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Thieves Oil To The Rescue!

After speaking with one of my teacher friends who was frustrated at getting one cold after another from her students despite taking every precaution to keep germs from spreading, including Clorox wipes, I decided to repost my entry about Thieves Oil, an amazing non-toxic germ-killing spray! It is that time of year!


Thieves Oil is a powerful blend of germ-killing essential oils – clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus and rosemary – that help eliminate airborne bacteria and boost the immune system. Research conducted at Weber State University, as well as other documented research, shows that most viruses, fungi, and bacteria cannot live in the presence of many essential oils. When bacteria cultures were sprayed in an enclosed area, Thieves Oil had a 99.96% success rate against airborne bacteria.


The name comes from the legend of four thieves who were captured and charged with robbing dead and dying victims during the bubonic plague, which killed millions of people in Europe and Asia for about 600 years. In exchange for leniency, the magistrate wanted to know how the thieves escaped from contracting the plague. They confessed to rubbing themselves with a special concoction of aromatic herbs, including garlic, cloves and rosemary. Hence, the name Thieves Oil.


There are a variety of Thieves® antiseptic products such as household cleaners, soaps, hand sanitizers, toothpaste, and mouthwash. All are formulated from the essential oils mentioned in the legend that help fight against bacteria, fungi and viruses and ward off disease.


As germs become more virulent and antibiotic resistant, it’s more important than ever to support your immune system and ward off bugs, and anything is worth a try! Do so with Thieves® products, especially during cold and flu season. Keep some in your natural medicine cabinet, at your office, in your car, and at school. I use it, my kids use it, and I can tell you it works. And the spray smells great…….


Information compiled http://www.secretofthieves.com.
For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.    

Indulge in a Bit of Nutrient-Dense Chocolate on Valentine's Day!


This Valentine’s Day, indulge in a bit of nutrient-dense chocolate. Hailed as a super food as scientists begin to identify all the benefits of the cacao bean, it’s loaded with minerals, vitamins and antioxidants that can help ward off many common lifestyle diseases. The key is consuming the right chocolate – raw, unprocessed cacoa beans or nibs, or at least 70% cocoa dark chocolate. Not your typical candy bar loaded with fat, sugar and other fillers!


Some of the potential benefits of eating chocolate are:

 

  • Lowering cholesterol levels and relaxing blood pressure
  • Preventing cognitive decline – Scientists at Harvard Medical School suggest that drinking two cups of hot chocolate “can help preserve blood flow in working areas of the brain”. Compounds in chocolate may reduce or block damage to nerve pathways in the brain.
  • Reducing the risk of cardiovascular problems
  • Protecting against type-2 diabetes – due to the high levels of flavonoids in chocolate (also found in tea, berries and wine)
  • Preventing obesity – certain antioxidants in chocolate are said to lower blood sugar levels and possibly prevent weight gain

As most people instinctively realize, chocolate also releases certain feel good chemicals, or endorphins naturally produced by the brain “that generate feelings of pleasure and promote a sense of well being.”

On Valentine’s Day, promote well-being and buy your loved ones some healthy chocolates! And, when you next crave a cup of steaming hot chocolate on a snowy day or a piece of chocolate to boost your mood, go for it. Your body knows what it needs. Just make sure it’s a moderate amount of the right kind. Moderate amount? That’s not always easy for chocoholics like me!


Watch this short video on the amazing benefits of eating a little chocolate everyday!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-3yXokTuEw

Information compiled from: http://www.medicalwellnessassociation.com/, http://www.organicauthority.com/, http://www.medicalnewstoday.com

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com
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Sustainable Food Storage

I’ve just discovered the most wonderful product called Bee’s Wrap. Handmade in Vermont by a young mother and her team, it’s the perfect alternative to plastic wrap for food storage. Bee’s Wrap is made from organic cotton muslin infused with beeswax, jojoba oil and tree resin. The anti-bacterial properties of beeswax and jojoba oil keep the food fresh and allow the wraps to be used over and over.

Use Bee’s Wrap to wrap sandwiches, cheese, baked goods, bread, a half avocado, cucumber or lemon, or to cover a bowl of leftovers. It is not recommended for meat. With the warmth and pressure of your hand, the malleable sheet easily molds around the food to create a seal. To reuse, clean with a mild soap and air dry. With proper care and usage, it should last up to a year.

Bee’s Wrap comes in five sizes – small, medium, large, bread, baguette, and an assorted 3 pack.

Not only do food and plastic not go together, plastic wrap is not easily recycled. Here is at last a clever, easy, reusable and safe alternative for food storage. Congratulations to this creative young entrepreneur!

Minimally and attractively packaged, Bee’s Wrap can be found on line at beeswrap.com and at natural food stores and specialty shops all over, even internationally. For you readers on Cape Cod, Farm Fare Market at 68 Tupper Road in Sandwich carries them.

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

What is Your Carbon Footprint?

I’m resurrecting some of my earlier posts which I want to call attention to. “What is your carbon footprint?” is one of them.


Relating to that topic, I have another perspective as the price of oil continues to drop and gasoline prices become so much cheaper. My concern is that we will be more complacent and less careful about our energy usage with such low prices. The news rarely if ever talks about the the environmental impact of oil. No matter the price of gasoline, driving and flying still are major culprits of climate change and the resulting intensifying storms and droughts. I drive an electric car and only occasionally have to fill up with gasoline, but I too am enjoying lower prices. I’m afraid we have to be hit in the pocketbook for necessary change to happen.


Carbon Footprint is a measurement of greenhouse gas emissions an individual produces from energy consumed in their day to day activities, emissions that cause pollution and climate change. The US accounts for 26% of the world’s energy use despite that we are less than 5% of the human population. Driving, flying, heating, air conditioning, electricity, the size of your home, the type foods you eat, and the products you buy all require the use of fossil fuels and make up your carbon footprint. It’s important to be aware of how much energy you use, a first step in reducing your carbon footprint. To find out yours, click here.
Below are simple changes you can make to lessen your footprint.

 

  • walk or bike more
  • combine errands
  • take public transportation when possible
  • carpool
  • drive more slowly
  • keep your tires inflated
  • consider buying a hybrid or electric car when you need a new one
  • turn off lights when not in use
  • unplug appliances when not in use
  • run your dishwasher and washing machine only when full
  • turn down the heat
  • check for air leaks
  • eat meat less often
  • eat local foods
  • compost
  • reduce consumption
  • recycle paper, cans, bottles, newspapers and buy recycled products

While you are enjoying the lower gasoline prices, continue to be mindful of your energy usage. Each little step will reduce your carbon footprint, lower your energy costs and make you a bit healthier! Calculate your footprint, you will be surprised at how much energy you consume.

“A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. ” Margaret Mead 

Is There Still A Quandary Over Plastic Bags?

As I finished up a telephone call in my car in the Stop and Shop parking lot the other day, I observed a young woman unload her cart, filled to the brim with groceries, all bagged, maybe even double bagged, in plastic. I was really taken aback! With that many groceries, wouldn’t larger paper ones be better if you didn’t have reusable ones?

I mistakenly think everyone is aware of the problems with plastic bags. Change in attitude is happening for sure, but we are clearly not there yet. Below are some startling facts about plastic bags compiled from a previous post.

  • The average family accumulates 60 plastic bags in only four trips to the grocery store, just one of many stores we frequent.
  • According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually. An estimated 12 million barrels of oil or natural gas, both non-renewable resources, are used to make these bags.
  • Somewhere between 500 billion and a trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide each year. At this time roughly only 5 or 6% of them are recycled. Millions end up in the litter stream outside of the landfills, either in the oceans or on land where aquatic life and animals, mistaking them for food, are poisoned. The rest end up in landfills. It can take centuries for them to decompose.

Though they are inexpensive to produce (therein lies the problem), easily reused as trash can liners or lunch bags, and can be recycled, there are still too many plastic (and paper) bags. They seem to multiply – a direct correlation to the amount of stuff we consume!


Each high quality reusable bag you use has the potential to eliminate an average of 1,000 plastic bags over its lifetime. Fortunately, the movement to bring reusable bags to the grocery store is catching on and many stores now give a $.05/bag rebate. Whole Foods stores no longer carry plastic bags -100% biodegradable bags are now available.


Alternatives are there. It’s time for all companies and consumers to get on board!


List of towns in the US that banned plastic bags:

  • San Francisco
  • Portland, OR
  • Falmouth, MA
  • Provincetown, MA
  • a few other towns in MA
  • towns in the outer banks of North Carolina

List of countries with cities that banned plastic bags:

  • England
  • Mexico (Mexico City)
  • India
  • Burma
  • Bangladesh
  • Rwanda (reputed to be one of the cleanest nations in the world)
  • Australia

Countries where plastic bags are taxed, but not banned:

  • Italy
  • Belgium
  • Ireland (where plastic bag use dropped by 94 percent within weeks of the 2002 ban.)

Countries where plastic bags come with a fee:

  • Switzerland
  • Germany
  • Holland

Check out these other posts I wrote on plastics and ideas for reducing plastic usage.


Some information compiled from: http://people.howstuffworks.com/how-many-cities-have-a-ban-on-plastic-bags.htm


For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com

The Safety of Plastic Dental Devices

A reader asked me about the safety of the plastic used in mouth guards, retainers and other dental devices.


It seems like dentists tell everyone to wear a mouth guard, even my 25-year-old son, because they grind their teeth, which is either a testament to our high stress society or a dentist up sell. I use one because I clench my teeth and it was affecting my bottom teeth. It helps, but I too get concerned about the safety of the material used.


A wide variety of materials is used to manufacture dental devices and it’s hard to find information about the exact materials and their safety. According to the Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center, or PPRC, a nonprofit organization that is a leading source of high quality, unbiased pollution prevention, “Sealants, fillings, mouth guards and other dental appliances can and may contain bisphenol-A (BPA), phthalates and other chemicals of concern.”


The BPA chemical is a synthetic hormone and endocrine disruptor used in plastics, and has been linked to everything from breast and others cancers to reproductive problems, obesity, early puberty and heart disease. It has been under scrutiny and has now been removed from many plastic products including baby bottles, water bottles, and plastic toys. The FDA does not require testing for BPA exposure however, for dental materials. New federal regulations have required that manufacturers also stop using phthalates (Chemicals used in plastic household and personal care products linked to hormone changes, lower sperm count, birth defects in the male reproductive system, obesity, diabetes and thyroid irregularities) in children’s toys, but again, it is unclear whether these new regulations pertain to mouth guards. The PPRC states “ The ADA (American Dental Association) and other authorities suggest that the risk of contamination from dental materials is low compared with other sources of BPA in the environment and food supply.” I hope so!


I did read that the store-bought boil and bite guards like the ones used for sports protection are problematic since BPA is more likely to leach from plastic when it is heated. Amazon FYI, sells a BPA-free, FDA-approved soft material tooth grinding and athletic mouth guard.


The best solution is to ask your dentist about the materials used in his/her dental devices, about the effectiveness of store-bought guards, and request BPA-free ones. As with anything, you have to outweigh the risks vs. the benefits.

Information compiled from: http://pprc.org/research/rapidresDocs/Dental_Guard_BPA_RR_FINAL.pdf and ewg.org.

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

Have You Made Any Eco-Friendly New Year's Resolutions?

The New Year is a time for starting fresh and making resolutions, some of which we keep and most of which we don’t. This year go beyond the “lose weight, exercise more” typical resolutions and add some “green” ones.


Think back over the year to your newly acquired green habits and add to them. For example, add one new item to your recycling that you have previously not recycled, like printer cartridges. (Staples recycles old printer cartridges and you can download mailing labels from HP to send back used ones.) Recycle plastic bags or better yet, eliminate them whenever possible. If you are not already bringing reusable bags to the grocery store, start doing so. If you are, add reusable produce bags, or bring reusable shopping bags on other errands as well.


Lower your carbon footprint one day a week by walking, biking or taking public transportation instead of driving. Replace your light bulbs with energy-efficient CFL or LED lights. Incorporate “meatless Mondays” into your week and try some new vegetarian recipes. Go technology-free for a day and read a book instead.


Replace one of your conventional cleaning products with a non-toxic one. Check out greenwithbetsy.com for simple recipes to make at home. They work just as well and you will feel good knowing you are not breathing in toxins!


It only takes three weeks to make or break a habit, so start your green resolutions now and they will soon become part of your daily routine. You may find you lose weight and exercise more simply by being more green!


Happy 2015!!!

 

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

Benefits of Buying in Bulk

Bulk food buying is the hallmark of eco-conscious consumers. Buying in bulk [doesn't just mean buying huge quantities of items to save money, which makes sense for staples like toilet paper and paper towels if you have the space. It also means buying from those bulk bins you see in the grocery store. There are several advantages to doing so.

Bulk items are usually cheaper. With no packaging, companies are able to keep costs down. According to the Bulk is Green Council, "organic bulk foods on average cost 89% less than their packaged counterparts". Wow!

You can buy only what you need. If a new recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of a specialty item that you don't have on hand, you simply buy what is called for. Buying this way also allows you to experiment with certain spices, grains or flours that you don't usually buy without committing to a whole bag or box. You significantly reduce food waste and save space in your pantry by buying only what you need. How many spices are in your spice drawer that have been there for years without being used? To insure freshness and for peak flavor, spices and most food items are better bought in smaller quantities anyway.

Bulk buying also keeps tons of packaging out of the landfills. A study from Portland State University found that if Americans switched to bulk bin buying for common items, it would "it would save tens of millions of pounds of trash from entering landfills each year." Specifically, the Bulk is Green Council states, "If all Americans purchased coffee beans from bulk food bins, 260 millions pounds of foil packaging would be diverted from the landfills per year." Or, "If all American families bought peanut butter from bulk food bins, about 749 million pounds of waste would be diverted from landfills per year."

When buying from the bulk bin, you can either bring your own glass container or use the plastic or paper bags provided. Calculate the price per ounce, pound, etc. A scale is usually right there beside the bins. If you bring your own container, make sure to weigh the container first before adding the item, then subtract that weight to determine the cost of the item you are buying. If you are concerned about bin freshness or cleanliness, feel free to ask the store manager. And, don't forget to recycle or reuse the plastic bag after transferring your bulk items to a glass container at home. Store them in the pantry or dark place. I love the way the pantry looks with attractive glass containers or reused mason jars, which is all the rage today.

Items You Can Find In Bulk Bins:

Dry beans
Flours (including GF options)
Seeds (including flax and chia)
Nuts
Grains
Spices and herbs
Ground and whole bean coffee
Powders (such as baking powder)
Cereal and granola
Trail mix and dried fruits
Dry pasta
Nutritional yeast and other odds and ends


During the holiday season when we are baking, cooking and trying new recipes more than usual, buying from bulk bins makes even more sense. Try it and enjoy saving money and waste!

 

Information compiled from http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-15918/the-benefits-of-buying-in-bulk.html and http://www.bulkisgreen.org/.

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

Bug Killing Cedar Oil

One of my pet loving readers recently told me about CedarCide all natural, organic pet animal products whose base is non-toxic cedar oil. She swears by their shampoo, which leaves her Great Dane’s coat shiny and smelling great.


Cedar oil, a proven insect repellant, has been around thousands of years. Cedar chests and closets have long been used for storage of winter clothes to protect them from moths and other bugs. Now, CedarCide offers products with the same bug killing ingredient.


CedarCide’s pet products deter fleas and ticks and are a safe alternative to chemical based drops and flea collars. Their Vet’s Choice is a concentrated product containing 90% cedar oil used for a flea dip or flea and tick spray. Petsafe Granules releases aromatic cedar oil and can be sprinkled around your pet’s house or bed to provide a protective barrier against ticks and fleas, and provide odor control.


I was always uncomfortable applying chemical tick control to my dog’s coat, but living on Cape Cod with a high deer tick population, she needed protection. I am so relieved to learn about this organic alternative.


Click here to see CedarCide’s full line of pet, personal care and outdoor pest control products safe enough to be sprayed directly on people or pets, poured into standing water or sprayed onto surfaces with no harmful effect to people or the environment.


Thanks to my reader for this great tip. If you have a green living tip I haven’t written about, please contact me. We’re on this green road together!

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

Information compiled from cedarcide.com.

Red Palm Oil

I use a variety of oils. Olive oil for salads, salad dressings and even washing my face like they do in Greece; grape seed oil for sautéing and roasting; coconut oil for cooking, baking, moisturizing and swishing; avocado oil for dressings and face washing. Depending on the recipe, pumpkin seed and walnut oils are delicious alternatives in salad dressings too. All are tasty and nutritious, but not the powerhouse of the oil I’ve recently discovered, red palm oil.

Red palm oil has been a staple in indigenous cultures for 5,000 years. According to ancient legends, red palm oil was a sacred food, revered for its healthful properties and entombed with the pharaohs of Egypt for their enjoyment in the afterlife.

 

Health Benefits


The high beta-carotene and lycopene content give red palm oil its color and numerous health benefits. The same antioxidants are found in tomatoes and carrots, but there are even more in red palm oil. The carotenoids help support the immune system, protect the skin from UV rays and improve eye health, as well as guard against osteoporosis, asthma, cataracts, macular degeneration, arthritis and liver disease. It’s high in Vitamin A and contains rare tocotrienols and tocopherols of the Vitamin E family. Studies funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH) have shown that tocotrienols can help reduce the effects of stroke by protecting the brain’s nerve cells. Tocotrienols also improve blood flow to brain cells, which can help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. With red palm oil, cholesterol levels and blood pressure are improved. It’s also a potent anti-cancer food.


Cooking with Red Palm Oil


In addition to its many nutritional benefits, red palm oil is a stable oil meaning it has a high smoke point and remains nutritionally rich when cooked or heated. Its buttery taste makes it perfect for sautéing, baking, cooking or as a popcorn topper. Fried eggs are especially tasty when fried with red palm oil instead of butter.


I’m a firm believer in eating a variety of nutritious foods for optimum health. They say with fruits and vegetables, try to eat every color of the rainbow daily. Variety is important for oils too – no one oil does it all. And, it’s fun trying different ones for different applications. Go ahead and give this powerhouse oil a try. You can find red palm oil at Whole Foods or other natural food markets. Make sure to buy organic, raw, unrefined red palm oil. Once refined and processed, its color and nutritional benefits are destroyed.


Information compiled from:
www.droz.com and nutiva.com

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

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