2
May

5 Composting Myths Debunked

by Tiffany in Gardening

5 Composting Myths DebunkedDid you know that it is International Compost Awareness Week? Say what? Yes we have a week dedicated to composting awareness and I think it very much warranted. There is so much misinformation out there about composting. I want to pull my hair out every time I hear someone say they want to compost but is smells bad, or it attracts rats to their pristine neighborhood. My bullshrimp meter skyrockets.

Composting is incredibly easy and it is incredibly important to do. A whopping 50% of landfill waste is compostable. That means 50% of what you throw out in the waste bin could instead be thrown into the compost pile to make a valuable product that our much depleted soil wants and needs. There are no good excuses for why you aren’t doing this…right this minute, in some form. If you have a yard, then a compost pile is easy to set up. I have two and building them took about 10 minutes each. If you live in an apartment or condo then an indoor setup, such as a worm bin can be used, I did this for years. We can all do something.

5 Composting Myths Debunked

Compost Smells Bad – This is an excuse most commonly used by folks in nicer neighborhoods and cities who don’t want the neighbors to see (or smell) an icky compost bin. I have composted for over ten years now. I have never once had an issue with smell. If you have an issue with smell you are doing something wrong and it can be fixed. A gooey, sludgy, wet compost pile may in fact smell and this means you need to balance it out and add more dried leaves and paper. You can also turn to allow air to circulate. You may also be putting things in the compost that should not go in it. Read my post about What Goes In A Compost Pile. A compost pile done right smells like dirt and dirt is nothing the neighbors can’t handle.

Composting is Complicated – No, it really isn’t. Dead things decay, that is the process of life. Those things will happen with or without you. All you are doing with compost is managing it. All you have to do is add roughly the same amount of carbon materials as you do nitrogen materials (50/50). That is all.

Composting Takes Too Much Time – I have two large compost piles. We compost the food waste and paper waste for a family of five, we have rabbit manure that we collect and compost, and we have over half an acre of yard waste. We spend maybe 10 minutes a week doing anything compost related. Tell me again how composting takes so much time?? Pfft! That is what I love about composting. It is almost effortless and the rewards are so great..aka a beautiful landscaped front yard and a large produce garden in the back…all nourished with rich, nutrient dense compost.

Here is my 10 minute compost plan:

  • Put food scraps in compost buckets daily.
  • Once full empty buckets in rubbish bin just outside the back door.
  • Dump rabbit manure in rubbish bin
  • Add yard waste to the rubbish bin
  • Once full (or getting too heavy) dump the contents of the bin into the compost pile
  • Once a month (maybe) turn the compost using a pitch fork.
  • Easy peasy and and barely any time required at all.

You Need Lots of Space to Compost – No you really don’t. When we lived in an apartment we used an indoor worm bin. When we moved to a duplex we composted in a 2×6 wooden box that my husband built. Since we had no yard waste (or rabbits) it handled all of our food and paper waste and we borrowed the neighbor’s leaves when needed. They really didn’t mind. This is what we worked with back then and we had some darn good compost!

5 Composting Myths Debunked

Now we have half an acre and much more room to work with but really we don’t use much space for composting, as you can see. Each bin is about 5-6 feet across and 4 feet deep.

5 Composting Myths Debunked

Compost Bins Attract Animals and Bugs – Bugs, yes and that is to be expected and celebrated. Bugs helps the composting process along. They do not however create a haven for so many bugs that it impacts our life in some negative way. As for animals, well in ten years I have never noticed any animals getting into my compost, ever (and we have lots of wild animals in the area). I even use open air compost bins with food waste. I just make sure that I do not add foods on the no-compost list such as meat, fat, and dairy. I find that this myth is just another “excuse” for why composting cannot be done and it has no basis in truth.

What composting myths are you willing to let go of and give this whole composting things a try? I would love to know!

30
Apr

3 Healthy Green Smoothie Recipes

by Tiffany in Healthy Eating

green smoothies

Came across this video with three recipes for green smoothies the other day. I adore green smoothies and I always want more recipes. The second of the three three recipes is going to be a new favorite. It is called Glowing Beauty because it is so hydrating and good for the skin. I think this makes the perfect light smoothie to hydrate us and our skin during the heat and stress of summer. All the recipes provide a delicious boost of minerals and vitamins that will make you feel amazing on the inside and look great on the outside. Yum! Enjoy.

24
Apr

Love Tuna? Make Sure It is Ethical and Sustainable

by Tiffany in Healthy Eating

wild selections tuna

I grew up eating tuna. My mom’s tuna and egg salad is now a comfort food for me and I feel like I am channeling her whenever I make it for my own kids. Of course back then we didn’t think much, or at all, about where the tuna in the cans came from. We didn’t think about overfishing and responsible fishery that did not result in the deaths of other marine animals, like dolphins. We did not think about mercury content or fish farms where the fish are given genetically modified feed. In many ways I envy my mom that she did not have to analyze  and agonize over simple consumer decisions like which can of tuna to buy.

On the other hand though, I am happy that I can choose to educate myself about my consumer purchases and make better choices. I can make choices that will better protect my health and better protect the health of our planet…all by being selective about what I put in my shopping cart. It can actually feel empowering to know that you are voting for the world you want with your shopping dollars. You can choose to support sustainability. My mom’s generation was blissfully blind in many ways but we have more information at at our fingertips. We can take charge and make better decisions because we are armed with knowledge. That is pretty powerful.

These days when I want to purchase tuna I can make sure that it is from a brand that has ethics more in line with my own. With all the health concerns and planetary concerns surrounding seafood I admit it is not something that I purchase with as much frequency as my mom did, but the seafood (and tuna) I do buy, is purchased with more intentionality and care.

ethical tuna

One of those better brand is  Wild Selections® Solid White Albacore Tuna. It is on my approved list because they want to ensure a fish-full future like I do. They seem to be one of the few brands that sees this as good business, which is amazing to me. Wild Selections gives back to the oceans by donating 13 cents from every can sold—a total of $1 million by 2018—to World Wildlife Fund marine conservation and fishery improvement projects. They are the only full line of Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified sustainable seafood.  The blue MSC eco-label tells you the fish in your can comes from well managed fisheries and healthy fish stocks. And this is pretty nifty… their sustainably sourced fish is 100% traceable; visit WildSelections.com to learn where the fish in your can was caught.

I love the infographic below that outlines why choices such as this are so important in the grand scheme of things. I enjoy seafood and want to enjoy it for years to come. I am sure future generations also want seafood to be available. That requires making better decisions NOW. 25% of the world’s fish stocks are exploited and depleted. 50% of fisheries at at their sustainable limit. Yet Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) fisheries are seeing an average of 46% increase over ten years when it comes to fish abundance. Their efforts are making a difference.

sustainable tuna

And of course the tuna is premium quality, tasty, and Non-GMO Project verified for moms who are trying to avoid GMO ingredients and GMO fed meat products. My mom’s tuna egg salad has been on the menu a couple times in recent weeks, much to everyone’s delight. And when I am in the mood for bread nothing beats a tuna sandwich with mayo and tomato. Simple, easy, delicious, and it screams summertime. I love eating it straight out of the can too. But I digress, if you want to find a store near you that carries this line visit the store locator. I have used it myself so that I avoid making pointless trips.

If you enjoy eating tuna then I suggest Wild Selections as a more sustainable choice. Enjoy!

wild_selections_infographic

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

23
Apr

Do Lavender and Tea Tree Oils Cause Endocrine Disruption?

by Tiffany in Essential Oils

Lavender Tea Tree Oils Endocrine DisruptionI thought this issue had been put to rest long ago but alas it seems the hysteria and misinformation lives on. In 2007 a very poorly conducted study “found” that lavender and tea tree oils caused endocrine disruption among young boys. It was said that these two compounds had estrogenic effects and could cause young boys to grow breasts (prepubertal gynecomastia).

The study was faulty for a variety of reasons but the main being that the study was made up of only three young boys. This is a woefully inadequate study pool. Secondly, the scientists used products that contained lavender and tea tree oils on the boys and measured the estrogenic effects but the product’s other ingredients were not evaluated for estrogenic effects. This alone discredits the study because it is very likely that other ingredients, such as parabens or phthalates, which are PROVEN endocrine disruptors, could be the culprit and not the essential oils. Another flaw in this study was that it used polystyrene rather than glass. It is generally accepted that storing essential oils in plastic can cause the endocrine disrupting chemicals in the plastic to leach out into it the contents. So it is not the oils that have these estrogenic properties, it is the plastic, and oils can cause the plastic to degrade and release them into the product.

The oils used were also not tested for purity. This is a huge problem in a market where oils are often adulterated to make them cheaper and easier to produce. How can they be sure of the integrity of this study when they weren’t even sure of the integrity of the oils they used?

After the tests on the boys showed negligible estrogenic activity they tested human cells in a petri dish, mixed with the essential oils in question. This study also found estrogenic activity but it is important to note they used dimethyl sulfoxide as a solvent to dilute the oils and it is actually a potent endocrine disruptor itself. This study is clearly full of huge holes.

A study in 2013 has since been conducted on rats and found no increase in uterine weight and no estrogenic action. This study used concentrations that were many thousand times greater than those you would run across in a beauty product or personal care product that contains essential oils. Other experts and scientists have also weighed in to debunk the original study and to share their own which lays to rest this idea that lavender oils and tea tree oils will give your little boy man boobs or cause you to miscarry if you are pregnant (another common myth).

There is no reason why you cannot use lavender oils safely on yourself, your pregnant tummy, or your children. Tea tree is safe as well but should always be diluted since it is pretty potent. Enjoy!

10 Best Essential Oils To Use For KidsGreen Cleaning With Lavender Oil 1

21
Apr

No Time in the Morning? Make Over Your Evenings Instead

by Tiffany in Tidbits

Many, many gurus, authors, coaches, and general advice givers often advise you to get up earlier and create special morning routines to get your day started right. I have no issue with this advice. I think it is spot on and can help you create some winning habits and some great successes in life. But I don’t do it.

Why don’t I try and makeover my mornings? Well, mostly because it is unrealistic for me. My mornings begin at 4:00 AM by necessity. I am not going to get up even earlier than that…I just can’t. Or won’t. Either way I get up early enough, thank you very much.

Now making over my evenings??? That I can do and a new 14 day course showing just how that can be accomplished is right up my alley. If I want my mornings to off without a hitch and get more accomplished, and be more focused than that needs to start in the evening. If we want to stop sleepwalking through life and just going through the motions then we need to make a plan of attack. If that cannot happen in the morning hours as so many advise, then it’s time to makeover our evenings. We have to be intentional about it. This course helps with that intention and purpose.

In just 15 minutes a day over two weeks you’ll learn how to:

  • Establish a Realistic Evening Routine that works — and that sets you up for amazing success!
  • Design a Prioritized To Do List for each day — one that you’re actually excited to wake up and tackle!
  • Create a Best Stuff List of the most important activities and commitments you should be invested your time, life, and energy into right now.
  • Eliminate calendar conflicts once and for all — and how to do so without guilt or frustration.
  • Nourish your body, nurture your soul, and no longer put your health on the back burner — even in the middle of a busy and full life.
  • Assemble a wardrobe of simple outfits you love and that make you feel great — so you can dress for the day you want to have, instead of the one that’s trying to have you.
  • Develop a contagious, positive attitude — so you can experience and express more joy in your everyday life.
  • And more…