Why Palm Oil Free

Originally published on livepuresoap.com 

oil palm

What is palm oil?

Palm oil is a type of edible vegetable oil that is derived from the palm fruit, grown on the African oil palm tree. Oil palms are originally from Western Africa, but can flourish wherever heat and rainfall are abundant. Today, palm oil is grown throughout Africa, Asia, North America, and South America, with 85% of all palm oil globally produced and exported from Indonesia and Malaysia; but most of the time not using sustainable measures.

The Industry:

The industry is linked to major issues such as deforestation, habitat degradation, climate change, animal cruelty and indigenous rights abuses in the countries where it is produced, as the land and forests must be cleared for the development of the oil palm plantations. According to the World Wildlife Fund, an area the equivalent size of 300 football fields of rainforest is cleared each hour to make way for palm oil production. This large-scale deforestation is pushing many species to extinction, and findings show that if nothing changes species like the orangutan could become extinct in the wild within the next 5-10 years, and Sumatran tigers less than 3 years.

In total, 50 million tons of palm oil is produced annually, supplying over 30% of the world’s vegetable oil production. This single vegetable oil is found in approximately 40-50% of household products in countries such as United States, Canada, Australia and England. Palm oil can be present in a wide variety of products, including: baked goods, confectionery, shampoo, cosmetics, cleaning agents, washing detergents and toothpaste.

(information provided by http://www.saynotopalmoil.com/)

Impacts on the environment:

A large proportion of palm oil expansion occurs at the expense of biodiversity and ecosystems in the countries it is produced. Currently, a third of all mammal species in Indonesia are considered to be critically endangered as a consequence of this unsustainable development that is rapidly encroaching on their habitat.

One animal of particular importance according to conservationists is the orangutan, which has become a charismatic icon for deforestation in Borneo and Sumatra. Over 90% of orangutan habitat has been destroyed in the last 20 years, and as such, is considered “a conservation emergency” by the UN. An estimated 1000-5000 orangutans are killed each year for this development. The orangutan is a keystone species and plays a vital role in maintaining the health of the ecosystem. An example of this being the spread of rainforest seeds in Indonesia, many of which can only germinate once passed through the gut of an orangutan, hence this primate is essential for the existence of the forest. But the orangutan is not the only species affected by palm oil development; their situation represents the story of thousands of other species facing the same fate in South-East Asia.

Deforestation for palm oil production also contributes significantly to climate change. The removal of the native forests often involves the burning of invaluable timber and remaining forest undergrowth, emitting immense quantities of smoke into the atmosphere and making Indonesia the third highest greenhouse gas emitter in the world.

{CLIMATE}

Pollution caused by the burning of secondary forests across Borneo and Sumatra increases the quantity of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, subsequently helping to excel climate change. Trees and plants filter such gas and release oxygen intern (through a process called photosynthesis). The removal of the forests themselves in these regions is therefore also a key factor contributing to the increase in atmospheric pollution, as less carbon dioxide is being removed from the air due to diminishing forests.

{LAND}

In addition to its impacts on the climate, conventional palm oil development causes severe damage to the landscape of Borneo and Sumatra and has been linked to issues such as land erosion and the pollution of rivers. The root systems of rainforest trees help to stabilize the soil and therefore if the forests are cleared, land erosion after rainfall can become a common occurrence.

(information provided by http://www.saynotopalmoil.com/)

Impact on animals:

There are over 300,000 different animals found throughout the jungles of Borneo and Sumatra, many of which are injured, killed and displaced during deforestation. In addition, palm oil development increases accessibility of animals to poachers and wildlife smugglers who capture and sell wildlife as pets, use them for medicinal purposes or kill them for their body parts. The destruction of rainforests in Borneo and Sumatra is therefore not only a conservation emergency, but a major animal welfare crisis as well.

Wildlife such as orangutans have been found buried alive,  killed from machete attacks, guns and other weaponry. Government data has shown that over 50,000 orangutans have already died as a result of deforestation due to palm oil in the last two decades. This either occurs during the deforestation process, or after the animal enters a village or existing palm oil plantation in search of food. Mother orangutans are also often killed by poachers and have their babies taken to be sold or kept as pets, or used for entertainment in wildlife tourism parks in countries such as Thailand and Bali.

Other mega fauna that suffer as a result of this development include species like the Sumatran Tiger, Sumatran Rhinoceros, Sun Bear, Pygmy Elephant, Clouded Leopard and Proboscis Monkey. Road networks that are constructed to allow palm oil plantation workers and equipment access to the forest also increase accessibility of these areas to poachers that are looking for these kinds of valuable animals. This allows poachers to comfortably drive to an area to sit and wait for their target where previously they may have had to trek through inaccessible areas of forest.

(information provided by http://www.saynotopalmoil.com/)

Impacts on people:

The establishment of oil palm plantations is often promoted as a way of bringing development to poor, rural regions of Borneo and Sumatra. In reality, the industry often has devastating impacts on the people in these areas. All too often, the government’s main interest in the country’s economy leads them to allow corporations to take the land owned by indigenous peoples for their own financial benefit.

The palm oil industry is also linked to major human rights violations, including child labor in remote areas of Indonesia and Malaysia. Children are made to carry large loads of heavy fruit, weed fields and spend hours every day bent over collecting fruit from the plantation floor. Heat exhaustion and cuts and bruises from climbing thorny oil palms are commonplace in this damaging workspace. More than often not, children receive little or no pay for their efforts.

With plantations systematically destroying the rainforest land that the local people depend on, communities are continuously finding themselves with no choice but to become plantation workers. Faced with poor and degrading working conditions, they often earn barely enough income to survive and support their families. Instead of being able to thrive without it, indigenous communities become reliant on the success of the palm oil industry for their income and survival, leaving these villagers incredibly vulnerable to the world market price of palm oil which they have no control over.

(information provided by http://www.saynotopalmoil.com/)

For more information on the dammaging effects of palm oil – visit: http://www.saynotopalmoil.com

 Live Pure Soap is committed to creating sustainable, palm oil free body products for a better tomorrow. We understand that every person on Earth can make a difference, this is one of ours.

Live Pure Soap – Good for the planet, and your body!

Get Healthy Without Food

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Many think that whenever it comes to being healthier than it must involve food. While food is definitely important, it’s usually a process to make changes regarding food. So here are some things to consider that do not involve food.

  1. Take a breath to the count of 3,4 or 5. That’s it. Exhale and just feel your body relaxing with each exhale. It doesn’t have to be a big production, you don’t even have to tell anyone your doing it but while your at it, give a little thanks for clean air.
  2. Walk tall: Do you realize how many people only dream about being able to walk? Give thanks to your body for giving you the strength and privilege to be able to walk. A 10 minute walk can do wonders for depression, mental health. Just breathe and walk… Hey do 1 and 2 together. Now we’re multi tasking. If you have pain while walking, maybe a good time to visit the doctor to find out what’s the problem.
  3. Think for one minute about what your favorite song is. This is the song (old or new) that you know the words to the song and you hear it and it just makes you happy. For me it would be Dance Sister Dance by Santana but what’s your favorite song? All you have to do is listen to that song and breathe. Hey if you want you can do 1, 2 and 3 together and you will be a triple threat… But you can listen in the car or shower or wherever you feel like listening to it is cool!! But a triple threat will be cool!!
  4. Feel grateful for whatever you want to acknowledge. If you can walk and talk and breathe, be grateful. How about being grateful for this life that you have been given. Life can be hard but believe it or not, you are a miracle and there is nobody else exactly like you. The mold was broken and you are a beautiful soul. Even if you have done terrible things, your soul is still good. Your body just did some stuff but your soul is pure light.
  5. Have you ever day dreamed? You know just think about whatever wonderful little thing you love or a fantasy that you would love to have come true. Spend a little time dreaming about anything you want but if you want to integrate all 5 concepts. Breathing, walking, listening to your favorite song and while you are at it be grateful that you can day dream. Pretend you are a super hero and everywhere you go it’s just easy breezy and you have cool super powers. What would that feel like for you? If you want to write about it, do it but not any pressure. This is fun stuff. But writing it down would be super cool!!
Maybe just hang out and relax. This looks heavenly!!

In the spirit of not giving you more than you can chew, we’re going to end this so you can go on and practice. In the words of my music teacher, Keep Calm and Practice, Practice, Practice.

Valerie is a Health and Wellness Coach that lives In Nor Cal. She encourages everyone to find their passion and enjoy life. Valerie wishes to sleep in a tee pee one day. But she’s not the camping type right now. Maybe one day she will find her tribe. Dreaming of my tribe. Donde estas?

We Should Be Pouring Time And Money Into Hemp, Period.

Originally Published on forbes.com on September 30, 2018 By Janet Burns

We Should Be Pouring Time And Money Into Hemp, Period

A ladybug crawls on the leaf of a hemp plant grown for medical research purposes at the Royal Agricultural Station Pang Da in Samoeng, Chiang Mai province, Thailand, on Friday, July 6, 2018. (Credit: Taylor Weidman/Bloomberg)

For centuries, North Americans have utilized hemp in their homes, diets, and health regimens. For decades, we’ve also turned to imported products to meet much of our growing need.

And now, after years of major change for US agriculture and industry, real investment in this versatile crop stands to significantly elevate our economy and quality of life for generations to come.

The idea of upping hemp production is already common ground politically. As farmers have faced water shortages, unstable markets, and punishing seasonal conditions, communities around the country have pressured lawmakers to help them restore US agriculture with more profitable, sustainable plants.

Hemp has long been seen to fit that bill. Best known for its use in textiles, it offers wide-ranging applications that countless sectors are keen to get in on.

For example, hemp seeds in whole or processed form contain an impressive amount of protein, nutrients, and essential fatty acids, among other things — offering an efficient way to boost nutrition in human and animal diets — while hempseed oil has increasingly become a preferred ingredient in common food, beauty, and health products.

Its sturdy fibers have also been put to growing use in high-quality plastics and auto paneling, durable building materials, and other common industrial commodities. And when it comes to environmental impact, hemp is not only a low-fuss crop capable of flourishing in US farmland; it can also clean up tainted water and soil, bully weeds away, and be converted into biodiesel.

Unlike other Cannabis sativa varieties and hybrids, which are mostly grown for their chemically potent flowers (or ‘buds’), hemp is also legally distinguished from marijuana in the US as containing less than 0.3% of the cannabinoid chemical THC — considered to be the most intoxicating, psychoactive component in cannabis plants, as well as a treatment option for certain serious illnesses.

So while hemp crops can be used to extract the non-intoxicating chemical cannabidiol, or CBD, which has a demonstrated and growing list of compelling health uses, they can’t get anyone high.

In short, it’s no wonder that hemp has been described as an industrial ‘miracle plant.’

See also: Coca-Cola Is Considering CBD For Infused Beverage Line 

For Rocc Johnson, owner and operator of New Orleans’ Uptown Hemp, the plant has become both his calling in life and a way to revitalize the economy in his home state.

“I’m so excited and humbled to be part of the [cannabis] industry that’s coming to Louisiana,” he commented by phone. “For me, it’s not about money at all; it’s about a better way of life, and helping people get the knowledge to help other people.”

Johnson said he got the idea to get involved in marijuana and hemp from his uncle, a member of Louisiana’s National Guard, and from his mother, who died from cancer in 2011 after “never smoking or drinking in her life.”

Prior to 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, which caused widespread destruction and fatalities across New Orleans, Johnson had moved to California, and spent years there soaking up knowledge and culture around cannabis plants and the industry. After witnessing the pain and nausea his mother experienced during her treatment, Johnson decided to help bring the medicinal and economic value of cannabis back to his hometown, starting with hemp.

Since 2013, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Rep. Blumenauer (D-OR), and other members of Congress have been gathering support to bolster hemp production through this process; they also helped to pass a 2014 version of the package, currently in effect, with new allowances for agricultural hemp pilot programs.

Like most major bills, the latest Farm Bill has not been free of controversy. At present, legislators have seemingly missed their Sept. 30 deadline to approve the package, which has stirred numerous arguments in Congress over its core principles, funding levels, and a proposed work requirement for low-income recipients of food assistance.

Under the Senate-approved version of the bill, hemp and derivatives, hemp extracts, and cannabinoids derived from hemp “would be treated as agricultural commodities and removed from the purview of the Controlled Substances Act and the Drug Enforcement Administration,” according to CannaLawBlog.

The more recently House-approved version, which introduced the well-publicized provision affecting up to two million Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients, doesn’t take such steps to remove federal barriers around hemp. It also stipulates that anyone with a felony drug conviction would be barred indefinitely from participating in federal or state hemp programs.

According to many industry members, the latter provision — which would become permanent law, requiring change at the federal level to get rid of — would also exclude key populations from contributing to and benefiting from an enriched industry.

Cannabis entrepreneur and organizer Bonita “Bo” Money called the idea of blocking members of the previous illegal industry from joining the new, legal one “ridiculous” — much like hemp’s continued Schedule I drug status, she said.

Money, who founded the National Diversity and Inclusion Cannabis Alliance (NDICA) and left a Hollywood career to promote equity in cannabis businesses, explained that the programs she helps run in California and Wisconsin take the opposite stance on prior experience.

“Here in Los Angeles, we make sure that applicants to our equity program have had a cannabis conviction, or come from zip codes affected by the war on drugs,” Money said. “For [lawmakers] to ban people with experience working in hemp from doing so again is ridiculous.”

In Wisconsin, she and her team are in the process of setting up the only social equity, Black-owned hemp farm in the state, where they hope to create more jobs for Black farmers, and plan to primarily hire military veterans and ex-offenders under the US’ long drug war — in other words, people with the need and/or skills for this new career.

See also: Canadian Military Green-Lights Cannabis Use For Most Personnel

As in Los Angeles’ equity program, the group will offer participants mentorship, job placement, and help with starting businesses in Wisconsin’s hemp industry, where close to 220 hemp licenses have already been issued under the current Farm Bill; they also plan to provide on-site housing for participants struggling with homelessness, which often impacts veterans and those recently released from prison.

“By not allowing ex-offenders to work, and not giving support and licenses to black farmers and small businesses, [officials] are trying to keep people of color out of a billion-dollar industry that they paid the price for.”

Rather than keeping people out of the industry, Money thinks regulators should focus on helping farmers sell their products: for example, by connecting them with the “biomass brokers” who deal in the fibers, stalks, and seed matter produced by industrial hemp. “What I’m finding is that a lot of farmers in Wisconsin don’t know what to do with their products,” she said. “We tried to get a list of licensed farmers to help connect them with brokers, but the state wouldn’t release that list.”

In the meantime, Money said, the hemp industry is continuing to grow under current legal conditions, though a Wisconsin rule prohibiting hemp extracts had been requiring her to export hemp from the state for extraction. Still, business is good, she said. “We have investors approaching us all the time, wanting to be a part of what we’re doing.”

Hemp activist and entrepreneur Joy Beckerman, who has spent decades building the US hemp movement, and assists many of the world’s leading hemp advocacy and industry groups, said it’s still likely that Congress will pass a pro-hemp version of the Farm Bill in the coming months — hopefully without added blows to communities that have been hurt most by nearly a century of cannabis prohibition.

“As data have proven over and over again, the war on drugs has dramatically, disproportionately impacted minorities and people of color, and [bans on ex-offenders] would continue that discrimination,” Beckerman commented by phone.

We Should Be Pouring Time And Money Into Hemp, Period_4

Cannabis entrepreneur and activist Bonita “Bo” Money poses with plants in a field of hemp. (Courtesy Bonita Money)Credit: Bonita Money

She also believes that the Senate’s Farm Bill would alleviate confusion caused by the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)’s issuance of conflicting “guidance” to state and federal agencies, which leaves them “scratching their heads,” and often “bullies them into making decisions that directly contradict the legislative intent and spirit of the last version of the Farm Bill,” Beckerman said.

“This version of the Farm Bill deliberately amends six different Acts and broadens the definition of ‘hemp’ to fully and finally remove all ambiguities and make way for hemp as an agricultural commodity in the United States of America, with crop insurance and all,” Beckerman explained.

To illustrate how hemp programs can wither without proper support, she pointed to California, where regulators continue struggling to keep up with rules and infrastructure for the more potent (and popular) marijuana industry, from lab tests to license approvals; the state’s hemp operators, meanwhile, are still waiting for their official license application to come out.

Even though Congress didn’t pass such a bill in time to move on from the 2014 version yet, Beckerman said, farmers and leaders can continue under the permanent protection of the current agricultural pilot program pathway to learn how and where to invest their time and resources in the industry, rather than dive in without a strategy in place.

“Folks at the various state Departments of Agriculture are so excited to bring in hemp – excited to introduce any crop, really, and especially to reintroduce this extraordinarily versatile one,” Beckerman said. “But they’re not experts; they’re learning like anybody else. So getting in there, looking at proposed legislation and rules to make sure [proposals] actually make sense for the crop – on an agronomic level, on a regulatory level – and monitoring changes to that legislation, regulation, or industry, is common sense.” She went on,

The repeal of prohibition of marijuana, the repeal of prohibition of industrial hemp, has never been done in the US before. And right now it’s about the chopping of the wood, the carrying of the water, and engaging in the process, and bringing it all the way home. The work is just beginning.

Beckerman also urged supporters of hemp (and of its danker cousin) to be more vigilant than ever about federal and state-level law and policy moves going forward. “Special interests and residual hysteria will continue to try to get in there, to stomp on the little guy, and on consumer rights and safety, and to over-regulate, so it’s more important than ever that we organize and engage,” she said.

“Farmers are suffering around the country; the soil is suffering.”

All told, a strong American hemp industry could provide billions of dollars in renewable revenues and hundreds of thousands of jobs, especially in regions that have been devastated by damaging and/or departed industries and under-invested social resources, Beckerman said.

Money pointed out that hemp is already poised to outshine recreational and medical cannabis production, and that CBD products (which hemp can provide) are currently outselling THC products at a rate of 10:1.

“Moving forward, hemp will be even bigger than cannabis,” she said. “[Lawmakers] need to look at the history: when George Washington was president, people were required to grow hemp. If they didn’t, he’d throw them in jail.”

She continued, “Hemp affects so many industries — its uses are never-ending — and I think the government is afraid of that.”

” Hemp could change the world, not just the US. It will change communities, it will change the way we treat medically. It will improve our lifestyle, completely.”

“Everyone deserves the opportunity to create generational wealth for their families,” Money added, “and to have that quality of life.”

Janet Burns

I’m a freelance writer covering tech, media, science, and culture. My background includes the areas of writing, editing, and education, and I received Bachelor and Master of Arts Degrees from the University of British Columbia and California State University, East Bay, respectively. My work’s also been published by mental_floss, AlterNet, Salon, and the Atlantic’s CityLab, among others. For more of it, check out my online portfolio at janetburns.contently.com or my cannabis news and culture podcast at patreon.com/TheToke.

Liberation From The Kitchen

beach blue sky cheerful clouds

Photo by Artem Bali on Pexels.com

How would you feel with some extra free time?  It’s easier than you think.

Let’s look at the current situation.  Many men and women work full time jobs.  After they get off work, they have to get home and figure out dinner for themselves and maybe their families.  Not sure about how many people feel about cooking dinner after working at least 8 hours, but it can be exhausting and that’s not exactly the first thing you feel like doing.

So how do you deal with this feeling of not wanting to cook?  Many people decide not to cook and instead go to their favorite take out or restaurant and buy dinner.  Not only is this pricey but most of the packaging comes in plastic.  Hopefully you grab something healthy for your body.  But if not then you bought something bad for one’s body and is bad for the planet as well.

beach beautiful bridge carribean

Photo by Nextvoyage on Pexels.com

How about thinking about a new solution?  I know this is not a new idea but actually a very old idea.  So maybe you have a good friend that is in the same situation as you.  So before you cook dinner you give them a quick call and say, “Hey friend, I’m making some mushroom soup and salad.  I cannot eat it all.  Would you like to stop by on your way home from work and pick some up on your way home?  Bring your own container and we’ll save the planet.”  Your friend is not only grateful but she replies, “Thanks so much!! I made some almond meal cookies and I’ll bring you some.”

Almond Meal Cookies with Chocolate Chips and Coconut_4

The next night the cookie making friend calls her making friend and says, ” I made some quinoa with pesto sauce would you like me to bring some over?”  And they were both fed happy and they had the strength to carry on another day.

Simple Vegan Pesto_2

So if everyone started to do this, it would just create a world where people are sharing, caring and being fed.  It would be really great for the planet, families wallets and it would allow people to share some time together instead of being in the kitchen.

You can also try new and different food and if you like to cook, then someone to tell you how awesome your food is.  Also there’s nothing wrong with just giving food to someone with no expectation in return.  As you give, so shall you receive.  This is how we will transform our planet.  One small gesture of sharing at a time.  Let’s start the cycle of giving and receiving.

About the Author:  Valerie is a Health and Wellness Coach and Yoga Instructor.  Her dream is to see all people healthy and happy.  She shares with you healthy recipes, Anything good for Mother Earth as Mother Earth is in need of healing. As you Heal Yourself, You heal the planet.

Top 5 Plants for Increasing Oxygen

Originally Published on LungInstitute.com on 15 July 2016 By Cameron

Top 5 Plants for Increasing Oxygen

Looking for a natural way to increase oxygen indoors?

For those suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the desire for more oxygen can be a demanding one. Although there are options available for increasing oxygen through means such as oxygenators and air purifiers, there are a variety of natural alternatives for increasing air quality that are beneficial for both body and mind. The Lung Institute believes the home should foster an environment of good health and well-being, and with your health in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 plants for increasing oxygen indoors.

5. Areca Palm

Top 5 Plants for Increasing Oxygen_2

As with all plants, the Areca Palm is biologically engineered to take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. However, what sets the Areca Palm apart is its ability to also purify the environment it’s placed in by removing dangerous chemicals such as formaldehyde, xylene and toluene.

Recommendation & Care:

The Areca Palm does well in filtered light and needs to be watered often. For one person, four shoulder high plants should suffice.
Best Placement:

The Living Room

4. Snake Plant a.k.a. Mother-In-Law’s Tongue

Top 5 Plants for Increasing Oxygen_3

Considered highly efficient in oxygen production, the Snake Plant otherwise known as the Mother-In-Law’s Tongue, is unique for its nighttime oxygen production, and ability to purify air through the removal of benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene and toluene.

Recommendation & Care:

The Snake Plant does well in window light and needs to be watered weekly. For one person, six to eight waist level plants are recommended. In an air sealed room, these plants are capable of producing enough oxygen to breathe normally.
Best Placement:

The Bedroom

3. Money Plant

Top 5 Plants for Increasing Oxygen_4_4
Featured by NASA, the Money Plant is renowned for its ability to remove chemicals and other pollutants from the air, specifically benzene, formaldehyde, xylene and toluene. However, despite the benefit of its high purification rate, this plant is toxic to cats, dogs and small children if its leaves are ingested.

Recommendation & Care:

The Money Plant prefers indirect light and needs to be watered every week or so. For one person, three 18-inch plants are recommended.
Best Placement:

Any room but keep out of reach of pets or small children.

2. Gerbera Daisy (Gerbera Jamesonii)

Top 5 Plants for Increasing Oxygen_4

Arguably the prettiest entry on the list, the Gerbera Daisy is often used as a decorative element in gardening. However, the Gerbera Daisy is also distinct for its ability to produce high levels of oxygen at night while removing harmful chemicals, such as benzene and trichloroethylene. Beneficial for those suffering from sleep apnea and breathing disorders, keep this one on the nightstand for better sleep.

Recommendation & Care:

The Gerbera Daisy prefers bright sunlight during the summer, spring and fall, and indirect light during the winter. It needs to be watered regularly with the soil being kept moist. Due to the decorative nature of the flower, the amount of recommended flower pots is up to the discretion of the planter.
Best Placement:

The Bedroom

1. Chinese Evergreens

Top 5 Plants for Increasing Oxygen_5

The Chinese Evergreen is one of the most common household plants and for good reason. This plant emits a high oxygen content while purifying indoor spaces of harmful chemicals such as benzene, formaldehyde and other toxins. As its name suggests, it is quite popular in China specifically for its high efficiency in removing harmful pollutants from the air.

Recommendation & Care:

The Chinese Evergreen does well in full shade, and only needs to be watered occasionally with a focus on keeping the soil moist. The number of plants kept is at the owner’s discretion.

Best Placement:

The Living Room

Along with the top 5 plants for increasing oxygen, what else can I do to breathe easier?

Although keeping oxygen-generating plants, such as our top 5 plants for increasing oxygen, may increase the quality of life for those suffering from COPD, they are not a form of treatment. And though indoor plants may ease the symptoms of COPD, they will be ineffective when outside the home or workplace.

Currently COPD has no cure; however, new discoveries are being made every day in the field of cellular research. As the scientific community continues to put their best minds to the task of solving the problems and complications of the human body, the Lung Institute will continue to bring these advancements to the public with the hope of bettering quality of life.

If you’re looking to make a profound change in your life or the life of someone you love, the time is now. If you or a loved one suffers from COPD, emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis or another lung disease, the Lung Institute may be able to help with a variety of cellular treatment options. Contact us at (888) 510-7519 today to find out if you qualify for cellular therapy.

Thinking about starting an indoor plant collection? Have a few suggestions of your own? We’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts and comments on our list of the top 5 plants for increasing oxygen below!

The Cuban Mop: The Near Perfect Cleaning Tool You’ve Never Heard of (and How to Use It)

Originally Published on Remodelista.com on May 22, 2018 on By Justine Hand

The Cuban Mop The Near Perfect Cleaning Tool You_ve Never Heard of and How to Use ItWhen it comes mops, I have a hate-hate relationship. Either I struggle to wield the heft of rope mops or find myself searching in vain for matching replacement heads for sponge mops. Plus, both models are really hard to clean. I often feel as though I’m just spreading the dirt around. Finally, for dust bunnies under the bed, I’ve long been searching for an alternative to the widely used Swiffer, with its plastic parts and expensive, not-eco-friendly disposable cloths.

Enter the Cuban mop. Its genius lies in the simplicity of its design—no bells and whistles, just two sticks that screw together into a T. It’s inexpensive, lightweight, easy to use, and a cinch to clean: just throw the soiled towel in the washing machine. Because it uses any old rag, I’ll never again have to trek from hardware store to hardware store for a matching head. And I can use it wet or dry. (Bye-bye Swiffer.) The wooden Cuban mop is also, in my opinion, the most aesthetically pleasing of mops. Since it’s made with all-natural, reusable components, it’s among the most eco-friendly mop options. In fact, it just might be the perfect tool.

Here’s how to use one.

Photography by Justine Hand for Remodelista.

What Is a Cuban Mop?

As the name suggests, the Cuban mop originated in Cuba, and it’s a simple T-shaped wooden tool with a long handle, usually wrapped with cloths or rags. In the US, the mops are widely used among the Cuban immigrant population, particularly in Miami.

What You’ll Need

The Cuban Mop The Near Perfect Cleaning Tool You_ve Never Heard of and How to Use It_2

  • Cuban Mop: I bought my IMUSA Cuban Mop from the Cuban Food Market via Amazon for $17.95. (Note: Some Amazon reviewers were unhappy with the quality and size of this mop, but I bought it because there are not a lot of options out there. Though a bit crude in terms of finishing, my mop works great and is still nicer to look at than most. The handle, though admittedly short for taller folks, is the same length as my commercial sponge mop. In my opinion, this version is worth the money, but I can see an opportunity for someone to improve on craftsmanship.) Quickloop also makes a similar mop that looks quite sturdy; $16.
  • Absorbent Cotton Rag or Towel: I bought these Cuban Style Cloths, again, on Amazon for $16, but any old rag will do. (Note: The product sample image on the Amazon page shows yellow stripes. The ones I received, shown, have blue stripes.)
  • Cleaning Product: I use Rubio Monocoat Natural Soap; it’s a ready-to-mix concentrate for cleaning oil-treated floors.

How to Use a Cuban Mop

Step 1:

Wet any absorbent, medium-size cloth—an old hand towel, dish rag, or even cloth diaper will work—with your favorite cleaning solution. Squeeze excess liquid, and lay the towel on the floor.

Note: If you want to use your Cuban mop with a dry rag, skip this step.

The Cuban Mop The Near Perfect Cleaning Tool You ve Never Heard of and How to Use It_5

Step 2:

Wrap the cloth around the Cuban mop as follows:
Above: To use, simply push the mop along, being careful not to lift it off the floor. When one side gets dirty, flip the mop and use the other side. Once both sides are soiled, remove the cloth, rinse, re-wet with cleaning solution, squeeze, and rewrap.

(Lizzie, shown using the mop, is tall, about 5’10”. You can see that she is able to effectively use the mop, though a longer handle would be more comfortable for her.)

The Cuban Mop The Near Perfect Cleaning Tool You_ve Never Heard of and How to Use It_3

How to Clean the Cuban Mop

To clean your mop between uses, simply remove the cloth and toss in the washing machine. Easy and eco-friendly.

The right tools always make housework less of a chore. Here are more of our cleaning favorites:

Swept Away: Utilitarian Household Goods from a San Francisco Designer
10 Easy Pieces: German-Made Cleaning Staples
5 Favorites: Display-Worthy, Artisan-Made Dustpan and Brush Sets

Top 6 Reasons Plogging is Awesome

What is Plogging?  It is jogging and picking up trash =Plogging.  We’ll get straight to the reasons.  We’ll count down like the Casey Casem Top 40.

6)  You’re outside getting fresh air.  Most people spend too much time inside.  But with Plogging you have to be outside to do it.  Otherwise, you’re just cleaning your house.  We all know being outside has many benefits from getting Vitamin D to Fresh air.  So get outside and Plog away.

photo of person wearing white t shirt holding tree trunk

Photo by Daniel Frank on Pexels.com

5) You find some pretty cool stuff.  I found $20 the other day just laying there waiting for me.  I haven’t checked to see if it’s counterfeit or not.  I also found an I Phone adapter, plastic bottles, cans which I recycle, a shirt that say, “Shut the Fuck Up.”  I mean what else do you need in life after you have this shirt?

achievement-bar-business-chart-40140.jpeg

Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

4)  You do get a work out.  When you start picking up trash, you can squat and lunge as you pick up trash.  Pretty soon you will begin to feel your legs getting a little tired.  So you definitely get a leg work out!!  (Make sure you use good form when you pick up trash.  Once you really get into it, you will want to invest in a grabber to give your legs a break.

city exercise fun girl

Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

After she ties her shoes she can pick up some trash while she’s down there.

3)  It can be a social event.  I joined a group of Ploggers and met some really cool people.  Everyone is really nice and it’s a great way to meet new people.  There’s actually a group that also kayaks and picks up trash on Rivers and Lakes too.  So if you want to do that, there’s always that too.

2) Because you are doing something good, you suddenly begin to get really good luck.  You generate a lot of good Karma and good things just start coming to you.  This you will have to just try to see if it works.  If you’ve been a jerk lately, go Plogging and then quit being a jerk after that.

shallow focus photography of four leaf clover

Photo by Djalma Paiva Armelin on Pexels.com

1)The most important reason is that you are helping Mother Earth and all of the marine life.  You are also helping our planet to be cleaner and healthier thereby creating a healthy world and you can be the change you want to see in the world.

beach child clouds cold

Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi on Pexels.com

So remember no matter where you are on the Planet.  You can do this and you will be recognized as an Official Earth Angel.  Mother Earth needs you now and all you have to do is commit to picking up 5 pieces of trash per day.

Valerie is a Health and Wellness Coach.  She lives in Northern California with her daughter and puppy.  She’s on a mission to share the news of how to be kind to Mother Earth.  The good thing is that as you Heal Yourself, You Heal The Planet.

How Long Does it Take for a Glass Bottle to Degrade in a Landfill?

Originally Published on Education.Seattlepi.com

How Long Does it Take for a Glass Bottle to Degrade in a Landfill

When a dropped glass shatters or a rock chips the car’s windshield, it’s tempting to think of glass as a fragile material. Actually, it’s one of the longest-lasting man-made materials. The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services estimates that it takes 1 million years for a glass bottle to decompose in the environment, with conditions in a landfill even more protected. Glass artifacts from glassmaking’s beginnings in Egypt, around 2000 B.C., still exist.

Naturally Occurring Glass

Examples of the long-lasting qualities of glass come from glass made in nature, an opaque material called obsidian. It results from volcanic activity melting silica rock or sand to form black, red, gray, brown or green glass. Natural obsidian deposits were mined by prehistoric peoples to make weapon points, cutting tools, mirrors and other objects. In Iraq, obsidian use dates back to Paleolithic times, around 30,000 BP. In North America, the Obsidian Cliff deposits in Yellowstone National Park were formed about 180,000 years ago and mined by native Americans for more than 10,000 years.

Glass Components

The basic ingredients for glass are silica sand, soda and lime. Other ingredients give glass its color, clarity or opaqueness, and strength. Different minerals give glass color, with gold giving red, manganese purple and cobalt blue. Raw ingredients need very high temperatures — ranging from 2,600 to 2,900 degrees Fahrenheit — to change into molten glass, depending on the composition. Molten glass is pressed, blown, molded, drawn or cast into glass objects. Once formed and cooled, glass doesn’t readily react with other substances to change its structure.

Long-Lasting Glass

Glass items exist from throughout the history of glassmaking, whether they were buried in archaeological remains, sunk in sailing vessels or carefully preserved by collectors. Glass can change in appearance after it is buried, with chemical reactions between the surrounding soil and the glass often resulting in iridescent surfaces. This adds to its beauty but doesn’t detract from its strength. Glass can be brittle or strong, depending on its composition. Older glass is more brittle than modern glass, but this does not affect its decomposition rate in landfills. In landfills, glass isn’t exposed to degradation by wind or erosion.

Recycling Glass

Originally, glass was a rare and precious commodity, because it took so much fuel to melt the ingredients and because of the labor-intensive production. Modern methods allow mass production of glass containers and objects. In 2011, Americans contributed 11.5 million tons of glass to the municipal solid waste stream. Glass lends itself to indefinite recycling without loss of strength. Broken into cullet, recycled glass goes into new containers or to products such as kitchen tiles, wall insulation and abrasives.

The Value of Recycling Glass

Given the long life of glass and the ease with which it can be recycled, it makes sense to recycle glass. As of 2011, Americans recycled more than 3 million tons of glass, an increase from 750,000 tons in 1980. Most recycled glass comes from beverage and food containers. Cullet costs less than virgin glass and saves energy because it melts at a lower temperature, which in turn means lower emissions of greenhouse gases, such as nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide. Recycling one glass bottle saves enough energy to run a computer for 25 minutes, according to British Glass.

How To Smell Fresh the Healthy Way

pexels-photo-207518.jpegI get it that we all want to smell good.  We want to cover up any evidence that we are human and that we sweat and sometimes get stinky.  This discussion is about antiperspirants and deodorant that is sold in many drug stores across the United States and world-wide.  I do not use anti-perspirant because there are so many toxic ingredients.

So what is the first reason that I don’t like it? That is because it has aluminum in the ingredients.  Aluminum has been linked to Alzheimer’s.  So this article is not about that.  But there has been research done and I am not going to gamble on my life just so I can not sweat and also take the risk of Alzheimers.  So if you want to take that risk.  Knock yourself out.  We all have this wonderful thing called free will.  And you get to decide how you live your life and if that’s how you want to do it.  That’s your choice.  But I’m making a different decision.

The second reason is that it stops you from sweating.  What is the reason to sweat?  To rid our body of toxins. (more here on that subject).  We must be able to release this from our body and if our under arms are clogged, it can’t get out.  So where does it go?  Gee maybe to your lymph nodes which contributes to breast cancer.  So not only does it contribute to Alzheimer’s but also breast cancer.

Don’t worry dear ones you don’t have to  have to just suffer with the funk?  To be perfectly honest, I use this natural blend I came up with.  It’s actually this natural toothpaste.  I guess it has multiple uses.  I was on vacation and I had forgotten my deodorant at home so I used the toothpaste and it worked great.  I did not smell.

But I do have an actual spray on recipe, if that would make you feel better.  But I have not tried this.  The tooth paste does work but you have to try for you.wild-flowers-flowers-plant-macro-40797.jpeg

Also remember when you make your own products, you are being super eco-friendly.  Because you put it in your own jar and didn’t buy a plastic container. So you are not only saving yourself $$ big time.  But you’re saving the planet.  And that makes you a Super Hero.  And you are sticking up for yourself and refusing to use something that is harmful to your welfare.

pexels-photo-248797.jpeg

So before you put it all over do a little patch test.  Put a small amount on the inside of your forearm to test for a reaction.  If after a couple of hours you don’t see anything then you are golden to use it.

So here is the recipe for the spray on deodorant:

  • 4 ounces witch hazel
  • 20 drops therapeutic-grade tea tree essential oil
  • 20 drops therapeutic-grade lavender essential oil
  • 2 teaspoons organic coconut oil melted
  • glass spray bottle
  1. Boil a cup of hot water and put the hot water in a bowl.
  2. In a smaller cup or bowl (espresso mug) put the witch hazel in the bowl to warm up slightly.  Pour in glass bottle
  3. melt the coconut oil and pour in glass bottle (use a funnel)
  4. Add the essential oils, shake up and you are done.

I know it’s so much easier to just go shopping and buy it.  So there are natural alternatives to antiperspirants that you can purchase.  Here are some good suggestions for you to consider.  Just try to see the possibility of staying healthy.  You really have to be your own best advocate.  If you don’t look out for yourself, who else will do it?

If you take a shower at night, you can put it on before bed because you never know what can happen after the lights go out.

Valerie is a Health and Wellness Coach and a Yoga Instructor.  She is passionate about the environment and knowing that as you heal yourself, you heal the planet.  Valerie is a dancer and is documenting her journey.  She also is recovering from a 26 year career in law enforcement.

Can Salad DressingChange Your Life?

Can salad dressing change your life?  It seems like a ridiculous question.  However if you take a minute to look at some of the salad dressing that is being sold in stores with their laundry list of preservatives, sugar and who knows what else, I’d make the argument that salad dressing absolutely can change your life.  The part that was left off was that if you make your own salad dressing, it can absolutely change your life.

How can salad dressing change your life?  Well first of all you can make the salad dressing with really wonderful ingredients which includes healthy oils and wonderful vinegars.  When you have healthy vegetables and then you add to it an unhealthy salad dressing.  It’s an abomination and must stop.  Also the salad bottles are contributing to the land fills and we won’t discuss the plastic and the BPH that is being leached into the salad dressing because that is a completely different subject that should be discussed later.  Let’s just say it’s a hormone disruptor and no bueno.

ranch-dressing-ingredient-list1

After reading these ingredients, is it any wonder why people don’t feel good.  If you don’t know what it is, you might not want to eat it.

There are as many different salad dressings and you have to find one that you like.  At first it might seem weird, different and you might not like it.  But it’s worth it to eat something that’s healthy because it can really improve your life.  Also remember with children and you introduce new foods, they have to consume it 12 times before they will start to like it.  So don’t you think we’re just grown up versions of this?  We get grouchy and irritable when we don’t eat and haven’t had a nap either.  So we’re not so different.  Give yourself time to adjust to the salad dressing.  You don’t have to get all crazy making drastic changes (although I’ve been known to do that, I don’t recommend it right away.)  It’s best to make one change and then once your comfortable with that, add another change.  That way you’re not shocking your body and it’s just a little easier.

braggs acvHeaven on Earth

The vinegar I prefer is Apple Cider Vinegar.  The reason I like Organic RAW unfiltered apple cider vinegar and specifically Bragg’s.  However there are other brands as well but please get one in a glass bottle.  Again you don’t want the BPH.  What are the benefits in your body.  It is known to balance the ph and keep blood sugar levels steady, even lowering blood glucose levels.  Some also claim weight loss and increased energy with a daily dose of 2 Tablespoons.  Doesn’t that sound fantastic?  I feel like it does improve digestion as well. But that could also be a result of the vegetables.

There are so many oils as well.  But we’ll just start with the basics of extra virgin olive oil.   Make sure it’s just olive oil and not a blend.  You have to look on the label to see what the ingredients are.  Sometimes manufacturers will mix other oils into it.  Here are some of it’s rich in monounsaturated fats, large amounts of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, may prevent strokes, protects against heart disease, does not cause weight gain or obesity, may fight Alzheimer’s disease, may reduce risk of type 2 diabetes, antioxidants may have anti cancer properties, can help treat rheumatoid arthritis and anti bacterial properties.  The full benefits of olive oil are here and I will say it’s quite impressive.

Here are a few recipes using Apple Cider Vinegar or ACV

Basic Recipe

  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp honey or pure maple syrup
  • Dash of salt and pepper
  • lemons Lemons are great for your liver.  Nice liver.

Lemon ACV Dressing with Olive Oil

  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp honey or pure maple syrup
  • Fresh juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil, parsley, and/or oregano

gingerGinger is great for digestion and gives you a strong immunity.

Ginger ACV Dressing

  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp minced garlic

These are just some ideas to get your creative juices flowing.  And you can always adjust it to your taste.  You can store these in an air tight container for 2 weeks.  Also remember that the it will harden a little bit in the refrigerator.  You can set it out for a little while and it will melt.  I used to scoop it out and put it in a little container in my lunch bag and it would be ready to use at lunch time.
Continue reading