Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
BEST CANDY CHOICES (from lowest calorie count): One stick of Trident gum, Reese's Mini Cup, Three Kit Kat Bites, Miniature Mr. Goodbar, Snack-Size Raisins, Hershey's Milk Chocolate Miniature, Three Jolly Ranchers, Small Tootsie Roll, Miniature York Peppermint Patties, Charms Blow Pop
WORST CANDY CHOICES: Fun size Snickers, Fun size Milky Way, Fun size Kit Kat, Fun size Skittles Original Fruit, Ten Wild n' Fruity Gummy Bears, Fun size Butterfinger, Fun size M&M's Plain, Fun size M&M's Peanut, and the worst... Snack Size Twizzler Twists
Considering my true love for Peanut M&M's, I haven't got much to say about this. Get the full calorie counts here.
And if you are interested in the environmental impact of the holiday (and some major guilt for loving candy rich in HFCS), check out Slate's Green Lantern post here.
So resveratrol is naturally a part of grapes, red wine and pomegranates yet they are putting the chemical into beer? When does it become a chemical? Mmm... yummy hoppy chemical? A researcher quoted in the article said, "In general, the addition of the resveratrol shouldn't affect the taste of the beer, since the chemical is odorless and tasteless." Hmm...
Anywho, back in June, scientists at the University of Wisconsin called resveratrol "a key reason for the so-called French Paradox- the observation that French people have lower rates of heart disease despite a cuisine known for its cream sauces and decadent cheeses, all loaded with heart-clogging saturated fats." Something tells me that American eating and drinking habits may vary from the French a tad bit more than that one little compound. And... well... suggesting that popping open a cold one will deliver more resveratrol, more consistently than it's natural source just doesn't seem like great advice.
As my sister enters her third trimester, the pressure to decide on the perfect "home from the hospital" outfit is on. (My big sis picked out the outfit that our parents brought me home in so in so facto...)
Becky 2.0 is due to arrive mid-January. I've already picked up some warm outerwear but have yet to find the perfect hat, onesie, footsie PJs, socks, gloves, thermal unders, or anything else she may need that meet all the criteria: adorable, cozy, easy on/off, soft, small, not one of those silly star-shaped things, and organic. Don't get me wrong, I haven't heard about any toxic baby clothes - I just want to be sure nothing irritates her little baby skin and this very important trip home - the little noodle needs the safest of the safe EVERYTHING.
So I have spent a good chunk of time surfing the web for baby "apparel." I considered something quirky from baby wit but ultimately decided to wait until Becky 2.0 is at least three months old before I start lobbying for eco-advertising space on her belly. Not to mention, a lot of baby wit's great stuff (like this hat) is out of stock. That means PUR BEBE naturally trendy and Nimli rank highest with me. I love the concept behind Swell Foop and a few designs on eco-chic baby but their selections are limited. What I am saying is... I may to take a vote... or some suggestions. Here are my top picks so far:
ABOVE: simple 100% organic onesie; 70% bamboo/30% cotton onesies; and 100% cotton hand knit hat and booties; all from Pur Bebe. BELOW: 100% bamboo pamplemosses onesie: and bossy baby floral heart romper and hat; all from Nimli.
And lastly, my absolute favorites below: OBLI Organics Elephants from Nimli; and 100% certified organic footie sleeper and organic beanie in Back to Nature - both from naturally trendy.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
To the great surprise of parents, kidney stones, once considered a disorder of middle age, are now showing up in children as young as 5 or 6.
The increase in the United States is attributed to a host of factors, including a food additive that is both legal and ubiquitous: salt.
“What we’ve really seen is an increase in the salt load in children’s diet,” said Dr. Bruce L. Slaughenhoupt, co-director of pediatric urology and of the pediatric kidney stone clinic at the University of Wisconsin. He and other experts mentioned not just salty chips and French fries, but also processed foods like sandwich meats; canned soups; packaged meals; and even sports drinks like Gatorade, which are so popular among schoolchildren they are now sold in child-friendly juice boxes.
High levels of the industrial chemical, Melanine, which was recently involved with the milk scandal that caused four infant deaths and ailments like kidney stones, has been found in the eggs. The government blamed the dairy scandal on scam artists who were intentionally adding melamine to milk as cheap filler in order to save money because it is known to give feed and food an artificially high protein reading.
However United Nations Food and Agriculture official, Zhang Zhongjun, said that he was told the source of the contamination is still unclear and could be from melamine-tainted animal feed. Zhang told the NY Times reporter, "It’s not clear where the problem is from. It’s not clear whether the melamine was added by humans or by pollution.”
A human or pollution problem in China's agriculture industry?!? You're kidding...
For more awesome ecards like this one visit http://www.someecards.com/
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
"Baconnaise: The ultimate bacon-flavored spread. Use it on sandwiches, salads, dips, sauces, chicken, fish and fries. Vegetarian safe!"
The comments on the site are the best:
"How did I eat burgers without this!?!" -Jessica M.
"Why would you have fries if you could have bacon fries?" - Chuck H.
"I' would eat that with a spoon." -Steven K.
"I don't dine on swine, but wow, that's really good." -Marcia R.
Like Marcia, I don't dine on swine so I guess I should be thanking my lucky stars that Baconnaise is "vegetarian safe." And did I mention there is a "lite" version? I think I am going to lose my breakfast... For kicks, check out all the bacon merchandise here.
Monday, October 27, 2008
As far as I can see, it's environmentally friendly solution that really diminishes the alternative: harmful chemicals - which I think is the point. Experts however, are a little fuzzy on the "effectiveness" and concerned about the sheep worsening the problem by picking up the invasive weeds in their wool and spreading them to new areas.
Read the article here.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
The changes signal a move on the part of Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, away from intermittent transactions with many suppliers toward longer-term arrangements with a smaller group of manufacturers. Wal-Mart is betting that using its buying power this way can help keep prices low even as it keeps a closer eye on its suppliers.
To ensure suppliers are making changes, Wal-Mart said it would require three levels of audits: from the vendors themselves, from an outside party and from Wal-Mart, which will initiate more of its own random, unannounced audits.
Wal-Mart said the audits would assess factory working conditions as well as compliance by manufacturers with standards regarding air pollution, wastewater discharge, management of toxic substances and disposal of hazardous waste.
Read the entire article here or read further through the DotEarth blog here.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Pollan recently appeared on NPR's Fresh Air. Audio of interview can be found here. (thnx Jonathan)
And NYT's Tara-Parker Pope blogged about Pollan and his concerns this morning. An excerpt from her post:
Mr. Pollan notes that food is a bipartisan issue, and that both parties have dismal track records on agricultural policy. Food, he argues, is the ultimate “solar” product, but the current food system, with its focus on the monocultures of soy, wheat and corn, is heavily dependent on natural gas and oil to make fertilizers and pesticides as well as to import and transport food.
One of Mr. Pollan’s concerns is that national policies subsidize the least healthful calories that we eat. He notes that the “building blocks” of fast food are soy and corn, used to make hydrogenated soy oil, the protein and starch in cattle and chicken feed, and high-fructose corn syrup used in sodas and sweets.
Through a series of calculations about San Fransisco to DC love, NYC to DC love, and all the single people over the age of 17 who may be in long distance relationships, YoungSmith sort of backs up his statement that, for the first example, "...breaking up would be about 10 times better for the environment than going vegetarian."
It's a fun and clever article that, I assume, is intended to poke fun at the local food movement. From the article:
"Date Local's message is a simple one, in the best traditions of liberal reform. All you have to do is date here. Date now. Date sustainably. And if you absolutely have to date long-distance, do it via Amtrak."
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights? By Orson Scott Card
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
"A section explaining how grilling meat can create potentially carcinogenic compounds called PAHs -- polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons -- is neatly paired with ideas for keeping PAHS from forming: Marinate your meat before cooking, keep it away from high flames, and cut away excess fat before grilling."
"...while the state’s policies lowered employee compensation in the electric power industry by an estimated $1.6 billion over that period, it improved compensation in the state over all by $44.6 billion."
"California's energy-efficiency policies created nearly 1.5 million jobs from 1977 to 2007, while eliminating fewer than 25,000, according to a study to be released Monday."
Read more here.
Just heard some fun news via the Treehugger newsletter. German automotive company, Ruf Automobile GmbH, is making an electric version of the Porsche 911 called the eRUF Model A. I have to admit that I am pretty green (green as in novice or lacking expertise rather than how I typically use the term) when it comes to vehicles and their carbon tire tracks, so from the article:
Monday, October 20, 2008
Basically, some bottled water may be as pure as promised but unregulated by the federal government, it is hard to tell which is which. On the other hand, public water supplies are regulated by the federal government.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
In case the text is too small, it says: "Simple Pleasures... Made Even Simpler. We sealed the goodness of a Smucker's PB&J sandwich inside soft bread and removed the crust. All you do is thaw and serve - A simple way to enjoy one of life's simple pleasures. Found in the frozen section at your local store."
And other fun details you probably can't see in the image: The grilled cheese is "pre-toasted" and only requires 35-60 seconds in your microwave -or- 10-15 minutes on a baking sheet in a conventional/toaster oven preheated to 350F and then 1-2 minutes to cool. As for the ready-to-eat Peanut Butter selections, keep frozen until ready to eat. Thaw 30-60 minutes at room temperature. So actually keep frozen until 30-60 minutes before you are ready to eat. Then, for best flavor, be sure and eat within 8-10 hours of defrosting.
Flavors? Is that really the best term? Not just a frozen version of what is possibly the simplest sandwich to make, but a grilled cheese flavored one. Almost as funny as the PB & Honey on Wheat, you know, for the health conscious folks. Good grief. This is wrong on so many levels...
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
The concept/practice is catching the attention of many with the recent release of Dawn Jackson Blatner's, "The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life."
I wish it were being approached as more of a lifestyle change, or diet change, than as a diet but if that's what it takes to open peoples' ears than it's fine by me. Read more about flexitarianism here, here and here.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
The smaller text below the cans says:
How did I miss this?!?! Progresso's rebuttal (also in The Sun today - A section actually):
The copy reads: Campbell's has over 90 soups made with MSG. Progresso has 26 soups with no MSG. And more to come. We are removing MSG from all of our delicious soups. And don't worry, we promise to keep the same great taste you've always loved.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
I. Resolarizing the American Farm
"...Which brings me to the deeper reason you will need not simply to address food prices but to make the reform of the entire food system one of the highest priorities of your administration: unless you do, you will not be able to make significant progress on the health care crisis, energy independence or climate change. Unlike food, these are issues you did campaign on — but as you try to address them you will quickly discover that the way we currently grow, process and eat food in America goes to the heart of all three problems and will have to change if we hope to solve them..."
"We need to wean the American food system off its heavy 20th-century diet of fossil fuel and put it back on a diet of contemporary sunshine."
"First, your administration’s food policy must strive to provide a healthful diet for all our people; this means focusing on the quality and diversity (and not merely the quantity) of the calories that American agriculture produces and American eaters consume. Second, your policies should aim to improve the resilience, safety and security of our food supply. Among other things, this means promoting regional food economies both in America and around the world. And lastly, your policies need to reconceive agriculture as part of the solution to environmental problems like climate change."
"Today most federal messages about food, from nutrition labeling to the food pyramid, are negotiated with the food industry. The surgeon general should take over from the Department of Agriculture the job of communicating with Americans about their diet. That way we might begin to construct a less equivocal and more effective public-health message about nutrition. Indeed, there is no reason that public-health campaigns about the dangers of obesity and Type 2 diabetes shouldn’t be as tough and as effective as public-health campaigns about the dangers of smoking. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that one in three American children born in 2000 will develop Type 2 diabetes. The public needs to know and see precisely what that sentence means: blindness; amputation; early death. All of which can be avoided by a change in diet and lifestyle. A public-health crisis of this magnitude calls for a blunt public-health message, even at the expense of offending the food industry. Judging by the success of recent antismoking campaigns, the savings to the health care system could be substantial."
*tad ambitious = Pollan's suggestion to "tear out five prime south-facing acres of the White House lawn and plant in their place an organic fruit and vegetable garden."
Check your local listings:
Lisa Ling Reports: How We Treat the Animals We Eat
Have you ever wondered what "cage-free" or "range-free" really means? Lisa Ling gets a rare look inside some of America's farms. Where does our food come from? (OAD 10/14/2008) (PG)
Monday, October 13, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
"What?!? You do to have to sort it?!?! No way..."
"Yeah, but you have to wash everything out..."
"There's all these restrictions like, you can't put glossy paper..."
"I read somewhere that the recycling process is actually worse for the planet, with the trucks and the factories, than just throwing it away"
And one from me, "Oy vey. I know what I need to blog about tomorrow!"
In fact, I intend to take it a step further and dedicate this week's posts to debunking some of the silly myths that are circulating about recycling. For today, I'll specifically address the first objection, the title of this post, with some help from the Waste Management Services Recycling Division of Anne Arundel County, MD. Here goes:
What is recyclable curbside? It may be easier to answer what isn't, but here goes:
RECYCLABLE PAPER ITEMS INCLUDE (but are not limited to): cardboard; packaging; empty paper towel and toilet tissue holders; shoe and toy boxes; frozen food, cereal and pizza boxes; six pack holders; hard and soft cover books; magazines; catalogs; that phone book you never use; paper - colored or not; gift wrap; tissue paper; envelopes; file folders...
METAL, PLASTICS, GLASS: tin, steel, and aluminum cans; empty aerosol cans; pet food cans; plastic jugs and bottles like milk, laundry detergent, peanut butter and yogurt; glass beer and wine bottles, sauce jars...
YARD WASTE: leaves, grass, brush, branches, Christmas trees, hay, straw, garden clippings, twigs... pretty much all of it.
So, if you were thinking, "What do we really throw away that could be recycled?" I hope this short list has addressed that thought.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
More from NY Times dotearth here
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
I promise to get back to educational posts tomorrow, folks. Or maybe even later tonight. Thanks for bearing with me.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
I should also mention that I said, "Why helllloooo!" to the deer as if she would respond and was pleased to see her eye contact remained intact as her ears twitched acknowledging my communication. I can't get over how fearless these deer were. We were standing there no more than six feet apart. Maybe they recognized my scent from the Hosta and Sunflower salad bar in my yard that they frequent.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
The concerns of the preservationists - from water use and paving to the possibility of the small production facility turning into a factory - are understandable but I'm sort of leaning towards the big picture. The Pollan-esque picture. A place where Sparks, Md., farmer David Smith wouldn't be locked in a two-year battle with neighbors over his proposal to open up a retail shop in order to sell his pasture-raised meat. A place where pasture-raised meat is the norm... and where happy cows get to watch their milk turn into delicious ice cream... sigh...
Keep building the market and processing facility, Prigel.
Okay... that's enough from me. The article is a must-read: The Churning Point.
1.) 20:1 20 vegetarians can live off the land required by one meat eater. One acre of land could produce 50,000 pounds of tomatoes, 40,000 pounds of potatoes, 30,000 pounds of carrots or just 250 pounds of beef.
2.) Wheat versus Meat It takes 25 gallons of water to produce 1lb of wheat and 2500 gallons to produce 1lb of meat.
3.) Greenhouse Gases The 1,300,000,000 cattle in the world emit 60,000,000 tons of methane per year.
4.) Nitrous Oxide Fertilizer used to grow crops to feed to animals releases nitrous oxide - thought to account for 6% of the greenhouse effect.
5.) Endangered Forests Burning of forests, grasslands & agricultural waste associated with animal farming releases 50-100,000,000 tons of methane per year.
6.) Cow versus Car A family of four eating beef for a year uses enough gas to run a car for 6 months (obviously depending on how far you drive!)
7.) Steak versus Starvation 72 percent of all grain produced in the United States is fed to animals raised for slaughter. It takes 15 pounds of feed to get one pound of meat. But if the grain were given directly to people, there would be enough food to feed the entire planet.
8.) Not a Coincidence Meat is full of traces of antibiotics, hormones, toxins produced by stress and pesticide residues that become concentrated from all the crops the animals have eaten. Women who eat red meat are four times more likely than vegetarian women to develop breast cancer.
9.) $ave Money Replacing meat, chicken and fish with vegetables and fruits is estimated to cut food bills by an average of $4,000 a year.
10.) Slim Down On average, vegetarians are slimmer than meat eaters, and when dieting, they keep the weight off up to seven years longer. Diets that are higher in vegetable proteins are much lower in fat and calories.
And if you need a few more reasons, here are some alarming statistics:
- Each day, 22 million animals are slaughtered to support the American appetite for meat.
- The United States spends between $60 billion to $120 billion annually to treat the heart disease, cancer, obesity, and food poisoning that are byproducts of a diet heavy on animal products.
- 25 percent of all chicken sold in the United States carries salmonella bacteria and, the CDC estimates, 70 percent to 90 percent of chickens contain the bacteria campy-lobacter.
- Approximately 5 percent of cows carry the lethal strain of E. coli O157:H7 and 30 percent of pigs slaughtered each year for food are infected with toxoplasmosis.