Archive for December, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Source: NySun.com

Have telephone books become extinct?

With all the technology that surrounds me, I no longer have a need for a phone book. Actually, I think it would take me longer to look up a number in a phone book than to find it on the internet. (A side from my personal opinion)…..From an environmental standpoint, about 19 million trees and 7.2 million barrels of oil are used annually in the production of phone books. This equates to a lot of resources being used in the production of an unwanted product.

It seems like the City of Seattle shares my sentiments.

Seattle is on the verge of passing the  nation’s first phone book “opt-out” law. The “opt-out” registry will be funded by publishers through a 14-cent fee for each book distributed. The publishers are upset that the law does not apply to other forms of media and the Yellow Pages Association offers its own “opt-out” option and disagrees with the city maintaining a separate registry.

Seattle officials state that the “opt-out” registry which will be managed by a third party will reduce clutter, increase residential security and save the people of Seattle, money.

Rodale.com  explains the nuts and bolts of the new ordinance

THE DETAILS: The Seattle city ordinance would require the various publishers of yellow pages phone books to establish a city-administered opt-out website so people can choose to receive which of the three business phone directories they want, or none at all. The publishers would also be required to pay a licensing fee to cover the cost of operating that site, as well as a $148-per-ton fee for any books that are delivered to residents; that fee is the amount it costs the city to recycle phone books. (The law doesn’t apply to standard residential phone directories, as Washington state law requires that phone companies publish those.)

Not surprisingly, publishers of yellow pages phone books aren’t happy about the new law. Two companies that publish the books, as well as an industry association, have sued the city on the grounds that it infringes on their First Amendment rights to free speech and being able to communicate with whomever they wish. Adding to their complaint, the industry association has already developed a nationwide opt-out site, so a second city-administered site would be redundant. And they’re concerned that, should other cities follow Seattle’s lead, multiple city-administered sites would just create confusion.

WHAT IT MEANS: The ordinance is still being debated in city courts, but it’s scheduled to take effect on January 1. Who will win remains to be seen, but it is a sign that city and local governments are increasingly weary of coping with cumbersome recyclables.

What do you think about Seattle’s new law? Should it be passed? How often do you use your phone book and would you opt-out of receiving one if  you could?

Source: Earth911.com

Meatless Monday

 

As my Meatless Monday journey continues I find myself eating more fruits and vegetables (instead of chips and cookies). The one thing I didn’t factor in was if I was properly washing these foods.

 How to Properly Wash Fruits and Vegetables

 All fruits and veggies

  • Do Rinse all produce under running tap water while rubbing it with your hand.
  • Don’t fill the sink with water and let produce sit.

 Produce with Rinds, Grooves or Waxy Skin (melons, cucumbers, winter squash, citrus and potatoes)

  • Do scrub this produce with a brush.
  • Rubbing these foods my remove dirt but will not remove pathogens which may be stuck to the wax (this is where the brush comes in).

 Bananas

  • Do rinse bananas, there has not yet been a specific outbreak linked to bananas but think of how many hands may have touched your banana before you.

 Leafy Bunched Vegetables (lettuce, cabbage)

  • Do discard the outer layer of leaves before thoroughly rinsing the leaves in water.
  • Continue to rinse the leaves until dirt is no longer visible and then spin in a veggie dryer.
  • If lettuce is bagged and marked “ready to eat” according to the FDA, its safe to eat without rewashing it. Some experts disagree and urge consumers to wash all “ready to eat” veggies.

 Bunched Fruit (grapes, blueberries)

  • Rinse under running water in a colander (so all of your fruit doesn’t end going down the drain).
  • Using a spray nozzle will give a more thorough cleaning.

 One great overall tip was to NEVER taste fruit or vegetables in the store before they are washed (i.e tasting the grapes before you purchase them). The most surprising of these tips was rewashing the “ready to eat” veggies. Before reading this article I never rewashed the bagged lettuce (or washed bananas)…but I will start. What about you, do you rewash foods that are identified as “ready to eat”?

 Source: NPR.org 

 Vegetarian Penne

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked penne or medium tube pasta
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 small yellow summer squash, sliced
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute the onion, summer squash, zucchini, mushrooms and garlic in butter until tender.
  2. In a bowl, whisk the flour, seasonings and cream until smooth; add to the skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until thickened. Drain pasta and add to vegetable mixture. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until heated through.

 Source: Allrecipes.com

Are there differences between farmed versus wild salmon when it comes to health?

Emagazine.com  features an “Earth Talk” column which answers questions about the environment. A Sustainable Life will occasionally share some of these Q&A’s with you.

Dear EarthTalk: What are the differences between farmed versus wild salmon when it comes to human and environmental health?

 — Greg Diamond, Nashville, TN

Salmon farming, which involves raising salmon in containers placed under water near shore, began in Norway about 50 years ago and has since caught on in the U.S., Ireland, Canada, Chile and the United Kingdom. Due to the large decline in wild fish from overfishing, many experts see the farming of salmon and other fish as the future of the industry. On the flip side, many marine biologists and ocean advocates fear such a future, citing serious health and ecological implications with so-called “aquaculture.” George Mateljan, founder of Health Valley Foods, says that farmed fish are “far inferior” to their wild counterparts. “Despite being much fattier, farmed fish provide less usable beneficial omega 3 fats than wild fish,” he says. Indeed, U.S. Department of Agriculture research bears out that the fat content of farmed salmon is 30-35 percent by weight while wild salmons’ fat content is some 20 percent lower, though with a protein content about 20 percent higher. And farm-raised fish contain higher amounts of pro-inflammatory omega 6 fats instead of the preponderance of healthier omega 3s found in wild fish. “Due to the feedlot conditions of aquafarming, farm-raised fish are doused with antibiotics and exposed to more concentrated pesticides than their wild kin,” reports Mateljan. He adds that farmed salmon are given a salmon-colored dye in their feed “without which their flesh would be an unappetizing grey color.”  

Ocean advocates would like to end fish farming and instead put resources into reviving wild fish populations. Pictured: a salmon farming operation in Chile.
© Sam Beebe, EcoTrust

Some aquaculture proponents claim that fish farming eases pressure on wild fish populations, but most ocean advocates disagree. To wit, one National Academy of Sciences study found that sea lice from fish farming operations killed up to 95 percent of juvenile wild salmon migrating past them. And two other studies—one in western Canada and the other in England—found that farmed salmon accumulate more cancer-causing PCBs and dioxins than wild salmon due to pesticides circulating in the ocean that get absorbed by the sardines, anchovies and other fish that are ground up as feed for the fish farms. A recent survey of U.S. grocery stores found that farmed salmon typically contains 16 times the PCBs found in wild salmon; other studies in Canada, Ireland and Great Britain reached similar conclusions. 

Another problem with fish farms is the liberal use of drugs and antibiotics to control bacterial outbreaks and parasites. These primarily synthetic chemicals spread out into marine ecosystems just from drifting in the water column as well as from fish feces. In addition, millions of farmed fish escape fish farms every year around the world and mix into wild populations, spreading contaminants and disease accordingly. Ocean advocates would like to end fish farming and instead put resources into reviving wild fish populations. But given the size of the industry, improving conditions would be a start. Noted Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki says that aquaculture operations could use fully enclosed systems that trap waste and do not allow farmed fish to escape into the wild ocean. As for what consumers can do, Suzuki recommends buying only wild-caught salmon and other fish. Whole Foods and other natural foods and high end grocers, as well as concerned restaurants, will stock wild salmon from Alaska and elsewhere

Do you know whether your seafood is wild caught or farm raised? Does it matter to you?

Wordless Wednesday

 

melting ice caps spitting

Source: Flavell Blog

Meatless Monday

 

Being new to Meatless Monday’s, I find myself challenged when I have to eat fast food. At a restaurant there is usually a vegetarian section with lots of great choices but fast food menu’s don’t always highlight their veggie options. Looks like Chick-fil-A wants vegetarians and meat-eaters alike to enjoy their food.

In the FAQ section of the Chick-fil-A website the following question is answered. It even goes further to list the vegetarian and vegan menu options. It would be nice if this was highlighted on the menu as well…it would be easier to see your options and choose veggie meals even when it’s not Meatless Monday.

Q. What are some Chick-fil-a menu items that are for vegetarian/vegan diets?

A.  We understand that vegetarians have special dietary needs and want them to enjoy our menu while adhering to their diet. Restaurants try very hard to accommodate customers with special requests. We offer several items that can be modified to fit into a vegetarian and vegan diet. However, because special requests are not already prepared please call your local restaurant ahead of time to order your meal or be prepared to wait a few minutes for your item to be specially made.

Source: Chick-fil-A

Do you know of any fast food restaurants that feature veggie meals?

Recipe of the day

Broccoli-Stuffed Ricotta Shells

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups coarsely chopped broccoli flowerets and peeled stems
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
  • 2 cups part skim milk ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs* 1/4 tsp. white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 28 Jumbo Pasta shells (7 oz. Total)
  • 4 cups marinara or meatless spaghetti sauce

* Replacing the 2 eggs with 4 egg whites will lower the cholesterol and calorie content of this recipe.

Prepare sauce. In large saucepan, cook broccoli in 1 inch boiling water 8-10 minutes or until tender; drain. Finely chop broccoli in a food processor or with a heavy knife; set aside. In a small skillet sprayed with Pam, over medium heat, saut onion and garlic: cook until onion is soft. Remove from heat; cool. In a large bowl, stir ricotta cheese and eggs together until well blended. Add pepper, rosemary, nutmeg, onion and chopped broccoli. Mix well. Cook pasta shells 8-10 minutes or until tender, but firm to the bite. Drain and rinse with cold water. Stuff each shell with 2 1/2 tablespoons of broccoli mixture. Pour 1/2 of sauce into a 9×13 inch pan. Arrange filled shells in sauce and spoon remaining sauce on top. Cover and bake in 350 oven for 30 minutes. Yields 8 servings.

Recipe Source: Lifespan.org

Wordless Wednesday

 

Source: HowStuffWorks.com