Edible Flowers from the Garden

  Nothing brightens up a salad or serves as a better garnish than edible flowers. Who can resist smiling when served a plate complete with the happy faces of some pansies or violas looking up at you? Many restaurants are taking advantage of this phenomenon and including chives, calendulas, clovers, nasturtiums and marigolds in their meals. If you want to truly astonish your guest at your next dinner party, it might be time to include some edible flowers in the menu.   There are actually quite a … [Read more...]

5 Container Gardening Tips to Successfully Grow Produce

  If your yard is not that big, container gardening is a good option! Container gardens can include flowers, fruits, vegetables, herbs, and even small trees and shrubs. Here are some tips to get you started on this year's container garden.   Assess Your Sunlight You need to take notes on how much area receives full sunlight and for how long each day. Some plants do better in shade than others. So, you need to know how much exposure your containers are going to receive before you start your seeds … [Read more...]

Smart Gardening with Vegetables in Michigan

  It is the beginning of the vegetable gardening season in Michigan, and one of the questions a new vegetable gardener may ask is, “Can I plant vegetable seeds and transplants in the garden yet?” The answer is not a simple yes or no because several factors need to be considered; however, there are some easy ways to gauge when it is a good time to plant.   To best determine planting times, consider these first: Frost-free dates for your area. (Keep in mind that the last frost dates are averages; … [Read more...]

Hormone-Disrupting Fungicides on Citrus

  The two hormone-disrupting fungicides imazalil and thiabendazole, one of which is also a likely carcinogen, were detected on nearly 90 percent of non-organic citrus fruit samples in tests commissioned by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). More than half of the samples contained both fungicides. Both chemicals disrupt the body’s hormones, or endocrine system, which regulates metabolism, growth and development, and other important functions. They can also harm the reproductive system, and … [Read more...]

2021 Clean Fifteen List

  Whether organic or conventionally grown, fruits and vegetables are critical components of a healthy diet. However, many crops contain potentially harmful pesticides, even after washing, peeling or scrubbing, which the USDA does before testing each item. Since pesticide contamination varies by crop, it is important to understand which items are most or least contaminated. Tests from the Environmental Working Group determined the following items to be the Clean Fifteen for … [Read more...]

2021 Dirty Dozen List

  Nearly 70 percent of the non-organic fresh produce sold in the U.S. contains residues of potentially harmful chemical pesticides, according to the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) analysis of the latest test data from the federal Department of Agriculture.   Kale remains in the third spot on the Dirty Dozen list, now joined by collard and mustard greens as being among the produce items with the highest pesticide load. After being tested for the first time since 2012 and 2011, respectively, … [Read more...]

Your Guide to Toxin Free Spring Cleaning

  How to select safe household cleaners   Many cleansers labeled natural or green do not completely disclose their ingredients. Sometimes even going to the manufacturer's website can leave you clueless. Take that as a bad sign and don't use it.   Environmental Working Group (EWG), the producers of annual Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists to help consumers avoid produce that is grown with too much toxic material, also has a section in its website to help consumers with household cleaning … [Read more...]

BPA: Does Calling it Safe Make it So?

  Bisphenol A (BPA): Other than a good if not suggestive acronym, what is it?   If you’re someone who has children or reheats leftovers in Tupperware, then you may be familiar with this synthetic material, as it is widely available and in common use today. For most of us, though, we are only vaguely aware of it as something having to do with plastic, and you probably have an inkling that it is harmful to us in some form or fashion, but that the science concerning this mystery acronym is still … [Read more...]

Microbiome, Sugar, and Your Immune System

  Today’s blog post covers the importance of a healthy microbiome, how dietary guidelines have (and have not) changed, and the special way that the immune system adapts to threats.   A Healthy Microbiome Builds a Strong Immune System   The type of bacteria that live in the gut can regulate the body’s inflammation levels. In some cases, a lack of certain strains of “good” bacteria can result in greater susceptibility to infection, whether it is the flu, rotavirus, or … [Read more...]

Best Vegetables for Your Heart

  Research has shown that the more vegetables you eat, the lower your risk of heart disease, with different types of vegetables protecting your heart through different mechanisms. Leafy greens, for example, have high amounts of nitrates that naturally boost your nitric oxide (NO) level. Cruciferous veggies, on the other hand, lower your risk of stroke and heart attack by promoting more supple neck arteries and preventing the buildup of arterial plaque.   In fermented cabbage, it's the fiber … [Read more...]