Friday, March 30, 2012

Video - Small Home Solar Power System Demo

Here's a short demo of one family's small home solar power system they use to power electronics in the home. While they're not completely off the grid, they are using this small solar power system to meet everyday electricity needs such as lights, television, computers, kitchen appliances, and more. Pretty cool!  If you want to learn more about solar power kits and D.I.Y. solar power info, visit the link below the video.

DIY My small home solar power system
A brief layout of my solar system that I added to my small house. This house is still hooked up to the grid. I use it to run all the lights in my home and the tv, every day. I am able to run anything up to 1000 watts if needed

Click Here to Learn More About D.I.Y. Solar Power....

do it yourself solar power kits
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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Review: 10-Watt Plug-and-Play Portable Solar Power Kit

If you're looking to build your own solar power system, there are a lot of options out there nowadays. You can go completely from scratch, or you can also use kit that is either partially or mostly pre-assembled. Spheral Solar provides a lot of great options from small to large - from small portable kits all the way up to full-size systems that can take you off the grid completely. But if you just want something simple and small that you can use in a pinch - not necessarily to supply your whole household with electricity, there are a great many advantages to the 10 Watt Plug and Play Portable Solar Power Kit. It can be used indoors, but is ideal to be taken along when camping, picnicking in the park or working outside in your garden or yard to power up electrical equipment such as handheld games, lamps, TV's cell phones, laptops etc.

The solar power kit comes with a 10 watt solar panel which charges a Duracell 300 power pack which will provide power for up to 15 hours. In case of emergency, it has a built-in fluorescent emergency light. I like the fact that this system can even jump-start a car - it comes with built-in jump-start cables and clips. 

Overall, this solar power kit is a very versatile and useful device to have at home and when on the road. It will certainly come in handy when grid power is not available or when camping.

Where to Buy:

do it yourself solar power kits
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Monday, March 26, 2012

How to Choose the Right Solar Power System for Your Home

With energy costs rising steadily, more and more people are seeking ways to incorporate solar power into their energy plans for their household. However, there are some things to bear in mind if you want to install a solar power system in your home. Not just any system will do. It needs to fit your energy needs and your property location. Here are some tips.

solar educationFirst, determine if your location is conducive to solar. You need to have an area of your property that faces in a southerly direction - ideally, it will face directly south, but slightly southwest will work. It needs to receive sunlight between 9AM and 3PM. Make sure you observe this area all year round, because a property's sunlight can vary greatly from season to season.

Remember, too, that you can mount solar panels on tall poles and trees, not just your roof. So if an area of your property is shady during the key part of the day, look up - it might be sunnier up higher.

Second, call your utility company and find out what your average monthly use of kilowatt hours is. Then you can determine how many KW hours your solar system will have to generate. (You might choose to have only half of your KW hours replaced by solar.)

Types of Home Solar Systems

In order to narrow down what sort of system you need, it's important to familiarize yourself with the different types. Most homeowners choose to be tied in to the power grid, because a stand-alone system can get very complicated and expensive. It is an option, however.

Flat-plate solar thermal collector, viewed fro...Flat-plate solar thermal collector, viewed from roof-level (Photo credit: Wikipedia)1. Photovoltaic solar panels
These are what most people think of when they think of solar power. They are flat panels that sit on your roof. Generally, photovoltaic systems can power appliances and lights only, not heating and cooling.

The power generated is usually tied in with the conventional power grid, and this is viable option for most solar power users. If you are tied in to the grid, you do not need a battery back-up for night-time and other times when the sun is not shining. The conventional power company becomes your back-up when you are tied to the grid.

2. Solar heating systems

There are active and passive solar heating systems for our home. Passive solar heating uses conduction, convection, or radiation to move sun-generated heat throughout the home. Active solar heating collects the sun's heat in some kind of air or water reservoir, then pumps it throughout the home.

Obviously, depending on the system you choose, these are usually less costly and easier to set up and maintain than a solar panel system. You may choose to go less intensive and just use passive or active solar heating, or you may add solar panels as well and reap the benefits of a combination of these systems.

For a great resource for both solar D.I.Y. info, and pre-made solar power system kits, check out Solar Sphere's website.

do it yourself solar power kits

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Video - How Get Healthy by Shopping Locally

This short video is less than 5 minutes long, but it very clearly sums up the health challenges facing our country today, and offers a helpful solution that could improve the health of our nation as a whole if we take it seriously. Although this video focuses on one specific community, its message is one that applies to most American families. The benefits of eating fresh, locally grown foods are far-reaching, and affect not only you, but your community, and believe it or not, ultimately the planet as a whole.

Check out this excellent video to learn why:

Healthy, Local, Fresh: Farmers Markets & Community Wellness
Sponsored by the Tacoma Farmers Market and Triniti Media, this film depicts the rising health concerns in Pierce County due to poor nutrition, and how the Tacoma Farmers Markets make healthy and locally-grown food accessible to local residents.

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More Resources On The Benefits of Eating Local:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Take Action to Support the Local Farms & Foods Act!

We don't jump on the bandwagon for many causes, but this is an important one for all of us. Americans are clamoring for more locally and sustainably grown food that is better for our health and the environment (and tastes better too!). But the farmers producing sustainable food for local markets need help to compete with the bigger, better-financed conglomerates. Especially in these tough economic times, it makes sense to support healthier local food systems that will boost your local economy and create thousands of jobs. The Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act is definitely worth your support - it is a strong bill that could have a big impact.

This bill will do some really terrific things, such as:

These folks sure knew how to make their food l...Image via Wikipedia:: Provide more money for local farmers' markets and to help farmers adopt organic methods.
:: Allow schools to use more of their federal funding to buy fresh, local foods.
:: Make it easier for low-income families to use food stamps at farmers' markets.
:: Increase support for local processing and distribution networks so schools, hospitals, stores and restaurants can more easily purchase healthy food directly from local farmers.
:: Improve credit and crop insurance for diversified and organic farmers producing for local markets.

With the 2012 farm bill fast upon us, this is going to be a big year in the fight to level the playing field for local farmers and to ensure greater access to healthy, sustainably produced food. This bill is a crucial part of that fight. We need to make sure our representatives understand that we want our food to come from local farmers, and that we expect Congress and the US Department of Agriculture to do their parts. It's clear we're ready for something different - now.

Click here to email your elected officials today and urge them to co-sponsor this important local food bill:

Thank you for standing up for healthy, local food!
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Monday, March 19, 2012

Want to Buy Healthy? Check Out These Healthy Shoppers Resources

Shopping in today's world can be a mind-boggling exercise, especially if you are concerned about buying the healthiest foods for you and your family - avoiding toxins, getting the best nutrition, and supporting your local community at the same time.

Here are some excellent resources you may find very helpful in guiding you through the food shopping jungle!  (And of course be sure to check back here, as we share helpful tips on these sorts of things on a regular basis. For ideas and recipes for preparing healthy meals, also see our Cooking From Scratch blog.)

EWG's Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce
Logo of the United States Department of Agricu...Image via WikipediaThis is a great one you will always want to check with when trying to decide which fruits and vegetables to buy organic and which are OK to buy conventional. And keep your eyes on this blog, as this is updated annually, and we always post the new results when they become available.

The Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass just released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This interactive map shows where to find USDA-supported projects in your area that support local food. Just click the link to learn more about markets near you.

The Meat Label Decoder, in EWG's Meat Eater's Guide to Climate Change + Health. This handy guide gives some helpful tips on how to read labels on meat and dairy products. From free-range to lean, it helps you know what you're buying.

Organic vs. Natural. What's the difference between natural and organic anyway? If you still find these terms a little confusing, our friends at The Organic Center have published this handy tip sheet to help you out.

EWG's Sugar in Children's Cereal Report. Did you know that many popular cereals have more sugar than
Twinkies or chocolate chip cookies?? This report may shock you. (Click the "Full List of Cereals" link to find out where your favorite ranks.) And if you're looking for a healthier alternative breakfast choice, try the yummy recipes in tip #4.

Use these resources to shop healthier the next time you go grocery shopping!
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Friday, March 16, 2012

Video - 5 Super Foods That Could Change Your Life

Here is a really interesting video segment from The Today Show, on 5 superfoods you may never have heard of, but which have amazing health benefits and will be coming soon to a store near you! I am intrigued to try the Laver (I love the seaweed chips I've tried), and have had alligator and it was excellent, but not readily available here in the Midwest yet, and haven't heard of most of the others, but they sound very interesting.

Check it out, and if you've tried any of these before, we'd love to hear about it, so post your comments below!

The Today Show, 5 Super Foods to Change Your Life The Today Show on NBC, 5 Super Foods that can Change Your Life. Try Dr Millers Iaso Tea, All Natural, All Organic.

Find These Super Foods Online:

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Super Foods for A Long Healthy Life

Recent research shows that specific chemicals in foods -- such as sulforaphane, a phytochemical in broccoli -- work with your genes to ratchet up your body's natural defense systems, helping to inactivate toxins and free radicals before they can do the damage that leads to cancer, cardiovascular disease, and even premature aging.

And the hope for the future is to be able to tell someone what diseases or maladies they are might be genetically predisposed to early on, so their diets can be focused accordingly. We’ll know which foods to add, and which ones to avoid, and be able to take a proactive role in preventing or deterring a genetic disease. In the meantime, many foods have been determined to pack a punch to the aging process.

This image was selected as a picture of the we...Image via WikipediaLycopene, the pigment that makes tomatoes red, also appears to reduce risk for cardiovascular disease, some cancers, and macular degeneration. It’s also been associated in greater self-sufficiency in elderly adults. While fresh tomatoes have a good hit of lycopene, the most absorbable forms are found in cooked tomato products, such as spaghetti sauce and soup and prepared salsas. Pink grapefruit, guava, red bell peppers, and watermelon are also rich in lycopene.

Eating at least two cups of orange vegetables like sweet potatoes, squash and carrots boosts intake of beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A, essential for healthy skin and eyes, and which may also reduce the risk of some cancers, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis. Lutein and lycopene, also found in orange produce, also help reduce the risk of macular degeneration and may protect skin from sun damage and even reduce wrinkling as well. Mangoes and cantaloupes are also beta-carotene endowed (and yummy!).

Steamed kale and slivered almondsImage via WikipediaAnd if you don’t do ANYTHING else to change your diet, eat your dark leafy greens. They have been showed to significantly reduce your risk for heart disease and may also save your eyesight. Dietary guidelines advise at least three cups of greens a week. Frozen or bagged are almost as good as fresh, but of course fresh is always best, so visit your farmer's market regularly, or join a local CSA, which often feature a lot of greens.

Don’t forget the mental aging process either. The heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids have also recently been shown to keep your brain sharp. A recent study found that a higher intake of fatty fish significantly reduced mental decline. If fresh fish isn't an option, go for canned tuna, salmon, and sardines.

These foods are not only tasty, they can even help you live a longer and healthier life. Most of them are also pretty easy to find in most areas, so add a few into your diet today, and reap the benefits!

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Monday, March 12, 2012

Super Foods That Encourage Weight Loss

Experts say there are two basic categories of foods that can be considered "keeping it off superfoods" because they fill your tummy without piling on the calories: fruits and vegetables.

The term "natural" is applied to man...Image via WikipediaAnd the nutrient that gives fruits and vegetables that ‘staying power?’


So, if fruits and vegetables are the "keeping-it-off superfood groups," fiber may well be the "keeping-it-off super-nutrient."

Protein is another super-nutrient. It's becoming more scientifically accepted that protein may help to curb appetite. Protein also offers staying power, and can slightly boost your metabolism in the process. But it’s imperative that you choose your proteins wisely, because like all other foods, if you’re eating more than your body needs, it’ll show up on the scale as a gain, instead of a loss.

The following superfoods are smart, low-calorie choices that will benefit your weight loss efforts: 

Green Tea - Researchers suspect that the catechins (helpful phytochemicals) in green tea may trigger weight loss by stimulating the body to burn calories and mildly decrease body fat. So indulge in either a hot cup or a nice tall iced glass of green tea.

Broth- or tomato-based soup – Soups can help reduce hunger before meals and increase your feeling of fullness.

Low-calorie green salads - Having a low-calorie salad – which is not defined as one that’s loaded with croutons, high fat dressings, and cheese - as a first course can help you feel full, thereby reducing how much you eat with your main course. Wisely choose your ingredients, and its high fiber content can be the key to helping you fight cravings later in the day.

Yogurt – Including dairy products as part of your healthy diet may promote your weight loss efforts. Choosing a yogurt may help you fight off hunger pangs due to its combination of protein and carbohydrate.

Beans – A great combination of fiber and protein, beans help you feel full longer, which means they may work to curb your between-meals appetite.

Water – Water is your body’s lifeblood, and you should be drinking it throughout your day. It’s a great no-calorie beverage, and you can get it by drinking unsweetened tea, flavored unsweetened mineral water, regular water with lime or lemon, or even with cucumber. In addition to helping flush toxins from the body, it can also help you feel full. So when those hunger pangs strike, try drinking a glass of water before grabbing that snack.

A box of Lucky Charms from 2011Image via WikipediaHigh-Fiber, Whole-Grain Cereal - Whole grains in general help boost fiber and the nutritional value of your meal. One of the easiest ways to give your daily diet a whole-grain boost is to have a bowl of higher-fiber whole-grain cereal as breakfast or a snack. However, don't be tricked by the sugary cereals on store shelves - even Fruit Loops and Lucky Charms boast "whole grain!" on the label these days, if you can believe that. (Don't believe me? See picture to the right.) You might as well drink a bowl full of high-fructose corn syrup! Instead choose a low-sugar high-fiber choice such as grape nuts, or other all-natural cereals that are unsweetened. One of my recent favorites is an organic whole grain cereal from Trader Joe's which you cook like oatmeal, but it contains several whole grains, and the result is a nutty, chewy, and tasty treat. Combined with a ripe banana and some whole milk, and sweetened with a bit of maple syrup, it's a great balanced breakfast that will fill you up for quite a while.

For more healthy tips to help you balance your body and life, including fun ways to exercise, where to get the freshest and most nutritious foods, cooking healthy and tasty meals from scratch, and more, visit

Friday, March 9, 2012

Video - An Introduction to Healing Touch Therapy

This video is Part 1 of a short documentary on Healing Touch Therapy, including scientific studies, reactions from those who have participated in this unique and holistic therapeutic method, and even a TV newscast on the topic.

You may think it's all "a crock," or you may find yourself fascinated and intrigued like I was - either way, take a few minutes to check this out and learn a bit more about this new and all-natural therapy that is being used in more and more hospitals across the country - it can be a wonderful, natural, and holistic solution to many issues facing our health, or an excellent complementary therapy to more conventional methods, and it's definitely something to consider if you are facing a health problem of pretty much any kind.

Healing Touch Program: An Introduction to Healing Touch part 1of 2
Come with us on a journey that explores the wonderful gifts of Healing Touch. This is part 1 of an 18 minute visual documentary of how Healing Touch changes people's lives; from the effects of Healing Touch to how it is used in hospitals and around t...

More Resources on Healing Touch:

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Benefits of Healing Touch Therapy

Are you looking to solve a health concern and nothing you’ve tried has worked? If prescriptions, and the advice of your physician or physical therapist aren’t working consider trying Healing Touch Therapy. Healing touch therapy works with your energy field to help repair, emotional, physical and mental pains. Often they’re connected and healing touch can be the therapy that pulls everything together. (Yes, it may sound a little "out there" to some, but many have received great benefits from this method, and it is completely natural and isn't putting any harmful substances into your body, so isn't it worth a try, especially if more conventional methods haven't helped? You can also use it to supplement and enhance conventional treatments.)

Cover of "Healing Touch: A Complete Guide...Cover via AmazonBenefits of Healing Touch Therapy

Helps you learn to care for yourself - Healing touch focuses on helping you not only heal your physical, emotional and spiritual self - it also teaches self care. Through healing touch sessions you’ll learn more about how to care for yourself so you stay balanced and healthy in all areas of your life.

Helps manage chronic pain – chronic pain can cause severe stress and anxiety. It can cause depression and a feeling of hopelessness. Healing touch therapy helps you learn to manage chronic pain - naturally. It can also alleviate some of the symptoms. Additionally, healing touch helps you come to grips with the emotional toll chronic stress can take on a person. Through healing touch you’ll learn to feel more positive about your life.

Healing touch can be practiced anywhere – healing touch therapy can be performed in your home, in the hospital or at a practitioner’s office. It can come to you which makes it very accessible.

Complimentary – healing touch therapy isn’t an exclusive therapy. Some therapies require you to forgo all other medical care. Nothing interferes with healing touch. It works quite well to compliment any traditional or non-traditional therapy you may be using to treat your condition.

Your Healing Hands
    Non-invasive – healing touch is a gentle, non-invasive therapy. Sessions generally range from thirty minutes to sixty minutes so it’s easy to fit between therapies or into a busy day. Your clothing remains on so it’s different from massage. You do remove your socks and shoes.

Comprehensive – healing touch can help with anything from stress and anxiety to cancer care and support. It can help strengthen your immune system, help you recover from surgery, and ease back pain. It can also help with issues like depression, feelings of fear and loneliness or spiritual detachment.

Certified practitioners and globally accepted – healing touch therapy is taught in nursing schools, universities, and other learning institutions.

If you’re looking for a way to ease pain, manage a health condition and you want a holistic approach consider healing touch. It’s an effective way to help you heal your heart, mind and body.

More Information on Healing Touch Therapy:

Effects of Healing Touch in Clinical Practice | U.S. Massage Therapy ...
Healing Touch is a “hand-mediated” therapy involving the practitioner using his or her hands, either on or above the client's body, to restore, energize and equilibrate imbalances in the client's energy field, with the goal of ...
Publish Date: 01/19/2012 14:09

Healing Touch Technique For Self Healing | Silva Mind Body Healing
Healing touch technique involves a healer use just their hands to improve the circulation of energy throughout the patients body. Learn how to use this technique.
Publish Date: 07/08/2011 6:54

Why Energy Therapy is Beneficial Before Surgery | Healing Touch ...
I believe that the caring presence an energy therapist brings to the Healing Touch session helps facilitate the healing. The intention for that individual's best and highest good remains top priority. Centering or bringing the ...
Publish Date: 02/01/2012 20:42

From the Heart Through the Hands
The Healing Power of Touch

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Monday, March 5, 2012

How to Manage Anxiety and Phobias Naturally

Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time. However, when your anxiety or phobia limits you from experiencing life, it’s time to take serious action. Drugs or medications are often prescribed. Yet before you take this step consider managing your anxiety or phobia without medication. Many medications have unwanted side effects, and are essentially very toxic to the brain and body. Natural anxiety-relieving tactics can help you manage your issues without these potential dangers. (Note: If you are experiencing severe depression or suicidal thoughts, you should seek professional help immediately.)

10 Ways to Manage Anxiety and Phobia without Drugs

Let's YogaImage via Wikipedia1) Yoga. Yoga teaches many lessons. You learn to control your breathing. You learn to focus. You learn to relax and connect to your body (which can really tell you a lot if you listen to it). You also learn how strong and capable you are. Combined, this is a powerful tool to manage anxiety. Using what you learn in yoga, you can quickly refocus your thoughts, relax and send fear away. There are yoga classes available everywhere these days, and lots of DVDs as well if you prefer to practice at home.

2) Meditation. Meditation helps you look inward for answers and strength. Like yoga, meditation also teaches focus and controlled breathing. With insight and control you can virtually eliminate anxiety and phobias from ruling your life.

3) Exercise. Exercise boosts endorphins - aka feel-good hormones. These hormones make you feel as if you can accomplish anything. They’re very strong and very positive, and the feeling of well-being in your body will lift your mood mentally as well. (For some suggestions for fun ways to exercise, visit our exercise blog at )

4) Fresh air. Fresh air and sunshine help clear the cobwebs from your mind. Also, sunshine helps your body produce vitamin D. Vitamin D has been shown to help manage depression and optimize many functions. It simply helps you feel more positive and in control of your life.

5) Cut back on stimulants including sugar and caffeine. Stimulants can actually worsen anxiety and fear. Cut them out of your diet. You’ll be healthier and you’ll feel calmer.

A Kranz (wreath) of K├Âlsch beer.Image via Wikipedia6) Avoid alcohol and drugs. Alcohol and drugs interfere with your body’s chemistry. They can mess up your hormones, alter your brain chemistry and ultimately change your mood and personality - and not in a good way.

7) Positive affirmations. When you’re experiencing anxiety or fear, use affirmations to change your thoughts. Affirmations are positive statements. They help you refocus. For example, a stressful thought like, “I’ll never get this done in time,” can be changed with a positive affirmation. “I am in control and capable of accomplishing this task in a timely manner.” It may sound simplistic or even cheesy, but it can sometimes help a lot.

8) Visualizations. When you’re in a stressful situation consider using a visualization to help you relax. For example, you might imagine yourself sitting on a grassy hill watching a beautiful waterfall. Choose a visualization that helps you feel relaxed and calm. Go there when you need to.

9) Friends. Friends can be a great help when you’re feeling anxious or fearful. A simple phone call or text can help you relax. Friends are also good for laughter which is one of the BEST tools to combat anxiety - and it's free!  :-)

10) Get help. Finally, if these natural methods are not working for you consider getting therapy. Talk therapy, massage and other professional methods of assistance can help you find balance in your life, naturally.

It is possible and even preferable to treat anxiety and phobias naturally. Medications have the potential for dangerous and unwanted side effects, and can wreak havoc on your mind and your bodily systems. By using some of the methods above, you will learn that you can control your thoughts and live a less fearful and more balanced life. (For more info on balanced living, visit
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Friday, March 2, 2012

Video - What Is a Detox Cleanse Program?

You may have heard of different cleanse programs, such as the "Master Cleanse," and other weird diets that sound pretty challenging and unrealistic for you to incorporate into your life. These types of extreme diets or cleanses are unsustainable, and may even be harmful to your body in some cases. That's why I love the Total Wellness Cleanse - it is a step-by-step, gentle approach to help your body do what it's made to do, and cleanse itself naturally. Check out this short video for a straight-forward explanation of this program, and how it works with your body to help it detoxify naturally and rid your body of toxins and excess fat, and improve your overall health dramatically in just 30 days.

Want to learn more? Just click the link below the video for a more in-depth explanation of the system.

Total Wellness Cleanse and Detox Program-Explained
Total Wellness Cleanse is a 30-day diet developed by a team of registered holistic nutritionists - Yuri Elkaim, Amy Coates, and Adam Elkaim. This is a time-proven detox and cleanse diet plan that will get rid of toxins and other wastes clogging your ...

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