An online petition calling on the nation's largest supermarket chain to open a plastic-free aisle has surpassed 85,000 signatures.
The Care2 petition, launched less than a week ago, asks Kroger Co. to curb plastic packaging in its 2,800 branches.
The campaigners were inspired to take action after Dutch grocery store chain Ekoplaza launched the world's first plastic-free aisle in one of its Amsterdam markets last month.
"People would love to have that in the United States," Rebecca Gerber, Care2's senior director of engagement, told Retuers.
"You can tell by how fast this petition grew that this is something that (our supporters) want stores and companies that produce plastic to take on seriously."
Each year, 8 million metric tons of plastic gets dumped into our seas, literally choking marine life and wrecking havoc on ocean ecosystems and the larger food chain. Local and national governments around the world have introduced bans on plastic bags, bottles and other single-use items to stem the flow of the wasteful and potentially harmful material.
Environmentalists and concerned citizens are urging businesses and manufacturers of disposable products to take responsibility for their products through their entire life-cycle and invest in sustainable alternatives.
World's First Plastic-Free Supermarket Aisle Debuts in the Netherlands https://t.co/ahfvKjBMt5 @PlasticPollutes @Plastic_Bag_Ban— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1519872605.0
The Care2 petition states:
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, global food retail sales add up to a whopping $4 trillion annually. A lot of those products come in plastic which keeps our food from spoiling—but spoils the planet at the same time.
Supermarkets are responsible for 40 percent of the plastic packaging we use, and because of that huge number, they must start taking responsibility for the plastic products they put out on their shelves and which subsequently end up in our landfills, city streets and oceans.
Shoppers at Ekoplaza's Jan Pieter Heijestraat store have roughly 700 plastic-free products to choose from, including meat, rice, sauces, dairy, chocolate, cereals, yogurt, snacks, fresh fruit and vegetables. Instead of plastic, items are packed in compostable materials or glass, metal and cardboard. The company, which has 74 stores across the Netherlands, plans to roll out similar aisles across all branches by the end of the year.
"Care2 is calling on Kroger to show American consumers the same here," the organizers said.
"Imagine how much of a difference Kroger could make if they opened a plastic-free aisle in all of their stores. This would not only reduce waste, but it would encourage companies to think of other—more environmentally sound—ways to package their foods."
More and more businesses are stepping up to reduce consumer waste. Iceland Foods, a major UK supermarket chain specializing in frozen food, announced in January it will eliminate plastic packaging from its own brand of products by the end of 2023.
Two Major Food Companies Announce War on Packaging Waste https://t.co/E9fnRdGRXr @savingoceans @PlasticPollutes @SaveOurShores— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1516141208.0
Pathway to Paris gave voice to the urgent issue of climate change on Sunday night at Carnegie Hall, celebrating the launch of its 1000 Cities initiative and the organization's three years of environmental advocacy. Founded by Jesse Paris Smith and Rebecca Foon, Pathway to Paris orchestrated the event in partnership with the UN Development Programme and 350.org—bringing together a collection of artists, activists, academics, musicians, politicians and innovators to shine a light on 1000 Cities' imperative mission, supported by a Care2 petition which invites the world's cities to transition off of fossil fuels in a call to action.
The evening opened with powerful speeches and performances by Pathway to Paris founders and curators of the evening, Jesse Paris Smith and Rebecca Foon, encapsulating the essence of Pathway to Paris. "Climate change is our unifying global concern," said Jesse Paris Smith. "It breaks down and defines the geographical borders and walls we have created, it unifies us all and urges us to realize our collective voice."
Flea performs.Pathway to Paris
"Music is our universal language. The power of music brings us together, showing how truly interconnected we all are. The Earth is our home, and our home is in danger. The signs are loud and clear, there is no longer time for borders and walls. Our hope is that by the end of this night, you will all be climate leaders." Foon went on to announce the new 1000 cities initiative. "We believe the solution lies within transforming our cities and communities," said Foon.
"This evening, Pathway to Paris is launching the 1000 Cities initiative, an initiative to unite the world to move above and beyond the targets outlined in the the Paris agreement. Tonight we are inviting 1000 cities around the world to become 100% renewable and transition off of fossil fuels by 2040 in order to make Paris real."
The evening's attendees enjoyed many once-in-a-lifetime moments, including R.E.M frontman Michael Stipe covering "Sunday Morning" by Velvet Underground, Patti Smith's retelling of Cat Stevens' "Where Do the Children Play" and Joan Baez dancing with Talib Kweli, who was backed on the bass guitar by Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Concert-goers were also asked to participate in the evening's events, as Bill McKibben paused the show for 60 seconds to allow attendees to write letters to Scott Pruitt, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Olafur Eliasson used Little Sun solar-energy lights to orchestrate a breathtaking illumination of Carnegie Hall, before revealing that each light used would be sent to Puerto Rico to help those still lacking power following Hurricane Maria. Tenzin Choegyal also invited 10 Himalayan elders to the stage during his set to sing in the beautiful hall.
Jesse Paris Smith and Rebecca Foon meet with Bill McKibben.Pathway to Paris
Heralded by Patti Smith's fierce cries of "it's decreed the people rule," the crowd ascended into a deafening chant as Stipe, Baez, Kweli, Cat Power, Tanya Tagaq, Tenzin Choegyal, Jesse Paris Smith and Rebecca Foon and the 3,000 people in attendance contributed their voices to "People Have the Power;" collectively reminding the world that we have "The power to dream, to rule and to wrestle the world from fools."
The festivities continued late into the night as concert-goers, VIPs and the evening's talent gathered together in celebration. Guests included Maggie Gyllenhall, Peter Sarsgaard, Ed Norton, Mario Batali and Nick Zinner of The Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
The bright patterns and recognizable designs of Waterlust's activewear aren't just for show. In fact, they're meant to promote the conversation around sustainability and give back to the ocean science and conservation community.
Each design is paired with a research lab, nonprofit, or education organization that has high intellectual merit and the potential to move the needle in its respective field. For each product sold, Waterlust donates 10% of profits to these conservation partners.
Eye-Catching Designs Made from Recycled Plastic Bottles
waterlust.com / @abamabam
The company sells a range of eco-friendly items like leggings, rash guards, and board shorts that are made using recycled post-consumer plastic bottles. There are currently 16 causes represented by distinct marine-life patterns, from whale shark research and invasive lionfish removal to sockeye salmon monitoring and abalone restoration.
One such organization is Get Inspired, a nonprofit that specializes in ocean restoration and environmental education. Get Inspired founder, marine biologist Nancy Caruso, says supporting on-the-ground efforts is one thing that sets Waterlust apart, like their apparel line that supports Get Inspired abalone restoration programs.
"All of us [conservation partners] are doing something," Caruso said. "We're not putting up exhibits and talking about it — although that is important — we're in the field."
Waterlust not only helps its conservation partners financially so they can continue their important work. It also helps them get the word out about what they're doing, whether that's through social media spotlights, photo and video projects, or the informative note card that comes with each piece of apparel.
"They're doing their part for sure, pushing the information out across all of their channels, and I think that's what makes them so interesting," Caruso said.
And then there are the clothes, which speak for themselves.
Advocate Apparel to Start Conversations About Conservation
waterlust.com / @oceanraysphotography
Waterlust's concept of "advocate apparel" encourages people to see getting dressed every day as an opportunity to not only express their individuality and style, but also to advance the conversation around marine science. By infusing science into clothing, people can visually represent species and ecosystems in need of advocacy — something that, more often than not, leads to a teaching moment.
"When people wear Waterlust gear, it's just a matter of time before somebody asks them about the bright, funky designs," said Waterlust's CEO, Patrick Rynne. "That moment is incredibly special, because it creates an intimate opportunity for the wearer to share what they've learned with another."
The idea for the company came to Rynne when he was a Ph.D. student in marine science.
"I was surrounded by incredible people that were discovering fascinating things but noticed that often their work wasn't reaching the general public in creative and engaging ways," he said. "That seemed like a missed opportunity with big implications."
Waterlust initially focused on conventional media, like film and photography, to promote ocean science, but the team quickly realized engagement on social media didn't translate to action or even knowledge sharing offscreen.
Rynne also saw the "in one ear, out the other" issue in the classroom — if students didn't repeatedly engage with the topics they learned, they'd quickly forget them.
"We decided that if we truly wanted to achieve our goal of bringing science into people's lives and have it stick, it would need to be through a process that is frequently repeated, fun, and functional," Rynne said. "That's when we thought about clothing."
Support Marine Research and Sustainability in Style
To date, Waterlust has sold tens of thousands of pieces of apparel in over 100 countries, and the interactions its products have sparked have had clear implications for furthering science communication.
For Caruso alone, it's led to opportunities to share her abalone restoration methods with communities far and wide.
"It moves my small little world of what I'm doing here in Orange County, California, across the entire globe," she said. "That's one of the beautiful things about our partnership."
Check out all of the different eco-conscious apparel options available from Waterlust to help promote ocean conservation.
Melissa Smith is an avid writer, scuba diver, backpacker, and all-around outdoor enthusiast. She graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in journalism and sustainable studies. Before joining EcoWatch, Melissa worked as the managing editor of Scuba Diving magazine and the communications manager of The Ocean Agency, a non-profit that's featured in the Emmy award-winning documentary Chasing Coral.
A Care2 petition that surfaced online Wednesday demanding the World Meteorological Association change the name of Hurricane Irma to Hurricane Ivanka is more than halfway towards its 10,000-signature goal.
According to the petition's letter, President Trump's eldest daughter, "who promised to try to influence her father on certain issues like climate change, has quietly accepted the administration's lack of action on this very serious issue."
The first daughter and White House senior advisor reportedly wanted climate change to be one of her "signature issues," but has been notably silent as her father continues to roll back critical environmental regulations. Just days before Hurricane Harvey struck, Trump killed an Obama-era rule that required new infrastructure to be built with climate resiliency in mind, specifically flood protection. Ivanka was also said to be in favor of the U.S. remaining in the Paris climate deal but was unable to persuade her father otherwise.
"Ivanka Trump can say what she wants about climate change but as long as she quietly stands back, she remains complicit in the destruction we all face at the hands of her father's administration," the letter continues.
"That's why we're petitioning the World Meteorological Association to rename Hurricane Irma to Hurricane Ivanka. We need to put pressure on members of Trump's administration to take real a stand for the health and safety of our world and generations to come."
So far, nearly 7,000 people from all over the world, from New York to the Netherlands, have added their electronic signatures to the form.
The volume of rainfall from Harvey, which devastated Texas last month, is likely linked to climate change, the World Meteorological Organization said.
Hurricane Irma—which has torn through the Caribbean, causing widespread devastation on Barbuda, Anguilla, Saint-Martin, Saint-Barthelemy and Puerto Rico—was also made worse by climate change, scientists said.
Ivanka indeed appears to have moved on from environmental issues as of late. As Elite Daily wrote: "In the past week, she has tweeted twice about Hurricane Harvey—and three times about tax reform. Both of Trump's Hurricane Harvey tweets are largely indifferent to the suffering happening in Texas, only offering thoughts and prayers; one points her followers to the government website for natural disaster preparedness. But that's it. No offers to help, no tweets about where to donate or how to help."
Here are some tweets about Ivanka's lackluster hurricane response:
Yet not one tweet offering donations to hurricane relief. Not even a mention of thoughts and prayers. @IvankaTrump? https://t.co/R6WETkCiuc— Paiyslee 🐝 Savage (@Paiyslee 🐝 Savage)1504199644.0
Ivanka Trump, who employs low-paid sweatshop workers in poor conditions, calls for tax reform in the middle of Hurricane Harvey. Shocker.— Born Miserable (@Born Miserable)1504149939.0
Pretty sure Hurricane Ivanka would have screwed more people over than Hurricane Irma.— 𝓚𝓮𝓿𝓲𝓷 𝓟𝓵𝓪𝓷𝓽𝔃 (@𝓚𝓮𝓿𝓲𝓷 𝓟𝓵𝓪𝓷𝓽𝔃)1504572999.0
By Steve Williams
A new report indicates that more than half of wild primate species are facing extinction. With nearly three quarters of the world's primate population already under threat, is there anything we can do to save our primate cousins?
The study, which was conducted by a team of 31 leading scientists from across the globe, looked at the current data we have on the state of primates around the world and the challenges they face, utilizing data from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) among other sources. While we have several smaller studies that give us a worrying insight into the decline of primates, this research aims to provide a broader snapshot—and the results aren't encouraging.
2 Orangutans Who Spent Their Lives in Cages Are Returned to Their Forest Home https://t.co/kevnJBquJ5 @orangutans @opfuk— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1482807008.0
Of the total 504 primate species that we have on record it is estimated that 60 percent are under threat of extinction, while 75 percent have populations that are declining. What's more, the researchers believe that unless we take concerted action right now, several primate species may have as little as 25 years before extinction claims them.
To give an idea of how desperate the situation is, the Hainan gibbon, which is found in China, is now thought to have reached just 25 individuals. In fact, 22 out of the 26 primate species residing in China are now either critically endangered or under threat. The picture is similar in other areas like Indonesia and Madagascar, the latter of which is home to lemurs and shares some of the highest burden of primate population loss in the world.
Unfortunately, even when it comes to species who have received global attention and are being protected with conservation efforts, the picture is still worrying.
For example, figures show that the critically endangered Sumatran orangutan saw its habitat decline by nearly sixty percent during the period 1985 and 2007. One of the major contributors to this problem has been land clearing so that humans can use areas that were once the orangutan's home for farming.
While we have previously learned that orangutan populations have shown some surprising resilience to this threat, they cannot survive the onslaught for much longer. Though campaigners have urged tighter controls on things like palm oil and soy production, which together with livestock farming is leading to massive deforestation and thereby driving down habitable areas for the orangutan, action has been sadly lacking.
One thing the study does highlight that intersects with human political development is that civil unrest in the primates' home countries may be one driving force behind this rapid descent toward extinction. In countries where food scarcity has become a problem due to civil war and internal conflict, the scientists noted people may turn to hunting primates as a source of food and particularly as a source of rich protein.
Furthermore, in countries where poverty and a lack of job opportunities create systemic financial burdens, people may turn to hunting primates and sell them on the black market. Obviously both of these are terrible, but unless we tackle the root cause of these actions, namely extreme poverty and conflict, it's unlikely we can create meaningful change.
So can we do anything to stop this decline? The answer is yes and one way actually comes down to many of our buying choices. While global governments can help by utilizing international aid as well as peacemaking to ensure that nations are protecting their primates, we can use our spending power to avoid products that are going to contribute to deforestation and, as a result, species decline.
This Map Shows How Your Consumption Habits Impact Wildlife Thousands of Miles Away https://t.co/ni7ydIcCKN @foeeurope @globalactplan— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1484216114.0
Prof. Jo Setchell from Durham University, one of the researchers in this study, is quoted by the BBC as saying, "Simple examples are don't buy tropical timber, don't eat palm oil." In terms of broader actions, Setchell also points out, "we need to raise local, regional and global public awareness of the plight of the world's primates and what this means for ecosystem health, human culture and ultimately human survival."
Given that primates are our closest animal cousins, they can teach us so much about ourselves. They also provide a vital link to the animal kingdom that teaches us about other species, too. As primates are often a key species in biodiversity and are a good marker for wider habitat loss, their extinction would signal not just the loss of a profoundly important part of our heritage, but it would mean that the natural world as we know it will have changed fundamentally and not for the better.
If you would like more tips on how you can help save species like the orangutan, Care2 has a guide. We also have information on how to choose products that do not contribute to deforestation and primate loss.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Care2.
By Kevin Mathews
If you like to eat shellfish, you may want to start reconsidering your dietary choices in light of our changing environment. As NPR reports, researchers are linking climate change with an increase in potentially lethal neurotoxins found in shellfish.
Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a new study demonstrated that when oceans get warmer (a direct consequence of the rising atmospheric temperatures,) production of these neurotoxins, known as domoic acid, is boosted.
Can Eating Oysters Make You Sick? https://t.co/AnRzk57691 @Healthy_Child @naturallysavvy— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1481063414.0
To find the source of domoic acid, you have to go straight to the bottom of the food chain: algae. When shellfish like clams, mussels and crabs consume tainted algae, the poison doesn't affect them directly, but they carry the neurotoxins in their body, which subsequently have consequences in the people who eat them.
(Not all creatures are impacted equally, however. While clams may hold on to the toxins for as long as a year, mussels can cleanse themselves of the dangerous acids within a matter of weeks).
Humans who wind up consuming shellfish containing domoic acid can develop respiratory problems, experience memory loss and in some cases death. In acute cases, the victims generally suffer from stomach problems like diarrhea and vomiting.
Even animal lovers who don't include shellfish in their diets should be alarmed by this news. Other creatures like birds and seals that eat life with the toxins can suffer just like a human would. Last year, the Marine Mammal Center reported that 75 percent of its sea lion patients were the victims of domoic acid toxicity.
The good news is that health officials are able to test seafood samples to identify whether a toxin outbreak is present in the waters, but it's not practical to verify whether all mussels, clams and crabs can be tested on an individual basis. Besides, these tests can't help spare the sea lions and birds that will continue to unwittingly eat tainted shellfish.
In 2015, lofty ocean temperatures ushered in so much domoic acid that the Dungeness crab industry on the U.S.'s Pacific coast had to stop fishing because the crabs were too risky to eat. Scientists believe that that blockage is a sign of what's to come.
As Scientific American points out, the seafood industry is already putting this research to use by starting to track ocean temperatures to determine when shellfish are most susceptible to domoic acid. This knowledge could help companies to plan around impending economic hardship, not to mention prevent a public health crisis.
Sadly, domoic acid is just one consequence of rising ocean temperatures. Other devastating examples include:
Reposted with permission from our media associate Care2.
By Michelle Schoffro Cook
MSG by any other name would still be just as harmful. When most people hear the name monosodium glutamate or MSG, they assume this chemical food additive is only found in Chinese food. While it is true that this chemical flavor tends to be used in many Chinese food restaurants, this brain and nervous system toxin masquerades under many different guises and is found in a huge number of common foods.
Monosodium glutamate has been linked to many serious health conditions, including: hormonal imbalances, weight gain, brain damage, obesity, headaches and more, you may be shocked to learn how prevalent it is. MSG is almost always found in processed, prepared and packaged foods. Even when there is no sign of it on the label, it is still frequently hidden in many prepared foods. That's because it goes by a wide variety of other names, including: hydrolyzed vegetable protein, hydrolyzed protein, hydrolyzed plant protein, plant protein extract, sodium caseinate, calcium caseinate, yeast extract, textured protein, autolyzed yeast and hydrolyzed oat flour.
What's even more shocking than MSG's seemingly ubiquitous nature is how the additive affects the brain. There is a protective mechanism in the brain known as the blood-brain barrier. The brain depends on careful control of chemicals to operate smoothly. Even small fluctuations in the concentrations of chemicals can cause drastic disruptions in brain function. When a category of chemicals known as excitotoxins enter the brain, they literally excite brain cells until they die. Monosodium glutamate is added to foods as a taste enhancer, but it is a well-established excitotoxin.
Additionally, some parts of the brain such as the hypothalamus and the pineal are not protected by the blood-brain barrier, yet these parts of the brain control many hormones in the body as well as other bodily functions, including mood. When MSG enters the brain, not only does it kill brain cells, it wreaks havoc on brain functions.
Many people react within 48 hours of ingesting MSG, even in minute amounts, which can make it difficult to trace back to the food source that caused the reaction. The effects can include: headaches, hives, canker sores, runny nose, insomnia, seizures, mood swings, panic attacks, heart palpitations and other heart irregularities, nausea, numbness, asthma attacks and migraines. Many of my clients report experiencing restless leg syndrome after accidental ingestion of MSG.
Research by neurologist and author of the book Excitotoxins: the Taste that Kills, Dr. Russell Blaylock, MD, shows that MSG slowly enters the brain, bypasses the blood-brain barrier and reaches peak concentrations in the brain three hours after ingesting it. The high levels of MSG in the brain remain for 24 hours after the initial ingesting of the contaminated food.
According to Dr. Blaylock, MSG can be especially detrimental to people who have experienced some sort of brain injury or a genetic predisposition to brain disease.
Avoid prepared and packaged foods as much as possible. Avoid eating at fast food restaurants since they are notorious culprits when it comes to MSG usage. If food products, such as those made in-house at the bakery and deli departments in grocery stores, don't contain an ingredient list, you should assume it contains MSG. These types of food items frequently contain MSG. Avoiding as many of the MSG-containing culprits listed above can also help reduce your exposure.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Care2.
For health-minded folks, 2016 will probably go down as the year of acai bowls, mindfulness and yoga festivals. Kale and lemon water also had their moments in the spotlight, as did raw vegan recipes. With the year coming to a close, wellness experts are starting to predict what trends we can look forward to in 2017.
Here are a few of our favorite ideas:
1. Sober Parties
Last summer, booze-free dance parties really came into their own as a source of fun in the conscious community (pregnant ladies everywhere rejoiced too!). In 2017, experts are predicting that the trend will continue to grow.
Daybreaker is one of the companies pioneering this movement. With events in cities all over the world, Daybreakers has hosted sober raves, silent rooftop dance parties (in which everyone gets his or her own pair of headphones) and yoga happy hours.
Are You Ready to Party #Sober? https://t.co/ZPCl8aPHgW #soberdance https://t.co/BKgA67mEsV— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1448905163.0
The benefit of these kinds of events? No one imbibes and everyone has a great time. Most of these events are held in the morning hours, too, so you get a shot of positive energy right before heading into work.
Minimalism also saw a lot of buzz in 2016 and it's likely to continue into 2017. In particular, fashion minimalism may replace trends such as thrift store shopping. Instead of buying tons of vintage frocks and shoes, the new outlook toward fashion may simple be "less is more."
Consider the concept of a capsule wardrobe. This idea, pioneered by fashion bloggers and YouTubers, encourages participants to chose 33 wardrobe items per season. This includes pants, shoes, tops, tanks, jackets—literally everything you might need (minus underwear, pajamas and activewear). Because you're limited in inventory, you're forced to choose items that all go well together and suit your everyday needs. This process requires you to think more critically about any fashion choices you do buy, as you need to adhere to the mentality of "one comes in, one goes out." It's basically ultra-efficiency in fashion form.
3. Homemade Bread
What gluten-free eating was to 2016, healthy carbs will be to 2017. Homemade bread is making a big comeback, with health-conscious eaters turning to their own kitchens for healthy sources of starches and carbs.
Healthy whole grain and sourdough breads will be on the rise, as will artisan creations. And to those who haven't made bread at home before, don't worry—you don't actually need a breadmaker to make a fresh homemade loaf.
4. The Ketogenic Diet
While Paleo has enjoyed a hot minute in the spotlight, it will be the Ketogenic diet that consumes our minds next year. While Paleo favors a high-protein approach to eating, the Ketogenic diet is all about healthy fats and only moderate amounts of protein … which means eating a ton of meat is totally off-limits.
Rather, eating Keto involves consuming lots of olive oil, coconut oil, organ meats, free-range eggs, avocados, organic dairy and bone broth. It has demonstrable health benefits, including weight loss, better skin, slowed aging, more energy, blood sugar regulation and reduced risk of dementia.
5. Cooking With Teff
Teff flour is a African grain that is projected to be majorly en vogue next year. It's basically the next quinoa. According to Bob's Red Mill, teff flour is a "nutritional powerhouse" that contains high levels of iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc. It can be made into cakes, breads, polenta and veggie burgers and is naturally gluten-free.
What Is Teff and How Do You Use This Ancient Grain? https://t.co/M9jt5poDHm @goodhealth @nytimeshealth— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1447376540.0
Reposted with permission from our media associate Care2.
By Maggie McCracken
Cooking with ancient flours and grains is appealing for a number of reasons, not the least of which is their heritage health factor. Flours that ancient people have been using for thousands of years often come with a number of health benefits that give us a little something extra from standard modern wheat flour.
Teff flour, a gluten-free ancient grain native to Ethiopia and the surrounding region, is no exception, and people are really catching on. In fact, Epicurious named teff flour one of the upcoming food trends that will be big in 2017. If you're interested in cooking with this delicious, hearty grain, here are some of the health benefits you may want to know about.
It's Gluten-Free and Easy to Digest
Teff flour is a gluten-free flour, which makes it a great option for people with Celiac disease and other gluten sensitivities. Even if you tolerate gluten relatively well, though, you may find that teff is easier on your digestive system. Gluten-containing foods, while perfectly fine for those without sensitivities, create a low-level state of inflammation when eaten due to their difficulty being processed by the body.
"Although some may think only people diagnosed with celiac disease can be affected, the truth is that most people, regardless of whether or not they are diagnosed with celiac disease, are sensitive or downright intolerant to gluten," states the Global Healing Center. "Certain skin conditions, digestive complaints, and mood disturbances are all subtle ways your body is telling you that something in your diet is not right."
It's Packed With Calcium, Helping to Reduce PMS Symptoms
Calcium is an important nutrient for bone health, but did you also know that it can help relieve PMS symptoms? A number of studies have suggested that women who supplement with calcium have lower incidences of severe PMS symptoms than those who do not.
It's Full of Fiber
Did you know that teff flour contains five times as much fiber as wheat flour?
"One ounce of teff flour contains about five grams of fiber, compared to all-purpose wheat flour which only contains 1 gram," explains the Global Healing Center.
Fiber is beneficial for good health, as it moves through the digestive tract and helps clear out accumulated waste, food and toxins. It promotes digestive regularity as well as nutrient absorption, making it vital component of a healthy diet.
It Can Help You Lose Weight
Speaking of fiber, did you know that fiber is one of the most important building blocks of any weight loss program? While low-fat diets help people lose weight with lots of fiber from whole grains, low-carb diets also include plenty of fiber in the form of vegetables. No matter which camp you fall into, you can't deny that fiber is a crucial part of weight loss.
In fact, a research paper published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that making only one dietary change—increasing the amount of fiber in your diet—can result in effective weight loss.
Teff flour's high fiber content can be a great way to boost your efforts if you're interested in losing weight. The combination of the grain's fiber content, gluten-free nature and plentiful calcium make it an all-around great choice for vibrant health.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Care2.
The Vancouver Aquarium is back in the spotlight this week, following the death of another beluga who died shortly after losing her calf.
Sally Anderson / Flickr
Just over a week ago, a 21-year-old beluga named Qila died of causes that are still unknown. Shortly after, her 29-year-old mother Aurora started showing the same symptoms Qila exhibited and was reported to have suffered from abdominal cramping, a loss of appetite and lethargy.
Sadly, despite receiving round-the-clock care from veterinarians and staff, she also passed away. According to the aquarium, the cause of their deaths is still being investigated, but it's suspected that they were caused by a virus or toxin.
Qila was Aurora's first born. Tuvaq, her second, who was a male, was born in 2002 and died in 2005. Nala, her third, was born in 2009, but died just a year later.
Qila herself also gave birth to one calf, Tiqa, in 2008, but just three years later she was also dead.
The ongoing mistreatment of belugas and continued attempts to breed them landed the Vancouver Aquarium on In Defense of Animals' (IDA) first annual list of the 10 Worst Tanks for Dolphins and Whales in North America over the summer.
While the Vancouver Aquarium owns five other belugas who are on loan to marine parks in the U.S., there are now no belugas at the aquarium and organizations including IDA and the Vancouver Humane Society, and the British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals are calling on the aquarium to shut down its cetacean exhibits forever.
"Aurora and Qilas' horrific deaths should be a wake-up call for Vancouver," said IDA's cetacean scientist, Dr. Toni Frohoff. "Even the most modern technology, veterinary care and infrastructure could not help Aurora, Qila or the many other belugas who have suffered and died in captivity. It's time to stop exploiting these intelligent and sensitive animals and close Vancouver's dying pools for good."
Following Qila's death, the head of Vancouver's park board announced she was going to formally propose bringing the issue of captive cetaceans to voters during the next civic election in 2018. Animal advocates are hopeful that move could potentially stop an expansion of the aquarium's current beluga exhibit, which is expected to start early next year and will ultimately keep belugas out permanently.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Care2.
By Jordyn Cormier
If you suffer from chronic pain or health issues, you've probably considered (or been told to consider) acupuncture. But, if you can't fathom how a little, painless "needle" is going to fix your migraines or help with your hormonal imbalance, you're not alone. Acupuncture is a highly misunderstood practice, especially in Western medicine.
Acupuncture is a highly misunderstood practice, especially in Western medicine.Shutterstock
Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years. In a session, the "needle" is used to stimulate specific, powerful sites (acupoints) along meridian lines, which is though to promote healing throughout the body's various systems. Acupuncture has been successfully used to treat pain, PTSD, arthritis, chronic stress, addiction, insomnia, migraines, digestive disorders and much more. But there is no steadfast answer as to how or why acupuncture works. Here are four of the most common hypotheses for how acupuncture helps to restore balance to the body:
1. Unblock Energy Flow
In Eastern medicine, acupuncture is said to release energy blockages in the body. Energy or qi, flows through specific meridian lines in the body. By releasing areas of congestion and stagnation through acupuncture, qi is allowed to flow unfettered and promote health and balance. If your energy life-force is healthy, the physical body follows. Unfortunately, this explanation isn't widely accepted in Western medicine
2. Placebo Effect
Many doctors in Western medicine believe that the bulk of the benefits seen with acupuncture are heavily rooted in the mind-bending placebo effect. Whether this is true or not, the mind is a powerful source of healing energy. If acupuncture can unlock that energy successfully, why complain? Utilize it as a healing tool. Placebos should not be dismissed so quickly.
3. Stimulate the Body's Healing Powers
Some believe that stimulating nerves with the fine needle activates the body's internal healing mechanisms. In turn, the brain sends signals to that area in order to restore balance, when it may not have been actively addressing that area before. The action of inserting "needles" gently into the skin may increase hormone production and chemical signaling by drawing attention to important, neglected areas of our vast bodies, and alerting the brain that it is time to "clean house." It also helps that many people find acupuncture very relaxing and soothing for chronic stress, which also signals to the brain that it has the time and space to restore and repair the body.
4. Fascial Release
Perhaps the most recent theory as to how acupuncture works addresses the fascia. Fascia has been getting a lot of attention lately as it is becoming more recognized for its responsibilities in proper body function. Fascia is essentially an extensive compression sock that keeps your whole body contained. The issue is, with imbalance and inactivity, areas of fascia can become stiff, thick and unhealthy, leading to pain, inflammation and mis-signaling in the body.
According to a study conducted at University of Burlington, more than 80 percent of acupuncture points lie where connective tissue planes converge. With this in mind, it is possible that acupuncture could release stagnant, essential points in the fascia, so as to enable chemical messages to pass through more easily. This could explain why a "needle" in your ankle could help you with pain in your lower back.
If you're skeptical of acupuncture because no one is certain how or why it works, consider this: Western medicine still doesn't know exactly how the certain pills/drugs works either, yet millions take them every day. If you ask me, acupuncture is a lot less risky.
Of course, neither acupuncture or acupressure will miraculously heal all that ails you. Without a balanced and healthy lifestyle, acupuncture can only help you so much. Work to keep a clean diet, be mindful of stress levels, exercise regularly and be kind to yourself. Acupuncture is just another powerful modality of healing to assist you on life's journey.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Care2.
By Steve Williams
An estate in Ireland has revealed plans to create a redwood grove that will be the largest of its kind outside California. The initiative serves as a testament both to Ireland's heritage and its commitment to fighting global warming.
The initiative, Giants Grove, is spearheaded by the seventh Earl of Rosse, Brendan Parsons and the environmental organization Crann, which promotes the preservation of trees, hedgerows and woodlands throughout Ireland.
The Earl has designated land on the grounds of the Birr Castle Gardens in Offlay to house around 2,000 redwoods, making it the biggest forest outside of California.
What's more, this would be a historic homecoming for redwoods. The trees were once abundant in Ireland but were largely wiped out following the last Ice Age.
Lord Rosse explained:
"Our grandchildren, their grandchildren, Birr, Ireland and the world will benefit from this magnificent forest grove. These will be the biggest trees in Ireland and the largest collection outside of California. By investing in this project with us, the sponsors will have the opportunity to make a personal impact on Ireland's environment and world biodiversity conservation."
As stated above, the project will be supported by the estate and other groups, but it aims for public funding. Individuals will be able to sponsor an area within the giant redwood plantation, ensuring the site and the redwoods themselves will last for future generations.
The notion isn't just to return a piece of Ireland's lost heritage, though. Giants Grove will attempt to help redwood forests and other ecosystems unique to Ireland survive.
The trees face significant pressures, including the effects of climate change. Rising temperatures and a resulting lack of coastal fog means that California's plantation has measurably declined in health. Other stress factors like land clearing and human encroachment mean that tree health isn't as robust as environmentalists would like it to be.
What's more, recent studies suggest that trees like the giant redwoods are crucial for their ability to fight climate change itself. Thus, ensuring their survival helps to ensure ours.
This project will also work to maintain Ireland's forest cover—and that's got an environmental importance of its own.
This is a trial in future-proofing, as Ireland is predicted to warm up significantly due to climate change. By planting redwoods now, the country could be taking steps to transition into that warmer climate with habitable forests already in the making.
It's a smart idea—and one that conservation groups believe may be the key to preserving future biodiversity.
So what's next?
The aim of the project is to deploy the redwoods in two phases. Phase one is slated to begin this autumn, while the second phase will occur in the spring of 2017. Both phases will include planting the giant coastal redwoods to create an inner copse, which will then be surrounded by the more robust giant mountain redwoods. Some native trees will also be included, such as holly trees, to encourage biodiversity and to provide interest for forest visitors.
To be sure, this project alone cannot ensure the survival of the redwoods or keep Ireland's biodiversity intact. However, the project has been greeted warmly by environmentalists who view this as an example in maintaining biodiversity for other nations. While climate change will mean we need to approach conservation differently, there are transition strategies that can enrich environments.
The Giants Grove project, then, is an exciting seed of an idea for long-term biodiversity conservation.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Care2.
By Brian Syuki
Many of us start the morning by brushing our teeth, taking a shower and making a cup of coffee. Those are all good and fine routines, but adding a few more steps can help inspire weight loss and sustainable healthy habits.
I've found that it's easier for me to maintain healthy habits in the morning than the evening and when I start the morning off right, it's easier for me to maintain healthy habits throughout the day.
If you find doing all of these rituals overwhelming, pick three and start practicing them. You can always add the others in the future.
1. Fill a water bottle.
Staying hydrated will help you lose more weight, according to this study. One of the best ways to increase water intake is to carry a bottle of water everywhere you go. So fill your water bottle every morning. While you're at it, drink one or two glasses of water before you leave the house. Aim to drink 2 to 3 liters of water each day.
2. Do 20 minutes of strength training.
Morning hours are the best time to exercise since there are usually no distractions and willpower is intact. Strength training will boost your metabolism and keep you energetic throughout the day. You can do different bodyweight exercises that target arms, legs or the core. Alternatively, you can do dynamic stretches.
If your current schedule doesn't allow time for a morning workout, wake up 20 minutes earlier.
3. Eat a high fiber breakfast.
Eating high fiber foods will give you energy and you'll be less hungry at lunch. Stay away from muffins, breads and other sugary foods because they spike insulin and trigger cravings.
The best breakfast combo is a protein like quinoa, nuts or tofu scramble with high-fiber foods like fruits or veggies. One study found that people who ate at least 35 grams of proteins for breakfast stabilized glucose levels, reduced total daily food intake and didn't gain fat.
4. Pack your snacks.
You're more likely to snack on unhealthy foods if you don't carry a snack. Eating healthy snacks will keep hunger at bay and prevent binging. After filling your water bottle, pack your snacks and carry them to work.
5. Go through your diet and exercise goals.
Most of us forget about our goals as soon as we set them. Reminding yourself of your goals will keep you motivated and prevent you from falling off the wagon. Write down your weight loss goals on a pad and stick it somewhere you can read every morning.
Set an order for your rituals. I do my morning rituals in a particular order every day, and I think it has helped me stick to them. Which habits have helped you lose weight?
This article was reposted with permission from our media associate Care2.