30
Dec

Protect What Is Good

by Tiffany in Recycle

recycle bin childI must be living under a rock because I didn’t realize until very, very recently that Tetra Pak products can be recycled. I remember hearing ages ago how recycling wasn’t viable for them because there were multiple layers of paper and plastic. Then just recently they sent me an email which mentioned sustainability and I decided to see if they could be recycled now. I was pleased to find out that many facilities ARE offering this service now. My city, a suburb of Columbus Ohio, is one of them.

This makes me happy because it opens up more options. I dislike buying products that come in plastic bottles or aluminum cans. Tetra Pak provides another option. Some of the things that I like that come in this kind of packaging are coconut water, broth, stock, coconut milk, almond milk, regular milk, gravy, and juice. I don’t always have time these days to make my own chicken broth or my own coconut milk. I like that I can run to the store in a pinch and buy some organic broth and coconut milk AND have it come in a safer container.

The nature of the packaging also makes them a bit more planet friendly (recycling aside). Less packing is used for products put in a Teta Pak and they weigh less which means fewer resources are used to transport them. They are not refrigerated, which means fewer wasted resources and the machines used to fill them even require less energy. After they are dropped off for recycling they can be recycled into tissue products, closing the loop. I am happy I looked into them and found out that much has changed!

 

Monday, December 30th, 2013

4 Comments on Protect What Is Good

29
Dec

How to Take Care of Yourself During the Winter Months

by Tiffany in Health & Healing

Vintage chair ona morning frost after a night of snow

This is the time of year when people start getting gung ho about their goals for the new year. For many those goals will include goals to lose weight or generally improve their fitness levels and ‘change’ their body. Sadly it is also the time when our bodies are naturally the most resistant to changes such as these. Why??? Because they are programmed that way!

During the winter months we naturally want to hybernate more, sleep more, and stay warm and cozy. The body doesn’t like to lose body fat or expend much energy this time of year. What might work well any other time of year is LESS likely to work in the cold weather months and we need to adjust and learn to nurture ourselves a bit more. Making strides to better health is an awesome goal but we also don’t  need to needlessly stress our bodies during what can be an already stressful time of  year (holidays, dark days, cold  weather). Our bodies need TLC and here are some ways you can nourish your body during the winter months so you can stay well, be less stressed, and hopefully encourage your body to work with you on your goals and not against you.

Eat Warming Foods

When we think about slimming down or getting healthier we often think of cooling foods like salads, fruits, and green smoothies. If you want to cool your metabolism off then go ahead and eat those foods. If you want to fire up your metabolism than you need to pick more appropriate foods. For winter months we can choose from a whole world of warming foods like kale, collards, mustard greens, brussels sprouts, garlic, clove, squash, parsnips, cinnamon, coconut, fenugreek, pine nuts, walnuts, cashews, turmeric, mushrooms, and vinegar.

Eat With the Season

We need different nutrients at different times of year and we need to eat more of what nature intended for us during the seasons rather than what we can have shipped to us from across the world. If you love smoothies than go ahead and have one but use an apple or pear rather than frozen strawberries or a banana. Foods shipped across long distances will also be full of pesticides, waxes, preservatives and other chemicals meant to preserve them and keep them attractive looking after their journey.

Eat Nourishing Foods

It is especially important to eat nutrient dense foods in the cold weather months. Organ meats are an excellent choice. Liver, heart and kidney contain some of the highest concentrations of several nutrients and have been prized in traditional cultures for this reason. Fish oils are also excellent, especially fermented cod liver oil, as are bone broths and gelatin. If your body is starved for nutrients it will be less than cooperative when you want it to shed pounds, gain muscle, or otherwise change.

Change Your Sleep Patterns

You need more sleep in the winter months. 8-10 hours at least is critical and the general thought is that we also need to get as much sleep before midnight as we possibly can. Those hours are more rejuvenating and healing than those after midnight, so get to bed earlier and invest in blackout curtains so that unnatural light is not adversely effecting your sleep. Also look into earthing

Bring Some Light Into Your Life

It’s cold outside so we are less likely to get outside, even if we see the sun peeking out. Many folks have to work so they are indoors and away from natural light for a big chunk of the day and usually have to get up and go before the sun comes up. If at all possible get outside for a walk every day, even if it is only 10 minutes. Use a wake-up light if you are using blackout curtains or have to get up while it is still dark. These lights simulate the sunrise. Light gradually increases for 30 minutes before your alarm time (whatever that may be) to gently prepare your body to wake up and feel more energetic at the start of your day. A vitamin D supplement is also a very good idea.

Stay Hydrated

Because the cold weather months are drying and we because aren’t as likely to be eating those cold watery foods we need to make sure we are drinking enough water. Consumption of caffeinated tea and coffee typically increases and can dehydrate us even more, so drink your water. Your body needs to stay lubricated and your skin will thank you as well.

A few simple changes can help you nourish your body during the winter months and make it more receptive to the changes you want to see in the new year. Good luck!

How to Take Care of Yourself During the Winter Months

18
Dec

Giving the Gift of Nature

by Tiffany in Enjoying Nature

give the gift of nature

Our mother nature has bestowed upon us many wonderful gifts in the form of trees, lakes, mountains and seas, but owing to busy lifestyles most people forget to stay connected with nature and its beauty. They can try to excuse it with lack of time or interest, but people have truly forgotten their roots, which is a big mistake because without roots, a tree cannot grow and the same rule applies to human beings. One of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves is time spent in nature and fortunately we can gift it to others as well. This holiday season, you can help your friends and loved ones rekindle their connection by giving them the gift of nature.

Give them a sapling

A sapling symbolizes true essence of nature. Gifting your loved ones a sapling is a great and affordable gifting idea this holiday season. Instead of gifting them a costly show piece or a bag, gift them a sapling that’ll grow in front of their eyes and become a permanent reminder of your affection and love. I recommend fruit trees because they are not only beautiful, they provide food!

Gift life time membership to a garden/park

A garden in your local community with lots of natural scenic beauty can be a great way of soothing the souls of your loved ones. A garden membership is an amazing way of bringing your near ones close to nature especially the elderly who want to stay in the garden and interact with people of similar age-group.

For the water lovers

Many of us have members in our family who love water (my husband is a total water baby) and want to stay in it always but can’t really do so owing to lack of time. So this holiday season take their excuses away by gifting them the tickets to a kayaking, canoeing, or tubing establishment (perhaps even season passes) where they can have loads of fun in the water and be closer to nature.

For the wildlife lover

Don’t forget about the people who love wildlife and animals. Kids especially fall in this category. This holiday season gift them a chance to explore wildlife closely by gifting them with season passes to a nearby zoo or wildlife sanctuary.

Apart from the above mentioned ideas you can devise your own methods and ways to develop unique gifting ideas that can bring your near and dear ones closer to nature. I would love to hear about your ideas in the comments below!

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

2 Comments on Giving the Gift of Nature

10
Dec

Gifts That Really Keep on Giving – Reusables

by Tiffany in A Green Home

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Some people like indulgences and luxuries as gifts for the holidays. Items such as glittery body lotion, jewelry, and handbags really appeal to them. Other folks like sensible, practical gifts that will make their every day life a bit easier such as kitchen appliances or a new vacuum cleaner. Personally I take a page from both worlds I think. One of my favorite gifts is new gym gear. I may not really NEED them but I just know I will be able to backsquat #250 lbs if I have those lovely pink Olympic lifting shoes. I like practical gifts too. A new water bottle is always welcome as would be a steam cleaner for my carpets. I think usefulness makes a gift a real winner for me.

Sparkly body lotion? No. Baubles? No. Give me something I truly need or at the very least something that will be helpful to me. This is why reusables top my list of great gift ideas for the holidays. They are practical and they will hopefully be used by the recipient for years to come. They make sense in our fast paced, hectic world where everything is go, go, go. If we aren’t prepared to pack lunches and eat on the go or carry our own water to events then we will be sucked into the world of disposables, convenience food, and the utter waste of money that comes along with that.

Reusable Gifts for the Eco Conscious

If you’re looking for a gift for the eco-conscious person in your family (or maybe YOU are the  eco-conscious person), why not give them reusable water bottles and other reusable containers? As you well know pollution is a major problem in the world today, with non-biodegradable materials like plastic clogging up landfills, washing up on beaches, killing wildlife, and generally interfering with natural ecosystems. The massive amounts of trash in our environment is in part due to our dependence on disposable plastic cups, utensils, bottles and the like. By using reusable containers, you help cut down on the amount of waste that humans produce, ensuring a cleaner earth for future generations.

Reusable Gifts for the Financially Conscious

What though if your giftee does not care about any of that?? That may be the case. There are many who are blind to environmental issues. It may not be something that touches their life in a direct manner or perhaps politically they see environmentalism as something unsavory. Kinda unfathomable I know, but this attitude exists. So they may not care so much about saving the planet but they may care a great deal about saving money. Who doesn’t? Well, reusable containers are also a great gift for the financially conscious. Using disposable containers is expensive, adding hundreds of dollars to your yearly budget. What’s good for the earth is also good for your wallet!

Practical Reusables As Gifts

My number one recommendation has to be the classic water bottle. I have a fairly large collection of them and they get used ALL the time. I have a family of five and we all go the gym (CrossFit and CrossFit Kids). We all need a water bottle to stay hydrated. We also like to take them on long drives and other outings (trips to Grandma’s house) because if we don’t then inevitably someone will want to stop for something and that something always comes in a disposable cup or bottle. Plus these are the slippery slope purchases. Donuts or fry pies might also be requested. It’s just better all around not to go there.

Water bottles are a lifesaver for us. We have many different kinds (plastic, glass, bamboo, stainless steel) but my personal favorites (and my husband’s) are our stainless Klean Kanteens. We have bigger ones and little ones in many different colors, my two favorites are pictured at the top of this post. They are durable and quite lovely. We love the sport tops for the gym but I also have some with wide mouth lids for when the sport top is not required. You can also get double-wall vacuum insulated bottles if you want the contents to stay hot or cold for any length of time. You can use them at local coffee shops and cafés to avoid disposables. Plus we have used this brand since my kiddos were wee ones. We had the sippy tops way back then so Klean Kanteen is the gold standard in reusable bottles and always has been in this family.

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Another clever reusable gift idea is a lunch box or tote. Kids need them for school and adults need them often times for work. Without them it is easy to get sucked into eating out for lunch or buying from the workplace cafeteria or vending machines where the food isn’t the greatest, everything is wastefully packaged, and you pay a hefty price for it. If you gift stainless steel lunch boxes or tiffins then the whole family can use them. We prefer LunchBots for ease of use.

Yet another gift idea is a set of reusable utensils in a carrying case. These can be stored in a purse or lunch tote and then the recipient will be able to pass on plastic cutlery when eating out or when eating at work. That waste adds up and you are eating off of plastic which can leach nasty ingredients.

If you have someone in your family who is into sustainable living or is just financially conscious, consider getting them reusables this holiday season. They truly are the gift that keeps on giving.