Posts Tagged ‘sciencey matters’

color me pink

i have been
i’ll be the first to admit it… up until my rude awakening during today’s lunch break of watching an episode of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, i hadn’t really put much thought into it. IT being PINK SLIME.

i know, i know, what have i been living under a rock?! its been all the rage in the news these days.

but today’s the day, i’m not turning back and i’m taking a stand. no more PINK SLIME will make it past my lips… and even though its rocky terrain trying to brainwash others ;0) i’ll do my best to keep my family and friends from ingesting this gnarly stuff as well.

SOOO – the who’s and what’s:

in a nutshell – it’s processed scraps of beef trimmings and fat (ie the parts of the cow that don’t make it to the shelves) which are then treated with ammonia (NO JOKE! – that’s how they pass it off as ‘killing the bad stuff’)

and chances are YOU have had it too – if you have feasted on a burger at a restaurant or fast food joint, a friend’s bbq, bought lean ground beef at a food store, and the saddest yet, public school lunches!
insert gag reflex

it’s mixed with ground beef to stretch it out, manufacturers can produce more product for less money, and sometimes it’s not even mixed with real ground beef, you’re just eating straight up, cooked PINK SLIME!

what can you do?
KNOW WHAT is in the food you eat
KNOW WHERE the food you eat comes from

as of May 2012, these stores and chains DO NOT SELL beef products with pink slime additives or filler:
Whole Foods Market
Kroger (which includes King Soopers and City Market stores)
Stop N Shop

if you are not at one of these places and unsure of what you may be about to purchase to make your tasty meat balls for dinner, ask the butcher! they can point out the products that do not include additives and fillers.

don’t get SLIMED, get educated!

calling all coffee lovers

GOOD news for COFFEE lovers:
(after putting up the chocolate lovers post last week, i couldn’t leave this one out!)

it protects your heart
moderate coffee drinkers (1 to 3 cups/day) have lower rates of stroke than non-coffee drinkers, an effect linked to coffee’s antioxidants (having more antioxidants per serving than blueberries!)

it diverts diabetes
those antioxidants boost your cells’ sensitivity to insulin, helping to regulate blood sugar

it boosts brain power
moderate coffee drinkers (1 to 3 cups/day) can help to reduce their risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as Parkinson’s disease, studies suggest, as the antioxidants may ward off brain cell damage and help the neurotransmitters involved in cognitive function to work better

it helps your headaches
studies show that 200 milligrams of caffeine (about the amount in 16 ounces of brewed coffee) provides relief from headaches, including migraines


and while you’re at it, check out some of these goods for coffee lovers:

Grady’s Cold Brew
iced coffee in seconds, one bottle makes eight chicory-infused drinks – just add milk

Hairo V60 Ceramic Dripper
make your own coffee-maker-free drink with this handy dandy one-cup cone

Patron XO Coffee Liqueur
smooth, dry tequila meets toasty, roasted coffee – cocktails, addition to ice cream, milkshakes, and cake… the possibilities are endless

don’t drink too much though, you may end up like this guy–>

solarize your lives

about 15 years ago my friend’s family had solar panels installed on their roof. i thought it was such an interesting and sci-fi-ish concept at the time – using the SUN‘s energy to heat the water in their house… boy, things gave come a LONG way in just a short amount of time, haven’t they?!

these days, it seems like solar panels can be found on just about everything

from lamps

to backpacks

to laptop and iPad cases

to inflatable emergency light packs

to phone cases

to paper and fabric

hellz, you can even create your very own radio for just $3

or have these earrings light up your look

it is truly remarkable what 15 years of science and technology have brought about,
here’s to wondering what the next 15 will bring us!

if you are in NJ and happen to be in the market for a solar panel installation for your commercial building, hit me up, i know some people :0)

power foods

looking for an energy boost to aid in your workouts?

you don’t have to rely on the gimicky snacks, chomps, gels and whatnot they sell on the market, you can easily find it right at the food store –>

for carbs
used mid-sesh

two tablespoons of raisins pack more than 30 grams of carbs, making them ideal for snacking during workouts an hour or longer. when eaten alone, they decrease mouth acidity, helping to prevent harmful bacteria growth that may lead to tooth decay! dentists rejoice

for potassium
used post-sesh

these fun-guys :0) supply potassium crucial for body fluid balance. contain an antioxidant known as L-ergothioneine not found in many foods and known to help fight off free-radical damage.

for healthy fats

One tablespoon supplies your daily need for omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids—essential for heart health, as well as controlling inflammation that may lead to diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. store it in a dark container in the fridge and use for dipping, in dressings, or tossed with pasta or steamed veggies.

for a source of lower-fat protein AND iron

high-protein red meat is lower in saturated fat than beef but packed with many of the same nutrients. each 3.5-ounce serving contains more than 50 percent of your vitamin B12 needs and 30 percent of your needs for iron and zinc–all necessary for muscle function and recovery.

for inflammation fighting

contain antioxidants called anthocyanidins which halt oxidative damage that occurs with aging, and may stave off muscle soreness.

for more carbs

provide fiber and B vitamins to energize your runs.

for extra nutrition at a low cost

a one-cup serving of most canned beans supplies over 25 percent of your Daily Value for protein, almost 60 percent for fiber, and 20 percent for iron, along with a good dose of carbs.

{ via }

contagious yawns

walking down 8th avenue this morning on my way to work, i felt more zombie-like than usual mornings, i couldnt help but let out a big ol’ yawn… then i cracked up when i saw the guy coming at me yawn, then the person next to me yawned… and i couldnt help but wonder – why ARE yawns so contagious?!

while reading this post, i guarantee you’ll find yourself yawning, even just thinking about it sets it off!

all vertebrates yawn, but only humans, chimps and possibly dogs find yawns contagious

so – WHY do we do it?!

well, there are lots of theories, but actually, no one really knows for sure

the possibilities:

when we are bored or tired, we just don’t breathe as deeply as we usually do
our bodies take in less oxygen because our breathing has slowed
yawning helps us bring more oxygen into the blood and move more carbon dioxide out of the blood

it stretches the lungs and lung tissue
may be a way to flex muscles and joints, increase heart rate, and feel more awake

protective reflex to redistribute the oil-like substance – surfactant – that helps keep lungs lubricated inside and keeps them from collapsing

it began with our ancestors, who used yawning to show their teeth and intimidate others

it cools your brain
cool brains can think more clearly, keeping us more alert

it may be linked to one’s capacity for empathy

here’s a fun experiment to try out:

next time you’re in a meeting or large group, take a BIG yawn, then cover your mouth out of courtesy and watch to see how many people follow. there’s a good chance you’ll set off a chain reaction of deep breaths and wide-open mouths!

living mulch

living mulch
aka green manure
aka what the heck are you talking about MEL?!

yeah, i was just as amazed this past weekend when i heard about this concept by, none other than, Farmer T… yes, as you can tell, we discuss farming and gardening topics quite often

using {specifically white dutch} clover as a cover crop is nothing new to the gardening scene – just mine i guess – THE MAN (Masanobu Fukuoka) wrote extensively about this concept and you can read lots more about him HERE

his method of farming is pretty simple:
no machines
no chemicals
no weeding

just my style!

so what is living mulch?

straight from Wikipedia:

a cover crop interplanted or undersown with a main crop, and intended to serve the functions of a mulch, such as weed suppression and regulation of soil temperature.

planting white clover in your garden can reap many benefits:

it prevents most weeds and grass from forming in your garden beds

the same as ‘regular’ mulch does, the clover absorbs most of the sun before the soil does

it will level out the nitrogen in the soil to help the plants grow

can help break up a hardpan and greatly improve tilth

which are needed to pollinate fruiting vegetables

how do you get started?

hit up a seed company (like these guys), order yourself a bag o’ seeds
scatter the seeds around your garden in the areas you want it to grow (preferably on a not-so-sunny day)
sit back and wait for the seeds to germinate and begin to grow into your very own
no tilling required


perhaps you have seen some of these crazy – should be dwelling on mars – creations popping up in your yard over the past few days

pimp myspace

i have seen a bunch on my walk to and from my bus stop in the morning and couldnt help but take a pic … yes, that weirdo on the side of the street taking pictures in your front yard probably was me!

so – like usual, the questions started brewing in my brain:

why are we seeing them?
what do you do to get rid of them?
how can they effect us and our pets?

WHY they form:

the record breaking recent rainfall we have been experiencing is definitely a major contender in the reason department. but also – per the weekend gardener

Lawn mushrooms are simply the product of fungi infested in your yard soil in one or more areas of your yard. They are actually the fruit of this fungus, and feed off different sources that could be present.

Lawn mushrooms feed off decaying matter such as:
Old mulch
Animal waste
Rotting tree stumps

Abundance of food sources for the fungi in your yard soil will pretty much ensure the presence of lawn mushrooms in your yard. The more food sources for the fungi, the bigger the lawn mushrooms will grow.

That’s the reason sometimes the lawn mushrooms will be very large, and sometimes they will be very small. It all depends on the amount of food sources the fungi has available.

WHAT to do with them and about them:

if they are already popping up in your yard you can pick them – mainly if you want to deter children and pets from eating them – and throw them away, but by the time they have formed, you are already too late, because they are forming from underground mycelia.

controlling them:
reduce over irrigation
improve drainage
remove thatch and aerate

i don’t think i need to say this, but you never know who’s out there reading, DO NOT eat them… surprisingly the APP is reporting that many people in the Garden state have been hospitalized due to eating mushrooms they found  and thought were edible

HOW they can affect us:

well, as you can read in the article linked above, you can end up in the hospital from ingesting them.

symptoms of mushroom poisoning range from GI issues like vomiting and diarrhea to death. they can be especially fatal to pets too – so if you see them in your yard, get rid of them before fido decides to have one as an appetizer

PS – i really hope this post didnt turn you into wild ‘shroom haters
most of them dont harm your lawn or cause any damage, they’re just nature being nature, decomposing organic matter and releasing nutrients back into the soil for plant growth