Archive for March, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Picture of a squirrel in a snowstorm

Source: National Geographic

Wordless Wednesday

https://lifeusustainability.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/national_geographic_06.jpg

Source: All World Best

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Bonus Feature

I apologize for the Wordless Wednesday post from yesterday. Unfortunately,  I could see the picture but you could not. So here is a bonus picture, a tribute to our snow covered friends up North.

 

Source: Boston.com

Wordless Wednesday (Almost)

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Submitted by Rebecca Koch

Meatless Monday

I am officially in love with kale smoothies. I hesitate to call it a green smoothie because the final product is usually a weird purple color instead of green (maybe it’s the blueberries). I usually add the same fruits to the smoothie but want to have other options as to not get bored. So here is a list of fruits and veggies that can be used in smoothies (green or otherwise). Enjoy!

delicious looking green smoothie sweetened with sugar-alternativeBerries

Strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries and kiwi are excellent sources of antioxidants that help fight the signs of aging and cardiovascular disease. Blueberries and strawberries contain the most antioxidants of any fresh berries and may help reduce the build up of cholesterol in the arteries, according to registered dietitian Sally Barclay of Iowa State University. Berries also provide fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and magnesium.

*I never even considered cranberries, actually they don’t cross my mind until Thanksgiving. Kiwi is also an interesting choice.

Citrus

Pineapple, oranges, lemons and limes are refreshing, nutritious citrus fruits that add vitamin C, potassium and folate to your diet. Adding these fruits to your smoothie boosts your energy and replenishes your daily need for vitamin C.

*Pinapple and oranges, check!. For me there is a fine line between refreshing and mouth puckering, not sure about the lemons or limes.

Fleshy Fruit

Bananas and plantains are fleshy fruits that add potassium, fiber and vitamin C. Combine bananas and berries for a delicious, nutrition-packed smoothie. A banana smoothie is a great way to replace potassium that you lose after exercising.

*I have never had a plantain that wasn’t fried, I would try it in a smoothie.

Stone Fruit

Stone fruits such as peaches, nectarines, plums, mangoes and cherries add a thick texture and antioxidants to your smoothies. These fruits are also rich in vitamin C, vitamin A and potassium. Varying the fruits you add to smoothies ensures that your diet is rich in all the necessary vitamins and minerals.

*I love cherries, this is a must try.

Orange Vegetables

Pumpkin, carrots, butternut squash and sweet potatoes are rich in nutrients vitamin A, potassium and iron. They also add color, texture and sweetness to a smoothie. If you use canned pumpkin or squash, check the label to make sure it’s 100 percent pure rather than a canned pie mix with added sugar.

*This may be where I draw the line….nothing in this category is appealing to me.

Greens

Spinach, Swiss chard, kale and green peppers blended in a smoothie are an appetizing way to add greens to your diet. Green vegetables provide the nutrients vitamin K, iron, vitamin C and calcium to your daily diet. Combine the greens with a sweet fruit to enhance the flavor, making it easier to get your family to eat their greens.

*Spinach is first on the list and definitely next on my list of experimental ingredients.

What are your smoothie staples?

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

Photo: The Spinach Girl

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What is fracking?

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: I have heard that fracking is becoming a major environmental issue in the U.S. Which parts of the country are already hosting fracking operations? Are there efforts underway to stop the practice in specific states or across the country?

—Jim Ross, Toronto, ON

Fracking, short for hydraulic fracturing, is a process whereby drillers blast millions of gallons of water, sand and hazardous chemicals at high-pressure into sub-surface rock formations to create fractures that facilitate the flow of recoverable oil or gas. The technique has proven so effective at reaching previously hard-to-access reserves that it has helped spur a boom in natural gas production around the country.

This influx of domestic natural gas means lower home heating costs and thousands of new jobs in the industry. But opponents point to dozens of fracking-related accidents in recent years and worry that the technique is polluting groundwater and air and poisoning communities—all to get at more fossil fuels when we’d all be better off moving more quickly toward developing clean, renewable energy sources.

While fracking goes on all across the country, the Marcellus Shale, a layer of sedimentary bedding under the Allegheny plateau that spans nine northeastern and Mid-Atlantic States, has become America’s primary fracking grounds. Thanks to fracking and other new extraction techniques, the gas industry is now able to access the natural gas in the Shale and beginning in 2006 commenced big extraction operations in parts of western New York State, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and elsewhere. Geologists estimate there may be as much as 489 trillion cubic feet of natural gas—400 times what New York State uses in a year—throughout the Shale. The race is now on to extract as much as possible as quickly as possible.

But it’s this very gold rush mentality that has led to many so-called “fraccidents” in and around the Shale. The group Earthjustice tracks and publicizes such incidents online via its “Fracking Gone Wrong” campaign. They list dozens of examples of tainted drinking water, polluted air and industrial disasters caused or exacerbated by fracking at or near extraction sites since operations began six years ago.

The controversy has not escaped Hollywood. The 2010 HBO film, Gasland, followed Josh Fox around the U.S. on a quest to find out what impact fracking was having on communities after he was asked to lease his own land for hydraulic fracturing. And the Gus Van Sant film, Promised Land, starring Matt Damon focuses on a small farming town that sells its agricultural land to frackers and pays a heavy price in losing a lifestyle and a livelihood while jeopardizing public health. Activists hope these films will go a long way to convince Americans and their elected officials to say no to more fracking.