Blog Posts by Mother Nature Network (

  • Rescue Dog Thrilled by Sea Lion Frenzy

    Whiskie the dog watching the whales at seaWhiskie the dog watching the whales at seaSix years ago, Whiskie was a stray puppy at an animal shelter in rural Hastings, Mich. Today, she's a renowned whale-spotting expert who lives in central California, where she regularly joins research expeditions in Monterey Bay. According to her owner, she can detect the presence of nearby whales and dolphins with uncanny accuracy.

    "Her favorite spot is to sit in one of the captain's chairs," Marine Life Studies founder Peggy Stap writes in a blog post. "If she gets out of the chair and runs to the bow of the boat, we stop the boat because 95% of the time there is a whale or dolphin in the area."

    Also see: How does a dog see the world?

    Whiskie's skills haven't been needed lately, however, thanks to an abundance of anchovies in Monterey Bay that's been drawing hordes of marine mammals to the area for weeks. And when the feast recently erupted into a feeding frenzy, with sea lions and humpback whales swarming around the boat, Whiskie was beside herself with excitement.

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  • The Top 7 Reasons to Give Your Child a 'Weird' Name

    What would you name this baby?What would you name this baby?by Starre Vartan, Mother Nature Network

    Usually you hear the same lines when someone mentions a celebrity or new parent who names their child something unusual. "That poor kid, he/she's going to get teased on the playground in a few years!" or, "Why would someone DO that to their child?"

    I'm here to say that having an unusual name did get me teased on the playground (people sang Madonna's "Lucky Star" to me constantly, in a jeering tone), but then again, so did kids with normal names (or regular first names and last names that rhymed with butt, stupid or fart). Because here's a news flash: Having a regular name doesn't prevent bullying or teasing. When the Stir released its latest list of "hipster" baby names - including Zinnia, Eyelet, Mable and Django, Stellan and Abel - many of the comments echoed those above. But having a different name has plenty of advantages. Here are the ones I've directly experienced and enjoyed:

    1. People tend to remember you. Whether it's people I've only

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  • 7 Diet Gurus Who Died of Poor Health

    Was a cheese burger part of their diet?Was a cheese burger part of their diet?We commonly hear stories of people whose health defies the odds: the chain-smoking grannies who live to 100, the skinny dudes who pack away unreasonable amounts of calories without gaining an ounce. But often it's the reverse that prevails; the physically virtuous who drop dead way before their time. And it's never more surprising than when such a fate befalls the very people have become famous for espousing good health.

    With a life expectancy in the United States for males at 76.3 years and 81.1 years for females (according to the CDC), it's confounding to discover so many diet gurus who have succumbed years ahead of the national average. And this isn't to suggest that their practices and philosophies contributed to their deaths in any way - who's to say where nature tramples nurture, so to speak - but the irony is hard to deny. We don't suggest throwing in the towel on healthy eating based on the unfortunate deaths of the diet gurus listed here, but it does provide some food for

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  • Meet the Man Who Wants to Live Life as a Dog (Seriously)

    Boomer the DogBoomer the DogThere are dog lovers, and then there's Gary Matthews - the 47-year-old Pittsburgh man who loves dogs so much that he wants to be one.

    Matthews' affinity for canines began when he was a child. He nicknamed himself "Pongo," after the dog in "101 Dalmatians," but at the age of 12 he became a fan of the NBC series "Here's Boomer" and changed his nickname to "Boomer."

    However, it was the Disney comedy "The Shaggy D.A." that gave him the idea of actually living as a dog.

    Today, whenever he gets the chance, Matthews dons his shaggy dog costume he constructed from paper and becomes his alter ego, Boomer.

    Matthews strolls the streets as Boomer, he eats out of a food bowl and sleeps in a 6-foot doghouse inside his home. He's even perfected his Boomer bark.

    "I looked up to 'Here's Boomer' and picked up some of his personality and behaviors," Matthews wrote on his website. "When I bark, what you hear is the result of listening to my TV tapes and learning Boomer's voice from the

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  • Smart and Healthy Eating Tips for New Moms

    What should you eat after having a baby?What should you eat after having a baby?by Jenni Grover, MS RD LDN, Mother Nature Network

    As I've argued before, it's easy to get too worked up about what you should and shouldn't eat during pregnancy. The same goes for post-partum nutrition.

    While ensuring a healthy diet for you and your (now larger) family is important, this is primarily a case of eating a balanced, diverse diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables and not too many sweet treats, processed foods, salt or saturated fats. In other words, you should eat pretty much what you should be eating anyway.

    Having said that, there are certain dietary considerations you may want to keep in mind as you recover from labor and start establishing your new daily routine. Here are a few key points:

    Nutrition for nursing mothers

    From avoiding alcohol to reducing caffeine and seafood intake, there are a few items you might want to avoid in your diet while breast-feeding. In addition to what not to eat, California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) recommends a diet rich in

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  • Why Did This Man Quit a High-paying Wall Street Job to Start an Indian Kitchen?

    Vijay Brihmadesam during a pre-launch tasting event of Tava Indian Kitchen.Vijay Brihmadesam during a pre-launch tasting event of Tava Indian Kitchen.Americans are hungry - and not for the same old fast-food fare. Whether it's due to the proliferation of cable TV food programming or a doctors' advice to watch what we eat, as a culture, Americans are becoming more aware of food's importance to health, and simultaneously appreciating a wider variety of foods. But we're still not cooking at home.

    We want good-quality, healthy (and delicious) food prepared for us, but we're coming out of an economic downswing, so we don't want to pay too much for it (though it does seem that more of us are willing to pay for quality ingredients).

    Pretty much every company that sells food is looking to attract this healthier-minded (and more food-educated) customer. When you can get a wrap with arugula on it at Mickey D's you know times are changing, but many large companies have been slow to change and adapt to the new market desires, leaving room for smart upstarts that fit somewhere between table-service restaurants and fast food, and which

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  • App Uses Facial Recognition to Find Lost Pets

    A new app can help you find lost petsA new app can help you find lost petsMillions of pets go missing in the U.S. each year, but a new platform aims to help find more lost animals though a photographic database that uses facial recognition to match lost pets with found ones.

    PiP is a pet-recognition app that allows users to create an account for each of their animals that includes information such as the pet's name, location and description. Most importantly, the pet's profile contains clear images of the animal's face.

    If a user's cat or dog goes missing, the owner simply presses the "Amber Alert" button, which sends details about the pet to animal rescue organizations, veterinary offices and fellow PiP users in the area.

    The "Amber Alert" also scans social media postings about found pets to search for a matching face.

    Also see: Golden retriever leads owner to missing sibling

    "We will not only broadcast across all social media that the pet is missing, but everyone with the app will get a pop-up Amber Alert. We will contact the owner

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  • What's Wrong with Your Cat? 4 Common Health Questions Answered

    What's wrong with this cat?What's wrong with this cat?Even though cats outnumber dogs in U.S. households, they get far less veterinary care. Based on the recent influx of emails from cat owners seeking advice on our site, it's obvious that many cat owners have questions - and they'll do just about anything to avoid packing up the cat and heading to the nearest clinic. While some cats simply hate the vet, avoiding veterinary care can lead to costly vet bills down the line.

    "Educating people on the importance of care for their cats is at the forefront of veterinary medicine," says Dr. Annie Price, owner of Ormewood Animal Hospital in Atlanta. "Even our vet language needs to improve. We'll say, '[cats are] easier than dogs.' They're not. They just don't have to be walked outside. They need the same care, same routine check-ups, same vaccination plan."

    With that in mind, Price took time to answer a few pressing cat health questions from readers:

    I have an 18½-year-old female cat. She seems to still be healthy as can be and her

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  • How to Keep Halloween Candy Eating Under Control

    Curbing your candy consumptionCurbing your candy consumptionby Jenni Grover, MS RD LDN, Mother Nature Network

    A year ago, I moved with my family from the country to the city. Our old house was in the middle of the woods with a mile-long driveway. And that meant that we never had trick-or-treaters. This year, that will certainly not be the case. Our neighborhood can get up to 1,200 kids per house on Halloween.

    We are certainly going to be out trick-or-treating ourselves. And I can only imagine the kind of stash my kids will get this year. As an advocate for organic whole foods, I have to say I'm a little nervous. But I am also aware that banning candy is a road to nowhere. So what's a registered dietitian to do?

    Is it possible to keep this candy consumption to a minimum? I think it is. But you need to have a plan.

    Below are some options for a more controlled, healthy approach to Halloween candy. You can pick and choose from a few of these to create your own strategies that work for you and your family.

    1. Don't ban the candy outright. After

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  • These 6 Pet Cemeteries Are Not Scary, and Are Worth a Visit

    The Presidio Pet Cemetery in San FranciscoThe Presidio Pet Cemetery in San Francisco(Mostly) anything but creepy, pet burial grounds are peaceful, benevolent places of eternal rest for much-beloved animal companions. While many are decidedly small and rudimentary in design like the fictional one depicted in Stephen King's "Pet Sematary," others are expansive, lushly landscaped properties and, from an operations standpoint, not all that different from full-service human burial grounds, including options for cremation, mausoleums and beyond. We've rounded up six pet cemeteries of note including the historic, the large and the infamous. Many are home to celebrity-owned pets or animals that are celebrities in their own right, making them establishments that attract not just "relatives" of the deceased but curious visitors as well.

    1. Los Angeles Pet Memorial Park, Calabasas, Calif.
    While L.A. has its fair share of iconic human burial ground, the City of Angels' four-legged luminaries are frequently interred at the Los Angeles Pet Memorial Park in Calabasas, the

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