Friday, December 31, 2010

Make Your Resolutions Green This Year!

Well, it's that time again - time to mull over the year's triumphs and challenges, and put an old year to rest, while setting goals for an even better year ahead! This year, why not make a resolution to live in a way that is more conscious and respectful of the world and people around you?

Here is a great article to get you started, with some simple and easy tips to making a positive difference in the year ahead.

And we'd love to hear your "green" resolutions as well! Please feel free to comment and share ideas below!

How to Make Your New Year's Resolution Green and Friendly
"We wanted to motivate people to make a green resolution that will directly impact the environment because most people will make a change if it's easy, affects something beyond themselves, and feels good," says Modena. The green living ...
Publish Date: 12/29/2010 8:57
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Monday, December 27, 2010

What To Do With Your Christmas Tree After Christmas?

Christmas treeImage via WikipediaFor the green family, it can seem terribly wasteful to throw that great tree in the landfill. Some areas have Christmas tree recycling programs, and others don't.

Here are some ideas for what to do with that used (real) Christmas tree, after the holiday has come and gone (please note that for artificial trees, you should wrap the tree and place for safekeeping for next year - artificial trees are not usually recyclable, and you sure don't want those in a landfill - what a waste!):

Christmas Tree Recycling and Disposal
Christmas Tree Recycling The holidays are over, the presents are unwrapped and you have figured out how to recycle Christmas wrapping paper, but what about the tree....
Publish Date: 12/13/2010 5:00
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Friday, December 24, 2010

Video - Eco-Friendly Holiday Tips

The holidays can be a very wasteful season, what with all the gifts, packaging, wrapping paper, etc. Here are some tips for making your holiday season more eco-friendly and easier on the environment and your pocket book as well! 

Merry Christmas from New Holistic Living!

Your WildLifeStyle Tip: Eco-Friendly Holidays
Did you know that between Thanksgiving and New Year's, American households increase their waste output by over 25% with cards, wrapping paper and ribbons? Check out these tips direct from the North Pole on how to make your holidays more environmental...

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Eco-Friendly Alternative Gift Wrapping Ideas

Gift yellow-green wrappingImage via WikipediaOnly two more days to finish the rest of the last-minute gift wrapping! But the sheer amounts of wrapping paper, bags, tissue, and bows involved may give the eco-friendly family pause.... One of the most wasteful parts of the holidays is packaging and gift-wrap. Tons of paper are thrown away this time of year (literally), and although some (though not all) gift wrap can be recycled, much is not. Here is a great article (complete with some helpful pictures) on alternatives to purchasing and using traditional gift wrap.

These ideas can save you both time and money, while still being attractive, unique, and eco-friendly.

A Gift Wrapping Guide for the Rest of Us
A Gift Wrapping Guide for the Rest of Us. Posted on December 9, 2010 by Courtney. Please welcome today's guest poster, Jody. When planning a visit to my hometown several years ago, I was invited to an old friend's baby shower that ...
Publish Date: 12/09/2010 3:00

Have a greener holiday season this year, and remember, the best gift of all! (Cheesy I know, but true nonetheless.) :-)

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Organic Food Gift Baskets: Great Holiday Gift

Are you looking for a nice, unique gift to give a close friend or relative?  Although you do have a number of different options, you may want to take the time to examine organic food gift baskets.  After a close examination, you will see that there are a number of reasons why organic food gift baskets make for the perfect gift.

Gift fruit basketImage via WikipediaOne reason why organic food gift baskets make great gifts is because they are not just for organic eaters.  With that being said, organic eaters are more likely to appreciate an organic themed gift basket.  However, you may do someone that you know a favor by getting them interested in eating organic foods.  Many individual are surprised with the taste, namely how good it is.  Typically, organic foods taste similar, if not better, than other foods with artificial additives.

The fact that organic food gift baskets are perfect for just about any occasion is another one of the many reasons why they can be the perfect gift.  Popular occasions in which organic themed gift baskets are given include Christmas, Mother’s Day, and Easter.  Keep in mind, however, that they are also perfect for just about any occasion, including birthdays, weddings, and anniversaries.  In fact, you can give an organic food gift basket as a housewarming gift or even just because.

Another reason why organic gift baskets should be examined is because it can be relatively easy to find and buy them.  This is largely due in part to the number of options that most shoppers have.  For example, there are online stores that specialize in the selling of gift baskets and many have a small collection of organic food themed baskets.  Online organic food stores, as well locally operated organic food stores may also have a selection of themed gift baskets for sale.  Despite the fact that organic food gift baskets are ideal for just about any occasion, they are usually easier to find for sale around Christmas, Easter, and Mother’s Day.

The options that you have, in terms of which organic foods are included in a gift basket, is another reason why you should examine them to give as gifts.  Most individuals automatically think of organic fruits and vegetables, but organic food is so much more than that.  An organic food gift basket can include mixes, desserts, candies, breads, cheeses, crackers, and so much more.  In fact, there are some stores that allow you to design your own gift baskets.  This is a great way to ensure that your gift recipient receives a gift basket filled with organic foods that they will eat.

As nice as organic gift baskets are, some shoppers are turned off by their costs.  If that describes you, it is important to know that you do have an alternative.  That alternative involves making your own gift baskets.  Making your own organic gift basket is also a great idea if you are unable to find a pre-made basket that you like.  Simply find a container, which should also be organic, and place selection of natural foods inside and you now have a homemade organic food gift basket.

Of course, the decision as to whether or not you want to give the gift of an organic gift basket is your decision to make, but you may still want to see what is available.  Chances are, you will be able to find the perfect match for your close friend or family member.

Organic Gift Basket Ideas:
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Monday, December 20, 2010

Eco-Friendly DIY Holiday Gift Idea

Traditional Aleppo SoapsImage via WikipediaNothing says "personal touch" like a hand-made gift, and here is one that is both easy, fun, and eco-friendly. If you've never tried making your own soaps, it may seem intimidating, but this simple recipe and instructions will get you started, and before you know it, you'll have yummy organic homemade soaps to give all your loved ones that truly personal touch this holiday season!

DIY Holiday Gift Idea #2: Handmade Soaps, Eco & Easy | Delicious ...
For homemade gift ideas, check out this all natural, organic recipe for soap making that's both easy and eco.
Publish Date: 12/07/2010 21:48

And don't worry - if you try making your own soaps and don't care for it, or  it just seems like too much trouble, there are lots of good options out there. Try Zum Bars - these all-natural bars come in tons of yummy scents, and they are made of pure food-grade oils and goats milk, which is very gentle and moisturizing for your skin. These also make a great gift (I got them for almost everyone this year!).

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Detox and Your Skin

The best way to have healthy, glowing skin is to start from the inside out. Eliminating caffeine in the form of coffee and soda is one way to start. Caffeine dehydrates the body and skin. And lack of moisture is a sure way to create lines and wrinkles. It’s also a diuretic, causing increased urine output, again depleting your body and skin of the moisture it needs. We try to combat this with moisturizers, but the better way is to put the moisture INTO your body, not on it.

Dragon fruit juiceImage via WikipediDrinking pure water, unprocessed fruit juices or coconut milk will give your body and skin the hydration it needs. The natural colors in fruit juices are the colors of the earth and these colors will reflect themselves in warm and healthy skin tones.

The overall effects of caffeine on your body will manifest themselves in your skin. Heavy caffeine drinkers can experience osteoporosis, headaches, depression, sleeplessness. These can all be reflected in your skin.

When you replace colas, coffee and teas made with boiling water with water, fruit juices “sun tea” and coconut milk, you’ll soon start to feel better and sleep better. Your skin will reflect the good health of all the organs and cells of your body, once you’ve kicked the caffeine habit.
Another reason for drinking pure water, juices and “sun tea” is that when you boil water, you’re releasing oxygen from it. When the body rids itself of toxins, it passes through the skin which is the largest elimination organ. Raw food increases your detoxification rate. Drinking water helps the body rid itself of toxins. Seaweed is high in vitamins and minerals beneficial to the skin and also helps rid the body of toxins.
To achieve a healthy complexion, drink plenty of water and eat plenty of raw food. What goes into your body is reflected in your overall appearance - and in your skin.
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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Organic Foods and the Environmental and Economic Impacts

If you are interested in switching to organic foods, you may first do a little bit of research.  If so, you are likely looking to find more information on the benefits of eating organically.  When doing so, you will see that there are a number of health benefits to eating organically, but did you know that organic foods can also help to improve the environment and the economy?  They can and for more information on how so, please continue reading on (or visit for info on finding locally grown organic foods in your area).

It is no secret that many farmers use pesticides and other chemicals when growing many fruits and vegetables.  Although many of these pesticides are “technically,’ considered safe, many still have concerns.  After all, if the chemicals can be used to kills bugs and bacteria, what can they do to our bodies?  This is a huge concern for many individuals, especially those who are concerned with their health and exactly what it is they are putting in their bodies.  Also, does simply just rinsing a vegetable make the food any safer?  What about the impact on the environment?  These are all common questions that many have.

Speaking of the environment, did you know that many soils become contaminated when pesticides and other similar chemicals are used?  Contamination is more than possible.  In fact, did you know that many of the farmers who wish to switch to growing organic foods need to overhaul their fields or wait a specific period of time until their soils can be considered clean again?  This just goes to show the impact that unnatural foods an have on the environment.

Quality Assurance International official logoImage via WikipediaAnother one of the many ways that organic foods can help to improve the environment and the economy is with the survival of quality food manufacturers.  All organic food should be certified by the QAI (Quality Assurance International).  This certification process is not easy to pass, as there are a number of strict rules that must be followed and certain qualifications must be met.  Unfortunately, not everyone is able to meet these standards.  This means that only the quality and dependable organic food makers are likely to survive.  Although many do not look at it from this point of view, it can be good for the economy.

An old farmer woman.Image via WikipediaIn keeping with the economy, many farmers are getting a second chance with organic foods.  Now, it is costly to run a farm.  In fact, that is why many farms are shutting down.  Although some farmers are choosing to give up their operations, others are choosing to make the switch to organic foods.  Although it does take a lot of hard work, determination, and a large investment to make the switch to organic, many farmers are finding big payoffs.  There are also many economists who believe that switching to growing organic foods is the only way that many farms, especially those that are small in size, will be able to survive.

As you can see, there are a number of ways that organic foods can impact the environment and the economy.  Fortunately, these ways are all positive in nature.  As a reminder, organic foods are also safe, healthy, and natural to eat.  What does this mean for you?  It means that there are a number of benefits to eating organically.  For that reason, if you are interested in making the switch to organic foods, you should go ahead and do so.
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Monday, December 13, 2010

Avoiding Toxins by Eating Organic

Food that is grown or raised without chemical pesticides or chemical fertilizers is called “organic.” We’ve become so accustomed to getting by with foods that have been grown with fertilizers and that contain harmful toxins, that we’ve forgotten what it’s like to feel truly “well.” (Most of us don’t know how good we could really feel.)

Organic food melaImage by Hari Prasad Nadig via FlickrWhat are some other good reasons to eat organic food? You might be surprised to find out how much we pay in terms of flavor and nutrition to eat perfect-looking food. Yes, organic food might have an occasional blemish or flaw. Organic foods, though, are generally fresher and more flavorful. Many times, they’re grown locally, so they haven’t been stored or refrigerated. (Check out a local CSA to make sure you are getting the freshest food around, as well as supporting your local community and environment.) Consider the difference in flavor between a vine-ripened tomato and a "regular" (store-bought) tomato. There’s just no comparison.

The body has to process everything you put into it and eliminate what it cannot digest. If your food contains toxins in the form of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, your body has to figure out a way to get rid of the toxins. When the body cannot get rid of toxins fast enough, it stores them until it is able to eliminate them. This can lead to many health problems. Many of the pesticides used in farming have been found to be carcinogenic. Reducing your exposure to these toxins can improve your health. 

True, some people eliminate toxins well. Still, the body needs to expend energy to eliminate toxins when it could be doing other things such as healing damaged cells, fighting off viruses and bacteria, or patrolling the body for cancer cells. Even people who can tolerate or eliminate toxins could feel substantially better without putting these poisons into their bodies. And if your system is sensitive to toxins, you’ll be much better off eliminating them from your diet as much as possible. 

Organic vegetables at a farmers' market in Arg...Image via WikipediaFortunately, it’s easier and easier to do this because there’s a greater selection and variety of organic produce in our grocery stores. However, this can be expensive, and you're still not getting the freshest food if your organic produce is being shipped from California to New York (not to mention, think of all the environmental impact of the long-distance transit). For the freshest organic foods, visit your local farmer's market, or join a CSA - the benefits can be much greater, both in terms of your health, and the world around you.
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Friday, December 10, 2010

How to Find Organic Food Recipes

Are you interested in eating organic foods?  If you are, you may be looking for organic food recipes.  Unfortunately, there are many new organic food eaters who do not know where to look.  The good news is that you do have a number of different options, a few of which are outlined below.

The internet is a great way to find organic food recipes.  You can do a standard internet search using your favorite search engine, but if you are looking for something in particular, incorporate that into your search.  For example, if you are looking for recipes for breakfast, your search phrase could be “organic food breakfast recipes.”  The internet, as you can see, is one of the quickest and easiest ways to search for organic food recipes. (Also check out our Cooking From Scratch blog, where we feature healthy and organic, as well as locally-grown foods, on a regular basis!)

I need some recipes for Spring greens, if you ...Image via WikipediaAs for what you will find online, you will see that it varies.  Your standard internet search is likely to produce a number of different results.  You may find websites that specialize in organic food recipes, websites that specialize in recipes in general, as well as online message boards where organic foods are being discussed and where recipes are traded.  In fact, there are a number of benefits to joining an online community or an online message board if you are looking to learn more about eating organically.

You can also use the internet to examine the online websites of organic food stores and organic food makers.  These websites can easily be found with a standard internet search.  In addition to special offers, recipes are also commonly found online.  This is great if you actually use the products from the company in question, as most of their products are what is featured in an organic food recipe.

You can also find and learn more organic food recipes by speaking with those that you know.  Do you know of any organic food eaters?  If you do, ask them for recipes.  In fact, if you have already developed a small collection of your own organic food recipes, ask to trade.  If you do not know any other organic food eaters, consider meeting some.  You may be surprised just how easy it is to do so.  Did you know that some cities and towns have groups that are designed for natural and organic food eaters?  Many have meetings where they talk about organic foods, trade recipes, try out those recipes, and do so much more. If you're a member of a local CSA, this is also a great place to find like-minded people.

Printed recipe books are another great way to find organic food recipes.  Although most recipe books are for “traditional” foods, organic foods are increasing in popularity, as more people become concerned with their health and the foods that they consume.  For that reason, more organic food books are hitting the market.  If you are interested in buying an organic food recipe book, you will find that you have a number of different options.

When looking to buy an organic food book, many book stores carry a limited selection of books.  (Of course you can also use regular cookbooks, but with some organic foods, particularly meat, cooking methods and times may differ slightly.) With that being said, you are likely to find the best success locally when shopping with an organic food store.  Although most specialize in selling food products only, recipe books are also commonly offered for sale.  The internet can also be used to find organic recipes in the form of cookbooks.  What is nice about using the internet to shop is that it is easy to compare prices and books.  In fact, you are provided with the largest selection of all when using the internet.  As a reminder, free organic food recipes can also be found online.

As outlined above, there are a number of different ways that you can go about finding organic food recipes to cook for yourself or your family.  Although using the internet to find free recipes is a nice approach, you may also want to purchase your own organic recipe cookbooks.  This is because cookbooks are filled with a large number of recipes, some of which readers may have never though of making before.

You can find lots of good and affordable cookbooks on, such as these:

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Body Detoxification: Naturally Remove Unwanted Toxins

Toxicity is one of the greatest concerns in the 20th century. This is because there are many combined factors now contributing to the buildup of toxins in the human Air-pollutionImage via Wikipediabody (also called toxic load),  including increased use of stronger chemicals for a variety of purposes, water and air pollution, and radiation. Many people are ingesting new chemicals, using all kinds of drugs, eating more sugar as well as refined foods, and also filling their systems with various sedatives and stimulants.

These toxins lead to an increased incidence of illness, disease, and general ill health. Some of the most dangerous health issues which can be caused by high toxic load are cardiovascular illnesses and cancer. Others include obesity, allergies, arthritis, and other skin problems. Common symptoms of high toxic load include fatigue, headaches, pains, gastrointestinal problems, coughs, and other problems associated with a weak immune system.

These chronic and acute illnesses can be alleviated through cleansing or detoxification of the body. This process naturally eliminates harmful toxins from the body. It can either be a short-term or a long-term procedure. Those people who are addicted to some substances can also benefit from a detox program. They can temporarily avoid addictive agents and later on withdraw from their abusive habits as their bodies are cleared of the harmful substances.

Take note that toxicity can occur on two major levels. It can either be internal or external. External toxicity is acquired from the environment through breathing, ingesting or physical contacts.  It also includes the chemical characteristics of foods which affect the health. Most food additives, drugs, and allergens create the body’s toxic elements. In fact, substances such as sodium, many nutrients and vitamins, and even water have toxicity in particular circumstances.

Macrophages have identified a cancer cell (the...Image via WikipediaOn the other hand, internal toxins are internally produced by the body from its daily normal functions. Cellular, bodily, and biochemical activities are constantly producing substances that should be eliminated. These free radicals known as biochemical toxins can cause inflammation or irritation of the tissues and cells which blocks the normal functioning of an organ, cells, or entire body system. All kinds of microbes, foreign bacteria, intestinal bacteria, parasites, and yeasts produce waste products that are metabolic. Emotions, thoughts, and stress also increase biochemical toxins.

Almost everybody in today's society needs to detoxify their bodies to some degree. Detox or cleansing is just one part of maintaining a healthy body and reducing your toxic load. Eating a balanced diet of clean, healthy and natural foods, and avoiding excesses is another part.

Eating a diet filled with artificial or processed fats, refined foods, and dairy products, combined with a typical dose of prescription drugs, can lead to a high toxic load within the body. This is a pretty typical diet for most Americans, so it's easy to see why detox can be very helpful.  

Fasting is one detox therapy that is sometimes incorporated. It is considered as the oldest and most complete natural treatment for humans. Detox processes (including fasting) can help clear dead cells and other waste, and revitalize the natural functions as well as the healing capacities of the body. Many people claim that certain cleansing and detox programs have had incredible positive results on their body.

Eliminating toxins and reducing your toxic load is very important to the health of your body. Although the body can handle certain amount of toxins, the sheer amount of chemicals we are now exposed to on a daily basis poses a high burden on your body, which it cannot always handle without help. A good detox program can help equip you with a well-working and stronger immune system to prevent diseases and prolong your life.

For more information on lowering your toxic load, as well as making your home less toxic, please visit

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Recent News on Reducing Your Toxic Load

Icon from Nuvola icon theme for KDE 3.x.Image via WikipediaHere are some interesting recent articles on how to reduce your toxic load. Reducing the levels of toxins in our bodies is imperative, as we are exposed to so many toxic chemicals on a daily basis, which contribute to hundreds of different health problems. It isn't possible to eliminate all exposure to these chemicals (at least not in today's industrialized society), but you can take steps to reduce your exposure as well as remove existing toxins from your body and improve your health.

The first article below gives some great tips on easy ways to detoxify your body, and for other ideas, be sure to visit, and pick up a copy of our FREE Home Checklist on ways to detoxify your home.

10 Easy Steps to Detoxify Your Body and Improve Your Health | Ing ...
The accumulation of these harmful substances in the body is known as “toxic load” – sometimes referred to as “body burden.” Over time, the buildup of environmental toxins in our systems can lead to chronic or severe health problems. ...
Publish Date: 12/04/2010 3:43

Dump Your Toxic Load
Although the body has a natural way of healing itself, and dumping these harmful toxic chemicals, sometimes it can't handle the process alone. The body's system for natural detoxification needs some sort of support in order to function ...
Publish Date: 11/12/2010 16:50

The Organic Pharmacy's Margo Marrone Dishes on Holiday Beauty ...
I consider fragrance, as well as our skin care and makeup, to be an extension of health – reducing our toxic load but at the same time not having to give up glamorous effective products to use. Ultimately, we all want beautiful products ...
Publish Date: 12/01/2010 13:59
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Friday, December 3, 2010

Video-Solar Energy Concentrator

Here is a pretty interesting video which demonstrates a simple energy concentration device using energy from the sun for a variety of purposes. It also includes some great explanations of how and why solar energy works, and how you can build a similar device.

Becoming energy independent is an important goal for living a green lifestyle that is healthy for both yourself and the planet. While this device won't solve all of our energy problems, it is great to see such interesting ideas taking shape and being used to create new opportunities for you and me.

Solar Energy Concentrator
Purchase: This video demonstrates how solar energy can be focused with a curved mirror. Once focused this energy can be used to cook food, sterilize water even create electricity. Includes an explanation of Energy, Power, Joules, Watts. ...

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Harnessing Solar Energy for Your Home

Solar energy is a natural source of energy that comes directly from the sun.  When solar energy hits the earth it spreads over the earth's surface and provides warmth evenly.  If you could capture the sun's rays into a particular area for a long period of time it would provide enough warmth for nighttime or on cloudy days.  Learning where to find solar energy can help you to get started today.  Solar energy does not cost anything because it comes from the sun.  The source that you choose may cost some but in the long run it should be your only expense, unlike gas or oil heaters that you continue to pay for monthly in order to have power or gas heat in your home. Solar power can provide heating, cooling and ventilation.

Thermal-solarImage via WikipediaIf you want to make your own solar power to capture the energy for heating its easy to do if you can find a solar collector, which is anything that attracts the heat from the sun in a concentrated amount, such as glass or clear plastic. Getting into your car that has sat out in the hot sun all day long can be extremely hot and you have to roll down your windows to cool it off inside.  That is because the glass has attracted the sun and the objects in your car, including your seats, have trapped the heat not allowing it to escape.  When you roll your windows down you are allowing the heat to escape causing your car to cool down. The same thing is true about greenhouses. The glass or clear plastic can attract the sun and not allow it to escape causing the greenhouse to maintain the heat for the plants to grow effectively. 

In order to heat your home using solar energy, you need to know the difference between a passive and an active home.  These two types of solar homes offer the homeowner options to choose from and your cost of heating may be lowered.  Solar energy can not only heat your home but also your water, and if you use solar energy lights it can light your home at night.

Passive homes do not use any equipment to heat the home.  Passive homes use windows that are made to allow the maximum amount of sunlight into your home.  The sunlight is controlled by keeping the doors and windows closed in the hottest part of the day not allowing any heat to escape. At night thick curtains may be used on these windows so that the warmth stays inside during the night.  This allows the sun to naturally heat your home without any help.

Active homes do use equipment to help circulate the heat in the home.  Some of the equipment that may be used includes pumps, blowers and an alternative heating source in case the sunlight was not enough during the daytime.  In order to heat the home with sunlight these homes use special boxes on the outside that attract the sunrays to it.  They are made from a dark colored metal to help attract the sun more. The water or air that is carried in the pipes and ductwork is heated by this glass box that has captured the sunlight.  Then the heated water or air is then carried to the rest of the home.

In the long run, solar energy helps to heat the home naturally and without depending on a company to supply it for you. Solar energy can be found anywhere the sun is.
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