Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Quick Guide to Sugar Content in Common Foods

I found this helpful infographic to share from Dr. Mercola's article about how much sugar you should have per day. Some of the numbers below are quite shocking. Hope you find it helpful for meal planning. For optimal health they recommend no more than 6 teaspoons or 24 grams of sugar per day, unless doing vigorous exercise. fructose overload infographic

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Yes, I can.. fasting for climate action while making applesauce

I survived my first Fast for the Climate action yesterday.  I am so glad that the next two fasting days do not fall on a Wednesday. On Wednesdays I take in 3 or 4 boxes of produce from Front Porch Pickings.  I trade our soap with them in exchange for vegetables, honey and jam. I woke up yesterday morning and was a bit hungry until around 11, but then that faded as I started drinking oatstraw and green tea infusion. I packed a few orders and fiddled around in my office a bit.  The main morning accomplishment was getting our petition to Ebay mailed out. Nearly 500 of us have asked Ebay to stop recommending bubble wrap to sellers. Then the produce delivery arrived. I started peeling about 15 pounds of apples with my new-to-me vintage apple corer slicers. Then I cut up about 5 pounds of tiny hard plums with the help of my eldest girl Moira. I had to sit down for a bit, because I was getting tired at that point so we took turns.  I really wanted to taste the applesauce, but I left it to her and Scott to decide on the right amount of cinnamon. I made it through the canning process pretty well, cleaned up the kitchen. After that I was just restless for the remainder of the day and evening. I usually ship orders during the non holiday season on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I was concerned that I would run out of energy if I packed all my orders and did canning and food intake during fasting, so to be careful I packed two mail bins of orders on Tuesday afternoon instead of Wednesday. Without my regular Wednesday schedule I just was restless sitting around admiring all the produce and lovely jars of applesauce. I tried sewing flax pillow sleeves  for a bit, but I was too restless and didn't trust my stitching so I stopped. It was much easier fasting last week when I decided spontaneously to fast rather than planning it out.  My fast last week was 42 hours, which in retrospect was a bit silly, but I wanted to see how far I could take it. I felt really kind of ridiculous fasting surrounded by so much food yesterday. I feel like I still have a lot to learn about fasting as a method of activism. I found it harder to fast on a specific schedule than the 42 hour spontaneous fast that I did last week when I signed up for the action. During that time I was just giving it a try with no expectations and no feeling of pressure. It was harder knowing that I was doing a group action with a specific purpose.

Today I really enjoyed a nice salad, okra pickles, garlic bread, and of course the applesauce that I make during the fat.  Maybe you will too.  Here is the recipe:

Applesauce with plums

16 pounds apples
5 pounds plums
3 Tablespoons Organic Cinnamon
1 cup purified water

Peel and cut the apples into small pieces. Cut up plums into small pieces. Add them all to a stock pot with cinnamon and 1 cup of water. Cook down the the fruit on medium low heat until only medium sized chunks are left. Use a stick blender to blend it up until it is just how you like it. Fill up 7 previously boiled quart size mason jars with applesauce leaving 1/2 inch of head space. Clean the lid rim. Add lids and rings. Boil jars under 2 inches of water for 20 minutes at sea level.  Adjust time as necessary according to your altitude. Shelf life is 1 year.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Why I'm Fasting for Action on Climate Change

Fast for the Climate is a group of people who are fasting for action on climate change this year. I am joining them. Here is more about the group action from the website: 

2014 is a crucial year in shaping our response to climate change. Climate change meetings throughout the year, including the Climate Leaders Summit in New York, are building up to the crucial UN climate talks in Lima, Peru in December. The UN climate negotiations in Lima this year, part of a negotiating process started in 1995, will be the most important climate change meeting ever yet, and will lay the foundations for binding agreements next year in Paris. Throughout the year there are significant moments in the climate change calendar and we are linking our monthly fasting on the first of each month to this process.
When I was first invited to this movement by food blogger ZeroWasteChef, I admit I was skeptical.  Could this action really influence decision makers?  It is a once a month fast, not a hunger strike. After thinking about it for a day or two, I realized that I could still make a difference in a small personal way no matter what the outcome of these fasts. 
I am fasting to show solidarity and support to those who believe in this effort.  I am also fasting, because I know that there is a problem with the diets and health of North American's like myself, which lead to over consumption of food. Food production, processing, and distribution are energy intensive, and we need to be mindful of that in the context of climate change.  USDA growing zones have changed.  Farmers are having to experiment with different salt resistant rice varieties in India and Bangladesh due to flooding.  Wheat production is down in the US due to drought. Olive oil production is down in both California and Europe due to record drought. The standard high sugar, high carbohydrate American diet leads to cravings for more and more of the same as well as insulin and leptin resistance. The body can 'forget' how to use it's own fat stores, leading to increased risk for diabetes, heart disease and cancer. The person stuck in the sugary processed food diet gets caught in a cycle of eating too much food, even though they may have the fat reserves to power their body. Fasting can help break the cycle of dependence on factory processed high sugar and carbohydrate foods; food which requires more energy to produce than simple whole locally grown foods.  During fasting the body 'relearns' how to use its fat reserves as fuel, because the quick energy from sugary high carb foods are no longer available.
I am a big fan of intermittent fasting which I learned about from Dr. Joe Mercola. His website had many good articles on the topic. Going without food for just a 16 hour stretch (regularly skipping either breakfast or dinner) can help trigger the body to switch over to fat burning mode, signaling the body to use the energy stores that it already has. I did a fast last week before the official first of the month fast, just to make sure I could do it for 24 hours. I found that I needed to slow down my activity a bit and stay hydrated with tea and water, but I was fine. Toward the end of the day I had a bit of a dull head ache. I believe the relative ease at which I was able to complete the fast can be credited to my occasional intermittent 16 hour fasting that I was doing during the summer, as well as having around 25% body fat. I feel this percentage is too much even though that percentage is considered normal for women on a lot of charts.
Last week I saw a heckler making fun of an overweight woman on twitter who was wearing an #Ifastfortheclimate T-shirt. I applaud that faster, and I dare that heckler to try it themselves. It's not as easy as an ice bucket challenge, hmm?  I wish everyone who is participating success with their personal fasts, and success in influencing positive action by UN decision makers in Lima Peru this year. Thanks also to blogger You as a Cook for mentioning us in her blog post about why she is fasting for climate change.

Cory Trusty, president
Aquarian Bath

Friday, September 12, 2014

Round 2: Soaps & Shampoo Bar Odds and Ends Giveaway from Aquarian Bath

Aquarian Bath is having another giveaway to clear out soap and shampoo bar odds and ends.  We are trying to make space for the holiday soap inventory we are putting together. We will send out these 6 bars to one winner selected in Rafflecopter from the entry form below. Here are the soaps (nearly 1.5 pounds):

Tea Tree Eucalyptus soap - smaller than average bar
Tea Tree Soap - irregular back side "soap butt"
Evergreen Woodland Soap - unstamped bar from previous batch with slightly different essential oil blend
Citrus Bay Rum Patchouli soap - scratch and dent
Extra Stout Soap - made with Guiness, smaller than average bar

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Join the Global Radiation Monitoring Network

uRADMonitors are shipped globally to create a new Global Radiation Monitoring Network at

Aquarian Bath and SolarNetOne are joining a new Global Radiation Monitoring Network, and you can too. This network was designed as an alert system for monitoring radiation level spikes. You can see that currently Europe, parts of the United States, Australia are represented. Each point on the map represents a special Geiger counter designed by Radu Motison. In the Orlando area radiation levels are low today, however we are interested particularly in monitoring our area since there was a recent spike in radiation levels in Miami.
Screen shot of map from September 6, 2014

Radu is trained as a software engineer, with a masters in Computer Science from West University of Timisoara.  Electronics started as a hobby during Radu's childhood. Radu started the Global Radiation Monitoring Network to give something useful to the community. The project began with a single monitoring station for his personal use Radu explains. "Then it became clear that having multiple stations across the Globe would provide interesting insight to backgrounradiation fluctuations and possible causes. Also in case of nuclear incidents, the distributed units would be able to pickup any raising trends and sound an alarm for seeking additional information on the event." Radu designed, built and tested his new uRADMonitor with the testing help from beta-testers who are currently on the network map. 

uRadMonitors use the same detector tubes calibrated against a common reference.

I asked Radu how is his network better than existing crowd sourced radiation monitoring networks or government networks. 

It's open, so everyone can see real time, unaltered data. It's using the same detectors, calibrated against a common reference. Thus, the numbers displayed on the portal are easily comparable. It's easy to use, and it only takes one look to see where the "hot" spots are. See for example the unit in the Ceska Cermna: that is almost the double of the average readings of the entire network. This is due to naturally occurring thorium and uranium under the soil where this unit is located. And uRADMonitor was able to detect this phenomenon right away. It is probably the first global network of this kind. The data collection is safe as it resides on the server side. The data transmission is protected to a certain degree using a security code.

How easy is it to set up?  Can anyone do it?

It's the simple to set up your uRADMonitor Geiger counter. uRADMonitor must be mounted outside, but not directly in the sunlight. Ideally uRADMonitor should be mounted 1 meter above the ground level. The units are rainproof if mounted with the cables facing down.You will need to connect it to power, using the power adapter included with the unit, and to the home internet router using the included network cable. The device does everything by itself: gets an IP address in the local network, and starts transmitting real time measurements. On the server side the location is approximated and the new unit appears on the map, showing the radiation readings in real time.

uRAD monitors are shipping from Romania at this time, and are available either on Ebay or by emailing Radu.