Balanced Living » July/August ‘12
To whip up one pound of sweet nectar, bees have to travel thousands of miles, pollinating millions of dandelions, goldenrods, and other wild flowers. In all that buzzing, our winged workers create a number of health products that have been used in alternative medicinal practices since ancient Greece. Here are some ideas for energy, healing and immunity boost straight from the hive.
1. Boost from Bee Pollen Bee pollen may have the ability to make us younger and allergy free as well as lifting our energy levels with just a spoonful a day. Stir a teaspoon into yogurt for a dose of vitamins, amino acids and omega 3s. Experts say honey in yogurt extracts the highest amount of nutrients in the bee pollen. One note: start with small doses in case of allergic reaction.
2. The Power of Propolis Bees coat the inside of their hives with sticky resin propolis to keep their home germ free. That resin can strengthen our defenses from viruses and bacteria when regularly taken in tincture form. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it a great throat soother, and some animal studies suggest that this rich source of antioxidants may fight cancer as well.
3. Honey Heals A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry shows that darker colored honey can help lower your LDL cholesterol. To find freshly collected honey, visit www.localharvest.org or your local co-op. Beyond cholesterol, the sweet stuff helps heal wounds. To harness the antibacterial properties, cover your wound with fresh, raw honey. Clean the wound at least two times a day and reapply the honey until the area is healed.
Honey Bee Stuff
Wild honey bee populations have suffered catastrophic losses in recent years. Hives have experienced 50% to 90% population loss in 24 states and in Europe. The decrease is so drastic that entire colonies can collapse in a matter of two days. This is devastating for everyone nationwide as honeybees are used to fertilize ¼ of all national flowering plants and crops. Why is this occurring? Researchers have narrowed the answer down to radiation and pesticides. A German study found that up to 70% of bees exposed to radiation from cell phones have failed to find their way back to their hives because the signals mess with the bees’ navigation systems; they simply get lost and die. Research has also found that neonicotinoids, the main ingredient in the pesticide Goucho, which is used on lawns and golf courses to prevent weeds and ward off termites, are killing off more bees than expected.
What is a Site Assessment? Why Should You Get One??
A site assessment for a solar electric or wind electric system will give you an estimate of the cost of a renewable energy system and an estimate of the annual energy output of the system at your site. The certified site assessor will visit the site and discuss the owner’s needs and expectations. During the site visit, the assessor will begin an analysis of the wind or solar resource at the location and will use the information gathered to complete a written report which will include a review of the owner’s needs and goals, a basic analysis of the energy needs at the site, and an evaluation of the renewable energy resource at that location. The report will include recommendations of system size and siting to meet the energy production goals, an estimate of annual energy production, and a rough cost estimate. An overview of available incentives or rebates that the system might be eligible for and a preliminary economic analysis of the system are also part of a site assessment report, along with the next steps to take to begin installation of the solar or wind system.
A site assessment is especially important if a wind electric system is being considered, because wind conditions which affect energy output vary widely with location, terrain, vegetation, nearby buildings, and other considerations. For a solar system, the site assessment can help determine the best location on the property to maximize energy production.
A certified site assessor has had training in the technology, has passed a test covering the knowledge required for site assessments, and is required to keep current with renewable energy technology through continuing education requirements. In Wisconsin, the Midwest Renewable Energy Association trains and certifies site assessors. A listing of certified site assessors by state is available at http://www.mreacsa.org/.
A Natural Clean Mix one cup baking soda with a teaspoon of liquid soap, water, and a few drops of antibacterial essential oil like tea tree, eucalyptus, rosemary, or peppermint in a spray bottle. It makes an effective cleanser for your kitchen or bathroom.
“A huge amount of water is required to produce regular table sugar,” says Louisa Shafia, author of Lucid Food. Honey, on the other hand, is a perfectly renewable resource that requires little more than healthy bees, plants and flowers from which to pollinate. Try adapting your favorite recipe to use honey instead of dry sugar.
Upgrade to Save (More Than Just Money)
We all have busy lives, so when being earth-friendly, it is nice to know some tricks. Keep it simple. Earth911.org has some great tips on how to do just that.
• Energy Star – your two favorite words. If your appliances are older, target your refrigerator, dishwasher, washer/dryer first. Move your fridge away from the oven to keep it from running too often. Replacing a fridge from 1991 or before that will pay for its replacement cost in less than a year. • Replace your thermostat with a programmable model. Save $180 a year on your heating bill. • Shop at your local farmer’s market. The local economy benefits as well as the earth from fewer carbon emissions. Plus, more often than not, it is cheaper. • Keep windows and doors sealed. Most homes average a 20 percent air leakage. Replace leaky single paned windows with low-e, double-glazed ones. • Powerstrips. Using smart strips or manually unplugging electronic devices that are not in use saves both energy and moola. • Purchase recycled toilet paper and paper towels. Save 230 tons of paper annually by purchasing Seventh Generation or other brands of recycled papers. Each ton of paper saves 17 trees. • Bulk. Buying in bulk means fewer store runs, saving gas money, and reducing carbon emissions. The more of a product you buy, the less cost you will endure per unit because the manufacturer will give you a bulk price rate. • Always choose cloth. The average American family uses 1.5 rolls of paper towels each week. Ouch!! Reusable cloths for cleaning the house, wiping up messes and eating with can save money and trees. Cutting your use to one roll a month would save $45 per year. • Recharge. The average family buys 32 batteries a year and, if you have kids and toys, I swear it is double that. Rechargeable batteries can be recharged hundreds of times. Save money and the landfills.
Use Glass Instead If you are like me, you hate plastic containers. For some reason, I always end up with lids that have no bottoms and vice versa. In addition to that, I can never remember which plastics are safer than others. To avoid these issues, go glass. It is so much better for storage and the environment. Glass containers are more air tight than plastic ones, thus keeping things fresher, longer. They are microwaveable and dishwasher safe. Try Glasslock or Pyrex glassware.
Don’t waste more water washing individual leaves on your bunches of lettuce. Instead, submerge them in a bowl of water and let the dirt float out. Drain them in a colander and lay them on a towel to air dry.
Eat Chocolate more than five times a week and you may be 57% less at risk for coronary heart disease.
Sometimes a plastic baggie would just be easier but we all have that thought about being eco-friendly. Well, Natural Value Unbleached Natural Waxed Paper Bags are a great compromise. When they are used, throw them in your compost pile. If you can reuse them, do so.
Brands like If You Care also produce unbleached paper lined with vegetable wax. Use it instead of aluminum foil or plastic wrap. It’s compostable, reusable when wiped down, and can be fastened with masking tape.Go Natural