For the Greater Goods

A lifestyle blog for the conscious consumer


4 Comments

Be Healthy And Happy

Today I’m switching things up a bit. Meet Karrie. She wrote my post today. We pulled a Parent Trap-esque move and switched places for this post. And you can head over to her blog to see the post I wrote.

Karrie is a very positive person and writes a blog about what makes her happy and I think that’s great. I thought she would have some great insight for my blog. So without further adieu, here is Karrie’s post about how conscious eating habits make her happy:

Becoming happier and healthier is a goal I have been trying to stick to lately, and one of the best ways I know to do this is by eating and drinking healthy.  When I eat healthy, I feel happy because I know that what I put into my body is going to be good for it. How many times have you eaten fast food and instantly regretted it? I don’t know about you, but for me, it always seems like a great idea at the time because it tastes super yummy, but afterwards, I know I should have chosen a better option.

Now, I am also not saying I am the healthiest person out there by any means, because I do enjoy unhealthy snacks every now and then, but lately I have been trying to make smarter decisions regarding what I choose to put in my body. I am also not a doctor or a nutritionist. I am just telling you what works for me, and if it helps you out, then great!

Here are three things I have been doing lately to help me eat and drink healthier:

-Transition by mixing some good with some not-so-good:

I love fruit, and although eating it plain can be delicious, I also like sprucing it up by adding in some extras. Sometimes I will get a bowl full of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, or any other berries I have on hand, and put a little bit of Greek yogurt on top with some chocolate chips (just a few) and mix it all up. That little added chocolate makes it taste even better. I also like putting fruit in my cereal, for a little added flavor. I also like putting peanut butter and/or Nutella on bananas, and I also like making chocolate covered strawberries or frozen bananas. Yummm! Basically, I like adding just a little bit of something that’s not super healthy to something that is healthy, because I don’t want to crave just unhealthy foods. By doing this, I don’t just ignore the cravings completely, because eventually I will want to eat something unhealthy so bad that I gorge on that instead. This way, I enjoy eating something that is not so healthy in smaller portions and with something that is healthy.

Yogurt

-Be aware of ingredients

Earlier this year, we found out that my boyfriend was allergic to gluten. Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, so basically anything that has wheat in it is a no go for him. Since wheat is found in many things, I was forced to read labels on anything that could possibly have gluten in it. I never really paid attention to such things before, because there was no need to, but it has made me much more aware of what is in certain products. Because of this, I think I have been straying away from the more unhealthy items and attracted to the more organic and less processed items. I’m definitely not saying you need to become gluten free to be able to do this. All you need to do is read labels and understand what it in certain products so that you can decide if it is something that you should be putting into your body.

GF products

Water, water, water

You’ve probably heard many professionals, including your doctor, tell you that you need to drink a lot of water. There’s always the debate about how much you should be drinking each day, and again, I’m not a doctor, but online the consensus is to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day, also called the 8 x 8 rule. Sometimes it differs based on weight, exercise or other personal reasons, but that’s what is recommended. I have been trying to drink a lot more water in my daily life because I know it’s good for me (not to mention it’s supposed to be great for your skin as well). If you don’t like the taste of water, then here’s a little tip: put fruit in it! I have been doing this for about a year and a half now and I love it. When I go to the gym, I usually just drink plain water, but when I’m at work or at home I usually cut up some lemons, maybe some limes, strawberries, mint, oranges, cucumbers or whatever I think will taste good (but not all of them together) and I swear it makes me drink more water. Also, a cute water bottle is a must and makes a huge difference. Annie has actually blogged about this before, so check it out here. What I like about water bottles is that they usually say you how much they hold, for example the one I usually use is 20 oz., so I know that I have to drink 3 of them each day to get my daily intake. This rarely happens, but I like being able to keep track. Water is truly good for you. I always feel better when I stay hydrated throughout the day.

Water

Again, I am no expert nor am I super healthy, but when I do have healthy eating and drinking habits, I can tell because not only does my body feel better, but I am also usually in a good mood. And remember, if you make healthy choices, your body will thank you both now and later. Go forth and be healthy and happy!


2 Comments

Reducing Your Car’s Footprint

In a perfect world we could teleport everywhere. No more buying gas and no more polluting the environment, but unfortunately this isn’t Star Trek and I’m not a mutant from X-men. The world isn’t perfect and at some point or another most of us need a car to get from A to B.

But seriously, is someone working on those teleporters? Because that invention is well overdue. I don’t need a slimmer iPhone, I need a teleporter.

Anyway, while teleportation devices are a work in progress, I have compiled some tips for being more eco-friendly while you’re driving. Although the idea may seem counter intuitive, there are many ways you can reduce your carbon footprint while driving. Here I have highlighted 4 different ways to drive more efficiently.

1. Remove excess weight. I’m definitely guilty of keeping everything but the kitchen sink in my car. This summer I had golf clubs, a yoga mat, towels, a sleeping bag, shoes, jackets, and I’m sure there’s more. I like to be prepared. But did you know that an extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your MPG by up to 2%? Granted that is based on the relative weight of your car, but let’s just say my clubs now sit nicely in my garage.

2. If you are traveling with a lot of luggage, tow it behind your car, not on top. Carrying cargo on your roof increases aerodynamic drag, which can lower fuel economy by up to 25% on the highway.

3. Use cruise control. My mom always made cruise control seem like this scary thing. Like if I used it I would suddenly forget I was driving or something. And obviously there are some circumstances where it doesn’t help, like maybe don’t use it in a busy city where you need to stop frequently. But on long stretches of highway it really helps you maintain your speed, which will use less fuel.

4. Lastly, car sharing could save up to 73,000,000 tons of CO2 emissions every year, if every household in the US participated. There are 2 ways car sharing can reduce CO2 emissions. The first way is from the production of cars. If we share cars, we need less cars and consequently, less cars being made is less energy being used to produce them. Secondly, let’s say you bought a large SUV so you have enough room to travel with your family, but when you’re not traveling, you have no need for the extra space or maybe even the car itself. So borrowing a car when you need it, rather than buying one for occasional use can reduce the number of cars on the road and their emissions. You can get a little more info below with this handy info-graphic made by a company called Turo.

Turo

Turo is a peer-to-peer car sharing service that allows private car-owners to rent out their vehicles through an online interface. You’re allowed to set your own prices and dictate when your car is available to rent. Basically, you make money by allowing someone to use your car when you’re not. And you might be thinking, “uh I don’t trust a stranger with my car”. Well have no fear. Relay Rides has a $1,000,000 liability policy for each rental, which covers any damage to or theft of your car.

Interested? Check below to see if Turo is active in your city. Happy driving!


3 Comments

I Come From The Land of the Ice and Snow…

I went to Iceland! Did ya miss me? I sure missed blogging. While I was away I thought of so many ideas for future posts and I can’t wait to get started. But first I would like to share a little about my trip and see how many times I can write the word “Iceland” without annoying everyone.

Right now you might be thinking, “Annie, what does Iceland have to do with your blog?”. I promise it relates. Icelanders are very conscious, environmental, and sustainable folk. You have to be when you live in such an isolated place where it can snow for 75% of the year.

First, I would just like to say that my trip to Iceland was an extremely fun and beautiful and inspiring experience. I highly recommend going on an adventure in Iceland if you get the chance. There are so many things to do and beautiful things to see and fascinating places to explore. I got to walk on a glacier, snorkel between tectonic plates (yes, the water was absurdly cold), hike in gorgeous national parks, trek through an ice cave, relax at a geothermal spa, ride a zodiac through a iceberg ridden lagoon, eat delicious local food, explore cities, and see more sheep, waterfalls, and rainbows than I have in my entire life.

I traveled around Iceland on the Ring Road, which follows the perimeter of the island.  It is about 1,332 kilometers (828 miles) and we did it in 9 days. Some days we drove three hours and others we only drove one. The driving wasn’t even bad because: a) there isn’t any traffic and often times you go miles without even seeing another car and b) the sights are incredible. It was cool to see how the geography changed from region to region. I really feel like I was able to get a good feel for the entire country.

Here are a couple pictures I took that’ll show you just how pretty this country is. It was so impossibly hard to narrow the pictures down to just a few from the 300 that I took…

Iceland 3

Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss. Foss means waterfall in Icelandic. So many fosses in Iceland!

Iceland 12

Iceland 2

That white part on the mountain is a glacier. It is a part of the biggest glacier in Iceland, Vatnajokull. Jokull means glacier in Icelandic.

Iceland 11

They gave us axes to use during the glacier walk. We were suppose to use them for support if we needed them, but I think they were mostly just for show. Naturally I had to test mine out. It worked. Oh and the black/gray stuff on the ice is ash from past volcano eruptions.

Iceland 10

Iceberg dead ahead! The ice is a pretty blue because when the ice breaks off of the glacier it is super compact and all of the air is super compressed. So when light enters the ice all but the blue light waves are dissipated. Science. It works like the blue in the sky.

Iceland 8

Iceland 13Iceland 7

And the pictures don’t even do the landscape any justice! You really have to see in person to experience the actual beauty.

All the people we met had a distinct respect and appreciation for nature and the beauty of their environment. Most of our local guides were excited about the volcanoes erupting, which is the exact opposite reaction I was expecting. Before I left when I told people I was going to Iceland they all asked if I was worried about the volcanoes. So I assumed Icelanders would also be freaking out about an eruption. And in some ways they were, but it was excitement freaking out and not worried freaking out. They talked about watching the eruption streaming live online and how areas around the volcano have to be blocked off during the eruptions because people will literally walk miles and miles (or kilometers and kilometers) to catch a glimpse of the volcano and sometimes they get a little too close. They have such a passion for the land and its geology and preserving the environment around them. It’s admirable.

On top of that, nearly 100% of Iceland is powered by renewable energy. Hydro and geothermal energy are responsible for powering almost the entire island. I got the see the largest geothermal energy plant and man did it smell! The stink is from the hydrogen sulfide in the steam collected from the geothermal reservoir.

photo 1.jpg

Imagine the stench of 100 rotten eggs. Now multiply that by the area of this plant. That’s how bad it smelled.

Although Iceland might seem like the environmental dreams, it is also suffering from the effects of global warming. When I did a glacier walk, I learned that the glaciers are melting faster than ever before. It is natural for glacier to through cycles of growing and shrinking, but the rate at which the glaciers are currently melting is unnatural. And what would this world be without giant chunks of ice in Iceland?

Icelanders are also very conscious when it comes to food. I went to Iceland expecting to have some to have some interesting meals. I’m a fairly picky eater and had read a few articles about strange and gross Icelandic food (sheep head, no thanks!), which worried me. Would I be able to eat? Huge concern. But I’m hear to tell you not to believe any of that hoop-blah! Sure they eat fermented sharks and eggs, but I don’t think those foods really represent Iceland. I literally didn’t have a bad meal while I was there. Everything was incredibly fresh and delicious. I had some of the best seafood of my life and I live in Maine!

Because of Iceland’s small populations, high environmental consciousness, strict government regulations, and geographic isolation, the meat and seafood are some of the healthiest and purest in the world. Om nom nom!

IMG_1334

LIttle sheep butts covered all the hills, valleys, and fields.

Another cool thing: in the summer they all let the animals roam free. We saw mostly sheep and horses wandering around. The animals are kept in a certain area by natural barriers such as rivers and mountains. Then at the end of the summer all the farmers from each town get together and heard all the sheep together then sort out whose is whose. Total teamwork.

So have I convinced you to go to Iceland yet? Maybe? Well if you’re on the fence, just check out this song. You are guaranteed to hear it 100 times while you’re there. I have no idea what the words mean, I just hope it’s nothing bad. Can’t you just picture yourself driving through the country with that infectious beat? I promise you won’t get sick of it at all….. ok maybe a little.

And if you have any questions, I would be more than happy to help!

Iceland 14