While the holiday toast traditionally has been regarded as a symbolic gesture, evidence now indicates that it is much more than that.  In fact, it provides some protection from bacterial infections, such as salmonella and Listeria.  Generally, no winter holiday celebration from Thanksgiving to Christmas is complete without a celebratory toast with guests raising their toasting glasses filled with favorite spirits in salute to the health, wealth and happiness of family and friends.  Little did we know that by doing this, we were adding a degree of protection to our bodies from pathogens ingested at holiday meals that include many spices and a significant amount of poultry, particularly turkey, which is the centerpiece of Thanksgiving dinners.

Poultry Problems
We all are aware of the need to handle poultry very carefully in all phases of preparation, from the processes of thawing to cooking and storing.  However, the problems with turkeys are much deeper than that and actually begin with the manner in which they are farmed.  Industrial turkey farms keep the birds in close quarters, with their upper beaks snipped off, preventing them from eating what they want (natural omnivores).  Additionally, they are fed a steady diet of corn-based grain with antibiotics to accomplish the weight gain needed for sale to the public. Also, turkeys are subjected to large amounts of pesticides to control and inhibit the spread of disease.  By the time the turkey arrives at our dinner tables, they are battle-scarred, weary and subject to disease.  We do our best to control this situation in the preparation of these birds, but sometimes food poisoning does occur and is often mistakened for stomach flu, which typically occurs during the winter seasons.

English: Oven roasted turkey, common fare for ...

English: Oven roasted turkey. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contaminated Spices Taint The Holiday Season

Another problem noted particular during the winter holiday season is contaminated spices.  This is the time of year when rely heavily on spices for special entrees and desserts.  A study recently released by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reveals that 12% of imported spices are contaminated with salmonella, “insect parts, whole insects, rodent hairs and other things.”  The report concludes that the spices generally are imported from countries “like Mexico and India” and that the contamination occurs during the shipping storage phases, rather than during the harvesting phase.

Indian spices

Indian spices (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benefits of Alcohol

The benefits of alcohol in moderation are well noted and include reduced risk of heart attacks and strokes, diabetes, arthritis, enlarged prostate, dementia and several major cancers.  The use of alcohol can be traced back to the Stone Age.  It has played an important role in religion and worship, as well as in medicine, largely due to its antiseptic and analgesic purposes.  Alcohol serves well as a social lubricant, and it has been known to increase the pleasure of eating.

While the abuse of alcohol is widely known, so are the benefits.  With the current issues facing the food supply, ranging from food integrity and degradation during transportation and storage, problems arising from factory farming, use of GMOs, contamination and lack of oversight of imported foods, we  must be very careful about what we eat.  The holidays afford us all an opportunity to celebrate life, health and happiness.  A toast with our favorite spirits gives us the opportunity to relax and celebrate, while at the same time possibly reducing our risks of illness from food poisoning.

stock-photo-champagne-glasses-making-toast-over-holiday-background-19608721

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We here at LGBG wish all of our readers a Happy Thanksgiving and hope that tomorrow you raise your glass in a toast to life, the earth, the environment, family and friends.  To do is to live green, be green!

A Toast To Thanksgiving
May our gratitude lead to action:  May we express our gratitude.  May we smile when we encounter each other on the path, may we seek opportunities to share our talents with others, may we express our love to one another, may we give no expectation of receiving.  May we seek to repair what is broken.  May we end each day counting the day’s blessings, those we have received and those we have bestowed.  May we be a blessing.”  — Rabbi Maralee Gordon

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Resources for this article:

[1]  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kristin-wartman/turkey-thanksgiving_b_1088059.html
[2]  http://www2.potsdam.edu/hansondj/AlcoholAndHealth.html#.UpY1ZSiTiPF
[3]  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/31/health/12-percent-of-us-spice-imports-contaminated-fda-finds.html

English: 2006 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

English: 2006 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Joan Jett, rock star and vegetarian, has been removed from a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade float in response to protests of the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association.  Jett also is a recognized supporter of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which is the global leader of animal rights and promoter of vegetarian diets.  This organization has become outspoken in its condemnation of factory farms and ranches.

Joan Jett is not the first PETA supporter to performed on floats in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Others have done so  without controversy, including Lea Michele (“Glee,”) Alan Cumming and Carrie Underwood.  However, in recent years, the meat and factory farming industries have found themselves under increased scrutiny about farming and ranching practices that harm the environment and result in cruelty to animals.  These criticisms have included raising animals in pens, which cause disease and death from lying in excrement and waste, using antibiotics to control bacterial infections in animals that result from unhealthy penning, excess use of freshwater supply needed for farm animals and the increased carbon footprint attributable to ranching.  These criticisms leave states, such as South Dakota, particularly vulnerable due to their heavy reliance on agriculture and livestock production.  This industry is the heat of their economy.

Joan Jett in New York City's Union Square. Pho...

Joan Jett in New York City’s Union Square. Photographer’s post about event. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PETA Senior Vice President, Dan Mathews, stated that the unprovoked reaction by the ranchers brings light to the efforts of PETA and the support of celebrities such as Joan Jett.  He acknowledged that the :meat trade can’t stand any scrutiny of its cruelty.”[1]

Released into the public domain by PETA.

Released into the public domain PETA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia

The promoters of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade have accommodated the protesters and Joan Jett.  Jet and her band, the Blackhearts, are switching to another float, yet to be named.

Thanksgiving Day is a very important holiday in the United States, dating back to the arrival of Pilgrims in the new world.  It traditionally has been characterized by a celebration of the harvest, with turkey— a bird native to North America[2], the centerpiece of the observance of the first event at Plymouth Plantation in 1621 in which the Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians celebrated the first harvest of the colony.[3]  One can only imagine the differences these two groups had to set aside to have this party!   Since 1924, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been integral to the winter holiday season, marking both the celebration of Thanksgiving, as well as officially ushering in the Christmas season.

Our upcoming winter holiday season is an opportune time for the green movement to promote its call for sustainability and environmental protection.  It is important to the green movement that South Dakota ranchers reacted as they did, without provocation, to the plan for Joan Jett and her band to perform on their state float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, particularly in light of the significance of setting aside any differences on this day and focusing on being thankful for life, the earth and its bounty.

Perhaps our green movement is making some people uncomfortable and sparking feelings of guilty about harmful practices that negatively impact the environment.  Hopefully, we all can come together, explore healthy ways to farm and ranch that will protect the earth and its inhabitants.  To do so is to live green, be green.

Sources for this article:

[1]  http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/16/us/joan-jett-macys-parade-float/index.html
[2] http://birding.about.com/od/Bird-Trivia/a/Wild-Turkey-History.htm
[3] http://www.ushistory.org/us/3b.asp
[4] http://livegreenbegreen.com/2013/03/16/looking-to-pope-francis-to-end-factory-farming/

Related articles

This past weekend, Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines, leaving miles of devastation and thousands of deaths.  This disastrous storm once again should serve as a reminder to everyone, climate change believers and deniers, that these events still occur and that preparedness for severe weather disasters is a must.

We acknowledge that the geography of the Philippines alone (an archipelago comprised of 7,107 islands) made it especially vulnerable to the 25 feet storm surge with sustained winds greater than 100 miles per hour that battered the island nation, leveling everything in its path.  While some areas, such as Manila, fared relatively well, many coastal villages were totally destroyed.  Additionally, the economy of this emerging nation, plagued by a poverty rate of 27.9%, was a significant factor in the lack of storm preparedness, largely due to the inability to effectively address issues, such as infrastructure and construction of residences and other buildings to codes that withstand severe weather events.

Philippines-- An archipelago of 7,107 islands

Philippines– An archipelago of 7,107 islands.  Credit:  Wikipedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With that said, it is more important than ever for everyone, regardless of economic station or geographical location, to have a plan in place in order to survive severe weather disasters.  Any such plan must include the following basic elements:

  • Water:  The general rule is to have one gallon of water for at least three days for drinking and sanitation.
  • Food:  A minimum of a three-day supply of non-perishable food should be available.
  • Radio:  This should be battery-powered with a tone alert and with extra batteries.
  • Flashlight:  Every essential survival kit should have a flashlight with extra batteries to be used during power outages.
  • Cell phone:  Make sure a solar charger is included.

Additional emergency supplies that should be added to the essential preparation kit are prescription medications, diapers and infant formula if needed, food and water for pets, sleeping bags and blankets, a change of clothing and paper and plastic eating utensils.  We also suggest that a disaster kit include cash or traveler’s checks in case the family has to relocate to a hotel or travel to stay with friends or family.  Also, make sure you fill the car with gas in cases of news of impending storms.  With the possibility of total residence destruction, it is recommended that copies of all important papers (legal records and certificates, insurance information and pictures and documentation of household valuables) be stored in a secure remote location, i.e., safe deposit box.

Emergency preparedness kit

Emergency preparedness kit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another consideration in emergency preparedness is the purchase and installation of a storm shelter, if possible.  Of course, these fixtures once were staples in the plain states which were consistently subjected to tornadoes.  Now that tornado alley has expanded to include most regions of the United States, such structures are making a necessary comeback.

Storm shelter

Storm shelter:  Credit Familysafeshelters.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

For those of us who belong to homeowners associations where we pay dues for services, now is the time to enlist these organizations to address the issue of storm preparedness and the institution of guidelines to assist and protect the members of the communities they serve.  Issues to be addressed include, but are not limited, to the following:

  • Facility Preparation:  Addressing the need to determine if property is ready to confront the impact of a severe storm with documentation of property pre-storm state, which is crucial to disaster recovery.
  • Member communication:  Procedures in place for board members to communicate with residents and employees prior to a storm’s arrival, during a storm and in the post-storm period.
  • Post-storm action:  Immediate attempts following a weather disaster to locate residents and employees to ascertain their condition, to attend to injured residents and employees and to secure the community and document storm damage.
  • Reconstruction and Restoration:  Dealing with insurance companies and attorneys to restore the community.

The most important consideration of storm preparedness should be the human factors.  Every step should be taken to avoid and/or to reduce the loss of life during tornadoes, hurricanes, typhoons and any other severe weather event.  To that end, we all should maintain open communication with our neighbors and support each other during storms.

As we all mourn the tragic losses in the Philippines from Typhoon Haiyan, we need to be mindful of the part each of us plays in climate change and the weather calamities that keep striking all over the world.  We must increase our efforts at environmental protection and sustainability while simultaneously planning for disaster survival.  To strive for the safety and survival of all people globally is to live green, be green.

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Sources for this article:

1.  http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/11/11/philippines-economy-typhoon/3494517/
2.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geography_of_the_Philippines
3.  http://www.kgblawfirm.com/press-releases/katzman-garfinkel-berger-community-advocacy-network-make-available-community-association-hurricane-preparedness-guide/
4.  http://www.ready.gov/basic-disaster-supplies-kit

Related articles

Movember is “an annual, month-long event involving the growing of moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of prostate cancer and other male cancers and associated charities,” with a goal to “change the face of men’s health.”[1]

Perhaps the fun part of Movember is the moustache as the official symbol.  Compared to the pink ribbon symbolic of breast cancer awareness month, sporting a moustache to raise awareness of men’s health issues can be fun and less physically taxing than the runs and walks associated with raising awareness of breast cancer.  Also, moustaches are very versatile and one can adopt different styles to make a personal statement. The U.S. Movember site [2] features moustache style guides and even prizes and rewards for “Mo Bros” and “Mo Sistas.” This indeed is a fun and engaging way to bring attention to and raise awareness of men’s health issues and to rally men to take control of their personal health.

Movember’s success partially can be attributed to the current popularity of wearing beards and moustaches. Just look at Hollywood and the sports world and you can see celebrities wearing moustaches and beards of all types. Even in the business world, unshaven faces and shadows have given way to clean-shaven appearances.

LGBG CEO Patrick Halligan sporting a "stache"

LGBG CEO Patrick Halligan sporting a “stache”

For men who have thought about growing moustaches and/or beards, Movember awareness is a great time to give this a try. If it works out well, stick with it, and if not, you still did a great thing by joining the annual movement to deliver the important message of the need for men to take preventative steps to combat prostate and other cancers unique to them.

We here at LGBG fully support Movember and the movement to eradicate male cancers. We urge you to get involved in the celebration. Men– get that stache growing. Ladies– join in the celebration by donating to charities raising money to fight male cancers. To do so is to live green, be green.

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Sources of Article:

[1]  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Movember.
[2] http://us.movember.com/

Palm Oil Kernels (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We at Live Green Be Green say, “Time to pass on the palm!”

As a result of palm oil farming, roughly 300 football fields of forest are cleared every hour (WWF).  That is roughly 720,000 yards a day! Development of palm oil plantations is among the major leading causes of all deforestation and the leading contributor to diminishing great ape and wildlife populations worldwide. Animals are poached and forests are burned to the ground, just to make way for this unnecessary plant product.

“It is so serious that within the next 10 – 25 years there will be no wild chimpanzees, gorillas or bonobos (let alone Orangutans) if the Palm Oil industry continues on its current forest cutting trajectory.” -Lori Robinson in 1 Sweet Way To Really Help wildlife

We as consumers can end the destruction! We simply need to stop buying products that contain palm oil or palm kernel oil now.  Its that simple. The first step in the right direction is to generate universal awareness in terms of which products contain the oil.   Palm Oil is commonly used in a wide variety of products.  While some products have it listed in the ingredients/ health and nutrition facts, many companies hide it by intentional mislabeling  as vegetable oil or leaving it out all together. Everyday known products that contain palm oil include: candy such as Kit Kat, Butterfinger and PayDay, Pringles, Nutella, Johnson and Johnson Bay Oil,  Dove Soap, Gillette Shaving creams and Colgate toothpaste, to name a few.

Another reason to avoid palm oil products is that palm oil is relatively unhealthy.  In relation to equivalents such as butter, palm oil is significantly higher in saturated fat levels. According to eatingwell.com  palm oil is 80% saturated fat with 22 grams of saturated fat contained in just two teaspoons.  To put that into perspective, two teaspoons of regular butter only contain 14 grams of saturated fat. Also, research has shown that palmitic acid caused mice to become resistant to the appetite-suppressing hormones leptin and insulin, which in theory could make them eat more.

Products containing palm oil

We here at LGBG ask you to share this post with at least one friend to help spread the word and stop the destruction.  Also, please sign the petition at orangutans.org and pledge to save our forests and our wildlife and fight the palm oil industry altogether. http://www.orangutan.org/how-to-help/sign-the-petition

Last but not least, please take a look at the video below for a first an even more in depth look at the destruction cause by Palm Oil.

Sources:

  1. http://www.wwf.org.au/our_work/saving_the_natural_world/forests/palm_oil/fact_sheet/
  2. http://www.eatingwell.com/blogs/health_blog/the_dangerous_ingredient_you_re_eating_and_don_t_even_know_it
  3. http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/eij/article/rumble_in_the_jungle1/
  4. http://africainside.org/2013/10/22/halloween-candy-without-palm-oil/
  5. http://ran.org/cargill-case-studies-and-videos