The holidays can be overwhelming for many people. With shopping lists to check off, holiday dinners to cook and visitors to make room for, it's usually an eventful time of year. But in the midst of all the hustle and bustle, herbal supplements help you stay calm, cool and collected. Whether you're trying to avoid the in-laws or learning how to make a new meal for the first time, you can stay prepared with the best herbs for stress.
Holiday Stress, Cortisol and You<p>While the holiday season is a cheerful time to spend with friends and family, it is also one of the most stressful times of the year. With all of the added pressure related to finances, traveling and family commitments, your health can suffer.</p><p>Ultimately, the body ends up produces too many stress hormones, which elevates blood pressure, heart rate and breathing. At the same time, glucose is released into the bloodstream, digestion slows and the immune system becomes suppressed. Over time, this can lead to increased anxiety, hormone imbalances, sickness and <a href="https://www.remedyreview.com/health/natural-ways-to-restore-gut-health/" target="_blank">gut health issues</a>.</p><p>In the end, many of these complications are linked to cortisol, whose job it is to regulate several essential functions, including:</p><ul><li>Keeping you alert</li><li>Preventing brain fog</li><li>Reducing inflammation</li><li>Promoting healing</li><li>Burning fat for energy</li><li>Controlling blood pressure</li><li>Supporting memory</li></ul><p>With cortisol levels out of control, it's easy to see how holiday stress can make you feel scattered, tired and overwhelmed. Luckily, the right herbs for stress may offer you some relief.</p>
9 Herbs for Holiday Stress<p>Many of the best herbs for stress are adaptogens, which reduce cortisol, normalize bacteria levels and affect stress in a variety of ways. Others are familiar teas and essential oils that work to calm the mind and body.</p><p>The best herbs to reduce holiday stress are:</p><p><strong>1. Ashwagandha</strong></p><p><a href="https://www.remedyreview.com/remedies/the-best-ashwagandha-supplements/" target="_blank">Ashwagandha</a> has been widely studied for its effects on stress tolerance and cortisol production.</p><p>In one 2012 human study published in the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3573577/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine</em></a>, 64 test adults with a history of chronic stress were treated with either ashwagandha extract or a placebo for 60 days. According to the study's authors, "The findings of this study suggest that a high-concentration of full-spectrum <em>Ashwagandha</em> root extract safely and effectively improves an individual's resistance towards stress and thereby improves self-assessed quality of life."</p><p>This herbal supplement can also help with <a href="https://www.remedyreview.com/remedies/natural-stress-relief/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">chronic stress</a>, which if left untreated can lead to hormone imbalances throughout the body, including the thyroid. A <a href="https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/acm.2017.0183" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2018 human study</a> found that supplementing with ashwagandha for eight weeks can help regulate thyroid levels in patients with underactive thyroids.</p><p>To top it all off, <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/13880208209083282" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">animal studies</a> show that ashwagandha can prevent weight gain due to chronic stress, as well as prevent stress-related gastric ulcers. </p><p><strong>2. Astragalus Root</strong></p><p>Astragalus is an adaptogenic herb that's been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years to support the immune system and guard against stress. Now, modern research is beginning to support these claims.</p><p>A <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16282615" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2005 animal study</a> found that astragalus root can decrease stress hormones and <a href="https://www.remedyreview.com/health/cbd-oil-for-inflammation/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">reduce inflammation</a> in piglets. At the same time, a 2019 study published in the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6745106/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine</em></a> found that astragalus root can boost antioxidant levels and support immunity in sheep.</p><p><strong>3. Chamomile</strong></p><p>Nothing takes the edge off of holiday stress like a hot cup of tea, and <a href="https://www.remedyreview.com/anxiety/the-benefits-and-uses-of-chamomile/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">chamomile</a> is just the tea for the job.</p><p>For starters, it's full of potent antioxidants like flavonoids and terpenes to help you fend off colds. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26483209" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Studies also show</a> that chamomile tea can <a href="https://www.remedyreview.com/health/natural-sleep-aids/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">improve sleep quality</a> and relieve depression in postpartum women. Quality sleep is important for reducing stress and chamomile is an ideal way to unwind and catch some Z's. Chamomile essential oil can also have stress reducing benefits when used in aromatherapy diffusers.</p>
Other Ways to Avoid Holiday Stress<p>The holidays have a stressful side that many of us know all too well. When your head is spinning with family events, shopping and gift wrapping, plus your bank account is dwindling, stress can get the best of you. This can take a toll on your sleep quality, mental health, and general well being, but natural herbs can help combat holiday stress when it's at its worst.</p><p>In addition to taking natural herbal supplements, other practices like mindful meditation, exercise and healthy eating (even though it may be hard to do during the holidays) can be great ways to stay stress-free during the holiday season.</p>
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The holiday season is packed with parties, work events, and family dinners where delicious foods and beverages are enjoyed. Most of these tasty treats include some aromatic spices like cinnamon, clove, or nutmeg.
1. Cinnamon<p>Cinnamon is one of the most popular spices to use, especially during the holiday season. It's used to flavor favorites like pumpkin pie, sweet potato casseroles, and spiced apple cider.</p><p>Cinnamon brings a warm, spicy taste to recipes, making it a perfect addition to both sweet and savory dishes served during Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Years. It's also popularly used in seasonal beverages like eggnog.</p><p>Aside from its versatility, cinnamon offers a wealth of health-promoting benefits.</p><p>For example, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4466762/" target="_blank">studies</a> demonstrate that cinnamon has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and may help lower blood sugar and blood pressure levels when taken in high doses as a supplement. Cinnamon may offer <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5896244/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">anticancer</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6524496/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">neuroprotective</a>, and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5220230/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">metabolic</a> benefits as well.</p><p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4003790/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Cinnamon contains compounds</a> including cinnamaldehyde and proanthocyanidins, which have potent antioxidant properties and may help protect cells against oxidative damage, which is critical for disease prevention.</p><p>When shopping for cinnamon, choose <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23627682" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Ceylon cinnamon</a> or "true cinnamon" whenever possible for the most benefits.</p>
2. Ginger<p>Ginger is a popular ingredient in health products, and for good reason.</p><p>This pungent holiday spice is packed with <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3665023/" target="_blank">health-promoting compounds</a> including gingerols, shogaols, and paradols. Dried ginger, which is most commonly used in holiday recipes, is most concentrated in shogaols while fresh ginger is packed with gingerols.</p><p>Consuming ginger can <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26228533" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">positively impact overall health in many ways</a> as ginger has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anticancer effects.</p><p>Ginger supplements are commonly used as effective, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4369959/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">natural treatments</a> for nausea, infections, heartburn, bloating, and gas.</p><p>Plus, many <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4369959/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">research studies</a> in animals and test tubes have shown that ginger has powerful anticancer properties, and that ginger may help inhibit cell growth and induce cellular death in certain types of cancer including gastrointestinal cancer and ovarian cancer.</p><p>Try incorporating fresh ginger into teas, dressings, marinades, and fresh juices, or using dried ginger in baked goods and dry rubs to reap the many impressive health benefits this spice has to offer.</p>
3. Nutmeg<p>Nutmeg has a distinctive, slightly nutty flavor that gives a powerful kick to holiday recipes like custards, ciders, and roasts.</p><p>In addition to its delicious taste, nutmeg contains a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5222521/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">plethora of antioxidants</a> that can benefit health in a number of ways. Terpenes, cyanidins, and phenolic compounds are just some of the powerful antioxidants found in this tasty spice.</p><p>Due to its high concentration of health-promoting plant compounds, nutmeg delivers a variety of health benefits.</p><p>Research has shown that this spice has <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5222521/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">anti-inflammatory</a> and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3434417/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">antibacterial</a> properties and may help improve <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31063201" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">blood sugar control</a> and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4502738/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">heart health</a> when taken in high doses.</p><p>Some <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1187868/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">research in animals</a> has even demonstrated that nutmeg may be an effective natural treatment method for boosting libido.</p><p>Nutmeg is delicious when used in savory recipes such as curries and meat dishes, and it gives desserts like crisps, pies, and puddings a pleasant punch of flavor.</p>
4. Allspice<p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23140298" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Allspice</a> is the dried unripe berries of Pimenta dioica, which is native to the West Indies, Central America, and Mexico. It's used in traditional Carribean recipes like jerk chicken and mole sauces, and it's a staple in holiday dishes such as spiced apple cider, soups, and gingerbread.</p><p>Additionally, allspice has been used for hundreds of years as a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3891794/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">folk remedy to treat ailments</a> including indigestion, pain, headaches, and more.</p><p>Allspice has a spicy taste and pungent aroma and is rich in <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23140298" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">medicinal compounds</a> including polyphenols, terpenoids, and lignans that offer antioxidant, antihypertensive, antiviral, and anticancer effects.</p><p>In particular, the bioactive compounds eugenol, ericifolin, and gallic acid, which are concentrated in nutmeg, have been studied for their potent anti-tumor properties.</p><p>For example, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29073729" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">one test tube study</a> found that eugenol was effective in fighting an aggressive type of breast cancer while <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3731804/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">another study</a> found that allspice extract stopped the spread of, and induced cell death in prostate cancer cells. Although these findings are promising, human studies are needed to confirm these potential benefits.</p>
5. Clove<p>Clove is another popular holiday spice that has a rich history. Clove has been used since ancient times in traditional medicine practices to treat pain and fight infections.</p><p>Like allspice, clove is rich in eugenol and gallic acid, as well as a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3819475/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">number of other phenolic acids and flavonoid compounds</a>, all of which offer impressive health benefits.</p><p>Clove has powerful antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties.</p><p>What's more, some research suggests that clove may offer anticancer effects due to its high concentration of eugenol. In fact, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3819475/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">eugenol</a> makes up around 89% of clove essential oil.</p><p>Additionally, clove oil has been <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19589904" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">shown to have powerful antifungal effects</a> against Candida yeast and Aspergillus fungus, which commonly cause infections in humans.</p><p>Clove has a strong, slightly bitter flavor, so you only need to add a small amount of this spice to your favorite holiday recipes. Try adding clove to meat dishes, veggies, and baked goods.</p><p>You can even add a dash of this healthy spice to your coffee or hot chocolate for a seasonal taste during the holiday season.</p>
6. Cardamom<p>Cardamom is a spice commonly used around the holidays to add a kick of flavor to baked goods and stews.</p><p>It is a staple ingredient in Indian cuisine and has been used in traditional medicine practices throughout history to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5557534/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">treat medical conditions</a> such as heart disease, constipation, colic, and fungal infections.</p><p>Recent research has demonstrated that cardamon may offer a variety of health benefits due to the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5557534/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">abundance of phytochemicals</a> — including myrcene, limonene, subinene, cineol, α-pinene, β-sitostenone, and γ-sitosterol — concentrated in this pungent spice.</p><p>A <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5557534/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">rodent study</a> found that treatment with cardamom powder improved blood sugar, prevented increases in blood lipids, and reduced liver inflammation in rats fed a high fat diet over an 8-week period.</p><p>Other studies in test tubes and animals have demonstrated that cardamom may offer antioxidant, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory effects.</p><p>Plus, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20361714" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">one human study</a> showed that supplementation with 3 grams of cardamom powder for 12 weeks significantly decreased blood pressure and significantly increased antioxidant levels in 20 adults with hypertension.</p><p>Interestingly, human studies are currently being conducted to assess the potential impact of cardamom supplementation on blood sugar, cholesterol, and inflammatory markers in <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5463368/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">people with diabetes and obesity</a>, yet the results are not yet available.</p><p>Although the small amounts of cardamom used in cooking are unlikely to have the same benefits as high-dose supplements, adding cardamom to holiday recipes may benefit overall health by providing a wealth of protective plant compounds.</p>
The Bottom Line<p>The holiday spices listed above are not only delicious, but they offer an abundance of powerful phytochemicals that may protect overall health.<br></p><p>Try adding these flavorful spices to your favorite seasonal recipes to kick up the flavor and nutritional benefits of your meal.</p>
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Like many other plant-based foods and products, CBD oil is one dietary supplement where "organic" labels are very important to consumers. However, there are little to no regulations within the hemp industry when it comes to deeming a product as organic, which makes it increasingly difficult for shoppers to find the best CBD oil products available on the market.
Charlotte's Web<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDcwMjk3NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MzQ0NjM4N30.SaQ85SK10-MWjN3PwHo2RqpiUBdjhD0IRnHKTqKaU7Q/img.jpg?width=980" id="84700" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a2174067dcc0c4094be25b3472ce08c8" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="charlottes web cbd oil" data-width="1244" data-height="1244" /><p>Perhaps one of the most well-known brands in the CBD landscape, Charlotte's Web has been growing sustainable hemp plants for several years. The company is currently in the process of achieving official USDA Organic Certification, but it already practices organic and sustainable cultivation techniques to enhance the overall health of the soil and the hemp plants themselves, which creates some of the highest quality CBD extracts. Charlotte's Web offers CBD oils in a range of different concentration options, and some even come in a few flavor options such as chocolate mint, orange blossom, and lemon twist.</p>
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The last things your eco-minded relatives want to find in their stockings are single-use plastics and tchotchkes that will end up in a landfill.
This holiday season, use our guide to impress them with eco-friendly stocking stuffers they'll truly appreciate.
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Whether you're a conscious consumer yourself or are looking for the perfect gift for your environmentally-friendly friend or family member, we've rounded up the best eco-friendly gifts for sustainable living this holiday season.
According to Stanford University, Americans toss 25 percent more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day than any other time of year. Don't become a statistic — check out our last-minute eco-friendly stocking stuffer ideas, sustainable gift wrap guide, and the products listed below to have a low- or even zero-waste holiday.
Around the holidays, it's estimated that Americans throw out an extra 1 million tons of trash per week – and one of the biggest offenders of seasonal waste is single-use gift wrap.
Use the tips in this eco-friendly gift wrapping guide to cut down your environmental impact this year.
1. Wrap Boxes With Brown Paper Bags<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDk0ODEwNi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2MTk3MjQ1OH0.lkGK1xl0bRqKuI4NcbjNtQxk1a45dFH_kYK-0hL_pT8/img.jpg?width=1200&coordinates=0%2C1520%2C0%2C1520&height=800" id="c2de7" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="d8195023cd1ceaa122ad09763ee876fb" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1200" data-height="800" />
2. Reuse Cardboard Shipping Boxes<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDk0ODQxOC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MjU1Mjg2MH0.5ZjP3o-ODvXH0fKbwEKD9inQza-qisGF5sox9AkpMLA/img.jpg?width=980" id="9c03f" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a928dd386cfa9785c06a8b3118f9fe6b" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="6000" data-height="4000" />
3. Upcycle Other Shipping Supplies<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDk0ODQ4My9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyMjkxNDA0Mn0.z7aKpl6Vz7y7-oaFUG1zYzFbffG10-pcIB-mU_pOp2E/img.jpg?width=980" id="6094e" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="3835fe812cc589bc0fe1ec1af3a21128" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="3024" data-height="2016" />
4. Make Your Own Stamps<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDk0ODQ0MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1NDMzOTIzMH0.KmPzag9aTA7Rcjat1VYG3KS_Mf4ohwHQXwK1lrdIMOw/img.jpg?width=1200&coordinates=0%2C0%2C0%2C0&height=800" id="84efc" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="174c01a0adf5877b937353a0e4b0386d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1200" data-height="800" />
5. Add Natural Festive Touches<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDk0ODQ1MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyODQ4NTE0N30.QPH7jTcTlKfQZc_2aZO08F3ptQUbf1Lor_szK0gKq9Q/img.jpg?width=1200&coordinates=0%2C1440%2C0%2C1440&height=800" id="22df4" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="811c947ee0010c432f2a1798d7845155" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1200" data-height="800" />
6. Swap Paper for Fabric Gift Wrap<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="490c93b9dc835241815ffb3c0afc1b1a"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/rxl0X2F2Jiw?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Make your eco-friendly gift wrapping part of your present by opting for a scarf, shawl, pocket square, or handkerchief over traditional paper. As the above video shows, it takes just seconds to package items using the Furoshiki method of fabric wrapping – and you don't even need to box the item beforehand, which cuts out another piece of <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/waste-free-holiday-2641562236.html" target="_self">holiday waste</a>.</p>
7. Use Biodegradable Paper Tape<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDk0ODQ3MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1OTkwMDQ5Nn0.wkjMReu4YTscu60WiK6Dwb4N7tusVZz4JxFqPX8WySY/img.jpg?width=980" id="f2b88" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9bc225e154f806bb190d83e6acd6fa9d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="3000" data-height="2007" />
8. Ditch the Tape Altogether<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ae8e240fc389d37f7f0facf88dd1082e"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/7TA4Whui_xA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>You don't have to be an origami pro to learn the art of tape-free gift wrapping. As you can see in the video above, it's pretty simple to fold your wrapping paper into itself and secure your gift with no tape required. If you <em>do </em>happen to be an origami pro (or if all the <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/social-distancing-celebrations-2645538300.html" target="_self">holiday cheer</a> has left you optimistically ambitious), there are ways to incorporate <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccL-e0zJG8w" target="_blank">fun folds</a> into your wrapping, too.</p>
9. Turn Old Clothes Into Ribbons and Bows<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDk0ODQ3Mi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2NTc0MTQ3Mn0.IWybrXLdL_z-6QXh4auuvyv0sbUCa0BjILbm_G1ZvPk/img.jpg?width=980" id="a17e4" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ac16e3a0c4b5de2717b22e8872b3e799" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="6000" data-height="4000" />
10. Tie Gifts Up With Compostable Twine<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDk0ODQ1OS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2MjgzNjcwOX0.zdFSHdFZd1u5zJFMurETn7UZWxROQQBu_UixG4L56bY/img.jpg?width=1200&coordinates=0%2C1376%2C0%2C1376&height=800" id="d6faa" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="3b213b586ab133aadd3960b4b3cbca9e" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1200" data-height="800" />
11. Look Through Old Household Items<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDk0ODQ3My9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MTg1NDkyN30.rerLN_d5X_D0AhYpooxPe5oewX3lUBB87kV3A4vBxfc/img.jpg?width=980" id="50ab1" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="48d8b9e5b27b8877cf7905159f1eb6bf" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="3000" data-height="2000" />
FAQ: Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping<p><strong>Is wrapping paper recyclable?</strong></p><p>Some wrapping paper is recyclable, and some is not. If it's metallic, has glitter on it, is textured, or has a waxy coating, it can't be recycled. However, plain, unlaminated wrapping papers are usually able to be recycled. Check with your local waste management agency to see specific guidelines for your area.</p> <p><strong>Is tissue paper recyclable?</strong></p><p>Because most tissue paper is made with low-grade paper, it is not typically recyclable. However, some recycling facilities may accept it, so be sure to check with your local waste management agency. Thankfully, tissue paper tends to hold up well year after year, so it can be reused for many holiday seasons.</p> <p><strong>How do you wrap a gift?</strong></p><p>Wrapping gifts is like riding a bike: once you learn, you'll never forget it – but there may be some ugly moments along the way. Check out the video below to learn the basics of wrapping presents (but make sure you implement our eco-friendly gift wrapping ideas, too).</p>
Watch this video on how to gift wrap a box:<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ffdda9fd0538c28037dd807fdc02791f"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/l_pp-1qu9Ig?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
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- 15 Best Eco-Friendly Gifts of 2020 (for Last-Minute Shoppers) ›
Many people fear they will pack on pounds during the holiday season because of the abundance of indulgent dishes and tasty treats served at dinners, parties, and work events.
1. Brussels Sprout Slaw With Manchego<p>Brussels sprouts are nutrient-dense cruciferous vegetables that offer an abundance of health benefits. For example, Brussels sprouts are rich in anti-inflammatory antioxidants including kaempferol, which has been shown to provide neuroprotective, anticancer, and heart health promoting effects (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21428901" target="_blank">1</a>).</p><p>Even though this vegetable is highly nutritious, many people don't like the taste of Brussels sprouts, especially when they develop a mushy texture after being cooked.</p><p>To make a holiday side dish that everyone will love, try out this <a href="https://www.wellplated.com/brussels-sprouts-slaw/" target="_blank">Brussels sprout slaw recipe</a> that combines crispy, raw Brussels sprouts with other tasty ingredients like almonds and manchego cheese.</p>
2. Paleo Sweet Potato and Cranberry Stuffing<p>While traditional bread-based stuffing recipes are usually delicious, they can be high in calories and full of ingredients that aren't good for overall health.</p><p>For a nutritious spin on traditional stuffing, try out <a href="https://fedandfit.com/paleo-sweet-potato-cranberry-stuffing/" target="_blank">this inventive recipe</a> that uses sweet potatoes instead of bread as a base. Sweet potatoes are loaded with nutrients including vitamin C and provitamin A and provide an excellent source of filling fiber.</p><p>Leave out the sausage and add legumes for a punch of plant-based protein for a vegetarian-friendly version.</p>
3. Cauliflower Butternut Squash and Sage Mash<p>If you're looking for a tasty side dish, try this <a href="https://therealfoodrds.com/cauliflower-butternut-squash-mash/" target="_blank">flavorful mash recipe</a> that uses cauliflower and butternut squash as stand-ins for regular old potatoes.</p><p>Both cauliflower and butternut squash offer an abundance of nutrients that can benefit health in many ways. They are both teeming with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber — which can help boost the health of your digestive system (<a href="https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/407887/nutrients" target="_blank">2</a>, <a href="https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/527023/nutrients" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">3</a>).</p><p>Sage not only adds flavor to this mash, but it boosts the health benefits thanks to the abundance of powerful plant compounds contained within its pleasant-tasting leaves including flavonoid antioxidants and essential oils (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4003706/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">4</a>).</p>
4. Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash<p>Acorn squash are small in size and make a perfect vessel for a nutritious stuffing mixture when cut in half and roasted. Acorn squash are loaded with carotenoid antioxidants like beta-carotene, which may provide immune-boosting effects and enhance the health of the eyes, heart, and brain (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29885291" target="_blank">5</a>).</p><p>Quinoa, on the other hand, is a highly nutritious, gluten-free pseudo-cereal that's packed with plant-based protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6024323/" target="_blank">6</a>).</p><p>Try this recipe for <a href="https://detoxinista.com/stuffed-acorn-squash-vegan-quinoa-stuffing/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">quinoa stuffed acorn squash</a> to impress even the most hard-to-please dinner guests.</p>
5. Harvest Stuffed Sweet Potatoes<p>This recipe for <a href="https://www.foodfaithfitness.com/harvest-paleo-vegan-stuffed-sweet-potatoes/" target="_blank">stuffed sweet potatoes</a> makes an excellent side dish to bring to holiday dinners and can also be used to make a quick, hearty meal for you and your family on cold winter nights.</p><p>To make this recipe more filling, add an additional source of protein such as fried eggs, roast chicken, or chickpeas.</p><p>The cranberries and Bartlett pears add a subtle hint of sweetness while the walnuts provide a crunchy texture. Leave out the maple syrup to reduce your added sugar intake and create a more savory tasting stuffed sweet potato.</p>
6. Parmesan Crusted Delicata Squash Rings<p>Unlike most holiday appetizers, this recipe for <a href="https://thetoastedpinenut.com/parmesan-crusted-delicata-squash-rings/" target="_blank">parmesan crusted delicata squash</a> is both delicious and nutritious.</p><p>Delicata squash have a sweet, nutty flavor and are high in many nutrients, including provitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium — a mineral essential for blood pressure regulation, muscle function, and nerve transmission (<a href="https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Potassium-HealthProfessional/" target="_blank">7</a>, <a href="https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/602407/nutrients" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">8</a>).</p><p>Sprinkle the finished product with fresh, chopped herbs like basil and oregano and serve with a no-sugar-added marinara dipping sauce for a super healthy holiday side dish.</p>
7. Herb Stuffed Mushrooms<p>Mushrooms are packed with health-promoting nutrients like B vitamins, copper, and potassium. They are especially high in selenium, a mineral that acts as a powerful antioxidant in the body and plays essential roles in DNA synthesis and hormone metabolism (<a href="https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/342623/nutrients" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">9</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5295066/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">10</a>).</p><p><a href="https://iheartumami.com/herb-stuffed-mushrooms/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">This recipe loads mushroom caps</a> with a mixture of almond flour, sun-dried tomatoes, nutritional yeast, and fresh herbs like parsley and mint, all of which provide a number of benefits.</p><p>For example, nutritional yeast adds a boost of B vitamins while the fresh herbs offer a wide array of potent plant compounds that can help boost overall health (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30651162" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">11</a>).</p>
8. Kale Salad With Apples and Cheddar<p>There's no doubt that kale is one of the most nutritious vegetables you can eat, providing over 100% of the daily value for vitamin K1, provitamin A, and vitamin C in just one cup. It's also a great source of manganese, a mineral that's important for the health of the skeletal and immune systems (<a href="https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Manganese-HealthProfessional/" target="_blank">12</a>, <a href="https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/511764/nutrients" target="_blank">13</a>).</p><p>Pairing kale with tart apples, chopped almonds, and creamy cheddar cheese creates a flavor combination that is sure to wow your holiday guests.</p><p><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/well/healthy-recipes/recipes/kale-salad-with-apples-cheddar-and-toasted-almonds-or-pine-nuts" target="_blank">When following this recipe</a>, be sure to finely chop your kale to make it tender and pleasing to eat.</p>
9. Crockpot Rosemary, Carrot, and Parsnip Mash<p>Having a crockpot makes creating healthy holiday side dishes a breeze. This <a href="https://www.cottercrunch.com/crock-pot-rosemary-carrot-parsnip-mash-paleo/" target="_blank">super nutritious recipe</a> combines carrots, parsnips, and rosemary to create a delectable mash.</p><p>Parsnips make an excellent substitute for potatoes and are chock full of nutrients including vitamin C and folate—a B vitamin that's critical for fetal development and the production of red blood cells and DNA (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3648733/" target="_blank">14</a>).</p><p>Carrots are also a nutritious choice, providing a dose of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants like beta-carotene and lutein (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3550877/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">15</a>).</p>
10. Garlic Roasted Broccoli<p>This <a href="https://paleogrubs.com/roasted-broccoli-recipe" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">garlic roasted broccoli recipe</a> combines two of the most nutritious foods you can eat into one mouthwatering side dish.</p><p>Fresh garlic is a concentrated source of sulfur compounds including allicin and ajoene, which may provide anticancer, antimicrobial, and antidiabetic effects according to scientific research (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4103721/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">16</a>).</p><p>Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that's a hit with adults and children alike. This tasty vegetable is a concentrated source of folate, magnesium, vitamin C, potassium, manganese, provitamin A, and vitamin K1 (<a href="https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/486511/nutrients" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">17</a>).</p><p>Broccoli also contains a wide array of antioxidants such as kaempferol, quercetin, and sulforaphane, all of which offer an abundance of health-promoting effects (<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4103733/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">18</a>).</p>
By Michael Svoboda, Ph.D.
Looking for climate-oriented gifts that can be purchased, delivered, and enjoyed under COVID-safe, socially-distanced conditions? Look no further.
1. The Fragile Earth: Writing from The New Yorker on Climate Change, edited by David Remnick and Henry Finder (Harper Collins 2020, 560 pages, $29.99)<p>The <em>Fragile Earth</em> tells the story of climate change – its past, present, and future – taking readers from Greenland to the Great Plains, and into both laboratories and rain forests. It features some of the best writing on global warming from the last three decades, including Bill McKibben's seminal essay "The End of Nature," the first piece to popularize both the science and politics of climate change for a general audience, and the Pulitzer Prize – winning work of Elizabeth Kolbert, as well as Kathryn Schulz, Dexter Filkins, Jonathan Franzen, Ian Frazier, Eric Klinenberg, and others. The result, in its range, depth, and passion, promises to bring light, and sometimes heat, to the great emergency of our age.</p>
2. Tales of Two Planets: Stories of Climate Change and Inequality in a Divided World, edited by John Freeman (Penguin Random House 2020, 320 pages, $18.00 paperback)<p>In the past five years, John Freeman, previously editor of Granta, has launched a celebrated international literary magazine, Freeman's, and compiled two acclaimed anthologies that deal with income inequality. In the course of this work, one major theme came up repeatedly: Climate change is making already dire inequalities much worse. In this new book, Freeman engages some of today's most eloquent storytellers – including Margaret Atwood, Lauren Groff, Edwidge Danticat, Tahmima Anam, Yasmine El Rashidi, Eka Kurniawan, Chinelo Okparanta, and Anuradha Roy – many of whom hail from places under acute stress. His is a literary all-points bulletin of fiction, essays, poems, and reportage about the most important crisis of our times.</p>
3. All We Can Save: Truth, Courage and Solutions for the Climate Crisis, edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson (Penguin Random House 2020, 448 pages, $29.00)<p>There is a renaissance blooming in the climate movement: leadership that is more characteristically feminine and more faithfully feminist, rooted in compassion, connection, creativity, and collaboration. <em>All We Can Save</em> illuminates the expertise and insights of dozens of diverse women leading on climate in the United States – scientists, journalists, farmers, lawyers, teachers, activists, and designers, across generations, geographies, and race – and aims to advance a more representative and solution-oriented public conversation on the climate crisis. Curated by two climate leaders and intermixing essays with poetry and art, this book is both a balm and a guide, bolstering our resolve never to give up on one another or our collective future.</p>
4. Future Sea: How to Rescue and Protect the World’s Oceans, by Deborah Rowan Wright (University of Chicago Press 2020, 200 pages, $22.50)<p>The world's oceans face multiple threats: the effects of climate change, pollution, overfishing, plastic waste, and more. Such widespread environmental threats call for a simple but significant shift in reasoning to bring about long-overdue, elemental change in the way we use ocean resources. In <em>Future Sea</em>, ocean advocate and marine-policy researcher Deborah Rowan Wright provides the tools for that shift. A passionate, sweeping, and personal account, <em>Future Sea</em> not only argues for systemic change in how we manage what we do in the sea, but also describes steps that anyone, from children to political leaders (or indeed, any reader of the book), can take toward safeguarding the oceans and their extraordinary wildlife.</p>
5. The New Map: Energy, Climate and the Clash of Nations, by Daniel Yergin (Penguin Random House 2020, 512 pages, $38.00)<p>The world is being shaken by the collision of energy, climate change, and the clashing power of nations in a time of global crisis. The "shale revolution" in oil and gas – made possible by fracking technology, but not without controversy – has transformed the American economy, ending the "era of shortage." Yet concern about energy's role in climate change is challenging our economy and way of life, accelerating a second energy revolution in the search for a low carbon future. All of this has been made starker and more urgent by the coronavirus pandemic and the economic dark age that it has wrought. A master storyteller and global energy expert, Daniel Yergin takes the reader on a riveting journey across the world's new map. He poses the great questions of this era of political turbulence and points to the challenges that lie ahead.</p>
6. Solved: How the World’s Great Cities Are Fixing the Climate Crisis, by David Miller (University of Toronto Press 2020, 208 pages, $29.95)<p>Taking cues from progressive cities around the world, including Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, Oslo, Shenzhen, and Sydney, David Miller, director of International Diplomacy for the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, summons every city to make small but significant changes that can drastically reduce humanity's carbon footprint. Solved demonstrates that the initiatives cities have already taken to control the climate crisis can make a real difference in reducing global emissions if implemented worldwide. As much a "how to" guide for policymakers as a call to action for concerned citizens, Solved aims to inspire hope through its analysis of what can be done – now, today – to pave the way to a 1.5-degree world.</p>
7. Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future, by Pope Francis (Simon & Schuster 2020, 160 pages, $26.00)<p>In the COVID crisis, Pope Francis saw the cruelty and inequity of our society exposed more vividly than ever before. He also saw, in the resilience, generosity, and creativity of so many people, the means to rescue our society, our economy, and our planet. In direct, powerful prose, Pope Francis urges us not to let the pain be in vain. In <em>Let Us Dream</em>, the Pope offers an inspiring and actionable blueprint for building by putting the poor and the planet at the heart of new thinking. For this plan, he draws not only on sacred sources, but on the latest findings from scientists, economists, and activists. Let Us Dream is an epiphany, a call to arms, and a pleasure to read. With this book, and with open hearts, we can change the world.</p>
8. Stand Up! Speak Up! A Story Inspired by the Climate Change Revolution, by Andrew Joyner (Penguin Random House 2020, 40 pages (for 4-to-8-year olds), $17.99)<p>Celebrate young climate change activists in this charming story about an empowered girl who shows up, listens up, and ultimately, speaks up to inspire her community to take action against climate change. After attending a climate march, a young activist is motivated to make an effort and do her part to help the planet … by organizing volunteers to work to make green changes in their community, from cleaning a lake, to planting trees, to hosting a clothing swap and more! Here is an uplifting picture book that is an important reminder that no change is too small – and no person is too young – to make a difference. With simple text and lively illustrations, Andrew Joyner has given young children a timely story about activism, community, and hope.</p>
9. Our Only Home: A Climate Appeal to the World, by The Dalai Lama and Franz Alt (Hanover Square 2020, 176 pages, $19.99)<p>Saving the climate is our common duty. With each passing day, climate change is causing Pacific islands to disappear into the sea, accelerating the extinction of species at alarming proportions and aggravating a water shortage that has affected the entire world. In this new book, the Dalai Lama, one of the most influential figures of our time, calls on political decision makers to finally fight against deadlock and ignorance on this issue and to stand up for a different, more climate-friendly world and for the younger generation to assert their right to regain their future. From this beloved world religious leader comes an eye-opening manifesto that empowers the generation of today to step up, take action and save our environment.</p>
10. The 2084 Report: An Oral History of the Great Warming: A Novel, by James Lawrence Powell (Simon & Schuster 2020, 240 pages, $27.00)<p>2084: Global warming has proven worse than even the direst predictions scientists had made at the turn of the century. No country – and no one – has remained unscathed. Through interviews with scientists, political leaders, and citizens around the globe, this riveting fictional oral history describes in graphic detail the irreversible effects the Great Warming has had on humankind. In short chapters, The <em>2084 Report</em> brings global warming to life, revealing a new reality in which Rotterdam doesn't exist, Phoenix has no electricity, and Canada is part of the United States. Characters describe the issues they confront in a world they share with the next two generations. Simultaneously fascinating and frightening, The 2084 Report will inspire you to take action.</p>
11. A Diary in the Age of Water: A Novel, by Nina Munteanu (Inanna 2020, 328 pages, $22.95 paperback)<p>Centuries from now, in a dying boreal forest of what used to be northern Canada, Kyo, a young acolyte called to service in the Exodus, discovers a diary that may answer her yearning for Earth's past – to the Age of Water, when the "Water Twins" destroyed humanity in hatred. The diary spans a twenty-year period in the mid-twenty-first century life of 33-year-old Lynna, a single mother who works in CanadaCorp, an international water utility. A Diary in the Age of Water follows the climate-induced journey of Earth and humanity through four generations of women, each with a unique relationship to water. The novel explores our concepts of what is "normal" – as a nation and an individual – in a world that is rapidly changing.</p>
12. The Ministry for the Future: A Novel, by Kim Stanley Robinson (Hachette Book Group – Orbit 2020, 576 pages, $28.00)<p>From legendary science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson comes a remarkable vision of climate change over the coming decades. The Ministry for the Future is a masterpiece of the imagination, using fictional eyewitness accounts to tell the story of how climate change will affect us all. Its setting is not a desolate, post-apocalyptic world, but a future that is almost upon us – and in which we might just overcome the extraordinary challenges we face. It is a novel both immediate and impactful, desperate and hopeful in equal measure, and it is one of the most powerful and original books on climate change ever written. (Editor's note: Readers can find YCC's review of this book <a href="https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2020/10/the-ministry-for-the-future-a-novel-by-kim-stanley-robinson/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a> and an interview with the author <a href="https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2020/11/a-crucial-collapse-in-the-ministry-for-the-future/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>.)</p>
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JasonOndreicka / iStock / Getty Images
Twenty-five years ago, a food called Tofurky made its debut on grocery store shelves. Since then, the tofu-based roast has become a beloved part of many vegetarians' holiday feasts.
By Ashia Aubourg
As Thanksgiving approaches, some Indigenous organizations and activists caution against perpetuating further injustices towards Native communities. Indigenous activist Mariah Gladstone, for example, encourages eaters to celebrate the harvest time in ways that do not involve stereotypes and pilgrim stories.
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By Jason Farley
COVID-19 has disrupted our daily lives, and it is poised to completely disrupt the holiday season. As people make holiday plans and think about ways to reduce the risks to their loved ones, a strategy is essential.
Are masks really necessary at family gatherings?<p>If you're gathering with friends and family who don't live in your home, yes. Just because you're with people you know doesn't mean you're safe from the coronavirus. Infection rates are <a href="https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/data/new-cases-50-states" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">higher now than they have ever been</a> in the U.S., and <a href="https://youtu.be/ehdgceGzQxs" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">small gatherings have been a source</a> of viral spread. All it takes is one infected person who doesn't know they have the coronavirus to infect others.</p><p>Remember, people can be <a href="https://medical.mit.edu/covid-19-updates/2020/07/how-long-symptom-onset-person-contagious" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">contagious two to three days</a> before symptoms show – that's one thing that makes this virus so hard to stop. And it's why, even if you feel fine, you should wear a mask.</p><p>The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now estimates that when both people are wearing masks, the <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/more/masking-science-sars-cov2.html" target="_blank">likelihood of infection is low</a>.</p>
Who am I protecting when I wear a mask?<p>In a word: everyone. The coronavirus <a href="https://theconversation.com/aerosols-are-a-bigger-coronavirus-threat-than-who-guidelines-suggest-heres-what-you-need-to-know-142233" target="_blank">spreads through respiratory droplets</a> that you send out into the air when you talk, sing or even just breathe. The tiniest of these droplets can float on air currents for long periods.</p><p>Face masks stop many of those droplets, reducing the amount of virus in the air. That lowers your chances of getting infected, and it also lowers the chances that you'll infect someone else.</p><p><a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/more/masking-science-sars-cov2.html" target="_blank">Studies of people who had prolonged exposure</a> to others with COVID-19 have demonstrated how masks can reduce the chance of the virus spreading. In general, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/more/masking-science-sars-cov2.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">well-fitted cloth masks</a> made up of multiple layers can stop most large droplets and at least half of the tiny ones. Plastic <a href="https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.10.05.20207241" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">face shields</a> alone are far less effective. <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/08/13/cdc-mask-guidance-masks-valves/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Face masks with valves or vents</a> might be good for construction work, but they don't stop the wearer from breathing out virus into the air.</p>
Can I reuse a mask and when should I replace it?<p>Reusable masks should be kept clean and dry. We're moving into cold and flu season, and noses get drippy. A rule of thumb: Anytime a mask is wet to the point that you can discern the wetness, it's time for a new one if it's disposable, or it's time to clean your reusable mask.</p><p>Wetness allows viruses to more easily move through paper or fabric because it allows the threads to move and may reduce the electrostatic charge in the masks that add extra protection with some fabrics.</p><p>In general, you can use a mask that stays clean and dry for about a week before you need to wash or discard it.</p>
How should I clean a cloth mask?<p>Washing your mask is like washing your clothes. You know when it is time.</p><p>In general, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-to-wash-cloth-face-coverings.html" target="_blank">cleaning your mask weekly</a> should be sufficient. If odors develop before then, it's a good idea to wash it sooner. Odor generally means bacterial buildup.</p><p>Cleaning your mask by hand with soap and water is your best option. Using a general detergent on a gentle cycle in the washing machine is also fine, but that may increase the risk of damage, depending on the quality of the material. COVID-19 is not a hardy virus. Any soap or detergent should work fine. There's no need for special chemicals, bleach or harsh soaps.</p><p>Be careful to remove any inserts before washing. Inserted filters are generally not washable.</p><p>Air drying masks works best. Remember, masks should be completely dry before use. So be sure to have a replacement mask handy while the one you just washed dries.</p><p>Sunlight is always a great source of heat to dry your mask. Also, sunlight has ultraviolet radiation, which has been shown to <a href="http://doi.org/10.1111/php.13293" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">eliminate coronavirus</a> and is also known to have antibacterial properties.</p>
Can I wear the mask below my nose?<p>Wearing your mask below your nose is, frankly, ridiculous.</p><p>Think about it. If you are breathing through your nose and only covering your mouth, you are effectively eliminating the point of the mask. Properly wearing a mask requires covering both your nose and mouth at all times.</p><p>Studies show that wearing a proper cloth mask or surgical mask while exercising <a href="http://doi.org/10.1513/AnnalsATS.202008-990CME" target="_blank">doesn't affect the flow of oxygen</a> or carbon dioxide in any detectable way. So, unless you have serious heart and lung problems, that isn't an excuse.</p>
How do I safely remove my mask if I’m going to eat or drink?<p>When you <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-to-wash-cloth-face-coverings.html" target="_blank">take your mask off</a>, remove it carefully by the straps without touching anything else and put it somewhere safe, like wrapped in paper in a purse, bag or pocket. Then wash your hands or use hand sanitizer. When you put it back on, wash your hands again.</p>
So, how can I have a safe holiday gathering?<p>The safest way to celebrate this year is to do so with members only within your household. The <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">CDC is now stressing that point</a>, as well. If you do celebrate with friends and relatives from outside your household, you need an action plan to reduce the risk of exposure.</p><p>Here are five recommendations:</p><ul><li>Limit the number of people – fewer people means fewer opportunities for exposure, and you'll have more room to spread out.</li><li>Require masks when not eating or drinking.</li><li>Use physical distancing when eating. Try to seat people <a href="https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m3223" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">at least 6 feet apart</a>. Eat outside if you can.</li><li>Consider being tested for COVID-19 before traveling or gathering. It's not a guarantee, but it can help flag illnesses. Remember to self-isolate between the test and the event.</li><li>Be prepared to self-isolate for 14 days after traveling or participating in any event that involves people from outside your home.</li></ul><p>[<em>Research into coronavirus and other news from science</em> <a href="https://theconversation.com/us/newsletters/science-editors-picks-71/?utm_source=TCUS&utm_medium=inline-link&utm_campaign=newsletter-text&utm_content=science-corona-research" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Subscribe to The Conversation's new science newsletter</a>.]</p><p><em>The map has been updated with New Hampshire announcing a mask mandate effective Nov. 20.</em></p><p><em>Jason Farley is a professor, infectious disease-trained epidemiologist and nurse practitioner at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing.<br></em></p><p><em>Disclosure statement: Jason Farley, PhD, MPH, ANP-BC, FAAN receives funding from the National Institutes of Health on the Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics for COVID-19 and Becton Dickinson for studies on SARS-CoV-2 diagnostics.</em></p><p><em>Reposted with permission from <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-face-masks-belong-at-your-thanksgiving-gathering-7-things-you-need-to-know-about-wearing-them-150130" target="_blank">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>
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By Bill Sullivan
Black licorice may look and taste like an innocent treat, but this candy has a dark side. On Sept. 23, 2020, it was reported that black licorice was the culprit in the death of a 54-year-old man in Massachusetts. How could this be? Overdosing on licorice sounds more like a twisted tale than a plausible fact.
The Root of the Problem<p>The unfortunate man who recently succumbed to excessive black licorice consumption is not alone. There are a smattering of similar case reports in medical journals, in which patients experience <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26380428/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">hypertension crisis</a>, <a href="https://doi.org/10.5414/cn107011" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">muscle breakdown</a> or even death. Adverse reactions are most frequently seen in people over the age of 40 who are eating far more black licorice than the average person. In addition, they are usually consuming the product for prolonged periods of time. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMcpc2002420" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">In the most recent case</a>, the Massachusetts man had been eating a bag and a half of black licorice every day for three weeks.</p><p>Licorice is a flowering plant native to parts of Europe and Asia. Its scientific name, <em>Glycyrrhiza</em>, is derived from the Greek words "glykos" (sweet) and "rhiza" (root). The aromatic and sweet extract from its root has long been used as an herbal remedy for a wide variety of health maladies, from heartburn and stomach issues to sore throats and cough. However, there is <a href="https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/black-licorice-trick-or-treat" target="_blank">insufficient evidence to support that licorice is effective in treating any medical condition</a>.</p><p>Glycyrrhizin (also called glycyrrhizic acid) is the chemical in black licorice that gives the candy its signature flavor, but it also leads to its toxic effects.</p><p>Glycyrrhizin mimics the hormone <a href="https://www.yourhormones.info/hormones/aldosterone/" target="_blank">aldosterone</a>, which is made by the adrenal glands when the body needs to retain sodium and excrete potassium. Sodium and potassium work together as a kind of cellular battery that drives communication between nerves and the contraction of muscles. Too much glycyrrhizin upsets the balance of these electrolytes, which can raise blood pressure and disturb the heart's rhythm. Other symptoms of excessive licorice intake include swelling, muscle pain, numbness and headache. Examination of the man who died from consuming too much licorice revealed that he had <a href="https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMcpc2002420" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">dangerously low levels of potassium, consistent with glycyrrhizin toxicity.</a></p><p><a href="https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMcpc2002420" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"></a>It should be noted that a number of licorice-based foods do not contain real licorice, but use a flavoring substitute called anise oil, which does not pose the dangers discussed here. In addition, despite its name, <a href="https://www.livestrong.com/article/537724-black-licorice-vs-red-licorice/" target="_blank">red licorice rarely contains licorice extract</a>. Instead, red licorice is infused with chemicals that impart its cherry or strawberry flavor.</p><p>Products that contain real licorice are usually labeled as such, and list licorice extract or glycyrrhizic acid among the ingredients. Be advised that some products, such as black jelly beans or Good & Plenty, are mixtures of different candies that contain both anise oil and licorice extract.</p>
Hidden Dangers That Increase Risk<p>Glycyrrhizin has the distinct licorice flavor and is <a href="https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=19&contentid=Licorice" target="_blank">50 times sweeter than sugar</a> and has been used in other types of candy, soft drinks, tea, Belgian beers, throat lozenges and tobacco. This can make it challenging to keep track of how much glycyrrhizin has been consumed, and a combination of these products could trigger adverse effects.</p><p>Some people take dietary or health supplements that already contain licorice, which increases the risk of toxic effects from eating black licorice candy. Certain medications such as <a href="https://doi.org/10.5414/cn107011" target="_blank">hydrochlorothiazide</a> are diuretics that cause increased urination, which can lower potassium levels in the body. Glycyrrhizin also lowers potassium levels, further disrupting the balance of electrolytes, which can produce muscle cramps and irregular heart rhythms.</p><p>People with certain preexisting conditions are more susceptible to black licorice overdose.</p><p>For example, patients who already have low potassium levels (hypokalemia), high blood pressure or heart arrhythmia are likely to have greater sensitivity to the effects of excessive licorice. Those with liver or kidney deficiencies will also retain glycyrrhizin in their bloodstream for longer times, increasing their risk of experiencing its adverse effects.</p>
What to Do?<p>If you're a fan of black licorice, there is no need to ban it from your pantry. Eaten in small quantities from time to time, licorice poses no significant threat to otherwise healthy adults and children. But it is advisable to monitor your intake.</p><p>With Halloween approaching, be sure to remind your kids that candy is a "<a href="https://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@global/documents/downloadable/ucm_305557.pdf" target="_blank">sometimes food</a>," especially the black licorice. The <a href="https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/black-licorice-trick-or-treat" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">FDA has issued warnings</a> about the rare but serious effects of too much black licorice, advising that people avoid eating more than two ounces of black licorice a day for two weeks or longer. The agency states that if you have been eating a lot of black licorice and experience an irregular heart rhythm or muscle weakness, stop eating it immediately and contact your health care provider.</p><p>Some scientists have further cautioned against the routine use of licorice in the form of a dietary supplement or tea for its alleged health benefits. A <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/2042018812454322" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">review article from 2012</a> warned that "the daily consumption of licorice is never justified because its benefits are minor compared to the adverse outcomes of chronic consumption."</p>
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By Malinda Maynor Lowery
Increasingly, Columbus Day is giving people pause.
More and more towns and cities across the country are electing to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day as an alternative to – or in addition to – the day intended to honor Columbus' voyages.
Why Columbus?<p>Columbus Day is a relatively new federal holiday.</p><p>In 1892, a <a href="https://www.whatsoproudlywehail.org/curriculum/the-american-calendar/proclamation-on-the-400th-anniversary-of-the-discovery-of-america-by-columbus" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">joint congressional resolution</a> prompted President Benjamin Harrison to mark the "discovery of America by Columbus," in part because of "the devout faith of the discoverer and for the divine care and guidance which has directed our history and so abundantly blessed our people."</p><p><a href="https://www.history.com/topics/westward-expansion/manifest-destinyin%20their%20conquest" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Europeans invoked God's will</a> to impose their will on indigenous people. So it seemed logical to call on God when establishing a holiday celebrating that conquest, too.</p><p>Of course, not all Americans considered themselves blessed in 1892. That same year, a lynching forced black journalist Ida B. Wells to <a href="https://daily.jstor.org/peoples-grocery-lynching/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">flee her home town of Memphis</a>. And while Ellis Island had opened in January of that year, <a href="https://www.nps.gov/elis/learn/education/upload/statistics.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">welcoming European immigrants</a>, Congress had already banned Chinese immigration <a href="https://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=false&doc=47" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a decade prior</a>, subjecting Chinese people living in the U.S. to widespread persecution.</p>
Indigenous People Power<p>But some Americans started to question why Indigenous people – who'd been in the country all along – didn't have their own holiday.</p><p>In the 1980s, Colorado's American Indian Movement chapter <a href="https://www.westword.com/news/colorado-the-first-state-to-give-columbus-a-holiday-considers-abolishing-it-10844725" target="_blank">began protesting the celebration of Columbus Day</a>. In 1989, activists in South Dakota persuaded the state <a href="https://www.argusleader.com/story/davidmontgomery/2014/10/13/native-american-day/17194651/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">to replace</a> Columbus Day with Native American Day. Both states have large Native populations that played active roles in the <a href="http://colorado-aim.blogspot.com/2012/10/war-on-columbus-day.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Red Power Movement</a> in the 1960s and 1970s, which sought to make American Indian people more politically visible.</p><p>Then, in 1992, at the 500th anniversary of Columbus' first voyage, American Indians in Berkeley, California, organized the first "<a href="https://www.berkeleyside.com/2017/10/09/berkeley-became-1st-city-dump-columbus-day-indigenous-peoples-day" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Indigenous Peoples' Day</a>," a holiday the city council soon formally adopted. Berkeley has since replaced its commemoration of Columbus with a celebration of indigenous people.</p><p>The holiday can also trace its origins to the United Nations. In 1977, indigenous leaders from around the world organized a United Nations conference in Geneva to promote indigenous sovereignty and self-determination. <a href="http://ipdpowwow.org/Archives_1.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Their first recommendation</a> was "to observe October 12, the day of so-called 'discovery' of America, as an International Day of Solidarity with the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas." It took another 30 years for their work to be formally recognized in the <a href="https://www.un.org/development/desa/indigenouspeoples/declaration-on-the-rights-of-indigenous-peoples.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples</a>, which was adopted in September 2007.</p>
Unexpected Allies<p>Today, cities with significant native populations, like Seattle, Portland and Los Angeles, now celebrate either Native American Day or Indigenous Peoples Day. And states like Hawaii, Nevada, Minnesota, Alaska and Maine have also formally recognized their Native populations with similar holidays. Many Native governments, like the Cherokee and Osage in Oklahoma, either don't observe Columbus Day or have replaced it with their own holiday.</p><p>But you'll also find commemorations in less likely places. Alabama <a href="https://www.al.com/news/2017/10/alabamas_weird_holiday_you_jus.html" target="_blank">celebrates Native American Day</a> alongside Columbus Day, as does North Carolina, which, with a population of over <a href="https://files.nc.gov/governor/documents/files/Indigenous%20Peoples%27%20Day.pdf" target="_blank">120,000 Native Americans</a>, has the largest number of Native Americans of any state east of the Mississippi River.</p><p>In 2018, the town of Carrboro, North Carolina, <a href="https://townofcarrboro.org/CivicSend/ViewMessage/message/69242" target="_blank">issued a resolution</a> to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day. The resolution noted the fact that the town of 21,000 had been built on indigenous land and that it was committed to "protect, respect and fulfill the full range of inherent human rights," including those of indigenous people.</p><p>While Columbus Day affirms the story of a nation created by Europeans for Europeans, Indigenous Peoples Day emphasizes Native histories and Native people – an important addition to the country's ever-evolving understanding of what it means to be American.</p>
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