Archive for the ‘Everyday Tips’ Category

London Going Green!

London, like most places, is making an effort to recycle more, cut carbon emissions, conserve energy and eat locally.  Check it out…..

A “mini-dump” or recycling area in a central London neighborhood.

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Including bins for old clothes,books and small electrical appliances.

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London’s double-decker busses use green power! “Another red bus going green for LONDON”

london  double decker busses

 

 Charging stations for electric cars!

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London’s power outlets turn on and off to avoid “vampire energy”.

english plug

A charming neighborhood farmer’s market.  Of course Europeans have traditionally food shopped that way.

2nd marleybone farmers market

marleybone farmers market

Vacation

I’m off to London for a couple of weeks to visit my daughter.  Hopefully I’ll come back with some interesting new British green living tips to share with you!

 

I’ll be back blogging towards the end of July!  Enjoy……

Bottles Made From Reclaimed Ocean Plastic?!!

 

Next time you need cleaning products, take a look at Ecover in the organic section of your grocery store.

Ecover Dishwashing Liquid

Ecover, a Belgian natural cleaning products company has been manufacturing phosphate-free, plant-based products for over three decades.  Their factory runs on green electricity and is covered with a flower roof, which acts as insulation to reduce energy needed for heating and cooling, and their renewable, reusable and recyclable “PlantPlastic” bottles are made from sugarcane and recycled plastic.  And now, to highlight the dangers of dumping plastic into the oceans, which is killing fish and threatening ecosystems, they are manufacturing the world’s first dishwashing liquid bottle made from reclaimed ocean plastic!

Along with manufacturer Logoplaste, Ecover is working to combine plastic trawled from the sea with “PlantPlastic” and recycled plastic, “a world-first for packaging” according to UK’s The Guardian Weekly.  Initially 10% of the plastic will be from the sea, though Ecover hopes to increase that amount.   It supposedly went on sale in the UK in May.

Plastic can take thousands of years to degrade, and as it does so can leach harmful contaminants into our waterways and soil, including the endocrine disruptor bisphenol A (BPA).  You might have heard about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch which scientists estimate is two times bigger than the state of Texas.

Ecover took an important step towards helping to clean up our oceans.  We need more ingenuity and corporate responsibility like that.  Hopefully other companies will follow suit.  Congratulations Ecover!

 

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com

 

Information compiled from: http://us.ecover.com/http://science.howstuffworks.com/, and The Guardian Weekly, 16.05.14

 

The Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen

 

Whenever possible, eating organic food is always preferable.  Organic food is grown without chemical pesticides, may contain more natural antioxidants and nutrients linked to reduced risk for cancer, stroke, and heart disease, and tastes more flavorful.  But, organic food is usually more expensive than conventional food and many people can’t afford it.  While I still maintain you can’t afford not to eat organically (it’s cheaper than the doctor),  I of course understand.  That’s where the “Dirty Dozen” and the “Clean 15” guidelines developed by the Environmental Working Group come in handy.  The EWG is a non-profit watchdog organization, which uses “the power of public information to protect public health and the environment” and “empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment”.

The Dirty Dozen are the 12 fruits and vegetables most heavily sprayed with pesticides – they contain 47 to 67 pesticides per serving – and the ones you should always buy organic. These foods are most susceptible because they have soft skin that tends to absorb more pesticides. They are, starting with the worst:

  • apples
  • strawberries
  • grapes
  • celery
  • peaches
  • spinach
  • sweet bell pepper
  • nectarines – imported
  • cucumbers
  • cherry tomatoes
  • snap peas – imported
  • potatoes

+ 2 more

  • hot peppers
  • kale/collard greens

 

The Clean 15 are the fifteen fruits and vegetables lowest in pesticides and not necessary to buy organic.  They are, starting with the best:

  • avocados
  • sweet corn
  • pineapples
  • cabbage
  • sweet peas – frozen
  • onions
  • asparagus
  • mangoes
  • papaya
  • kiwi
  • eggplant
  • grapefruit
  • cantaloupe
  • cauliflower

The organic food market is growing and organic foods are now easily found in conventional grocery store chains as well as natural food markets.  To be sure the produce you choose is organic, check the sticker on the fruit or vegetable. If the code number starts with a “9” ,then it is organic.

Next time you go grocery shopping, bring your Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen shopper’s guide.  You’ll find it’s cheaper than you think to eat safely!

Visit the Environmental Working Group website to download the EWG Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce and to see their full list of all 48 fruits and vegetables with pesticide residue data. Their website also contains shopper’s guides to safe cleaning products, safe cosmetics, safe sunscreen and a variety of other important topics.

 

 

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

 

Information compiled from ewg.org.

 

Concord Museum Guild of Volunteers presents Its 25th Annual Garden Tour Friday, June 06, 2014 – Saturday, June 07, 2014, 9AM – 4PM

 

 

If you are looking for a fun thing to do in the Boston area next weekend June 6 and 7, consider a visit to  the beautiful and historic town of Concord and check out the Concord Museum’s Garden Tour.  This New England tradition is for all garden lovers and offers something for the accomplished landscapers, the novice gardener and those in between.  Each of the 7 private gardens reflects the interests and passions of the owners and their families with acres of “garden rooms”.  The garden tours are self-guided, beginning both days rain or shine at 9:00am and continuing until 4:00pm.

While you are in Concord, make a day of it and visit the Concord Museum (including their newest exhibition opening April 18 – The Shot Heard Round the World: April 19, 1775), and plan to have lunch or dinner at one of Concord’s fine restaurants.

Advance purchase discount price through May 30: $30 Concord Museum members, $35 Non-members.  Reservations online at www.concordmuseum.org .

 

About the Concord Museum: The Concord Museum is where all of Concord’s remarkable past is brought to life through an inspiring collection of historical, literary and decorative arts treasures.  Renowned for the 1775 Revere lantern and Henry Thoreau’s Walden desk, the Concord Museum is home to a nationally significant collection of American decorative arts, including clocks, furniture and silver. Founded in 1886, the Museum is a gateway to historic Concord for visitors from around the world and a vital cultural resource for the town and the region. Visit www.concordmuseum.org

 

 

Eating Fish Is More Complicated Than You Think!

 

Fish is not a health food, according to Dr. Furhman, a board-certified family physician, NY Times best-selling author, nutritional researcher, and an internationally recognized expert on nutrition and natural healing.  He maintains, “If you eat fish regularly, your body is undoubtedly high in mercury, which can damage the heart and brain. Pregnant women may compromise their babies’ brain development by mercury exposure associated with eating fish, and eating more fish is also associated with increased breast cancer risk.”  He recommends to either avoid fish or eat it no more than once a week and choose those lowest in mercury such as flounder, scallops, trout, sole, squid, wild salmon or sardines.

Fish is a healthy and delicious alternative to meat and obviously some choices are safer than others.  Still, reading Dr. Furhman’s report is jarring.  I went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch website, which helps consumers and businesses make choices for healthy oceans and for consuming safe fish, to read their recommendations.

The Seafood Watch program categorizes fish into “Best Choices”, “Good Alternatives”, and which ones to “Avoid”.

Their Super Green or “Best Choices” lists seafood that meets the following three criteria:

  • Has low levels of mercury
  • Provides at least 250 milligrams per day (mg/d) of omega-3s
  • Is classified as a Seafood Watch “Best Choice” (green)

Best Choice List includes:

  • Atlantic Mackerel (purse seine from Canada and the U.S.)
  • Freshwater Coho Salmon (farmed in tank systems, from the U.S.)
  • Pacific Sardines (wild-caught)
  • Salmon (wild-caught, from Alaska)
  • Salmon, Canned (wild-caught, from Alaska)

Next Best choices:

  • Albacore Tuna (troll- or pole-caught, from the U.S. or British Columbia)
  • Sablefish/Black Cod (from Alaska and Canadian Pacific)

Click here for the “Good Alternatives” and “Avoid” list, as well as a seafood search for detailed information regarding specific fish.  You can actually download seafood watch lists for your  region of the country.  

The “Best Choices” list isn’t very long.  Sadly, eating safe, nutritious food is getting harder.  Staying informed by reading information from trusted sources is one solution, eating local, organically grown whole food is another.

 

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

Information compiled from:  peacefuldaily.com and

http://www.seafoodwatch.org/cr/cr_seafoodwatch/sfw_recommendations.aspx

 

Have You Joined a CSA Yet?

 

CSAs, or Community Supported Agriculture, have grown in popularity over the years. In a CSA, consumers can buy local, seasonal food directly from the farmer. The farmer offers a certain number of shares, or boxes of vegetables or other farm products to the public. Customers in turn pay in advance for a share and receive a box or bag of seasonal produce each week during the farming season.  There are several different CSA formats – half shares, seasonal shares (with more produce grown in hot houses, you can now get winter shares), biweekly shares, or market shares where you choose your own produce. Fish, local meat and flower CSAs are also available.

 

 

There are advantages for both the farmer and the consumer with the CSA model. For farmers, they receive early payment, which helps with their cash flow at a lean time of year, and they have the chance to meet the people who eat the food they grow. For the customer, they eat just picked produce, which is at its most flavorful and nutritious. They are often introduced to different kinds of produce and new preparation ideas. They have the opportunity to get to know the farmers who produce their food, a rare option today with conventional supermarkets where produce is cellophane-wrapped and has traveled 1500 miles from farm to plate.

I’ve been a member of several CSAs over the years, but the spring CSA I am participating in now is clearly the most unique. Fresh produce is limited in spring in New England, but my CSA bag is full of thoughtfully chosen and healthy items.   Run by a nutritionist and her farmer boyfriend, Nicole Cormier and Jim Lough, their bags of “locally sourced, fresh picked, handmade, sustainably grown, non-toxic, real food” are designed to be nutritionally complete.  They contain items like sunchokes, pea greens, fresh chevre goat cheese, homemade almond milk, local cornmeal, black beans, herbs, spices, honey, farm fresh eggs and locally grown mushrooms and grains. I have received locally made skin salves, delicious homemade granola and dried fruits, green juice drinks and even a locally made reusable sandwich and snack bag.  Nicole also includes recipes and nutritional information.  Her CSA model is a little different from the typical one in that she uses many farmers who all grow something different.

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I can hardly wait to see what’s in my CSA bag – it’s apparent each bag is packed with love and care. Check out the CSAs in your area. You’ll not only enjoy eating the freshest and most nutritious produce possible, but the convenience of pre-chosen food too. And, you’re helping to support local farmers.

Information compiled from http://www.localharvest.org/csa/ and deliclioiuslivingnutrition.com.

 

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

Celebrate Earth Day!

 

 

Mark your calendars for Earth Day next Tuesday, April 22, a day to commemorate the earth, celebrate green acts, raise awareness and work towards a more sustainable future.  If you read my blog regularly, I imagine you already practice green acts.  Earth Day is a good time to commit to adding new green habits.

 

What else can you do?

 

  • Adopt “meatless Mondays”. The meat industry is responsible for nearly one-fifth of man-made greenhouse gas emissions. 
  • Spring is a good time to start composting your kitchen waste.  This time next year your compost pile will have turned into dark, rich compost with which to pot your spring plants or to spread on trouble spots on your lawn. By contrast, when food goes into the landfill, it rots and emits methane, a potent greenhouse gas with 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.
  • In addition to your reusable water bottle, bring along a reusable mug when you buy a coffee or tea (Many coffee shops charge you a reduced price when you do so.)  Paper cups are less toxic than polystyrene cups, but they still use a significant amount of resources.  Twenty million trees (a renewable resource) are cut down annually to manufacture paper cups, most of which are coated with a fossil fuel-derived plastic, and 8,095 gallons of water are used to make 10,000 paper cups with sleeves.
  • Think about the amount of electricity you use every day – the coffee maker, blender, hair dryer, hair straightener, electric toothbrush, iron, computer,  printer, tv,  air conditioning, lights, etc.  Try and reduce your usage by unplugging your appliances when not in use; consider power strips to help control  vampire energy.  Encourage your family and friends to do the same.
  • Test drive a hybrid or electric car when you are next in the market for a new car. I drive an electric car and feel so good driving my carbon emission free car and love not paying those high gas prices!  (It doesn’t significantly increase your electricity bill.)
  • Start an Earth Dinner tradition serving local, organic foods, using real cutlery and cloth napkins, and eating by candlelight to save energy.  Find out who grew your food and the history of the recipes you are cooking from.  Connecting to your food makes the experience more meaningful.  Of course you will be washing your dishes with non-toxic detergent, right?

 

With every passing year, I notice greener living  becoming the new way of life.  That’s encouraging!

 

Want to know your ecological footprint?  Click here to find out (and how to reduce it).

 

http://www.earthday.org/footprint-calculator

 

Some information compiled from earthday.org.

 

Mass Save Refrigerator Recycling Program A Big Hit!

Strong Start in 2014 for Mass Save® Refrigerator Recycling Program

Limited-time promotion prompts thousands of residential customers to recycle old, inefficient refrigerators and freezers.

BOSTON, Mass. (March 25, 2014) – Throughout the months of January and February 2014, the Sponsors of Mass Save – Cape Light Compact, National Grid, NSTAR Electric, Unitil and Western Massachusetts Electric Company – offered residential electric customers $100 for recycling old, second refrigerators and freezers through the Mass Save® appliance recycling program. This special offer helped the program get off to a great start, with more than 6,600 units recycled as of February 28.

“We are very pleased with the response to this promotion, and we encourage all residential electric customers to consider participating in the Mass Save appliance recycling program if they have an old, second refrigerator or freezer in their home,” said Tilak Subrahmanian, Vice President of Energy Efficiency for Northeast Utilities, parent company of NSTAR and WMECo. “Older refrigerators and freezers consume as much as four times more energy than newer, efficient models, and that can really add up on your energy bill.”

In addition to energy and cost savings, recycling old refrigerators and freezers is good for the environment. After pick-up, the old units are transported to a recycling facility where harmful materials are removed and properly disposed of, while the rest are recycled. Approximately 95 percent of the materials are reclaimed and repurposed.

“During a winter when energy costs have been challenging for everyone in Massachusetts, saving money and energy through Mass Save is a fantastic opportunity for customers,” said Marcy Reed, president of National Grid in Massachusetts. “Enabling residents to reduce their electric bills, get rid of old appliances, and receive a rebate at the same time will help the Commonwealth be greener and more prosperous going forward.”

The Mass Save appliance recycling program runs year-round and offers customers free pick-up of their old refrigerator or freezer, as well as a $50 check.

To qualify for the recycling program, refrigerators and freezers must be clean, empty and in working order with an inside measurement of between 10 and 30 cubic feet, which is standard for most units. One must be a residential electric customer of a Mass Save Sponsor to be eligible to participate.

Customers can call 1-877-545-4113 or visitwww.masssave.com/recycle to learn more about the program and to schedule free pick-up at their homes.

About Mass Save: Mass Save® is an initiative sponsored by Massachusetts’ gas and electric utilities and energy efficiency service provider. The Sponsors of Mass Save work closely with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources to provide a wide range of services, incentives, trainings, and information promoting energy efficiency that help residents and businesses manage energy use and related costs.

Check your area for a similar program!

www.masssave.com/recycle

 

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com

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Try Oil Pulling!

I recently discovered oil pulling.  Oil what?

Oil pulling is an age-old remedy started in India thousands of years ago that uses oil to clean, detoxify, and nourish teeth and gums; it also whitens teeth. Oil pulling removes excessive and bad bacteria from your mouth, which also helps with detoxification of the entire body.  It is well known that bacteria in the mouth can lead to other health related problems besides gum disease.

 

How Do You Do It?

Basically you swish a teaspoon or two of oil – coconut, sesame and olive oil work best – in your mouth for up to twenty minutes.  Ten to fifteen is okay too, but twenty is optimal to break down plague and root out bacteria.  After you spit out  (in a paper bag if you are concerned about your plumbing), rinse with warm salt water and brush as usual.  Oil pulling is best done first thing in the morning before breakfast.  Twenty minutes is a long time to spend swishing, so I use that time to go about my morning routine, all while swishing, and before you know it you’re done.  My husband loves the quiet while I swish!

 

How Does It Work?

Unlike mouthwash, oil is viscous and therefore picks up saliva and pulls out bacteria while it works its way deep into the crevices of your gum tissues. The oil cuts through plaque and removes toxins without disturbing the teeth or gums. Be careful not to swallow the oil because you will reintroduce the bacteria back into your body.

 

My dentist always mentions my inflamed gums and deep pockets, so I decided to give oil pulling with coconut oil a try. photo (4)It takes a little getting used to, but it’s not bad.   I swished for several weeks before a second appointment with my periodontist. She noticed that my gums were less inflamed than previously, and when I mentioned that I had been oil pulling, which she had never heard of, she wouldn’t exactly attribute the decrease in swelling to the oil pulling.  She did say however, to keep it up if I thought it was working.

Oil pulling is an easy practice to help heal teeth and gums and one that possibly benefits your entire system.  I love how clean and glossy my teeth feel after swishing too!  Why not give it a try and let me know what you think!

 

Information compiled from http://wellnessmama.com/7866/oil-pulling-for-oral-health/ and http://coconut-oil-pulling.com/.

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

 

 

 

 

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