Love is in the air

Indulge yourself with the Hemp Love Seat.

The Love Seat is tightly upholstered with sturdy 17oz. Hemp fabric and accent welting giving the Love Seat an incredible surface of interesting variations of natural hemp color and textures.

Be a Vegetarian Just One Day a Week

Life ain’t a black-n-white motion picture. There are countless shades of gray.

Vegetarianism is extremely Eco-friendly. However, eliminating our meat and fish consumption can be very difficult. But even if we deny ourselves of these items only one day a week, we still make a difference. If 7 people do this, it has the same effect as one person going Veggie — and if 70 million people eat tofu instead of a steak just 4 times a month, it has the same impact as 10 million people who stop consuming animal-derived environmentally-straining products.

Indian Cow

It’s not a big endeavor. On the contrary, it’s a challenge worth taking.

Recycled Furniture

Artists for Humanity is a unique center in Boston which hires teen artists to produce Eco-friendly art and furniture. These young people undergo an apprenticeship program in the summer or an after school program during the school year, and eventually get paid to create sustainable products for private and commercial clients.

It seem like a marvelous enterprise, and I want to feature a line of products made by these teens, titled “ReVision furniture“.

ReVision Signature Table

This table is actually made of reclaimed magazines, and aside from being a fully functional piece of furniture, it’s extremely beautiful… and I can just imagine some indie band players sitting at the local coffee shop on old-style sofas, on both sides of this hip-and-green signature table.
No sugar please.

Hemp Shampoo

Organic Hemp ShampooFor many years we’ve been accustomed to use soaps and shampoos that contain chemicals that damage our skin and damage the environment. These chemicals can be so dangerous sometimes, that most manufactures have to test their products on living animals before they release these products to the market. Countless bunnies have been blinded by soap manufacturers.

However, there are alternatives. Recent years have seen a surge in organic cosmetics. Usually, these soaps, toothpastes, and make-up, are made of herbs, vegetables, and fruits, without being mixed with additional chemicals or color additives.

I want to present a natural shampoo made in Canada from organic hemp. There’s no animal fat in the ingredients — in facts, it’s even suitable for vegans. The delicate smell of the shampoo bar comes from sweet oranges, and it’s both gentle and antiseptic.

This item, along with other hemp products, and even hemp clothes, can be found at Rawganique.

Have a good scrubbing!

Ambrosia Essence and other Organic Skin Care Options

Aloe veraSome days I wonder if I am all alone in my quest for a cleaner planet. Then I find a kindred spirit or read an article and know that the collective consciousness is moving in the right direction. There are many folks like myself who are becoming more aware of the dangers of chemicals in the food we eat as well as in many other household products.

I have not only been purchasing organic foods and reading all food labels but more recently I have started looking at the ingredients in household cleansers, cosmetics and skin care products. My search for healthier products led me to become a representative for One Group, a company that produces certified organic personal care products.

My personal favorite in terms of skincare is a product called Ambrosia Essence. Its expensive, but it is by far the best product I have found to help me with my rosacia. I still have some redness, but in comparison to what I have been living with for years this is heaven. I don’t know if this product would give the same results for other folks but it is working well for me.

If you are on the search for a more natural, or organic option for your personal care products the skin deep website it a great place to start. They have all kinds of products listed and each one has a safety rating. Take a look and see if you can’t find a cleaner, greener alternative to what you are currently using.

Written by Anita Kaiser

Mercury linked to increase in Autism

Mercury inside a test tubeMercury – that silvery liquid metal that is still found in many thermometers and heating thermostats, is now being linked to increases of autism in infants and children. Autism is a condition that is found in more boys than girls and now strikes an average of one in every 150 live births in America. Although other factors are also instrumental to causing this unfortunate condition, the increased presence of mercury in our environment is now being linked to causing autism, especially in areas where the presence of mercury is higher.

A study made by researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center found that rates of autism in infants and young children increases in areas close to higher than normal quantities of mercury being found in either the atmosphere — as a result of industrial air pollution, in the water supply — due largely to dumping of industrial wastes into streams and reservoirs, and in the soil — due to leakage of metallic and chemical pollutants into the soil.

The research was conducted on a group of more than 1,000 Texas school children and found that higher rates of autism occurred in areas where mercury and other industrial pollutants were more prevalent. Some of the causes of this pollution include coal-dependant power plants, medical and chemical waste disposal sites, and the manufacture of concrete. All of these sources involve the used the mercury at one stage or another. The researchers found that for every 1,000 pounds of mercury released by either industrial causes or electrical power facilities, the rate of autism is increased by between 2.5% to 3.5%, depending on the distance from the facility and the source of the pollution. The percentages decrease at distances further away from the source of the pollution.

Of course other sources are also linked to mercury pollution and the resulting autism, including eating fish contaminated with mercury (such as mackerel, tuna, and sea bass) as well as the presence of mercury in smoke which may come from hundreds or even thousands of miles away. Countries such China and India are heavy users of mercury as they are rising industrial countries and have less stringent anti-industrial pollution laws.

Solutions to reduce this growing danger include enacting stricter laws against industrial pollution, increasing testing of fish and sea food for mercury content, and reducing the presence of mercury in all medical equipment and products. While these steps may not eliminate the tragedy of autism, they will at least somewhat reduce the numbers.

Picture by Wikipedia

Seaweed for good health and nutrition

With world population figures now passing 6.5 billion, future sources of human nutrition will most likely come from what covers at least 70% of the world’s surface – the sea. Many countries, especially those with large shorelines, have been receiving a good part of their food from the sea for years. The Japanese in particular have eaten aquatic plant life, known otherwise as seaweed, for centuries; and have also used the beneficial qualities of algae and other plants for traditional health remedies and medicine.

Besides being high in fiber content, seaweed also contains many essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C, and B12. High amounts of iodine and calcium are also present in many varieties.

SeaweedAlthough not all seaweed is edible, there are some types that are used extensively by the Japanese and other sea peoples; and not just for delicacies like Sushi. Some of these types include:

Sargassum – a brownish-green leafy algae, known as haizao to the Japanese and used a lot in oriental medicine.

Porphyra – a purplish-brown algae, known as nori in Japan and is the most commonly used material for wrapping Sushi.

Kelp – a common green seaweed known as kombu in Japan and konbu in China. It is used as food in a number of ways including soups, flavoring, and even picked. Like Nori, it is easily found in oriental food stores or in oriental food sections of most supermarkets.

Laminaria – a green leafy algae called Kunbu in Japan and used in various medicinal remedies including those for the liver, kidneys, lungs, and other organs.

Undaria pinnatifida – a broad leafy form of algae, most popular in soups and salads. Known as Wakame in Japan, it is considered to be a luxury food and is so popular that demand of it far exceeds supply. For this reason, Wakame is often grown extensively in seaweed farms in Japan, Korea, and China.

To give you an idea of the economic importance of seaweed, Japan alone imports around $150 million worth of various seaweed annually from countries like Korea, and exports at least $15 million worth of Nori seaweed wrappings to satisfy the worlds’ growing fondness of Sushi and Nori products. In Japan alone around 21 species of seaweed are eaten as food and the annual per capita consumption of seaweed products is around 4 kilograms. Agar-agar, a gelatin made from Gracilaria and Gelidium types of seaweed, is used both for food and in scientific laboratories as the culture base for growing bacteria specimens. Japan alone exports more than 1,000 tons of Agar annually.

The future of seaweed as a food source will largely depend on the future of the world’s seas and oceans, which are already becoming threatened by widespread pollution. Global warming is also a factor as some seaweed specials are affected by changes in ocean temperatures. In addition, we must also realize that seaweed accounts for more than 20% of our planet’s total oxygen supply, making this perhaps one of the most important attributes for maintaining life on earth.

Source and Picture by Institute for Traditional Medicine

Indian herbs may replace chemical food preservatives

Indian herbs, including Amaranthus paniculatus (cultiv.), Coccinia indica, and Coriandrum sativum (coriander) may soon be replacing chemical preservatives in many foods. The herbs have high quantities of antioxidants which are known to retard spoilage and “aging” in both foods and human beings as well. Most plants produce some antioxidants, but these herbs appear to have much higher levels and chemicals such as ascorbic acid, flavonoids, phenolics and tannin.

Tests have shown that the high levels of antioxidants in these herbs have a positive effect in people’s bodies and though not completely proven, can be utilized by people who are interested in a “natural” manner to preserve foods as well as to prevent aging.

CorianderOne of these herbs, known to Westerners as Coriander and to Asians and Middle Easterners as “Cusbara” is very commonly used in households as a food enhancer and a cooking herb. Although the plant’s pungent, almost bitter, taste is not agreeable with many westerners, people living in the Mediterranean regions love it and use the plant in their foods almost every day.

Synthetic antioxidants used in many foods include butylhydroxytoluene (BHY) and Butylhydroxyanisole (BHA), both of which are very common. By using the Indian ideas of utilizing less synthetic and more natural vitamins, the end result may enable foods to be preserved in a healthier manner by using these herbs. Oxidation is a big factor in what causes food products to spoil so quickly. The Amaranthus plant contains high levels of beta carotene, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) and folates, all of which are excellent anti-oxidants.

The demand for natural antioxidants has resulted in a global market for natural antioxidants that now reaches nearly $ 70 million. Indian herbs have been known to have many curative properties, and high antioxidant levels are just some of the many attributes of Indian herbs. These herbs are found in both fresh and dried versions, and those wishing to preserve food items simply have to add certain amounts of these herbs to the foods. In addition to preserving food, many of these herbs, including Coriander and Amaranthus are used extensively in salads to add a unique, zesty flavor.

Source: Natural News; Picture by Gernot Katzer

Astaxanthin – a new miracle nutrient, or “miracle hype”?

Recent communicated articles and press releases concerning a newly discovered phytonutrient, derived from a species of micro-algae has been showing up on various media and internet networks that deal in health and nutrition products. The nutrient, known as astaxanthin is being touted as being high in antioxidants (as much as10 times higher than other carotenoids) and is said to be excellent for a number of physical health problems, including prostate glands in men and pre-cancerous conditions in female breasts.

Astaxanthin is said to be derived from a micro-algae called Haematocuccus, and is red in color. The red color in this algae and phytonutrient is said to be what causes certain species of Salmon to have that appealing pink color. Astaxanthin is a concentrated anti-oxidant that is claimed to prevent damage to body cells caused by free radicals – the byproduct of energy created by oxygen reaching cells each time we breathe.

Astaxanthin Chemical MakeUpWhile astaxanthin is found naturally in smaller quantities, when synthesized into a concentrate, it is said to do wonders for improve egg production in animal species like chickens and fish – especially salmon. It is claimed that salmon which are fed food containing this phytonutrient were able leap far higher and further than those who were given the supplement. And chickens given astaxanthin are said to live longer and produce better quality eggs.

So why might there be problem with this kind of nutrient; especially after all the claims to it’s health qualities? Like many other health supplements, this product is currently being promoted on on-line marking websites and is not yet available in health food and health supplement stores. This usually adds a lot of money onto the price of the product due the way it is marketed, i.e. by direct or multi-level marketing campaigns where the price of the product is made more expensive due to many people being involved in the “pyramid” sales structure.

From a health standpoint, it must be determined that the product has been tested and certified to be acceptable by organizations such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (it has been approved by the FDA as a food coloring), especially in light of a number of health supplements and vitamins coming from countries such as China being found to be unsafe for human consumption.

There are a lot of tested and certified health supplement products currently on the market, and many of them are available at large chain stores such as GNC, and even ones like Costco and Wall Mart. If astaxanthin turns out to live up to all that is being said about it, then it should eventually be available at well known retail and discount establishments; and not just via online marketing.

Source: Natural News ; Picture by: Wikipedia

Plastic Debris

Plastic bag in ocean
I’ve recently read that a large amount of plastic debris has been piling up in the Pacific Ocean. We have literally turned the central Pacific Ocean into a sewer.

This plastic swamp is located in one of the most remote regions of the oceans. People standing on Hawaiian shores report to have seen nothing but plastic horizon. The problem is that we’re not actually dealing with a swamp size scale. This giant pool of plastic debris stretches over thousands of miles and reaches the size of Africa!

The plastic debris is comprised of our usual daily junk – plastic bags, plastic bottles, lighters, etc. According to recent reports by the United Nations Environmental Program, there are about 50,000 pieces of plastic debris floating on the surface of every square mile of the ocean. Unfortunately, this is not an exaggeration.

Hazard to Marine Life:

A research expedition that has ventured on a 7,500 miles voyage has found strong evidence that this ugly plastic contamination poses a severe threat to marine life. The loss of living species often starts a dangerous chain effect that decreases natural biodiversity.

There is only one long-term solution – to reduce plastic production and change our consumption habits.

Evidently, this toxic soup of our industrial byproducts is unprecedented. This is surely a recipe for the next ecological disaster.

Picture by: Daily Mail