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Monthly Archives: June 2013

Doctors Prescribe Sleep

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In today’s world of go-go-go attitudes, many people don’t find time to get a full night of sleep.   After a short night of sleep we all feel the effects: drowsiness, a lack of energy and just not feeling up to our full potential.  But what other effects are caused by not enough sleep?

Recently the New York Times published the article “Cheating Ourselves of Sleep,” in which they discuss the many harmful effects of the lack of a full night of sleep:

“Research shows that most people require seven or eight hours of sleep to function optimally. Failing to get enough sleep night after night can compromise your health and may even shorten your life. From infancy to old age, the effects of inadequate sleep can profoundly affect memory, learning, creativity, productivity and emotional stability, as well as your physical health.”

To see the full article click HERE.

Remember to take time for yourself.  Get the sleep your body needs!

Caught up in Cotton

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Yesterday, I was walking out of my house and realized my entire outfit was made out of cotton. It got me thinking about the fact that it wasn’t made out of organic cotton, but conventional cotton. I thought I would do a little bit of research as to why one would choose organic instead. Here’s what I found…

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  • ·Approximately14.1% of global insecticide sales in 2009 were used to grow cotton.
  • ·Worldwide, annual cotton pesticide sales increased approximately 18.5% in the decade between 1999 -2009, from $2.564 billion to $3.038 billion.
  • ·Of the $3.038 billion, 28% was for herbicide sales, 58% for insecticides, 3.5% for fungicides, and 10% for “other” pesticides such as defoliants.
  • ·In 2008, global cotton production used almost 7% of all pesticides (including defoliants, herbicides, and insecticides), 5% of the world’s herbicides, and 16% of the world’s insecticides in terms of sales.
  • ·In the United States, 2009 sales of pesticides for use on domestic cotton amounted to $687 million, representing 23% of total global cotton pesticide use.
  • ·On average, 90% of U.S. cotton is genetically engineered.
  • ·Eight of the top 10 insecticides most commonly used on U.S. cotton in 2010 are classified as moderately to highly acutely hazardous by the World Health Organization.
  • ·Approximately 45 million pounds of pesticides were used on approximately 11 million acres of cotton planted in the United States in 2010.
  • ·The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers seven of the top 15 pesticides used on cotton in 2010 in the United States as “possible,” “likely,” “probable,” or “known” human carcinogens.
  • ·The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers seven of the top 15 pesticides used on cotton in 2010 in the United States as “possible,” “likely,” “probable,” or “known” human carcinogens.
  • ·Eight of the top 10 insecticides most commonly used on U.S. cotton in 2010 are classified as moderately to highly acutely hazardous by the World Health Organization.
  • ·Over 2.03 billion pounds of synthetic fertilizers were applied to conventional cotton in 2000 (142 pounds/acre), making cotton the fourth most heavily fertilized crop, behind corn, winter wheat, and soybeans (USDA).
  • ·It takes roughly one-third of a pound of chemicals (pesticides and fertilizers) to grow enough cotton for just one T-shirt.

Information provided by Organic Trade Association, http://www.ota.com

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Save the Planet! Buy Organic!

Take Your Summer Vacation from Forgettable to Memorable

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DSCN0407 Summer weather is finally here, and with the days staying lighter  longer it gives us more time for fun activities.  Planning those activities can feel daunting at times, however here are some ideas that will help you create great summer memories while being eco-friendly.

  1. Take a Hike

    Bidwell Park - Chico, CA

    Bidwell Park – Chico, CA

Connect with nature by taking a walk in local park or nature trail.  Take time to check out the trees, wildflowers and birds.  Allow the kids to get exercise while enjoying the beauty of nature.

  1. Go for a Bike Ride

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Biking is a great exercise, and can be really enjoyable, especially in the evening after dinner.  Work off that meal you ate while peddling along with your family and friends.

  1. Visit a Local Farmer’s Market or Street Fair

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Search for hidden treasures at street fairs, or find great locally grown produce to incorporate into your menus for the week.

  1. Plant a Garden

Work on making a small garden for some fresh homegrown treats.  Gardens come in all sizes from window box gardens to large producing gardens.  Find an area for your garden and plant some of your favorite produce.

  1. Host a Potluck Dinner

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Invite friends over for an evening of fun. Potlucks allow guests to bring a dish, so this cuts back on energy used for cooking.  Pick a theme for the dinner, such as Italian, finger foods, etc.  The themes will keep your dinner options varied and allow for some creative cooking.

  1. Cool Off

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Escape the summer heat by visiting a local lake or community pool.

  1. Volunteer

Find a local organization such as a local food banks or animal shelter, and offer some help.  These organizations are always in need of a few extra hands.

  1. Plan A Mini Vacation

    Fisherman camping at a wilderness lake

Just because you can’t get a whole week off this summer does not mean you can’t take a mini vacation.  Plan a weekend trip to an area within driving distance and enjoy being away from home.  You don’t have to stay at an expensive hotel, but you can camp in a campground by a lake or river.  Just give yourself time to relax and “unplug.”

Whatever you decide to do this summer, remember to have fun, make some great memories, and as always, think about what you can do to keep your summer eco-friendly.

Water, only better

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Staying cool in the summer months is hard to do sometimes, especially when trying to stay hydrated. Rather than reaching for those sugary drinks or just plain old water, here are a few recipes to spice up your drinking options in a healthy way!

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Nectarine and Thyme Sun-Brewed Iced Tea

What you will need:

Large beverage dispenser or pitcher

Organic loose leaf tea or 6 black tea bags, more or less depending on how strong you like your tea

1 gallon water

Sun

4 organic nectarines, sliced

5 medium sprigs fresh organic thyme

Ice

Put the water, tea bags, and thyme in the beverage dispenser and place in direct sunlight for 3 hours. Add nectarines and ice for a cold, refreshing drink.

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Fruit and Herbal-Infused Water

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One of the best things about infused water is that you can take just about any form of fruit, and herbs from your garden or local farmers market and give your water a boost in flavor.

Feeling simple? Drop a few raspberries and a sprig of rosemary in a glass of iced water.

Feeling adventurous? Toss mint, strawberries, lemons, limes, cucumbers, and raspberries in a pitcher of iced water for your next outdoor BBQ.

My personal favorite is orange water! Just slice up an orange and place it in a mason jar full iced water. Let it sit for about 10 minutes so the flavors of the orange with your water, and ta-da! A delicious cold, not-so-boring beverage!

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Another great way to add a bit of color and flavor to iced beverages is to take an ice-cube tray, fill it with water (I have even seen them filled with tea!!!), and add some organic blueberries, lemons, or mint sprigs!

What’s great about these recipes is that they are not just “two cups of this or that.” You can experiment with different fruits and flavors to get your own unique delicious drink!

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