Archive for the ‘Product Review’ Category

Meatless Monday: Forks over Knives….A Documentary

Forks over Knives is a riveting documentary about the state of our diet. It premieres in Atlanta on May 20 @ the Midtown Art Cinema (Landmark), 931 Monroe Drive, Atlanta, GA 30308. I have seen the trailer and I cant wait to see the film.

From the movie trailer….

What has happened to us? Despite the most advanced medical technology in the world, we are sicker than ever by nearly every measure.

Two out of every three of us are overweight. Cases of diabetes are exploding, especially amongst our younger population. About half of us are taking at least one prescription drug. Major medical operations have become routine, helping to drive health care costs to astronomical levels. Heart disease, cancer and stroke are the country’s three leading causes of death, even though billions are spent each year to “battle” these very conditions. Millions suffer from a host of other degenerative diseases.

Could it be there’s a single solution to all of these problems? A solution so comprehensive but so utterly straightforward, that it’s mind-boggling that more of us haven’t taken is seriously?

FORKS OVER KNIVES examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the so-called “diseases of affluence” that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods.

Source: Forks Over Knives

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McDonalds Oatmeal…the inside story

So im running late for a meeting and I want a hearty breakfast…..I think i’ll grab some oatmeal from McDonald’s. After all oatmeal is healthy right???? Think again! 

Meatless Monday

 

When it comes to food, I don’t have much discipline! If  I want to eat a steak, Im going to eat a steak. My strong southern roots have made meat a big part of my diet. But my lack of discipline is not restricted to meat…I live by the motto “everything in moderation” so diets that prohibit certain items just don’t work for me. For example…I’m not a huge fan of chocolate but sometimes I need a Snickers fix. I don’t have to have a king sized candy bar…the snack size will suffice…but I just have to have it.

On that note I have great respect for people who choose (what some may consider alternative) eating habits. Vegetarians, vegans, pescatarians have all chosen to eliminate certain items from their diet for various reasons. But ultimately studies show that eliminating or reducing the intake of meat from your diet has healthy implications for your body and the planet.

Meatless Monday is an international campaign that encourages people not to eat meat on Mondays to improve their health and the health of the planet.

Why Monday? Well Monday is the beginning of the work week, the day when individuals settle back into a weekly routine. You also have a scheduled recurring reminder to start your week off on a nutritious note. In my case, I can do one day a week. You have to start somewhere, right?

So each Monday A Sustainable Life will offer meat-free recipes, reviews, nutrition and health news. I’ll also chronicle my journey towards healthier eating habits. So please join me for Meatless Mondays. Send your comments and favorite recipes to help others in their quest towards wellness.

Source:Meatless Monday.com

Which is more eco-friendly: Netflix or a Video Store?

A Sustainable Life will occasionally share Q&A’s with you from around the web. Today’s question comes from The Good Human.

Which do you think is better for the environment, a service like Netflix or driving down to the video store here in my town?

First up, Netflix. Netflix, in case you don’t know, is a video rental by mail service. They have been in business for many, many years, and I have been a customer for since the beginning. Once you pick the subscription rate of how many videos you want, both at a time and per month, you add movies to your “Queue” on the website and Netflix ships them out to you as you return the previous movie you had. We are on the “2-at-a-time at home, but unlimited per month” plan, which means I can rent as many movies as I can watch each month, but I can only have 2 at home at a time. But how about the eco-friendliness? Well, the movies come via regular mail, which is already coming to each house anyway, and they barely add any weight/carbon emissions to the postal delivery (1 oz, actually). The mailman is already coming to your house, and the addition of a single DVD is not going to affect his route weight too much. The envelopes are made from recyclable paper, and most of each one is used again to mail the video back to Netflix (it really was ingenious to use the same envelope for shipping both directions). I could not find this information out, but I do hope that they use recycled paper to make the envelopes in the first place. The company doesn’t use the plastic cases that video stores use and has less of a carbon footprint as they only have distribution centers and not stores on every block to heat/cool/maintain. I would say Netflix is much greener than their brick & mortar counterpart…

Next up, the neighborhood video store. Sure, in some places it might be considered “shopping local”, which is always great for a community, but oftentimes these stores are just one in a giant chain (like Blockbuster video). If that is the case, it kind of immediately takes away the benefit of a local store for the local community. As for the eco-friendliness of a video store, they have a long way to go to catch up with video by mail services. First off all there are thousands and thousands of these stores across the country – and each one has to be lit up like a Christmas tree, have TV’s playing during all hours of the day showing previews, and be heated and cooled according to the climate outside. Add to those facts that the all the plastic cases that they need and the promotional pieces/merchandise that has to be made and then discarded, and you have a much bigger waste stream than an online company. And when members want to pick up or return a movie, they have to get in their car (usually alone) and drive to the store 4 times, which emits more pollution than the postal worker who is coming by your house each day anyway.

So, there you have it – in my mind, Netflix wins hands-down. Now, getting movies streamed directly to your TV or computer would be even better, and they are starting to do that too. I have watched a few movies this way, and thus they didn’t even have to ship the movie out to me at all. There are, of course, environmental issues with Netflix too – do they recycle all those returned envelopes? Do they use recycled paper to make them? How do they take delivery of the movies (I would imagine in bulk and not in plastic cases though)? But all in all, this is certainly one case where “nation-wide” beats out “local” on a sustainability level. What do you think?

eBay shipping goes green

The mission of the eBay Green Team is to “inspire the world to buy, sell and think green every day.” With the roll out of their newest product the team is putting their mission into practice. Simple green shipping as the product is called is a durable box that has been designed to be used, reused and used again. eBay recognizes that the concept is simple but that the idea is powerful.

The company estimates that if each box (100,000 were produced) were used at least five times 4,000 trees, 2.4 million gallons of water would be saved and enough energy would be conserved to power 49 homes for one year.

One interesting feature of the box is that everyone who receives it has space to write a personal message to the next person in the chain. It’s like tracking the history of each box. Once the box has reached its useful life it can be recycled.  

Source: earth911.c0m 

Photo: ebay.com

The Government Wants You!

The U. S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are seeking public comment on proposed fuel economy labels to be displayed on new vehicles.  These agencies are hoping to provide an easy way for consumers to compare the environmental and energy factors associated with all types of vehicles. The current timeline would have the new labels ready to appear on 2012 model year vehicles.

There are currently two design proposals…the first features a letter grade to communicate the vehicle’s fuel economy and greehhouse gas emissions performance. The second will keep the current label’s focus on miles per gallon (mpg) and annual fuel costs, but will feature an updated design.

 For more information…or to weigh-in ….http://www.fueleconomy.gov

Source: Mother Nature News

Website Alert: Etsy.com

Etsy.com offers lots of choices on ways to browse and search for products

 

The Etsy.com motto is Buy, Sell and Live Handmade. Founded in June 2005, Etsy is the Ebay of homemade crafts and other goods. Their mission is to enable people to make a living making things! Buyers and sellers can connect on the site to trade goods and to relate to a community of crafters.

Compare Energy Efficient Light Bulbs

When Thomas Edison invented the light bulb in 1879, I would be willing to bet that he never knew that so many variations were to follow. Today we have lots of options, in addition to conventional incandescent light bulbs, now compact fluorescent (CFL) and light emitting diodes (LED’s) are readily available.  But how do you know which is best? Which light bulb is the “greenest”? WellHome  has created this great graphic to illustrate the Energy Impact of Light Blubs. The graphic highlights the construction of the bulb as well as its energy profile.

energy saving bulbs infographic

Source: The Daily Green

Green Apps for Droid Users

As I think about ads and products that I have seen for smartphones they are mostly geared towards the iPhone. But there are lots of other choices including the Android. Here some popular Green Apps for the Android Market.

  • iamgreen (also available for Blackberry and the iPhone) 

This app teaches you to change the phone’s settings to maximize battery life while saving energy, time and money. As an added bonus a tree is planted for every download. Price: $2.99

CauseWorld allows you to donate to green causes by going into stores that you already frequent. You walk into a participating store, check-in on your phone and earn points. Once your points add up you can donate them to the green cause of your choice. Price: Free

The Seasonal Harvest app helps you to locate locally grown food. This app will tell you what foods are in season and great dinner recipes. You can also search state by state for farmer’s markets. Price: The full app is $1.99 and there is a free version which provides less information.

  • SugarTrip  (also available for the iPhone)

SugarTrip allows you to decrease your carbon footprint by helping you avoid traffic jams, saving emissions and reducing your commute time. This app has not been released but you can sign-up now! Price: Free

Source: Earth911.com

Photo: Camera Phone Plaza

E-Book enthusiasts …What’s your story?

I was in a workshop recently where I saw a colleague reading an electronic book, on some sort of digital book reader. Unfortunately I’m not up to speed on e-book technology so I was unable to determine what type of device she was using. I thought it was an interesting concept but didn’t think about it again until reading an article in The Daily Green

The article points out that e-books have outsold paper copies on Amazon.com, and asks if this is good for the environment? My initial though was of course….you’re saving millions of trees. (Note: The actual number of trees saved annually was 125,000). But as I read further the article references a report by the Cleantech Group which looked at the environmental impact of the Amazon Kindle, an e-reader.

The report found that the carbon emitted in the lifecycle of the Kindle would be fully offset in one year and any additional years of use would result in carbon savings. Skeptics say that because the number of e-readers sold each year is relatively low (compared to traditional books) and that the resources used to produce e-readers is unknown, the jury is still out.

Tell us what you think. With all things considered, do you think that e-readers have less of an environmental impact than printed books? If you’re an e-book aficionado, why did you make the switch? Students, how would feel about electronic textbooks?

Photo: musicmeetsgirl