Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wednesday Hoppin

I'm going to be entering as many blog hops this week as I can to get the word out about my giveaway.  Who wouldn't want FREE environmentally safe house cleaners?  So much stuff, just check out the Official Giveaway page.  The giveaway is currently at 18 entries, which still leaves your chances of winning very high.  You can enter up to 8 times. :)

Have a great Wednesday everyone.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dropping Sugar?

While in Florida over the weekend, I had a brief conversation with my sister in law about sugar and purging it from your body for health reasons.  She said one thing that stuck with me, sugar has a horrible impact on the environment.  Why didn't I know this??

According to the World Wildlife Fund, over 145 million tons of sugar is produced in over 120 countries each year.  It does take it's toll on the environment, especially the delicate ecosystems near the equator. The clearing of land for plantations has lead to a lack of biodiversity, and the use of pesticides has contributed to the destruction of coral reefs.

It didn't surprise me after reading some of this that my sister in law learned of this, due to the huge environmental impact of sugar in the Florida Everglades.  Pesticide runoff has caused a diverse subtropical forest to become a lifeless marshland.  I encourage you to read the WWF's report here.

So, what changes can we make as consumers to encourage more responsible sugar farming?  The first is to simply use less sugar.  It is in everything, so limiting processed foods, and cooking everything ourselves is a great start.  My biggest weakness is coffee, and my new goal will be to have it BLACK.  I currently add my organic half and half, and organic sugar to my coffee.  I'm thinking taking both of those out alone may add to weight loss, and other health benefits.  I will slowly add less and less sugar to my coffee until there is none.

You can also switch to organic sugar.  Organic sugar will have been grown without the use of pesticides, limiting water pollution.  It also is less processed, meaning there will be trace amounts of vitamins and minerals in your sugar.  There are even other sources of less processed sugar, such as Sucanat and Rapadura.  On a side note, I have yet to find an artificial sweetener that I am comfortable with.  The options in my house are organic sugar, or honey.

What do you know about the environmental impact of sugar?  What changes have you made for your health, and for the health of the environment?

Tuesday Hoppin

I'm going to be entering as many blog hops this week as I can to get the word out about my giveaway.  Who wouldn't want FREE environmentally safe house cleaners?  So much stuff, just check out the Official Giveaway page.  The giveaway is currently at 13 entries, which still leaves your chances of winning very high.

If your not interested in the giveaway, you can still just leave a comment about the blog hops and we will do our "blog hop thing."  Happy Tuesday. :)

Linking back to:

Monday, September 27, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I'm still glowing from my trip from Florida, and I'm also excited about my giveaway which currently only has 4 entries (you should really enter!). I'm dipping into one of my favorite recipe books Organically Raised by Anni Coulter this week for our recipes. At this point I've tried many of her recipes and I haven't found one that isn't amazing.

Anyway here is the plan for the week. :)

Monday:  Chicken drumsticks and Anni's sweet potato fries
Tuesday: Pan seared fish lettuce cups (my kids love lettuce tacos)
Wednesday: Roasted Salmon with potatoes and mushrooms
Thursday: Slow Cooker Cuban Braised Beef and Peppers
Friday: Home made pizza
Saturday: Leftovers
Sunday: Perfect Roasted Chicken

It's going to be a full week this week.  I hope you'll hop on down and enter the giveaway.  It's a good one. :)

Spreading the news

I'm going to be entering as many blog hops this week as I can to get the word out about my giveaway.  Who wouldn't want FREE environmentally safe house cleaners?  So much stuff, just check out the Official Giveaway page.

And of course, just follow me for the sake of the blog hop if you'd like. Hope everyone has a great day!! :)

The Not-So-Secret Confessions of a First Time Mom

Friday, September 24, 2010

Promoting Biodiversity - a guest post

The following is a guest post from Kori Bubnack.  TGIF!

Promoting Biodiversity 

“In other environmental issues we tell people to stop something, reduce their impact, reduce their damage,”  states US Ecologist Gary Nabhan in a recent interview. Nabhan is a ethnobotanist/gardener whose promotion of biodiversity has caught the attention of many over the years. He is known for his work in biodiversity as an ethnobotanist. Since Coming Home to Eat was published in 2001, the local food movement has ignited, causing a worldwide green epidemic.

In the past few years there has been a drastic increase in the number of organizations and businesses that have contributed to the promotion of sustainability through conservation. The Earth Day Network has been playing a large part in bringing conservationist and green enthusiasts together, sharing ideas and discussing new ways to support the planet. Other large organizations and non-profits like Doug Band and the CGI (Clinton Global Initiative) have been working on successful emission reduction projects in the San Francisco Bay area. While climate control has continued to worsen, collaborative and individual acts are vital for any successful green campaign. As human beings, we’re constantly told to reduce our carbon footprint, consume less unhealthy foods, and spend less time in the shower! But let’s take a minute to step back and look at this from a different perspective; one that Gary Nabhan strongly suggests.

According to The United Nations' Food and Agricultural Organization, about a quarter of crop diversity is left and that a dozen species now gives 90% of the animal protein eaten globally. In accordance, just 4 crop species supply half of plant based calories in the human diet.

Eating food that are home-grown, Nabhan offers, will have a greater impact on sustainability for our planet as a whole. Otherwise known as “eat what you conserve,” is a well-established theory in that by eating the fruits and vegetables that we are attempting to conserve/save, we’re promoting the granular dissemination of various plant species.

Agriculturist Marco Contiero also mentions that “biodiversity is an essential characteristic of any sustainable agricultural system, especially in the context of climate change.”[1] According to Conterio’s theory, this would suggest that as individuals we tend our own crops/plants, and should make sure to purchase localized farm products at supermarkets and groceries. In the end, this condenses export/import reliance, thus reducing our carbon footprint.

Nabhan and Contiero’s theories both rely profoundly on an action oriented approach at conservation and sustainability. With an abundance of green movements following Earth Day 2010, organizations and individuals have taken a stronger following to expert opinions like the ones demonstrated by both of these highly influential agriculturalists. Make sure, as the fall season approaches, to stop by your local farmers markets to purchase your fresh fruits and vegetables. As eco-conscious individuals, don’t hesitate either to stop the next time you drive by a yard stand with fresh crops. Promoting biodiversity and localized farming is a crucial piece of the conservation puzzle.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sun and Earth -- The Official Giveaway!

As I mentioned on Tuesday, I found a company that I am really going to enjoy. I have gotten together with Sun and Earth on Open Sky, and now I"m offering my readers a giveaway. I'm so stoked.

Here is what you will recieve, compliments of Sun and Earth:
Dishwasher Packs
 Dishwashing liquid soap
Liquid Hand soap
 Laundry Detergent
 Fabric softener
 Dryer Sheets
All purpose cleaner
On the spot instant stain remover
Concentrated Floor Cleaner
I hope I haven't left anything out!!

There are tons of ways for you to enter.  Each entry must be a separate comment to this post to be counted as an entry.

1. Follow me through Google Friend Connect.
2. Follow my facebook page.
3. Follow my twitter @greenmommas
4. Follow Sun and Earth's twitter @sunandearth
5. Visit Sun and Earth's website.
6. Enter their photo contest.
7. Leave them a message on one of their facebook pages, either fan page, group page, or user account. I found them here.
8. Create a post on your blog about this giveaway!

Good luck with your entries friends.  This is a fantastic up and coming company that I'm sure we'll here more and more about.  What great stuff!!

Giveaway ends Monday, October 4th at 10:00 pm EDT.  Winner will be chosen by a random number generator. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sun and Earth

Recently I stumbled upon a new company called Sun and Earth on Opensky.  They hit the two main marks when it comes to green cleaning products.  One, being really green and not fake green (hello greenworks), and two being affordable.  Their prices are so reasonable.

For me to put anything on my open sky store, I have to try them out first.  They sent me this amazing pack of just about everything they sell.

They have a very reasonably priced Value Pack  which is only 34 bucks, or you could buy the laundry detergent on it's own.  The laundry detergent is only ten dollars, which makes it so much cheaper then what you find at the store.  I'm really excited about this up and coming company.  I'll keep my eyes open for any other products they may offer.

Check back with me later in the week.  I'll be hosting a giveaway on all the stuff you see above here.  To see more cool stuff on my open sky store click here

Linking back to:

Monday, September 20, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

So last week I felt out of sorts, and I cured that by getting a job. I put in a few resume's last Monday, and was offered a job last week. Super fast turn around in this economy, and I couldn't be more thankful.

I'm ending the week with a quick trip to Florida for my nephew's first birthday. I hate flying in the giant winged tube o' death, but for his sweet face, I'd do just about anything. It's a short trip, leaving Friday and returning Sunday. Anyway, here's the menu for the week.

Monday: Burgers (organic free range beef) and fries
Tuesday: Spaghetti with homemade garlic bread
Wednesday: Vegetarian alphabet soup
Thursday: Mushroom Alfredo
Friday: Florida!!

Take note, because we're having beef early in the week, we will be spending the rest of the week offsetting that by being completely vegetarian. Beef has huge effects on the environment, even if it is organically raised. It is a rare RARE treat in this house.

Anyway, have a good week!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

High Fructose Corn Syrup -- the debate

This morning I ran across an article that talked about how the makers of High Fructose Corn want to change their name to Corn Sugar in hopes to shed their negative reputation.  I listen to their ads on the T.V. with disgust, it all just sounds like propaganda to me.  So, what is the truth?  Do you avoid it, or is it really fine in moderation like they say?

High Fructose Corn Syrup is a mixture of glucose and fructose which play two different roles in your body.  Glucose is a simple sugar that is transported in the blood and is used by your body for energy.  This is what diabetics test for when they test their blood sugar.

Fructose is a "fruit sugar" and is the primary carb in fruit, and honey.  It does not stimulate insulin secretion and it does not require insulin to be transported into cells like other carbs do.  This causes a problem in the body because insulin controls the hormone Leptin, which tells your body when to stop eating.  With out your body telling you to stop eating, this could lead to weight gain.

What I've noticed over the years is that it's simple to drink a can of soda.  It's gone before you know it, and you reach for another, right?  I cut out soda a couple of years ago to avoid these empty calories, however recently I've allowed myself to have one soda now and then as long as it does not have high fructose corn syrup.  What I saw is that I end up nursing it all day.  Anyone try those throw back sodas when they came out last year or so?  Too sweet for you?  How about that big piece of wedding cake?  Can you finish it with out feeling sick?  That's the signal that's missing from high fructose corn syrup, and I avoid it like the plague.

So they want to change their name to Corn Sugar?  I think that's just deceitful.  It's time for High Fructose Corn Syrup to go away.  Read your labels, it's in everything.

Linking back to:

Monday, September 13, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I wasn't sure if I was going to post today, I've been struggling through the depression "thickness" as I call it. It's like there is resistance to everything I do, like walking through jello to get anything done. I still have no tenant in my home and we can't buy a new one with out a tenant.  I'm feeling lost with out having some kind of work in my life, and I've been going back and forth with either starting a completely new career path, or continuing the one I have been on.

I'm rambling, and this post is supposed to be about food, so here we go.  Food it is.

Here's the menu plan for this week:

Monday:  Spaghetti and Garlic Bread (leftovers)
Tuesday: Chicken Quesadillas
Wednesday: Roasted Chicken Drumsticks and Cooked Carrots
Thursday: Fish Fritters
Friday:  Out for the girl's fifth birthday

Have a great week everyone.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Reducing Stress...

As of lately I've been so stressed out.  To the point where I've been getting headaches, and having to go to bed early.  I'm sure we all know how taxing that kind of stress can be to your mental well being and to your physical health.

Today I thought I'd simply compose a list of healthy and green ways to get your blood pressure down, and help you relax.

1.  A warm cup of soothing tea.  Herbal tea, or your regular black or green tea will calm the senses.  Try adding honey to sweeten your brew, and stay away from artificial sweeteners.  An added bonus of organic teas will ease your mind that your getting healthy good relaxation.

2. Going for a walk.  Right now in Colorado the air is getting brisk.  This is certainly earlier then Virginia, but these cool brisk walks really refresh me.  I grab the dog and I go.  Sometimes it's hard to get out the door, but five minutes into it, I'm always glad I went.

3. Lunch with the girls.  Generally speaking, women need a support system.  We need our girls to listen to our worries and help carry our burdens.  We feel strengthened by our bonds with our girls, and personally I always feel a burden lifted when I've spent time with my girlfriends.  I haven't always felt this way, but with time and wisdom, I've learned what kind of people to surround myself with.  Introverted women may find this more relaxing with their one girl friend.  The key here is to know yourself.

4.  Hydrotherapy.  It's a big word, for an awesome bubble bath.  Warm water relaxes your muscles, and will definitely help bring the BP down.  Pair this with some music of your choice, and maybe some aromatherapy, and you will definitely relax.

5. Sunshine.  It's free, and it helps raise your serotonin levels, (the happy hormone).  This will help if your stressed or feeling blue.

What do you do to reduce your stress?

Linking back to:

Thursday, September 2, 2010

What is Gluten?

I've been curious about gluten lately because my mother has started a gluten free diet to help with her digestion issues following her chemotherapy treatments. She finished chemotherapy I believe almost 18 months ago now, however because of the location of her cancer, it has left her digestive system very delicate.

There are many reasons people choose a gluten free diet, but today I'm just going to talk about what gluten is, and why it can be an issue for some people.

So what is Gluten?  According to Wise Geek, gluten is a protein found in rye, wheat and barely.  In bread making,  gluten provides many qualities.  Gluten helps make bread elastic, or flexible, providing that chewy texture when eaten.  Gluten also keeps the gases that are released during fermentation in the dough, so the bread is able to rise before it is baked.  Gluten also firms up when it is cooked, and helps ensure the bread maintains it's proper shape.

The cross breeding of wheat has occurred for many reasons.  These reasons include high grain yield, good quality, disease and insect resistance and tolerance to stresses.  It is thought that this cross breeding is resulting in more gluten in the wheat itself, and creating more health issues like celiac disease and wheat allergies.  This hybridization is a completely unnatural process in wheat, as wheat itself has a complete flower, and can pollinate itself.  According to Wikipedia, chemical hybridizing agents are used to selectively interfere with pollen development to allow cross pollination to occur.

There is also another train of thought that it is not the Gluten that is causing the allergies and disease, but wheat lectin instead.  I will do more research on that later.


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