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Janeen McCrae

Yes I Am Precious is a Livestrong campaign that bicyclist Janeen McCrae came up with to raise money to fight shitty cancer. The journey begins on the Atlantic side of this great country and three months later, she and her bike Precious, should arrive on the Pacific end. It is the 15th day of the ride as of this blog post, a rest day in Berea, Kentucky, the folk arts and crafts capital of Kentucky for those not in the know. :]

As the video below will show you, this isn’t just your regular ride, it makes raising money for a great cause a whole lot more cool and interesting. You can check out how many roadkills were seen along the way, how many time Janeen has been honked at, how many dogs have chased her on her long journey across America with Precious who is tweeting along the way what he is “feeling”.

Check out what they’ve done to Precious to gauge speed, incline, decline, temperature, etc, etc…

…and yes you can follow them on Twitter, Precious or Janeen, or go to Janeen’s blog about her ride, No Direction Known, and don’t forget Team Fatty, check out their About Page, good stuff.

Last but not least here is the donation page for this awesome ride.

I love biking and cool people.

-Cara

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Marine is designing a crazy cat palace of some sort, so we went to Home Depot yesterday to look for stuff and get ideas. One of the materials Marine wanted to use was PVC…

I almost fainted. :) Marine this entry goes out to you. :* You’re welcome!

There’s an awesome documentary, Blue Vinyl (Netflix has it…just saying…), I watched a million years ago, that schooled me on the evils of PVC.

The most informative site on PVC. – http://www.pvcfree.org/

PBS TV’s “Trade Secrets: A Moyers Report“, a documentary that exposes workplace, and environmental poisoning. Some stuff about PVC and other such things in this one.

And last, but not least, a good read, PVC- A Health Hazard From Production through Disposal.

It’s a shame, I love the new shower smell, the smell of a new car. I can’t tell you how many times I inhaled that smell…deeply.

No PVC for us!

-Cara

At ABC Carpet and Home

Last Saturday I went to ABC Carpet and Home on Broadway to watch the Pangea Day films. I think it is crazy in such a huge city we did not have a large public event like in Cairo, Kigali, London, Los Angeles, Mumbai, and Rio de Janeiro, but was appreciative that ABC Carpet and Home hosted it, as they got nothing from it really. It may have been to their detriment, as people would come towards the showroom we were in and some left thinking they were interrupting something. Well maybe the people watching the film never came there before and now love it!!! Who knows? One thing they did gain was a fan, so if anyone from ABC Carpet and Home is reading this, thank you! Oh yeah, and we also ate in their restaurant, Pipa [nice place], so they did get some monetary value out of it!

For those that don’t know what Pangea Day is here is a link to an entry I did on it called, “What is Pangea Day?“. There were amazing films. It was a really great line-up. The only negative I will say was the three of the four hosts of Pangea Day were a bit annoying. I only really thought June Arunga cared about the event, the two men Max Lugavere and Jason Silva seemed very insecure and fake, so that kept distracting me and Lisa Ling was just on script. I could have also lived without all the actors reading their teleprompter, but I must admit when I told my mom Meg Ryan, Goldie Hawn and Cameron Diaz were a part of it, she got interested. Until then she was like, that sounds interesting dear…you know in THAT way…but later that same day she did email me and said she watched a whole hour. I guess it was a good idea to use popular Hollywood actors to pull in people like my mom, who are a little skeptical of us crazy do gooders, but trust that if Hollywood actors can support Pangea Day, it must not be too radical.

If you want to see some of these films go here. There was four hours of films [some ads, and songs, and such in between], I arrived about 45 minutes late, so only saw 3 hours and 15 minutes, but still they were so good time flew by. I think this was a great event, and in the words of the creator of Pangea Day, filmmaker Jehane Noujaim, “Movies can’t change the world. But the people who watch them can.”, so please take some time to watch these films and see where they take you.

One last thing, I just want to say I think Jehane Noujaim is an amazing woman and a beautiful soul and am thankful she exists in this world.

-Cara


Reason 90 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:

Even if meat eaters are spared the big killers that their lifestyle is associated with (heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer), their diet may still be robbing them of everyday good health. A meat diet is sure to lead to nagging conditions and ailments. A whole-foods, high-fiber vegan diet, full of grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes, is just the ticket to reduce arthritis pain, ease irritable-bowel disorders, mitigate common back pain, relieve cold and allergy symptoms, and lower risk for gallstones, kidney stones, and heartburn. But perhaps best of all, the vegan life is one free of constipation!

Here are tips that are so simple that I can’t believe people don’t do them.

1. Bring your own drinking cup or coffee cup to work and stop using the plastic/paper ones provided. I don’t have official statistics, but let’s just say according to a recent Cara Poll, you can save 68585.73 acres of land a year if you do it and your carbon foot print will be a size 3. [If people listen to you at work, tell them to do it to and tell your office organizer to stop the insanity and no more paper/plastic cups. It so you will save a fafillion acres and no longer have a carbon foot. Nice…]

2. Do e-bills and e-bank statements and e-whatever…no more paper! Let’s say for this one, you will not lose the cure for cancer and aids located in the Rainforest, where they are cutting down the trees to print your bills on. If you are worried about all your personal information being on-line, where someone may hack into and steal your identity, don’t worry, it’s already there. If you think your bank and credit card company have all your information on papers hidden in a vault, you are incorrect. I believe the World Wide Web is probably a bit more secure than your mailbox, so stop with all that.

3. Last, but not least, it is one I struggle with because I am impatient and hate waiting for a computer to boot up, but turn off your computer when you aren’t using it. Standby is not good enough. It uses almost the same amount of energy, and I hear all of you out there saying, but doesn’t she know it uses more energy to start up a computer than to leave it on??? Lies, that is not true, an urban myth, ancient history, etc. It is not true, so turn it off.

I think these three tips are easy.

-Cara

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Reason 70 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:
The number of foodborne outbreaks involving produce more than doubled between 1999 and 2004. But before you blame the veggies, it’s important to know that the contaminating pathogens are invariably those that hitch a ride on fecal matter. And we know plants don’t defecate. So what’s the story? It all gets down to one simple fact: Feedlot operators cannot afford to properly treat all the waste that their mammoth-size facilities generate, so they often divert the muck to the nearest waterway. Down stream, produce processors use the water as a rinse.

Scotch B

Summer is coming up, which means for me, it is time to make my Jamaican jerk sauce. Unlike most commercial jerk sauces, this one is not over sweetened and under spicy. This is the real deal. I have yet to make an entirely organic recipe as I have not found organic scotch bonnet peppers anywhere. I e-mailed a few companies today asking if they sold any organic scotch bonnet peppers or seeds. I will let you know what I find out. If you do find the organic peppers you can have an organic version of this Jamaican jerk sauce, which is how I will write it…I am just warning you if I can’t find organic scotch bonnet peppers anywhere in New York City, it might be hard for you as well. :)

Jamaican Jerk Sauce Recipe

Ingredients

  1. 1/2 cup organic ground allspice berries [you can use organic allspice berries, if available, but use enough to give the equivalent of 1/2 cup ground.]
  2. 1/2 cup packed organic brown sugar
  3. 6-8 organic garlic cloves
  4. 4-6 organic scotch bonnet peppers [to control the temperature you can take out some of the seeds for less heat]
  5. 1 tablespoon organic ground thyme or 2 tablespoons of thyme leaves
  6. 2 bunches organic green onions [also known as scallions or spring onions]
  7. 1 teaspoon organic cinnamon
  8. 1/2 teaspoon organic nutmeg
  9. Organic salt and pepper to taste
  10. 2 tablespoon organic tamari [or Bragg Liquid Aminos if you’d like] to moisten

Tools

Food Processor

What to do!

Place the allspice, brown sugar, garlic, scotch bonnet peppers, thyme, scallions, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and tamari in a food processor and blend until smooth!

Once you are done put it in the refrigerator to chill. This sauce, if kept in the refrigerator, never goes bad. I usually rub it on my homemade organic seitan and leave it for a few hours to soak in, then cook it in a pan with a bit of oil for a few minutes on both sides till it’s warm enough. Then throw it on a roll will lettuce, mung bean sprouts, raisins [mine soon to be made in solar powered food dehydrator], and carrot shavings. It is the best, filling, and puts some pep in your step!

Scotch Bonnet Peppers are very tasty and one of the hottest peppers [a heat rating between 150,000–325,000 Scoville Units], some say it is the hottest, others say the habañero [a heat rating between 200,000-300,000 Scoville units] is. I say as far as heat I can tell no difference between the two, but I think scotch bonnet peppers are the best.

While doing my research on scotch bonnets I discovered this guy Neil who runs www.thehippyseedcompany.com. He created a YouTube channel dedicated solely to testing the effects of consuming a variety of hot peppers. In his own words, “Hey, ill test all my varieties, put the vids here, People can see my review buy the seeds if want and mabee get a laugh if its a Hot variety..”

His test rules are as follows,
1. Eat a whole chili
2. Chew a minimum of ten seconds
3. Swallow it (if can)
4. Wait sixty seconds
5. Note results

Sounds simple enough, but watching him go through it all is an experience in itself. If anyone has seen a friend in a bet eating a hot pepper or the millions of other YouTube videos where British guys are crying in pain as they eat their peppers, they are in for a surprise with these videos. This guy, he is serious…see for yourself below where he eats a whole scotch bonnet pepper and discusses in real time the effects it is having on him. Sometimes I really like the World Wide Web and what it brings to the table.

There are health benefits to eating scotch bonnet peppers as well. The active ingredient in scotch bonnet peppers [and all chili peppers] is Capsaicin. It has been said to be a miracle drug. I take it to increase my circulation, especially in the winter, in capsule form.

Here are some other ways chili peppers are healing according to SixWise.com,

1. Fight Cancer

A study published in Cancer Research found that capsaicin caused cancer cells to commit suicide. The substance caused almost 80 percent of prostate cancer cells to die in mice, and prostate tumors treated with capsaicin were about one-fifth the size of those in untreated mice.

“Capsaicin inhibits the growth of human prostate cancer cells in petri dishes and mice,” says lead researcher Dr. H. Phillip Koeffler, director of hematology and oncology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and a professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Further, researchers say capsaicin pills may one day be used to prevent the return of prostate cancer.

2. Provide Pain Relief

A topical form of capsaicin is a recognized treatment for osteoarthritis pain, and may also help alleviate pain from diabetic neuropathy.

Capsaicin is also known to inhibit Substance P, a neuropeptide that is the key transmitter of pain to the brain. Substance P can cause swelling of nerve fibers, which may result in headaches and sinus symptoms. Studies have found that capsaicin both relieves and prevents cluster headaches, migraine headaches and sinus headaches.

3. Prevent Sinusitis and Relieve Congestion

Capsaicin has potent antibacterial properties that fight and prevent chronic sinus infections, or sinusitis. Because it is so hot, it also helps to stimulate secretions that help clear mucus from your nose, thereby relieving nasal congestion. This phytochemical may also help relieve sinus-related allergy symptoms.

4. Fight Inflammation

Capsaicin is a potent anti-inflammatory agent. It works by inhibiting Substance P, which is associated with inflammatory processes. Capsaicin is being looked at as a potential treatment for arthritis, psoriasis and diabetic neuropathy.

5. Soothe Intestinal Diseases

A Duke University study found that capsaicin may lead to a cure for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The substance can also help to kill bacteria such as H. pylori, which can help prevent stomach ulcers.

6. Burn Fat and Lose Weight

Capsaicin is a thermogenic agent, which means it increases metabolic activity. This, in turn, helps to burn calories and fat. Many popular “fat-burning” supplements on the market contain capsaicin, as the substance may significantly increase metabolic activity for over 20 minutes after it’s eaten.

7. Protect Your Heart

Capsaicin may help to protect the heart by reducing cholesterol, triglycerides and platelet aggregation. It may also help the body dissolve fibrin, which is necessary for blood clots to form. Further, cultures around the world that use hot peppers liberally in their meals have significantly lower rates of heart attack and stroke than cultures that do not.

Eat well.

-Cara

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Fish make vibratory sounds with various “calls” that researchers have identified as communicating alarm and aggravation. They possess fully formed nervous systems as well as complex social behaviors. They are also capable of learning complicated tasks. British researchers discovered in 2003 that fish have the cerebral mechanisms to feel pain. As one animal activist once put it, “Fish are not merely vegetables that can swim.”

Today is about another easy solution to a huge problem. Using non-recycled paper products is a huge waste for nothing. Pretty much any paper product you can buy, you can buy recycled, which makes the world a better place. Maybe you just need to know why you should do it.  No problem, let me help you out with that…

Choose Tree-Free Paper

Making paper from paper, instead of trees, saves wood, water, energy and greenhouse gases. Chlorine-free paper also reduces the production of dioxins — cancer-causing pollutants that poison our rivers, pollute our air and often end up in our bodies. Use recycled paper at home and bring this initiative to the institutions that you work with.

Environmental Benefits of Recycled Paper

Switching from virgin to recycled content paper results in many benefits. Research by the Alliance for Environmental Innovation has shown that each ton of recycled fiber that displaces a ton of virgin fiber used in coated groundwood paper (stock used in magazines):

  • Reduces total energy consumption by 27%
  • Reduces net greenhouse gas emission by 47% and reduces particulate emissions by 28%
  • Reduces wastewater by 33%, reduces solid waste by 54%, and reduces wood use by 100%

30% Post-consumer Copy Paper

One ton (40 cases) saves the equivalent of:

  • 7.2 trees [forty feet in height and 6-8 inches in diameter] (Conservatree, www.conservatree.org)
  • 2,100 gallons of water, 1,230 kw hours of electricity, and 18 pounds of air pollution  (Californians Against Waste, www.cawrecycles.org)

100% Post-consumer Copy Paper

One ton (40 cases) saves the equivalent of:

  • 24 trees (forty feet in height and 6-8 inches in diameter) (Conservatree)
  • 7,000 gallons of water, 4,100 kilowatt hours of electricity, and 60 pounds of air pollution (Californians Against Waste)

Last, but not least I will include this link to a PDF by Environmental Defense of all the reasons why you should use recycled paper.  I am going to buy recycled printer paper for sure…if I ever print again…lol.

Hug a tree.

-Cara

Natracare Tampons

I myself use Natracare tampons. If you asked me before today why, my answer would have been, “It just can’t be right to stick bleach, or any other synthetic chemical compound inside of your body…” I mean ladies come on. It’s common sense really. Not wanting to be kept in the dark any longer on the subject, I decided I would research what the positive variables are by using organic, all natural tampons… Come join me on this exciting journey! :P

Tampons have been around in one form or another since the ancient Egyptians used softened papyrus, but the tampon as we know it was developed in early 1930s.  During the early post-Victorian era it was not considered ‘proper’ for women to touch their vaginal area, so the manufacturers of the tampon overcame this obstacle by providing the disposable applicators.

Apart from the obvious pollution caused by the manufacturing processes, the average woman uses 12,000 pads/liners/tampons during her menstrual lifetime. It takes 6 months for 1 tampon to biodegrade but plastic used in pads can remain in the environment forever, and it is estimated that 5 million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals die each year from swallowing the type of plastic contained in these products [This happens when women flush their plastic applicators down the toilet, which from what I am reading is a recent phenomenon.].

According to article, The Pros And Cons Of Tampons, by Laurel Kallenbach, “The most urgent tampon health concern is that chlorine-bleached and rayon-containing products carry trace amounts of dioxin, an extremely toxic chemical that is associated with cancer of the stomach, sinus lining, liver and lymph system. Many people are familiar with the danger of dioxins from publicity about Agent Orange and the Love Canal catastrophe. Tampons are linked to carcinogenic dioxin formed during the bleaching process that manufacturers use to purify and whiten both raw cotton and the wood pulp that goes into synthetic fibers such as rayon, a common fiber in tampons. “You find trace amounts of dioxin in some tampons, which have maximal contact with the vagina’s mucous membrane, which absorbs substances directly into the bloodstream,” explains Philip Tierno, MD, director of clinical microbiology and immunology at New York University Medical Center. To ensure that your tampon is free of dioxin, switch to a brand that’s non-chlorine-bleached, rayon-free, and made of 100 percent-organic cotton. Though cotton is a natural fiber, the majority of cotton crops are heavily treated with insecticides, pesticides and herbicides. Organically grown cotton is not.

In the ’70s and ’80s, toxic shock syndrome (TSS) struck thousands of women. The crisis peaked in 1980 with 814 cases of TSS, of which 38 women died, most due to extended use of the high-absorbency Rely tampon. Today, women still get TSS, though cases are rarely publicized. Yet tampon safety is once again a national issue, in part due to the efforts of Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., who introduced a bill to address the health problems associated with tampon use. The Robin Danielson Act (HR 360) is named after a 44-year-old woman who died in 1998 from TSS because she didn’t recognize her symptoms. The bill directs the National Institutes of Health to conduct reliable, independent research to determine the health risks posed by the presence of synthetic fibers, dioxin and other additives in tampons.

TSS is caused when staph or strep bacteria grow in the vagina, usually encouraged by the presence of a higher absorbency tampon or one that has been inserted more than eight hours. The bacteria produce toxins that are absorbed into the bloodstream, which can cause a severe drop in blood pressure (shock) and/or organ failure, especially of the liver and kidneys. In some cases, TSS is fatal. Its symptoms are similar to the flu, including a high fever, vomiting and diarrhea, muscle aches, dizziness or fainting, a red rash, headaches, bloodshot eyes and sore throat.

“Highly absorbent tampons, especially those containing synthetic fibers, increase the amounts of toxin present in the vagina,” says Tierno.

In the mid-’70s, synthetic fibers were used in tampons because manufacturers wanted to produce more absorbent, leak-resistant products. Since then, three of the four problematic synthetics have been eliminated from tampons. “The only one left is viscose rayon,” Tierno says.

To minimize your risk of contracting TSS, choose a tampon made of 100 percent cotton, preferably organic. “You’re at the lowest risk possible with cotton,” says Tierno. “In my research, every synthetic fiber amplified toxin development, whereas cotton did not.”

Most precautions for guarding against TSS are simple, says holistic nurse practitioner Pam Chandler, a specialist in women’s health care. Wear a tampon for a maximum of six to eight hours to avoid bacterial growth. However, she recommends leaving it in for at least two hours. “If you remove a tampon too soon, it won’t be saturated,” she says. “Then you risk scraping the dry, fragmented cotton across the vaginal mucosa, irritating it and setting the scenario for infection.” Also, using a tampon overnight, when planning to sleep longer than eight hours, is risky. At night, consider wearing a pad instead, she advises.

Choosing a tampon with proper absorbency is crucial to preventing TSS. “At the beginning of your period, if your flow is heavy, you may need Super Absorbency so you don’t have to change tampons too often,” says Chandler. When the flow slows, however, don’t be tempted to continue with a Super because it’s more convenient. Switch to a lower absorbency tampon instead. Also, use tampons only during menstruation.”

So let’s bring this back to me now. I use Natracare tampons like I said before. They were developed as a direct response to health and environmental concerns about dioxin pollution caused by chlorine bleaching, the extensive use of pesticide spraying on conventionally grown cotton, and the use of rayon and other synthetics in tampons.

Natracare tampons are made from only certified organic 100% cotton and are the only fully certified organic cotton tampons available in the world today. They are non-chlorine bleached and women can be reassured that they do not contain synthetic materials, such as rayon, or chemical additives such as binders or surfactants. Certified organic cotton removes the risk of direct exposure to residues from chemical pesticides and fertilisers used on traditional cotton.

For those who stuck through this long journey into the cycle of menstration I congradulate you and hope it was informative and helpful.

Good night.

-Cara

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