Archive for April, 2009

Celebrate Earth Day: 10 Things You Can Do to Make the World a Better Place!

Although I work with clients and my main focus is helping them with integrating nutrition, exercise and less stress in their lives, all of these ideas are really connected with how we see ourselves and our place in the world! On April 22nd, we will celebrate Earth Day, which originally began in 1970 as a way to promote the ideas of ecology, encourage respect for our environment and highlight the growing concern for our soil, air and water. With the growing pollution levels and toxins in our cleaning products, we should also look at how our choices are affecting our lives and those of our children!

Each and every one of us is connected to this great earth that we live on and the way we care about ourselves is reflected in the way we take care of the earth. We are just caretakers of this earth for our children and there are several very small changes that we can do to make a big difference!

1 ) Take the time to recycle- and get your whole family involved! In our house, we have a place for newspapers and another for recycled bottles and cartons. Our children are made responsible for putting the empty containers into the correct recycling bins, and have great fun doing it! Gracious Home, Bed Bath and Beyond and Container Store have several easy and stylish products to chose from.

2 ) Use one napkin when you get your morning coffee and bagel or get take out! If ordering in, request that the restaurant delivering to you not include napkins, plastic utensils or chopsticks. We use 2,200 paper napkins per year. If we all gave up one napkin a day, we could save a billion pounds of paper waste!

3 ) Change the light bulbs in your house to compact fluorescent light bulbs, which are 75% more energy-efficient than regular ones. If we all switched just one regular light bulb for a fluorescent one, we could prevent more than 30 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions and conserve enough energy to light up more than 15 million homes in an entire year. Although they do cost more, you end up saving more money on your electric bill. It is like putting money in the bank and gaining interest- and is beneficial for the environment! It goes without saying that you should turn off lights when you leave the room.

4 ) Unplug electronics from wall. Get a surge protector for your computer, printer, phone chargers, tv and all other electronics and turn it off when you leave the house or go to bed at night! Smart Power Strip is one brand that I would recommend.

5 ) Bring your own reusable bag when you go shopping. 385 billion plastic bags are used and discarded every year in the United States and can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade in landfills. By using our own bags when we shop, we can make a difference!

6 ) Don’t use products that contain harsh chemicals and bleach. These products are very bad for the health of your and your family, and also very bad for the environment! There are several products on the market that are made of natural ingredient such as Seventh Generation, Shaklee and Mrs. Meyers Clean.

7 ) Sign-up for Greendimes, an organization that will cut down 70-90 % of your junk mail, which requires an estimated 100 million trees and 20 billion gallons of water every year. They also plant a tree a month for every member.

8 ) Order tap water when you are in a restaurant. Many restaurants in the city such as the hip Waverly Inn, Per Se, El Buco, Del Posto, Bobo and San Domenico have stopped serving bottled water. Some have even added filtration systems to their restaurants to serve “politically correct” water. It takes up to 41 million barrels of oil a year to make, transport and refrigerate bottles and a staggering 30 million plastic water containers end up in landfills every day.

9 ) Reduce your intake of beef. Methane in the earth’s atmosphere has nearly doubled in the past 200 years. According to the Worldwatch Institute, 15-20% of global methane emissions come from livestock. John Robbins, author of The Food Revolution and Diet for a New America, says that methane is 24 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, the culprit normally at the center of global warming discussions.

10 ) And, lastly, stop buying and drinking from plastic disposable water bottles and buy a reusable aluminum or plastic water bottle and keep refilling it throughout the day. Purchase a Brita or another in-home filtration system and drink tap water. There is one bottle on the market that is a corn-based water bottle that has a built in filter and is reusable. Send your children to the park with them and let them refill their bottles instead of buying them from the park (and coming home with half emptied bottles that you just throw away!)

Spinach Isn’t Just for Popeye

This month I am focusing on all things green and healthy! Many of us may have grown up with a negative view of mushy, soggy spinach. But banish it no longer! Spinach is delicious raw as a salad, grilled or sautéed as a side dish, or even served atop pasta. Spinach is one of my world’s favorite foods and one that everyone should add to their diets!

Not only is spinach high in iron, fiber, and thedisease fighting antioxidant alpha-lipoic acidbut it is also high in magnesium and has alow-glycemic load both of which are responsible for lowering the incidence of type-2 diabetes. Spinach is also low in calories and you can virtually eat bowl after bowl of spinach with no ill effects to your waistline!

Below are some of my family’s favorite recipes.

Spinach salad

Spinach
Grated carrots
Avocado
Soya Kaas cheese (optional)
Pecans
Dried cranberries
Olive oil
Lemon

Place grated carrots, then sliced avocado, and then a handful of dried cranberries and pecans on top of the spinach leaves. For a heartier lunch add cubes of the Soya Kaas cheese. Liberally douse with olive oil and lemon and enjoy!

Spinach “pie”

1 box or pre-washed bag of fresh spinach
1 cup grated mozzarella or cheddar cheese
Whole wheat breadcrumbs
Optional: grated parmesan or squirt of flax seed oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Steam the spinach on the stovetop until wilted. Place the spinach in a food processor along with 1 cup of cheese and blend.

Place the mixture into a casserole dish or small individual dishes (I love using small ones to make it fun for the kids!) Top with breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese or flax seed if you desire and cook approximately 10 minutes. This makes healthy delicious side dishes at dinnertime or a fun winter lunch!