Most of us are so used to getting rid of weeds that we don't even stop to think about how they might be useful. In fact, there are many species that you'll find in just about any garden that are edible. They can be thrown in your favorite stew or just consumed raw, straight from the ground (though you may want to wash them of dirt and bugs first). Here are some of the varieties that are both safe for eating and may actually provide nutritional benefits too:
- Bamboo shoots: You can't just eat mature stocks of bamboo, but you can eat the shoots before they harden into wood. They need to be cooked before you eat them, but they're a common ingredient in Asian stir fry dishes, and they provide a few benefits to your health such as fiber and potassium.
- Dandelion: You can actually purchase dandelion greens in some grocery stores, and they're an incredibly useful ingredient for many dishes. According to OrganicGardening.com, they're also a good source of beta-carotene, even more so than carrots!
- Lambs' quarters: They're a lot like spinach, which means that you can cook them in similar ways, such as wilting. Make sure you wash them thoroughly and give them enough time to cook so that the tough fibers break down.
The great thing about cooking these plants is that it's a much more eco-friendly way of removing them from your yard than using weed killers. They also grow on their own most of the time, so you don't need to have much of a green thumb to take advantage of their presence and add them to your diet!
LifeIsGreen.com will continue to provide news and information on the benefits of going green, so keep checking back every day!
Trying to put on some muscle? Nearly every weight lifter you see in the gym is probably drinking as many as three protein shakes each day in order to add more body mass. The most popular options are typically whey protein powders sold at stores like GMC, but sometimes these supplements are filled with synthetic chemicals that may not be so healthy. There is some debate among medical professionals as to whether these powders are actually good for you. If you're looking for a healthier alternative that relies on natural green alternatives, here are a few of your options:
- Chia seeds: These will lend some protein to your diet, and they're also a good source of calcium, providing 18 percent of your daily requirement with just one ounce. Not only will you end up with strong muscles, you'll also improve bone strength as well.
- Hemp seeds: It's difficult to overstate the nutritional benefits provided by hemp seeds. On the one hand, you get plenty of protein, with two tablespoons providing 10 grams. As Men's Health notes, you also get all of the essential amino acids that are critical for adding body mass and building muscle.
- Milled flax seed: While it has about half as much protein as hemp seed, flax provides a great deal of fiber, meaning that it will keep you feeling full longer so that you can reduce overall calorie intake and tone your muscles. Flax also gives you essential omega-3 fatty acids and can be added to just about any dish, as it has very little flavor of its own. Sprinkle it on yogurt or mix some into your favorite smoothie! Make sure to get the "milled" variety, and not whole flax seeds, which your body won't be able to fully digest.
By adding one or more of these supplements to your diet, you'll be able to build muscle and live a healthier lifestyle without pumping your body full of unnecessary chemicals!
Keep visiting LifeIsGreen.com for more information on healthy and green products.
There is a growing sentiment in the green community that kids aren't spending enough time outdoors, which is impeding their ability to do work, stay engaged with school and understand the natural world. Many parents and teachers are now pushing for children to spend more of their education in the outdoors, and the results of pilot programs so far have been promising.
The trend was recently covered by Salon.com, which discussed a study by Indiana State University showing that half of students report having skipped school at least once or twice, while another 20 percent have considered dropping out entirely. And one need not look long to find evidence of an American education system that is long overdue for reform.
With these problems in the forefront for so many American families, it may come as no surprise that teachers are beginning to experiment with new and interesting ways to engage students. One particular idea that has shown promise is the outdoor classroom. Erin Kenny, the founder of outdoor kindergarten Cedarsong Nature School located in Puget Sound, Washington, conducts classes in a 5-acre forest. The students get to see how the ecosystem around them changes throughout the year, observing the growth cycles of plants, bugs and other wildlife.
Most importantly, programs like Cedarsong have been shown to improve motivation among participants, so much so that similar schools have opened up across the country.
Hopefully, as more is learned about these schools and the benefits that they provide to students, more attention will be paid to the importance of preserving the environment for future generations, who have much to gain from these experiences.
LifeIsGreen.com will continue to provide green tips, news and information, so make sure to visit often!
We all know that the best way to keep your teeth and gums healthy is to brush after every meal and floss daily (although it's safe to say that not everyone sticks with these habits). However, that's not all there is to taking care of your teeth. You can also keep them healthy and strong by including certain foods in your diet.
What should you eat to keep your teeth and gums in good shape?
- Dairy: Dairy products, including cheese, yogurt and milk, are high in calcium and phosphorous, which are essential for remineralizing your teeth. Of course, these foods tend to also be high in cholesterol and fat, so it's important not to go overboard. But including limited amounts in your diet can help replenish tooth enamel that has been damaged by acidic content in other foods.
- Green Tea: According to green living site Care2.com, green tea contains chemicals called "catechins" that are effective at making it more difficult for bacteria to accumulate on your tooth enamel and create plaque.
- Nuts and Seeds: High in minerals that are essential for keeping tooth enamel strong, nuts and seeds are also good for teeth simply because they're crunchy. As you chew them, they can break up and remove plaque.
Make sure that when you purchase these foods for your own diet that you try to find organic versions that were produced sustainably and ethically. Particularly in the dairy industry, there are quite a few companies that use environmentally unsound practices in creating milk and other foods. By choosing organic and local brands, you can ensure that your diet not only promotes oral health, but also mitigates your impact on the environment!
For more tips on eco friendly products and staying healthy, visit LifeIsGreen.com frequently!
It has been a brutal winter for many parts of the country, but that doesn't mean you can't satisfy your green thumb. If your outdoor areas are all snowed in, why not create an indoor garden? Whether you're looking to make your interiors more beautiful with flowers and ferns, or you want an herb garden that you can use for cooking, indoor plants are easy to grow if you follow these tips:
- Avoid inorganic and synthetic fertilizers: These typically contain toxic chemicals that create risks for anyone in your home.
- Don't over water: You may be tempted to constantly replenish your plants' roots with water, but too much can cause them to rot. Generally speaking, a good rule of thumb is to make sure you soak the soil, but stop pouring once you see water come out of the bottom of the pot.
- Keep your plants away from heaters and air conditioners: Drafts from these devices can kill your plants if they're too extreme.
- Make sure you're using the right sized pot: Putting a small plant in a large pot can cause it to either get too much or too little water.
- Read the tag on your plants: Whenever you buy a new plant, you'll typically find a tag stuck in the potting soil that tells you how to take care of it, including how much light it needs. For guidelines on raising specific plants, this tag is your best source of information. Make sure that whichever species you get for your indoor garden doesn't require direct sunlight, unless you position them next to a window that is constantly in the sun.
Check back with LifeIsGreen.com often for more going green ideas and tips!
Earlier this week, we discussed some of the greatest health benefits that come with drinking green tea. Unlike coffee, soda and even juice, green tea contains none of the harmful substances that can rot your teeth or have other adverse effects on your nutrition. Just the opposite, green tea is often touted as one of the healthiest drinks in the world, thanks to its abundance of natural ingredients and antioxidants that boost health and reduce free radicals — those molecules that play a part in aging, disease and more.
If you're trying to think green and live a more sustainable, eco-friendly life, making the switch to green tea is one of the best places to start. Courtesy of Authority Nutrition, here are a few more healthy upsides to drinking green tea:
- Boosts brain health in old age: Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases are the leading neurodegenerative conditions among the elderly, and while no cure for them exists yet, studies have found that the catechin compounds in green tea can lower your risk for developing them in the first place.
- Lowers cancer risk: Antioxidants — which are loaded in every cup of green tea — have proven to have "a protective effect" on combating the growth of cancer cells. According to the source, women who drink green tea are 22 percent less likely to develop breast cancer and male drinkers have a 48 percent lower risk for prostate cancer. Another study in green tea-drinking women also found that the beverage played a part in reducing colorectal cancer risk by 57 percent. Just make sure not to add milk to your tea, as this can dilute the potency of the drink's antioxidants.
For more green tips to incorporate into your lifestyle, be sure to check back with LifeIsGreen.com!
When it comes to healthy green living, there can be an overwhelming number of options to choose from, many of which seem to change on a daily basis. Whether it's recycling discarded food, driving environmentally friendly cars or reducing your carbon footprint, it can sometimes be difficult just to get your bearings and decide on which avenue actually works at all, much less works best for you.
So start small. One of the best ways you live a more eco-friendly life is by focusing on your own wellness first. For that, there are few better options out there than green tea.
"Green tea is the healthiest beverage on the planet," writes Kris Gunnars of Authority Nutrition. "It is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that have powerful effects on the body. This includes improved brain function, fat loss, a lower risk of cancer and many other incredible benefits."
Gunnars compiled a list of the 10 best health benefits that drinking green tea can yield. Here are just a couple of them:
- Bioactive compounds: This is a complicated way of saying that green tea is loaded with powerful, healthy substances like antioxidants that can reduce the prevalence of free radicals, which play a part in cell damage, disease and aging. In other words, drinking green tea is an easy way to look good and feel good.
- Makes you smarter: While green tea does contain caffeine, it has a far smaller amount than coffee, providing just enough to wake you up without giving you that "jittery" feeling. This caffeine has an added benefit of stimulating brain activity, which not only makes you more productive but a little smarter too.
For more green tips on staying healthy and eco-friendly, check back with LifeIsGreen.com!
Now is about the time that many people begin to deviate from their New Years resolution to eat healthier and lose weight. It's understandable, given how much self-control dieting really requires. Rather than foregoing your resolution completely and reverting to old ways, it may be a good idea to scale down your diet plans and focus on three foods that are particularly unhealthy.
Here are some items that you may want to consider cutting from your meals altogether:
- Alcohol: Drinking provides no nutritional benefit, and wreaks havoc on your heart and liver over time. If you simply can't do without the occasional cocktail, consider cutting back your consumption to once a week or even once a month.
- Dairy: Humans are the only animals that eat dairy after infancy. There's just not much reason to consume significant amounts of milk, cheese, butter and other items (other than the fact that they taste good). If you still want to satisfy that dairy craving, try substituting soy or almond milk products, which have no cholesterol or saturated fat.
- Processed meats: It's difficult to overstate the number of health problems that are caused by eating too much meat. It leads to higher cholesterol levels and has even been shown to contribute to a higher likelihood of developing Alzheimer's Disease, according to MedicalDaily.com. It's also hard to find a food product that is less environmentally friendly, as livestock farms make significant contributions to greenhouse gas emissions.
The important thing to remember is that although you might go through withdrawal for a few days after cutting out these items, eventually your body will adjust. In the end you'll feel much better, and if you stick with the plan you'll start to see the scale go down fairly quickly!
Check back with LifeIsGreen.com soon for more health, wellness and green tips!
Natural beauty products are some of the best eco friendly gifts that you can buy someone. There are tons of companies now that are producing lotions, shampoos, conditioners and makeup that are made from holistic ingredients rather than synthetic chemicals created in a lab.
There are many reasons to purchase natural cosmetic items over those that you would find in a typical department store. Babble.com, a lifestyle website, recently listed some of the biggest reasons:
- Artisanal production: Because the companies that make natural beauty products are typically smaller operations, they put more thought and care into making their small-batch items. This usually means you get something that was produced by hand, not a machine.
- Fewer chemicals: As we said earlier, natural products have no abrasive, toxic chemicals that can cause health problems down the road.
- Less is more: While you may have to replace that bottle of unnatural shampoo every few weeks, natural products can be used more sparingly and provide the same effects.
- No filler: You can generally rely on natural products to provide you with a more pure, unadulterated consistency that provides better value. These products won't have filler that is meant to dilute and lessen the effect of the product so that you'll have to keep buying more.
- Sustainability: If you're concerned about the environmental impact of such items and whether or not they were tested on animals, you can rest assured that natural beauty products are almost always produced and tested responsibly and sustainable. Make sure to check the label!
There are many brands that make natural, organic beauty products. They include Seventh Generation (known more for their cleaning supplies), 100% Pure and Balanced Guru. Pick one of these great brands up at your local organic store or online!
Keep checking back with LifeIsGreen.com for more information about green products!
A team of European scientists have published a study that finds a stronger connection between high concentrations of smog and particulate matter and heart disease. The report, published in the academic journal BMJ, was enormous in scope and carefully controlled for a number of factors, including smoking and predisposition to heart disease.
The study found that an increase of 5 micrograms per cubic meter in atmospheric concentration of smog correlated with a 13 percent jump in likelihood of having a heart attack, as well as a greater possibility of suffering from angina, the chest pain that often accompanies heart disease. The United States currently has an allowable limit of 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air pollution.
Researchers on the project studied the health of 100,000 people over an average period of 11.6 years, all of whom went into the study without heart disease. During that time, over 5,000 subjects experienced coronary events such as heart attacks.
"Our study suggests an association between long-term exposure to particulate matter and incidence of coronary events," Giulia Cesaroni, a senior researcher in the epidemiology department at Lazio Regional Health Service, said in the report, according to HealthDay.com.
The results of this research are further evidence that humans continue to create unhealthy conditions by relying on fossil fuels rather than switching to renewables that don't emit carbon and other forms of pollution. Policy makers should continue to aggressively promote the sale of environmentally friendly cars and alternative forms of electricity generation in order to cut down on emissions.
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