Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Throw a Green BBQ this 4th of July!

For most Americans, the 4th of July brings to mind grilling out with friends and family, cold beer and fireworks. Here at Healthy Home Market, we support these traditions and would like to share some ideas for making your 4th celebrations healthier for you and for the environment.

Tips for the Grill:

  1. Choose Healthy Meats The best meats are grass-fed beef, free-range chicken and wild-caught or organically farmed seafood. Wild-Caught Alaskan Salmon is a good lean choice, which is high in Omega-3's (it just so happens to be on sale this month.) Lean meats are best as Heterocyclic amines (HCA) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), both know carcinogens, are primarily formed when fats are heated to high temperatures or fall into the flames and create smoke.
  2. Practice Grill Safety First off, always make sure your grill is clean before beginning. Not only will your food taste better, but this will lessen the amount of char that you consume. The charred parts of food can cause free radical formation in your body and since free radicals are linked with premature aging, disease, and tissue damage, it's best to reduce your exposure as much as possible. When grilling, use low to medium cooking temperatures. As stated above, cooking meats at high temperatures is dangerous. This will also help prevent char from forming because of flare-ups.
  3. Marinate and Season Using a combination of olive oil, lemon juice and garlic has been shown to reduce the formation of cancer-causing agents by up to 99%! Marinating food in red wine or beer for six hours has also been shown to substantially reduce the formation of HCA's. In addition, Scientists at the Food Safety Consortium project at Kansas State University have discovered that basil, mint, rosemary, thyme, oregano and sage will do the same. Use any of these methods or a combination of several for a healthier grilling experience.
  4. Don't Forget the Veggies (or Fruit) Vegetables and fruit are delicious on the grill! Plus they add lots of flavor, fiber and nutrients. Our favorites include pineapple, portabello mushrooms, asparagus, eggplant and peppers of all kinds. Another favorite is roasting garlic right on the grill with the skin on; the result is a delicious, melt-in-your-mouth treat that can be eaten as is, spread on bread or used in a sauce.
Drinking Eco-Responsibly

For those of you who don't know, we have an exceptional beer selection here at Healthy Home Market. Here is a list of several of our popular eco-friendly choices:

  1. Sierra Nevada - they power almost their entire brewery with 10,000 solar panels and 4 co-generation fuel cells
  2. New Belgium - these guys were the first brewery to utilize wind-power and they have created Team Wonderbike, comprised of consumers who have pledged to ride bikes instead of drive whenever possible, the team is currently 10,000 strong
  3. Brooklyn Brewery - Wind turbines generate all of the electricity for both their headquarters and brewery, making them the first company in NYC to be powered entirely by wind power
  4. Great Lakes Brewing Company - this company practices "closed loop" recycling, meaning everything that would be considered waste is put to use somewhere else in the factory. Their packaging is 100% recyclable and they also run their distribution trucks on vegetable oil
Please be sure to also check out our great selection of local craft beers: Mother Earth Brewing Co., Kind Beer, Highland Brewing Co., The Duck-Rabbit, Thomas Creek, Carolina Beer Co., Big Boss, Catawba Valley, Olde Mecklenburg and Craggie Brewing Co. The latter three are all available in growlers which are returned to be reused by the companies. Buying local reduces our carbon footprint and supports our local economy!

Coming Soon: Eco-friendly Fireworks

Scientist are busy at work perfecting fireworks which do not contain toxic metals and which will create less smoke. A Japanese firm has also formulated a biodegradable firework shell and Disney is already using compressed air rather than gunpowder to launch their fireworks. It may be a bit before we see these eco-friendly fireworks on the shelf due to the increased production cost, but it's good to know that they are on their way.

And one final tip, protect your skin this 4th of July by utilizing natural sun screens and natural insect repellent. If you don't have any on-hand, come see us, we have plenty to choose from. Happy 4th from Healthy Home Market! Enjoy and be safe!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Cargotecture: Repurposing Shipping Containers

There is a growing movement of innovators that are repurposing abandoned shipping containers into new usable spaces. In their raw form, these containers are dark and windowless, but with some customization, they can become bright, modern structures. They are extremely strong, they're weather-proof, require no permanent foundation to keep them sturdy, and have built-in connectors that can be used to attach one to another. Around the world, do-it-yourselfers and creative architects are transforming these once abandoned containers into mobile businesses, offices, small homes, spacious homes, multi-family housing, rental cabins and even skyscrapers.

In the United States, there are over 700,000 cargo containers abandoned each year, according to Department of Transportation estimates. Repurposing these containers is an awesome form of recycling! It is also a low cost solution that may help solve many of the world's major problems. We found out about several groups who are utilizing this technology to help those in need. Global Container Partnerships is a non-profit organization that is repurposing shipping containers into sustainable housing and community buildings such as medical facilities, schools and neighborhood centers in impoverished countries. And SEED, a group of researchers from Clemson University, who have set a plan into motion to help rebuild Haiti using cargotecture. Caribbean nations inherently import more than they export and therefore have a steady surplus of shipping containers. Both of these groups are working with these third-world nations to utilize the excess containers to improve conditions within their country. The containers are strong enough to withstand hurricane winds and seismic activity; it's a natural fit.

Containers to Clinic (C2C) is a non-profit, charitable initiative that seeks to improve the health of women and children by providing access to primary healthcare through networks of converted shipping container clinics. C2C will open their pilot clinic in Port-au-Prince, Haiti this month. In the future, C2C plans to serve many underserved communities and train and staff their clinics with people from the local community. As you can see, the cargotecture initiative is both beneficial to our planet and our people.
For more information, check out these links:



Wednesday, June 16, 2010

10 Healthy Family Activities

These days, families are being pulled in so many directions with work, school (or summer camp) and extracurricular activities; sometimes spending quality family time together gets put on a back burner. Here are ten fun, healthy activities to bring the family together!

1. When your family is sitting around the table for dinner, play a game called “Days starting with ____" One of the children or the child in the family starts and fills in the blank with one of the family members at the table. That person then tells about their day from beginning to end with all the highlights in between. When they are done, they select another member of the family to tell about their day, until everyone has had a turn. It’s a great way for a family to maintain a connection and something that everyone can look forward to.

2. Judge new, rarely- or never-before-tasted foods (fruits, vegetables, healthy recipes, other healthy foods) by choosing 3 similar types of food and have family members rank them 1 for the best, 2 for good, and 3 for not as good. Count up all of the points for each food. The food with the most points is now the new “Food Idol” in your home for the week.

3. Choose a theme for hiking/walking. Collect pictures of leaves, identify birds or create a treasure map. Capture pictures of the family on a hike/walk; write down thoughts and stories from the hike/walk.

4. Develop a list of all the wildlife (animals) you may see in your community. Go for a walk as a family and see if you can find your list of wildlife near your home or on a family hike.

5. Deem Sundays, “No-Electronic Sundays.” No screen time-for anyone! Instead spend the day playing games, putting together a puzzle or reading books aloud.

6. For fun ask “where's dinner” meaning where shall we eat tonight? It could be on the porch or the patio, on the stairs or the family room floor as if an indoor picnic. Consideration of what types of food to be served is important. With chairs and blankets make a tent and pretend you are far far away and describe what it's like where you are and what "foods" you're having there. Ask questions like is it sandy, hot or cold, any animals lurking around?

7. Connect as a family early in the weekend try a fun Saturday in the park routine...pack a picnic breakfast (healthy food only!) and together as a family walk or ride bikes to the local park...at the park play, eat breakfast and enjoy this special time together...the park is usually not very busy early in the morning which adds to the fun! It is a great way to spend time together before busy weekend schedules and chores begin.

8. Decide as a family the number of vegetable servings everyone will have every day. The recommended amount varies depending on the organization. According to www.mypyramid.gov the range from children up to adult men is 1 ½ - 3 cups a day. Use this range as a guideline to determine your family's Veggie Challenge goal. This challenge will take menu planning, grocery store planning, and family time to help everyone achieve the goal of eating more veggies. This may mean having veggies at breakfast!
• Omelet with peppers and onions
• Tomato and cheese on whole wheat toast
• Egg and veggie burrito (tomato, salsa, peppers, onions, squash)
• ¾ cup of low-sodium vegetable juice
• Whole wheat bagel with low-fat cream cheese and cucumbers/tomatoes

9. Camp out in the backyard. You may not be able to take off out of town to go camping, but setting up the tents and telling scary stories around the campfire can be just as fun in the backyard. Put raw veggies, natural meat (if desired) and seasonings in recycled tin foil and cook it in the fire for a delicious dinner.

10. As a family, choose a cause that you all care about and spend the day together volunteering at a local charity.


Friday, June 11, 2010

DIY: Healthy Homemade Ginger Ale

The heat is on! So, we thought we would share this simple recipe for a refreshing homemade ginger ale. This is a fantastic alternative to conventional unhealthy store bought sodas. Feel the burn without all of the high fructose corn syrup and artificial colors and flavors! Plus, you get the added health benefits from the fresh ginger, which can ease nausea, boost your immune system, reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol, bring down a fever, and improve circulation. Enjoy!

Ginger water
1 cup peeled, finely chopped ginger
2 cups water

Simple Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Club soda
Lime juice
Lime wedges

1 Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. Add ginger. Reduce heat to medium low and let ginger sit in the simmering water for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 20 minutes. Strain liquid through a fine mesh strainer. Discard ginger pieces.

2 In a separate saucepan, make the Simple Syrup by dissolving 1 cup granulated sugar into 1 cup of boiling water. Set aside.

3 Make individual (tall) glasses of ginger ale by mixing 1/2 cup of ginger water with 1/3 cup of Simple Syrup and 1/2 cup of club soda. Add a few drops of fresh lime juice and a lime wedge to each glass.

Makes four servings.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Water Blogged!

We all know the importance of drinking water on a daily basis and most of us know that tap water is filled with numerous contaminants, however, with so many types of water now readily available, it can be difficult to know which water is the best option. We hope that this blog will make the choice a little easier!

First, we would like to talk about distilled water. Distillation is a process in which water is boiled and changed to steam. Once the steam cools down and changes back to liquid form, it has been distilled. This process eliminates salt, bacteria and contaminants, however, it also eliminates naturally occurring minerals. If you have ever done any research on distilled water, you have probably come across an article or two stating that it can actually be hazardous to your health. It is true that minerals are essential to the body, but we can obtain minerals through our food sources and through supplementation. There is great product that we carry called Concentrace Trace Mineral Drops that can be added to water. Although, Distilled water may not be the best choice for daily consumption, it has the unique ability to absorb toxins from the body and is therefor ideal for fasting or cleansing.

Next up, Reverse Osmosis water. This process uses a membrane to cleanse the water. A substantial amount of water pressure is applied and the water solvent passes through the membrane, while the larger ions or molecules (salt, contaminants, etc.)cannot.
The membrane also works through "ionic exclusion," the greater the charge, the better it is at keeping the ions out. Reverse Osmosis water is not as pure as distilled water, however it does maintain some trace mineral content. We have a water machine at each one of our three locations where you can purchase both Deionized (which is similar to Distilled water in purity) and Reverse Osmosis water at 49¢ per gallon. We also carry several size water containers for filling.

And finally, we will discuss bottled water. The majority of bottled water is either purified tap water or spring water. Spring water is pumped from, you guessed it, natural springs in the earth. Spring water is rich in minerals and trace elements, however you should be cautious, not all "spring" water truly comes from a spring. Bottled water has come under a lot of fire in recent times. One reason being the mislabeling problem. Bottled water also has a major impact on the environment. On a daily basis, 37,800 eighteen-wheeler trucks are on the roads to deliver this bottles water. To keep up with the demand, the production of the bottles takes the equivalent of about 17.6 million barrels of oil! Believe it or not, it actually takes seven times the amount of water in the bottle to make the bottle itself! The end result, a plastic bottle made from polyethelyne terephthylate, which can potentially leach harmful chemicals in to the water which we then put into our body.

Approximately, thirty million plastic water bottles are disposed of, not recycled, daily. That's an astounding number. We are proud to say that our Healthy Home Market water is bottled in biodegradable ENSO plastic. These bottles can be recycled, but if they make it to the landfill, they will begin to quickly biodegrade. You can feel confident about the water inside of our bottles as well. We source it from a pure natural spring here in NC! Enjoy our store brand water with confidence!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Quick Tips for Controlling Pests and Disease in Your Organic Garden

Most people's gardens have been planted and are in full swing by now, but as the weather warms up...the pests are coming out in full force! And with all of the rain we have been receiving, it brings mildew and spreads the spores of disease infected plants. We thought it would be appropriate to give everyone some simple, cheap and natural tips for protecting your organic vegetables and flowers.
  • Epsom Salt Spray - two ounces of salt per two gallons of water will help with black spots, mildew, wilt and rust.
  • Beer - stale or mixed with molasses will help control slugs.
  • Tomato Leaf Spray - crush tomato leaves and soak them in water for several days, starin and use as a spray to control grasshoppers and white flies.
  • Soap Spray - two tablespoons of soap flakes dissolved in water will help control aphids *Do not use detergents.
  • Basil - planting basil repels flies and mosquitoes
  • Rosemary, Mint and Thyme - plant near cabbage to repel cabbage worms
  • Nasturtiums - plant near cucumbers, melons and squash to repel squash bugs.
  • Summer Savory - plant near beans to repel bean bugs
  • Radishes - plant near cucumbers to repel cucumber beetles.
  • Cayenne - add two cups of boiling water to four tablespoons of cayenne powder, allow to cool to room temperature and add a couple of drops of dishwashing liquid to help the spray stick to the plants to control all kinds of pests.
  • Baking soda - add one tables spoon of baking soda to four cups of water and add a couple of drops of dishwashing liquid to help with fungus/mildew.
  • Cinnamon - sprinkle on the top of your soil to fend off fungus/mildew.

We hope these tips are helpful and that your plants flourish! There's nothing like enjoying fresh vegetables straight out of your own garden or sitting on the porch appreciating the beauty and fragrance of your own blooming flowers.

Visit any one of our three locations to purchase seeds or individual ingredients. Happy gardening!