Sunday, March 18, 2012

Many weekend warriors, athletes, and fitness buffs aim to fuel their endeavors with the best food possible. There’s no shortage of diet programs and books for bodybuilding, vegan bodybuilding, endurance athletes and any stripe of athlete in between. Tons of studies show that a balanced diet with a lot of variety and sufficient calories will meet almost any athlete’s energy and nutritional requirements.

One way to ensure that simple, clean eating will meet those nutritional needs is to eat organic food. At the very least free range eggs and any fruit or vegetable contain more nutrients than processed foods. Some studies suggest that organically grown produce contain more nutrients than produce grown with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. But how do you find organic food?

FarmPlate aims to create the largest online directory of sustainably and ethically produced foods. With your help. FarmPlate currently lists 40,000 sustainable food producers. Users can search, rate, and review farms and agricultural producers. If your favorite farmer isn’t listed, you can add them. It’s like yelp…for sustainable food only.

“FarmPlate’s mission is to help sustainable food businesses expand their markets. They are the engine of local food systems, and we are committed to contributing to their growth in any way that we can,” says Kim Werner, founder and president of

So if you’re looking for user-rated organic, sustainable food, hop over to Farmplate. Feed your body the best to perform the very best.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Primal Fitness Is the New Green Exercise

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 I adopted 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!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Go Circular Free

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.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Today Is America Recycles Day

A project of Keep America Beautiful, America Recycles Day is the nationally recognized day dedicated to the promotion of recycling in the U.S. Since 1997, Americans have celebrated America Recycles Day on Novovember 15. Learn more about the program and how to participate.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Green Revolution: Where Fitness Meets Renewable Energy

The Green Revolution retrofits Spin bikes to generate electricity that feeds back into a club's power system, reducing the club's reliance on the grid and reducing the carbon footprint of the club. The Green Revolution is a suburban Philadelphia company. It is also a start-up.

The Green Revolution has been submitted to the GE Ecoimgaination Challenge. If the Challenge generates enough interest, GE may invest in some of these companies. Winning the Ecoimagination Challenge could secure more funding for the Green Revolution and help them continue retrofitting Spin bikes to make the world a cooler place.
It takes two minutes to vote. Please register and cast your vote.

Want to see more videos of The Green Revolution? Here's a starter and there are more on Youtube!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Rejoice: Recycle All Plastics Curbside Now!

Officially you can stop peering at the underside of your plastics now. Starting August 1, the city opened curbside recycling to all plastics, from old standby #1 PETE to the new amalgamated #7. No longer do you need to organize special collections or to feel guilt and shame when you purchase yogurt. Chuck it all into your mixed stream recycle bin and get on with living. (PS: always reduce what you use where possible, recycle next).

Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Toxic Blow Out for Your Hair?

What's the latest service at the salons? A Brazilian blow out uses leave-in conditioner and a blow dryer to straighten your hair. Allegedly the results last longer and are *ahem* more permanent. This is achieved by using formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. Yes, the same preservative that soaked the frogs you dissected in high school...applied to your head.
The cheaper less toxic solution? Break out your own organic conditioner--any type will do, including the traditional kind that you typically rinse out. Apply a layer, plug in your hair dryer and dry your hair without removing the conditioner. Gently comb while you blow out your hair and you'll end up with soft, straight hair.
For more information about toxicity in beauty products, consult The Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database. Always remember there is no federal agency that regulates the cosmetics industry.