August 30, 2011

Caffeine May Naturally Reduce Your Risk of Skin Cancer from Sun Exposure

Good news for coffee addicts like me! According to a new study, caffeine may naturally reduce your risk of skin cancer from sun exposure.   The Huffington Post reports Rutgers University researcher Allan Conney's findings:

"The study we did with colleagues at the University of Washington identified the ATR kinase pathway as being inhibited by caffeine." The result? More DNA damaged cells are killed off, potentially preventing non-melanoma (basal or squamous cell) skin cancer from ever developing.

But caffeine doesn't only inhibit this important protein. Caffeine itself also acts as a sunscreen, absorbing harmful UV rays, according to Conney. So will your sunscreen contain a shot of caffeine one day? "I would think that's a real possibility," he says.

Until that day comes, there's some good news for coffee drinkers: You're already getting some sun protective benefits from your daily cup of joe. A 2007 study of nearly 94,000 women found that those who sipped caffeinated coffee daily had an almost 11 percent lower risk of non-melanoma skin cancer. Women who drank six or more cups of coffee on a daily basis saw a 30 percent reduction in risk.

Actually, many sunscreens already contain coffee, like Nature's Gate Mineral Kid's block. How well topical versus ingested coffee protects your skin, I don't know.

Be sure to always check the Environmental Working Group's sunscreen guide to find the safest protection.

Image:   Attribution Some rights reserved by Stepheye

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

August 29, 2011

Really Natural Books: Vegan for Life

I have been a vegan in the past, but I abandoned this diet when pregnant with my first child. We do eat a lot of vegan food, and I love learning more about how to eat healthy!

Vegan for Life: Everything You Need to Know to Be Healthy and Fit on a Plant-Based Diet by Jack Norris, RD and Virginia Messina, MPH, RD is a great book for those just beginning their vegan lifestyle, as well as those you have chosen this animal-free diet for years.

Praise for Vegan for Life:
"A no-nonsense guide to explode the myths, avoid the pitfalls, and maximize health on a plant-based diet. Required reading for every vegan, old or new."--Michael Greger, MD, Director, Public Health and Animal Agriculture, Humane Society of the United States

This incredible resource addresses concerns of a vegan diet, such as calcium, vitamin D, and bone health, as well as food choices for managing chronic diseases. The horrors of the omnivore diet are discussed, in addition to exploring the issues about the safety of eating soy.

Whatever your questions are about being vegan, you are sure to find the answers in this book.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

August 26, 2011

Lapostolle Chilean Wines Earn 90 Points from Wine Spectator

I love wine, although I typically stick to California vintages. It's not hard to be a locavore when in you live in the Golden State. My experience with South American wines has not always been positive. They are usually more affordable, but there is also usually quality issues.

We were sent two varieties from the Chilean winemakers Lapostolle:

Cuvee Alexandre Carmenerre 2009:

Color: Deep dark purple red, very intense. Nose: Expressive nose, with fresh black fruit aromas, spices, red pepper and bitter chocolate. Palate: Smooth and well balanced tannins, with a good structure and a long finish. Needs aging. Service and Food Pairing: Cellar for several years or decant and serve at 16-18°C (60 to 65°F). Ideal companion for meats and elaborate dishes.

Cuvee Alexandre Chardonnay 2008:
Color: Bright light yellow with subtle lime notes. Nose: Elegant aromas of sweet citrus fruit, sweet flowers, tropical fruits and subtle spices. Palate: Very round and elegant mouth feel with good volume, a lively acidity and a long persistent finish. Service and Food Pairing: Serve at 12° C (53° F). Ideal companion for medium seasoned dishes, fish or chicken.

I did prefer the carmenere over the chardonnay, but both bottles had cork issues that broke upon opening.  

The vineyard does disclose its environmental practices. These wines are made from organic grapes in the process of certification, although the label does not disclose this important information. I am much more inclined to buy an organic bottle over conventional. Furthermore, the vineyards are 100% biodynamic.

Under the leadership of Alexandra Marnier-Lapostolle, Lapostolle is wholly committed to natural winemaking techniques, including: 100% organic and biodynamic vineyard management, new green packaging, water conservation and recycling, and 100% night harvesting across three vineyard sites in Chile. Night harvesting not only makes "green sense" by reducing energy consumption, but consistently delivers a more full-bodied expression of the grape.

I commend all of the environmental practices of Lapostolle, but I still think it is better to get your wine locally.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

August 25, 2011

Really Natural Recipes: The Best Organic Whipped Cream and Cream Cheese Frosting

I've made simple cream cheese frosting, and I've made simple whipped cream frosting. Both are good, but combined is an unbeatable frosting that holds its form but is not overpowering like traditional powdered sugar icings.

Whipped Cream and Cream Cheese Frosting
Use organic ingredients for best results!


Using a whisk attachment on a mixer, stir until smooth. Then slowly add:

  • 2 cups heavy cream

Continue mixing until sturdy and stiff. Frost a cooled cake. No refrigeration required before frosting.

Photo:  AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by lbell87

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

August 17, 2011

125 Best Blender Recipes Bookazine Perfect for Hot Summer Meals

Published by the Hearst Corporation, 125 Best Blender Recipes: Smoothies, Shakes, Cocktails is a Bookazine full of refreshing summer recipes.

The summer will be a lot cooler with recipes for refreshing smoothies like the Blueberry Blast (pg 19), cocktails including the Miami Mojito (pg. 29) and Mango Margarita (pg. 23), and desserts like Watermelon Granita (pg. 94). Now on newsstands nationwide, 125 Best Blender Recipes is $9.99.

125 Best Blender Recipes also includes recipes for speedy hors d'oeuvres, light entrées and no-stress party menus, complete with entertaining tips, plus a blender buying guide. A detailed recipe index divides dishes by category, with appetizers like Speedy Hummus (pg. 39) and Arugula Pizza (pg. 36), salads such as the Mediterranean Shrimp Caesar Salad (pg. 55), soups like the Chilled Cucumber-Melon (pg. 57) and entrées including Chicken Tostadas with Avocado Sauce (pg. 78) and Whole Wheat Rotini with Walnut Pesto (pg. 77), making it easy to plan new meal ideas and party menus.

I've personally never felt the need to have a recipe for a smoothie. I make them with whatever fresh or frozen fruit we have on hand, and they always end up delicious. I do like the cocktail and breakfast recipes in this bookazine.

This bookazine is not just full of blended drink recipes but shows you how to use your blender to make great sauces and mix ingredients, like for crepes and basic pesto. It is not strictly vegetarian, and you may want to substitute some ingredients. The photographs are very appetizing!

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

August 15, 2011

Alo Natural Aloe Vera Drinks Made in Taiwan With Real Aloe Chunks

Screen shot 2011-08-13 at 7.44.20 AM.png
Made with 25% Aloe Vera, alo is a thirst quenching beverage. It is not organic, but there is no high fructose corn syrup to worry about.

ALO line of aloe vera infused drinks is the leading RTD aloe vera drink in the U.S. mass market and natural grocery channels for a reason. Our drinks are made from only the best, all natural ingerdients. We never use artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. Nor do we add gellan gum, xantham gum, thickeners, or emulsifiers, as some others do. Our proprietary manufacturing process yields larger chuncks [sic] of real aloe pulp than any other aloe vera drink in the market. And we have totally unique blends like none other.

I think the chunks of aloe pulp are a little strange, as my first thought was the drink had gone bad and the aloe solidified until I read it is suppose to be there. These drinks contain 25% aloe vera juice and pulp content, but my biggest concern is they are made in Taiwan. That is a heavy carbon footprint to ship to western markets considering the first listed ingredient is water.

Alo comes in the following flavors:

The cranberry is my favorite flavor.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

August 11, 2011

Healthy Food Costs More in US

Researchers have discovered that eating right according to recommended dietary guidelines is expensive! Anyone who has been to the grocery store can confirm. Medical News Today reports:

The researchers gathered data on over 1,000 adults in King County, Washington, to work out how much it would cost to make up for their dietary shortfall in order to meet federal dietary requirements. If the average American consumer upped their potassium intake to federal guideline levels, they would have to spend an extra $380 per year - and that is just for potassium...

They found that those who already spent the most on food came closest to the overall recommended daily values.

It's a shame that eating well is reserved for well to do in this wealthy nation.  It wasn't always so before the mass industrialization of farming.  

Considering the size of my bill at the Coop yesterday, I must be eating right!  This study doesn't even factor organic prices into the bill.  

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

August 9, 2011

Is Your Meat Injected with "Flavor Enhancers" Without Your Knowledge?

I don't eat meat, so I really know little about purchasing it, but a recent story caught my attention. Apparently, meat is regularly injected with "flavor enhancers" without consumer knowledge and labeling may soon be required. Organic Authority reports:

The widely used practice of injecting meat and poultry with "marinades" or solutions to plump up flavor content and texture may now be more visible to consumers through a proposed new rule suggested by the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

Currently, raw meats and poultry do not have to be labeled to note the addition of these widely used flavor solutions, which may boost the sodium content of the meat unbeknownst to the consumer.

In a statement from the USDA, the proposed rule would "require that the common or usual name of these products include an accurate description of the raw meat or poultry component, the percentage of added solution, and the individual or multi-ingredient components in the added solution. The print for such labels would be presented in a font, size, and color that are easily visible to consumers."

With all of the regulations requiring food products to list ingredients, I am surprised this practice has gone largely unnoticed until now. What about food allergies? I wonder if flavor enhancers are injected into organic meat too.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

August 6, 2011

The Strongest Glass Water Bottle: The Bamboo Bottle

bamboo_bottle.jpgThe Bamboo Bottle is a glass bottle with an outer bamboo shell that protects the glass better than silicone shells. The bottle comes apart for dishwashing, and it is said to be safe to drop from great heights!

One of the most stylish, cleanest and unique water bottles you can drink from - all while being as environmentally responsible as possible. The Bamboo Bottle is a reusable water bottle made of a bamboo insulator and a glass bottle. To clean, simply unscrew the top and bottom and insert the glass bottle into the dishwasher. Unlike plastics and metals that can leach chemicals, this BPA-free water bottle keeps your drink safe at all temperatures. This is the best reusable water bottle to drink from- it's eco friendly, it's clean, it's stylish and it's safe to drink from whether your beverage is hot, or cold. The glass lining ensures clean drinking at all temperatures. It's eco friendly and reusable.

I have not dropped our Bamboo bottle to test at what height it will break, but I love its design. My only complaint is that it is not larger. I am used to the 40 ounce Klean Kanteen.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

August 3, 2011

SunRidge Farms: All Natural Trail Mixes and Treats

If you are looking for a convenient, all natural snack for the trail, car, home, or beach, SunRidge Farms has many flavors to suit your desires. We tried out four new varieties:

Tropical Trail Mix
INGREDIENTS: Unsweetened Papaya, Roasted Peanuts, Raisins, Almonds, Sunflower Seeds, Unsweetened Pineapple, Dates, Coconut, Bananas, Peanut Oil, Salt. 

Milk Chocolate Rainbow Drops
INGREDIENTS: Chocolate Center (evaporated cane juice, unsweetened chocolate, cocoa butter, whole milk powder, soy lecithin [an emulsifier], natural vanilla), Colored Shell (evaporated cane juice, rice starch, gum arabic, tapioca dextrin, carnauba wax, natural food colorings [vegetable juice colors]).

Berries & Chocolate Antioxidant Mix
INGREDIENTS: Chocolate Stars (dehydrated cane juice, unsweetened chocolate, cocoa butter, soy lecithin [an emulsifier], natural vanilla), Roasted Peanuts (peanuts; safflower, peanut, and/or canola oil; salt), Dry Roasted Almonds (almonds, sea salt), Dry Roasted Cashews (cashews, sea salt), Dried Cranberries (cranberries, evaporated cane juice, sunflower oil), Dried Cherries, Walnuts, Dried Blueberries (blueberries, evaporated cane juice, sunflower oil).

Women's Vitality Mix
INGREDIENTS: Dark Chocolate Chips (Unsweetened Chocolate, Calcium Carbonate, Evaporated Cane Juice, Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin (An Emulsifier), Vanilla), Cranberries (Cranberries, Evaporated Cane Juice, Sunflower Oil), Pumpkin Seeds, Raisons, Dry Roasted Almonds, Sunflower Seeds, Dry Roasted Cashiews, Organic Roasted Soy Nuts (Organic Soybeans, Salt, Organic Canola Oil Or Organic Soybean Oil), Cherries, Pistachios, Blueberries (Blueberries , Evaporated Cane Juice, Sunflower Oil).

My favorite blend is the Women's Vitality Mix. It has the right mix of sweet and salt, although, I wish there were more organic ingredients. That's true of all of SunRidge Farms products. I do commend that 70 percent of their distribution and manufacturing facilities are powered by solar, and they use biodiesel in their deliver trucks. SunRidge Farms just needs to make the jump to 100 percent organic ingredients!

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

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