Monday, April 30, 2012

What Is The pH Miracle Diet & Is It Right for You?

The pH Miracle Diet is one of the most interesting and groundbreaking new eating plans to hit the world of nutrition and dieting. This way of eating proclaims that following the program will help restore your health to natural balance and rid you of a myriad of conditions, including excess weight. While most people are looking to shed a few pounds, this diet also claims to help with fatigue, muscle pain and indigestion, as well as many other problems. (The original book has now spawned a whole series of spinoffs for various conditions, but the original probably contains most of what you need to know.)

Cover of "The pH Miracle: Balance Your Di...
Cover via Amazon
If you’ve tried low carbohydrate diets before and felt terrible after consuming all of that protein, then the pH Miracle diet may be for you. This eating program is based on alkaline foods, which are better for your health and for your body. Since humans have a slightly alkaline pH, eating alkaline foods helps support the bodily pH balance. Most people eat a lot of acidic foods like animal protein, dairy products and wheat, which contribute to inflammation in the body, and a whole host of health concerns which are linked. The pH miracle diet consists of certain fruits, vegetables, alternative grains and vegetarian protein sources.

Dr. Robert Young, the creator of the pH Miracle diet, points out in his book that many people’s health problems are due to excess acidity in the body. Among other things, Young says that chronic fatigue, excess mucous production, nasal congestion, frequent colds and infections, stress, anxiety, weak nails, dry hair, dry skin, headaches, arthritis, muscle pain, hives and leg cramps are all signs of excess acidity.

If you have had any of these symptoms for an extended period of time, your acidic diet may be to blame. Think about how much of your diet relies on high acid foods, like animal protein and dairy products. If these problems have been a bother to your life and your health for some time, you’ll benefit from giving the pH miracle diet a try.

Food for Life distributes food on an internati...
Food produced solely from vegan and lacto-vegetarian ingredients. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The pH miracle diet will be a welcome relief for those who have tried to do low carb diets with little success. The foods are less harsh on the stomach and digestive system than the heavy protein required on low-carb diets. There is also a better balance of protein to carbohydrates. The proteins that are used on the pH miracle diet are selected carefully for their level of acid. The proteins consist of alkalizing tofu, beans and nuts.

The pH miracle diet is also good for people who enjoy eating a vegetarian diet. If you’ve given up meat for a day or two and felt better, than this diet may be very beneficial for you. There is no meat on the diet and the only alkaline dairy product allowed is goat milk. Tofu, which has long been a mainstay of vegetarian diets, is a major part of the pH miracle diet. 

If you have a diet that consists mainly of processed foods and very few vegetables, you will definitely benefit from this diet. A diet that consists of manufactured food has very little natural nutrients. This can cause many detriments to your health and you can suffer from the effects of malnutrition, even when you are eating your fill. The focus on vegetables and fresh foods in this way of eating will help get natural vitamins and minerals back into your diet. Just adding a moderate amount of alkaline foods to your diet can improve your health greatly.

The pH miracle diet is a good diet for many different types of people. If you fit any of the previous criteria, you may want to give this way of eating a try, and see if it works well for you.
The pH Miracle Diet & Related Resources:
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Friday, April 27, 2012

Video - Biofuels: Good or Bad?

Here is a short but interesting video about the pros and cons of biofuels. Are they the answer, or do they cause more problems than they fix? Many people climbed on the Ethanol bandwagon a few years ago, but now there some unforeseen issues coming to light - from clearcutting of forests (which absorb carbon), to chemical-intensive production processes which actually increase pollution, to striking a balance between food and fuel, there are many considerations that need to be taken into account before we decide to make the switch to biofuels for our transportation needs.

Watch the short 6-minute video to learn more:

Biofuels - The Answer Or The Problem
The problem with biofuels

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Biofuels As A Green Energy Source

Biofuels are a green energy source you may not be all that familiar with, but they have been around for a very long time.

Liquid biofuel, which is the one used in cars, is a natural and renewable domestic fuel that can only be used for diesel engines. This can be made from vegetable oils - mostly soy and corn. The nice thing about it is that it contains no petroleum, and is nontoxic and biodegradable.

By fueling up with biofuel, you decrease the pollutants in the air because it does not emit much of anything in the way of pollutants. Right now, it is the only fuel that is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has passed every Heath-Effects Test of the Clean Air Act, and meets the requirements of the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
Bus running on soybean biodiesel. U.S. Departm...
Bus running on soybean biodiesel. U.S. Department of Energy: Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy ( (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One example of this type of fuel is biodiesel, which is made from alcohol like methanol and a chemical process that separates glycerine and methyl esters (biodiesel) from fats or vegetable oils. Aside from methanol, some countries have also experimented with corn and sugarcane to create their own version of biofuel.

Glycerine is a common product used in making toothpaste and soap. However, since the technology for this is fairly new, the process of converting it is quite expensive and right now, this is still much more expensive per gallon compared to petroleum (gasoline).

(Although if you look at what you pay for it, the returns are huge because you get to do your share to preserve a cleaner environment, an improvement in air quality and a reduction of cancer-causing agents.)

A cheaper and more primitive way to make bio-diesel is by collecting used cooking oil and then processing it. This may not be good your car’s engine so be careful if you decide to use it.

If you are skeptic about biodiesels, studies have shown that performance on the road is just as good as petroleum in terms of power to efficiency, hauling and climbing. You can use this in its pure form or blend with petroleum fuel. The most common mix in the market is 20/80 and is referred to as "B20." This means that 20% is biodiesel and the remainder is 80%. Another version is the E85 which is fuel composed of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline.

The best part about using biodiesel is that you only have to make a few changes in your engine to be able to use it. Aside from making the car run, it also helps clean the engine. If you are concerned that this will void the warranty of your vehicle should there be a problem, don’t worry because it doesn’t. In the US, B20 is the most common one available but there are only a few gas stations that carry it. (E85 is becoming more common, but there are some concerns coming to light regarding lack of efficiency, and environmental issues due to overuse of farmland for intensive farming of corn to make this product.)

Biofuels work at Argonne
Biofuels work at Argonne (Photo credit: Argonne National Laboratory)
When cars first rolled out in the beginning of the 20th century, Henry Ford planned to make these vehicles - especially the Model T’s - run using ethanol. Tests have even shown that these may also run using peanut oil.

This never materialized because huge oil deposits were discovered and diesel was cheap. It was only when our demand for oil increased in the 1970’s, 1980’s, 1990’s and in the last decade or so that people began to realize that to reduce our demand for foreign oil that we should try using biodiesels and other forms of alternative energy. Developments in processing and efficiency continue to occur at an increasing pace, and we can look forward to seeing better biofuels on the market and readily accessible in the years to come.

That said, although improvements continue, we must keep in mind that some of these solutions may cause more problems than they fix, so it is important to look at all sides, and find the proper balance before choosing a green energy source. Check back Friday for an interesting video on the pros and cons of biofuels.

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Monday, April 23, 2012

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Green Energy Sources

Today, almost everyone is now becoming aware of the effects of global warming. Fortunately, it’s not too late and we can still make positive changes, which is why many are pushing for more green energy sources.

The advantage of using green energy sources is that they are cleaner so they does not emit as many harmful pollutants into the air, which creates a lesser impact on the environment. Green energy sources are also renewable which means we will never run out of them, unlike fossil fuel types such as oil, which is expected to dry up in another decade or two.

The , also known as the Green Mountain Energy ...
Green Mountain Energy Wind Farm. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Although green energy facilities are expensive to build, many can require less maintenance so you don’t have to shell out a lot of money to operate them in the long-term.

They can also bring economic benefits to certain areas, and in come cases even boost tourism.

While these sound good, there are some who say that there are disadvantages to using such technology.

While green energy sources can produce electricity, how much they can generate is often not consistent. This is because we have no control of the weather, for example, so if a certain area relies on solar energy and there is an unexpected weather disturbance which reduces the sun's rays reaching the earth, the system will not be able to convert sunlight into electricity.

Building these facilities also requires a lot of land so we may have to encroach on farmland or wildlife areas, which is what many are concerned about if more wind turbines are to be put up.

Another disadvantage is the fact that some of the green energy sources cannot be installed in certain areas of the planet. For instance, wave energy can only be utilized if ocean waves reach at least 16 feet. The use geothermal energy can only be done in geologically unstable parts of the planet.

But if you look at such arguments, places that cannot use one form of green energy source can usually substitute another. And if wind turbines need more space, they can be installed near the coast instead of on land. In fact, several studies show that you can generate more electricity with wind turbines planted in the ocean anyway.

While the weather is something we cannot control, most weather disturbances don't last too long, and if energy is being properly stored from a solar panel system, it should have enough backup energy to make it through a period without sun. .

The point is that there are ways around many of the arguments which discourage the use of green energy sources. In fact, research is ongoing to try and harness other means to generate the power we need, and new technologies and resources are being developed on a regular basis.

A very good example of this is called ocean thermal energy. Power is generated by harnessing the different temperatures in the water. It is currently being used on a small scale both in Japan and Hawaii.

Generation mix of Spain's Electricity supply -...
Generation mix of Spain's Electricity supply - Over 50% from renewables! (Photo credit: Tom Raftery)
In the US, only 7% of our energy comes from green energy sources currently - lagging far behind most other developed countries. We actually ranked much higher just 11 years ago and if we don’t want to have to worry about the cost of oil or even reduce our dependency on it, we really have to invest more in clean types of energy.

We can get it from green energy sources such as biomass, biodiesel, geothermal, solar, water and the wind. These are things we have all around us and all it takes is for someone to harness them instead of relying on traditional non-renewable means to produce energy. The future of our planet, and humanity, depends on us using our creativity and great brains to develop methods to utilize these resources in an efficient manner!

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Review - The Earth Day Book

The Earth Day book is part of the popular Rookie Books series, which gives young children a basic introduction to various holidays that are celebrated. The books of this series are at a level that encourages children with independent reading. The Earth Day book explains in easy written and interesting language the story of Earth Day, traditions, actions children can take, craft, activities and food ideas.

The book comes with lovely bright illustrations and photographs to grab your child's attention. Reading this book will not only improve your child's reading skills, but also teaches them all about Earth Day and instils in them the importance of protecting our environment.

I would certainly recommend Earth Day and the Rookie Books series in general as engaging teaching tools for your children and a way to give them a better understanding of our traditions and holidays. These books would make a nice present to any young elementary child with an interest in learning about the world. Parents can use this book and any book in the series to spend time together with their child reading and learning.

Where to Buy:

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

5 Fun Earth Day Craft Ideas for the Whole Family

Earth Day is a day the entire family can enjoy together. You can use this day to teach your children about caring for the earth. Consider also spending time together doing some Earth Day crafts - these are fun for the kids, and a great educational opportunity as well. Here are a few ideas to consider.

nature journal sycamore treenature journal sycamore tree (Photo credit: jimmiehomeschoolmom)#1 Nature Hike/Art Project

Go on a hike and have each person in the family pick up five to ten nature items. For example, they might pick up a leaf or a flower petal. Have them take along a bag so they can collect their things. Take them home and make a collage. You can use the collage to create placemats, wall art, or even a desk pad or mouse pad.
You’ll Need: laminate sheets, construction paper, scissors, clear glue or hot glue and other items on hand.

Get creative and have fun!

#2 Tie Dye Party

Tie dying is fun and interesting for kids. And when you use natural food dyes it becomes an earth friendly activity. If you want to add a little education to the project, talk with your children about why you chose to use natural dye instead of chemical dye. Discuss how chemicals harm the planet. You can use carrots, beets, berries, turmeric and other natural items to create the dye.

#3 Make Stuffed Animals

Using materials found around your home create stuffed animals. For example a black sock can be used to create a penguin’s body. Cut out white t-shirt material and glue or sew it on for the belly. A few buttons for eyes. A felt or foam triangle for the beak and feet.

Kids and adults can make fun monster animals too. You can use old corduroy skirts or pants for the bodies. Buttons, ribbons and fiberfill take care of the rest. Each monster can be unique. Because you’re using items already in your home you can talk with your children about why repurposing and reusing items is good for the planet. If you want, you can focus on endangered animals, for an additional teaching opportunity.

Tie DyeTie Dye (Photo credit: deborah.soltesz)#4 Create Bracelets or Cuffs

Cuffs are trendy right now and old wool sweaters can make beautiful cuffs. With old buttons, flowers and embellishments your children can have a lot of fun with this craft. And you can too! In order to make the old wool sweaters work for this project you’ll want to “Felt” them. This means you shrink them until the wool is thick so it won’t unravel (this can be done by washing them in the washing machine using hot water, then spread flat and let dry - or you can even dry them in the dryer on a low-heat or delicate setting). Then simply cut the wool to size. Fit it to your wrist. Fasten with Velcro, buttons or even sew it closed. Add embellishments and you have a lovely cuff.

#5 Tin Can Gardening

If you’re a gardening family then start collecting tin cans. This is a recycling project and a gardening project in one. Decide how you want to decorate the outside of the can. You may create your own labels using a computer or you can draw or paint them. Painting works well because you don’t have to worry about water ruining any paper decorations. If you’re going to paint the cans consider using a primer like Gesso beforehand so the paint will adhere well to the can. You can also decorate with stickers.

Punch a few holes in the bottom of the clean can for drainage before you decorate the outside. Place a few rocks on the bottom of the can. Then fill the can with potting soil and plant seeds or seedlings. Place in a sunny location. Your children can watch their plants grow. Note: If you each plant a different herb you can have a windowsill herb garden, and then your kids can even see how these herbs can be used in cooking - for yet another educational moment!

Take the age and attention span of your children into account before choosing a craft. Earth Day is a day that can be both fun and educational. Help your children learn about caring for the earth in a fun way they’ll remember.
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Monday, April 16, 2012

Fun Ways to Teach Your Kids about the Importance of Earth Day

Earth Day is a great opportunity to educate. It provides a very unique chance to share the importance of protecting our planet, from air and water, to plants and species of animals. With a few simple lessons and experiences you can help your children learn to value the earth too. When I was a kid, we went to an annual Earth Day celebration with live music, food, dancing, earth-friendly crafts, and lots of folks from many different communities came together to celebrate. It was so much fun - I looked forward to it every year. Use this celebration to make an impact on future generations!

EarthEarth (Photo credit: tonynetone)5 Fun Ways to Teach Your Kids About the Importance of Earth Day

#1 Head to Your Local Science Museum

Take your children to a science museum for the day. Many science museums offer special celebrations, exhibits and even pricing on Earth Day. It’s a great way for the entire family to get out together and do something fun and educational. And children will be able to engage with the exhibits and learn a variety of things about the earth.

#2 Plant Stuff!

Earth Day (typically April 20th or 22nd) is right in the midst of planting season in most areas of the U.S. Your children can learn about the importance of Earth Day by getting their hands dirty. Plant a tree. Plant a vegetable or herb garden. Or consider planting flowers. Use compost, organic fertilizers and natural materials to nourish and landscape your garden. The planting teaches children about what the earth can provide. Using organic and natural gardening materials provides you with an opportunity to discuss chemicals, toxins, and other things people do to harm the earth, and how you can successfully avoid them in your own garden.

#3 Take Your Children to A Landfill or Recycling Center (Or Both)

Landfills are depressing places. However, the experience of visiting a landfill will undoubtedly leave a profound impact on your children. You may find when you return home that they become vigilant about reducing, reusing and recycling. Speaking of recycling, ask if your local recycling center offers tours. Children can learn about the importance of recycling and what a difference it can make.

Cover of "Lorax"Cover of Lorax#4 Read Stories With Earth-Friendly Messages
If you have young children then the importance of Earth Day can be communicated in a fun way through stories. For example, The Lorax by Dr Seuss offers a profound message. There are many Earth Day books to choose from, and of course you can make up your own stories as well! You might also combine reading a book with a planet-friendly message with watching The Planet Earth DVDs - especially if you have older kids.

#5 Visit Your Water Treatment Plant

Visiting the water treatment plant provides you with an opportunity to teach your children about conserving water. If the trip isn’t a possibility consider an experiment with water. For example, grab four clean glass jars and fill them with water from four different sources. A river, a pond, your tap etc…

Label each jar. Using a coffee filter, run each jar’s water through a different filter. Make sure you keep the filters organized so you know which type of water you’re looking at. Using a magnifying glass your children can examine the particles left in each filter. It’s an opportunity to discuss pollutants and have your child see firsthand what is in our water supply.

Earth Day presents many opportunities to educate your children about caring for our planet. Choose activities that you believe will resonate with them. Make sure they’re age appropriate. And above all make them fun! If learning about Earth Day is a chore, they won’t enjoy the experience or the message. If it’s fun, the message has more impact.

Fun Earth Day Resources For Kids:
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Friday, April 13, 2012

Video - Interview with John Wargo: How Much of Your Body Is plastic?

 No, we're not referring to cosmetic surgery! This short video interview with author and professor, John Wargo, explains why so many people aren't aware of the potentially harmful effects of chemical exposure due to plastics in nearly all common household items. John's recent book, Green Intelligence: Creating Environments That Protect Human Health, is an interesting read, and you can check it out below. You can also find more information on reducing toxic products in your home, and lowering your toxic load at

Toxic Plastic in Your Body?
Listen to the whole interview: Yale University professor John Wargo discusses the impact of chemical exposures on women and children, and how, although people are growing more environmentally aware, there are still more than 80000 synthe...

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Get Rid of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) In Your Home

You may have heard about VOCs or Volatile Organic Compounds.  They’re essentially dangerous gases which are emitted from a variety of solids and liquids.  This article explores what VOCs can do to your health, where to find them, and how to avoid them.

VOCs and Your Health

Sources of volatile organic compounds. Source:...Sources of volatile organic compounds. Source: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), VOCs can cause:

* Eye, nose, and throat irritation
* Headaches
* Loss of coordination
* Nausea
* Damage to liver, kidney, and central nervous system
* Respiratory distress
* Cancer

Yes, VOCs cause a tremendous number of health issues and unfortunately, they aren’t just emitted when you’re exposed to them.  They can continue to emit toxic gasses for decades.  For example, paint is one item that emits VOCs and painted walls continue to emit these gasses for many years after the paint has first been applied.

Where Do VOCs Come From?

You might be surprised to find that a large number of items that emit VOCs are in your home already.  Common household VOC emitters include:

* Paints
* Paint strippers
* Solvents
* Wood preservatives
* Aerosol sprays
* Cleansers and disinfectants
* Moth repellents
* Air fresheners
* Petroleum fuels
* Hydraulic fluids
* Hobby supplies
* Dry-cleaned clothing
* Mattresses
* Varnished furniture
* Shower curtains
* The list goes on....

VOCs are the main contributor to indoor air pollution.  In fact, the EPA's Total Exposure Assessment Methodology found the most common organic pollutants are two to five times higher inside homes than outside.  The good news is that it’s fairly easy to avoid adding more VOCs into your home.  Use natural air fresheners like essential oils, or natural candles, rather than spray air fresheners.  And when painting or staining, use VOC-free or low VOC paint, and store fuels, adhesives and other VOC emitters outside in a well-ventilated area. (More helpful tips on this can be found here:

VOC emissions are one of the most dangerous contaminants inside your home.  They can cause serious health concerns and when thrown away, leech into our ground water and soil.  Start protecting yourself and your environment by avoiding all VOC-emitting products.  It’s the healthy and green way to go.

For a helpful and FREE checklist for identifying and reducing or eliminating toxins in your home, visit

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Monday, April 9, 2012

What Are The Toxic Plastics To Avoid?

It seems like just about every day we learn about another toxin in our presumably safe home.  Whether it’s that water bottle you’re drinking out of or the plastic dishes you store your food in some plastics are leaching poisons into your home and into your body, increasing your toxic load.  However, not all plastics are bad.  Plastic in general is a very useful resource because it enables us to reuse products time and time again, thus conserving resources. Let’s take a look at a few different types of plastic and learn which ones are safe to use.

Polycarbonate water bottlePolycarbonate water bottle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Polycarbonate

This plastic is responsible for releasing Bisphenol A which has been in the news a lot lately because it’s found in a number of water bottles and large water jugs, certain types of Nalgene bottles, baby bottles, car parts and other common manufactured food storage containers. Bisphenol A has been linked to various types of cancer and other diseases. The easiest way to identify this plastic is to look at the recycling label on the bottom of the container. If it says 7, other, or PC then steer clear of it.

Polyethylene Terephthalate

This plastic is commonly used for water bottles and soda bottles. It’s generally safe for one-time consumption however multiple uses, like refilling that same plastic water bottle over and over again is not all that healthy.   Over time, and especially when exposed to heat, the plastic will begin to degrade and leach (and bacteria can begin to grow).

High Density Polyethylene

This is what milk containers and those plastic grocery bags are made from.  It is recyclable and is generally labeled HDPE, and is generally safe for multiple uses.

Plastic recycle logo PVC, Polyvinyl Chloride T...Plastic recycle logo PVC, Polyvinyl Chloride  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Polyvinyl Chloride

This is an extremely toxic plastic and is commonly called PVC.  It’s used in window frames, to wrap meat in your grocery store, in shower curtains,  in your plumbing and in many baby toys like rubber duckies and mattress covers.  It can release toxic fumes (you probably are familiar with the strong smell of a new shower curtain liner) which are quite harmful, but if fumes are allowed to dissipate before bringing into the home, it becomes more inert and less harmful. To identify this plastic look for the recycling label 3 or PVC.


This plastic is used to make plastic silverware, coffee cups, take out containers and egg cartons.  It’s commonly called Styrofoam.  It has been linked to cancer.  It’s often labeled PS or 6 for recycling.


Polypropylene or PPE is a commonly used and safe plastic.  You’ll find food bags, cups and plastic bottles, medicine bottles and other food storage items are often sold in this plastic.

Low Density Polyethylene

Another safe one, this plastic is what makes up your garbage bags, ketchup squeeze bottles and the plastic wrap you use to store food in your refrigerator. It’s commonly labeled 4 or LDPE for recycling purposes.

By and large manufacturers are getting better about using safe plastics to create their products.  However, it always pays to know what you're buying and potentially putting into your body. The plastics to look out for (and not buy) are PVC, Polycarbonate, and Polystyrene because they are the most toxic and when thrown away will continue to leach toxins into the soil.  Making informed choices when purchasing plastics can help keep your family and the planet safer.

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Friday, April 6, 2012

Video - Dying Easter Eggs Using Natural Materials

Here is a quick video demo of preparing some of the natural egg dyes we discussed on Wednesday, and the dying process, as well as some of the results. You can also get creative and use rubber bands or other items to make patterns or designs, and of course you can get really advanced and glue on other materials, as she demonstrates with the flowers. Pretty cool, huh?

Creative Connections - Natural Easter Egg Dyes
With the Easter holiday right around the corner, Cable 8's Katie Cummings introduces us to some creative methods for dyeing Easter eggs - using all natural dyeing materials.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

How to Dye Easter Eggs Naturally

Easter egg dying is a tradition in many households. It’s a fun and creative craft that the whole family can enjoy. And depending on how you cook your eggs, they can be enjoyed for days as both a decoration and a snack! Instead of using artificial colors and chemical dyes this year for your Easter eggs, why not dye them American Easter eggs from WashingtonAmerican Easter eggs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)naturally? It’s easy. It’s fun. And it’s good for the environment - and your health (more of those chemicals make it through the shells than you might imagine). Here are some helpful tips and instructions for trying this fun activity in your home this Easter:

Step One: Prepare Your Eggs.

The first step is to prepare your eggs. If you’re a hard-boiled family traditionally then by all means hard boil your eggs. If you’re a poke and blow individual then grab your needle and a hearty pair of lungs. (Note: You can save the eggs you blow out of their shells for scrambled eggs, quiche, French toast or other breakfast entrees. No need to throw them away.)

Step Two: Make Your Dye.

This is the fun and slightly experimental step. It’s experimental because there are many materials you can use to make your dye.

Here are just a few options to consider:
* Purple – Grape juice, Red Zinger tea, red onion skins boiled, red wine
* Blue – blueberries, red cabbage leaves boiled
* Green – boiled spinach, kale or collard leaves (Frozen spinach works very well)
* Yellow – Boiled yellow delicious apple peels or lemon peels, or boiled turmeric
* Orange – boiled orange peels, carrots or carrot juice
* Brown – brewed coffee
* Pink – beets, cranberries, raspberries, cherries, pomegranate juice

Dye IngredientsDye Ingredients (Photo credit: Travis S.)Generally, start with about a cup or two of water and add your dye. For example, if you’re using red grape juice to make purple dye then you’ll add it to a cup of water. If you’re using boiled spinach leaves, you’ll boil the spinach leaves until you have the rich green color you’re looking for. Strain the leaves then add the dye to a cup of water.

Heat your water and dye until they’re boiling. Add a tablespoon of white distilled vinegar. Remove from stove and place in a container. You’ll use this container to dye your eggs so make sure you can easily place an egg in the dye and remove it. Bowls work well.

Step Three: Dye Your Eggs.

Once you have several dyes prepared, it’s time to have some fun. Using a slotted spoon, carefully lower your egg into your chosen dye. As you would with the old chemical dyes, you’ll want to check periodically to see if your egg has reached the desired color. Remove the eggs from the dye and let dry. Consider drying them gently with a paper towel and then place them in an egg carton. If you are using hard boiled eggs place them in the refrigerator to keep until you’re ready to eat them, hunt for them or decorate.

Feel free to try other ideas for dye materials (you could even make a game of it), and above all, have fun! (For a video demonstration of this process, and some of the results, please be sure to check back Friday.)
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Monday, April 2, 2012

Eco-Friendly Easter Baskets

This week we're sharing some fun tips for making your Easter "greener" and more eco-friendly. Easter is a time of renewal. While it’s a religious holiday it also ushers in Spring. It’s the perfect opportunity to embrace environmentally friendly habits. One way you can be green and celebrate Easter is to make environmentally friendly Easter baskets.

Green Tips for Making Easter Baskets

Decorated Easter eggs in basket.Decorated Easter eggs in basket. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Reuse
Take a look around your home. Do you have anything that could double for an Easter basket? For example, a child’s bucket can be used to hide eggs, candy and other Easter treats.

A decorative storage box is another option. If you don’t have anything around the home, shop wisely. Look for containers that can be repurposed after Easter. Again a child’s bucket, storage box or even a nice bag work well.

Second hand is another option. Visit flea markets and second hand shops to find original ideas for Easter baskets. Again, look for items that have a purpose after Easter.

Finally, if last year’s Easter basket is still around - use it! Then set it in storage for next year.

Instead of purchasing colorful plastic grass to fill your Easter baskets, consider using recycled material. For example, you might shred old art projects. The colorful paper shreds look great in an Easter basket.

You can also shred magazine pages for glossy high color Easter grass. Additionally, you can recycle them when the holiday is over.

Instead of using chemicals to dye Easter eggs, reduce the amount of pollutants and use natural egg dye. You can dye eggs with all sorts of items right in your home. For example:
* Pink can be created by boiling beets or cranberries.
* Red can be created by boiling red onion skins.
* Purple can be created by using grape juice.
* Brown can be created with coffee.
* Blue can be created with blueberries.
* You might also consider using carrot juice, turmeric or spinach juice. (Check back Wednesday for detailed instructions on making naturally dyed Easter eggs!)

A Cute Little Bunny With Some EggsA Cute Little Bunny With Some Eggs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Cut back on the amount of candy and trinkets in your child’s Easter basket. They certainly don’t need pounds of candy to have a good holiday. And consider also using candy that is naturally sweetened. Skip the Peeps, or at least cut back, and give your child Earth Balls, sun drops and other naturally sweetened candy – no high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors. You can also buy organic lollipops and candy.

Finally, skip the pets. Don’t buy any chicks, bunnies or other cute animals for Easter. Instead, buy your child something they can use. Books are a wonderful treat. If your child is older you can purchase a gift card for them.

Having a green Easter is simple. Plan ahead, cut back and use what you have. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to make this Easter an environmentally friendly one.

Be sure to check back later this week for natural Easter egg dye tips, and more!
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