy field.

11:11
Beginning of a whole new level or phase of development. Another dimension or frequency of experience opening. A way or path opening for you. Stargate 11:11

12:12
Cosmic Connection, a bridge to the future, signifies a levelof completion or graduation

Just yesterday my youngest daughter who is in 9th grade mentioned that every day she notices the 11:11 on the clock, and since she is a night owl, most days, she says she notices it twice. I find this amazing. She indicated she is not a clock watcher but somehow always manages to see that particular time on a daily basis. I have to admit, I was a bit jealous, because I never notice the numbers, then again, I rarely ever look at a clock. So, does that have some signifiance?

I do realize that numbers surround us, and I rarely pick up on the signals that come in this manner, although I have been in the car with this particular daughter and she will say, "hey mom look, that license plate has a 333 on it."

SOURCE: www.namaste-wi.com Namaste Retreat Center
. And here is the rest of it.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Plants that Boost Indoor Air Quality

25 Top Plants

These plants have been shown to be effective in removing common pollutants from indoor air including formaldehyde, benzene and carbon monoxide.

Common Name.....Scientific Name
1. Anthurium..... Anthurium andraeanum
2. Areca palm..... Chrysalidocarpus lutescens
3. Benjamin Weeping Fig.... Ficus benjamina
4. Boston fern.... Nephrolepis exaltata
5. Chinese Evergreen.....Aglaonema modestum


6. Corn Plant..... Dracaena massangeana
7. Croton..... Codiaeum variegatum
8. Date palm..... Phoenix roebelenii
9. Dieffenbachia..... Dieffenbachia bowmannii
10. English Ivy..... Hedera helix


11. Fig ‘Alii’..... Ficus macleilandii ‘Alii’
12. Gerbera Daisy......Gerbera jamesonii
13. Golden pothos..... Epipremnum aureum
14. Janet Craig ....Dracaena "Janet Craig"
15. Marginata..... Dracaena marginata

16. Norfolk Island Pine..... Araucaria Hetrophylla
17. Peace Lily..... Spathiphyllum "Mauna Loa"
18. Potted Mum..... Chrysantheium morifolium
19. Ponytail palm..... Beaucarnea recurvata
20. Prayer plant (Calathea)..... Maranta leuconeura erythroneura

21. Rubber plant..... Ficus elastica
22. Snake plant ..... Sansevieria laurentii
23. Warneckii ..... Dracaena "Warneckii"
24. Zebra plant..... Aphelandra squarrosa
25. ZZ plant..... Zamioculcas.


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Monday, May 12, 2008

Optimal pH for the Garden

Optimal soil pH can vary widely for differentvegetables. Most vegetables require a soil pH of about 6.3 to 7.0, although requirements vary with some vegetables having a much wider range than others.

A pH under 7.0 is acidic, a reading of over 7.0 is alkaline, 7.0 is neutral. Check the chartbelow, test your pH and amend as necessary for a great garden!



Asparagus 6.0 to 8.0
Beets 6.0 to 8.0
Cabbage 6.0 to 8.0
Muskmelons 6.0 to 8.0
Peas 6.0 to 7.5
Spinach 6.0 to 7.5
Summer Squash 6.0 to 7.5
Celery 6.0 to 7.0
Chives 6.0 to 7.0
Endive 6.0 to 7.0
Rhubarb 6.0 to 7.0
Horseradish 6.0 to 7.0
Lettuce 6.0 to 7.0
Onions 6.0 to 7.0
Radishes 6.0 to 7.0
Cauliflower 6.0 to 7.0
Corn 5.5 to 7.5
Pumpkins 5.5 to 7.5
Tomatoes 5.5 to 7.5
Snap Beans 5.5 to 7.0
Lima Beans 5.5 to 7.0
Carrots 5.5 to 7.0
Cucumbers 5.5 to 7.0
Parsnips 5.5 to 7.0
Peppers 5.5 to 7.0
Eggplant 5.5 to 6.4
Watermelons 5.5 to 6.4
Potatoes 5.0 to 6.4



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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Beauty Tips

Audrey Hepburn wrote this when she was asked to share her "beauty tips." It was read at her funeral years later.

For Attractive Lips:
Speak words of kindness.

For Lovely Eyes:
Seek out the good in people.

For a Slim Figure:
Share your food with the hungry.

For Beautiful Hair:
Let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day.

For Poise:
Walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.

People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands; one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others.

. And here is the rest of it.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Some Earth Day Trivia

On the 38th anniversary of the first Earth Day, take a look at how the celebration—and the planet—have changed.

Earth Day was first celebrated on April 22, 1970, and has been growing strong ever since. Here’s a look back at our Earth Day roots.

20 Million:
Number of people who celebrated the first Earth Day in 1970

200 Million:
Number of people who celebrated Earth Day in 1990

500 Million:
Number of people who celebrated Earth Day in 2000

175:
Number of countries worldwide that celebrate a designated Earth Day

3.7 Billion:
World population in 1970

6.6 Billion:
World population in 2008

4,390,000:
Number of Google hits for Earth Day

37,100,000:
Number of Google hits for Green Day

111.2 Million:
Number of vehicles on the road in the US in 1970

247.4 Million:
Number of vehicles on the road in the US in 2005

20:
Number of cars needed to emit the same amount of greenhouse gas
emissions as one pre-1970 model

57.2°:
Average global temperature from 1970-1979 (in degrees Fahrenheit)

58.3°:
Average global temperature from 2000-2007 (in degrees Fahrenheit)

220,000:
Tons of US lead emissions in 1970

4,000:
Tons of US lead emissions in 2008

75:
Percent increase in greenhouse gas emissions from 1970 to 2004

100 Million:
Number of plastic bags thrown away annually in the US

0:
Number of plastic bags available at Whole Foods as of Earth Day 2008

Source: Plenty

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Why Do I Need to Mulch?

Are you outside yet, digging in the dirt, getting your hands dirty as you play in your garden beds? Actually, I have not gotten out to do much myself yet. The weather is still a bit nippy, and I have not had a lot of time free up yet.


But we have a large number of garden beds needing attention, and we have a daughter graduating from high school in June and will be having her party at the house. One of the things on the top of my list after cleaning up the beds, is to do mulching.

And here is why:


  • Protects the soil from erosion

  • Reduces compaction from the impact of heavy rains

  • Conserves moisture, reducing the need for frequent waterings

  • Maintains a more even soil temperature

  • Helps prevent weed growth

  • Keeps fruits and vegetables clean

  • Keeps feet clean, allowing access to garden even when damp

  • Provides a "finished" look to the garden.


Mulch Material
Bark mulch: Use 2-4 inches
Smaller chips are easier to spread, especially around small plants. Excellent for use around trees, shrubs, and perennial gardens. When spreading mulch around trees, keep the mulch an inch or two away from the trunk. A couple inches of mulch is adequate. There is no need to apply the mulch 6 or 8 inches high, as often is seen.

Wood chips: Use 2-4 inches
Similar to bark mulch. If using fresh wood chips that are mixed with a lot of leaves, composting may be beneficial.

Leaves: Use 3-4 inches
Best to chop and compost before spreading. If using dry leaves, apply about 6 inches.

Grass clippings: Use 2-3 inches
Thicker layers tend to compact and rot, becoming quite slimy and smelly. Add additional layers as clippings decompose. Do not use clippings from lawns treated with herbicides.

Newspaper: Use 1/4 inch
Apply sheets of newspaper and cover lightly with grass clippings or other mulch material to anchor. If other mulch materials are not available, cover edges of paper with soil. Applying on a windy day can be a problem.

Compost: Use 3-4 inches
Excellent material for enriching soil.


Bark mulch and wood chips are sometimes used with landscape fabric or plastic. The fabric or plastic is laid on top of the soil and then covered with a layer of bark chips. A caution to this practice: while initially the plastic or fabric may provide additional protection against weeds, as the mulch breaks down, weeds will start to grow in the mulch itself. The barrier between the soil and the mulch also prevents any improvement in the soil condition and makes planting additional plants more difficult.


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Friday, April 11, 2008

Super Foods to Boost Your Sex Drive

Sex is not just for enjoyment, it has a number of health benefits such as relieving stress, boosting immunity, burning calories, reducing risks of certain health issues, and helping one to sleep, justt to name a few. So if you are looking to cash in on some of these benefits, here are some of the foods that will help to support a good sex drive.

1. Pumpkin Seeds
2. Gogi Berries
3. Maca
4. Bananas
5. Celery
6. Avocado
7. Bee pollen
8. Asparagus
9. Chillies
10. Basil
11. Figs
12. Garlic

For the specifics about each of these super foods, check out the link below.
Source: NaturalNews.com Author: Cheryl Walters

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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Risks of Home Pesticide Use

We all have heard about the damage the use of pesticides can do to the environment and living organisms. Some of us will try to steer as far away from any pesticide use as possible, while others may not consider the risk that great, with the trade off for lush lawns and gardens the desired result. If you are not quite sure where you stand on this issue, here are some interesting facts that may help you formulate a more educated decision.

Homeowners use up to 10 times more chemical pesticides per acre on their lawns than farmers use on crops.”4 — U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Increased odds of childhood leukemia, brain cancer and soft tissue sarcoma have been associated with children living in households where pesticides are used.

96 percent of all fish analyzed in major rivers and streams contained residues of one or more pesticides at detectable levels. —United States Geological Survey

EHHI surveyed 18 stores in Connecticut and found that most stores displayed pesticide packages with visible tears or rips.

Some pesticides commonly used on lawns and gardens in Connecticut...have been banned or restricted in other countries because of concerns about health effects. Many Canadian municipalities have banned or severely restricted the use of lawn-care pesticides.

Several studies... have found a statistically higher incidence of non- Hodgkin’s lymphoma in people exposed to 2,4-D.

Data suggest that MCPP may cause cancer, birth defects, and mutagenic effects.

Some inert ingredients are suspected carcinogens; others have been linked to central nervous system disorders, liver and kidney damage, birth defects, and some short-term health effects. — Attorney General’s Office of New York

The use of household pesticides has been associated with a variety of childhood cancers.

Pesticides not intended for use on food are not required to undergo the same degree of testing as those used on food.

The use of pesticides often harms wildlife and their habitats.... Commonly used lawn-care chemicals can persist in soil and water for weeks, which can lead to the contamination of aquatic resources and local wildlife.

In addition to contaminating surface water, pesticides can contaminate groundwater, potentially causing health problems in those people drinking the water.

At least one pesticide was detected by USGS in more than 95 percent of stream samples collected at 115 sites.

Pregnant women, infants and children, the aged and the chronically ill are at greatest risk from pesticide exposure and chemically induced immune-suppression, which can increase susceptibility to cancer.


Scientific studies find pesticide residues such as the weedkiller 2,4-D and the insecticide carbaryl inside homes, due to drift and track-in, where they contaminate air, dust, surfaces and carpets and expose children at levels ten times higher than preapplication levels.


Lawn and garden pesticides are deadly to non-target species and can harm beneficial insects and soil microorganisms essential to a naturally healthy lawn


Children take in more pesticides relative to body weight than adults and have developing organ systems that make them more vulnerable and less able to detoxify toxins


Studies show low levels of exposure to actual lawn pesticide products are linked to increased rates of miscarriage, and suppression of the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems.


Exposure to home and garden pesticides can increase a child’s likelihood of developing asthma.


Studies link pesticides with hyperactivity, developmental delays, behavioral disorders, and motor dysfunction.

Sources:


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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Histroy of Fluoride

Ever wonder about how fluoride got its start in the dental and water business? If you have been hearing about some of the controversy revolving around the use of fluoride, here is just a little bit of history I found that contains some interesting information.

1909
Colorado Springs dentist Frederic K. McKay asks the US dental community to help him find an explanation for the "Colorado brown stain," a discoloring of teeth common to the Pikes Peak area. Though residents' teeth are mottled, they have fewer cavities than is typical.

1927
A dentist in Bauxite, AR, reports extensive staining of residents' teeth. The town gets its water from a deep well near the site of an aluminum mine; fluoride is a waste by-product of aluminum mining.

1937
Danish fluoride researcher Kaj E. Roholm, MD, Copenhagen's deputy health commissioner, publishes a 364-page report titled Fluorine Intoxication. In it, he details the bone disease, skin lesions, and mortality that result from long-term exposure to fluoride. He also questions its ability to protect teeth.

1939
Researcher Gerald J. Cox at the Mellon Institute in Pittsburgh releases results from a rat study (showing healthier teeth) to support his recommendation that water be fluoridated.

1942
A National Institutes of Health study of 7,000 children shows that fluoride at 1 part per million (ppm) in water is enough to minimize tooth decay without causing discoloration--or dental fluorosis, as it's now called.

1945
Federal scientists choose four pairs of cities for a 13- to 15-year study of fluoridation: Grand Rapids and Muskegon, MI; Newburgh and Kingston, NY; Evanston and Oak Park, IL; and Brantford and Sarnia, Ontario. Grand Rapids becomes the first city in the world to have fluoridated water.

1951
Muskegon, the comparison city for Grand Rapids, begins fluoridating its own water supply. Communities across the country join in, well in advance of any published results of the four-cities studies.

1955


Procter & Gamble introduces Crest, the first fluoride toothpaste endorsed by the American Dental Association.

1962
Results from the Grand Rapids study are published. The findings are called into question because the control was dropped 6 years into the study.

1964


The movie Dr. Strangelove or: How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb is released. In it, an insane general, Jack D. Ripper, attributes fluoridation to a communist plot.

1977
A federal report finds evidence that Americans' consumption of fluoride from food and water has increased significantly. At these levels, the report states, bone damage is a risk.

1990
As part of its "Healthy People 2000" plan, the CDC sets a goal of getting fluoridated water to 75% of Americans. Then, as now, roughly two-thirds have treated water.

1993
A government review board, the National Research Council, issues a report indicating that the variety of fluoride sources in the United States could make limiting fluoride exposure necessary, and "reduction of fluoride concentrations in drinking water would be easier to administer, monitor, and evaluate" than alternative cutbacks.

1997
The FDA requires toothpaste manufacturers to place a poison control label on tubes and boxes reading: If more than used for brushing is accidentally swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away.

2001
The CDC issues new guidelines saying that fluoride supplements should only be given to children in nonfluoridated communities who are also at high risk of cavities.

2006
The NRC releases a report suggesting that the current upper limit for fluoride in water could cause tooth damage, bone fractures, and neurological problems and may be connected to certain cancers. It recommends the EPA lower the safe exposure limit.

Author: Timothy Gower Source.

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Sunday, April 6, 2008

Eye Openers

When we look for answers and information, it is a process-- meaning it does require research. I personally do not believe their is one correct way, one magic bullet, one therapy or supplement that provides all the answers for everyone. We are each, unique individuals, with a unique make-up of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual qualities that create who we are.

I suggest you look deeply for your own truth, finding what resonates with you, then begin your work. Whether it is to simply find a relaxation method, discover inner peace, or seek a cure or a healing from a physical challenge...the journey when viewed as an adventure with many possibilities and opportunities for learning and discovery, makes for more successful travelling.

We each need to take responsibility for our own healing, be it whatever level needed, assemble our support team, then move forward in the process. Below are a few of my top 5 favorite websites that I feel provide a critical information for those who are on the holistic journey. I really have many top 5's but here is a start, we'll call it the Basic Level


1. Natural News
The Natural News Network is a non-profit collection of public education websites covering topics that empower individuals to make positive changes in their health, environmental sensitivity, consumer choices and informed skepticism. This was my first website I favorited in the wellness area when I started to do my own research work.

2. Organic Consumer Association
Another of my earliest favorites. I remember contacting them back then when planning to organize an event at my small wellness center and was surprised that the size of their staff was bascially equal to mine--very tiny! OCA is an online and grassroots non-profit organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability. Great articles and campaigns...this is where I first learned about the Mighty Monsanto.

3. DORway to Discovery
This site is what I consider the premier Aspartame Education site. Agh, an ongoing project of mine-- to educate people about Aspartame, especially my friends and relatives who are brainwashed into thinking that this a healthy alternative to sugar.

4. Sweet Remedy
A site dedicated to those individuals who withstand the confusion, casualties and obstacles involved with taking control of their food and their health.

5. Price-Pottenger Foundation
It was established to provide the public and healing professions with historical and anthropological findings, and up-to-date, accurate scientific information on nutrition and health. The Foundation is known for its integrity and accuracy in making this information available to the public.

As I mentioned I have many top 5 favorites, but these will get your started.

My recommendation...do your homework...research...find your own answers...this is the way that works the best for all of us...we need to remember we are not carbon copies, mass produced from some assembly line.

If you need some more sites to visit, hop on over to my website Seeds for Change Wellness, the monthly newsletter on the home page provides a vast assortment of Articles, Websites, Videos, etc that will keep you busy researching for hours.

Have some recommendations not on the list that have been helpful to you? I would love to hear from you, so we can add them to the expanding library.

Oh yeah, Remember to make it an amazing day! .

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Friday, April 4, 2008

Slow Burning Compost

STEPS TO BUILDING SLOW BURNING COMPOST PILE
One very easy thing you can do to reduce your impact on the planet, and bolster your gardening efforts, is to compost. Compost makes rich fertilizer and mulch out of yard waste, food scraps, tree trimmings, old lumber and even certain types of paper.

Pick a Good Location:

In hot, dry climates, it should be a shady, cooler location. In cold or wet climates, it should be a well-ventilated location.

Break Up the Ground a Bit:
You don't have to dig the location, but aerate the top layer of soil and completely remove weeds. If this is your first pile in the area, you may wish to add some worms: Red worms are best, but nightcrawlers will do.

Start with a Layer of Small Sticks or Brush:
The idea is to trap some air pockets at the bottom.

Build Your Pile in Layers:
When possible, alternate layers of brown materials and green materials. The mixing of carbon (brown) and nitrogen (green) wastes fosters breakdown. A layer of green grass, covered with a layer of wood chips or dead leaves, works well. Paper and cardboard is carbon. Coffee is nitrogen.


Chop Up Big Things:
Fruit rinds, over-the-hill garden plants, etc. all break down faster when chopped up. Try a machete: sharper blade equals much less work.

Keep the Pile Damp:
Not wet, damp. In areas with dry seasons, sprinkle the entire pile for no more than five minutes a couple of times a week in the evening.

No Meat or Fat:
Fatty table scraps or meat leftovers tend to attract pests. Bread, some chips and crackers and most tortillas seem ok.

Make Your Pile as Big as Possible:
Bigger piles burn hotter. Anything much smaller than roughly three feet in diameter will break down very slowly, and may not break down completely in any amount of time. Lawn cuttings break down relatively fast.

Crack the Thing Open Once in a While:
This doesn't mean turn the pile upside down. Just break it open with a spading fork, a rake or a shovel. Let some air in.

Keep Building:
Depending on the size of your yard and the amount of waste you generate, the pile will take 4-12 months to produce a meaningful amount of compost. Get materials where you can. Perhaps a neighbor with a big yard can help.

Keep a Tub in Your Kitchen:
A one-gallon plastic ice-cream bucket seems about the right size. Keep the lid on when not in use; empty regularly. People with more class should purchase a special "compost crock' for their kitchen. Put all your vegetable trimmings in there.

Be Picky About Your Materials:
Never put Bermuda Grass or other really tough, noxious weeds in your pile. Beware of vines, burrs, any seed heads or root-runner plants and other potential fringe survivors. Watch out for heavily fertilized or pesticide laden lawn clippings.

HARVESTING YOUR COMPOST:
Without building specific apparatus, the easiest way is with a screen or a series of screens, and a big wheelbarrow. Place the screen over the wheelbarrow. Shovel the compost on. Shake or scrape with shovel to force the compost through. Keep going until the barrow is full or until you have all you need. Use while fresh to take advantage of teeming microbial life. Keep the screening discards for re-composting.
Source
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Thursday, April 3, 2008

More Coffee Grounds...More Ideas

DON'T THROW THE GROUNDS AWAY PART II
Every day across America, Asia and Europe, millions of pots of coffee and tea are brewed, and the millions of pounds of wet grounds, filters and bags thrown in the trash. This is both wasteful and foolish.

Coffee by-products can be used in the garden and farm as follows:


1. Sprinkle used grounds around plants before rain or watering, for a slow-release nitrogen.

2. Add to compost piles to increase nitrogen balance. Coffee filters and tea bags break down rapidly during composting.

3. Dilute with water for a gentle, fast-acting liquid fertilizer. Use about a half-pound can of wet grounds in a five-gallon bucket of water; let sit outdoors to achieve ambient temperature.

4. Mix into soil for houseplants or new vegetable beds.

5. Encircle the base of the plant with a coffee and eggshell barrier to repel pests.

6. If you are into vermi-posting, feed a little bit to your worms

7. Toss coffee grounds in with vegetable peelings, add water, grind them in theblender, then feed it to plants that are "slow". It's like a giant vitamin. They start shooting up very soon.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Coffee Grounds: 10 Different Ways

DON'T THROW AWAY YOUR COFFEE GROUNDS
Here is an interesting post I came across....some are good and some should be taken with a grain of ...ugr..coffee!

Coffee Grounds have many uses from gardening to beauty to getting rid of cellulite. Here are a few tips and recipes I have made and used over the years. If you know of any other uses for coffee grounds, I would love to hear them.

1. Cellulite Buster
While in the shower, vigorously rub coffee grounds on troubled cellulite spots for a few minutes everyday or a few times a week. Coffee is a stimulant and breaks down fat deposits when rubbed on those areas.


2. Exfoilant
Give yourself a wonderful Homemade Body Scrub/Facial with Coffee Grounds, resulting in the smoothest softest skin you could imagine! For even smoother skin, add a few Tablespoons of Mineral Oil, Jojoba Oil or Olive Oil right from your kitchen cabinet accompanied by a few drops of your favorite essential oil.

3. Plant Booster
For healthier plants, add Coffee Grounds to the potting soil of your house or garden plants. Coffee Grounds will eventually mold so its best to use this for outdoor plants. Keep in freezer until ready for use. Coffee Grounds are very effective when put in Rose Bushes. Just make sure your outdoor pets dont have access to those areas as they might try to eat the coffee grinds.

4. Natural Stain
Coffee Grounds make a great natural stain for wood, clothing, baskets, and covering up nicks in wood furniture. Brewed coffee can also be used in light brown/brunette hair to darken it.

5. Coffee Tan
Replenish your summer tan by rubbing coffee grounds all over your body then leave on for 30 minutes. Brewed coffee at room temperature can also be sponged and left on your skin for 20-30 minutes. Darker skin can be achieved by repeating this process more often.

6. Fridge Deodorizer
Keep a small container of fresh coffee grinds in the back of your refrigerator or freezer for a natural deodorizer.

7. Ant Repellent
Place Coffee Grinds in or near the tracks of sliding glass doors to keep ants away.

8. Kitchen Scrubber
Coffee Grounds act as an abraser removing grease from pots and pans. Keep a little container of fresh grinds near your kitchen sink.

9. Cat Litter Deodorizer
I sprinkle a tiny bit of fresh coffee grinds in the cat litter box for a natural deodorizer or you can place some next to it.

10. Sweat Lodge
Lose 5 to 10 inches all over your body in an hour. This really does work!!!! Rub fresh un-brewed coffee grounds all over your body then wrap yourself in saran wrap. Leave your face exposed please. Find a warm place to sit for 30 minutes to an hour and try to stay as warm as possible. Put on sweat suit, sit in a sauna, or stay in the bathroom with the door closed to keep the heat in. Run the shower as hot as possible to steam up the bathroom. Measure yourself before and after to see the results. I lost 2 inches in my legs, 1 inch in my arms and 2 inches in my hips. This is a short cut version to my typical herbal body wrap, but this does work and you feel great afterwards.

Here is a Homemade Body Scrub recipe I invented. It smells so good you almost want to eat it. Your skin will feel softer than you could ever imagine!

Brown Sugar Vanilla Body Scrub
1 Cup Fresh Coffee Grinds
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract or Vanilla Essential Oil
1/4 Cup of either Olive Oil, Mineral oil, Coconut Oil, Jojoba Oil or Sweet Almond Oil.

Mix together then put into a little container. If mixture looks a little crumbly and dry, add a little more oil. With a Loofah Scrub or your hand, rub all over body while in shower then rinse. This mixture will keep for a few weeks or even longer. Because oil is a natural preservative, this will prevent the coffee from molding. Mine has lasted over a month and still going strong!

Source

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

10 Everyday Pollution Solutions

GREEN IDEAS
Here are some easy to incorporate ways to reduce your intake of load of toxins.

  1. Use cast iron pans instead of nonstick. Read about Teflon health concerns.

  2. To avoid chemicals leaching into food, go easy on processed, canned or fast foods and never microwave plastic. Read about Bisphenol A, a toxic food-can lining ingredient associated with birth defects.

  3. Buy organic, or eat vegetables and fruit from the "Cleanest 12" list. Find out more about the "Dirty Dozen."

  4. Use iodized salt to combat chemical interference from the thyroid. Read about rocket fuel's effect on the thyroid.

  5. Seal outdoor wooden structures. Order a test kit to find out if your wooden deck, picnic table, or playset is leaching arsenic.
  6. Leave your shoes at the door. This cuts down on dust-bound pollutants in the home.
  7. Avoid perfume, cologne and products with added fragrance. Search for personal care
    products
    that are fragrance-free, or check the products you're already using.
  8. Buy products with natural fibers, like cotton and wool, that are naturally fire resistant.
    Use our list of products and manufacturers to avoid the chemical flame retardant PBDE.
  9. Eat low-mercury fish like tilapia & pollock, rather than high-mercury choices like tuna &
    swordfish. Check our Safe Fish List to see which fish to avoid and what's safe to eat.
  10. Filter your water for drinking and cooking. How does your tap water stack up? Search our
    tap water database to see what you're drinking.

SOURCE: Environmental Working Group
. And here is the rest of it.

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Monday, March 31, 2008

Preparing to Garden- The Organic Way

Spring has finally arrived and many of us are itching to get outside and work in the soil...cleaning, clearing and preparing our garden beds for the upcoming season. I love working in the garden, but I am not a gifted gardener. So I wanted to include some great sites I found on organic gardening. If you are not a gardener, take a peek, these just might inspire you to begin some garden designing of your own!

1. Gardening with The Helpful Gardener
This site includes a lot of basic start up information on organic gardening, for those who may just be moving in this direction or who are incorporating more organic processes.

2. Veggie Gardening Tips
Veggie Gardening Tips offers gardening tips and ideas to help you create a vegetable garden that's productive and attractive. The focus is on raised bed gardening, heirloom vegetables and fruits, organic gardening techniques, and information for growing a beautiful garden that's loaded with delicious organic produce.

3. Dave's Garden
The website where friends share their triumphs and dilemmas in their home gardens and their lives. Dave's Garden is also a place for gardeners to share seeds or plants with other gardeners, and has so much to offer, you are certainly going to find something that will have you coming back daily, as well as making you proud to tell your friends and family about your new gardening home on the net

4. 2 Green Thumbs Up
This site was created for the purpose of sharing adventures about gardening and backyard living, reviewing and recommending interesting gardening and backyard living products (green whenever possible), and to attempt to raise awareness of and promote green practices in other areas of everyday life.

5. Gardening Gone Wild
Although this consortium of gardeners is more than occupied with their “day jobs,” they all have chosen to become contributors who have the desire to express our thoughts, ideas, and philosophies about gardening and the world in which we live. I love this blog!

Well, now that you have had a chance to view some of the sites out there on organic gardening, will you be joining the rest of us, as we start digging in the dirt?

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

5 Hot Recycling Tips for E-waste

E-WASTE: GREAT SOLUTIONS!

It makes me furious that electronics become obsolete so quickly. Besides the obvious downside of having to shell out more money for a new item because the old one is a dinosaur, it creates the bigger challenge of disposal. What to do with all this stuff? Well here are some great solutions I have found that will really help to keep these items out of the landfill.

This just may be a List you want to keep handy for future reference!

1. Costco's Trade-In & Recycle Program
Costco has paired with GreenSight to give it's members this option for recycling electronics. You provide the site with the details about your equipment. It gives you a trade in-value. If you accept the value, you proceed. Then they give you a free, prepaid shipping label to send the equipment to them. You get a Costco Cash card for the trade in-value. GreenSight salvages any parts that can be used and then works with others to dispose of the remains without using a landfill.

2. Green Phone
GreenPhone helps you transform your drawer full of unused cell phones into something you'd rather have like money! GreenPhone will pay you by check or via PayPal or Obopay - your choice. Check out greenphone.com for more details

3. My Green Electronics
Find Out Where to Recycle. Just want to get rid of your stuff in a responsible way? At this site, My Green Electronics, you plug in your zipcode and you will be directed to recycling sites for your items.

4. Corporate Recycling
Here is a great listing of the various companies and their recycling programs.

5. Earth Share
Now you can recycle your mobile phones, pagers or PDAs through Earth Share's partnership with the CollectiveGood Mobile Phone Recyling Program! It's easy to use, and you will be helping to support a healthier environment. Depending upon the phone model, a fixed amount per phone will be donated to Earth Share.

So next time you are done with your old electronic gadget, check out one of the options on this recycling list. I'm sure there are alot more wonderful programs out there, if you are familiar with one, post your suggestions.

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