Tuesday, April 22, 2014

One Simple Thing to Do on Earth Day, And It's Not Recycling

Hi, all! I know, I know. It's been a minute since you've seen me last. So much has happened in the past few months! Many aspects of my life have changed. My career, my health, my purpose, all for the better.

It's been a long road back to my blog, but what better day to come back than on Earth Day! As I reflect on all of the changes in my life, I can't help but think about the newness of springtime. Yesterday as I took my morning jog, I noticed how bright green the leaves of the trees are right now, almost a neon color. The coolness of the air felt cleansing to my lungs and the bubbling of the water in the nearby creek brought ease to my mind. Looking at nature also helped me realize how little I actually look up beyond eye level, beyond street level, beyond the height of my children.

Today, I won't urge you to recycle, reuse or re-do anything, in the name of Earth Day. My only wish is that you take a moment or two today, just being in awareness of all the earth gives us. Step on the ground with bare feet, wander and just feel. And most importantly, look up and see the world in its entirety. Ain't it beautiful?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Meatless Monday: Veggie Love

Today was a beast, as is most Mondays. So I want something quick, easy and healthy, all at the same time. On today's menu is Cinnamon Swirl Sweet Potatoes and Smokey Sauteed Mixed Greens.

Cinnamon Swirl Sweet Potatoes
3 large sweet potatoes
1/2 cup rice milk
2 tbsps. butter
3 tbps. turbinado sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch of sea salt

Peel potatoes. Fill a quart pan half way with water. Place potatoes in water and bring to a boil. Cook potatoes until tender. Drain.

Place potatoes in a mixing bowl. Mash potatoes with large wooden spoon or potato masher. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

Smokey Sauteed Mixed Greens
4 cups chopped greens (kale, collard greens, spinach, etc.)
2 cups water
1 tbsp. fresh chopped garlic
2 tbsps. olive oil
1 tsp. liquid smoke
all-purpose spice (I like Spike but Mrs. Dash or an equivalent can also be used)
1 tsp. sea salt

Heat olive oil in saute pan. Add garlic. Heat until slightly brown. Add greens and cook until wilted and covered with oil. Add water and spices. Simmer until greens are tender, about 30 minutes.

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Green Product I Can't Live Without! Forest City Tumbling Composter

It's Friday! And on Fridays, I like to feature a green product that I love.

We've all been told that it's not good to waste your food. If you truly believe in this statement, then put your money where your mouth is. Invest in an outdoor composter. And the Forest City Tumbling Composter is the perfect, inexpensive tool for putting your waste to good use. Creating your own compost not only makes throwing away food not such a bad thing, but the benefits of a nutrient-rich soil for your garden and plants are invaluable.

Click here to read more about one of my favorite green products. Happy composting!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Saving Bees May Eradicate HIV; No Joke

They're known for their talent in pollinating plants and ultimately helping the earth's crops grow, but a recent news story gives us all reason to have a new appreciation for these tiny creatures.

Scientists at Washington University in St. Louis have discovered a way to use bee venom to destroy HIV cells. This "wonder drug" may be delivered via a vaginal gel that can destroy the virus before it has a chance to take over healthy cells and cause infection.

But this life-saving substance made from bees may not be so easy to come by. Over the last several decades, bees have virtually flown into oblivion as the world's bee colony populations have declined to alarming numbers. Bee keepers have reported losing more than half of their colonies in a strange occurrence called colony collapse.

Colony collapse, as it was first termed in late 2006, is the drastic disappearance of worker bees in Western honey bee colonies in North America. This phenomenon is the result of many factors, including mites and insect diseases, environmental change, pesticides and even cell phone radiation. Researchers say that some chemicals used in pesticides fog honey bee brains, making it harder for them to navigate their way home.

So what's the takeaway from the plight of the bee? Besides the fact that we should be concerned with all of nature, including the tiniest of organisms, think of it this way. Without the tiny bee, OUR food supplies will dwindle fast and our chances of ridding the world of the most devastating epidemic in decades will disappear.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

5 Simple Solutions for Your Green Kitchen

If you think it's difficult to live greener, think again. There are many small, eco-friendly steps that you can incorporate into your daily life to reduce waste and save money too. Here are five simple items and changes to have and implement in your kitchen.

1. Water filter: Ditch the plastic water bottles and get an easy-to-install water filter for your kitchen faucet. Millions of plastic water bottles end up in landfills and the world's oceans, taking hundreds of years to decompose.

2. Reusable cloth bags: The use of reusable bags isn't a new phenomenon but it is becoming more common. Invest in a few cloth bags and keep them in your car for that next grocery shopping trip. Some retailers even give a small discount for bringing your own bags.

3. Recycle bins: Most major cities have recycling programs and even pick up these items in the same way as trash. Plastic bottles and containers and cereal and snack boxes take up a lot of room in your trash bin. Recycling these items saves room in your trash, reducing the number of trash bags you have to use over time.

4. Yank those appliance plugs. Well, maybe not yank. But unplugging kitchen appliances when they're not in use is an easy way to cut back on your electricity bill and save energy. Remember, just because those appliances are not "on" doesn't mean they aren't sucking electricity from the socket-and your wallet.

5.  Dump the plastic baggies: If you pack a lunch for yourself or your kids, those plastic baggies can end up in the trash after one use. Try packing lunches in multi-compartment containers that close to keep food fresh, eliminate the need for bags and are easy to clean.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Cesspools of Injustice

They say when America gets a cold, blacks get pneumonia. And when it comes to environmental injustice, blacks are getting more than pneumonia. Poor, black communities have literally become dumping grounds for America's trash, exposing them to serious, long-term health ailments. African Americans have seen our share of injustices over the centuries and systemic environmental inequalities are just one of the many issues that we continue to fight today.

Studies have shown that there are disproportionate locations of landfills in predominantly poor, black communities throughout many of America's cities and rural areas. One town in particular is Emelle, Alabama, which was once lush farmland. In 1978, Chemical Waste Management, a subsidiary of Waste Management Inc., purchased a landfill permit for a 300-acre tract of land near the village of Emelle, boasting the benefit of jobs it would provide for local residents.Over 90 percent of the county's residents near the landfill are black and one-third of them live below the poverty line. Since acquiring the landfill, Waste Management Inc. has dumped millions of tons of hazardous waste here. Nearly 40 percent of the toxic waste disposed of nationwide between 1984 and 1987 under the federal Superfund removal program ended up in Emelle.To make matters worse, the landfill sits directly over the Eutaw Aquifer, which supplies water to a large part of Alabama. Sumter County is now home to the largest hazardous waste landfill in the United States, and possibly the world.

Imagine living in Emelle, drinking the water, breathing the toxin-filled air, raising YOUR family there. Civil activists are fighting this issue that is virtually invisible but worthy of talk points on national news broadcasts every day. It's an issue that we can all fight. At a minimum, we can recycle to ensure less toxins end up in the back yards of residents like those in Emelle, Alabama. Take it a step further and make your voice heard to city and state representatives. Hold them accountable for finding a solution to this problem that will eventually affect all of us in some way, be it through water and air quality for all or health care costs stemming from these toxins. No one deserves to live in these cesspools of injustice.

(Photo: Pablo Ares Gastesi)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Seeing Green

I know. For many, it's not easy to drink a concoction that is the color of grass. But, trust me, it's good for you. The benefits of green fruits and veggies are numerous as they're full of nutrients, calcium, fiber, antioxidants and vitamins A and C.

Here's a recipe I named "Go Green." Remember to wash all ingredients before juicing:

Go Green
1 cucumber
1 green apple (chopped into pieces small enough to fit into the mouth of your juicer)
1/2 cup spinach
1 celery stalk
1/2 cup broccoli, including stems (chopped into pieces small enough to fit into the mouth of your juicer)
1/2 cup kale

Juice. Enjoy!

Health benefits of Go Green juice (from Livestrong.com):
Cucumber: B Vitamins, good for hydration as they are 95% water, anti-inflammatory, contain cancer-fighting lignans, aid in producing insulin (good for diabetics), reduces cholesterol and controls blood pressure.

Green apple: contain fiber to prevent constipation, reduce blood pressure, contain Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Riboflavin, and Vitamin B, contain protein

Spinach: contains beta carotene which is great for the eyes and reducing the risk of developing cataracts, good source of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, rich in heart-healthy potassium

Celery: contains magnesium, which reduces blood pressure, aids in clearing toxins from the body that can cause kidney and gall stones, has anti-inflammatory properties that are helpful in the treatment of arthritis and gout.

Broccoli: contains sulforaphane that can help ease gastritis and indigestion, contains more calcium ounce for ounce than milk, contains high antioxidant levels that can keep vision clear.

Kale: contains lutein, which is good for the eyes and skin, contains calcium for healthy bones and muscles, vitamins A and C for vision, skin and keeping your body tissues healthy, contains vitamin K, which allows the blood to clot to stop bleeding.

*This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE.