July 2014 - Our Daily Green

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

6 natural remedies for allergy (infographic)

Our Daily Green is affiliated with The Allergy Kit, a drug free, home treatment for allergies. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

4 nutritional supplement ingredients you should know

When it comes to nutritional supplements, everyone can rattle off their favorite brands and fat-busting enzymes, but how many people are equally educated in their ingredients? Here are just four oils and powders that have been secretly boosting your immune system the entire time:

  • Fish Collagen Powder

Collagen is responsible for the elasticity in your joints, muscles, ligaments and skin, and fish collagen is some of the best money can buy. It contains several amino acids, including L-proline and L-hydroxyproline, and it's also high in proteins.

  • Greenshell Mussel Oil

If you suffer from chronic aches and pains, look for a supplement containing greenshell mussel oil. This magical ingredient is full of omega-3 fatty acids that will reduce inflammation around joints and muscles, giving you natural and extensive pain relief.

  • Oyster Powder

Need a full system boost? Oyster powder can improve everything from your blood pressure to your cardiovascular health, so it should come as no surprise that it's a popular addition to heart-healthy supplements. Learn more by clicking here.

    Shark Silhouette

  • Shark Cartilage Powder

Sharks are one of nature's most giving creatures in terms of health benefits derived from their parts. Shark cartilage powder provides calcium, carbohydrates and even phosphorous to improve a wide variety of bodily and psychological functions.

These are just a few nutritional ingredients that you should look for the next time you go vitamin shopping. The more you understand about your supplements, the better you can optimize your intake and improve your health.

Thank you to today's sponsor for information about alternative supplements to improve our health. 

Going organic with your skincare

Your skin is the most delicate part of your body. To keep is soft and looking great, you probably use a variety of body washes, soaps, cleansers and lotions. However, do you know what you are really putting on your skin? If you are not using products that are labeled organic, you may be adding harmful chemicals to your body. Over time, these may even cause issues with your skin's look and feel. Shopping organic can keep your beauty routine natural and healthy.

What to Avoid

When you are shopping for organic products, there are a few ingredients you will want to avoid. Even if the product is labeled as organic, you will still want to make sure that some of these ingredients are not listed on the product. Some ingredients you should always avoid in body washes, soaps and lotions include parabens, sulfates, phthalates and propylene glycol. Many of these ingredients are linked to health issues that can, over time, cause disease in humans. If you want to do your best to avoid these products, shopping organic may be the way to go.

What to Expect in an Organic Product

In an organic body product, you should expect to see a number of ingredients that come from natural sources. Some of the best skin-loving ingredients include aloe vera, shea butter, coconut oils, fruit oils and flower extracts. Not only do these do great things for your skin, they can also contribute to great scent varieties in these products. You should also be able to see clearly on the packaging which ingredients are organically sourced so you can make an informed decision as a consumer.

Photo courtesy of: M.arunprasad

Because these natural products are generally safe, it is important to note that many organic products have multiple uses. A body wash, for example, is great for your skin but can also be used to clean clothing, your hair and other items.

If you are interested in using more organic beauty products, you can buy organic body wash, lotions and other items that will give you the skin benefits you are looking for without harsh chemicals or additives. It can be a great option for you and your whole family.

Thank you to today's sponsor for reminding us why it is important to know what we are putting on our skin. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Different types of outdoor lighting

Looking for a way to refresh your exterior design? Or maybe you're just tired of stumbling through the dark every time you get home late from work. Whatever your reasons for considering outdoor lighting, here are just six ways to illuminate your yard and breathe new life into your landscape.

1. Lampposts 
Guide your guests straight to your door by installing lampposts along your driveway or walkway. Not only will they prevent mishaps along the path, but they'll also provide a gentle ambiance when night falls and you turn them all on at once.
2. Tiki Torches
Tiki torches are great for the social animal who enjoys hosting barbeques, pool parties and other backyard celebrations. Torches will fit right in with grills and fire pits, and as a bonus, they can often be fueled with mosquito repellent to keep pests away.
3. Fairy Lights
Fairy lights can be strung everywhere from shrubs to patios, so don't hesitate to get a little creative when hanging them in your yard. Wrap them around tree trunks and deck railings. Use them to frame doors and windows. Hang them from branches and birdhouses.
4. Jars
More than just containers for jams and jellies, jars can hold candles or tiny battery-powered lights to give your garden a unique glow. Thick, wide-set jars can be placed on the ground or in bunches on a deck. Solar jars can be installed around the porch to catch the sun's rays and project them back at night.
5. Lanterns
"StreetLamps" by Jongleur100 
Add a little flair to your landscape when you hang lanterns from the trees. They're available in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and styles, so your aesthetic will depend entirely on personal preference. Chose from wrought-iron lanterns from the Victorian era or paper lanterns inspired by the East.
6. Tea Lights
If you're looking for outdoor lighting without a huge price tag, tea lights are the way to go. These small accent pieces can be bought in bulk and placed around your lawn, so line your gravel or illuminate your roses by sticking them wherever you'd like a little light.

If you're ready to make a statement with your exterior lighting, here are just six ways to jazz things up. Outdoor lights never go out of style, so don't be afraid to spend a little money to achieve your dream look!

Our Daily Green wants to thank today's sponsor and remind our readers that there are many eco-friendly options when choosing outdoor lighting, from solar lights to low wattage fixtures. 

Keeping garages organized with cabinets and racks

Men who like to work on projects at home often have a variety of tools on hand in their garages or work sheds. When they want to keep their belongings organized, they can clean up their garages or sheds by investing in shelves, cabinets, racks, and other gear. They can find this equipment and get what they need to become better craftsmen by shopping online at sites like GarageAppeal.com.

When they shop online, they can first choose cabinets that are big enough to hold all of their tools. Some men accumulate a large number of tools throughout their lives. When they have a lot of saws, hammers, drills, screws, and other items, they may need a large cabinet in which to keep them. They can shop online to look at the cabinets of all sizes and find one that suits their needs.

If they like to take their work outside of their garages, these gentlemen may also like cabinets that have wheels on the bottom. The wheels let these men roll their cabinets to the desired location without having to drag or haul these fixtures. If a man has a bad back or cannot move the cabinet without help, he can move the fixture quickly and without enlisting the help of a friend or relative by choosing one that has wheels.

Similarly, craftsmen tend to be loyal to specific brands as they gain experience working with tools. When they want to have a tool chest made by their favorite brand, they can go online to this website and use the filter function to find models made by their favorite company. This option particularly can come in handy when they have tools that can only go inside models made by that company. Rather than leave those tools out in the open, they can find their favorite manufacturer’s chest selections by shopping online.

While men may invest a lot of money into their tools, cabinets, and racks for their garages, they may not want to invest money in having their purchases shipped to them. When they use this website, they can have their tool accessories and garage necessities shipped to them for free in many instances. They can put their cash toward what they need to make their tool shops the ideal location in which to work rather than paying too much for shipping their packages. Online shopping may be more practical.

We'd like to thank today's sponsor for helping us remind our readers that DIY projects are a big part of the environmentally friendly R's of reduce, reuse, recycle, and of course, repair. When you have the right tools and know where to find them, you're already on your way. 

Dealing with a beetle problem in your home

 Bugboy52.40 via Wikimedia Commons
If you are dealing with a beetle pest control problem, take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. Beetles are a widespread issue, and many homeowners seek to eliminate beetles from their home on a regular basis. There is a common perception that any type of pest control will be difficult and inconvenient, but this is due to the fact that many professionals use chemicals that are dangerous not only to the pests, but also to humans and their pets. There are other methods for dealing with pest control that are much safer and more convenient.

Beetles Are More Prevalent Than You Realize

Beetles are incredibly prevalent, as their species make up 25 percent of all of the currently known life forms. They are able to multiply quickly, which is a characteristic that is very scary for homeowners. A single female is capable of laying thousands upon thousands of eggs in her lifetime, which is frightening to consider when you are trying to eliminate beetles from your home. Since there are many different species, there are also a number of different methods for treating them as well, making it necessary to seek professional help when you encounter a beetle infestation problem.

Pest Infestation Can Be Treated Using Natural and Organic Products

While many species of bugs are quite hardy and can seemingly withstand anything, it is a common misconception that an infestation can only be dealt with by using harsh chemicals. Many homeowners view this as something of a trade-off, believing that they must simply deal with the inconvenience of pest control in exchange for eliminating the inconvenience of dealing with pest infestation. Fortunately, this is simply not the case, as many species of bugs can be treated through the use of natural and organic products which are just as effective at eradicating the pests as any other product that could be used.

A Convenient Treatment Option

If you elect to use natural and organic products to treat your beetle infestation problem, you will find that it is a much more convenient option for a number of reasons, including:

No need to leave your home during treatment
No future concerns about the health and well-being of your family
Safer for the environment

This added convenience makes opting for natural and organic products a great solution for dealing with a beetle infestation problem, and it should also make you feel a whole lot better about the manner in which you have chosen to confront this issue. There are pest control services that will be more than happy to give you natural and organic treatment advice on dealing with beetles in your home.

Safe and Effective Method for Eliminating Beetles

Of course, the ultimate goal of pest eradication is the complete elimination of the pests in question. While beetles are very prevalent and reproduce very quickly, the use of natural and organic products can still be an effective option for eliminating the pests from your home. Not only are these products effective, but they are also safe for your home, your family, and the environment. When it comes to a beetle problem within your home, you always want to opt for a solution that is effective, convenient and safe. Through the use of natural and organic products, this solution is very much a possibility.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Six ideas for fast, healthy, real food

this may be fast, but it's not real or healthy
Today's post was inspired by a photo our friend shared on Facebook from the Food, Inc. page. We've become so indoctrinated into the idea that food needs to be quick, fast, and easy that we'll buy a tube of vegetarian ham, flavored like chicken, which couldn't be further from what it is supposed to be in the first place.

We got to thinking how we've fooled ourselves into thinking that the only fast food available is the kind in a bag that we grab through our car window, without even considering how quickly we could fix simple, healthy, real food at home.

Inspired by the discussion, Our Daily Green wanted to share a few ideas for quick meals or snacks, that are healthy and don't rely on processed food.

  • Fresh fruit is about as easy as it gets. Wash and eat. Apples, peaches, berries, bananas, plums... all are simple and come in a ready to serve package. Stock up on them today. My daughter, who is studying abroad this summer, actually sent me a message to tell me, "I just took a bite of the best peach of my life... I was walking from the kitchen, and stopped dead in my tracks when it hit my taste buds. It was awesome. I just had to share/document this."
  • Eggs. They are not the bad guy. They are healthy, chock full of protein, and scrambling an egg takes minutes, tops. Throw in a handful or two of chopped veggies & some cheese, and you have a quick breakfast. If you need to take it on the road, put it in a tortilla and you've got a scrambled egg wrap.  On a similar note, my friend and writing colleague Dee Dee, mentioned how easy a meal a frittata can be. 
  • Pasta. The whole grain kind. It's a great base for the rest of the other things you want to eat in a hurry. Cook up a pound or two and keep it in the fridge for a quick start to a simple meal.
  • Alternative grains. Quinoa and amaranth cook up quickly, adding depth and protein to any fast meal.
  • Canned beans. No not the mushy chopped, salty green things. Cannellini, black beans, garbanzo, kidney beans. They are healthy, high in fiber and EASY. Purists may cringe at not soaking them overnight and cooking them from dry, but remember, the key here is fast and easy. This is about getting the healthiest foods in our system in a minimal amount of time.
  • Frozen veggies. Keep a variety on hand and be ready to toss them in with the beans, pasta, grains, or eggs. Healthy and quick. 
We also discussed a few important tools, including a slow cooker and a Foreman grill, as well as a rice cooker. These tools save valuable time and should become part of a kitchen with a cook who is short of time.

The first step to healthier eating is the desire to do so. The next step is preparation. Choose healthy foods and the tools that make them easy to prepare. Fast food doesn't have to come from a place you drive thru. It's just as quick to have it on hand and ready to fix. You don't have to be a chef or a foodie to eat well, just committed to your health.

What are some of your favorite fast cooking tips?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

What soda companies really mean by "sugar" (infographic)

What Soda Companies Really Mean By "Sugar"

Going green with your home improvement projects

Advancements in technology have provided us with conveniences many of us would not know what to do without. While these innovations have provided us with the tools to become more efficient and enjoy time with our loved ones, they are negatively impacting our environment. If you are embarking on home improvement projects, there are products available to help you stay green and reduce your carbon footprint.
  • Proper Sealing and Insulation
There is a great way to both increase your home's environmental compatibility while also lower your monthly utility bills. Around your walls, windows, doors, and floors are often gaps, and these provide perfect outlets for the temperature-controlled air in your home to escape. This causes your heater and air conditioner to work overtime. With a minimal investment, you can seal these openings as well as better insulate your home.

Another way to reduce this problem is to install energy-efficient windows and doors throughout your home. While the upfront cost for this measure is higher, you will quickly get those dollars back and more as you watch your energy bills go down for years to come. For many more tips on how to reduce your energy consumption, visit this page.
  • Lighting
Home improvement projects are meant to increase both the aesthetic and financial value of your home, and proper lighting can do both. The right lighting can transform a room, and, if you purchase energy-efficient products during this project, you can also do your part in helping the environment. For access to products that can help you achieve this goal, visit the Energy Star website.
  • Hot Water System
You use hot water every day. From washing your dishes to taking a shower at the end of a long day, it is a commodity that you can both enjoy and optimize to better the environment for future generations. Making the investment in systems such as the Dux Airoheat Heat Pump allows you to use heat from the air to increase the temperature of your water, allowing you to reduce the stress on the environment by giving your water heater a much needed break.
  • Roofing
image courtesy of wikimedia commons
Around every ten years, it becomes necessary to replace your shingles to ensure your home is protected from the outside elements. However, the resources used to produce quality shingles can put a serious strain on the environment. To do your part to reduce this is to purchase shingles produced using recycled material. Innovations are being made to make these shingles aesthetically pleasing without sacrificing on quality. Products matching these specifications can be found at GreenHome Improvement.
  • Planning for Expansion
Whether you family is growing or your income has increased, you may be considering making additions to your home. If so, you should seriously consider the square footage you actually need to live comfortably. Extra rooms require more strain on your heater and air conditioner, and the materials used to make these additions put even more strain on the environment. Your home is likely your largest investment, and these changes can add to its value. However, don't go overboard when making additions. More great advice on renovations can be found here.
  • Doing Your Part
Global warming is everyone's problem. If you are planning a home improvement project, following these tips can help you reduce your carbon footprint.

A special thank you to today's blog sponsor for sharing so many environmentally responsible home improvement tips!

Cutting costs using reflective coatings

Applying a reflective coating of paint or a similar substance to your roof is a great way to cut energy costs that most people don't even think about. Reflective coatings come in a wide variety of options. There are different paints, textures and membranes that can be applied to your rooftop to reflect solar and ultraviolet heat. Applying a reflective coating can reduce the temperature of the roof by up to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

A few of the many different uses for heat resistant paints and coatings are listed below:

They are used in the construction of "green" buildings; the application of the coating gives "green credit points" to the project.
They are used in livestock and poultry sheds, to help reduce heat stress on the animals.
They are used in hospitals, schools and malls to help provide a more comfortable work environment.
They are used in residential homes, villas and office buildings to lower the cost of air conditioning.
They are used in some military defense vehicles as well.

Applying a light or reflective coating on your roof is a great way to lower your cooling costs and to extend roof life. The right type of reflective roof coatings will provide a waterproof surface, along with reflecting heat and preventing heat transfer to the interior of the building. This, in its turn, extends the life of your HVAC system and reduces maintenance fees.

Reflective coatings are measured by their albedo. The higher the albedo of a product is, the more heat it is able to reflect. Roofing such as bitumen, gravel or tar has albedos from 0.1 to 0.2. This means that these products absorb nearly 80 percent of the heat they receive. The heat they absorb is conducted into the home where the inhabitants, in order to remain comfortable, must turn up the air conditioning several notches. The albedos of heat reflective materials tends to be significantly higher, around 0.9.

Kelly Moore Paints offers a reflective paint designed to reflect radiant heat away from the surface to which it was applied. The 1545 Enviro Coat Reflective paint is designed for commercial and residential use. This paint uses advanced infrared-reflective technology to prevent infrared rays from penetrating through the coating and into the wall, even if the wall has been painted a medium or dark color.

High-performance heat-reflective paint offers high opacity and is quite inhospitable to mold and mildew. In addition, the paint is strongly resistant to ultraviolet damage due to its light-reflecting capabilities.

The process of applying the heat-reflective coating of paint to a roof is quite simple. The first step is to sweep the roof clean of any debris and to pressure wash it. The next step involves the application of a sealant, which prevents the next coat of paint from penetrating into porous materials. This cures for two days before the next coat is applied. The third step is the application of a base coat. The fourth and final step is the application of a topcoat of the same product as the basecoat. The topcoat is available in an almost endless variety of colors to match the exterior color scheme of your home. You can find out more about the different steps involved with the application of this special paint at this website.

There you have it - everything about applying heat-reflective materials to the roof of your home. Getting a heat-reflective coating applied to your roof is a smart way to go green. And it also saves you money in the long run.

Today's post has been brought to you by a sponsor. Our Daily Green regularly shares information that we think will be useful and help our readers save money and energy. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Is bamboo a type of artificial grass?

"Bamboo Feb09".
Licensed under 
GFDL 1.2 via Wikimedia Commons
Bamboo isn't a type of artificial grass, but it's a grass that looks and behaves very much like hardwood after it's been processed. Indeed, bamboo is harder than some hardwoods.

One of the selling points of bamboo is that it grows quickly, like most grasses, but some species can grow to 100 feet tall within a few years. After it's harvested, it can be reharvested after about five or six years. Contrast this to the decades it takes for a hardwood tree like an oak or maple to be ready for harvesting.

Most types of bamboo that are used for flooring come from China and Vietnam.

For flooring, bamboo can be strandwoven, end grain, flat grain or vertical grain. End grain and strand woven bamboo are tougher and denser, but flat and vertical grain bamboo planks are less expensive. Like hardwood, bamboo can be solid or engineered. Solid means that the floor planks are bamboo all the way through, while engineered planks are made of layers, sometimes of plywood, that have been pressed together under great pressure and heat. The top layer is made out of quality bamboo.

One caveat about bamboo is that it's become so popular that bamboo plantations are replacing the native flora in some places. Also, the way some bamboo is processed might require chemicals that make it not as eco-friendly as it appears, and the energy that it takes to transport bamboo planks from Asia to the mainland United States makes its carbon footprint larger than it might otherwise be. Customers should check with the manufacturer to make sure that their bamboo flooring has been prepared as naturally as possible.

Bamboo flooring
By Pbroks13 (Own work)  via Wikimedia Commons
The natural color of a bamboo floor is light brown or tan, but it can be treated to make it darker. Bamboo is attractive because the pattern of the grain shows the nodes of the grass stalks, especially if the planks have been constructed horizontally. Like hardwood, bamboo needs to be finished and sanded, but it shouldn't be sanded across the grain or diagonally to the grain. Like wood floors, bamboo can be floated, glued or nailed.

Bamboo floor care is also easy. Like wood, bamboo should never be cleaned with a soaking wet mop. It should be damped mopped and broom swept, and any spills should be wiped up right away. Pads should be placed under the feet of especially heavy furniture, and the floor shouldn't be walked upon with high heels to prevent dings and dents.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

When is a fish dinner not a fish dinner?

image courtesy of wikimedia commons
Both meat eaters and vegetarians are starting to experience just how delicious fishless filets can be. With their various health benefits, spot-on imitation taste, and the many ways to properly prepare them, faux fish filets are flying off the shelves in many grocery stores.

Why Go Fishless? 

Many vegans and carnivores alike love the taste of fresh fish and chips, but sometimes the risk factors of consuming too much fish can be dangerous. A great deal of fish species, such as shark, swordfish, or king mackerel, contains high amounts of mercury, which can be dangerous to the nervous system of their consumer. Fish can also have other contaminants found in their systems, such as PCBs and dioxins, which have been tied to the origination of several cancers and other reproductive problems.

Due to the high amount of mercury and other toxins found in fresh fish, some studies recommended that pregnant and nursing women, as well as small children, stay away from certain fish. Meat products that are heavy in metals, such as mercury, can damage a child or fetus’s nervous system. Uncooked fish, such as sushi, can be particularly dangerous to those susceptible to mercury poisoning.

With so many warnings, what is a fish lover to do?  Rather than give up the taste of a delicious fish, try using some of the wonderful faux fish filets that are available. These filets are incredibly versatile and are able to be prepared as you would any other non-vegan fish. With modern technology, faux fish is now able to properly imitate the flakey inside of a perfectly cooked fish with the crunchy coating on the inside.

Health Benefits of Faux Fish

One of the beneficial aspects of consuming fish is that it is high in DHA omega-3 fatty acids. Since these health-boosting chemicals are most commonly found in fish, it can sometimes be difficult for vegans and vegetarians to sufficiently partake in their daily amount. Luckily, many of the delicious faux fish substitutes are also emulating the healthy structure of the meat. While these fishless alternatives leave out the mercury and other toxins, it delivers a high amount of healthy acids while also continuing to be cholesterol free.

Just like most fake meats, faux fish is incredibly high in protein, which can help boost your energy level and create lean muscle mass.

Ways to Experience Your Tasty Vegan Fish Filets

There are many ways to enjoy your meatless fish filet. While you can easily incorporate the faux meat product into any of your favorite recipes, here are a few meal ideas to help get you started.

  • Try serving your breaded filet in a whole-wheat wrap with fresh vegetables and some vegan mayonnaise, horseradish sauce, or Dijon mustard. 
  • Create your own fish and chips at home with some vegan tartar sauce and a side of freshly baked French fries.
  • Fishless tacos are a quick and easy dinner idea for busy families. Serve up your fish in either a hard or soft taco shell with some lettuce, tomato, dairy-free cheese, and salsa to spice up your weeknight.

With so many delicious meatless options to choose from, substituting your favorite fish filet for a fishless alternative is both an easy and tasty way to enjoy the flavor while removing the dangers of enjoying your fish.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Zabada giveaway at Our Daily Green

A few months ago, Our Daily Green published a review of the great cleaning products from Zabada. We tested the bathroom cleaning kit, including the mitt and calcium dissolver.

We were incredibly impressed with the quality and effectiveness of both the mitt and the calcium dissolver (see: review) and welcome the chance to offer the same products to you.

We are pairing up with Zabada again to host a giveaway so you have a chance to try out Zabada's incredibly effective microfiber cleaning products with ZERO chemicals.

Zabada has offered one lucky reader the chance to win a kitchen starter kit, which is Zabada's most popular product. It includes the kitchen glove and the marvel to dry surfaces after cleaning. The products come in a laundry bag that the winner can use to wash their products to reuse for up to 3 years.

We've been using the Zabada mitt for about 4 months now, and couldn't be more pleased. We used it to clean the inside of our hot tub which must be cleaned without chemicals to avoid disrupting the pH balance of the water. We've used it on all our solid surfaces and used the calcium remover to combat the hard water we have.

There are three steps to qualify to win:

  1. Like Zabada on Facebook
  2. Follow Zabada on Twitter
  3. Leave a comment on this post with your name and why you want to clean without chemicals.

Drawing ends July 20th, midnight EST. All comments must be logged before then. All entries will be checked for twitter and facebook follows. Winner must respond with shipping information within 48 hours of notification.

Thank you for entering and good luck!

Prize value: $76.00 USD if purchased separately.