The Hidden Environmental Cost Of Almost Everything You Do Online

It’s easy to understand the environmental cost of sending a letter. A tree is cut down to create the paper. A jet-fueled plane flies the envelope across the country. A postal service truck coughs out exhaust as the mail finally arrives at its destination.

Email, not so much.

“Most people literally just don’t think there’s an environmental cost,” social media researcher Danah Boyd told The Huffington Post’s Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani at the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland. “All they can think about is the silicon that goes into your device or, maybe, the lithium that goes into your battery.”

But the so-called “cloud” — the networks of Internet servers on which many of us now store documents, contacts, photos and all sorts of digital correspondence — is very tangible, as is its voracious appetite for electricity.

“If you think about it, why are you keeping around every notification you’ve ever got on Twitter on a live server so that it can be fed by water, power and land?” said Boyd. “A lot of it is [that] we’ve removed the economic cost — it’s free! — but it has impact just like drinking bottled water has impact.”

It’s difficult to get people to care about something so invisible. You just expect email to exist when you need it, whether you’re firing off a quick “thanks” to a colleague or searching for an old receipt for an online purchase. You might pay as much heed to this invisible network as, say, to the carbon emissions that come from buildings. Think of it this way: It’s easy to note the exhaust coming out of a diesel truck, but who thinks about the impact of the four walls around them?

Read More at The Huffington Post

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The Black Bean Recipe That Might Save Your Life

This recipe for Black Beans is packed with nutritional miracles, tastes amazing, and might save your life. Its a simple food, that keeps in the refrigerator for over a week, and packed with antioxidants, and amazing herbal benefits.

You will need :

1kg black beans

100g Garlic ( 2 whole cloves)

100g Fresh Tumeric (or 75 g tumeric powder)

75g Freshly ground cumin

Appx 5g rock salt

 

IMG_1784[1]Firstly chop the turmeric and garlic using a blender / spice grinder.

Boil 1KG of black beans for 10 mins (or leave to soak over night) and discard the juice – the will help prevent the farty properties of the beans.

Add the chopped  turmeric, cumin and garlic to the mix and allow to slow simmer for appx 2 -3 hours.  Add rock salt to taste.

The beans are done when soft and have absorbed all the water – keep an eye on them as you do not want to catch the bottom of the pan.

IMG_1785[1]They will keep in the fridge for about a week and make an amazing accompaniment to virtually any meal – especially with Tortillas, Salsa and herbs such as Coriander.

Recent research has shown that black beans provide special support for digestive tract health, and particularly our colon. The indigestible fraction (IF) in black beans has recently been shown to be larger than the IF in either lentils or chickpeas. It has been shown to be the perfect mix of substances for allowing bacteria in the colon to produce butyric acid. Cells lining the inside of the colon can use this butyric acid to fuel their many activities and keep the lower digestive tract functioning properly. By delivering a greater amount of IF to the colon, black beans are able to help support this lower part of our digestive tract. Lowered colon cancer risk that is associated with black bean intake in some research studies may be related to the outstanding IF content of this legume.

The health benefits of cumin include its ability to aid in digestion, improve immunity and treat piles, insomnia, respiratory disorders, asthma, bronchitis, common cold, lactation, anemia, skin disorders, boils and cancer.

Turmeric is the spice that gives curry its yellow color. It has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb. Recently, science has started to back up what the Indians have known for a long time… it really does contain compounds with medicinal properties. These compounds are called curcuminoids, the most important of which is curcumin.

Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant.It is now believed that chronic, low-level inflammation plays a major role in almost every chronic, Western disease. This includes heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s and various degenerative condition

Curcumin blocks NF-kB, a molecule that travels into the nuclei of cells and turns on genes related to inflammation. NF-kB is believed to play a major role in many chronic diseases.

Without getting into the gory details (inflammation is extremely complicated), the key takeaway here is that curcumin is a bioactive substance that fights inflammation at the molecular level

Bottom line – Curcumin boosts levels of the brain hormone BDNF, which increases the growth of new neurons and fights various degenerative processes in the brain.

It is a Brain Health Food. Curcumin also has beneficial effects on several factors known to play a role in heart disease.

It improves the function of the endothelium and is a potent anti-inflammatory agent and antioxidant. Multiple studies have shown that curcumin can reduce the growth of cancerous cells in the laboratory and inhibit the growth of tumours in test animals.

Arthritis is a common disorder characterized by joint inflammation. Many studies show that curcumin can help treat symptoms of arthritis and is in some cases more effective than anti-inflammatory drugs.

A study in 60 depressed patients showed that curcumin was as effective as prozac in alleviating the symptoms of depression.

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Go Ahead for Clinical Trials of Medical Marijuana have been approved in New South Wales

Many people will be cheering from the rooftops that its about bloody time. A recent wave of lobby groups have been pushing for the use of marijuana purporting its use for a range of chronic illnesses from Cancer to epilepsy in young children, which may ultimately pave the way for legalisation or at the least de-criminalisation.

In a statement to the state parliament, Mike Baird said:

Why not take a stance to say to the rest of the country, this matters. It’s time we did something about it. So I say at the same time, we want to give the terminally ill and those around them, their carers, their family, greater peace of mind. We also want to ensure that carers aren’t forced to watch their loved ones suffer when their pain can be alleviated.
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The country has waited too long. This state has waited too long.”

Meanwhile parliament will be drafting new legislation to ensure that people already registered as having a terminal illness cannot be prosecuted by the police.

According to Scientific American  the most studied conditions include:

Cancer

Numerous trials have indicated that medical marijuana increases appetite and reduces chemotherapy-related nausea in the short term. Yet it may not be as effective as other recently developed drugs, so marijuana is not considered a first-line treatment for these symptoms.

Epilepsy

Multiple animal studies have suggested that THC, one of the main psychoactive chemicals in cannabis, may inhibit the brain processes thought to cause seizures. High-quality human studies are lacking, however, leaving many open questions.

Glaucoma

Several studies have found that smoking marijuana lowers pressure inside the eye, relieving glaucoma-related discomfort for about three to four hours. Yet a number of pharmaceutical drugs have been shown to be more effective and longer lasting than medical marijuana.

HIV/AIDS

In one randomized controlled trial, patients given a cannabislike compound were twice as likely to gain weight as patients given a placebo—a boon for people battling the wasting effects of this disease. The treatment’s long-term effectiveness remains untested.

Multiple sclerosis (MS)

A large trial published in 2012 found that a cannabis extract significantly decreased muscle stiffness and other MS symptoms. A smaller study found that smoking cannabis worked better than a placebo in reducing both spasticity and pain in treatment-resistant participants. Given the few therapies available for MS, a 2011 review concluded that medical marijuana might be a viable way to manage certain symptoms.

Pain and inflammation

Studies have suggested that marijuana is only slightly better than a placebo in reducing acute inflammation, and it may even increase the perception of pain in some patients. When taken in combination with other medications, however, various cannabis-derived drugs have been shown to be moderately effective for reducing chronic neuropathic pain.

medical-marijuana3While the USA and Canada seem to be taking a very proactive stance on use of the herb, Australia is greatly lagging behind with “druggy” stereotypes at the forefront of the public conciousness, but hopefully that will now change.
Having personally seen the beneficial effects for people diagnosed with terminal conditions and  chronic illness, we applaud Mike Baird’s new steps and hope he continues to support a rapidly growing percentage of the medical profession and general public in allowing people to choose a natural remedy over pharmaceutical drugs.
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butter-diabetes

Eating High Fat Dairy Products Lowers Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Says New Study

New research presented at this year’s annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in Vienna, Austria, shows that people with the highest consumption of high-fat dairy products (8 or more portions per day) have a 23% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those with the lowest consumption (1 or less per day). The research is by Dr Ulrika Ericson, Lund University Diabetes Center, Malmö, Sweden, and colleagues.butter fish

Dietary fats could affect glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity and may therefore have a crucial role in the development of type 2 diabetes (T2D). Studies have indicated that replacing saturated fat with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats might be favourable in the prevention of T2D. In line with this, plant sources of fat have been suggested to be a better choice compared with animal sources. Indeed, high intakes of red meat and meat products have been shown to increase the risk of T2D. Nevertheless, several epidemiological studies have indicated that a high intake of dairy products may be protective. Subsequently, the importance of dietary fat content and food sources of fat remains to be clarified. In this new study, the authors aimed to examine intakes of main dietary fat sources, classified according to fat content, and their association with risk of developing T2D.

The study included 26 930 individuals (60% women), aged 45-74 years, from the population-based Malmö Diet and Cancer cohort. Dietary data was collected with a modified diet history method. During 14 years of follow up, 2860 incident T2D cases were identified. Modelling was used to estimate hazard ratios (HR) of diabetes incidence in quintiles of energy adjusted dietary intakes. The model included adjustments for age, sex, season, diet assessment method version, total energy intake, BMI, leisure time physical activity, smoking, alcohol consumption and education.

The researchers found that high intake of high-fat dairy products was associated with a 23% lower incidence of T2D for the highest consuming 20% of participants (or quintile) (median=8 portions/day) compared with the lowest consuming 20% (median=1 portion/day).

Concerning intakes of specific high-fat dairy foods, increasing intake of cream (30ml or more a day in the highest consuming 20% versus 0.3ml a day or less in the lowest consuming 20%) was associated with a 15% reduction in risk of developing type 2 diabetes. High-fat fermented milk* consumption also reduced the risk of developing diabetes by 20%, when comparing the highest consumers (180ml/day, the top 10% of consumers), with the non-consumers (60% of participants).

In contrast to these findings, there was no association found between intakes of low-fat dairy products and risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

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Sugar = Death

Great Canadian Documentary About Sugar

We’ve heard about the dangers of eating too much fat or salt. But there has never been a warning about sugar on our food labels – despite emerging research that suggests the sweet stuff is making more of us fat and sick. This Canadian documentary is really an insight into the sugar industry.

 

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fed up

FED UP – Why Sugar is Literally Killing Us and our Children

This is one documentary you should be keeping an eye open for.

Everything we’ve been told about food and exercise for the past 30 years is dead wrong and FED UP is the film the food industry doesn’t want you to see. From Katie Couric, Laurie David (Oscar winning producer of AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH) and director Stephanie Soechtig, FED UP will change the way you eat forever.

Fed Up shows how the first dietary guidelines issued by the U.S. government 30 years ago overlooked

the role of dietary sugar in increasing risks of obesity, diabetes, fed up and associated ill-health outcomes, particularly in children.

Since these guidelines effectively condoned unlimited addition of sugar to foods consumed by children, sugar consumption has greatly increased, obesity has skyrocketed, and generations of children have grown up far fatter than their parents.These children face impaired health and shorter lifespans as a result.

As the relationship between the high-sugar diet and poor health has emerged, entrenched sugar industry interests with almost unlimited financial lobbying resources have beaten back attempts by parents, schools, states, and in Congress to provide a healthier diet for children.

#fedupmovie #sugar #diabetes #tellyourchildren

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Is War in Europe a Crazy Idea?

Our financial systems and institutions in the West are in tatters with almost 100 Trillion dollars unaccounted for or obfuscated on their balance sheets. When global financial systems are ready to crash, war is the highly likely if not inevitable.

Russia has been openly humiliated by the West since the fall of the Berlin wall and all the time the Western nations / NATO creep closer to its borders.

Is Putin a lunatic? Possibly.vladimir-Putinj.pg

vladimir-Putinj.pgIs he a proud man that holds a deep love for his country and wishes it to be great once again? Absolutely.

Unfortunately now that this conflict has started, it is impossible to predict its outcome. Any “system” that is highly complex by its very nature is completely unpredictable. It only takes 1 guy with a shoulder mounted SAM to bring down the ‘wrong’ plane, or for a sniper to kill a small child and the video shared on YouTube, to catalyze entire nations in outrage. And there is the slippery road we are on.

Would the people in Central & Eastern Europe be mad to prepare for war?

You decide.

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Chocolate

Chocolate That’s Good for You?

I’ve recently realised that I enjoy making chocolate.  A lot.  I’m not talking about ‘I kinda like making chocolate” – I mean, I REALLY like working with this stuff. Not only that, but what a great educational opportunity to teach my children some really valuable Earth lessons.

Apologies in Advance – This is Just a Teaser :)

I’ve always been intrigued by chocolate and I’ve developed quite a passion for it over the last few weeks. Now, there’s no recipes here just yet. But I promise I’m working on some detailed guides and tutorials that I will post here shortly that will tell you how to make the most incredible, mouthwatering, nutritious and environmentally responsible chocolate that you have ever tasted, from 100% sustainable sources.

Kids love making chocolate. If you want to teach them about sustainability, vitamins, healthy eating and the environment all in one go, then this is the ultimate tactic. Let them follow chocolate from its journey beginning  the rain forests of Peru, through the hands of native peoples that have grown this amazing food for thousands of years, all the way to their first taste. This chocolate is made from natural Cacao products – note: Not Cocoa. It is made from raw cold pressed ingredients that come from sustainable free-trade 100% organic sources in the Peruvian rain forests.  It’s made literally from scratch using the cacao beans, nibs, cacao butter and pure organic coconut sugar. It has never seen a temperature over around 38C – so it still maintains all the original nutrients and flavours as nature intended.chocolate3

The Cacao beans are overloaded with antioxidents containing roughly 6x that found in Goji berries. The ingredients are also packed with minerals and are also a highly rich source of bioflavanoids.

chocolate2The coconut sugar has a low glycemic index (G.I.) and is used sparingly. Just enough sweetness to satisfy, but not enough to kill the other flavours or make them a ‘diabetic taboo’.

Several versions of the chocolate are laced with organic coconut milk powder as opposed to dairy products, making it a really creamy and delicious alternative for people that struggle with lactose intolerence.

There are no emulsifiers, colours, flavourings, E numbers etc.

I have found them to be really satisfying. You only feel the need to eat a couple at a time and they are great at fending off hunger pangs.

chocolate4Currently the flavours are:

Mint Yoyoyoyoyo – made with natural peppermint oil and while eating, you will experience no less than 5 or 6 distinct tastes as the texture and temperature change in your mouth.

Coconut Melt – Does what it says. Literally melts in the mouth. Tastes of pure chocolate with a slight buttery caramel overtone. As it melts, the coconut flavours come out gently and change the consistency dramatically once it reaches body temperature. Creamy, dairy free and finishes off with no milky aftertastes. Pure coconut bliss. Utterly suitable for vegetarians

Nut Believable – Packed to the rafters with a combination of organic cashew nuts, peanuts and macadamia’s, bound together with a slightly darker chocolate laced with a hint of Seville orange oil. All the taste of an indulgent sweet, but high in protein, low in sugar.

Ginger Ninja – This one really sneaks up on you. Starts off lulling you into a false sense of security with a taste of fine chocolate and then slams you a fireball taste explosion from the fresh caramalised ginger. It will satisfy your taste buds and clear your sinuses at the same time.

Mutiny on the Bounty – finely cut organic desiccated coconut bound with cold pressed coconut oil and coconut sugar, coated in superfine dark chocolate. You will never open another blue and white wrapper in your life, except to treat the dog and poison the in-laws you don’t like.

How About The Health Info?

Apart from tasting absolutely incredible, chocolate made from raw cacao has a significant number of heath benefits. It really is one of natures super-foods (in my opinion the most amazing one), but it is imperative to make it with less sugar and just as importantly, pure organic ingredients such as raw coconut sugar or agave syrup.

Magnesium – Good for the Heart and Soul

Raw cacao is the richest natural source of magnesium. In western civilisation we are more deficient in magnesium than any other mineral. For a healthy functioning heart an abundance of this mineral is more important than any other. It also has a pivotal role in making energy for the neurons in the brain – a process which requires glucose.  An abundance of magnesium in the brain essentially gives you mental clarity, focus and agility.

Don’t Worry Be Happy – Chocolate Brain Medicine

Cacao is a fantastic source of serotonin, dopamine, anandamide and phenylethylamine (PEA). These are four neurotransmitters that are associated with feelings of well being and help stave off depression. Both PEA and Anandamide (also known as the bliss chemical) are found in abundance in the brains of happy people and are particularly released when we are feeling happy. Both of these neurotransmitters are present in raw cacao in large enough quantities to affect the brain and lift our moods. Cacao also contains monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAO Inhibitors) that keep neurotransmitters in the bloodstream for longer without being broken down.

We have all experienced the positive feelings associated with eating chocolate, now we have access to pure raw unadalterated chocolate in the form of Organic Raw Cacao. This is much more potent than the processed chocolate and doesn’t have any sugar or dairy products blocking the positive effects of all the goodies in the Raw Cacao. My personal experience is that eating a dozen to fifteen Raw Cacao Beans, or 3 or 4 squares of well made chocolate is enough to experience a blissful sense of well being.

If you can’t wait for my video, this one is a really good starting point for how to turn the beans into chocolate in small quantities.

 

 

Watch this space and I’ll show you how to make these yummy treats from scratch.

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Food Inc.

Corporate Feeding – The Frenzy That Just Won’t Stop

The Documentary That Made Me Cry

Last night I watched the documentary Food, Inc. Another powerful insight into the horrors of industrial farming. I was in tears at a few points throughout. Pigs, cattle and chickens are treated in such a disgusting way and housed in squalid conditions surrounded by their own waste.

It was clear from the footage that these animals are aware of what is happening around them, they sounded stressed and scared. It really makes you question the humanity of the people controlling this industry. Whilst some people do not feel as strongly or care about animal welfare, everyone should care about their own health and the wider public health issues.

In the western world our consumption of factory farmed products continues to rise in a ‘direct correlation’ with diseases such as cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Other growing concerns are childhood and adult obesity, which then leads to a number of other chronic illnesses. Our diet has a direct relation to the rise of disease, it must do. What else has so drastically changed in our society? It’s just common sense.

The rise of the convenience food and take-away restaurants has a huge role to play in both public health and the growth of factory farming. When did it become cheaper to buy a hamburger than fresh produce? I don’t believe it’s an accident. Some of the well known fast food chains are the biggest purchasers of factory farmed meat globally.

As long as we the consumers keep these corporate giants in business the atrocities involved in factory farming will continue.  It’s not just fast food that is a danger to health it’s the entirety of factory farmed products which dominate the market. 2 out of 3 farm animals are factory farmed.

Many believe that the control of what is produced and sold is in the hands of the companies that supply the goods. In actual fact, if you really think about it, the exact opposite is true. If we stopped purchasing then these companies wouldn’t have the money to continue producing. Of course we aren’t supposed to think like that.

With our modern diet comes chronic illness seen on a scale like never before, we are ensuring the factory farms continue to bring products to the market that keep the people unwell and constantly contributing to both the medical and pharmaceutical industries, all of which have net worth’s of billions of dollars. In nature everything is linked and you don’t have one eco-system without another, I believe the same goes for industry, they are all linked and only exist through the existence of another.

Factory farmed animals are pumped full of hormones and antibiotic’s to prevent disease and maximise the meat produced. Chickens for instance have drastically increased in size over the years, specifically the breast meat that is ‘grown’ the time it takes to produce these chickens however has reduced as has the amount of protein contained in the meat.

This is not nature, this is not sustainable!

This is manipulation of living breathing animals for profit!

And it’s wrong!

If you haven’t seen this documentary, please give it a go and support The Film Makers.

The full film can also be purchased from Amazon, here.

In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation’s food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government’s regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation’s food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, herbicide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won’t go bad, but we also have new strains of E. coli—the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults.

Featuring interviews with such experts as Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto) along with forward thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield’s Gary Hirshberg and Polyface Farms’ Joel Salatin, Food, Inc. reveals surprising—and often shocking truths—about what we eat, how it’s produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here.

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Living Without the “Factory Farm”

In January 2014 I Made the Decision to Become a Vegetarian

I love animals and it just didn’t make any sense to eat them. Questions kept buzzing around in my mind.

What makes a human superior? Why do people view cattle differently to a family dog? Why is one life less valuable than another?

These were questions that had been running through my head for a while. I found the overnight transition into vegetarianism easy and I felt great about it. I did however slip up after 2 weeks; I ate a burger on a lunch date with a friend and felt the effects almost immediately. I felt heavy, sluggish and lethargic. It didn’t feel nice to have a belly full of burger!

Now 6 months down the line, other than my initial slip up I have stayed with the vegetarian diet and I now realise there is a variety of different benefits both ethically and health related. I also make a conscious effort to limit my intake of dairy and to avoid processed and refined sugar products wherever I can.

I have spent endless hours over the last 6 months researching the effects that eating meat, not only on health and well-being, but on the environment. I am astounded at the links between industrial farming, water consumption, deforestation and fossil fuel consumption.

We live in an age where information is free, instantaneous and readily available. There is absolutely no excuse for ignorance. So why do the majority of people remain in the dark and blissfully unaware? I challenge anyone to do some research into where their meat or dairy products are coming from and continue to eat as much, if any at all.

The fact is that factory farmed animals dominate the meat market.  This is especially prevalent in the USA, where around 99% of chickens are factory farmed!

These animals are kept in disgusting, inhumane conditions and are subjected to horrific suffering, not to mention the amount of land, water and fossil fuel wasted on a billion dollar industry that exists purely because the majority of the western world believes a meal is not complete without a portion of meat! Where there is demand there will always be supply!

Factory Farming

I am not saying you should become a vegan or a vegetarian.
That is a personal choice. I do urge ‘free-thinking-individuals’ to take control and take action, do your own research. Find out where your food comes from. Try to buy goods from your local farmers – this helps reduce their dependence on corporate buyers and puts far more money back into the local economy.

It may be hard for people to change their lifestyle on the basis that somebody else tells them they should. Go and use the information available to empower yourself and stop blindly consuming because huge multi-nationals tell you to. There will be no change without action, and the power is only in YOUR hands.

Please check out www.farmsanctuary.org.  It’s a great source of education and you can donate to help the lives of countless animals.

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