The Environmental Protection Agency has regulated the use of certain hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are the most potent greenhouse gases created by human activity. They're most commonly used in refrigeration.

“HFCs do not naturally occur anywhere and have been used in refrigeration, air conditioning, aerosols, fire retardants and similar applications,” The Hill reports.

The move comes in efforts to slow climate change through restricting greenhouse gas emissions. Without the regulations, the EPA says HFC use would double by 2020 and triple by 2030, accelerating the impact of global warming. Some HFCs have a global warming potential between 12- and 14,800-times that of the same volume of carbon dioxide, the EPA reports. “They also can stay in the atmosphere and continue to warm the planet for hundreds of years,” explains The Hill

“This rule will not only reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, but also encourage greater use and development of the next generation of safer HFC alternatives,” EPA head Gina McCarthy said in a statement. “It is in line with steps leading businesses are already taking to reduce and replace HFCs with safer, climate-friendly alternatives.”

In a blog post, Brian Deese and Dan Utech, two of Obama’s top advisers on climate change, pointed to the rule as a major step toward reducing HFCs’ prevalence.

“EPA’s final rule will help us make a significant and meaningful cut in our greenhouse gas emissions—up to the equivalent of 64 million metric tons of carbon dioxide of avoided emissions in 2025,” they wrote.

“The United States is at the cutting edge not only when it comes to developing the next generation of safe and cost-effective alternatives to HFCs, but also in terms of incorporating these alternatives into American cars, air conditioners, refrigerators, foams, and other products,” the advisers said.

The new EPA regulation also contains recommended alternatives to HFCs that are in development and will not put the environment at as much risk as the use of HFCs.

Image: Rusty Clark

Chances are that your workout gear--whether you’re heading to a spin class, hitting the Stairmaster, or setting up for a round at the gym lifting weights—includes a full bottle of water, maybe even several. But new research says that might not be a good idea at all. In fact, the experts warn that it could be putting your health at risk.

According to a panel of experts writing in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, excessive fluid intake during physical activity brings a great risk.

"Fluid intake recommendations suggesting that athletes begin to drink fluids before the onset of the sensation of thirst were targeting those exercising in situations where high sweat rates were present and dehydration could evolve rapidly with known medical and performance outcomes," the panel wrote. "Unfortunately, this advice fostered the misconception that thirst is a poor guide to fluid replacement in lower sweat rate situations. We believe that this has facilitated individuals choosing to inadvertently adopt overdrinking."

Among the risks, overdrinking during physical activity can include lightheadedness, confusion, and nausea, and more serious injuries such as cerebral edema, where the brain swells from too much water. “At least 14 athletes — including a woman who died two days after completing the Marine Corps Marathon in 2002 — are believed to have died from drinking too much during exercise in a condition known as exercise-associated hyponatremia or EAH,” reports the Washington Post.

While instances of cerebral edema are rare, it’s still a warranted consideration for watching fluid intake and drinking only when thirsty. The experts recommend avoiding reflexive drinking, such as when you finish a rep as well as avoiding excessive water consumption immediately before or after intense physical activity. If you’re properly hydrated—drinking enough water throughout your day—you shouldn’t need to consume excess water during exercise.

 Image: GabrielP93

You simply can’t overdo smoothies in the summer months, especially one loaded with organic superfood greens powder! Sounds like a mouthful, eh?

Not to worry; this smoothie recipe is full of creamy, smooth and delicious flavor too. The superfood greens give it a simple (yet obviously super) nutritious boost. We recommend using our mustHave greens—a hearty blend of oat and alfalfa grass, chlorella, spirulina, and kale powder. It’s a synergistic blend of greens that are high in naturally occurring vitamins and minerals, potent plant antioxidants and amino acids. Of course, most any greens powder will do you good in this recipe, so use what you have or what you love and get ready to enjoy!

This smoothie recipe also uses fresh spinach, so you may be wondering why both powders and fresh? The answer is simply this: you’d have to eat A LOT of spinach to accrue the nutritional value in dried greens. That’s not to say that fresh greens aren’t worthy of your green smoothie—they most certainly are, of course! But you can significantly amp up the green goodness of your favorite smoothie recipe with the addition of organic superfood greens powder.

Makes two smoothies

Ingredients

1 cup fresh spinach leaves, washed, dried and packed tightly
1 cup fresh mango chunks (frozen can be used as well)
1 banana, frozen, cut into chunks
11/2 cups coconut milk
1/4 cup hemp seeds
¼ cup shredded coconut
2 teaspoons organic superfood greens powder
pinch sea salt

 Directions

Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Options: add ice cubes for a thicker, colder smoothie. Add a few pitted dates for extra sweetness.

Pour into glasses and serve cold.


Image: Pixabay

 

When warm weather arrives—and it most certainly has—we’re ready to get outside and show a lot more skin. But if your skin is less than gorgeous, it’s not exactly the most comfortable situation. Did you know that organic greens powder can help? 

While organic greens powder might sound like a vague term, it actually points to a very specific group of food, mainly dried grasses (such as wheat, barley, oat, or alfalfa,, leaves (kale, spinach, arugula, etc) and algae (such as chlorella or spirulina).

The benefits of dried organic greens powders are many—from versatility, to price, and flavor. But there are even more incredible benefits specific to summer: clear and glowing skin.

Green foods tend to be high in skin-boosting vitamins including A, C, and E. They can also contain a number of plant antioxidants that have also been known to improve skin quality. Alfalfa and spirulina in particular, are known for their abilities to draw out impurities and aid the body in detoxification, which can help to clear away blemishes, and may reduce the appearance of stretch marks.

Organic greens powder can also help to boost the bodies blood circulation, which will bring more color and a natural glow to your skin, giving the appearance of rosy cheeks and overall health.

Of course, the benefits of organic greens powder come mostly through consuming greens (like our mustHave greens), but glowing skin can also come as a result of using organic greens powder on the face in a mask. The same way the greens work inside your body, they can also work on the skin by drawing out impurities while delivering vitamins and antioxidants to help the skin look fresher and more vibrant.

To use greens powder on your face, mix with a small amount of vinegar and honey to form a paste. You can also mash an avocado into the mix and apply to the face. Leave on for about ten minutes. Rinse with cool water.

 Image: jigme datse

In case you haven’t noticed, green juices are everywhere these days. There are juice bars popping up like Starbucks and even restaurants are adding in their own juice machines. And what’s not to love? Green juices are filled with good-for-you vitamins, antioxidants and energizing goodness. So why would you opt for a green juice powder over the fresh stuff? Here are a few reasons:

1. Vitality: Green juice powders are not all created equal, but some, like our mustHave greens, are pressed into juices before they’re dried, making them not only taste sweeter and fresh, but they also retain their nutrients, which some fresh juices can lose if left to sit too long.

2. Versatility: One of the most favorable benefits to green juice powder is that it is much more versatile than a fresh-pressed juice. You can add green juice powder to any number of food recipes, boost smoothies or make a quick green drink whenever you need it, no juicer required.

3. Fewer calories: Green juice powders tend to have fewer calories than fresh-pressed juices, which can be of particular interest to anyone aiming for weight loss. It’s so easy to add sweet fruits to a fresh green juice not only upping the calories, but the sugar content as well. Granted, fruit sugars are much healthier than processed and refined sugars, but if you really want a low-calorie green juice, powders may be the way to go.

4. Quality: Stepping into your local juice bar is not typically an unhealthy move—fruits and veggies are so important for good health!—but it can be less healthy than you had hoped. That’s because not all produce is the same. Most juice bars (and a lot of bottled juices) don’t use organic ingredients, and because they use so much produce, often buy what’s cheapest. Green juice powders tend to be made from high quality and organic green foods, picked at peak ripeness and processed while still fresh, rather than sitting in the cooler for several days. 

5. Taste: You’ve probably had a funky tasting green juice on more than one occasion. What’s the answer to that? Adding more fruit, of course, which as we already discussed, amps up the calories and sugar load. But green juice powders are always going to taste the same, so you know how you should prepare it, and what to expect. Most people report green juice powders tasting grassy and sweet, making them perfectly delicious just in water or blended into a smoothie or fresh juice for added nutrients.

6. Price: There's no question that fresh juices are pricy! And while green juice powders might bring a bigger sticker price, it's usually going to last you through many more juices at a fraction of the fresh juice cost. We'll drink to that!

Image: griotsnet

Preparing for a killer workout takes some steps beyond just getting off of the couch: You’ve got to get into your workout gear, hydrate, and usually, eat something that’s going to give you energy. Enter fitness foods, those bars, drinks and other foods marketed to us as fitness appropriate. But what a recent study found may shock you.

According to the research, published in the recent issue of the Journal of Marketing Research, people who consumed fitness-promoting foods, actually ate more and exercised less.

In the study, half of the 162 participants received a bag of trail mix labeled simply ‘Trail mix snack,’ while the other half were given the same mix, but with a label that said ‘Fitness snack’ and showed a picture of running shoes,” reports Yahoo Health. “They were told they were taking part in a taste test, but actually, researchers were measuring how much trail mix they ate.”

According to the researchers the disparity between the two groups wasn’t huge, but for people who said they were watching their weight and even trying to consume fewer calories, the difference was noticeable. “People with the highest score on a diet restriction questionnaire ate approximately 200 more calories of the ‘Fitness snack’ trail mix than the regular kind,” reports Yahoo

“Fitness-cued foods are compatible with restrained eaters’ long-term goals,” study author Joerg Koenigstorfer, PhD, professor of sport and health management at Technische Universitat Munchen in Munich, Germany told Yahoo. “The claims reduce the conflict between eating enjoyment and weight control. This compatibility absolves restrained eaters from having to watch their weight and licenses them to pursue the eating enjoyment goal.”

The researchers say the food labels may be partly to blame when it comes to how much or how vigorously people exercise. According to the study, when asked to cycle on stationary bike “as hard as you want and feel like at the moment,” the weight conscious participants burned the fewest calories after eating a snack branded as a “fitness snack” over regular snacks. For the people though who weren’t weight conscious, they actually burned more calories after eating the fitness snack.

“One may have expected that restrained eaters would be more physically active in the presence of fitness-branded food; however, we show that the opposite is true,” Koenigstorfer tells Yahoo Health. “Eating fitness-branded food compensates for actual physical activity in restrained eaters.”

The findings mirror previous research that shows people tend to eat more calories when they believe they’re eating a healthy snack. It’s a phenomenon called the “health halo.” A study from Cornell University found that “people estimate that organic cookies and chips have fewer calories than non-organic versions,” reports Yahoo.

But the studies don’t mean you have to fall victim to poorer workouts or overeating. Mindful eating and even working with a trainer can help to keep your fitness goals.

Image: wegotkidz

Nondairy nut milks are all the rage these days. They’re certainly great options for those who are lactose-intolerant, vegan or just looking for a dairy alternative. They’re loaded with flavor and nutrients, and can be just the right thing for breakfast or a quick snack.

Even better than nondairy milks you can find at your local market are the recipes you can make at home. This guarantees no emulsifiers, preservatives or stabilizers in your milks. You can also control the sugar content.

This nondairy nut milk recipe gets a good-for-you boost from powdered organic greens, like our mustHave greens. But you can also simply use spirulina powder or blue-green algae, or even a powdered wheat grass.

Why add greens to your milk? It’s a simple protein boost and a great recipe idea for kids (they love adding the powder and watching it turn green). You can also use this as a base for your favorite chocolate milk recipe. Most kids won’t even be able to detect any greens once chocolate has been added.

This recipe gets its sweetness from dates, but nuts have a natural sweetness so you may find you don’t need to add the dates at all.

Makes about 3 cups

Ingredients

 4 cups filtered or spring water

1 cup nuts of choice (cashew or almond recommended, but most any will work)

3 dates, pitted,

2 teaspoons powdered greens

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch of salt

Directions 

Soak the nuts in half of the water for at least two hours. Drain and rinse the nuts.

In a high speed blender or food processor, add remaining water and nuts and blend until the nuts are completely pulverized.

At this point, you can filter out the nuts using a sieve or a nutmilk bag, saving the milk back into the blender. You can also leave the nuts in for a thicker milk.

Add remaining ingredients to blender and mix well. Serve chilled. 

Because homemade milks contain no emulsifiers or binders, you will need to shake before serving.

To make chocolate milk, add one to three tablespoons of cocoa powder and blend well.

Image: Jules

Finding a farmers market has never been easier.

And, you have the USDA to thank for it. The agency has launched a new section on its website that makes it super easy to search through its national directory of registered farmers markets. You can even pinpoint specifics like markets that accept food stamps, or markets that sell fresh bread as well as lettuce.

“The site lets you search for farmers markets by location, available products, accepted payments and even, bizarrely, the type of location,” reports the Huffington Post. “This last option will surely be a boon to those with a strict policy of only patronizing farmers markets located in religious institutions or closed-off streets.”

To make it even easier, the USDA gave this data to app developers so there are now quite a few apps that can help users find the closest and most appropriate farmers market.

According to the Huffington Post, the USDA's new search tool is “fast and user-friendly, and is closer to the source of information than any of these other contenders.”

But, says the Post, it also serves another important function: a reminder that the farmers market movement is certainly on the upswing and a central part of the nation’s changing relationship with food. “Not so long ago, farmers markets were rare enough -- at least outside affluent pockets of California -- that there would have been no point in looking for a very specific type of farmers market,” says the Post. “If you even knew about the joys of farmers market shopping, you would take what you could get.”

The USDA data shows there are more than 8,200 farmers markets in operation all across the U.S., so it’s no wonder there’s now an app to help us sort through them all! We surely need it…and some tomatoes, of course. They’re just coming into season.

 Image: Barbara L. Hanson  

 

New research points to notable exercise benefits for people afflicted with type 2 diabetes.

The research, published in the recent issue of the journal Diabetes Care, looked at different exercise strategies for people with type 2 diabetes. According to U.S. News and World Report, the researchers found that the people who exercised had lower body fat, smaller waist size and showed better blood sugar control than the people who were inactive during the study period.

“The positive effects of exercise were seen whether people did aerobic exercise, resistance training or a combination of the two,” reports U.S. News and World Report. “People also saw positive effects from exercise even if they didn't have any improvement in their heart/lung (cardiorespiratory) fitness, the investigators found.”

The study’s findings are quite promising for diabetes sufferers.

"What we observed is that exercise improves diabetes control regardless of improvement in exercise capacity," co-author Dr. Jarett Berry, associate professor of internal medicine and clinical sciences at UT Southwestern, said in a center news release.

While some people (around 30 percent) won’t show any improvements in cardiorespiratory health with exercise, the researchers says that’s not necessarily a qualifying factor for success in this case. “We need to broaden our understanding of what it means to respond to exercise training," Berry said.

We know that exercise can help to improve overall health and even prevent diabetes (in combination with a healthy diet). But the new research findings could have a profound impact on diabetics and diabetes treatment.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 29 million Americans have diabetes and at least one in four people suffering aren’t aware they have the disease. About 86 million Americans are considered to be prediabetic, at risk of developing type 2 diabetes within five years if they do not change their diet and lifestyle habits.

 The fact that some of the diabetes patients who exercised didn't have improvement in cardiorespiratory fitness, but still gained other health benefits, "suggests that our definition of 'non-responder' is too narrow. We need to broaden our understanding of what it means to respond to exercise training," Berry said.

Exercise programs for type 2 diabetes patients should track improvements in blood sugar control, body fat and waist size, the researchers suggested.

image: Jonathan Rolande 

 

Never underestimate the benefits of nature. In today’s world where technology reigns supreme, kids are spending less time climbing trees, rolling in the grass and it’s taking its toll. 

According to new research out of Spain, children in second, third and fourth grade who spent time outside showed greater mental development than those who did not.

The study followed more than 2,500 children attending 36 Barcelona schools. The children were given computerized tests every three months during a 15-month period. The tests were designed to measure the children’s working memory and fluid intelligence. The researchers noted the estimated amount of green space children had access to on a regular basis (at home and school), as well as the traffic-related pollution in the schools.

“After one year, kids with greater exposure to green space showed greater increases in these key cognitive abilities, on average, than their peers with less access to grass and trees. Their level of attentiveness also increased at a heightened rate,” reports Pacific Standard

“Our study showed a beneficial association between exposure to green space and cognitive development among schoolchildren,” writes the research team led by Payam Dadvand of Barcelona’s Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology. “This is partly, but not entirely, explained by the fact that kids who get to play in nature are exposed to less air pollution than those who hang out on city streets,” reports Pacific Standard.

“Contact with nature is thought to play a crucial and irreplaceable role in brain development,” the researchers write in the Proceedings of the National Association of Sciences. “Natural environments including green spaces provide children with unique opportunities such as inciting engagement, risk-taking, discovery, creativity, mastery and control, strengthening sense of self, inspiring basic emotional states including sense of wonder, and enhancing psychological restoration.”

Not only does getting outside in nature boost mental development and function, but it’s also better for the body in general. Kids who play outside actually play and that means physical activity such as running, climbing, jumping, etc – which is far better for their health than curling into the couch to play video games. Access to the outdoors has been linked to lower rates of obesity and diabetes among children and a decreased likelihood of allergies as well.

Image: kellyv 

 

 

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