Individualized Nutrition, Pharmacy and Healthy Living

Green Living

  • What to Do With Your Pumpkins After Halloween

    by Paula Gallagher | November 4, 2014

    Pumpkin Carving at the Gallaghers Pumpkin Carving at the Gallaghers

    Are you wondering what to do with your pumpkins after Halloween? Don't kick your them to the curb just yet. Whether you carved them, or left them whole, this mighty squash has plenty of life in it yet.

    Composting is a wonderful way to recycle your pumpkin. If your city offers a composting program, then make use of it, especially if your jack-o-lantern has been out for a while. However, if you have a garden, compost it yourself. It is as easy as burying it in the ground. Worms love the soft flesh of pumpkins! Burying it also keeps any smells below ground, keeps unwanted bugs away, and keeps your soil happily full of nutrients before next year’s planting season. Needless to say, make sure to remove any candles, wax, or foil beforehand.

    Here are three blogs that will give you tips on what to do with your pumpkin, once the ghouls and goblins have left.

    1. What to Do With Your Pumpkin: Did you know that pumpkins are fruits? They are part of the same family as melons and cucumbers. If you have whole pumpkins with seeds still intact, this blog will give you plenty of ideas to make the most of this nutrient dense fruit.

    2. Fantastic Benefits of Pumpkin: Plus get my recipes for roasted pumpkin seeds.

    3. Interesting Fact About Pumpkin Pies: Read this link to find out why you may need to do some baking. Attention, men!  :)

  • Why You Should Go to the Farmers' Market

    by Paula Gallagher | May 28, 2014

    Farmers' markets serve not only as a way for people to purchase locally grown produce, but also as a chance to connect with others within their communities. Purchasing local goods is an experience that promotes a sense of place and is important in helping individuals feel tied to their communities.

    Not only do farmers' markets give us the chance to support local growers, but they are also great teaching opportunities for kids. Farmers' markets allow you to talk to the growers and learn more about what it takes to get those green beans to your table. They also give you a chance to discover new things, and even ask farmers for recipes. Letting kids pick their own fruits and veggies is a simple way to encourage healthier eating, too.

    Farmers markets also support the economy. The USDA estimates the total annual sales at U.S. farmers' markets to be $1 billion. Not only that, studies show 60 to 70% of market-goers visit neighboring businesses on their way to and from the market.  Read more

  • 2014 Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen

    by Paula Gallagher | May 5, 2014

    The Environmental Working Group (EWG) released its 2014 Dirty Dozen™ last week. The list exposes the most pesticide-contaminated produce. Apples were at the top of the list again, followed by strawberries and grapes.

    Although washing produce thoroughly can help reduce the pesticide residue, I would still recommend choosing organic, especially for those first 12 (or dirty dozen).

    Organic produce can be very expensive, so if you are on a tight budget, consider filling your shopping cart with produce that was found to have the least amount of pesticide residue, like avocados, pineapples and cabbage. This list is call the Clean Fifteen™.

    EWG also offers two great tools for those who may find sticking to this list too expensive or limited, or even time-consuming. The first is EWG’s Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce 2014™, which can be downloaded as a PDF or used as an app for your smart phone.

    The second tool is Good Food on a Tight Budget, a site that offers tips on saving money on food, as well as tasty recipes!

    Happy eating!

    Photo from here, with thanks.

  • 5 Simple Tips to Save Money and Energy

    by Paula Gallagher | March 4, 2014

    While we all use energy differently, in general, the most energy is used for heating and cooling the home, with hot water coming in second.

    Save money and energy

    Good energy habits can help you save. Here are five simple tips to save money and energy... which helps our environment and keeps the green in your wallet.

    1. In the kitchen: Make sure your fridge is full! Full fridges and freezers use less energy, so fill up your fridge so it can recover its internal temperature more quickly after being opened. But remember to leave enough space around food items to allow circulation of cold air.

    2. Around the home: Use your blinds and drapes. In the winter, open your blinds during the day to allow sunlight to heat your home, then close them at night to minimize heat loss. In the summer, keep them closed during the day to block out the heat.

    3. Home appliances: Electricity demand is greatest during the day. Running major appliances at night or in the early morning will put less strain on the electricity grid. Ask your electricity provider when the cheapest rates are. Our rates literally are cut in half after 7pm, so that is when I do laundry!  Read more

  • Say No to Triclosan

    by Paula Gallagher | January 7, 2014

    Here’s a way to be healthier, as well as gentler on the environment this year that you may not have considered: stop using antibacterial products, such as soaps and wipes, and some toothpastes, mouthwashes, and deodorants. The main villain here is a common chemical called triclosan, which is harmful to the environment, can disrupt hormones, and can contribute to antibiotic resistance.

    Thankfully, the US Food and Drug Administration is finally placing triclosan under scrutiny, demanding that it be proven safe and more effective against infection than regular soap and water. If not, it may be removed from the market.

    The main problem with triclosan from a public health standpoint is that it’s not actually that effective at killing germs. It kills off the weaker bacteria, leaving the stronger ones behind. That’s a perfect formula for breeding bacterial resistance.

    Companies have until December 2014 to prove that the products that contain triclosan are safe. Until then, it is up to us to read labels and watch out for this ingredient. If you are concerned, turn over the bottle of any antibacterial; if triclosan is in it, then it will be clearly labeled as the active ingredient.

    Click here to see a more inclusive list of products containing triclosan (you will be surprised!) or read further about this very interesting issue.

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