Spoonk Mat

by Andrew on August 21, 2015 · 0 comments

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For the past few years I have traveled around to learn about new healthier/cleaner/more efficient alternatives to activities of my everyday life. I’ve wander the isles of various festivals learning about new variations of products that I use many times in my life, ranging from dish soap to water bottles, super foods to medicines. Each product benefited the environment in some way, and each had their individual merits. However, most were ‘green’ versions of things I use every day. Little did I know that I was about to come across a product that was like nothing I’ve seen before: Spoonk Mat.

When I first came across this spikey mat I thought to myself “Self, you’re crazy if your considering laying down on a bunch of super pointy pieces of plastic!” and kept walking to the next isle, but something drew me back. I wandered over to the booth and began to learn HOW this mat didn’t just pierce right through my skin. Apparently it has everything to do with weight distribution. If I was to try to balance all my weight on one spike, it would go through me like a hot knife through butter. But we are not talking about one spike, but rather 6,210 spikes; each puts its weight in helping support my body.
But why is acupressure so effective you ask? Each spike puts pressure against your skin and stimulates blood flow and helps release various endorphins and other chemicals found in your body to help combat muscle soreness and stress.

After receiving the mat and finishing the exhausting day at the festival I rushed to the comfort of my hotel room. Though a bit skeptical at first, I removed my shirt and laid down on the mat (over my mattress of course.) I’m not going to lie, it was a bit uncomfortable at first, the pressure of the spikes was a bit intense. The odd sensation soon faded as my back molded around the various crown-shaped clusters of spikes. I relaxed for 20 minutes on the Spoonk, glad to be off my feet. Once I got up, the feeling was pretty incredible. My back felt warm, I could tell that the mat had actually affected my back’s blood flow in a good way. I was hooked. Since then the mat has become part of my daily routine, giving me comfort after a good workout, or relieving stress after a long day. And yes, after a few uses my body became used to the pressure, at least enough that it wasn’t such a shock to lie down. This thing is amazing. I have yet to use it to help stimulate blood flow in my feet by standing on it while getting ready in the morning, but if it works as well as it does on my back, then I’m in for a treat!

But is it eco friendly? YES! My Spoonk mat is part of their ECO line, which means it is made from 55% organic hemp, 45% organic cotton, plant based foam (inside), and recyclable nontoxic ABS spikes. No harmful glues are user, or toxic chemicals in any of the materials. This product is an “eco-crusader’s” dream. Great for the environment, great for my boy, and by improving my mood and relieving me of stress, it is also great for my soul. This company’s products are all dedicated to keeping our world free from harmful products, while enriching our lives, one spike at a time.

Read more about the various products that Spoonk has to offer at: www.spoonkspace.com

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To read part 1 of alternative powered Jeeps, click here.

If I wasn’t already amazed at the fact that there was an electric Jeep at this Jeep festival, I was floored again when I came across a Jeep CJ7 that was converted into a stellar solar powered camper. The solar panels on the roof power the in-room refrigerator and in-room air conditioner. Both which could sustain itself strictly on solar power for up to 3 days. I even got to enjoy an ice pop, frozen by the power of solar energy, thanks to the friendly owner Seth Levy.

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This Jeep was in rough shape when it was found.

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But thanks to Jeff Daniels Jeeps of Harleysville, PA based on their extensive experience in biodiesel conversions, it was restored to a better than original condition. The restoration took 12 months to complete but several years of planning. It runs on a 1988 Cummins engine that is biodiesel ready too. The Jeep’s new home will be split between Florida and Colorado, surely experiencing many beautiful views in-between.

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Last month I attended a Jeep Festival with a friend in York, PA. It is known to be a rather large two-day gathering full of offroad enthusiasts and their beefed up vehicles. Now I’m sure you’re wondering why a person who cares about organic food, historic and nature preservation would care to attend a Jeep festival. The short answer is that I also appreciate Jeep and have one of my own. I enjoy the occasional offroad adventure and always practice Tread Lightly, to ensure that all lands are preserved for future use. I’ve always found the use of fuel to drive around the forest for fun a bit wasteful, but was never sure there was a better way.

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I truly love the concept of e-vehicles, but I never found them aesthetically pleasing enough to want my own, with perhaps the exception of the Chevy Volt. Especially with the Volt, 40 miles per charge wasn’t enough for me to find the price tag worth it.

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To my amazement at this Jeep Festival, I encountered a fully electric 1998 Jeep Wrangler. It was converted to all electric power at Mount Zion Offroad in Dover, PA. I was very glad to see there is a shift lately to more sustainable ways of doing things in the offroad community. This Jeep was especially well received by the offroad community at the festival. As I spoke with the owner many people came by to check out this unique Jeep.

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The owner stated that it only took a few months for the conversion and finds his Jeep gets 80 miles per charge. Which is similar to what the Nissan Leaf and BMW i3 electric cars can do in a single charge. The owner converted his Jeep to use as a daily driver vehicle for his commute and has yet to take the vehicle offroad. Though he intends to use it on an offroad adventure, he warns against taking it through any water crossings. Many of the electric components are protected from any water that might naturally occur from weather, he doesn’t want to test out that protection to the max with rides in a river.

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For me, aesthetically pleasing vehicles take the cake over the environmentally helpful ones. For now I will make up for that with my other environmentally conscious tasks. With the ability to seemingly convert any Jeep into an electric version, I would be interested to have my own vehicle converted, since I am one of those people who get attached to the vehicles they drive.

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Earth Friendly Cooking Tips

by Courtney on July 24, 2015 · 0 comments

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Save Time and Energy

When cooking pasta, place your dry noodles in a pot of boiling water, then covering the pot and turning off the flame. Let the pasta sit in the hot water for a bit less time than package directions suggest if you prefer your pasta al dente. Or the exact directed time if you prefer your pasta a bit more cooked.

More Bang for Your Baking

No wonder your kitchen gets so hot when you bake, up to 94% of the heat from your oven is wasted. (Source) Try to prepare many dishes at once, which require oven use and load it up. If you only have a few small items to bake, try using your toaster oven instead.

Bigger Isn’t Always Better

The thinner and smaller you slice veggies and meats the quicker they will cook. Thus saving time in cooking and the energy of natural resources to cook them with.

Sink Surprise

Did you know running a fully loaded dishwasher uses less water and energy than doing dishes by hand? For an extra bonus, if your dishwasher has the option – use the “air dry” feature instead of “heated dry” feature to save energy.

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Violets Are Blue Beloved Deodorant

by Courtney on July 22, 2015 · 0 comments

Violets Are Blue is a line of beauty products created without harsh synthetic fragrances, parabens, sodium laureth sulfate or propylene glycol. They also offer a secondary “Beloved Line” of fragrance free products specifically created by Cynthia Besteman, a breast cancer survivor.

The Beloved Line gives “Chemo Care” packages to women who are beginning their treatment at Mount Sinai’s Dubin Breast Center in New York City. This care package was created because many who are in their treatments find themselves overly sensitive to more mainstream products that contain harsh chemicals. Violets Are Blue care packages help to put their mind at ease about what they are putting on their bodies.

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Their Beloved Line Deodorant is something I was excited to use and very please with its scent of lemongrass and tea tree. I am always on the lookout for natural deodorants that work as hard as mainstream ones do at keeping me stink free. This deodorant is good about that except in extreme heat.

During humid days in the sun I seemed to not smell as fresh I would have liked. Though if I had the deodorant with me, I’m sure reapplication of it would have helped the situation, as the product says apply as needed. That is just something I would need to remember to carry with me. Otherwise I was pretty pleased with this deodorant and still have it in my current rotation. Give it a try for yourself and check out their Beloved Line of unscented natural skin care products, in the white bottles.

I also had the chance to sample the face and body lotion, which felt like silk going onto my skin. It seemed slightly oily but a good type that felt more hydrating than standard mainstream lotions. Their foot salve was very thick and creamy. This company does great things to help others and that’s already a great reason to support them.

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Killer Vegan Diner and Delicatessen

by Courtney on July 20, 2015 · 0 comments

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My trip to Killer Vegan began all because of a Facebook post a friend was tagged in. Those in that post raved about this awesome new vegan place they had lunch at, that simple recommendation made me very interested to take a trip myself to try it.

Located in Union, New Jersey – which isn’t really known for vegan restaurants. I’m happy to see that is changing now, this restaurant is open for lunch Monday thru Thursday, lunch and dinner Friday and Saturday with the 1st and 3rd Sundays offer brunch each month. I was able to grab dinner on a late Saturday night and I wasn’t the only one with that same idea. It was rather busy for an after 8pm dinner hour despite thinking the dinner rush would be over. Crowded with entire families and couples this was clearly a hotspot in Union’s center of town.

When you walk into this cash only restaurant, you get the feeling you are in a relaxed coffee shop style place. As you walk in you find yourself at the counter full of bar stools and a large full size wall menu of meatless options. The wall menu was a bit difficult for me to read easily that far away, so I grabbed a paper menu from the counter.

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Since this was a vegan restaurant it was great to scan the menu and not have to worry about avoiding meats or meat products. I try to stick to a mostly meatless diet at home, though I have not pigeon-holed myself into titles of “vegetarian” or “vegan,” I just try to avoid meat when I can. So I was excited to compare Killer Vegan’s foods to what I would make at home.

My choice for dinner was the KV Burger – a house-made burger with all the toppings on a whole-wheat bun. I also added …And Mac and Cheese for All, as my side, which was gluten-free, soy-free and nut-free. My friend who was with me, doesn’t avoid meat in his diet, happily ordered the Sausage and Peppers sandwich. He was very please with his Sausage and Peppers sandwich, mentioning that it was hard to tell it wasn’t meat.

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The KV Burger itself was super tasty, even resembling the look and texture of a meat burger. Possibly made with lentils or black beans, I had no problem polishing it off with the addition of some organic ketchup. The ketchup was an unexpected bright spot of my meal, since I now avoid ketchup in restaurants because they usually have Heinz brand and it always has High Fructose Corn Syrup. My burger came with a side of flavored chips, I’ve never cared for anything but plain chips but these weren’t too bad. It was hard to place the actual flavor, perhaps just herb style chips.

My Mac and Cheese side dish had good flavor but the majorly overcooked noodles left something to be desired. Figuring they could have been brown rice noodles, those cook extremely fast and can be overdone so easily, I suspect that is what happened here. I normally don’t order pasta at restaurants for that exact reason, since I am an al dente pasta kind of gal. I did like the addition of paprika to the top of the mac and cheese.

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The prices were about the same as any normal chain restaurant, so our bill for two entrees, a side dish and an organic canned iced tea was around $30. I find that pretty reasonable for a good and healthy meal made with real ingredients. At the end of our meal we were contemplating ordering dessert, as we could see several options under cake domes on the front counter. I the end we opted to pass on dessert and save it for our return trip. Besides the homemade baked goods (I only saw cake), they also offer milkshakes in several flavors as well as smoothies with soy or almond milk.

I think it’s a great place to stop for simple no-nonsense food that is animal-free. I only wish they were open for dinner during the week, more of an opportunity that I would eat there for dinner during the week than on a weekend. Check out their full menu on their website and their Facebook page for weekend specials.

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Conscious Step Socks

by Courtney on July 17, 2015 · 0 comments

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When I attended the NYC Green Festival in April I had the opportunity to stopped by the booth for Conscious Step to see what they were all about. They offer socks that are produced to “fight for causes that matter.”

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Each different sock pattern identifies that sock with a certain partnership with a non-profit to donate a portion of sales to benefit that specific non-profit. I was a bit disappointed to find that only a portion of the sales goes towards the non-profit. The amount of that portion was not disclosed, nor does their website offer that information. If you like socks with fun patterns, while helping do some good, these could be for you, but first find out where your money is going!

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Charm School Vegan Chocolate

July 15, 2015

I don’t have a very big sweet tooth, but the occasional sweet treat is always welcomed. Quality over quantity has always been my motto with most things in life and that most certainly applies for the food I eat. So I prefer a really great quality treat when I do have one and Charm School […]

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Butter Beans Food & Garden Summer Camp

July 13, 2015

Discovered at the NYC Green Festival in April, Butter Beans is a food education community located in New York City. They offer children and their families the opportunity to learn about the food they eat; where it comes from and how it is grown. Since the knowledge of farming may not be something so easily […]

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