May 2013 - Our Daily Green

Thursday, May 30, 2013

How to choose your eggs

The last time I stood in the grocery store, comparing prices of a dozen eggs, I shook my head in cofusion, knowing that despite the claims, most grocery store eggs still are not exactly what we want to be eating. Labeling laws and regulations tiptoe the edge of honesty. Technically, there is truth in advertising, but just barely.

Egg cartons are emblazoned with feel good words intended to convince the consumer of the healthy and wholesome conditions the chickens are raised under. But what does that really mean to the person eating the eggs? 

In short? Very little. 

Consumers need to understand that the job of the package is to sell the product, and that marketing experts will sell in any way they can. Some terms to be wary about on egg packages include: 
cage free chickens
image courtesy of: wikimedia commons
  • Cage-Free: Means exactly that. The chickens aren't in a cage. They may however be packed into a crowded barn with no access to the outdoors. In fact, cage free chickens are often subjected to the cruel practice of beak trimming to ensure they don't hurt each other in their crowded conditions. 
  • Free-Range: Means they have access to the outside. Access is legally defined as a door. Outside may be nothing more than a small square of dirt. Outside is not a bucolic pasture where chickens are in the sunshine breathing fresh air and pecking at bugs. In fact, chickens are not even required to have access until they are 5 weeks old, at which time, their habits are already established.
  • Organic: While this term is regulated and indicates the sort of diet the chickens are fed, they still may live in overcrowded coops, with minimal access to the outside. It's just that their food is organic, and free of hormones and antibiotics. 
If your eggs come from a commercial egg producer, they probably do not have the health benefits that true free-range, organic diet, cage-free, yard roaming chickens have. Eggs from truly free chickens actually have up to six times the vitamin D that a standard egg has, as the hen absorbs the sunshine vitamin which becomes part of her egg. 

The only way for a consumer to truly know they are getting the healthiest and safest eggs is to buy from a local farmer or raise their own chickens

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Why Grass Fed Beef is Better for You (Infographic)

The dangers of chlorine

A chlorine allergy is often difficult to diagnose because few people associate showering with an allergic reaction. However, while chlorine kills harmful bacteria in drinking water, it can also cause dry skin, eye irritation, sneezing, congestion and coughing. But even without a specific allergy, about 66% of a person's exposure to chlorine is not through drinking water, but through steam and skin absorption.

chlorine removal
photo courtesy of: wikimedia commons
Chlorine damages the moist tissues such as eyes, throat and lungs. There are several harmful effects of repeatedly showering with chlorinated water. It significantly reduces the natural moisture retention in your skin which ages the skin. Water that contains harsh chemicals can also cause breathing problems. When you inhale chlorinated water from showering regularly, you are inhaling chlorine gas that can eventually increase your risks of acquiring severe medical conditions.

Fortunately, there are products on the market that will filter and eliminate the chlorine and other harmful contaminants. A quality shower head filter will significantly reduce your chances of suffering detrimental side effects of contaminated shower water. Buy a shower head filter at, and you will eliminate chlorine and other contaminants that are found in unfiltered shower water. has been in business since 1978, and the company is committed to helping as many customers as possible equip their homes and offices with water filters, shower head filters and water softeners to promote healthy lifestyles as well as overall physical health of people. The shower head filters offered by particularly reduces up to 99% of chlorine in water and decrease the levels of lead and copper found in unfiltered water.

disclosure: Our Daily Green has been compensated for this post. Nonetheless, we have written previously about the effects of chlorine and highly recommend filters that remove chlorine from shower water. 

Houseplant care for the novice

photo courtesy of wikimedia commons
Over the years, Our Daily Green has received numerous houseplants as gifts. While we've had moderate success with outdoor plants, our indoor plants never seem to survive. Houseplants not only compliment any decor, several species also clean the air, removing indoor toxins such as formaldehyde and benzene. But that only works if the plant thrives. Fortunately, we've just learned about a fascinating website with comprehensive information for anything houseplant related called

The first step towards a green thumb is to know what sort of plant you have. With a few clicks, you soon will know how to identify a houseplant a Within seconds, a full color, alphabetical directory of any sort of houseplant is at your fingertips. With over 100 different houseplant varieties listed in the Popular Houseplants section, the detailed descriptions make identification easy for anyone.

This site goes beyond identification. Once you identify the plant, you will find detailed care instructions as well as solutions for common problems that plant may have. Additionally, there is a dedicated section for houseplant selection, so you can choose a plant that will thrive whether your space has little, medium or abundant sunshine. You can also choose plants based on ease of care as well as size and toxicity. There are plants for any color thumb, but with this site, soon your thumb will turn green, as you will learn how to be a plant whisperer. There is even a way to sign up for watering reminders for your plants and a question and answer link if you cannot find the information you need on the site. With, you'll have the best houseplant for your lifestyle, climate, and expertise.

disclosure: This post has been brought to you by a sponsor, and Our Daily Green is really excited to learn more about houseplant care as a result! 

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Kashi REAL Project

nongmoproject.orgDisclosure: Our Daily Green promotes companies and causes that we believe are committed to helping us make healthier choices. In our opinion, Kashi has responded appropriately to criticism and has partnered with the non-profit verification organization, Non-GMO Project. To learn more about the ways Kashi is involved in helping bring healthier foods to our nation, watch their video. 

Let's get real. Watch the video and Kashi will donate $2 to HealthCorps!*

Did you know that about 9 out of 10 of high school students don't eat enough fruits and vegetables? This is why HealthCorps is empowering high school students to take charge of their health and eat more nutritious foods. Take a step into the HealthCorps classroom and get a taste of what students are learning about the importance of common fruits and vegetables:
1) Sweet Potatoes - This root vegetable is a member of the morning glory family and provides a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and fiber.
2) Tomatoes – The bright red color comes from lycopene, a phytonutrient that is best absorbed by the body when a tomato is cooked or crushed.
3) Edamame - Calcium comes from more than milk! Edamame is a plant-based source of calcium to help support bone health.
Help keep these critical nutritional courses available to students nationwide by sharing Kashi's video. Remember, for every video view Kashi will donate $2 to HealthCorps healthy eating programs, up to a maximum of $125,000.* The more you share the closer we get to raising $125,000!
*For every video view on The Kashi REAL Project, Kashi will donate $2, up to a maximum of $125,000, to HealthCorps, Inc. The donation status will be updated instantaneously. Limit one poll response per user. There is a strict limit of one entry per person. If it becomes apparent that a participant is using a computer(s) to circumvent this rule or any other automated or programmed means, any donation will be void. The program will begin at 12:00am ET 5/6/13 and ends at 11:59 pm ET 6/14/13 or until the maximum donation is reached. HealthCorps, Inc will receive a minimum donation of $10,000. Must be a registered Facebook user to participate. This program is published by, which is solely responsible for its content. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited.

Save energy by servicing your air conditioner

air conditioning service hamilton
As the weather warms up and the plants and flowers explode with pollen, many allergy sufferers are closing the house and turning on the air conditioning. 

With the increased air conditioner use, energy and monthly bills also increase. One of the easiest ways to keep the cost at a minimum is to regularly service your air conditioner. 

According to the Energy Star site, a technician should check the following items in a service call: 
  • Tighten all electrical connections and measure voltage and current on motors. Faulty electrical connections can cause risky operation of your system and reduce the life of major components.
  • Grease all moving parts. Parts that lack lubrication cause friction in motors and increases the amount of electricity you use.
  • Inspect the condensation drain in your central air conditioner. A plugged drain can cause water damage in the house and affect indoor humidity levels.
  • Clean evaporator and condenser air conditioning coils. Dirty coils reduce the system's ability to cool the home, causing the system to run longer which increases the energy costs and reduces the life of the equipment.
  • Check refrigerant level and adjust if necessary. Too much or too little refrigerant will make your system less efficient increasing energy costs and reducing the life of the equipment.
  • Clean and adjust blower components to provide proper system airflow for greater comfort levels. Airflow problems can reduce your system's efficiency by up to 15 percent.
A well run unit can save both energy and money and is well worth the investment in a service call. 

Disclosure: Today's post has been brought to you by air conditioner service hamilton. We have been compensated for this post. Regardless, it's a pleasure to share tips to save money and energy with our readers. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

License to Kill (reprint from

David Reingold
Regulations stink, right? Lots of politicians run on promises that they’ll get rid of them to make way for an economic boom.
Well, have you ever considered what our world would look like without regulations?
In the early 20th century, almost all paint contained lead. Despite many reports documenting the dangers of lead exposure, especially on children, the lead industry did nothing about it. Indeed, it responded by establishing an organization that countered bad publicity with campaigns like an ad depicting Santa Claus encouraging children to paint toys with lead paint. The companies also refused to put labels on their products warning parents not to paint toys and cribs with that toxic product.
In the 1950s, it took local and state health officials to make the case that lead paint should be banned for interior use. The lead industry fought vigorouslyagainst that ban, which we now take for granted. Without regulation, paint would still have lead in it, and our kids would still be dying and suffering from brain damage because of it.
Historians Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner teamed up to document this shameful tale in Deceit and Denial: The Deadly Politics of Industrial PollutionTheir book also tracks a second case of industrial foot-dragging, which involved vinyl chloride. That’s the ever-present stuff that PVC pipes, vinyl siding, and many toys are made from. The plastics industry first learned of animal studies in Italy suggesting that vinyl chloride caused cancer in 1970, but manufacturers hid this information from the public, the government, and their own workers for several years.
When the government found out, regulators proposed that the plastics industry lower the allowed level of exposure to vinyl chloride in its factories. The industry fought that logical measure, claiming that to lower exposure to the suggested levels would cost $90 billion and result in plant closings, job losses, price increases and massive economic dislocation, Markowitz and Rosner wrote. Government regulators overrode those concerns and lowered the permissible exposure level in 1975. The industry quickly found ways to comply with this new standard for less than $300 million, and none of those dire predictions came true. Those plastics manufacturers would never have done it on their own.
The stages of industrial denial are always the same:
  1. X is perfectly safe.
  2. Well, there’s evidence that X might cause some problems, but there’s no proof, and it could be something else.
  3. OK, X is harmful, but it’s irreplaceable.
  4. Well, there’s something else we could use instead, but it would be soooo expensive to change, and it would ruin our business and everyone associated with it.
  5. A new product comes out that’s better and cheaper than the old one.
Whenever you hear of someone making those claims, whether it’s about fossil-fueled climate change, illness-causing fireproofing additives in furniture, pesticides suspected of making bees die off, the potentially hormone-disrupting antibacterial agents in your soap, or anything else, get skeptical.
Although there certainly are cases where chemicals suspected of being harmful ultimately prove harmless, companies almost always deny the claim that their product is dangerous.
Just remember, in a truly free market, many companies would gladly poison you to earn bigger profits. Predictions of dire consequences if we impose regulations, or benefits if we remove them, rarely come true. And anyone advocating the outright elimination of the Environmental Protection Agency, as several Republican presidential candidates did in our last election, is essentially saying they want to grant corporate America a license to kill.
David Reingold, a retired chemistry professor at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, now lives in Portland, Oregon.
Distributed via OtherWords (

Creative CommonsExcept where otherwise noted, content from OtherWords is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative 3.0 License.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Enabling Greed Makes U.S. Sick (reprint)

Enabling Greed Makes U.S. Sick (via Moyers & Company)
May 20, 2013

At the end of a week that reminds us to be ever vigilant about the dangers of government overreaching its authority, whether by the long arm of the IRS or the Justice Department, we should pause to think about another threat — from too much private power obnoxiously intruding into public life.
All too often, instead of acting as a brake on runaway corporate power and greed, government becomes their enabler, undermining the very rules and regulations intended to keep us safe.
Think of inadequate inspections of food and the food-related infections which kill 3,000 Americans each year and make 48 million sick. A new study from Johns Hopkins shows elevated levels of arsenic — known to increase a person’s risk of cancer — in chicken meat. According to the university’s Center for a Livable Future, “Arsenic-based drugs have been used for decades to make poultry grow faster and improve the pigmentation of the meat. The drugs are also approved to treat and prevent parasites in poultry… Currently in the U.S., there is no federal law prohibiting the sale or use of arsenic-based drugs in poultry feed.”
And here’s a story in The Washington Post about toxic, bacteria-killing chemicals used in poultry plants to clean more chickens more quickly to meet increased demand and make more money. According to Amanda Hitt, director of the Government Accountability Project’s Food Integrity Campaign, “They are mixing chemicals together in these plants, and it’s making people sick. Does it work better at killing off pathogens? Yes, but it also can send someone into respiratory arrest.”
As long as there are insufficient checks and balances on big business and its powerful lobbies, we are at their mercy.
So far, the government has done next to nothing. No research into the possible side effects, no comprehensive record-keeping on illnesses. “Instead,” the Post reports, “they review data provided by chemical manufacturers.” What’s more, the Department of Agriculture is about to allow the production lines to move even faster, by as much as 25 percent, which means more chemicals, more exposure, more sickness.
Think of that and think of the 85,000 industrial chemicals available today – only a handful have been tested for safety. Ian Urbina writes in The New York Times, “Hazardous chemicals have become so ubiquitous that scientists now talk about babies being born pre-polluted, sometimes with hundred s of synthetic chemicals showing up in their blood.”
Think, too, of that horrific explosion of ammonium nitrate in the Texas fertilizer plant. Fifteen people were killed and their little town devastated. The magazine Mother Jones noted, “Inspections are virtually non-existent; regulatory agencies don’t talk to each other; and there’s no such thing as a buffer zone when it comes to constructing plants and storage facilities in populated areas.” For years, the Fertilizer Institute, described as “the nation’s leading lobbying organization of the chemical and agricultural industries,” resisted regulation and legislators went along. People can lose their lives when federal or state government winks at bad corporate practices — 4,500 workplace deaths annually at a cost to America of nearly half a trillion dollars.
Plant Explosion Investigation
An investigator looks over a destroyed fertilizer plant in West, Texas, Thursday, May 2, 2013. (AP Photo/Pool/ LM Otero, Pool)
As Salon’s columnist and author David Sirota observes, “If all this data was about a terrorist threat, the reaction would be swift — negligent federal agencies would be roundly criticized and the specific state’s lax attitude toward security would be lambasted. Yet, after the fertilizer plant explosion, there has been no proactive reaction at all, other than Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry boasting about his state’s ‘comfort with the amount of oversight’ that already exists.”
Finally, consider this story from ProPublica’s investigative reporter Abrahm Lustgarten about a uranium company that wanted a mining project in Texas that threatened to pollute drinking water. The EPA resisted — until the company hired as its lobbyist the Democratic fundraiser and fixer Heather Podesta, a favorite of the White House. Her firm was paid $400,000, she pulled the strings, and presto, the EPA changed its mind and said yes, go ahead and do your dirty work. In fact, ProPublica found that “the agency has used a little-known provision in the federal Safe Drinking Water Act to issue more than 1,500 exemptions allowing energy and mining companies to pollute aquifers, including many in the driest parts of the country.”
Of course, in a free society we’ll always be debating the role of government and its agencies. What are the limits, when is government oversight necessary and when is it best deterred? But it’s not only government that can go too far. As long as there are insufficient checks and balances on big business and its powerful lobbies, we are at their mercy. Their ability to buy off public officials is an assault on democracy and a threat to our lives and health. When an entire political system persists in producing such gross injustice, it is making inevitable wholesale defiance.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Asparagus and FAGE Greek yogurt recipe

One of the hottest new items in the grocery store is Greek yogurt. We had tried different brands from time to time and were always quite pleased with the thicker texture, but never really knew why or what the reason was for the difference from the regular yogurt we had enjoyed in the past.

After a little research, we learned that the primary difference between Greek yogurt and regular yogurt is amount of water/whey content. Greek yogurt is made by straining the regular yogurt at least three times thereby removing the whey. This makes Greek yogurt thicker and creamier.

Because more milk is required to make Greek yogurt, it is often more expensive, but it also is much more dense with proteins, calcium, and probiotics. The Greek yogurts have 10 to 14 grams of protein per serving compared with 3 to 10 grams in the other yogurts.

Our Daily Green had a chance to work with FAGE Total Greek Yogurt this past month. We received coupons to try their product in recipes, as part of Bobby Flay's Fill the Fridge recipe challenge. With asparagus in season locally around the nation and here in Ohio, we jumped on the opportunity to try:

Asparagus with Dijon Cream Sauce



  • 1/4 Cup FAGE Total 2%
  • 1 Pound Fresh Asparagus
  • 1/4 Teaspoon finely chopped tarragon
  • 1/4 Teaspoon finely chopped parsley
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Dijon coarse ground mustard
  • 1/8 Teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Preparation Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In small bowl, add yogurt, horseradish, both Dijon mustards, and stir to combine. Set aside, or refrigerate until asparagus is roasted.
  3. Thoroughly wash and dry asparagus and trim tough ends. If using asparagus with thick stalks, peel lower half. Place asparagus on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and toss to completely coat. Spread in a single layer and sprinkle with black pepper.
  4. Roasting time will vary depending on the thickness of asparagus. For very thin asparagus, begin checking after 8 minutes. Thicker asparagus, 12 – 20 minutes. Roast until tender, but still crisp.
  5. To serve, arrange on platter and spoon Dijon sauce over roasted asparagus.

disclosure: Our Daily Green's owner, FreshGreenKim participates as a BzzAgent and received free coupons for FAGE yogurt. Nontheless, we only share products and information we think will be useful to our readers.  

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Schwinn Windwood Bike Giveaway!

Bike to Work Day

2013's annual Bike to Work Day takes place this Friday in cities around the United States. Biking not only saves gasoline, but in turn improves health. According to the website for the annual event, some of the benefits include:
  • Reduced Health Care Costs – According to the Centers for Disease Control, moderate physical activity (such as bicycling to work) saves 5 to 12 percent in annual medical costs, compared with a 6.5 percent savings from employees who don’t smoke. The fitness program at General Electric’s Aircraft Engine unit saves an estimated $540,000 annually, including 760 fewer hospital days per year.
  • Decreased Absenteeism  – A study by the National Center for Health Statistics found that physical activity is one of the few factors that have a statistically significant effect on absenteeism. Physically fit employees are absent an average of two fewer days per year. 
  • Increased Productivity – Bicyclists and walkers arrive at work with less stress than those who commute by automobile. The Berkeley Wellness Letter reports that “chronic exposure to traffic congestion produces an increase in baseline blood pressure, lowering of frustration tolerance, increases in negative mood, and aggressive driving habits.”  In contrast,  bicyclists and walkers often report feeling relaxed and more alert after arriving at work, ready for a more productive day.
  • Increased Corporate Social Responsibility – Being concerned about the environment is important these days and reflects well on your company.  Bicycling is part of being a green-minded company and helps to reduce your carbon footprint. 

In order to encourage bike riding, not just on one day a year, we've teamed with several partners to offer a a giveaway of the pictured bicycle from Schwinn, a brand synonymous with generations of bike riding enthusiasts. Schwinn has innovative designs of the highest quality. To enter, simply follow the instructions in the rafflecopter link at the bottom of this post.

Good Luck!

A Rafflecopter Giveaway

Sponsored by: Mom Blog Society | She Informed | My Dairy Free Gluten Free Life | Frantic Mommy 
Co-Hosted by: Jackie's Reviews | Geeky Gamer Mom | Swank Savings

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Arizona Summer Flowers

For the Arizona gardener, the summer can be a difficult time to get anything to sprout.  The months of June, July, and August always experience high temperatures that rarely get less than 100 degrees.  Not only does the high heat affect plants growth, but the dryness of the air makes it a daunting task for any plant to break through the soil.  There is a list however, of plants that thrive in the harsh dry heat.  Many make for a great addition to your garden and require little work.  Here are some flowers to consider in your desert summer garden. 

bougainvilleas1)  Bougainvilleas flower:  This flower is a flower that has very vibrant colors during the intense summer season.  The flowers it produces range in color from bright pink, purple and white which make the flower stand out with as a very beautiful and ornamental plant.  The plant is drought tolerant and does not require very much water to thrive on.  The plant is thorny and must be treated with caution when clipping it and the sap is also known to cause rashes when exposed to the skin.

2)  Lantanas:  These flowers are of tropical decent; however they do very well in dry hot regions of the world including Australia.  The flowers of this plant are vibrant when it gets hot and include a mix of colors including red, orange, yellow, blue, and white.  As the plant matures, the flowers tend to change color and become more vibrant.  They require full sun and attract hummingbirds and bees.  It is a good idea to keep your eye on this plant though, as they are prone to becoming infested with pests. 

3)  The Vinca Rosea:  Also known as the catharanthus roseus or the Madagascar periwinkle is a very ornamental plant that is native to Madagascar.  During the hot summer, it has vibrant purple leaves that dwell in the sunlight.  This flower can grow in a pot, or in the desert ground.  The plant requires full sunlight in the summer time.  During the winter they will begin to yellow a little bit, but once the temperature comes back up, they begin to grow again and show off their purple leaves.     

Nerium Oleander 4)  Oleander:  The Nerium Oleander is a great summer plants that blossoms in Phoenix between the months of May and October.  They come in colors of red, pink, white, and purple and come in different sizes.  This is one of the best Arizona plants because it does not require much water, does require sun exposure, and grows best in sandy soil.  The only precaution is they are poisonous to children or animals if ingested.


Is your garden drip system in need of some repair?  AZ Sprinkler is your source for top end parts and installation to ensure that your garden will thrive any time of the year by getting the water it needs, when it needs it.  

disclosure: This post has been brought to you by a sponsor. However, Our Daily Green loves to know what sort of plants thrive in different climates. Keeping a watering system in top repair is always of interest and something our readers appreciate as well.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Is your lip color safe?

Our Daily Green recently had the opportunity to review lip gloss from Vapour Organic Beauty. Vapour is the only color cosmetic manufactured to the USDA’s Organic Food Standard. Vapour is a proud member and champion company of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. Vapour sells several lines of lipsticks and glosses in fashionable shades that the consumer can feel safe and confident in using, as determined by Skin Deep from the Environmental Working Group.

Products like Vapour are reassuring after last week's news release from the University of California at Berkeley. Their lipstick study discovered that an average lipstick user might get 20% or more of their maximum safe daily intake of lead, aluminum, cadmium and manganese just from their lip product.

According to the study's principal investigator S. Katharine Hammond, professor of environmental health sciences,
Vapour Organic Beauty Lipstick and lip gloss are of special concern because when they are not being blotted on tissue or left as kiss marks, they are ingested or absorbed, bit by bit, by the individual wearing them. The researchers developed definitions for average and high use of lip makeup based on usage data reported in a previous study. Average use was defined as daily ingestion of 24 milligrams of lip makeup per day. Those who slather on the lip color and reapply it repeatedly could fall into the high use category of 87 milligrams ingested per day.
Currently, there are no U.S. standards for metal content in cosmetics while in Europe, cadmium, chromium and lead are banned – at any level – in cosmetic products. Metal ingestion is linked to neurotoxicity, and can enter the body by absorption through the skin. Once in the body, the metals displace essential minerals such as zinc, copper, magnesium, and calcium, and interfere with organ system function.

Companies that use metal in cosmetics do so primarily to reduce costs, but often that savings is never passed onto the consumer. Instead, such companies take risks with their customers in order to increase profits.

Vapour has a much different corporate philosophy. From sourcing their ingredients in sustainable and ethical ways, to domestic production, to fair wages, Vapour is a cosmetic company whose beauty is well beyond skin deep. We are proud to endorse and recommend Vapour cosmetics to our readers.

disclosure: Our Daily Green received two beautiful lip glosses to test and review. Regardless, we stand by preference that we use cosmetics that do not contain potentially poisonous ingredients.  

The wonders of shea butter

raw shea butter

Our Daily Green recently received some products to try from the the folks over at Nourish Organic, a cosmetics company based in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. Our package included the Nourish Organic Raw Shea Butter and the Nourish Organic Body Wash in Lavender Mint.

While both products are manufactured in cruelty free, chemical free, concern free ways, we want to focus on Shea butter as a beauty treatment. We have been extremely impressed with this simple, yet extremely effective moisturizer and wanted to learn more about the raw material.

Shea butter is derived from the Shea tree, which grows wild in Africa and requires no water or chemicals to grow. The only real threat to this resource is that the Shea tree is used for the production of charcoal and firewood. It is predominantly grown in the West African nations of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Republic of Central Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo,  Cote D'Ivoire, Chad, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Togo and Uganda.

The Shea butter industry is mainly driven by the work of women across West Africa. Women collect the Shea nuts, extract the butter and sell the refined product. According to Brenda Chalfin's book Shea Butter Republic, shea has gone from a commodity for the indigenous people of Africa to a postindustrial world luxury. In Ghana and Burkina Faso there are a million Shea butter producers. Shea butter production requires lots of manual work, since machines are not readily available for the women producing Shea. The labor is mostly all done manually with little to no technology.

Shea is considered a "tree of life" for several reasons, from the healing properties of the butter to the economic opportunities it provides for millions in West Africa.

We absolutely loved the product from Nourish Organic and highly recommend it to our readers. At this time, through the end of the May, they are offering a buy one, get one free offer exclusively through their online shopping store.

Disclosure: Our Daily Green received a complimentary 5.5 oz jar of Nourish Organic raw shea butter. We were so impressed by the product that we were inspired to learn more, which prompted today's post. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Five ways to see if you have a water leak

vaughan plumber

A water leak in the home can waste a significant amount of water, costing the homeowner money, not to mention the environmental cost of wasting water. According to the US Geological Survey, a faucet that drips once a minute, will waste approximately 34 gallons of water annually. Multiply that by several faucets or at a faster rate and the amount grows exponentially. Sometimes the water leak is not easy to detect or find.

Our Daily Green has a few hints to determining if there is a leak in your home:

  • Look around the outside of your house for unusual puddles or large wet spots. That may indicate a leak.
  • Study your water bills for any unusual spike in usage.
  • Know where your water meter is and look at the indicator to see if it is visibly moving.
  • When you know that your house will be empty for any amount of time (weekend or vacation) log the meter numbers. If it changes when you return, knowing there was no water used, you have a leak.
  • To determine if your toilet is leaking, put red food coloring in the tank and do not flush the toilet. Check periodically to see if the water in the bowl is red, which indicates a leak. 
plumbing scarborough

Lastly, if you find a water leak, or suspect one, contact a local plumbing professional. The money spent to fix the leak properly will pay for itself. 

Images provided courtesy of wikipedia commons. 

This post has been brought to you by industry professionals at vaughan plumber and plumbing scarborough. Nonetheless, our thoughts about a dripping faucet or leaky toilet are entirely our own, it's annoying and wasteful, but can be fixed.