Jennifer Copley

Uses for Fenugreek

Uses for Fenugreek

Fenugreek, a member of the legume family that includes peas, peanuts, lentils, and beans, is among the world’s oldest cultivated plants. Fenugreek seeds are small and yellow-brown in color. They are rich in protein and their flavor is bittersweet. Fenugreek seeds are often used in curries and other spice blends due to their aromatic qualities. Fenugreek can be used in pickles, chutneys, fish and vegetable-based dishes, breads and rolls, dahl, stews, and halva (a dessert). Fenugreek seeds have a strong flavor, so amounts called for in recipes are typically small. Fenugreek seeds are usually toasted lightly before using. However, it’s… read more

Is Butter Better?

Butter vs spreads

A well-researched article provided by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, PhD (2000) makes a strong case for the superiority of butter in terms of nutritional value and health-promoting effects: Butter is a dietary staple among many healthy peoples around the world. Butter contains vitamin A, which supports adrenal and thyroid health. Butter contains vitamin D, which reduces the risk of osteoporosis, cancer, and other health problems. Antioxidants in butter protect against free radical damage that can cause cancer and heart disease. Butter fat contains glycospingolipids, which offer some protection against nasty gastrointestinal infections. Many people choose margarine over butter… read more

Sustainable Pet Ownership

Owning pets

Some say that pet ownership can be bad for the environment, but there are ways to reduce your pet’s ecological footprint. 1. Make your own pet products from recycled or locally sourced materials: It’s easy to make a bed for a cat or dog using old blankets and most pets love homemade toys. There are plenty of free pet craft patterns available online. 2. Buy pet supplies locally: Most pet products are shipped from faraway countries. Purchasing from local companies reduces carbon emissions. 3. Choose green pet products: Look for items with less packaging, recycled materials, and eco-friendly ingredients. Select… read more

Environmental Education

Learning outside the classroom

Environmental education (EE) provides opportunities for students to learn in natural environments. Instead of sitting in classrooms listening to teachers talk, children in EE programs participate in hands-on activities at local rivers, city parks, urban gardens, and other natural spaces. EE teachers use the features of natural environments to teach science, math, language arts, social studies, history, and other subjects. Instead of imparting facts in isolation, EE situates learning within the context of real-world places and issues to make it meaningful for students. Fresh air and exercise are added bonuses. Research summarized by the Place-Based Education Evaluation Cooperative has shown… read more

Gluten-Free Baking

muffins

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, spelt, rye, triticale, and barley. Those with celiac disease (which causes a severe autoimmune reaction to gluten) must avoid gluten completely. Some people also avoid gluten due to allergies or sensitivities. Many people believe that avoiding gluten means avoiding all grains, but there are gluten-free whole grains. These include amaranth, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, rice, sorghum, and teff. Flours made from nuts, beans, peas, and arrowroot are also gluten free. Oats are technically gluten free, but they are often contaminated with wheat at some point while growing or during processing. However, there are companies… read more

Food Justice

Pears

In her book, Weighing In: Obesity, Food Justice, and the Limits of Capitalism, Julie Guthman argues that simply buying organic, local, or otherwise environmentally friendly foods is not sufficient to reform the food system. Rather, she suggests that such approaches simply allow the affluent to opt out of the current system. Meanwhile, the vast majority continue to purchase pesticide-laden, hormone-contaminated, environmentally unfriendly food produced by exploited agricultural workers because they cannot afford to do otherwise. Purchasing organic, local foods certainly provides many benefits for buyers, local farmers, and a small percentage of farm workers who will not be exposed to… read more

Terminator Seeds

Wheat

The Monsanto’s corporation’s Terminator technology ensures that buyers of the company’s seeds cannot save seeds from the plants they grow for future use. By inserting a gene that causes the plants grown from Terminator seeds to produce sterile seeds, Monsanto forces its customers to buy new seeds each year. In addition to the fact that the majority of farmers in the developing world cannot afford to keep buying seeds, a wide-scale switch to Terminator seeds would cause many varieties of plants to be lost. Diminishing biodiversity is a serious problem, given that certain plant varieties have evolved to do well… read more

100 Things Challenge

Declutter your life

Many people are reacting to the negative psychological, social, and environmental impacts of rampant consumerism with a strong desire to declutter and simplify their lives. Some have taken this to the extreme, attempting to reduce their worldly belongings to just 100 things. The 100 things grass roots movement, started by entrepreneur Dave Bruno, has been gaining ground in recent years (you can read about Bruno’s challenge on his blog: guynameddave.com. The enthusiasm with which the 100 things challenge has been embraced is unsurprising given how many people feel overwhelmed, weighed down, and oppressed by the sheer volume of stuff they… read more

Genetically Modified Food

Corn

Genetically modified (GM) foods are produced by plants that have been adapted using cutting edge molecular biology techniques with the goal of creating desirable traits such as pest and disease resistance, herbicide tolerance, faster growth, ability to withstand cold or drought, and improved nutritional content. In the past, such traits were achieved more slowly via selective breeding. GM foods have been promoted as a means of feeding a rapidly expanding world population. Most GM crops are grown by farmers in the U.S., though Canada, China, Argentina, Australia, France, Bulgaria, Germany, Spain, Uruguay, South Africa, Mexico, and Romania also grow GM… read more

Hormones in Meat

Cows

Synthetic sex hormones are given to sheep and cattle to promote rapid growth and increased milk production, fulfilling a demand for cheap meat and milk. However, concerns have been raised about potential health risks of using synthetic hormones in meat production, a practice which is common in the U.S. and Canada but banned in the European Union. Research suggests that estrogenic additives in meat may affect natural hormone levels, increasing the risk for certain cancers. The most direct evidence of this effect comes from a recent large-scale research review undertaken by the Breast Cancer Fund, which found a link between… read more