What Have You Done?

‘And so this is Christmas . . . what have you done?’
John Lennon, singer

As 2015 draws to a close, think about the new green habits you have incorporated into your daily life.  Did you recycle more? Start composting?  Think of clever ways to reuse an old soda bottle? Take public transportation, walk or bike more and drive less? Cut back on meat consumption? Support local farmers?  Start using organic household and personal care products? Find a non-toxic dry cleaner?

Whatever you do to make your lifestyle greener, doesn’t it make you feel good to know you are doing a small part to protect this beautiful earth of ours? In 2016, consider doing just a little more. Remember, what’s good for the earth is good for you and what’s good for you is good for the earth.

I’d love to hear about your new green habits!  Email me so we can share them with other readers…..

Have a happy holiday and a healthy 2016!!!

Men, Ask Me Your Green LIfestyle Questions!

In an effort to reach a broader audience, I’m starting a series of posts pertinent to different groups – men, children, teens, new parents and grandparents.  Most posts apply to everyone obviously, but it’s usually women who take the lead in making greener and healthier changes in the home and for the family.  As Bella Abzug says, Women will not simply be mainstreamed into the polluted stream. Women are changing the stream, making it clean and green and safe for all…”  Or to quote Margaret ThatcherIf you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.

The reality is it takes everyone’s commitment towards a more eco-friendly lifestyle to make positive changes for the environment.

So, I’ll begin with men.  Below are questions asked from a male reader.

Question:It’s slippery outside on my front walk.  What can I safely use besides salt to melt the ice?  Any other choice besides ice melting pellets?” Mark C., Charleston, MA

Answer:  Thanks for asking such an important question, especially with the polar vortex gripping most of the country!  Slippery walks are dangerous.

Rock salt is the most common and the cheapest ice melt, but it is damaging to vegetation, polluting and corrosive. Calcium chloride, urea and blends also contain a lot of salt and pollute the soil. Generally products labeled “Pet-Safe” are safer for the environment, but make sure to read the label for salt additives. Avoid sodium chloride, the worst of all salts.

From my research, there are really no toxin-free ice melts.  The least toxic products are the natural ones like sand, sawdust, wood shavings, kitty litter, or even fireplace ash that provide traction for walking on ice.  They don’t actually melt the ice however.  Their downside? They are messy – you definitely have to remove your shoes when you come indoors, which is a good idea anyway.

Question:  “The leather on my tv chair is getting hard and cracked.  What should I do about it?” Mark C., Charleston, MA

Answer:  Good question.  I know how important special chairs are.  My husband loves his chair too!  It’s best to keep leather chairs out of direct sun, which will bleach it and cause deterioration.  Heat makes it dry and crack too.  To maintain your leather chair, wipe it down regularly with a clean, dry cloth (avoid cleaning products not designed for leather specifically) and vacuum dust and debris from the crevices as you would an upholstered chair. Apply leather conditioner regularly to keep it soft and supple, but make sure you use a conditioner that won’t darken light leathers.  For those cracks you mention, you can buff small scratches gently with a microfiber cloth until their appearance fades.  And I’m sure you know, never let water stand on leather.  Good luck.

Information compiled from: http://www.wikihow.com/Care-for-Leather-Furniture

Home Comforts, The Art and Science of Keeping House, by Cheryl Mendelson, http://grist.org/article/de-salt-of-the-earth/


For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.


Summer’s Extreme Weather

Whether the weather be fine,
Whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold,
Whether the weather be hot,
We’ll weather the weather,
Whatever the whether,
Whether we like it or not
~Author Unknown

Here in the Northeast and in the Mid-west, we’ve been experiencing more than our fair share of cloudy days and rain, intense thunderstorms, flood and tornado watches and high humidity.  Since there really is nothing you can do about the weather (other than lead a greener lifestyle and hope other people will too), try not to let it get you down.  Eating certain foods can relieve weather-related depression.

Omega 3 fats found in fish oil, salmon (and other fatty fish), walnuts (and other nuts), flax seeds, olive oil, chia seeds and avocados, are essential for proper brain function.  When the brain functions properly, it’s hard to get depressed for long.  Studies have shown that just a gram of fish oil a day can decrease symptoms such as anxiety, sleep disorders, unexplained periods of sadness, etc.  Omega 3 fats also lower cholesterol and improve cardiovascular function.

Fruits like dates, papaya, bananas, strawberries*, mangoes, pineapple, grapefruit, peaches and apple* also help fight depression!  They contain the best natural sugars your body can process, as well as essential nutrients.  They hydrate too!

Out west, the weather is unusually hot and dry and they are experiencing less than normal rainfall!  Protecting your skin is essential, not only with sunscreen but with food too.  The following three summer fruits are cooling and may protect your skin from sun damage during the hot dry summer weather.

  • Cherries contain inflammation-fighting anthocyanins and melatonin, which may boost UV protection and encourage cell growth, both great ways to fight wrinkles.
  • Nectarines* contain nutrients that help correct sun damage from the inside out.  They contain vitamins and minerals that help control inflammation and free radical damage.
  • Watermelon has high water and lycopene content, which helps protect and preserve skin cells so the skin is tighter, smoother and better able to retain moisture.  Lycopene, also found in tomatoes, is a powerful antioxidant and may help ward off sunburn too.

Extreme weather conditions are hard on the body and the spirit, but eating whole, nutritious and seasonal foods can help.

Have a happy and safe 4th of July!  Stay cool!!!

* Foods that you should always eat organic!

Information compiled from:

http://www.sharecare.com/health/diet-nutrition/article/eat-these-3-fruits-for-great-summer-skin; http://voices.yahoo.com/foods-fight-depression-eat-way-happiness-2710221.html and http://www.naturalnews.com/020611_depression_nutrition.html#ixzz2XtsDD1aP


Christmas Quote

“The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree:  the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.” – Burton Hillis  photo-4

This quote is quite poignant especially in light of the horrific tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut where Christmas this year and for years to come will never be the same.  I hope that one day, somehow, they will be “a happy family all wrapped up in each other” once again.  My heart and prayers go out to the 26 families who lost their loved ones and the entire Newtown community.  

On a personal note, I feel so fortunate to have all three of my kids home for Christmas this year.  Our family is scattered from one coast to the other, so it is even more meaningful. 

Happy Holidays to all! 

Earth Month Quote

The Earth seen from Apollo 17.

The Earth seen from Apollo 17. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The earth is what we all have in common.

Wendell Berry – novelist, poet, farmer and social activist

Whatever your race, religion, nationality, background, political affiliation or sexual orientation, we all inhabit the same earth and we must all take care of it. It’s simple really – what’s good for the earth is good for you and what’s good for you is good for the earth.

April is Earth Month and April 22 is Earth Day – think about the green things you do everyday and add one more.  Read through my blog for ideas:


Simple steps make a difference………….

GMO Foods

gmo “If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.”                                                   Michael Pollan

The health risks posed by GMO (genetically modified organisms) are real and dangerous.

I urge you to read more about GMO foods to understand why they are so dangerous.  Go to nongmoshopping guide for a comprehensive explanation of GMOs, as well as tips on how to avoid GMO foods when shopping or dining out.   In general, it’s safest to buy organic and certified organic foods which are less likely to contain GMOs.   Avoid at-risk ingredients like soybeans, canola, cottonseed, corn and sugar from sugar beets found in processed foods.  Always read food labels.

Download the free Non-GMO Shopping Guide app available at the app store for smartphones and Ipads to help you with your safer food choices.

To read a more detailed post on GMO foods, click here.


Image by Peter Wild

“Oh, for the good old days when people would stop Christmas shopping when they ran out of money.”

 ~Author Unknown

So……..now it’s time to stop shopping and spending money.  Enjoy time instead with your family and friends, visit a poor or lonely person in your life, bake holiday treats and think about all the green changes you have incorporated and will incorporate into your lifestyle.  Have a very happy holiday!!


“To lengthen thy Life, lessen thy Meals.”

Benjamin Franklin

The holiday season doesn’t have to be a time of overindulging on fattening, processed, nutrient-poor foods.  You can serve healthy, organic, delicious and satisfying holiday treats instead.  Here are a few recipes for foods that are actually good for you.

Spicy Carmelized Pecans

From Jane Brody’s Good Food Gourmet

Use this healthful and easy to prepare treat in a salad, as an hors d’oeuvres, for a snack, or a homemade holiday gift.

  • 2 cups pecan halves
  • Water to cover
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or coconut oil)
  • 3 tablespoons organic sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon or more cayenne, to taste

1.  Place the pecans in a large skillet or saucepan with water to cover.  Bring the ingredients just to a simmer over high heat.  Drain the nuts immediately, and set them aside.

2.  Melt the butter in a large skillet.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sugar, salt and cayenne.  Then add the nuts.

3.  Return the pan to medium-high heat and cook the nuts, tossing them constantly with a spatula, until they are a caramel color.  Remove from the pan to a platter, and let them cool in a single layer.  Store the nuts in layers separated  by wax paper.

Swiss Chard, Hummus and Avocado Hors d’oeuvre

I sampled this creative and oh so healthy hors d’oeuvre at Whole Foods the other day, and was pleasantly surprised at how tasty it was.

Smear fresh swiss chard with hummus and add slices of ripe avocado.  Roll us and slice into bite-sized pieces. Simple!


Cranberry-Banana Bread

From The Wilson Farm Country Cookbook

Quick breads are just that, as well as nutritious, and make a perfect holiday gift or a delightful addition to a holiday brunch, luncheon or dinner.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.

  • ¼ cup butter or coconut oil, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup organic sugar
  • 1 ¾ cups flour
  • 2 eggs
  •  1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ cup mashed banana (one)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped organic cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup water
  •  ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  •   ½ cup chopped nuts

Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl.  Beat in the eggs with an electric mixer.  Stir in the banana, cranberries, water and vanilla.  Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together and stir them into the batter.  Add the chopped nuts.  Pour into the prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 55 minutes.

Dark Chocolate

Fill your  Christmas stockings or your bon bon dish with dark chocolates – the health benefits  are becoming well known.  Click here to read more.

You can indulge this season with the right foods!  Enjoy!!!