Monday, August 31, 2015

How to Stop Wasting Food, Once and For All!

You know that occasional fridge purge you have to do when suddenly you’re sniffing something strange…all the way down the hall? Implement a few of these tips to make the most out of your groceries.
How to Quit Wasting Food, Once and for All
1. Freeze your fruit. Brown banana problems? Past-its-prime avocado issues? In-season-only strawberries? Fear not: Slice your soon-to-be overripe produce, stash it in resealable freezer bags and break it out for smoothies, guacamole, banana bread and the like.

2. Embrace leftovers. If you notice that you keep having a surplus of servings, opt for recipes that will hold up in the fridge for a day or more. Think: lasagna (mmm…) over dumpling soup (which really only works that day).

3. Or get creative with repurposing. Sunday’s mashed potatoes become Tuesday's breakfast. Yesterday’s salad scraps make a mean skillet brunch. And all that cooked spaghetti? You've got pie. 
How to Quit Wasting Food, Once and for All
4. Freeze your veggie scraps. The inedible stuff (stems, stalks and skins) can still have a purpose. Store your scraps in the freezer and thaw ’em when it’s time to make soup stock.

5. Buy less, more frequently. Instead of one massive grocery-store trip, spread it out in smaller increments over the week. You’ll end up buying specific ingredients for specific meal ideas or moods, rather than convincing yourself you’ll use that whole gallon of yogurt. (You won’t.)

6. Compost! It’s easier than it seems. Composting keeps food waste out of both your garbage (read: no smells) and landfills (bonus). For the food you don’t eat: Toss the scraps in a backyard compost. You can use the fertilized soil later on your petunias.

How to Quit Wasting Food, Once and for All
7. Feed your plants. A less intense idea: Take your used coffee grounds and give your houseplants a boost. Stargazer lilies love Java grounds!

8. Get in the habit of sharing. Sometimes, there’s just too much to go around your personal home--and less at others’. For any excess servings you know you won’t use, give it away by donating to your local food bank. Or, take your cue from Spain: one town recently created a community fridge, where residents can help themselves to fresh produce, home-cooked meals and leftover tapas. Not the worst idea to run by your local volunteer group.

~Thanks to PureWow.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The A-to-Z Guide to the Most Supportive Sports Bras

sports-bras—By Brittany Burke  Being big-chested comes with benefits, and certain challenges. Chief among them? Shopping for sports bras. My own breasts aren't even that big—I'm a 34D—but I've definitely been shocked when I'm out jogging, catch sight of my reflection, and see the girls bouncing up and down with every step. (And...ouch!) Then, there's the opposite problem: overly restrictive bras that create the dreaded pancake boob.

So, I road tested high-impact bras from every brand I could get my hands on to find the best options for running, boxing, spinning, and everything in between. Here are my findings; I hope it takes some of guesswork (and discomfort) out of the whole sports-bra search for my fellow busty ladies.

nikeprofierceNike Pro Fierce, $50
"Pro Fierce" makes this bra sound hardcore, but it actually offers medium support—making it better suited for a Pilates class than a run. That said, it has the understated, simple design elements I've come to expect from Nike bras (I've definitely got a few), and it wicks, is light and comfy.

ChampionC9 Champion Power Smooth Racerback Bra($19.99)
This bra reminds me of the Champion sports bras I wore to death in high school—simple, soft, and effective. It has molded cups for shape (woo!), and a solid amount of support, without any underwires. It's a good middle-of-the-road option.

underarmourUnder Armour Armour Bra, $54
This new Under Armour bra is more like a harness than an undergarment, but in a good way. The super tight band and some hidden underwire made it very supportive—great for high-intensity sports. But it's still kinda sexy, with a dip in the front that showed off a bit of my cleavage, cups that defined my boobs (I definitely looked like a full D in it), and a chic mesh racerback.

ta-ta-tamer-2_DSC8526-681x1024Lululemon Ta Ta Tamer III, $58
When I started my research, a friend with triple Ds admitted she hadn't been too impressed with this famous model, now in its third iteration. So I was wary when I strapped it on for a run, and a bit perplexed by how the design could possibly be supportive (it looks like a normal bra—clasp and all). But I was pleasantly surprised by how comfortable it was, and how secure I felt. The only downside for me? The straps showed in pretty much every workout top I own.

brooksbraMoving Comfort Rebound Racer, $50
Moving Comfort has street cred as the OG of high-impact sports bras, and the Rebound Racer, which I spied at Athleta, did not disappoint. It's seriously supportive without any wires, and got me through long runs, spinning, and boxing classes. It does come up quite a bit higher than most bras (so much so that it can feel tight in the armpit area), and when I was slick with sweat, it took a full two minutes to wrestle off. Build in a little extra time, or use the adjustable velcro straps for easier access.

VimmiaVimmia Sheer Brilliance, ($91)
I fell hard for the chic design of this one—the mesh, the cool pattern, and the single racerback stripe all made it so unique and pretty. But I found that it was less supportive than I'd hoped (my girls were bouncing like they were in Daytona Beach on spring break), so it's definitely better suited for a yoga class than a run.

LumaLoleLole Luma Bra, $55
I tried this bra on a morning run in Las Vegas in July, and it kept me cool and dry even as the sun beat down on the strip and the temps pushed 90 degrees. I found the unique cross-straps to be supportive, but needed an extra set of hands to help me get strapped in, which means it wouldn't be ideal for days when you're rushing from work to make that 6:00 a.m. workout.

L'urvL'urv Get Me A Juice Top, ($81)
Someone with much bigger boobs than mine recommended this one to me, calling it "surprisingly supportive" for a bra with a deep scoop and thin straps—elements that up the chic factor, but disqualify it for super high-impact workouts. I wore it to a barre class, and while I did experience a bit of bounce, it was comfortable and, indeed, surprisingly supportive.

le-mystere-hi-impact-sports-bra-cropLe Mystere Hi Impact Sports Bra($62)
Lingerie companies know a thing or two about making bras, and this model from Le Mystere gave the kind of support I expect from my everyday underwire (and comes in traditional sizes, which makes it easy to find a good fit). It's cut pretty high, has a nice, simple look, and kept everything in place. If I ever wanted to work out in just a sports bra, this would be it!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

30-Second Moves to Tone Your Whole Body

When it comes to getting lean and toned, you don't need a lot of time or a single piece of equipment. This total-body routine uses your bodyweight as resistance to sculpt lean muscle while elevating your heart rate to burn a ton of fat. The workout is short. To get maximum results, you need to push yourself to work at your maximum capacity. Aim to get as many reps as possible of each move in the alloted time. 
Perform all the moves back-to-back, for 30 seconds each. Maintain good form and rest only when necessary. After completing the final move, rest 30 seconds and repeat in this format for a total of six rounds. 
Stand with feet together holding an imaginary medicine ball above your head. Hop your feet out to shoulder-width as you drop into a low squat, lowering the "ball" to touch the floor between your feet. Reverse the motion to return to start, squeezing your inner thighs as you come back up. Repeat.
Start in the top of a push-up with wrists positioned directly below shoulders. Lower your right forearm to the floor, then your left. Return to the starting position one hand at a time. Continue repeating the full movement.
Stand with feet hip-width apart, right hand extended up to the sky, left hand in front of your chest. Sprint in place while alternating arms to the sky in opposition to the legs.
Start in a low plank position on your toes and forearms, elbows positioned below shoulders. Raise your hips to the sky, driving your right knee forward. Return to start. Repeat, this time driving your left knee forward. Continue alternating.
Stand with feet hip-width apart. Squat down and place hands on the floor. Jump feet back to land in the top of a push-up position, then jump the feet back to start. Explosively jump up raising fingertips to the sky and tucking knees up to chest. Land softly and continue repeating.
~Thanks to Adam Rosante

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Is Washing Fruit Effective in Reducing Exposure to Pesticides?

Good old tap water will go a long way toward washing pesticide residues off your fruit and vegetables, but “getting it down to zero is not feasible, ever,” said Dave Stone, a toxicologist who is the director of theNational Pesticide Information Center, a cooperative effort between Oregon State University and the Environmental Protection Agency. While washing can reduce pesticide residues on the surface, it cannot eliminate pesticides that are absorbed by the roots into the very tissue of the fruit or vegetable.
Scrubbing with a vegetable brush helps, Dr. Stone said, but using a store-bought veggie wash might not: A 2000 study by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station found that rinsing lettuce, strawberries and tomatoes under tap water for 60 seconds worked just as well as using a commercial vegetable wash to significantly reduce pesticide residues. Using a veggie wash might even backfire, Dr. Stone said, because detergent residue could be added to fruits with porous outer layers.
The best way to wash is to place the fruit or vegetable in a colander and run water over it, rather than just dunk it in a bowl. “The force of the running water will drive off residues,” Dr. Stone said. Peeling also helps get rid of pesticide residues in the skin.
The Environmental Working Group’s so-called Dirty Dozen and the Consumer Reports Always Buy Organic list, both of which are based on data from the federal Department of Agriculture, which tests fruits and vegetables after they have been washed, include items deemed to have relatively higher pesticide loads. Both lists include strawberries, nectarines and American-grown apples. If you’re considering buying organic, you might put these items at the top of your list.
~Thanks to Roni Caryn Rabin

The True Cost of Food

There is no such thing as cheap food.
Industrial agriculture is externalizing the environmental and health costs associated with food production. Worldwide, 75 billion tons of soil is lost every year, costing approximately US$400 billion per year, or about US$70 per person, per year, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). And the McKinsey Global Institute estimates that approximately 30 percent of the global population is overweight or obese, with the global economic impact amounting to roughly US$2 trillion annually, or 2.8 percent of global GDP.
These environmental and health costs are not reflected in market prices for food, but rather, absorbed by people who suffer from diet-related diseases and citizens who pay for environmental cleanup.
In order to create sustainable food systems, producers, eaters, businesses, governments, and the funding and donor communities must understand how to quantify and understand the real costs of food. True Cost Accounting (TCA) is a method of better aligning externalized costs of production with end-product values.
David Bloom, member of the World Economic Forum Global Health Advisory Board and professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, says “these costs are unbearable and clearly call for innovative solutions and an all-of-society approach, with strong partnerships between government, the private sector, and civil society.”
Many organizations are working to develop better models for true cost accounting. But it’s not only research organizations and economic analysts that are working to account for the externalized social and environmental costs of food production. Many campaigns and grassroots organizations are calling on food and agriculture corporations to fight injustice and environmental degradation around the world. These activists are taking to the streets (and social media) to make changes that account for the true costs of cheap food.
YOU can get involved by taking action to support these important campaigns. Follow these organizations on social media to stay informed on TCA:
Anti-Slavery International
According to research by Anti-Slavery International, an organization that works at local, national, and international levels to combat modern forms of slavery, child trafficking continues on cocoa farms in Cote D’Ivore, which produces approximately 40 percent of the world’s cocoa, a key ingredient in products that contain chocolate. Cargill, ADM, and Barry Callebaut, cocoa buyers that trade in large quantities, are the focus of the campaign by Anti-Slavery International to stop child trafficking, a practice that depresses labor costs and lowers the price of cocoa on the world market. Take action HERE to stand with Anti-Slavery International and end child slavery in Cote D’Ivoire and the global cocoa industry.
Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA) and Fair Food Australia
AFSA is a collaboration of organizations working for a food system that protects workers and health from paddock to plate. The organization is standing with Fair Food Australia to target grocery chains that externalize social and environmental costs in Australia. Sign the petition HERE to demand that Coles and Woolworths protect workers throughout the food supply chain.
Center for A Livable Future
The Center for a Livable Future at the John Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health works to analyze the relationship between food production, the environment, and public health. Based on its research of sub-therapeutic antibiotics used in animal production, the center advocates for preserving important antibiotics for medical treatment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), excess healthcare costs in the U.S. from antibiotic resistance are estimated at US$20 billion annually. Sign the petition HERE to phase out antibiotics from agriculture, reducing the externalized public health costs of industrial animal production.
Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI)
According to the American Diabetes Association, the total cost of diabetes in the United States rose to US$245 billion in 2012 from US$174 billion in 2007. Those who regularly drink soda and other sugary beverages are 26 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, so CSPI is working to account for the true cost of cheap soda by advocating for locally appropriate sugary drink taxes. Take action HERE to protect public health and support a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages in New York.
Conservation International
Conservation International is working to protect the Amazon rainforest as deforestation, climate change, and increasing global energy demand place enormous pressure on ecologically sensitive areas. According to Pavan Sukhdev of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), the true costs of cattle ranching in South America are actually 18 times higher than revealed by market prices. Protect an acre of rainforest through Conservation International and pledge to protect the planet.
Corporate Accountability International and Food Mythbusters
The global cost of obesity has climbed to US$2 trillion per year, according to a report by the McKinsey Global Institute. The fast food industry has continuously increased portion sizes (and thereby, calories) and used aggressive marketing to corner new markets and undermine more nutritious global markets. Corporate Accountability International and Food Mythbusters are calling on McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson to shut down, a website that targets young children to hook them on the McDonald’s brand. Sign the letter HERE.
Fair Food Program
The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a worker-driven human rights organization, created the Fair Food Program to certify standards that protect farmworkers who historically have faced wage theft, abuse, and modern-day slavery in the fields. Between January 2011 and October 2014, participating buyers paid US$15 million of Fair Food premiums to ensure worker protections and prevent produce from being sold at artificially low prices that depended on deplorable labor conditions. With several major victories under its belt, the CIW is now calling on Wendy’s and Publix to join the Fair Food Program and respect farmworker dignity. Take action HERE to support the campaigns and account for the social costs of agricultural commodities.
#Fightfor15 is a national campaign working for a US$15 minimum wage and a union for workers in the fast food industry. According to the campaign, two-thirds of fast food workers are supporting a family on average yearly wages of US$16,920. Moreover, 52 percent of fast food workers receive public assistance such as food stamps and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, compared to 25 percent of families in the entire workforce, according to a study by the University of California-Berkeley Labor Center. Sign NOW to support the New York’ Wage Board’s recommendation to raise the minimum wage to US$15 an hour for fast food workers.
Food Chain Workers Alliance
The Food Chain Workers Alliance is calling on Walmart to comply with the corporation’s own labor and environmental standards, and to reign in externalized costs throughout its sprawling supply chains. Despite Walmart’s 2010 commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 million metric tons by 2015, the corporation was only at 38 percent of its stated goal in March, according to a recent report by the alliance. The publication details steps in the right direction and leaves a huge amount of room for improvement in both labor and environmental standards. Sign HERE to take a stand with the Food Chain Workers Alliance and tell Walmart to pay fair wages, account for environmental costs throughout supply chains, phase out antibiotics in animal production, and ensure fair prices for farmers and food producers.
Food Wastage Footprint
A project of the FAO, Food Wastage Footprint focuses on true accounting for the financial costs of food waste. When including the environmental and social impacts of food waste, the global cost has been estimated at about US$2.6 trillion per year. Watch the video on food wastage costs HERE.
Friends of the Earth International
Friends of the Earth, an international grassroots environmental network, is calling on companies and policymakers to recognize the value of insect pollination to agriculture and to restrict neonicotinoid pesticides that kill bees and other insects. Ecosystem services that include insect pollination are not typically valued in the market prices of agricultural products, and one study found that their value could exceed the input costs of fertilizers and pesticides even if adopted on only 10 percent of cropland around the world. Take action HERE to call on the CEOs of True Value and Ace Hardware to stop selling neonicotinoids and recognize the true economic value of insect pollination.
La Via Campesina
La Via Campesina, an international peasant-led movement, is standing with the European Milk Board to jointly call for immediate recognition of a crisis in the European dairy sector and implementation of preventative measures. Trade liberalization in the EU has caused prices to drop below US$0.30 per liter and cost many farmers their jobs, resulting in collective actions to call for emergency quotas.
Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Asia Pacific
The Asia Pacific chapter of the international PAN is working to phase out Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs) that harm people, farm animals, and wildlife. Globally, health costs of pesticide application are estimated to be US$1.1 billion per year. Take action HERE to call on governments and industry leaders to phase out HHPs in Asia and the Pacific and adopt ecological pest control to account for externalized health costs of pesticide use in agriculture. PAN Asia Pacific is also asserting women’s rights through its #NoLandNoLife campaign.
Seafood Fraud: Stopping Bait and Switch
Oceana’s campaign to stop seafood fraud aims to educate consumers about the true availability of seafood. The nonprofit organization reports that illegal fishing causes losses of US$10-23 billion annually. And 20-32 percent of wild-caught seafood imported into the U.S. actually comes from pirate fishing that devastates marine ecosystems and costs billions of dollars. Take action NOW to help put a stop to seafood fraud.
Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS)
Palm oil is associated with the deforestation of tropical rainforest in many areas of the world, but the environmental value of palm oil produced using agroforestry can be three times higher than monoculture, according to a study by Trucost, a natural capital accounting firm. UCS is calling on Burger King to adopt strong palm oil sourcing policies that prevent deforestation. Join UCS today by signing the petition HERE.
No Bon Pain, the latest campaign of the workers’ organization UNITE HERE, calls on Au Bon Pain to stop promoting casual fast food as healthy. According to a report of the organization, meal options at Au Bon Pain consistently contain higher sodium levels, saturated fat content, and overall calories than conventional fast food meals. Twitter actions have focused on calling consumer attention to nutrition facts and education via social media.
~Thanks to Danielle Nierenberg at Food Tank

Monday, August 17, 2015

7 Sugar Rules to Follow Every Day

The FDA recently proposed putting added sugars on a product’s nutrient label, a move that did not please the food industry. As consumers become savvier, manufacturers seem determined to make understanding sugar even more confusing. 
Sticking with a whole food, unprocessed diet is the easiest way to avoid sugar confusion. When you eat broccoli or quinoa, you don't need to worry about added sugar or sneaky sweeteners. But we live in the real world, which means sometimes you’re going to eat processed foods or add a little sweetener to your green tea. When you do, keep these seven rules in mind to make the best decisions: 
1. Remember: added sugar is worse than total sugar. 
All sugars ultimately have the same effect on your body, breaking down to glucose and fructose. That said, sugar in fruit and other whole foods comes wrapped with nutrients, phytonutrients, fiber and other good stuff that buffers its effects. Added sugars, on the other hand, often come in nutrient-empty, heavily-processed foods, which automatically deems them worse for your waistline and your health. 
2. Sugar hides under innocuous-sounding names.
Manufacturers hide sugar under seemingly healthy names like fruit juice concentrate. Your pancreas and liver don’t care whether sugar comes in an organic package or carries a pretty name. It all breaks down the exact same way. 
3. Sneaky sugars lurk in "healthy" foods. 
Visit your health food store and you’ll likely discover numerous products sweetened with agave nectar, honey and other so-called healthy sweeteners. Don’t be fooled. A tiny cup of yogurt could have as much sugar as a candy bar. Look at the nutrient label for sugar amounts, being aware this is for one serving and you’re likely to eat several portions. 
4. Artificial sweeteners aren’t better for you. 
For far too long, artificial sweeteners got a free pass. Then a few troubling studies surfaced that found, among other things, aspartame and other sweeteners created glucose intolerance (paving the way for Type 2 diabetes) and gut-flora imbalances. Steer clear of those pretty pink, yellow, and blue packages. 
5. Green juices can have as much sugar as a soda.
One popular commercial green juice, which actually contains more fruit than veggies, packs almost 55 grams — that’s 11 teaspoons — of sugar in a 15.2-ounce bottle (more than a same-sized Coke). If you juice, make your own or ask your juicer to only add veggies with maybe a little lemon for flavor. 
6. Be judicious when buying natural alternative sweeteners.
If you have to sweeten your coffee or tea, erythritol or stevia provide better (and even health-promoting) options. Just be aware many commercial varieties come loaded with nebulous “natural flavors,” dextrose (sugar) and maltodextrin (corn). Instead, look for a 100 percent stevia or a stevia/ erythritol blend with no bulking agents or other added ingredients. 
7Fructose is especially metabolically damaging.
Unlike glucose, which nearly every cell can utilize, fructose heads directly to your liver, the only organ that can metabolize high levels of it. Studies show that fructose induces less insulin production and triggers hunger signals in the brain. Rather than utilize this sugar for energy, our body often turns fructose into liver fat. This increase in visceral fat has been shown to increase one’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
~Thanks to JJ Virgin

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Tampons That Are Better For You

When choosing a nutrition bar or face wash, you read the ingredient list super carefully...but do you know what your tampons are made of?

"Right now, the FDA actually doesn't require that feminine care brands list all of the ingredients in their products," explain Lola founders Jordana Kier and Alexandra Friedman. "So while most of us assume the products we're using are 100 percent cotton, they may contain synthetic fibers such as rayon and polyester." (The problem with synthetics like rayon is that they tend to be bleached and sometimes contain a carcinogen known as dioxin.)

Now, a few new companies, Lola included, are stepping up to change the industry, creating feminine care products made with non-toxic materials like organic cotton that are better for you—and the environment.

These three new brands making it perfectly clear to women what they're putting in their bodies every 28 days.
non-toxic-tampons-honest-companyThe Honest Company
Jessica Alba's cleaner products empire has tackled bath and body, baby formula, diapers, cleaning products, and vitamins—so it makes sense that the next step was feminine care.

Tampons, pads, and pantyliners in the brand-new line are all made with 100 percent organic cotton, and are free of any fragrances, dyes, or chemical residues. Applicators (they also have applicator-free tampons, which Mother Earth will thank you for using!) are phthalate-free plastic made from 90 percent plant-based materials, and the strings are simply woven, not glued.

Founders Jordana Kier and Alexandra Friedman originally just wanted to create a subscription tampon delivery service.

"However, as we researched the tampon market, we realized that the more pressing issue was lack of transparency about the ingredients that went into tampons," they explain. "Lola was born as a modern approach to feminine care and a way to change both the product and delivery of tampons."

The company offers recurring delivery that allows you to customize the number of boxes (with your ideal assortment of absorbencies that best match your flow) and how often a delivery arrives. Tampons are made with 100 percent hypoallergenic (not organic) cotton, with BPA-free applicators, and they plan to expand product offerings in the future.

Cora womenCora
Entrepreneur Molly Hayward originally created Cora to empower women and girls who were missing out on educational and economic opportunities because they didn't have access to pads or tampons. "It’s estimated that 100 million girls around the world lack access to sanitary products that they need or want," she says.

Hayward thought she could help them by selling products to women who did have the means and using the profits for product donation, but another layer soon emerged. "I realized we are suffering in a very different way. Although we have access to products, the majority of those products are very bad for us and are very bad for the environment," she says.

Cora was originally a membership-based service that provided boxes of organic feminine care products monthly, but the company is about to relaunch with a slightly different model this fall, one aspect of which is its own line of all-organic-cotton tampons that provide pads for girls in India with every purchase. "Our goal is to be the best for women's bodies, lifestyles, and the world," she says.

~Thanks to Amy Marturana and Lisa Elaine Held

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