• Organic Gardening for Vegans

    by Toni Salter

    Certified organic fruit, vegetables and legumes may not be suitable for a vegan diet. This is a bold statement. Many may be shocked to hear this since a vegan diet consists of plant based foods, exclusively.

    Certainly, organic certification will guarantee the best quality produce without the use of harmful pesticides and is much better for the environment, but is it "animal product free"?

    It is the way these crops are cultivated that puts into question how well they fit into the vegan ethos.

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  • 11 Steps to a Greener Sex Life

    How green is your sex life?How green is your sex life?You recycle, load up on organic fruits and veggies, and choose biking over driving, but are you going green in the bedroom, too? Here are 11 ways to get sexy and sustainable:

    1) Meet your match online. Dream of saving the planet with Mr. Right, The Eco-Friendly Edition, by your side? Log on to find your greener half: dating sites like ecodater.com and greenfriends.com cater to singles looking for an eco-minded partner.

    2) Slip into organic undergarments. Look for sexy and sustainable materials like organic cotton, hemp silk, or bamboo. Brands like Stella McCartney and Cosabella have plenty of eco-friendly options. Or hit your favorite vintage store, where you can almost always find sexy, retro styles (think pinup-inspired corsets and flirty slips).

    RELATED: 5 Ways Sex Leads to Better Overall Health

    3) Take care of a hairy situation.
    You don't have to go au naturel to get in touch with Mother Nature. Save the planet on silky-smooth gams by shaving with the

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  • Taking Green Steps

    Many people are becoming more aware of our environmental issues and people are starting to take steps in doing their part to reduce their carbon footprint. There are so many articles online on going green, green products, how to steps and too much information can be overwhelming.

    The best way to start going green is by taking the most basic simple steps. Everyone knows their own wasteful habits and with just that information you already know what you need to do to make yourself "green". If you're interested in living green don't take excessive steps because sometimes going from your normal routine and switching it rapidly can backfire. Start out small, do small changes first that you know you can easily accommodate to. The next time you're shopping try buying CFL light bulbs for your home instead of incandescent light bulbs. Most people buy incandescent bulbs because they're cheap but CFL light bulbs costs a couple cents more and best of all they save you money, CFL light bulbs

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  • Recycle that Old TV

    vintage TVsvintage TVsBy Elizabeth Hurchalla

    If you recently upgraded to a big, new flat-screen, make sure you responsibly dispose of the old TV. Before you trash the old set for any reason, consider that many municipalities have banned TVs from landfills.

    And for good reason, since your old set contains up to eight pounds of lead, a poison that can cause nervous system damage. Lead is there to protect you from radiation while it's still in your TV, but when the TV is crushed in the garbage truck and then in the landfill, bad news: that lead is going to leach out.

    Unfortunately, you can't just drop off the TV at the local thrift store or recycling center and call it a day. Some charities don't accept used TVs anymore since the cost of disposing of broken sets is too high to offset the money they could make by selling working ones.

    And some unethical recycling firms charge substantial fees to recycle old sets and then just ship the old TVs overseas.

    You can't leave the old set sitting

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  • Greener Choices at the Gym

    Working out at the gymWorking out at the gymBy Trystan L. Bass

    Looking to get in shape by beach time and do it in an earth-friendly style too? That's easier than you might think.

    Step one: Replace the plastic water bottle with stainless-steel

    Plenty of sturdy, fashionable versions are available, and they should fit into the cup holders of your gym's elliptical machines.

    You've probably heard about the problems with plastic. To recap, the disposable bottles are wasteful, and packaged water is unregulated. Refill your own bottle from the tap to conserve resources.

    Step two: B.Y.O. towel

    Sure, many gyms offer fancy towel service. But when you bring your own from home, you control what kind of detergents are used to wash the towel, so you can choose more enviro-conscious, biodegradable brands. The Union of Concerned Scientists has a handy tip sheet about safer cleaning supplies.

    Plus, you don't need to bleach towels unnaturally white (let's face it, gyms only do that so you get the impression they're

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  • Hazardous to your health? Hazardous to your health? Could a pretty pucker be the kiss of death? According to Reuters, about 400 lipsticks recently tested by the FDA contain traces of lead. In 2007, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics ran its own tests on 33 red lipsticks and found that one-third exceeded the FDA's limit for lead in candy. Lead levels have gone up since then.

    Related: Safe Skincare Guide

    The FDA pushed back in its latest report stating that: "Lipstick, as a product intended for topical use with limited absorption, is ingested only in very small quantities. We do not consider the lead levels we found in the lipsticks to be a safety concern." However, Stacy Malkan, of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics disagrees. "We know that ingestion of lipstick happens," she told Reuters. She also points out that lead accumulates in the body over time.

    The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is particularly concerned about lead exposure for children and pregnant women. The CDC's Advisory Committee for Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention

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  • How to preserve Valentine's Day flowersHow to preserve Valentine's Day flowersMy husband was under strict orders not to buy me roses for Valentine's Day - it's just too expensive for something so fleeting. However, I fully expected a bouquet of flowers sometime this week, as they all go on clearance. Even at half price, I want to be sure they last so I can enjoy them for as long as possible.

    I just love flowers - the beauty, the whimsy, the feeling that someone care enough about me to buy them, send them or pick them from the garden with their tiny hands. A vase of flowers is a sweet reminder of how much I'm loved. And, I want it to last forever! Because clearance flowers are a common gift around here, I have found several ways to keep them looking fresh. Here are my favorites:

    Related: 12 edible flowers you can grow at home - and how to eat them!

    Fabulous ForeverFabulous Forever
    Strip Leaves
    The first thing you should do is strip the leaves from each flower. Without the leaves, the vascular system can focus on feeding the bloom you want.

    Fabulous ForeverFabulous Forever
    Cut Stems
    Keeping your flowers sufficiently watered

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  • As homesteaders who grow and raise our own food, when my husband and I decided to expand the amount of our poultry and ducks, we needed to build a bigger home for them. Backyard poultry and fowl need plenty of room per bird in order to live healthy and happy, and we wanted the best we could afford while staying within our measly budget. Fortunately for us, my husband used to be a contractor so building one was relatively easy. Most chicken coops are basically a frame, walls, floor, roof, and a wire enclosed run, making it easy enough for just about anyone to build their own. Additional aspects, such as segregated runs and decor can also be easily incorporated into a coop design with little effort, although it does increase cost. Building your own will not only save you a lot of money, but it also allows you to customize it to suit your own needs. Aesthetics can be added later when funds allow, which is what we plan to do as we can afford over time.

    Pictured above is our larger second

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  • by Green Diva Meg

    I know there are a lot of stories floating around out there about the health benefits of dark chocolate, but for some reason it really got my attention this year. Perhaps it was GD Lisa's Take Two (and call her in the morning) report last week, which included some surprising health benefits of chocolate, particularly for the heart. Wow. Really?!? Did Hallmark or the chocolate makers who designed all those heart-shaped boxes filled w/ chocolate goodies know this way back when?

    Of course, the truth is that "healthy" chocolate should be dark, low-sugar, probably sans milk (and all the other goodies often found in the middle of those boxed candies) and eaten in moderate amounts.

    My husband, who is healthier than almost anyone I know, has a genetic bummer when it comes to cholesterol and we had a very frightening couple of weeks that ended with a triple bypass this past year. So, we're both paying a lot of attention to anything that is heart-healthy, especially if it is fun and yummy! Ironically (or sadly), he is allergic to chocolate, but I'm not! hee hee hee . . .

    I'll find other ways to adore, love and share my appreciation of my honey on Valentine's Day, but I'm hoping he'll indulge me in a little healthy chocolate. I'm going to share the following with him . . .

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  • by Lisa McWilliams

    Valentine's Day is not my favorite holiday. But its not going away, so why not embrace it? When asked about Valentine's Day, a good Quaker would say, "Every day should be like Valentine's Day." I actually believe that and wish we all lived in the spirit of letting everyone know just how much we love them as part of our daily practice. Oh and don't forget to add to love ourselves. Having said that, we all get caught up in our everyday lives and I guess I am thankful that we have this reminder. After all I do have fond memories from when I was a little girl of my Dad buying me flowers like he did for my Mom, which made me feel very special. And I'll always fondly remember getting those Victorian looking 3D cards from my Grandmother that always smelled like her.

    So what do you do when you don't have an adoring Valentine? You get to be your own Valentine! When doing things for yourself, pick things that are healthy and develop a positive mantra to overshadow any of that inner dialogue of feeling sorry for yourself. The good feeling of choosing healthy "treats" will last longer and help you extend those good feelings throughout the year. Here are a few low cost, low impact, nurturing suggestions to help you make that heartfelt shift.

    1. Go see that movie that you've always wanted to see and embrace that you get a good seat because you are on your own. Don't "treat" yourself with a bunch of garbage to eat, "treat" yourself with some un-buttered popcorn and a juice instead of a soda and pat yourself on the back for taking good care of yourself. I often sneak in some edamame to munch on instead of popcorn. It gives me my salt fix in a healthier way.

    2. Refresh your environment and bring new energy to your home and outlook. Pick a room that you like to spend time in and de-clutter and freshen it up. Look around and take everything out that doesn't bring you joy. Donate, recycle or give away what you don't need. Turn on some great music and clean every corner of the room. Wipe out the cobwebs of the room and your mind at the same time. Freshen up the space with a newly covered pillow or some fresh flowers. Heck, you might even be inspired to buy some VOC paint and brighten it up with a little color. Thank yourself for taking such good care of yourself.

    3. Get together with a friend you haven't seen in a long time. There's nothing like catching up with a really close friend that loves you in spite of any flaws.

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