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Better Choices , July 2007 -- Create An Eco Friendly Patio
July 19, 2007

Grilling Veggies and Relaxing Outside
The Eco Friendly Way

What's In This Issue:

  • Choosing the safest fruits and vegetables
  • Creating an eco friendly patio
  • Make grilling more environmentally friendly
  • Just plain fun and functional, check out this eco idea.
  • New section added to NLW, Natural Stress Relief.
  • Free drawing for NLW subscribers.

  • Best and Worst Fruits and Vegetables

    Summertime and the fruits and vegetables are plentiful. All those good for you choices and if you can buy organic even better.

    But it is not always readily available or affordable, so what can you do to limit your exposure to pesticides used to grow this year's crop?

    One choice would be to consult the EWG's Dirty Dozen, Cleanest Twelve list of fruits and vegetables. A downloadable guide that you can use the next time you go shopping.

    This page also include lots of other helpful information and at the bottom of the page you'll find the full list of 43 fruits and veggies that they tested and their score. Very helpful.

    This information helps me keep my budget in line at the grocery store. We all know organic produce can be very costly so if I'm wanting to buy strawberries which contain a high pesticide load, I'll look for the organic varieties which can be quite costly.

    But then I can save money by buying other produce with less pesticide concern and just wash them well. It's easier on my budget and I keep pesticides to a minimum.

    Summer fun on an eco patio.

    One of the biggest joys of summer is getting to spend time outside on our decks or patios. So why shouldn't they be an extension of our natural living?

    An amazing array of new products have been showing up that give us the chance to have beautiful and fun patios and still be eco friendly. Plus they can be just plain fun to have around.

    "You see that chair over there, well, it was made from wine barrels and that hammock, it's hemp." Great conversation pieces especially to those new to being green.

    Let's start with the basics:

  • The furniture.

    The furniture you choose will depend on your space and the amount of protection from the elements your furniture will receive. Local thrift stores and garage sales could be the best place to pick some unusual pieces that you might not traditionally put outside. Old kitchen sets or dining room sideboards make great additions in a protected area.

    Do you have a garden shop near you where items that you wouldn't think to put outside or that looked like trash were used creatively to make a wonderful, fun outdoor environment? That's recycling at it's most fun. Maybe those kinds ideas would work for you and your tastes.

    Buying new

    Buying outdoor furniture locally is preferable but many areas do not offer many of the really cool eco friendly things available.

    From the cool reversible and affordable rugs made from recycled plastic rug, shades to help cool the area, or tables and chairs made from Forest Stewardship Council certified eucalyptus. It's all there online from a company that has long been a leader in environmentally friendly products and ideas. Gaiam

    I also like Dax Stores large collection of Polywood Outdoor Patio Furniture. 100% recycled plastic lumber is used to create the look of fine wood patio furniture in a variety of different styles.

    If a metal look is more your style check out their eco friendly Cast Aluminum Patio Furniture made from recycled aluminum, they say it will stand up to all kinds of weather and comes with a ten year guarantee.

    All this and more available from Dax Stores

  • Lighting
  • What outdoor patio doesn't need a little lighting for atmosphere or to help us stay outside after dark. Solar lights are a great solutions.

    Safe and easily installed, no wires to run or electric connections to worry about plus the energy savings. Many new styles to provide fun or elegance to your patio.

    Check out the selection from the The Solar Garden Store.

    I like that they have a very thorough FAQ section about their extensive collection of products and plus helpful info about solar energy.

    While it is possible to purchase solar products at almost any hardware store these days ordering from a company that specializes in solar products has many advantages. Better information, replacement parts and questions answered by knowledgeable people.

  • Eco Grilling

    What's your preference, charcoal or gas? Environmentally speaking there is quite a difference.

    We aren't going to give up our grilling but we need some solutions.

    This article by the Sierra Club has some great information and ideas to help lessen our effect on the environment while still enjoying our grills.

    If you're a little more adventuress you could try a solar oven. Made basically for camping trips they could easily be used on your patio for all the things that you might make inside in your regular oven for your meal keeping the heat out of the house.

    This stove from Solar Ovens is made partially from recycled plastic. With no fuel needed to run, the sun does all the work, it saves energy and helps to reduce pollution.

  • Just for fun.

    Lying around relaxing on your patio may be the perfect way to spend a few hours or more but a little exercise wouldn't hurt and maybe a smoothie after that but it's so pleasant on your patio you just don't want to leave.

    Enter.... the Juice Peddler.

    With a few simple attachments you can turn peddle power into to a great tasting smoothie. It's a fun and functional way to blend a smoothie either at home or on the road.

    How fun. Don't you just love the ingenuity.

  • Try this delicious Smoothie Recipe

    Whatever type of energy you use to blend a smoothie, this recipe from Celestial Seasonings is a good way for you way to use summertime fruits and bring the benefits of green tea to your diet.

    Green Tea Tropical Smoothie

    4 Celestial Seasonings® Authentic Green Tea bags

    1 cup of water

    5 ice cubes

    1 cup mango chunks

    1 cup pineapple chunks

    1/2 cup bananas, sliced

    1 cup orange juice, chilled

    1/2 cup lowfat milk

    2 tsp. lime juice

    1 Tbsp. honey

    Bring water to a boil and pour 1/2 cup over tea bags. Steep for 4 minutes; remove and squeeze tea bags. Cool down by adding ice to bring up to one cup. Pour the chilled green tea into blender along with mango, pineapple, banana, orange juice, milk, remaining ice, lime and honey. Blend until smooth. Serve cold.

    New Additions to NLW Website

    I have made several additions to my site in the past month. Just click on the links in the text below and you will be taken to the right page.

  • A new section Natural Stress Relief has been added that looks at ways we can alleviate some of the stress that we all feel from time.
  • The very popular aromatherapy has been used for hundreds of years for stress relief. Everywhere you look you see products touting it's stress relieving benefits but they aren't all true aromatherapy. Find out how to use the genuine and most effective true aromatherapy.
  • There are many different ways to practice meditation. One form mindfulness meditation may be the perfect solution for busy people to use throughout their day for stress relief.
  • A relaxation fountain might be the perfect addition to your office or table to provide relaxation both visually and with the soft sounds of the water. Plus they are just pretty to look at.
  • Monthly drawing

    As a subscriber to Better Choices you will be automatically entered into our monthly drawing. On the first of each month one of our subscribers will win a copy of "the Better World Shopping Guide".

    This handy pocket size book will help us socially and environmentally conscious shoppers make the best decisions.

    Products from audio equipment to wine have been rated for their effects on the environment, human rights, animal protection and more.

    I have found this very handy and I hope you will too.

    You will be notified by email so watch to see if you've won.

    Well, that's all for this month. Until next time. Have a great month.

    Comments? Ideas? Feedback? I won't know unless you tell me. I'd love to hear what you think. Just reply to this e-zine and let me know. If you like this e-zine and think a friend will too, do us a favor and pass it on.

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