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Our family always had cats while I was growing up, but somehow as an adult I landed firmly in the dog person category. I was happy with my dogs and that was that. Or so I thought.

If you’re a parent, you may be familiar with the experience of your child begging for a new pet — for us it was a cat. I put it off but this past winter we found ourselves face to face with a sweet kitten that needed a home. The humane society here can’t care for them all (spelling possible doom) and the no-kill shelter we were aware of was at capacity. Faced with no option we could live with we decided to foster the kitten until we knew what to do. As you may have already guessed, that lasted all of about 20 minutes.

As the new family to a kitten we set out to pick up the necessities. Food was easy. We’d done plenty of research into what to look for when seeking a quality food. What we didn’t expect to be so hard was finding a litter that didn’t make ourhome smell like a cat box.

The first litter we tried was unscented (because fragrances are NOT our thing and as we all now know, they often contain harmful toxins). No amount of cleaning seemed to make it not smell awful.

The second litter we tried was a pet store refill option. It too was no match for our 3ish month old kitten. She seemed to have a knack for wrecking a litter box and I was getting pretty fed up.

Tired of the smell, I went straight for a popular litter brand with the hopes that succumbing to their big name and traditional ways would yield results that would make me feel less terrible for purchasing a non eco-friendly litter. Unfortunately for our noses, even this litter was no match. Additionally we were stuck with bits of litter everywhere. Yuck!

When I was given the chance to try out World’s Best Cat Litter, via a sponsored post, I figured it was worth a shot. It’s more environmentally friendly (which is something we can all appreciate) and claims to actually work. While I admittedly have little to do with the litter box (conditions agreed upon by the kids for us to keep the cat) I can happily report that our home no longer has any hint of litter box and I couldn’t be happier. In fact, even being in the laundry room (where the box is located) gives no indication that a box is nearby. Given how awful our first three litters were, this sounds impossible, but it actually works. Additionally, I don’t notice dust on the floor.

Our son, Ethan offered to share his thoughts on actually using the product:

“The new litter we use instead of the old one is better because it contains the smell better and it is cleaner and easier to use. It’s easier to use in a way because it sticks to the poo better and doesn’t fall off when you put it in the bag.”

I think it’s adorable that he is concerned with the amount of product we use. I’m not sure if it’s because he has to add to it more often or because he’s learning that there is a price on the products we use. My wishful thinking would like to believe it’s the latter.

What makes World’s Best Cat Litter™ different?

 

World’s Best is made of 100% naturally absorbent, whole-kernel corn. I have no idea how it works or why, all I know is that it does. It’s quick clumping and easy to scoop, plus as I already mentioned it’s virtually dust free (99%). It’s also flushable and septic safe (which is huge for us because we are on septic). Do check your state for recommendations – the state of California, for example, discourages flushing cat poo and encourages disposal in the trash.

Last, but not least, thanks to the miraculous, concentrated power of corn, you can use less product and get better results. One small bag can last one cat more than 30 days.

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Green Home Insulation AlternativesIf you live in a home then you probably have some sort of insulation. Insulation is one of the most important parts of home construction. It helps retain heat by stifling the air flow, and therefore cuts down on energy and the cost of heating and cooling in the winter and summer, respectively.

In the early 20th century, most homes started being built with fiberglass insulation. Fiberglass is layers of plastic reinforced by a man-made mineral blend made of various materials like recycled glass and sand.

As effective as it is at conserving energy, there are some shocking drawbacks to using fiberglass insulation. Small particles can become airborne and, because they are basically microscopic glass shards, there have been reported cases of internal bleeding and respiratory issues. Fiberglass insulation is also a skin irritant, causing itchiness and sometimes rashes on contact. And it certainly doesn’t help that most commercially made fiberglass insulation looks like fluffy pink cotton candy to little kids.

On the bright side, there is a variety of green home insulation alternatives to ensure a cozy and healthy home environment.

Cotton Insulation

Cotton insulation is an effective method that is made by shredding recycled cloth (like denim) and pressing it into a thick batt that goes between the walls, in the same way that fiberglass insulation is installed. This sounds like a very flammable idea, but companies generally treat the fabric with a borate solution that is safe for humans, and the environment.

Natural Wool

Sheep’s wool is also a popular green option, and is naturally fire retardant, only charring and not producing toxic gasses like other materials can.

Polystyrene Foam

We must also consider the foam variety. The chemical polyisocyanate is the active ingredient used to make polyicynene and polyurethane foams that are frequently used for home insulation. While it may not seem like a ‘green’ option, polystyrene provides extremely high R-values with considerably less material than most other types of insulation.

There’s no singular right way to insulate your home, some people value some characteristics over others. Hopefully the information in this article has helped you discover a few new, greener choices so it’s easier to find an option that best suits your needs and concerns.

Green Home Insulation Alternatives

 

Photography by Brett and Sue Coulstock

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Grow These 3 Healing Herbs to Keep the Doctor AwayHerbs are not only fun to grow at home, but also come with many health benefits. Adding fresh herbs from your garden can be a great way to spice your dishes while knowing the source and saving some money. Nearly half of the nutritional values of plants are shortly lost within a few minutes of harvesting, so adding freshly cut herbs will help to add more nutrition to your dishes as well!

Rosemary

Rosemary is an aromatic herb that is loaded with beneficial compounds, including carsonic acid, renowned for fighting cancer cells. Additionally, it is suggested that regular consumption of rosemary can help to improve memory and brain function.

A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Northumbria found out that participants who stayed in rooms that had been pumped with rosemary scent performed better on several memory tasks than those in rooms without rosemary scent.

Rosemary adds wonderful flavor in culinary dishes like with chicken or lamb. It is loaded with iron calcium and vitamin b6. You can prepare it as a whole herb or a dried powdered extract. In traditional medicine, rosemary has been hailed for its role in alleviating muscle pain, boost immune and circulatory system, and promotes hair growth. It also has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that are essential in fighting harmful compounds and free radicals.

Cultivation Tip

  • To grow rosemary at your home, you can enhance its performance by ensuring it is in an area with plenty of sunshine and regular watering. For a gentle infusion without cutting, try growing rosemary in an area where you can brush against it as you walk by. A simple brush of the hand can release its beautiful aroma.

Basil

The round leaves basil have been used in various traditional cultures as medicine, and its fragrant leaves are commonly used for seasoning various types of dishes — most notable pesto, which is made from basil, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese.

Health Benefits

Several studies on basil have shown that it has unique health-protecting effects in two main areas: its flavonoids and volatile oils.

  • Basil contains antibacterial and DNA protective properties. Flavonoids in basil offer protection at cellular levels. It has two water-soluble flavonoids including orientin and vicenin, which according to studies protect cell structures and chromosomes against radiation and oxygen-based damages. Basil oils prevent bacterial growth.
  • Basil has anti-inflammatory effects. Its volatile oils contain a compound called eugenol, which helps block the activity of an enzyme called cyclooxygenase. Most non-steroidal and over-the-counter drugs work by inhibiting these enzymes. Basil offers important healing benefits and symptomatic relief caused by inflammatory health issues like rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Other health benefits include help reducing swelling, treating indigestion, suppression of severe cough, soothing a sore throat, easing headaches, and relieving pain from insect bites.

Cultivation Tip

  • Basil thrives well in well-drained soil. You can grow basil in well-drained containers.
  • For optimum growth, keep the temperatures fairly warm and expose to sunlight for at least six hours every day
  • Water often in hot weather and prune beginning from the top leaves when the plant is six inches long.

 

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera has been used in traditional medicines for centuries. Its use in traditional medicine started over 6,000 years ago in Egypt. It was commonly used in treating wounds and other skin problems since the ancient times. Currently, Aloe Vera is being used to treat a number of diseases and health conditions like asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, and psoriasis. Aloe Vera can even help to fight stomach ulcers by improving digestion and reducing irritation. Its juices have anti-inflammatory properties for fighting inflammations common in problems like colitis and irritable bowel syndrome.

Cultivation Tip

  • Grow Aloe Vera in large containers with well-draining potting mix and it’s best not to expose it to direct sunlight. You can also use artificial light.
  • Water Aloe Vera deeply and allow the soil to dry for at least 2 inches between watering to prevent rot.

Grow These 3 Healing Herbs to Help Keep the Doctor Away

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7 Surprising Health Benefits of HummusHummus is a thick, creamy spread and it can be made from ingredients like mashed chickpeas, garlic, sea salt, lemon juice, tahini, and olive oil. Hummus has become increasingly popular over recent years and it’s easy to see why. The ingredients contained in hummus are plant based, whole and unprocessed. This makes it an excellent choice to be included with any meal. Additionally, it can be flavored to meet the needs of almost any palette and the uses are endless.

Reach & Maintain a Healthy Weight

Hummus is rich in protein and this helps with the balance of sugar levels in the blood while fighting hunger cravings. Hummus also contains iron which boosts the energy levels, which is always helpful in the effort to be more active.

Reduce Cholesterol

One of the ingredients contained in hummus is chick peas, also known as garbanzo beans. Most beans in general are considered to have nutrients that help with fighting cholesterol and maintaining a healthy heart. To avoid excessive salt intake, it’s ideal to purchase a carefully selected hummus — or simply make it yourself!

Fight Off Nefarious Cells

Beans are known for their effective properties that help to prevent cancer. The three compounds of beans, protease inhibitors, saponins and phytic acid aid in guarding the cells of the body.. Beans also contain folate, which can help to reduce the risk of getting colorectal cancer.

Improve Muscle, Blood, & Skin Health

Hummus is made up of a large amount of protein and this is essential as a building block of the skin, blood, and muscles. Hummus is a great source of protein for anyone, but an especially delicious source for vegetarians.

Prevention Constipation

A high content of fiber makes hummus perfect for keeping a healthy digestive tract regular. Dietary fiber helps with growth of ‘good bacteria’ in the colon and this is believed to help with prevention of colon cancers. Fiber is also important because of other health benefits like prevention of cardiac conditions. 

Ward Off Anemia

Anemia can make you feel tired and weak. Tahini and chick peas are both good sources of iron, which helps to ensure that red blood cells are well supplied with oxygen — helping you feel your best.

Strengthen Bones

The ingredients of hummus, contain calcium and this helps in maintaining the health of bones. This is important especially in the prevention of osteoporosis when bones can become more brittle with age.

7 Surprising Health Benefits of Hummus

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