Wednesday, August 27, 2014

3 Carpooling Tips to Save Fuel

The concept of carpooling has been around since World War II. However, formal car-pooling structures, including HOV lanes and public transportation, have been around for about forty years.  Whenever our country begins to recognize a shortage of resources, we begin taking active measures.  Here are a few tips to save fuel by carpooling:

Swap Riding - NARA - 534275
Swap Riding Poster from the 1940's. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
#1. Find other carpoolers.  This may seem initially like the hardest part of your initiative.  However, there are many ways to find people just like you to pool with.  First, check with your company human resources department.  They may have a list of carpoolers on hand – people you can ride with.  Secondly, check online.  There are carpool connection sites you can register with to find the right group of people for you.

#2.  Get organized. Once you have a group of people interested in carpooling, it’s time to organize your carpool. Here’s what you need to figure out:

* How often everyone would like to carpool?  Sometimes there are days which carpooling doesn’t work for you and/or your other carpoolers.  Create a schedule.

* Who wants to drive, and how often? 

* Where and when is everyone going to meet and get dropped off? 

* What is the start date? 

* Exchange cell phone numbers and e-mail addresses so you can communicate with them if there’s a change in your schedule. You’ll lose carpool friends fast if you leave them waiting for you.

* Make sure drivers have valid licenses and auto insurance – important!

* How much does everyone contribute to the carpooling program?  Gas and tolls cost money and it is everyone’s responsibility to contribute.  Additionally, if you’re consistently taking one person’s car then contribution to oil changes and upkeep isn’t out of the question.

A permanent, separated high-occupancy vehicle ...
Car pool lanes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
#3.  Establish policies.  Create a system of notification if someone is off schedule, has an emergency and so on.  Additionally, you may want to set ground rules for etiquette.  While you may think some things are obvious, others may not, so it’s best to be clear and upfront.  For example, what are appropriate speed limit rules?  What about smoking, eating/drinking, or texting and chatting on the phone while driving? 

Additionally, what do you do if you want/need to kick someone out of the group?  Sometimes it just doesn’t work out.  As a group, it may be good to decide how to give someone who doesn’t follow the rules the heave ho.

Carpooling is an exceptional way to save on fuel.  Instead of five cars on the road driving to and from work, you have one car on the road and you also save one fifth of the expense.  In addition to saving money and natural resources, you may also find you make some lifelong friends, or at least have some interesting experiences!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

6 Tips for Cost-Effective & Eco-Friendly Living

Being conscious of the environment in your daily life can be hard and sometimes sounds costly as well. But it doesn't have to be. You can be eco-friendly without breaking the bank. Here are some cost-effective eco-friendly tips to help you out.

1. Unplug appliances. When appliances are not in use but are plugged in, they are still using a small amount of electricity. The coffee pot, toaster oven, and fans can all be unplugged when not in use. So if you get into the habit of unplugging things when you're not using them, you will not only start saving yourself money on your electric bill - you will also be making your carbon footprint smaller by using less electricity and energy.

2. Replace older appliances with Energy Star appliances. Now we know it can be a huge up-front expense having to replace appliances that don't really need to be replaced. But you will save money on your energy bills and eventually it will pay off. You don't have to do it all at once, but you can save up to $75 a year by making the switch, so just start switching over when you need to replace things. When old appliances start to wear out, gradually replace them with newer, more energy-efficient models. For our new house, my husband and I will be replacing the 20+ year old furnace, and inefficient window air conditioning units, with a new geothermal system when we move in. While it is more expensive up front, it will save us thousands of dollars in electricity usage in the long run.

Battery charger
Battery charger (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
3. Use rechargeable batteries. You will again be spending slightly more money up front, but think about how many times you have to change batteries on those TV remote controls or the kids' toys. You will save quite a bit by purchasing rechargeable batteries that you can use over and over again, rather than the disposable kind that you throw away after one use. And you will be keeping more batteries out of landfills - batteries which do not break down and can release harmful chemicals into the environment.

4. Replace your chemical household cleaners with natural cleaners. You can buy specific green cleaners which will cost you more. Alternatively, if you use something like white vinegar or baking soda to disinfect, clean, and remove stains and freshen the air, then you'll be saving huge amounts of money on your cleaning products - and still getting things clean to boot.

5. Whenever possible, skip the car and walk or bike where you need to go. The obvious savings would be gas savings, but you'll also save on auto repairs. If you must drive, though, then try to combine errands as much as possible and take a more direct route to get there, and carpool whenever possible. If your co-worker needs to pick up their dry cleaning at the same laundromat as you, then just do it together. Or ride to work together if you live close to each other.

6. Research recyclable items and use products that are made from recycled materials. It can be cost-effective to use items which can be used over and over. Companies are learning that they also save by using recycled materials, and they pass those cost savings onto you. However, they need the materials to come back to them if they are going to continue producing recyclable materials. So make sure to recycle your materials when done.

Just think smart and work hard to be aware of what's out there. Saving money and being conscientious of the eco-system just go hand in hand. If you follow these tips then you will be keeping money in your pocket while also helping protect the planet. It's a win-win situation!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

4 Simple & Effective Detoxing Methods

Some of you may know that my husband and I are in the process of buying a house. We closed on Monday, and are in the process of moving, so for the next couple of weeks, we will only be posting once a week on this blog until we get settled in. So be sure to check back on Wednesdays for helpful info on how to live a cleaner, greener, and healthier life! And remember to visit our main blog at for more healthy living topics and resources for natural living.

And now on to this week's topic - how to cleanse and detox without disrupting your life!

It can feel a bit intimidating to hear about other people's detoxification efforts.  Perhaps you know of people who have paid large sums of money, and spent weeks in detox "camps" where their diets are strictly regulated.  Maybe you know of people who have received enemas, gone on very restrictive diets, have felt terribly ill, or otherwise have had to take large amounts of time out of their lives to detox.

Most of us cannot just stop our lives in order to do a hard-core detox.

If you want to detoxify while still getting on with your life, here are some gentle but effective methods:

English: This is my own work, Photo by Gila Br...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
1. Raw Vegetables and Fruits

In this kind of detox, you simply eat only raw fruits and vegetables for two or three days, and drink only water, herbal teas, or diluted fruit juice.  All foods consumed in this detox diet need to be organic.  Much of the principle behind this type of detoxification is to reduce the intake of toxins, as well as flushing them from the system.

2. Meditation

Many proponents of detoxification claim that meditation helps cleanse the mind and body.  Because meditation relaxes the body and brings focus, it makes sense that it would be a healthy means of personal cleansing.  Some practitioners of meditation use visualization and energy channeling to move toxins out of the body.  Meditation can easily be worked into your schedule, either performed every day or just a few times a week.

3. Smoothies

Smoothie og kaffe
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This can be a very tasty, creative detox!  As long as the ingredients are fresh and organic and based on fruits and vegetables, you can mix all sorts of smoothies for your daily meals. 

Some foods to consider in your smoothies are: kale, broccoli, spinach, apples (unpeeled), berries, citrus fruits, pears, peaches, and so forth.

Another advantage of the smoothie detox is that you can add any supplements you want to take, such as probiotics, organic whey protein, or fiber, to the smoothie ingredients before mixing them in the blender.

4. Overall Lifestyle

Instead of a temporary detox diet, you can simply make some long-term simple lifestyle changes to detoxify your body and keep it that way.

Some ways to do that include:
  • Switch to organic, whole, fresh foods rather than conventionally grown, processed, or prepackaged foods.
  • Exercise regularly - it keeps things moving in the body, and induces sweating, another form of detox your body naturally employs.
  • Eat meat only a couple of times a week, and switch to organic, grass-fed, free-range meats.
  • Cut back on dairy products and eat only organic products.
  • Eliminate or reduce your refined sugar intake and, when you do need a sweetener, consider raw, unfiltered honey, maple syrup, or the calorie-free herb, stevia.
  • Drink plenty of water.
Above, you have been provided with several simple ideas on how to incorporate detoxification into your life, without disrupting your life and health, or undertaking an arduous cleansing regimen. Living a cleaner, healthier lifestyle can result in a life filled with increased health and wellness.  

For more suggestions about how to reduce toxins in your home, visit and be sure to download your FREE Home Checklist!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Why Pistachios Are So Good for You

It’s always been a tug of war when it comes to which side of the fence nuts are on. Many think that nuts are bad for you but that is not the case. Nuts are actually one of healthiest foods you can eat, and that includes pistachios.

We hear a lot about these green nuts. They are found at circuses and in ice cream, but is that all? Are they just occasional treats? We will revisit the ice cream later, but right now we are going to focus on plain nuts.

The Skinny on Nuts

English: Pistachios EspaƱol: Pistachos
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Nuts have always gotten a bad rap. They are high in fat which is true, but their value goes deeper than that. All fat is not created equal. There are saturated fats, unsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.

While people think that saturated fat is bad, that's actually not the case (see our main blog for several articles on this topic). The body needs a certain amount of saturated fats each day to help with cellular membrane integrity, immune function, brain health, and many other areas. Also, the amount of saturated fat found in some nuts, particularly pistachios, is minimal.

Unsaturated fats are also good fats. They help to increase the HDL (good) cholesterol numbers. This is the type of cholesterol that keeps blood vessels clean and elastic so they can function properly. Nuts contain some of this type of fat as well.

Polyunsaturated fats are the bad ones; these are what you find in most processed vegetable oils. But most nuts contain little of this type of fat.

Nuts also contain protein. Eating protein at each meal can reduce cravings for sugar throughout the day. Nuts make a great snack! They provide energy and keep you from feeling hungry between meals.

Speaking of Pistachios

Now, let’s get down to the pistachios. Speaking of them specifically, a one-ounce serving of this nut contains about 13 grams of fat. This may seem like a lot, but most of the fat is unsaturated so it contributes to the good cholesterol profile.

Pistachios (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Pistachios are also low in carbohydrates. Since many people are looking for what carbs they can eat and maintain a healthy diet, here is one good choice. They also contain dietary fiber which works to fill you up and keep your blood sugar level throughout the day.

If you are in need of vitamins and minerals, try eating pistachios. They are full of B vitamins. B vitamins are essential for a healthy metabolism, healthy skin, muscles, eyes and nerve tissue. Other essential elements include arginine, copper and manganese. All are important for immune and nerve function.


When it comes to nuts there are a few things to beware of. For one, eat in moderation. Nuts are good for you but eating too many can increase your fat and caloric intake, which can be a problem for those looking to lose weight. Stick to one serving at a time for a snack.

Also, nuts that you purchase in the store can contain some extra unneeded ingredients. Don’t purchase nuts that have added salt and sugar in the form of honey roasted or praline nuts. And, a word about pistachio ice cream (or any ice cream) – use as an occasional treat. Otherwise, stick with plain pistachios.

But if you love pistachios, keep eating them. They are good for you!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

5 Of The Healthiest Fruits And Vegetables

“We are what we eat”, or so the saying goes - which is why the foods you eat are so important to your health. Different foods help our bodies to grow, to heal, and to keep the immune system running properly. More than that, they stop our bodies from falling apart: the absence of many different nutrients can lead to various physical ailments.* It’s really important to eat healthily - and fruits and vegetables are some of the healthiest foods you can eat, so let’s look at five of the best fruits and vegetables to include in your diet.

Broccoli (Photo credit: wanko)
Broccoli: Green vegetables are widely considered among the healthiest foods we can eat, and broccoli is definitely one of the most nutrient-rich green vegetables. It’s a great source of vitamins C and K, as well as folate, vitamin B and fiber. In addition, it contains potassium, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6, protein and calcium.

Broccoli can assist in lowering cholesterol levels which improves cardiovascular health. It supports the body’s detoxification system, aids vitamin D uptake and may also reduce our susceptibility to certain allergies.

Spinach: Spinach is one of the best green vegetables for your health. It contains a huge quantity of nutrients, and offers several specific health benefits.  Among the most concentrated nutrients are magnesium, folate, iron, potassium, calcium, vitamin E, protein and zinc.

Spinach may help reduce the risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer. It’s also an anti-inflammatory, meaning it may help reduce our susceptibility to allergies. The vitamin K, magnesium and calcium content of spinach is good for maintaining healthy bones and there are also antioxidants in spinach that help remove harmful free radicals from the body.

Peas: Green peas are another fantastic source of nutrients. They contain a huge range of nutrients in high quantities, including manganese, fiber, vitamin K and C, phosphorus, protein, copper, iron and zinc.

Peas can help to regulate blood sugar levels thanks to their fiber and protein content. Fiber and protein slow down the pace of digestion, which also means that carbohydrates are digested more slowly too. Peas are also known to reduce the chance of developing cardiovascular disease and to help protect against stomach cancer.

English: Blueberries.
Blueberries. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Blueberries: Blueberries have a low glycemic index (GI) which means they have a low impact on our blood sugar levels., so you won’t get a sugar rush from eating blueberries. Eating foods with a low glycemic index is also believed to reduce the risk of developing type-II diabetes as well as coronary heart disease.

Blueberries are also a very rich source of antioxidants, which are thought to help reduce the risk of developing cancer. They are a good source of vitamin K, manganese and vitamin C too, placing them high on the nutrient-density scale.

Apples: Apples are a fantastic source of fiber which helps promote a healthy digestive system. This also aids in the regulation of blood sugar levels. They are also a great source of vitamin C. Although apples aren’t as nutrient-rich as some other fruits and vegetables, they are thought to have both anti-cancer and anti-asthma properties. In addition, they’re good for cardiovascular health.

*Please Note: Information on this blog is for informational purposes only, and should not be taken as medical advice. Health claims above are not verified by the FDA.