Jennifer Copley

The Many Benefits of Green Spaces

Benefits of Green Spaces

Green spaces include parks, urban gardens, woodlands, and wildlife sanctuaries. They provide many environmental benefits, ranging from the promotion of biodiversity to the improvement of air quality. When green spaces include organic urban gardens, people have the opportunity to produce food locally, which reduces carbon emissions associated with food transport as well as the negative environmental impacts of packaging and pesticide use. However, research has shown that green spaces provide benefits that go far beyond environmental sustainability. Social benefits of green spaces include increasing a sense of community, reducing crime, and providing opportunities for public recreation. In addition, green spaces… read more

Why Barley Is Better

Barley (Hordeum vugare L.) at Gatersleben

Whole grains provide many health benefits, but not everyone likes whole wheat in breads and baked goods. For those who find whole wheat unappealing, there are plenty of other whole grain options, including barley. Barley has an interesting history. In ancient Egypt, it was used in religious ceremonies and in ancient Rome, gladiators were known as Barley Men because they believed that eating barley enhanced their strength and stamina. Barley also formed the basis of the English measuring system whereby an inch was equivalent to three grains of barley placed lengthwise, end to end, and all other measures were built… read more

Rich in Rhubarb

Rich Rhubarb

Rhubarb is a versatile vegetable that comes in red, pink, and green. Its stalks are edible and highly nutritious, but its leaves are poisonous. Rhubarb’s flavor is quite tart, so it’s typically paired with sugar and berries. It’s often added to treats such as pies, muffins, fruit crisps and crumbles, smoothies, and punches, though there are savory recipes available online as well (you can find a selection at La Cucina Italiana). Rhubarb is a source of vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and dietary fiber, as well as being rich in health-promoting antioxidants including anthocyanins (the compounds that give red, blue,… read more

Cheesed Off

Climate V's Cheese

Can cheese be made sustainably? A recent Environmental Working Group and CleanMetrics study found that that cheese is among the top three worst protein sources in terms of negative environmental impacts (lamb was first, beef second). One of the biggest problems associated with food production is that farming, processing, packaging, and transporting food products generates greenhouse gases (GHGs) that contribute to global warming. In the case of cheese, the majority of GHG emissions occur during milk production. Dairy farmers can reduce GHG emissions by making cheese from cow’s or goat’s milk rather than sheep’s milk (sheep produce more methane per… read more

Kale: A Certain Superfood

Kale: A Superfood

Kale is a dark leafy green vegetable that belongs to the brassica family, a group that includes Brussels sprouts, collards, and cabbage. Kale is a nutritional powerhouse, and its rich antioxidant content and anti-inflammatory compounds make it a potent health-promoter. Research indicates that eating kale regularly may help to protect against certain cancers and to lower cholesterol (a risk factor for heart disease), as well as supporting the body’s natural detoxification system. According to the George Mateljan Foundation (2012), Kale is an excellent source of vitamins K, A, and C; a very good source of fiber, calcium*, and potassium; and… read more

Potassium Packs A Punch

Potassium Packs A Punch

Potassium is needed to build muscle, use carbohydrates effectively, and facilitate normal body growth. It’s critical for muscle control, blood pressure regulation, and nerve function, and it may play a role in the prevention of a variety of illnesses. There is evidence that not getting sufficient dietary potassium in relation to sodium may trigger high blood pressure, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Severe potassium deficiency is uncommon, though it can be caused by poor control of diabetes, very low-calorie diets, overuse of certain laxatives or diuretics (including caffeine), some medications, intense exercise, alcoholism, and severe vomiting or diarrhea. However,… read more

Eating A Rainbow

Eating A Rainbow

Health-promoting antioxidants called anthocyanins give certain foods their blue, violet, or reddish-purple coloring. Evidence suggests that eating purple and blue fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of heart disease, certain cancers, gum disease, stomach ulcers, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, urinary tract infections, age-related memory loss, and obesity. Choosing blue and purple foods may provide other benefits as well. For example, research has shown that blue corn chips are higher in protein and lower in starch than white corn chips, and they also have a lower glycemic index, which means that they may be better for those with diabetes and dieters…. read more

Potato Powerhouse

Potato Powerhouse

Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred fuel source, but potatoes are much more than just an energy booster. Potassium supports optimal muscle performance and potatoes are actually higher in potassium than bananas, the fruit often lauded as a top potassium source. Potatoes also contain iron and B and C vitamins, and their skins are a great source of fiber (you can increase your fiber intake by eating a larger number of smaller potatoes rather than one or two big ones because you’ll consume more fiber-rich skin this way). Potatoes have gotten a bad rap as a fattening food, but the reason… read more

Sustainable Cities Around the World

Toronto

A well-designed city is highly sustainable. With green spaces, bike routes, and good public transportation systems, cities can be great for the environment. People living in city centers are less likely to drive their cars downtown due to the frustration of getting stuck in traffic and the hassle of trying to find parking, which means that more people in cities enjoy the health benefits of walking and cycling. Given this trend, it’s unsurprising that those living in the downtown areas tend to be slimmer and healthier than people living outside these urban cores. However, sustainability encompasses more than just environmentalism… read more

A Healthy Alternative?

agave plant

Agave (pronounced ah-GAH-vay) nectar is derived from the agave plant, a spiky cactus native to Mexico that is also the source of Tequila. Agave is approximately 84% fructose, the sugar that gives fruits and vegetables their sweetness. Agave nectar is similar to honey, but not as thick, and it’s higher in calories than white sugar. It’s also 1.5 times as sweet as regular sugar, which means that if you want to use it to replace sugar in baking, you need to reduce the amount. To substitute agave nectar for white sugar, for each cup of sugar called for by the… read more