Environment · Healthy Living · Hot Topic

Water: The Most Important Nutrient 

~Since we were young we’ve been told how important water is to the Earth as well as the human body. The Earth is covered by 71% water. Our bodies are composed of approximately 72% water, with the brain over 75%. That’s a lot of water! Even in vet tech school, one of my instructors drilled it into my brain that water is the most important nutrient, so much so he made it a test question. I’m not kidding, he actually did…

But he was absolutely right! Water is used for everything from circulation to skin health, flushing out toxins and even breathing. And of course we’ve had this fact ingrained into our minds: we need to drink 8 glasses of water a day. But everyone’s version of a glass is totally different, so how do you know that you’re staying properly hydrated? Dr. Edward Group, founder of Global Healing Center, says that 8 glasses is an absolute minimum. He says that a better way to calculate how much you should be drinking is to take your body weight and divide it in half, which is how many ounces of water you should be drinking per day. (His example: 180# / 2 = 90 ounces of water.)

Let’s crunch some numbers: 180/2=90, there is 8oz in a cup, that’s about 11 cups of water per day. I don’t know about you, but I drink at least 1 liter of water per day, sometimes 2 when I’m at work. I have one of those Camelbak water bottles that has the measurements on the side of the bottle to keep track on how much I’m drinking. I wasn’t a big water drinker back in the day, I usually opted for soda instead. Then I started drinking 2-3 cans a day, feeling sluggish and unhealthy. It wasn’t until a year or two when I cut down on my soda consumption and switched to water. Now I only drink soda occasionally or when I go out to eat.

Water is important to all of us.

We should do everything in our power to protect it and make it easier for everyone to access. I’m talking to you government people, the people of Flint, Michigan have been fighting for clean drinking water for 3 years too long. Water is a basic human right and necessary for life.

 

Environment · healthy eating · Healthy Living · organic · vegan · veggies

Return to VeggieFest: 2017 edition

~Last year I discovered VeggieFest, a unique lifestyle festival honoring those who have the courage to refrain from meat. This time around I wanted to take my boyfriend with me to share in the experience. Truth be told, it didn’t go as well as I had imagined.

The ran fell on our proverbial  parade (it was a really nice day, not a cloud in the sky) in the form of parking. It was absolutely horrendous. When we had approached the venue, cars snaked around the lots back and forth desperate to find a spot. Unfortunately we got stuck in one of the coils and by the time we made it to the parking garage and found a spot, almost an hour had passed. Nevertheless, I was still trying to make this a positive experience for the both of us.

Once we got to the grounds where the festival was held, it was nothing but tents and a massive crowed of people sprawled before us. I immediately bee-lined for the international food court, which is what I was most looking forward to. You pay for food at the food court in the form of food tickets, where the exchange was $1= 1 ticket. I bought $20 worth of tickets, hoping to try a few different things, especially stuff I didn’t try or get the chance to try last year.

The first thing I tried as soy beef & broccoli with noodles and veggies for 6 tickets from a Chinese stand. It must have been popular because there was a long line. And for good reason because it was delicious! Even though I knew it wasn’t beef, it tasted just like beef! My boyfriend thought it was pretty tasty too, mentioning that he liked the beef alternative BETTER! But I still think he’ll stay a carnivore ;P

Next was a selection of his choosing: veggie burgers. I’ve had a few veggie burgers in the past (mostly at the cafeteria in college) and they weren’t that great, so I was a little on the fence about it. But that too turned out to be delicious!

After we ate our way around the food court we wandered around the rest of the festival peering at the different vendor’s tents while live music played in the background. One thing I noticed was really popular among festival goers was boxed water. Essentially it was purified water in a carton rather than a plastic bottle to be more environmentally conscious. I liked the idea of it, and it was refreshing. I wondered where i could find it?

Unlike last year, I only purchased a bottle of peppermint oil from the doTERRA vendor. I was also disappointed to find that the people selling the mango nectar and Doug & Katia from Waterfall Glen weren’t at the festival.

While this year may not have been as fun as last year, VeggieFest is still something I would definitely check out and recommend to anyone who is either vegetarian, vegan or wants to do something fun and free (free admission and parking!)

 

Environment · Healthy Living · Hot Topic

Pitch the Plastic

** Some of the images in this post may be disturbing to some readers. Viewer discretion is advised**

~I was originally planning to post this on Earth Day, but something of this magnitude shouldn’t be reserved for just one day. It’s astonishing how reliant we’ve become on plastic, so much so that Americans throw out 185 pounds of plastic a year. And it isn’t just in America: there is an average of 35 BILLION plastic water bottles thrown away a year, but only 25% of those actually get recycled…

If you were brave enough to do the math, it ends up being 8,750,000,000 bottles that actually get recycled. But what about the other 26,250,000,000?? They either end up sitting in landfills for the rest of eternity or…

plastic-bird

 inside the stomachs of birds, seals, turtles or other marine life. As intelligent as these creatures are, a turtle can’t always decipher between a jellyfish and a plastic bag. And the result is saddening

plastic turtle

There are many steps we can take to turn this horrible phenomenon into a preventable measure. France and Germany are already a step ahead of us where they’ve banned plastic plates and cutlery.

But a small group of women from Union City, Tennessee are taking things to a new level of sustainability. Affectionately referred to as “The Bag Ladies”, these women take plastic bags and turn them into sleeping mats for the homeless and victims of natural disasters.

It takes about 600-700 bags to make 1 mat, in September 2016 they’ve made 88 mats, that’s 52,000 plastic bags they’re recycled!! Way to go ladies!

Since I can’t knit, I’m saving plastic in my own ways.

*Using a reusable water bottle instead of plastic ones
*Recycling
*Taking a reusable canvas bag to farmer’s markets and grocery stores
*If I forget to bring a canvas bag, I ask the bagger at the grocery store to give me paper bags.
*Using paper plates and bringing my own utensils to work for lunch
*Signing CARE’s petition to ban plastic bags in my town and neighboring towns

If you care about animals and the environment as much as I do, take these steps (if you aren’t already) to make the Earth a better place to live for animals and humans alike and PITCH THE PLASTIC!

*Bag Ladies (source):  http://www.wpsdlocal6.com/story/33059644/i-am-local-6-bag-ladies-make-plastic-bags-into-beds-for-homeless

*For more information about CARE, find them on Facebook: Citizen Against Ruining the Environment -CARE
or e-mail them at carelockport@yahoo.com*

Environment · Healthy Living

Bluestem Earth Festival 2017

~Yesterday I attended a rather interesting and informative festival of sorts. The Bluestem Earth Festival celebrates and brings attention to various environmental issues & topics such as recycling, water conservation, fair trade and endangered species. One group that I had a particular interest in was Citizens Against Ruining the Environment (CARE). They had various flyers on the table which included information about the group itself as well as information regarding organic farming, GMOs and steps needed to be taken about banning the use of plastic bags.

The woman whom I spoke with, Jenifer, was very kind and happy that I had shared a similar interest of caring for the environment. We had first discussed bees and what flowers to plant to attract them. I’m planning to plant bee balm and Echinacea later this summer. She said that bee balm is a beautiful plant and that bees especially love them. I told her about the blog and that I’m planning to blog about bees and what we can do to protect them. I gave her my card and exchanged friendly goodbyes, not before I signed a petition to ban plastic bags in the Joliet area and signed up for their volunteer list.

There were also educational workshops and wellness activities such as chiropractic care and the more unusual ear acupuncture. Since I have a huge needle phobia I stood clear of that lol. But nestled in that wellness corner was a woman named Amber who performs reiki on animals. I don’t know that much about reiki to begin with, but I get the gist of it.  She told me a little about what goes into it and I was happy with how well the animals responded to it. I worked with a veterinarian that was a certified acupuncture and how I got to work with her during acupuncture treatments. It was seriously amazing and I really miss working with her! Since I’ve seen first hand that Eastern medicine works well on animals, I’m going to try to push for more utilization of these methods at work. Amber was very encouraging of my goal and applauded me for paving the way and being an advocate for the animals.

Last but not least, the goodies I bought! There was a stand selling natural soaps and body products (lotions, shower gel, deodorant, etc) where I purchased 2 tubes of chapstick (sweet citrus and tea tree & peppermint) and a small bottle of Moroccan argon oil. But my favorite thing I got was an essential oil diffuser necklace! It had a small black lava rock (where you place the oil, it’s very porous) and perched atop it was a small pearly white stone, all wrapped together in copper wire. It was so beautiful that I couldn’t leave the festival without it. Now the only question is which oils will I use first!

Environment · healthy eating · Healthy Living · Hot Topic · organic

Everyone deserves a Fair Trade

~The concept of Fair Trade seems like common sense, at least to me it does. When you buy certain products with the Fair Trade symbol, producers in developing countries are paid a fair wage and provided a safe working environment. I first learned of the Fair Trade concept years ago at church of all places. Before Mass ended, someone would come up to the podium and share announcements with the congregation, such as the goings on at the school, Knights of Columbus events, and during certain times of the year, they would sell Fair Trade coffee and chocolate. At the time, I didn’t know what Fair Trade meant, I just wanted some chocolate haha. But that planted the seed in my mind that would sprout many years later.

I had done some research on the topic and thought, “Why doesn’t everyone do this? It doesn’t seem that hard to treat people fairly as they cultivate some our most widely used products.” According to Fair Trade International, the most widely traded products in the world include coffee, tea, cocoa & chocolate, handmade crafts, fresh fruit, flowers and gold. In fact, Fair Trade is established in over 90 countries!

Perhaps my favorite Fair Trade item I’ve come across is coffee. I am a coffee addict, and I have no shame admitting to that! I need coffee to function, as most of us do haha. When I had shopped on Thrive Market, they had a selection of Fair Trade items, most of which were coffee. The majority of the coffee selections were whole bean, and I don’t have a coffee grinder so that option was out. However, there was one company that made coffee in the form of K-Cups! And the cups are 100% biodegradable and compostable! 😀
The company was called Ethical Bean Coffee (very fitting). I purchased a box of medium roast K-Cups and eagerly awaited their arrival. Once they came, immediately I made a cup and enveloped myself in its exotic aroma and taste. It tasted like most medium roasts would, only better, because I knew I was making a difference in someone’s life and helping them prosper due to my coffee habit.

And I just learned that Starbucks’ Italian roast is made from Fair Trade beans! I’ll have to get my hands on it soon. Starbucks isn’t the only mainstream company to use Fair Trade products: Larabar uses Fair Trade chocolate in a few of its bars, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream uses Fair Trade bananas, sugar, vanilla and chocolate in some of their quirky flavors, and Cadbury uses Fair Trade chocolate. Easter will be here before you know it, so when it’s time to fill up those Easter baskets, fill them with Cadbury chocolate eggs. The Easter Bunny would be proud of you supporting Fair Trade 😉

*For more information about Fair Trade, visit fairtrade.net & fairtradeusa.org*