Monday, June 23, 2008

Ideal Bite Tip of the Day

Wanna take a couple decades off your backside?

The Bite
No can do, but at least you can get the creases outta your birthday suit with eco-body lotions. Ideal Bite turns three today, and we're getting baby-booty beautiful with our fave skin smoothers.

The Benefits
  • Safe enough for an infant. The FDA has tested only 11% of the more than 10,000 ingredients used in beauty products for safety.
  • Petroleum-free posteriors. Petrolatum's an oil-derived ingredient found in many moisturizers.
  • It's eco-friendlier, baby. Duh: Opting for products made from organic materials in recycled packaging reduces pollution and saves resources.

Personally Speaking
Toshio used to use petrochem-based Vaseline as face lotion. Seriously. We've since hooked him up with guy-friendly Max Green's Naked Rescue Cream. His pores would like to thank the Biter Team.

Wanna Try?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Ideal Bite Tip of the Day - Just for the Ladies

Aching belly got you whimpering like a cocker spaniel?

The Bite
Stray from regular cramp control methods. Instead, try a holistic approach that includes techniques like massage and natural pain relievers and that isn't so doggone synthetic.

The Benefits
  • Getting a leash on pain. Alternative medicine practitioners have used these remedies for centuries.
  • Feeling less shaggy. Natural options such as primrose oil are less likely to cause side effects than your average dose of prescription-only Ponstel.
  • Not treating the earth like a pooper-scooper. Fewer synthetic pills means less chance of toxic chems ending up in our water supply - and the water supplies of at least 24 major American cities already contain trace amounts of pharmaceuticals.

Personally Speaking
Jen uses her cramps as an excuse to get massages - but suspiciously, she gets them more than once a month...

Wanna Try?
  • Exercise - it improves blood and oxygen circulation, including through the pelvis, and releases feel-good endorphins.
  • Get a Massage - massage therapists can target your abdomen to ease the tension.
  • Avoid Caffeine - it constricts blood vessels and increases tension.
  • Eat Less Dairy and Meat - antibiotics we add to certain foods may make cramps worse.
  • Spice with Cayenne - cayenne pepper also improves blood circulation.
  • Jigsaw Health Activated B - sustained-release B vitamins; Bs may also help with nonmenstrual cramps ($30).
  • Spectrum Essentials Evening Primrose Oil - widely used in Europe for PMS symptoms, it packs healthy omega fatty acids; so does borage oil ($11-$15).
  • Aura Cacia Jasmine Massage Oil - jasmine's another PMS symptom-soother; use it to massage your abs ($7).

Yet another creative recycling idea - CD cases

I started going through my close the other day and found a boot box FULL of CD cases. Some still had discs in them, but for the most part they were just sitting there, taking up space, and doing nothing. So I sat and thought for a minute about what I could possibly use these for rather than just tossing them into the recycle bin (where a few of them still might end up).

So I thought long and hard and came up with an idea. I don't know how smoothly this project will go, but I suppose I will give it a go. My idea is to stick them all together and make a huge picture frame for my wall. Something similar to this frame I found on Target. Only bigger ... and all the pictures would be the same size.

I even have figured out the potential problem with changing out the pictures in the frame. The ones that serve as the base (the part that would hang from the wall) will be glued so that the back of the CD case is visible. That way, when I take the thing off the wall, I can lay it on its front side and open the door from the back.

I am so excited for this project. I have several things that I plan on getting done this afternoon, so be prepared for all those posts I have lined up to finally get posted! Also ready yourself for some project pictures!! HOORAY for the weekend!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Slow Posting

Hey guys - I'm sorry for the slowness of my posting lately. Things have picked up at work and I really haven't had any time to sit and do the research I need to.

I promise that I have 3 articles in the works and many more that have yet to be typed. But all of them need a little more in order to be posted. I will try to get some of them up this weekend.

Greennie love - Beth

Ideal Bite Tip of the Day

Want a clearer picture of the rice- and wheat-alternative trend?

The Bite
Come out of the dark(room), and let this tip bring good-for-you-and-the-planet rice and wheat replacements amaranth, chia, quinoa, and spelt (once-crunchy-now-cool) into plain focus.

The Benefits
  • The eco-contrast. Examples: Spelt is naturally more resistant to disease and pests than wheat, so it grows with 1/3-less nitrogen fertilizer. Amaranth is often raised without irrigation (unlike water-hogs such as corn and rice).
  • Exposure to more nutrients. Fer instance, a serving of chia has about 16% of your average daily protein intake.
  • Projecting fewer allergic reactions. People allergic to gluten in wheat can opt for amaranth, chia, and quinoa. (Note: Spelt does contain gluten.)
  • Looking good for your glamour shots. Amaranth flour contains fewer carbs than its wheat equivalent.

Personally Speaking
Raised on Cream of Wheat, Toshio now prefers quinoa with raisins and walnuts sprinkled on top for breakfast.

Wanna Try?
  • Amaranth - has 30% more protein than other cereals. Try: Health Valley Cereal ($9/22 ounces).
  • Chia - grain with the highest proportion of heart-healthy omega-3s. Try: Ruth's Chia Goodness ($8/12 ounces).
  • Quinoa - bulgur-wheat alternative that like amaranth, has lots of protein and essential acids (keep your green cred by pronouncing it right: It's "keen-wah"). Try: Ancient Harvest Polenta ($26/216 ounces).
  • Spelt - also packs lotsa protein, making it a filling snack. Try: Vita-Spelt Sesame Sticks ($6/9.5 ounces).
  • Whole Foods - handy cooking instructions chart for all types of grains.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Ideal Bite Tip of the Day

Does your pet smell like absolute scum?

The Bite
That’s ruff. But no need to lie, cheat, or steal to clean ’em up; instead, just tame your best-loved brutes with organic shampoos, breath-fresheners, and flea-fighters.

The Benefits
  • Keeping ne’er-do-well creepy-crawlies crawling elsewhere. Natural but effective treatments keep fleas and other pests at bay.
  • Putting health fur-st. Many conventional pet cleaning products use pyrethroids, known brain toxins.
  • More pet-table coats. Most commercial cleansers contain more than 50% ethyl alcohol, which dries out Fido’s skin.

Personally Speaking
Jen's cat Froggy is so into getting brushed that Jen once accidentally brushed him 'til he was completely naked on his right shoulder blade.

Wanna Try?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Organic Dog Care

As you may already know, I have a couple of pooches who have just been dieing to hop onto my new neon green band wagon. So I decided that I would spend a little time looking around on the internet to see what kinds of products are out there for my puppies. I ran a simple search on Google and I thought I would post the websites I found that I could consider buying from.

Botanical Dog had some adorable toys and they even carry the green line of the AKC toys. This is a big deal for my pups because my smallest dog is in love with the AKC squirrel that I bought him the day he came home with me from the shelter. I am so excited to be able to buy him a new, and more Eco-friendly version. My larger dog loves to tear squirrel to shreds which means that I have to buy a new one every few months or so. I wonder if they sell in bulk ...

The Holistic Pet looked interesting too, and they had tons of products for dogs and cats but also for horses and birds! No toys though ... just food and wellness things.

I would recommend reading this article I found from USA Today. It popped up when I ran my search; it's about organic pet foods. It recommends talking to your vet before you take Fido all-organic, as the industry isn't very well regulated quite yet, and I agree. I plan on having a discussion about it with my vet next week when my dogs go in to get groomed. I will post what my vet's thought are when I have the chance.

Ideal Bite Tip of the Day

Can someone tell you're a Biter just by your vocab?

The Bite
Sure can, sweetie. There are lots of words we Biters use that aren't so common. Here are the ones newbie Biters and friends of Biters oughta know, baby-love.

The Words
  • Biodynamic: organic crop cultivation that emphasizes the interrelationship of soil, plants, and animals.

  • Example: Even though it was produced in tandem with the lunar phases, the biodynamic wine Jen drank still gave her a moon-sized hangover.

  • Carbon footprint: the amount of greenhouse gases emitted through the combustion of fossil fuels due to human activities.

  • Example: Sara's recent weekend in Puerto Rico was dreamy, but the CO2 emitted by the plane didn't help decrease her carbon footprint or the number of her global warming-related nightmares.

  • Cradle-to-cradle: an efficient, waste-free production technique - all materials are recycled, reused, or composted.

  • Example: Hilary's new cradle-to-cradle office chair was made from sustainable materials that can be recycled when death do them part or after she gets fired (whichever comes first).

  • Greenwash: to pretend you're green when you're not in order to impress potential customers or friends.

  • Example: The Biter Team found that the oil company's ads - featuring a baby deer nuzzling an oil barrel - bordered on greenwashing.

  • Light-green: making incremental, not drastic, life changes to help the planet.

  • Example: Biters who drive their hybrid SUV to the organic wine bar live a light-green lifestyle - the fact that the wine was imported from Italy...not so much.

  • Locavore: someone who prefers eating locally produced food.

  • Example: As a locavore, Kay likes getting sauced on beer made in her neighbor's basement.

  • Sustainable: capable of continued production with no long-term effect on the environment.

  • Example: The desks (that occasionally collapse because we assembled them ourselves) in the Biter offices are made of wood from sustainable forests that aren't cut down faster than they're replanted.

  • Xeriscape: landscaping that incorporates drought-resistant plants and doesn't require much watering.

  • Example: Since Toshio's parents xeriscaped their yard - taking out the lawn and planting Southern California climate-appropriate shrubs - they've relegated the Slip 'n Slide to the garage.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Driving Green

I know that for some people, like me, not driving my car is not an option. I have no other way to get to work unless I wanted to get up at 5 am and leave on my bike by 7 am in order to get to work on time. And, as much as I want to, I cannot afford to go out and buy a hybrid right now. So what am I to do if I don't want to pollute every time I go to work? Well, there are some things that you can do that will help to reduce your tail pipe emissions and improve your fuel economy. I found this article that highlights most of the things I've been reading online lately.

If you don't want to read the whole thing, here are the highlights plus some tips that I've picked up from reading various other articles online about conserving your fuel.

  1. Don't race the guy next to you to see who's first off the line when you're at a stop light. As fun as it is, it wastes your gas.
  2. Try to anticipate your stops and let your car coast to a stop, or at least close to it. You need to use your breaks at some point, but costing before you apply them will save you wear and tear on your breaks and a little gas too.
  3. Avoid idling as much as you can. When you idle for more than 30 seconds at a time you start to waste your fuel. I know that this isn't always avoidable but there are times when you can just turn off your engine. Like when you drive through the bank or if you go to the Sonic drive in.
  4. Avoid driving in rush hour (if you can). Talk to your boss; you might find that he would be OK with you coming in and leaving an hour early so that you can miss the traffic!
  5. Using your air conditioning only when you're on the highway is a good idea. Your fuel efficiency is better and so you don't end up using as much gas. Driving around town with your windows open not only gives you that sexy wind-blown look, but it will save some of your gas since your car isn't burning fuel as well as it does on the highway.
  6. Something I found interesting is that for most cars 60 MPH is when they are at their most efficient at burning fuel. Sure, you may have to add 10 minutes onto your travel time ... but isn't that extra time worth saving some fuel? I think so.
  7. Combine your errands. A warm engine is more efficient than doing a cold start up every time you need to run out and get something. So go to the gym right from work or pick up your dry cleaning before you head over to the bank to deposit your paycheck.
Even just reading this article has made me more aware of my accelerating and braking habits and I have started making a more concentrated effort to combine my trips out of the house. Starting next week I am going to go all out and keep track of how many more miles I can get on a tank of gas. Usually it's 300 miles if I use the AC, almost 400 if I don't (I've been a minimal AC user in my car for a couple years now) and I am interested to see if I can add any miles to that with these other tips. I will report back to you next Friday with the results of this highly unscientific study.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Ideal Bite's Tip of the Day (a little late)

Sorry for not posting this yesterday ... sometimes life just gets in the way of regular posting, you know?

The Bite
Help them to eco-ize it. In the rough-and-tumble world of business, kids need to work every angle out there. Not only does green sell, the lemonade'll probably taste better.

The Benefits
  • Stand-ing up for the environment. In CA alone, more than 2 million pounds of pesticides are sprayed on lemons; every bit of organic lemonade helps.
  • A block monopoly. Green is hot - help your kid e-lemon-ate the competition.

Personally Speaking
Check out the blog for our fresh lemonade recipe.

Wanna Try?
  • Recycled Cardboard Lemonade Stand - pre-constructed stand for high-rolling, mini eco-preneurs ($60).
  • Greenware Cups - clear-plastic, 16-ounce biodegradable cups made from corn rather than petroleum ($8/50).
  • Cascadian Farm Lemonade Concentrate - tart, organic lemonade concentrate that serves six ($4).
  • Other Ideas - use organic or local ingredients from the farmers market to make the lemonade; in lieu of disposable cups, offer glasses or mugs for sip 'n' chatters; use old boxes to make the stand; advertise that a portion of profits goes to charity; and (our personal fave) give discounts to people who bike or walk up to the stand, rather than drive.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Ideal Bite Tip of the Day

The Bite
It just takes a little concentration. Concentrated formulas (of laundry detergent, window cleaner, juice) not only save you cash, but also mean less packaging and energy use - so you can turn your focus to finally solving that Rubik's cube that's been haunting you since the '80s.

The Benefits
  • A cash-saving formula. A regular, 50-ounce bottle of Tide costs about $6 at Walgreen's. But for just $3 more, you can get the 2X concentrated bottle and wash twice as many loads - effectively saving you three bucks.
  • Thoughtful packaging. If the entire "consumer liquids" market changed from unconcentrated to double-concentrated formulas, annually it'd keep 141.1 million pounds of plastic out of production. Plus, smaller bottles means more room under your sink.
  • Seriously considering the fuel crisis. Since bigger bottles and more liquid take more energy to transport, if we changed over to double-concentrate we'd save 19 million gallons of diesel fuel per year.

So head out there and buy some 2X concentrated detergent! I already use concentrated detergent and really like that I don't go through it so fast.

If you are interested in signing up for the Ideal Bite newsletter please stop by their website.

Green Online Shopping

Well I have begun scouring the Internet to find some shampoos that won't destroy the earth and I ended up finding a website called Green Feet that has deemed itself "the planet's homestore". They have almost anything you could ever want, including low flow shower heads. That means that I might not have to start taking baths. YAY!

For those of you who want to get your hands on some Earth friendly canvas tote bags, I found a site called EcoBags that sells every kind of tote you could ever desire. I've also been keeping my eye on Craigslist hoping that I might be able to score something in the free section (which is something you might want to check out if you need something. My free section had everything in it - old TVs, tree saplings, and furniture), but so far I've had no luck.

As for the indoor/patio composting, I've discovered that it's quite easy and it doesn't have to smell bad at all! Plus, there are usually worms involved which means that you get a ton of news pets out of the deal. How much fun is that? I read a few articles about it that you can read here, here and here.

I also have signed up for a newsletter that sends me little tips once a day (or maybe once a week, I can't remember at the moment) about simple ways to go green in your daily life. It's called Ideal Bite and are a community of "light greenies" who are working towards being a little more Eco-friendly. If you don't want to deal with another email coming into your inbox, I will be sharing the tips on my posts when they send me some.

So there you go. The first little baby steps towards becoming neon.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Going Neon Green

I've decided that I don't just want to go "green", I want to go NEON green. I want to be so eco-friendly that the enviornment and I will end up being BFFs. The kind of BFFs that talk every night on the phone for 3 hours at a time and never run out of things to talk about. The kind of BFFs that tell each other everything and would never lie or hurt one another. How exactly do I plan to because so awesomely neon? Well, I'm glad you asked.

#1. I plan on getting canvas tote bags to use at the grocery store and at the mall.
#2. I will only buy local and organically grown food (farmer's market here I come!)
#3. I will recycle everything that I can, even if it means saving it all up in the garage and making a monthly trip to a plant.
#4. I will use as little water as I can ... which means that I might start taking baths and emptying the water with a pan to water my plants. Which means ...
#5. I will use only bio-degradable bath products to cut down on the nasties in said bath water (I also have learned some tricks that will let me use fewer bath products overall).
#6. I will have a tiny veggie garden on the patio to help with the finances.
#7. If I can figure out how to do it without pissing off my neighbors, I plan on starting a compost pile to cut down on my overall landfill contributions.

At this point, that's my plan of action. I plan on doing more research to find more neon green ideas ... I will let you know of them as I become informed.

Also, as of this posting, the name and focus of this blog will be changing. Instead of focusing on myself, the focus will switch to green living. My hope is that you will find some tips that may help you live a life that has a smaller footprint on the Earth, even if you don't end up going neon green like I hope to over the coming months.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Creative Recycling

Recently I have been looking around on the internet at personal finance blogs because I, like every other American, want to pay down my debt until it's gone and improve my credit score. I find that these personal finance blogs are really useful in giving advice that I can actually apply to my life, and that I might want to use it because it has obviously worked for other people in the past.

So, on one of the personal finance blogs I found a highlighting of an Australian site that encourages people to stop and pay attention to what they are throwing away and make something from it instead. Check it out here. Anyway, if you look a ways down the page you'll see a "bean" bag that is in fact filled with old plastic shopping bags.

Now, I have a ton of plastic bags hanging around my house. I hate throwing them away because I use them to line trash cans and carry stuff from my house to my parent's house when I need to. But I also have two dogs who would like to have new beds. So I think that I am going to make them dog beds that will be stuffed with old plastic bags. In fact, I made a return to a store yesterday and when she asked if I wanted her to throw away the plastic bags the shoes that come in, I told her no and that I was going to recycle them. I felt SO green and eco-friendly, which doesn't happen very often.

I want to be sure that who ever reads this doesn't think that this is something that every dog in the world needs to have. I know that it would be ok to give these plastic stuffed beds because they don't shred their bedding. If you have a dog that you might like to make a bed like this for ... please consider their chewing habits before doing anything. If your dog likes to chew or has a habit of destroying their bedding, this is a BAD idea for your dog. Ingesting the plastic could cause all kinds of problems and could possibly kill your pet if a piece of the plastic manages to cover their windpipe.