Avoid Trans Fats for Better Health

by Diane, M.P.H, M.S.

Trans fats, also known as trans fatty acids, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, have become an increasingly significant part of the human diet, especially during the latter half of the 20th century and wherever processed foods are consumed.

Prior to 1910, dietary fats consisted primarily of butterfat, beef tallow, and lard, animal-based fats that were once the only trans fats consumed. However, the largest amount of trans fat consumed today is man-made, created by the processed food industry as a side effect of partially hydrogenating unsaturated plant fats, usually vegetable oils. Partially hydrogenated fats have been substituted for natural solid fats and liquid oils in many areas, especially the fast food, snack food, fried food, and baked goods industries.

High intake of trans fatty acids can lead to many health problems. Trans fats are abundant in fast food restaurants and many commercially- prepared foods. People who cannot afford or do not have access to healthier food often consume fast food. This can lead to obesity, high blood pressure, and a greater risk for heart disease in this population. For example, East Harlem mostly has fast food restaurants and bodegas with few healthy alternatives, which might be partly why 31% of adults in East Harlem are obese compared to 22% citywide and only 9% in the Upper East Side.

What are trans fats?

Trans fats are a type of unsaturated fat which is somewhat uncommon in nature but can be created artificially. Artificial trans fat is made when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil, a process called hydrogenation. Hydrogenation involves heating liquid polyunsaturated vegetable oil in the presence of hydrogen and finely ground particles of nickel metal. The oil turns into a solid fat, typically margarine and vegetable shortening.

Why were trans fats developed and included in certain foods?

Trans fats have been used in food for many reasons. Partial hydrogenation increases product shelf life and flavor stability and decreases refrigeration requirements. Many baked foods require semi-solid fats to suspend solids at room temperature; partially hydrogenated oils have the right consistency to replace animal fats such as butter and lard at lower cost. They are also an inexpensive alternative to other semi-solid oils such as palm oil.

Companies like using trans fats in their foods because they’re easy to use, inexpensive to produce, and last a long time. Trans fats give foods a desirable taste and texture. They are used in shortenings for deep-frying in restaurants and fast-food outlets, since oils with trans fats can be used many times in commercial fryers and last longer than most conventional oils before becoming rancid. In the early 21st century, non-hydrogenated vegetable oils that have lifespans exceeding that of the frying shortenings became available.

Is trans fat worse than saturated fat in promoting heart disease?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Institute of Medicine and the American Heart Association both agree that trans fatty acids have a stronger effect on the risk of coronary heart disease than saturated fatty acids.

Why are trans fats so unhealthy?

Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils are extremely harmful to heart and vascular health, because they elevate bad cholesterol (“low density lipoproteins” or LDL) in the bloodstream, while lowering good cholesterol (“high density lipoproteins” or HDL). These changes increase the risk of fat deposition within artery walls, sclerosis (hardening of artery walls), atherosclerosis, heart disease, heart attack, diabetes, and stroke. Efforts are being made to remove trans fats from our food supply.

Do trans fats occur naturally?

Trans fat found in foods can either be natural or artificial. Naturally occuring trans fat is produced in the gut of some grazing animals, and that is why small amounts can be found in animal-based foods such as butter, butterfat, milk, and certain meats including beef, lamb, and pork. However, trans fats in processed foods seem to be more harmful than naturally occurring trans fats.

Do naturally occurring trans fats pose the same risks as manufactured ones?

No. Naturally occurring trans fats do not have the same bad effects on cholesterol levels as trans fats that have been industrially manufactured. Research reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicates that naturally occurring trans fats found in dairy and meat products, when eaten in moderation, are not as harmful as manmade trans fats and do not increase heart risks.

Where are artificial trans fats found?

Trans fats are found  in hardened vegetable fats such as stick margarine, vegetable shortenings like Crisco, and foods made with them, including many commercially prepared baked goods (biscuits, crackers, cookies, cakes, muffins, pancake mixes, pastries, pie crusts, pizza dough, and other items), packaged mixes, almost all fast food (doughnuts, French fries, etc.), as well as many commercially prepared nut butters, spreads, candies, chocolates, and snack foods:

Whole Milk and cheese     18.8      Natural

Butter                                         5.9      Natural

Eggs                                            0.9      Natural

Meat and meat products   10.3      Natural

Oils and fats                           35.5      Mainly resulting from hydrogenation

Biscuits and cakes               16.5       Mainly resulting from hydrogenation

Savoury pies, etc                    3.5      Mainly resulting from hydrogenation

Chips, french fries                 4.5      Mainly resulting from hydrogenation

Since fast-food chains often use different fats and cooking techniques in different locations, trans fat levels in fast food can vary from one region to another.

Why do artificial trans fats produce serious health problems?

Hydrogenated oils increase serum cholesterol more than other types of fats. The addition of hydrogen to oil makes the trans fat more difficult to digest, and the body seems to treat the trans fat as a saturated fat. One theory is that human lipase enzyme, a water-soluble enzyme that helps to digest, transport, and process dietary lipids such as triglycerides, fats, and oils in most living organisms cannot metabolize trans fats. Trans fatty acids may also impair the metabolism of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs).

Can a food product list the amount of trans fat as 0 grams on the Nutrition Facts panel if the ingredient list indicates that it contains “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil?”

Yes. Food manufacturers are allowed to list amounts of trans fat with less than 0.5 gram (1/2 g) as 0 (zero) on the Nutrition Facts panel. As a result, consumers may find products, like brownie mix, corn muffin mix, pizza, packaged cookies, etc., that list 0 g trans fat on the panel, which actually contain “partially hydrogenated vegetable oils” like soybean or cottonseed oil or “shortening.” This means the food contains very small amounts (less than 0.5 g) of trans fat per serving. However, if a person eats more than 1 serving at a time, or, for example, a whole bag of popcorn or chips, then a large amount of unhealthy trans fat will be ingested.

Is it safe to consume small amounts of trans fats?

No! There is no safe level, recommended daily amount, or tolerable upper limit for trans fat consumption. This is because any incremental increase in trans fat intake increases the risk of coronary heart disease. Always read the ingredient list on a food package. Even if the package’s nutrition label indicates 0 g trans fats, if any trans fat is mentioned in the ingredient list, such as a “hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil and tropical oils, like coconut and palm oil,”  avoid buying that food item.

Health effects of trans fats: 

  • Before 1990, very little was known about the health effects of trans fats. In the 1990s, research began identifying their adverse health effects.
  • Whether of animal or plant origin, trans fatty acids are not essential and provide no benefit to human health.
  • While both saturated and trans fats increase LDL levels, trans fats also lower HDL levels, significantly increasing the risk of coronary heart disease.
  • Dietary trans fatty acids promote more coronary heart disease than saturated fatty acids.
  • Trans fats have been shown to increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
  • It has been established that trans fats in human milk fluctuate with maternal consumption of trans fat, and that the amount of trans fats in the bloodstream of breastfed infants fluctuates with the amounts found in their milk. Reported percentages of trans fats (compared to total fats) in human milk range from 1% in Spain, 2% in France, 4% in Germany, and 7% in Canada and the United States.

Due to the damage trans fats do to the entire cardiovascular system, consuming them may actually increase your risk of other chronic health problems: 

  • Alzheimer’s Disease: Consumption of both trans fats and saturated fats may hasten the development of Alzheimer disease, by impairing memory and learning, and promoting inflammation in and around the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory.
  • Cancer: The American Cancer Society states that a relationship between trans fats and cancer “has not been determined.” One study has found a positive connection between trans fat and prostate cancer. However, a larger study found a correlation between trans fats and a significant decrease in high-grade prostate cancer. An increased intake of trans fatty acids may raise the risk of breast cancer significantly, according to results from the French part of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition.
  • Obesity: Animal studies indicate that trans fats may increase weight gain and intra-abdominal deposition of fat, and cause insulin resistance.
  • Liver dysfunction: Trans fats are metabolized differently by the liver than other fats and interfere with delta 6 desaturase, an enzyme involved in converting essential fatty acids to arachidonic acid and prostaglandin, both of which are important to the functioning of cells.
  • Infertility in women
  • Depression
  • Behavioral irritability and aggression: A 2012 observational analysis of subjects of an earlier study found a strong correlation between dietary trans fat acids and self-reported behavioral aggression and irritability, suggesting but not establishing causality.

How can I avoid trans fats?

  • Read the Nutrition Facts panel and check the ingredient list on foods you buy at the store. The amount of trans fats in a particular packaged food should be listed in the Nutrition Facts panel. Ingredients referred to as “partially hydrogenated oils” are trans fats.
  • When eating out, ask what kind of oil foods are cooked in.
  • Replace trans fats in your diet with monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats.*

Are coconut oil and palm oil healthy? 

Coconut oil and palm oil are higher in saturated fat than other plant oils. They are less harmful than partially hydrogenated oil, which is high in trans fats. But they are less beneficial for your heart than plant oils that are rich in unsaturated fats such as olive, canola, sunflower, and other oils. Coconut oil increases good cholesterol, which may make it okay when cooking a dish that needs a little hard fat. Generally, it is better to cook with extra-virgin olive oil. The healthy fats in extra-virgin olive oil are stable at temperatures used in home cooking. However, for deep-fat frying or stir frying use an oil that’s more stable, like peanut oil.

 *Healthy fats include:

  • Monounsaturated fats: found in olive, canola, and peanut oils, nuts, and avocados.
  • Polyunsaturated fats: found in other plant-based oils, such as safflower, corn, sunflower, soybean, sesame, and cottonseed oils.

References: 

  1. “Eat Healthy Fats.” The Mayo Clinic Diet. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Published by Merle Good. p. 28-29. 2010.
  2. “Questions and Answers Regarding Trans Fat.” United States Food and Drug Administration. 10903 New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20993, [Tel. 1-888-INFO-FDA (1-888-463-6332)]. 11/07/13. (Source: www.fda.gov/Food/PopularTopics/ucm373922.htm)


 

November 7, 2013

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Heart-Healthy Nutty Cinnamon Granola

by Diane, M.P.H, M.S.

Store-bought granola often contains unhealthy ingredients, such as high-fructose corn syrup, sugar, and hydrogenated oils which may increase your appetite, cause weight gain, and elevate your risk of heart disease. In addition to providing excess calories from these ingredients, it is rather costly.
The following granola recipe, a combination of whole grains, nuts, seeds, dried unsweetened fruits, and cinnamon, is very easy to prepare, economical, delicious, high in fiber, heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and allows you to be creative. Mix the dry ingredients in any proportions you desire, with oats making up most of the mix. Serve it for breakfast with low-fat or non-fat milk, by itself as a healthy snack, or as a delightful dessert topping over fresh fruit, nonfat yogurt, cottage cheese, or ice cream.

 

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1 cup raw, unsalted nuts (chopped, slivered, or whole almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, walnuts)
  • 1 cup seeds such as ground flaxseed, hulled pumpkin, sesame, and/or sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ (optional)
  • 1-2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1 cup, or more, dried fruit, preferably unsweetened, such as chopped apricots, dates, golden and/or dark raisins

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large roasting pan or rimmed cookie sheet, combine dry ingredients (oats, nuts, seeds, wheat germ, cinnamon).
  3. Add oil and maple syrup to dry ingredients. Stir well and spread the blended mixture evenly in pan.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring once or twice. Continue baking for 10-15 minutes more until crispy and golden brown.
  5. Remove from oven and cool thoroughly.
  6. Stir dried fruit into cooled granola.
  7. Store in an air-tight container for 2 weeks or in freezer for 1 month.

Nutrition per 1/2 cup serving: 270 calories, 7 grams protein, 27 g carbohydrates, 16 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 8 g monounsaturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber, 3 mg sodium.

 Fruit and Yogurt Parfait 088

Fresh fruit, granola, and yogurt parfait

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Health Benefits of Cranberries

by Diane, M.P.H, M.S.

Cranberries are a wonderful source of Vitamin C, a good source of Vitamins E, K, and A, dietary fiber, lutein, zeaxanthin, folate, and minerals like manganese, copper, and potassium, as well as, other essential micronutrients that support good health. Naturally low in calories, fat, and sodium, cranberries play a significant role in preventing urinary tract infections, reducing the risk of gum disease and tooth decay, and possibly other inflammatory conditions. 

Why are cranberries so good for you?

  • Cranberries are rich in phytonutrients (naturally-derived plant compounds), especially proanthocyanidin antioxidants*, which are essential for good health. They surpass nearly every fruit and vegetable, including strawberries, spinach, broccoli, red grapes, apples, raspberries, and cherries, in offering the most disease-fighting antioxidant activity, the strongest effect on inhibiting human cancer cells, and the most powerful phytochemicals! A unique variety of antioxidants (phenolic antioxidants, proanthocyanidin antioxidants, anthocyanin antioxidants, flavonoid antioxidants, and triterpenoid antioxidants) and combination of three antioxidant nutrients (resveratrol, piceatannol, and pterostilbene) are found exclusively in whole cranberries. These phytonutrients provide maximal antioxidant benefits only when consumed in combination with each other, and also, only when consumed with conventional antioxidant nutrients present in cranberry like manganese and vitamin C. When cranberry processing disrupts this antioxidant combination, health benefits are decreased. Studies have shown that it is the overall blend of cranberry antioxidants that provides the strongest health benefits. (One cup of whole cranberries has an Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) score of 9584 µmol TE units per 100 g, one of the highest in the category of edible berries. Only blueberries 0ffer more [wild varieties have 13,427; cultivated blueberries have 9,019]).

  • Provide an excellent source of 2 types of important phytochemicals:
    • Flavonoids (anthocyanins, flavonols, proanthocyanidins): Research suggests that these three phytochemicals work together to suppress the growth of human cancer cells and decrease the risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
    • Phenolic acids (hydroxycinnamic acid)
  • Help prevent and treat bladder/urinary tract infections: Cranberries contain proanthocyanidins (PACs), that seem to make it more difficult for certain types of pathogenic bacteria, like E. coli, the bacteria responsible for 80-90% of urinary tract infections, to latch onto the bladder and urinary tract lining. Women who drink cranberry juice tend to suffer fewer symptomatic urinary tract infections (UTIs). By making it more difficult for unwanted bacteria to cling to the bladder and urinary tract lining, PACs help prevent proliferation of bacterial populations that could result in outright infection. The age group in which researchers are least sure about this process involves children—it’s not clear when cranberry’s health benefits fully extend to this age group. Benefits have been most pronounced in middle-aged women who have experienced recurrent UTIs. In some studies, UTIs in this age and gender group have been reduced by more than 1/3 through dietary consumption of cranberry juice.

  • Cranberry’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients (ex., flavonoids) support digestive health and have been associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer and periodontal disease.
  • Optimize the balance of bacteria in our digestive tract: Participants in a recent study who drank 2 ounces of cranberry juice daily over the course of 3 months were able to increase the relative amount (%) of Bifidobacteria in their digestive tract while maintaining other bacterial types (Bifidobacteria are typically considered to be a desirable and “friendly” type of bacteria). As a result, the microbial environment of the digestive tract improved.
  • Regular cranberry juice consumption for months been associated with a significant reduction in Helicobacter pylori bacteria which increase the risk of stomach cancer and ulcers: Stomach ulcers are often related to overgrowth of one particular type of stomach bacteria (Helicobacter pylori or H. pylori) on the stomach lining. Just as PACs help prevent the adhesion of certain bacteria to the lining of the bladder and urinary tract, PACs seem to prevent attachment of H. pylori to the stomach wall. Cranberry juice may help reduce the risk of gum disease and stomach ulcer in this way. Cranberries are the only fruit that contain these unique and powerful PACs.
  • Anti-inflammatory benefits: Dietary consumption of cranberry has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic, unwanted inflammation in the stomach, large intestine (colon) and cardiovascular system (especially blood vessel linings). For the cardiovascular system and many parts of the digestive tract (including the mouth, gums, stomach, and colon) cranberry has been shown to provide important anti-inflammatory benefits. Phytonutrients in cranberry are especially effective in lowering our risk of unwanted inflammation, and virtually all of the phytonutrient categories represented in cranberry are now known to play a role. These phytonutrient categories include PACs, anthocyanins (the flavonoid pigments that give cranberries their deep shades of red), flavonols like quercetin, and phenolic acid (hydroxycinnamic acids).
  • May improve oral health and reduce the risk of periodontal (gum) disease:
    • PACs prevent plaque formation and the development of cavities on teeth by interfering with the ability of gram-negative bacterium, Streptococcus mutans, to stick to the tooth surface, in a way similar to the mechanism preventing urinary tract infections.
    • The anti-inflammatory properties of cranberry can help lower the risk of periodontal disease. Chronic, excessive levels of inflammation around the gums can damage tissues that support our teeth. This kind of inflammation gets triggered by overproduction of certain pro-inflammatory cytokines (messaging molecules) which “tell” cells to mount an inflammatory response. As messages are sent more frequently, the inflammatory response becomes greater. Phytonutrients in cranberry help reduce this inflammatory cascade of events precisely at the cytokine level.
  • Lower the risk of high blood pressure: Animal studies with rats and mice indicate that cranberry antioxidants benefit the cardiovascular system by reducing oxidative stress inside blood vessels which could eventually damage blood vessels and elevate blood pressure. Additionally, antioxidants may lessen or prevent overconstriction of blood vessels which would increase blood pressure.
  • Promote a healthy cardiovascular system: The combination of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients in cranberries may prevent cardiovascular disease by counteracting against cholesterol plaque formation in the heart and blood vessels. These compounds also appear to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels in the blood. Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation place blood vessel walls at great risk of damage. Once damaged, blood vessels walls can undergo a process of plaque formation, and the risk of atherosclerosis (blood vessel wall thickening, stenosis, and blocking) can be greatly increased. Dietary intake of cranberries and cranberry juice (in normal everyday amounts, unchanged for research study purposes) has been shown to prevent the activation of two enyzmes that are pivotal in the atherosclerosis process by blocking activity of a pro-inflammatory cytokine- messaging molecule called tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha). These anti-inflammatory benefits of cranberry appear to be critical components in the cardiovascular protection offered by this amazing fruit.
  • Help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and total cholesterol, but raise HDL (good) cholesterol.
  • Consumption of cranberries turns urine acidic: This, together with the bacterial anti-adhesion property of cranberry juice helps prevent the formation of alkaline (calcium ammonium phosphate) stones in the urinary tract by working against proteus bacterial-infections.
  • Contain hippuric acid, which has an antibacterial effect on the body, as well as natural antibiotic ingredients.
  • May improve immunity and reduce the risk of colds and the flu.
  • May help to trigger programmed cell death in tumor cells (apoptosis) and reduce the risk of cancer, especially breast, colon, lung, and prostate cancer: Chronic excessive oxidative stress (from lack of sufficient antioxidant support) and chronic excessive inflammation (from lack of sufficient anti-inflammatory compounds) are two key factors which raise the risk of cancer. The cancer-related benefits of cranberries are not surprising, since they are rich in both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients.
  • Whole cranberries consumed in dietary form, in comparison with purified cranberry extracts consumed in either liquid or dried supplement form, do a better job of protecting our cardiovascular system and liver: It is the synergy among cranberry nutrients (rather than individual cranberry components) that is responsible for cranberry’s health benefits. This synergy is only found in the whole berry when consumed as food. The importance of “whole foods” in our diet definitely applies to the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer benefits of cranberry.

There is a clear association between a diet high in fruits and vegetables and a low risk of chronic disease. Fruits and vegetables contain phytonutrients, naturally derived from plant compounds. In particular, antioxidants, a group of extremely beneficial phytonutrients, are increasingly being shown to contribute to improving human health. For optimum health try to eat 5-10 servings of various fruits and vegetables each day.

Safety concern for patients with oxalate stones or on Coumadin:
  • Cranberries contain oxalic acid, a substance naturally found in many fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds (ex., spinach, rhubarb, chard, beets, beet leaves, bananas, star fruit) which may crystallize as oxalate stones in the urinary tract in some individuals. People with a known history of oxalate urinary tract stones should limit intake of cranberries and, especially vegetables belonging within the Brassica family. Adequate water intake is advised to dilute and maintain normal urine output and reduce the risk of such stones. If you have kidney stones, consult your doctor before self-treating with cranberry juice or cranberry products.
  • People taking Coumadin (Warfaran) should avoid or minimize eating cranberries, drinking cranberry juice, or taking cranberry containing herbal products. Cranberry products destabilize Coumadin and increase its anticoagulant effect on the body which increases the risk of severe bleeding problems. Avoid or drink only small amounts of cranberry juice when taking warfarin.

* Antioxidants: Important compounds in plants which protect the body from “free radicals,” harmful oxidants in cigarette smoke, pollutants, unhealthy foods, and environmental toxins. Free radicals cause cell damage which weakens the immune system and may increase the risk of several diseases. Antioxidants reduce the effect of free radical oxidants by binding with them to decrease their destructive tendencies and repairing the damage already done. Research has shown that antioxidants help to maintain healthy cells, tissues, and arteries.

Medical disclaimer: The information on this website is intended solely for the general information for the reader. It is not to be used to diagnose specific health problems or for treatment purposes. It is not a substitute for medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. Please consult your health care provider for any advice on medications.

References:

  1. “Cranberries: #1 in Antioxidants and #1 in Proanthocyanidins (PACs).” USDA Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) of Selected Foods. 2007.
  2. “Cranberries-What’s New and Beneficial About Cranberries?” Whole Foods: The World’s Healthiest Foods. 2013. (Source: www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=145)
  3. Davis, Jeanie Lerche. “Cranberries: Year-Round Superfood. You Can Get the Antioxidant Benefits of Cranberries Long After the Holidays.” WebMD, Inc. Feature Archive. 2007. Reviewed on September 29, 2009.

 

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Cranberry Sauce with Apricots, Raisins, and Orange Recipe
Stewed fruit compotes are a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth while receiving numerous nutritional benefits. A compote can be served alone, as a side dish for a meal, a topping for hot cereal, plain or vanilla yogurt, or over fresh sliced fruit such as pears and apples for a healthy dessert. 
The following recipes are easy to make and taste wonderful! If you cannot locate fresh cranberries, substitute frozen ones. Note that canned versions of cranberry sauce contain not only cranberries, but also genetically modified high fructose corn syrup, genetically modified corn syrup, filtered water, and probably Bisphenol A (an endocrine disruptor) due to the epoxy lining of the can. Always try to use wholesome, fresh ingredients in season, with minimal or no added sugar, for better health.
Healthy Cranberry Compote with Apricots, Raisins, and Oranges
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Ingredients for 16-18 servings:
  • 16-ounce package (1 lb.) or 4 cups fresh cranberries, picked over, rinsed, and drained
  • 1 cup orange juice (or use juice of 2 large fresh-squeezed oranges)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar* (optional)
  • 1 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1 cup golden or dark raisins or currants
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange rind (zest)
  • Chopped fruit of 3 oranges (rind and seeds removed)
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium/high heat, combine the orange juice, water, sugar*, cranberries, apricots, raisins, orange zest, orange chunks, and cinnamon stick.
  2. Stir gently and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until cranberries burst and sauce thickens slightly, about 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat. Cranberry sauce will continue to thicken as it cools at room temperature. Transfer to a bowl.
  4. Refrigerate until serving time. (If added during cooking, remove cinnamon stick before serving.)
  5. Sauce can be made a day in advance.
* While honey, maple syrup, or molasses may be substituted for sugar, this compote is delicious, wholesome, and healthier without any sweetener added, due to the natural sweetness of all the fruits in the recipe. Add a cinnamon stick during cooking and/or some ground cinnamon after removing the compote from heat to enhance the natural flavors of the fruits (I use 1 cinnamon stick and about 1/3 teaspoon of ground cinnamon).
Cranberry Sauce with Ginger and Pineapple
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients for 10-12 servings:

  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp minced orange zest
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 12-ounce bag of fresh or frozen cranberries (Rinsed and picked over)
  • 1/2 cup crushed pineapple
  • 1/2 cup honey

Directions:

  1. Bring orange juice, ginger, zest, and cinnamon to a boil on high heat in a medium saucepan.
  2. Add cranberries to pan once liquid is boiling. Reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add crushed pineapple and honey. Remove from heat and cool.

Traditional Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 12-ounce package Ocean Spray® Fresh or Frozen Cranberries

Directions:

Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil; add cranberries, return to boil. Reduce heat and boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover and cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate until serving time. Makes 2 1/4 cups.

Per serving (2 Tablespoons): Calories 51(3%DV), Fat 0grams, Pot. 14mg(<1%DV), Total Carb. 13grams(4%DV), Dietary Fiber <1gram(3%DV), Sugars 11grams, Vitamin C 2mg(3%DV), Dietary
Exchange: Fruit 1

Other additions to cranberry sauce:
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon or 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Stick cinnamon
  • Minced peeled fresh or ground ginger
  • Fresh or dried thyme or rosemary
  • Diced apples
  • Diced pineapple
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Chopped pecans, walnuts, or other nuts
  • Dried or frozen pitted cherries

Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Apple Crisp Recipe

Ingredients for 9 servings:

  • 5 cups tart apples (about 6 medium apples), pared and sliced
  • 1½ cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ cup butter

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Lightly grease a 9-inch square baking pan.
  2. Layer apples and cranberries in pan, sprinkling with sugar as you layer.
  3. Make topping: Mix flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Work in butter until light and crumbly. Sprinkle topping evenly over apples and cranberries.
  4. Bake 45 minutes or until apples are tender.

Per serving: Calories 210 (25% from fat); Protein 1 g; Fat 6 g; Carbohydrates 39 g; Cholesterol 15 mg; Fiber 3 g; Sodium 64 g.

References:

  1. “Cranberries-What’s New and Beneficial About Cranberries?” Whole Foods: The World’s Healthiest Foods. 2013. (Source: www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=145)
  2. Davis, Jeanie Lerche. “Cranberries: Year-Round Superfood. You Can Get the Antioxidant Benefits of Cranberries Long After the Holidays.” WebMD, Inc. Feature Archive. 2007. Reviewed on September 29, 2009.
  3. “Fresh Cranberry Sauce Recipe.” Ocean Spray. (Source: www.oceanspray.com/Recipes/Corporate/Sauces,-Sides…) 

 

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healthy cranberry sauce recipe Sugarless Cranberry Sauce

Serving cranberry sauce is a tradition during the holidays. However, cranberries are a superfood which can be enjoyed all year round.

The cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) is related to the blueberry and huckleberry in the Vaccinium genus. It grows in acidic bogs throughout the US and Canada, particularly in New England, Washington, Oregon, northern California, and southwestern British Columbia. The plant resembles a dwarf, creeping shrub or vine with slender, wiry, woody stems bearing small, evergreen leaves and can reach 2 meters in length and 10-20 centimeters in height. The berry is initially white but turns to its characteristic scarlet color in July-August.

Fresh native American cranberries are sometimes called “bounceberries” because ripe ones bounce or “craneberries” due to their pale pink blossoms which resemble the heads of cranes that frequent cranberry bogs. A fruit with a short season, cranberries are harvested between Labor Day and Halloween and appear in markets from October through December. Besides adding a festive hue and tart tangy flavor to holiday meals, fresh cranberries offer numerous beneficial nutrients and health protective effects which peak during this season. Once cranberries’ short fresh season is past, unsweetened cranberry juice made from whole berries and dried or frozen cranberries are available to offer delicious health benefits every day throughout the year.

The ripe cranberry is a small, round, red berry with four centrally situated tiny seeds enclosed inside. The berry is very acidic in taste, having a ph in the range of 2.3 to 2.5.

How cranberries are harvested:

Many cranberries are water-harvested, i.e., grown in bogs and floated on the surface of the water to allow for easy harvesting. The anthocyanin content of cranberries (the phytonutrients that give the berries their red color) increases in direct proportion to the amount of natural sunlight received by the berry. If berries floating on top of water get exposed to increased amounts of natural sunlight (in comparison to other growing and harvesting conditions), they may develop greater concentrations of anthocyanins. These greater concentrations of anthocyanins are likely to provide stronger health benefits. Since water-harvesting tends to expose cranberries to more natural sunlight than other growing methods, greater phytonutrient health benefits may result from the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of anthocyanins.

How to select and store:

  • Choose fresh, plump cranberries, deep red in color, and firm to the touch.
  • Firmness is a primary indicator of quality. In fact, during harvesting, high quality cranberries are often sorted from lesser quality ones by bouncing the berries against barriers made of slanted boards. The best berries bounce over the barriers, while the inferior ones collect in the reject pile.
  • The deeper red their color, the more highly concentrated are cranberries’ beneficial anthocyanin compounds.
  • Although typically packed in 12-ounce plastic bags, fresh cranberries, especially if organic, may be available in pint containers.
  • Fresh ripe cranberries stored in the refrigerator are usually good for up to 2 weeks. Before storing, discard any soft, discolored, pitted or shriveled berries. When removed from the refrigerator, cranberries may look damp, but this moistness does not indicate spoilage, unless the berries are discolored, sticky, leathery, or tough.
  • Fresh cranberries freeze well. To freeze, store them in their original plastic bag, without pre-washing, for up to one year. DO NOT THAW frozen cranberries before using. Simply rinse in cold water and use as directed for fresh cranberries. Frozen berries can be chopped in a food processor (one bag or 3 cups /750 mL at a time). Another way to freeze fresh cranberries is to spread them on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer. In a few hours, the fully frozen berries will be ready to place in a freezer bag. Date the bag before returning them to the freezer. Buy extra bags of fresh cranberries and freeze them for year-round use.
  • Once thawed, frozen berries will be soft and should be used immediately.
  • Dried cranberries are available at many markets with other dried fruits, but often include added sugar.

For optimum health try to eat 5-10 servings of various fruits and vegetables each day.

Preparing cranberries:

  • Treat fresh berries with care. Just prior to use, place them in a strainer and briefly and gently rinse under cool running water. Drain in a colander.
  • When using frozen cranberries in recipes that do not require cooking, thaw well and drain prior to using. For cooked recipes, use unthawed berries, since this will ensure maximum flavor. Extend the cooking time a few minutes to accommodate for the frozen berries.
  • Cranberries offer their maximum amount of nutrients and taste when eaten fresh and not prepared in a cooked recipe. That is because their nutrients, including vitamins, antioxidants*, and enzymes, cannot withstand the temperature normally used in baking (350°F/175°C).

Nutrition:

Native American cranberries are quite nutritious and known for being a good source of vitamin C. One-half cup (50.00 grams or 125 ml) of fresh cranberries contains 23-25 calories and the following recommended daily allowances: vitamins C (11%), E (4%), pantothenic acid (3%), K (2%), and A (1%); 2.3 grams of fiber (6%), minerals manganese (8%), copper (3.5%), and potassium (1%), plus many natural antioxidants.

Fresh cranberries contain no cholesterol, virtually no fat, and very little sodium. Fresh, as well as dried, berries contain the most antioxidants, while bottled cranberry drinks and cranberry cocktails with added sugars contain the least.

Cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon), Fresh, ORAC score 9584,
Nutritive Value per 100 g.
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
(Principle) (Nutrient Value) (Percentage of RDA)
Energy 46 Kcal 2.3%
Carbohydrates 12.2 g 9%
Protein 0.4 g 1%
Total Fat 0.13 g <1%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 4.6 g 12%
Vitamins    
Folates 1 µg <1%
Niacin 0.101 mg 1%
Pantothenic acid 0.295 mg 6%
Pyridoxine 0.057 mg 4%
Riboflavin 0.020 mg 2%
Thiamin 0.012 mg 1%
Vitamin A 60 IU 2%
Vitamin C 13.3 mg 22%
Vitamin E 1.20 mg 8%
Vitamin K 5.1 µg 4%
Electrolytes    
Sodium 2 mg 0%
Potassium 85 mg 2%
Minerals    
Calcium 8 mg 1%
Copper 0.061 mg 7%
Iron 0.25 mg 3%
Magnesium 6 mg 1.5%
Manganese 0.360 mg 16%
Phosphorus 13 mg 2%
Selenium 0.1 µg 0%
Zinc 0.10 mg 1%
Phyto-nutrients    
Carotene-ß 36 µg
Crypto-xanthin-ß 0 µg
Lutein-zeaxanthin 91 µg
Some quick serving ideas:
  • Use cranberries to replace vinegar or lemon when dressing green salads. Toss the greens with a little olive oil, then add color and zest with a handful of raw cranberries.
  • Add dried cranberries to your favorite cereal
  • Drink 100% fruit juice that includes cranberries
  • Add cranberries to chicken and pork dishes
  • To balance their extreme tartness, combine fresh cranberries with other fruits such as oranges, apples, pineapple, or pears. If desired, add some fruit juice, honey, or maple syrup to chopped fresh cranberries.
  • For an easy-to-make salad that will become a holiday favorite, place 2 cups fresh berries in a blender with 1/2 cup pineapple chunks, a quartered skinned orange, 1 apple, and some walnuts or pecans. Blend till well mixed but still chunky. Transfer to a large bowl. Dice 3-4 stalks of celery and add to the cranberry mixture. Stir till just combined. Enjoy!
  • Combine unsweetened cranberry juice in equal parts with your favorite fruit juice and sparkling mineral water for a lightly sweetened, refreshing spritzer. Garnish with a slice of lime.
  • Add color and variety to your favorite recipes for rice pudding, quick breads or muffins by using dried cranberries instead of raisins.
  • Sprinkle a handful of dried cranberries over a bowl of hot oatmeal, cream of wheat, or any cold cereal.
  • Mix dried cranberries with lightly roasted nuts for a delicious snack.

Fresh, frozen, or dried cranberries may be added to the following for color and flavor:

  • Pancakes and waffles
  • Muffins and breads
  • Fruit desserts, pies, pastries
  • Smoothies
  • Fruit juice blends
  • Meat entrees
  • Holiday stuffing
  • Fruit and vegetable salads
  • Jell-O salads
  • Sauces for meat and sandwiches
Safety concern for patients with oxalate stones or on Coumadin:
  • Cranberries contain oxalic acid, a substance naturally found in many fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds (ex., spinach, rhubarb, chard, beets, beet leaves, bananas, star fruit) which may crystallize as oxalate stones in the urinary tract in some individuals. People with a known history of oxalate urinary tract stones should limit intake of cranberries and, especially vegetables belonging within the Brassica family. Adequate water intake is advised to dilute and maintain normal urine output and reduce the risk of such stones. If you have kidney stones, consult your doctor before self-treating with cranberry juice or cranberry products.
  • People taking Coumadin (Warfaran) should avoid or minimize eating cranberries, drinking cranberry juice, or taking cranberry containing herbal products. Cranberry products destabilize Coumadin and increase its anticoagulant effect on the body which increases the risk of severe bleeding problems. Avoid or drink only small amounts of cranberry juice when taking warfarin.

Medical disclaimer: The information on this website is intended solely for the general information for the reader. It is not to be used to diagnose specific health problems or for treatment purposes. It is not a substitute for medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. Please consult your health care provider for any advice on medications.

Antioxidants: Important compounds in plants which protect the body from “free radicals,” harmful oxidants in cigarette smoke, pollutants, unhealthy foods, and environmental toxins. Free radicals cause cell damage which weakens the immune system and may increase the risk of several diseases. Antioxidants reduce the effect of free radical oxidants by binding with them to decrease their destructive tendencies and repairing the damage already done. Research has shown that antioxidants help to maintain healthy cells, tissues, and arteries.

References:

  1. “Cranberries: #1 in Antioxidants and #1 in Proanthocyanidins (PACs).” USDA Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) of Selected Foods. 2007.
  2. “Cranberries-What’s New and Beneficial About Cranberries?” Whole Foods: The World’s Healthiest Foods. 2013. (Source: www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=145)
  3. Davis, Jeanie Lerche. “Cranberries: Year-Round Superfood. You Can Get the Antioxidant Benefits of Cranberries Long After the Holidays.” WebMD, Inc. Feature Archive. 2007. Reviewed on September 29, 2009.
 
 

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Oven-Roasted Chickpeas

by Diane, M.P.H, M.S.

Delicious, high in plant protein, fiber, phosphorus, magnesium, folate, iron, thiamin, potassium, and calcium, low in calories, fat, and cholesterol, vegan, and very easy to prepare, roasted chickpeas (Garbanzo beans) may be served as an appetizer for a party, snack, tossed in a salad or over quinoa, rice, or other pilaf.

Other varieties of beans may be added and roasted with the chickpeas in this recipe. If using canned beans, try to select “salt-free” brands when possible.

Ingredients for 8 (1/4 cup) servings:

  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (about 2/3 cup dried), or 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained thoroughly
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, preferably extra-virgin
  • Seasoning variations: Pepper and salt, or 2 garlic cloves, finely minced, or a blend of 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, or 1-2 tablespoons sodium-free cajun or taco seasoning, or a mix of ground cumin, paprika, pepper, and red pepper flakes.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 45

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss beans with oil and seasonings in a bowl to coat evenly.
  3. Spread them on a rimmed cookie sheet or 13 x 9-inch baking pan in a single layer.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, then shake pan or stir to reposition beans for even browning.
  5. Bake 20 minutes more or until crispy and golden brown.
  6. Serve warm or cold.

 Nutrition:

  • Calories: 130
  • Protein: 4 g
  • Carbohydrate: 17 g
  • Dietary fiber: 3 g
  • Total fat: 5 g (from olive oil)
  • Saturated fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 g
  • Trans fat: 0g

 

 

 

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The best six doctors anywhere
And no one can deny it
Are sunshine, water, rest, and air
Exercise and diet.
These six will gladly you attend
If only you are willing
Your mind they’ll ease
Your will they’ll mend
And charge you not a shilling.
(Nursery rhyme quoted by Wayne Fields, What the River Knows, 1990)

Eat more whole fruit:

A new study led by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers and published online in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) August 29, 2013, has reported that eating more whole fruits, especially blueberries, grapes, and apples, is significantly associated with a lower risk of type 2 (maturity-onset) diabetes. However, consumption of fruit juices is associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes. The study is the first to look at the effects of individual fruits on diabetes risk.

“While fruits are recommended as a measure for diabetes prevention, previous studies have found mixed results for total fruit consumption. While total fruit consumption is not consistently associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, certain fruits may be especially beneficial for lowering diabetes risk,” according to senior author Qi Sun, assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition at HSPH and assistant professor at the Channing Division of Network Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

The researchers examined data gathered between 1984 and 2008 from 187,382 participants in three long-running studies (Nurses’ Health Study, Nurses’ Health Study II, and Health Professionals Follow-up Study). Participants who reported a diagnosis of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or cancer at enrollment were excluded. Results showed that 12,198 participants (6.5%) developed diabetes during the study period.

The researchers looked at overall fruit consumption, as well as consumption of individual fruits: grapes or raisins; peaches, plums, or apricots; prunes; bananas; cantaloupe; apples or pears; oranges; grapefruit; strawberries; and blueberries. They also looked at consumption of apple, orange, grapefruit, and “other” fruit juices.

People who ate at least two servings each week of certain whole fruits, particularly blueberries, grapes, and apples, reduced their risk for type 2 diabetes by as much as 23% in comparison to those who ate less than one serving per month. Conversely, those who consumed one or more servings of fruit juice each day increased their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 21%. The researchers found that swapping three servings of juice per week for whole fruits would result in a 7% reduction in diabetes risk.

The fruits’ glycemic index (a measure of how rapidly carbohydrates in a food boost blood sugar) did not prove to be a significant factor in determining a fruit’s association with type 2 diabetes risk. However, the high glycemic index of fruit juice — which passes through the digestive system more rapidly than fiber-rich fruit — may explain the positive link between juice consumption and increased diabetes risk.

The researchers theorize that the beneficial effects of certain individual fruits could be the result of a particular component. Previous studies have linked anthocyanins found in berries and grapes to lowered heart attack risk, for example. But more research is necessary to determine which components in the more beneficial fruits influence diabetes risk.

“Our data further endorse current recommendations on increasing whole fruits, but not fruit juice, as a measure for diabetes prevention,” said lead author Isao Muraki, research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at HSPH. “And our novel findings may help refine this recommendation to facilitate diabetes prevention.”

Avoid drinking juice: 

Type 2 diabetes risk increases with greater consumption of fruit juice. The juicing process causes some of the beneficial natural fiber and phytochemicals in fruit to be lost. Also, since fruit juices are fluids, they can be absorbed more rapidly into the gastrointestinal system than whole fruits, and subsequently lead to more dramatic changes in blood sugar and blood insulin levels.

Scientific evidence exists that large changes in blood sugar and blood insulin levels after meals may in the long run increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. More research is needed to determine if other factors in fruits could further explain their different effects on diabetes risk.

Qi and his colleagues are conducting several studies to further explore the associations between phytochemicals such as resveratrol, flavonoids, and chlorogenic acid, and diabetes risk. “We also hope to extend these associations to persons with chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, and to other patient populations such as diabetic patients.”

 Increase your consumption of a variety of whole fruits, especially blueberries, grapes, and apples, to help reduce your risk of diabetes.

References:
  1. Fields, Wayne. What the River Knows: An Angler in Midstream.  A memoir written by Dr. Fields, Lynne Cooper Harvey Distinguished Professor of English, American Literature and American Culture Studies at 1 Brookings Drive, Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63130-4899. 1990.
  2. Muraki, Isao (research fellow); Fumiaki Imamura (investigator scientist); JoAnn E Manson (professor of medicine); Frank B Hu (professor of nutrition and epidemiology); Walter C Willett (professor of epidemiology and nutrition); Rob M van Dam (associate professor); Qi Sun (assistant professor). “Fruit consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: results from three prospective longitudinal cohort studies.” British Medical Journal (BMJ). 2013; 347 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f5001. Published 08/29/13.

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Risk Factors for Hypertension

by Diane, M.P.H, M.S.

High blood pressure has many risk factors, including:

  • Age: The risk of high blood pressure increases as you age, since blood vessels themselves stiffen with age. High blood pressure tends to become more common as men enter middle-age. Women are more likely to develop high blood pressure after menopause.
  • Race: High blood pressure is especially common among blacks, often developing at an earlier age than it does in whites. Serious complications, such as stroke and heart attack, also are more common in blacks.
  • Family history: High blood pressure tends to run in families, possibly due to similar genetics and/or lifestyle habits.
  • Being overweight or obese: The more you weigh, the more blood you need to supply oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. As blood volume circulated through your blood vessels increases, so does pressure on your artery walls.
  • Sedentary lifestyle: People who are inactive tend to have higher heart rates. A higher heart rate causes your heart to work harder with each contraction, with stronger force on your arteries. Lack of physical activity also increases your risk of being overweight. Regular exercise helps to lower blood pressure. Adults should get about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week (gardening, walking briskly, bicycling, or other aerobic exercise). Muscle-strengthening activities are recommended at least two days a week and should work all major muscle groups.
  • Using tobacco: Not only does smoking or chewing tobacco immediately raise your blood pressure temporarily, but the chemicals in tobacco can damage and inflame the lining of your artery walls. This can cause your arteries to narrow, increasing your blood pressure. Secondhand smoke also can increase your blood pressure.
  • Too much salt (sodium) in your diet: Too much sodium in your diet can cause your body to retain fluid, which increases blood pressure. Some hidden sources of sodium include deli products like cheeses and cold cuts, breads, cereals, crackers, pastries, condiments, sauces, prepared mixes, processed and restaurant foods, and sodas.
  • Too little calcium, magnesium and/or potassium in your diet: All three of these minerals help to regulate and lower blood pressure. Potassium helps balance the amount of sodium in your cells. If you don’t get enough potassium in your diet or retain it, you may accumulate too much sodium in your blood.
  • Too little vitamin D in your diet: It’s uncertain if having too little vitamin D in your diet can increase the risk of high blood pressure. Vitamin D may influence an enzyme produced by the kidneys which affects blood pressure. Low D levels tend to be found in people who stay indoors and have a sedentary lifestyle, or lack fatty fish in their diet. High D levels tend to occur in those who are active outdoors and have a high intake of fatty fish.
  • High intake of saturated and trans fats from dairy (butter, cream, eggs, gravies, ice cream, mayonnaise, etc.), meat, and partially hydrogenated and/or tropical oil products: Choose lean meats or fish and remove the skin and trim the fat before cooking them, fat-free or low-fat dairy products, egg whites rather than whole eggs, olive oil or canola oil rather than processed salad dressing and mayonnaise. Bake, broil, grill, or steam your foods instead of frying them.
  • Drinking too much alcohol: Over time, heavy drinking can damage your heart. Having more than two drinks a day can raise your blood pressure. American Heart Association Guidelines state that drinks should be limited to no more than two a day for men, and no more than one a day for women. A drink is defined as one 12-ounce beer, 4 ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits, or 1 ounce of 100-proof spirits.
  • Too much caffeine: The American Heart Association suggests limiting caffeine intake to no more than 1 or 2 cups a day.
  • Stress: High levels of stress can cause a temporary, but significant, increase in blood pressure. Trying to relax by eating more, using tobacco, or drinking alcohol, may increase problems with high blood pressure.
  • Certain chronic conditions including high cholesterol, diabetes, kidney disease, and sleep apnea.
  • Several medicines can cause blood pressure to rise, including cold and flu medicines containing decongestants, NSAID pain relievers, steroids, diet pills, birth control pills, and some antidepressants: If you have high blood pressure, talk to your doctor about what medicines and supplements you are taking that may affect blood pressure.
  • Pregnancy may sometimes contribute to high blood pressure: Gestational hypertension is a form of high blood pressure that occurs in the second half of pregnancy. Without treatment, it may lead to a serious condition called preeclampsia that endangers both the mother and baby. The condition can limit blood and oxygen flow to the baby and affect the mother’s kidneys and brain. After the baby is born, the mother’s blood pressure usually normalizes.

Although high blood pressure is most common in adults, children may also be at risk if they are overweight, have poor lifestyle habits such as an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise, a family history of the illness, or are African-American. High blood pressure in children may also be caused by kidney or heart problems.

References From Dianesays.com:

  1. “Maintain a Healthy Blood Pressure.” 10/17/12. (This article provides additional information on how to reduce your risk for high blood pressure. Click on the category “Public Health” in the right-hand column to locate the article.)
  2. “Current Recommendations of the American Heart Association and 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans Regarding Sodium Intake.” 11/09/11.
  3. “Hidden Sources of Sodium in the Diet.” 11/11/11.
  4. “Reduce Dietary Salt and Sodium for Good Health.” 11/08/11.
  5. “Some Tips to Reduce Your Salt Intake.” 11/09/11.

 

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“Waste is better utilised through incineration than through landfills, but recy­cling is an even better option. Of course, the best option is prevention of waste production altogether, which often requires direct reuse. The less waste, the better – it’s as simple as that.”

Copenhagen Waste Solution, City of Copenhagen (2008)

Waste-to-Energy Plant by BIG

Danish architects Bjarke Ingels Group have won a competition to design a power plant for Copenhagen with their design that will blow smoke rings and double up as a ski slope. The Waste-to-Energy Plant will replace the neighbouring Amagerforbraending plant and will function as a treatment facility that transforms waste into energy.

Municipal solid waste (MSW), otherwise known as garbage, is a ubiquitous byproduct of industrialized societies. In the United States, sanitary landfills are used most often to dispose of MSW, but the limited availability of land in some places can make it difficult to find suitable locations for new landfills. In some cases, leachate produced from landfills can contaminate ground water. Landfills are also a source of substantial greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 22.3% of U.S. methane emissions in 2008 came from landfills (7). Furthermore, landfills contain much unused energy in the form of MSW. Even when landfill-gas-to-energy (LFGTE) systems are used, they do not recover all of the methane produced by decomposition of MSW (1).

One alternative to LFGTE is the combustion of MSW to generate electricity or heat in a process known as waste-to-energy (WTE). WtE refers to any waste treatment that creates energy in the form of electricity or heat from a waste source that would have been disposed of in a landfill. WtE is a renewable energy because its fuel source, garbage, is sustainable and not depleted. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, WtE is a clean, reliable, renewable source of energy. Today, the U.S. burns 14 % of its solid waste by means of 89 WtE plants in 27 states.

Garbage is a wonderful mixture of energy-rich fuels:

The average American throws away about 5 pounds of trash every day. More and more waste is produced each year in the United States, and populated areas are running out of space for new landfills. From 100 pounds of typical garbage, 80 or more pounds can be burned as fuel to generate electricity at a power plant. A ton of garbage generates about 525 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity, enough to heat a typical office building for one day. Urban areas could benefit greatly from this form of energy, since the fuel source is readily available in large quantities, pollution and the need for landfills would decrease, and ultimately the dilemma of waste management would be reduced.

Waste-to-Energy (WtE)= Energy-from-Waste (EfW):

Residual waste that cannot be recycled in an economic or environmentally beneficial way offers a valuable local source of climate-friendly energy for the benefit of both people and the environment.

WtE is the process of creating or recovering energy in the form of electricity or heat from the incineration of this non-recyclable garbage. Combustible fuel in the form of methane, methanol, ethanol, or synthetic fuels can also be produced this way. Modern waste-to-energy plants actually outperform alternative forms of waste treatment such as landfills and ocean dumping (Yes-this still occurs!), in terms of their carbon footprint and other impacts on the environment.

Europe has greatly surpassed the United States in developing technology to convert residential and industrial trash into heat and electricity, without the release of harmful emissions or other environmental pollution. Modern plants use highly effective filters and scrubbers to capture chemicals such as hydrochloric acid, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, dioxins, furans and heavy metals, as well as, small particulates.

Already 400 such plants have been built and are operating in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland. These countries also have the highest rates of recycling in the world and burn only non-recyclable material in their energy-generating incinerators.

 

There are more than 600 modern WTE facilities, including 89 in the United States, operating worldwide without any significant pollution. They produce much-needed clean, renewable energy, replacing the need to extract and burn coal, oil, and natural gas.

 
One famous example of a waste-to-energy plant is “Spittelau,” in the centre of Vienna, Austria. The Spittelau plant provides the nearby hospital with heating and cooling and is one of several plants that provide such services for the city. The plant resembles a work of art and is so well known as a city landmark that it attracts tourists from around the world. 
 

What goes on at a Waste-to-Energy plant?

WtE plants are somewhat like coal-fired power plants. The difference is the fuel. WtE plants use garbage, not coal, to fire an industrial boiler. Similar steps are used to make electricity in a waste-to-energy plant as in a coal-fired power plant:

  1. The fuel is burned with high temperature combustion that completely destroys viruses, bacteria, rotting food, and other organic compounds found in household garbage that could potentially impact human health.
  2. The heat generated turns water into steam which can be used in a heating system or a factory.
  3. Typically the high-pressure steam turns the blades of a turbine generator to produce electricity.
  4. After any incombustible residue (ash) cools, magnets and other mechanical devices pull metals from the ash for recycling. This is an important step, since a WtE plant can recycle thousands of tons of metals from its ash.
  5. The really advanced technology in burning trash is the air quality (emission) control system. America’s waste-to-energy facilities today meet some of the strictest environmental standards in the world and employ the most advanced emissions control equipment available including scrubbers to control acid gas, fabric filters to control particulate, selective non-catalytic reduction (SNCR) to control nitrogen oxides, and carbon injection to control mercury and organic emissions.
  6. Another challenge is the disposal of the ash after combustion. Ash can contain high concentrations of various metals and harmful chemicals that were in the original waste. The ash is tested for harmful substances and can then be reused for many applications. Most of the ash is used to build roads and make cement.
  7. Finally a utility company sends the electricity that was generated along power lines to homes, schools, and businesses.

A waste-to-energy facility can generate a range of outputs:

  • Electricity
  • District heating
  • District cooling
  • Steam for industrial processes
  • Desalinated seawater

Vestforbrænding, courtesy of Vestforbrænding

In 2004, the amount of heat and power generated from waste in Copenhagen was enough for the needs of 70,000 households, producing 210,000 MWH of electical energy and 720,000 MWH of heat. All of this energy was obtained from the city’s three municipal waste incinerators: I/S Amagerforbrænding, I/S Vestforbrænding, and Rensningsanlæg Lynetten.

Modern waste-to-energy plants offer many benefits because they:

  1. Produce electricity with less environmental impact than almost any other source of electricity, including coal mining, oil drilling, hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, and nuclear power (7).
  2. Are cleaner than sanitary landfills in terms of overall environmental pollution when properly equipped with pollution control devices for flue gases (1).
  3. Offer a more efficient energy recovery system than LFGTE.
  4. Promote the concept of ‘zero waste,’ i.e., reduce, reuse, recycle.
  5. Do not require foreign oil or fossil fuels for their operation: Dependence on foreign oil is reduced. Oil prices fluctuate, and many of the remaining reserves are in Middle East countries which do not feel friendly towards westerners.
  6. Produce energy domestically: American homes and landfills provide plenty of trash each day, enough so that materials for this process would never have to be transported very far or run out. Many landfills are already overflowing with this alternative energy source.
  7. Promote stability in availability and pricing of electricity, since there are no wide fluctuations in the availability of trash.
  8. Can operate 24 hours a day, every day of the year, providing more than enough electricity to meet local community needs.
  9. Benefit the local community and economy: Since municipal waste-to-energy plants are built to provide for the local area, instead of being situated far away, they offer many advantages to a community. Jobs are created, taxes are paid, supplies are purchased at local businesses and stores, and energy is provided for a reasonable cost that does not pollute or harm the environment.
  10. Provide additional economic benefit in recovering up to 90% of ferrous materials from both waste-stream inflow and bottom-ash outflow: 77% of WtE facilities in the USA already have this capacity.
  11. Reduce the need for landfills and reduce environmental pollution: By using municipal WtE facilities space is preserved in landfills. Trash that is incinerated would otherwise take up space in a landfill and contribute to environmental degredation. Many landfills around the world have closed, since they have reached full capacity. The world is running out of places to dump the trash being created daily.
  12. There is an unlimited supply of municipal waste: With all the garbage generated globally each day, plus the refuse in many landfills, there is enough trash to generate all the electricity needed. Our oceans are also littered with waste, offering another source of energy.
  13. Significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions: WtE plants release a minute fraction of the emissions produced by fossil fuel power plants. This means far fewer emissions to damage the ozone layer and contribute to global warming.
  14. Do not pose a risk to environmental or public health: There are no dangerous chemicals or toxins either used or released to poison wildlife and contaminate land and water in the area. Pollution and greenhouse gas emissions are far less than using coal or other resources.
  15. Promote recycling: Less waste occurs because of items being sorted and recycled. Note that for each item recycled there is about 20% more energy conserved than what is needed to manufacture the item. Recycling minimizes both the need for natural resources and environmental damage.
  16. Are strictly monitored: These power plants undergo very strict emissions testing. Every step of the process is monitored closely. In fact, these facilities must meet stricter operating standards than any other type of power plant, and if these are not met, the plant is immediately shut down.

Waste Management Method Comparison Between Sweden and the United States:

                                                                              United States                                                        Sweden

Recycling/composting:                                     34%                                                                       48%

Waste-to-energy:                                                  12%                                                                       49%

Landfill:                                                                    54%                                                                         3%

 

Some words of wisdom:
  • As Nickolas J. Themelis, Professor of Engineering at Columbia University and a WtE proponent, has stated, America’s dependance on the use of landfills and resistance to constructing new WtE plants is economically and environmentally irresponsible (4).
  • Our dependance on numerous landfills, oil drilling, hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, and nuclear power with it’s production of radioactive waste, raise the risk of significant harm to public and environmental health through contamination of air, soil, water used for agriculture and drinking, underground aquifers, the marine environment and seafood that we eat.
  • Radioactive tritium has leaked from three-quarters of U.S. commercial nuclear power sites, often into groundwater from corroded, buried piping, an Associated Press investigation shows. Tritium is a radioactive form of hydrogen. It has leaked from at least 48 of 65 sites. Nuclear power plants in Vermont and  Oyster Creek, Lacey Township, NJ have been leaking radioactive tritium for years which is posing a risk of contamination for aquifers.
  • What happened at Fuchushima Daiichi, Japan could happen here in the United States. A number of our own nuclear power plants are aging, lacking proper safe guards, situated on or near major earthquake fault lines, or at risk of flooding during a severe storm or terror attacks.
  • Hydraulic fracturing for natural gas has been associated with water pollution in Wyoming and Pennsylvania, as well as seismic activity in 5 states: Arkansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, and Kansas, and may have contributed to the August 25, 2011, 5.6 Richter scale, earthquake that affected the northeastern U.S.
  • ModernWtE plants cost far less to build, maintain, and repair when things go wrong, than natural gas hydraulic fracturing and oil drilling apparatus and nuclear power plants, and pose far less risk to air, water, and soil quality, environmental and public health.

 

References:

  1. Chandel, Munish K.; Kwok, Gabriel; Jackson, Robert B.; Pratson, Lincoln F. ” The potential of waste-to-energy in reducing GHG emissions.”  Carbon Management: 3(2). pp. 133-144. 2012 (Source: [PDF] The potential of waste-to-energy in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. biology.duke.edu/jackson/cm2012.pdf).
  2. “Copenhagen: Waste-to-Energy Plants.” Danish Architecture Center. 10/03/12. (Source: www.dac.dk/en/city-projects/…/copenhagen-waste-to-energy-plants).
  3. “Municipal Waste-to-Energy Process: Top 10 benefits we can share.” 09/15/13. (Source: bionomicfuel.com).
  4. Rosenthal, Elisabeth. “Europe Finds Clean Energy in Trash, but U.S. Lags.” The New York Times. April, 12, 2010. ( Also posted at: “Europe Finds Cleaner Energy Source by Burning Trash.” www.nytimes.com/2010/04/13/science/…/13trash.html).
  5. Thorneloe S.A., Weitz K., Jambeck J. “Application of the U.S.Decision Support Tool for Materials and Waste Management.” Waste Management Journal. August, 2006.
  6.  “UK ESW Review of research into health effects of Energy from Waste facilities.” Environmental Services Association (ESA), UK, commissioned AEA Technology Plc to undertake an independent scientific review of published research on the health effects and environmental issues of Waste-to-Energy (WtE) facilities01/03/12. (Source: http://www.esauk.org/energy recovery/EfW Health Review January 3, 2012 FINAL.pdf)UK – ESA Review of research into health effects of Energy from Waste facilities).
  7. “US EPA: Methane Sources and Emissions.” Environmental Protection Agency. (Source: www.epa.gov/methane/sources.html [Accessed 2 December 2010]).
  8. “Waste-to-Energy.” Energy Aware Organization. 2006-2012. (Source: www.getenergyaware.org/energy-waste-energy.asp).
  9. “Waste-to-Energy and Health Risk Assessments.” Wheelabrator Technologies Inc.: A Waste Management Company. (Source: opalapower.com/env/wte-Health.pdf).
  10. “Waste-to-Energy: Hand in Hand with Recycling.” Confederation of European Waste-to-Energy Plants (CEWEP). (Source: www.cewep.eu/whatiswastetoenergy/wtefag/index.html).
  11. “Waste-to-Energy Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions.” (Source: energyrecoverycouncil.org/waste-energy-reduces-greenhouse-gas-emissions).

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Earth Day 2015

by Diane, M.P.H, M.S.

 

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without”

(New England proverb originally used in 1930′s)

Originally organized in 1970 and now observed in 140 nations, “Earth Day” serves to educate the public about the various causes of air, water, and soil pollution and encourages respect for the environment and all life on earth. Although many schools and communities plan special events for this occasion each year, all of us should practice planet-friendly activities everyday. The more we live in harmony with nature, recycle, and reuse items, and the less we waste the earth’s precious resources and pollute the air, water, and soil, the healthier the environment will be for all of us. Here are some ideas:

  • Try to get as many important chores and as much done during daylight hours as possible.
  • Bring reusable shopping bags or a folding shopping cart with wheels to the market, in order to eliminate the need for paper and/or plastic bags.
  • When possible, buy food and household goods in bulk or family sizes, in order to save money and reduce trips to the store.
  • Plan your shopping trip ahead of time. Prepare a list of what you need to buy, as well as different errands (e.g., drycleaner, library, pharmacy, post-office, pet store, etc.) that can be accomplished easily during the same outing. By limiting trips to the grocery store to one or two times per week, you will save precious time, and reduce the risk of impulse shopping (e.g., buying something that is unnecessary just because it caught your attention at the store), gasoline usage, as well as wear-and-tear on your vehicle.
  • Choose U.S.D.A. organic foods as often as possible, especially fruits, vegetables, and dairy products, in order to reduce your intake of harmful pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, and other chemicals. Organic farming methods avoid the use of such additives and consequently help to keep our air, soil, and waterways much healthier and less polluted than large-scale industrial farming operations.
  • Check your car’s tires to make sure they are properly inflated to get optimal gas mileage.
  • Walk, ride a bicycle, or use public transportation whenever possible, instead of using a car. Walking benefits your emotional and physical well-being, helps in weight reduction, and is a great stress reducer. Just make sure that you walk on a well-maintained path in a safe area, and not on the street with other vehicles.
  • If you need to attend a gym, try to choose one that is within walking distance of your home or work. The walk will benefit your workouts, reduce car emissions, potential parking fees and problems, and support the local economy. If the weather permits, avoid the gym and exercise outside. Walking outdoors is free and healthy for you and the environment. Note that, of all motorized fitness equipment, treadmills use up the most energy .
  • Consider driving a safe hybrid car for better mileage with less petroleum.
  • Reduce, reuse, recycle as much as you can, especially paper, plastic, metal containers, and tin cans. Check with your local public works department to find out what is collected by the township, and what must be dropped off at the recycling center. Ask if your local grocery store, merchants, library, doctor’s office, hospital, place of worship, school, etc. are doing all they can to reduce, reuse, and recycle. If enough people demonstrate concern for the environment and for doing what is right, these establishments will become more concerned and do more as well.
  • Reuse bags until they are torn. Use old bags to pick up dog waste, unless you have a pooper-scooper for that purpose.
  • Never litter! Once on the ground, litter can be easily and quickly transported by wind, rain, and even melting snow, across large geographic areas, and end up polluting parks, open fields, lakes, rivers, streams, and ocean.
  • Donate unwanted household items to a charity or organization. Such organizations sort and resell such items in thrift shops nationwide, as well as, provide jobs and job training for thousands of people who may otherwise have difficulty finding work.
  • Recycle your old, unused eyeglasses by donating them to a location or organization which accept eyeglasses for reuse: “The Lions Clubs” operate the largest program by collecting glasses from thousand of opticians; chain stores like “For-Eyes,” “LensCrafters,” “Perle;” and “New Eyes for the Needy” (which accepts scrap metal frames in any condition, unbroken plastic-framed glasses, non-prescription sunglasses, precious metal scrap like broken jewelry, and monetary donations) (5).
  • Contact your township or county office to learn the date(s) when hazardous waste will be collected and where. Often a secure drop-off site is designated for this purpose to which you can bring batteries, paints, chemicals, old or broken cellphones, computers, and other electronic components, electric bulbs containing mercury, outdated sterno heating fuel, etc.
  • Switch from incandescent light bulbs to energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs which use less energy and last up to ten times longer than a normal bulb.
  • Recycle batteries, spiral compact fluorescent bulbs, cell phones, and plastic bags properly by depositing them in a designated container or community recycling center. Never throw batteries in the trash. Nickel-cadmium rechargeable batteries contain toxins, as do most batteries.

    Lowes recycles:
    1. cell phones,
    2. spiral compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs
    3. plastic bags
    4. rechargeable batteries.

    Home Depot recycles:
    1. rechargeable batteries
    2. spiral compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL) and sometimes the longer fluorescent bulbs.

  • Reduce the amount of junk mail you receive. Request that mail order companies remove your name and address from their mailing list or go to: www.directmail.com/junk-mail, click “National Do Not Mail List,” and complete the form.
  • When purchasing or replacing an appliance, choose one with the “Energy Star” logo that meets your needs and is the most energy efficient. “Energy Star” ratings of energy use are provided for consumers by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy. For more information, go to: www.energystar.gov/ (12, 18).
  • Turn off lights and fans when leaving a room.
  • Run your washing machine and dishwasher only when full. Avoid using excess amounts of soap, as this can actually damage the appliance over time, and may make it necessary for you to rinse with additional water. Use cold water when you can.
  • Unplug small appliances like blenders, bread machines, home copying machines, electric can openers, hairdryers, toasters, toaster ovens, lamps, etc. when not in use. As long as appliances are plugged into an outlet, they continue to use energy.
  • Install a programmable thermostat.
  • Clean or replace furnace, air-conditioner, and heat-pump filters as needed. Carefully vacuum or clean dust from small appliance filters according to manufacturers directions.
  • Have your cooling and heating systems checked and tuned up in the spring and fall, respectively.Consider cleaning and sealing your ducts to improve the energy efficiency and performance of your system.
  • Rope caulk very leaky windows and apply weather-stripping as necessary. Consider replacing them with quality, energy-efficient windows if problems persist.
  • Choose window treatments that help to retain heat in the winter and block it in the summer.
  • Add insulation or weather stripping to reduce drafts in the attic, basement, ceilings, walls, windows, and doorways. Also check utility cut-throughs (“plumbing penetration”), as well as gaps around chimneys, recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets. Hire an energy auditor to locate the worst air leaks in your home and for additional advice on sealing all the small, invisible cracks and holes which may exist (12).
  • Insulate hot water pipes and ducts wherever they pass through unheated areas.
  • Fix any leaking faucets, hose bibs, garden hoses, and toilets, or have a qualified plumber do the repairs for you.
  • Save water. Turn off the faucet while shaving or brushing teeth. Note that a five-minute shower uses about a third as much water as filling a bathtub.
  • Install a low-flow shower head or spray attachment in your shower (available at most home supply stores).
  • Use home-filtered tap water to fill a reusable, washable, stainless steel or bisphenol-free portable water container, instead of constantly buying single-use, plastic water bottles which most often end up in a landfill.
  • Wash clothes with environmentally-safe, biodegradable, laundry detergent. Otherwise, replace half of the recommended amount of commercial laundry detergent with 1/2 cup of baking soda per load of wash. Use hydrogen peroxide when washing whites, instead of bleach. Bleach is harmful to marine life and promotes the formation of dioxin, a known carcinogen. For a color-safe alternative, use 1 cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide (16). Hang as many items as possible to air dry indoors or outside on a clothes line, or place them in the dryer for just a few minutes to remove wrinkles, and then hang them up. You will save energy, prolong the life of your clothing, and reduce the need to iron.
  • Avoid using household cleaning products that contain hazardous chemicals, such as ammonia, glycol, kerosene, petroleum-based surfactants, phosphates, or sodium bromide. Instead, look for natural cleaning products containing botanical ingredients or natural citrus oils. Safe, economical, all-purpose cleaners include baking soda, borax, lemon juice, vegetable-based liquid soap, and white vinegar. For example, a solution of borax, vinegar, and water can be used to disinfect bathrooms and counter tops (16).
  • Purchase biodegradable body products, such as shampoo, conditioner, lotion, etc., in large sizes to save money and decrease material use. Use them to fill smaller, reusable bottles for travel.
  • If you need to water your garden or lawn, do so very early in the morning as the sun comes up, before the hottest part of the day, or later in the day as the sun sets and the outdoor temperature cools. Avoid watering during the hottest hours of the day, since much of the water will simply evaporate and be wasted. Replace poorer growing sections of your lawn with drought-tolerant grasses, or native plants, vegetable, fruit, and/or herb gardens.
  • Reduce your intake of animal products, especially those high in saturated fat, and increase your intake of plant products. An animal-based diet promotes much more pollution, irreparable damage to forests and wildlife habitats, erosion, and suffering for animals, than a plant-based diet. Animal waste is not processed through sewage treatment systems. Often it ends up in streams, rivers, and other waterways, poisoning the water and fish within. Hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides are routinely used in animal agriculture to fatten the animals more quickly so they can be slaughtered at an earlier age, prevent disease in crowded pens, and reduce infestation of their food and living quarters. A plant-based diet is more ecologically sound, since less land is needed to grow food. The amount of land required to produce meat to feed just one person on a meat-based diet could produce enough food to feed at least twenty vegetarians (4, 6, 9, 10, 13).
  • Compost fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds, and other plant-based food waste, as well as grass, leaves, and twigs, in order to create “black gold,” rich soil to use as fertilizer in your garden.

Remember, we spend all of our time on and obtain nourishment from the earth each day of our lives. As David Orr (14, 16) has said:

“When we heal the earth, we heal ourselves.” 

 

References:

  1. American Dietetic Association: Vegetarian Diets. www.eatright.org/
  2. American Heart Association: Vegetarian Diets. www.american.org/
  3. “Best and Worst 2011 Cars: Exclusive ratings, recommendations, and reliability.” Consumer Reports. April, 2011.
  4. Bittman, Mark.”Rethinking the Meat-Guzzler.” New York Times.
  5. “Count the Ways (22) You Can Conserve in Honor of Earth Day.” PAIO, Environmental Section. April, 2010.
  6. Deemer, Amy. “Reasons for Selecting a Vegetarian Diet.” Livestrong.com. August 22, 2010.
  7. Derr, Mary Krane. “Health Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet.” Livestrong.com. August 18, 2010.
  8. “Eco-Workout: Easy Green Tweaks Save Money.” Natural Awakenings: Healthy Living, Healthy Planet. April, 2011. p. 13.
  9. “Eco-Eating: Eating As If The Earth Matters (it does!).” (http://www.brook.com/veg). Comprehensive source with many categories and links.
  10. Environmental Vegetarianism: Environmental Effects of Meat Production.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_vegetarianism) Categories: Vegetarianism/Environmentalism/ Sustainable food system/ Environmental ethics.
  11. Galloway, Willi. “How to Make Compost.” eHow: Gardening and Home. eHow.com. July 8, 2010.
  12. “Home Energy List: To Do Today, This Week, This Month, This Year.” American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. June, 2010. Source: www.aceee.org/consumer
  13. “How Sustainable Agriculture Can Address the Environmental and Human Health Harms of Industrial Agriculture.” (http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/members/2002/110. p. 445-456. horrigan/horrigan-full.html#sust)
  14. Orr, David. “When we heal the earth, we heal ourselves.” Quotation taken from ‘Living Healthy Wisdom’: Wegmans Nature’s Marketplace. April, 2011. p. 28.
  15. “Small Ways to Protect Our Planet.” July 1, 2011. (Source: www.dianesays.com)
  16. Wegmans Nature’s Marketplace. April, 2011. pp. 14 , 28, 30.
  17. www.directmail.com/junk-mail
  18. www.energystar.gov/
  19. www.homedepot.com
  20. www.hybridcars.com

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