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Dark Chocolate: Good & Good for You?
Healthy Eating
Written by Administrator   
Saturday, 14 April 2012 15:55

1227702931Wi93siThe news? How sweet it is! A growing number of studies show that chocolate, especially antioxidant-rich dark chocolate, has health benefits that put it squarely on the latest list of superfoods. A key reason chocolate has so many health benefits is that it is rich in flavonoids, which are naturally occurring substances found in plants that can provide a serious boost in antioxidant action for you. Studies show that the darker the chocolate, the better. Not only does dark chocolate have a higher concentration of antioxidants than milk chocolate, but milk chocolate is also higher in added sugar and unhealthy fats. 

Dark chocolate is still loaded with fat and calories, so eat a max of 1 to 2 ounces a day. British researchers analyzed seven studies on chocolate and cardiovascular health involving more than 114,000 people in the United States, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, and Sweden and found that people who ate more chocolate significantly reduced their risk for heart disease.  Researchers concluded that people who ate the most chocolate weekly had a 37 percent lower risk of any heart disease than those who ate the least amounts of dark chocolate. A Harvard University study found that one or two doses of dark chocolate per week could even help you live longer.  In the study, researchers compared men who ate chocolate with those who didn't and found that the former group lived one year longer. More research is still being conducted to determine the exact role chocolate plays in longevity.

Raise Chickens in Your Own Backyard!
Written by Sean Murphy   
Friday, 02 March 2012 19:25

2009-03-09Running a whole farm is a lot of hard work, but taking care of a handful of chickens is about as difficult as caring for a cat. And while a cat is lounging in your favorite chair, a chicken will be out munching away at your weeds and bugs, fertilizing your yard, or working on her daily egg. Also chickens are surprisingly entertaining pets, each has its own unique disposition. They are a little rough around the edges compared to a cat, but they will find their way into your heart all the same. Here's what you will need:

1) Dedication and time in early months. As hatchlings, chickens need your attention at least twice daily to get them socialized and to keep them clean, hydrated, and fed.

2) A chicken coop. This includes a hen house where they can sleep and lay eggs, and a surrounding enclosed area to keep out predators.

3) Chicken feed or pellets, water, and kitchen scraps.

4) Chickens are scavengers, so some time outside the coop during daylight hours is needed.

5) If you live in the city limits rules may restrict you from keeping a rooster, they can be rather loud.

For more information contact Sean at:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Is Your Olive Oil Real?
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 09 March 2012 20:34
As much as 50 percent of the olive oil sold in the U.S. is not actually pure olive oil, as some brands claiming to be "extra-virgin" or "100 percent Italian," for instance, have actually been adulterated with rapeseed oil, more popularly known as canola oil, soybean oil, and other low-grade oils. TheUniversity of California, Davis published a report on olive oil back in 2010 entitled Tests indicate that imported 'extra virgin' olive oil often fails international and USDA standards. In this report, researchers found that 69 percent of imported and ten percent of California-based oils labeled as olive oil did not pass International Olive Council (IOC) and US Department of Agriculture sensory standards for extra virgin olive oil. Here are the results:

Of those brands tested, the following failed to meet extra-virgin olive oil standards:

• Bertolli
• Carapelli
• Filippo Berio
• Mazzola
• Mezzetta
• Newman's Own
• Pompeian
• Rachel Ray
• Safeway
• Star
• Whole Foods

The following brands were found to meet extra-virgin olive oil standards as part of the study:

• Corto Olive
• California Olive Ranch
• Kirkland Organic
• Lucero (Ascolano)
• McEvoy Ranch Organic

You can read the entire UC Davis Study here: http://olivecenter.ucdavis.edu

Be sure to avoid any olive oil labeled as "light," as these are the lowest quality olive oils available. Also, be sure to choose either California-based olive oils, the vast majority of which are legitimate, or imported olive oils certified by IOC.

Sources: http://www.nytimes.comhttp://www.npr.org

Eco Friendly Way to Clean Your Garbage Disposal...
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 09 March 2012 20:31

s-CLEAN-GARBAGE-DISPOSAL-240x375Pour two cups of ice into the garbage disposal, followed by one-cup of salt or white vinegar. Then, run cold water and let the disposal run for five to 10 seconds. The ice will clean off any sludge or particles off the disposal's blades, while the salt or vinegar will reduce any foul odors.

Do you like running?
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 09 March 2012 20:27

Running outdoors stimulates your senses, improves your mood, and helps you get more vitamin D from the sun (which helps to promote stronger bones and reduces asthma symptoms). So if you can fit an outdoor workout into your schedule once a week, do it! It will break up the monotony of the gym or your living room and challenge your body.


Yellow? Yikes!
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 09 March 2012 20:23

fotolia_372454_XSThe food coloring, yellow 5,  also know as tartrazine, has been known to cause serious allergic reactions (particularly for people who are allergic to aspirin). Yellow 5 is widely used in the making of potato chips, jams, candy, drinks and even pet food. It is also added to shampoo and other cosmetic products, as well as vitamins and certain medications. Yellow 5 is banned in Austria and Norway, and other European countries have issued warnings about their possible side effects. It is still freely and extensively used in the US, 
In 2008, the Food Standards Agency issued a warning about yellow 5 causing hyperactivity in some children.

What's in "Gelatin?"
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 09 March 2012 20:20

1241166647662gPiThis is not a new ingredient, but we know that not everyone is aware of where it comes from. Gelatin is made from the collagen inside animals' skin and bones. It's primarily derived from pork skins, pork and cattle bones, or split cattle hides. If you're a vegetarian, you might not want to be eating gelatin-based products.

Give Your Garden a Boost With Raised Garden Beds!
Written by Sean Murphy   
Friday, 09 March 2012 20:37


If you have high hopes for your summer garden this year, a raised bed can give your crops a boost in a number of ways. 1) Precise control over what soil your plants are grown in. 2) Allows for loose, airy soil that provides great drainage and helps air get to the roots. 3) By installing chicken wire at the bottom of the bed gophers are easily controlled. 4) Usually better yield than conventional home gardens. 5) All around easier to work on.

Building a raised bed is as simple as making a four-sided frame, about one to two feet tall, and filling it full of good soil. The easiest and most durable way to build one would be out of recycled cement blocks, bricks, or rocks. But the most common way is to build a frame out of wood. When building a raised bed out of wood, remember that the sturdier it is, the longer it will last. Using four 4x4’s as vertical frames and nailing on 2x6’s as the siding would make a great raised bed.

Three Eco-Friendly Fabrics to Consider...
Written by Alicia Hawkins   
Friday, 09 March 2012 20:35

The cotton used in most fabrics requires tons of pesticides and water for growth. There are several fabric alternatives to cotton that are more eco-friendly. Here are three popular ones:

1.      Hemp – Probably the most well known alternative fabric, hemp grows quickly, doesn’t require much water, and is very pest-resistant. It also grows densely, which eliminates weeds and the need for harmful pesticides.  Hemp has historically been used for rope making because it is extremely long lasting and durable.

2.      Bamboo – This versatile plant can be spun into an extremely soft, durable, anti-microbial material. It’s also moisture and odor resistant. Check out bamboo clothing, diapers, sheets, and more!

3.      Organic Cotton – Grown using far fewer pesticides and water, organic cotton is much better for the environment, if you want to stick to the old standard. Just make sure you’re buying certified organic, fair trade organic cotton treated with eco-friendly or natural dyes

Like most products claiming to be “eco-friendly,” it’s important to research your fabric and clothing companies before making a purchase. Make sure no harsh chemicals are used in the growing or manufacturing process.




Say NO to Sugary Drinks...
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 09 March 2012 20:32

waterHere’s one idea: Start with sparkling or regular water and add cucumbers and oranges for a zesty flavor. I also love mixing two tablespoons of all-natural juices (like their cranberry and pomegranate juice) with sparkling water and a lime. You get antioxidants and vitamin C from the cranberry and pomegranate juice for just 30 calories and no chemicals.

If You Eat Beef...
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 09 March 2012 20:29

beefGrass-fed beef is slightly more expensive, but is much better for you because the cows are raised on pasture without the use of synthetic hormones, toxic pesticides, genetic modifications, cloning, or antibiotics. Aside from all of those glaring benefits, grass-fed beef also has four times the amount of healthy fats and omega 3’s.

Baking Substitutes...
Healthy Eating
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 09 March 2012 20:24

13280445289tqG8uLike baking? Try these substitutes for butter or margarine: Olive oil, non-fat sour cream or yogurt, applesauce, mashed bananas, or mashed pumpkin. You can literally cut hundreds of calories out of your baked goods without feeling deprived.

Food Colorings?
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 09 March 2012 20:21

1101454422uj988510843128448oRaXUThe food colorings, red 40, yellow 5 and blue 1 are in fruit chews and other foods.  Red 40 and blue 1 were originally manufactured from coal tar, but are now mostly made from petroleum. Those two colors have been banned previously in many European countries including Denmark, Belgium and France, though are now widely used in countries belonging to the European Union. Despite their attention in Europe, they've been used in the U.S. without too much resistance.

Carnauba Wax in Fruit Chews?
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 09 March 2012 20:17

1216937049VJIvy5This wax is made from the leaves of the palm tree. Carnauba wax is used to provide a glossy waxen sheen to fruit chews, just like it does for cars (in automobile waxes), shoes (in the polish), dental floss, surf boards and floors. It's also used for paper coatings in the U.S.. Turns out our fruit chews get the same shine treatment as our floors and our cars.

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