Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Washout hits India's semis chances

Australia 234 for 4 (Hussey 67, Ponting 65, Paine 56) v India - match abandoned due to rain

Michael Hussey picks up another boundary, Australia v India, ICC Champions Trophy, Group A, Centurion, September 28, 2009
Michael Hussey found some form with 67 ©

India and Australia will have their Champions Trophy fortunes decided on Wednesday after a washout in the match between the two sides in Centurion on Monday, when Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey led a strong Australian batting effort. Australia reached 234 for 4 before the deluge that had appeared imminent for more than an hour finally arrived and set in.

It meant the only winner was Pakistan, who are now assured of a semi-final spot. The fate of Australia and India now rests with the final two group matches, both on Wednesday. For India to progress they must thrash West Indies and lift their net run-rate while also hoping Australia lose to Pakistan; any win or no-result for Australia in their remaining match and they are through.

Australia were the frontrunners when the match was abandoned. There was no centurion at Centurion but a string of half-centuries from Ponting, Hussey and Tim Paine, as well as a late flurry from Cameron White set them on a comfortable course. As the players toiled against the backdrop of lightning, White lifted the tempo with an unbeaten 35, including a monstrous six over midwicket off Amit Mishra.

However, it was Ponting and Hussey who controlled the middle of the innings as they kept the scoreboard ticking over with little drama. Hussey was typically unobtrusive in compiling 67 from 65 deliveries, driving through gaps and haring through for single after single. There had been a reverse sweep early in his innings but he'd taken few risks until he lofted a wide ball from Ishant Sharma, who bowled poorly, straight to Sachin Tendulkar at long off.

Ponting was more classical, if slower to score his 65 runs, until he was caught short by a magnificent direct hit from the deep from Gautam Gambhir. Until that moment, Ponting had looked set for a century as he settled into a rhythm with quick singles and the odd cracking cut or drive, as well as one brilliant, high lofted drive for six off a good-length Praveen Kumar delivery.

Ponting was the anchor, combining in an 88-run stand with Hussey and an 84-run partnership with Paine, while India's bowlers battled to make inroads into the top order. Paine was the aggressor early and took plenty of risks. He walked down the pitch to Ishant and turned him over midwicket for four, also pulling him for six as Ishant's first over cost 16 and his first three overs leaked 30.

The risk-reward strategy continued against Harbhajan Singh, whose first ball to Paine was paddle-swept for four from on the stumps and later in the same over Paine reverse-swept another boundary to bring up his half-century. However, Paine's luck expired on 56, when he top-edged another paddle-sweep off Mishra to midwicket.

Mishra and Ashish Nehra were the most impressive bowlers in an Indian effort that lacked bite. There was sharp turn for Mishra but not a great deal of assistance for the fast bowlers, although India could also have used a sharper fielding effort - Paine should've been run out on 6 and on 31 his edge off Mishra flew between MS Dhoni and Rahul Dravid at first slip.

After India lost the toss, Nehra gave them the perfect start when he consigned Shane Watson to his third consecutive one-day international duck. Nehra found some extra bounce that surprised Watson, whose top-edged pull lobbed to Harbhajan at midwicket.

There wasn't much more joy for India, although the washout was a reasonable outcome for them given Australia's solid batting. However, India need to find some spark to hammer a West Indies side that has fought well in this tournament, and they must also hope for a Pakistan win against Ponting's men. Australia's fate is in their own hands.

Cooking the perfect anniversary dinner for five years of love, laughter and fabulous food



Dave and I have been together five years this month. We've had some great times, travelled to some amazing places and are closer and more in love than ever. But enough with the mushy stuff---you don't really want to hear about that anyway---let's get to the good part: the food.
I'm a part of this month's Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24, and I decided to do a five-course anniversary meal---celebrating each year of our relationship with a memorable dish from that year. Four grocery stores, one fish market, four hours of shopping, and nine hours of cooking later, we sat down to eat five years of memories to the mellow tunes of John Mayer's Continuum album.
First course: Ham and cheese croquettes

Ham croquettes_2

Ham croquettes_2

These little golden-fried beauties were inspired by our time in Spain, when Dave came to visit me during my study abroad stint our first year together.
Second course: Microgreen salad with honey dressing

microgreen salad_2

microgreen salad_2

microgreen salad

microgreen salad

I LOOOOVE this salad. Surprisingly, so does Dave. I say surprisingly because Dave is a caesar-salad-only kind of guy. This recipe, an original from my momma, has all sorts of ingredients that Dave "doesn't like." I made this for him during our second year together when he was still too polite to turn down any of my food. In fact, this salad was a part of the one of the first meals I ever made for him. It's also special because it marks the first time Dave trusted my culinary intuition, even though he thought he wouldn't like it. I'll take some of the credit for making him a more adventurous eater, thank you very much. Since then, he'll (tentatively) try almost every single dish I put in front of him, even the veggie-heavy ones.
Third course: Lobster bisque



Lobster bisque

Lobster bisque

Dave and I LOVE us some lobster bisque. Our third year together we had two of the best lobster bisques I've ever had, from Capital Grille and Tru. Recreating this was quite a task---one of the most daunting I've ever taken on.
First of all, I endured a giant rush of guilt and a massive case of the willies every time I opened the fridge and saw the lobster's paper bag staring back at me. I have no problem eating something that was once alive, I'd just prefer that someone else do the dirty work for me. I didn't have a choice in this case. As far as I know, the only lobster you can get on short notice in Chicago is one that's alive and thrashing.
I read up on everything from lobster hypnosis (seriously) to a swift slicing between the eyes as ways to humanely kill lobster. In fact, the jury is still out as to whether or not they can feel actually pain. In the end, I popped him in the freezer for a couple minutes, which seemed to calm him, or freeze him just enough to prevent movement, and plunged him head first into boiling salt water.
Then, in a moment of poor judgment, I lifted the lid off the pot, only to see him writhing around in there as he boiled to death. Completely awful.
The torture ended for the lobster about a minute or so later---mine endured for hours longer. Dismembering and pulling out the lobster meat was the next unpleasant undertaking. Never mind that I was squeamish about pulling apart something I had just killed. That was a walk in the park compared to dealing with the ungodly mess that splattered all over my face and spilled out on to the kitchen counter and floor when I pulled the legs off cut the lobster's body open. *Shudder*
I breathed a sigh of relief when it was all over. Little did I know, my aggravation was far from over. After I cooked and pureed the bisque, I decided to run it through a super-fine mesh strainer to get the smooth and silky texture of a good restaurant lobster bisque. I'd compare this process to squeezing dozens of tiny key limes by hand just to get a few ounces of juice for a margarita (Which I've also done. What the hell is wrong with me?) In the end, about five cups of puree resulted in about half as much bisque.
Saying that my blood, sweat and tears went into this dish would almost be a literal interpretation. In the end, it was all worth it. The bisque was truly restaurant quality---silky, rich, with a spot-on flavor and huge chunks of sweet, tender, juicy lobster meat. And it was Dave's favorite dish of the night.
But if I make this dish again, I must be a masochist.
Fourth course: Indian-spiced pork with carrot and sweet potato puree
Indian Spice Rub

Indian Spice Rub

Indian spiced rub pork

Indian spiced rub pork

Indian Spice rubbed pork

Indian Spice rubbed pork

This was a dish we ate at Veya, a fantastic restaurant on the island of Anguilla in the British West Indies. This vacation (and the food we ate there) was so incredible, we're going back again this year. Knowing a local with a fabulous house by the beach has its perks. See you in December Neal!
Fifth course: Chocolate pecan pie with Kahlua whipped cream

Chocolate Pecan Pie_2

Chocolate Pecan Pie_2

Chocolate Pecan Pie

Chocolate Pecan Pie

Chocolate Pecan Pie_5

Chocolate Pecan Pie_5

The dessert course is (surprise, surprise!) a Rick Bayless recipe. Remember the chocolate pecan pie that I said would change your life?? I first had it on my birthday this year at Frontera. Lucky for me, I didn't have to play around and hope to come close to recreating it---the recipe is online. It turned out fabulously. Rick would be proud.

The meal was a perfect celebration of our anniversary. After all, there's some truth in the saying, "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach."
Ham and cheese croquettes (adapted from 1080 Recipes) You'll need: 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 1/2 tablespoons butter 4 tablespoons flour 1 1/2 cups whole or 2% milk 1-2 eggs 2 cups bread crumbs 1 cup pancetta, prosciutto or bacon, finely minced 1/4 cup cheddar or swiss salt and pepper to taste
Cook the finely chopped ham in the vegetable oil in a sauce pan or skillet. Remove and set aside. Using the same pan, melt the butter and stir in the flour. Bit by bit, incorporate the milk, constantly stirring and reducing the sauce until it is very thick. Stir in the cheese and ham. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread the mixture in a baking dish and allow to cool for two hours. Form croquette shapes using two tablespoons and your hands. Cover the croquettes in bread crumbs, dip in the beaten eggs, then again in the bread crumbs. Store in the fridge or freezer and chill thoroughly before deep frying until golden brown. Serve with garlic and parsley aioli (mayo, minced garlic and parsley).
Microgreen salad You'll need: about 2 cups (or one small carton) microgreens (the only place I've ever found these is Trader Joe's. You can use spinach, arugula or mixed spring greens as a substitute) 1 half of a yellow bell pepper, chopped finely 1 half of an orange bell pepper, chopped finely 1 half of a small onion, chopped finely 1/4 cup pine nuts 1/3 cup feta cheese 1/4 cup mandarin orange slices 4 tablespoons honey 4 tablespoons olive oil salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together and toss to coat everything.
Lobster bisque (adapted from recipe from The Signature Room) You'll need: 1, 1- to 2-pound lobster 3 cups lobster stock 2 tablespoons tomato paste 2 tablespoons butter 1/4 cup white wine 1/4 cup brandy 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 cup heavy cream 1/4 cup arborio rice 1 small onion, chopped 1/4 cup celery stalk, chopped 1/4 cup carrot, chopped 1/2 cup leek, chopped 1 teaspoon tarragon salt and pepper to taste
Cook the lobster in boiling water for 8-10 minutes, depending on the size. Pull the lobster out with tongs and put in ice water to cool. Pull the meat from the lobster and store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator until ready to use. Cook the vegetables in the butter in a large pot. Add the tomato paste, stir to coat the vegetables. Add in the white wine, vanilla and brandy and cook until the alcohol smell starts to dissipate and the mixture smells sweet. Stir in the rice and lobster stock and reduce. Stir in the cream and reduce again. Continue to cook, stirring periodically, until the mixture is thick and the vegetables are cooked through. Add the tarragon and puree the mixture in a blender or food processor and strain with a fine mesh strainer. Add the lobster and reheat in a pot over the stove or in the microwave. Top with chives and serve.
Indian-spiced pork tenderloin with carrot and sweet potato puree You'll need: a whole, 1-pound pork tenderloin Indian spice rub (recipe follows) olive oil for cooking 5 carrots 1 sweet potato 1/2 cup onion 1 cup chicken broth 2 tablespoons butter 1 teaspoon curry powder salt and pepper to taste
Indian spice rub 1 tablespoon curry powder (spicy curry--if not spice, add chile powder to taste) 1 tablespoon cardamom 1 tablespoon coriander 1 tablespoon turmeric 1 tablespoon salt 1 tablespoon pepper 1 tablespoon garlic powder 2 tablespoons paprika 1/2 cup brown sugar
Rub the pork in the spice rub and drizzle with olive oil. Let sit overnight or for several hours in the fridge. Brown in a skillet and finish off in a 350-degree oven until the internal temp of the tenderloin reached 145-150 degrees. Let sit for at least ten minutes before cutting and serving. To make the puree, peel and chop the carrots, sweet potato and onion and cook in the butter and chicken broth until vegetables are soft. Puree and season to taste. Serve hot topped with a slice of pork.
Chocolate pecan pie with Kahlua whipped cream (adapted from Rick Bayless' recipe) You'll need: Crust 1 1/2 cups flour 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in small pieces and chilled thoroughly 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cut in small pieces and chilled thoroughly 3/4 teaspoon sugar 1/4 teaspoon salt 6 tablespoons ice water
Filling 2 cups toasted pecan halves 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 3 tablespoons flour 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar5 eggs, room temperature 3/4 cup light corn syrup 1/4 cup molasses 1 1/2 tablespoons Kahlua or coffee liquor 2 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon salt
Whipped cream 1 cup whipping cream 1/4 cup sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla 2 tablespoons Kahlua
For the crust, combine all ingredients except for the ice water in a food processor, but don't over process--you want little beads of butter and shortening in the dough. Mix in ice water, again being careful not to over-process. Form into a disk and refrigerate for one hour. Roll out into a 12 inch disk and form to a pie dish. Pre-bake, with foil over the crust and weighted down by pie weights, beans or another oven-safe dish at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove foil and weights, reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove and cool. For the filling, crush the toasted pecan halves and mix in the chocolate and flour. Whip the butter and sugar for 5 minutes in a mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in the remaining filing ingredients and mix in the chocolate/pecan mixture. Pour mixture into the pie crust and bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until the center of the pie is completely set (not jiggly). Whip all ingredients for the whipping cream until light and fluffy. Top each pie slice with a dollop.

The Ultimate Potato Chip Taste Test

From bleu cheese to black pepper, honey dijon to hickory barbeque, who can keep up with all the latest twists on potato chips? Whether it’s just the plain and simple classics, or a new-fangled gourmet version, suddenly our grocery store shelves seem to be brimming with a slew of irresistible-sounding varieties. Being chip lovers, we decided it was time to check them out for ourselves. Mmmm, tough assignment...

  • Kettle Brand Baked Potato Chips - These tasty babies are 65% less fat (about 3 grams of fat and 120 calories for 20) than regular potato chips and they really hold up -- we practically devoured the entire bag in one sitting! They're super crunchy, loaded with flavor (just pure, natural potatoes here with a little salt and oil) and 100% satisfying. We're hooked!
  • Trader Joe's Popped Potato Chips - These curved, disk shaped chips tout they're "never baked, never fried." Instead, the potatoes are popped by adding heat and pressure! Clever idea, huh? And, this process results in yet another irresistible snack that's lower in calories (4 grams of fat and 120 calories for 22), but definitely not lower in taste. They're light, airy and still very crispy, and we've already run out to buy a few extra bags.
  • Rock 'n Roll Gourmet Hippie Chips - Similar to the Popped chips, these guys are curved, disk shaped and almost the same fat and calories, but the hook here is that they're made with organic hemp seeds which are loaded with essential fatty acids and reportedly have many health benefits. Tastewise, they're definitely the lightest of the low calorie bunch and not as crunchy. But if you're looking for a groovy, healthy twist on the good ol' potato chip then these could be right up your alley. For more info check out their website.
  • Kettle Krinkle-Cut Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper – Spiked with spicy flecks of black pepper, these are dangerously addictive. They were not the first chips we tasted, so by the time we got to them we were promising ourselves to eat only 2-3 chips – max. Just not possible with these – you’re lucky if you stop before the bag is empty!
  • Kettle Yogurt & Green Onion – Slightly sweet when you first pop them in your mouth, followed by a quick tang, these are perfection. Personally, we’re not big on “flavored” chips because they tend to be overpowering, but these are the ideal balance of toasty potato + oniony goodness.
  • Tim’s Reduced Fat Lightly Salted Chips – These boast “40% less fat” than regular chips, but weighing in at 6 grams per serving we didn’t quite get the math. Still, they’re definitely lighter, no doubt about it. As for the “lightly salted” part, we could taste the reduced sodium and liked it (110mg per ounce vs an average of 150-200mg in other brands). If you crave potato chips for the salt fix, these aren’t for you. But we loved the fact that they weren’t going to make us feel five pounds heavier in the morning. Overall, a healthier option that’s still super satisfying.
  • Hawaiian Original Kettle Style Chips – Our idea of the perfect chip. Great, not too salty, and a smaller-than-average size (not the gigundo ones that make you feel like you’re binging).
  • Lays Kettle Cooked Mesquite BBQ Extra Crunchy – A tad too sweet and a bit chemical tasting, but still we found it hard to stop munching. These are the perfect snacky ballgame chip, but not something we’d be inclined to eat with a meal.
  • Terra Sweets & Carrots – The bag says there’s “a full serving of vegetables in every ounce” - and no trans fats (which can increase the risk of heart disease). Sounds good enough. As for the taste, we loved it. These are very low in sodium (20mg per ounce) and a bit higher in sugar (other chips average 0-1 grams of sugar while these have 7 grams). The carrots and sweet potatoes are naturally sweet and rich, making for an indulgent gourmet spin on the classic.
  • Boulder Canyon All Natural Malt Vinegar & Sea Salt – In our humble opinion, salt and vinegar chips are one of the BEST junk foods ever invented. That said, we were a bit alarmed to read the label and discover these have a whopping 410mg of sodium per ounce. Yeah, they are S-A-L-T-Y. And incredibly, irresistibly delicious. We would easily down a whole bag.

For more information on how to live stylishly, check out our website, The Foxy Files, and our latest book, Curves Rule And Flat Is Fabulous: Sexy, Stylish Looks For Every Figure.

10 Reasons Not Have Kids Yet ... Or Ever

Cameron Diaz thinks your kids are bad for the environment.

Well, no, not really. But she told Cosmopolitan she thinks women shouldn’t be pressured into procreating or “shunned” for not having kids because “honestly, we don’t need anymore kids. We have plenty of people on

this planet already.”

The Frisky: How Soon Is Too Soon To Talk About Kids?

While we agree with Cameron that it’s b.s. women still get hassled for not raising rugrats, we can think of far better reasons than old Mother Nature for staying childless.

  1. If you were up last night at 3 a.m., it’s your own damn fault.
  2. Nothing in your closet has someone else’s barf on it. Or someone else’s poop.
  3. You don’t want to keep a spare, clean diaper or a baggie of Cheerios in your purse.
  4. You still want to wear a push-up bra—not a nursing bra.
  5. You can’t have that second mojito if you’re breast feeding.
  6. It’s probably a health hazard to carry around a 10lb baby in four-inch heels.
  7. You want to spend all morning in bed having sex…and all afternoon, too.
  8. You are the only one you want your guy calling a “baby.”
  9. You can blast Amy Winehouse or Lil’ Kim as loud as you want as you want, whenever you want.
  10. If something strange is leaking out of your vagina, it’s probably just because of your period.

The Frisky: What's So Wrong With A Woman Being Selfish?

There’s lots of other reasons not to have kids just yet…what are some of your own?

-- Written by Jessica Wakeman at The Frisky

Indoor air versus outdoor: Which is cleaner?

open window / iStockPhoto

The surprising answer is that the air outside your home is probably healthier than the air inside.

Indoor air can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air even in the largest and most industrialized cities, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Even in smoggy Los Angeles? Yes.

Martin Wolfe, Seventh Generation's "Scienceman," measured pollution levels in several Los Angeles locations including the side of a freeway, behind a natural-gas powered bus, inside private homes, and more. The result: The outside air in LA is twice as good for you as the air inside your home.

You can see the testing process for yourself in the entertaining video below.

We spend about 90 percent of our time indoors, so it's worth making small changes to improve the air whenever you can. Below are some tips to help you breathe easier when you're at home.

Think twice about what you bring into your home:

  • Air out dry-cleaned clothes before hanging them in your closet.
  • Stay away from commercial air fresheners. Many contain synthetic fragrances that can aggravate allergies and asthma. Instead, find the source of the odor and fix it.
  • Switch to less toxic household cleaning products or follow in grandma's footsteps and use items right out of your pantry. For example, use Alka Seltzer to clean your toilet, glass baking dishes, and more.
  • Choose low-VOC paints, sealants, and glue. A wide variety of affordable options that work well are available at most home improvement stores.
  • Replace a vinyl shower curtain with one made from a natural material such as cotton or linen.
  • Minimize carpeting and look for formaldehyde-free pressed wood furniture and supplies when decorating.

Maintain and clean your house regularly:

  • Wet-mop or vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate (HEPA) air filter often to limit the chemicals that can accumulate in household dust.
  • Fix leaks to help avoid formation of molds.
  • Change your furnace's filters regularly and maintain other fuel-burning appliances.

Keep track of potential pollutants:

  • Install battery-operated carbon monoxide detectors in your bedroom and other places where you spend a lot of time. Make sure you place detectors in spots where you can hear them, and change the batteries regularly.
  • Buy a simple radon test kit to determine if radon levels in your home are too high. Radon is a naturally occurring gas that's found in the ground, and it can accumulate in a basement and make its way into your living area.

Let the fresh air in

When it comes to ventilation, there are several options from opening your windows on a windy day to using kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans to employing a whole-house mechanical system. You can ask a knowledgeable professional to explain how you can bring in enough outdoor air to dilute the pollutants in your house and circulate some of them outside.

Environmental journalist Lori Bongiorno shares green-living tips and product reviews with Yahoo! Green's users. Send Lori a question or suggestion for potential use in a future column. Her book, Green Greener Greenest: A Practical Guide to Making Eco-smart Choices a Part of Your Life is available on Yahoo! Shopping and Amazon.com.

10 Hair Removal Techniques for Women

For most women, the struggle with hair is a daily one--not just how to find and maintain a flattering haircut, but how to get rid of unwanted underarm, facial, arm, leg and pubic hair without a lot of effort or expense. Fortunately, there are a number of options available for temporary or permanent hair removal. Laser
Hair Removal

Laser hair removal uses pulsed light, or lasers, to remove unwanted hair by destroying it at the root. Although laser hair removal usually requires at least five sessions at a laser clinic before the hair is completely removed and is significantly more expensive than most other hair removal techniques, it can be used effectively on any part of the body and requires return visits to the clinic only one a year after the initial treatment.


Waxing is an effective hair removal technique for nearly every part of the body, including the bikini area. Waxing can be performed in some salons and spas or at home with the use of a home waxing kit, though all follow the same procedure: a soy-based cream-like wax is spread on the skin and covered with clean cloth strips. The strips are removed when the wax hardens and the hair is removed with it. Waxing must be repeated at least every 2 weeks.


Tweezing pulls the hair out at the root and, for some women, it can be uncomfortable, especially when used to remove facial hair. Tweezing can also be time-consuming and, when used at home to remove hair around the eyebrows, can be difficult to do well.

Sugar Waxing

Sugar waxing is similar to waxing in that it involves spreading a substance on the skin, covering it with strips of cloth, then swiftly removing the strips after the substance hardens. With sugar waxing, the hardening substance used is a thick, sugary liquid that is easier to wash off than the soy-based wax used in traditional waxing.


Electrolysis is truly permanent hair removal. In this technique, the cells that are responsible for hair growth are permanently destroyed by an small electrical current. The hair will not grow back. It may sound like a dream, but there are some drawbacks: it is expensive, more than 2 dozen sessions may be needed to complete the treatments and, because it requires the insertion of a tiny needle into each hair follicle, it can be painful without the use of a local anesthetic cream.

Depilatory Creams

Depilatory creams include chemicals that dissolve hair proteins. They can be highly effective on facial hair, although they need to be applied at least weekly and usually have to be left on for a minimum of five minutes.


Most women are inducted into the world of hair removal with this technique and, whether it's done with a straight razor or an electric one, for many it is still the method of choice. Although shaving is only a temporary hair removal technique and must be repeated at least every few days (many women find they must shave more often), it is economical and, with a number of quality razors of both kinds on the market, easy on the skin.

Rotary Epilators

Rotary epilators look and function a lot like electric razors, except they pull out hair at the root with rows of tweezers instead of shaving the hair shaft. While the results can last for several weeks, using epilators can be uncomfortable and the hair must be long enough for the epilator to grasp.

Vaniqa Hair Removal Cream

Vaniqa is a prescription cream that contains a chemical, eflornithine, that inhibits hair growth by inhibiting the enzyme that stimulates hair production. For best results, Vaniqa must be applied twice daily for at least two months, and sometimes as long as six months.

Hormone Treatments

A number of medications, including many commonly prescribed birth-control pills, incorporate a drug that controls the hormones responsible for hair growth. For women who suffer from excessive hair growth, these medications may help bring the situation under control.

Five-step guide to kicking your sugar habit (without sacrificing your sweet tooth)


Let’s face it: We’re addicted to sugar — and it’s wreaking havoc on our health.

Check the back of your favorite snack, and you’ll probably see some form of sugar on the ingredient list. Whether they call it sugar, sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, sorbitol, maltodextrin, mannitol, or malitol, sugar is inside a lot of our foods, and consuming too much of it can pose serious health risks.

Long known to cause weight gain and high cholesterol, diets high in sugar have been strongly linked to diabetes, heart disease, hyperactivity, and tooth decay. Some studies even suggest that excess sugar intake can cause depression and mood swings.

Need another reason to kick your sugar habit? The chemical bleaching process that turns raw cane sugar into the pure white powder you put in your coffee takes huge amounts of energy and emits tons of greenhouse gases. Not to mention the environmental damage caused by large-scale sugar cane plantations, whose toxic chemical runoff pollutes the local water supply and threatens public health.

It may be hard to avoid sugar these days, but it’s not impossible — you just have to know what to look out for. Below we’ve compiled a list of the worst sugar offenders and a five-step guide to kicking your sugar habit without sacrificing your sweet tooth.

Identifying the sugar culprits

white bread

Avoid all the white stuff — Within 15 minutes of ingestion, white bread transforms into sugar in your blood stream. It burns very quickly and is deceptively filling. Say no to refined carbs: white sugar, white flour, and white potatoes.

All of these foods have the same effect on the blood sugar; they cause a tremendous spike, then dramatic fall in blood sugar. This causes intense mood swings, hyper cravings, and low energy.

Usually intense sugar binges are followed by cravings for very salty and fatty foods. This destructive cycle causes weight gain among other health side effects. Choose dark breads and whole grains to fill you up and give you lasting energy.

Don’t drink the juice — There are so many hidden sugars in beverages. By now you know soda is an obvious item to eliminate, but fruit juices are high on the list as well. Fruit juices have all the sugar but none of the healthy fiber of whole fruits. Add a lemon wedge or splash of fruit juice to water to give it a kick.

sweet potato

Don’t go low on the carbs — When you don’t consume enough carbohydrates to fuel your body, you get hungry, which many people experience as a craving for sweet foods.

Build meals around complex carbohydrate-rich foods. Examples include baked or roasted purple potatoes; sweet potatoes; root vegetables, such as carrots or parsnips; fresh fruits; or whole grains, such as brown or wild rice, millet, quinoa, buckwheat, or 100-percent sprouted or sourdough whole-grain bread.

Add colorful, fibrous vegetables — particularly greens — preferably steamed or sautéed leafy greens, salad greens, a dash of healthy fat or oil (nuts or seeds; olive, coconut or flax oil; butter; or avocado), and include a small portion of protein in each meal, as insufficient protein intake will induce sugar cravings as well. So keep your diet well rounded.

Shake your sugar blues — Emotional eating is a huge factor when it comes to sugar dependency. Instead of using sugar to cope with imbalances in our lives, why not explore a dialogue to start fresh. Integrate healthier sweeteners, and make a conscious effort to decrease your intake of sweets. Your body will thank you.

Five steps you can take to kick sugar to the curb:

drink water

1. Drink more water — We often experience cravings that are largely due to dehydration. Drink more water. When you feel a craving arise, drink an 8-ounce glass of water. See what happens 10 minutes later, you may find that your craving will decrease of fade entirely.

2. Manage your stress levels
— Adrenal exhaustion can contribute to cravings for stimulants, such as salt, sugar, alcohol, coffee, etc. Working out daily and getting enough sleep will help alleviate your adrenals and relieve your system of stress. A regular practice of deep diaphramatic breathing will also help you manage stress as it rises.

3. Integrate sweet foods Sweet potatoes, pears, and cinnamon: These foods are soothing to the pancreas and can satisfy the body’s craving for sweet taste.

4. Try herbs — Garcinia and gymnema sylvestre – aka “sugar destroyer.” This herb is used in Ayurvedic medicine to balance sugar cravings by temporarily numbing the tongue receptors to sweet and restoring the pancreas. You can take capsules or drink the tea.

dark leafy greens

5. Eat your veggies — As you increase your intake of dark leafy green vegetables, your body begins to find a balance and cravings for sweet begin to diminish. The micro sugars in your greens loaded with phyto-nutrients that fortify the blood and cleanse your organs.

Still need to satisfy the sweet tooth? Click here for a list of healthy sugar substitutes.

More from ecomii:

High-tech airships making a comeback


Airships are making a comeback with the US military, which could be good news for civilian applications. The military has the deep pockets for research and development, but then, once these ideas are worked out, civilian applications often follow along. So it is for those reasons, and not military booster-ism, that we are excited to see that the US Army is planning to deploy an unmanned airship called the LEMV which can spend up to 3 weeks at an altitude of 20,000 feet (6,100 m) with a 2,500 pound (1,134 kg) payload of surveillance equipment by the middle of 2011.

LEMV (Long Endurance Multi-intelligence Vehicle) is a hybrid airship which gets most, but not all of its lift from the buoyant volume of the vehicle. 20% of the lift, however, comes from the aerodynamic shape of the craft and from its thrusters. The LEMV is capable of a much longer period of continuous operation than other contemporary unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).

The video below shows trial flights of the Lockheed Martin P-791 prototype which, at 125 feet (38 m) long, was about half the size of the proposed LEMV. The initial Army deployment of the LEMV is to be in Afghanistan. But research applications and disaster relief are just two of the more beneficial uses this technology could be used for in the near future.

via: Slashdot and Gizmodo

Make Over Your Boobs!

Charla Krupp gives 10 tips for finding the best, most flattering bras for you.

By Lois Joy Johnson, BettyConfidential.com

One of my best friends is a petite peppy blonde you’ve seen lots of times on the Today show. She’s Charla Krupp, author of the bestseller How Not To Look Old ($15.99 reduced to $10.87, amazon.com) a.k.a. the bra-queen. Charla has been known to eyeball a friend or colleague’s chest (over lunch no less) and pull out of her large Gucci bag a bra that “you must try right this minute because it will change your life.” She’s always right and saved a large group of her N.Y.C. and Hamptons chums from looking saggy or like deflated party balloons in our DVF and Milly sheaths this summer. Buy her paperback to get all the info but I asked Charla to give the Bettys her top ten bra tips:

1. If you haven’t gotten a professional bra fitting in the last year go now! If you gained or lost weight, had a baby, are menopausal, went on or off the pill … you need an update. Bra manufacturer Wacoal says in the last ten years average size went from a 34B to a 36D. Wow! Major department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom and Bloomingdales all have specially trained fitters in their bra departments.

2. The right bra will lift your breasts up and off your ribcage and give you a couple of more inches of torso right under the bra band so your body looks longer and leaner. This is the skinniest part of your torso so don’t hide it under saggy breasts! I once did a bra segment on Oprah and this tip really got amazing viewers raves.

3. Get a molded underwire bra especially if you’re a D or larger. For years I wore minimizers thinking the compression made me look smaller. I ended up looking like I had a uniboob … or like I had four boobs, depending on the bra. They either squashed me together or emphasized excess spillage at the top and sides.

4. You need a wardrobe of bras to avoid a panic situation when you’re getting dressed. How many times have you put something on and realized the bra didn’t work? At the minimum, you need a T-shirt bra, a strapless bra, a cleavage bra, a sports bra and a casual weekend bra.

5. Forget white bras forever – no more! Buy nude and black. Nude disappears under white clothes and sheers and black works under everything else. If you have to start out with just one, get nude.

6. Get a casual weekend bra. So many women just skip a bra altogether when they’re at home hanging out but you still need support. The Spanx Bra-llelujah! bra comes in underwire and soft cup, or try the new racerback underwire: perfect for cutaway sleeveless tops (32A to 38D, $62 nordstrom.com). It won’t give you back fat even in skinny fitted tees and there’s absolutely no metal or stitching to irritate. You feel like you have nothing on.

7. I keep saying that the Le Mystere Dream Tisha bra (underwire, 32C to 44G, $68, nordstrom.com) is the ultimate T-shirt bra and it is. I know it’s pricey, but it’s better to splurge on a good bra when you’re busty and scrimp on clothes, because a quality bra like this one makes anything you wear look expensive and this will get your boobs up and off your chest.

8. Bras should lay flat one on top of the other in your drawer, cup to cup. Never roll or fold them up! And if you do wear molded bras, invest in a firm contour travel container like the Bra-g bra case ($49.95 the bragcompany.com) so they don’t get squashed in your luggage.

9. Wash your bras by hand, and never put them in the dryer or sun-dry them. I know you’re tempted to throw them in the machine but it wrecks the elasticity. I soak my bras in the sink in a gentle liquid designed for hand washing or Ivory Snow. Right now I’m using Forever New Delicate Fabric Wash ($17, amazon.com). FYI, a single bra lasts about 100 washings from brand new to worn out so you need two of your everyday basic: one to wear while the other one is being washed/dried. Please don’t wear the same bra everyday! Believe it or not your bra needs time to “bounce back” so it doesn’t lose its holding power.

10. Let the band, not the cups, do the heavy lifting. The band should sit low on your back below your shoulder blades and feel snug. The bra should stay up even without the straps in place. Some women hike up the straps and raise the band but that actually creates back fat. When trying a new bra, always fasten the middle or loosest hook. With wear, the band stretches and then you’ll want to shift to the tightest closure.

Read more about ­­­­ bras from BettyConfidential.com: Help! My Bra Straps Keep Slipping off My Shoulders and Shower with Your Bra!

Tips to Find Your Soul Mate

1. Stop Looking. Have you ever spent hours looking for something you've lost only to find it once you stopped looking? It's the same with soulmates. Once you stop trying so hard to find "the one" you're far more likely to find hi
m or her.

2. Stop Trying to Please People. This is especially true for many women, who often try so hard to make someone else happy that they lose themselves in the process. You want someone to love you for who YOU are, don't you? Not for becoming someone else.

3. Lose the Sleaze Factor. I've seen so many women shorten their hemlines, wear push-up bras, and sport low-cut tops, who then wonder why they attract the wrong men. I think a lot of women do these things out of fear that no one will find them attractive. Sure, you'll attract people this way, but rarely ever the right type of person.
4. Improve Yourself. I met my husband when I "gave up" on men. I had decided to simply focus on "better-ing" myself. Et voila! He showed up when I least expected it…but was at my best.
5. Stop Creating Grocery Lists of What You Want in Another Person. That might work fine for groceries, but the love of your life should be so much more than a list of characteristics and attributes. Not to mention that so many people put ridiculous things like wealth, height, and other fairly shallow requirements on their list of expectations for their future mate. You wouldn't want to miss the love of your life because he or she is a few inches shorter than you wanted, now would you?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Headphones That Protect Kids' Hearing

Griffin's MyPhones are designed for kids' heads and health

Kids today have become used to wearing headphones so that they can listen to everything from music and movies on a portable media player to the zaps and pows of a video or computer game. But kids usually wear headphones that aren't made for their smaller heads and more sensitive ears.

Griffin Technology's new MyPhones ($39.99, available in early October) are specifically designed, over-the-ear headphones for kids. They include circuitry that limits volume to 85 decibels, a level that regulatory agencies and pediatric audiologists consider safe for kids. MyPhones also feature soft, rubber ear cushions for extra comfort and an adjustable headband so that kids won't grow out of them too soon. They plug in via a heavy-duty, 50-inch cable designed to take the sort of abuse that kids can dish out.

MyPhones can also be customized. The ear caps have interchangeable decorative inserts, and each pair of MyPhones comes with three different designs and blank templates so kids can make their own. More templates can be downloaded from the MyPhones Web site, and kids can upload their own designs or download those of others. The MyPhones packaging also doubles as a see-through carrying case, and it can also be customized with kid-designed inserts.

MyPhones lets kids enjoy their favorite electronic activity with great sound quality and gives mom and dad peace of mind about their kids' hearing -- as well as some peace and quiet around the house or in the car.

Drive a Real Ferrari While Gaming

Maybe you can't afford a Ferrari, but if you're addicted to Gran Turismo or PC racing games, at least you can own a Ferrari-licensed gamepad. Four models from Thrustmaster -- the wireless 430 Scuderia and F60 (both $49.99), the wired F430 ($39.99, pictured above) and dual analog F60 ($24.99) -- will all hit showrooms in October.

The first three feature "grips that are reminiscent of Ferrari noses" and are cloaked in the supercars' colors. And to make them feel as exclusive as a real Ferrari, these three limited-edition gamepads all come affixed with a numbered plate.

The two wireless models feature 2.4 GHz technology, while all have an optical wheel with automatic centering as well as dual progressive triggers. All models are also fully programmable, have internal memories and are PS3 and computer-game compatible.

To keep a driver from becoming fatigued throughout a long day of simulated racing, the Ferrari gamepads also feature a "peach skin" texture on the lower grip's lining, which Thrustmaster says provides comfort as well as precision and reliability.

That's something even legendary Ferrari F1 driver Michael Schumacher's race car didn't have.

Spirited England shock Sri Lanka

England 213 for 4 (Morgan 62*) beat Sri Lanka 212 (Kandamby 53, Mathews 52) by six wickets

Eoin Morgan steers the ball towards third man, England v Sri Lanka, ICC Champions Trophy, Group B, Johannesburg, September 25, 2009
Eoin Morgan made a confident 62 against Sri Lanka's formidable attack © Getty Images

Sometimes you just have to get away from it all to find what you are really looking for. After embracing embarrassment throughout a lamentable one-day series against Australia, England's cricketers travelled 6000 miles south from Durham to Johannesburg, where to the astonishment of players, spectators and pundits alike, they atoned for their shortcomings by toppling the tournament pace-setters, Sri Lanka, in their opening match of the Champions Trophy.

Dossier-compilers across the cricketing world will doubtless enquire exactly how England passed the time during their 11-hour long-haul flight on Monday, but if their performance stopped short of being sexy cricket, it did at least last rather longer than most of their recent efforts. An ecstatic new-ball onslaught from James Anderson and Graham Onions set England on course for victory as early as the sixth over of the match as Sri Lanka slumped to 17 for 4, and though Thilan Kandamby and Angelo Mathews responded manfully with a pair of well-paced half-centuries, Sri Lanka's eventual total of 212 was chased down with something approaching assurance, with 30 balls to spare.

After the early loss of both openers, including the potentially devastating dismissal of Andrew Strauss for 9 via a stunning one-handed interception by Kandamby at midwicket, Paul Collingwood lifted England's intensity with a bullish 46 from 51 balls that included three leg-side sixes, before Eoin Morgan sealed the deal with his highest score in ODIs for England. In between whiles, Owais Shah put his recent jitters behind him with a calm and comfortable 44 that drew the sting of Sri Lanka's spinners, particularly the off-colour Muttiah Muralitharan, before Matt Prior partnered Morgan to the close with an aggressive unbeaten 28.

It truly was an upset of the highest order, because the two teams could hardly have come together with their form and fortunes more polarised. In Sri Lanka's opening fixture at Centurion on Tuesday, they racked up the small matter of 319 for 8 as they routed the hosts and tournament favourites, South Africa, in a rain-curtailed contest. England, on the other hand, sloped belatedly into the country with their morale at their bootlaces and their form under a cloud, after the humiliations of their 6-1 trouncing by Australia.

This time, however, being under a cloud suited England perfectly. On a green-tinged surface that might have been imported from Uxbridge in April, Strauss won his seventh toss in eight ODIs, and was delighted to unleash a seam-heavy attack in which Onions had been chosen in preference to Tim Bresnan, despite having played only one previous 50-over international. Sure enough, his faith was quickly repaid, as Onions extracted the out-of-form Sanath Jayasuriya with his fifth delivery, caught behind nibbling outside off for a second-ball duck.

Four balls later, and Anderson extracted the prize scalp of Tillakaratne Dilshan, Sri Lanka's centurion against South Africa, who had been frustrated for 11 probing deliveries in which his only scoring shot was a prod down to third man. He fell to a scything slash to point off the fullest delivery of Anderson's spell, whereupon Mahela Jayawardene - who seemed to have decided to go down swinging from the outset - was pinned lbw for 9 as he attempted an over-ambitious flick across the line.

Kumar Sangakkara endured a torrid mini-innings - he was struck amidships first-ball by a wicked inducker from Onions, but then chased a ball that might well have been called wide, had he not connected with his edge and flashed a high chance to Andrew Strauss at first slip. At 17 for 4 after 32 deliveries, Sri Lanka were staring at the sort of humiliation that West Indies (47 for 7) encountered on this same surface against Pakistan on Wednesday.

But Anderson and Onions could not continue indefinitely, and the arrival of Stuart Broad loosened the shackles enough for Sri Lanka to wriggle free. From his second delivery, Samaraweera drove an indifferent length ball through the covers for four, before following up with a handsome slash through point for a second boundary, and before long, England had truly lost the plot. In total, they served up an unforgiveable 21 wides, as they searched for killer deliveries in a bid to skittle the Sri Lankans inside 30 overs, whereas the more patient approach adopted by the Sri Lankan batsmen would have been far more appropriate.

Broad took a while to gauge the pace and length for the surface - often his biggest failing as a bowler seems to be his inexperience - while his indiscipline spread to Onions' bowling as well, who beat Samaraweera with a vicious bouncer that almost knocked the batsman off his feet, only to squander that surprise element by beating the life out of the middle of the wicket, instead of pitching it up and inviting the ball to swing. Samaraweera followed up two overs later with back-to-back fours off Onions, before guiding another Broad bouncer over the slips and away through third man.

Thilina Kandamby plays the pull, England v Sri Lanka, ICC Champions Trophy, Group B, Johannesburg, September 25, 2009
Thilina Kandamby

But, just as England were beginning to strain for inspiration, Broad rediscovered a good length outside off, and Samaraweera's enterprising innings of 30 from 48 balls came to an end thanks to a sharp catch from Paul Collingwood in the gully. Collingwood then followed up with an eight-over spell of accurate cutters that didn't realise any wickets, but conceded just 24 runs in the process - almost half the rate at which Onions and Luke Wright were dispatched.

It took a run-out for England to truly regain their control of the contest, as Kandamby set off for a second run from a push into the covers, only to find Mathews rooted to the crease at the striker's end. Two overs later, they claimed their second run-out ... but Strauss, with visions of Collingwood's vilification in a similar situation against New Zealand last summer, asked the umpires to reverse the decision. Mathews had turned Onions into the leg-side, and set off for an intended two, only to collide with Onions, who had tracked back towards the non-striker's stumps, and with no apparent intent in his actions, was standing right next to Mathews as he turned blind on completing his run.

Mathews was visibly unimpressed with the decision, and gesticulated as such as he left the crease, but it wasn't until he was in the pavilion tunnel that Strauss called him back to the crease. Three balls and one run later, his generosity was repaid, as Mathews nibbled outside off, and edged Wright low to Prior behind the stumps. As he left the crease for the second time, he acknowledged Strauss's sportsmanship with a wave. Cricket was the winner, and several forests-worth of newsprint were spared.

Muralitharan cashed in with an enterprising slogged 18 before he and Malinga had their stumps demolished in consecutive deliveries from Broad, but at the halfway mark, Sri Lanka appeared to have a more-than-competitive total on the board, especially when Kulasekera struck to remove Denly and Strauss inside his first four overs. But the dewy conditions did not play to Sri Lanka's strengths in the slightest. The same, however, could not be said for England, who have now stormed to the top of their group. Wonders truly will never cease.

Eat Your Way to Better Sex

Do you know the most important factor in good sexual health? It's your mind. Studies involving men and women have shown that it is the mind that determines sexual performance and drive more than anything else. Men and women were given a placebo and told that it would increase their libido and performance; the majority stated that they saw a significant increase in those areas, which shows us that it is the mind more than a pill that is responsible for the change.

So what does food have to do with sexual and emotional health and how the mind works to help us have better health?

For women, the addition of soy in the diet will help in vaginal lubrication because soy adheres to the estrogen receptors, which are responsible for determining how much lubrication the vagina needs. It also helps to reduce the occurrence of hot flashes that happen during menopause. For men, soy is beneficial to helping the prostate stay healthy. Adding chili peppers and ginger to your diet will help improve your circulation and stimulate nerve endings, which will improve your sexual pleasure.

Another added benefit to eating heart-healthy foods is that they also help a man's sexual health by keeping the blood flowing properly through the arteries. High blood pressure and coronary artery disease can affect the function of the male organs due to the inability of the blood flow to reach the genital area, which can cause erectile dysfunction.

There are also a number of foods that are said to directly affect sexual performance due to their aphrodisiac influence. These foods include ginseng, bananas, figs, asparagus, eels, oysters and rhino horn, which supposedly increases sexual appetite.

There are many myths that pertain to food and sexual health that date back thousands of years; for example, that eating certain roots that are phallic shaped will increase a man's performance, but there are some true benefits from certain foods and beverages.

The consumption of alcohol relaxes you and gives you a short-term artificial boost in self confidence. Caffeine and sugar are the solution for a quick energy fix. But it is the diet we follow daily for a long time that will promote better sexual health. Eating lean foods like fish along with fruits and vegetables is not just good for your sexual health but for your heart as well.

Dispelling four myths about electric motorcycles

(Photo: Vogelbilt Corp)

The following is a guest post by Seth Leitman, editor of the TAB Green Guru Guides

Electric motorcycles are a great form of eco-friendly travel, although there are a number of myths/rumors being circulated about them. So we turned to Carl Vogel, author of the new book Build Your Own Electric Motorcycle (part of the TAB Green Guru Guides series I edit), as well as builder of an electric cruiser with a biodiesel side car.

Here's what Carl has to say in answer of the biggest myths about electric motorcycles:

1. Electric motorcycles can't go fast enough

Many electric motorcycles on the market today have a top speed of 60 mph or more. The Electra Cruiser easily tops more than 80 mph. The beauty of building your own electric motorcycle is you determine how fast you want your vehicle to go.

2. Electric motorcycles have a puny range

Nothing could be further from the truth, but unfortunately, this myth has been widely accepted. The reality is that electric motorcycles can go as far as most people need. While lithium-ion batteries will expand the range dramatically, the technology is not yet ready for a massive road trip. But what is its range? The federal government reports that the average daily commuter distance for all modes of motor travel (i.e., cars, trucks and buses) is 10 miles, and this figure hasn't changed appreciably in 20 years of data gathering. An earlier study showed that 98% of all trips are less than 50 miles per day; most people do all their driving locally and take only a few long trips. One-hundred-mile and longer trips are only 17% of total miles driven.

build your own electric motorcycle book by carl vogel

Virtually any of today's 120-V electric motorcycle conversions will go 75 miles using readily available off-the-shelf components -- if you keep the weight under 1,000 pounds. This means that an electric motorcycle can meet more than 85% of the average person's needs. If you're commuting to work -- a place that presumably has an electric outlet available -- you can nearly double your range by recharging during your working hours. In addition, if range is really important, you can optimize your electric motorcycle for it. It's that simple.

3. Electric motorcycles aren't convenient

A popular question is, "Suppose that you're driving and you are not near your home to charge up or you run out of electricity. What do you do?" Well, my favorite answer is, "I would do the same thing I'd do if I ran out of gas: call AAA or a tow truck." The reality is that electric motorcycles are extremely convenient. Recharging is as convenient as your nearest electric outlet, especially for conversion motorcycles using 110-V charging outlets. Here are some other reasons:

  • You can get electricity anywhere you can get gas -- there are no gas stations without electricity.

  • You can get electricity from many places -- there are few homes and virtually no businesses in the United States without electricity.

  • Plug-in-anywhere recharging capability is an overwhelming electric motorcycle advantage. No question that it's an advantage when your electric motorcycle is parked in your own garage, carport or driveway. If you live in an apartment and can work out a charging arrangement, it's an even better idea. Moreover, a very simple device can be rigged to signal you if anyone ever tries to steal your motorcycle. [Oops, guess the Fuel and Veggie Van Organization team needed one of those!]

  • The widely available 110-V electric supply does the job quite nicely if your electric motorcycle has an onboard charger, extension cord and plug(s) available. In the future, you will be able to recharge quicker from multiple voltage and current options, have "quick charge" capability by dumping one battery stack into another, and maybe even have uniform battery packs that you swap and strap on at a local "battery station" in no more time than it takes you to get a fill-up at a gas station today. Just as it's used in your home today, electricity is clean, quiet, safe, and stays at the outlet until you need it.

4. Electric motorcycles are expensive

While this is perhaps true that electric motorcycles manufactured in low volume today are expensive -- and partially true of professionally done conversion units -- it's not true of the do-it-yourself advocates. The reality is that electric motorcycles cost the same to buy (you're not going to spend any more for one than you would have budgeted anyway for your second internal combustion engine motorcycle), the same to maintain, and far less per mile to operate. In the long term, future volume production and technology improvements will make the cost benefits favor electric motorcycles even more.

Check out the new book Build Your Own Electric Motorcycle. Seth Leitman blogs at Green Living Guy.

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Would you raise your own poultry?

The number of people growing vegetables in home or community gardens has increased tremendously in the last year or two.

Would you raise your own poultry?

Experiencing a similar renaissance is backyard chickening. (Chickening = birth of a word.) How else to explain the existence of Backyard Poultry magazine?

In this week’s issue (Sept. 28) of The New Yorker, the author Susan Orlean (“The Orchid Thief”) writes about her foray into raisi

ng chickens.

“Chickens seem to be a perfect convergence of the economic, environmental, gastronomic, and emotional matters of the moment, plus, in the past few years, they have undergone an image rehabilitation so astonishing that it should be studied by marketing consultants.”

Unfortunately, Orlean’s article, "The It Bird," isn’t available online, but a three-minute video of Orlean and her chickens is on The New Yorker site. Click here to watch.

Water bottles and your health: a secret history

water bottle

There’s a lot of talk and confusion about BPA recently … at least within the water-bottle world. Here’s the latest on the scandals and a brief history of water bottles in America. Hopefully this will clear up a few things and help you make an educated choice about buying water bottles for you and your family.


Remember Nalgene? These bottles used to be all the rage, until early 2008 when the clear ones were found to leach BPA. Clear Nalgenes and other similar bottles are made from polycarbonate plastic (usually marked with the recycling number 7, a good way to spot them). The verdict is still out on the opaque Nalgenes, but most people would rather be safe than sorry.


After Nalgene’s BPA scandal, water bottle lovers made a big push for metal bottles made of aluminum and stainless steel. One company in particular, SIGG, seemed to rise to prominence for selling a highly functional, durable, and stylish product that was environmentally friendly and (purportedly) “chemical-free.” SIGG claimed that numerous tests in the United States and Switzerland found absolutely no evidence of chemical leakage into the water. Well … you can probably see where this is going.

Latest developments

Surprise: Last month, SIGG announced that the protective inner liner of its older aluminum bottles contained traces of BPA. SIGG still maintains that all testing “revealed absolutely no migration or leaching of BPA or any other substance from the protective inner liner,” according to a letter from CEO Steve Wasik on the company’s website. So while the liner did contain BPA all along, users were still totally safe … right?

SIGG is now being accused of “greenwashing,” or exaggerating the health and environmental properties of their bottles to make a profit. Some critics claim that SIGG took advantage of the backlash against polycarbonate bottles to push its aluminum bottles into market victory.

What’s next?

From Steve Wasik’s letter: “To be clear, all SIGG bottles made since August 2008 contain our new BPA free EcoCare liner. SIGG bottles manufactured prior to August 2008 have the former water-based epoxy liner which contains trace amounts of BPA.” SIGG contends that its old bottles (even though they contain BPA) do not leach BPA and are 100% safe. At this point, however, many SIGG users don’t want to risk it.

If you have an old bottle (pre-August 2008), and you write to the company to complain, SIGG will replace it with a new BPA-free EcoCare bottle — you just have to pay for shipping.

Read more details on the SIGG website.

Even though aluminum SIGG bottles are still probably safe, it looks like the next era of bottle history will be the steel era. For now, I recommend stainless steel bottles.

5 things that can ruin your skin (a friendly reminder)

Let's be honest with each other: No matter how enlightened one may be, the experience of discovering new wrinkles is everything from startling to a major bummer. It's not easy to watch yourself age, but it is inevitable. However, there are a few things we can do to take back the power, to slow down the process, and to make our faces look as young as possible for as long as they possibly can. You probably know most of this stuff, but you might have forgotten. Or, if you've been living under a little stone and have never heard of sunblock, it's honestly never too late to start practicing safe skin.
Getty Images

1. Unprotected sun exposure
If we could be tan for the rest of our lives, we SO would, but tanning causes premature aging, fine lines, and unpleasant big brown splotches and freckles all over your skin (also: skin cancer. Scary!). This is why we should all be using moisturizers with SPF 30--and don't forget to slather it on your neck and hands, as well. They're two places with delicate skin that's prone to aging young.

2. Smoking
Between the drying out and the toxins and the oxygen-zapping and the above-the-lip, pucker-inhale wrinkles, smoking does absolutely nothing good for your skin and really just makes you look old and gray-faced before your time.

3. Booze
Ooh. I bet you liked those four Mojitos last night, but you know what? Your skin hated them. Alcohol dehydrates the skin, it can cause tiny red veins to rupture on your visage, and make you look as blotchy and flushed as Nick Nolte in a mugshot. To combat this: Down a glass a water between spirits, and limit consumption to just a couple of booze-y beverages per night.

4. Sugar
Dear chocoholics, cookie monsters, and anyone who regularly polishes off a pint of Chunky Monkey: Sugar messes with your skin's collagen; it can lessen its repair function and speed up elasticity loss, leaving your face dull and saggy. Curb sweet tooth cravings by turning to natural sugars like those found in fruit or, even better, snack on a handful of almonds which are packed with both antioxidants (good for skin!) and protein.

5. Dehydration
You know the rule: You need 8 to 10, 8-ounce glasses of water a day. As annoying as this is, it's just enough to keep your organs flushed and functioning and your skin hydrated from within. The second part of the hydration-equation is experimenting with skincare regimens until you find the right one for your budget and skin type. Essentially all you need is a mild cleanser, a good day moisturizer with SPF and slightly thicker night cream that's packed with vitamins and will give you skin-healing benefits while you sleep.

Six products win Green Good Housekeeping Seal certification

Green Good Housekeeping Seal

Six new products have been certified by the Green Good Housekeeping Seal -- a first.

Known for decades as the authority in product testing for its Good Housekeeping Seal, the new seal certifies products that not only live up to marketing claims for efficacy, but for its sustainability. Good Housekeeping Research Institute evaluates various criteria, including reduction of water use in manufacturing, energy efficiency in manufacturing and product use, ingredient and product safety, packaging reduction, and the brand’s corporate social responsibility.

"The Good Housekeeping Seal was originally created to protect consumers from potentially dangerous products and false claims,” said Rosemary Ellis, editor-in-chief of Good Housekeeping. "Today our readers are interested in making choices that are healthier for their families and for the planet, so we’re continuing our legacy of consumer advocacy with the Green Good Housekeeping Seal, offering consumers a guide, backed by scientific research, for products making significant steps towards being environmentally sound."

The best part: If the product fails to live up to its claims in the first two years, Good Housekeeping will replace the item or refund the consumer.

The first round of testing included cleaning and beauty products. Upcoming tests will include more than a dozen categories, including building products, home appliances, consumer electronics, textiles, and children’s products.

Here are the newly certified products, and Good Housekeeping's description of them:

  1. Aveeno’s Soothing Bath Treatment is made of 100 percent pure natural colloidal oatmeal that works as a cleanser, while relieving itchy, irritated skin. In the Research Institute’s environmental evaluations, the product performed particularly well in the following areas: toxicity and product safety; sourcing of product ingredients; sourcing of packaging materials; producing low levels of greenhouse gases; and reducing industrial and hazardous waste from manufacturing. AVEENO and its parent company Johnson & Johnson are also making great strides in improving their distribution carbon footprint including increasing the number of hybrid vehicles in their fleet 36 percent in 2008 from 2007.

  2. Physicians Formula’s Organic Wear 100% Natural Origin Tinted Moisturizer, a lightweight tinted moisturizer with SPF 15, consists of 100 percent natural ingredients including organic jojoba, organic shea butter, and organic sunflower oil, with 80 percent of its ingredients produced from organic farming. In the Research Institute’s environmental evaluations, the product performed well in the following areas: use of energy efficient and renewable energy processes in manufacturing; toxicity and product safety; sourcing of product ingredients – especially the use of ingredients from certified sources; reducing industrial and hazardous waste from manufacturing; producing low levels of greenhouse gases.

  3. Green Works’ Natural Bathroom Cleaner, which removes soap scum, hard water stains, and rust, is made with at least 95 percent natural plant and mineral-based biodegradable cleaning ingredients. In the Research Institute’s environmental evaluations, the product did particularly well in the following areas: toxicity and product safety; sourcing of product ingredients; sourcing of packaging materials, especially using recycled content in their packaging and packaging recyclability; producing low levels of VOCs. Green Works and its parent company Clorox are also taking substantial steps to improve the environmental impact of their company as a whole, committing to measure and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, water and energy use and waste.

  4. Nature’s Source All Purpose Cleaner uses plant-based cleaners to remove grease and dirt from a variety of surfaces including porcelain, fiberglass, chrome, ceramic, and stainless steel. In the Research Institute’s environmental evaluations, the product did particularly well in the following areas: toxicity and product safety; using energy efficient distribution practices; reducing industrial and hazardous waste from manufacturing; producing low levels of VOCs.

  5. Nature’s Source Glass & Surface Cleaner contains plant-based cleaning agents derived from natural substances such as coconut oil or palm-kernel oil and also corn-based ethanol, a plant-based alcohol that allows surfaces to dry streak-free. In the Research Institute’s environmental evaluations, the product did particularly well in the following areas: toxicity and product safety; using energy efficient distribution practices; reducing industrial and hazardous waste from manufacturing; packaging of the product.

  6. Nature’s Source Laundry Stain Remover combines simple, biodegradable ingredients into a natural solution and contains no ammonia, bleach, phosphorus or dyes. In the Research Institute’s environmental evaluations, the product did particularly well in the following areas: toxicity and product safety; using energy efficient distribution practices; reducing industrial and hazardous waste from manufacturing; sourcing of product ingredients.

  7. Nature’s Source Natural Bathroom Cleaner attacks and loosens soil with the power of lactic acid, which is produced from the breakdown of natural sugars in fruits, vegetables and a variety of other sources. In the Research Institute’s environmental evaluations, the product did particularly well in the following areas: toxicity and product safety; using energy efficient distribution practices; reducing industrial and hazardous waste from manufacturing; producing low levels of VOCs.

10 Cities with the Worst Cellulite

Cellulite sucks, there's just no two ways about it. A big part of why we lovely ladies get it has to do with genes and hormones (joy!), but there are also some lifestyle factors involved (check out this article to see if you're guilty of any cellulite-causing habits). We looked at those pesky habits to see which cities likely have the most cellulite.

Check out the list below (click on any to see why they made the list). Is your hometown on it?

No. 10: Memphis, Tenn.

No. 9: Charleston, W.Va.

No. 8: Montgomery, Ala.

No. 7: Huntington, W.Va.

No. 6: Jacksonville, Fla.

No. 5: Hagerstown, Md.

No. 4: Mobile, Ala.

No. 3: Rock Springs, Wyo.

No. 2: Wichita Falls, Texas

No. 1: Birmingham, Ala.

Is your home not there? Whew! But you may not be completely in the clear. Get help for cellulite here.

Love our "worst-city" lists? Then check out:

Looking for something a little more positive? Then how about:

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