Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cantaloupe Smoothies, Fragrance Free Day, and Inside the Minds of Animals

One of my favorite summer drinks is the Cantaloupe Smoothie.  It couldn't be easier to make (cantaloupe and ice in the blender) and it's packed with nutrition and refreshing goodness.

Canteloupe is rich in beta carotene and makes a great source of vitamin A which is beneficial for vision health and cancer prevention.  People who eat diets with ample vitamin A have a reduced rate for cataracts by about 39%.  It's also high in vitamin C which is a powerful antioxidant and immune system necessity.  Just one cup of cantaloupe has over 100% of what you need daily.  Fiber, B vitamins, and folate are all contained in cantaloupe.

The origins of cantaloupe date back to ancient times in India and Africa, were cultivated in Egypt and later in early Rome and Greece.  The name cantaloupe  comes from Cantalup, an Italian village where they were cultivated in the 1700's.  They're also known as muskmelons and rockmelons.  Cantaloupes  are part of the cucumber and squash family and also grow on a vine on the ground.

Choose melons that have a hollow sound, have a tan or cream color under the netting-like first layer of the skin, and smell like cantaloupe around the stem.
cantaloupe image credit: giniger

Friday, August 13th, is Fragrance Free Day.  With all the dangers of fragrance, not to mention it's just plain inconsiderate to others, I think it's a brilliant idea.  I rate fragrance right up there with cigarette smoke, in fact to me it's even worse.  Wouldn't it be great if people realized how dangerous these chemicals were and stopped polluting the environment with perfume?  That might sound harsh, but check out what's actually in fragrance.  I'm not talking about plant derived essential oils, those are not the same.  I am talking about the perfumes that go into laundry detergent, perfumes, air "fresheners," soaps, shampoos, lotions, even trash bags can be perfumed, the stuff is everywhere.  And it makes us sick.  And we should all get as educated as possible about this.  There will be a live Twitter Q&A with chemical experts.  Participate HERE.  Meanwhile, check out the EWG for many informative articles regarding the dangers of fragrance.

Time Magazine recently did an article (cover story) on the intelligence of animals making the argument that they are much smarter than once believed.  Jeffrey Kluger did a great interview with Charlie Rose citing some of the various studies and the concept that animals are sentient beings which should not be eaten or treated unkindly.  Obvious to my readers but really nice to see this becoming more and more mainstream.  Watch the interview HERE.