Hidden Food Additives to Always Avoid
Posted by December 25, 2016 at 2:00 PM under Home Living Tips


When it comes to avoiding food additives, the list could be a very long one. The bottom line is that foods packed with artificial ingredients, sugar, food dyes, food coloring, high levels of sodium and trans fats should be avoided as much as possible. In this article, we will examine some of the food additives you will want to try to avoid. We’re about to start the new year, and there is nothing like making a healthy resolution!


One key fact to discuss before venturing into the different food additives to avoid is which foods are the most likely to contain additives that you shouldn’t consume. Processed foods and fast foods are usually packed with an array of additives. In fact, if you want to dramatically reduce your chances of being exposed to the additives on our list, simply reduce or even eliminate fast foods and processed foods from your diet.


#1 Sugar-Hiding by Many Different Names

sugarYou’ve probably heard that sugar is bad for you. Most people, however, don’t realize just how damaging sugar is to the human body. Sugar causes DNA damage which can weaken the body’s immune system and actually promote disease. You likely already know that sugar is bad for you. The various food companies that make billions off sugar also know that most of us now know that sugar should be avoided.


What many don’t yet realize is that sugar is being put into all kinds of foods, including foods such as bread and pasta sauce, under a wide array of different names. At first the sugar industry was focusing on sugar camouflaging names, like corn solids and high-fructose corn syrup, but recently the diversity of sugar names has increased.


Now, there are dozens of different names for what is essentially sugar. That means that even if you’re actively seeking to avoid sugar, you can still fall into the sugar trap!  What should the typical consumer do? The simple answer is to reduce, as much as possible, your consumption of processed foods and fast foods. Remember, the purchasing decisions that you make do matter. By refusing to buy unhealthy foods, you are sending a clear and powerful message to food companies; that message is that you want real food without added sugar.


#2 What’s in Your Meat and Dairy?


Quite often discussion of harmful food additives skip right over issues such as what might be hiding in your meat, dairy, fish, poultry, fish and eggs, which is unfortunate. The topic of bioaccumulation is one that doesn’t receive the attention that it deserves. The simple fact is that the higher up the food chain an animal is the greater the chance of bioaccumulation issues.


tuna-1648597_960_720One well-known and well-documented example of bioaccumulation problems is fish. Over the last few decades, it has become a well-known fact that many larger fish can have bioaccumulation issues, for example, mercury in tuna. Sadly, however, the issue of bioaccumulation isn’t just a concern in fish, but instead is a factor for the entire food chain. Meat and poultry brings with it concerns about hormones and the kind of feed the animal received.


cow-419081_960_720Added hormones can be very problematic and can have long term health consequences for both animals and humans. Cattle are frequently given foods and drugs designed to make them larger and heavy so as to increase profits. Avoiding these hormones, chemicals and drugs is a must for anyone who consumes meat or poultry.


Opting for organic and free range beef and chicken products is one way to reduce one’s risk. Another option is to opt for goat milk, yogurt and dairy as goats are generally not raised in massive farm conditions like dairy cattle and typically receive far less antibiotics and hormones.


#3 Artificial Sweeteners Should be Avoided


tape-403591_960_720Artificial sweeteners are in many problems. In particular, pay special attention to so-called “diet products.” Diet products are usually low in nutrition but high in chemicals and artificial ingredients. As a result, the body cries out for nutrition and those eating diet products usually find that they ultimately eat more and not less.


Artificial sweeteners have been linked to many health issues and additional studies are most definitely needed. Many scientists and researchers worry about the safety of artificial sweeteners and want to see additional studies. The safest move is to avoid artificial sweeteners.


agaveThere are some natural alternatives that can be used in moderation. Coconut sugar is all natural and far lower on the glycemic index than sugar; it is in stark contrast to a supposedly healthy sweetener alternative agave. Agave is natural since it comes from a cactus. But it is also highly processed and high on the glycemic index, as a result if can’t exactly be considered healthy. Coconut sugar is a safer alternative.


Another safer alternative, again in moderation, to sugar is xylitol. Derived to tree bark, xylitol is both widely used and studied. It is very low on the glycemic index and is often used by diabetics for this reason. In addition, numerous studies have shown that xylitol is actually good for overall mouth health as xylitol reduces the levels of cavity causing bacteria in the mouth. Once again, the key to using safer sugar substitutes such as coconut sugar and xylitol is to use these sugar substitutes in moderation.


Avoiding harmful foods can be difficult. For social reasons, for example a dinner with friends at a restaurant,  you may find it necessary to eat foods that you might otherwise not eat. Of course, this is fine on occasion. What you do on a day-to-day basis will be what ultimately determines your health and well-being.


Finally, when it comes to selecting foods, read labels carefully at the grocery store. If the label is full of unfamiliar ingredients, simply place it back on the shelf.


3 Ways to Say “No” to Sugar
Posted by November 21, 2016 at 3:12 PM under Home Living Tips


Sugar is not your friend. You may have warm and fuzzy memories with products that contain sugar and sugar itself. That is okay, as we all have such memories. Yet, the simple fact is that medical science has proven rather conclusively that sugar is harmful, very harmful, to one’s health.


One of the single largest problems concerning sugar is that this harmful substance is literally sprinkled, often quite liberally, through the entire food supply. As a result of the ubiquitous nature of sugar, it can be very different to avoid sugar in its wide array of forms. Let’s take a look at how to play defense against this sneaky ingredient.


Tip #1-Beware the Name Game


sugarPart of what makes avoiding sugar so difficult is that even if you are reading labels, constantly sugar is often hidden under many different names. Much like the devil, sugar goes by many different names. Other names for sugar include high-fructose corn syrup, corn solids, corn syrup solids, beet sugar, cane sugar, fructose, glucose, fruit juice concentrate, malt syrup, rice syrup, raw sugar, sucrose, molasses, sorbitol, malt syrup, the ever-popular maltodextrin. Sadly, the list goes on and on.


There are dozens of names under which sugar is frequently hidden. All of this points us to the fact that reading labels isn’t enough when it comes to avoiding harmful ingredients. Reading labels is a great first step in avoiding sugar, but it is not enough.


Avoiding sugar demands a comprehensive approach. But don’t worry it is not quite as difficult as it sounds!


Tip #2-Eat More Whole Foods


healthy-food-1348464_960_720As of yet, food scientists haven’t figured out how to inject sugar or other toxic substances into spinach, for example. This simple fact is your greatest single tool and weapon in avoiding processed sugar, no matter what name it might be hiding under.


Eating more whole foods also means boosting your overall health, as whole foods are packed with nutrition in the form of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and disease fighting compounds. When you select whole foods, ranging from fruits and vegetables to nuts, seeds and other minimally processed foods, you are doing your body a huge favor.


A byproduct of opting for whole foods means that you are reducing your processed food consumption. Processed foods in the form of fast food and packaged food are often loaded down with hidden levels of sugar as well as disease promoting additives such as pesticides, food dyes and colors and more.


Eating whole foods will help you stay healthy, lose weight and, of course ,avoid sugar, regardless of what deceptive name it may have.


Tip #3-Use Caution When Dining Out


restaurantAvoiding sugar while dining out presents a very difficult challenge. The bottom line is that if you are dining out frequently, avoiding sugar can be quite tough. Restaurants, both chains and independent, often sneak a lot of sugar into food. It may even be hiding in dishes that you wouldn’t suspect such as pizza crust, pasta and even salads.


Your best option when dining out is to ask which products have the most sugar or if the sugar can be kept out of your meal; this is easier with independent restaurants than it is with chain restaurants. Chain restaurants prepare their food, usually thousands of miles away and have little control over ingredients. This means removing the sugar is impossible.


However, it is often possible to avoid sugar in sauces. It is likely prudent to simply assume to that sauces do, in fact, have sugar in them and proceed accordingly.


It is vital to remember that not all restaurants are the same. For example, restaurants that cater to a healthier clientele such as organic, vegetarian and vegan restaurants are more accustomed to having their consumers ask questions. These restaurants are also more comfortable with helping their clients with their special request. Perhaps best of all is the fact that health oriented restaurants are likely to use less sugar and other toxic ingredients than in chain restaurants.


Bonus Tip-Consider Using Coconut Sugar and Xylitol


In the quest to avoid sugar, there is another factor that many people miss. It will take time for your taste to acclimate to removing or reducing sugar from your diet. Sugar has an addictive aspect and going “cold turkey” can be extremely difficult. This is why natural sugar substances are very important.


Natural options such as coconut sugar and xylitol, both of which are much lower on the glycemic index than sugar, is a smart move. Both xylitol and coconut sugar and natural. Many medical studies indicate that xylitol actually helps boost overall oral health. Of course, these benefits stand in stark contrast to artificial sweeteners which have been linked in studies to potential diseases. (Artificial sweeteners may in fact be worst for human health than sugar, so switching from sugar to artificial sweeteners is likely not the best move.)


The Key is Developing New Healthy Habits


Ultimately, avoiding sugar is about being proactive and developing new habits. Sugar is hiding everywhere but you can avoid it. Many of the foods that contain sugar are easy to spot, for example, any processed food is likely to contain a considerable level of sugar. While changing your diet may take time, the time you spend is an investment in you and your health.

5 Ways to Improve the Lives of Animals
Posted by October 21, 2016 at 2:36 PM under Environment


Most of us love animals. In some way or another pets, for example, have touched our lives. Whether it is fond childhood memories, a current pet that we love or both, humanity’s pets have enriched and added a great deal to our lives.


A very strong argument can be made that without mankind’s relationship with dogs, the road to society would have been a much more difficult one. One of the key components to the formation of society was humanity’s partnership with dogs. In prehistoric times, dogs served as an extension of mankind. Thanks to dogs, mankind was able to have a biological early warning system that alerted our ancestors to approaching hostile animals both of the two-legged and four-legged variety.


The simple fact, one that is routinely overlooked in a rather dramatic fashion, is that we owe the animals that we share the planet with, especially our fellow mammals. In addition to dogs, many other mammals helped mankind build our society. Sheep provided not just milk and cheese, but also wool to help us keep warm. Even birds have gotten into the act, for example, homing pigeons which proved remarkably reliable throughout history. In short, animals have played a key role in shaping our history, our society and our culture.


Let’s take a glimpse at five of the top ways that we humans can give back to our animal friends:


Tip #1-Pet Adoption


It would be impossible not to include pet adoption when creating a list of ways that people can help animals. There are plenty of animals out there that need homes. A trip to virtually any pet adoption shelter quickly makes this fact clear.


The world is awash in homeless dogs and cats. Keep in mind that through the last several thousand years that humanity has essentially genetically engineered an animal that wants to hang out with us and be our friend. The animal in question is, of course, the dog. Our pet shelters have plenty of options. Likewise, there are plenty of cats at pet adoption centers.


Medical science has proven that owning a cat can help lower stress levels. Having a pet has been proven to combat loneliness and may even impact longevity and boost one’s immune system. So when you are helping a pet in need, you and your family will likely benefit as well!


Tip #2-Eat Less Meat


No doubt the recommendation to eat less meat will not bring a smile to the faces of several industries, but the bottom line is that meat consumption will invariably drop in the long run. Climate change will simply not allow for meat consumption to increase, at least not for long. In the end, meat consumption will decrease.


Currently, the race is on to find a meat substitute, and millions of dollars are being invested towards the creation of a meat substitute that consumers love. At this moment, there are several meat substitutes that are tasty and work to demonstrate the potential of meat substitutes.


Meat production comes with a massive carbon footprint. Once again, just as with pet adoption, we see that consuming less meat equates with helping the planet and, in the process, helping mankind.


Tip #3-Buy Quality Pet Food


If you are a pet lover or will soon be adopting an animal friend, then take some time to consider your pet food options. Not all pet food is created equally.


Unfortunately, a large percentage of pet food is made from very low quality ingredients –these are ingredients that include additives that can harm your pet’s overall health and well-being. In our quest to help animals, it is important to think about your pet’s diet and opt for healthy foods that can prolong your pets’ lifespan and quality of life even if it costs a bit more.


Tip #4-Cleaning Supplies and Your Pet

Grass footprint

Your pet spends a good deal of time on the ground and may be more susceptible to the toxic compounds frequently found in cleaning products. Green cleaning products, based on natural substances, are safer for you, your family, your children and, of course, your pets.


As a huge added benefit, switching to green cleaning products helps to keep harmful pollutants out of our water, which helps protect both the health of humans and our animal friends.


Tip #5-Support Worthwhile Pet Oriented Charities


There are of course no shortage of deserving and worthwhile charities. One of the best ways to help animals is to look for charities whose purpose is to find ways to help animals. Donating to a local pet shelter is a good idea in that you’ll have a better idea as to how your funds are being used. And you can go visit in person and give a hug to a furry friend.

Also it’s essential to carefully select products not tested on animals. Animal testing causes millions of animals including rabbits, cats, dogs rodents, and even primates to be locked away inside cages. They experience painful and cruel tests that go into the creation of cosmetics, drugs and food for people. But many of these tests and experiments are simply unnecessary and, in other situations, animal testing could take place in a much more humane manner.


Why Do We Owe Animals So Much?


When it comes to helping pets, perhaps the greatest step that any of us can take is to respect animals. Throughout history, animals have made unimaginable sacrifices in the process of helping humanity create civilization. Horses helped humanity spread across the world, oxen and other beast of burden helped us plow our fields and dogs guarded both our livestock and our very lives.


Like so much in life, we take our animals for granted. But the inescapable truth is that life for humanity would have been much, much more difficult without the animals with which we share the world. Simply stated, we owe them. Our technology has now advanced to the point that we can in fact begin to replace this millennial old debt.

7 Reasons Why You Should Reconsider Dryer Sheets
Posted by September 20, 2016 at 3:31 PM under Clotheslines and Laundry

Dryer Sheets are big business. The real question is, however, do you really need them?

It isn’t a silly question to ask, “what exactly are drying sheets doing or accomplishing?” Using dryer sheets has become a rapid for some and even viewed as a traditional part of the cleaning process for others. Yet, the fact remains that dryer sheets actually do nothing in terms of cleaning clothes. The marketed benefit of dryer sheets mostly seems to boil down to the fact that they can make clothing “smell better” and reduce wrinkling, but this is definitely open to argument.

1. Do Your Clothes Really Smell Better? Some Say No.

In terms of making clothing smell better that is of course a matter of opinion and preference. For those with chemical sensitivities, the chemical fragrances used in dryer sheets are definitely not a welcomed scent.

In fact you might be surprised how many people would prefer the scent of laundry hung on a clothesline dried in the sun, over the smell of clothes dried with dryer sheets.

2. Dryer Vents and Chemicals

laundromat-708176_960_720Recently, a University of Washington study concluded that scented products were actually emitting a range of dangerous chemicals from dryer vents. It would seem that scented dryer sheets and other laundry products are actually bad for the environment. The news gets worse, as some of the chemicals emitted were actually known carcinogens.

Researchers have discovered that dryer sheets do in fact contain toxic and hazardous chemicals. Anne Steinemann, a civil and environmental engineer at the University of Washington noted that the exhaust coming out of a laundry machine is in no way regulated and that is very bad for the environment.

The bottom line is that the toxic emissions created by dryer sheets and other laundry products are in no way regulated. Most consumers do not even realize that the issue is a serious problem.

3. Dryer Sheets Raise Your Carbon Footprint

chemicalsDryer sheets take energy to produce and that increases one’s carbon footprint. A range of chemicals are used to produce dryer sheets and once again the production of these chemicals serves to increase one’s carbon footprint.

Even if there was no associated health risks or air quality risks, dryer sheets would still be an unnecessary use of energy and manufacturing resources. Many could go as far as to state that dryer sheets are a gimmick that don’t serve any true purpose. But again, this is open for debate.

4. Air Pollution Concerns


The research is mounting that dryer sheets are bad for humans and bad for the environment. Simply stated, dryer sheets contribute to air pollution and yet are unregulated and largely overlooked by consumers. For decades, consumers have used dryer sheets almost on “auto pilot” without thinking about the environmental or health consequences. A key reason for this is that dryer sheets, like many products, have made their way into the “cleanliness sphere.”

Most of us feel that if a product is a cleaning product that it must be safe because being clean is, after all, good. However, many laundry and cleaning products are in fact loaded with harmful chemicals. Quite often the chemicals contained in these products are not even listed on the ingredients; this of course makes the entire process a rather confusing one. What should you as a consumer do?

5. Dryer Sheets are Not Necessary for Cleaning


Dryer sheets are not a life essential. Worst scientists and researchers have shown that dryer sheets are harmful for people and the environment alike. Dryer sheets are a subtle route to increasing one’s carbon footprint. Your best move is to simply stop using dryer sheets.

Chemicals emitted from dryer sheets and other laundry products may in fact be dangerous. The chemicals contained on these products can be absorbed into your skin and could be very problematic when breathed.

6. Send a Consumer Message

Most of us don’t think too much about our laundry exhaust, but we should. Our laundry exhaust is not like our car exhaust. Laundry exhaust is not regulated in any way, shape or form and until recently this exhaust has received precious little research or attention.

Not buying dryer sheets or chemical based laundry or cleaning products is a way for you as a consumer to send a very powerful message about the kind of products you want. When you skip the laundry sheets, you are doing the planet a big favor, while at the same time protecting your health and the health of your family.

7. Dryer Sheets are an Unnecessary Expenditure 


Finally, there is the economic side of dryer sheets. It can be argued that dryer sheets have, at best minimal value. Many people feel that there is no real reason to use dryer sheets and that they are a waste of money. Added up over the number of loads of laundry that you do in your lifetime, the final cost of using dryer sheets can be significant.

Spending $10 or $20 a year on dryer sheets may not seem like much. But added up over the years, they amount to hundreds of dollars. That means you’re spending hundreds of dollars on a product that may actually be damaging your health and the planet.

It is important to keep in mind that there are safer alternatives for those looking for static guard protection such as all-natural wool dryer balls.

In the end, the so-called “little” decisions do in fact matter. Dryer sheets contribute to landfill waste, pollute the water, pollute the air and may expose you and your family to carciogenic compounds.

So go ahead and say goodbye to the dryer sheets. You’ll be glad you did.



5 Ways to Keep Your Pets Eco-Friendly
Posted by August 19, 2016 at 3:10 PM under Environment Home Living Tips


Helping to protect the environment isn’t something just for humans. Our furry friends are, in fact, a multibillion dollar industry. We, the humans, spend billions annually on purchasing for our pets. This translates into many different types of products and many of those products produce chemical waste, pollution and have high carbon footprints.


Everything that applies to human eco-friendly efforts also applies to keeping our pets. Yes, your pet has a carbon footprint but it is up to you to lower it on your furry friend’s behalf! In this article, we will explore 5 of the best ways to help your pet be an eco-friendly one. Your pet might not be able to thank you but the planet, and everything living on it, certainly will!


Pet Tip #1-Buy Local


The foundation of having an eco-friendly pet is the same as it would be for a human. Buying locally sourced and made products whenever possible means that you are lowering your pet’s carbon footprint.

The reason that so many people are becoming obsessed with buying locally sourced and made products has much to do with transportation costs. Transporting goods from across the country or even around the world to a point on the map, assembling them and then shipping the newly created product out across the world is a real energy hog. However, buying locally made and source products bypasses this highly problematic process and in the process dramatically lowers one’s carbon footprint. If you want to lower your pet’s carbon footprint, then buying local is essential.


Pet Tip #2-Eco-Friendly Pet Products


Another essential in helping your pet make the jump to being eco-friendly comes in the form of buying eco-friendly products. There are plenty of pet products made from recycled and earth friendly materials. Even something as simple as a locally made wool pet toy or pet bed can have a major impact on helping the planet.

Wool toys, pet beds and other products are becoming more and more common and for good reason. Wool is tough, durable and is renewable and planet-friendly. Additionally, there are plenty of toys, animal feeding bowls and other products made from eco-friendly materials such as wood, natural rubber and recycled plastic. These eco-friendly products are an easy way to help your pet do its best to help the planet!


Pet Tip #3-Eco-Friendly Pet Food


Packaged pet food is made in much the same way as packaged human food. Even if your pet food is organic and full of quality ingredients, it was likely sourced from food ingredients from around the country or around the globe. One of the best options for eco-friendly pet food is to simply make your own pet food. There are plenty of recipes for homemade pet food to be found online.


A major additional benefit of opting for creating your own pet food is that you know exactly what your pet is eating. In recent years there have been numerous examples of pet foods making pets sick. Making your own pet food will allow you to include locally sourced ingredients, which lowers your carbon footprint, while at the same time boosting your pet’s overall nutrition. It is, however, very important that you find pet food recipes and options that provide your pet with the right levels of nutrition and supplement that food with healthy pet food options. Cats, for example, need taurine to remain healthy.


Pet Tip #4-Biodegradable Pet Waste Bags and Training Pads

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 1.09.29 PM

Dog training pads are much like diapers in that they produce a great deal of waste; however, there is another option in the form of all natural biodegradable puppy training pads. Dog training pads are an easy item to overlook when it comes to environmental impact, but replacing the typical, plastic based training pad with a more planet friendly options is a definite win!


Eliminating plastic is always a good idea when one is looking to be more environmentally friendly. One of the single best ways to reduce plastic use for dog owners is to opt for biodegradable pet waste bags. The average dog owner will use thousands of pet waste bags over the lifetime of his or her pet. Opting for a biodegradable pet waste bag will dramatically reduce the environmental impact of your dog’s outdoor time.
Pet Tip #5-Eliminate the Cat Litter!


black cat on the toilet

Cat litter is something of an environmental disaster. There are many reasons that cat litters is something of a menace. Eliminating cat litter can be a very tricky proposition but due to the negative environmental impacts of litter on the environment, it is definitely worth the effort.


Cat litter, regardless of what it is made of, takes energy to extract and that means boosting one’s carbon footprint. That stated, some cat litter is better than others, for example, cat litter made from renewable resources such as corn is superior to other options, but what if you could eliminate the cat litter altogether? With some work it is indeed possible.


There are cat toilet training devices which can help your cat learn to use the toilet just like a human. In this way there is zero litter and zero waste, which lowers your household’s carbon footprint and keeps a ton, quite literally, out of landfills.


Together these five eco-friendly pet tips can dramatically alter your pet’s environmental impact. Opting for a eco-friendly pet approach reduce your pet’s carbon footprint and resource usage, while boosting your pet’s health at the same time.



The Top 5 Reasons to Join a CSA
Posted by July 19, 2016 at 1:51 PM under Environment Home Living Tips

You might not be familiar with the term “CSA,” but if you want excellent produce, then you’ll want to know about these initials. CSA stands for “community supported agriculture.” Unlike the typical method of food delivery, CSAs give people direct access to the regional farms that grow their food.

There are many substantial benefits to the CSA approach. Typically, CSAs let members opt for weekly or bi-weekly options. Simply purchase a share and for several months out of the year, you’ll receive the freshest produce available. The only way to receive fresher produce is to, of course, grow your own. Let’s explore the world of CSA and take a look at the 5 top reasons that you’ll want to consider joining a CSA.


Reason #1 to Join a CSA-Quality


The food quality for CSAs is usually much better than what people expect. The reason that CSAs provide people with excellent food is that you get food directly sent to you; this bypasses the normal distribution chain process. Avoiding the typical process is no small matter when it comes to food quality. If you want great tasting produce, then nothing beats farm fresh. That is exactly what CSAs consistently deliver. You’ll be impressed at the difference when it comes to flavor.


Reason #2 to Join a CSA-Nutrition


Produce quality and nutrition truly go hand-in-hand. Fresher produce contains more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than food that has been sitting around, sometimes for weeks, waiting to be bought. The simple fact is that the nutrition levels of fresh fruits and vegetables is completely superior to vegetables that have been farmed and then shipped, often across country or from around the world, only to sit for days or weeks until consumed. Produce from a CSA is usually vastly fresher than produce at your typical grocery store or even co-op. Those looking for the best tasting and most nutritionals food possible will want to join a CSA.



Reason #3 to Join a CSA-Lower Your Carbon Footprint


As the name indicates, CSAs are community based; this means that your food isn’t traveling from hundreds of miles away. Instead, you can be certain that your food is produced locally and then consumed locally. By opting to consume as much local food as possible, you are taking a big step in lowering your carbon footprint. The food that you find in most grocery stores has been transported hundreds or even thousands of miles. However, with a CSAs, this is not a concern. Join a CSA and you’re sure to lower your carbon footprint.


Reason #4 to Join a CSA-Produce Makes People Happy

Having more fruits and vegetables on hand, especially those with superior taste, will encourage you to eat more produce and that has a wide array of positive benefits. A recent study reached a very unexpected conclusion. The study sought out participants who consumed very low levels of fruits and vegetables. These “low vegetable and fruit” participants were instructed to consume 8 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. The results were, in short, amazing.


The participants reported a dramatic spike in overall happiness levels. In fact, the increase in happiness levels was roughly on par with the increase in happiness levels experienced by unemployed people when they landed a new job. Again, this dramatic spike in overall reported happiness levels resulted from the simple act of consuming more fruits and vegetables.


Fruits and vegetables make people feel better. Medical science has told us for decades that fruits and vegetables can boost our health, but now we know that fruits and vegetables can boost our mood in a dramatic fashion. Joining a CSA will increase the number of fruits and vegetables you consume and that will boost your mood.


Reason Number Five to Join a CSA-Better Health


CSA food is some of the healthiest food that you can find. If you’ve been looking for a way to improve your diet, then a CSA is a great place to begin the process. The vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and disease and cancer fighting properties of fresh produce are greater in fresher produce. Very fresh produce doesn’t just taste better, but it is also better for you in a range of ways. Modern medicine knows that fresh fruits and vegetables improves overall health as produce boosts immunity and contains compounds that fight diseases including cancer.


One of the single greatest steps you can take to safeguard your own health is to opt for a CSA. CSAs bring great produce directly to you. The produce is far fresher, far tastier and far better for you.

One of the most striking aspects of joining a CSA is the surprising taste that comes along with it. Farm direct food is often completely different than food that has been shipped thousands of miles.


It is no accident that many chefs at top restaurants carefully choose their own food from nearby farms. Chefs understand that great taste, of course, begins with the food itself. Fresh ingredients can be an inspiration.


The food is the foundation of a great meal. If you are a foodie, then you owe it to yourself to join a CSA. By joining a CSA, you are supporting small farms while boosting your own health and enjoying truly amazing food and lowering your carbon footprint. It is a win-win all the way around!

3 Ways to Make Your Business Eco-Friendly
Posted by June 22, 2016 at 3:56 PM under Alternative Energy Environment


There are good reasons to consider making your business more eco-friendly. It’s one thing to consider the fact that your customers live on the planet, but you live on the planet as well. Close to 100% of all scientists around the globe agree that modern human industrial society has had a serious impact on the planet and the climate.

When You Care, You Win

In the coming years and decades, global temperatures will continue to increase, and this increase in temperature has a range of implications. On the list of climate change concerns are disrupted and decreased crop yields, water shortages resulting in the potential for so-called “water waters,” climate change refugees, economic disruptions, famine, an increased risk in the spread of disease globally and the list goes on.

From the direct perspective of your business, demonstrating to your customers that you are aware of climate change and its consequences as exemplified by taking pro-active eco-friendly steps in your business. This approach can help you win new clients and retain old ones.

Summed up another way, any step you can take to make your business more eco-friendly will be rewarded both for you personally, your descendants as well as your business. Creating an eco-friendly environment at your company just makes sense.

The bottom line is that every bit helps. While climate change and its consequences may be a massive global problem there is a great deal you can do personally to help reduce the impact of climate change.

Tip One-Buy Local and Be Thoughtful About Your Choices


Every business has needs and things that it uses. Whether those items are large, small or on the spectrum somewhere in between, they require energy. Manufactured goods take a great deal of energy to produce. Not only is it necessary to factor in the raw materials that go into a good but it is also necessary to consider the associated transportation costs involved getting a manufactured good from one location to another.

Concern about the carbon produced in manufacturing a good and shipping it around the country or around the world is part of what drives the “buy local” movement. For example, let’s say you need a new desk for your office. Buying a locally made desk constructed from locally sourced wood will have a far lower carbon footprint than a desk manufactured thousands of miles away. Additionally, wood is a renewable resource and one that very likely too less energy to harvest than for example metal that goes into a metal desk. There are literally dozens of choices like this one that even a small business can make and obviously the larger the business the greater the potential impact.

Steps you can take include the following:

  • Buying less paper
  • Unplugging computers and equipment when not in use
  • Composting more
  • Sustainable materials for your building and furniture
  • Donate to charities doing great things for the community and the planet

The SBA (U.S Small Business Association) offers a list of great suggestions for going green with your business.

Tip Two-Avoid Products Made with Harmful Chemicals and Opt for Alternatives When Available


Thinking about the material from which a good is manufactured is something that should never be overlooked. Many manufactured goods are manufactured using harmful chemicals. Even if chemicals had zero negative impact on the environment, which is not the case, it still takes a great deal of energy to manufacture chemicals.

When buying new products, it is important to look for products that have been manufactured in an eco-friendly fashion. Simply looking for eco-friendly products that incorporate recycled or repurposed materials can help you lower your business’s carbon footprint.

Another step for businesses to take in their quest to be eco-friendly is to ask a very simple question: do we really need this item? Do we really need to replace this item? Quite often upgrades are made not out of direct necessity, but instead out of a drive to modernize. Of course, some modernization is necessary from time to time. But like anything else, the drive for modernization can overcome basic commonsense. When you are done with your supplies, consider Freecycling, which refers to how businesses can give away unwanted items.

For this reason, it is prudent to periodically step back and evaluate the need for a particular good or a particular upgrade. Upgrading and buying new goods and equipment may be an unnecessary expense and one that can harm the environment. Again, it takes energy to produce any manufactured good.

Tip Three-Re-evaluate All Travel

plane-50893_960_720One of the most common sources of carbon comes in the form of travel. It is difficult to overemphasis the importance of rethinking your business’s approach to travel enough. Much of the good work your business does in a week with recycling, repurposing old equipment or goods, delaying the purchasing or equipment, buying eco-friendly products and more can be undone or partially undone with one unnecessary plane trip.

Plane trips, especially long ones, generate a great deal of carbon. How your business deals with the issue of travel can make a tremendous difference in your business’s overall carbon footprint. Other eco-friendly travel steps you can take include encouraging employee carpooling, finding ways for employees to work virtually, reducing and consolidating trips and more. Once you begin to think about how your business utilizes travel you will find many eco-friendly tips to employ.

There are many ways your business can help the environment. None of the eco-friendly business tips outlined in this article have to be disruptive to your business or your bottom line. Additionally, outlining for your customers the steps you are taking to be eco-aware will help you build brand loyalty. The environmental problems the planet faces were created by people and in order to solve those problems people will have to take action. Talking about climate change and its impact on humanity is not enough; it requires each and every one of us to modify our behaviors.

7 Ways to Take an Environmentally Friendly Vacation
Posted by May 21, 2016 at 4:51 PM under Environment


At first glance, you might think that taking an environmentally friendly vacation sounds like a lot of work. But in reality, it is surprisingly easy. Like most good vacations, an environmentally friendly vacation takes a little planning. The sooner you begin making arrangements, the greater your overall benefits and rewards will be.

Environmentally friendly vacations have a range of important benefits. Any traveler looking to lower her or his carbon footprint and save money at the same time will love what they have to offer! In this article we will take a look at six easy to implement tips that will help you plan a wonderful vacation that will make memories you’ll enjoy for years to come. So let’s explore some of the environmentally friendly steps you can take so that your next vacation is both fun and enjoys a lower carbon footprint.

Tip #1 Think About Geography


Nothing increases your carbon footprint quite like traveling. The longer the car ride or air flight, the larger your carbon footprint will ultimately be. But a couple of easy decisions can help point you in the right direction.

At the heart of lowering your carbon footprint is selecting your destination. The closer you stay to home, the more environmentally friendly your travel adventure will be! That means of course that longer flights, such as international flights and cross country flights, have a greater impact than shorter flights or trips. The best place to begin planning your environmentally friendly vacation is to start with a map. Looking for travel adventures close to home will not only lower your carbon footprint but will also help you save money. And look beyond the plane! Taking a train or even driving can reduce the amount of resources that are used.

Tip #2: Take the 1-1-1 Approach


Did that last tip let you down because you’re dreaming of an overseas adventure? Well, you don’t have to give up that dream. If you take a vacation every year why not take a 1-1-1 approach? One year take a vacation close to home, the next year take a vacation a little farther away and then once every three years take that big vacation far from home that you’ve been looking forward to for years.

This approach can be used to dramatically cut your overall carbon footprint and, as an added bonus, you’ll be able to learn more about your own geographic backyard. Now for those of us living in more isolated areas with limited attractions, following this tip may seem a little tricky. But there are workarounds. The key point is to think about your travel and then take steps to lower your overall miles traveled; this simple step will lower the amount of fuel and resources that you use when you travel.

Tip #3: Use Eco-Friendly Vehicles Once You Arrive


When it comes to eco-friendly travel, or any kind of travel, it is important to opt for low energy consumption modes of transport whenever possible. Travel locations that allow for a good deal of walking or biking can be great in this regard.

That is why a trip to a highly walkable city such as New York City can make for an unexpected eco-friendly vacation. Also, your selection of hotel or other accommodations can also play a big role in lowering your carbon footprint. The right hotel choice can translate to less time spent in cabs. Selecting a hotel that is closely situated to a large percentage of what you want to see will help you keep your traveling to a minimum.

Tip #4-Leave Something Good Behind


When you travel to a new part of the country or the world, find out ways that you can help improve the environment of the location you are visiting.

There are many ways to achieve this goal ranging from planting a tree to volunteering for a day or even a few hours with an environmental group such as a water conservation group. Where environmental travel is concerned, the possibilities are almost endless!

Tip #5:  Create as Little Impact on Nature as Possible


If your travels take you into the great outdoors, do what you can to help make the location you visit beautiful. The simple decision to not litter is in fact one of the greenest decisions you can make. Recycling doesn’t stop when you travel. Just as you recycle at home you should also remain committed to recycling while traveling.

When you encounter plants and animals, make sure that you tread lightly. Don’t take plants and avoid feeding critters. Be sure that you stay on all marked trails when hiking.  Knowing that you left a place as nice as you found it will leave you a sense of satisfaction.

Tip #6: Find the Right Hotel


Not all hotels are created equally. With this fact in mind look for hotels that have an eco-friendly approach to how they serve their visitors. A dedication to low water consumption as reflected in low-flow toilets and recycling are two factors to look for when selecting an eco-friendly hotel. When you’re on the road, take showers rather than baths to reduce water consumption.

And remember one of the best eco-friendly choices you can make when selecting a hotel is to look one that reduces your travel time as this will reduce your carbon footprint. Find an eco-conscious hotel that is in the middle of your travel zone and you have yourself a true winner!

Tip #7: Think about What You Buy

Sure, it’s nice to bring home some mementos from your trip. But steer clear of anything that could negatively impact the region you visit. For example, products made from animal hides or parts of endangered animals&7 are a serious no-no.

Make the Most Out of Your Next Vacation

Together these 7 simple tips can help you dramatically reduce your carbon footprint. An eco-friendly and planet friendly vacation doesn’t have to be difficult to plan. Making some simple adjustments can make a big difference. Plus, an eco-friendly vacation can actually help you save a good deal of money in the process!

5 Inexpensive Ways to Green Your Home
Posted by April 09, 2016 at 10:06 PM under Environment Home Living Tips


There are many diverse ways to make your home greener. Many of the ways to make your home greener and eco-friendly are also inexpensive. Rather surprisingly many of the best ways to green your home are also completely free or can even help you save money!

Greening your home doesn’t have to be a difficult, time consuming, confusing or laborious process. Quite the contrary, the path to a greener and healthier home can be a pleasant, easy and even fun journey! If you’re already using our clotheslines, you already know well that this is the case.

We think that these five simple tips can make a tremendous difference in your life and the health of the planet. Let’s dive in and explore some of the best low-cost ways to make your home a greener and healthier one. Adopt these simple tips and you’ll be helping the planet while boosting your health and the health of your family.

Tip Number One-Be Highly Selective in What You Buy


One of the single best tips for greening your home is to be very selective about the products you buy. Cleaning products are a great example of where it pays to pause and consider what products you should and should not be buying. In short, refrain from buying any cleaning products that have chemicals or contain ingredients that are not naturally based.

The odds are great that you don’t need industrial strength cleaning products, so what should you do? Just don’t buy them at all.

Instead, you can make your own cleaning products for a fraction of the cost of buying cleaning products, for example, soap and water goes a long way in cleaning countertops, toilets, showers and more. The idea that you have to constantly clean using “tough” cleaning products is an idea created by marketing firms over the last half century!

Tip Number Two-Adjust Your Thermostat, Save Money and Help the Planet


Heating and cooling your home isn’t just expensive, but it is also tough on the planet. The less energy you use, the better off everyone will be. Using less energy means that you lower your carbon footprint while at the same time putting more cash in your pocket every month.

Start by turning down your thermostat a couple of degrees in the winter and leaving it a couple of degrees higher in the summer. After a few months your body will adjust to this small change and you’ll love the savings. Everyone literally benefits from this no-cost approach to greening your home! In fact, you’ll actually save money.


Tip Number Three-Remember that Weeds are Not the Enemy

dandelion-99394_960_720Without a doubt one of the most significant environmental disasters of the 20th and early 21st Centuries has been the rise in popularity of the lawn and the treatment of that lawn with toxic and dangerous chemicals. Weed killing products, such as Roundup, should be avoided in all circumstances. The scientific community has raised a significant alarm regarding the safety of such products.

You do have options. First, remember that weeds are not the end of the world; they are just weeds! Secondly, weeds can be treated with a vinegar spray bottle. While this approach takes more work, it is far safer for you, your family and the planet as a whole.

Weeds cannot give you or your family cancer or neurological disorders. Toxic weed killers, on the other hand, are likely a very different story. Additionally, these harmful chemicals make their way into our water supply.

Tip Number Four-Natural Insulation for Big Results

House wrapped in a scarf isolated on whiteSo far our previous three tips were all free or even helped you save money. Tip Number Four isn’t free, but it can be inexpensive and save you a great deal in the long run.

The day you insulate a previous uninsulated space you will begin to save money. Many home improvements can take years before homeowners see a return on their investment; however, insulation is unique in that insulation immediately begins paying for itself.

An uninsulated space means that you invariably use more energy. Insulating an uninsulated space, however, means that you save energy and do so while lowering your carbon footprint. It is a true win-win for you and the planet! When you opt for insulation it is a smart move to select insulation that is green. Some green insulation options include blue jean insulation and wool insulation. However, it is important to check and make certain that these insulations are not treated with dangerous chemicals as some wool and blue jean insulation is treated.

Tip Number Five-Simple Changes to Your Dinner Plate

fruits-82524_960_720One of the single greatest steps for greening your home is to eat less meat. Meat takes a tremendous amount of water and resources. Simply cutting back or eliminating your meat consumption will help lower your carbon footprint and take pressure off water and energy resources. If you are not a vegetarian or a vegan, consider reducing your meat consumption just one day a week. Medical studies indicate that this simple move will also help your health.

Five Small Changes Produce Combine for Amazing Results!

Together these five tips can be used to lower your carbon footprint, save you money, improve your home’s resell value, lower your water consumption and help the planet. The good news is that regardless of your budget, there are many easy to adopt changes that will help the planet. If you want to “go green,” there are plenty of wonderful options!

5 Fun Plastic Bottle Projects for Kids
Posted by March 23, 2016 at 6:10 PM under Environment Home Living Tips


No doubt the world has a plastic problem. One of the key parts of that plastic problem comes in the form of the ubiquitous plastic bottles. Plastic bottles are everywhere and come in an almost endless array of forms; however, there are many real and practical steps that you and your family can take to keep plastic bottles out of landfills and out of the ocean. Finding ways to showcase to children that items have value is time well spent. It’s also a perfect activity for Earth Day!


Kids love special projects that allow them to display their creative side. Finding fun plastic bottle projects is a great way for kids to have fun while recycling. If you want your children to have a positive association with recycling, then fun recycling projects such as the ones we will outline in this article is the perfect place to start. Children love special projects like these and many children will find it exciting to take something that is considered to be trash and transform it into some fun, useful and even beautiful!


Fun Plastic Bottle Project Number One-Decoration


Kids love seeing their artwork displayed across the house. For younger children, simply decorating a plastic bottle with glitter, stickers, pasted on drawings or other simple items can be both entertaining and satisfying. A simple bottle decoration project is great as it allows children of all ages to participate. Encourage your children to use everyday items that they can find around the house to make their decorated bottle as eye-catching and unique as possible.


Fun Plastic Bottle Project Number Two-Bracelets


With just a little patience it is possible to create your own plastic bottle bracelets. Once cut into rings, your children will love decorating their own bracelets. While this idea is simple, parents are often surprised by how much effort children will put into creating complex and interesting bracelets from scratch.


Fun Plastic Bottle Project Number Three-Colorful Artwork Masterpieces


All it takes to create a colorful and very fun plastic bottle artwork is an unfolded cardboard box, some different colored plastic bottles and plastic bottle tops. Plastic bottles and plastic bottle tops come in just about every color imaginable. Gluing cut plastic bottles and plastic bottle tops onto a cardboard surface is an essentially free way to create wonderful new art. This is one of the best plastic bottle projects for kids when it comes to expressing creativity.

Any shape or pattern imaginable can be created using this simple plastic bottle trick. If you really want to get the most out of this idea then save up as many different plastic bottles as possible. The more different circumferences and colored plastic bottles and caps you have, the better! Once your kids have practiced with smaller plastic bottle and plastic cap projects, feel free to branch out to larger and larger projects. You and your children are only limited by your imagination!


Fun Plastic Bottle Project Number Three-Transforming an Old Tent


Do you have an old tent? Plastic bottles can transform that tent into a magical play land for children in surprisingly little time. By taping cut circular sections of plastic bottles to your tent, your children can build an amazing play area. This is also a great activity for you and your family to enjoy on a camping trip.

Attach the cut plastic bottle sections either the inside, outside or even both the inside and outside of the tent and you’ll have a wild and crazy looking creation. When taken outside on a sunny day, this festive toy will create hypnotic patterns on the inside of the tent. This one is very easy, very fun and sports a high replay value!


Fun Plastic Bottle Project Number Four-The Plant Holder


If you are looking for ways to help your children get more time outdoors, then you’ll love the plastic bottle plant holder idea. All you need for this idea is to cut a plastic bottle in half, turn it upside down, put in dirt, seeds and a little water. Of course you’ll need some way of hanging your plant, which can be as easy as attaching a hook. For homes with outdoor plant hanging areas this idea is cheap and a great conversation starter for parents. Most children love the idea of growing plants, and with this trick your children will feel as though they’ve played an important role in the process.


Fun Plastic Bottle Project Number Five-Animals!


A plastic bottle and a little imagination can be all it takes to create a new toy. Eye stickers, yarn and other simple items you already have around the house are perfect for transforming a plastic bottle into almost any animal imaginable. You can create paper feathers for striking birds, use bottle caps for noses, pencils for legs, partially blown up balloons for ears and the list goes on and on.

One of the key reasons that this plastic bottle activity is so much fun for children is that it gives them endless ways to express their creativity and, in the process, create a new work of art.


Transforming Plastic Bottles Into Artistic Wonders is a Fantastic Way to Create Lasting Memories


No doubt there are plenty of other ways you can turn plastic bottles into hand made treasures. The best part of these simple plastic bottle projects is that you and your children are creating them together and in the process forming lasting and fun mementos. Once these creations have been completed, don’t forget to display them with pride somewhere in your home.