Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Garden in a can!


When I use canned vegetables I rinse them off.  That liquid that is in there should go away, so much salt in it.
They add salt to preserve this produce. A half-cup serving of canned string beans has approximately 300 to 400 milligrams of sodium. That is way too much.   Can we say future heartache if it's kept up.  Just saying.
Many companies offer "no salt added" options.  If you can't find one to your liking, go frozen instead many of these don't contain salt. Better yet, you can buy fresh and in season. I know that's a scary option, but you can handle it I know.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Which one do you buy Frozen or Canned Fruit?


I grew up on canned fruit, mainly pineapple.  It was in juice, so I thought of it.  I found out the difference later on in life.  I always stayed away from fruit in light syrup.
Any food swimming in juice or "light syrup" isn't good for you. Furthermore, most canned fruit is peeled, meaning you're being robbed of a valuable source of fiber. Frozen fruit is a little trickier. Freezing preserves the fruit itself, but some manufacturers add sugar during the freezing process to preserve color and taste. Most fruits can be found in the frozen food section.
You have to read the ingredients list! You want it to say fruit, water—and that's it.  Nothing more.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Let's make a sandwich..........


If you are me and trying to get all of the "junk" out of your diet, then I sympathize with you.  I am the biggest fan of white bread.  It's so delicious, but it's so bad for you.  I hate that.  Now don't get me wrong I love some wheat, but for years I was buying the cheater wheat bread.  I didn't know the difference.  I know there are some of you out there that believe that all wheat bread is the same, but I'm sorry to tell you that it's not.  Here's the break down.
Slice of whole-grain bread wheat is better for you than refined wheat. By keeping the bran and germ, you maintain the naturally occurring nutrients and fiber. But, for some reason, manufacturers constantly come up with new ways to lead you back to the refined stuff. One of their latest tricks is to refer to refined flour as "wheat flour" because, obviously, it's made of wheat. But just because it's wheat-based doesn't mean it's not refined. The distracted shopper can mistake this label for "whole wheat flour" and throw it in his cart. Another loaf of cruddy, refined, fiber less bread has a new home.
The solution to this is to slow down when you read the label and pay attention to what the ingredients are. That word "whole" is an important part.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Canned Soup......It's mmm mmm gross.


I was a big fan of canned soup.  I kept it stocked in the pantry, but one day I started making my own soups and stocks.  The difference in the taste and the price was so well worth never buying canned soup again.  I started reading the ingredients on the label and notice the large amount of salt in that little can.  I do not add salt to my soups, well sometimes a pinch.  I do mean a pinch.  I'm not a fan of salt.  Here is some information on canned soups.

As is also the case with canned veggies, you are entering a sodium minefield. Half a cup of Campbell's® Chicken Noodle Soup has about 37% of the recommended daily allowance, and who eats half a cup? I would still be hungry after the whole can.  I would be really thirsty afterwards.

Read that label carefully.  They hide chemicals in that can.  Most companies make low-sodium versions, if you must.  It's still best to make your own soups.  You can have complete control of what is in it.  It taste so much better.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Hot Yogurt...........................


It sounds so good for you to eat for a daily snack, but let's really look at it. Fat aside, there's the calcium and protein you find in all milk products, along with probiotics, which make it easier to digest for those with lactose issues. The only problem is that straight yogurt can be pretty bitter, so manufacturers load the stuff with sugar and masquerade those carbs as fruit in an effort to make the whole thing more palatable. Have a look at most flavored yogurt and you'll find the second ingredient to be sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. One container of Yoplait® Original Strawberry has 170 calories, with 5 grams of protein and 33 grams of carbohydrates, 27 of which are sugar. Oddly enough, these are the exact same nutrition facts for Yoplait's other, less healthy-sounding flavors, including Key Lime Pie and White Chocolate Raspberry.  
The solution is to buy plain yogurt and flavor it for yourself. You would be amazed at how far a handful of raspberries or a tablespoon of honey will go to cut the bitter taste.

 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

It's Peanut Butter!


Grind up peanuts, maybe add a little salt. How hard is it to make that taste good? I made the switch years ago.  Natural peanut butter is so good, but it does suck that you have to stir it up. 
Apparently, it's so difficult that many companies feel compelled to add sugar or high-fructose corn syrup into the mix. Some manufacturers, such as Skippy®, are up front enough to admit this and call their product "Peanut Butter Spread," but many others still refer to this sugary concoction as good old peanut butter.
Read your  labels. Considering real peanut butter has one ingredient, two ingredients, max. It should not be too hard to figure it out.  It's also great in shakes. I love peanut butter.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Milk or Juice?


The range in the nutritional value of store-bought juices is massive. On one end, you have "fruit drinks" with barely any actual juice in them. On the other end, you have fresh-squeezed, 100% preservative-free juices like Odwalla® and Naked Juice®. But no matter which you choose, it's important to remember that it's never going to be as healthy as whole fruit. And if you're trying to lose weight, it's a flat-out bad idea.
 First off, it's been stripped of fiber, so you absorb it faster, which makes it more likely to induce blood sugar spikes. Secondly, you consume it faster and it's less filling, so you're more likely to drink more.
There are a few instances when juice is okay. For example, a home juicer can make predominately veggie-based drinks that are loaded with vitamins and minerals and lower in calories. If you're using this as part of a supervised juice fast, or you're trying to target a particular nutrient while concurrently not trying to lose weight, go for it. Otherwise, it's simply not worth it.
If you buy it, go fresh-squeezed, but you maybe better off just skipping it entirely.  I still drink it.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Get that white meat


Red meat is full of saturated fat (animal fat), so many people are making the switch to chicken.  Are you still safe?  If you are eating mostly white meat (breast) you are doing ok, but what about those wings and legs?  Here are some nutritional facts for you.
Three ounces of raw chicken breast, meat only, has 93 calories, 19.5 grams of protein, and 1.2 grams of fat. Three ounces of dark meat (wings, thighs, and legs), meat only, has 105 calories, 18 grams of protein, and 3.6 grams of fat. It may not seem like much, but it adds up.
So stick with the breast, and while you're at it, ditch the skin. It's nothing but fat.  I know it's tasty, but is it worth it?  I have not even gotten into the bacteria that can be found on raw chicken and how they are raised differently.  That is for another post.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Making the switch with a friend.


Here are 8 tips on how to start shopping for organic food and still staying on budget.
1. Go Organic-Generic: Major grocery store chains like Safeway and Kroger, and big box food retailers like Costco and even Wal-Mart, now carry their own organic foods. And all foods labeled “USDA organic” are created equal, no matter where you find them. No need to upscale your grocery store when Wal-Mart gets it done.
2. Buy Frozen: Frozen foods (like strawberries and fish) are cheaper than those that are delivered fresh. So if the prices on fresh produce are eye-popping, cruise on over to the frozen food aisle for a discount.
3. Eat with the Season: Retrain your taste buds to think like your grandmother did. She didn’t eat strawberries in the middle of winter. Locally grown foods are usually cheaper than those flown in from another hemisphere so if you eat with the season, you’ll be eating more affordably.
4. Skip the Box, Embrace the Bulk: Food that comes in boxes costs more because of the packaging costs associated with designing those pretty pictures! When you buy in bulk, you’re not paying for all of the packaging, you’re paying for the food which is what you want anyway. So slide on over to that bulk food aisle in Safeway and look for noodles, cereals, rice and beans in your local grocery store.
5. Support the US economy and Buy Local: You can save money by becoming a member of a local farm (just like you became a member at Safeway or Costco!). How do you find a local farm, you ask? Well, thankfully, the USDA now has a list of online sites to help you find the closest farm near you, so click here to log onto the USDA site.
6. Comparison Shop: You wouldn’t buy a car without comparison shopping, so before you even head out the door, you can compare the prices of organic foods at different retailers from the safety of your own computer at www.eatwellguide.org
7. Coupons, coupons, coupons: Organic bargains are everywhere so click on About.com’s Frugal Living page where you will find All Organic Links.
8. Grow One Thing: If you’re as busy as we are, there’s not a chance in creation that you are going to be able to feed your family off of your home-grown harvest, but you will find that growing a tomato plant can be incredibly inspiring. And it’s not as intimidating as it seems. So pick one thing to grow – you can do it (we all grew lima beans in cups as kids, right?)
If you start shopping with a friend that is wanting to learn or even go organic, it will make your shopping trips more enjoyable and you will help keep each other from buying bad food.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Fat-Free Salad Dressing.....Are you for real?


Dressing by definition is supposed to be fatty, and thus, highly caloric. You use a little bit of it, and in doing so, you get a healthy hit of the fats you need for a nutritionally balanced diet. Unfortunately, people prefer to buy fat-free versions so they can drown their greens while avoiding excess fat. Nothing's free. All this stuff does is replace the fat with carbs and salt, so you've basically gone from pouring a little healthy unsaturated fat on your salad to dumping on a pile of sugar.
Make your own salad dressing. One part vinegar and one part olive oil with a blob of Dijon mustard makes an awesome vinaigrette. And here's another trick: Make your salad in a sealable container, add a tiny bit of dressing, and shake it up. It'll coat so much more than tossing will.
 And finally, make that salad with romaine lettuce, spinach, or some other nutrient-rich leafy green.

 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Still have the Summer weight?


Ok, here were almost finished with summer.  Did you lose those extra pounds this summer like you planned on doing?  Did you even attempt to do it?  You are not alone.  I got some of my pounds off, but it was not enough.  It happens so don't go and beat yourself up for it.  If you just change one or two bad unhealthy foods you eat for healthy ones, than you are on a better track than a lot of other people.  
Here we are at the beginning of September, and Fall will be around the corner in no time.  I can already hear it.  It's too cold to go walking out side, and I have to start getting ready for the holidays soon.  These are the worst reasons not to exercise for anyone.  If you have any size of floor space in your home than you can do something good for your body.  It's a given that you have internet access, or how would you have found my blog.

I'll be posting all different sorts of things that you can do at home or outside even that will help you lose those few or several pounds by the end of the year.  You can be healthier on your own.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

rBGH and rBST (Growth Hormones)


Synthetic growth hormones rBGH and rBST are harmful to cows and linked to increasing tumor development in humans.

They are found in milk and dairy products.
Growth hormones are bad for cows and people, potentially causing infertility, weakened muscle growth, and a whole array of cancers.

Banned in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, and the EU.
Buy organic!
 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Arsenic........in chicken.

Arsenic basically will slowly kill you. It is poison!

It is found in poultry. The chicken that you ate this week could have contained a trace amount of arsenic.  The FDA thinks that it is perfectly fine to eat.

Arsenic used in some chicken feed to make meat appear pinker and fresher, arsenic is poison, which will kill you if you ingest enough. Insanity!
It’s banned in the EU.
 

Monday, July 29, 2013

butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)

BHA & BHT are waxy preservatives linked to cancer and tumors.

They are found in cereal, nut mixes, gum, butter, meat, dehydrated potatoes.

BHA & BHT used to keep food from becoming rancid, butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are known to cause cancer in rats. They put this in food for humans to consume.  What are these companies thinking?  It shows that they only can about money and nothing about the people eating their products.
It’s banned the U.K., Japan, and many other European countries.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Azodicarbonamide

Azodicarbonamide bleaches flour, plastic, and induces asthma as an added bonus. 

You can find it in breads, frozen dinners, boxed pasta mixes, and packaged baked goods.
It is used to bleach both flour and foamed plastic (yoga mats and the soles of sneakers), azodicarbonamide has been known to induce asthma.

It is banned in Australia, the U.K., and most European countries.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Potassium bromate (or bromated flour)....for chemically baked goods

Potassium bromate (or bromated flour) is great for impatient bakers but bad for your kidneys and nervous system.

You can find it in wraps, rolls, bread crumbs, bagel chips, flat breads.

Bromated flour is derived from the same harmful chemical as brominated vegetable oil. Brominated flour is used to decrease baking time and reduce costs. Only problem is that, it is linked to kidney damage, cancer, and nervous system damage.
Europe, Canada, and China has banned bromated flour.  It is highly used in Large commercial bakeries in the US.
Read the ingredient labels.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Olestra (or Olean)......Wow I crapped my pants!

Olestra (or Olean) lowers calorie counts while causing vitamin depletion and anal leakage.

You can find it in Fat-free potato chips, corn chips, and French fries.
It was created by Procter & Gamble as a substitute for cooking oil. Olestra robs your body of its ability to absorb vitamins, and it has a fun side effects include cramps and leaky bowels.  It makes your bowels loose and it is perfectly ok to put in food.

The U.K. and Canada has banned the product, but it is legal here to use. Products containing olestra placed a warning about the side effects when it first hit the market in the US, but not now.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Brominated vegetable oil

Brominated vegetable oil makes food dye stick to liquid, but also may cause birth defects and major organ damage.

You can find it in sports drinks and citrus-flavored sodas.   I love Mountain Dew, like you would not believe. It was so sad to find this out.

Bromine is a chemical used to stop carpets from catching on fire, so you can see why drinking it may not be the best idea. BVO is linked to major organ system damage, birth defects, growth problems, schizophrenia, and hearing loss.   
Over 100 countries have banned it from use in foods, but not the US.
 

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Fake Colors of the Rainbow


Artificial Coloring and Food Dyes

Where can you find it?
In almost everything that we eat as in: cake mixes, sports drinks, cheese, candy, and even Macaroni and cheese.
What can it do to you?
Artificial dyes are made from chemicals derived from petroleum, which is also used to make gasoline, diesel fuel, asphalt, and tar! Artificial dyes have been linked to brain cancer, nerve-cell deterioration, and hyperactivity in children, just to name a few.

It is banned in Norway, Finland, Austria, France, and the U.K.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Baby Carrots....I had to add this.


Baby Carrots:
The following is information from a farmer who grows and packages carrots for IGA , METRO, LOBLAWS, etc.

The small cocktail (baby) carrots you buy in small plastic bags are made using the larger crooked or deformed carrots which are put through a machine which cuts and shapes them into cocktail carrots - most people probably know this already.
What you may not know and should know is the following:

 Once the carrots are cut and shaped into cocktail carrots they are dipped in a solution of water and chlorine in order to preserve them (this is the same chlorine used in your pool).
Since they do not have their skin or natural protective covering, they give them a higher dose of chlorine.

 You will notice that once you keep these carrots in your refrigerator for a few days, a white covering will form on the carrots. This is the chlorine which resurfaces. At what cost do we put our health at risk to have esthetically pleasing vegetables?
Chlorine is a very well-known carcinogen, which causes Cancer. I thought this was worth passing on. Pass it on to as many people as possible in hopes of informing them where these carrots come from and how they are processed.
I always thought that they tasted odd to me.  I love carrots, so no one ever understood why I never liked the baby carrots.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Organic Lawn Care pt 2


To Do List: Fall or Early Spring

The easiest way to start the move towards organic lawn care is to make sure your lawn is really healthy. All of the regular seasonal lawn maintenance chores are therefore excellent ways to go. Those chores are summarized here.

Remove Thatch  Thatch is that layer of stems, roots and dead organic matter you can see when you part grass stems. A thick layer of thatch suggests overuse of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, since these tend to kill off the micro-organisms that help organic matter to decompose.

 Thatch only becomes a real problem when the layer is thicker than a half inch, at which point it can become a breeding ground for insects and for various fungi, and a barrier in the way of water absorption. If you scroll through a page on fighting lawn problems, again and again you will see advice to remove excess thatch.

 Clippings often get blamed for thatch, and people rake clippings because they don't want to contribute to thatch build-up, but this is a false problem with a non-solution. Clippings only contribute to thatch if they are excessively long or if the thatch layer is so deep that it keeps clippings from decomposing.

 Even a thin layer of thatch should be broken up or removed every couple of years, to prevent it from building up past that point. For everyday thatch of less than half an inch in depth, use a garden rake or a tool designed for removing the matted material. Top-dressing (adding a thin layer of something on top, rather than digging it in) with soil or compost can also be helpful, as both these materials contain microorganisms that will help the thatch to decay. For regular seasonal maintenance, these are all that should be necessary, and on many lawns they may only be necessary once a year or even less. Just check the thatch level each spring and fall.

 For more serious thatch buildup, you may need to rent a vertical mower, a specialized machine that works vertically to break up and remove buildup.

 Unfortunately, a vertical mower can be so hard on the rest of your lawn that you'll often need to reseed after using one. Anything that hard on the lawn should only be used in spring or fall, when grass recovers more quickly than it can in the heat and stress of summer. Spring and fall are also the best times for overseeding, of course.

An alternative approach is to remove as much thatch as you can manually, then aerate like crazy and top-dress generously with compost. Aerating breaks up some of the thatch, while compost adds micro-organisms that help decompose what's left. If you do this in spring and fall, you may well be able to bring even a thick layer of thatch under control without resorting to a vertical mower.

Aerate  Aerating removes plugs of soil, which helps reduce soil compaction, one of the most frequent problems of older North American lawns. It also opens the soil to fertilizer, amendments, and seeds, so it is an excellent preparation for other seasonal care.

 You can buy a home lawn aerator tool, rent a bigger, mechanized version, or hire out the job. It's important to cover the lawn several times in more than one direction, so that it gets thoroughly and evenly aerated.

Amend Soil  Soil amendments actually improve the soil's ability to supply nutrients, water, and air to plant roots. The movement or availability of these three essentials can be inhibited by compaction, high clay or sand content, and high or low pH. All of these are soil conditions independent of nutritional content, but they have a direct bearing on whether nutrients can be taken up by a plant.

 Many amendments do supply nutrients, but their primary purpose is to improve soil texture and structure.

 Spring and fall are the ideal times to apply soil amendments, but lighter doses can be put on even in mid-summer. Before you start adding lime or sulfur, however, test your soil pH (or have it done) so you're sure to be adding the right thing.

 Here's a quick and dirty overview of amendments. The knock-down drag-out version is under our Guide to a Healthy Lawn.

Compost: If you're not sure what your problem is, add compost. For that matter, even if you are sure, add compost. Compost is the miracle amendment, for it improves all soils. It helps balance pH, making acidic soils more alkaline and alkaline ones more acidic. It improves soil retention in sandy soils and drainage in clay soils. Used regularly, it helps reduce compaction. It contains micro-organisms which help organic matter decay, keeping thatch under control and ensuring that clippings will in fact disappear, and not lie around in an unsightly fashion.

For Sandy Soils: Organic additions work best to improve drainage and relieve compaction in sandy soils, because organic matter derived from plants and animals holds many times its own weight in water. Compost adds much more than organic matter, being rich in nutrients and micro-organisms, but for sheer unadulterated water retention, peat and sphagnum moss or coconut fiber cannot be beat. Mature, composted manures -- not fresh manure! -- are also excellent.

For Clay Soils: Surprisingly, everything said about sandy soils goes for heavy clay soils as well: organic additions will make the greatest difference. Sand and gypsum are frequently suggested as amendments for clay soils, but many experts question their effectiveness, and they need to be used carefully. (For more on these debates, see Soil Amendments on this site.) With products derived from plants and animals, you cannot go wrong.

To Raise pH (make acidic soils more alkaline): Add lime, which is available in a number of forms. For lime to be effective, two requirements must be met: it must be dampened; and it must be in direct contact with the soil. The necessary chemical reactions cannot take place without water, and because lime is not especially water-soluble, it will not be carried by water into the soil.

Pelletized lime is the easiest to handle and to apply, but not the cheapest, as it is a refinement of one of the simplest mined forms. Those forms are calcitic lime, which will also add calcium, and dolomitic lime, which will provide both calcium and magnesium. Both are sold as very fine powders, like all lime save the pelletized.

 Other forms of lime -- marl, hydrated lime (slaked lime) and burned lime (quick lime) are not good options for lawns: the first contains various impurities, while the others are so highly concentrated that they can be dangerous to handle and will burn established lawns.

To lower pH (make alkaline soils more acidic) Add sulfur, which, like lime, comes in several forms. For ground rock sulfur, add 1.2 ounces per square yard to sandy soils, and 3.6 ounces per square yard for any other soil.

 A number of organic (plant-derived) products will also lower pH, among them peat moss, organic cottonseed meal, and even animal manures, but none of these works as effectively as sulfur.

Fertilize  Spring and fall are the ideal times for fertilizing, especially in the north. Summer fertilizing is less of an issue in the south, where warm-season grasses that continue growing all summer are the norm, but in the north, most lawns have cool season grasses that go dormant during hot weather. Over-stimulating them during this phase just leads to problems, so go lightly.

 For quick results, use fish emulsion, a quick-release, organic, nitrogen-rich fertilizer that can be sprayed or sprinkled. DON'T APPLY FERTILIZER AT MID DAY, and DON'T USE MORE THAN IS RECOMMENDED, especially in hot, sunny weather; that "cure" will definitely be worse than the disease, as nitrogen + sun = burned grass. Quick-release fertilizers don't last long, so give your grass another dose a couple of weeks later.

 For summer-long results, use a slow-release fertilizer such as organic cottonseed meal, corn gluten or blood meal in autumn and again the following spring (see Organic vs. Synthetic Fertilizers).

 WARNING: Don't use corn meal within several months of reseeding your grass, as it also kills seeds.

Overseed  This term refers to seeding over an existing lawn. It's a great way either to fill in bare spots or to gradually change your grass type.

 If you've got a standard-issue lawn, chances are the grass itself is not one best-suited to the region where you live, which makes all lawn care a challenge, organic or not. Overseeding lets you add a better-suited grass to your lawn without requiring that you start over from scratch.

Preparation

Mow your grass as short as your mower will let you. This will give the seeds better access to the soil below and more light once they sprout. It will also stress the old grass a bit, giving the new type a fighting chance to establish itself.

Remove thatch if you've got a thick layer. For seeds to take root in soil, they must touch it. A thick layer of thatch can be a major obstacle to successful overseeding, so if you've got one, you're going to need to get rid of it.

Aerate to improve soil structure and to give seeds a better chance of rooting in soil.

 Often, a brisk raking will loosen thatch and soil sufficiently. This may be all you need to do after mowing.

Seeding

 A number of different sources recommend seeding much more thickly (up to one and a-half times as thickly) as recommended for whatever seed you're using. This is particularly good advice if you're trying to replace one type of grass with another. The undesired grass already has a serious head start, and over-seeding (seeding too much) can help to correct that discrepancy. Using a slice-seeder will ensure that seed is deposited into soil at the correct rate.

Follow-Up

 For best results, topdress by sprinkling compost, topsoil, peat moss or coconut fiber over the newly seeded lawn, then water until the soil surface is dampened everywhere. The soil amendments will give the seeds a boost, and will help retain water over and around the seeds.

 If you don't topdress, rake the ground lightly to bring seeds into better contact with soil, then water.

Care

 Keep the soil surface damp while seeds are germinating and while seedlings are young and new. This probably means twice-daily watering on days without rain.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Organic Lawn Care Pt 1


Going full-bore organic isn't your only choice if you want to avoid exposing yourself, your pets, your family, and the environment to toxic chemicals. Anyone interested in organic lawn care but leery for any reason -- what if it doesn't work, what if I get in over my head, anything -- should also know about Integrated Pest Management. IPM, a well-recognized and growing approach to lawns, gardening, and agriculture, is like organic gardening with a loophole: you do everything to establish a healthy crop on healthy soil using earth-friendly methods, but if you hit a problem you can't solve, you take recourse to chemicals. Synthetic fertilizers and pesticides therefore become the last resort, rather than the first. You may still use them from time to time, but you'll use them far less often and only after trying other methods.

 This site doesn't describe IPM in detail, but if you follow the program for organic lawn care and use chemicals only after trying organic methods, you'll be in the ball park. IPM methods are extensively described on various web sites, including that at UC Davis, one of the foremost agricultural universities in the U.S. Purdue University has a program developed specifically for schools and day-care centers.

To Do List: Good Any Time

Switch to an Organic Fertilizer  This is one of the easiest things you can do, especially if you're not using a lawn service. There are numerous organic options, including pellets or powders that can be applied with a spreader in the same way that most commercial fertilizers are usually spread. See Fertilizing for details.

Set your Mower Height High  Set your cutting height to 2.5 to 3 inches, and cut long. The longer grass will shade out more weeds than will short grass, it will protect the dirt from evaporation, and it will grow more slowly than short grass. Longer lawns therefore need fewer pesticides, less water, and less frequent mowing than short lawns.

Let Grass Clippings Lie  Do not rake up the grass cuttings after you mow. The cuttings help shade out weeds in spring, help slow evaporation (promoting water conservation) in summer, and provide important organic material for your soil all season.

 This practice works best if you mow frequently, so that the clippings are relatively short. Long clippings may lie about on the grass like a bunch of hay, looking unsightly and doing little to enrich the soil. Shorter clippings will sift down between grass blades more easily than long ones, gracefully removing themselves from sight and beginning to decompose relatively quickly. They thus satisfy both aesthetic and environmental standards.

 NOTE: If you've been giving your lawn heavy doses of chemical fertilizer, you may not want to make this your first step into organic territory. Too much synthetic fertilizer can kill soil microorganisms, thus damaging the soil's ability to break down organic matter, so those grass clippings could hang around much longer than you want them to. If you're in any doubt, switch to an organic fertilizer first, and then let the clippings lie.

Sharpen Mower Blades  Fungi, viruses, and pests all flourish in unhealthy grass, and many such pathogens enter grass blades through damaged spots. Dull mower blades mangle grass, leaving it bruised and torn. The open spots make the grass vulnerable to disease and other problems, and the mangling makes it less healthy overall.

 Sharp mower blades cut grass cleanly, avoiding bruises and leaving only a minimal cut open to bacteria. Your grass will therefore be healthier and will need less by way of pesticides and fertilizer. Click on how to sharpen lawn mower blades, and your grass blades will benefit.

Water Early in the Morning  Plants cannot make efficient use of water in the heat of the day, because their pores close to minimize transpiration, the loss of water from their leaves. In dry climates or dry conditions, up to 50% of sprinkler water can evaporate. For both these reasons, it is best to water in the morning before the day heats up. Your water bill will be lower, since less water will be wasted, and your grass will benefit, since it will receive water at the optimal time of day.

Water Deep -- NOT Often  Plants will work only as hard as they need to; roots will grow only as deep as they must. Frequent lawn watering, even if it's deep, encourages grass roots to stay shallow, which in turn means that they cannot reach deeper water during drought conditions. Less frequent watering forces roots to grow deep in order to reach deeper water.

 The problem with infrequent watering is that dry soil (like a dry sponge) does not absorb liquid readily. Instead, the water tends to run off the surface or percolate down cracks to deeper levels without soaking into the topsoil.

 The solution is to water twice, once briefly, and then again more thoroughly after an hour's delay. Ideally, the first watering would deposit no more than a half inch of water, while the second would deposit a full inch. The overall goal is to saturate the earth to a depth of six to nine inches.

 The first, brief watering gives the surface a chance to expand and absorb the water, so that the next, more lengthy watering will actually soak into the soil, saturating it evenly rather than just running off or trickling through it via a few routes to depths below those where grass can reach it.

Top dress with Compost  To top dress is to sprinkle fertilizer or a soil amendment on top of the soil rather than to dig it in. Summer top-dressing should be light -- a quarter of an inch at a time -- but this will improve the soil in a number of ways. Organic care depends on good soil, so topdressing helps ensure that your soil is able to sustain a thick growth of healthy grass.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Roundup?


A recent study by eminent oncologists Dr. Lennart Hardell and Dr. Mikael Eriksson of Sweden, has revealed clear links between one of the world's biggest selling herbicide, glyphosate, to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a form of cancer.

 In the study published in the 15 March 1999 Journal of American Cancer Society, the researchers also maintain that exposure to glyphosate 'yielded increased risks for NHL.' They stress that with the rapidly increasing use of glyphosate since the time the study was carried out, 'glyphosate deserves further epidemiologic studies.'

 Glyphosate, commonly known as Roundup, is the world's most widely used herbicide. It is estimated that for 1998, over a 112,000 ton of glyphosate was used world-wide. It indiscriminately kills off a wide variety of weeds after application and is primarily used to control annual and perennial plants.

 71% of genetically engineered crops planted in 1998 are designed to be resistant to herbicides such as glyphosate, marketed by Monsanto as Roundup. Companies developing herbicide resistant crops are also increasing their production capacity for the herbicides such as glyphosate, and also requesting permits for higher residues of these chemicals in genetically engineered food. For example, Monsanto have already received permits for a threefold increase in herbicide residues on genetically engineered soybeans in Europe and the U.S., up from 6 parts per million (PPM) to 20 PPM.

 According to Sadhbh O' Neill of Genetic Concern, 'this study reinforces concerns by environmentalists and health professionals that far from reducing herbicide use, glyphosate resistant crops may result in increased residues to which we as consumers will be exposed in our food.

 'Increased residues of glyphosate and its metabolites are already on sale via genetically engineered soya, common in processed foods. However no studies of the effects of GE soya sprayed with Roundup on health have been carried out either on animals or humans to date,' she continued.

 The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) statistics from 1997 show that expanded plantings of Roundup Ready soybeans (i.e. soybeans genetically engineered to be tolerant to the herbicide) resulted in a 72% increase in the use of glyphosate. According to the Pesticides Action

 Network, scientists estimate that plants genetically engineered to be herbicide resistant will actually triple the amount of herbicides used. Farmers, knowing that their crop can tolerate or resist being killed off  by the herbicides, will tend to use them more liberally.

 O' Neill concluded: 'The EPA when authorising Monsanto's field trials for Roundup-ready sugar beet did not consider the issue of glyphosate. They considered this to be the remit of the Pesticides Control Service of the Department of Agriculture. Thus nobody has included the effects of increasing the use of glyphosate in the risk/benefit analysis carried out.

 It is yet another example of how regulatory authorities supposedly protecting public health have failed to implement the 'precautionary principle' with respect to GMOs.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Monsanto Bill?

I responded to a link on facebook about calling your state Representative and the President to put a stop to this protection of a most evil company from getting to do whatever they want.  They will have free will to grow any plant any way they want by any means and nothing can be done.  This is a negative turn for people's health and well being.  Farmers will suffer because Monsanto owns and controls much of the seeds for industrial farming.  This is just a mess.  It shows how money will let you do anything you want as long as you are paying the right person.
This article was written by Jill Ettinger.
Monsanto and the biotech industry received good news this week when Congress approved a resolution bill, which included a provision nicknamed the “Monsanto Protection Act.”
The six-month resolution grants manufacturers of genetically modified seeds the approval to plant genetically modified seeds if they haven’t been approved by a court of law. NPR reports the provision “was slipped into the legislation anonymously.”
According to Sustainable Food News, the Senate was not allowed to consider two amendments offered by Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana), an organic farmer, that would have “removed policy riders that favored the largest seed companies and the largest meatpackers. Tester observed that these policy riders were worth millions of dollars to these companies.”

 Food Democracy Now! said on its website that the decision “strips judges of their constitutional mandate to protect consumer and farmer rights and the environment, while opening up the floodgates for the planting of new untested genetically engineered crops, endangering farmers, citizens and the environment.”
“On the face of it, that sounds pretty bad,” reports NPR. “And when environmental and organic farming groups got wind of it earlier this month, they mounted a campaign urging voters to call and email their senators and voice their outrage over the provision, which they denounced as a “giveaway to genetically engineered seed companies” and even an act of “fascism.”"
But, exceptions have been made for the biotech industry in the past as was the case with Monsanto’s GMO sugar beets, which did not receive official deregulation until last year, but were allowed to be planted in mass scale anyway. By the time official deregulation occurred, more than 95 percent of the sugar beets grown in the U.S. were already genetically modified.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Health Benefits of Oolong Tea


Health benefits of oolong tea include reducing chronic bodily conditions such as heart diseases, inflammatory disorders, providing vital antioxidants, reducing high cholesterol levels, promoting superior bone structure, robust skin and good dental health. The oolong tea is fragrant with a fruity flavor and tasty aroma. It is considerably low in caffeine and extremely relaxing to drink.
Health benefits of oolong tea are doubled because of combined qualities of black tea and green tea. According to Tea Association of USA, oolong tea falls between green and black teas, as its leaves are only partially oxidized. There are numerous kinds of tea in this world; oolong tea being one among them. The origin of oolong tea dates back to almost 400 years in the history of China. It is a semi-green fermented tea. But, the fermentation process is halted as soon as the tea leaves start to change their color.

Nutritional Value
 Tea is a nature’s gift that is rich in anti-oxidants. It also contains vital minerals and vitamins such as calcium, manganese, copper, carotin, selenium, and potassium, Vitamin A, B, C, E and K. in addition to folic acids, niacin amide and other detoxifying alkaloids. Developed in semi-fermented processing, the oolong tea is rich in numerous polyphenolic compounds, adding value health benefits of oolong tea.
Benefits -  The various health related benefits of oolong tea are as follows:

Controls Obesity
 The polyphenol compound found in oolong tea is very effective in controlling the fat metabolism of the body. It activates certain enzymes and thus enhances the functions of the fat cells in human body. Daily consumption of oolong tea can reduce obesity.

Removal of Harmful Free Radicals
 The polyphenolic compound is also responsible for removal of free radicals in our body, thus saving us from potential harm that these free moving cells may pose to the human body.

Treatment of Skin Disorders
 According to scientific experiments, patients diagnosed with eczema skin disorder can benefit from drinking 3 cups of oolong tea 3 times in a day. The beneficial results of oolong tea could be seen in less than a week with these patients showing remarkable skin improvement.

Promoting Good Bone Structure
 The antioxidants present in oolong tea protect the tooth against decay, strengthens the bone structure and boosts normal healthy growth of human body.

Treatment of Diabetes
 Oolong tea is used as an herbal brew for treating type 2 diabetic disorders and as an appendage to other supplementary drugs for treating the disease.

Protection against Cancer
 It is well-known fact that tea drinkers have lower risk of acquiring skin cancer. Moreover, oolong tea compound polyphenol promotes apoptosis in stomach related cancerous growth. This polyphenol extract also acts a chemo-preventive instrument against development of other cancerous forms.

Stress Buster In a detailed study conducted at the Osaka Institute for Health Care Science, in Japan, the experimental mice that were ingested with oolong tea showed a remarkable improvement in stress levels by more than 10 to 18 %. The natural polyphenols in the oolong tea is said to be the main stress buster.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Benefits of White Tea


White Tea Antioxidants
Antioxidants are nutrients that protect the body from damage by free radicals. Free radicals are nasty things that go around wreaking havoc on your body, damaging DNA and accelerating aging. Antioxidants scoop them up and neutralize them. White tea is loaded with these protective nutrients.

Cancer Prevention
White tea may have profound power against cancer-causing cells and against many different types of cancer, such as colon, prostate, and stomach cancers. Flavonoids, a class of antioxidants, inhibit the growth of cancer cells and prevent the development of new ones. In some cases, white tea has been found to work as well as prescription drugs, but without the side effects.

Lower Blood Pressure
Studies show that white tea can thin the blood and improve artery function. It helps lower high blood pressure and maintain a healthy one. By promoting strong and healthy blood vessels, white tea guards against the ravages of stroke.

Lower Cholesterol
Catechins, another group of antioxidants, have been found to reduce cholesterol, and white tea is teeming with them. Cholesterol is a special type of fat and is necessary for health. There is good cholesterol and bad cholesterol, and white tea increases the good while decreasing the bad. This helps prevent hardening of the arteries and blockage of blood flow.

Heart Protection

By thinning the blood, lowering blood pressure, and reducing cholesterol, white tea protects the heart and the entire circulatory system. Researchers have also discovered that people who drink 2 or more cups of tea a day are almost 50% less likely to die after suffering a heart attack. White tea is truly a remarkable heart tonic.

Stronger Bones

Studies have found that people who drank tea regularly had greater bone density and strength than non-drinkers. White tea may also have beneficial effects for sufferers of arthritis and osteoporosis.

Antibacterial & Antiviral

White tea is a natural killer of bacteria and viruses. The antioxidants so abundant in white tea tone the entire immune system, providing protection against a variety of invaders and a wide range of diseases. Its helps guard against the common cold and flu, and can ease the symptoms of HIV.

Healthy Teeth and Gums

White tea contains small amounts of fluoride and other nutrients which keeps the teeth strong and healthy. It also kills the bacteria which causes plaque, tooth decay, and bad breath.

Healthy Skin

Free radicals from staying out in the sun too long, stress, and a poor diet can damage the skin and cause it to prematurely age. By scavenging these free radicals, white tea protects the skin and helps to reverse some of the damage. Drinking white tea promotes healthy and radiant skin.

Other Health Benefits

White tea has many other benefits to offer. It may reduce blood sugar and help prevent and alleviate the symptoms of diabetes. It reduces stress and increases energy.

White tea may or may not aid in weight-loss. Studies suggest tea may increase metabolism and encourage the body to burn more fat, but a balanced diet and regular exercise are more likely to produce results. Still, adding white tea to your weight-loss plan can't hurt.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Health Benefits of Black Tea


Over ninety percent of all tea sold in the West is black tea. All four varieties of tea (black, green, oolong, white) are made from leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, but black tea generally has more flavor and caffeine than the others. Because black tea keeps its flavor for several years, it has long been an article of trade and bricks of black tea even served as a form of currency in parts of Asia into the 19th century.
Today, India, China, and Sri Lanka are the world's largest producers of black tea. In the production of black tea, the leaves are first spread out on racks and blown with air to remove about a third of their moisture and make them pliable. Then they are rolled around to break their cell walls and release the sugars necessary for fermentation. To promote fermentation they are kept in a highly humid environment, which turns the leaves dark and develops black tea's strong flavor. Finally, the leaves are dried and shipped off to all corners of the globe. The health benefits of black tea focus on the same areas as the green, oolong, and white variety. Since they all come from the same plant, it's only natural they would have similar benefits.

Cardiovascular Health
 Black tea is abundant in antioxidants, such as flavonoids, demonstrated to prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, preventing damage in both the bloodstream and at artery walls, and lowering the risk of heart disease. Additionally, it has been shown that black tea flavonoids are able to both improve coronary vasodilation and reduce clots. Polypehnols found in black tea are also very strong antioxidants, and the manganese in black tea may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by helping cardiac muscle function.

Cancer Prevention
 Polyphenols in tea seem to help in preventing formation of potential carcinogens in the body, particularly in certain types of cancer, such as ovarian, lung, prostate, colorectal, and bladder. Other studies reveal that black tea may help prevent stomach, prostate, and breast cancer. A compound in black tea called TF-2 causes such cancer cells to go into apoptosis (programmed cell death) while normal cells remain unaffected. One study on oral cancer showed that consuming black tea can significantly reduce the risk of oral cancer, particularly in those who smoke cigarettes and use other tobacco products.

Skin and Hair Health
 The antioxidants in green tea may help keep your skin from being plagued by acne, and in some cases have been demonstrated to function equally as well as the harsher benzoyl peroxide used in so many skin products.

Bone and Connective Tissue
 Studies indicate that the bones of regular tea drinkers are stronger than those of non-tea drinkers, even when other variables were adjusted for. Scientists theorize it may be an effect of the powerful tea's phytochemicals.

Digestive Tract Health
 The tannins in tea have a therapeutic effect on gastric and intestinal illnesses and make it a great digestive aid, used in China as such for thousands of years. These tannins decrease intestinal activity and exercise an antidiarrheal effect. The polyphenols in green tea have been demonstrated to have an effect on intestinal inflammation suffered by people afflicted with conditions like irritable bowel syndrome.

Brain and Nervous System
 Unlike high levels of caffeine found in coffee, the low amounts in black tea promote blood flow in the brain without over stimulating the heart. The caffeine in black tea hones mental focus and concentration and studies show that the amino acid L-theanine found in black tea can help you relax and concentrate more fully on tasks. Black tea has been shown to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol after a month of drinking four cups of tea daily. The caffeine in black tea might also give your memory the boost it needs for a few hours and some studies suggest that a regular tea habit may help protect against Parkinson's disease.

Increased Energy
 In moderation caffeine can be a benefit - in black tea it stimulates the metabolism, increases brain function and aids alertness. The caffeine in tea acts as more of a subtle stimulant, taking more than a few minutes to take effect, rather than hitting your system as quickly as coffee or cola. This effect is assisted by another compound found only in tea, theophylline. While caffeine chiefly targets the brain and muscles, theophylline stimulates the respiratory system, heart and kidneys. This helps maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.

Oral Health
 Research suggests that catechin antioxidants in black tea may reduce oral cancers. Tea's polyphenols and tannin perform as antibiotics, preventing bacteria that cause tooth decay, and the polyphenols in tea can help to keep in check the bacteria that cause bad breath.

Immune System
 Tea is full of substances called "tannins," which studies have shown have the ability to fight viruses such as influenza, dysentery and hepatitis. One such tannin named "catechin" helps suppress tumors. Black tea also contains alkylamine antigens, which help boost immune response.