Your Olive Branch
Our Daily Green
Author:
FreshGreenKim
Blog URL:
http://yourolivebranch.org/dev2/blogs/ourdailygreen
Tags:
Recycling Green Social Justice Ecology Environment Local food
Description:
A collection of hints how to live in harmony with our planet, our neighbors and our bodies.
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The coolest and hottest thermostat ever (Honeywell review and giveaway)
And do we mean ever! This thermostat will keep you cool or warm whenever you need it. Our Daily Green was contacted over the winter to test out the latest product from Honeywell. We received a Wi-Fi Color Touchscreen Programmable Thermostat (retail value: $200+), and installed it in our home. Immediately, we were impressed by the interface. From a purely aesthetic view, you can actually choose
04/15/2014 0 Comments | Add Comment
The coolest and hottest thermostat ever (Honeywell review)
And do we mean ever! This thermostat will keep you cool or warm whenever you need it. Our Daily Green was contacted over the winter to test out the latest product from Honeywell. We received a Wi-Fi Color Touchscreen Programmable Thermostat (retail value: $200+), and installed it in our home. Immediately, we were impressed by the interface. From a purely aesthetic view, you can actually choose
04/14/2014 0 Comments | Add Comment
Allergy season bursts onto the scene (from repost.us)
Our Daily Green is affiliated with The Allergy Kit, a safe, at-home, drug-free allergy treatment. Allergy season bursts onto the scene (via Repost Video News) Cedar is a major allergy right now. Oak and hickory will begin pollinating in the coming weeks. <!-- put the "tease", "jump" or "more" break here --> <!-- How to customize this embed: http://www.repost.us/article-preview
04/10/2014 0 Comments | Add Comment
Zabada clean is natural, safe, and effective (product review)
In January, Our Daily Green received a cleaning kit from Zabada clean to test and review for our readers. Not only did we receive the merchandise, I also had the opportunity to talk to the company founder, Damian Pike, from Australia, where Zabada is a household name under the label ENJO. Our Daily Green's communication with Zabada began when they were preparing their US product launch. Though
04/02/2014 0 Comments | Add Comment
Sell your old iPad for cash (sponsored post)
Now is a Great Time to Get Cash For Your Old iPad Do you have an older model iPad you have been holding on to? Are you looking to get something new? To help consumers get the best value for their old devices, Gazelle, the nation‚
03/25/2014 0 Comments | Add Comment
Tesla's Elon Musk responds to the people of New Jersey (from repost.us)
Elon Musk Writes Letter To The People Of New Jersey (via Clean Technica) Editor‚
03/19/2014 0 Comments | Add Comment
Learn more about Freecycling (infographic)
03/18/2014 0 Comments | Add Comment
Light is your choice -- Life beyond incandescent bulbs
Learn more about your choices from today's sponsor: Osram Sylvania
03/14/2014 0 Comments | Add Comment
20 effective home remedies for swollen feet (from repost.us)
20 Effective Home Remedies For Swollen Feet (via Style Craze) Do you often wish that work would end fast so you can just get into bed or prop up your feet? Do you dread wearing high heels for fear that the swelling in your feet won't go away for the next 3 days? People who have swollen feet often suffer silently‚
03/13/2014 0 Comments | Add Comment
Saving our blue future (from OtherWords.org)
The human race and our planet need a new water ethic. By¬†Maude Barlow Have you heard? The world is running out of accessible clean water. Humanity is polluting, mismanaging, and displacing our finite freshwater sources at an alarming rate. Since 1990, half the rivers in China¬†have disappeared. The Ogallala Aquifer that supplies the U.S. breadbasket will be gone ‚
03/07/2014 0 Comments | Add Comment
Renewables' disruption of the utility business model is a good thing (from repost.us)
Renewables‚
03/06/2014 0 Comments | Add Comment
Save money and protect the environment with solar modules
image courtesy of: Wikimedia Commons Solar modules are used to build an off grid power system that is energized entirely by the sun. The sun is clean, green and is high up in the sky on most days. The modules have the ability to collect and store energy for those days the sun is hidden by clouds. One of the best features about solar modules is they can be used in remote areas where the cost
02/27/2014 0 Comments | Add Comment
Winter Olympics inadvertently adapting to climate change (via repost.us)
Winter Olympics Inadvertently Adapting to Climate Change (via Climate Central) By Brian Kahn Follow @blkahn¬† Climate change became an official Winter Olympic issue in 1998 in the wake of the Nagano Games. The four subsequent host cities, including Sochi, have made strides to address climate change and reduce or offset their greenhouse‚
02/16/2014 0 Comments | Add Comment
Top 10 green Valentine's Day gift ideas (from repost.us)
Top 10 Green Valentine‚
02/12/2014 0 Comments | Add Comment
Fueling change infographic
Presented By:  Verizon Networkfleet
02/04/2014 0 Comments | Add Comment
#TruMoo Chocolate Marshmallow milk: the perfect drink for snow days
#TruMoo, no HFCS! and that makes FreshGreenKim smile! While people across the nation are combating cabin fever and trying to stay warm during our polar vortex, comfort food and drinks rank high. There are few things more comforting than a nice hot cup of hot chocolate, especially with a few marshmallows. TruMoo Milk has a limited edition flavor available for February, Chocolate Marshmallow
01/29/2014 0 Comments | Add Comment
Preparing for professional rug cleaning
image courtesy of: Wikimedia Commons Busy traffic areas in the home increase the chance of embedded dirt and grime in rugs and carpets. But homeowners can take a few steps to ensure the most effective rug cleaning prior to the commercial cleaner arriving. If there are pets in the home, the rugs will also have pet dander and dirt from their paws. To prepare for a deep cleaning, it's important
01/27/2014 0 Comments | Add Comment
Working with your favorite brands through #Markerly blogging network
Our Daily Green was founded in 2009 with a simple premise. Our first post stated: Living green also helps keep more green in your wallet. In economically tough times, any tip that conserves dollars as well as our environment is welcomed. This blog will offer tips to live better for both our planet and your wallet. Welcome to 2009, where Green is the new Black.  That philosophy has served this
01/20/2014 0 Comments | Add Comment
The Top 10 allergy myths (infographic)
Our Daily Green is affiliated with The Allergy Kit, an at-home, drug-free allergy treatment system.  Explore more infographics like this one on the web's largest information design community - Visually.
01/17/2014 0 Comments | Add Comment
Power of the wind (repost.us)
Via Photography @BySilent.¬†By:¬†Thomas Broadfoot Power of the Wind (via Photography @BySilent) Power of the Wind A number of people think wind turbines are ugly and complain regarding the noise the machines make. The slowly rotating blades may also kill birds and bats, but not nearly as lots of as automobiles, energy lines, and high-rise buildings‚
01/16/2014 0 Comments | Add Comment
Turn it Green with REPREVE and the X Games
Thanks to REPREVE for sponsoring today's discussion Last month, Our Daily Green shared some of the great ways REPREVE is giving a second life to all our plastic bottles.  Years ago, when I was a kid walking to school 10 miles each way, uphill, we didn't have water in bottles, so in some ways, this is a little bit of preaching to the choir. But years ago, neither did we have polar fleece
01/13/2014 0 Comments | Add Comment
Removing indoor odors without perfumes
Indoor air quality can deteriorate quickly, whether in the home or in a business establishment. Finding solutions that improve indoor air quality by removing odors is an important step toward creating a pleasant atmosphere. Most air fresheners cover up the odor, rather than removing it, and a small air purifier may not be efficient enough to remove odors from businesses. An ozone machine may be
01/13/2014 0 Comments | Add Comment
What is a living roof? (guest post)
A living roof refers to one that has been covered either partially or wholly with foliage such as grass beds, flowers and shrubs. Although not a new concept to many parts of the world, living roofs is still a fairly new concept in the Unities States. Nevertheless, the popularity of green roofs has been growing steadily as word of its aesthetic and environmental benefits become more known. Below
01/06/2014 0 Comments | Add Comment
What does "grass-fed" mean and what does it have to do with our food? (guest post)
Today's post is written by Our Daily Green's good friend, Michael, who owns Walnut Hill Farm. He recently posted this valuable piece of information on his Facebook page, and we thought it was so relevant we asked his permission to share with our readers. If you're in Western PA or Eastern Ohio, we strongly recommend their grass-fed and finished beef. We are Walnut Hill customers for several
01/04/2014 0 Comments | Add Comment
Pledge to stop using disposable cups in 2014
With New York City instituting a ban on styrofoam in 2014, it's time for green-minded folk to lead the way to a cup revolution, not just with styrofoam but also paper and plastic cups. Our Daily Green recently traveled to NYC and we were astounded to see how quickly garbage accumulates in such a densely populated area. Each morning, we walked past bag after bag of single use cups and water
01/03/2014 0 Comments | Add Comment
Power washing wood surfaces without harsh chemicals
image courtesy of: wikimedia commons (this post has been brought to you by a sponsor) Power washing is something that any homeowner can do. That doesn't mean it is the optimal way to approach it. While anyone can buy a power washer and use it properly, there are distinct advantages to professional techniques that may not be immediately obvious. Here are three of the top advantages to having
12/30/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Utility company expands past fossil fuels to solar energy
photo courtesy of: Wikimedia Commons The future of energy for both commercial and residential use is the area of sustainable energy solutions. This simply refers to the use of energy that can be renewed as well as used cleanly. Fossil fuels are not clean to use, and the supply is limited. This presents a problem for energy providers who want to continue to supply their customers with adequate
12/23/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Eco-friendly beanie from REPREVE
#TurnItGreen As prevalent as plastic bottles have become, unfortunately, over two-thirds of them wind up in landfills. But the ones that are recycled, become amazing products, many are already probably familiar to you. In fact, when I was invited to write about REPREVE recycled fibers, I remembered a swimsuit I reviewed last year that was made from REPREVE, so I was very excited to participate
12/23/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Introducing Causora: get rewards for charitable contributions
Our Daily Green is a tremendous advocate for charitable giving. One of our most popular seasonal columns is the 12 Days of Green Giving, where we encourage our readers to donate to worthy causes represented by the traditional song the 12 Days of Christmas. Several of the charities that are listed on Causora, are charities we've already supported in the past, including water.org, and Donors Choose
12/19/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Food politics (repost from GIMBY)
GIMBY (via www.gimby.org) There are plenty of different diets out there, and new ones appearing every day ‚
12/18/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Save $50 on The Allergy Kit
Our Daily Green is affiliated with The Allergy Kit. We receive a commission on all customer referrals. Regardless, we have used and had success with The Allergy Kit, it's why we are an affiliate. If you've been wondering if it works? Try it for 30 days. Try it for $50 off. Just try it. You have nothing to lose but your misery.  $50 Off  ALL KITS  Give the Gift of Health this Holiday Season
12/17/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Mill City Bread Company (review)
Rustic Artisan White One of our family's fondest memories growing up was the continual supply of fresh-baked bread at Grandma's house. She loved to mix up the yeast, knead the dough and shape it into delicious loaves of love. Bread baking for today's generation is an infrequent occurrence, perhaps for a special occasion. There are several keys to baking bread properly, including measuring
12/16/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Homemade holiday gift: Spiced Nuts
disclosure: this post has been brought to you by our sponsor, McCormick. Our Daily Green is thrilled to bring you a gift idea you can make yourself.  One of the most stressful parts of the holidays is choosing gifts for people. It's so easy to fall into the trap of an impersonal, overpriced, useless gift. Not to mention the embarrassing moment when someone gives you an unexpected gift and
12/09/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Are GMOs linked to gluten sensitivity? (from repost.us)
Our Daily Green is affiliated with The Allergy Kit, a natural, at-home, drug-free treatment for food and environmental allergies Are GMOs linked to gluten sensitivity? (via Honey Colony) By Donna Gates, Hive AdvisorWhile the World Health Organization claims that genetically modified (GM) foods on the international market are safe, 64 countries have either placed a ban on genetically modified
12/02/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Rethinking food and nature (guest post)
More than 70% of our global freshwater is used for agriculture and aquaculture every year. This makes sense right? Fish, fruits and vegetables have always been a huge part of our diet and we need resources like fresh water to produce these products. But what if the vegetables we‚
11/21/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Who deserves our thanks for truly American food? (reprint from Otherwords.org)
Until 1492, Europeans had never tried potatoes, cranberries, corn, or turkey. By Jill Richardson What do turkey, sweet potatoes, and cranberries have in common? Yes, you eat them on Thanksgiving. Additionally, they are all distinctly American foods. So are potatoes and the corn in your corn bread. Believe it or not, the day that Columbus blundered into the Americas back in 1492,
11/20/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Prevent allergies with dusting
Preventing Allergies with Dusting (via ModernLifeBlogs) Every year there are millions of people that deal with allergies in some form or another. Sometimes it is rather common allergies and other times it is something unique to an individual. Either way, there are periods of the year where allergies are‚
11/19/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Simple ways to cut your energy bills (infographic)
Explore more infographics like this one on the web's largest information design community - Visually.
11/18/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Efficient home heating with rocket stove mass heaters
A few years ago, a family member bought a small "as seen on TV" newspaper grill. It was a novelty item that got hauled out at family get togethers to cook a few items with only newspaper for fuel. The newspaper grills have quite a cult following among outdoorsman and survivalist sorts. The newspaper grill is based on the engineering of a rocket stove. A rocket stove is a specially designed
11/18/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Efficient home heating with rocket stoves mass heaters
A few years ago, a family member bought a small "as seen on TV" newspaper grill. It was a novelty item that got hauled out at family get togethers to cook a few items with only newspaper for fuel. The newspaper grills have quite a cult following among outdoorsman and survivalist sorts. The newspaper grill is based on the engineering of a rocket stove. A rocket stove is a specially designed
11/18/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
JayBird Sports BlueBuds giveaway
For many athletes, listening to music helps with training in the way of motivation as well as diversion. An informal survey among friends indicated a variety of ways music motivates them during their training. Power walker Linda explains, "I power walk to HEART. Even if I ran, I would probably listen to them. Empowering. Motivating. Keeps me moving at a fast pace," while bike rider Robert finds
11/10/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
JayBird Sports BlueBuds giveaway
For many athletes, listening to music helps with training in the way of motivation as well as diversion. An informal survey among friends indicated a variety of ways music motivates them during their training. Power walker Linda explains, "I power walk to HEART. Even if I ran, I would probably listen to them. Empowering. Motivating. Keeps me moving at a fast pace," while bike rider Robert finds
11/10/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Food allergies in kids spike by 50% (from repost.us)
Our Daily Green is affiliated with The Allergy Kit: click here to learn more Food allergies in kids spike by 50% (via Repost Video News) Over the past decade and a half the number of kids with dangerous and often deadly food allergies has increased by 50%. <!-- put the "tease", "jump" or "more" break here --> <!-- How to customize this embed: http://www.repost.us/
11/10/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Winterizing lawn sprinklers saves water
Ways to set your sprinkler system timer for Arizona's winter Picture courtesy of: AZ Sprinkler Grass is difficult enough to grow in Arizona because of the unique climate. We deal with cracked mud, intense hot temperatures, and so much more that is a killer on your backyard landscape. Then when winter comes it is a whole other issue. Many people have to plant a different type of grass for
11/10/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Saving lives by addressing severe acute malnutrition
One of the most useful treatments in cultural cases of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) is Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF). RUTF is a peanut based spread that meets specifications set forth by UNICEF to supply nutritional therapy for severely malnourished children. SAM is the number one cause of death to children under the age of 5 years, over 3.5 million annually. Ready-to-Use Therapeutic
11/03/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Controlling natural light in a home
image courtesy of Wikimedia commons When potential home buyers make a wish list of features they desire in a home, rooms with a lot of natural light are often on the list. No doubt, walking into a room filled with sunlight has a more positive affect on one's mood that entering a dark, depressing room with tiny windows. Large windows and skylights are also frequently included in a home
11/01/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Why we should care about climate change
photo courtesy of Wikimedia commons: 5-foot world globes on display to urge everyone to "take action against global warming" As the autumn leaves turn in many parts of the nation and the weather gets colder, the inevitable jokes about climate change are waiting to be hauled out again. Every cold day, inevitably, someone will remark that it doesn't seem very warm for a planet that is warming.
10/25/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Do you know who actually owns the organic brands? (from repost.us)
Do You Know Who Actually Owns the ORGANIC Brands? (via http://faroutradio.com/) by Catherine J. Frompovich as republished from Natural Blaze¬† Money is being spent BIG time in offensives against GMO labeling bills introduced in various states. One humongous battle‚
10/23/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
McDonald’s takes its time cooking up a new menu (OtherWords.org)
The fast-food chain swears it will offer plenty of healthy choices at all its restaurants but not until seven years from now The Slow Road to Better Fast Food, an OtherWords cartoon by Khalil Bendib By¬†Jim Hightower The appeal of fast food chains isn‚
10/22/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Planning an allergy-free Halloween (from repost.us)
Dairy can be scary ‚
10/21/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Do you need a water heater blanket?
Today's post has been brought to you by water heater installation experts, Aramendia Plumbing Heating & Air in Houston Consumers looking to cut their monthly utility bills and save some energy are often advised to insulate their water heater with a blanket. In some instances, this is not a necessary or useful purchase. An improperly installed water heater blanket can violate local building codes
10/21/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Factory farms vs. sustainable farms (infographic)
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10/14/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Is your phone smart enough to not poison the people recycling it? This one is (from YES! Magazine)
Our throwaway electronics harm people overseas, but new trends in responsible design are not just smart‚
10/12/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
America's nutrition evolution (infographic)
Learn about data visualization tools.
10/10/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Inspect vehicles to insure eco-friendly driving
Flickr/CC BY 2.0 Most states require vehicles to be inspected for emissions to insure that cars are in compliance with federal air quality standards. There are four ways to test for emissions. The first way is simply an on-board diagnostic check, with analyzes the computerized equipment through a data link collector attached to the computer under the dashboard. Other tests include the tailpipe
10/10/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Mobile phones that give back to charity
Answer the call with GIV Mobile, wireless for a cause. GIV Mobile offers a large selection of phones to choose from or you can bring your own compatible GSM device. Pick either the $40 Unlimited Everything Plan or the $50 Unlimited Everything Plan, plus no contracts to tie you down! Your wireless service can do more than keep you connected, it can help save the world! Choose up to 3 charities
10/08/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Allergy myths dispelled (infographic)
Our Daily Green is affiliated with The Allergy Kit, an at-home, non-drug allergy treatment program.  Find Allergy Control Products at AllergyBeGone.com
10/06/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Geothermal as renewable source of energy
While many environmentally consumers are exploring new technology to save energy, such as fuel cells and solar panels, geothermal energy is literally as old as the earth. In fact, the word geothermal comes from the Greek words geo (earth) and therma (heat). Geothermal energy is heat from the earth. photo courtesy of: Wikimedia Commons Natural evidence of geothermal heat is present in
10/04/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Junking food is bad for everyone (reprint from OtherWords.org)
The food Americans waste could help end hunger in this nation. By¬†Jill Richardson Several years ago, I worked in a grocery store bakery. At the end of each day, we threw away piles of perfectly good food. Before the store closed, employees walked down each aisle, checking the expiration dates of bread, bagels, and cookies to toss out whatever expired that day ‚
10/02/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Allergies have you miserable?
Weeds Causing Woes for Allergy Sufferers (via Repost Video News) Experts say the pollen count is especially high compared to previous years. <!-- put the "tease", "jump" or "more" break here --> <!-- How to customize this embed: http://www.repost.us/article-preview/hash/b606252203c7b1c126ee31531f844f9b -->
09/30/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Getting your garden plot ready for winter
flowering broccoli photo courtesy of: Wikimedia commons As autumn begins and the weather turns colder, many gardeners are winterizing their garden. Here are several how-to tips, landscape designer approved. Cleaning up the beds is not necessarily about pulling everything up. In fact, leaving some plants standing may actually be beneficial. However, if your potatoes and tomatoes had blight in
09/30/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Opt out of receiving phone books (infographic)
by Nina Pilar. Explore more infographics like this one on the web's largest information design community - Visually.
09/27/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Working to protect the environment as a career
Environmental law concerns a multitude of issues that affect humanity as well as topics that influence the natural environment. This intricate area of law addresses issues concerning unclean natural waters, air pollution and other man made causes of unhealthy environments. Science also plays an important role regarding environmental law issues, and it helps to develop the reasoning behind many
09/26/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Daregal Gourmet fresh frozen herbs review
This week, Our Daily Green received our sampler of Daregal Gourmet fresh frozen herbs to review as a part of a Blog Friendly PR campaign. All opinions are our own and no compensation was received. We were asked to create a recipe using the fresh frozen herbs. Timing was perfect as it seemed like all my tomatoes were ripe at the same time. I also had several peppers to use as well. The onion
09/22/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
The latest in food regulation and issues (repost from Gimby)
GIMBY | Issues | Food (via www.gimby.org) There are plenty of different diets out there, and new ones appearing every day ‚
09/21/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Recycle your phones and tablets for cash
In 2009, Our Daily Green wrote about a then innovative answer to electronic waste, the new company Gazelle. It was one of our very first posts. In the subsequent four years, their company has become one of the go-to solutions for the constant pressure to upgrade by buying and then reusing or recycling appropriately all trade-ins. Their success rate has been so tremendous they launched a
09/17/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Choosing a hot water heater
photo courtesy of: wikimedia commons The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that heating water for the home can account for anywhere from 15-25% of a home's annual energy consumption. This presents a tremendous opportunity for saving energy with a few simple steps. Perhaps the most obvious is to use less hot water, such as these simple hints: Take shorter showers Wash laundry in cold
09/16/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Pioneer in organic beauty: Nourish review
USDA Organic Earlier this year, Our Daily Green had the opportunity to review some of the products from Nourish Organic. We fell in love with their raw shea butter which has become part of our daily regiment. When they contacted us again to do a more extensive review as well as a giveaway of their incredible body washes, we were thrilled, especially knowing their body washes contain shea,
09/11/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
The Lorax: Blu-ray giveaway
Our Daily Green is thrilled to offer our readers a chance to win Dr. Seuss' The Lorax Blu-ray. The Lorax is a hero to environmentalists everywhere, with his quest to protect the truffula tree, and the poignant reminder that: photo courtesy of my personal gallery ‚
09/11/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Getting Mother Nature's drift (reprint from Otherwords.org)
Getting Mother Nature‚
09/08/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Do health supplements really work? (Infographic)
Explore more infographics like this one on the web's largest information design community - Visually.
09/05/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Controlling bugs in the home
In the world of homeowning, there are good bugs and bad bugs, but it's a safe bet that one cockroach, termite, or bedbug is one too many. In fact, where there is one of these, there are probably dozens. Today, we are sharing a quiz to help you understand where bugs fit into our world and when it is best to keep them away. While there are often natural solutions to bug control, sometimes it
09/03/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Brief history of US agencies for the environment
Environment (via www.gimby.org) Although some colonists came to the future U.S. in search of religious freedom, many more came to exploit North America‚
09/01/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
What to know about the ground before you start a building project
image courtesy of wikimedia commons Are you in the beginning stages of a new building project? Perhaps you are planning out a new house or a new office building, and you are also busy acquiring the land on which it will be constructed. There are many steps to this process, but one of the things that you should not forget to do is to look at an Advanced Geosciences resistivity survey. This can
08/30/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Reuse, reuse and reuse: DIY Firestarters
One of Our Daily Green's least favorite things is waste. We are adamant that nothing be wasted, be it food or products. We embrace thrift shopping as well as re-purposing items. We took that to the extreme over the weekend. We save paper egg cartons for several purposes. Craft projects, seed starting, and one of our favorites, fire-starters.  We turned an old shrunken wool sweater into a dryer
08/27/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Indoor plant care
photo courtesy of wikimedia commons When considering gaddys plant hire services, one thing to think about is how to take care of those plants once you have them. Now, depending on how long you need them, different things may be required. For example, perhaps you are just getting the plants for a night, using them as decorations at your wedding reception. If so, you really do not need to do
08/26/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
What to expect from The Allergy Kit
The Allergy Kit is a revolutionary new way to eliminate your allergies with a fast and easy, do-it-yourself, natural allergy treatment that's changing lives all over the world. If you have allergies, there's finally a way to get your life back. Treat all the members in your family with the same kit and stop the destruction that allergies can cause. In less than a month you will see
08/26/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
The Fake Thing (reprinted from OtherWords.org)
With a newfound exercise obsession, Coca-Cola and other companies are trying to shift the blame for what they're doing to our health By¬†Jill Richardson New rule (as Bill Maher would say): If you make billions of dollars a year selling unhealthy food, you don‚
08/23/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Back to school allergy information
Our Daily Green is affiliated with The Allergy Kit, an at-home, drug-free allergy treatment Nearly one-third of children with food allergies are bullied, study finds (via NJ.com) Nearly a third of children with food allergies are bullied, according to researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. That's a lot of kids across a nation where nearly eight percent of children
08/18/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
The solar timeline (infographic)
by JessicaDraws. Explore more infographics like this one on the web's largest information design community - Visually.
08/16/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Kashi pledge to eat healthy
Kashi foods has agreed to donate $2.00 for every pledge received to the Association of Junior League's International hallmark project, Kids in the Kitchen. The initiative began in 2006 with the goal of engaging kids in the preparation of healthy meals as a means to educate them and their parents regarding nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices. Junior Leagues in more than 200 locations provide
08/15/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
15 best benefits of pumpkin juice for skin, hair and health
With moderate temperatures and cooler evenings, folks are starting to think fall. Keep in mind that pumpkins aren't just for decorating or pie.  15 Best Benefits Of Pumpkin Juice For Skin, Hair And Health (via http://www.stylecraze.com) As the name suggests, pumpkin juice is a juice extracted from raw pumpkins. This juice gained immense popularity among the children when it was shown as part
08/15/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Woolzies dryer ball review
Our Daily Green has spent most of our summer getting our oldest green member of the family ready for college. Eighteen years of living in the Daily Green household has impacted her and she wants to carry on the green and environmentally friendly values that we have instilled, including how we do laundry. Woolzies, Wool Dryer Ball, set of 6 ,Natural Fabric Softener After learning how many
08/09/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
The age of the electric vehicle has arrived again (infographic)
Explore more infographics like this one on the web's largest information design community - Visually.
08/08/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Common Cold Or Allergies? (via healthise.com)
Our Daily Green is affiliated with The Allergy Kit, an at home, drug free allergy treatment. We are happy to share the latest news in the world of allergies with our readers  Common Cold Or Allergies? (via healthise.com) Common cold causes and treatment What are common cold facts In the new series, Alergy Alert, Maggie Rodriguez spoke with Allergist Dr. Jonathan Field about how to tell the
08/07/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
NYC "Recycle Everything" ad campaign launches
Mayor Bloomberg Launches "Recycle Everything" Ad Campaign (via PR Newswire) Grey New York Creates Comprehensive Multi-Channel Public Education Effort Supporting Largest Recycling Expansion in 25 Years Download image Download image Download image Download image Download image 'Recycle Everything' ad campaign. (PRNewsFoto/Grey‚
08/02/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Keeping carpets clean for allergy relief
Today's information is brought to you by Same Day Carpet Cleaners.  One of the common misconceptions in the treatment of allergies is to get rid of the carpet in a home. While indoor air quality is a growing concern, consumers do not need to forego comfortable flooring in order to improve the quality of the air. Contrary to popular belief, carpet, and especially clean carpets, may even be safer
07/31/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Like shopping at local businesses? Now you can invest in them, too! (from YES! Magazine)
A newly formed company based in Seattle makes it easy to put your money to work in the local economy posted Jul 17, 2013 The team at Community Sourced Capital (left to right):  Brent Cochran, Rachel Maxwell, Meryl McDonald, Casey Dilloway, and Alex Mondau. Photo by Community Sourced Capital. Community Sourced Capital is a newly formed lender that aims to apply the crowd-sourcing
07/31/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
The allergens hiding in your scented products (infographic)
Our Daily Green is affiliated with The Allergy Kit, a drug-free, at-home allergy treatment. We post information about allergy news and different studies to enlighten and help our readers. 
07/28/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Are you composting yet? (infographic)
Thank you to Hometown Dumpster Rental for this infographic. 
07/27/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Are you composting yet?
Thank you to Hometown Dumpster Rental for this infographic. 
07/27/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Genetic link to allergies found (repost)
Our Daily Green is affiliated with The Allergy Kit, an at home, drug free allergy treatment Scientists find faulty gene link to allergies (via AFP) US scientists said Wednesday they have found a genetic link to allergies, which also exists in people with connective tissue disorders. The findings in the journal Science Translational Medicine show that a single genetic pathway may open the
07/26/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Fresh pesto recipe
One of the delights of summer is the chance to eat fresh from the garden, and one of my favorite sauces to make is basil pesto. Mama Daily Green and I used to make batches of it every summer and freeze it for the winter, but nothing will ever top that first batch. The other night I made the season's first pesto. Everyone's recipe varies a little, but I'll share mine, along with the variations. 
07/26/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
How do carbon offsets work? (Infographic)
Created by www.TexasElectricityProviders.com
07/25/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
UrbiCulture Community Farms (Repost)
UrbiCulture Community Farms: Mile-High Life-Changing Urban Farming (via Organic Connections Magazine) Candice Orlando became a vegetarian due to health issues, and after doing so, she discovered the wonder of growing her own food. That journey has led her to create a remarkable sustainable multi-plot urban farm, called UrbiCulture Community Farms, in‚
07/23/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Free Webinar: Supporting children, adolescents and parents in the daily management of food allergies
Our Daily Green is affiliated with The Allergy Kit Starting in August 2013, Food and Allergy Research and Education (FARE) will be hosting a series of free educational webinars designed to help you live life well with food allergies. Each month, we will feature leading experts discussing the topics related to food allergy that you most want to hear about.  Free webinars will be recorded and
07/22/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Eat well, walk more, live longer (from: OtherWords)
Americans die younger than citizens of most other rich countries. By¬†Jill Richardson We just got some bad news. Or maybe it‚
07/22/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
How is corrugated cardboard made and recycled?
Today's post was brought to you by our sponsor at Déménagement à Montréal par Martel Express/montreal demenagement.  photo courtesy of: Wikimedia Commons One of the most prevalent images of a household or business moving is piles of cardboard boxes. When we moved a few years ago, the mountain of boxes was overwhelming and I honestly worried about the environmental impact of packing everything
07/22/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
How bike friendly cities beat the opposition and became the new normal (reprint from YES! Magazine)
Now that all the debate about whether bike lanes are OK seems to be (mostly) over, cities around the country are enjoying their benefits. by Jay Walljasper posted Jun 13, 2013 Mayor Bloomberg and Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan launched Citi Bike, the nation's largest bike share system, on May 27, 2013. Photo by NYCStreets. Former New York mayor Ed
07/17/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Announcing our partnership with Bon Appétit
USE DISCOUNT CODE KU15OFF to save 15%  (excluding Vita-mix and copper cookware) Our Daily Green is proud to introduce our latest affiliate. One of the missions of this blog is to encourage healthy eating and home cooking with fresh ingredients. We've encouraged our readers to eat local and learn to cook from the inception of our blog. Our newest partnership is with a great online kitchen
07/16/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
A scorched earth: arson in Nevada and the West (guest post)
Image courtesy of :Wikimedia Commons In the dry climate pervasive throughout most of Nevada, and much of the western U.S., during the summer months, the danger for wildfires escalates to levels that are difficult to imagine in the substantially wetter states east of the Mississippi.   The moisture barrier preventing a spark from catching dissipates as rainfall diminishes for weeks or even
07/16/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Omega-3 acids linked to child allergies (repost)
Our Daily Green is affiliated with The Allergy Kit , a drug-free, at-home allergy treatment.  Omega-3 acids linked to child allergies  (via AFP) Omega-3 fatty acids, often taken to boost health, appear to increase the risk of childhood allergies and prostate cancer, according to two studies unveiled on Thursday. Newborns with high levels of unsaturated fats in their blood were more prone to
07/16/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
What’s your water footprint: innovative ways to conserve water in the hot summer (repost)
What‚
07/15/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Are you ready to move?
Several years ago, Our Daily Green's family was transferred to a town about 90 miles away. Though the move was in 2007, there are still boxes of stuff remaining unpacked in our home. Some of those items are childhood memorabilia that will remain packed until our children have a place of their own, but other boxes are simply things we've managed to live without for all that time.  With our oldest
07/14/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
How green is my state? (Infographic)
Produced by MPHOnline.org
07/10/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
8 grocery bill slashing fruits and veggies you can grow in a "jar" (guest post)
When one talks of bill slashing through gardening, there are a million ways to you can do this. One of the most expensive grocery items in the average household are for fruits and vegetables because they are regularly consumed on a daily basis. Growing your own fruits and vegetables, whether indoors or out, can help you significantly slash a nice percentage of your monthly grocery bill. photo
07/08/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Are compostable bags a good alternative to plastic bags?
Plastic Bag Recycling: Good Progress, but Numbers Show Recycling Alone May Not Be Enough. Use of Compostable Bags Could be Key to Improving Waste Recovery (via PR Newswire) By Lynne Brum Download image Metabolix. (PRNewsFoto/Metabolix, Inc.) CAMBRIDGE, Mass., July 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- I recently read an article in Plastics and Rubber Weekly stating that in 2011, "More than one billion
07/05/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Independence Day -- Freedom from Wastefulness
This week, Our Daily Green's theme has been looking to our national past, and recognizing that we have a strong heritage of conservation, resourcefulness, and mindful eating. These are themes repeatedly addressed in this blog. Ultimately, what resonates most strongly is that embracing a life without waste is truly patriotic. Somewhere along the line, as we became prosperous, we began to equate
07/04/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Seed saving was the American way: (Monsanto, are you listening?)

Yesterday and Today


























Farmers cannot replicate Monsanto seeds for second crop, Supreme Court rules (+video) (via The Christian Science Monitor)
Farmers cannot by-pass the patent protection provided for genetically-altered seeds by producing a new generation of seeds with the same traits, the US Supreme Court ruled Monday. In a unanimous decision, the high court sided with Monsanto Co. in a‚
07/03/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
World War II conservation posters

Library of Congress
Doing the Green Thing was a popular internet meme about how our parents and grandparents just naturally conserved resources. Being green was not a political divisively stance, but instead considered patriotic.

National War Garden Commission
Library of Congress
That's something that is sorely missing in today's dialog with each other. I was recently at a graduation party and was looking for a recycling bin for my can, when someone next to me said they want to make a shirt that says F* Green. I thought it a really odd way of thinking, but the fact is, now simple conservation is considered a political statement. "Treehuggers" is thrown out as an insult. 

Library of Congress
And yet, when we travel back to the days of World War II, we learn that it was our patriotic duty to conserve all resources, including food, water, and fuel. We recycled and saved and reused scraps of any sort, including even fabric rags. Our citizens were encouraged through poster campaigns to grow their own food, can it, and save wherever possible.  

Being careful with resources was considered a matter of national pride. So as we approach Independence Day for 2013, Our Daily Green would like to encourage you to rekindle your patriotic history and think about ways you can show the world you're proud of your history and heritage in our nation.  


















07/02/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Patriotic posters promote conservation and gardening
In honor of this week's Fourth of July holiday, American Independence Day, Our Daily Green is looking back at some of our nation's historical campaigns. 

While the iconic Uncle Sam military recruiting poster, with his pointed finger beckoning "I Want You", is probably the most well known World War I posters, it was only one of over 700 posters created to promote patriotism during that era. Beginning in April 1917 through the end of the war in November, 1918, illustrators and artists submitted posters to encourage conservation, defense, and sacrifice on the home front. President Woodrow Wilson wanted to rally support from the American people. 

Under the leadership of Charles Dana Gibson, The Society of Illustrators in New York City launched what became the Division of Pictorial Publicity. These posters brilliant colors and urgent demands were a rally cry to hold the nation together." Artists utilized national symbols and icons such as the American flag, the Statue of Liberty, Uncle Sam, and the girl next door to inspire the American nation to contribute to the call of liberty. Every American citizen was asked to stand up and take his or her patriotic place in the defense of our great country. To do less would be un-American. After the war, Congress tallied up the bill and found that two-thirds of the cost of the war was raised by poster bond drives.

Our Daily Green was especially happy to see posters that encouraged gardening and food conservation. Nearly 95 years later, the sentiment still rings true. 

from the Library of Congress archives: 

07/01/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
EquityLock Protector Giveaway
In a world of the 3Rs of reduce, reuse, recycle, there is also a 4th R to consider. Repair. But how many times do we cringe when the repair bill can exceed the price of replacement? For some folks, it's reached the point of not even attempting to fix a broken appliance, assuming it's less expensive to simply buy another and dispose of the broken one.

Most homeowner insurance policies do not cover appliance repair. With the EquityLock Protector plan, you'll safeguard up to $50,000 of the value of your property and ensure your six most essential appliances are protected, including:

  • washer
  • dryer
  • refrigerator
  • microwave
  • dishwasher
  • range/oven/cooktop
Obviously, replacement is not the most earth-friendly solution. Repair is nearly always preferable to replacement and our sponsors today at EquityLock are offering one lucky reader:  

  • 6 months of EquityLock Protector (usually $79.95 a month, that‚
06/30/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
What you should know about recycling your green waste and soil
Green waste includes any off-cuts that have come from the garden, such as tree trimmings, lawn clippings and soil. The process of recycling your green waste involves the collection and processing of these organic products into quality compost material. This process is probably more detailed than you would think. Your green waste begins it‚
06/28/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Turn it off campaign from Sustainable America (infographic)


vehicle idling

06/26/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Turn it off campaign from Sustainable America (infographic and video)


vehicle idling

06/26/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
"World‚Äôs Greenest Office Building‚ÄĚ Makes Net-Zero Look Easy (reprint from YES! Magazine)
It‚
06/24/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
First Energy offering Ohio residents energy conservation kits: enroll today
save electricityFirst Energy is offering Ohio residential customers an array of energy conserving devices for the home, including nine compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), a smart strip/surge protector, a furnace filter whistle, and two LED night lights. The program began June 1, 2013 and will continue until 325,000 kits are mailed out. If demand exceeds the kits, First Energy will reevaluate the program to see if it needs to be continued.

There is no additional cost for these kits, although it has already been built into residential bills. These energy saving programs are already on the electric bills, at a cost of approximately 13-cents a month for 500 kilowatts of energy. Over a three year period, the additional cost is under $5.00.

These kits are part of First Energy's compliance with Ohio Senate Bill 221 which requires utility companies to reduce consumption.

The cost of these kits, as with the costs of all other mandated PUCO-approved residential energy efficiency programs, is paid for through a charge included in all residential customers' bills. Offering these kits is one part of our Ohio Energy Efficiency Program, which was approved by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. These programs are necessary to comply with state mandated energy efficiency requirements included in Ohio Senate Bill 221.

This program is available to Ohio residential customers of the Illuminating Company, Ohio Edison, and Toledo Edison. To enroll, you will need either an invitation code (which would have been on an insert in your monthly bill) or your 12 digit account number, which can be found on the upper right hand corner of your electric bill.

To enroll: CLICK HERE

06/24/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
What to know when you have your air conditioner serviced
air conditioning service calgary
image courtesy of: Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository
This is the time of the year as the temperatures heat up, that the whirs of air conditioners fill the air. Air conditioning can use a lot of energy, but with proper maintenance and operation, your unit will run efficiently, saving you energy. If your air conditioner isn't working its best, knowing what to talk to about with the service technician will also save troubleshooting and maximize your service call. When the homeowner calls for service, it's important to know what will be checked and what sort of maintenance will be performed to make sure the service call is a good investment. An informed consumer won't have to pay for product and service they don't need.

Clean evaporator coils and condensation trays are not only important for the unit to run efficiently, but also to ensure good indoor air quality. Dirty coils and trays can grow fungus which would be released into the air. This sort of cleaning, as well as the air filter and blower wheel, will be part of any service call.

When your technician checks the refrigerant charge level, understand that it's just as important that it not be overfilled. Also, the technician should be able to show you exactly where the leak happened and fix the source of the leak as well. If a tech cannot show you where the refrigerant leaked out and tries to explain that "after time units just need recharging", they are not qualified as a technician and you should ask them to leave.

A well trained technician will know your unit's specifications and not simply "top off" the refrigerant, which when poorly handled, can be harmful to the environment and may worsen the unit's performance. The refrigerant should be added slowly in small amounts, with a few minutes time between adding amounts, which allows the temperature and pressure time to stabilize.

Today's post has been brought to you by calgary plumber and air conditioning service calgary, to help consumers understand what to look for in qualified service. We are happy to share this information with our readers. 

06/21/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Introduction to Permaculture
Intro to Permaculture (via http://www.thebestgardening.com)
The use of pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, synthetic fertilizers, etc. is at an all-time high, especially among large agriculture growers.  Why?  Modern agricultural practices involve growing single crop species in high-density plantings in hundreds of acres of fields at a time.  Now if you‚
06/19/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Reading Labels on Food
As educated consumers continue to try to know what exactly they are eating, label reading becomes more and more important. While a casual consumer may simply try to avoid dyes or high fructose corn syrup, knowing how to read labels may actually be a matter of life and death for an allergic consumer.

Our Daily Green has chronicled misuse of the word "natural" in the past, and a recent ruling from the  United States District Court actually ruled that product with ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup and maltodextrin may continue to be labeled natural. The key for a consumer is to look past the big bold claims and again, read the fine print in the ingredients to know what they are really eating.

As Amy M. Salberg, The Real Food Lawyer explains in her recent blog post about the ruling,
The bottom line in all of this is that caveat emptor (buyer beware) is still the best way to protect yourself from false, misleading, and ambiguous claims made on food product labels. Shopping locally, and avoiding processed food, is another great way to ensure that what you are eating is truly ‚
06/18/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Gardening isn't all about the harvest: Regina Brett (syndicated column)
Gardening isn't all about the harvest: Regina Brett (via Cleveland.com)
View full sizeLynn Ischay, Plain Dealer file Gardening grows on you, even if nothing grows in your garden. I just finished planting a 4-by-14-foot garden in the backyard. This year it will be different. This year the tomatoes will form perfect orbs. This year the rabbits won't eat the pepper leaves‚
06/12/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Origami-Inspired Self-Irrigating Garden Kit (Kickstarter Campaign)
This Origami-Inspired Self-Irrigating Planter May be the Coolest Urban Garden Kit Yet (via The Cultureist)

With the sale of vegetable seeds surpassing that of flowers for the first time since the 1940‚
06/12/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Green cleaning goes past the home
  • Green Cleaning in the Home and Wider Organizations: Just like charity, equality and many other issues, being green begins at home. The use of environmentally friendly cleaning products is gaining popularity as we realize the potential dangers of using chemicals in our homes, not only to the environment but also to our well-being too. Many household cleaning products contain chemicals that could potentially harm our environment, including pesticides and bleach. While many have began to think about the cleaning products they use in their homes, how much have companies thought about their own cleaning?
  • Cleaning Outside of the Home: Think about the amount of cleaning that is done outside the home. Your office, for example, will get cleaned at least once a week, and the toilets more often. Hotels, hostels and hospitals clean their rooms and do tons of laundry every day. Lots of cleaning, using lots of chemicals, occurs all the time, and we don‚
06/11/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
YoKids sMOOthies Review
Yogurt Smoothies
Just in time for summer travel, Our Daily Green has a special review for our readers. It's hard to find healthy food on the road. When we were contacted by the folks at Stonyfield to do a review of their newest yogurt product, we were thrilled.

We have a darling niece and nephew who love to help out Aunt FreshGreenKim with reviews, especially if it's something to eat! When we received our coupons for 6-packs of YoKids sMOOthies, they went straight to our favorite little ones and we patiently awaited their input.

The kids loved them! In their own words, as told to my sister-in-law,
Layla says: Yummy! Really yummy! I love them sooo much too! Louie says: Very creamy. I really like their strawberry banana! I like yo kids better than [other brand, non organic] yogurt smoothies.
The picture below has a cute story. They loved testing the sMOOthies so much, but my sister-in-law couldn't find her camera and made them wait to finish the last two. But my little niece secretly drank one and put the empty in the recycling bin. Shen she confessed that she drank one of the last smoothies, there was only one left for my nephew.

organic yogurt drink by stonyfield
Therefore, the pictures shows my triumphant nephew enjoying the last remaining smoothie and my sad niece learning a lesson .
They said, "Thank you for the free organic goodness!"

Even more interesting, their mom had the opportunity to explain why the strawberry yogurt wasn't bright pink or red like the others they have had. Thanks to Stonyfield for leaving the dye out of YoKids sMOOthies!
Ingredients:
CULTURED PASTEURIZED ORGANIC LOW FAT MILK, ORGANIC SUGAR, ORGANIC CARROT PUREE, ORGANIC STRAWBERRY PUREE, ORGANIC BANANA PUREE, NATURAL FLAVOR, ORGANIC TAPIOCA STARCH, ORGANIC RADISH AND ORGANIC BLACK CURRANT JUICE CONCENTRATES (FOR COLOR), VITAMIN D3. CULTURES: S. THERMOPHILUS, L. BULGARICUS, L. ACIDOPHILUS, BIFIDUS, AND L. RHAMNOSUS

06/11/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
It’s a Biofuel, It’s a Rubber Glove…No, It’s Guayule!
06/10/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Natural weed control for patios
Summer time means patio time. One of the popular choices for professional patio paving,  is System Pavers interlocking paving stones. These strong stones come in a variety of different shapes, styles and colors and can be selected to match the existing architectural style of the home or building exteriors to make a completed whole.

To enjoy the outdoors and have a smooth surface that endures all types of weather, homeowners choose patios by System Pavers. Designing the patio stones are available that will look amazing with the home or commercial setting where the patio is to be installed. Mediterranean, contemporary and old European styles of paving stones are manufactured by System Pavers. One or two colors that match the home's exterior can be selected for a solid color or two-toned patterns. The stones are chosen as functional patios for outdoor entertaining, quiet gardens and active use like for basketball practice.

patio paving
photo courtesy of: wikimedia commons
Regardless of the type of patio paving a homeowner chooses, they will still want to control the weeds. One of the most effective ways to kill weeds growing between the pavers is boiling water, which will kill all vegetation, without chemicals. The pavers are heat safe and will not crack and the weeds will be gone. Another method to remove weeds is a solution of vinegar and water, with a few drops of dish soap, which serves as a bonding agent, although vinegar works best on baby seedling plants, not established ones. A last solution is rubbing alcohol, used in the same way with a few drops of dish soap. It draws the water out of the plant causing it to dry up.

The shape of the terrain and the size of the area where the patio is going are significant elements. These factors help determine the shape of the patio and the pattern in which the stones are laid. The stones can be laid in uniformly strait lines or swirls, circles and other geometric patterns. Using the Patio Space owners can begin using their patio soon after all the planning, designing and installing is completed. Claiming the space means setting up the basketball hoop or putting out the outdoor furniture. Plants can take up residence in the planters instead of between the pavers. System Pavers helps make dream outdoor living spaces a reality.

Today's post has been brought to you by a sponsor, but we're always happy to encourage our readers different ways to enjoy the outdoors. 
06/09/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
The Story of our Toxic Food System (infographic)



06/07/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Pesticide Exposure Linked To Rising Rate Of Food Allergies Among U.S. Children

Pesticide Exposure Linked To Rising Rate Of Food Allergies Among U.S. Children : Healthy Living : Medical Daily

A recent study indicates that people exposed to germicides and pesticides may be prone to develop food allergies.  Chemicals in these products have been speculated to lower the body‚
06/07/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Simple home remedies for carpet stains
ABC Rug and Carpet Care
image courtesy of: wikimedia commons
One of the overriding concerns of homeowners with children and pets are the possible toxins used to keep their home clean. The flip side is that having children and pets in a home make it difficult to keep it clean.

Our Daily Green is always happy to share simple, non-toxic, and even theoretically edible solutions to cleaning our homes. Carpets are one of the problem areas in the home, but we have several home remedies right in your cabinet when something gets spilled on the carpet.

One of the best instant deodorizers and cleaners for a pet stain is simple white vinegar. Just douse the stain with vinegar, place a thick towel on the stain, set something heavy on it to absorb the moisture and leave it sit for about an hour. After the stain is absorbed, let the fiber dry and the odor is gone with the stain.

For greasy stains, believe it or not, cornmeal will absorb the stain and fluff the carpet so it's as good as new. Just sprinkle the cornmeal on the stain, give it an hour to absorb the grease and vacuum. Cornmeal can also be mixed with baking soda and sprinkled around the entire carpet as a deodorizer.

After a rough day of cleaning up after the pets and kids, imagine your horror when the glass of red wine you were drinking to relax spills on the carpet. Again, you've got a solution right in your pantry. Don't rub the stain, but instead cover it with salt. The salt will keep the stain from spreading. Let it dry and vacuum it up.

This will keep your carpets clean and stain free in between professional cleanings, while keeping toxic chemicals to a minimum.

Today's post was brought to you by our friends at ABC Rug and Carpet Care




06/07/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Refurbished outdoor furniture
Patio Guys
image courtesy of: Wikimedia Commons
Now that the weather is warmer around the nation, folks are looking to relax outdoors, and breathe in some fresh air. An attractive and functional outdoor living space is one of the most popular trends in magazines and television programs.

If you haven't priced patio furniture lately, you may be in for some sticker shock. Quality outdoor furniture can be as pricey, if not more so, than indoor furniture.

Outdoor furniture needs not only to be comfortable, but also durable. We'd also like to make sure it's attractive. As I've gotten older, I've found myself lamenting our disposable word of poorly made goods and echo the refrain of my grandparents,  "they don't make things like they used to." But that does not need to hinder your outdoor living. Even if you don't have older furniture, combing thrift shops, flea markets and estate sales for quality vintage patio furniture can be half the joy of spending time outdoors, which also supports the green reminder to "re-use" as often as possible.

Even if it looks a little unsightly, an affordable way to enliven it is by refinishing it. Refinishing furniture can be done by professionals who can bring your old furniture back to life. It can be painted in brilliant colors that energize your outdoor space. If you want your outdoor decor to be more modern or contemporary, you can have your furniture painted in black, white or various shades of neutral. If your old furniture needs more than paint, professionals can also repair your broken or slightly damaged furniture. You can have furniture that looks new, but has the unique quality of a vintage piece without breaking the bank.

Today's post has been brought to you by a sponsor, but our love of re-using vintage items is one of the best things about being green. 

06/07/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Sustainable Energy Forum: what I learned

subtitle: why shale gas/hydraulic fracturing is here to stay and what can a green minded person really do?

For many years now, Our Daily Green has wanted to tackle the topic of fracking. Years ago, we saw an alarming piece on 60 Minutes news show and started to dig a little deeper. The deeper I dug the more confused I became. There is so much money and opportunity in the prospect that a lot of propaganda is out there, making it difficult to separate truth from fiction. 

FrackingI spoke with professors of geology, I spoke to farmers, I spoke to environmentalists and business folk. Then a survey conducted by Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication found that 58% of their participants didn't even have an opinion about fracking. 

With so much misinformation out there, I signed up to attend a Sustainable Energy Forum at our local university. Experts from all around the nation came to talk to the attendees, who included local business people, professors, students, and journalists. Strangely absent were any staunch environmentalists, at least not that I spoke with. 

Then the presenters began, they included politicians, researchers, government leaders, and utility companies. I listened with rapt attention expecting to hear about developments in the area of wind, solar, and water as energy sources. Instead the bulk of the presenters talked about shale gas, a fossil fuel. 

At this point in time, only about 13% of the United States power comes from renewable resources. In other words, 87% of the energy we use comes from fossil fuels. From listening to Cynthia A. Powell, PhD., Director Office of Research & Development for the National Energy Technology Laboratory, companies are looking more at more efficient uses of fossil fuels, instead of developing renewable resources. She explained that 57% of the energy generated is rejected energy, meaning the energy released is greater than the energy used in the process. 

Speaker after speaker at the forum addressed the ways that fossil fuel, and specifically the shale natural gas reserves are the immediate answer to our energy concerns. 

57% of energy is rejected
I share this information to encourage realistic discussion. Hydraulic fracturing will not be stopped. But it's reasonable to expect safety measures and environmental concerns to be addressed. I encourage all like minded folks to adopt some realistic approaches to these concerns. This is no time to be Don Quioxte chasing windmills (which would be an excellent source of energy, incidentally). Instead, we need to look at what the industry is doing and consider the ways we to make our concerns heard in a realistic voice. I have avoided this topic on Our Daily Green for far too long. I also am concerned but want to find realistic solutions to such concerns. 

In all fairness, our region's economy stands to benefit tremendously from fracking. And yet, serious concerns linger about the safety to our water supply and the stability. Are we robbing Peter to pay Paul? Are we selling our future for our present comforts? What else can an energy-minded green-thinking consumer do? Conserve energy whenever possible. Unless we do not use transportation, do not use plastic, do not drive, or do not use electricity, we are beholden to whatever source of energy our suppliers offer. 

Protest upon protest will not stop it.  It seems that a better use of our time would be to work with legislators trying to repeal the "Halliburton loophole" from the Bush-Cheney 2005  Energy Policy Act exempted hydraulic fracturing from the Safe Drinking Water Act. On May 2, 2013, The H.R. 1921: Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act of 2013 was introduced and quickly referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. It has less than a 2% chance of getting out of committee. That's not acceptable. Contact the people on the committee and voice your concerns. 

5/9/2013--Introduced.
Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act of 2013 - Amends the Safe Drinking Water Act to repeal the exemption from restrictions on underground injection of fluids or propping agents granted to hydraulic fracturing operations related to oil, gas, or geothermal production activities under such Act.
Requires:
(1) state underground injection programs to direct a person conducting hydraulic fracturing operations to disclose to the state (or the Administrator if the Administrator has primary enforcement responsibility in such state) the chemicals intended for use in underground injections prior to the commencement of such operations and the chemicals actually used after the end of such operations, and
(2) a state or the Administrator to make such disclosure available to the public.
Requires a person conducting hydraulic fracturing operations, when a medical emergency exists and the proprietary chemical formula of a chemical used in such operations is necessary for medical treatment, to disclose such formula or the specific chemical identity of a trade secret chemical to the state, the Administrator, or the treating physician or nurse upon request, regardless of whether a written statement of need or a confidentiality agreement has been provided.
Authorizes such person to require a written statement of need and a confidentiality agreement as soon thereafter as circumstances permit.

For a continual update on the news surrounding this issue, Scientific American has published The Evolving Truth about Fracking for Natural Gas

We need to be informed, insist on regulations for safety, and conserve. 
06/06/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
The Do’s and Don’ts of hiding your septic tank (guest post)
A septic tank in your garden isn't something you want on show and visible to all your guests. It‚
06/05/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Allergy meds could affect your driving (from FDA consumer updates)
FDA consumer updates

Our Daily Green is affiliated with The Allergy Kit, a drug-free, at-home alternative therapy for allergies


06/04/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Infographic: Renewable Energy
06/02/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
How to choose your eggs
The last time I stood in the grocery store, comparing prices of a dozen eggs, I shook my head in cofusion, knowing that despite the claims, most grocery store eggs still are not exactly what we want to be eating. Labeling laws and regulations tiptoe the edge of honesty. Technically, there is truth in advertising, but just barely.

Egg cartons are emblazoned with feel good words intended to convince the consumer of the healthy and wholesome conditions the chickens are raised under. But what does that really mean to the person eating the eggs? 

In short? Very little. 

Consumers need to understand that the job of the package is to sell the product, and that marketing experts will sell in any way they can. Some terms to be wary about on egg packages include: 
cage free chickens
image courtesy of: wikimedia commons
  • Cage-Free: Means exactly that. The chickens aren't in a cage. They may however be packed into a crowded barn with no access to the outdoors. In fact, cage free chickens are often subjected to the cruel practice of beak trimming to ensure they don't hurt each other in their crowded conditions. 
  • Free-Range: Means they have access to the outside. Access is legally defined as a door. Outside may be nothing more than a small square of dirt. Outside is not a bucolic pasture where chickens are in the sunshine breathing fresh air and pecking at bugs. In fact, chickens are not even required to have access until they are 5 weeks old, at which time, their habits are already established.
  • Organic: While this term is regulated and indicates the sort of diet the chickens are fed, they still may live in overcrowded coops, with minimal access to the outside. It's just that their food is organic, and free of hormones and antibiotics. 
If your eggs come from a commercial egg producer, they probably do not have the health benefits that true free-range, organic diet, cage-free, yard roaming chickens have. Eggs from truly free chickens actually have up to six times the vitamin D that a standard egg has, as the hen absorbs the sunshine vitamin which becomes part of her egg. 

The only way for a consumer to truly know they are getting the healthiest and safest eggs is to buy from a local farmer or raise their own chickens

05/30/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Why Grass Fed Beef is Better for You (Infographic)
05/25/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
The dangers of chlorine
A chlorine allergy is often difficult to diagnose because few people associate showering with an allergic reaction. However, while chlorine kills harmful bacteria in drinking water, it can also cause dry skin, eye irritation, sneezing, congestion and coughing. But even without a specific allergy, about 66% of a person's exposure to chlorine is not through drinking water, but through steam and skin absorption.

chlorine removal
photo courtesy of: wikimedia commons
Chlorine damages the moist tissues such as eyes, throat and lungs. There are several harmful effects of repeatedly showering with chlorinated water. It significantly reduces the natural moisture retention in your skin which ages the skin. Water that contains harsh chemicals can also cause breathing problems. When you inhale chlorinated water from showering regularly, you are inhaling chlorine gas that can eventually increase your risks of acquiring severe medical conditions.

Fortunately, there are products on the market that will filter and eliminate the chlorine and other harmful contaminants. A quality shower head filter will significantly reduce your chances of suffering detrimental side effects of contaminated shower water. Buy a shower head filter at SanteForHealth.com, and you will eliminate chlorine and other contaminants that are found in unfiltered shower water.

SanteForHealth.com has been in business since 1978, and the company is committed to helping as many customers as possible equip their homes and offices with water filters, shower head filters and water softeners to promote healthy lifestyles as well as overall physical health of people. The shower head filters offered by SanteForHealth.com particularly reduces up to 99% of chlorine in water and decrease the levels of lead and copper found in unfiltered water.

disclosure: Our Daily Green has been compensated for this post. Nonetheless, we have written previously about the effects of chlorine and highly recommend filters that remove chlorine from shower water. 



05/25/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Houseplant care for the novice
photo courtesy of wikimedia commons
Over the years, Our Daily Green has received numerous houseplants as gifts. While we've had moderate success with outdoor plants, our indoor plants never seem to survive. Houseplants not only compliment any decor, several species also clean the air, removing indoor toxins such as formaldehyde and benzene. But that only works if the plant thrives. Fortunately, we've just learned about a fascinating website with comprehensive information for anything houseplant related called Houseplant411.com.

The first step towards a green thumb is to know what sort of plant you have. With a few clicks, you soon will know how to identify a houseplant a Houseplant411.com. Within seconds, a full color, alphabetical directory of any sort of houseplant is at your fingertips. With over 100 different houseplant varieties listed in the Popular Houseplants section, the detailed descriptions make identification easy for anyone.

This site goes beyond identification. Once you identify the plant, you will find detailed care instructions as well as solutions for common problems that plant may have. Additionally, there is a dedicated section for houseplant selection, so you can choose a plant that will thrive whether your space has little, medium or abundant sunshine. You can also choose plants based on ease of care as well as size and toxicity. There are plants for any color thumb, but with this site, soon your thumb will turn green, as you will learn how to be a plant whisperer. There is even a way to sign up for watering reminders for your plants and a question and answer link if you cannot find the information you need on the site. With Houseplant411.com, you'll have the best houseplant for your lifestyle, climate, and expertise.

disclosure: This post has been brought to you by a sponsor, and Our Daily Green is really excited to learn more about houseplant care as a result! 


05/25/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
The Kashi REAL Project

Disclosure: Our Daily Green promotes companies and causes that we believe are committed to helping us make healthier choices. In our opinion, Kashi has responded appropriately to criticism and has partnered with the non-profit verification organization, Non-GMO Project. To learn more about the ways Kashi is involved in helping bring healthier foods to our nation, watch their video. 

Let's get real. Watch the video and Kashi will donate $2 to HealthCorps!*

Did you know that about 9 out of 10 of high school students don't eat enough fruits and vegetables? This is why HealthCorps is empowering high school students to take charge of their health and eat more nutritious foods. Take a step into the HealthCorps classroom and get a taste of what students are learning about the importance of common fruits and vegetables:
1) Sweet Potatoes - This root vegetable is a member of the morning glory family and provides a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and fiber.
2) Tomatoes ‚
05/24/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Save energy by servicing your air conditioner

air conditioning service hamilton
As the weather warms up and the plants and flowers explode with pollen, many allergy sufferers are closing the house and turning on the air conditioning. 

With the increased air conditioner use, energy and monthly bills also increase. One of the easiest ways to keep the cost at a minimum is to regularly service your air conditioner. 

According to the Energy Star site, a technician should check the following items in a service call: 
  • Tighten all electrical connections and measure voltage and current on motors. Faulty electrical connections can cause risky operation of your system and reduce the life of major components.
  • Grease all moving parts. Parts that lack lubrication cause friction in motors and increases the amount of electricity you use.
  • Inspect the condensation drain in your central air conditioner. A plugged drain can cause water damage in the house and affect indoor humidity levels.
  • Clean evaporator and condenser air conditioning coils. Dirty coils reduce the system's ability to cool the home, causing the system to run longer which increases the energy costs and reduces the life of the equipment.
  • Check refrigerant level and adjust if necessary. Too much or too little refrigerant will make your system less efficient increasing energy costs and reducing the life of the equipment.
  • Clean and adjust blower components to provide proper system airflow for greater comfort levels. Airflow problems can reduce your system's efficiency by up to 15 percent.
A well run unit can save both energy and money and is well worth the investment in a service call. 

Disclosure: Today's post has been brought to you by air conditioner service hamilton. We have been compensated for this post. Regardless, it's a pleasure to share tips to save money and energy with our readers. 



05/24/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
License to Kill (reprint from OtherWords.org)

Without environmental regulations, many companies would gladly poison you to earn bigger profits.

David Reingold
Regulations stink, right? Lots of politicians run on promises that they‚
05/22/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Enabling Greed Makes U.S. Sick (reprint)
Enabling Greed Makes U.S. Sick (via Moyers & Company)
At the end of a week that reminds us to be ever vigilant about the dangers of government overreaching its authority, whether by the long arm of the IRS or the Justice Department, we should pause to think about another threat ‚
05/20/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Asparagus and FAGE Greek yogurt recipe
One of the hottest new items in the grocery store is Greek yogurt. We had tried different brands from time to time and were always quite pleased with the thicker texture, but never really knew why or what the reason was for the difference from the regular yogurt we had enjoyed in the past.

After a little research, we learned that the primary difference between Greek yogurt and regular yogurt is amount of water/whey content. Greek yogurt is made by straining the regular yogurt at least three times thereby removing the whey. This makes Greek yogurt thicker and creamier.

Because more milk is required to make Greek yogurt, it is often more expensive, but it also is much more dense with proteins, calcium, and probiotics. The Greek yogurts have 10 to 14 grams of protein per serving compared with 3 to 10 grams in the other yogurts.

Our Daily Green had a chance to work with FAGE Total Greek Yogurt this past month. We received coupons to try their product in recipes, as part of Bobby Flay's Fill the Fridge recipe challenge. With asparagus in season locally around the nation and here in Ohio, we jumped on the opportunity to try:


Asparagus with Dijon Cream Sauce

Asparagus

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 Cup FAGE Total 2%
  • 1 Pound Fresh Asparagus
  • 1/4 Teaspoon finely chopped tarragon
  • 1/4 Teaspoon finely chopped parsley
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Dijon coarse ground mustard
  • 1/8 Teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Preparation Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In small bowl, add yogurt, horseradish, both Dijon mustards, and stir to combine. Set aside, or refrigerate until asparagus is roasted.
  3. Thoroughly wash and dry asparagus and trim tough ends. If using asparagus with thick stalks, peel lower half. Place asparagus on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and toss to completely coat. Spread in a single layer and sprinkle with black pepper.
  4. Roasting time will vary depending on the thickness of asparagus. For very thin asparagus, begin checking after 8 minutes. Thicker asparagus, 12 ‚
05/19/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Schwinn Windwood Bike Giveaway!
Bike to Work Day

2013's annual Bike to Work Day takes place this Friday in cities around the United States. Biking not only saves gasoline, but in turn improves health. According to the website for the annual event, some of the benefits include:
  • Reduced Health Care Costs ‚
05/14/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
May is Food Allergy Awareness Month
Allergy Awareness

Our Daily Green is affiliated with The Allergy Kit. Learn more about what helped with our allergies. 

05/14/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Arizona Summer Flowers

For the Arizona gardener, the summer can be a difficult time to get anything to sprout.  The months of June, July, and August always experience high temperatures that rarely get less than 100 degrees.  Not only does the high heat affect plants growth, but the dryness of the air makes it a daunting task for any plant to break through the soil.  There is a list however, of plants that thrive in the harsh dry heat.  Many make for a great addition to your garden and require little work.  Here are some flowers to consider in your desert summer garden. 

bougainvilleas1)  Bougainvilleas flower:  This flower is a flower that has very vibrant colors during the intense summer season.  The flowers it produces range in color from bright pink, purple and white which make the flower stand out with as a very beautiful and ornamental plant.  The plant is drought tolerant and does not require very much water to thrive on.  The plant is thorny and must be treated with caution when clipping it and the sap is also known to cause rashes when exposed to the skin.

2)  Lantanas:  These flowers are of tropical decent; however they do very well in dry hot regions of the world including Australia.  The flowers of this plant are vibrant when it gets hot and include a mix of colors including red, orange, yellow, blue, and white.  As the plant matures, the flowers tend to change color and become more vibrant.  They require full sun and attract hummingbirds and bees.  It is a good idea to keep your eye on this plant though, as they are prone to becoming infested with pests. 

3)  The Vinca Rosea:  Also known as the catharanthus roseus or the Madagascar periwinkle is a very ornamental plant that is native to Madagascar.  During the hot summer, it has vibrant purple leaves that dwell in the sunlight.  This flower can grow in a pot, or in the desert ground.  The plant requires full sunlight in the summer time.  During the winter they will begin to yellow a little bit, but once the temperature comes back up, they begin to grow again and show off their purple leaves.     

Nerium Oleander 4)  Oleander:  The Nerium Oleander is a great summer plants that blossoms in Phoenix between the months of May and October.  They come in colors of red, pink, white, and purple and come in different sizes.  This is one of the best Arizona plants because it does not require much water, does require sun exposure, and grows best in sandy soil.  The only precaution is they are poisonous to children or animals if ingested.

 



Is your garden drip system in need of some repair?  AZ Sprinkler is your source for top end parts and installation to ensure that your garden will thrive any time of the year by getting the water it needs, when it needs it.  

disclosure: This post has been brought to you by a sponsor. However, Our Daily Green loves to know what sort of plants thrive in different climates. Keeping a watering system in top repair is always of interest and something our readers appreciate as well.
05/08/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
The wonders of Shea butter
organic raw shea butter

Our Daily Green recently received some products to try from the the folks over at Nourish Organic, a cosmetics company based in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. Our package included the Nourish Organic Raw Shea Butter and the Nourish Organic Body Wash in Lavender Mint.

While both products are manufactured in cruelty free, chemical free, concern free ways, we want to focus on Shea butter as a beauty treatment. We have been extremely impressed with this simple, yet extremely effective moisturizer and wanted to learn more about the raw material.

Shea butter is derived from the Shea tree, which grows wild in Africa and requires no water or chemicals to grow. The only real threat to this resource is that the Shea tree is used for the production of charcoal and firewood. It is predominantly grown in the West African nations of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Republic of Central Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo,  Cote D'Ivoire, Chad, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Togo and Uganda.


The Shea butter industry is mainly driven by the work of women across West Africa. Women collect the Shea nuts, extract the butter and sell the refined product. According to Brenda Chalfin's book Shea Butter Republic, shea has gone from a commodity for the indigenous people of Africa to a postindustrial world luxury. In Ghana and Burkina Faso there are a million Shea butter producers. Shea butter production requires lots of manual work, since machines are not readily available for the women producing Shea. The labor is mostly all done manually with little to no technology.

Shea is considered a "tree of life" for several reasons, from the healing properties of the butter to the economic opportunities it provides for millions in West Africa.

We absolutely loved the product from Nourish Organic and highly recommend it to our readers. At this time, through the end of the May, they are offering a buy one, get one free offer exclusively through their online shopping store.

Disclosure: Our Daily Green received a complimentary 5.5 oz jar of Nourish Organic raw shea butter. We were so impressed by the product that we were inspired to learn more, which prompted today's post. 



05/06/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Is your lip color safe?
Last week, the University of California at Berkeley released the results of their lipstick study. Researchers discovered that an average lipstick user might get 20% or more of their maximum safe daily intake of lead, aluminum, cadmium and manganese just from their lip product.

According to the study's principal investigator S. Katharine Hammond, professor of environmental health sciences,
Vapour Organic Beauty Lipstick and lip gloss are of special concern because when they are not being blotted on tissue or left as kiss marks, they are ingested or absorbed, bit by bit, by the individual wearing them. The researchers developed definitions for average and high use of lip makeup based on usage data reported in a previous study. Average use was defined as daily ingestion of 24 milligrams of lip makeup per day. Those who slather on the lip color and reapply it repeatedly could fall into the high use category of 87 milligrams ingested per day.
Currently, there are no U.S. standards for metal content in cosmetics while in Europe, cadmium, chromium and lead are banned ‚
05/06/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
The Wonders of Shea Butter
organic raw shea butter

Our Daily Green recently received some products to try from the the folks over at Nourish Organic, a cosmetics company based in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. Our package included the Nourish Organic Raw Shea Butter and the Nourish Organic Body Wash in Lavender Mint.

While both products are manufactured in cruelty free, chemical free, concern free ways, we want to focus on Shea butter as a beauty treatment. We have been extremely impressed with this simple, yet extremely effective moisturizer and wanted to learn more about the raw material.

Shea butter is derived from the Shea tree, which grows wild in Africa and requires no water or chemicals to grow. The only real threat to this resource is that the Shea tree is used for the production of charcoal and firewood. It is predominantly grown in the West African nations of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Republic of Central Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo,  Cote D'Ivoire, Chad, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Togo and Uganda.


The Shea butter industry is mainly driven by the work of women across West Africa. Women collect the Shea nuts, extract the butter and sell the refined product. According to Brenda Chalfin's book Shea Butter Republic, shea has gone from a commodity for the indigenous people of Africa to a postindustrial world luxury. In Ghana and Burkina Faso there are a million Shea butter producers. Shea butter production requires lots of manual work, since machines are not readily available for the women producing Shea. The labor is mostly all done manually with little to no technology.

Shea is considered a "tree of life" for several reasons, from the healing properties of the butter to the economic opportunities it provides for millions in West Africa.

We absolutely loved the product from Nourish Organic and highly recommend it to our readers. At this time, through the end of the May, they are offering a buy one, get one free offer exclusively through their online shopping store.

Disclosure: Our Daily Green received a complimentary 5.5 oz jar of Nourish Organic raw shea butter. We were so impressed by the product that we were inspired to learn more, which prompted today's post. 



05/06/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Five ways to see if you have a water leak
vaughan plumber
plumbing scarborough

A water leak in the home can waste a significant amount of water, costing the homeowner money, not to mention the environmental cost of wasting water. According to the US Geological Survey, a faucet that drips once a minute, will waste approximately 34 gallons of water annually. Multiply that by several faucets or at a faster rate and the amount grows exponentially. Sometimes the water leak is not easy to detect or find.

Our Daily Green has a few hints to determining if there is a leak in your home:

  • Look around the outside of your house for unusual puddles or large wet spots. That may indicate a leak.
  • Study your water bills for any unusual spike in usage.
  • Know where your water meter is and look at the indicator to see if it is visibly moving.
  • When you know that your house will be empty for any amount of time (weekend or vacation) log the meter numbers. If it changes when you return, knowing there was no water used, you have a leak.
  • To determine if your toilet is leaking, put red food coloring in the tank and do not flush the toilet. Check periodically to see if the water in the bowl is red, which indicates a leak. 
plumbing scarborough
vaughan plumber


Lastly, if you find a water leak, or suspect one, contact a local plumbing professional. The money spent to fix the leak properly will pay for itself. 



Images provided courtesy of wikipedia commons. 

This post has been brought to you by a sponsor, but nonetheless, our thoughts about a dripping faucet or leaky toilet are entirely our own, it's annoying and wasteful, but can be fixed. 




05/02/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
How to Send Less Trash to the Landfill (reprint from OtherWords.org)
Make a down payment on your own soil's fertility by composting.

Jill RichardsonMy new neighbor knocked on my door and introduced herself as the vice president of the local homeowner‚
04/28/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
The benefits of reusing a cup
Click image to see a larger version or to grab the code to share on your website or blog Why Reuse a Cup? 
04/25/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Acting Green versus Buying Green
Yesterday's Earth Day post encouraged us to truly consider the "stuff" we generate. For the consumer who chooses not to buy new "green" things, here are some ways to get the same energy efficiency from your current showerhead, lightbulbs, air conditioner, washer, and toilet. Mindful behavior is as good as mindful purchasing.

Acting Green vs. Buying Green
Source: eLocal.com
04/23/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Get your garden going with Sprout It!
What day is better to start your garden than Earth Day? Well, interestingly enough, depending on where you live, today may NOT be the best day to start a garden. You may have missed the day or it may be in a few weeks. 

Gardening is not difficult, but it does take a little planning. With increasing concern for locally sourced food, it's tough to get much more local than your own yard. Our Daily Green has always had some sort of little garden because I truly cannot imagine a summer without picking a tomato right off the vine and eating it in the sunshine. In fact, my oldest child's first food was actually a tomato. I had seated her in her high chair out on our the covered deck of our first home. As I was picking fresh tomatoes, she grabbed one right off the ledge and started gumming it. I couldn't believe when I looked up to see her toothless smiling face with tomato seeds dripping down her chin. What a great gardening memory! Over the years, we've grown an assortment of herbs and vegetables for our family, although some years were more successful than others. 

Sprout ItI grew up on a farm so I always "knew" or could ask Mom any gardening question I had. That isn't the case with most beginning gardeners. It can also be a bit intimidating as an amateur to try to formulate questions for an expert gardener. Don't fear, now there is an app for that! The folks at Sprout It! have formulated a gardening app for anyone from novice to expert gardener. You can learn when to plant seeds outdoors, what gardening zone you're in, and how to care for your new plants from seed to food. 

And according to the experts at Sprout It, today is a great day to start my basil indoors, but not to sow seeds outdoors. I can almost taste the fresh pesto! 

If you're ready to start a garden, Sprout It is ready to help you succeed. 

Happy Growing! 




04/22/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Earth Day 2013
Once again, the world rallies around itself today on Earth Day. Earth Day has gone from an activist led event in Washington DC to a marketing expo of month long proportions. Make no mistake, Our Daily Green has benefited nicely from the intense focus on earth friendly products in the way of increased reviews and blog sponsors. We are not going to bite the hand that feeds us.

But we want to be clear, beyond the array of products and giveaways, beyond the contests and promotions, beyond painting the town green (undoubtedly with non-toxic paint), Earth Day should be about genuinely changing habits and lifestyles. It should be about mindful purchasing, if we even purchase. It should be about using what we have, buying what we need, and questioning our rampant disposable consumer society. 

This past week, our local garbage collectors were on strike and nobody's rubbish was collected. Several of my fellow townsfolk left their garbage at the curb, waiting for the strike to break, while it seemed that daily the mound of trash at the end of each driveway increased by a bag. Not to be smug, but our bin wasn't even 1/3 full (and that still felt like a little too much). Even after another week, the strike could continue with little personal effect on Our Daily Green's home. 

Owly ImagesI was a little disgusted as I saw the mountains of trash grow in my own neighborhood each day. In one week, my entire area seemed buried in its own wastefulness. It was a sad statement to what we have begun to take for granted, the world of disposables. We don't think twice about drinking from a bottle once and throwing it out, or carrying food home in a container and immediately throwing it out. We wipe up spills with paper and throw it out, we sip coffee from a styrofoam cup and throw it out, we leave a path of trash and waste in our wake. And in one week, we were overflowing. 

Annie Leonard, of The Story of Stuff fame had a poignant reminder, There is no such thing as "away". When we throw anything away it must go somewhere. This past week, with the garbage strike, that somewhere was "right here", at the end of our own driveways. The trash generated in only one week was overflowing.

To celebrate Earth Day, Our Daily Green again urges our readers to reconsider every purchase and action they make, from the coffee in a disposable cup to start the day, to the paper towel to wipe up the spills, the plastic bottle of water we open before we turn on the faucet,  to the plastic bags used to carry home the stuff we purchase, we need to start making a conscientious change in our actions. Slow down and think how long your item will last and if it's something intended for single use, rethink it. Stop throwing out so much stuff.

Several recent movies depict a world far in the future that is either overflowing with trash or completely uninhabitable due to the trash. I used to think that was an alarmist view. After one week, I realize the only part of the movies that was unrealistic was the far in the future part. It's a lot closer and lot sooner than we realize and we need to reverse that trend. 

04/22/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Eco-advantages to Paper Cartons: Infographic and Contest Announcement
While recycling is becoming more commonplace around the nation, now the question remains what sorts of materials are the easiest to recycle. Our Daily Green has discouraged the use of plastic whenever possible because while it can be recycled, the demand for replacements remains, as plastic bottles and bags do not become plastic bottles or bags again. In order to make more plastic bottles and bags, new virgin petroleum must be used. Paper cartons are a much better consumer choice from an earth-friendly view.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER! 

Our friends at Choose Cartons want to hear from you! They want to know how YOU make earth-friendly choices when you shop. Tell them how on their Facebook page and you will be entered to win a weekly prize as well as the grand prize of a Trek bicycle valued at $900. The Trek bicycle is built in a way that reduces manufacturing impact and shipped with packing made from 70-90% recycled materials.

  • Weekly Prize #1 ‚
04/20/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Share and Tell for Earth Week
Did you know that for every pound of new goods produced, 71 pounds of waste are generated during manufacturing? This Earth Week, NBCUniversal is partnering with the sharing site yerdle to help you minimize your impact on the planet by sharing your stuff. One person‚
04/19/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
The Army Goes Off the Grid (from OtherWords.org)

Fort Bliss, a base near El Paso, is a hotbed of solar power and other green energy initiatives


Do you know about ‚
04/18/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Five Keys to Reading and Understanding Food Labels
One of the most confusing things a consumer has to do is read labels in the grocery store. With loosely or completely unregulated terms allowed on packaging, the frustration behind understanding the meaning of each term and how it's used can aggravate even the most conscientious shopper. Today, Our Daily Green wants to explain five terms that may sound good on a label but mean virtually nothing in terms of safety or healthy eating.

*Hormone Free

The USDA prohibits the use of hormones in raising poultry or hogs. Any pork or poultry that advertises itself as hormone free is merely complying with regulations in place already and must state as much. To draw an analogy, it would be like a restaurant saying their employees washed their hands before serving food. It's a given that poultry and pork are not raised with hormones. 
Where that gets confusing is regarding beef. The USDA does allow for hormones in the production of beef, therefore a label on beef that says "no hormones administered" is of value for the consumer. It indicates that they were fed a hormone-free diet. 

*Free-Range 

The USDA standard for free-range is actually rather contrived. The only regulation is that the birds have "access to the outside". In large scale, factory sorts of operations, they may be kept in the coop for the first five weeks of their lives. Many times the only access to outside is a small opening, not necessarily an open pasture or field. Since most poultry is slaughtered at seven weeks, the feeding habits are already established and the birds most likely have never set foot outdoors. The only way to ensure the poultry you purchase is truly allowed to roam outdoors, eating bugs and getting fresh air and sunshine is to actually know the farmer.

*Lean 

There is no regulation regarding the term lean. In other words, beef that has 30% fat can still call itself lean. The label may say something like 70% lean. Looking at percentages is vital to knowing how much fat is actually in the beef. Lean is simply the amount of edible muscle in the beef and merely represents the ratio of fat to beef. 

*Natural 

All Natural LabelThere are no standards for the word natural when it comes to food. Natural pretty much means whatever the company wants it to mean. In terms of meat, it means nothing was added to the meat after the slaughter to enhance the color or taste, although it says nothing about the conditions under which the meat was raised or the food it was fed, which could be far from natural. Even that term has been twisted, as chicken is often injected with a "natural" saltwater to plump up the color, taste and appearance. 
There are even more loopholes regarding the natural label for non-meat food. In fact, marketers have been trying to convince consumers that high fructose corn syrup is natural since it is derived from corn. Even more ironic, a popular lemon-lime flavored soda once billed itself as "All Natural". To simplify all this for the consumer? The word natural is meaningless on food labels. 

*Read the entire description

Juice drinks, cocktails, punches, or ades are not 100% juice. In fact, probably very little of the product actually came from the fruit. It simply means that part of the beverage is juice, sometimes as little as 5%. Usually the rest is water and sugar. 
Cheese food, cheese product, or cheese spread is not cheese. Cheese has federal guidelines for milk fat and moisture. If it's called a food, product, or spread, then it has not met those guidelines. Usually the difference is made up with oil or water to dilute the actual amount of cheese in the product. 


04/17/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Balance Dark review and giveaway
Balance Bar Dark
Balance Bar on Facebook
Our Daily Green has mentioned our busy, on-the-go family in the past. We occasionally have to rely on quick to grab, easy to eat snacks throughout the week. Any opportunity to find a healthy and tasty snack is a bonus.

A few weeks ago, the folks at Balance sent us some samples of their latest product, one that was right up my alley. Dark chocolate Balance bars. These bars are absolutely decadent and they also are a quick and easy snack to have handy when you're on the run.

Balance Bar energy bars
As pioneers in the energy bar market, Balance is committed to offering a nutritionally sound product. The bars have a 40-30-30 represents the balanced caloric ratio contained in our products. Specifically, this means that 40% of calories come from carbohydrates, 30% from protein and 30% from dietary fat. This ratio provides your body with the fuel it needs for lasting, healthy energy.

That all sounds fantastic on paper, but what about in the mouth? Well, we tried the Dark Chocolate Crunch, the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter and the Dark Chocolate Coconut bars.

They are a great alternative to the usual vending machine junk. I kept them in my purse when I knew I was going to be out and about during the day and they staved my hunger and also nourished my body. Additionally, the cocoa they use in the products is Rainforest Alliance Certified‚
04/15/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Reduce your heating bill: Infographic


04/10/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Why the Most Powerful Thing in the World Is a Seed (reprint from YES! Magazine)
04/09/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
World Allergy Week 2013
WorldAllergyWeek

Globally, 220-250 million people may suffer from food allergy and the occurrence of food allergies continues to rise in both developed and developing countries, especially in children.

This year WAO plans to highlight the need for greater awareness and understanding of food allergy as well as the exchange of ideas and collaboration in order to address a variety of safety and quality-of-life issues related to the care of patients with food sensitivity. Activities will include international teleconferences with experts presenting information about global food allergy concerns and answering questions immediately afterward.

According to Professor Ruby Pawankar, President of the World Allergy Organization, ‚
04/08/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
1800*Recycling Mobile App now available
Recycling App


Just in time for Spring cleaning, 1*800*Recycling has debuted their newest app. We've written about their first version, here. Instead of throwing things out in our attempts to clear away clutter, there is an app available to tell you exactly who can reuse or recycle your cast-offs. The zip code search engine tells folks where to recycle electronics, plastic, metal, paper, glass, household, hazardous, automobile and yard waste. From their email blast:

The all-new 1800Recycling.com mobile app - formerly known as "My Recycle List" - helps you quickly find recycling locations nearest you.
The app combines the best of My Recycle List's features with a brand new user interface. 
New and intuitive features to make the most complete recycling app available. 
This free app is still the easiest way to find convenient drop-off locations and organize your recyclables quickly and effectively. You can even share and rate your recycling experiences to help others recycle better!
Features of the all-new 1800Recycling.com mobile app


  • Easily find recycling centers by searching for whole groups of materials, or find specialized recyclers for specific materials.
  • Find nearby recycling locations using GPS, or search at a specific location.
  • In-app interactive maps and web browser.
  • Sort results by relevance, distance, or name.
  • Call recycling locations directly in-app.
  • Share your recycling locations with others via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter or text.
  • Works directly with 1800Recycling.com to search nearly 140,000 locations.
  • Covers the entire U.S. and parts of Canada.
What is new in Version 2.0


  • Optimized for iOS 6/iPhone 5 and Android Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean. 
  • Completely redesigned app interface and icon.
  • Choose multiple recyclable materials and sort by relevance.
  • Rate a recycling location and send feedback from within the app.
  • Share feature that allows individuals to share via text message, email, Facebook and Twitter.
  • One-tap access to our blogFacebook,Twitter and Pinterest pages.
The app is currently available for download in the Apple App Store for iOS devices and the Google Play Store for Android devices.
04/02/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Bulk Is Green Infographic
How often do you purchase foods in bulk? You save money and packaging. Click on this infographic to sign the pledge to buy bulk once a week during the month of April. By pledging, you're also eligible to win a $50 bulk starter kit. 

Bulk Foods

04/01/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Eggs-tra Care for Spring Celebrations (reprint from: Fight BAC!)
Fight Bac! Food Safety
It's spring -- the season to enjoy the great outdoors and celebrate special occasions, like Easter, Passover, and graduation! While eggs are used all year ‚
03/30/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
More than Honey - Markus Imhoof (Official Trailer)

More Than Honey: How Dwindling Bee Populations Impact Global Food Supply


More Than Honey FilmCleveland International Film Festival Screenings
Saturday, April 13, 2013 at 12:00 PM
Sunday, April 14, 2013 at 6:50 PM

from CIBER Science 

Searching for answers for the global bee declines director Markus Imhoof takes us on a trip around the world to meet people living with and off honeybees: almond growers in California, a Swiss mountain beekeeper, a German neuroscientist investigating bee brains, a pollen dealer in China, and bee researchers in Australia. We enter the fascinating world of a bee hive, encounter fighting queens and dancing workers face to face and experience their highly sophisticated swarm intelligence, where the individual constantly serves the requirements of the community. The film will have its world premiere on the 11th of August 2012, concluding the biggest film festival in Switzerland. It will be officially released in Europe end of October 2012 and will be distributed internationally in early 2013.

For more information: More than Honey: the movie blog
Creative Commons License:
 
by
 
sa


03/27/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
It can be done, here's how
03/22/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Ohio Flame Fire Pit Giveaway!
Ohio Flame Fire PitOur Daily Green's celebration of supporting local businesses continues today, on the first day of Spring, with our biggest giveaway ever.

A few years ago, we attended a local art show and had a conversation with one of the vendors. He made incredible steel fire pits, from heavy gauge local steel. According to Ohio Flame's website:
Ohio Flame believes strongly in ‚
03/20/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
How to Help Children Love Recycling
With constant focus on our planet and its future, every little bit helps when it comes to doing our part as humans on planet Earth. Why ask only the adults to do their part, when children can do just as well and can even enjoy it too! Here are ways to teach children how to be responsible for their global footprint while actually enjoying and learning knowledge for the future.

Children are subjected to ‚
03/19/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
The Future of Solar (infographic)
03/18/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Drawing the Line on Big Beer (from OtherWords.org)
The beer market, like the food supply, is dominated by a handful of companies.



Wenonah Hauter
Millions of Americans will enjoy a beer tonight. The vast majority of them probably won‚
03/16/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Colcannon Green for St. Patrick's Day
Kale
photo courtesy of
Wikimedia Commons
As promised, yesterday we urged our readers to forego artificially dyed food. There is nothing healthy or festive about ingesting petroleum based dyes that turn food and beverages green. Instead, there is a plethora of naturally occurring green food, including the current darling of the nutritional world, kale.

According to Nutrition and You, some of the benefits include:
  • Kale is very rich in vitamin A, 100 g leaves provide 512% of RDA. Vitamin A is required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin and is essential for vision. Foods rich in this vitamin are known to offer protection against lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • Kale is one of the excellent vegetable sources for vitamin-K; 100 g provides about 700% of recommended intake. Vitamin K has potential role bone health by promoting osteotrophic (bone formation and strengthening) activity. Adequate vitamin-K levels in the diet help limiting neuronal damage in the brain; thus, has established role in the treatment of patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
  • 100 g of fresh leaves contain 120 mg or 200% of daily-recommended levels of vitamin C. Scottish curly leaf variety yet has more of this vitamin, 130 mg/100g. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, which helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful oxygen-free radicals.
We have tried kale a few different ways. If you're not used to cooking it, there is a bit of adjustment. It's not a typical green, it's actually a member of the cabbage and broccoli family. We tried kale chips, but didn't really care for them. But when mixed with mashed potatoes? And green onions? What a great way to incorporate this highly nutritious, green-colored vegetable into your diet without DYING anything.

Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish so the timing is perfect for St. Patrick's day. In fact, I'm taking colcannon to a potluck dinner tonight. The key to working with kale is to steam it first. I do that in our microwave, with a minimal amount of water. I chop the kale leaves and then steam it for 6 minutes, until they are tender. Save the stems for other recipes (here is one for Cauliflower and Kale Stem Soup, which is what I'll do with the stems).

Without further ado, Our Daily Green presents:

Colcannon (adapted from Simply Recipes)

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes

INGREDIENTS
6 red potatoes (2 to 2 1/2 pounds), unpeeled and cut into large chunks (we like red potatoes for the color and slighly lower calories)
Salt
3 tbsp unsalted butter
3 lightly packed cups of chopped kale, steamed in microwave with small amt. of water
3 green onions (including the green onion greens), minced (about 1/2 cup)
1 cup buttermilk (we use the buttermilk and cut back on the actual butter, to save on calories)

METHOD

1 Put the potatoes in a medium pot and cover with cold water by at least an inch. Add 2 tablespoons of salt, and bring to a boil. Boil until the potatoes are fork tender (15 to 20 minutes). Drain in a colander.

2 Return the pot to the stove and set over medium-high heat. Melt the butter in the pot and once it's hot, add the pre-steamed kale. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the green onions and cook 1 minute more.

3 Pour in the buttermilk, mix well, and add the potatoes. Reduce the heat to medium. Use a fork or potato masher and mash the potatoes, mixing them up with the greens. Add salt to taste and serve hot, with a knob of butter in the center.



03/15/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
True Colors are to Dye For (from OtherWords.org)
Americans should think twice before adding green food coloring to everything from bagels to beer on St. Patrick's Day.



Jill RichardsonA friend and I once tricked his kids on St. Patrick‚
03/14/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Meatless Monday: Japanese-influenced Miso Soup
We haven't done one of these in a while, but for the past several weeks, my oldest mini green family member has given up meat for Lent. It's been a great opportunity for me to experiment with new recipes. I am the sort of parent who thinks giving up meat should mean more than eating your pasta without meatballs, or just skipping the main dish and carb loading. While we frequently have meatless meals, we were in a bit of a rut.

I've been wanting to do a bit more vegan cooking. A few months ago, I read a recipe for a "Mock Mac'n'Cheese" that I have just not quite gotten around to trying. Meanwhile the miso that I purchased for that recipe has languished in the pantry, waiting for me to use it.

There was a recipe on the package for a miso soup that included two ingredients I have not been able to find in my local stores. (wakame/seaweed and dashi stock/Japanese soup stock). Granted, I could order them online, but I tend to do that only with tried and true ingredients, as the shipping tends to work in favor of bulk purchasing, not small amounts.

I looked at the ingredients I did have, and turned to my favorite internet trick, putting them in a search engine to see what recipes were available online.

I found a delicious one that I adapted from King County Health Services in Seattle, WA. The ingredients are readily found in a mainstream grocery stores and the flavor is outstanding. I doubled the amounts of tofu as well as ginger and garlic to make the soup a bit heartier and more flavorful.

Fresh Ginger
Photo from: Wikimedia Commons
One of my favorite tips for using fresh ginger is to store the root in the freezer, unpeeled. There is no need to peel the ginger when grating it and since it's frozen, it grates easily. Ginger contains essential fatty acids, phytochemicals, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, numerous B-vitamins and zinc, so the more opportunities to use it in cooking, the greater the health benefits.

Without further ado, here is the Miso Soup recipe... it's absolutely delicious!

Miso Soup with Tofu and Green Onions

Miso Soup
Photo taken for: Our Daily Green
Ingredients:

  • 5 cups low sodium vegetable broth 
  • 2 green onions, finely sliced
  • 4 teaspoons grated fresh ginger root 
  • 2 clove garlic, thinly sliced 
  • 3 tablespoons light-colored miso paste (found in the ethnic food section of the grocery store or Asian food market) 
  • 1 package firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Directions:

(this is so simple it's unreal).
Mix all ingredients together and simmer for 20 minutes.
Garnish with fresh sliced green onions.




03/11/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Essential Vitamins and Minerals Infographic
03/07/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
FREE Dual Flush Pro Conversion Kit!
EPA Fix a Leak Week
One of the most frustrating, yet private discussions homeowners want to have is when toilets don't flush it all away. Yet a toilet is one of the most necessary and water dependent items in the house.

Our Daily Green recently received this notice about a free toilet conversion kit. The kit is normally $25.00, but from now until March 24th, the total cost of the kit is only shipping, at $10.

If you are looking for an affordable proven method for upgrading and turning your existing toilet into a high efficiency dual flush toilet, you have found the worlds most trusted toilet conversion kit. Dual Flush Pro is used by professional and homeowners around the world.  According to Dual Flush:
Overall savings will vary depending on the age of your toilet. If you currently have older toilets, and most of us do, with a 5 gallon capacity tank-your savings will shock you. For any of the newer model tanks, say 3.5 or 1.6 gallon, savings will be more than substantial.
One study documented dual flush water savings with flush volumes reduced by 68 per cent in single-family dwellings, 56 per cent in office washrooms, and 52 per cent in restaurants. Total water savings varies depending on frequency of use (for example, a coffee shop registered an average of 143 flushes per day). This explains how this revolutionary new product works and how it can start saving you money from the day it's installed.
Installing a dual flush toilet kit is one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to save water and lower utility costs. You will ROI in just a few months depending on the up front cost and whether you pay for installation or do it yourself. If you have the basic tools needed or can acquire them and are comfortable following simple step by step instructions, you will see a return on your investment much quicker. If you prefer to have the Dual-Flush Pro kit professionally installed, call on your local plumber to do it for you; which should be no more than a basic service call. 
Save money, save water, help the environment; convert your toilet with a DualFlush Pro conversion kit today. The longer you wait the less you benefit.


In honor of the EPA Fix A Leak Week (March 18-24, 2013) and World Water Day 2013, Dual Flush is offering their toilet conversion kit FREE to U.S. residents.They will ship to any location within the continental United States for a flat rate shipping fee of $10.00 per kit. Additional charges may apply for shipments to Alaska and Hawaii.

It's their way of helping preserve our most precious natural resource, fresh water.
Free Conversion Kit


Offer is available from Feb 18th through March 24, 2013 only. 1 kit per residence. 

Additional charges will apply for shipments to Alaska and Hawaii.


03/05/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Survey on Green Blogs

Good morning, dear readers!

This weekend Our Daily Green was contacted by a student researcher who is doing a project about
03/04/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
US High Speed Railroad Vision
United States High speed rail system
US High Speed Rail System concept is made by Alfred Twu; distributed via Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License

02/27/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Green Housing: In Buffalo, It's Not Just for Rich People Anymore (YES! reprint)
Can we build sustainable housing that's affordable, too? The city of Buffalo did, and created a community jobs pipeline in the process. Here's what can happen when neighborhoods take the lead.
posted Feb 15, 2013
Buffalo Green Zone photo by Whitney Arlene Crispell
Scenes from PUSH Buffalo's green rehab of 10 Winter Street. Photo by Whitney Arlene Crispell /PUSH Buffalo.
Massachusetts Avenue Park was not a place you'd want to take your kids. Before, the small neighborhood park in the heart of Buffalo's West Side was little more than vacant land with a small playground and a crumbling basketball court. ‚
02/19/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Food Allergy Q & A for Reporters
Food Allergy Q & A for Reporters - FAAN
Q. What is a food allergy?
A. A food allergy is a condition in which the immune system incorrectly identifies a food protein as a threat and attempts to protect the body against it by releasing chemicals into the blood. The release of these chemicals results in the symptoms of an allergic reaction.
Q. What are the symptoms of an allergic reaction to food?
A. An allergic reaction to food may begin with a tingling sensation, itching, or a metallic taste in the mouth. Other symptoms can include hives, a sensation of warmth, wheezing or other difficulty breathing, coughing, swelling of the mouth and throat area, vomiting, diarrhea, cramping, a drop in blood pressure, and loss of consciousness. These symptoms may begin anywhere from several minutes to two hours after eating an offending food, but life-threatening reactions may get worse over a period of several hours.
Q. What is anaphylaxis?
A. Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that is rapid in onset and may cause death. It can be caused not only by food, but also by such things as bee stings, drugs, and latex. In the U.S., food allergy is the leading cause of anaphylaxis outside the hospital setting and the CDC reported that food allergies result in over 300,000 ambulatory-care visits a year among children. The symptoms of anaphylaxis can include any of those associated with an allergic reaction to food. Studies have shown that early administration of epinephrine (adrenaline) is crucial to successfully treating anaphylactic reactions. Epinephrine is available by prescription in a self-injectable device (EpiPen¬ģ or Twinject¬ģ).
Q. Are any segments of the population at especially high risk for severe allergic reactions to food?
A. Research suggests that having asthma in addition to a food allergy increases the risk of a severe reaction, and teens and young adults who have peanut or tree nut allergies in addition to asthma are at the highest risk
Q. How many Americans have food allergies?
A. As many as 15 million Americans have food allergies, including approximately 6 million children.
Q. How common are food allergies in young children?
A. Very common. Approximately 6 million children in the U.S. have food allergies, that's as many as 1 in 13. The good news is that many of these children will outgrow their food allergies.
Q. Why are food allergies increasing?
A. Scientists don‚
02/18/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
What’s Cheaper than Solar, Slashes Carbon Emissions, and Creates Jobs in Kentucky? (reprint from YES!)

Having an energy-efficient home saves the owners money, but they often procrastinate on improvements. When energy companies in Kansas and Kentucky figured out a way to sweeten the deal, the results brought good news for homeowners, contractors, and for the planet.


by Erin L. McCoy
Blower door test.
Chris Woolery, a residential energy specialist for How$mart, explains a test of energy efficiency to Larry Watson of Flemingsburg, Ky. Photo by MACED.
Jamie Blair had owned his own business for about seven years when he started to think it was missing a crucial piece. He was installing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems in and around Paintsville, Ky., but heated air isn‚
02/09/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Infographic: The Costs and Benefits of a Green Revolution
02/07/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
No Fast Food Challenge Days #9 and #10
We're wrapping up the end of the challenge today. We combined days because we didn't post on Sunday and got a day behind. One of the other bad habits I had that often caused me to slip up is boredom. According to Dr. Susan Carnell in Psychology Today,

Eating out of boredom, on the other hand, is generally pointless. It almost always happens when we're not in physiological need of food, there's usually something much more useful we could be getting on with, and after the first couple of bites it's not even that satisfying as we weren't really hungry in the first place.

So why do we do it? At the risk of demonizing one of my favorite neurotransmitters, I'm going to go ahead and level my accusation at dopamine. Neuroscientists are still figuring out what this clever little chemical messenger does, but current thinking is that it's crucial to the experience of motivation and drive.
no fast food challenge
photo courtesy of: Wikimedia Commons
Probably my worst offenses have been during that down time, when I would drop off the kids for a lesson and have to wait until it was over. If my daughter had a music lesson, I'd grab something from a fast food drive through while I was waiting. It wasn't logical to want something to eat at 3 PM, it was just a way to fill the time I was waiting.

A much stronger strategy would again be to plan ahead for that down time. Bring a book to read, know where you can take a walk during that time, catch up on phone calls. Anything to fill that time with activity so you won't be tempted to eat. I even have done knitting, but honestly, I no longer have anyone left who needs more scarves, myself included. Time on your hands need not mean food in your mouth.

The second part of this challenge is boredom at home, which I combat in two ways. I brush my teeth because food always tastes funny when your teeth are freshly brushed or I play with my dog, who seems to have boundless energy. And frankly, at least in my house, there is not a lot of boredom. There is always laundry to fold or something to clean. I try to reward myself by turning up music only I like or putting the television on a show that only I like. (I have an irrational fondness for reality television, instead of junk food, it's junk programming).  

Lastly, learn to allow boredom or as I prefer to think, silence, into your world. Allow quiet time to exist. Embrace opportunities to stop and reflect. We are a busy world and sometimes busy-ness leads to mindlessness. Practice mindfulness in all activities and before long, you'll be filling your inner self with satisfaction that has nothing to do with putting unhealthy food into your body.


How've you done? Did you take the challenge? Do you have new strategies for avoiding fast food binges?
02/06/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
No Fast Food Challenge Day #8
We are in the homestretch of our 10 days. It's been pretty easy, but not totally. Part of the ease was mindfulness. Thinking ahead. Preparation. And that takes time, although, we have to admit, it's a lot easier taking a block of preparation time than scrambling at the last minute to figure out what to feed the family.

This is what a lot of folks call investment cooking. It's a brilliant idea to spend a day cooking for a month instead of in piece meal. It's efficient. I have done investment cooking on a smaller scale. I've made 5 pounds of ground beef into meatballs. I've cooked a soup in a double batch and frozen half. I did that yesterday with my lettuce wrap fillings.  But to set aside one day a month cooking and freezing food, with the idea that it will be a quick dinner sometime in the next 30 days is one I wholly endorse it.

As much as I love cooking, there are days I just am not in the mood. Those are the sort of days that would be best served by a meal in the freezer that I made on a day I was in the mood to cook. Investment cooking is a way to ensure a home cooked meal even when you don't have the time or inclination to cook at home.

Freezer Cole Slaw

One of the most intriguing recipes I've found is for Freezer Cole Slaw, from the Organized Home website. Wow, how interesting is that?  I will not say that I've tried it, but instead say that now I want to. Basically, today's post about investment/freezer cooking was to inspire you to think ahead about your meals. But how great would it be to have a crisp salad ready to go, straight from the freezer? How many folks have tried something like this?

Meanwhile, while we contemplate Freezer Cole Slaw, I have two meatloafs I need to prepare. One for tonight, and one for the freezer. So the next time I'm not in the mood to cook, I just have to heat and eat. Fast food, without the garbage or lack of nutrition.

Without further ado,

Freezer Cole Slaw

Ingredients

1medium cabbage head --about 10 cups shredded
1carrot, shredded
1green pepper
1Teaspoonsalt
1Cupvinegar
2Cupsugar
1Teaspooncelery seed
1Teaspoondry mustard

Instructions

In a large bowl, combine shredded vegetables and salt. Let stand for 1 hour.
Place remaining ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a boil, and boil for 1 minute. Cool.
Drain vegetables and add vinegar mix. Stir gently.
Freeze in tightly-sealed freezer containers.
To serve, thaw and serve chilled.



02/05/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
No Fast Food Challenge Day #7 (late posting)

Our Daily Green's pantryOver the past several days, I've been sharing tips that have helped us avoid fast food. Admittedly, a well stocked pantry is the first step for me. Admit it, peeking in someone else's cupboards is a voyeuristic thrill. Although I confess, there are things I really wanted to hide before I posted this picture. Things I don't want my fellow adherents to healthy eating and green living to see. Photos don't lie and my pantry reveals that we keep chocolate drink powder and commercial cereals in the pantry. We have cake mixes and jarred pasta sauce. We have regular store bought peanut butter (as well as the natural stuff that only Mr. Daily Green eats and we keep that in the fridge), not to mention plastic bags and straws. But there also are enough essentials to put together just about anything we'd like to eat on any given day. 

With yesterday being the Superbowl, a day second only to Thanksgiving with potential for gluttonous eating, we had a full family schedule. After getting home from a morning at church, we all grabbed a quick bite for lunch, before heading separate ways. I was in the kitchen prepping for our evening grazing. I had a taste for lettuce wraps, the kind that I like to order when we eat out. My daughter asked if I was going to make buffalo chicken dip like I always did. I hadn't planned on it, but honestly, when I realized that she thought of that as a Superbowl tradition, I decided I needed to do so and surprise her when she got home that evening. Besides a well stocked pantry, I also recommend investing in a chest freezer. We buy our meat from local farmers and always have something on hand to thaw and eat. I also freeze fruit and vegetables for when it's not in season and beef and chicken broth (although I do keep instant soup base in the pantry if you look at my photo confessional). 

There are several guides online for stocking a pantry, I adapted the lists to my own needs, as a starting point. Take into account what you liked to cook and how often you'll make the effort. I have a ton of cookbooks, that I frequently peruse for inspiration, although with all the recipe sites online, a future project I have in mind involves becoming a minimalist on my cookbooks and (gasp) cleaning out my inventory. 

cookbook collection


Basics


  • Flours (wheat, white and bread)
  • Sugars (brown, granulated, powdered)
  • Pasta variety
  • Grains (couscous, brown, wild and white rice, quinoa, oats, cornmeal)
  • Oils (olive oil, coconut oil, sesame oil)
  • Canned/Jarred Tomatoes (sauce, diced, stewed, paste, sundried)
  • Natural Sweeteners (honey, maple syrup)
  • Vinegars (balsamic, white, red wine, apple cider, rice wine)
  • Specialty Sauces (hot sauce, soy sauce)
  • Nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, pine nuts, peanuts)
  • Canned tuna
  • Canned Beans and Dry Lentils (black, cannelini, garbanzo, kidney)
  • Capers and olives (black, green, kalamata)
  • Vegetables (onions, potatoes, garlic)
  • Coffee and variety of teas

Herbs and Spices


  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Cinnamon
  • Rosemary
  • Bay Leaves
  • Nutmeg
  • Cardamom
  • Dry Mustard
  • Paprika
  • Saffron
  • Spice Blends
  • Pepper (ground and whole, and red pepper flakes)
  • Salts (kosher, sea salt, pickling salt, rock salt)

Baking Supplies


  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Cornstarch
  • Cream of Tartar
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Chocolate Chips or Chunks
  • Extracts (vanilla, almond, lemon, peppermint)

02/04/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
No Fast Food Challenge Day #6
Here we arrive at the weekend, past the halfway point of our challenge. One of our other downfalls with convenience food is snacking. Not just for meals, but even the need for a snack and suddenly the vending machine or drive-through is a quick fix.

dehydrated apples
Again, the key is preparation. One of my favorite new kitchen toys is a food dehydrator. I actually have the very inexpensive Ronco one pictured in this post. I've been experimenting with a number of foods since I acquired it, but my favorite is truly dried apples. They key to drying apples is to slice them thin, but not too thin and not to over-dry them. They should still be flexible and chewy.  Unlike the prepackaged fruit colored and flavored roll-ups, fruit dried in a dehydrator does not contain any artificial flavors or added sugar. It is pure fruit, just more concentrated. 

The one quart canning jar in the photo holds 7 dehydrated apples. One secret to dehydrating apples so they don't look like the shrunken apple heads kids made in elementary school is to soak the slices in either a lemon juice and water mixture after slicing, or citric acid and water. I prefer the powdered citric acid because it really draws out the tart flavor. I order citric acid online from a cheese making company. What is great about the dehydrated apples is that they don't get bruised in a bag and they are lightweight, making them an easily portable snack. I sliced the apples in the evening and plugged in the dehydrator. In the morning, they were ready. 

If you've never used a dehydrator, we highly recommend them. It's a great way to make a bunch of easy to carry snacks, from fruit to vegetables to jerky. Part of the challenge involves having a strategy in place to avoid the easy lure of unhealthy fast food. 

How many of you are trying the challenge? How are you doing so far? 









02/02/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
No Fast Food Challenge Day #5
foods high in fiber
By Keith Weller, USDA ARS [Public domain],
 via Wikimedia Commons
We are at the mid-point of the No Fast Food Challenge. It's going well and I want to continue to share tidbits that help me avoid the dreaded drive-through window, as well as my personal downfall, frozen convenience foods.

Today's hint is about filling up on fiber. I am a huge fan of fiber, even without alliteration. The Mayo Clinic recommends 25 grams/daily for adult women and 38 grams/daily for adult men. Dietary fiber is found in plant based foods and is the part of the plant that the body cannot digest or absorb. Other food components such as fat, protein, or carbs is broken down and absorbed by the body. Fiber passes through your stomach and small intestine, and colon relatively intact.

Fast food contains little, if any fiber. Instead it is loaded with fat, carbs, and some protein. The body doesn't feel full from such foods. Fiber on the other hand, because it stays in the stomach, keeps the hunger pangs away. Foods that contain fiber also can be considered "fast", fresh fruit, nuts, canned beans, high fiber bread.

I keep an array of canned beans in my pantry at all times.
I want to share a favorite bean salad recipe, adapted from Real Simple magazine. This salad is great to keep on hand for a quick lunch on the go.

1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Whisk the vinegar, sugar, olive oil, salt and pepper together. In a larger bowl, mix rest of the ingredients. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad. Tastes best after it marinates overnight.

The best way to avoid fast food is to have something ready to go and to know it will keep you full. A high fiber diet is your best defense against mindless and unhealthy munching.


02/01/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
No Fast Food Challenge Day #4
I love working with yeast dough. My grandmother taught me how to make bread as a child. I embraced it so heartily that she gave me a mixer with a dough hook as a wedding gift. 22 years + later, not just I, but also my children press it into service. We've shared our simple dough recipe here as well as on a guest post. Filling homemade dough rolled with sandwich fillings is a time saver when you're busy. We usually double our favorite pizza dough recipe which will net us 10 rolls. We fill them with broccoli, spinach, red peppers, cheese, turkey, roast beef, pepperoni, whatever strikes our fancy.

homemade pepperoni roll
photo courtesy of Wikimedia
For the purposes of this challenge, we encourage using wheat flour. Understand that wheat flour is much denser than white flour, so it's not a 1:1 ratio for substitution. For bread baking, up to one-half the flour can be switched with wheat. Also, it's very important to measure your flour without packing it down. If you have a kitchen scale, measure also by weight.

The other key to working with yeast is to accurately measure the water temperature to activate the yeast; too cold and it won't activate, too hot and it kills the yeast. An instant read thermometer ensures the temperature is just right.

To me, the easiest way to avoid fast food is taking one block of time once a week and preparing for the busy days ahead. When I make up these rolls, we know we have something even quicker than a sandwich to grab and go. I love this recipe because it is ready to use after 5 minutes, it doesn't require rising time.

Simple Yeast Dough Recipe


1 packet of quick rise yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons if you buy it in the jar)
1 cup of water, 105-115 degrees
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 TBL. oil
2 1/2 cups flour (1 1/4 wheat, 1 1/4 bread)

Dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the sugar, salt and oil in the same cup. Pour it into the flour and begin to knead. I have a dough hook on my mixer, so I do it that way, but it's also satisfying to knead by hand. When the dough is well mixed and kneaded, let it rest for 5 minutes.

While the dough is resting, prepare your fillings. Think what you'd put in a sandwich, ham and Swiss, beef and cheddar, pepperoni and mozzarella.

Divide the rested dough into 5 equal pieces and roll each piece into about a 6x9 rectangle. Spread the filling over the dough and then roll up, pinching the ends to seal the roll. Place seam side down on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for about 15-20 minutes until the outside is golden brown.

01/31/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
No Fast Food Challenge Day #3
You know you've been there. You know it's happened. You're driving around, either running errands or shuttling children. You're thirsty and you take a quick detour through the drive though. Then you figure as long as you're there, you may as well grab a quick snack because you're actually a little hungry, also.

What our bodies don't realize is that many times we mistake thirst for hunger. In fact, according to Dr. Fereydoon Batmanghelidj, M.D.'s book, Your Body‚
01/30/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
No Fast Food Challenge: Day #2
As we shared yesterday, we've undertaken the challenge to go without any fast food for 10 days. My first thought was that it would be a piece of cake (homemade, not store bought). But upon reflection, I realized that I do keep a handful of convenience foods in the house as quick bites for our family on the go. For example, here was our household's evening schedule last night.
  • 3:45: Child #1 & #2 arrive home from school, driven by Child #1.
  • Child #1: 4:45-6:00 Speech & Debate practice, driven by self.
  • Child #2: 6:00-9:00 Community theater rehearsal, driven by Parent #1.
  • Parent #1: 7-8:30 Meeting at the church
  • Parent #2: 7 PM Arrive home from work, 8:30, leave to retrieve Child #2. 
A simple flow chart would indicate that the entire family was not in the house at the same time until about 9:20 last night. This is a slightly busier than usual evening, but pretty close to many of them, especially during theater shows. A saving grace has been having Child #1 drive. Last year at this time, I would have been single-handedly responsible for transportation to and from all the activities.

I say this not to justify our use of convenience foods, but rather to explain the importance of having easy to fix food to take on the go. This need not be something that is frozen in a box or is handed to anyone in a bag at the window. So today, I'm sharing my recipe for sun-dried tomato hummus, a favorite "fast" food of ours, which packs a nutritional punch and fills a wrap quickly.
sun dried tomato hummus

Sun Dried Tomato Hummus

Ingredients: 

  • 2  teaspoons minced garlic (you can use 2 fresh cloves, but for this recipe, I prefer the more mild flavor of the pre-chopped)
  • 2 15-oz cans of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed (again, you can use dried chickpeas and soak them overnight, but that tends to defeat the idea of this as a quick recipe)
  • 2/3 cup of tahini (sesame seed paste) (I buy my tahini at a Middle Eastern grocery store, the supermarket tahini is about 4 times the price)
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (bottled works also)
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes soaked in 1/2 cup hot water, reserve water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

homemade hummusPulse the drained garbanzo beans and garlic in a food processor until they are well chopped. Add the tahini and mix well. Add the sundried tomatoes, that have been softened until they are well chopped. At this point, your hummus will have the consistency of a chunky peanut butter. With processor running, add the lemon juice, then the reserved water, then the olive oil and salt. Adjust the amount of oil by eye, when the processor is running smoothly and the texture is now like creamy peanut butter. For a softer hummus, add more lemon and water. This really does come down to personal preference. I like a thicker hummus that spreads on the bread, while others prefer more of a dipping consistency. 

It really is that easy. It keeps in the refrigerator and can be used to fill a pita, spread on a rice cake, anything you wish. You can make plain hummus without the sundried tomatoes (just add more lemon juice or water), or with fresh spinach, pine nuts, peppers, again, whatever you prefer. Just adjust the liquid accordingly to get the preferred texture. My favorite on the go meal is hummus with fresh spinach leaves and some chopped vegetables in a wrap. I once tried to make wraps up the day before, and the wrap gets too soft, but it's quick enough to make on the go that as long as you have that on hand, you're back out the door. 


01/29/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
No Fast Food Challenge

A few weeks ago, as part of our New Year's pledge to lose some weight and actually start putting more of what we preach into practice, we began to follow the health and wellness blog "Put That Cookie Down Now". This site is dedicated not just to exercise, but also strategies to eat healthier. It really is a great blog to dove-tail with our dedication to green living. To us, part of green living involves minimizing chemical intrusions on our body. One of the best ways to do that is to stay healthy and avoid the need for pharmaceutical intervention. Staying healthy is about eating right and following a regular exercise routine.

This weekend, they issued a No Fast Food challenge and invited their readers to join. I thought this was a perfect opportunity to really encourage a small step in the right direction. Long time readers know that we encourage an 80/20 philosophy. We allow for less than 100% compliance in all our challenges because it's easier to keep practicing small steps than get burnt out on an all or nothing approach. But for only 10 days, we are joining this pledge to avoid fast food.

(from Put That Cookie Down Now):

The basic rules are as follows:


  • No drive-through restaurants where someone is handing a bag to you through your car window.
  • No restaurants where you walk up to the counter, place an order and someone hands a bag to you.
  • No heat and eat stuff from the grocery store such as frozen pizza, chicken pot pie, mac and cheese, microwave meals, toaster oven breakfast pastries, etc.
  • No foods where the label has more than five ingredients (more ingredients = less nutrition). Recipes can have multiple ingredients.
  • No processed grain products like white bread, white rice and white pasta. Whole wheat will work though.
Probably my biggest downfall in this category is that we admittedly keep convenience foods around the house. With two busy adults and two busier teenagers, we are on the go. 
scrambled eggs in muffin tins
Mine were not as pretty as the recipe that inspired me...

In preparation for this challenge, I spent yesterday in the kitchen prepping for the next ten days. I started with a very simple baked egg recipe to be a week's worth of high protein breakfasts. I had seen the eggs in muffin tin ideas on several Pinterest boards and simplified the recipes for to my own personal needs. In short, I scrambled 12 eggs and lined muffin tins with fresh spinach leaves. I evenly divided the eggs among the 12 tins and then put about a tablespoon of chopped red pepper into each tin. Sprinkled the eggs with a no salt mixed herb seasoning and baked for 15 minutes at 350. 

I learned a lesson: I should have greased the muffin tins. The eggs seeped under the spinach leaves and they glued themselves to the tin. (and all the recipes I've seen warn against using muffin papers, as the eggs will stick to the papers). Undeterred, I scraped the eggs out with a silicone spatula and had to scrub the muffin tin with a copper scrubbing pad. We all enjoyed a quick and healthy breakfast this morning as a result. 

As the challenge progresses, we will share additional tips and ideas that are helping us meet this challenge.  Stay tuned for tomorrow's recipe: my homemade sun-dried tomato hummus.  






01/28/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
The Life Cycle of a Plastic Bag
Make the Switch to Reusable Bags
Click image to see a larger version
Life Cycle of a Plastic Bag via
Factory Direct Promos -- Reusable Bag Manufacturer
01/25/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
No more Type 2 diabetes for kids in the new year (guest post)

Today's post is brought to us from Carolyn from Full on Fit! Carolyn is a 20-something year old with a passion for life, fitness and overall well-being. She is an avid cycler, golfer and has been known to bust some serious moves on the dance floor. We welcome her wealth of information to Our Daily Green. 
diabetes symptoms
By Mikael Häggström via Wikimedia Commons
November was American Diabetes Month, and normally I wouldn't have paid too much attention to it, but this past November was much different. This year, I was active with a walkathon to promote awareness. Why the change? Because the issue has become personal.

This past November, ironically, one of my younger cousins was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. I couldn't believe it ‚
01/21/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
What is a regenerative thermal oxidizer?

That is the exact question I asked when my most recent client wanted me to write about it for this blog. I scratched my head, made a few cracks about knowing that I must have arrived to be considered worthy of addressing this topic, and then set about doing some cursory research, as well as an extensive virtual discussion with my Facebook community.
regenerative thermal oxidizer
Well, it turns out this is something we may already know about albeit indirectly. A regenerative thermal oxidizer or RTO is an industrial processing machine that treats exhaust air before it pollutes the environment. They are used extensively in industries that produce low VOCs (volatile organic compounds), but have a high waste stream. What happens is the RTO passes a hot gas stream over a passive heat exchanger in one direction and sends a cool gas stream in the opposite direction to recover the heat.

This process puts less pollutants and hazardous material into the air and instead recovers and contains it. Industries that utilize this technology include foundries, paint shops, pharmaceutical, car shops, food processing, plastics, sewage, metal recycling, and printing. In essence, this technology is used in nearly every aspect of the manufacturing industry.

Like me, you probably didn't know anything about this process until you started to read this post either, but thanks to today's sponsor, we all know something new. 


01/18/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
National Day of Service Ideas
01/18/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Tutorial how to leave a comment on a blog
I have had several folks tell me they didn't understand how to leave a comment on my blog. What is second nature to me is confusing to folks who aren't around it all the time, I believe. So I took a few screen shots.

The top image is what the page will look like before you open the comment box. Circled in red is where you click to open it.

The bottom image demonstrates where to type your comment, indicated by a big red X. You have the option to comment anonymously, but if you are entering a drawing and you're anonymous, it will be really difficult to contact you if you win. In fact, impossible. Please leave some sort of identifying screen name.


Any questions?
01/17/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Cheers for Vignette!
Back in November, when we received our complimentary cheese assortment from Affinage Cheese, we saw an intriguing product on their website, the Vignette Wine Country Soda. It looked like an elegant alternative to the cloyingly sweet sodas found in vending machines. We read a little more about Vignette, and discovered they are a non-alcoholic soda, flavored with varietal grapes such as pinot noir and chardonnay.

We were intrigued and contacted the company to see if they would be interested in sending us some samples to review for Our Daily Green. We were delighted when they shipped us two bottles of their soda, the California Brut and Pinot Noir soda. We took them to an open house party to share with the guests. The party was a mid-afternoon event, so it was really nice to have a non-alcoholic option.

What everyone really liked was the delicate and sophisticated flavor of the Vignette Sodas. It completely overcame the previous impressions of artificially colored purple grape soda or overly sweet and bubbly non-alcoholic sparkling juice drinks, that is typically only enjoyed by the single-digit aged crowd. This was a soda for adults, without any added sugar and is actually made from the same vineyard grapes as California premium wines. According to founder Patrick Galvin,
01/17/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Are you still buying bottled water?
If you are, do you make a point to recycle the bottle?
Look what happens when we keep using more and more and more plastic. It really is a nightmare...

a special thanks to OnlineEducation.net for this fabulous graphic: 

Plastic Infographic
01/16/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Are you ready to be a changemaker?

Disclosure: The following information has been sponsored by the folks at Participant Media. We wholly support using social media to be a vehicle for change and were thrilled to be invited to be part of this experience. The power of communication and the internet can be harnessed for good and to make a difference. Learn more by following the links in today's post. 

Every day people are taking small steps to create big change in communities all over the country. We want to highlight some of these extraordinary individuals who are an inspiration to all of us.  Check out the stories at TakePart then click on the ‚
01/15/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Sugar isn't so sweet after all
Nursing Your Sweet Tooth
Created by: www.OnlineNursingPrograms.com
01/11/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Robby Wash: Product Review and Giveaway

robby wash ball
The Robby Ball
Oui, oui! 

The French have done it! The Robby Wash ball made me want to jauntily throw a beret on my head and climb the Eiffel Tower in clean, fresh smelling clothes.

Direct from Europe, Our Daily Green had the opportunity to test and review this revolutionary product. The Robby Wash ball is one of the most unique ideas in the realm of laundry since the old fashioned crank machines.

When we were contacted to review the product, we were skeptical. We'd found a laundry powder that we were pleased with, except for one issue. We bought it in such a huge container that it has all clumped together and now in order to do our laundry, we must grate the soap first. Yes, that really is a cheese grater in our bucket of laundry detergent. It's frankly become a real pain to do laundry, as I first must chisel from the block of soap, then grate it back into a powder before I can measure and use it. Unfortunately, I'm quite frugal and there is nothing wrong with the detergent other than it fused together.


Imagine my delight to test the Robby Ball. When it arrived in a small cardboard box weighing less than a pound, I couldn't believe it would do a year's worth of laundry. The wash ball is slightly smaller than a softball and filled with small cleaning pellets. There is no measuring involved, just toss the ball in the load and the pellets do the work. Each ball comes with three refill packets of pellets and a small stain stick. Our Daily Green received two balls to test, one for whites to use in either hot or cold water, and one for darks and colors to use in cold water.

The way the balls work is that the pellets ionize the water to pull the dirt away from the clothing. According to the website:
The Robby Wash ball uses a unique and patented worldwide technology to clean your laundry even better than the powder laundry detergents it was independently tested against. Activated macromolecules are gradually released through the wash, dissolving dried-in stains by generating ions which activate the water molecules.  This increase in the pH enables the activated molecules to penetrate deep into the fabrics and attach themselves to the stains. As the motion of the drum agitates the clothes, the stains come away easily from the fabric and dissolve in the water.  Of all the systems on the market, Robby Wash's effectiveness is tested, proven and guaranteed.
As soon as we use the last of our powdered detergent, we will be switching to the Robby Ball. I think it would also be an excellent product to send with my soon-to-be college student doing laundry for the first time.  Some additional facts about the Robby Ball:

  • Hypoallergenic and great choice as a baby laundry detergent cleaner or for someone with sensitive skin
  • Cleans and protects your clothes
  • Guards fabrics against oxidation and discoloration caused by chlorine in the water, and maintains your clothes' springiness
  • Eliminates unpleasant smells thanks to its antibacterial action
Don't just take our word for it. One lucky reader will have the chance to win the Robby Wash Balls. 

To enter, check out the other products Oransi offers on their Facebook page and Twitter page. Please follow along and leave a comment on this page to enter. We will close the giveaway at midnight EST January 20, 2013 and select a winner from the comments. Please leave your Twitter handle in the comments to qualify. 

Our Daily Green received two complimentary Robby Balls to review for today's post. Nonetheless, our opinion of grating powdered detergent as well as wanting to wear a beret is completely our own. If only there were a product that would also fold and put away the lovely clean clothes. One doesn't only have to dream of Paris. 




01/10/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Don't dispose, clean it!
When our family bought our first home, it was carpeted with a lovely plush wall to wall carpet. Every step we took through the home was cushioned beneath our feet.

Shortly after buying our home, we also got a family dog. The carpet no longer stayed clean and actually began to stretch and get matted with dirt.   Then we had a baby and the thought of a baby crawling on that carpet was enough to send any parent into a state of panic, yet the thought of chemically cleaning the carpet to then have our child and pet walking, playing and crawling on the chemicals was not any more attractive. 

Eventually, we ripped up and replaced the carpet and started anew. We were not alone. In fact, the Carpet & Rug institute estimates that 70% of all carpet that is replaced is for reasons other than wear. Carpet waste in landfills reaches nearly 800 million yards, annually.* We didn't realize there other options to cleaning and stretching and refurbishing the carpet in a safe and effective manner. Over the years, companies have developed cleaners that are non-toxic and biodegradable, while being effective, which is good news for homeowners as well as environmentalists everywhere. 
*according to statistics from Green Eco Services, the one click source for everything green. 
This post has been brought to you by a sponsor, but we only share information we think will be useful for our readers. 

01/10/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Get some "green" for college
Our Daily Green is excited to announce a $5000 scholarship opportunity from the folks at Nordic Naturals. Nordic Naturals are a supplement company committed to delivering the world‚
01/10/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Yes, We have no bananas!

(subtitle: what to eat when you don't like something that is good for you)


no bananasToday's post has been something that has been in the conception stages for a while. I was prompted to put it together today when I was at a friend's house for breakfast and one of the offerings were bananas, which I politely declined. I don't like them. At all. I haven't ever. Apparently I did like them as a child, but my first memory of a banana was being made to eat one with a brown spot in it. A perfectly normal parent move, but it just stuck with me and I cannot ever remember eating a banana. From time to time, I will try to take a bite and it just never gets past my tongue. I just don't like them. And yes, I know how good they are for me. 

Bananas are an excellent source of potassium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, fiber, and manganese. But since I have no desire to ever eat a banana, it's important to consume other foods with the same vitamins and minerals.

Acorn SquashAn excellent replacement nutritionally are winter squashes, such as acorn and butternut. These squashes are high in vitamin C, B6, fiber, and manganese as well as Vitamin A.  We are encouraged by this because last summer, we had a bumper crop of volunteer acorn squash as a result of our vigilant composting.

(an aside, last summer, we couldn't figure out what seemed to be taking over our garden, but kept waiting to see what sort of plant it was... imagine my joy when I harvested about 12 acorn squashes that I never planted!) 

Not to mention, it's a lot easier to grow acorn squash in Ohio than bananas! Heck, it grew without me even trying!

In keeping with our theme of finding good substitutes for foods you don't like, even if they are good for you, we want to share a great recipe for Acorn Squash Bread, instead of Banana Bread adapted from the healthy eating blog, Put That Cookie Down Now.

Acorn Squash Quick Bread With Cranberries and Chopped Nuts

Ingredients


1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup mashed acorn squash
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup chopped nuts, toasted first
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1/2 cup fresh/frozen chopped cranberries (do not thaw frozen cranberries, just chop and add to recipe).

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
In a large bowl, mix oil and sugar together. Add eggs, and milk and mix well. Stir in squash and vanilla. Stir in flour and salt. Add baking soda and baking powder. Stir to mix. Blend in chopped nuts and dried cranberries. Spread batter into a greased 9√
01/09/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Did you resolve to lose weight this year?
I count myself among those who have made such a resolution and this infographic is a stark reminder of how my choices have changed not just my appearance but also my health. There are several keys to consider and I'd like to address some of the inflammatory language that is used surrounding weight issues. Fat and fit are not mutually exclusive, and skinny is not synonymous with healthy. More important than a number on a scale is whether we are making healthy choices.

Food that is processed with additives and chemical alteration or packaged in plastic containers, prepared with tools made of known endocrine disruptors may present a far greater challenge to any weight loss goal than any diet. In other words, it's not simply how much we eat, but what kind of food we eat and how we prepare it.

For example, it is not safe to reheat food in Styrofoam or wrapped in plastic wrap. It is not safe to cook on petrol-coated nonstick surfaces, and it is not healthy to eat food that was created in lab instead of a field or barn. It is not safe to eat food that was nurtured with chemically altered food or dosed with massive amounts of chemical fertilizers. This sort of food manipulation may disrupt the endocrine system of the body which can affect metabolism as well as fat absorption. (please follow orange highlighted links for additional information regarding these issues). 

All these issues factor into the body's ability maintain a healthy weight. If you're finding it difficult to lose weight, consider how you prepare your food and where your food comes from. It may well be another cause.

The skinny on fat
by KyleKim. Browse more data visualization.
01/07/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Eco-Friendly, Money Saving Home Energy Solutions
High electricity costs aren't just a burden on your pocketbook. They also mean that you may not be taking advantage of some very simple methods to reduce your carbon footprint. There are simple changes you can make in every room of your home to cut expenses and contribute to sustainability programs designed to protect our plant.
save energy and dollars
Your home is full of energy vampires and they are sucking up electricity even when you aren't home. As much as possible, unplug items in your home that aren't in use. Turn off computers, lights, lamps, phone chargers and other devices that are using unnecessary electricity. Powering down your computer alone can save up to $200 per year.

Consider making the switch to energy-efficient bulbs. You‚
01/05/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
This Year, Resolve to Love Your Body (guest post from OtherWords)
You can buy another car, but you sure can‚
01/01/2013 0 Comments | Add Comment
Resolution Time: 5 tips to generate less trash
Our Daily Green is going to be the first to confess, we slacked on trash the past few weeks. We succumbed to convenience more often than not and found ourselves with a full trash can. We'd give ourselves a 50% score, which is not particularly successful when we aim for 80%.

Some of the faux pas we made are easily remedied with pre-planning. At the time when we are all making resolutions, here are a few of our own.

1. Carry a coffee cup or water bottle to refill. It's embarrassing how many Styrofoam cups we used the past few weeks at different social events simply to quench our thirst.

2.  Get some bags that fold small enough to keep in a purse. It's not enough to put them in the car if you don't carry them in the store. And bags aren't just for grocery shopping anymore. The mall, the pharmacy, the carry out place.

3. Gifts and gift wrap. I actually did better this time around. I decided that the fancy boxes were pretty enough on their own and reused ribbon from years past. I reused tissue paper to wrap things, and I also gave a lot of gifts that were actually gently used items that we no longer used. And yes, I told them what we were doing and complimented their gifts with something else, but it was nice to know that those items found second lives with other family members who will appreciate them. Find a home for working items that you no longer use.

4. Food waste. Stop shopping when you're hungry. Shop when you need to restock. Challenge yourself how long you can go without going to the store. Learn to bake bread so you don't run in the store for "one" thing and return with 15. Eat what you already have in the house before you buy more. That may mean getting creative with ingredients. With the internet, there is no reason you cannot find a recipe for anything you need to use up. Type in 3 ingredients that you have on hand and you will find hundreds of ideas and recipes for those ingredients.

5. Cancel catalogs. If you shopped and ordered something online this season, you are back on a catalog list. Cancel it. Even if you have before, your purchase authorized the company to put you back on their list. So cancel. Take some time to keep those catalogs from coming into your house in 2013.

Trash Stats -- Waste in America






12/31/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
From Food & Water Watch: The Economic Costs of Food Monopolies
The Economic Costs of Food Monopolies
12/29/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
University Research, Sold Out (courtesy of Other Words)
The energy industry and Big Agribusiness are distorting academic research by wielding corporate influence

Wenonah Hauter
In 1862, the federal government created the land-grant university system to produce critical agricultural research. Since then, America has relied on these schools to inform and guide independent scientific advances in areas like food production and energy development.
Yet public funding for that kind of research has eroded over recent decades, and these schools have turned to corporations to augment their budgets. The consequences of increasing dependence on profit-driven research in academia are becoming troublingly clear. The recent exposure of numerous sham scientific reports generated by biased individuals at supposedly objective institutions should draw intense public scrutiny to this new era of corporate-funded science.
While drug makers and other industries have spent heavily in academia for years, a relatively new player in corporate-influenced ‚
12/27/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
3 Lessons for Gracious Living in a Stuff-Filled Season (reprint from YES! magazine)
Last year, YES! publisher Fran Korten shared her efforts to move more stuff out of her house than into it. With the season of ‚
12/19/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Differences between pure and organic
12/18/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Why an energy audit may help you save money

As the new year approaches, homeowners are assessing their annual budgets and finding ways to save around the home. One of the first ways to save is utilities and Many potential areas to save are not visible to the untrained eye and can only be found through a professional energy audit using professional equipment.

Phoenix energy audit
A typical audit has several state of the art tests that examine different areas around the house. The blower door test determines the amount of heating or cooling leaks as well as the location. A room pressure test assesses imbalances between rooms while the air handler is running which is a sign of potential duct problems that lead to poor ventilation and temperature differences between the rooms.  A pressure pan test look for duct leaks in the ventilation system and locates  the leak. This test can provide tremendous energy conservation opportunities. Infrared imaging uses an infrared camera to see the inefficiencies with the home's thermal barrier, offering another opportunity for improvement.

By using a professionally trained auditor, the typical homeowner has the opportunity to find out where the real energy losses are throughout their home, as opposed to a less specific approach. An energy audit offers homeowners the chance to target their individual home's problem areas and reduce inefficiency. Often the return on the investment is well worth the price of a professional audit.

This post has been brought to you by a sponsor. Our Daily Green only shares information that we think will be useful for our readers.  
12/17/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Why Choose Organic Skin Care Products?
Between washing hair, cleansing the skin and applying cosmetics, the average woman uses between 8-10 skin care products each day. If each product contains 10-15 ingredients, she typically will apply upwards of 200 chemicals to her skin daily. Many cosmetics contain ingredients like lead, parabens, petroleum derivatives, and artificial scents and colors. Cosmetics are the least Food & Drug Administration regulated item. There is very little oversight over products that go on the skin versus that which is ingested. By legal definition, according the the FDA Cosmetics Compliance and Regulatory information, cosmetics are:
... "articles intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied to the human body...for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance" [FD&C Act, sec. 201(i)]. Among the products included in this definition are skin moisturizers, perfumes, lipsticks, fingernail polishes, eye and facial makeup preparations, cleansing shampoos, permanent waves, hair colors, and deodorants, as well as any substance intended for use as a component of a cosmetic product.
However, the skin is the largest organ on the body and anything put on the skin is absorbed into the body. The case for choosing pure and organic products is strong.

As a consumer, the best choice is to pick products that are organic. Organic skin care ingredients are grown without chemical pesticides or fertilizers. Products made from organic ingredients are not just better for the skin, but they also have less impact on the environment. Organic skin care products are also fresher as they do not contain artificial preservatives to extend the shelf life.

This post has been brought to you by a sponsor. However, all thoughts and opinions are our own. Our Daily Green only shares information that we think will be useful to our readers. 
12/17/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Do you have what it takes to be a Food Patriot?
Food Patriots FilmOur Daily Green recently had the opportunity to learn about a new documentary film, Food Patriots. The brainchild behind the film is award winning film producer, Jeff Spitz and his wife Jennifer Amdur Spitz.

The Spitz family has spent the past 2 1/2 years chronicling their (mis) adventures towards making healthier more sustainable food choices.

Our Daily Green had the opportunity to catch up with Jeff Spitz for some additional insight. He laughed as he explained that as a sports family, food was always just something they ate as frequently and in as large a quantity as possible. It was something to fill the stomachs of active athletes in his family, but something that thinking about too much was just not anything he considered. His wife was the driving force behind any healthy diet choices, beginning when they were dating in college and she took him to farmer's markets and the sort, but he really was just trying to politely accept her overtures as much as possible.

His son was in high school and suffered a food borne illness that was resistant to antibiotics which was the impetus behind their family transformation. Their film Food Patriots is the story of a family as well as their personal communities rethinking how and what they eat. They have involved the University of Wisconsin's athletic department where according to Jeff, Madison, WI has become a sort of "mecca for food patriots". They recently filmed a promotional spot in the Badgers' locker room for the film.

The film has a unique, humorous approach. The Spitz family chronicles their foibles with laughter and humility. The segment with their backyard chicken adventure is delightful. Wonderfully absent is the preachy approach to organic eating that can be such a turn off to families who want to make a change but find it overwhelming. In fact, Food Patriots is hoping to reach an audience that is "beginning to wonder what the connection between health and food and how anyone can take that first step" but isn't sure where to start. Our Daily Green is thrilled to discover a reasonable approach to healthy eating from a real family. We are invited into their world and path to discovery.

This film has not yet been released, they are in the funding stages. We would love to be among the first to screen it and we need your help. Food Patriots is looking for volunteers nationwide to start conversations about food that inspire everyone to make a 10% change in the way they buy, eat and talk about food.

They have a Kickstarter campaign for the film and you can contribute as little as $1. But for $75, you can receive a signed movie poster, a personal copy of the DVD and a t-shirt. There are sponsorship opportunities available for every budget. Hurry, they are in the last 6 days of their campaign. If you want to see this movie released, even if you cannot contribute dollar, please share this post via social media channels.

Stay in touch with their mission on Facebook and Twitter

GOOD LUCK Jeff and Jennifer! 



12/14/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
The Green Can Recycling

In many places, recycling is not mandatory. While recycling isn't always financially profitable, it still is beneficial. The Green Can out of Tampa, Florida, has found a way to correct this social issue and help others at the same time.
The Green Can, Recycling Service
The Green Can offers free recycling to apartment/condo complexes and businesses and then donates all the proceeds to local charities. This philanthropic endeavor is financed by advertising or sponsorship money.

Shopping locally is one of the easiest ways to financially support your own neighborhood as well as the the environment. The difficulty here is knowing what businesses are options for your needs locally.

In an age of DVR, junk mail, spam, and decreasing popularity of print newspapers, small businesses have a difficult time competing for consumer dollars. Trying to actually reach the people nearest the business has become the most difficult and most important issue for a small business.

The decline in the economy has impacted almost everyone except the large multinational corporations. Charities have been hard hit by the financial downturn, small businesses are feeling the squeeze and justifying additional expenses for something like recycling is not financially justified. The Green Can addresses those problems.

They offer free delivery of their proprietary containers that are designed specially as a functioning ground level billboard that is made in the USA out of recycled plastic. When it is full, The Green Can picks up the materials and changes out the 100% reusable liner that is made by hand in the USA. They donate the full amount of the value of the recycled materials to local charities.

What funds the whole program is advertising placed on the outside of the containers. The cost to the advertiser is less than the price of mailing a letter to each resident. The cost per view is 3X cheaper than Google. You can‚
12/14/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Light Pollution
"Star light, star bright, I wish there was a way to see you tonight." 

As society extends more and more of its activity hours past daylight, there is a growing problem of light pollution. Light pollution is defined by Wikipedia as:

  • Degradation of photic habitat by artificial light.
  • The alteration of light levels in the outdoor environment (from those present naturally) due to man-made sources of light. 
  • Light pollution is the introduction by humans, directly or indirectly, of artificial light into the environment.
For most of human history, the phrase ‚
12/12/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
It's Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Holiday Allergy Season
Holiday‚
12/11/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Are heat exchangers environmentally friendly?

By Elliot DeLaney

Heat exchangers are some of the most important engine and household mechanical components used today. Not only do they allow heat to safely and efficiently escape from engines and other mechanical items, but they also conserve energy in some very specific items. Of course, heat exchangers come in a large variety of shapes and sizes. Shell and tube, plate, and waste heat recovery units are the most environmentally friendly models of heat exchangers.

Shell and tube heat exchangers are basically a series or tubes that transfer hot liquid or gas and cooling agents back and forth from the mechanical unit they are part of. In the case of a refrigerator, the heating tubes are used to carry any wasteful heating gasses away from the cooling mechanisms of the units. At the same time, cooling liquids are pumped through the cooling tubes, allowing the refrigerator unit to remain cold. This whole process conserves energy by quickly and efficiently removing heat from a cooling system, reducing the overall energy required to keep the refrigerator running. Unfortunately, shell and tube heat exchangers are quite bulky, and can only be used for static, large mechanical items.

Plate heat exchangers are the most common type of heat exchanger available today. They are used primarily in automobile and plane engines. Plate exchangers are typically made out of high quality aluminum alloys, due to their higher heat transfer efficiency. They also have a larger heat transfer area, weigh much less than other heat exchangers and can withstand much higher internal and external pressures.

Plate heat exchangers save energy in several ways.

  • First, they do not weigh much, and can fit in almost any type of engine quite easily. A lighter engine compartment means that the automobile or plane needs to use less gas to move, ultimately saving the environment in gasoline use and carbon dioxide emissions. 
  • Second, the heat transfer efficiency of plate heat exchangers is good. This allows the heat produced by the engine to dissipate quickly, causing the engine to run cooler and faster, ultimately reducing waste.


Waste heat recovery units are the most environmentally friendly heat exchangers on the market today. They take heat waste from power plants and use that to heat water or other liquids and gasses. These heated elements are then used to create energy or other mechanical products. This saves energy by reusing heat caused by a prior mechanical reaction.

Elliot Delany is a writer for Brazetek.com, a leading manufacturer and retailer of heat exchangers.
12/11/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
The Cost of Allergies
Asthma & Allergy Infographic Infographic authored by Oransi LLC
To view the original post, check out the original Asthma & Allergy Infographic.
12/10/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Green Business People and Planet Award by Green America: Angel Wind Energy

Clean Currents
Silver Spring, MD

Congratulations to Summer 2012
People & Planet Award winner Clean Currents!
Clean Currents is a green electricity provider that goes the extra mile to build a more sustainable community. Clean Currents sells only Green-E Certified wind and solar energy to residents and businesses in Washington, DC, Maryland and central Pennsylvania. Through renewable energy purchases by both business and residential customers, Clean Currents offset 288,430,778 lbs of CO2 emissions in 2011. We also installed solar panels and solar thermal units on homes and businesses in the Mid-Atlantic, further supporting the growth of the clean energy industry.
At its core, Clean Currents is dedicated to increasing the demand for clean domestic wind power, promoting energy efficiency and sustainability, and supporting the communities we serve.  
Beyond Clean Energy
Clean Currents goes beyond selling renewable energy. We are the only energy company in the Mid-Atlantic that is a certified B-Corporation, Gold certified by Green America, and a Maryland Benefit LLC.  Clean Currents is committed to both the environment and to the community in which we operate, and we ensure that every business decision adheres to higher environmental and societal standards.
Advocating Sustainability Initiatives and Clean Energy Legislation
The Clean Currents team works with progressive organizations including Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and the Chesapeake Climate Action Network to encourage widespread adaptation of sustainable lifestyles and green legislation.  Clean Currents actively supports clean energy legislation including offshore wind in Maryland and renewal of the Production Tax Credit.
Building Sustainable Communities
Our hallmark community program is the Green Neighborhood Challenge (GNEC).  GNEC engages local communities in a grassroots effort to spread information about renewable energy alternatives and convert whole neighborhoods and communities to wind and solar power. Additionally, we donate back to the participating organizations for each home that switches to wind or solar power. These donations fund green projects or environmental initiatives that directly benefit the participating communities.
Over the past 3 years, the Green Neighborhood Challenge has facilitated hundreds of residents to switch to clean energy, and has raised thousands of dollars to support local green projects. Some accomplishments include:
  • Engaged over 150 neighborhoods, schools, faith-based groups, and non-profit organizations in supporting clean energy through residential electric bills.  
  • Led workshops on sustainability subjects including clean energy, energy efficiency, and composting for both youth and adults.
  • Supported the Greenbelt, MD community in enrolling 344 total homes in wind power, earning their community nearly $4,000 in donations.
    • Through Greener in Greenbelt‚
12/10/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Green Business People and Planet Award by Green America: City Roots



City Roots
Columbia, SC

Congratulations to Summer 2012
People & Planet Award winner City Roots!
City Roots, Columbia, SC‚
12/09/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Green Business People and Planet Award by Green America: Third Sun


Third Sun Solar
Athens, OH

Congratulations to Summer 2012
People & Planet Award winner Third Sun Solar!
We deeply appreciate this opportunity to present Third Sun Solar for consideration of the Fall 2012 Green America People & Planet Award for Green Businesses.
Third Sun Solar has adopted the mission to accelerate the shift to clean energy.  The company has grown from a tiny start-up to a provider of megawatt-scale systems for corporations, universities, non-profits, small businesses, governments, and homes. Their PV solar installations are known for their craftsmanship, innovative use of materials, and tendency to exceed power generation forecasts.
This business is green down to its roots. Beginning in 1997, Geoff and Michelle Greenfield built a green, off-grid home in the countryside near Athens, Ohio. As a former Peace Corps volunteer in central Africa (where he designed and built clean water systems), Geoff had both a sustainable-resource focus and do-it-yourself aptitude.
The Greenfields designed their home to be powered by a PV solar array and a small wind turbine‚
12/07/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Grey Charges
Examples of grey charges are automatic renewals, mischarges, and uncorrected billing errors. It's money that isn't illegally charged, but most consumers don't realize that they are paying money that they never planned on paying. 

One of the things that has gotten us a few times is the "free trial" that automatically converts to a full charge after a certain number of days, unless you cancel. It's important for consumers to look over their bills. Make sure they are right and fix any errors as soon as you see them. Another one that has gotten us in the past was shipping and handling charges, sometimes they are higher than the actual product purchased. 

Be a careful consumer and check your bills monthly. Especially during this busy shopping season, don't let dollars trickle out of your budget. 

What Are Grey Charges?
12/06/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Mother Nature Belongs at the Bargaining Table: Reprinted from Other Words

Throwing the nation over the climate cliff will make our current fiscal challenges look like a minor bump in the road.

As the highly scripted stagecraft of the presidential campaign fades from the headlines, there's a new show in Washington. ‚
12/05/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Ocean Plastic packaging from Method
Ocean Plastic recycling
One of the most pervasive ongoing environmental concerns is the tremendous amount of plastic we as a society generate. There are plastic islands floating in the oceans is estimated to be approximately twice the size of Hawaii. This plastic waste also gets consumed by the sea creatures and becomes part of our food stream.

Method Hand and dish soapMethod Soap company has decided to build awareness for this problem through innovative packaging on their latest hand soap. The bottle is made from 100% recycled plastic that was gathered by volunteer groups on the coastlines of Hawaii. Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and Kokua Hawaii Foundation has collected over one ton of plastic required to create the packaging.

Our Daily Green received a bottle of the Method Dish + Hand soap in exchange for this article. The packaging is opaque dark grey with a design that is reminiscent of starfish along the bottle.

We commend Method for drawing awareness to this growing problem and offering a small step in the right direction. The less we create new plastic and instead reuse what is already in existence, the cleaner our environment will be. Their innovative product is available exclusively at Whole Foods Market. With enough consumer support, we hope more companies will look into recycled packaging instead of using virgin resources.


12/05/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Build it Green
Our Daily Green comes from the school of thought that saving energy is up there with saving dollars. In fact, growing up in the home of Papa Green, there was always one light too many on. He loved to insulate, turn off lights, and keep the thermostat at the lowest possible setting.

Several years ago, Papa built a new home in Florida. One of the most exciting parts of building his home was the amazing technology he used, the insulated concrete forms that he found to use as building material. They were guaranteed to keep him from spending unwanted dollars on heating or cooling as the construction of the forms was designed to insulate the home above and beyond simple insulation.

In the photo to the right, you'll notice the deep set windows. That is a result of how the forms are constructed. They are much like the popular children's building blocks that snap together to form a structure. Durisol is also energy efficient and superior to their ancestor that was made with Styrofoam as the impact on the environment during production is minimal.The blocks are soundproof, fireproof, impact resistant, healthy and termite proof.

Indoor air quality is not a concern because Durisol does not use polystyrene, but instead utilizes a proprietary cement-bonded wood fiber material that has only natural ingredients of specially graded recycled waste wood (100% clean, natural softwood lumber).

If you are considering building green, we highly recommend doing some research on the insulated concrete forms on the market.

This post is brought to you by a sponsor. For more information about sponsoring a post, click here
12/04/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Decorating Green this Holiday Season
Decorating Green for the HolidaysAs much fun as it is to decorate for the holiday season, doing it in a way that is energy conscious and efficient makes it a bit more challenging. With so many different ways and ideas to show your holiday spirit, it is easy to get ahead of yourself with decorations, lights, and so much more. Finding a way to be decorative and stay energy efficient may be tricky, but here are some tips to help with the process.

The most popular decoration is lighting. They come in all colors, sizes, and shapes so it‚
12/03/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
How to waste less this holiday



Our Daily Green found a staggering statistic. We knew that the holiday season also tended to be one of throwing away, but we had no idea how much. According to a study from Stanford University:

Q: How much extra waste is created during the winter holiday season?

A: Americans throw away 25% more trash during the Thanksgiving to New Year's holiday period than any other time of year. The extra waste amounts to 25 million tons of garbage, or about 1 million extra tons per week!
If every family reused just two feet of holiday ribbon, the 38,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the entire planet. If every American family wrapped just 3 presents in re-used materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields. The 2.65 billion Christmas cards sold each year in the U.S. could fill a football field 10 stories high. If we each sent one card less, we‚
12/03/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Financial tips for monthly bills



Today's tip is two fold. One, if you are reading this, you are online. This means you are also able to receive all your bills that way. We highly recommend receiving and paying bills online, and opting out of paper billing for a few reasons, including the environment, from both a paper perspective and the delivery perspective. Also for the fact that each company will keep your records. Paperwork is the bane of my existence and anything I can do to reduce the amount of paper I have to move around from location to location in my house is welcome.

Our most important tip, one that we have done nearly every January, once we dig out from our end of the year bills and before we start our taxes is to assess every monthly bill you have and see where we can cut expenses. Every January, I go through all our files and shred any documents over a year old, unless they are necessary. (I look forward to the day there isn't a single piece of paper to shred... ahh one can dream, right?) This gives me a chance to assess where we may be able to reduce monthly costs on cell phones, utilities, credit cards, cable, anything we pay on a regular basis. Many times reducing a bill is as simple as a phone call.

Below I have included our bill for quarterly garbage collection for the past year, copied it from our online statements. I received an offer from a competitor that was significantly lower, so I called to renegotiate or cancel service to change to their competitor. They agreed to match the competitors rates.

You will notice that our bill at the end of 2010 was in nearly twice was it is now. I called in January, and it was obviously not rectified by the next billing cycle, which after another phone call, they credited my account (not as much as I thought they should, but still a credit) then my bill has been half what it was for a year now. Understand that no company will lower your rates just to be nice. You must ask. If they can charge you more, naturally they will.

I also have any bill I can automatically charged to my credit card that offers a rebate. The key to that is paying the credit card in full or the interest charges far exceed the amount of the rebate.

To recap today's tip: Don't be afraid to negotiate your bills. Admittedly, it took several phone calls and probably 2 total hours of time either on hold or a phone call. My time is worth the savings of about $120/annually. You can also negotiate with your cable and cell company. While your heating, water and electric bills may not be negotiable, there are ways to reduce those which will we have addressed in the past and will revisit in the future.

DateAccountDescriptionMore
Info
Action
09/15/2012
Amount: $46.04, Due: 10/05/2012Payments
06/15/2012

Amount: $45.90, Due: 07/05/2012
Payments
03/15/2012

Amount: $45.69, Due: 04/04/2012
Payments
12/15/2011

Amount: $45.61, Due: 01/04/2012
Payments
09/20/2011
I
Amount: $15.98, Due: 10/10/2011
Payments
08/15/2011

Amount: -$12.15, Due: 09/04/2011
04/15/2011

Amount: $87.45, Due: 05/05/2011
Payments
12/28/2010

Amount: $83.24, Due: 01/17/2011
Payments

12/02/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Digital coupon savings


One of Our Daily Green's sponsors is a coupon search widget found on the top of the left side of this blog. We've written many times about the importance of not just saving the planet, but also saving money while doing it. We've shared about coupon sites that donate to charity as well as how to find coupons for organic products. We found a fabulous infographic that reiterates our points about coupons.

Digital couponing is on the rise, and one of the easiest ways to search for discounts on items you already are purchasing. We strongly recommend searching for a coupon on any product before you pay. I keep a pile of  paper that is blank on one side next to my printer (old papers, school notices, etc.) and take a few minutes before every shopping trip to search for coupons for what I'm purchasing. For me, it's much easier than shuffling through files and folders of coupons to see if I have a coupon. Instead, I know before I shop.

Additionally, a lot of coupons are available electronically only, through a store's loyalty program. For example, if I log onto my regular grocery store's site, check the items I want to save on, when I use my store card, the coupon is automatically deducted without a single piece of paper.

Coupons aren't just for grocery stores, either. Nearly every retailer has discount codes or coupons available. Check. It's as simple as typing in the name of the retailer on the widget.

This may lead you to wonder why stores don't just lower prices. It's good business to rely on the percentage of folks who don't use coupons to raise the profits. It's up to us as consumers to be the consumer who does use them. I generally save around 5-10% depending on the items purchased. In this season of rampant consumerism, take a few moments to be a smarter consumer. Find the coupons first.

Digital Coupon Use Up 30.5%
by supermarketnews.Browse more infographics.
11/29/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Solar Christmas Lights


Tis the season to decorate, get frustrated, untangle wires, and trip over cords while hanging the outdoor Christmas lights. Then watch your electricity bill soar to keep the lights lit. What if this year you tried solar Christmas lights? There is no need for extension cords or electrical outlets, simply hang them and your done!
Earthtech products also has solar wreaths, outdoor trees, and other accessories to make your decorating earth friendly and convenient.

disclaimer: Our Daily Green receives commission from any sales generated as a result of this post. We just think these are really cool lights! 

Watch at this short video and see how they twinkle. They are just beautiful.
-->
11/28/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Giving Tuesday: a day to give back


#GivingTuesday

Today is the first official Giving Tuesday. From the site:

We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. This year help create #GivingTuesday‚
11/27/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Cheese, Glorious Cheese!


Over the holiday weekend, as many folks gave thanks over palatial buffets of food, Our Daily Green was able to share some artisan cheese we received from the Affinage Cheese Shop after winning a Twitter promotion. We became interested in this small independent business in New Jersey after mutually tweeting about a great recipe for spinach & shrimp risotto, which featured goat cheese.

Real Yorkshire Wensleydale
Ocean Spray Cranberries
Affinage Cheese Shop specializes in sustainably produced cheeses from around the world. Working with small farmers and artisans, they offer a selection of small batch cheeses that are not found in big box grocery stores. After winning their promotion, we received a lovely sampling of unique gourmet cheeses, shipped overnight.

What could be more suitable, yet different, for Thanksgiving than an English cheese with cranberries? Their comprehensive website describes the cheese: Wensleydale Creamery handcrafts their cheese using milk from local farms. Crafting this artisanal cheese by hand allows for the Ocean Spray Cranberries to be more dispersed throughout the cheese and adds the perfect complement to the slight saltiness of the cheese. 
Morbier with Ash, PDO

Another favorite cheese was the Morbier with Ash, with has the protected design of origin seal. That means that this cheese is from a very specific region in France. From the website:  The milk supply to make Charles Arnaud Morbier is coming from (only) 20 farmers and from the Montbeliarde cow. This cheese is known for its sweet, rich, nutty flavor, and creamy texture. 


Teahive





The last cheese we sampled was a Teahive, with black tea and bergamont. Originating in the United States in Utah, this cheese is made from cow milk. Bergamont is what gives Earl Grey tea its flavor. This unique cheese was also a favorite.

Affinage's selection of cheeses do not contain hormones, the milk comes from small dairies, not factory farms, and is not mass produced. They offer a selection of cheese from around the world and ship within 24 hours. Their cheese is handcut to order. We were also impressed that the cheese was not wrapped in plastic. Meats and cheeses should never touch plastic, as the petroleum used to manufacture the plastic will leech into the food.

Their website also offers a number of organic compliments to the cheese, including unique non-alcoholic natural wine sodas, an assortment of artisan crackers, honey (including some of my favorites from Savannah, GA), and accessories to suit any cheese aficionado. We appreciate food produced the slow way with local ingredients and crafting.

If you also appreciate such food, we encourage you to follow their shop on Facebook. When Affinage Cheese Shop reaches 900 fans (only 7 away!), all their followers will receive a special promotion. They also have weekly giveaways for their fans to receive a package very similar to the one Our Daily Green received.

Disclaimer: Our Daily Green received the complimentary package we described above. We have not been compensated in any other way for this review, but instead like to promote businesses we appreciate that follow practices we respect. We are thrilled to tell you about this great local company with unique offerings from around the world.
11/26/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
News about the treatment of food allergies


from: The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI). The official scientific journal of the AAAAI, and the most-cited journal in the field of allergy and clinical immunology.


Published Online: February 2012 
There is currently no cure for food allergy, although recently both sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), where the allergen is held under the tongue, and oral immunotherapy (OIT), where the allergen is simply swallowed, have shown promise as potential treatments. Which method is superior is not known. It is also not known whether the improvements in tolerance seen in other studies with immunotherapy for food allergy persist even if the food is not taken daily.
In a study in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI), Keet et al randomized 30 children with milk allergy to SLIT or SLIT followed by OIT. As has been true of other studies done thus far, the end SLIT dose was much lower than the OIT dose. Study subjects had a baseline challenge to milk, and were re-challenged after 15 months of daily maintenance therapy. If they passed the full food challenge at that time, all milk was stopped, and subjects were re-challenged one and six weeks later.
The researchers found that OIT was far more efficacious than SLIT at desensitizing to milk, with only 1/10 subjects on SLIT passing the challenge after 15 months, compared to 14/20 on OIT. However, OIT was also accompanied by more frequent serious side effects, including gastrointestinal, respiratory and multi-system reactions. After the avoidance period, 40% of subjects regained reactivity to milk on food challenge, including two subjects who lost tolerance after only one week.
The authors conclude that neither SLIT nor OIT in their current forms are optimal in terms of safety and efficacy for treatment of food allergy, although most children can be desensitized using OIT. Importantly, both researchers and patients should realize that, after 15 months of maintenance treatment, desensitization can be lost after a short period of avoidance. The authors speculate that longer periods of treatment might provide better results, but caution that most children will need to maintain the food to which they have been desensitized in their diet indefinitely. 

The Allergy Kit works on a similar principal, but instead of injesting the allergen, the body is desensitized to it through sealed vials and a special acupuncture laser. To learn more:

Click here to view The Allergy Kit website

Eliminate your Allergies
11/25/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Talkin' Turkey


11/21/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Hurricane Relief Green


A few weeks ago, Our Daily Green received two plushbeds natural latex pillows to test for our blog. We received the pillows the same week Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast. As we looked at our brand new pillows, we realized that it was more important to donate them to the folks who lost everything in the hurricane, since one of the items most requested was NEW (obviously not used for the germophobes everywhere!), pillows. 

As a result, we want to thank our sponsor for graciously agreeing to let us pass on reviewing the pillows and instead send them on a truck for hurricane relief.

We will use this opportunity to share a number of relief efforts that are still ongoing. The devastation a hurricane wreaks doesn't go away in a few weeks, but the effects are lingering. As of today, there are still folks without heat or power or homes. We encourage you to look into the different relief efforts, such as Goodwill,  The Salvation Army, or the Red Cross.

We also want to thank today's blog sponsor, Plush Beds.
Thank you for sharing your pillows, which are free with the purchase of a mattress. 

Botanical Bliss‚

11/20/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Bright lights, less energy


In Our Daily Green's disclaimer, we state that we generally don't accept articles about light bulbs, thinking there just isn't anything left for us to say about them. We like them to be efficient, personally. Incandescents have not been banned (contrary to alarmist rhetoric), but instead have had to meet energy efficiency standards. In other words, we use the light bulbs of our choosing, perhaps as a political statement, or perhaps as a way to save money. But... unless we're reading with candle light or oil lamps, light bulbs are a necessity. And they occasionally burn out.

Dimmable LEDThis is where we mention the innovations in replacement light bulbs. We liken the CFL bulbs to lighting what cassette tapes were to music. A good bridge. The energy efficient choices are gravitating to LED bulbs. They don't have the curly cue bulbs, and they turn on immediately. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and some of them can even be dimmed.


Light emitting diode (LED) light bulbs use semiconductor material instead of a filament, like traditional incandescent bulbs. They last much longer, burn more efficiently and stay cooler to the touch. While the upfront cost is higher, their efficiency, versatility and long life makes LED bulbs a smart buy.

So if you're searching for a replacement bulb of any sort, shape, size, wattage, or configuration of light bulb, it is still legal and available. Being a green blog, we encourage bulbs that use less watts in the LED or CFL family. If you're concerned about mercury, invest in the LED and don't worry about replacing a bulb for 20 some years.

And now... we think we've said everything there is to say about light bulbs. A special thank you to our sponsor for this opportunity. While we accept sponsored posts, all opinions expressed are our own and we only share information that we think is useful to our readers. Shine on. 




11/20/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Very cool, very green, very local gift



In June 2011, Our Daily Green first wrote about the innovative nPower Personal Energy Generator, which is produced by Cleveland, Ohio's Tremont Electric Company.  After some refinement, the product is finally available to the public! We are so excited to share this news with you. What could be cooler than charging your phone, iPod, or other hand held electronic by walking? That is exactly what the nPower PEG does. It's a perfect gift for the college student to stay fully charged as they walk around campus, or the outdoorsman who uses a GPS while hunting, or the business traveler who walks miles around an airport trying to find a place to charge the electronic devices. We even can envision it becoming an exercise motivator for younger children. Tell them they can play their video games as soon as they charge them up! 

Our Daily Green has partnered with Tremont Electric to offer our readers FREE shipping. Just enter the code on the flier when you check out.  This is a great opportunity to support a local company with an innovative product. 
Personal Energy Generator

11/20/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
H2O at Home Review


H2O at homeA few weeks ago, Our Daily Green was contacted by the direct sales company, H2O at Home, to review some of their products. Founded in France thirteen years ago, this company has recently celebrated their first year in the United States.

Our Daily Green received an assortment of their products to test and review as their company values closely align with this blog. From their website:
Cleaning your home should not compromise your family‚
11/16/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Net Zero’s Net Worth: How Renewable Energy Is Rescuing Schools from Budget Cuts (reprint from YES! magazine)


Educators across the country are finding millions of dollars in savings through cheap and simple forms of renewable energy.
posted Nov 05, 2012
Richardsville classroom-SCB-555.jpg
Classrooms at Richardsville Elementary School feature a daylight ‚
11/15/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
"Fruit" snacks petition


HCHWmainlogo.png

In an effort to give kids healthier options and avoid candy, moms across the country sometimes opt for fruit snacks.  However, although these snacks are marketed to moms and kids, they are no healthier or safer than conventional candy. Fruit snacks come loaded with artificial dyes ‚
11/14/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Hurricane Sandy's Wakeup Call (op/ed reprint)


Sandy is only the latest and most devastating incident in a pattern of extreme weather that's become impossible to ignore
Michael Brune
I've been working on solutions to the climate crisis for a long time, but I never really expected that it would hit home for me quite the way it did.
Chadwick Beach, the small New Jersey town where I grew up and where my parents still live, was one of many communities in Superstorm Sandy's path.
It was an idyllic place to grow up. My wife and I still take our kids back home each summer. It's where I fell in love with the ocean and, by extension, all of nature, from redwood forests to alpine meadows.
Fortunately, my parents weren't home when the storm slammed into the Garden State. The damage along the shoreline is so severe that they haven't been able to get back to their house to learn its full extent.
DVIDSHUB/Flickr
DVIDSHUB/Flickr

But my uncle's house is flooded, the restaurant where I bused tables has been destroyed, and neighbors' houses have been spotted floating in the bay. I've seen photos online that show the homes just a few blocks from ours completely inundated, and the damage reports from friends are numbing. No one has seen anything like it before.
I wish I could say we'll never see anything like it again in our lifetimes, but that's not how the wind is blowing. The frightening consequences of climate disruption that scientists have warned us about for decades are already here. Sandy is only the latest and most devastating incident in a pattern of extreme weather that's become impossible to ignore.
Our nation suffered through a record-high 14 weather events last year that caused at least $1 billion each in damages. So far in 2012, we've seen a drought that devastated Midwestern farmers, historic wildfires that laid waste to homes in Colorado, Texas, Wyoming, Montana, and beyond, and thousands of heat records broken across the nation.
"In just 14 months, two hurricanes have forced us to evacuate neighborhoods ‚
11/14/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Green alternative solutions for garden control



Many people get nervous about what living green really means, unsure of what one will have to give up in order to live a green life and this at times can seem like everything. However, most of our daily used, main stream products already have green alternatives that actually work better than those products that are not green. Choosing to purchase, use and immerse you and your family in a green lifestyle has many benefits beyond saving the environment, but will also help reduce the amount of chemicals we humans come into contact with.

Gardening and garden up-keep usually involves a long list of chemicals found in weed killers, fertilizers, and insect and animal control sprays. A common misconception of green gardening is that you no longer can control things like this, forced to let weeds take over your garden, bugs to roam as they please and deer to eat as many flowers as they want. This is all false. There are many products out there that are safe, naturally occurring and get the job done.

natural pest controlVinegar has many uses and benefits; probably more then you could have ever imagined and it‚
11/06/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Chance to win Neem!


Earlier this year, Our Daily Green posted about one of our favorite products for the skin, Neem. Neem's healing and soothing properties are unbelievable for someone who suffers from skin problems, like rashes or eczema.

Triple Neem OintmentNeem is a botanical extract from India and contains antioxidants and essential fatty acids. Neem also has  anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties to aid against skin ailments of all kinds. We are thrilled to partner with The Olive Parent and Organix South to offer a great Organic Neem Skin Care Pack by Organix South that includes:
  • Neem Moisturizing Lip Stick
  • Neem Maximum Strength Soap
  • Triple Neem Care Ointment
We have used all the products in this giveaway and highly encourage you to enter to win. You'll love Neem as much as we do!

Limited to US residents, 18+ Ends 11/24/12 midnight EST. Entering into the giveaway indicates you understand its terms & conditions. 

Follow this link to enter:
Rafflecopter Giveaway
11/02/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Herbal remedies for healthy living


natural herbal supplementsAs foods become more and more processed, nutrients and vitamins are often lost. Many folks take natural herbal supplements to compensate for the nutrients lost through processing as well as to round out their intake with supplements not readily found in the daily diet.

The use of herbs for therapeutic or medicinal purposes is the oldest form of health care in the world. According to the World Health Organization, close to 80% of the world population has utilized herbal medicine for their health.

As folks become more and more concerned about the effects of synthetic chemicals from drugs, they are rediscovering different herbal remedies. Much of the pharmacy of scientific medicine originated with the herbal remedies of the past. In fact, nearly one quarter of the prescription drugs dispensed in the United States contain at least one active ingredient derived from plant material. Major pharmaceutical companies are currently studying the plants from the rain forests and other places for their potential medicinal value.

Interest in the United States had been growing in the recent years from the reported success stories from the use of herbs. There are herbal supplements that can alleviate the symptoms of a numerous conditions, from chronic fatigue, adrenal stress, sleeplessness, anxiety that so many individuals suffer from.

If you're concerned about synthetic solutions for medical problems, ask your doctor about the herbal remedies as an alternative.

Our Daily Green has been compensated for this post, but we only share information that we think may benefit for our readers. 

10/27/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Green America: Energy Efficiency, the Magic Bullet


republished from: Green America: Energy Efficiency, the Magic Bullet


10 Easiest Ways to Cut Your Energy Use in Half

1. Turn Off the Lights Save 2%*

Efficiency Poster
Be mindful about shutting lights off when you leave a room. If you have a forgetful family member or roommate, paste reminders on the switchplates or consider installing motion-detector switches.
ADVANCED: Replace your bulbs with CFLs or LEDs.

2. Install Ceiling Fans Save 19%

Install Energy Star ceiling fans in the rooms you use most often. They'll help keep you cool in the summer while your AC works less or not at all. In the winter, switch them to turn clockwise to circulate the warm air rising up to the ceiling back down into the room.
ADVANCED: Go with a white roof or install a greenroof, which will prevent heat loss through the roof in winter and cool your home down in the summer.

3. Show Your Fridge Some Love Save 4%

The refrigerator is one of the biggest energy-users in your home, and if it was built before 1993, it's a huge energy hog. Clean the coils of your fridge every six months to keep it running efficiently, and take up unused space with jugs of water, which hold in the cold. Eliminate a second refrigerator, if you have one.

4. Wash Clothes in Cold, Let Them Air Dry Save 9%

Washing clothes in cold water gets them just as clean as hot, and cuts your washer‚
10/24/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Noodle & Boo Giveaway!


One of the great "perks" of being a Circle of Moms Top 25 Ecofriendly Blogger is that Our Daily Green gets to share exclusive giveaways with our readers. Here is this week's giveaway... for eco-friendly baby bath products. Just go over to the Circle of Moms site to enter. Good Luck!

Noodle & Boo "The Works" Giveaway ($100 Value)

By The Circle of Moms Editors

Source: Noodle & Boo
When it comes to baby bath times, we're always on the lookout for gentle, safe, and effective bath products. That's why we're thrilled to partner with Noodle & Boo this week to give away a bath set that's perfect for taking care of baby skin. 
Two moms will win "The Works" gift set ($100 value), which includes an extra-gentle shampoo, a soothing body wash, a super-soft lotion, an ointment for dry skin and diaper rash, an all-natural soap with aloe, and more! There's even a reed diffuser with a lovely light and fresh scent that'll make the bathroom (or your own bedroom) smell amazing. If your little ones aren't so little anymore, "The Works" bath set also makes a wonderful baby shower gift for an expectant mom.
To enter, Tweet or Pin your favorite Noodle & Boo product and include the hashtag #MyfavNB in your tweet or pin description.
Please note: You must enter before October 28th, 2012 at 11:59pm PST to be eligible. 
Check out the full list of rules here for more details.
Noodle & Boo is committed to creating the highest quality products using the finest ingredients. The line offers complete care for newborns, babies and children with eczema and sensitive skin. Ingredients are derived from natural resources and are 'certified organic' when available and safe to use. Every hypoallergenic formula is clinically-tested and dermatologist-tested to verify optimality for skin sensitivities. Products are also pediatrician-tested to ensure every consideration is taken to meet the needs of our youngest customers.
10/23/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Candy Free Halloween?


A recent survey on the Circle of Moms invited us to share hints for alternatives to candy on Halloween. When we had the chance to participate in this question, it was thrilling. We enjoy the Halloween celebration, even if we have issues with the candy, from both a diet and also a fair trade aspect.

The first year we did alternative Halloween, we knew everyone in our neighborhood. It was a brand new development and we had few trick or treaters.We bagged up homemade cookies and put an address label on the bag, knowing that as soon as our neighbors knew who it was, they would be at ease. As our neighborhood grew and we subsequently moved, we needed to be more clever.

We light a big fire in our fire pit to welcome and warm the Trick or Treaters. We've served hot apple cider and toasted marshmallows. As a gift, we have given coins good for ice cream at a local ice cream shop, cards good for a movie rental, and we've also given away small toys. The candy just gets to be too much for everyone.

Another concern with distributing candy is how the chocolate is sourced. Both Hershey's and Nestl√©  have run into problems for using cocoa sourced with child labor. Hershey recently committed to sourcing 100% of their cocoa from fair trade farmers by 2020, but until then, the chocolate can be from anywhere, including those that utilize child labor.  Nestl√© promises more fair trade chocolate products chocolate products by pledging to make more chocolate products with fair trade cocoa when fresh supplies become available.

With such loose commitments, most chocolate from these giants still will be sourced with child labor, which in my opinion, is not the best way to celebrate a holiday for children.

For more ideas, visit the Circle of Moms.
10/18/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Blog Action Day: Spotlight on Oxfam #PowerofWe



Oxfam research shows that big land deals in poor countries are leaving people homeless and hungry. Families are being unfairly evicted from their land and left with no way to grow food or earn a living. Land grabs are big business for rich investors ‚
10/15/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Help Yourself Kickstarter Project


Do you think it would be cool to be able to take a walk in the park and stop and pick an apple or fresh veggies/fruit for FREE? 
Watch this short video about how you can support this unique project in Massachusetts. 

10/10/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Breastfeeding Moms Boot Nestlé from Maternity Wards (reprint)


As part of our alternative support for Breast Cancer awareness month, Our Daily Green wants to share tips towards prevention and finding a cure. Being aware has happened. One suggested way to lower the risk of breast cancer is to breast feed.

If breastfeeding is healthier for babies, why are hospitals pushing corporate infant formula? How a growing number of states and cities are banning marketing in the maternity ward.
posted Oct 04, 2012
Mother breastfeeding by Amy Bundy-555.jpg
Photo by Amy Bundy.
From TIME magazine‚
10/08/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Earth-friendly doesn't have to mean foreign (guest post)


High gas prices and the threat of global warming have led many buyers to sincerely care about the gas mileage in the cars they buy. This generally leads them to Japanese or German cars, which have historically had the best gas mileage. However, American car manufacturers have stepped up to the plate since their reconstruction, and offers many excellent and fuel-efficient cars that cost less and run better than their foreign competitors.

A case in point is the new Dodge Dart. In addition to being made in America using a minimal waste facility, it is much smaller, lighter and more fuel efficient than anything else Dodge makes. Like the original Dart, it is affordable and light, intending to compete with foreign cars in terms of fuel efficiency and longevity. Unlike the original Dart, it has very low emissions, especially in terms of ground-level ozone and other industrial pollutants. With an excellent emissions reduction package and advanced catalytic conversion system built in at engineering, it is the small, affordable and earth friendly alternative intended to power Dodge through energy-uncertain times.

Dodge DartDodge has even put this technology to use in its sedans, such as the Dodge Avenger. Taking a cue from the Dart, it is much lighter than previous models, with aluminum replacing steel in much of the bodywork. Additionally, the engine has been tuned and refined so that gas is burned more cleanly and fully, reducing the waste going out the tailpipe. This ultimately makes the vehicle both fuel efficient and practical, and the low weight helps with handling and top speed in addition to being good for the environment.

Chrysler has also gotten in on the action. Partnering with Nissan in 2010, they began to borrow technology and learning from the company to increase fuel efficiency and decrease weight. The end result is the 200 series of Chrysler cars, which are small, light and efficient sedans that compete with Japanese cars in terms of fuel mileage while having American style size, luxury and comfort. The 200 series was designed with an eye towards rising fuel prices, and as such it has many innovative design changes intended to lower the weight and make the engine run more efficiently. The end result is a vehicle that is economical to drive and good for the environment in addition to being a very comfortable and high quality sedan.

Jeep too has gotten in on environmentalism - a far departure from its trail-destroying, gas flaming roots in the off-roading realm. Bowing to high gas prices and criticism from environmentalists, modern Jeeps are smaller, lighter and better at burning fuel than their predecessors. Efforts have been made to replace steel with aluminum where possible, and compact SUVs like the Compass offer greater than 20 miles per gallon even in congested cities. Mostly this is done by having four-wheel drive turn off when not needed and by having the engine burn the fuel completely, releasing less waste products and getting more out of each drop.

The end result of all this hard work by Chrysler/Dodge is that you as a consumer are able to choose the car you want without having to worry about its environmental impacts. Even if you want a large Jeep, Dodge or Chrysler, dealers like Lou Fusz can help you find one with good fuel mileage that was built in an environmentally friendly and sustainable fashion. Lou Fusz has sold these vehicles for many years and knows them inside and out, as well as how to get the most fuel out of each and every one. Therefore you should not have to compromise with a small, slow or unsafe car just to do right by the environment - Lou Fusz can help you find something better!

Our Daily Green has been compensated for this post. To learn more about post sponsorship, please contact us here.
10/05/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Why Your Health Is Bigger Than Your Body (reprint)


YES! Magazine allows us to make free use of this article by taking these easy steps. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License

New findings explain how politics, economics, and ecology can help or hurt our bodies.

posted Aug 21, 2012 
by: Claudia Rowe
Feet photo by Julie Urban
Talking with Dr. Ted Schettler is probably unlike any conversation you have had with your physician. Raise the topic of breast cancer or diabetes or dementia, and Schettler starts talking about income disparities, industrial farming, and campaign finance reform.
The Harvard-educated physician, frustrated by the limitations of science in combating disease, believes that finding answers to the most persistent medical challenges of our time‚
10/03/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Our Daily Green goes Pink


With October comes the inevitable pinking of every consumer good imaginable. Our Daily Green is pinked to the peak. We honestly find all the pink aggravating, not encouraging. 

Why wouldn't a blog dedicated to healthy living and environmentally friendly choices be on board with all this pink? Well, we haven't even have to say "why" we're going pink and our readers know.This means that since the point of the pink is to promote awareness, the campaign has been successful. Pink needs to move past buying ribbon shaped merchandise in pink boxes and learn more about prevention and cures
Breast Cancer Action

In other words, Our Daily Green is not pink for the reasons thought. Quite frankly, we're pink because we are blushing with embarrassment at the trivialization of the insidious disease of breast cancer. We are not interested in catchy colors or cutesy slogans to make us "aware". We are past aware and concerned with cure, and want to use the word cure without being sued. We believe it's time to get past branding and marketing and participate in a meaningful way in the discussion.

We are now a volunteer for the Breast Cancer Action network, hoping to share their information and principles. We will have a weekly feature this entire month of October about different steps we can take together to learn about risk, prevention, care, and other facts. It's time to be serious about our breasts and protecting them.

From their website:
BCAction members across the country‚
10/02/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Why ‚ÄúGreen‚ÄĚ Consumer Choices Can‚Äôt Win Climate Justice (reprint)


reprinted from YES! Magazine by taking these easy stepsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License

Middle-class people are often socialized to believe they are responsible for improving their neighborhoods, their communities, and the world itself. Helpful as that often is, it creates a blind spot when it comes to global warming.

posted Sep 27, 2012
YES! Magazine back issues
With his July Rolling Stone article, Bill McKibben attracted enormous attention for his proposal to step up the fight against the fossil-fuels industry in the struggle to forestall global warming. To identify a clear opponent and mobilize power against it is, of course, a strategy of polarization. McKibben has been getting some thoughtful pushback, and I‚
10/01/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Green Cleaning for Fall



As the weather turns colder, and we button up our homes for the fall and winter, many homeowners clean their carpets. An ongoing concern of Our Daily Green's has been the affect on the indoor air of all the toxins and chemicals in traditional carpet cleaners, especially with closed windows and less air circulation.

wool carpet cleaner nyc
wool rug cleaner nyc
Even a mild exposure to the usual industrial carpet cleaners can cause eye irritation and skin sensitivities for family and pets.

But many companies are responding to consumer concern about such chemicals and now clean with naturally occurring enzyme-based cleansers including common table salt, antimicrobial salts, citric acid, and soda ash. Enzymes are a protein molecule that speed up the reactions of other chemicals. Enzymatic cleaners break down the chemical bonds in the stain. Many stains found in carpets are organically based, such as food, grass, soil, pet accidents, blood, even cigarette smoke. An enzyme based cleaner is a safe alternative without the side effects of typical cleaners.

Enzyme based cleaners have no corrosive or toxic side effects which makes them a preferred choice for homeowners. The environmental impact is lower, they do not affect indoor air quality.

Before you do your fall cleaning, take some time to research and find out your different options when you clean your carpets.

This post has been brought to you by a sponsor. To learn more about sponsoring an article on one of our blogs, click here
09/28/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
How green actually is solar power?


09/26/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Green ways to light up your world


quoizel pendant lighting
It's human nature to want aesthetically pleasuing surroundings. We want to fill our space with beauty. In the past, that was a challenge for green minded folks who eschew consumption. But the desire and need for beauty can also co-exist with our values. We can embrace environmentally friendly choices at the same time we embrace beauty.

With new energy regulations in place, more and more consumers are switching to compact fluorescent bulbs (CPB) or light emitting diodes(LED).  As more and more consumers green the type of light bulbs they choose, there also are increasingly green choices in the light fixtures.  Many companies are utilizing recycled materials in the production of their fixtures. In an era where many folks complain that the lightbulbs are ugly, there are multiple options to conceal them.

Fixtures are inspired by the earth, with the use of natural materials, such as the agate embedded pendant in the picture. Other lighting fixtures, manufactured from repurosed or recycled materials are other options. The number of environmentally friendly options are only as limited as your research.

The opportunities to choose decor that not only reflects light, but also our personal values has never been greater.

This post has been sponsored. For more information how to sponsor a post on one of our blogs, please click here


09/25/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Gross-out green week - Day six: Cloth diapers


After yesterday's post about nursing, it only seems natural that a discussion of what happens after should take place. Babies poop and pee. Parents have to deal with that. Since babies don't walk and using the toilet involves a number of fine motor skills they haven't mastered, they require diapers. There is no way anyone will get through the baby stage without having dirty diapers, whether we encase it in plastic and throw it into the garbage, or rinse the waste down the toilet and reuse the diapers over and over

dirty disposable diapers
I made an early decision to use cloth diapers. My impetus was primarily a financial decision. I just couldn't make peace with the price of disposable diapers. Then I found my own "gross out" place when I learned how many disposable diapers go into landfills indefinitely. (Admittedly, my own personal threshold for gross is probably higher than average. Growing up on a farm and having to clean animal stalls will make diapers seem like a breeze.)

And so it was, I decided to use cloth diapers for our babies. They had come a long long way since the days of folding and pinning. I actually had thick cotton diapers with elastic legs and Velcro waistbands. I covered them with old fashioned waterproof pants (the kind that look sort of like a showercap with leg holes). I also would use disposable diapers when I was away from the house for any amount of time.

Some of the concerns folks have regarding cloth diapers was the constant source of moisture against our babies' skin and if that would cause diaper rash. I personally can say my kids never had any diaper rashes, but we also made liberal use of A & D ointment to create a barrier between their skin and the diaper.

We had a diaper pail next to the bathroom, and each time we changed a diaper we rinsed it in the toilet, squeezed it out and put it in the pail. The lid was tight fitting and we did not have an odor problem. Rinsing diapers that are wet also is important or they will generate an ammonia smell. We laundered the diapers in hot water and gentle detergent. About once a month, we would run the diapers with through the load with bleach then double rinse them.

We estimate that we saved approximately 5000 diapers/annually, times two children, times 3 years each. (it took a full 3 years to potty train our kids). Factoring in the initial cost of the cloth diapers and the additional water bill, we still feel we came out several thousand dollars ahead. That extra money offset the "gross-out" factor tremendously.


09/21/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Hybrid Car Green


As gas prices continue to rise, consumers look for more fuel efficient cars. One of the early pioneers in the realm of fuel efficiency was the Toyota line of hybrid vehicles. Their Prius model was the first mass-produced hybrid vehicle in the world, and it was available for worldwide purchase in 2000. They quickly became the "poster car" for fuel conservation, as they achieved as much as 50-60 miles per gallon of gasoline.

hybrid prius c
Prius c special offers
Hybrid cars are interesting. They utilize both gasoline and electricity to power them. They don't fire up like a traditional vehicle, and in fact there is no ignition sound at all when they are started, much like an electric golf cart. Hybrids are as the name suggests, a hybrid combination between a gasoline powered vehicle and an electric powered one.

Electric batteries generally store enough energy to give the vehicle a range of 50-100 miles, depending on the size of the batter. They are recharged through regenerative braking. What happens is that when the car is slowing down with the use of brakes, the kinetic energy is converted and stored in the battery. Hybrid cars do not need to be plugged in to recharge. But because electric batteries have a limited amount of energy storage, the cars also utilize a gasoline engine to create a farther range for the vehicle.

Hybrid vehicles are more efficient in city driving than their plain gasoline counterparts exactly because there is more braking in stop and start traffic. Every time a hybrid car has to use brakes to stop, it converts and stores that kinetic energy in the battery, allowing more time for the car to operate with electric versus gasoline power.

Hybrids are an excellent compromise in a vehicle between efficiency and convenience. Until there are better solutions for charging electric cars, a hybrid offers an great solution for the driver who wants to save fuel in a reliable vehicle.

disclaimer: This post was brought to you by a sponsor. Nonetheless, we only publish information that we believe is useful to our readers and all opinions are 100% our own. 



09/21/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Gross-out green week - Day five: Nursing


It's been a long time since my babies were little (17 years ago as of yesterday), but in the day, once I got past pushing their stroller 5 miles uphill in the snow to get to the store, I chose to breastfeed. I can remember my peers looking at me like I was nuts.

For the baby shower I was given bottles galore, a bottle sterilizer, but no breast pump. At the hospital, I was  sent home with piles of free formula and coupons for formula. I had a few friends swear cringe when I told them my plans and actually had one person say "as long as you don't nurse in front of me, you should do your own thing, but I'm just too modest for that". The invitation to spend time together was there as long as my baby wasn't hungry.

In a world where we are increasingly modest about our bodily functions, the thought of leaking and exposed breasts did give me pause. I'm here to testify that we survived, and it wasn't nearly as unpleasant as some of our sensibilities would indicate. There are a number of benefits to breastfeeding that set off any "gross" factors and actually prevent a few.

Have you ever smelled baby formula? It is nasty smelling stuff, based on modified cow's milk or soy. Not only is it nasty smelling, it's really unsettling the things that are put into it. From a 2010 Mother Jones report:
Infant formula has come a long way since chemist Justus von Liebig first patented a commercial cocktail of cow's milk, wheat flour, malt flour, and potassium bicarbonate in 1865. Today, Similac, Enfamil, Earth's Best, and other brands are fortified with everything from iron to the omega-3 fatty acid DHA, and most brands attempt to chemically match human milk as closely as possible. But even though artificial human milk is regulated by the FDA, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found last year that a thyroid-affecting chemical used in rocket fuel contaminates 15 brands of powdered infant formula, including two that accounted for 87 percent of market share in 2000. The CDC study omits the names of the top offenders, but a little sleuthing reveals (PDF) that they are referring to Similac and Enfamil, produced by Ross (now Abbott Nutrition) and Mead Johnson Nutrition respectively. (The Environmental Working Group handily includes phone numbers here for those and other infant formula companies if you're interested in questioning the makers of your child's brand.)
Janet Tamaro Breastfeeding book
Breastfeeding
Breastmilk is exactly what a baby needs to grow properly without any of the dangerous chemicals associated with infant formulas. Additionally, cow's milk based formula has been linked to type 1 diabetes, lactose intolerance and milk allergies. Keep in mind that cow's milk is designed to make calves grow 1000 lbs in a year. It's completely biologically different from human milk. Humans have a more difficult time digesting the proteins in cows milk  which can lead to life long sensitivities.
Evidence of a pathogenic role of cow's milk in many disorders has been presented - asthma, rhinitis, eczema, urticaria, serous otitis media, pulmonary alveolitis (hemosiderosis), milk-induced enteropathy in infants, eosinophilic gastroenteritis, gastrointestinal bleeding with iron deficiency anemia, migraine headaches, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and insulin dependent diabetes mellitus.

Soy based formulas also have their complications. According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences,

The safety of soy infant formula has been debated because it typically contains a class of compounds called isoflavones. Isoflavones are naturally occurring compounds found primarily in beans and other legumes, including soybeans, peanuts, and chickpeas.

... These isoflavones are referred to as phytoestrogens because they are found in plants (phyto) and because of their ability to act like the hormone estrogen in the body.

... it is recognized that infants go through developmental stages that are sensitive to estrogens. Therefore, infants are more likely than adults to be vulnerable to the estrogen-like effects of the phytoestrogens in soy. In some cases, the health effects resulting from a soy-based diet may not be apparent until years later.
 

It is Our Daily Green's opinion that the conditions above are a lot more gross than a leaking breast.  I've included a link to a book that was one of my favorite resources when I was nursing. It was published when my second child was born but it reassured me and helped me understand a bit more about our choices.

Stay tuned for tomorrow when I wrap up gross-out week with a discussion about cloth diapering.  





09/21/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Gross-out green week - Day four: Cigarette butt recycling


One of the most pervasive types of litter is cigarette butts. And contrary to popular belief, they are not biodegradable. Most cigarette filters are composed of cellulose acetate, a synthetic plastic-like substance used commonly for photographic film. Thousands of cigarette butts litter our roadsides, sidewalks, parking lots, and beaches. In fact, according to Ocean Conservancy.org, they are the number one litter item found.

A couple of companies are working on solutions that range from recycling the butts into plastic (TerraCycle now has a fundraising brigade for butts), and InnovaGreen in Ohio uses the butts to manufacture coatings and adhesives as well as generate employment, as the butts must processed by hand.

Another company, Greenbutts, has created a cigarette butt not of plastic, but biodegradable blend of all-natural flax, hemp and cotton. The butts also contain non-invasive wildflower seeds in the filter wrapper to aid in the breakdown of the filter body when discarded.

In San Diego,Curtis Baffico, a stock trader who moonlights as an environmentalist, decided to create a recycling system for them.  He raises money on his website, Ripplelife.org, then pays $3/pound for whatever cigarette ends people collect and turn in at monthly collection events.

While Our Daily Green things smoking is truly a gross habit, and cigarette butts even more gross, it's exciting to see the ways that something so gross can be turned into something so green.
09/20/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Gross-out green week - Day three: Feminine Products


Wow, talk about an awkward, and yes, slightly gross conversation. But I promised "gross out green" and here you have it. (gentlemen readers? you're invited to go play poker or watch football until this post is done, but ladies, I know you'll get it). 

Washable menstrual pads
washable cotton pads
If you think this discussion topic is gross, I understand your pain. I've lived it. Our first home was a lovely Tudor home in an older city. We had hardwood floors, built-in china cabinets, 6 inch wood molding... and old pipes. We lived there seven years. About year 5.5, we decided to re-activate our basement bathroom, which had all the "equipment" but nothing was turned on or functional. We were planning a family and thought a second bathroom would be nice.

We remodeled, replaced a toilet and shower stall, opened the laundry chute, and were ready to go. Within a few weeks, we had pests (drain flies and the sort) in our basement bathroom. After a few attempts to figure the problem, we called the local Rotorooter sort of guy.

He arrived and went to work. After about an hour, he called me into the basement where he was holding a half filled 5 gallon bucket. Of "supposedly" flushable feminine products. I quickly did the math. Yeah, about 6 years worth of female products had clogged our waterflow.

Sea Sponge Tampons
This humiliation was enough for me to reconsider how I handled that monthly time. I spent about a month swaddling and hiding my personal care products in the depths of the nearest wastebasket. It was really inconvenient, and the additional paper used to pretend to camouflage the fact that I am a female also rubbed me wrong.

I wondered what women did in the past. The pre-flush, the pre-disposable world days. Menstrual cycles have existed as long as humanity. What did our sisters in previous decades do?







The Diva Cup menstrual product
a reusable menstrual cup

After a great deal of research, I learned about a number of contemporary solutions for "our time of the month". I'm modest enough to tell you that one of them works very well for me but I draw the line at sharing more detail. Just know that there are a number of options in the eco-friendly realm.

We've pictured a few solutions that may work for you. I encourage all the ladies out there to consider one of these ways to handle their monthly cycle. If you're reading this, you've likely had children (since Our Daily Green's primary demographic base is moms) which automatically reduces your squeamish factor. Ladies, we've been poked prodded and operated on in the presence of  family and medical professionals. I gave birth the first time in a teaching hospital, and had a class of interns looking on. If I was modest or squeamish, I quickly got over it. As parents we have wiped up, cleaned out, and taken care of every possible bodily discharge. All this to remind us that this isn't gross, it's natural. And we're dealing with it in a natural way. And a way that never ever ever will have the Rotorooter guy holding a bucketful of what we thought was a discreet way to handle our monthly cycle. 

*If you ever need to launder fabric that has blood stains on it, hydrogen peroxide works wonders. 



09/19/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Gross-out green week - Day two: Skipping Soap


No More Dirty Looks 
Back in January of 2011, Our Daily Green embarked on a "No Soap" for a week challenge as proposed by the writers over at No More Dirty Looks (who've also published the featured book of the same name). They challenged us to go five days without soap. Not being one to put my perceptions about personal hygiene before the potential to win a prize, I took the bait.

Contrary to predictions, I did not come down with an incurable disease, I did not smell like a sewer, and in fact, there was no noticeable difference. I spent a week in midwinter using soap only on my hands and "private" areas. Everything else was washed with water and a good washcloth.

Before you're tempted to ask what could possibly be green (besides the potential for growth of scum) about skipping soap, let me explain a little bit about how soap works and how soap is made. From a purely chemical  perspective:
Nearly all compounds fall into one of two categories: hydrophilic ('water-loving') and hydrophobic ('water-hating'). Water and anything that will mix with water are hydrophilic. Oil and anything that will mix with oil are hydrophobic. When water and oil are mixed they separate. Hydrophilic and hydrophobic compounds just don't mix.
The cleansing action of soap is determined by its polar and non-polar structures in conjunction with an application of solubility principles. The long hydrocarbon chain is non-polar and hydrophobic (repelled by water). The "salt" end of the soap molecule is ionic and hydrophilic (water soluble). 
When grease or oil (non-polar hydrocarbons) are mixed with a soap- water solution, the soap molecules work as a bridge between polar water molecules and non-polar oil molecules.
Since soap molecules have both properties of non-polar and polar molecules the soap can act as an emulsifier. An emulsifier is capable of dispersing one liquid into another immiscible liquid. This means that while oil (which attracts dirt) doesn't naturally mix with water, soap can suspend oil/dirt in such a way that it can be removed. The soap will form micelles and trap the fats within the micelle. Since the micelle is soluble in water, it can easily be washed away.
Soap carries germs away by surrounding the oily dirt, germs and bacteria with water and rinsing them away.

To make soapanimal or vegetable oils (acid)  are mixed with either sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide (base) to make a salt. Depending on the proportions, the salts are basic or alkaline in nature with a pH value of about 9-10 while our skin has an acidic nature with a pH between 5.6 and 5.8. Using soap on your skin increases the pH of our skin harming it.

Again, to simplify, the ingredients in soap strongly affect our skin's natural pH. An addendum to the "No Soap" challenge was that using soap for handwashing is an absolute must. Our hands touch things that need to be removed from our skin's surface. Same goes for the private areas of our body that are also exposed to bacteria. However, we do not roll our bodies in germy substances on a regular basis and therefore most of our skin does not require that intense level of germ removal. In fact, that level of removal is actually damaging to our skin's pH balance.

The skin is our largest organ. Skin is a living breathing organ of the body and absorbs anything that is put on it or next to it through the pores. The caustic chemicals that make soap effective also can be absorbed into the body. Last month, in fact, a University of California Davis study showed that triclosan (a common germ killing ingredient in soap and hand sanitizers) reduces muscle strength in mice and fish, and researchers theorize it may also be a problem for humans. Many soaps also contain chemical additives for fragrance and dyes.

In the year plus since my no soap for a week experiment, I have used less and less soap. My typical shower routine is soap only for my feet, armpits, and personal areas, to remove germs and bacteria. The rest of my body just gets a vigorous scrub with water and a washcloth. My skin's natural pH stays balanced, I am clean and I'm not absorbing as many chemicals through my skin into my body.

09/18/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Gross-out green week - Day one: Composting


We have been rolling this idea around in our green brain for a while now. A lot of the things we do when we go green elicits a gag reflex. This week, we're going to write about a few of the "gross" things we green folks do and some ideas and suggestions how to get around the yucky aspect.

The first time I explained that I wanted to begin composting our yard and kitchen scraps, a certain member of my family strongly objected. Mr. UltraSafe, SuperClean, FarFromGreen spouse thought it was simply an excuse not to clean as much and that we now would be inviting filth and critters to invade our home by leaving a convenient pile of accessible food.

To say he was not on board with composting is an understatement.

How to overcome the "ick" factor and why start composting?


We started composting over 10 years ago. While Mr. Daily Green still calls my compost container the slop bucket and casts disparaging looks my way, he also will finely chop melon rinds so they compost sooner. We have managed to undo years of simply grinding up the waste in our food disposal. One weapon in my arsenal was when the kitchen trap began to breed drain flies as a result of fine food particles that accumulated. When you compost organic scraps, there is nothing accumulating in the drain.

Truthfully, we hated washing those valuable minerals down the drain when they could be improving our soil. Our ground is impacted clay, which according to Wise Geek,
... clay soil is usually easy to identify. It tends to be almost gluey when wet, in addition to very clumpy. When it dries out, it cracks, and the soil has a dense, heavy feeling when felt in the hands. Clay soils are also known as heavy soils, a reference to their density. The problem with clay soil is that the density creates poor drainage, which can be bad for many plants. In addition, it is prone to compaction, and it is often highly alkaline. 
One of the best ways to improve clay soil is by adding a variety of compost materials which includes:
  • Kitchen scraps that are not meat or dairy based (no bones, fat or cheese)
  • Eggshells
  • Coffee grounds (and filters!)
  • Shredded newspaper (but not more than 10% of the total material)
  • Vegetable peels
  • Apple cores
  • Citrus skin
  • Banana peels
  • Plant trimmings
  • Dead headed flowers
  • Grass clippings
  • Leaves
  • NO pet waste from animals that eat meat. (Horse manure is fine, for example, as is cow manure or rabbit droppings) Dog or cat waste is not acceptable. 
By carefully choosing the material that goes into the compost, the smell is eliminated. We must warn however, that different folks have different thresholds for smell. I grew up on a farm and so anything less than a pig pen or cow pasture smell isn't "bad at all" to me. My city family does beg to differ. 

Compare Various Compost Tumblers at CompostMania.comAir circulation is also an important factor in proper composting. The scraps need to decompose, versus spoil. By rotating the composting materials, there will be enough aeration to help the material break down properly. The absence of oxygen is what causes material to break down more slowly and smell foul.  Another way to hasten the breakdown of the organic materials (and therefore minimize the smell) is either by using lime powder which holds nitrogen and generates heat or by using red worms to eat and digest the material which also breaks it down faster. A caveat about lime is that it often disrupts the pH of the soil and then the soil needs adjustment.

One more factor to consider is moisture. A compost pile can neither be too dry or too wet. Both extremes will slow the process. If it is too wet, it compacts and doesn't allow for aeration, while if it's too dry, the microorganisms will not break down the material quickly at all. A good gauge is that the compost should feel as moist as a wrung out sponge.

From our sponsor: CompostMania.com is a comprehensive online destination for all things composting, encouraging people to reduce their ecological footprint and reconnect with their local ecosystem through composting, organic gardening, and promoting the Earth‚
09/17/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Connections between poverty, obesity and diabetes (guest author)


Make the Connections: Poverty, Obesity, and Diabetes
How to fight diabetes with better policy‚
09/10/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Gingerly Made: Guest Post: Broccoli Rolls


Our Daily Green's Broccoli RollsToday we have a guest posting on Gingerly Made. Check out our recipe for Broccoli Rolls. The photo is from our garden.
Gingerly Made: Guest Post: Broccoli Rolls: Last week I posted that I needed some help from guest posters. I've been really bogged down with stuff. Nothing major, just stuff. 

Thanks again, Ginger, for sharing your space!
09/07/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Children's Book Review: Love is the Color of a Rainbow


A few weeks ago, Our Daily Green was contacted by a delightful author of a children's book to gauge our interest in reviewing her book. Author Kathy Parra thought it would be a good fit with this blog as it was published by Eco-Friendly Printer and a portion of the proceeds from the book sales supports nature and environmental organizations.

After a few exchanges back and forth, much to our delight, the Kathy also agreed to autograph her book for us to donate to our annual local Junior Achievement auction

But enough about the goodwill that the author and blogger have established, what about the book? 

As a parent, aunt, and all around lover of children, the book delights me. Kathy's lovely rendition of seeing a rainbow with more than our eyes through the mother of a blind child is spectacular.

For example, as the mother wants her child to "see" green, she takes her to a willow tree and the daughter exclaims, "Mama, Nature is speaking to me! Green feels gentle."

The beautiful illustrations by Candace Keach capture the rainbow and child delight in beautiful watercolor prints.

This book is definitely the sort of book a parent reads to a child. With the soft cover and recycled paper pages, it's lovely, but not necessarily durable. Additionally, the vocabulary is an adult one expressing childlike joy. The font also is not the typical over-sized font of children's books. I can easily imagine curling up night after night and enjoying reading time.

Kathy Parra is not just a children's book author, but a true humanitarian. Through her website, she has established a very special project to commemorate the one year anniversary of Love is the Color of a Rainbow. From the website:

The idea behind the project is that truly love is the thread that links us all and continues to be so through out our lives and all life, while rainbow has been a treasure to share, it is the celebrated feedback from each of you that has touched my heart in ways that will forever be imprinted to all that which is love. Although Rainbow gives back regularly to environmental/nature organization, I felt/heard it time to share on a universal plane, by collectively creating a heart shaped fabric piece of art with various cloths thus it will then share the message of the love that links us all. So here‚
09/06/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Sorry, You Can't Get There From Here (guest post)


The United States has invested big time in roads, but not rails.


William A. Collins
"Take the train,"
We used to say;
But now that train
Has gone away.
Riding the London Underground from downtown to Heathrow Airport can awaken you to just how archaic America's transportation system is. Most U.S. cities make heading to the airport a hassle.
And once there, where can you fly? Airlines are dropping routes to small cities like hot potatoes, having declared the likes of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and Sioux Falls, South Dakota not profitable enough for non-stop flights.
Changing planes multiple times can make your trip take longer than it would if you traveled by train. So, why not board the train instead? In most cases, you can't do that. The United States has invested big time in roads, but not rails. Practical intercity train travel is confined to very few places, mostly in the Northeast corridor that stretches between Boston and Washington, D.C., and parts of California. And even in those cases, your train fare can cost far more than a discount plane ticket. And all that periodic gab about a high-speed rail system that would rival its counterparts in Europe and Asia lacks both money and political support.
Jeramey Jannene/Flickr
Jeramey Jannene/Flickr
That leaves us with highways. Having driven to Alaska and back this summer, I can say with authority that they're pretty good. I think it's part of why we Americans regularly drive much farther than our European or Asian brethren.
U.S. highways are just too convenient, especially when our public transit is just too abysmal. Further, gas prices are so low compared to Europe that many of us (though not me, not even on my way to Fairbanks) still drive SUVs. Even when gas flirts with the $4-per-gallon mark, we're still paying only 60 percent of the European rate. We're also filling oil mogul coffers and pushing our leaders into a string of never-ending Middle East misadventures.
The good news for rail believers these days lies in freight, not passengers. The private sector has ramped up its reliance on train travel for trans-oceanic shipping containers. All the rail lines have now invested in intermodal terminals, serious maintenance, and specialized freight cars.
Except in New England. Since the Poughkeepsie Bridge over the Hudson burned 40 years ago, trains have no convenient route to get there. Consequently, trucks rule. The railroads are not about to invest their own money in a new crossing, and no single government is in charge. Here, then, is one big downside of privatization: neither the public nor private sector is able to perform when a really major task rears its head.
And often they can't even get together to tackle much smaller challenges. Take buses. With the defection of airlines from small cities, the decay of intercity passenger rail service, and the metastatic growth of highway traffic, a new alternative has sprung from its own long-cold ashes ‚
09/05/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Good Clean Fun


bathtime fun
It is nearly impossible to go into a public place without being bombarded with hand sanitizer, warnings to wash our hands, and the clean patrol on duty at all times. Getting dirty is a rarity but getting and staying clean is a constant.

Our Daily Green is reluctant (for a whole minute) to haul out proclamations how it wasn't that way when we were kids. We got good and dirty and getting clean was half the fun. Bubbles, shampoo hair designs, washing the dirt wash down the drain and leaving behind a ring, all part of our bathtime ritual.

Over the years, the fun has literally been drained out of getting clean. Getting clean is a duty and obligation, even in a world where no kid seems to truly get dirty.

Then Washy Squashy soap debuted. It's even fun to say! It's up there with splish splash in the fun department of words. This whimsical product takes the dirge out of getting clean and makes it fun. Washy Squashy sculpting soap is moldable and pliable made from organic ingredients, free of toxins, triclosan, or artificial scents or dyes.

washy squashyWhen Sunfeather asked Our Daily Green to test their product, we were delighted, imaging the joy it would bring to our visiting niece and nephew. Unfortunately, the product didn't arrive in time for our visit, but we asked our teenagers to have some fun with the soap, and we passed along the package to our little ones, whose mother reports they are very excited to play with it!

The sculptures pictured were crafted by my teenagers, and include a giraffe, turtle, snail, alligator, and hot dog. Yes, soap that looks like a hot dog. But smells much different! Washy Squashy is scented with organic botanical oils, and comes in lemon, vanilla, berry, orange, apple and mint.

It lathers nicely and smells incredible. The soap was a bit sticky, but it washed right off, as it is supposed to! Did we mention how much fun it was? Made me want to go make mudpies just so I could get clean.

ingredient list: 

Saponified Oils of Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil*, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, Elaeis Guineensis (Palm) Oil*. May Contain: Citrus Limonium (Lemon) Oil, Citrus Sinensis (Sweet Orange) Oil, Cinnamomum Zeylanicum (Cinnamon) Leaf Oil, Menthe Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Menthe Spicata (Spearmint) Oil, Gaultheria Procumbens (Wintergreen) Oil,  Cranberry, Vanilla & Apple All Natural Aromatics, Lavandula Hybrida (Lavandin) Oil, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Litsea Cubeba (Litsea) Oil, Annatto Extract, Paprika Oleoresin, Titianium Dioxide, Chromium Oxide (Natural Colors) and Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract*.  *Certified-organic oils



09/05/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Something Corny?


Big Bad Corn
09/05/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Keep Windmills Turning in 2013 (op/ed guest post)


This opinion piece originally ran in local newspapers around the country starting August 13, under the headline ‚

09/04/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Saving energy with insulation


Ottowa spray foam insulation
As summer wraps up around the nation and cooler evenings hint that fall is coming, homeowners begin to dread the winter heating bills. One of the easiest and best returns on investment is additional insulation.

Older homes with irregular spaces are sometimes tricky to insulate, but spray foam insulation is a great way to get around the nooks and crannies in an older home that has shifted and settled. The foam expands to fill the otherwise bare areas. There are three types of foam insulation.

  • Open cell spray foam insulation foam is made of millions of microscopic cells that simultaneously insulate and make an air seal. This insulation absorbs sound vibrations, reduces sound transmission and stops airborne sound leakage.
  • Injection foam insulation is primarily used for used in older homes with uninsulated wall cavities.  Injection foam is a hybrid of original foam technology with today's durability.  This blown foam system has a very low in-place density while providing an an excellent air-seal barrier and sound vibration absorption.
  • spray foam insulation Ottowa
  • Closed cell spray foam insulation is a two component formula that reduces moisture intrusion and energy loss in homes. By tightly bonding with beams and surfaces in ceilings and walls, it delivers an air barrier that surpasses conventional insulation materials. Closed cell spray foam offers a much higher R-value than traditional types of insulation and provides a great thermal barrier as well as also an excellent vapor barrier.

Look into the types of insulation available in your area. You can reduce your bills and be more comfortable before the cold weather starts.
Our Daily Green has been compensated for this post. Click Here to learn more about sponsoring a post on one of our sites. 


09/03/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Milk Unleashed Giveaway!


As a busy parent on the go, one of Our Daily Green's recurring concerns is convenient, healthy, and eco-friendly food and drink. We are thrilled that our community now accepts TetraPaks and other paper cartons with our curbside recycling, which alleviates some of our concerns about the convenience and eco-friendliness of single serve containers.

We still had lingering concerns about the healthy choices available, until now. Several milk companies are offering single serve milk in recyclable shelf stable containers. Our Daily Green has been invited to offer a giveaway to a lucky reader and share this great app. To be eligible to win a 4 pack of shelf stable milk, leave a blog comment about your favorite healthy and convenient snack. One randomly chosen commenter will receive a complimentary pack. You may enter more than once, with as many suggestions as you wish, but spam comments will be deleted.

The giveaway ends on September 10, 2012 at midnight EST. We will announce the winner who will have 24 hours to email their shipping address to freshgreenkim@hotmail.com.

Thanks for participating, spread the word! Milk is Unleashed!


08/31/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Fryer Grease Green (guest post)



Fryer grease becomes a coat

It has been known to the science community for a while now that old fryer grease, collected from restaurants, can be turned into alternative fuel. But what else does this seemingly useless waste product have in store for us? The most recent discovery helps not with cars, but potentially your roof! Yep that‚
08/30/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
For the Love of Tomatoes!


Our Daily Green recently posted our 400th blog. (waiting for the applause to die down, with a self deprecating smile). As we reflect on some of our favorite topics over the past several years, a recurring topic is tomatoes, FreshGreenKim's favorite food, ever.

Oh I love tomatoes. I love love love them. I would eat them on a boat, in a moat, carrying a tote, or on a swimming pool float. It is usually an annual event for me to post about tomatoes in August, as that is the season. Today is no different, but with a twist.

Green Tomato Cake
Over the past year, I've become enamored not only with red tomatoes, but also green ones. I cannot believe I spent a lifetime ignoring green tomatoes. Last fall, in a desperate attempt to use up some unripened tomatoes, I found a great recipe for Green Tomato Cake, but I admit, I still was not convert. I wrote the article and sang the praises of green tomatoes, but as a novelty ingredient.

Then this summer, I visited the South. As in Low Country cooking... Savannah, Georgia South. Where green tomatoes are a staple. Green tomatoes as a dessert ingredient were reiterated in Chef Darin's 700 Kitchen cooking classes. He even knew where I found my recipe, when he asked during class if anyone had ever used green tomatoes in a dessert. There is a reason his class was recently named one of the TOP TEN cooking classes in the world by ABC news.
As a side note, I must take a moment to sing Chef Darin's praises. I contacted him prior to taking the class for local hints and tourist details. We exchanged a few emails and then when I arrived at the cooking class, he greeted me with a gracious Southern hug and welcome, like we were old friends. His class was hands on, he was approachable and humorous, and we learned quite a bit. Stay tuned for a bit more about what I learned from his classes in future blogs.
We dined at the historical Olde Pink House, where we joined the ranks of food celebrities like Aaron Sanchez who declared the "Best Thing I Ever Ate" to be their BLT Fried Green Tomato Salad.


Today, I only want to encourage Our Daily Green's readers to step outside their food comfort zone. Eat something that is healthy that you never tried. Food doesn't have to be unhealthy to taste good. Green tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, in fact, surprisingly higher than red ones! Our key to healthy eating is local, seasonal food. We encourage a moderate diet with varied ingredients. That includes bacon, (locally raised), fresh lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, onions. Enjoy local food in its bounty and celebrate the season.

In this case, green as in green tomatoes is our friend!

08/28/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
The Dark Side of the ‚ÄúGreen Economy‚ÄĚ


YES! Magazine encourages you to make free use of this article by taking these easy steps. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License

Why some indigenous groups and environmentalists are saying no to the "green economy."

posted Aug 23, 2012
BPsignsBIG.jpg
Photo by Ben Powless.
Everywhere you look these days, things are turning green. In Chiapas, Mexico, indigenous farmers are being paid to protect the last vast stretch of rainforest in Mesoamerica. In the Brazilian Amazon, peasant families are given a monthly ‚
08/24/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Swimsuit Green


Beachbunny, 1987
Quite a bit changes in 25 years, as evidenced by the photo on the left compared to the right. Two children, more concern about protecting my skin as well as my lungs, discovery of the ability of peroxide to cover my grey hair, and a lot more weight gained are some of the more obvious changes. Less obvious is the ability to airbrush a smile line or bulge that is a little less than flattering. Photo editing is my friend. Indeed, it's come a long way, baby!

eco swim by aqua green
Treehugger, 2012
However, one of the more innovative and exciting changes is the way some swimsuits have changed. When EcoSwim initially contacted me to review their suit*, the first thought that flashed through my mind is how little I wanted to model a suit online. I momentarily considered asking one of my teenage daughters to choose one until the idea of posting photos of my daughters in swimsuits online felt a little too much like a creepy reality television show.

I bit the bullet and agreed to choose a swimsuit from their line to model.

How is Eco Swim so different? For starters, the suit is made of 100% recycled nylon and plastic. I was intrigued by the premise as I knew that fleece and upholstery fabric could be from recycled materials, but wondered how swimsuit material would compare. Additionally, the suits are Made in the USA, reducing the carbon footprint of shipping them to the States as well as creating local jobs.

From their website:
REPREVE is a brand of fabrics made from 100% recycled materials. Using innovative technology, the company combines post-consumer waste (plastic bottles) and industrial waste (nylon) to create high quality yarn. The company is one of the leaders in the "upcycle" movement to find significant use for waste materials and used-up products.
The fabric feels exactly like any other swimsuit fabric and quality construction is obvious in every seam and the double lined front. The shirred waist flatters a 40something figure as does the flounced bottom. The sizing was true to my usual size, as well. They have an array of styles to flatter folks from teenage to adult as seen by the video from their Spring line. I am proud to promote the company as well as their mission:
Eco Swim by Aqua Green is where sustainability meets cutting edge design in the swim industry. We strive to provide fashionable, excellent quality, and planet-friendly swimwear, therefore reducing our carbon footprint in the sand. We‚
08/23/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Avocado Green


Avocado isn't just to color of kitchen appliances from the 70s. Avocados are also one of the healthiest foods we can add to our diet. My lunch several times this summer has been half an avacado, a thick slice of tomato, light mayo and a sprinkling of smoked salt (which imparts a bacon-ey flavor w/o fat or nitrates), on either a rice cake or pita bread. Do you like avacados?

See the graphic for some more details about the health benefits of avocados. 
Special thank you to Visual.ly for this graphic. 

All About Avocados
08/22/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Good Greens Bar Green


good greens bars
Our Daily Green frequently encourages a healthy diet with as few processed foods as possible. We encourage organic eating and nutrient dense choices. But one of the challenges associated with encouraging that sort of eating is the convenience factor.

Our family is a busy one, with teenagers who are active in the arts as well as sports. Our door feels like a revolving one at times and taking time to get a healthy snack can seem overwhelming. We tried to stock our cabinets with granola bars and other sorts of seemingly healthy snacks (and tried to ignore the labels filled with processed non-organic ingredients), but honestly just chalked it up to our 80/20 rule of getting it right "most of the time".

A few weeks ago, a local company contacted us to review their Good Greens bars. We were excited to try them in theory, as they use USDA organic ingredients and are certified by the Natural Products Association. The ingredients were high in protein, probiotics, antioxidants and omega 3s, but the real test was whether they tasted good or not. Frankly, if something isn't tasty, it does not matter how healthy it is because it will not be a regular choice in a diet.
good greens flavors
Good Greens sent us 24 bars, four of every flavor; wildberry, chocolate chunk, chocolate mint, chocolate raspberry and chocolate coconut.* Each member of our family had a different favorite. My personal favorite was the chocolate coconut (reminded me of my favorite candy bar, Mounds!), my oldest daughter loved the chocolate raspberry, and my younger one liked the chocolate peanut butter. We knew that we were eating a vegan, gluten free, organic snack that was 100% of our daily fruits and vegetables.

Good Greens has a fruit and vegetable blend in each bar that includes 52 highly nutritious foods including wheatgrass juice, seaweed, acai berry, green tea, rose hips, spinach, rice bran, and ground flax among the super ingredients. But we didn't tell the kids that, we just let them taste it. The response was unbelievably positive.

Good Greens is committed to improving health around the nation. Just this week, they partnered with The Ohio State University to promote healthier snacks on campus. Each welcome package for incoming freshmen will contain a free Good Greens bar and they will be stocked in campus vending machines and snack bars.
08/21/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Shoewear Green


AP - Fair Trade Fashion and Footwear
One of the most difficult consumer items to buy in a conscientious manner is shoes. A plethora of cheap shoes, made in unsafe conditions floods our market. But with some diligence, Our Daily Green has discovered a few companies trying to change that.

converse-style sneakersAutonomie Project is a new Fair Trade fashion company that offers casual sweatshop-free eco-friendly footwear, clothing and accessories. Their sneakers are nearly identical to the popular canvas sneakers, in a variety of colors. Our Mini Green has the red pair and while the look is the same, the shoe was made under socially responsible circumstances. It's a shoe not just with a sole, but from a company with a soul. Instead of "athletic" shoes, they are "ethletic", an athletic shoe with ethics.

petroleum free rubber boots
Autonomie Project selects only small, independent cooperatives and Fair Trade certified facilities located in developing areas of the world. Their shoes use organic cotton, all natural rubber, and other eco-friendly materials whenever possible to reduce the environmental impact.

Their workers earn a fair wage but still gives the consumers a competitively priced product. Their shoes and shirts are stylish and hip for today's consumer, and always vegan , always eco, and always sweatshop-free.

To learn more about Autonomie Project and their mission, read founder Anne O'Laughlin's extensive interview with Green America

08/18/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Live comfortably with solar heating and cooling (guest post)



Nothing has the power to frustrate in the peak of a summer heatwave quite like the sinking realization that, while outside the temperature has dropped to comfortable, ‚
08/17/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
From Green America: Clean Energy Savings Bonds


Our Daily Green first wrote about Clean Energy Victory Bonds back in 2010. They are a reality! Today, I received the following email. This is very good news for anyone concerned about renewable energy sources. By purchasing a bond, we can invest in our future. We encourage you to read the letter below and consider an investment. 


Clean Energy Victory Bonds
Dear Green American,
We have a bill!
On August 2, our Clean Energy Victory Bond bill was introduced in Congress. 
And as of today, the Library of Congress has published the Clean Energy Victory Bonds Act of 2012, the culmination of several years of hard work here at Green America, and the support of clean-energy advocates like you all across the country.
Just like World War II era victory bonds enabled ordinary Americans to raise billions of dollars for the war effort, these new bonds are projected to raise enough money to generate 1.7 million new jobs manufacturing, deploying, and maintaining renewable energy projects. This bill ends the financial uncertainty around current federal programs, extending the imperiled Production Tax Credit for wind energy -- and other renewable energy incentives -- for as long as a decade.
Big thanks to Rep. Bob Filner (D, CA), who is sponsoring the bill, along with 10 co-sponsors, and big thanks to more than 40 other organizations* who are backing the bill with us. Now we need to get this bill passed. Here's where your support is crucial. This is what we need you to do:
1. Call your representative -- Look up your representative's telephone number here, give their office a call, and tell them that you enthusiastically support H.R. 6275, the Clean Energy Victory Bonds Act of 2012. If you would be willing to to buy some of these savings bonds (as little as $25 is enough), tell them that too. We need to rapidly bolster bi-partisan support for this job-creating, renewable-energy-boosting bill.
2. Pledge to buy the bonds -- If you haven't already signed on atcleanenergyvictorybonds.org as a future purchaser of the bonds after the legislation passes, please do so right now. We need to be able to show clearly that these bonds have the support of the American people in every congressional district in the country.  It's a win-win-win. You support clean energy and American jobs, you put some of your money away in a savings bond, and when they mature in 10 years, you‚
08/15/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Kids 4 the Planet campaign


Our Daily Green has written about People Towels in the past, when we pledged to stop using paper products and start using cloth. One of the most innovative ideas we encountered was borrowed from the Japanese culture, the idea to Bring Your Own Towel. In other words, do not use paper towels in public areas, but instead carry a personal towel that only you will use. We were selected as an ambassador for People Towels last year and it is our honor to share their latest campaign.

People Towels is offering educational material as well as samples of their towels in the hope of getting towels to children in schools around the world. They are asking for sponsorship for their program and depending on the response, the more children they will be able to educate. Our Daily Green invites you to watch the short video and if you believe in their mission, share it and make a small contribution to help them save the trees.

Thanks again for your ongoing support and commitment to a greener planet.

We also are pleased to share a special discount for Our Daily Green readers. 
Save 10% off the purchase of 2 or more PeopleTowels.

Simply enter the code at checkout: ambassador4xivp.



08/15/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Solar Necessity Green


sunshine power

Sunburst over a crest of a hill: public domain

A physics professor at University of California recently published a study on the United States energy use since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Tom Murphy analyzed all energy sources, from wood to nuclear, to fossil and sustainable sources, and showed a steady growth trajectory of 2.9% annually.

This analysis led him to realize that economic growth will not keep up with our energy consumption unless we start to begin to be more serious about sources such as solar energy panels. Professor Murphy personally has cut his home energy use by 80% through the use of solar panel, rain water collection and air drying clothing.

Solar panels are a simple investment to tap into energy that has an immeasurably endless supply. Solar panels integrate easily into existing electricity systems, negating the need for complicated retooling. Solar energy operates on the same system as current electrical companies.

The panels then direct the electricity into your existing meter box and at times the meter even goes backwards, as they generate more electricity than the home uses. Companies offer lease programs to offset the initial cost of panel installation. There are also a number of financial incentives and rebates for solar installation.

The time to choose solar is now and begin saving today, as well as into the future.

Our Daily Green has been compensated for this post. Click Here to learn more about sponsoring a post on one of our sites. 

08/14/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
The Allergy Kit


My personal path to health and wellness began when I realized how truly harmful the steroids I was regularly prescribed for allergies were to my body. I found myself unable to lose weight, despite a careful diet and exercise regiment. I found my blood pressure creeping up. While it hadn't reached a dangerous level, I was concerned by the increasing numbers as I edged closer and closer to borderline hypertension.

In absolute frustration, I did what "everyone does", I searched the web! While that comment is somewhat self deprecating, I just wanted to do a bit of research so I was informed the next time I had to see my doctor for some allergic reaction. I wanted to intelligently ask about alternatives to the steroids that had become my default treatment. I had been prescribed steroids 8 times in a 12 month period.

Eliminate your AllergiesI discovered The Allergy Kit, a do it yourself home treatment. It is natural and drug free. It sounded too good to be true, but I thought, it also couldn't hurt. I contacted the company directly and offered to test the product in exchange for an honest review, knowing what a great fit The Allergy Kit would be for Our Daily Green, a blog dedicated to green and healthy living. This statement also serves as my legal disclaimer. I received my kit no charge. But as a writer of integrity, I would not endorse a product that didn't work. I would have returned it and not written a review if it hadn't worked.

To explain the science behind The Allergy Kit, I want to explain a bit about how allergies work and how the body reacts to an allergen. According to HowStuffWorks,
As amazing as the immune system is, it sometimes makes mistakes. Allergies are the result of a hypersensitive immune system. The allergic immune system misidentifies an otherwise innocuous substance as harmful, and then attacks the substance with a ferocity far greater than required. The problems this attack can cause range from mildly inconvenient and uncomfortable to the total failure of the organism the immune system is supposed to be protecting.
What The Allergy Kit does is systematically reprogram the immune system through a holistically based treatment similar to acupuncture. The Allergy Kit's natural allergy treatment helps your body reestablish a positive relationship with the allergen by using a laser or tapping to stimulate the acupuncture points that are reacting to the allergen. Concentrated homeopathic vials that represent the allergen are used to stimulate the body's response and reprogram it.

The Allergy Kit comes with seven vials of common allergens. It is important to use each vial in order and follow the instructions to the letter. I say this because I can honestly testify that it worked and I followed the instructions, so that is what I recommend.

If you suffer from food or environmental allergies, I cannot recommend The Allergy Kit enough. They offer a 30 day trial period, so even if it doesn't work, there is no financial risk. Just send the kit back. After the initial seven vials are finished, they can be repeated as needed, in no particular order. There are also supplemental vials for less common allergies to treat after the initial treatment.

Natural allergy relief
08/14/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Guest Post: E-waste: The damage your gadgets do to the environment



India  processes over 800,000 tons of e-waste every year. The electronic gadgets that we use and take for granted everyday generally end up dumped in areas where they are not recycled or reused, contaminating the environment with toxic components. Considering the amount of iPhones, iPads, TVs and other electronic equipment we go through, it is a serious environmental concern that deserves greater attention in the wider media.
Image by curtis palmer via Flickr
photo: curtis palmer via Flikr creativecommons 2.0

In recent years especially, there has been a push among some organizations such as Greenpeace, non-profit Toxics Leak as well as other environmental campaigns to bring greater attention to the e-waste issue. It is gaining traction in both the United States and India where e-waste disposal is big business. There is a campaign in the US to pass a law that would make it the responsibility of the makers of smartphones, TVs and refrigerators to ensure their e-waste is cleanly disposed of after being used.

India has a far bigger problem. Places like China and the US have more high tech facilities to deal with e-waste. In India, its disposal in landfill is highly prevalent, along with the resulting damaging effects to the environment. It is a highly profitable business for those importing used gadgets for disposal in the country and the Indian government has attempted to ban the practice by making it illegal to import used computers into the country.

Many have gotten around the law by importing under the guise of "donations". The amount of e-waste which has been dumped in landfill is of increasing concern. Greenpeace India is working especially hard to help increase standards of e-waste disposal in the country to both protect the environment and the people who are working to dispose of toxic material.

It is often cheaper for large multinational companies to ship materials to India for disposal rather than deal with it through recycling or disposing of it in a more environmentally friendly way. With four million tons of e-waste placed in US landfills each year, it is clear that something needs to be done to make better use of the materials and electronic component parts.

A system has to be put in place so that wasted electronic components can be put to better use. The first part of any sorting process should be to reuse operational component parts by providing them to those who don't have the money for brand new gadgets and devices. If broken, a device that can be reused should be repaired or refurbished. When a device cannot be repaired, usable component parts can be salvaged. Any e-waste left over should be recycled if it can, or if not, disposed of in landfill which does not effect the environment around it. These processes are simple enough but yet an amazingly high amount of tech prodcuts are wasted, just for the sake of convenience. What more do you think could be done in the area of e-waste?
David Tully has written many articles on green issues, including Bright Green Talent, a popular resource for green jobs.

08/10/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Kiva free trial


Our Daily Green has written about microfinancing in the past. We have made a number of investments in start up entrepreneurs around the world.

Kiva is a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world.

Kiva gives you the chance to make small loans to borrowers working to start businesses and improve their lives. I‚
08/08/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Drug-free Allergy Relief


For Our Daily Green's regular readers, our ongoing battle with allergies is well documented. Every member of our family, including our dog, has various allergies that we contend with from time to time. This spring, after personally receiving the eight separate doses of steroids to treat my allergies in a year, in absolute frustration, I looked for alternative treatments.

My opposition to steroids probably began as a vanity issue more than anything. Steroids cause weight gain as well as a number of other less than desirable side effects. According to the Livestrong site:

Weight gain is often the most dreaded side effect of prescription steroid use, although it is not the most serious, according to the Johns Hopkins Vasculitis Center . The weight gain is linked to several biological effects induced by the steroids. Steroids interfere with the balance between water and minerals resulting in fluid retention. Retaining fluid in the body can cause swelling, especially in the lower part of the legs.
Steroids also inhibit muscle and fat cells from taking up glucose,the main form of energy for the body, according to Colorado State University. Additional glucose in the blood results in high blood sugar, which can be dangerous especially for people with diabetes. Because the glucose is not able to be utilized by the cells, weight gain results.
Long term use of steroids also causes a redistribution of body fat, according to the Johns Hopkins Vasculitis Center. Steroids trigger fat deposits to move to the face, back of the neck and abdomen. Fat at the back of the neck is referred to as a "buffalo hump".
Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/119473-side-effects-prescription-steroids/#ixzz22sAvJr00
With additional research, we learned that many environmental factors from what we eat, to what we breathe, to what we wear can cause an allergic reaction. Since it's impossible to avoid the slew of allergens surrounding us, instead, we began to learn about an alternative treatment for allergies.

Since late June, we have been testing The Allergy Kit, developed by Dr. Ynge Ljung. The treatment is based on energy healing and acupuncture. The kit contains vials of the allergen to be used with a laser to reprogram the body into processing the food and environmental allergens in a non reactive way. I admit that I was completely skeptical when I contacted the company, but still held out some hope. I figured it couldn't hurt so I decided to try it.

The process is a relatively simple one, utilizing one part faith, one part energy, and one part acupuncture. Yes, the power of positive thinking is at play and there is a mantra to recite before using each treatment. There are seven vials of "energized allergens" to use, sequentially, as they build on each other. The laser acts as an electronic sort of needle and stimulates the different points in the body that react.

I took a personal medical assessment prior to beginning the treatment and completed another one today. On June 26, my self reported health score was 51, based on a comprehensive list of neurological, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, respiratory, urinary, skin, and female symptoms. I did the same analysis today, about 6 weeks later, and report a vast improvement, to 31.

natural allergy treatmentNow, what does this mean? For me it means I'm on the road to a cure. I have not changed anything else in my life, as it's nearly impossible to eliminate the allergens in my environment. I will continue to do "reinforcement" treatments and watch my improvement. I am not exactly where I'd like to be, but I'm getting there. I honestly believe The Allergy Kit accounts for the improvements in my allergic reactions. I will continue to provide ongoing updates as I try the additional vials and use The Allergy Kit on my children. I can even use it on my dog, according to the literature I received from the company!

Please stay tuned for my next post which will include additional information regarding The Allergy Kit.

In accordance with disclosure rules: The Allergy Kit was provided to me free of charge in exchange for my honest review. The company believed so strongly in their product that they sent me the kit to test. I received no other compensation for this review and would only recommend a product that honestly has helped me. 

08/07/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Water Consumption Infographic


world water usage
Infographic by Seametrics, a manufacturer of water flow meter technology that measures and conserves water.
08/02/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Smoldering Planet, by: Saul Landau


Smoldering Planet

Colorado's wildfires and the record heat waves should sober up some climate change doubters.

Saul Landau
As fires raged in Arizona last summer, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) discovered the culprits.
"There is substantial evidence," the former Republican presidential candidate told reporters, "that some of these fires have been caused by people who have crossed our border illegally."
That's right. Illegal immigrants, so he claims, set those fires to send signals, keep warm, and distract law enforcement agents. Conveniently, McCain didn't specify which particular fires illegal immigrants supposedly started ‚
07/30/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Cheers for green wines!


Red or white are the two colors normally associated with wine, but green wines are gaining popularity. By green, it does not refer to the color of the grape or bottle. 

Green wines aren't just about what does or doesn't go into the wine, green wines encompass how the grapes are raised, how the wine is produced, and how the wine is packaged. Green wines are gaining in popularity as folks try to make more mindful choices in their regular shopping. 

green wineThere are different levels of green for wines, from environmentally responsible to certified organic. The online wine site, Wine.com also has a symbol beside their selections to help choose a wine produced in a more "green" way. 


what are green wines infographic wine.com
Presented By Wine.com, Purveyors of fine green wine.


The preceding infographic was provided by our sponsor to help clarify green wine making. 
Our Daily Green has been compensated for this post.  
07/29/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Made in the USA clothing


Clothing made in USA
This past week, a lot of the headlines were made about the USA Olympic team clothing being manufactured in China. It was an opportunity for politicians and celebrities alike to decry the decision and make more headlines.

Our Daily Green is also upset, as we've long encouraged local shopping and a buy American approach, but will confess, many of the clothes we personally own and wear are not manufactured in the USA. Between thrift stores and economizing, we just didn't see many USA labels. We made an effort, but not a dedicated one. Our effort didn't even achieve our sacred 80/20 rule, but probably is more like 20/80. We would choose the USA label if we saw it, but we didn't make a concerted effort to find it.

Realizing that you're part of the problem is a good start to being part of the solution. If we don't want our nation's athletes representing the USA in foreign made clothing, we should stop representing ourselves in it. With a little digging, we discovered a company that isn't just dedicated to making the clothing in the USA, but also completely sourcing it domestically. The All American Clothing Company has a mission to:
... support USA families and jobs by producing high-quality clothing in the USA at an affordable price. By keeping our production in the USA we provide jobs and a tax base that supports our communities. We care about our country and the people in it; if we were only in it for money we would move our production overseas. We will NOT trade USA jobs for foreign profits.
Each article of clothing has a traceability code to find out which American farmer grew the cotton and source of the other raw goods, where it was milled and where the final product was assembled (a small factory in western Ohio).


The company also sells shirts, boots, accessories and outerwear, all with the same dedication to Made in the USA. It's not just a marketing gimmick, the All American Clothing Company walks the walk.

The BuyAmerican project
Our Daily Green is proud to announce that we've become an affiliate for this company. As with all the profits we made as a result of our blog, at the year end, we will donate half to a charity. Because the All American Clothing Company donates to the BuyAmerican non-profit project, half the proceeds of any commissions we earn will be donated there.



07/14/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
Air Purifier Review


air purifier hepa filtersA few weeks ago, we published a preview of our Holmes Air Purifier review. We received our air purifier to review from the company.

We wanted to wait the full six week's trial period to give our best opinion, then time got away from us and it's been closer to eight weeks now. As you can tell from the photos of a new filter (green) next to the one we've used in our unit for two months (blue). There are quite a bit of dust, pollen, and general allergens being filtered out of the air, as is also evidenced by the washable front filter.

The filters are good for 12 months and there is a free online filter change reminder service available. I cannot imagine what this filter will look like in another 10 months.

All that aside, while I can see it's trapping allergens, the bigger question is if there is any improvement. Air quality is not something I have the technology to measure, but I do think from an unscientific study, that there was an improvement. We tested the purifier in my oldest child's room. While she didn't seem any better or worse, we did notice something else that was interesting.

Our family dog sleeps in her room. He also has a lot of allergies, and in summers past would spend most of the day licking and scratching himself sometimes to the point of hair loss and skin infections. We tended to spend several hundred dollars a season on different medications and special food.  This year, he has not had to visit the vet once and his discomfort is far reduced. To that end, I truly believe the only thing we've done differently is use the air purifier. For that reason, Our Daily Green endorses its effectiveness.

Seeing is believing in this case. Those impurities on the HEPA filter are not aggravating our dog's skin. He's been a much more pleasant companion this summer and we are grateful for the air purifier. There are a number of online coupons available for this product and if you or your pets suffer from allergies, you may want to try an air purifier.

Endorsed by Einstein, Our Daily Green's family dog.

07/12/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
No More Plastic Wrap Green


This week's Change the World Wednesday (that I'm a day late in sharing) suggestion was to:

This week refuse to use plastic wrap (aka cling film, cling wrap, glad wrap, etc). Instead, choose Eco-friendly, safe ways to store food. And, as always, we'd like to hear all about your efforts. Or ...
If you've already banned plastic wrap from your life, please review your food storage methods to see if there's any room for improvement. For example, if you're reusing plastic containers to store food consider glass, ceramic or stainless steel containers instead (old plastic containers may leach harmful toxins into your food). If you use aluminum foil to cover your food, consider covering food with an inverted plate, a lid from a casserole or pan, etc. And, please tell us about your efforts.
no plastic wrap
Guilty as charged. We don't use a lot of plastic wrap, but will admit that when faced with odd shaped leftovers, we wrestled with that roll of wrap. Interestingly, the better "cling" a plastic wrap has? The more infused with petroleum chemicals that will leech into the food it wraps. From a pure flavor perspective, cheese and meat should actually never touch plastic. That is why many butchers and delis use paper for their food, even if they still encase it in plastic.

Let's examine some of the alternatives:


  • The family teases me about hoarding jars. I don't throw out glass jars and I love reusing them for assorted leftovers when feasible. I can see what I have readily. Right now, there are peeled garlic cloves, cooked vegetables and cheese in different sized jars in my refrigerator.  
  • Waxed paper isn't such a great alternative as it is usually coated either with paraffin wax (which is petroleum based) or a formaldehyde based resin. There is some unbleached soy-based wax papers available, but honestly, the last thing I need to do when I'm shopping is read yet another label. 
  • Aluminum foil takes a lot of energy to manufacture, but it can be used over and over again. I have often joked that growing up, I didn't even realize it came on a roll, we reused it so often. It's not a great choice for acidic foods though, as the "tin" flavor will affect the food. 
  • Bowl covers which look like shower caps. The plastic will not come in contact with the food. 
  • A product I've never heard about, but now wish to try is Abeego wraps, which are a cotton and hemp fabric wrap coated with a beeswax, tree resin and jojoba oil blend. These wraps are washable and durable.  They are a little pricey, but I think of such items as an investment compared to literally throwing my money away. 

  • With a little creativity and forethought, we can stop using plastic wrap and rethink how we keep our food from spoiling or drying out.

    Will you take the pledge to go without plastic wrap this week?

    07/12/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
    Melt Spread Review


    Melt Spread with coconut oil
    have Melt shipped to you
    You've probably noticed a lot of advertisements for Melt Organic Spread lately. I had seen a myriad of advertisements, so when I noticed they were following FreshGreenKim on Twitter, I sent a note to the company, asking to try their product in exchange for writing a review.

    The primary ingredient is organic virgin coconut oil. Melt also contains palm fruit oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, and flaxseed oil to bring the appropriate ratio of Omega-6:Omega-3 fats to 2:1, a healthy ratio for human consumption. Certain types of fat are not bad, but in fact necessary, to dispel some fat myths.

    In the past year, Our Daily Green's house has started to use more coconut oil in cooking and baking. Coconut oil displaces excessive Omega-6 fats in the diet. Healthy fat sources fuel both pro-inflammatory hormones, which fight stresses to cells, and anti-inflammatory hormones, which regulate the healing process after a threat (injury or infection) is gone.

    According to The Conscious Life (a website devoted to information, tips, ideas and opinions on how to achieve total health by taking a holistic approach to living), coconut oil is a healthy choice because:

    • About 50% of the fats in coconut oil are lauric acids, a type of saturated fatty acid that has antibacterial, antioxidant and antiviral properties.
    • Consumption of lauric acid may increase total cholesterol level with most of the increase being HDL, the ‚
    07/10/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
    Home Repair Grants


    As the summer progresses, so do the home repair projects. More and more folks are going green with their lighting and heating choices to save money and energy long term. The initial cost can be daunting and it's hard to know what choices are the most efficient or cost effective. As consumers try to navigate the choices it's nice to know that many states offer home repair grants for certain projects and choices.

    One example is The Energy Team, which offers a home energy audit in New Jersey to help homeowners find  financial assistance with home repairs before they spend their hard earned money on a less efficient project. With the number of Energy Star companies and products on the market, it's wise to have an expert assessment.


    Find a company that participates with state energy offices to help analyze the most efficient methods to make repairs and upgrades. They screen contractors for LED lighting, solar water heaters, and water conservation plans as some of their services. Often, the best place to start before making a single home repair or upgrade is with a simple energy audit which can determine the most efficient changes to make and help a homeowner prioritize their work to receive the best return on their investment, saving hours of frustration and disappointment.
    Our Daily Green has been compensated for this post. To sponsor a post on one of our blogs, please click here
    07/06/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
    Real Food Summit



    From July 8 - July 16, the Real Food Summit will feature nine days of presentations from food and nutrition experts.

    See the website for detailed daily line-ups. Each day's podcast will be free that day for 24 hours and have live phone in question and answer sessions. At the end of the summit, all the lectures will be available for download.


    07/03/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
    Rain Chain Green



    With a dry, hot summer, we anticipate our water bills will soar. Short of doing rain dances, there doesn't seem to be much we can do to keep our gardens watered and soil moist. Years ago, the Japanese culture used a simple and beautiful type of rain catcher, the rain chain.

    rain chains
    chains rain
    Rain chains attach to the gutter and collect and redirect the rain water to a collection basin or bucket. Unlike gutters, the chains are aesthetic as well as melodic.

    stainless steel rain chainThere are a variety of styles and finishes to suit any outdoor decor and rain chains do not require any special installation or rerouting of gutters. Instead, with a specially designed kit, the water is funneled through the downspout hole mounted on the gutter to guide the rain water efficiently to the chain.

    Rain chains direct the water into a chosen storage basin or barrel, which can be as decorative or functional as desired. The stored water then can be saved for dry spells without adding to a water bill. Rain chains are a beautiful alternative to traditional, closed gutter downspouts that guide the water from the roof to a collection point. They are a great way to utilize rain water naturally for use in the yard.

    Our Daily Green has been compensated for this post. To sponsor a post on one of our blogs, please click here


    07/02/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
    How to Build Green on a Budget by Jennifer Atlee ‚ÄĒ YES! Magazine


    How to Build Green on a Budget
    The challenge: build the greenest houses on earth‚
    06/29/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
    Pedometer Green


    We just love it when a plan comes together. Sometimes our writing prompts align perfectly and this was such a week. Last week, our blog friend Small Footprints issued her weekly Change the World Wednesday challenge (#CTWW for those who follow along on Twitter).
    Last Week's Challenge:
    This week's challenge is going to be fun. It was suggested by Jennifer (aka @noteasy2begreen) who picked it up from @CelloMomOnCars who found it by way of @lutzfernandez. Here you go:
    This week we're going to track the driving trips which WE DON'T TAKE. Yep ... for every time that you walk, ride a bike or simply choose not to make a trip, keep track of it.  At the end of the week, please come back and share how many miles you didn't drive (and money saved, etc, if you also track that information).
    We'd also like to hear about your strategy for meeting this challenge. This is based on an article in the Wall Street Journal entitled The Road Not Taken May Be a Key to Driving Less
    The serendipity behind the challenge was that Our Daily Green recently received a digital pedometer to review as well as had planned a trip to a serious walking city, Savannah, Georgia within the same week as the challenge.

    Perhaps there was an unfair advantage, as I already knew I was in a city of walking, but what I want to say is twofold:
    1. It was incredibly easy to track footsteps with the pedometer. The one that Ozeri sent tracks up to ten days of walking and has an input area for length of stride and weight as well as a  3D Tri-Axis Bosch Sensor which can measure accurately in all positions. It calculates time walked as well as number of steps and is one of the thinnest and lightest pedometers on the market. 
    2. With the act of counting footsteps, a goal of 10,000 steps per day is easily achievable. I live in a community where walking places is difficult, but walking is not. Inspired by the number of steps I walked, I aim to find new reasons to walk not just for errands but also health. 
    walk don't drive
    It's much easier in Savannah to park the car and use your feet
    By the numbers, I walked 114,954 steps at an 18 inch stride = 32.65 miles in 10 days or a little over 3.2 miles/daily. I confess that the past 5 days were nearly double the first 5, due to being in a walking city. But I want to take some of that philosophy and confidence and apply it to my regular life. I think it's time to play tourist in my own town and see what I can see from a slower pace.

    It's something we had started a few years ago, but had let slide. #CTWW inspired me to rethink that. The pedometer helped me measure it and Savannah reminded me that I can.

    While a vacation trip is somewhat of a departure from the CTWW challenge, I was reminded how easy it really is to walk. Granted, many cities are not as walking friendly, but really, walking is simply the process of putting one foot in front of the other. How many times do we hop in the car to take our kids to the neighbor's? Or run something over to the neighbor's? It's time to rethink how often we start a car and instead lace up the shoes
    06/26/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
    Labeling Green


    One of the first pieces of advice Our Daily Green gives folks is to read the label. However, it's often not enough to read the labels, it's also important to understand that some words are meaningless when it comes to green choices. They feel good words that are chosen as part of an advertising campaign to persuade the consumer that they are making a good decision by purchasing that product.

    Always remember their goal is to sell their product, not protect your family and health. Many companies use terms very broadly and there are no standards. Here are a few examples to investigate past the word on the label.

    eco graphics
    Image from Creative Commons
    • Natural:  By USDA standards, food can only be labeled natural if it contains no artificial ingredients or added colors and is minimally processed. For example, high fructose corn syrup can be considered natural, as long as no synthetic ingredients are used in processing. 
    • Cruelty Free: different folks define cruel differently and there are no set standards for such a subjective word.  It simply means that it won't cause death or harm.
    • Fragrance Free: means that the product has no noticeable scent, which may be as a result of added chemicals that mask the product's scent. Yes, frangrance-free products may actually have more chemicals in them! Fragrance free is not chemical free. 
    • Biodegradable: The product must "return to nature" when left to the elements. There is no standard as to how long it would take or under what conditions. Additionally, the process to create a biodegradable product is often more harmful to the environment.
    With a little understanding behind the motivation of the company, consumers can still make healthy and earth friendly choices.


    For additional information, Mother Jones has an excellent downloadable guide



    06/20/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
    Rio+20 summit: op/ed guest post


    Our Daily Green is very intrigued by the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. It is our opinion that in some ways it simply serves to complicate a very simple solution. Use less and care more. Assigning a committee, having a conference and formulating a complicated plan takes more time to initiate than simply adopting new choices. This editorial by Janet Redman underscores some of those concerns. 

    The Elephant in Rio

    Don't bank on a new "green economy" to solve our climate challenges.

    Janet RedmanA close friend of mine in Fairfax, Virginia, is expecting her first child. By the time this baby girl turns 60, she'll live in a world that's warmer than it's ever been since humans began walking the Earth 2.5 million years ago, according to a new study.

    The world already looks much different than it did just a generation ago. The alarming rate at which plants and animals are disappearing has scientists asking if we're entering a sixth mass extinction. The oceans' fish stocks ‚
    06/18/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
    If This Doesn't Convince You to Stop Drinking Bottled Water, Nothing Will - Tap It Talk



    tap water vs bottled water
    06/16/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
    Ceramic non-stick cookware review


    Our Daily Green's home is on-the-go, but we try to cook as many meals as possible from scratch and at home. One of our favorite time-savers for quick clean up is non-stick cookware. Then we learned of all the dangers in the coatings, we decided to do some shopping for safer cookware. Traditional non-stick cookware uses PolyTetraFluoroEthylene (PTFE) or PerFluoroOctanoic Acid (PFOA) to keep the surface slick and food from sticking. (from The Free Dictionary)
    PFTE is a synthetic material commonly used as a nonstick lining in domestic cooking utensils (frypans); abbreviated PTFE; called also Teflon. Overheating produces toxic fumes that cause an acute hemorrhagic pneumonitis and death in small caged birds, which are particularly susceptible. Called also polymer-fume fever, kitchen deaths.
    PFOA persists indefinitely in the environment. It is a toxicant and carcinogen in animals. In people, it is detected in the blood of general populations in the low and sub-parts per billion range. Chemical plant employees and surrounding subpopulations have been identified with higher blood levels. Exposure is most consistently associated with increased cholesterol and uric acid levels, but there is insufficient evidence to conclude that PFOA exposure results in adverse health effects in people.
    We didn't take theses concerns lightly and began to research alternative non-stick cookware. Our quest led us to the Green Earth Pan by Ozeri, and we contacted the company to see if they would be interested in having their cookware reviewed. Much to Our Daily Green's delight, they agreed and sent us a free 8" frying pan to test.

    We've read many reviews on ceramic non-stick cookware and have some some concerns about durability. We believe that the problems are as a result of not properly following the instructions for use, but to be completely fair, today's review is the initial review, and we will follow up after we've used the pan for 6 weeks.

    To preserve the finish, the company suggests:
    • No metal utensils, only wooden or plastic can be used 
    • Hand wash for best care
    • Use very little oil if needed, but excess seasoning will cause residue to build up and food will stick
    • Allowing the pan to cool completely before washing
    • Do not use in the oven above 356 Fahrenheit
    • Use only medium heat on the burners
    • To remove periodic buildup of food and oil residue, wipe with lemon juice or vinegar
    We used our pan this morning, for the first time to make some scrambled eggs. Here are the photos:

    ceramic nonstick cookware
    Out of the box


    spinach and scrambled eggs

    non stick
    look how nicely they cooked!


    ecozeri cookware
    almost as clean as it started
    Our initial impression is VERY positive. We're excited to report back how well our frying pan holds up the next few weeks with careful use.
    A special thank you again to Moderna Housewares for the opportunity to review your product. In accordance with disclosure laws, the frying pan was sent to us free of charge, but only in exchange for an honest review.








    06/15/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
    The Other Side of Gainful Unemployment


    Reprinted courtesy of YES! Magazine


    The downsides of doing it all.
    originally posted May 31, 2012 
    by Shannon Hayes
    busy hands by Lisa Clarke banner
    Photo by Lisa Clarke
    06/14/2012 0 Comments | Add Comment
    Swim Guide


    swim guide app
    As schools let out around the nation for summer vacation, families pack up the sunscreen, beach blankets, umbrellas and sand toys for a trip to the local beach.

    Imagine the disappointment to arrive at a beach and find a notice indicating the water is not safe for swimming that day. A number of factors affects water condition which can vary from day to day.

    There is a great tool available to learn about the beach conditions beforehand. Not only does Swim Guide report beach conditions, but it also searches for the closest beaches and offers directions. Swim Guide is a free app, funded entirely by donations of beach loving folks who want to enjoy their local bodies of water safely. It began seven years ago in Toronto, Canada. Staff and volunteers at the charity