photo credit: Irina Tischenko / Istock Bees. They play a crucial role in pollination: put simply, it's been estimated that one of every three foods in the American diet is reliant on pollination by bees. And, in case you've missed the news in the past three years, the humble honey bee, and all its pollinating glory, is in serious crisis.
Can chemistry help the honey bee?
2009 had the worst honey crop on record, and lack of bees to pollinate means crop shortages, bumping up the cost of simple things (like almonds). Enter average gardeners, who are doing everything from planting bee-friendly plants in their gardens to keeping bees themselves.
Save the bees! Five ways you can help.
Our bee expert Kim Flottum uncomplicates the process of beekeeping for beginners with these simple steps.
1. Check zoning regulations in your area to make sure keeping bees is even legal. Then, start with your backyard or rooftop. Make sure no one in your family has allergies and talk to the neighbors. Enduring the undying dislike or distrust of
Blog Posts by TheDailyGreen.com
photo credit: Irina Tischenko / Istock Bees. They play a crucial role in pollination: put simply, it's been estimated that one of every three foods in the American diet is reliant on pollination by bees. And, in case you've missed the news in the past three years, the humble honey bee, and all its pollinating glory, is in serious crisis.Read More »from What's This Buzz About Urban Beekeeping?
You brush your teeth every day, so shouldn't you think about what you're putting on your pearly whites?
A simple perusal of the ingredients list of a tube of commercial toothpaste can yield a laundry list of chemicals, additives, detergents and (shock!) sweeteners. That's why we decided to try out some natural pastes and put them to the test.
Typical toothpastes can contain some harsh abrasives and chemicals. Among the worst ingredients to watch out for -- propylene glycol -- a solvent that is the active component in some anti-freezes, and is used in everything from makeup to mouthwash. Fluoride is also a questionable ingredient for some - it's used in commercial toothpastes to strengthen enamel, and many dentists recommend using a fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride is considered toxic when ingested in high levels and is a controversial additive in water. Accidentally ingesting high quantities of toothpaste -- as children sometimes do -- can be potentially toxic.
It'sRead More »from Why The Toothpaste You're Using is Bad For You
Don't you hate it when something breaks just after the warranty runs out? Or what about that new electronic gadget that fails to work with your old accessories from the same manufacturer? Some of these infuriating problems were caused on purpose, by product designers practicing "planned obsolescence." More than a 10,000 Maniacs song, planned obsolescence occurs when something is intended to wear out or stop being useful after a predetermined period of time -- and that time is often as short as a few years.
Planned obsolescence isn't always easy to identify, since there can be many reasons why something becomes no longer useful, including technological irrelevance or changing social tastes. And some degree of planned obsolescence is probably necessary in many fields, through so-called "value engineering" (eg, a car would not be affordable if every part had to be made strong enough to last 100 years). But there are also ways manufacturers exploit planned obsolescence to makeRead More »from Born to Fail -- Products Designed to Break
- TheDailyGreen.com | Work + Money – Mon, Mar 1, 2010 11:16 PM EST
Humans have been making and drinking alcohol for hundreds of years. But the earliest spirits weren't exactly smooth or even palatable. (Drinkers must have been pretty cold or pretty thirsty to have reached for a glass.) Back in the day, to make drinks tastier our Eastern European comrades began flavoring vodka with anything and everything they could find, including herbs, vegetables and fruits. Pyotr Smirnov, founder of the eponymous brand, according to Linda Himelstein, author of The King of Vodka, had hundreds of recipes for flavoring his vodkas.
Thankfully the production of vodka has come a long way, but flavored versions of the spirit are, of course, still popular. Just as vodka amplifies flavors in a cocktail, it's the perfect neutral base for making infusions. (It's no wonder liquor store shelves are filled with dozens of different types of vodkas.) But flavoring vodka is incredibly easy and allows you to be wildly creative.
Start by filling a sealable glass jarRead More »from Guava Vodka, Anyone? How to Infuse Vodka with Fresh New Flavors
Are vegetarian diets okay? woman eating apple
I can't believe the number of times I have been asked that question but it has just come up again in the context of recent complaints about the health and environmental hazards of eating meat. So here, once again, is my nutrition academic's take on the nutritional implications of vegetarian diets.
Full disclosure: I eat meat. Humans are omnivores and I am one nutritionist who fully subscribes to basic, if banal, principles of healthful diets: variety, balance, and moderation. As I explain in my book, What to Eat, if you eat a variety of foods within and among groups - meat, dairy, fruit, vegetables, and grains - you don't have to worry about nutritional details. As long as calories are adequate and the foods are relatively unprocessed, the different kinds of foods complement each other's nutrient contents and provide everything that is needed in reasonable amounts and proportions.
With that said, it is not necessary to eat meat. Meat is not anRead More »from Are Vegetarian and Vegan Diets Healthy?
- TheDailyGreen.com | Fashion – Fri, Feb 12, 2010 10:10 PM EST
Makeup - many of us love it - but most of us have no idea that some of our favorite beauty products contain harsh chemicals and potentially harmful ingredients.lipstick
We chose Allure Magazine's 2009 Reader's Choice top pick- Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick - and dug a little deeper to find out more about some of its multi-syllabic ingredients (ingredients that you can't even find on the product's packaging).
We searched the Environmental Working Group's Cosmetics Database - a great online resource that lists the chemical ingredients of thousands of products, and highlighted a few of the worst on the list. Be aware that even the Environmental Working Group cautions against jumping to conclusions about the health threat posed by each ingredient: "Research studies have found that exposure to this ingredient -- not the products containing it -- caused the indicated health effect(s) in the studies reviewed by Skin Deep researchers. Actual health risks, if any, will vary based on theRead More »from Secret Lipstick Ingredients Revealed Your Perfect Shade Is... 'Retinyl Palmitate Red'?
It's no surprise that drinking soda has been linked to obesity and tooth rot. But you might be shocked to learn about some of the other horrible health-related problems a soda or two can cause. Around 1/4 of all beverages Americans consume are carbonated sodas, but some of these surprising facts should have you thinking twice about all the sugary-sweet beverages you consume.
Soda Is Linked to Pancreatic Cancer: A new study released this week found that drinking two sodas a week was linked to increased incidences of pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer a rare but deadly form of cancer -- only around five percent of those stricken with it live five years or longer. Scientists believe that the high levels of sugar in soda may increase insulin levels in the body, which contributes to pancreatic cancer cell growth.
Diet Soda Is Linked to Kidney Decline: Artificial sweeteners used in diet sodas caused increased kidney decline when two or more drinks a day were consumed.Read More »from Four Surprising Reasons to Steer Clear of Soda
San Francisco1. San Francisco, CA
The city is known for its stable, relatively mild climate and progressive viewpoints, and 90% of San Francisco residents have a Walk Score of 70 or above, while 99% have a Walk Score of at least 50. Only 1% live in so-called car-dependent neighborhoods. The top areas are Chinatown, the Financial District, Downtown and North Beach.
2. New York, NY
Most of Manhattan, and even much of the boroughs, are well known for their heavily foot-based culture. In fact, many New Yorkers don't even own cars, given the city's 24-hour, reliable public transportation, not to mention the high cost of parking and gas.
Boston3. Boston, MA
With its famously labyrinthine roads and tight parking, it's a good thing Boston has world-class subway and ferry service (although many lament that the T does not run 24 hours). 74% of Boston residents have a Walk Score of 70 or above, and 97% have a Walk Score of at least 50.
4. Chicago, IL
The city by the lake is also veryRead More »from 7 Best U.S. Cities for Walking
Jared Koch, the author of Green Plates NYC offers tips for eating great sustainable meals away from home.Read More »from 8 Ways to Eat Healthy When You're Eating Out
Order Filtered Tap Water
Restaurants that filter their water get a thumbs up. And skip bottled water - the plastic is bad for the Earth.
With Beans, Go Beyond Soy
Beans are a healthier vegetarian protein option. Ask if they've been soaked overnight, which makes them easier to digest. Or look for whole grains, tempeh (a fermented soy), or good quality free-range eggs. Can't do without soy? Inquire whether the eatery serves an organic, non-GMO (genetically modified) soy entrée.
Beware Trans Fats
These are so bad for you (think heart disease, diabetes) that NYC has banned trans-fats from restaurants, and California will take them off menus next year. Opt for steamed, baked, or roasted dishes. Or ask: "What cooking oils do you use?" Coconut's ideal (most stable at high heat); high-quality olive oil and organic butter aren't perfect, but they're better than most vegetable oils.
It's a fact of the grocery store that the most healthy food often has the least marketing muscle behind it. The best source of fiber and vitamins are fresh vegetables and fruit, and yet it's the processed, packaged junk food fortified with vitamin and fiber powder that screams for attention. The Center for Science in the Public Interest recently published a comprehensive report on the subject, a persuasive indictment delicately called "Food Labeling Chaos."
reading food labels
"Consumers need honest labeling so they can spend their food dollars wisely and avoid diet-related disease," said CSPI senior staff attorney Ilene Ringel Heller, co-author of the report. "Companies should market their foods without resorting to the deceit and dishonesty that's so common today. And, if they don't, the FDA should make them."
Like listening skeptically to a politician speak, however, you can often decipher the truth amid the lies and misdirection by carefully reading food labels. Here we take a look at four ofRead More »from 4 Misleading Food Nutrition Marketing Tricks