Saturday, September 11, 2010

EarthTalk® Question of the Week

I love the syndicated column from, EarthTalk® (From the Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine). Here's this week's question and answer.

Dear EarthTalk: Is it true that some countries have turned over public water supplies to private companies, effectively denying local communities much-needed access? -- J. Johnson, Lancaster, PA

Water is such an important part of life that it has long been regarded as a public good worth entrusting only to public entities. But given the mixed track record of municipal, regional and national government to properly manage water resources, outsourcing to private companies is becoming more common. But critics of such privatization point out that the end result for consumers is not always so positive.

Perhaps the best known example transpired in Bolivia in the 1990s, when water systems in poor regions were put up for sale to private investors at the urging of development agencies intent on steering poor countries away from state control of industries and toward free market systems. Bolivia hired U.S.-based
Bechtel Corporation to take over and manage water in the Cochabamba region there. Bechtel made good on its pledge to provide water to many previously under served Cochabamba areas, but it also raised prices significantly. “Many were unable to pay such high rates, and even though water was now available to them, they couldn’t access it because they couldn’t afford it,” reports the non-profit World Savvy.

In 2000 riots erupted in Cochabamba as hundreds of residents filled the streets, angry that a private, foreign entity was preventing them from accessing water. “The violence shook the confidence of the local government and international investors,” says World Savvy. “Bechtel was forced out, resulting in not only chaos in water delivery in the area, but also in a serious blow to foreign investment in the country.”
Similar conflicts have played out in other parts of Bolivia as well as in Ghana, Uruguay and the United Kingdom.

In the U.S., the federal government ensured the protection of waterways and drinking water in the 1970s through passage of the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act, which among other benefits increased funding for community water systems to help cities and towns maintain high standards and inexpensive access to fresh water. “However, since the 1980s, the federal government has been cutting back funding to communities for water infrastructure, with assistance falling to historic lows under the Bush administration,” reports the non-profit Food & Water Watch. Without federal funding, communities that can’t afford to keep fresh water supplies clean and safe are increasingly turning to private companies.

But at what cost? Food & Water Watch cites dozens of examples from across the country where water privatization has gone woefully bad: “[H]igh rates and bad service plague communities who transfer control of their water service to the hands of corporations.” Common complaints include skyrocketing rates, sewage flooded basements, broken pipes, bad water quality, and cost overruns. “The water barons prioritize stockholder returns over public well-being and leave municipalities to clean up the mess.”

Not everyone thinks water privatization is all bad, especially when governments can’t efficiently manage the sourcing, sanitizing and distribution of life’s most vital resource. “There is evidence that privatization may work when the cost of water is subsidized for poorer populations,” reports World Savvy. Regardless,
the debate will rage on as more and more governments turn to water privatization as stress over accessing water becomes more commonplace in a quickly warming and increasingly drought-stricken world.

CONTACTS: World Savvy,; Food & Water Watch,

SEND YOUR ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTIONS TO: EarthTalk®, c/o E – The Environmental
Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; E is a nonprofit publication.
Subscribe:; Request a Free Trial Issue:

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Guest Day! 6 Ways to Green

Today, I wanted to share a great post from a fellow Green Mom:

6 Easy Ways To Go Green Everyday

I consider myself to be a green living enthusiast because I am always thinking about how I can use less, how I can switch to more earth friendly options, and how I can reuse or giveaway things that others might reuse. I think that more than anything, being green is about, the desire to help preserve the beauty of nature and acting on that desire. Being green doesn’t have to be expensive, it can actually save you money because it should be about using less and using used too!

Here are 6 easy ways we can all help to reduce, reuse & recycle in our daily lives:

1.Recycle! Sounds simple but so many people just don't take the time to sort or to drive. Here is a statistic that may open your eyes- The United States accounts for about 5% of the world’s population and produces about 40% of the worlds waste. The need to recycle is clear. The United States’ rate of recycling is estimated to be about 30% by the EPA. While this is not bad, Austria heads the EU in its recycling efforts with approximately 60% of its waste being recycled. I wish that the US would head recycling efforts!

2.Save things that can be reused. I save all kinds of things for craft projects to do with my daughter! You can save junk mail and use the reverse for shopping list and other notes. You can save spare shopping bags (when you forget your reusable totes) and use them for bathroom trash can liners. You can save bottle tops for craft projects or to use for teaching small kids to sort or count.

3.Buy things that are less packaged! The other day my husband brought home some deli cheese that was pre-sliced with plastic between each piece and I was horrified. Just buy a block of cheese! It is cheaper that way too. The same goes for all the individually packaged bags of chips and cookies. It is cheaper and more earth friendly to buy a full box and use a reusable container to package it for snacks and lunches.

4.Unplug electric boxes that draw energy even when not in use (like your phone charger!) I have heard that your savings can add up to a few hundred bucks a year by unplugging electronics that aren't in use. This is an overlooked but easily corrected problem. Anything that is plugged in is drawing power and anything with box on the cord is drawing even more. It is great to make sure you unplug things you don’t need on daily basis. The Department of Energy says that a Plasma TV costs a whopping $165 a year for its standby power consumption alone! Help save the environment and top paying electric bills for stuff you aren't even using.

5.Start a compost pile for organic waste from the kitchen- you get the bonus of enriched soil for your garden! There are plenty of website that offer detailed instructions on how to build your own compost bin. I admit, I do this the lazy way. I just have a corner of my yard where we dump all the yard clippings, leaves, and kitchen waste. You can use simple wire fencing to help contain it. Composting is simply decomposing organic material into rich soil. According to the EPA, yard trimmings and food residuals together constitute 26 percent of the U.S. municipal solid waste stream. That's a lot of waste to send to landfills when it could become useful and environmentally beneficial compost instead!

6.Buy local when you can. Try to support your local farmer’s market and local businesses. Not only are you likely to get fresher, healthier, yummier offerings, you also save transit which saves fossil fuels. helps you find local, sustainable food sources when you enter your zip code

There you have 6 easy ways to go green everyday and help be the change you want to see! There are many more ways and I would love to hear your ideas too, so leave a comment and share your tips!

Guest post by Scarlet of Moms Wear Your Tees Blog- a green mom giveaway blog. She is a stay at home mother to two children and an avid nature lover. She is also founder of >MWYT Social Media Marketing and Café Mom Group-Green Earth Green Home.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Airwear Contest!!

Hey Green Moms!

Back to school is approaching, and we want to hear about how you ensure a healthy, safe and successful school year for your kids! Do you plan out healthy lunch and snack options for your kids to bring to school? Do you take your children to the opthamologist for an eye exam over the summer and thoroughly research safe eyewear lenses? Do you teach your kids to wash their hands regularly to stay healthy? Share your tips and tricks with TwitterMoms and Me, for a chance to get a gift card and a voucher for Airwear lenses!

Food for Thought
Airwear would like to remind everyone of the importance of having your child’s eyes examined regularly and equally important is selecting safe, impact-resistant lenses made of polycarbonate. Learning is visual, so eye care is critical! Twenty-five percent of kids struggle with vision problems that impact learning. Eighty percent of everything a child learns in his first 12 years comes through his eyes. If corrective lenses are needed, select lighter, stronger and safer lenses such as Airwear. Their lenses offer safe, durable lenses for children, those who like to play sports and those who push their lenses to the limit. Please include some of this information in your post, so moms gearing up for back to school don't forget that lenses and eye exams are critical to setting your kids on the right path for this upcoming school year.

Airwear and TwitterMoms (and yours truly) is sponsoring an essay contest for consumers, encouraging parents and care-givers to share how they plan to help their kids live a healthy, safe and successful school year. Families can submit their thoughts by visiting One grand prize winner will be awarded $1,000, while 10 first prize winners will receive vouchers for Airwear lenses valued up to $400. On can learn more about Airwear’s eco-friendly practices and view more of Aldrich’s tips to ensure kids have a healthy, safe and successful school year. How it works: Create a post on your blog sharing ten tips for ensuring a healthy, safe and successful school year and install the campaign widget in the sidebar of your blog. Then follow the rest of the requirements below. The first fifty qualifying participants will receive a $25 e-gift card and three random winners will get an Airwear voucher with a redeemable value of up to $400!

Highlights from your posts, tweets and tips will be collected and featured on, and distributed across the web for all to see. The blogging program starts at 12:01am PST on July 20, 2010 and the submission window closes at 11:59pm PST on August 19, 2010. We will contact the first 50 qualifying bloggers and 3 randomly selected winners on or about August 23, 2010. Full terms and conditions are posted for your review at


The first fifty (50) qualifying participants will receive a $25 e-gift card. See Terms and Conditions here.

Three (3) random winners
will get an Airwear voucher with a redeemable value of up to $400! See Official Rules here.


To participate, we ask that you:

1. Create a blog post on your blog sharing "Ten Tips for Ensuring a Healthy, Safe and Successful School Year."

2. Participants must include the following disclaimer as a footnote of their post:

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Airwear blogging program, making me eligible to get a $25 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, visit

3. Install the campaign in the side bar of your blog.

Get widget here

4. Log on to your Twitter account,", and send a tweet including a link to your blog post with the hashtag #airwear.

5. Return to and post a comment on this discussion page in the comments section below, including an active link to your blog post and a link to your Twitter tweet. (You can click on the date/time link below your tweet to get the direct link to your tweet.)

6. Complete this address collection form


No purchase required to participate. You must be a legal resident of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia, have a personal blog and be a registered user of the and websites to participate and at least 18 years of age or older at time of submission. See Terms and Conditions.

About Airwear
Airwear polycarbonate lenses are a product of Essilor, the leading manufacturer of optical lenses in the United States. Airwear lenses are light, safe and embrace environmentally conscious manufacturing practices.

Airwear Lens Details:

Designed for comfort, performance, protection and style, Airwear lenses made of polycarbonate material are 43 percent lighter and 25% thinner than standard plastic lenses.
Block 100% of UVA/UVB rays Non- glare
Scratch resistant
Easy to clean

Airwear lenses are better than standard plastic. They are virtually unbreakable and lighter than regular lenses, and are the ultimate choice for every lifestyle for you or your child. Airwear lenses offer unparalleled protection. They are 12x stronger than standard plastic lenses with 100% UV protection. Many eye injuries are preventable. The American Academy of Ophthalmology reports that more than 100,000 people sustain eye injuries each year. Airwear lenses are tough and durable — so tough that NASA uses the same material to construct visors for astronauts. Furthermore, 12 to 15 million people annually become blind from cataracts -- and about 20% of those cases may be caused or compounded by sun exposure. Airwear lenses provide 100% protection from harmful UVA and UVB rays.

Feel the difference. You will see and feel the difference when wearing Airwear lenses. They are lighter and 25% thinner than regular lenses.

Airwear lenses are as versatile as they come. It’s all possible with Airwear lenses. Airwear lenses offer safe, durable lenses for you and your children, those who like to play sports and those who push their lenses to the limit.

Airwear lenses are compatible with the most trusted vision brands and designs, such as Varilux®, Crizal®, Xperio™, DEFINITY and Transitions.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Monday, July 5, 2010

Find Your Bliss this Summer!

Find Your Bliss this Summer!

Given that it is the day after our nation’s birthday and outdoor BBQ’s are a staple for my meal planning this week, I couldn’t resist but to share some of my bliss with you. Bliss, meaning perfect happiness and great joy, which is the ideal description for my new obsession: Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss frozen dessert-NO Chemicals, dyes or hormones. Anyone who knows me knows that I love ice cream; and the 4th of July is one day where I throw caution to the wind and eat all and any dessert, especially ice cream. The problem is, after the indulgence, I usually have side effects, like tummy trouble, even if I eat organic ice cream; and I’m sure some of you have reactions to dairy or soy products, that’s why I love this alternative. So, here’s my solution: Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss frozen dessert. What I love about this product is that there are several flavors to choose from and NO, they don’t all taste like coconut (if that’s an issue for you); from dark chocolate, vanilla and mint to cherry amaretto and fudge (and more)-they even have naked coconut or chocolate bars.

These frozen babies are vegan, gluten-free and soy-free, making them the perfect medium for dairy-free, soy-free “ice creams” and yogurt. Unlike ordinary frozen treats, Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss is a pure grown-up lavish treat. The texture is so rich and creamy, you’ll insist that you’re eating a premium dairy-based ice cream. Perfectly sweetened with agave nectar, your pallet will appreciate that this dessert doesn’t shout SWEET, instead, your sweet tooth will feel kissed with the right amount of satisfaction, giving you the chance to truly experience the other delicious flavors going on in your mouth. Remember, this dessert isn’t low fat, but its surely made with some mighty fine ingredients such as, Organic Coconut Milk, Organic Agave Syrup, Organic Dried Coconut, Organic Fair Trade Vanilla Extract, Organic Fair Trade Cocoa (this is for the Dark Chocolate selection), so indulge with confidence knowing that this treat will do your body good.

For 1/2 cup of Dark Chocolate Coconut Bliss
Calories: 220
Fat: 14g (12g Saturated, 0g Trans)
Carbohydrates: 23g
Fiber: 2g
Sugars: 15g (agave nectar)
Protein: 2g

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Protect Your Pups!

I love my two dogs! They are my little bebes and I couldn't imagine how sad I'd feel knowing something I fed them, made them sick. Here's some information you should be aware of:
Natural Balance Pet Food, a Pacoima, California based manufacturer of natural and organic pet foods, is voluntarily recalling its Sweet Potato & Chicken Dry Dog Food because it may be contaminated with salmonella.

The affected products, sold in 5- and 28-lb. bags, have a “Best By” date of June 17, 2011.

Recalled products were distributed in pet specialty stores in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

If you’ve purchased this product, return it to the store for a full refund. For additional information, call Natural Balance Pet Foods Customer Service at (800) 829-4493 (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PDT).

Green moms should know that salmonella can infect humans as well as pets and that infected pets may appear to be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. You pet may only have decreased appetite, but other symptoms include fever and abdominal pain. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Its important to always wash your hands after handling dog food, because if the food is tainted, the salmonella can be transferred to humans.

I often feed my dogs minced up pieces of chicken (that I cook for my family), steamed broccoli or rice, in addition to their dry dog food in attempt to support their diet with organic whenever possible.

We love our pets, they are a part of our family and we want to do what's best for them!

On a different note, please visit my new website and sign up for my FREE newsletter-awesome tips, ideas and recipes for the healthy food lover in you!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Let the Sun Shine On!

Today I received a delightful letter from one of my blog readers, named Barbara. She asked that I share this detailed article with you. She wrote it for you to read, learn and understand more about solar power!

Enjoy our guest blogger post, and thank you Barbara!

Here’s a simple way to learn the way solar panels work
What is solar power?

Solar power is radiant energy that is produced by the sun. Every single day the sun radiates, or sends out, an incredible amount of energy. The sun radiates more energy in a single second than people have used since the beginning of time!

The energy of the Sun derives from within the sun itself. Like other stars, the sun is mostly a big ball of gases––mostly hydrogen and helium atoms.

The hydrogen atoms in the sun’s core combine to create helium and generate energy in a process called nuclear fusion.

During nuclear fusion, the sun’s extremely high pressure and temperature cause hydrogen atoms to come apart and their nuclei (the central cores of the atoms) to fuse or combine. Four hydrogen nuclei fuse to become one helium atom. However the helium atom contains less mass than the four hydrogen atoms that fused. Some matter is lost during nuclear fusion. The lost matter is emitted into space as radiant energy.
It requires millions of years for the energy in the sun’s core to make its way to the solar surface, and somewhat over eight minutes to travel the 93 million miles to earth. The solar energy travels to the earth at a speed of 186,000 miles per second, the speed of sunshine.

Only a small portion of the energy radiated from the sun into space strikes the earth, one part in two billion. Yet this quantity of energy is enormous. On a daily basis enough energy strikes the usa to supply the nation’s energy needs for one and a half years!

Where does all this energy go?

About 15 percent of the sun’s energy that hits our planet is reflected back to space. Another 30 percent is used to evaporate water, which, lifted into the atmosphere, produces rainfall. Solar power is absorbed by plants, the land, and the oceans. The rest could be used to supply our energy needs.

Who invented solar power?

Humans have harnessed solar power for centuries. As early as the 7th century B.C., people used simple magnifying glasses to concentrate the light of the sun into beams so hot they'd cause wood to catch fire. Over a century ago in France, a scientist used heat from a solar collector to create steam to drive a steam engine. In the beginning of this century, scientists and engineers began researching ways to use solar technology in earnest. One important development was a remarkably efficient solar boiler introduced by Charles Greeley Abbott, an american astrophysicist, in 1936.
The solar water heater became popular at this time in Florida, California, and the Southwest. The industry started in the early 1920s and was in full swing prior to World War II. This growth lasted before mid-1950s when low-cost natural gas became the primary fuel for heating American homes.

The public and world governments remained largely indifferent to the possibilities of solar technology until the oil shortages of the 1970s. Today, people use solar power to heat buildings and water and also to generate electricity.

How we use solar power today?

Solar power can be used in several different ways, of course. There are 2 very basic forms of solar energy:

* Solar thermal energy collects the sun's warmth through 1 of 2 means: in water or in an anti-freeze (glycol) mixture.
* Solar photovoltaic energy converts the sun's radiation to usable electricity.

Listed here are the five most practical and popular methods solar energy is used:

1. Small portable solar photovoltaic systems. We have seen these used everywhere, from calculators to solar garden products. Portable units can be utilised for everything from RV appliances while single panel systems can be used traffic signs and remote monitoring stations.

2. Solar pool heating. Running water in direct circulation systems via a solar collector is an extremely practical method to heat water for your pool or hot spa.

3. Thermal glycol energy to heat water. In this method (indirect circulation), glycol is heated by the sun's rays and the heat is then transferred to water in a warm water tank. Using this method of collecting the sun's energy is more practical now than ever. In areas as far north as Edmonton, Alberta, solar thermal to heat water is economically sound. It can pay for itself in 3 years or less.

4. Integrating solar photovoltaic energy into your home or office power. In lots of parts on the planet, solar photovoltaics is an economically feasible solution to supplement the power of your home. In Japan, photovoltaics are competitive with other types of power. In the USA, new incentive programs make this form of solar power ever more viable in many states. A frequent and practical method of integrating solar energy into the power of your home or business is through the use of building integrated solar photovoltaics.

5. Large independent photovoltaic systems. If you have enough sun power at your site, you may be able to go off grid. It's also possible to integrate or hybridize your solar power system with wind power or other types of sustainable energy to stay 'off the grid.'

How do Photovoltaic panels work?

Silicon is mounted beneath non-reflective glass to produce photovoltaic panels. These panels collect photons from the sun, converting them into DC electric power. The power created then flows into an inverter. The inverter transforms the energy into basic voltage and AC electricity.

Pv cells are prepared with particular materials called semiconductors like silicon, which is presently the most generally used. When light hits the Photovoltaic cell, a certain share of it is absorbed inside the semiconductor material. This means that the energy of the absorbed light is given to the semiconductor.

The energy unfastens the electrons, permitting them to run freely. Solar power cells also have one or more electric fields that act to compel electrons unfastened by light absorption to flow in a specific direction. This flow of electrons is a current, and by introducing metal links on the top and bottom of the -Photovoltaic cell, the current can be drawn to use it externally.

Do you know the advantages and disadvantages of solar technology?

Solar Pro Arguments - Heating our homes with oil or natural gas or using electricity from power plants running with coal and oil is a reason for climatic change and climate disruption. Solar energy, on the contrary, is clean and environmentally-friendly. - Solar hot-water heaters require little maintenance, and their initial investment could be recovered within a relatively small amount of time.

- Solar hot-water heaters can work in almost any climate, even just in very cold ones. You just need to choose the right system for your climate: drainback, thermosyphon, batch-ICS, etc.

- Maintenance costs of solar powered systems are minimal and also the warranties large.

- Financial incentives (USA, Canada, European states…) can aid in eliminating the price of the first investment in solar technologies. The U.S. government, as an example, offers tax credits for solar systems certified by by the SRCC (Solar Rating and Certification Corporation), which amount to 30 percent of the investment (2009-2016 period).

Solar Cons Arguments

- The initial investment in Solar Water heaters or in Photovoltaic Electric Systems is higher than that required by conventional electric and gas heaters systems.

- The payback period of solar PV-electric systems is high, as well as those of solar space heating or solar cooling (only the solar hot water heating payback is short or relatively short).

- Solar water heating do not support a direct in conjunction with radiators (including baseboard ones).

- Some ac (solar space heating and the solar cooling systems) are expensive, and rather untested technologies: solar ac isn't, till now, a truly economical option.

- The efficiency of solar powered systems is rather dependent on sunlight resources. It's in colder climates, where heating or electricity needs are higher, that the efficiency is smaller.

About the writer - Barbara Young writes on RV solar kits in her personal hobby website Her work is related to helping people save energy using solar power to eliminate CO2 emissions and energy dependency.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Yesterday I purchased some huge organic blueberries from the market and I have to tell you, I felt like I was eating candy for breakfast this morning. I told my sons, “Back in the “olden days” these blue “babies” were like candy! You should try them.” Before I knew it, they were playing catch with large blueberries, popping them in their mouths, like “goals” at a hockey game!

With boys, nothing surprises me, but what does surprise me is how delicious this Food Flirt Friday Banana-Blueberry Mini Muffin recipe from The Stevia Cookbook is. With blueberries abound at every farmer’s market, take advantage of it-there’s nothing like locally grown fresh blueberries. Purchase extra pints and freeze them right away to capture their freshness for your wintertime recipes. You’ll thank me later!

*Important point about cooking with Stevia:

The most important thing to remember is not to use too much, which can result in excessive sweetness and an aftertaste. Always start with the exact amount called for in a recipe, or even a little less, then taste before you add any more. Stevia is delicious in almost any recipe using fruit or dairy products, but does present a bit of a challenge when used for baking, since it lacks sugar’s abilities to add texture, help soften batter, caramelize, enhance the browning process, and feed the fermentation of yeast. On the other hand, one of the excellent facets of stevia is that high temperatures do not affect its sweetening properties.


2 cups all-purpose flour (organic if available)
1 tablespoon baking soda
2 ripe, medium-sized bananas
1/4 teaspoon white Stevia Powder (can be purchase online or at most natural foods grocery stores and markets)
1 cup buttermilk, or kefir
8 tablespoons unsalted (sweet) butter, melted
2 large egg whites
1 cup fresh blueberries (or 1 cup thawed frozen blueberries)
1 cup chopped walnuts


Preheat the oven to 400*F
In a large bowl, sift together the four and baking soda, and set aside.
In a medium-sized bowl, mash the bananas with a fork until they reach a lumpy consistency. Add the stevia to the buttermilk, and combine with the bananas. Gently stir in the melted butter.
Using an electric hand-held mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff, then fold them into the banana mixture.
Add the banana mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until just mixed. Do not over stir. Gently fold in the blueberries and walnuts .
Scoop the batter into a lightly oiled or papered mini muffin tin. Fill each cup with a heaping tablespoon of batter, and bake for about 12 minutes. When toothpick comes out clean, muffins are done. Let cool and ENJOY! Makes about 24 muffins

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010

May I Have Your Attention (Deficit) Please?

Today the Pesticide Action Network reported on a new Harvard study showing that even tiny, allowable amounts of a common pesticide class can have dramatic effects on brain chemistry. The Associated Press reports that this research links pesticides with ADHD in children, specifically those used on fruits and vegetables. Experts believe the research is persuasive and should be taken "seriously..and that more research will needed to be to confirm the tie", states Virginia Rauh of Columbia University, who has studied prenatal exposure to pesticides and wasn't involved in the new study.

Since children are still growing; they are especially prone to health risks-based on their consumption versus their relative body weight to adults.

The study noted that 94% of children tested had pesticides detected in their urine and the children with the higher levels had increased chances of having ADHD, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, a common problem that causes students to have trouble in school. Exposure can come from consumption of pesticide-treated foods, breathing in the air that contains pesticide residue or swallowing water that has pesticide residue
"run off". This study shows that what children eat directly impacts their health, regardless of whether or not they were in direct contact with the farm using the pesticides.

A 2008 Emory University study found that in children who switched to organically grown fruits and vegetables, urine levels of pesticide compounds dropped to undetectable or close to undetectable levels.

Because of known dangers of pesticides in humans, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency limits how much residue can stay on food. "But the new study shows it's possible even tiny, allowable amounts of pesticide may affect brain chemistry," Rauh said.

Be a wise green mom consumer and choose clean foods for your children!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wat'er You're Options?

Do you leave the water running while brushing your teeth or washing your face? Although these routines might at first seem insignificant, water conservation is of growing concern. In fact, the U.S. General Accounting Office reports that at least 36 states are projecting water shortages between now and 2013.

“While green moms like us are interested in eco-friendlier lifestyles, many are unaware of the biggest ‘water wasters’ or how easy and affordable water saving solutions at home can be,” says Michael Schuster, president and founder of MJSI, Inc., an innovator and manufacturer of water conservation products.

A recent consumer poll* found that only 13 percent of adults believe toilet flushing uses the most water, when in fact, the American Waterworks Association says that toilets are by far the largest source of water consumption in the home.**

Schuster, a fourth generation plumber, recommends following these practical tips to help save water and money:

* Get Your Eco Fix(tures): In addition to shortening showers, save water by installing low-flow shower heads that restrict the flow to less than 2.5 gallons per minute. For example, GROHE WaterCare® shower heads and faucets save up to 30 percent of water, as compared to other standard shower heads.

* Fill It Up: Instead of running dishwashers or washing machines with just a few items, wait until you have full loads to maximize water use. Likewise, fill a pitcher of water to keep chilled in the refrigerator. You won’t waste tap water waiting for it to reach the desired cool, refreshing temperature.

* Green Your Throne: Reduce water use by up to 30 percent by installing the HydroRight™ Dual Flush Converter from MJSI, which allows less water to drain from the tank when flushing liquids and paper. Also try the HydroClean® Fill Valve which helps solve the two biggest reasons for water loss in toilets – incorrect calibration and undetected flapper leaks. The patented Mini-Valve™ enables easy adjustment of the water directed to the toilet bowl, and the TurbuJet™ signals leaky toilets with a gentle, audible “swoosh.”

* Landscape with a Greener Thumb: Reduce consumption outside of the home, too, by selecting native plants requiring less water and time for maintenance. Avoid evaporation by watering in the cool, morning hours and by surrounding vegetation with mulch, which helps hold moisture.

“As a plumber, I learned that water conservation begins at home,” said Schuster. “By following these practical tips, consumers can easily start preserving one of our greatest resources and significantly reduce their water and sewer bills.”

For more information, visit

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Shrimp DeJour

Today I want to share some really useful info about one of my favorite protein-rich food favorites: Shrimp! Whenever we go out, I always order shrimp. It just seems like such an indulgence, however, after reading this information, you'll see why shrimp is actually a good everyday protein source!

Research reveals that shrimp falls far short of gaining its fair share of attention in America’s kitchens. The per capita consumption of seafood is less than ½ the USDA recommended amount. In 2008, Americans consumed only 16 lbs. of fish and shellfish per person versus a whopping 62.7 pounds of beef and 83.4 pounds of broilers (chicken raised specifically for consumption). Clearly we need to talk more about the huge benefits of shrimp as a nutrition powerhouse!

As you may already be aware, the calorie-for-calorie benefits of shrimp are unmatched. A five ounce serving of shrimp (with no sauce or coating) has just 83 calories and 1 gram of fat, and delivers more than twice as much iron and less than 1/3 the amount of saturated fat found in the leanest cuts of beef. It also provides more than 20 grams of protein per serving – which is nearly 50% of the recommended daily amount for a 35-year-old female! It’s convenient, nutritious and delicious, and with a price per pound similar to many cuts of chicken and beef, it’s more affordable than ever.

This green mom approves and recommends shrimp at your next meal! Here's a super e-z shrimp recipe:


Number of Servings: 4

Ingredients (shrimp and salad):

1 lb OLA! Raw Peeled & Deveined Shrimp

2 garlic cloves (minced)

4 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 lb mixed greens

1 ripe avocado cut in slices

1 orange, peeled and cut in slices

1 jicama, peeled and cut Julianne style

1 red pepper cut Julianne style

(Lime Cilantro Dressing):

2 limes (juice)

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup olive oil

pinch oregano

Shrimp: Whisk together garlic and olive oil in large bowl. Add Shrimp and toss to coat. Marinate 1 hour. Grill Shrimp 3 minutes on each side. Set aside.

Dressing: Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend on low speed until smooth.

Salad: Toss together mixed greens, avocado, orange slices, jicama, red pepper and 1/2 of the lime-cilantro dressing.

To serve: Divide salad on 4 plates and place 4 grilled shrimp on top of each salad. Drizzle remaining lime-cilantro dressing over top of shrimp.

Recipe and Image Courtesy of: The Shrimp Council and Sea Port Products Corporation

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Earth Day Green Product Media Tour

Well, it's just over a week until Earth Day and I have decided to participate in a national media tour on Wednesday, April 14th, to promote some interesting green products.

Here's a quick overview of this year's choices. Once I get a copy of one of the interviews, I'll add it to my next blog post!

echoice DayLighting Systems from Solatube International,
This lighting system offers the beauty of outside light "inside" your home by using their system to transfer sunlight from the roof of your home down a highly reflectable tube to deliver daylight into the dark rooms of your house! Very Cool!

Eco-Friendly Carpet by Mohawk's StartStrand with Dupont Sorona,
It's one of the most eco-friendly flooring for your home. Made from renewable resources, like sugar from corn, this carpet also boasts a lifetime stain resistant fibers, as well.

Tide Coldwater laundry detergent,

This detergent is specially formulated to help remove challenging stains in a cold water wash and it is the first detergent to receive the new Green GoodHousekeeping Seal. Yay!

Rainbird Irrigation Controler, This is no regular sprikler system for your garden and yard. This system actually calculates how much water your yard and garden needs and then calculates historical and real time weather data to ensure that you conserve up to 80% of your water.

Bic Ecolutions ReAction Ball Pen,
This pen is made from 75% recycled plastic and is perfect for older students; it features the easy-glide system ink technology which provides up to 45% smoother writing compared to Bic's other roll ball pens.

Bic Ecolutions Wite-Out Brand Mini Correction Tape is made from 51% recycled plastic and is almost 20 feet long for a real eco-savings.

Remember Earth Day is every day for the Green Mom!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sugar is a Spice that Isn't Too Nice!

Ok, I know sugar isn't really a spice, but it rhymed for the the title.

Seriously, sugar directly affects your power levels-and not in a good way. Oh sure, it pops you up quickly, but it also lets you down even quicker. The average American consumes roughly two-three pounds of some form of sugar each week; it’s easy to see why when you consider that sugar lurks in breads, breakfast cereals, mayonnaise, peanut butter, ketchup, spaghetti sauce, and the list goes on and on. We have an epidemic of sugar addictions and cravings in this country. It seems, when we feel stress in our life, we often consume more sugar. When other aspects in your diet or life are imbalanced, such as purpose, connection to others or movement, it shows up in sugar cravings; when we are not happy with another aspect of our life, sugar seems to fix it all, temporarily.

Your Diet Soda is Making Your FAT!!
A University of Texas Health Science Center survey in 2005 found that people who drink diet soft drinks may actually gain weight; in that study, for every can of diet soda people consumed each day, there was a 41% increased risk of being overweight.

Other forms of sugar are carbohydrate both simple and complex. Made up of sugar, simple carbohydrates are completely stripped of all fiber, minerals and nutrients, such as candy, pasta, bread, cookies, and processed boxed foods. It’s like a pure injection of sugar in the body, with a spike in blood sugar then a sudden drop. When you eat sugar, it pulls on the nutrients and mineral reserves that are currently in your body, which really pulls your power from you. If a product can sit on a shelf for a long time, it most likely will have sugar in it. Also, the more advertising a food has, most likely there is sugar in it. When was the last time you saw an ad for carrots or broccoli?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

12 Safest Non-Organic Foods

The Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization that advocates for policies that protect global and individual health, produces the Shoppers' Guide to Pesticides in Produce. It is based on the results of nearly 43,000 pesticide tests.

Organic fruits and vegetables are by definition grown without the use of pesticides. But some find the expense of organic foods prohibitive.

Of the 43 different fruit and vegetable categories in the Guide to Pesticides, the following twelve foods had the lowest pesticide load when conventionally grown. Consequently, they are the safest conventionally grown crops to consume:

* Broccoli
* Eggplant
* Cabbage
* Banana
* Kiwi
* Asparagus
* Sweet peas (frozen)
* Mango
* Pineapple
* Sweet corn (frozen)
* Avocado
* Onion

* July 30, 2008; * Printable Shopper’s Guide

Monday, February 22, 2010

Casteel Coffee Celebrates Grand Opening of new Chicago Cafe with Week of Promotions

Hey Green Moms, check this out if you're in Chicago!

Renowned for its "fresh from our roaster to your cup" quality, Casteel Coffee of Evanston announces a new cafe site in the famed Aqua building on Columbus in Chicago with a week of special promotions February 22 through February 26, with the Grand Opening Day on February 25.

Casteel Coffee @ Aqua offers freshly roasted coffee, baked goods, sandwiches and paninis Monday through Friday from 6AM to 5PM and Saturdays and Sundays from 7AM to 4PM. Carol Harris, founder and owner of Casteel Coffee emphasizes, "At Casteel, our artisan approach to coffee provides a difference that our customers have appreciated for more than a decade in Evanston, so we are pleased and proud to offer another cafe site, now in downtown Chicago."

As part of the week long celebration, Casteel Coffee @ Aqua's Grand Opening Day is Thursday, February 25. From 8AM to 11AM, customers will be treated to a Fair Trade market of tastes and treats: bakery and Mariage Freres tea product samples, Fair Trade displays, special 20% off on all World of Good purchases, free coffee travel mugs ($8 value) with coffee drink purchase and live music. Roastmaster Joshua Millman will be on site to offer free coffee tastings and roasting information.

February 22, Monday through Friday, Casteel @ Aqua welcomes all to the new site at 225 N Columbus with:

Monday: $1 Small Lattes
Tuesday: Free Small Drip Coffee with purchase of any baked good
Wednesday: Free Soft Drink with purchase of any sandwich or panini
Thursday: Grand Opening Thank you--Free Stainless Travel Mug ($8 value) with purchase of any coffee drink (while supplies last, one per customer) and 20% off all World of Good purchases
Friday: 25% off Fair Trade Guatemala at $9 per lb per lb special price

With an eco friendly design and easy to find location at 225 N Columbus, Casteel @ Aqua is a destination coffee cafe with the added value of high speed wifi. The cafe offers fair trade coffees as part of its corporate mission to protect and support coffee farmers, and is an active community supporter, with outreach to schools, community centers, religious organizations and not for profit events.

For more information, visit

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Demand Healthy Funding Boost for Child Nutrition Act

Renegade Lunch Lady launches letter-writing campaign: One More Dollar for Healthy School Food

The Child Nutrition Act, slated for reauthorization this year, serves up a rare opportunity for healthier funding of school lunches. Chef Ann Cooper, aka the Renegade Lunch Lady, in partnership with Slow Food USA, Roots of Change, and Healthy Schools Campaign, is rallying a million moms and dads to write Congress demanding an additional subsidy of $1 per lunch.

Cooper is providing templates of letters requesting a budget increase to underwrite real (not highly processed) food for school kids: fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, clean proteins and natural dairy products, with a priority on regionally produced food. This letter-writing campaign launches on the heels of the Obama administration's proposed $1 billion budget increase for school lunch subsidies. Cooper and her allies say this increase is not enough to feed our children well.

"We have the opportunity to make a positive impact and teach children about healthy food choices, which will influence their long-term health," said Cooper. "The Child Nutrition Act has not changed in 15 years and the time to help 31 million schoolchildren is now."

The Child Nutrition Act, reauthorized every five years, pays $12 billion to feed breakfast and lunch to schoolchildren, averaging only $2.68 per day for each child. Cooper and numerous nonprofit organizations and health-conscious companies are calling for an increase in funding - a dollar a day per student - dedicated 100 percent to food that promotes better health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, obesity is the most commonly diagnosed medical condition of childhood and is a risk factor for many other diseases, including high blood pressure, asthma and type 2 diabetes.

Constituents can find the advocacy letter template at and view informational videos at and

Friday, January 29, 2010

Supe Supe Super Bowl Green

I love the Super Bowl. Maybe it's because I have three sons, or maybe it's because I have such cherished memories of watching the Super Bowl with my husband when we were dating (back when the Giants were the team to watch!).

Now, as a Green Mom, I'm still enjoying the Super Bowl but with a eco-twist. I put together some ideas for you to enjoy your get together this year, guilt-free-and-earth-friendly!

When Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints square off with Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts next Sunday, February 7, 2010, you want to have your party packed with good friends, good food and plenty of taking-care-of-the-planet food and drink. When I define something as green, it goes like this: locally made/produced/manufactured=less travel time, hence kinder on the environment, organic or made without harmful preservative, chemicals, pesticides or dyes and recycle-able or biodegradable. Now, there are other options, but for today, that's what we're going to stick with.

Here are some of my suggestions:


-Send out electronic invites or emails; about 1/3 of all household waste is paper-cut back on invites and save some trees
-Using sustainable serving wares is a great way to make your party green and still convenient and functional. In other words, you want the convenience of using disposables, but you don’t want to create a ton of waste. Chicago-based Solo Cup recently rolled out a line of plates, bowls and containers called Bare by Solo, which are made from compostable, renewable, or recyclable materials. The square plates, for example, are made from renewable sugarcane, and the clear cups are made with 20% post-consumer recycled plastic and are recyclable themselves.
-Don’t buy decorations you’ll use once and throw away, instead display your husband’s jerseys, team shirts, hats, footballs and any sports paraphernalia you have hanging around the house. It sets the mood for football with zero waste!


-No Super Bowl party is complete without tasty beverages, including beer! So why not buy local brands? Buying local in kinder to Mother Earth, as the products don’t have to ship across country just to make it to your Super Bowl bash.

Goose Island beer is not only brewed locally, but also it is a brand that promotes a sustainable lifestyle and has sustainable practices. All of its brewing facilities use renewable energy and the majority of its packaging is from local vendors who use recycled materials too.

Going along with the buy local theme, Wild Blossom is Chicago's first winery and Illinois’ only meadery on the Northern Illinois Wine Trail. The company uses local honey (produced from local honey bees that collect nectar from the prairies of Illinois and the sand dunes of Lake Michigan) and fruits. They also do tours of their winery. Very cool! Wine tastes delicious too.


A Super Bowl party can be fun – and healthy too! Here are some regional food companies that can help make your party more eco-friendly… and healthier too!

-Amylu’s Chicken Sausage Chili – Below I posted a recipe using Amylu’s chicken sausage. I simply love this brand (which is found at Whole Foods Market) because it is made from skinless, all natural chicken. It’s fresh, never frozen, adding a healthy spin for your party.
-Chef Earl’s Dips: These fantastic dips are found locally at local Whole Foods Market stores and are healthier dip options vs. your traditional ranch and sour cream based dips. The fresh ingredients used in the dips are all locally grown/made (no artificial ingredients). All natural and smooth unlike factory made hummuses. She will be showcasing both the Jardinière Hummus (pronounced Jar-din-air) hummus made with spicy Jardinière and made with freshly cooked garbanzo beans (garbanzo bean consumption in the US increased by 19% in 2009). You should also try the Cucumber Dill Hummus (made with fresh cucumbers and dill). A fresh departure from your everyday bland dips. Great with veggie plates, pita bread or even chips!
-Jamie’s Flour Tortilla Chips are a little gem that I discovered at the Food Stuffs store in Glenview. There are no preservatives or trans fats and the chips are handmade by Jamie herself here in Chicago and are a great addition to your green Super Bowl party. It has been said that Jamie’s chips are so addicting, you’ll eat the whole bag…have a taste and you can see for yourself.


Clean up without a lot of excess waste – here are some easy tips:

-If you used plastic utensils, you can hand wash them or even run them in your dishwasher. No need to throw them away. Better yet, just use regular silverware. Easier to clean up than plates and you do a small part to be a little greener.
-If you ordered pizza like most party-goers, did you know you can recycle the pizza box? Just tear off the greasy part and recycle the rest.
-Make sure you recycle or compost your paper plates and cups if possible. Throw away as little as possible.
-Remember to use recycled paper towels and napkins and biodegradable trash bags to keep your party green through and through.

Sausages by Amylu Chicken Sausage Chili
Serves 6-8

4 links Sausages by Amylu Gourmet Andouille Chicken Sausage
1 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 large Onion, chopped (frozen diced works great, too!)
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
4 oz. Mushrooms, quartered
2 cans Black beans, drained, rinsed
16-oz. can Chicken broth
14.5-oz. can Diced tomatoes, drained
2 Tbsp. Tomato paste
1 Chipotle pepper, seeded and diced
1/4 cup Cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. Dried oregano
1 tsp. Ground cumin
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. White pepper

Optional Garnishes:
2 Green onions, sliced
2 Tbsp. Green or black olives, sliced
2 Tbsp. Cilantro, finely chopped
Shredded Cheddar cheese and/or sour cream

Dice Sausages by Amylu Andouille Chicken sausage into bite size chunks.
Heat oil in a large dutch-oven or pot; sauté onions, garlic, jalapeño; cook 5 minutes.
Add diced Chicken Sausage and mushrooms; cook about 5 minutes (until lightly browned).
Add beans, broth, tomatoes, tomato paste and herbs; heat to a boil.
Reduce heat to low; simmer until vegetables are tender about 10-15 minutes.

Get Your Game On!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

We Love You Amylu

Being a green mom sometimes has it's challenges. Sure, I could easily slap some lunch meat between two slices of over processed bread with processed cheese and call it a day for my kids' meals, but I am really trying to make a difference in their health and well being. When their friends are constantly getting sick, my kids are continually taking their probiotic and fish oil supplements and staying healthy. I'm no better than any other mom, but I do try to take advice from everyone I can (who makes sense and has experience in the area of interest) and realize that I don't know it all and there's always room for improvement.

Sometimes it can get tricky feeding my sons healthy food, without them complaining that it tastes, "healthy". Years ago, I came across a brand of poultry, gluten-free products that taste amazing!Sausages by Amylu are a line of intensely flavored, lean and nutritious gourmet chicken sausages. High in protein, low in fat and carbs, they make delicious entrees. I sometimes use as them as ingredients to enhance appetizers, salads, soups or pastas.

What I love about the variety of Sausages by Amylu is that they are conveniently fully-cooked, making them quick and easy to prepare. Because they are GLUTEN-FREE, 100% ALL-NATURAL, made with 100% FRESH, boneless, skinless chicken breast and thigh meat, I know my kids will scarf them down without a "food fight". As a Green Mom, I'm glad that that there are no nitrates, preservatives, added MSG or anything artificial in the any of their products.

My favorite mid-day mom snack: Amylu's Apple & Maple Chicken Sausage sliced lengthwise and heated up (for a fast healthy snack) in the toaster oven, served with a small slice of local Wisconsin cheddar cheese and sliced apples! Power mom lunch including, protein, healthy fat and a touch of sweetness and salt.

A little bit about the founder of Amylu sausages:

Owner and CEO, Amylu Kurzawski is no stranger to the sausage business. Established in 1924 as Leon’s Sausage Company by her grandfather Leon Tiahnybik, ATK Foods is a third-generation family-owned and operated food products company. In 1922, Slotkowski Sausage, famous in Chicago for its history of producing high quality sausage products in the old-world tradition, was added to the company’s portfolio of brands. After two years of R&D, Sausages by Amylu gourmet all-natural chicken sausages was launched in 1994 offering consumers delicious on-trend flavors and healthy alternative to pork/beef sausages. “We try to keep us with the latest food and lifestyle trends – and apply them to our products”, says Amylu. “That’s why my sausages are flavorful, lean, convenient and versatile – exactly what today’s consumers are looking for in sausage products.”

I'd love to meet Amylu sometime and thank her!

For you Chicagoland moms, you can find Sausages by Amylu at Jewel-Osco, Whole Foods, Dominick’s, Treasure Island, Sunset Foods, Grand Food Centers, Olivia’s Market and Peapod.

To find out more, find locations near you or to SHOP ONLINE click here.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Preserve the Planet

I know, you're busy, so am I, but are you taking the time to protect the planet? Did you know every small step you make towards reducing, reusing and recycling really adds up? The other day, I found my son's used plastic water bottle in the regular trash--I went crazy! "WHAT is THIS doing in the trash? Innocently, my son said, "I thought that was the recycled trash" Sure, I thought-hmmm. "OK, just rinse it out and put it in the right container." Now, why is it that I get so upset about this? Well, for one, it is SO easy to recycle and two, it IS SO EASY to recycle.

Here's the skinny, you put your #5 plastic recycle-ables into the blue bin (or in our house, it's a blue bag taken to our building's big recycle center), and the cycle begins. Companies like Preserve Products (Made in the USA, mind you)then take the recycled "stuff" and make some pretty snappy products that you can use, over and over again. Check out this video clip to find out more, then, hop on over to and become a pro!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Seeing Green in 2010

With much resistance, I took down my holiday decorations this weekend; and with new resolve I decided to make my list of resolutions. It's quite a list, as always, but usually by mid June or July, I seem to notch most of them off of my list. I'm hoping this year is the same.

I have a lot of energy and I'm always looking for the next learning adventure. I don't claim to know it all, but I'm always willing to listen and learn and become a better person. I do feel a ubiquitous "green" movement in the air. It's no secret that "green" is the new black but will this trend continue throughout the year, decade and century? I sure hope so.

With your support and open mind to all that is green, together we can make the small steps toward a more sustainable planet. Let's resolve to use less, recycle more and reuse what we can. That's all that's asked of you. Then, once that becomes a walk in the park, do more. Read all that you can on the subject and then pay it forward.

For the next few months I will be working on my book about living a healthy, happy green life and I will be starting up my radio show again in February--and yes, these are on my list of to-dos. I will keep you informed of all the updates and happenings as they develop. Thank you for reading my blog and I invite you to come back soon.

Here is a link to my most recent TV appearance in Orlando on the Daily Buzz morning show. I have to tell you, the hosts were such a ball! So much so that right before we went on air, they told some really silly jokes, making me laugh--very hard. So, when you see me chuckling in the clip, you'll know why! We all need more laughter in our lives, so why not on national television!

Happy 2010!