June 12, 2012

Clean Start: 100 Recipes Using Farm Fresh Ingredients

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If you are looking for new, fresh recipes to try, Terry Walters cookbook Clean Start: Inspiring You to Eat Clean and Live Well with 100 New Clean Food Recipes is an excellent source whether you are just beginning your journey towards better eating or if you are already there.

Terry Walters' first book, CLEAN FOOD, caused a sensation and fueled a nationwide movement about nourishment and clean food that's been embraced all the way to the White House. Cooks, foodies, and anyone in search of a healthy and sustainable approach to eating and living well embraced her philosophy: eat minimally processed foods for maximum nutrition. CLEAN FOOD taught us the benefits of eating locally grown, seasonal, and fresh. And now, CLEAN START makes it even easier for everyone-from the kitchen novice to the seasoned chef-to eat clean. CLEAN START features 100 exciting new recipes for the foods we all need more of, featuring Terry's signature quick, easy, and delicious preparations. CLEAN START inspires you to take the next step...no matter where you're starting.

I haven't tried any of the recipes yet, but these are a few that I can't wait to make:

  • Polenta Pizza

  • Asparagus with Miso Lemon Dressing and Marcona Almonds

  • New Year's Soup

  • Blueberry Tart

All of the ingredients are whole foods! The photographs are mouth-watering and beautiful! Mmmm, I'm hungry.

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

May 9, 2012

Live Healthy: Probiotics for Dummies and Probulin

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I teach science to sixth graders, and recently we were learning about the digestive system. The topic of bacteria came up, and these sixth graders all had the notion that bacteria was bad. I quickly corrected this falsity. Our bodies depend on beneficial bacteria.

Probiotics For Dummies by Dr. Shekhar K. Challa, a board certified gastroenterologist, explores the topic of in depth. From allergies to probiotic recipes, this book answers all your questions about improving the health of your digestive tract.

Probiotics are beneficial, live microorganisms (in most cases, bacteria) that are similar to those found naturally in the human intestine. Also known as "friendly" or "good" bacteria, probiotics are the cornerstone of any successful health program because they restore a healthy balance between friendly and bad bacteria in the intestinal tract, a balance that is critical for the health of the entire body. Probiotics are associated with treating everything from IBS to certain forms of cancer, allergies, eczema, and even the effects of aging.

Probiotics For Dummies reveals how taking the right probiotics--in the form of food and supplements-- as part of a total health program benefits one's overall health, as well as improving specific conditions. This hands-on, essential guide features 20 probiotic recipes and gives you a step-by-step plan for infusing probiotics into your diet to improve the health of the GI tract, alleviate allergies and asthma, restore reproductive and urinary tracts, bolster the immune system against disease, enhance weight loss, and more.

We were also sent samples of Probulin Probiotic, which is mentioned in the book. It is a "gourmet" probiotic, combining beneficial bacteria with inulin, "a plant-produced high density dietary fiber that helps your digestive system".

I am always suspect of probiotics that are not kept in the refrigerator. I don't know why, but I was told by my health care practitioner to only purchase refrigerated probiotics.  Probulin is not refrigerated.  

Disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

May 8, 2012

Really Natural Books: Fashion & Sustainability Design for Change

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I love clothes, but the environmental impact of our closets is astounding. I have pledge to limit myself to purchasing used clothing or new items from sustainable designers.  I only occasionally am led astray.

Fashion and Sustainability: Design for Change by Kate Fletcher and Lynda Grosse explores "how sustainability has the potential to transform both the fashion system and the innovators who work within it".

The book is organized in three parts. The first part is concerned with transforming fashion products across the garment's lifecycle and includes innovation in materials, manufacture, distribution, use, and re-use. The second part looks at ideas that are transforming the fashion system at root into something more sustainable, including new business models that reduce material output. The third section is concerned with transforming the role of fashion designers and looks to examples where the designer changes from a stylist or shaper of things into a communicator, activist or facilitator.

There is so much we can learn from this book with ideas such as optimizing the lifetime of garments, designing with wrinkles in mind, minimum waste when cutting and sewing, and multi-functional garments.

If you are looking for used designer clothes, you don't need to spend hours in thrift stores looking for a needle in haystack. Ebay is a great place to look and sell your used fashion. Just search your favorite designers, and you will be surprised at what deals and delights you find.

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

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

April 27, 2012

Green Teens: 47 Things You Can Do for the Environment

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The preteen and teenage years can difficult ones both socially and emotionally. It was during this time of my own life that my environmental senses awakened. I felt at times both desperation and motivation to do something towards changing the pollution and environmental degradation I was learning about, yet the task seemed so large for one child.

47 Things You Can Do for the Environment by Lexi Petronis was written with teens in mind:

There's no doubt about it, our environment is in crisis. Everywhere you go, people are talking about it: how the earth is warming up as a result of too much carbon dioxide in the air and too few trees left to absorb it, how oil-drilling is ruining natural habitats, how trash is overflowing into our waterways, and how chemicals used in various products are making people and wildlife sick. Ugh.

You know the planet is in trouble. The question is: What can you do about it? Go out and buy a brand new $30,000 hybrid car? Persuade all of the health clubs in your town to install low-flow showerheads and toilets? Revamp your entire house to operate on solar heat? Come on -- you know better than anyone that this kind of stuff is hardly a reality for most high school kids. But what's the point of mulling over what you can't do, when there is so much that you can do?

You don't have to run out tomorrow and build a car that runs on vegetable oil, or ship out to South America to save the rain forests. You just have to get informed and start making small changes, one at a time. Decisions to shop, drive, and even party differently can have a huge and positive impact on the health of the earth. That's what 47 Things is about.

In this book, you'll find tons of real things that teens can do to make a difference. Some things are as easy as eating less meat, planning a green date, or learning to shop vintage. Others are more involved, like hosting a green film festival for friends, creating an environmental task force at school, or going on an eco-adventure to gain a deeper love and appreciation for this beautiful spinning rock we call home.

Why teens? you might ask. The answer is simple. You're strong, creative, and motivated. You're doers and dreamers. And you're also the ones who will inherit the planet. If change is going to happen, it has to start with you.

I like the ideas presented in this book, such as carpooling, which teenagers are already pretty good at, and shopping for vintage clothes. I got really into thrifting when I was in high school, and it is a great way to find unique pieces while saving the environment.

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

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

April 25, 2012

Earth Week Solutions: Better Than We Found It: Simple Solutions to Some of the World's Toughest Problems

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Better Than We Found It: Simple Solutions to Some of the World's Toughest Problems by Darrell Park is a very optimistic, hopeful book.

This book provides a straight forward and enjoyable approach to improving the world around us, making it clear how each of us can play a significant role in fixing those things that are broken. Better Than We Found It brings clarity to our problems and offers thoughtful solutions to fix what ails us. And, although some of these ideas carry big price tags like doubling the budget of every public school or expanding the Peace Corps to 100,000 volunteers, a surprising number cost little or nothing. Good government doesn't have to be pricey, and some ideas, like turning the Post Office into a bank for those without one, can even bring in a little revenue to our great country while improving people's lives. Other ideas such as the need to honestly assess our history and to fix the ten worst-performing states are painfully obvious, with not so obvious solutions. Some ideas, like training soldiers and aid workers together or preventing genocide by putting someone in charge of preventing it, can save thousands or even millions of lives, we just need to do our part to make it happen. Better Than We Found It will make you realize that America's problems can and will be fixed by ordinary people who care about their country.

So often, I hear people express their disillusionment with the United States and the problems we face politically, globally, and environmentally. Reading about simple solutions that everyday citizens can help to implement is refreshing and uplifting. This book is not all pie in the sky ideas. They might just be doable!

Park suggestions solutions to problems as grand and diverse as:

  • Ending homelessness by truly understanding it

  • Getting at-risk youth involved on positive community organizations

  • Using social media to prepare communities for emergency situations

  • Free electricity for every electric car

  • Ending poverty by recycling cans and bottles

I think it is human nature to read these ideas and think that couldn't work, or how why would my congress listen to my ideas. Park makes excellent cases for his ideas and leaves one wondering why our politicians don't think in similar turns.

20% of proceeds from this book are donated to charity.

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

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

April 4, 2012

Vintage Inspiration in Literature: The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt

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The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt: A Novel in Pictures by Caroline Preston is a truly unique, truly aesthetically pleasing book. A combination of vintage images and text tells the story of Frankie Pratt:

Through a kaleidoscopic array of vintage postcards, letters, magazine ads, ticket stubs, catalog pages, fabric swatches, candy wrappers, fashion spreads, menus, and more, we meet and follow Frankie on her journey in search of success and love. Once at Vassar, Frankie crosses paths with intellectuals and writers, among them "Vincent" (alumna Edna St. Vincent Millay), who encourages Frankie to move to Greenwich Village and pursue her writing. When heartbreak finds her in New York, she sets off for Paris aboard the S.S. Mauritania, where she keeps company with two exiled Russian princes and a "spinster adventuress" who is paying her way across the Atlantic with her unused trousseau. In Paris, Frankie takes a garret apartment above Shakespeare & Company, the hub of expat life, only to have a certain ne'er-do-well captain from her past reappear. But when a family crisis compels Frankie to return to her small New England hometown, she finds exactly what she had been looking for all along.

Although there was no information on the book itself or book jacket as to its eco-friendliness, I found the following information on the publisher's site.
Our suppliers will be required to possess independent third party certification of sustainable forestry practices for all forests they own or manage. Suppliers who source wood from third-party suppliers will provide proof that third-party sources of wood are harvested in an environmentally sound manner.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

HarperCollins is committed to reducing its overall use of fiber and recycling where possible. Since 2006, we have reduced our global carbon footprint by 14%.


I think all publishers should disclose the percentage of post consumer recycled content in each book.

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

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

March 31, 2012

5 Easy Steps to Healthy Cooking: 500 Recipes for Lifelong Wellness

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Looking to improve your health and eating habits? 5 Easy Steps to Healthy Cooking: 500 Recipes for Lifelong Wellness by Camilla V. Saulsbury makes it easy with delicious recipes that are simple to follow. 

 
This book offers simple, delicious recipes that utilize foods that have a proven track record of enhancing health or offering protection from diseases.

It can be a challenge to discern which foods really do form a healthy diet, let alone how to prepare them into delicious dishes without too much time, fuss, and expense.

5 Easy Steps to Healthy Cooking offers the solution. Vastly different from a diet book, this simplified, five-step approach to healthy eating is holistic and flexible. This is healthy cooking from a very different perspective: because it is first and foremost a cookbook, not a diet book, it begins and ends with enticing, easy-to-prepare recipes that make the five principles simple and doable.

The five principles are:

  • Choose Fresh, Whole Foods
  • Eat Mostly Vegetable and Fruit-Based Foods
  • Opt for Healthy Fats and Proteins
  • Select Superfoods (Nutrient-Dense Foods)
  • Eat More Whole Grains
I agree wholeheartedly with these five principles and try to follow them in my own eating habits, although I do have an organic sweet tooth.  I would add to the following principles to eat organically-grown food, as they are higher in nutrients and lack pesticide residue.  

This is not a vegetarian cookbook, but it does contain a "Meatless Main Dish" section and a brief discussion of the Meatless Monday movement. It's also quite easy to adapt the meat recipes to be vegetarian.
 

Some of the recipes I plan to try in the near future are:


  • Spicy Punjabi Chickpeas with Mint Radish Raita

  • Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread

  • Applesauce Flax Bread

  • Mushroom and Bulgur Stuffed Peppers


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

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

March 27, 2012

The Autism Puzzle: Environmental Toxins and Rising Autism Rates

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One of the greatest health concerns of modern times is the rising rates of autism. This spectrum disorder varies in severity greatly and is as individual as each person is unique.

Scientists and doctors have been somewhat puzzled as to why autism is much more prevalent in modernity. Theories, such as vaccinations, have been refuted and proven countless times. 

I am not a doctor, but the explanation that makes the most sense to me is the interplay between environmental toxins, including those possibly in vaccines, and our genetic make up. I believe epigenetics is at the root of rising autism rates.

The Autism Puzzle: Connecting the Dots Between Environmental Toxins and Rising Autism Rates by Brita Belli explores the how common toxins we are exposed to ever day combine with 'genetic susceptibilities" to cause the 57% increase in autism since 2002.

Journalist Brita Belli brings us into the lives of three families with autistic children, each with different ideas about autism, as she explores the possible causes. She interprets for readers compelling evidence that environmental toxins--including common exposures from chemicals mounting in our everyday lives--may be sparking this disorder in vulnerable children. Belli calls for an end to the use of hazardous materials--like toxic flame retardants used in electronics and furniture, which have been banned elsewhere--insisting that we cannot afford to experiment with our children. The Autism Puzzle puts a human face on the families caught in between the debates, and offers a refreshingly balanced perspective.

This book is easy to read, and it should be of interest to everyone, not just those affected by autism and their friends and families. We should all be concerned about how common toxins, such as BPA and flame retardants, are altering our genes.

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

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

March 7, 2012

Iglu: A Young Adult Fiction Book on Climate Change

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What happens when the rising sea envelopes Native Alaskan land and millions have relocated to the Last Frontier due to global warming? This is the setting of a fictional book written by Jacob Sackin for young adults.

Iglu is the story of native Inupiaq people who are mislabeled as terrorists for fighting for cultural survival.

But when the Iñupiaq people rise up to fight for the survival of their culture, the private army Skyhawk is brought in to subdue the growing insurgency and the Iñupiaq rebels are labeled as terrorists. Separated from her family in the aftermath of the ensuing battle, fourteen-year-old April Ipalook desperately searches for a place of refuge amidst the war zone of northern Alaska.

IGLU has a strong young female protagonist and will appeal to readers who enjoy science fiction and action stories.

I have not read the book cover to cover, and I will update this post after I have read the book in entirety.

Disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

February 28, 2012

The Diversity of Fishes: Biology, Evolution, and Ecology

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Often used as a textbook, The Diversity of Fishes: Biology, Evolution, and Ecology by Gene S. Helfman, Bruce B. Collette, Douglas E. Facey, and Brian W. Bowen has amazing photographs and "readable" text in this second edition.

The second edition of The Diversity of Fishes represents a major revision of the world's most widely adopted ichthyology textbook. Expanded and updated, the second edition is illustrated throughout with striking color photographs depicting the spectacular evolutionary adaptations of the most ecologically and taxonomically diverse vertebrate group. The text incorporates the latest advances in the biology of fishes, covering taxonomy, anatomy, physiology, biogeography, ecology, and behavior. A new chapter on genetics and molecular ecology of fishes has been added, and conservation is emphasized throughout. Hundreds of new and redrawn illustrations augment readable text, and every chapter has been revised to reflect the discoveries and greater understanding achieved during the past decade. Written by a team of internationally-recognized authorities, the first edition of The Diversity of Fishes was received with enthusiasm and praise, and incorporated into ichthyology and fish biology classes around the globe, at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The second edition is a substantial update of an already classic reference and text.

Even if you are not a student, this is a great resource to expand your knowledge of the world's fish.

Disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

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