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 http://www.uradmonitor.com/

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: http://www.uradmonitor.com/?open=1200000F 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.  

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Best Shampoo Bars to use with Hard Water

Our Key Lime Eucalyptus shampoo bar worked well in hard water conditions.
Thanks so one of our awesome Aquarian Bath customers, I am happy to share our top shampoo bars to use with hard water. Kimberly had initially used one of our shampoo bars (Rose hemp) while on vacation in Florida with great results. Her hair type is long with natural henna-dyed hair. When she returned home and used the same bar, she experienced a build up in her hair. Apparently her city water was exceptionally hard, so much so that the water had a dirty smell. Even some laundry wasn't coming 100% clean, and had the same dirty smell. Hard water is water that has a high mineral content, and some minerals can give an off smell. Kimberly ordered different sample shampoo bars to try out, and I also threw in a 2 or 3 additional sample bars for her to try. I'm thrilled she tested all of the ones she received and provided great feedback for me to share with everyone.

Here are is Kimberly's detailed feedback and special tips for shampooing with hard water:

With hard water you have to use more soap then you would have to with soft or normal water. So two things I started doing are using more shampoo. This seemed to really help and also I started combing my hair as I rinse the shampoo out, in hope that no minerals would get stuck in the tangles. I tried each bar at least once with combing when I rinse and once without combing, and I found the combing did make some difference. What I think worked best for my hair would be Aloe Lavender Rosemary Mint and the Key Lime Eucalyptus. They made my hair very shiny and lay very smooth. The Neem and Vanilla Lavender both worked on my hair but gave me more volume and less shine.

Lavender Rosemary Mint Aloe shampoo bar was the other top pick.

Best results with Hard water:
update 11/7/14 reformulated Tea Tree Eucalytpus shampoo has same formula as Key Lime/Euc
Update 3/15 Carrot Top Shampoo formula now same as Key Lime/Euc

Worst results with Hard Water:
update 11/7/14 other hemp shampoo bars

I think that these results may have something to do with the concentration of Jojoba oil which is used in our formulas, though not all of our bars were tested. The bars that had the best results had no Jojoba, with the exception of Neem, which has only 1 percent Jojoba. The two other bars that gave poor results have a higher concentration of this liquid wax. This was a bit of surprise, because Jojoba is generally considered a luxury oil for hair care. The Rose Hemp bars also are scented with a Bulgarian rose wax, which leaves no residue in normal water.

Do you have experience with hard water and using any of our shampoo bar formulas? We would love to hear your feedback, because as you may have noticed not every bar was tested.  I will post any more relevant feedback about hard water and our other shampoo bar formulas to this blog post.