Archive for the green Category

Primal Is the New Green Exercise

Posted in Fitness, green, Parks with tags , , , on January 30, 2012 by MarilynB

Maybe it’s nostalgia for the early hominid lifestyle, but recent years gave us the paleo diet and now we’re seeing the rise of “primal fitness.” Primal fitness is outdoor exercise involving jumping, running, and lifting natural objects like logs and stones. Practitioners tout it as a whole movement approach (as opposed to training one muscle or muscle group with one movement) with the added psychological benefits of spending time outdoors.

Similar to an outdoor boot camp, primal fitness may also be a little different from the Cross-Fit style boot camps that spring up in local parks. Indeed, many municipalities now ban the use of public parks for paid fitness instruction.  Cross Fit recently has been under fire for overuse injuries and many boot camps have caused complaints by other parks users.  Is there a real difference?  It probably depends on your trainer.

Of course the real questions are whether primal fitness is safe and effective. Addressing safety first, I’d say that its emphasis on whole-body movements (squats, lunges) is positive. As long as your fitness trainer has appropriate training and skills, knowledge of progressions and contraindicated moves, and good form, you should be as safe participating in primal fitness as you would be in any other exercise. Injuries happen. You could trip while leaping over a log or drop a rock on you foot but there is no inherent reason why primal fitness would be any more dangerous than a sculpt and tone class.

Many studies show that simply spending time outside improves mood. Theories abound whether the brain is responding to vitamin D production or to returning to the natural environment. On a personal level, after Iadopted a dog, I learned that Philly winters aren’t so bad, if you take a mid-day walk to get fresh air and daylight.  My mood improved and I didn’t get sick.

Primal fitness is certainly a greener option than heading indoors to the gym.  The sun provides the heat and light and you’re not on a perpetual motion machine that draws from carbon-energy grid.  Even if you use gym equipment that creates or returns power, using your own energy outside still has less ecological impact.

My take on primal fitness?  Getting outside to move is always the right thing to do.  Incorporating natural, whole movements is relatively safe.  Ultimately if you enjoy exercise, you’re more likely to continue.  If your chosen exercise also gives you additional mental and emotional benefits, you’re more likely to continue.  Get out and get primal!


Go Circular Free!

Posted in Cleaning, green, Reduce, Uncategorized, Urban clean with tags , , , , , , , on January 25, 2011 by MarilynB
The Circular Free Decal

Apply this official Philadelphia Circular Free Decal to your property.

You come home from work (if you’re lucky in this economy) only to find your rail, steps, and sidewalk covered with fliers, circulars, and advertisements. You spend 10 minutes picking it up and putting it int your recycle bin, fuming the whole time because of the trees and energy wasted printing, distributing, and recycling unwanted matter. It will happen again at least once this week.

Put a stop to your circular woes by filing for a Circular Free Property Designation. The city maintains a list of properties that don’t want to receive grocery store circulars, fliers, etc. Of course, this doesn’t stop junk mail but it does reduce the litter blowing off doors and rails into the street.

Simply fill out the request, receive a decal to place on your door, and go circular free. Don’t worry about violators. They can be fined, if you agree to have your address on the complaint.

Don’t Wear Your Silver to the Sea: Green Silver Polish

Posted in Cleaning, green on February 4, 2009 by MarilynB
Before plishing.Silver tarnishes fast. Silver in August in Philadelphia is not pretty as it quickly builds up tarnish in a matter of days. Even in January the necklace that I wear daily tarnishes quickly. While a simple hand polish is green and cheap, it requires frequent polishing and the tarnish may still defeat your efforts. That’s a time commitment and there are three easier, faster methods that are safe to use on silverware or silver jewelry.

Most silver polishes do not divulge their ingredients. On the one hand, many have existed for a century and it’s tempting to think that during 100 years of producing cleaners for silverware, which comes in contact with food and mouths, the manufacturers would only use safe ingredients. Without labels and full disclosure, it’s better to protect yourself.

Method One: the power of foam

With all of the fun of a kitchen chemistry experiment, this method cleans your silver jewelry simply and safely.

What you need (to clean a small pieces):

  • Tin foil and bowl or a tin pie plate
  • 1 Tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon salt (I use sea salt)
  • A few drops of dish soap (generally recognized as safe)
  • A small jewelry cleaning tray or drain cover.

If using tin foil and a bowl, line the bowl with tin foil. Tin foil is more attractive to tarnish than silver is, so it helps draw the tarnish away from your silver. Place jewelry in bowl. Add baking soda, salt, soap, and boiling water. The combination of baking soda and water will produce an instantaneous foam. You may smell a slight odor, which is only sulfur, produced by the release of the tarnish from the silver. Stir around the silver pieces so they come into full contact with the mix.

This only takes a few minutes but if a piece is heavily tarnished, let it sit longer. After completing the soak, drain the liquid and rinse all of the pieces with warm water. Failure to rinse may leave behind a white, powdery residue. Dry the silver and polish it with a soft cloth, simply wiping it down a couple times.

Method Two: more foam, more hands-on

What you need:

  • Plain toothpaste
  • Water faucet
Rub a cover of toothpaste on the jewelry. Run warm water over the silver piece, working up a foam, then rinse clear. Dry and polish with a soft cloth.

Method Three: Baking Soda Solo

What you need: 

  • Damp cloth
  • Baking soda
  • Water (optional)

For especially tough tarnish, create a paste of baking soda and water and apply it directly to the silver piece. Use the cloth to rub gently in circles until the tarnish disappears. Rinse well and dry. Finish up with a minute or two of polishing with a soft, dry cloth.

Your silver should be sparkling like new without any negative environmental or health side affects. Some special concerns to keep in mind: do not use any of these methods on semi-precious stones because it may damage them. Do not use hot water on lacquered pieces. Consult a professional for help with special finishes and intricate or carved designs. When in doubt, with very expensive pieces or items of great sentimentality, consult a professional. Proper storage and care (don’t wear your silver sea, where salt air and water increase tarnish) avoids excessive tarnish.After polishing

Mushrooms Increase Your Locavore Quotient

Posted in Diet, Dietary, Food, green, Local Food, Mushrooms, Organic on November 19, 2008 by MarilynB

The most green diet includes lots of organic, local food. How do you do that in the fifth largest city? MsPhillyOrganic fully intends to explore “really local food” in many posts and acknowledges that eating green will require ongoing discussion. It is possible to eat more local food without destroying your budget (if it is still intact).

Locavores eat food grown within 100 miles of their home. Local food is generally considered as hailing from a source within 50 to 150 miles. As we all know, Kennet Square in Chester County is the Mushroom Capital of the world. Kennet Square is approximately 30 miles from Philadelphia, so it meets the mileage requirement for locavores and the broader definition of “local food.” It’s hard in any city to find food grown within 30 miles.

Mushrooms are cheap, starting $3.99 per pound while 90% lean ground beef costs 4.99 per pound. Steak costs even more, depending on the cut, fat percentage, and other factors. Mushrooms save dough! As an added bonus, mushrooms are a dietary superstar. They’re low fat (how you cook them is your business), full of micronutrients that are hard to find, and low calorie (a full serving has 20 calories.) They’re an important source of protein for vegetarians and vegans. Mushrooms are also low-carb. Plus they’re loaded with umami, the fifth taste!
Eating vegetarian is one of the best ways to green your diet. Factory raised meat dumps a lot of unprocessed waste directly into the water systems, not to mention that animals and meat are trucked all over the nation to be butchered and stocked in the store. Mushrooms grow in compost that growers reuse. When it is “spent” for their purposes, growers make it available for little or no cost to the public, for whom it’s still viable garden compost.

Replacing just a few meat meals per week with mushrooms makes your food source more local, more environmentally friendly, healthier, cheaper, and more green! This is a sure bet with no way to lose. Tomorrow’s dinner could be only 30 miles away and not in Topeka.