Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What's the best, free material to use for raised beds?

PALLETS

Pallets are accessible anywhere and everywhere for free. I would recommend using pallets to make your own house, compost bin, raised beds, or d├ęcor in your home. My partner found these pallets behind a country store; but you can find them behind any grocery store, big business and organization buildings (i.e. college campuses.) Pallets are all around us, it just takes some energy to go find them.

Monday, April 16, 2012

What you need to know about Compost (& doing it for free)

Compost is a crucial aspect in gardening because it is FREE, ORGANIC, HIGH QUALITY material, that fertilizes your soil so you can enforce nutrition and strength to your plants. According to "Why Composting is Important" from Environment.gov website, up to 30% of the material we add to the landfill is organic materials that could be composted at home (i.e. dust, paper, and food scraps) for gardening. In other words, YOU should be composting to reduce the amount of waste you're adding to landfills, while you could be using that compost to grow food, for free, for you and your family. Using your own compost to grow your OWN food is the healthiest thing you can do for yourself and your family.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Earth-friendly chick

Being conscience of our environment and researching how to protect it, is not just a man's job. Everyone should aim for creating a cleaner environment, which is why I wanted to mention one MAJOR way women can generate less waste, that is put into our landfills: getting rid of disposable tampons and pads.

Did you know, in 1998, 12 billion sanitary pads and 7 billion tampons were dumped on our earth in North America alone? Not to mention the 170,000 tampon applicators found at the U.S. coastal areas that same year.

If that statistic doesn't change your decision to switch to an alternative feminine hygiene product, then think of it this way: The average woman's menstruation span is between 11-52 (41 years), and when multiplying the number of pads/tampons you use each month by 12 (months in a year), then multiply that number by the average menstruation span, 41 years. For the sake of my readers, I'll do the math for you. Lets assume you use 4 tampons or pads per day for 5 days. That equates to 20 disposable tampons or pads per menstruation cycle. To reach the amount of disposable products used in a year, multiply 20 by 12: you use 240 tampons or pads each year. Now for the real shocker: multiply 240 by the average menstruation span of 41 years, which will give you close to 10,000 tampons or pads you'll use in your lifetime.

Not only are tampons and pads wasteful, most contain surfactants, adhesives, polyethylene plastic, dioxin, a carcinogen (by-product during the bleaching process of tampons containing rayon.) The chemicals put into the tampons and pads can leach out into your body...and your water when dumped in a landfill.

Would you like an alternative to tampons and pads, that are much safer for our environment and yourself? There are two options to completely eliminate the waste you add to landfills, such as the DivaCup and homemade cloth pads.

Source: Rowdy Kittens
The DivaCup is a silicone cup that catches your menstruation throughout the day (without having to take it out until you get home from work or school.) The DivaCup is used throughout the year for each period, and discarded when it is time to buy a new DivaCup. They cost approximately $24. Go to eBay to purchase them at a cheaper price than the DivaCup's website (you save money on shipping if not on the product itself.) Moreover, American women spend approximately $150-$200 a year on tampons and pads. By making the switch to the DivaCup, you're not only saving the environment and yourself from harmful waste products, you're also saving a significant amount of cash. Considering the DivaCup is scary to those who have NEVER heard of them, go to their website here (DivaCup) and find out more about the reasons for switching to the DivaCup and how you can make it happen.
Source: New Life on a Homestead
Secondly, cloth pads are another cost saving alternative to tampons and pads. Actually, you can make your own. Cloth pads are self-explanatory, as they are sheets of biodegradable cloth that absorb your flow. You can purchase five to use one pad, each day, while you machine wash your other pads. Cloth pads can be reused for as long as you take care of them. All that is required is washing the pads, and once they tear up, you can compost them. Here is a website that will take you to a collection of sellers that have made their own cloth pads to the public (at very cheap): Etsy, "Cloth Pads"
But if you prefer to make your own (because you're SO creative and you know how to work a sewing machine), then here is a website that will give you instructions on how to make your own, why you should use cloth pads to the alternatives, and other information regarding use: Tiny Birds Organic baby & family
Keep in mind, that eating a raw diet with emphasis on fruit will change your menstrual cycle. Some women have even said that they lose their period.
Many women have switched to using these eco-alternatives, and women have been using these products for over 50 years, so don't feel uneasy about using something new. If you have any questions and comments about using the DivaCup or cloth pads, leave a message below!

Monday, April 9, 2012

How to stop unhealthy, emotional eating

photo Source: LoseBabyWeight.co.nz
 "I am stressed at work", "My kids are driving me crazy", "My boyfriend/girlfriend just broke up with me"-- all excuses for eating unhealthy foods.

"Unhealthy" emotional eating is often spotlighted in TV, usually represented by a woman eating large quantities of dairy ice-cream to find comfort in the bottom of the carton, or fill a void. That void is called Hunger.


From what I have observed, there is no such thing as emotional eating. The media uses this phrase to propagate people's confusions further about diet & lifestyle. This phrase justifies eating small quantities of "un-food".
Eating Small portions of food is the number one way people try to lose weight; then when they're body alerts them that they haven't been eating enough, the mind catches up to the bodies warnings, and they binge on unhealthy foods to catch up on the calories they have been missing out. 
We associate eating large quantities of food with gaining weight. And many times it's true these people are gaining weight by over eating; however, it is WHAT they are over eating on that creates fat. Athletes like Michael Phelps eats 6000+ Calories a day. 
Ever notice that some people can eat a lot and never gain a pound, then you see the opposite-- a woman that nearly starves herself is over weight. 
~Lets also keep in mind, another false perception propagated by the media is that an over weight person is unhealthy, and our skinny model is healthy. Yet, the overweight person may eat healthy but is slowly losing weight while the Skinny model is smoking, drinking alcohol, and stays up partying till morning hours. 

 When I went Vegan, nearly a decade ago, I never once restricted my Calories. I intuitively ate several plates of potatoes, corn, beans, peas, biscuits, and rice every night. I have altered my diet a bit by adding an abundance of Fruit throughout the day, and I still continue to have Calorie dense meals at night. Sometimes I have a large Salad before I have my dinner of Rice, potatoes, or beans. 
I haven't gained any fat in the last decade of eating a diet higher in Calories, higher in Carbohydrates, higher in Sugar-- if anything I have gained muscle. 
The only modification I have made in the last decade is adding an abundance of Fruit, and lower Fat intake, no Oils used for frying, no Salt. I keep my Fat and Sodium intake low.

 My typical Breakfast is 1-2 Cantaloupes or 1 Watermelon or 7-12 bananas, while Lunch is 14 bananas or several cans of Peaches, etc. I do not have the urge to eat cakes, cookies, ice creams (even if they're Vegan) because I am eating large quantities of Sugar from Fruits

How often have you felt ashamed from eating bananas? Never. What if you ate 10 bananas?-- Would you feel ashamed then? No!
Now, how often have you felt ashamed from eating 10 Oreos? Always. Lets do a comparison:

10 bananas: 1050 calories & 4 grams of fat (with 270 grams of carbs & high in most vitamins)
10 Oreos: 520 calories & 23 grams of fat (with 81 grams of carbs & no nutritional value)

Oreos is used as an example because Oreos USED to be my guilty pleasure when I was High Fat Vegan. Looking above at the comparison, you'll see that eating 10 bananas gives you the most out of your food in comparison to the oreos. Secondly, Oreos don't have enough calories or carbs to allow you to function during work, school, a workout, or help your kids with homework. Oreos contain many different ingredients as well, like oils, flours, preservatives. Little do people realize, Chocolate is also a Drug.

Oreos are not appealing to me anymore. In fact, the more I eat something, the more I crave it. You would think I would be tired of eating bananas since I eat so many everyday, but the opposite is true. I want my banana smoothie every day!
"Emotional eating" and other similar phrases allow you to make excuses for perpetuating this merry-go-round of unhealthy eating. Women of my height and weight probably do not eat as much as me, but they are overweight because they eat small portions of fatty foods, whereas I gorge on mono meals of Fruit, rice, vegetables and High Carbohydrate (low fat) Plant foods. 

To get rid of this punishment mindset, instead, eat till you feel FULL on the healthy foods like Fruit, vegetables, and greens-- whether that means you're eating 500 calories in one meal or 1000 calories. Does it make any sense to eat small portions to justify eating fatty foods, or does it make sense to feel reach satisfaction (and long term goals) by eating larger portions of fresh, ripe, whole, Plant foods?
The idea is to change your perspective about HOW and WHAT to eat.

In order to feel satiated, motivated, and energized, you must not restrict the amount of carbohydrates you eat in a day. If You need to eat a LOT to feel good -- that's ok! Most women that come to this lifestyle eat up to 4000 calories a day!
Women should obtain up to 2500+ calories a day, while men 3000+ calories, depending on their physical exertion.
The reason most people "think" they need to restrict their calorie or carbohydrate-intake is because they're getting all of their calories and carbs from foods that are high in fat. Of course Carbohydrates and Sugar are guilty by association with the Fat content of Foods. Society doesn't want to believe that the Animals they are eating are making their own bodies a graveyard.

High fat foods directly correlate to feeling "comatose", "slow", "depressed".  Instead of getting your calories from Low-carb, high-fat foods (meat and dairy products, eggs), switch your Calorie sources to Fruit and vegetables.
Fruits and Vegetables are most Optimal because they have a larger spectrum of Nutrients, these nutrients are how we prevent cancer and disease. Much of T Colin Campbell's work from The China Study, expressed Animal Protein and Animal Fat turned on susceptibility of Cancer whereas a Plant based diet turns off susceptibility. 

Because a Vegan diet is low in fat, you feel less sluggish after a big meal. Even if I eat 1 watermelon, or 14 bananas, or 3 bowls of rice-- I still have the energy and vitality to move by body.  

Furthermore, Eating foods that are high in sugar and carbohydrates is instant energy and  nutrients allow us to feel satisfied, in term making us feel happy and fuels the Brain. Fruits like dates and bananas help raise serotonin and glycogen levels, while creating that feeling of happiness and stability. There has been a experiment on performance and function with two Brothers, where one took on a High Fat diet (bacon, eggs, meat) while the other took on High Carbohydrate (rice, potatoes), watch the results here.


So, what foods will make you feel awake, alert, energized, and satiated:  
  • High Carbohydrate / Sugary Fruits, like Dates & Bananas. Because Bananas are cheaper than any other food, they have become my Staple food when I went Vegan. I have eaten approximately 14 bananas every day for the last Three years.
  • Fruits that are low in fat are optimal, and to eat healthy on-the-cheap, buy canned Peaches and Pineapples. In comparison to other canned Fruit, Peaches and Pineapples hold their flavor and shape the best. I wouldn't recommend eating any other canned Fruit, like berries because it'd simply be a jam in a can.
  • Other Fruit options are bottled juice and smoothies. These are quite costly unless the grocery store is having a sale on them. These drinks usually try to adhere to customer demands, like non-gmo, organic, no sugar added or preservatives. I usually buy Orange juice Odwalla brand. Sometimes I get Santa Cruz brand mango puree juices.
  • I mentioned buying Fruit Juices and Smoothies, but a cheaper option is the Concentrated Juices that have been Frozen (see here). I usually buy these because they are an inexpensive option for more Calories. Avoid the ones that add high fructose corn syrup and other preservatives. Flavors I buy are Orange juice and pineapple juice. Simply add the entire contents into a blender with 3+ cups of water and blend into a drink.
  • Other High Carbohydrate options include, Potatoes, Rice, Corn, Beans, and Wheat. These Plant foods are Staples in households in China, Thailand, Korea, Africa, and so on. It is no wonder these countries are so lean-- they eat all the Fruit, rice and potatoes they care for. Potatoes, Rice, Corn, and Wheat are notorious for being genetically modified, but there are other options, for example buying Organic and growing your own Organic vegetables. Plus, I didn't say Potatoes, rice, corn, and wheat are optimal above Fruit, but I do conjecture that these GMO Plant foods are optimal in comparison to the Standard American diet, which consists of Animal flesh, all dairy, eggs.
Below I have posted a video of Durianrider driving this message home, about Emotional Eating of Ants. It's a good laugh.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Raised Bed Garden Ideas & Using Free materials

The number one rule in constructing raised beds, is to be creative. And to be creative, use materials around you. By using materials around your house or finding materials in nature, you're making a project for FREE, being environmentally safe, recycling, reusing, and building an intimate relationship with your garden. Below are examples of the types of raised beds you can construct yourself.

Tin or house siding sheets


Logs/Wood (Vertical & Horizontal)
Source: Instructables

Rock (Cross-stacking & Packing)

Source: Sally Gardens


Other Recycled, Cheap, and Effective
Materials for making Raised Beds...


  • Pallets 
  • Cylinder blocks
  • Tires
  •  Steel Tubs
  •  Trash cans/buckets/Plastic Containers
  •  Wagon/Wheel barrel
  •  Aquarium/Glass windows for cold-frame raised beds
  •  Ceramic structures (toilets, sinks, tub)

My partner and I are constructing our raised beds out of plastic siding that we already had lying around. Below are pictures of the first raised bed/box garden my partner made, which was made up of boards from pallets.









Watch the video below by John Koehler, discussing examples of Container Gardening, vertical gardening, and ways in which you grow food to conserve space: