Below are a few pics of The Green Truck’s first stop of the week – 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Employees and passersby alike were excited to receive a free vegan burger and iced tea from The Green Truck – specially wrapped with Green is Universal blue sky and butterflies in honor of Green Week!
By Mary Beth Gonzalez, iVillage.com
Remember that Dunkin Donuts commercial where the guy would stumble into the bakery in the wee hours to start making the donuts so they would be fresh for the morning rush? It was time to make the donuts… Now picture me in my bathrobe, hair askew, teeth unbrushed, moving zombie like on weekend mornings because it was time to make the water…
I know folks claim that NYC’s water is the “best tasting” water in the nation. Maybe by some standards it is but that does not mean that it is healthy for you. I’m not a water expert, but 7 years ago we had our NYC water tested in a lab and found that our water sample, collected directly from our kitchen tap, contained fecal contamination. Yes, we were drinking, cooking and brushing our teeth with poop. Plus, our NYC city water contains chlorine which, sorry, has been shown to be carcinogenic, and fluoride which still generates serious controversy over its safety. Furthermore, today, an AP investigation announced that a small amount but a “vast array of pharmaceuticals – including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones – have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans”.
So, we set up a powerful water filter in our back kitchen and every weekend we would hook up the filter hose to an empty glass gallon jug and make water. Making water this way is a slow process that reminds me of old movies about Chinese Water Torture. The filtered water drips drop by drop into the gallon jug. On a good day, we could make a gallon in 2-3 hours. On a day with low water pressure and when the water needs more filtering, it could take 6 hours to make a gallon. Since we would use this water for all our personal and cooking needs, we needed 12 gallons of water to get through the week so our weekends revolved around watching the water and being ready to switch in the next gallon jug just before the first one overflows.
Sure, we could have just purchased gallons of spring water every week but even when you recycle, all that packaging is still wasteful and plastic bottles leech chemicals into the water. I tried ordering glass gallon bottled water from Mountain Valley Water service who would deliver weekly, but then I couldn’t handle the carbon offset guilt of personally trucking in my water. So making my own water was the greenest and best solution.
When you work that hard at something day in and day out, you can grow attached to it and so there was born my little water obsession. By Sunday night, I would have 6 gallons ready to drink above the refrigerator, 2 gallons in glass water pitchers keeping cold in the fridge, 6 gallons stored in a special portable kitchen cabinet I bought at Bed, Bath and Beyond just for this purpose, and in case of an emergency, I had 12 half gallons in 2 crates in the hall closet left over from our Mountain Valley Water days.
Is this all worth it? I asked that question a lot as my water adventures started to flood my brain. The no-brainer was that I only wanted to cook and drink with clean water in the greenest way possible. But surely there was a better way. So last summer we invested in a reverse osmosis water filter that is built into the kitchen sink and has its own separate faucet. It lives under the sink, constantly makes water and can theoretically produce up to 35 gallons in a single day. Voila! Somebody took my weekend job!
Now 6 months later, I still marvel at how I can simply walk up to the kitchen sink with a glass in hand and pour myself a fresh glass of water. It takes me back in time to the days of yesteryear before we knew that virtually everything around us is toxic and damaging the environment. It brings me hope for the future that we can find more ways to live green without having to change our lifestyle radically. Yet old habits die hard… this weekend, I was cleaning out the guest room closet and found another 24 gallons of crated water that I must have been saving, just in case…
Mary Beth Gonzalez iVillage.com
Please join my Going Green group and read my Green Blog
The global food and agriculture system produces 1/3 of
humanity’s contribution to greenhouse gases. The concern is not just paper or plastic anymore. Consumers are turning their attention to their meals and food shopping experience. These conscious consumers who want to tread lightly are becoming more
concerned about their carbon footprint. When choosing food people are shifting from “Will this make me fat?” to “Is it good for the plant?”
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By Nicole Ohebshalom, Radiant Living Wellness
Have you felt it? The city has become: quiet, still, frozen. Some of my friends say, did everyone vacation in China to watch our boys and girls in the Olympics? Other New Yorkers (including myself) all of a sudden realize there are only a few more weekends left till school begins so lets cram in all the fun. Everyone is out canoeing, golfing, playing tennis, swimming, jet skiing, playing soccer, and ravishing themselves in all their favorite summer sports. As the Olympians are getting ready to feel more energized and to play harder in their challenges, how can we, the Olympians of our lives apply the right fuel for optimal performance?
For most budding imaginations, gardens are a magical place. Curious George expanded my childhood imagination by bringing experiences in new ways through play and research of the world. Now, he is jump starting your children’s curiosity and creativity through your garden.
George, The Man with the Yellow Hat, and all their friends will investigate the planet through a variety of escapades with the concepts of recycling, composting, solar power and the weather patterns. Children will learn about the planet, its elements, and the environment. I am back into watching Curious George and telling everyone because children get to see how the earth nurtures them, and in turn it inspires them to nurture the earth. Children have to really love something before they can protect it and serve it so begin cultivating that tiny gardener’s curiosity and green thumb now!
Who doesn’t want to raise healthy kids and give them the best possible start in life? If you are a new mother you are probably beginning to make many new decisions. A very important decision is to decide what environment you want your baby to be raised in. Adequate nutrition is vital to keep your babies growth and health on track. Babies need more nutrients than adults because of their growing bodies. The best choice for your baby and the environment is to live consciously.
Take the plunge and begin pureeing all sorts of food!
By Nicole Walters, GreenIsUniversal.com
The other day I stumbled upon a video of Gary Hirshberg giving a talk at Authors@Google. An employee program which brings authors to Google headquarters to talk about their recently published books. (OK, how cool is that.) Gary Hirshberg, if you’ve never heard of him, is the Chairman, President and CE-Yo (I didn’t make that up, they did) of Stonyfield Farm. His recently published book, Stirring It Up, demonstrates how everyone has the power to effect change in the marketplace. It’s apparent after a few minutes of this talk that Hirschberg is an environmentalist first, business man second but his passion for the former inspired him to build the latter in a way that is both sustainable and profitable.
The entire video is 60 minutes but the meat of it is about 40 minutes. If you have the time, I definitely recommend the watch!
By Mary Beth Gonzalez, iVillage.com
When I read Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle book last summer, I yearned for the opportunity to be a locavore like her family was for a year in Virginia. The allure of the locavore, one who only eats locally grown and produced food, has become so popular that there are scores of books, websites and even diets like the “100-Mile Diet” professing that eating local can significantly protect against potentially disastrous climate change. Intuitively it makes sense – if your meat and produce doesn’t travel great distances by land, sea or air, then your carbon footprint is smaller. It also makes sense if you care about the origin of the food that fuels your body. Eating local by shopping at farmer’s markets, CSAs and raw dairy clubs enables you to get to know your local farmer, and you can look him in the eye and see that he treats his grass-fed life-stock humanely and would never use hormones on his cattle or pesticides on his land.
So when I saw that ICE, my favorite local NYC cooking school, was offering a Cooking Book Club class on Kingsolver’s book, I immediately signed up and started re-reading my already dog-eared book. Here is an excerpt from the class description: The ever-growing return of interest for home cooking has created a market for an incredible amount of food writing that is both entertaining and informative. Here, join Melanie Underwood for this fun night inspired by Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. Kingsolver’s family lived a solid year cooking only food that they or their immediate neighbors grew themselves. The book chronicles the eye opening year of abandoning industrial food with humor and honesty. And here is the class menu: Using local ingredients, you’ll prepare a meal of Herb Flan; Goat Cheese and Asparagus Tart; Warm Spinach Dip; Seared Duck Breasts with a Red Wine Sauce; Whole Roasted Chicken; Potato and Caramelized Onion Gratin; Wilted Beet Greens with Pancetta and Parmesan; Individual Rhubarb Cakes with Lemon Thyme Ice Cream; and Roasted Apples. (These wonderful recipes can be downloaded here.)
Our chef instructor, Melanie Underwood, surely didn’t disappoint… she grew up on a farm in Virginia with chickens, turkeys, geese, guineas, pigs, cows, peacocks and a HUGE vegetable garden, and she now lives as locavore a lifestyle as possible here in NYC. She explained how eating food from local farms is even healthier for us and the planet than simply buying organic. Some organic food is shipped from all over the world and therefore is harvested before it is ripe so it doesn’t spoil en route. Melanie spoke about how as a result locally grown food tastes different and better, as food was meant to be. She talked about how she knows the small local farmers from whom she buys her food and many cannot afford to get organic accreditation so while their food isn’t labeled organic, she knows that it is and that they would never use pesticides. I’ve heard farmers explain this to inquiring consumers at farmer’s markets and watched folks walk away shaking their head saying “I’m sorry, I can only buy organic…” The farmers just smile like they have heard this before and persevere. Perhaps now that the masses are going green, we need to further educate them on the importance of digging a little deeper and going beyond the labels to understand the heart behind the local farming movement.
Melanie’s cooking style and philosophy echoed my own: she understands that cooking with good fats (as Weston Price proved) increases both health and flavor; she encourages you to taste often and feel your way through the recipe rather than be a slave to the ingredients and measurements (unless you are baking). She taught us how to improvise with the ingredients at hand – an important lesson for those in a CSA as you need to get creative when that weekly box of ever multiplying mustard greens and swiss chard arrives on your doorstep!
In fact, the only disappointment was that I was the only one in the 10 person class who had actually finished the book. Many hadn’t read it at all; several hadn’t finished it. So Melanie and I spoke about our favorite parts of the book (the Turkey mating saga!), and I think everyone enjoyed the class so much that they will now give it a read. For those curious about the book, check out their fun website for book excerpts, recipes and local food news.
I’m lucky to live in New York, where schools like ICE and experts like Melanie make locally grown come alive. But wherever you live, think locally, support your regional farms, get to know the farmers who care about their land and the food they sell, encourage them, set up your own discussion clubs or book groups or cooking soirees, to bring like minded folk together. It’s for our health and the health of the planet – plus, it all tastes mighty good.
Mary Beth Gonzalez iVillage.com
Please join my Going Green group and read my Green Blog
So I admit I’m not the greenest person in the world. I still use plastic grocery bags. I drink bottled water. Sometimes I forget to turn my computer monitor off at the end of the day, and I rarely remember to use the blue recycle bin when I’m throwing out papers at work. I’m certainly in favor of saving energy, reducing waste, saving the world and all that. These are, unquestionably, good things. But truthfully, sometimes I’m just too lazy or too… selfish (there, I said it) to actually do all the good stuff I’m supposed to. And you
know what? I suspect I’m not alone. I’m sure there are others of you out there who are still using energy-hogging incandescent light bulbs and are guzzling down $9 bottles of Poland Spring with reckless abandon.
But here’s what I say: Embrace your inner selfishness, because while you’re doing good deeds for yourself, you can still live a greener life. For example: Buying locally grown food. I’m lucky enough to have a farmers’ market right across the street from my home; the produce and other goods I find there are fresher and cheaper than the soggy celery and limp lettuce that are in the grocery store nearby. The payoff? I get higher-quality produce at a lower price, while helping to preserve rural land by supporting small local farmers who practice sustainable farming. Plus, many of the goods for sale are naturally grown and some are organic, which brings me to my next selfish act: buying organic.
By Nicole Ohebshalom, Radiant Living Wellness
When was the last time your body received real nutrition from eating whole foods for an entire day, week, or month?
If you are like most people, you would have to honestly say it’s been a while. Then there are some of you thinking, “Since I use supplements, my body receives all the nutrition it needs.” So people come to the belief that they can eat anything and still function optimally. They tuck the concept, you are what you eat, way back into their brains because nothing will ever happen to them. You have your vitamins, right? People then get in the habit of eating pizza in front of the TV instead of preparing healthy meals while consciously enjoying the pleasure of their food. For a person on a pizza type of lifestyle, can a supplement be the right choice for their health? Or is it best to be nursed on more whole nutritious food? For a select few this question is a no brainer. They are clear in where they stand. But for many this is a true daily tug of war. You might be asking yourself, how can I have a healthy lifestyle with ease in this fast paced world?
When a client first comes to see me they are typically taking a box filled with vitamins because they believe the more they take the higher on the healthy scale they are and it’s easier for them than eating good food. They are surprised and delighted once they discover that nutritionally filled food is a simple and straightforward choice in their busy lives. Traditional organic food has been around for thousands of years in every culture so why mess with natural science?
What do you get when you eat traditional organic (environmentally friendly) food? Food that comes from fertile soil (nutrient filled!) instead of depleted soil, and animals on the pasture instead of confinement. Good food begins with plants and animals raised in healthy ways on mineral-rich soil; and with meat, eggs, milk products, fish, grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables so that vitamins and minerals in the foods are preserved or enhanced.
Food, particularly unprocessed organic grown, meets the nutrient needs for anyone and it contains other valuable substances that is not present in supplements. I’m not saying there aren’t any helpful supplements out there. There certainly are. What is becoming more apparent, however, is supplements will not help much if one does not first address the necessary basics of health and healing.
This fact has never really been questioned or argued. Everyone agrees raw honey is better for you than white sugar or that brown rice is better for you than white rice. Also, meditation and a visit to the spa supports a person’s well-being more than happy hour with colleagues. Why should it be any different for supplements?
Calcium is a perfect example to find on the shelves of your local health food store. How does a nutrient dense cheese outweigh a calcium tablet?
When an individual takes a single calcium tablet then it isn’t digested properly in the body. Why? Because calcium in tablet form doesn’t belong to its naturally designed complex whole form. To absorb calcium in the body it needs to be digested with Vitamin A, Vitamin D, and Phosphorus. When you eat a calcium rich whole food the mentioned nutrients will also be in there… just like nature intended!
I propose that you look in your kitchen and the farmers market as your new medicine cabinet. As Hippocrates said, “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.” Eat in pleasure and stick with whole traditional organic foods. Below are helpful resources to begin your journey. Once you begin your healthy journey, research supplements for extra support. Whole Organic Food Support: The Weston A. Price Foundation Radiant Living Wellness Slow Food
Nicole Ohebshalom, RN,CHHC, AADP Radiant Living Wellness