May 23rd, 2013
Posted by guest
The months leading up to bikini season leave us scrambling to lose those winter pounds. Simultaneously, Spring Cleaning has everyone running around like it’s the end of the world, cleaning up every nook and cranny in their home.
This year, resolve to clean your body and home.
- Get Rid of Clutter: Have you become one of the many Americans who should be featured on the morbidly popular TV show “Hoarders?” Before you know it, you have magazines stacked a mile high on your bedside table and three of everything in your kitchen. To get rid of all of this excess stuff that you’ve accumulated, consider using the “three box” method: have a box for each – keep, toss/donate, store. By utilizing this method you won’t be tempted to keep anything unnecessary. Consider a garage sale with all the items you want to toss and donate — whatever is left over can be donated to The Salvation Army or Goodwill. Uncle Bob’s Self Storage is a leader in storage units and offers competitive rates, move-in specials and a variety of unit sizes. For rates, sizes and a location near you, click here.
- Clean Blinds and Ceiling Fans: For that pesky ceiling fan dirt, use a large pillow case. Put the open end of an old pillowcase over the fan blade and slowly squeeze the fan blade in-between the fabric of the pillowcase, pulling it off of the fan. All the dirt will fall inside the pillowcase instead of on you and the floor. You can then turn the pillowcase inside out and shake the dust out over your garbage can, and wash the pillowcase as you normally would. To clean the blinds, use a damp sock. Consider using vinegar with the sock for wooden blinds. Vinegar is a natural, all-purpose cleaner.
- Eat The Green Stuff: The Center for Disease Control says fruits and vegetables should take up the largest portion on your plate. Avocados, kiwi, spinach, brussel sprouts and kale are all super foods that provide nutrition and help fight disease. Everydayhealth.com says avocados contain a lot of healthy fat and by eating this power food, you lower your cholesterol and protect your eyes. When eating salad, opt for romaine instead of iceberg lettuce: the greener the better.
- Supplemental Vitamins: To promote a healthy immune system, take Vitamins A, C, E, and D as well as biotin and fish oil. Be sure to take the recommended dosage, as exceeding this amount could do your body more harm than good. Biotin promotes a healthy metabolism, producing glucose by converting the carbohydrates, fats and proteins in your body into energy. Biotin is also helpful for hair, skin and nails. Fish Oil is a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids; important for preventing and managing heart disease. Vitamins A, C, E and D help protect your body from illness, diseases and cancers.
- Cleanse — Fruit Flush: According to nutritionist, Jay Robb, nutrients in fruit help dissolve toxic buildup in our bodies and the water and fiber content of fruit can flush it all out. “When you eat fruits, vegetables and lean protein for 36 hours you go into a fat burning mode, which preserves your muscle mass,” Robb says in his book Fruit Flush 3-Day Detox.
For a successful three day detox, here’s what Robb recommends:
- For the first day of the detox, drink protein shakes only.
- Days two and three should be followed by eating fresh fruit every two hours, plus a dinner of raw vegetables and a small amount of lean protein (like a portion of plain, grilled chicken) or a protein shake.
This cleanse provides about 900-1,000 calories each day, with about 100-125 grams of protein during day one and 50 grams of protein on days two and three, all depending on the type of protein powder you use. While on the cleanse, avoid dairy, caffeine (coffee and tea), soda, starches, cooked vegetables, juices and sweets.
The change of seasons gives you a great chance to make some positive changes in your life. Try a few of these tips and share your experiences in the comments below!
May 23rd, 2013
Posted by Lisa Carey
All of us like to think that great discoveries are still on the horizon. Graphene is a wonderful example that we are not hoping in vain. Imagine a type of carbon that can be made into sheets that are only one atom in thickness. Then understand that it is harder than a diamond, completely see through and capable of electrical conduction at this tiny size. This fantastic discovery and offshoots thereof are potentially capable of making huge inroads for our green living lifestyles. This wonderful carbon creation might one day power our homes, cell phones and even work as a type of generator.
Graphene itself is not new. It was first discovered in 2004. Andrew Geim and Professor Kostya Novoselov then won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010 for showing the incredible properties that Graphene has. The discovery rocked the world of physics and put the carbon material on the map with the scientific world. Now, it is being used in concert with other atom thick properties to find new and unique uses. Each time something is added to it, it seems to have a unique set of abilities and properties.
Solar power surfaces are the primary goal it seems for researchers and they are having wonderful success. Today’s great thinkers at the University of Manchester are using Graphene in new and exciting ways.What is particularly exciting is that Read the rest of this entry »
May 20th, 2013
Posted by allylevise
It’s been just over 2 weeks now of my vegan, plant-based diet experiment. A coworker asked me yesterday how the diet was going and I told him that it was a little bit boring.
Did I forget to mention that my “actually out in the world instead of sitting behind a computer” job is waiting tables at a steakhouse?
That means that my options for at-work lunching and snacking are extremely limited. My choices are either a house salad with no croutons and oil and vinegar for dressing… or fried potatoes. I really try to stick to the salad, but sometimes the potatoes win.
image provided by flickr creative commons user smith_cl9
My fried potato gobbling leads me back to a point that I made in my week 1 post: vegan =/= healthy. It seems like it would be really easy to let a vegan diet slide into unhealthy territory. I’ve been reading up about this a little bit, visiting blogs, and reading about other peoples’ vegan experiences.
I haven’t lost any weight on this diet. In fact, right now I’m actually at the high end of what is a normal weight for me (which always fluctuates a little bit). But ultimately I’m still at a healthy weight so no worries there. But people who may be thinking about a vegan diet for weight loss might be surprised at all of the potential pitfalls. One reason for weight gain on a vegan diet seems to be loading up on sugar, nuts, nut butters, calorie-packed faux meat and cheese products, carbs and starches like pasta and bread.
Another reason that people may gain weight during the initial part of a plant-based diet, before the body has had time to adjust, might be a result of increased fiber. Fiber holds a lot of water while in the digestive system, so more fiber in your gut might mean more water retention than usual. According to some testimonies online, if this is the reason for you weight gain, once your body gets used to this and things get moving along, you should actually lose that weight and possibly lose more if you’re eating correctly.
And now back to the boring thing – there are all kinds of interesting dishes that you could feasibly make that are vegan, providing you aren’t extremely busy or very lazy. Although I’m pretty busy lately, and admittedly sometimes lazy, I have been able to get a little bit creative making vegan dishes at home. I’ve also ordered some vegan dishes from restaurants this week.
Grapefruit, apple or mango
potato and cauliflower breakfast burrito
Salad, Josh’s famous hummus and carrot
veggie sandwich on vegan bread
Sweet potato and black bean tacos
cheeseless black bean enchiladas
Greek salad with artichokes, banana peppers, tomatoes, olives and no feta cheese
Coconut milk curry with summer veggies served over brown rice
So I guess it’s not that boring.
As a side note, I saw an interesting interview on “Real Time With Bill Maher” related to veganism. The interview was with Mark Bittman, New York Times food writer, about his new book, VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health … for Good. It’s about his own weight loss success story, which he achieved by eating vegan all day every day… until 6 pm. The rationale behind this system is eating more plants, fruits and veggies during the day than one normally would, while being able to “cheat” at night – when people are more prone to go out for social eating and drinking. It worked for Bittman, and, according to him, it’s worked for other people too.
As for me, at this point in the diet my skin seems to have cleared up a little bit. I’m having fewer break-outs than normal and my blemishes seem to have decreased in severity. Also, the severe bloating that I was experiencing on my regular vegetarian diet hasn’t been much of a problem at all since the switch – which is a BIG relief. I am still experiencing energy lows, although it seems like the fatigue isn’t as bad as it was last week.
Well, that’s it for the update. Tune in next week! If you’re interested in any of my vegan recipes, feel free to comment below with a request and we’ll figure something out. Also, if you have a great vegan recipe to share, I would love to hear about it!
May 14th, 2013
Posted by Lisa Carey
The world of genetically modified foods is one that is wrapped in controversy. At the center of it all sits agricultural giant Monsanto. Monsanto is a company that has always been at odds to some degree with activists for everything from the production of genetically altered seeds to the alleged death of the world’s bee population. Coming up on May 25th, activists have planned a massive coordinated protest called the March Against Monsanto. On six continents and 33 different countries including the United States, protesters will march together to show their displeasure and bring awareness to their cause.
In the United States, the march is being timed to start together at 11AM Pacific time for unity purposes. A protest so massive is sure to draw a massive amount of news coverage and plenty of television time. In fact, the united protest is set to be one of the biggest coordinated efforts in years. More than 250 cities are set to join in the March Against Monsanto.
The problems with Monsanto are many, but the manufacture of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are at the core. Monsanto has been criticized for producing seeds that are made to be resistant to pests, herbicides. They might even boost or change the nutrition of a seed. While on the surface this sounds great, there are questions about the safety of such products. Studies need to be done to show how they affect allergies, anti-body resistance and the dangers to the bee population. Some are concerned that this is literally killing off the world’s bees.
To further intensify things, the activists have noted that a number of FDA employees previously were employed by Monsanto. Then in March, both Congress and the President passed a bill that had a provision banning courts from stopping the sale of the seeds. It also protects Monsanto from lawsuits. This goes against an entire grass-roots movement and caused massive controversy across the world.
This massive march was actually started by a young Utah mother of two named Tami Monroe Canal. Like any person that is angry about an issue, she was not sure what to do. Then she decided the issues were too important to not act in some manner. March Against Monsanto was born. The response has been phenomenal.
If you are wanting to join in the March, then you can check out their Facebook page to find an event near you.
May 10th, 2013
Posted by socialspark
This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Miracle-Gro for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
Apparently, the first of May in Colorado means six inches of snow!
However, I’m not going to let a little snowstorm stop me from doing a fun and easy gardening project (indoors of course)! Several years ago, my dad gave me a cactus in my Easter basket. I still have it, but it’s been in need of a good re-potting. The last time I transferred it to a bigger pot, I’m pretty sure that I didn’t use the right type of soil and the plant has been looking a little bit sad ever since. Recently, I came across Miracle-Gro’s “The Gro Project.”
One of their easy sample fun garden projects is the Toyrarium.
Using their model for inspiration, I decided to design a new home for my dear old cactus.
I braved the snow to go out for the following items:
1.) Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix
2.) A large glass container
3.) Rocks I already had the cactus at home and a glass zebra figurine for decorating my terrarium with. I went out looking for a simple fish-bowl, but I found a 1-gallon Ball Mason Jar at the hardware store, which I thought would work really nicely. My fiance and I are big fans of simple Mason Jars.
We’ve even replaced most of our drinking glasses with them. I didn’t want to shock the cactus by bringing it out in the snow to transfer it, so I set up shop on the kitchen floor in my apartment.
- I removed the top off of the jar and filled the bottom with about 2.5 inches worth of smooth rocks.
- Then I used a large spoon to carefully scoop about 2-3 inches of potting soil on top of the rocks. In the meantime, about half of the bag of dirt ended up on my kitchen floor.
- I then carefully removed the cactus and its roots from its old pot and placed it in the Mason Jar (getting poked a few times in the process).
- I scooped more potting soil into the jar until dirt surrounded the cactus roots up to the base of the plant, thus stabilizing the cactus.
- I poked myself on the cactus’s spines again while nestling the small glass zebra next to the plant on top of the soil (note to self: get some gardening gloves).
And as simple as that, I have a cute and creative new terrarium for my favorite cactus! I think the shape of the jar compliments the shape of the plant nicely. I placed it on a table next to my sunniest window. I’m hoping that the cactus will thrive a little more now that it has some nice new soil. I don’t have the greenest of thumbs, so I’m optimistic that the Moisture Control Potting Mix will help compensate for an over-watering or under-watering that I’m sure to subject my poor cactus to. If you decide to make your own Mason Jar terrarium, or to try any of the fun and easy “Gro Project” guided gardening projects, please comment below and tell us how they turn out! You can see what other gardeners are doing by following the Miracle-Gro pinterest page.
May 9th, 2013
Posted by allylevise
I’ve been an a octo-lacto vegetarian for years, but while working for GreenJoyment, I’ve done a lot of reading about the potential merits of observing a vegan diet. From some of the information I’ve come across online, as well as conversations I’ve had with vegan friends and coworkers, it seems that a vegan diet could help improve problem skin, boost energy and diminish allergy symptoms, along with the added benefit of knowing that your diet isn’t infringing on the rights of animals.
As a life-long pimply, sleepy, sneezing mess, this all sounded pretty good. I asked my doctor about any potential nutritional concerns related to a short-term vegan diet. He told me that the biggest concern related to veganism is a lack of vitamin B-12, as this vitamin is only found naturally in animal products. However, this only becomes a problem after practicing veganism over long periods of time. He said that I didn’t need to worry about it over a period of time as short as 30 days, but that if I decided to continue with veganism after that period, he would point me in the direction of some good B-12 supplements.
So today marks my completion of one week eating a vegan diet. Just like in vegetarianism, some vegans are stricter about their diet and their lifestyle than others. For my diet, I decided to exclude eggs, dairy and animal products like honey. A couple of food ingredients that I wondered about included
Gelatin: Turns out this is a big vegan “no.” Gelatin is described as a slaughter by-product and is used to give jiggle to candies like gummy bears and gummy worms as well as jello. Even kosher gelatin is derived from sea creatures.
Yeast: For many vegans, yeast is okay to consume. It is not derived from animal products, but is closely related to a form of fungus. This was a relief, as a good craft beer is something I am not ready to give up during this diet.
It’s also important to me to stay away from overly processed vegan foods. Highly processed fake meats and cheeses seem counterproductive from a health standpoint. Also, soy products are linked to threatening agricultural biodiversity and contributing to allergies, so I want to stay away from tofu and soy during this process.
So… what does that leave? A surprising number of healthy, tasty foods, actually:
I’ve been alternating between
- Oatmeal made on the stove top with good quality rolled oats, water and fruit
- A smoothie made from fruit (melon and frozen blueberries) blended with a handful of fresh baby spinach, chia seeds and almond milk
- Toast made with vegan bread and spread with Adam’s natural peanut butter
- A salad with tomatoes, leeks, sunflower seeds and raisins and dressed with oil and vinegar
- Homemade hummus with carrots
- A couple of handfuls of almonds or a banana
- Oven-roasted veggies like zucchini, onions, potatoes and green pepper tossed in olive oil and herbs served over brown rice
- Butternut squash and black bean chili
- Sweet potato and white bean burgers
- A big salad with tomatoes, avocado, cucumbers, apple and dressed with a homemade lemon-cilantro vinaigrette.
So far, giving up cheese has been the hardest thing for me (my fiance, Josh, once said to me, “every time I look at you, there’s a piece of cheese in your mouth”). I’ve also learned to read labels very carefully. Sometimes there are animal products in seemingly unlikely places. For instance, on labels for certain brands of vegetable broth and even peanuts there are “May Contain Milk” warnings at the bottoms of the ingredients lists.
Also, it’s important to remember that “vegan” is not synonymous with “healthful.” Vegans are free to enjoy french fries (as long as they’re not fried in beef tallow – be sure to ask at restaurants) until the free-range cows come home, flavored almond milk contains carageenan and loads of sugar, uber-processed fake meats are perhaps not the most nutritious things to put in your body and, surprisingly, many snack foods are vegan including Nabisco Oreo cookies!
As for how this diet has made me feel, I don’t feel as heavy and bloated after eating a vegan meal as I sometimes do after eating an animal product-laden one, but I have actually hit some energy low-points during this first week, at times feeling downright sluggish and wanting to go to bed early.
I’ll be posting more vegan revelations and recipes over the next few weeks, so be sure to check back with me here on GreenJoyment.com!
May 7th, 2013
Posted by guest
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), about 290 million scrap tires are generated on a yearly basis. Out of this amount, 233 million are sent to market, 130 million are used for fuel, 56 million are used in civil engineering projects and 28 million are used for ground rubber products.
Tires, of course, aren’t the only rubber products in use. Rubber is also used for everything from gloves to gaskets. O-ring manufacturer Apple Rubber notes that rubber compounds can be made of 3-15 ingredients. All of the possible combinations of these ingredients can add up to thousands of possibilities for the specific composition of a rubber compound. Many of these ingredients are meant to prevent the rubber from breaking down. Antioxidants, antiozonants and fillers protect the rubber from heat, oxidation, cold and other environmental stresses.
While this breakdown resistance makes rubber compounds great components for use in cars and other durable items, it also makes rubber hard to get rid of when the time comes. Fortunately, there are many ways to recycle the substance into new materials. Tires, in particular, are some of the most commonly recycled rubber-based items. This is because they are strong enough for other uses even when they can no longer hold air. They also contain enough energy to be converted into fuels or fuel oils.
With the proper treatment, tires can be broken down into oil, steel and carbon black. The oil can be used much like other petroleum products to provide heat, while the steel can be recycled into many other things. Thanks to the development of special machines for recycling tires, reusing this waste rubber is economically viable. This is one of the reasons so many tires are used for fuel.
Old tires are also used to make durable materials like flooring. One company, U.S. Rubber Recycling, has built its entire business on reusing tires and other rubber materials. They say that their flagship product, SureStep Tire Tile, was chosen by Wal-Mart to serve as a flooring material for the chain’s entryways. Later, as consumers shifted to using steel-belted radial tires, the company adapted by making their flooring products from crumb rubber. Now, they produce a wide range of tiles made from this recycled material.
This is just one of the uses for recycled tires. They’re also used as components in asphalt paving, ground up and used as mulch, reformed into swings and other child’s play items, used to create garden boots and more. One of the surprising applications for used rubber is a shock-absorbent playground surface. It turns out that the rubber chips are strong enough to prevent the deterioration of the area, while being springy enough to keep kids from getting hurt when they take a tumble on the playground.
All of these uses mean that old tires aren’t the environmental hazard they used to be. With today’s technology, letting tires sit in a pile is more than environmentally detrimental, it’s a waste of money. Needless to say, this means that companies are less willing to let this rubber sit around.
As a consumer, you can do your part to encourage recycling of tires and other rubber items by buying things that are made from recycled rubber components. These products are usually very durable and, thanks to advancements in modern manufacturing methods, they’re nice-looking. To encourage tire recycling even more, push your local municipality to use asphalt and other surfacing materials made with rubber from recycled sources.
May 4th, 2013
Posted by Lisa Carey
Recently a Huffington Post survey was conducted and discovered that Earth Day is not supported nearly as much as it once was. The survey said that the number of Americans who see it as “very important” to restore the environment has dropped to 39 percent. Since 1970, Earth Day has been the primary way to ensure that our public was educated on the needs of our environment. Clearly that message is no longer being received or delivered properly. Whether it is due to faulty delivery or a lack of interest, we need to move now to ensure that interest is renewed for our future well being. Here are three ideas to do just that:
Get back into the schools
Earth Day and the messages of environmentally conscious living is something that has to be started early. If we can get back to the schools of our country and bring the message of living with green footprints, then a whole new generation of youngsters can start to pick up the torch again. The kids are the strongest, most vital cog in our wheel of information.
Get into our communities
It is going to take our adults learning about environmentally safe choices as well as our children. Going into the schools is only one step in the process. We need to get out and talk to those that ignore our green message. Most people that do ignore it are simply not aware of the damage that it does. Earth Day is a great way to get that message out.
We need to get our politicians involved
If politicians are skating by without making Earth Day a priority, then it is our responsibility to make sure they know that this is a mistake. We do that by Read the rest of this entry »
April 24th, 2013
Posted by Lisa Carey
It seems impossible to believe, but there are actually people out there that feel like having certain animals around is a bad idea. Take Montana Senator John Brenden. He has expressed support for a whole plethora of anti-bison bills that are up for vote this coming Saturday, April 27, 2013. The bison have been struggling in the wild for a very long time and the situation is becoming even more extreme for their survival. We must act now to ensure the bison survive and thrive in the future in Montana.
Senator Brenden actually stated his opinion…
“Why do you want to spread this creeping cancer, these woolly tanks, around the state of Montana? Trying to bring back the buffalo in big herds across Montana is like bringing back dinosaurs. And who wants dinosaurs in Montana? I certainly don’t.”
Bison are a huge part of our American heritage. To have a man in such a high place say something so ignorant is shameful. We slaughtered the wild bison for many different reasons over the years. Sometimes we killed them for sport and even to force our Native American tribes into starvation in the 1800′s. Now we are fighting to not only restore these wonderful creatures into their rightful places on earth, but to keep them from being eliminated altogether.
What is being proposed is to restore the bison to their tribal lands and preserves where they can thrive. Unfortunately, these bills are going to likely stop that idea in it’s tracks unless we band together and say enough!
At least one donor has made a statement by offering to match contributions to the cause up to $25,000. If you ever have thought about jumping in and fighting for a cause that means something, this is a wonderful opportunity to do so.
A similar battle was fought last year and the donations allowed the Yellowstone bison to be restored in Fort Peck Indian Reservation. These bison had not been found there since they were nearly driven to extinction by settlers all those years ago. Now they are on their way to thriving.
If we do not act now, the lawmakers like Senator Brenden could enact bills that will harm our wildlife and make it impossible for the bison to survive in the long run. Helping out now is necessary because the vote could come as early as Saturday.
The bison may at first glance appear to be no big deal, but the simple truth is that any animal being eliminated upsets our eco-system. The bison has been an integral part of our American wildlife and saving them is a seriously important thing for us to do. It is also not very often that you can double your impact on a great cause like this one. With the investor offering to match funds, we can truly impact this situation in a big way.
April 23rd, 2013
Posted by jmruiz
Tuk-tuks are the three-wheeled passenger vehicles commonly used in Asia, and they’re often noisy and most-certainly-not-emissions-free. To counter the current state, Japanese start-up company Terra Motors has launched an electric tuk-tuk and thinks its electric tricycle will be a cost competitive taxi in Asia.
Occidental College recently powered up an urban hillside solar array that combines science, engineering, urban design and art. Occidental faculty collaborated with the environment design and research firm, Lettuce Office, to create a subtle shifting, rotating design that challenges the design of normal, utilitarian solar arrays.
IBM solar collector magnifies sun by 2,000x (without cooking itself), costs 3x less than similar systemsConcentrating the sun’s ray onto solar photovoltaic (PV) modules requires walking the fine line between optimizing power output and not literally melting your very expensive super-high-efficiency solar cells. A team led by IBM Research seems to have found a way to push back the line. They have created a High Concentration PhotoVoltaic Thermal (HCPVT) system that is capable of concentrating the power of 2,000 suns onto hundreds of triple junction photovoltaic chips measuring a single square centimeter each (they even claim to be able to keep temperatures safe up to 5,000x).
Toyota announced that the company had sold its 5 millionth hybrid car. According to the Japan Automobile Dealers Association, Toyota hybrid models Prius and Aqua (Prius C in America) took the first and second spots in FY 2012 sales by model in Japan. Last year 40% of the vehicles Toyota sold in Japan and 14% globally were hybrids.
Fossil fuel cheerleaders take note: Renewable energy ain’t going nowhere — and it may prove to be the better bet in the long run. By 2030, renewables will account for 70 percent of new power supply worldwide, according to projections released Monday from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Since 2005, driving in the United States has been steadily declining. One theory for the decrease is the Great Recession. But the U.S. economy is growing again, so are people driving more? Doug Short takes a look at the latest data, on vehicle miles traveled, from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
- GreenJoyment(Ally): I have to agree to some extent with one of the comments on this article. I have two teenage sisters and it seems to me like it’s become much harder for young people to get jobs than it was when I was in high school. When parents are increasingly cash-strapped and minimum-wage jobs are being snapped up by older people with more experience, kids have little opportunity to pay for a vehicle.