Sunday, November 28, 2010

RECIPE : Creamy Soy Yogurt

Posted by : Angel Flinn (Jul 29, 2010) at
Link :

As long as we’re getting inspired about berries, here’s a simple recipe to make your own dairy-free yogurt.

It’s delicious served over a fresh fruit salad (especially with summer fruit), or you might choose to blend your favorite fruit right in, and make your own peach, strawberry or blueberry yogurt…

You want to be sure to use soft or silken tofu, as firm tofu will not create the same creamy consistency. Silken tofu is delightfully smooth, and is perfect for creamy dips, dressings, sauces, puddings and cream pies – look out for that recipe soon! It also comes in different degrees of firmness, which is nice if you prefer your yogurt with a little extra body.

If you’re keen on the probiotics (friendly bacteria) usually found in commercial yogurts, you can also add a vegan acidophilus powder to the mix… VegLife has a product called ‘FOS-idophilus’ that they describe as “a 100% vegan probiotic formula that provides over 5 billion friendly bacteria plus the natural prebiotic FOS”.

Creamy Soy Yogurt
serves 4

1 1/2 lbs. (3 cups) soft/silken tofu (organic of course)
3 Tbsp. unrefined organic sweetener
3 Tbsp. maple syrup*
2 bananas, peeled, frozen, sliced
2 bananas, ripe (spotted), sliced
1/4 cup organic fruit juice
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cup frozen berries
1-2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1. Gently rinse and drain tofu.
2. In a blender or food processor, blend all ingredients together until creamy. Chill in the freezer then serve just before frozen.

For a thicker consistency, use a food processor and omit some liquid if desired.
*To produce maple syrup, sap has to be collected and boiled down. During the boiling, a drop of lard, shortening or vegetable oil is sometimes added to prevent the sap from foaming up, and this ingredient is not listed on the label. When buying maple syrup, look for the kosher symbol, or call the company to see that they use vegetable-based defoamers

RECIPE : Dairy Free Soft Cheese

Posted by : Michelle Schoffro Cook (July 14, 2010) at
(link :

This cheese is so delicious no one will know it’s a healthy, dairy-free option. Check out my article on 11 Reasons to Stop Eating Dairy to learn why you should forego dairy products. This recipe offers all the benefits of yogurt and helps to balance your bowel flora. While it requires time for fermentation, it only takes about 5 to 10 minutes of preparation time.

2 cups of raw, unsalted cashews, soaked overnight or about 10 to 12 hours
1 teaspoon probiotics powder or 2 capsules of probiotics opened (available in most health food stores and is sometimes called L. acidophilus or flora) and dissolved in 1 cup of pure water
1 teaspoon of Celtic sea salt or Himalayan crystal salt (or more to taste if desired)
1 to 2 teaspoons of onion powder
1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

In a blender or food processor, blend the soaked cashews with the probiotic powder and water mixture. Place in a glass bowl, covered with a clean cloth and let rest for 10 to 14 hours to ferment. Then stir in the salt, onion powder, and nutmeg until well mixed. Form the cheese into a ball or press in a spring form pan and serve with crackers, pita bread, or vegetable crudite.

You can add a teaspoon or two of herbs like herbes du Provence to flavor the cheese once it has fermented or to coat the outside of a cheeseball.
You can serve the cheese coated with ground or chopped nuts like hazelnuts.
You can serve drizzled with a balsamic vinegar reduction.

ABOUT MICHELLE SCHOFFRO COOK:-Michelle Schoffro Cook, BSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, is an international best-selling and seven-time book author and doctor of natural medicine, whose works include: The Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, The Phytozyme Cure and HealthSmart News. Learn more at


Hi there,

Here's an article on why some of us avoid cheese .... a dairy product that requires RENNET in its making. So, what is RENNET? Find out more from this posting by ANGEL FLINN (Nov 26, 2010) at
(Link :

Rennet or rennin is a natural complex of enzymes produced in any mammalian stomach to help a nursing baby digest mother’s milk. In the food industry, rennet is used as a coagulant – in cheese-making; in certain dairy products, including some yogurts; and in junket, a soft, pudding-like dessert.

Rennet is extracted from the inner mucosa of the fourth stomach chamber of young, un-weaned calves. These calf stomachs are a by-product of veal production (which is an off-shoot of dairy production).

According to the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, “After butchering, the fourth stomach…is removed and freed of its food content.” After this the stomach goes through several steps including being dry-salted, washed, scraped to remove surface fat, stretched onto racks where moisture is removed, then finally ground and mixed with a salt solution until the rennin is extracted.

To obtain rennet using the customary method still used by many European and traditional cheese-makers, stomachs of young calves are dried and “cleaned”, then sliced into small pieces and put into an extraction solution, which will be filtered after several days. In modern production, the stomachs are deep-frozen and ground up before rennet extraction.

Rennet can also be derived from non-animal sources, and in North America, GMO-Microbial rennet is used more often in industrial cheese-making because it is less expensive than animal rennet.

But before you breathe a sigh of relief at the discovery that your favorite dairy cheese or yogurt might not be coagulated with rennet from the stomachs of calves, don’t forget that they are all made with milk – the primary product of the dairy industry – which is the reason these calves are being slaughtered in the first place.

In other words, if you’re an ethical vegetarian who avoids the products of animal slaughter, keep in mind that offering financial support to the dairy industry is essentially agreeing to support the killing of male calves for the production of veal.

However, the good news is that there are many vegan varieties of cheese, yogurt and pudding available on the market, some of which are also suitable for those with soy allergies. And with a little time and effort, you can even make your own! See the links below.

The many long-time vegans living healthy lives are evidence of the fact that human beings can thrive on a varied diet of wholesome and delicious foods from the plant kingdom. Try it today – it’s easy, it’s enjoyable, and it’s the source of ongoing rewards for your body, mind and spirit.

To make non-dairy soft cheese, please go to :

To make creamy soy yogurt, please go to:

Friday, November 19, 2010

30 Ways to Detox your Body and Home

Posted by: Michelle Schoffro Cook (18 Nov, 2010)

Imagine waking up without an ache or pain, cruising through your day with energy and ending it by enjoying a refreshing night’s sleep. Then, imagine waking up to do it all over again. Think it’s impossible? Think again. The key is eliminating toxins from your body and your life. Toxins can leave you feeling sluggish, achy, heavy, and out-of-shape. They can also be a factor in the development of chronic diseases like cancer, arthritis, allergies, and many other serious conditions. Here’s where to start:

1. Eat an organic diet as much as possible. Most foods contain harmful pesticides and genetically-modified organisms.

2. Try to make a large component of your diet raw vegetables and juices. It’s easy when you eat a large salad daily and drink a freshly-made juice.

3. Engage in periodic cleanses or detox programs: one day a week, a weekend every month, or a longer detox in the spring and fall.

4. Sauna to help eliminate toxins through the skin in sweat. Of course, consult your physician prior to starting a sauna regime.

5. Stretch daily: yoga, tai chi, and qigong, are excellent.

6. Avoid chemical cleaning products in favor of natural cleaning ones. Baking soda, vinegar, or orange oil can replace almost any chemical cleaner.

7. Avoid chemical pesticides at home. Use baking soda with sugar or peppermint oil.

8. Read labels on food products and avoid those with which you are unfamiliar.

9. Avoid synthetic chemicals in personal care products and cosmetics. Read labels and avoid those ingredients with which you’re unfamiliar. No label? Avoid the product. Definitely avoid any containing: parabens, diethanolamine (DEA), or phthalates.

10. Drink an ounce of wheatgrass juice daily to supplement your diet. Wheatgrass juice is nutritionally equivalent to many vegetable.

11. Take chlorella or spirulina tablets daily to supplement your diet and help round out the nutrients you .

12. Exercise for 45 minutes daily. Brisk walking, rebounding, running, cycling, cross-country skiing are excellent choices. Be sure to consult a physician prior to beginning.

13. Eat at least three of the best detoxifying foods daily. Some of the best detoxifiers include: broccoli, garlic, spinach, cabbage, sprouts, blueberries, ginger, and turmeric.

14. Exchange massages with a partner. Massage improves circulation and helps move lymph (lymph picks up toxins throughout the body so it can be eliminated).

15. Kick the habit. If you smoke or are exposed to second-hand smoke, quit it.

16. Cut back on alcohol consumption. Alcohol must be filtered by the liver, which has over 500 other functions. Even moderate drinking increases the risk of conditions like breast cancer.

17. Toss out the toxins at home and in the garage. Of course, dispose of them properly based on your community’s guidelines.

18. Add a water filter to your tap water. Even a Brita will help remove some of the impurities in your water.

19. Toss the non-stick pans. Teflon, Silverstone and other coatings emit harmful perflourochemicals (PFCs). The EPA classifies them as carcinogens.

20. Choose no-VOC paints for your home. VOCs are volatile organic compounds, many of which are linked to cancer.

21. Stop microwaving your food. Microwaving changes the protein structure of food making it potentially-harmful to your body. Microwaves also emit radiation that can be damaging to people standing near them.

22. Install a carbon monoxide detector in your home if you heat your home with gas, oil, or other type of fuel. Carbon monoxide is odorless but can cause health problems like headaches, fatigue, and even death.

23. Eliminate mold. A few drops of tea tree oil can be used on a cloth to wipe down walls, floors, and other surfaces to help kill mold.

24. Switch from sponges to natural cloths for cleaning. Most sponges have been treated with a chemical called triclosan, which is toxic to the skin and immune system.

25. Turn the heat down on your stove. When your cooking oil starts to smoke, it has become toxic to your body. Choose only cold-pressed oils for cooking since most oils have been heated to high temperatures during processing and are already toxic to the body.

26. Stop eating baked goods with artificial colors. They may look pretty but research links food colors and artificial dyes to having toxic effects on the brain and nervous system, particularly among children.

27. Stop using fragrances. Most perfumes and colognes, scented candles, plug-in air “fresheners,” pot pourri, laundry soap, fabric softeners and dryer sheets are loaded with toxic ingredients that have been linked to hormonal imbalances, mood swings, fatigue, brain damage, and many other symptoms.

28. Don’t heat food or store it in plastic. Most plastic contains bisphenol-A (BPA) that migrates into the food stored in these containers. BPA has been linked to thyroid and other hormonal problems.

29. Don’t use mothballs. Mothballs contain paradichlorobenzene which is seriously toxic. Instead choose sachets made with natural herbs and essential oils like rosemary, lavender, thyme, and mint, which are natural moth-repellants.

30. Reduce the amount of meat in your diet.

Adapted with permission from The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan by Michelle Schoffro Cook, DNM.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

11 Reasons to stop eating Dairy

Posted by : Michelle Schoffro Cook (July 14, 2010)
Link :

Milk and dairy products are not the health foods we’ve been told they are. Here are 11 reasons to stop consuming them:

1. Cow’s milk is intended for baby cows.
We’re the only species (other than those we are domesticating) that drinks milk after infancy. And, we’re definitely the only ones drinking the milk of a different species.

2. Hormones.
Not only are the naturally-present hormones in cow’s milk stronger than human hormones, the animals are routinely given steroids and other hormones to plump them up and increase milk production. These hormones can negatively impact humans’ delicate hormonal balance.

3. Most cows are fed inappropriate food.
Commercial feed for cows contains all sorts of ingredients that include: genetically-modified (GM) corn, GM soy, animal products, chicken manure, cottonseed, pesticides, and antibiotics.

4. Dairy products, when metabolized, are acid-forming.
Our bodies are constantly striving for biochemical balance to keep our blood at 7.365 pH. Eating excessive acid-forming products can cause our bodies to overuse some of its acid-balancing mechanisms, one of which is the bones. Alkaline calcium is stored in the bones and released to combat excessive acidity in the body. Over time, bones can become fragile.

5. Research shows that the countries whose citizens consume the most dairy products have the HIGHEST incidence of osteoporosis.

6. Most dairy cows live in confined, inhumane conditions, never seeing the pastures of green grass they were intended to eat.

7. Most dairy products are pasteurized to kill potentially-harmful bacteria. During the pasteurization process, vitamins, proteins, and enzymes are destroyed. Enzymes assist with the digestion process. When they are destroyed through pasteurization, milk becomes harder to digest, therefore putting a strain on our bodies’ enzyme systems.

8. Dairy products are mucous-forming.
They can contribute to respiratory disorders. When I remove dairy and sugar from the diets of my clients, they stop experiencing hay fever and seasonal allergies.

9. Research links dairy products with arthritis.
In one study on rabbits, scientist Richard Panush was able to PRODUCE inflamed joints in the animals by switching their water to milk. In another study, scientists observed more than a 50% reduction in the pain and swelling of arthritis when participants eliminated milk and dairy products from their diet.

10 Most milk is homogenized, which denatures the milk’s proteins, making it harder to digest. Many peoples’ bodies react to these proteins as though they are “foreign invaders” causing their immune systems to overreact. Research also links homogenized milk to heart disease.

11. Pesticides in cow feed find their way into milk and dairy products that we consume.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR :Michelle Schoffro Cook, BSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, is an international best-selling and seven-time book author and doctor of natural medicine, whose works include: The Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, The Phytozyme Cure and HealthSmart News. Learn more at

Non-Dairy? Misleading Labels... ... ...

Hi all,

For those of us who are vegans and think that non-dairy creamers in our 3-in-1 beverages are safe to consume, here's a posting for you to take note of.

Posted By : Angel Flinn (Nov 14, 2010)
Link :

Casein is the principal protein in milk. It’s found in the milk of all mammals, and, oddly enough, is often found in food items marked ‘non-dairy.’

While the term ‘non-dairy’ might mislead you into believing that the product in question is milk-free, it’s actually a term invented by the dairy industry to indicate less than 0.5 percent milk by weight.

Examples of ‘non-dairy’ products that contain casein are some coffee creamers, whipped toppings, and soy or rice cheeses. Casein helps non-dairy cheese melt. (It also makes it harder to wash the stuff off your dishes afterward.)

Most of the U.S. supply of casein is imported from countries such as New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, and certain European countries. On several dairy industry websites, it is made clear that casein is a highly profitable byproduct of dairy farming, making it essential for vegans to avoid casein wherever possible.

Casein appears in a number of places one would never expect to find it. As well as making its way into many foods that are far from vegan, it can also be used as an ingredient in mock meats, egg substitutes and even some brands of coconut milk powder. Casein even shows up in small amounts in some baby formulas (including some marked ‘hypo-allergenic’).

Casein is also one of six substances that may be used to clarify wine. (Egg white, gelatin and isinglass are others that are not vegan.) If you call the vintner, ask them if casein or any other animal products are used in the “fining process.” There are many wines available now that do not use any animal ingredients in their production.

Casein is also found in many cosmetics, hair preparations, beauty masks, and some pharmaceuticals. It can also find its way into adhesives/glues, paints, plastics, paper coatings, concrete and textile fabrics.

Some people point to the widespread use of casein as a reason that no one can be 100 percent vegan, leading them to the conclusion that there’s no point in scrutinizing ingredient labels too closely. Of course it’s true that animal products are used in so many ways that it is simply impossible to avoid all animal use. However, this does not mean that we should not do our absolute best to avoid these products when it is reasonable for us to do so, especially in light of the fact that casein is simply milk in another form. And milk production, as we all know, requires the abuse and killing of nonhuman animals in order to be profitable.

Casein is also the substance in cheese that makes people find it addictive. When casein is digested by humans, it breaks down into several chemicals, including casomorphine – an opioid peptide. Opiates hide inside casein, but as the molecules are digested, they break apart to release tiny opiate molecules with about one tenth the opiate strength of morphine. The addictive power of cheese in particular may be due to the fact that the process of cheese making removes water, lactose and whey proteins so that the casein is more concentrated.

Ever said to yourself or someone else ‘I could never give up cheese’? That’s the feeling the dairy industry counts on to sell its products of exploitation. But there’s good news: The cravings go away. All you need to do is decide for sure that you don’t want to be involved in the horrors of dairy production, and you’ll soon find that your feelings about cheese start to turn from delight to disgust.

And there’s even more good news! Not only are packaged vegan cheese alternatives becoming more readily available, but they’re getting better all the time. It’s far from being an essential ingredient in life, but it sure is a nice reward for kicking the dairy addiction.

BLOGGER'S NOTE : Please be alert that many brands of margarine available locally contains milk and the emulsifiers used may be from animal origin. For those who are strict vegans, the safest alternative is NUTTELEX which is labelled VEGAN and is milk and animal free. It is from Australia and available in certain stores in Kuala Lumpur namely: SOGO, Mydin and Central in Old Klang Road.

Food Allergies and SOS Planet Earth ???

Hi all,

Here's an interesting posting by SAMANTHA, Nov 16, 2010 (selected from TREEHUGGER)
Link :

TITLE: 7 Ways Food Allergies Could Benefit You (& the Earth)

A food allergy diagnosis can range from being a minor inconvenience — like having to read labels to check for food dye — to a major health issue (think extreme, lethal allergies to milk, eggs, and nuts).

But let’s look at the bright side for a moment: If you’re forced to pay attention to every ingredient that goes onto your plate, you could also be making better choices for your health and the environment — from choosing foods with smaller carbon footprints to defaulting to organic produce over packaged goods. In fact, we could learn a lot from the way people with food allergies approach their plate.

1. You Know Where Your Food Comes From
Whether you’re allergic to nuts, soy, dairy, eggs, gluten, or any other ingredient, a food restriction means you spend a lot more time reading labels — and figuring out exactly where your food comes from. Someone with a deadly allergy — like one to peanuts — needs to trust the source of their food.

A general awareness of what you’re eating and how it got to your plate gives you a better understanding of the environmental impact of your daily diet, from the miles traveled by those South American bananas to exactly what goes into selling tomatoes in New England in January. Once you start thinking about the production and distribution of every single ingredient, you’re more likely to make choices that are good for the Earth (as well as for your health).

2. You Read the Ingredients
People with food allergies spend a lot of time reading nutrition labels, checking for those hidden terms, key words, and “made in a factory that also processes” warnings.

There’s no doubt about it: that’s exhausting. And once you’re really looking at every ingredient in your packaged cereals, breakfast bars, chips, and snacks, you start to wonder: Is processed food really delicious enough to warrant taking in all those chemicals and preservatives? It’s so much easier to snack on fresh fruit and vegetables, add your own fruit and cinnamon to old-fashioned oatmeal instead of relying on the packets, whisk up your own olive-oil-and-vinegar dressings, and spend half an hour baking from-scratch brownies — plus, you know exactly what you’re eating.

3. You Consume Less Food Dye
Allergies to food dye don’t often get the same PR as other food allergies — most elementary schools don’t have a dye-free table like they do for peanuts — but these synthetic colorings have their risks: Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6 are “contaminated with known carcinogens,” according to a report from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, and can cause severe reactions along with Blue 1; and Red 3 is no longer allowed in cosmetics but still goes into Fruit Roll-Ups.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest also reports that food dyes have been linked to hyperactivity — and many of them are banned in Europe.

4. You Consume Less Wheat
People suffering from celiac disease are unable to properly process gluten — which is a protein found in rye, barley, and all of wheat’s many forms: spelt, durum, seminola, and faro, among others, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation.

Eating gluten can cause intestinal damage in celiac patients, so many of them find themselves on a diet that restricts everything from beer and flour to cookies and pasta. But if we all consumed less wheat, we’d be cutting back on the pesticides and chemicals that go into this worldwide cash crop: Though, pound for pound, it’s less environmentally harmful than producing meat, it still requires a lot of land and a lot of resources.

5. Cutting Out Dairy Lightens Your Footprint (a Lot)
Like a gluten allergy, a dairy allergy can severely limit your food options: milk, butter, yogurt, ice cream, cheese, sour cream, and other animal byproducts are all off the menu. But while it might mean skipping that luscious-looking dessert that the rest of your party is enjoying, your aversion could end up being good for the environment: According to GoVeg and Planet Green, there are 9 million dairy cows in the United States, and many (if not all) of them live in inhumane conditions, produce 120 pounds of waste each day, and end up at the slaughterhouse, where they contribute to the environmental impact of the beef industry.

6. You Don’t Have to Think About Sustainable Seafood
According to the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, about 7 million Americans are allergic to fish and shellfish — especially to salmon, tuna, and halibut.

If you’re one of those people, then you should avoid fish altogether (and also steer clear of certain salad dressings, Worcestershire sauce, and Asian sauces, which can all have fish as an unexpected ingredient), but that also means you’re one less eater contributing to the overfishing and black market sales of popular fish. Your doctor can tell you whether you’re allergic to all fish or just certain kinds; if you do get the go-ahead to eat certain seafood, fill your cart up with sustainable species.

7. It Rubs Off on Your Family
Every family has its chef — the person primarily in charge of packing lunches, making weekend pancakes, and getting dinner on the table each night — and that’s the person who has the most influence over how the others eat. But just one severe food allergy in a family can change the eating habits of everyone else: You’re not just cutting out dairy for one person, but for three or four or five, which has a much bigger impact on the bottom line of your family’s carbon footprint. That doesn’t mean that everyone has to give up pancakes just because mom has a gluten allergy, but it does mean that you’re more likely to make heather choices not just for yourself, but for those around you, too.

Celebrate Compassion this X'mas .....

Hi all,

X'mas is just round the corner and I will stick to my resolution for 2010 not to buy any presents for friends and family members. Main reason is I need to save money for a rainy day. At the same time, there are lots of stuff I have bought which have never been used and which can be given away as gifts... and X'mas is as good as any other time to do so!

The yuletide is a time of celebration and a remembrance of Jesus' birth. Malaysians, regardless of religious beliefs, will go all out to have a good time then. The unique multi-cultural makeup of our land gives everyone of us a good excuse for merrymaking at each other's religious and cultural festivities. That is the spirit of being a true-blue Malaysian!

While we are all revelling and having our share of fun and joy, let's not forget also to be reminded of our compassion for lesser beings... ... ...

Ever wonder how many turkeys will be slaughtered and roasted every X'mas just so we all can have a traditional Christmas dinner? Thanks to a friend who sent me this article to help us think twice before we pile our plates at Thanksgiving Day this year and every year thereafter. May you be blessed with a truly joyous Christmas!

ANIMAL CRUELTY - Turkeys in Farms

Turkey is a very popular meat product and often the centerpiece at Thanksgiving celebrations. What happens before the turkeys reach the stores and dinner tables however, is absolutely horrifying.
Happy Thanksgiving? Not for turkeys! about 40 million turkeys are killed each year for Thanksgiving.

If you would like to find out more about turkeys, you are welcome to visit my Animal Facts Turkeys page.

Factory Farms
Most turkeys are raised on factory farms. They are packed together in very overcrowded sheds, where each bird has only 3 square feet of space.

"Debeaking" and Toe Cutting
Living in overcrowded conditions creates an enormous amount of stress for the turkeys, which causes excessive pecking and fighting. To keep them from hurting or killing each other, farmers cut off the ends of their beaks and toes. No anesthetics are used. For some turkeys it is so painful to eat with their mutilated beaks that they will starve to death.

Antibiotics and Genetic Engineering
Antibiotics and genetic engineering have been used to make a lot of changes in commercial turkeys. On my Animal Facts Turkeys page you can see what wild turkeys look like. Wild turkeys are even able to fly short distances and often sleep in trees.

Commercial turkeys have been altered to grow twice as fast, become twice as large, have white feathers and abnormally large breasts. All these changes have caused serious health problems like collapsed lungs, swollen joints, crippled feet and heart attacks. Commercial turkeys are also unable to reproduce naturally and are artificially inseminated instead.

When the turkeys are 14-18 weeks old they are ready for slaughter. Workers will usually grab them by their legs and throw them into crates. The crates are then stacked on the back of trucks. In the winter some turkeys freeze to death and in the summer some die of heat stress. It is legal to transport farm animals for up to 36 hours without food, water or rest.

The Slaughterhouse
In the slaughterhouse, the turkeys are hung by their feet on a moving rail while fully conscious. First, their heads are submerged in an electrified "stunning tank". This tank immobilizes them, but doesn't render most of them unconscious. After this their throats are slashed by a mechanical blade. Some birds are missed and continue on still conscious. The next step on the assembly line is the scalding tank. The turkeys are submerged in boiling water to remove their feathers.

This is nothing to be thankful for. Don't buy turkey and definitely don't include it in a family celebration.

For further reading: (watch the video)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

6 Ways to Make Reusable Bags even Greener

Posted by : Samantha in (selected from Planet Green - by Blythe Copeland)

With shoppers coming home with more than 1 million plastic bags per minute, we all know that cutting back by using fabric bags is an easy way to stop litter. But how much good are those bags actually doing you? If you’re not keeping them clean, choosing sustainable materials, or finding smaller sizes for produce, then you might not be making as much of an impact as you think.

1. Choose Your Materials Carefully
If you’re on a mission to give up plastic bags, then shouldn’t you make sure that your replacement totes are made from sustainable materials? Reusing the plastic bags you already have at home is one solution; also, look for bags made from recycled plastic, organic cotton, hemp, or even polyester or polypropylene (as Pablo pointed out on TreeHugger, the difference in the impacts of canvas, polyester, and polyproylene are minimal compared to the positive difference they make compared to plastic). And make sure you find a grocery tote that’s durable enough to haul home all your food on trip after trip—so you don’t wind up needing to replace them after just a few uses.

2. Make Your Own
Even better than buying new, try your hand at refashioning materials you already have at home into carryalls with a one-of-a-kind look. From ridiculously simple solutions, like using a pillowcase as a bag, to patterns that require a bit more sewing (like turning an old tank top into a tote), there are dozens of ways to DIY your own bags. Bonus: you’ll be upcycling instead of recycling, saving carbon—and money—at the same time.

3. Keep them Safe
Make cleaning your bags part of your regular housekeeping routine to prevent mold, yeast, and bacteria from building their own little homes in your foodspace with a few simple tips: bring bins or boxes to keep milk, frozen foods, and dairy from getting your bags wet; keep meat and fish apart from your fresh fruits and veggies to prevent cross-contamination; and wash or rinse your bags when you get home. It’s also important to make sure the bags dry completely, since the dark, moist insides are a favorite spot for germs to breed.

4. Remember the Produce
Bringing a canvas, hemp, cotton, or recycled plastic bag to the store and then filling it with fruits and veggies in their own individual plastic bags isn’t exactly a perfect solution. The easiest alternative? Don’t bag your fruits at all; unless you’re buying huge quantities, it’s not difficult to run them across the scanner one at a time. And if you really need to keep your apples, lemons, onions, and peppers separate, then use old sports jerseys to make produce bags; the mesh lets air circulate while protecting delicate produce.

5. Remember Them
The real key to making your grocery bags work for you is both the simplest and the hardest change: remembering to bring them to the store. Keep a few in your car, some fold-up versions in your purse, backpack, or briefcase; hang a few on the door or in the garage as a reminder when you’re headed to the car. If you need extra encouragement, try these “Don’t Forget the Bag” tags for your door handles and key racks.

6. Bag Your Lunch
Bringing your lunch to work is an easy and effective way to trim your carbon footprint, your spending, and your weekly trash output—and if you’ve been using your leftover plastic bags to carry those leftovers into your office, then it’s time for a greener solution. Pick up a used lunchbox at a thrift store or yard sale; choose a set that includes BPA-free containers; or replace your plastic or brown bags with smaller versions of the totes mentioned above. And if you’re a die-hard takeout fan, then at least keep a spare reusable bag in your briefcase so you can avoid taking a plastic version from your local sandwich shop.

Planet Green is the multi-platform media destination devoted to the environment and dedicated to helping people understand how humans impact the planet and how to live a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle. Its two robust websites, and, offer original, inspiring, and entertaining content related to how we can evolve to live a better, brighter future. Planet Green is a division of Discovery Communications.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Ultra-Masculine Vegan Kingpins ... ... ...

Hi all,

Besides the common reasons of religion, cultural norm, ethics, health,and for the betterment of the environment, going vegan is now the trend among the elite. Take a read from the following posting and check out the latest updates.

(Posting by : Eric Steinman, Nov 8th,2010 @
Link :

I saw Bill Clinton this summer. Not because I wanted to, and not because I really cared to, but because we crossed paths when he was visiting my, sometimes sleepy, Hudson River town for his daughter’s wedding. There was a throng of people around him, most of which were onlookers, fans, and ex-presidential enthusiasts that presumably wanted to feel the glow of Bill. And I have to say, he looked much better than I had remembered him ever looking. It wasn’t until a few weeks later that I happened upon some bit of news cycle detritus that claimed Clinton had recently revitalized himself by becoming a vegan. He had dropped all of that McDonalds weight he had been carting around since the 90s, as well as dropped his omnivorous habits of yore to embrace veganism with abandon.

Had he made this dietary change, say, back in the 90s, during his administration, he would have either sent shock waves through the country ushering in a new era of ethical and healthful eating, or he would have branded himself as a total kook and as the ultimate lame (faux) duck president. Remember, just ten years ago Ohio congressman Dennis Kucinich was largely laughed out of his presidential run because of his adherence to vegan ideals, among other things.

Now, according to a trend piece in Business Week, vegans are the new black, at least if you are powerful white male. Steve Wynn, Mort Zuckerman, Russell Simmons, and, as mentioned above, Bill Clinton are now all part of the vegan elite, along with boxing powerhouse Mike Tyson, who is better known for munching on an opponents ear, rather than a flank of tempeh. As the article asserts, ” It shouldn’t be surprising that so many CEOs are shunning meat, dairy, and eggs: It’s an exclusive club,” and to some degree, It affords them the opportunity to control their own health with the same manic id with which they control everything else.

While only one percent of the U.S. population (and probably less than that are wealthy moguls), veganism is gaining traction, and quickly moving from the feast of the freaky to the regimen of the rich. Beyond the difficulty that many have in giving up animal proteins, being vegan is difficult for many because it can be very expensive to maintain (depending on your approach and your adherence to meat substitutes).

Nevertheless, vegans are gaining power through this advocacy by association. But is this association with the elite hurting the cause, or helping it? Isn’t any advocacy, especially along the lines of health and the ethical treatment of animals, a good thing? Or does this sort of trending (especially with such a group of “power vegans”) run the risk of trivializing the politics and ethos of veganism? Does news like this make you feel more empowered to eat ethically, or just more cynical about all the reasons people eat to impress?

(Eric Steinman is a freelance writer based in Rhinebeck, N.Y. He regularly writes about food, music, art, architecture and culture and is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit among other publications)

Top 5 Greenest Pets

(Posted by Smanatha, Nov 7,2010.Selected from ANIMAL PLANET)
Link :

You can use eco-friendly initiatives to go green in nearly every aspect of your life, including the house you live in, the cars you drive and the food you eat — but what about the pets you love? From teaching responsibility to providing unconditional companionship, furry friends can certainly change your life for the better, but can they also change the environment for the worse?

Just like people, animals multiply, require food and shelter, produce waste, and use a variety of accessories such as toys and bedding that require a manufacturing process — all of which contribute to shaping and defining their carbon paw print. But just as we have the ability to make more sustainable choices within our own activities and lifestyles, there are more eco-friendly approaches when it comes to pet ownership as well. Check out the top five options for getting a green pet.

One way a potential pet owner can take the eco-friendly route is by opting for a “recycled” pet of sorts through shelter adoption. These organizations have plenty of pets of various ages and breeds to choose from. In fact, up to 8 million dogs and cats — including many purebreds — enter animal shelters every year, according to the Human Society of the United States (HSUS). However, many potential owners still decide to buy their pets from pet stores or directly from breeders, which only adds to the problem of pet overpopulation by creating a demand for additional pets that need homes. As a result, animal shelters put down nearly 4 million animals a year, because the number of potential pets far outweighs the number of actual adoptions. Pet overpopulation can create serious issues for the environment, including increased waste production, as well as the need for additional farming space to provide enough food to feed those extra mouths. Adopting a shelter pet and having it spayed or neutered may, in a small way, help with combating this problem.

If you’re a proud cat owner, making the decision to keep your kitty indoors can do a lot to help keep the environment in balance. First, wildlife such as birds, squirrels and butterflies will thank you for saving their lives. Outdoor cats love to hunt, not out of a necessity for food but because they’re instinctually compelled to do so. According to the U.S. Department of Fish & Wildlife, these pets’ annual kill counts are in the hundreds of millions — one recent study estimates that domestic rural cats kill 39 million birds in Wisconsin alone. This can cause profound damage to the ecosystem, including the extinction of certain bird species, which has led to the development of programs such as Cats Indoors!, a program created by the American Bird Conservancy and promoted by the Audubon Society. Cat feces are also an environmental foe, because they contain parasites, such as toxoplasma gondii, that can wreak havoc on local water sources and the health of other outdoor creatures. Keep it green by keeping kitty inside.

Getting a pet that provides an additional benefit beyond companionship and love can also be a green choice. For example, one of the latest trends in eco-friendly pet ownership — even in urban areas — is keeping and raising chickens, which lay eggs that owners can keep for personal use. Some may find these birds less cuddly and pet-like than cats or dogs, but many who’ve raised them say that chickens can be trained to come when called and sometimes enjoy petting and lap-holding. Of course, anyone considering chicken ownership should make sure they’re able to provide proper living conditions for the animals, which includes allowing them the ability to move around and spread their wings, along with providing accommodations for adequate food, water and shelter. Also, many cities have regulations about how — or even if — you can keep chickens at your house, so it’s a good idea to find out what the rules are in your area before bringing home any hens. If chicks are out of the question, you still have dual-purpose pet options: Some other animals, such as rabbits, also can prove to be more than just a cuddly sidekick, since their droppings can be used in compost piles.

For dog lovers — especially those that live in tight quarters — opting for a smaller breed will not only help your personal space feel, well, more spacious, it will keep things in check from an environmental perspective as well. In their 2009 book “Time to Eat the Dog: The real guide to sustainable living,” Dr. Robert and professor Brenda Vale maintained that even a medium-size dog eats up to 360 pounds of food per year and has an environmental impact greater than that of an SUV driven 10,000 kilometers (6,213 miles) a year. In general, smaller dogs, such as Yorkshire terriers or chihuahuas, eat less than, say, Labrador retrievers, St. Bernards or German shepherds. This means less food that needs to be produced and packaged, and less waste that’s created as a result. Of course, this is not to say you should totally rule out medium or large breeds, but if your living space is already small, sticking with a small pet might be the greenest way to go.

Low-Maintenance Pets
When people play around with the idea of a getting a pet, dogs and cats are often the first types of animals that come to mind. But there are other choices out there, and some of them are much more eco-friendly. For example, hamsters, birds, snakes and fish typically require minimal food and produce less waste. They also generally need only a minimal number of toys and very little bedding or other accessories. According to the American Pet Products Association, Americans spend billions of dollars each year on their pet supplies — many of which, toys in particular, are made from plastic. Their production can take its toll on the environment, so getting a pet that needs less may help you start out on a greener foot.

If you do decide to get a low-maintenance pet, however, proceed with caution. It’s possible to accidentally stray into exotic pet territory, which includes certain types of frogs and lizards, among other creatures. These exotic pets often need very specialized (and costly) habitats to mimic their natural environments as closely as possible. Not only could you end up spending more time and money than you initially bargained for, you may find that you’re actually hurting the environment by using special filters and chemicals needed to maintain your pet’s tank.

Ultimately, though, being eco-conscious while choosing a pet can be a rewarding process. You’ll take strides — big or small — toward improving the planet’s overall well-being while finding a pet you can love for years to come.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Nature Scores Points at U.N. Biodiversity Talks

(Posted by : Nancy Roberts at , 1st November, 2010)

The little noticed United Nations Conference on Biodiversity ended last week in Nagoya with agreement on some important goals for preserving the world's ecosystems and species, countering biopiracy, and limiting large-scale efforts to manipulate the earth's systems to combat climate change. Now comes the hard part: real progress.

New targets for the preservation and protection of nature were set, even though many of the previous plan's goals were not met. Last minute bargaining led to an agreement on the Aichi Targets, which call for all participating countries to create national biodiversity plans. The Targets call for 17% of all inland water and terrestrial zones to be protected by 2020; marine protected zones were expanded to include about 10 percent of the world's oceans, up from about one percent now. The difficulty lies in reaching these goals, as there is no enforcement mechanism and the costs for preservation and protection are high, particularly for developing countries. Delegates agreed to set up a fund by 2012 to help developing nations defray the costs of increasing protected areas. Other targets call for sustainable fisheries management, elimination of subsidies that harm biodiversity, and preventing deforestation and the extinction of known species.

Thwarting Biopiracy
In a rare advance for the rights of indigenous peoples, the Nagoya Protocol requires governments to consider how to compensate for genetic material and traditional medical knowledge. This highly contentious agreement came as indigenous peoples and developing countries protested that they are inadequately compensated when their natural resources are developed into drugs by pharmaceutical companies. The protocol still needs to be ratified and would not come into effect until 2020 (language making the protocol retroactive was removed in negotiations), giving big pharma several more years of unfettered exploitation. This video explains Access and Benefits Sharing (ABS) and the issue of biopiracy:

[In a related potential victory for the rights of nature: this past week the U.S. government reversed longstanding policy and stated that naturally occurring genes should not be patentable. If enforced, this stance could have enormous effects on the biotech industry.]

Blocking Geoengineering
Little attention was paid to another element of the Nagoya agreement: a moratorium on geoengineering to combat climate change. Geoengineering is the effort to mitigate climate change through large-scale, human-initiated efforts to manipulate the Earth's systems. Examples include dumping chemicals or causing algal blooms in the ocean to change its properties, or placing mirrors in the atmosphere to affect the amount of heat reaching the surface. Opponents of geoengineering "solutions" fear that the massive efforts would irreparably harm the earth's complex systems in unpredictable ways and/or backfire irreparably.

U.S. Not A Signatory
While the new goals and policies set at Nagoya are admirable and we can only hope they are reached, it should be noted that he U.S. is not a signatory to the 1992 U.N. Convention for Biodiversity and is not bound by the current agreement. (The other two non-signers are Andorra and the Holy See.) The U.S.'s status as a non-signatory perpetuates damages our credibility in international negotiations on these and other environmental measures. Sadly, the fate of the earth's systems has come off the front page in the face of strident mid-term electioneering and global economic issues. Let's work to keep the preservation of the earth's plants, animals (and ultimately, humans) on the top of our priority lists.

Take Action
Public pressure is needed to keep global leaders focused on the environment. Start with considering the environment when you vote; see the Care2 post on environmental voters here. (Link:

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Eating for the Climate in Brazil

Blogger's Note : Greening our diet to reduce our carbon footprint is one of the quickest way to tackle climate change that is affecting all parts of the world.

Take a good read on what our Brazilian friends are doing to help mitigate global warming. The following news article is adapted from a Newsletter published by the Humane Society International on the 15th Oct, 2010.(Link :

Eating for the Climate in Brazil
Advocates raise awareness about sustainable eating

On 10/10/10, Humane Society International (HSI), along with dozens of activists and volunteers from Sao Paulo, educated hundreds of Brazilians about the large impact that meat, egg and milk production have on global warming. The goal of the 10/10/10 Global Work Party, initiated by, is to raise awareness throughout the world about the urgency of global warming, and to offer viable solutions. The Global Work Party sent political leaders an important message: The world is ready to be proactive about climate change solutions.

HSI's 10/10/10 work party, "Eating for the Climate,” focused on the importance of making more environmentally-friendly food choices. In addition to educating people about the role of plant-based diets in slowing climate change, HSI distributed vegetarian food samples to show that climate-friendly vegetarian foods can be healthy and delicious, too.

HSI's 10/10/10 work party, "Eating for the Climate,” focused on the importance of making more environmentally-friendly food choices. In addition to educating people about the role of plant-based diets in slowing climate change, HSI distributed vegetarian food samples to show that climate-friendly vegetarian foods can be healthy and delicious, too.

According to a 2006 report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, animal agriculture emits approximately 18 percent of man-made, climate-changing greenhouse gases (GHG) globally. This number accounts for both the direct impacts of raising billions of animals for human consumption each year—67.5 billion land animals in 2008—as well as the indirect impacts of growing grains to feed these farm animals. In fact, these animals consume more than 60 percent of global corn production and more than 97 percent of global soy meal production, which generate substantial GHG emissions. Other sources of emissions from this sector result from animal manure and the use of fossil fuels by factory farms. In Brazil, where deforestation is one of the largest sources of GHG emissions, animal agriculture is a leading driver of Amazon deforestation, as forests are turned into pasture and cropland for the production of feed.

We can all be a part of the solution to climate change each time we sit down to a meal. Adopting eating habits less dependent on meat, eggs, and dairy products can help slow the effects of climate change. By making flexitarian, vegetarian, and vegan lifestyle choices, you not only help the environment but promote animal welfare as well.

For more information on how you can help, visit HSI’s webpage on humane eating or read An HSUS Report: The Impact of Animal Agriculture on Global Warming and Climate Change [PDF].

Monday, November 1, 2010

10 Cancer- Fighting Foods

Blogger's comments : Not only are these plant-based foods loaded with anti-oxidants and are excellent for our well-being, they are also rich in natural nutrients required by our bodies for optimum health.

POSTED By: Melissa Breyer (Oct 30, 2010 at

I’m going to put my Mommy hat on here, place my hands on my hips, look down at the broccoli you left on your plate, and tell you this: Eat your vegetables! Not because I’m a member of the clean-your-plate club, but because I care about you–and because I know this: in numerous studies following large groups of people, eating more vegetables and fruits has been linked to a lower risk of lung, oral, esophageal, stomach, and colon cancer. The thinking behind these results points to antioxidants and phytochemicals, natural compounds found in plants.

What are antioxidants? As described by the American Cancer Society (ACS), the body seems to use certain nutrients in vegetables and fruits to protect against damage to tissues that happens constantly as a result of normal metabolism (oxidation). Because such damage is linked with increased cancer risk, the antioxidant nutrients are thought to protect against cancer. Antioxidants include vitamin C, vitamin E, carotenoids, and many other phytochemicals (beneficial plant compounds).

Lab coat aside, it’s really a no-brainer. Eat real food, stay healthier. So now you’ve got not only a host of government programs telling you to eat your 5 to 9 servings of fruit and vegetables per day, you’ve got me hovering over your shoulder telling you to do the same! But I’ll go easy on you and offer up a few other plant-based suggestions as well. Here are ten super-duper cancer-fighting foods to add to your regime–these ten were chosen for their special I’m going to put my Mommy hat on here, place my hands on my hips, look down at the broccoli you left on your plate, and tell you this: Eat your vegetables! Not because I’m a member of the clean-your-plate club, but because I care about you–and because I know this: in numerous studies following large groups of people, eating more vegetables and fruits has been linked to a lower risk of lung, oral, esophageal, stomach, and colon cancer. The thinking behind these results points to antioxidants and phytochemicals, natural compounds found in plants.

1. Beans
Beans contain a number of phytochemicals, which have been shown to prevent or slow genetic damage to cells. While this makes beans beneficial for helping to reduce your risk of many types of cancer, specific research has suggested they are especially potent in preventing prostate cancer. As an added bonus, the high fiber content of beans has been connected with a lower risk of digestive cancers. Read about cool beans here.(

2. Berries
The two most widely studied cancer-fighting compounds in berries are ellagic acid (richest in strawberries and raspberries) and anthocyanosides (richest in blueberries). Ellagic acid is believed to help prevent skin, bladder, lung, and breast cancers, both by acting as an antioxidant and by slowing the reproduction of cancer cells. The anthocyanosides in blueberries are currently the most powerful antioxidants known to scientists and are beneficial in the prevention of all types of cancer.

3.Cruciferous vegetables-like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale-are rich in a variety of compounds that have been shown to slow cancer growth and development in a number of laboratory studies. Other larger human studies have shown that cruciferous vegetables can help to reduce the risk of lung, stomach, colorectal, prostate, and bladder cancers.

4. Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
Leafy-green vegetables-like romaine lettuce, mustard greens, chicory, and Swiss chard-are rich sources of antioxidants called carotenoids. These compounds scavenge dangerous free radicals from the body before they can promote cancer growth. The vegetables are also rich in folate, a vitamin shown to reduce the risk of lung and breast cancer. Read more about gorgeous leafy greens! (

5. Flaxseed
Flaxseed in the form of oil and meal contains phytoestrogens believed to reduce the risk of breast, skin, and lung cancer. Research on the potency of flaxseed as an anti-cancer food is still underway.

6. Garlic (including onions, scallions, leeks, and chives)
Garlic contains a number of compounds believed to slow or stop the growth of tumors. One such compound, diallyl disulfide, appears to be especially potent in protecting against skin, colon, and lung cancer, though it is not known exactly how it functions.

7. Grapes
Grapes and wine contain a chemical called resveratrol, which has been shown to be a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. Resveratrol is thought to work by preventing cell damage before it begins. Red and purple grapes are the richest sources of resveratrol.

8. Green Tea (decaf)
Green tea is a rich source of a class of flavonoids known as catechins. Laboratory studies have shown that the catechins present in green tea are able to slow or prevent the development of cancer in colon, liver, breast, and prostate cells.

9. Tomatoes
The anti-cancer compound in tomatoes, lycopene, has been shown to be especially potent in combating prostate cancer. This compound appears to be more easily absorbed if the tomatoes are eaten in cooked form-either as tomato sauce, paste, or juice. In addition to preventing prostate cancer, lycopene may also protect against breast, lung, stomach, and pancreatic cancer.

10. Whole Grains
Whole grains contain a variety of anti-cancer compounds, including fiber, antioxidants, and phytoestrogens. When eaten as part of a balanced diet, whole grains can help decrease the risk of developing most types of cancer. For more, see 7Whole Grains to Add to Your Diet.(