5 plastic straw alternatives the environment will thank you for

Whether you believe in climate change or not, environmental pollution is real. Marine pollution from man-made industrial particles and agricultural practices account for approximately 80% of marine pollution, globally, according to the United Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) web site. In the U.S. alone, over 500,000,000 plastic straws are used each day, according to the Plastic Pollution Coalition.

As of 2018, six American cities have either banned or limited the use of plastic straws in restaurants. The New York City council is considering a current proposal to ban straws all over the city.  In 2019, the U.K. will become the first country to ban plastic straws.

So, before you grab that beach daiquiri or soda with the bendy straw, consider one of these plastic straw alternatives that you can pack in your beach bag alongside your sunblock and sunnies.

Paper. Paper straws are the easiest and cheapest alternative to plastic straws. They’re perfect for adding a bit of color to parties and usually come in a variety of colors and designs and can be disposed of after each use while not causing any potential harm to the environment. This is also the best kid-friendly option. Try Creative Converting paper straws sold at major retailers like Target and Walmart.

Glass. For grown up use only, these straws are perfect for all temperature drinks. They

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can be washed and re-used. Check out mightynest.com’s selection of glass straws in both straight and bent styles.

Stainless steel. Refrigerators, countertops, cutlery, straws. This material is easily washable and reused and straws from stainless steel can be straight or bent. They can also be found at mightynest.com. Like special occasion dishes, they should be brought out during events.

Bamboo. It seems these days that bamboo can be made into anything from furniture to clothing and dish ware. Add straws to the mix and you get a cool reusable, sustainable straw that will eventually breakdown and not contribute to the landfill. Bamboo straws also have the shortest lifespan, so may be used for people who crave an all-natural alternative. Try these Buluh straws on Amazon.

Silicone. Easy to use and washable, this is the latest material used in making drinking straws. It’s more durable and insulated, perfect for use in hot and cold drinks.

If you have to have plastic over paper, check out Eco-Products. The site sells renewable and compostable plastic straws in solid and multi-striped colors. They also sell biodegradable flat ware and food storage containers.

The importance of being a peach

Peaches may not be giant nor have the ability to magically transport us across realms, but they are as equally important as watermelon, pineapple and berries when it comes to healthy summer fruit. The fuzzy, sometimes white, sometimes peach fruit from the Prunus persica tree, is chock full of vitamins A and C and has fewer than 70 calories and three grams of fiber. peach-932777_1920

Originally from Asia, the origin of the fruit in America dates back to 1571, when Franciscan friars introduced them to St. Simons and Cumberland islands along Georgia’s coast, according to the Georgia Peach Council’s website. Since then, they have remained a popular fruit ultimately earning Georgia the “Peach State” moniker. Peaches are now grown in 47 U.S. states and come in two main varieties (white and yellow flesh).

Here are 10 ways a peach is the ultimate summer fruit.

  1. A ripe peach is perfect on a hot summer day
  2. It can be used in recipes from pies and salads to meat dishes
  3. It can be eaten raw or cooked
  4. Can help improve vision
  5. Improves digestion
  6. Has anti-aging properties
  7. Has a pleasant, fragrant smell
  8. Can be spread on toast
  9. Can aid in hyperactivity
  10. It’s soft and delicious

Peaches come in many varieties and can be enjoyed fresh, frozen, dried, canned and in jelly form. When choosing canned peaches look for labels with “packed in its own juice,” “lite,” or “no sugar added.” These are healthier choices.

 

For more information on the fruit, check out Georgia Peach Council and National Peach Council’s websites. Click here for recipe ideas.

 

17 fabulous ways water makes us happy

A glass of cold water with lime. A steep waterfall. A luxuriously scented bubble bath. Water is all around us. It can help to calm and to clear our minds, relieving stress and anxiety. Ancient peoples have looked at water as a powerful source of birth and renewal. It’s no wonder it’s the one vital thing we need to survive. As we begin a new year, one full of new energy and possibility, we can invoke the ancient healing power of water to be happier.

Marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols wrote about the transcendental effects of water in his book, Blue Mind: The surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On or Under Water Can Make you Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What you Do (Little, Brown and Company, 2014). In it, he combines scientific explanations with personal stories of people who have experienced life-altering changes from being near or in water.

Here are 17 ways you can surround yourself with water. So, go ahead and take a plunge, a toe-dip, a boat ride or a chic beach vacation and feel happier.  detox-684107_1920

  1. Drink cold water from a carafe
  2. Sing in the rain
  3. Swim in an infinity pool
  4. Catch a wave
  5. Water a plant
  6. Bathe in scented oil (try Floating Island Luxury Bath Oil by Lush Cosmetics)
  7. Bathe in sea salt (try Calm Dead Sea Bath Salts by Margaret Elizabeth)
  8. Watch fish swim in an aquatic tank
  9. Stand in a waterfall
  10. Wash your hands (try Shea butter Liquid Soap-Verbena by L’Occitane) aquariums-1867308_1920
  11. Take a hot shower
  12. Get a pedicure (for added benefit, try a variation with milk and honey or chocolate)
  13. Shampoo your hair (anything with lavender, mint or honey)
  14. Plug in a tabletop fountain
  15. Relax near a public fountain
  16. Take a cruise
  17. Have a hot or cold cup of tea

 

 

10 uses for coconut oil before 9 a.m.

With the myriad of articles that have been published touting the benefits and multiple uses of coconut oil, it’s no wonder coconut oil users feel are obsessed with this natural oil. It can be used as a skin and hair moisturizer, a cooking oil, makeup remover and a bug repellent, to name a few. But how many more ways can we incorporate coconut oil into our daily lives? I’ve pulled from some sources and found some awesome ways to add a bit of the essential oil to your healthy morning routine.

  1. Coconut oil as coffee creamer. A teaspoon or so of oil can be added to your morning coffee as a natural sweetener. Note: The American Heart Association recommends no more than 13 grams of saturated fat, one tablespoon (found in coconut oil) per day.
  2. Coconut oil can be used to make a natural soap that is both moisturizing and antibacterial.
  3. After showering, try slathering up with oil to damp skin before toweling off.
  4. If you prefer baths, add a teaspoon of oil to your bath along with an essential oil like lavender.
  5. Use coconut oil as deodorant as an alternative to store brands that often contain harsh chemicals.
  6. Coconut oil as face moisturizer. Cleanse your face and add oil to moisturize dry winter skin.
  7. Or use coconut oil as a cleanser using the oil cleanse method by applying coconut oil to your face and then following with a warm, wet cloth.
  8. Mix coconut oil, lemon juice and a dollop of your favorite essential oil to naturally strengthen eyelashes while you sleep.
  9. Coconut oil as toothpaste. Apply to teeth along with baking soda and essential oils as a naturally cleansing alternative.
  10. Apply a bit of oil to chapped lips.

Sources: health.com, wellnessmama.com

The miracle of flax seed

Although the existence of magic can be debated, flax seed has truly magical properties. This tiny, ancient seed is believed to help lower cholesterol, prevent heart disease and breast cancer and even squash hot flashes. More than 300 new products containing flax seed were introduced in the U.S. and Canada in 2010, according to the Flax Council. So, why aren’t we eating more of this miracle seed?

Flax seed contains omega 3s, fiber, protein, and antioxidants. And the best way to extract these vital nutrients is by grinding the seeds and adding them to your favorite yogurt, oatmeal, and smoothies. Healthyflax.org recommends two tablespoons of flax daily.

Flax seeds can be a great addition to many types of dishes. In fact, many healthy, sweet and savory recipes can be found on Eatingwell.com’s site. Check them out here.