Saturday, June 30, 2012

Eco-Psychology Trends 2012

Eco-Psychology Conference 2012, Sponsored by Ford
This past week I had the privilege of being invited to the Eco-Psychology Trends Conference, in Dearborn, MI. Got to meet great green minds, and famous environmentalists and celebrities! I love how the environment movement is growing so fast, supported by top brands nationwide.
The rise in technology has made consumers more talkative about brands' actions. There are loads of opportunities for brands to take advantage of this connectivity and use it against their competition. Here is my toast to smart green brands!

Panelists Peter Glatzer (Film producer for HBO, Discovery, Fox), and Adrian Grenier ("Entourage" actor and filmmaker)

Alan Mullaly, President and CEO, Ford Motor Company

Monday, June 25, 2012

2012 Dirty Dozen List

The Environmental Working Group just released the 2012 Dirty Dozen produce list. Click on the link to access the list of produce with the lowest and highest levels of pesticides.
Click here to access the list

How to Make the Best of Your Daily Coffee Pleasure

This is a very insightful article about coffee from the New York Times, written by Jane Brody. It explains really well all "Dos and Don'ts". Read through it to learn how to make the best of your daily coffee pleasure!

"A disclaimer: I do not own stock in Starbucks nor, to my knowledge, in any other company that sells coffee or its accouterments. I last wrote about America’s most popular beverage four years ago, and the latest and largest study to date supports that earlier assessment of coffee’s health effects.
Although the new research, which involved more than 400,000 people in a 14-year observational study, still cannot prove cause and effect, the findings are consistent with other recent large studies.
The findings were widely reported, but here’s the bottom line: When smoking and many other factors known to influence health and longevity were taken into account, coffee drinkers in the study were found to be living somewhat longer than abstainers. Further, the more coffee consumed each day — up to a point, at least — the greater the benefit to longevity.
The observed benefit of coffee drinking was not enormous — a death rate among coffee drinkers that was 10 percent to 15 percent lower than among abstainers. But the findings are certainly reassuring, and given how many Americans drink coffee, the numbers of lives affected may be quite large.
Updating the Evidence
In decades past, experts repeatedly warned that a coffee habit could harm health and shorten lives. And, indeed, the new study did find that when the data were adjusted only for age, the risk of death was greater among coffee drinkers.
But when the researchers took into account other health-related characteristics among the participants, like smoking, alcohol use, meat consumption, physical activity and body mass index, those who regularly drank coffee lived longer.
“Coffee drinkers shouldn’t be worried,” said Neal Freedman, an epidemiologist at the National Cancer Institute who directed the study. “Their risk is quite similar to that of nondrinkers.”
Coffee drinkers who were relatively healthy when the study began were less likely than nondrinkers to die of heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, diabetes, infections, injuries and accidents.
The study, published in May in The New England Journal of Medicine, examined data on 402,260 adults in the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study. They were ages 50 to 71 and free of heart disease, cancer and stroke when the study began in 1995. By 2008, 52,515 had died. Dr. Freedman and his co-authors examined why they died in relation to how much coffee they said they drank when the study began.
The risk of death gradually dropped as the number of cups the participants drank increased to four or five. At six cups or more each day, there was a slight rise in death risk, compared with that at four or five cups. But the chances of death remained lower than among people who drank no coffee.
Reflecting practices of the mid-1990s, the researchers considered a cup of coffee to be 8 to 10 ounces. The gargantuan cups now often served would count as more than one cup, Dr. Freedman said. Several of these extra-large cups can cause restlessness, irritability, sleeplessness and anxiety (and might enable me to fly without an airplane).
Contrary to previous belief, at usual levels of consumption, coffee is not any more of a diuretic than the equivalent amount of water. Up to six cups a day can be counted toward one’s recommended liquid intake.
Effects on Health
Coffee is a complex substance that contains more than 1,000 compounds that may affect health. Caffeine, a stimulant, is the most studied and sought after. The amounts in coffee can vary greatly, from about 70 milligrams in a shot of espresso to about 100 milligrams in eight ounces of brewed coffee.
But there can be wide variability in caffeine levels, even in similar beverages. As Jane V. Higdon and Balz Frei of Oregon State University reported in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, when the same type of coffee was purchased from the same store on six different days, the caffeine content varied from 130 milligrams to 282 milligrams in an eight-ounce cup.
Nor is caffeine is the only compound in coffee important to health. In the new study, little or no difference was found in death rates among those who drank predominantly caffeinated coffee or decaffeinated coffee. Other substances — like antioxidants and polyphenols — probably also play a health-related role, the researchers noted.
Their findings should reassure people concerned about possible harm from substances long used to remove caffeine from coffee. Fear of these chemicals prompted many manufacturers to switch to the Swiss water method for removing caffeine.
But how coffee is brewed can make a health difference. Two prominent chemicals in coffee beans, cafestol and kahweol, are known to raise blood levels of cholesterol and especially artery-damaging LDL cholesterol. These substances are removed when coffee is prepared through a filter, but remain in espresso, French press and boiled coffee. Single-serving coffee pods, like those used in a Keurig, contain filters.
Even though coffee can cause a temporary rise in blood pressure, the new study, like those before it, found the risk of heart disease to be lower among otherwise healthy coffee drinkers. Other benefits suggested by recent studies include a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes, liver disease and Parkinson’s disease. Some research has found a reduced risk of depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease among coffee drinkers.
People who engage in strenuous physical activities can also benefit, but only if their coffee contains caffeine, which helps muscles use fatty acids for energy and blunts the effect of adenosine, extending the time before muscles fatigue. Post-exercise soreness is also reduced and recovery time shortened.
Whether coffee poses a risk to pregnant women remains controversial. A causal relationship between coffee consumption and miscarriage has not been demonstrated at caffeine intakes of less than 300 milligrams a day, but some studies have found increased risk of low birth weight associated with consuming more than 150 milligrams a day.
Keep in mind, too, that caffeine is a drug. Some medications, including Tagamet, Diflucan, Luvox, Mexitil, estrogens and antibiotics like Cipro and Levaquin, interfere with the metabolism of caffeine and can increase its effects.
In other cases, caffeine can enhance the effect of drugs like aspirin and acetaminophen (a benefit for pain relief). Caffeine can be toxic if used with prescribed"

Source: NYTimes 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Inspiring Symbolic Play with Wall Decal: Fabulous!

Checkout this fabulous eco-friendly wall decal from weeDECOR. Perky pigs, sweet sheep, curious cows are included in this adorable collection of decals available in a full mural complete with red barn and tractor, individual animals, or in personalized murals. Decalls are PVC-free, removable and re-positionable so they can be used again and again.
The farm collection starts at $6 for individual farm animals to $95 for the farm mural.

Available at Amazon and Weedcor  

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Frozen Yogurt with Cinnamon-Spiked Blueberry Sauce

On our quest to bring easy-to-make and healthy recipes with blueberries, we came across this delicious dessert: Frozen Yogurt with Cinnamon-Spiked Blueberry Sauce. Yummy! Perfect complement to a great menu for Daddy, on Father's Day!

Frozen Yogurt with Cinnamon-Spiked Blueberry Sauce
Servings: 4

- 1 (10 ounces) bag of frozen blueberries
- 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar (we used honey!)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cups vanilla frozen yogurt

Combine blueberries, confectioners' sugar and cinnamon in a medium saucepan and set pan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes, until sauce thickens. Fill dessert bowls with frozen yogurt and top with blueberry sauce.

Source: Recipe courtesy Robin Miller, 2007

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Mediterranean Frittata

Mediterranean dishes are almost always delicious. Add to that healthy ingredients and you have a top favorite.
Try this Frittata and you won't regret! Very easy, one pot dish. Great recipe for Daddy's Day!

Mediterranean Frittata
Servings: 6 portions
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 organic eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (2 ounces)
  • 1 cup chopped roasted red sweet peppers
  • 1/2 cup sliced kalamata or pitted ripe olives
  • 1/4 cup slivered fresh basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup onion-and-garlic croutons, coarsely crushed
  • 2 tablespoons finely shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • (if your kids like broccoli, this is a great opportunity to add this great veggie to the menu)
Preheat broiler. In a large broiler proof skillet cook onion and garlic in 2 tablespoons hot oil until onion is just tender.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, beat together eggs and milk. Stir in feta cheese, roasted sweet pepper, olives (if desired), basil, and black pepper. Pour egg mixture over onion mixture in skillet. Cook over medium heat. As mixture sets, run a spatula around the edge of the skillet, lifting egg mixture so uncooked portion flows underneath. Continue cooking and lifting edges until egg mixture is almost set (surface will be moist). Reduce heat as necessary to prevent overcooking.
In a bowl combine crushed croutons, Parmesan cheese, and the remaining tablespoon of oil; sprinkle mixture over frittata.
Broil 4 to 5 inches from heat for 1 to 2 minutes or until top is set and crumbs are golden. Cut frittata in wedges to serve. If desired, garnish with fresh basil leaves. Makes 6 servings.

Source: Based on recipe from Better Homes and Gardens

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

RECALL ALERT: Evenflo High Chair

Washington (CNN) -- Reports of children falling from a popular high chair prompted the federal government to issue a recall Tuesday. Officials say Evenflo's convertible high chair tray can detach unexpectedly, causing kids to fall out.
The recall involves Evenflo high chairs that convert from high chair to toddler-size table and chair, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said.
There have been 18 reports of the tray becoming detached and eight reports of children falling from the high chair, the commission said. Although there haven't been any reports of serious injury, some children have gotten bumps and bruises.
Parents are being told to immediately stop using the high chair and contact Evenflo for a replacement tray.
People who have one of the recalled high chairs can visit for information on how to order a free replacement tray.
About 35,000 of the chairs were sold from December until the recall at Toys "R" Us and Walmarts nationwide. The chairs were also sold through and
It was manufactured in China, and the model numbers include 29111259, 29111271 and 29111234. Consumers can find the model number on the label of the high chair's leg.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission is continuing to investigate and is asking consumers to share dangers they've encountered at