How to Go Green: Buy Organic Tea

If you are health conscious and concerned about the environment, you probably already know the health benefits of drinking tea and are aware of the ecological advantages of organic fruits and vegetables.

How to Go Green: Buy Organic Tea

Tea is high in antioxidants, as well as polyphenols such as tannic acid.

Scientists are learning that plants that produce those tannins may already create ecological gains and, if they are grown organically with no chemical pesticides or fertilizers, they are even better for you and the environment.

If you do a web search for “Organic tea” you will find many online retail outlets for the beverage, ranging significantly in price and quality.

It is hard to choose a tea without being able to at least smell a sample, unless it is a type with which you are familiar or has a fruit aspect that you know you like.

I have personal experience with brands like Yogi (good) and The Republic of Tea (excellent), so I could recommend either of those, but taste preferences are highly personal and subjective and you may prefer another brand.

However, as long as you check for the organic certification seal, as seen at the bottom of Rishi’s home page, you can be assured you are receiving fully organic tea.

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It might be useful, if you plan to buy online, to do some research into the health benefits of various teas as well as look for reviews that speak of the taste of various types and brands.

If you really want to be green and conscientious when buying organic tea (or food), you should check your local market for retailers nearby.

Chances are there could be a small organic grower, or at least a distributor, near you.

Even if it is only a local distributor, you are still reducing shipping, since they’ve already shipped it to their store in bulk and you will only be driving a short distance in your car to get the product rather than putting a plane in the air to get it to your door.

In addition to this, you are supporting your local economy and small business, which is important at all times, but particularly in the current financial landscape.

Eco Friendly Enhancements for Independence Day Celebrations

Every elementary school student knows the formula to make green is blue plus yellow, but many adults these days are attempting to mix red, white and blue with the same results.

Eco Friendly Enhancements for Independence Day Celebrations

In our very information aware society of today, being eco friendly is not only a lifestyle, but almost a mandate. This guide will provide you with information to make your fourth of July celebration a green party.

  • Have your party attendees bring their own cup. Not only are you cutting down the cost by not purchasing disposable counterparts, you’re also eliminating extra landfill waste. Guests could even be encouraged to bring fun and interesting mugs from their personal collection.
  • When planning the menu, eat local. Cater from a local mom and pop, or if you’re preparing, purchase ingredients from local farmers‘ markets or produce stands. This cuts down on gas emissions from the transport of produce while also investing in the local economy.
  • Use living flowers as table centerpieces and decorations instead of cut flowers. Sure the red, white and blue carnations are pretty, but they’re doomed for the trash after the party is over. Purchase potted plants that will continue to contribute to the environment while also bringing color to your table.
  • If you must buy plate ware or supplies, be sure to check and thoroughly read the labels. Spend a few extra cents on the goods that are made from recycled materials, and then don’t let the cycle end, but help repeat the process.
  • When purchasing your party supplies, break down for big packages. Purchase items in bulk if possible. This not only saves you money but minimizes excess packaging waste.
  • The guest list is full and so is your yard. There’s a mass of people right before your eyes, so why not harness that power? Add a good deed to the party. Organize a volunteer effort in your community or and eco conscious activity within the party itself.
  • Set up an area just for recycling. Make sure your guests are aware of its location and purpose. Also, have each canister labeled with both a word and picture so that even the youngest guests can participate.
  • Fireworks and Independence Day seem to exist synonymously. It’s difficult to picture one without the other. Unfortunately, with the metals, sulfur, coal and other noxious chemicals, it’s not exactly the most eco friendly fourth of July tradition. There are some alternatives. Don’t purchase fireworks to set off at home, take the gang to a local city light show instead. Big productions are beginning the switch to eco friendly fireworks that are not available to the average costumer. Decorate your party with lots of lively colors, although not an exact substitute it can help to outweigh the colorful lights. Pass out noisemakers for some party fun or possibly host a camp fire after the sun goes down. Fires are longer lasting than fireworks and the ash is much less toxic. You could even pass out marshmallows.
  • When preparing to fire up the grill, be careful what type of fuel you use. Don’t purchase propane, as it is a non sustainable resource. Go with labels that are sustainably produced charcoal or made from wood. If you’ll be grilling corn on the cob, head to the back yard for skewers. Collect loose twigs, sharpen one end with a pencil sharpener, jab, grill and serve!
  • For pack up time, use reusable plastic containers to store food. There’s also a somewhat new and unheard product that can be used rather than plastic wrap. Reusable sandwich wrap is eco friendly, however I have not used it and wonder about its durability.
  • At cleanup time, pass out lemon scented hand towels instead of wipes. To make, simply soak small towels in ice water and lemon, then wring them out, roll them up and pass them out still damp. They’re refreshing and also will disinfect.

It’s easy and practical to go green with your Independence Day celebration. Simply think consciously, be aware of what you purchase and be creative. Your green fourth of July party will be an event not likely forgotten!

Click here to find other eco-solutions for your life.

Home Safety Tips

“There’s no place like home,” but did you know that there are dangers lurking in your home? No, I’m not talking about dust mites;

Home Safety Tips

I’m referring to things like fires and falls – incidents that can be avoided by following these simple tips.

I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up

OK, so we all remember that commercial with the old lady but the truth is a lot people do fall in their own home, and not just the elderly.

Preventing a fall isn’t just important to you and your family, if someone else falls on your property they could turn around and sue you. Taking precautions before an accident occurs is the best solution.

Stairs

Make sure there is appropriate lighting so all of the stairs can be seen when someone is going up and down the stairs.

You can do something fancy where each stair is illuminated, or you can put a bright lamp or chandelier in your house where your stairs are.

If you have outside stairs, consider using reflective tape on the edges in addition to outdoor lighting.

Also ensure your stairs have handrails.

Rugs

Area rugs can beautify and add warmth to any home, but they won’t be of any use if they slide all over the place. Be sure to use adhesive or double sided tape so the rug is secure when walking on it.

Stop, Drop and Roll

Smoke Detector

No one expects their house to catch on fire yet we all have smoke detectors… just in case.

Those smoke detectors won’t do you any good if there are no batteries in them, so make sure you test the batteries once a month and replace them when they die.

Did you know that smoke detectors will not last the life of your home? According to the National Fire Protection Agency, smoke detectors should be replaced every 10 years.

Fire Extinguisher

Fire extinguishers are available at places like Costco, Home Depot and Lowe’s, and are well worth their small price.

It is suggested that you have one fire extinguisher per level in your home, but it is especially important to place a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, an area that has the most hazards.

Instructions are provided on the extinguisher itself so be sure to familiarize yourself and teach your family members how to use the fire extinguisher properly.

Cooking

Do not leave a hot frying pan unattended, and make sure children know not to touch a hot stove.

Keep the heat levels on medium to low when frying oil so the oil does not splatter and scald you.

Open a window or turn on the stove fan when cooking at high temperatures.

Use blenders for safer cooking.

Candles

Scented candles are a great way to freshen up a room but keep in mind that candles should not be left unattended. It only takes a second for something to catch on fire.

Candles that are too close together can light one another, and any slight wind (even from someone walking by) can cause the flame to move.

Take the candle with you (carefully) if you plan on leaving the room, or blow the candle out and re-light it.

Keep flammable materials away from the flame (e.g. paper, plastic bags).

Escape Plan

If your house does catch on fire it is important to have an escape route. Make sure the entire family practices a few times a year so they are prepared in the event this training exercise becomes a reality.

Look for more than one escape route out of each room (e.g. through the door or window).

If you have a multi-story home then consider purchasing an escape ladder which can be hung out of any window.

Decide on a meeting place for when you do all make it out of the house.

Don’t assume that staying on your front lawn will be the safest place; depending on the size of the fire it might be better to meet down the street by a lamp post or in front of a neighbor’s house.

Home Heating Systems: How They Work

With winter already in full-force, your home heating system is probably working overtime.

Home Heating Systems: How They Work

Many homeowners have no idea how their home heating system works, trusting its maintenance and repair to paid professionals instead of doing it themselves.

Learning about the basics of your furnace or boiler system can save you money on routine maintenance and minor repairs for years to come.

How home heating systems work: Basics

Every home heating system is made up of a heat producer, heat exchanger, heat distributor, and a temperature regulator. The heat producers is the core of the entire home heating system.

In most homes, the heat producer is an electric, gas, or oil burner. The heat exchanger can either be a furnace that heats the air or a boiler that heats water.

Boilers are more common in areas where the winters are extremely cold. Furnace-based home heating systems are more suitable for warmer climates.

The heat distribution method depends on the type of home heating system. Furnace-based heaters use ducts and vents to send the heated air all over the house.

Boiler-based home heating systems have pipes to pump heated water throughout the house, with radiators that are responsible for distributing the actual heat.

A thermostat or humidistat is used to regulate the home’s climate and turn the heating system on or off.

How home heating systems work: Furnaces

A furnace-based home heating system works by heating air and blowing the heated air throughout the home via a duct system.

The heat producer and exchanger turn on when the thermostat signals that the temperature is too low. The blower then moves the hot air into the main branch of the ductwork.

Smaller branches split off to take heated air to each room of the home. The amount of air each room receives can be controlled by adjusting the home heating system’s registers.

The air returns to the heat producer via a separate set of ductwork and vents. Once the desired temperature is reached, the thermostat turns off the home heating system.

How home heating systems work: Boilers

Boiler-based home heating systems are quite similar to furnace-based systems, but use water as the heating medium instead of air.

The boiler heats up the water, then pumps it throughout the home via pipes into each room. The individual rooms must have a radiator in order to disperse the heat.

Like the air home heating units, there is also a return system to take the water back into the boiler to be heated and redistributed again.

How The Dog Food Industry Has You Brainwashed

Isn’t it strange how when we feed our dogs food from the table, it’s referred to as “human food,” but the stuff that comes out of the dog food bag is called “dog food?”

How The Dog Food Industry Has You Brainwashed

It should be the other way around: Natural food should be dog food, and the stuff that’s created in factories by humans, should be called human food.

Still confused? I’ll make it easier: Dogs should be given whole food. Who’d ever think, right? What did dogs eat, long before the invention of “dog food?” Think about it.

On the homestead, people fed their dogs the exact food that they themselves ate:

  • beef
  • milk
  • eggs
  • potatoes
  • corn
  • bread
  • vegetables
  • fruit

Why aren’t dogs as deserving of whole, natural foods, as humans are? Are we such a superior species, that only WE should experience the health benefits of whole foods?

The pet food industry has the masses thinking otherwise. How else could they make money?

Oh, don’t feed your dog this! And don’t feed him that!

Though it’s true that chocolate can be deadly to dogs, and onions and grapes can cause digestive problems in dogs, it’s also a fact that dogs have been thriving for centuries on natural foods grown from the goodness of the earth.

Only recently, in terms of the evolution of dogs, has artificial food been introduced to them.

My White German Shepherd loves watermelon, carrots, broccoli, zucchini, cucumbers, oranges, bananas, apples, apple sauce, oranges, and orange juice. He loves whole-wheat bread (home-made), potatoes and rice.

What is WRONG with feeding your dog these items? Do you think that the antioxidants in fruits and vegetables work their anti-cancer and anti-heart-disease magic only in humans?

Ever read the ingredients of dog food? That stuff is so heavily processed, with all sorts of additives, even sometimes artificial color, and “natural flavors” or “flavorings.” What’s “natural flavor”?

Is this an ingredient, or a description of how an ingredient tastes? Where are the “flavorings” from?

Very few people read dog food ingredients, because the list is gigantic. But take some time to read it. In fact, hold a dog food morsel between your fingers and study it. Just what is in that thing?

Think of all the processing and heating it’s been through.

The closer-to-nature food is, the healthier it is. Look how far from nature dog food is. This is why the manufacturer must pump all sorts of vitamins and minerals into the food.

The food does not contain all these nutrients in their natural state.

But whole foods do. And when nutrients are consumed as they exist in their natural state, their health benefits are superior to artificially-concocted foods with added nutrients.

And so what if your dog gets diarrhea from eating fruit. Don’t YOU sometimes? The diarrhea is temporary, the result of fiber from the fruit. Keep feeding Fido fruit, and his digestive system will soon adapt.

Don’t let the pet food industry warp your thinking about what a dog should eat.

I’ll add, however, that there are dog food companies that make the food out of only organic, all-natural ingredients. These can be found at health food stores.

Essential Keys to Student Wellness in College

Essential Keys to Student Wellness in College

Get Sleep

Get your recommended 8 hours a night of sleep or pay the consequences:

Believe me, it’s very important to get enough sleep.

Especially when being a student relies so much on your mental ability and yet there are so many factors present in college that tend to seriously reduce the amount of the time students sleep.

Eat all Day

It is much better for your body to get more meals of less, than fewer meals of more. Eat Breakfast. Eat snacks. Eat when your hungry. Not the diet advice you were expecting?

I rely on a bodybuilding-like system based on harnessing the power of your natural metabolism.

It’s as simple as: Keep throwing a little bit of coal into the furnace all day and it will burn the most regularly, and most efficiently.

One step further and you can begin monitoring the macro-nutrients present in your food intake and modify your diet so that every meal or snack you eat is exactly aligned and balanced with the macro-nutrient ratio you are aiming for.

If this sounds too advanced, then just focus for the time being on increasing the frequency of your meals while decreased the size of your meals.

One you get comfortable with this level of nutritional awareness you can take more and more advanced steps.

Get Out of the Room and Get Some Exercise

College is a time of great parody. At some moments you are busier than you can handle, while others you have nothing to do and are completely bored.

It’s important, however, during these gaps of boredom and dorm room lounging that you make time to get out once in a while.

Fresh air, sun light, other people… these are things that you need to leave your room to experience and should do so often.

Go for a run, go to the gym, go play ultimate Frisbee – just find a reason to leave the room and get moving. Your body will thank you.

Manage Stress Effectively

I am a huge proponent of the power of the mind. When you get stressed out, your mental sickness (per say) can easily spread to your physical.

It has been noted in scientific studies that people with high levels of stress have a repressed or weakened immune system.

What this means is that in addition to keeping yourself physically healthy you need to invest time in keeping yourself mentally healthy.

Take time to relax, do things you enjoy, exercise is also known to help to a large extent in reducing stress.

Drink your Water

What are the main things you drink on a college campus? Alcohol and Caffeinated beverages?

Well, both of these cause dehydration which makes it that much more important to get in all 8 glasses of water the doctors suggest per day.

(I recommend drinking an additional glass of water each alcoholic drink or caffeinated drink in order to offset the dehydrating effects).

Use water filters to drink the best water.

Be Consistent

Remember that with all the above, consistency is the most important factor in determining the amount of success you will have with your fitness plan.

Rather than going to the gym for the first week of your program for 2 hours a day and dropping off and getting exhausted; you can instead go for like 45 minutes and maintain your level of motivation and interest.

Exerting yourself too much too early tends to lead to quitting the fitness plan. If you get your exercise in on a consistent basis it is more important than length of time or intensity.

Without consistency nothing else matters because you aren’t really following your plan if you don’t have consistency.