How to Travel in an Eco-Friendly Way When Vacationing

Traveling in an eco friendly way is a great way to give back to the environment. Traveling can be quite a harmful activity for the environment, if you’re not doing it properly and not doing your research – so you should feel good about making the effort to travel in a green, environmentally-friendly manner – as every little helps.

There are, of course, various ways you can impact the world in this way – and lots of ways you can improve your carbon footprint and help the environment whilst travelling. One of the main ways when travelling, is choosing your modes of transport properly and properly considering every option available to you. This is unsurprising I think – as we all know that modern transportation is one of the most toxic things that harms our environment. So take charge here and embrace your new found respect for the environment.

Here are some of the most powerful ways you can make a difference:

1. Let’s Start at the Beginning
Your journey starts the very moment you leave the house – so ensure you get public transport (rather than a car or taxi) to the airport when your trip begins. This is already making a big difference – so you should feel great about getting your trip off to a good start! Most towns and cities will have shuttles or buses heading to the airport – and a quick browse on the internet will point you in the right direction.

2. Fly with a Newer Aircraft
Newer aircrafts have been proven to be more environmentally friendly – so if you can request at the time of booking, that you be travelling on your fleets newer aircrafts. The newer planes use less energy and have a better efficiency of fuel – which means you can rest easy knowing you’ve reduced your carbon footprint a little.

3. When You Land
It can be daunting when you arrive in a new place, and it can be pretty easy to just opt for the a private limo or taxi to your hotel. The truth is though – most major airport have cheap public transport on offer. When you arrive at the airport, ask the information desk at the airport the best way of getting into the city. It might be a train, a tram, a subway line, a bus or even a little shuttle mini bus. All of which are miles better for the environment than the taxi you were planning on taking!

4. When Changing Destinations
For travellers and backpackers – it’s common to flit between destinations every couple of days or weeks. For this – try to avoid planes, and see if there are any eco friendly transport options available. This may take longer, but it will likely cost less too and you’ll get to take in more as you travel on land instead of by air. Look for coaches, public transport or trains – all of those are great options. If you can – opt for the train over anything else though, because a train is more environmentally friendly an carries more people (making your carbon footprint smaller).

5. Use Eco-Friendly Tours
In most destinations there are many tours and day trips open to tourists. When you’re looking to book one of these – browse around for the eco friendly options. You’d genuinely be surprised at how many niche tours there are now for those looking to protect the environment, so keep a look out for any you can take advantage of during your trip.

6. Use Eco-Cabs
In countries such as Australia and New Zealand, there are now licensed cab companies that pride themselves on their USP. These eco friendly cab companies are not only driven in eco friendly electrical cars, but they also replant trees in developing nations too – to offset and give back any energy used. When you arrive in your destination, do a quick Google search and see if anything similar operates in the area.

About The Author
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This article was written by Wan Phing, resident travel writer and editor at AsiaRooms.com. Born in Penang, Malaysia (home of good food and Jimmy Choo), she is the ideas machine behind the blog. She loves coffee, books, films, stand-up comedy and peanut butter (smooth, not chunky). She loves wandering around aimlessly in strange cities, but she always has one purpose – to save the world through content marketing ROI, one blog post at a time.

*Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

Jingle all the way! These tasty and healthy date bran balls can be made with orange juice in place of the brandy to make them more family-friendly.

Date Bran Jingle Balls

Ingredients

2 cups cereal, bran flakes
3/4 cup dates, pitted and whole
1/2 cup nuts, pecans, toasted
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons cream cheese – softened
2 teaspoons brandy
1/2 cup nuts – finely chopped

Preparation

1. Place cereal, dates and pecans in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add honey, cream cheese and brandy (or orange liqueur or orange juice) and pulse until a stiff dough forms.

2. Scoop tablespoon-size portions and shape with greased hands into balls. Roll each ball in chopped nuts (or date sugar or coconut or wheat germ). Place on wax paper. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving or storing.

*Recipe and image courtesy of BetterEats.com, Everyday Health’s new food site.*

Drink Chinese Tea for Your Health

A breaking news announcement for anyone who has been asleep the last 200 years or so: Chinese tea and herbal tea are healthy drinks.

C’mon, you say, everyone knows that. Well, apparently not everyone. It wouldn’t be the subject of innumerable blogs, articles, and videos if everyone were converted to the truth of the matter. The writers and videographers are preaching to someone!

Without any expectation of it being the last word, here is an article on the virtues of Chinese tea and herbal tea.

First of all, there are 7 varieties of Chinese drinking tea: Green, black (called red in China), white, yellow, oolong, pu-erh, and herbal tea. They are brewed to produce slightly, or sometimes startlingly, different hues in the cup. Can you judge a Chinese tea by its color? No, but you can be seduced by the vibrant, clear colors into thinking dreamy thoughts and that’s worth something.

Still, drinking Chinese tea and herbal tea is even better than looking at a steaming cup of it.

Green Chinese tea is chock full of antioxidants, flavenoids, polyphenols and other natural ingredients with multiple-syllable names. Being able to spell the good stuff is not required in order to derive the benefits, which are many. Enhanced weight loss. Cancer resistance. UV radiation protection. Strengthened immune system. Anti-aging benefits.

You see why green Chinese tea is popular.

Unlike the unfermented green tea, black tea—called red tea in China—is fully fermented in its processing. It is not green in color and it has different healthful properties, such as improving digestion, controlling cholesterol, and reducing the risk of strokes. Black tea remains the most popular Chinese tea outside China.

Oolong tea is fermented more than green tea and less than black tea. This means, for the caffeine-conscious, that oolong contains more caffeine than unfermented green tea and less caffeine than fully fermented black tea. Oolong tea’s health benefits range from increased metabolism to improved heart health.

Yellow tea is similar to green tea in its processing, but its soup is, of all things, yellow. Dazzlingly yellow. The immune system—which cares not one whit about color—is sparked by this Chinese tea, giving drinkers better general healthfulness.

The Chinese tea that is particularly antioxidant rich is white tea. Tender tea plant buds are roasted for white tea and retain more of their cancer-fighting antioxidants. The tea’s caffeine content also is the lowest of any camellia sinensis Chinese drinking tea.

Pu-erh tea is brewed from aged tea leaves. What the tea lacks in freshness, it more than makes up for in deepened taste and quality. It is deemed to be a medicinal powerhouse, improving eyesight and smoothing digestion.

Then there is Chinese herbal tea. There is no caffeine in these teas, being brewed from flowers and herbs rather than tea plant leaves. The best organic herbal tea is the one that appeals most to a drinker’s taste buds. Beyond that, herbal tea brings a variety of health benefits including improved digestion, stabilized heart health, and neurological calm.

There really is no best organic herbal tea any more than there is a best Chinese drinking tea. All of the Chinese tea varieties offered by Wild & Bare Co. are excellent, so trying one of each will lead you to your favorite!

About the Author

Jean Alberti, raised in a family restaurant near Strasbourg, France, is a super chef and founder of Wildandbare.com. Chef Jean Alberti is a believer of the wonders of fresh produce and was awarded as the Best Cooking Apprentice in France.

*Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

This side dish dresses up brussels sprouts with chestnuts and fresh sage, making them a new seasonal favorite!

Brussels Sprouts With Chestnuts and Sage

Ingredients

2 pounds Brussels sprouts – trimmed and halved
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon oil, olive, extra virgin
3 tablespoons broth, chicken, less sodium
3/4 cup fresh chestnuts – coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons sage, fresh
1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper, black ground – to taste

Preparation

1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add brussels sprouts and cook until bright green and just tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

2. Melt butter with oil and broth in a large skillet over medium heat. Add brussels sprouts, chestnuts and sage and cook, stirring often, until heated through, 2 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.

*Recipe and image courtesy of BetterEats.com, Everyday Health’s new food site.*

7 Tips for Buying Non-Toxic Toys

With the input of experts at Healthy Stuff and a brain trust of mom bloggers who share their knowledge with Healthy Child Healthy World, here are the top 7 tips from Margie Kelly of Natural Child World for buying non-toxic toys to consider before you head out to a store this season!

1. Buy less. Do you really need to buy a new toy? Depending on the age of the child, she may prefer a book you promise to read out loud to her. Another special kind of gift is an experience; a trip to the zoo or amusement park or a tour of the local fire station. Sometimes getting “stuff” is less interesting than other options only you can create.

2. Buy used. Before heading out to a toy store, check your neighborhood for a swap or store that sells second hand items. Often you can find toys that have been hardly touched for a fraction of what they would cost new. Be sure to check for recalls, however.

3. Avoid plastics. Vinyl plastic is the worst plastic for the environment and your child’s health. Vinyl itself is toxic and it’s loaded with chemicals like lead and phthalates that cause real damage to human health. Vinyl is junk that is toxic throughout its lifecycle: production, use and disposal. If you can’t bring yourself to abandon plastics entirely, choose safer plastics labeled 1,2,4 or 5 in the symbol usually found at the bottom of the product.

4. Choose natural materials. Choose unpainted wood toys or cloth or plush toys instead of plastic. Watch out for painted wood toys unless it is certified that the paint is non-toxic and lead-free.

5. Just say no to metal jewelry. Lead is a big problem in jewelry. Tests by HealthyStuff.org found over half jewelry tested contained chemicals of concern, including cadmium, a known carcinogen, and lead. Bottom line: steer clear of cheap bling.

6. No batteries. Here’s a great rule of thumb. If batteries are required for a toy to operate, leave it on the shelf! Unless you’ve pre-cleared it, parents of young children will thank you for leaving at the toy store loud toys that whoop, talk, or blare sirens.

7. Choose high quality toys. Buy toys built to last. High quality toys can take a beating and still last long enough to be handed down to a younger sibling or friend or even sold to a second hand store once your child has outgrown it.

About the Publication

Natural Child World Magazine is a sophisticated, sustainable lifestyle magazine for the modern family. Natural Child World is a multimedia platform that addresses the needs of the modern family. It is the #1 resource for parents who want to make better choices for themselves and the people they love the most, without sacrificing the things they like the most. From design in Copenhagen to fashion in New York, to lifestyle and well-being around the globe, Natural Child World offers a global look at parenting in the modern world. Natural Child World is sold nationwide at top retailers including; Whole Foods, Barnes & Noble, Target, and many more. (For the digital version, please visit: http://naturalchildworld.com)

Santa Baby! This cupcake courtesy of BellaBaker.com combines red velvet cake with creamy vanilla bean icing and uses an upside-down ice cream cone, sprinkles, and a white gumball to create Santa’s signature cap!

Santa Hat Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Ingredients

2 ½ cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup buttermilk (“Mom” prefers organic)
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened (“Mom” prefers organic)
1 ½ cups sugar (“Mom” prefers organic)
2 eggs (“Mom” prefers organic, cage-free eggs)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons red food coloring (“Mom” uses Maggie’s Naturals)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup cupcake tin with paper liners. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa in a mixing bowl; set aside. In a separate bowl, stir the buttermilk, vinegar, and baking soda together; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until pale and flu!y. Beat in the eggs, one at a time; then beat in the vanilla and the red food coloring.

Reduce mixer speed to low. Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture and beat well. Beat in half of the buttermilk mixture. Beat in another third of flour mixture, then the second half of the buttermilk. Finally, add the last third of the flour mixture, beating until all ingredients are incorporated.

Using an ice cream scoop, fill cupcake liners with batter. Bake for 18–20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes in the tin for 10 minutes; then remove from tins and cool completely on a wire rack.

Vanilla Bean Buttercream Icing

Ingredients

2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (“Mom” prefers organic)
6 cups confectioner’s sugar
seeds of two split vanilla beans
¼ teaspoon salt
¹⁄³ cup milk (“Mom” prefers organic)

Preparation

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed until pale and flu!y. Add the confectioner’s sugar, one cup at a time, until all sugar is completely incorporated. Scrape in the seeds of the two vanilla beans and the salt and continue to beat. Add the milk a little at a time until the icing reaches a spreadable consistency.

Santa Hats

Ingredients

12 sugar ice cream cones
red candy melts (“Mom” uses all-natural Sundrops)
red sanding sugar sprinkles (“Mom” uses Maggie’s Naturals)
12 white gumballs
white dot sprinkles or white sanding sugar sprinkles (“Mom” uses Maggie’s Naturals)

Assembly

With a spatula, frost a thin layer of buttercream icing onto the top of each cupcake. Cut the pointy tops of the ice cream cones. In a microwavesafe bowl, melt the red candy melts in the microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring vigorously with a spoon between intervals, until they are completely melted. They should take 2 or 3 intervals to melt completely. To decorate each cupcake, place your index and middle finger inside the large opening of the ice cream cone for stability and then carefully, using a spoon, coat the entire outside of the ice cream cone with the melted red candy melts. Immediately coat the entire cone in red sanding sugar. Gently slide your fingers out of the cone and stand the cone on a sheet of parchment paper. Dab a small amount of the melted candy onto a gumball and place it on the top of the ice cream cone. Allow to dry completely. Place the Santa Hat onto the cupcake. Finally, sprinkle the white dot sprinkles or white sanding sugar over the icing that is peeking out around the edge of the ice cream cone.

Pack in an Eco-Friendly Way for Vacation

Eco-Friendly travel (or green travel – as you may know it) is a trend and a cause that is becoming more and more popular – and more and more worthy or your attention. There are some great companies out there that are exclusively offering eco-friendly tours and trips – and although this is a great step to take, there are a few smaller steps you can take personally too when heading away on vacation.

What is green travel?

Well, as you may recycle your plastics at home to help the environment – green travel and eco friendly travel, is all about helping to protect the environment when you travel. Travelling can potentially be quite a harmful hobby or interest – when you don’t take the environment into consideration, so it’s imperative that you take the environment into consideration and you employ techniques that go out of the way to protect and utilise the world’s own resources.

How can something as small as packing help?

Well you’d be surprised. It’s all about being thoughtful about how you pack – and (unsurprisingly) utilizing a bit of common sense too. Most people can easily pack for their travels a little more eco-friendly, without leaving important items behind or without sacrificing any fun too.

Here are the top 5 tips:

1. Pack lightly

Packing lightly is the first tip. If you’re heading away on a romantic weekend, instead of taking two bags or two suitcases (one each) take just the one and share the space. The less luggage you take with you, the less you’re having to cart around, which means less energy. When it comes to planes and fuel – if every couple took one bag rather than too – the plane would be using much less fuel – lowering the carbon footprint of that plane ride hugely. The same goes for if you’re traveling by car – as the less heavy the vehicle the less fuel it needs.

2. Pack sensibly

If you’re heading away for more than a few days – then there’s a chance you may need to do laundry whilst you’re there. This tip applies to backpackers and travellers in particular. To prevent doing laundry often (because doing laundry take up a lot of energy and resources) you’ll want to pack items that are going to stay clean for longer – which means pack darker items (not white linen trousers). Also – pack items that dry quickly too, as this means you needn’t use the dryer – instead, you can simply dry your clothing quickly and easily on the balcony in the sunshine!

3. Pack re-usable items

Things such as re-usable water bottles are great to have with you when travelling so make sure you’ve packed one. Not only is it cheaper to refill your own water bottle then keep buying new ones – but it’s also much more eco friendly and environmentally sound. One bottle (even a cheap one) can last you months, and a proper flask may last you years. Think about all the plastic you’ll be saving with just this tip.

4. Avoid disposable bags

Disposable bags, like the ones you’ll be given in duty free shops, supermarkets or souvenir shops – are all usually plastic – and definitely not eco friendly or green. Instead, pack yourself a foldable

5. Take a digital camera

Sounds silly – that this should even been included but packing a digital camera is an easy and effective way to improve your eco efficacy. Make sure you have multiple memory cards that are reusable and ensure you have rechargeable batteries too. Disposable batteries are terrible for the environment – so avoid those at all costs!

About The Author

This article was written by Wan Phing, resident travel writer and editor at AsiaRooms.com. Born in Penang, Malaysia (home of good food and Jimmy Choo), Wan is the ideas machine behind the blog. She loves coffee, books, films, stand-up comedy and peanut butter (smooth, not chunky). She loves wandering around aimlessly in strange cities, but always with one purpose – to save the world through content marketing ROI, one blog post at a time.

From spreads to au gratins, shrimp is one of the most versatile and special items to grace your holiday table. Its elegance is outshined only by its nutritional value, an added bonus when other holiday favorites pack on the pounds. A serving size of three ounces of shrimp delivers nearly 20 grams of protein and a healthy dose of B vitamins, iron, and omega-3s, with only 84 calories and less than one gram of fat (when cooked plain).

Champagne Shrimp and Angel Hair

Ingredients

1 lb of shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 oz of angel hair pasta
2 cups of your choice of Champagne
1 cup of fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 cup of heavy cream (“Mom” prefers organic half & half)
3 tablespoons of fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons of minced shallots
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon of salt

Preparation

Cook the pasta as directed; drain afterwards and coat with a tablespoon of olive oil. White the pasta is cooking, heat the other tablespoon of extra virgin oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Cook the mushrooms in the olive oil until tender; then remove and set aside. Combine the shrimp, Champagne and salt in the pan, and cook over high heat. When the liquid starts to boil, remove the shrimp and add the shallots. Boil for 8 minutes; until reduced to about half a cup. Stir in 3/4 of the cream and boil for an additional 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and the mushrooms to sauce, heating through. Toss the hot, cooked pasta with the remaining 1/4 cup of cream and the freshly chopped parsley. Spoon the shrimp with sauce over the pasta and serve.

Makes 2 servings.

*Recipe and image courtesy of the Shrimp Council.*

Here’s a festive and appreciated earth-friendly stocking stuffer idea! Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day, the aromatherapeutic eco-conscious home care line, is now offering delightfully scented Holiday Candle Tins! Available in two seasonal scents, including Orange Clove and Iowa Pine, these exclusive tins cost an affordable $2.50! “Mom” is absolutely loving the Orange Clove, which fills the home with a warm and rich aroma.

 

In ddition to the tins, Mrs. Meyer’s is also offering a “Season’s Cleanings Set” in both Orange Clove & Iowa Pine. This will be a welcome gift for anyone who wants to be a little more green in the New Year!

Mom” is a long-time fan of Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day, which as you may know is an eco-friendly, affordable line of aromatherapeutic household cleaners, laundry care and baby products that combine hardworking, naturally occurring ingredients and essential oils that are tough on dirt, yet gentle on your home and earth.

The entire line is available in garden-fresh scents of Basil, Lavender, Lemon Verbena, Geranium, Baby Blossom, Bluebell and Rosemary. We love that the products are biodegradable, packaged in recyclable bottles, don’t include ammonia, chlorine bleach, parabens or phosphates and are never tested on animals. The line can be found at both Whole Foods and Target. Learn more at www.mrsmeyers.com.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this piece.*

No holiday meal would be complete without latkes, or potato pancakes. Of Eastern European origin and traditionally made with eggs, try using ground flax seeds to hold it all together. There are many variations possible.

Baked Potato Latkes

Ingredients

1 large russet potato, peeled and grated (2 cups)

1/4 teaspoon minced yellow onion

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon white spelt flour

1 tablespoon ground flax seeds mixed with 3 tablespoons water

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, optional

1/4 teaspoon paprika, optional, try smoked

Preparation

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. You can speed this process up by using the grater attachment on a food processor for the potatoes

2. Scoop approximately 1/4 cup of the mixture for each latke on to a very well-oiled baking sheet. Flatten to approximately 1/4-inch thick. Bake for 8 minutes.

3. Flip the pancakes and bake, until golden brown, approximately 8 minutes before serving.

4. Serve with Vegan sour cream or apple sauce.

Makes 8 large Latkes.

Variations – so many are possible!

Make smaller latkes by using 2 tablespoons, instead of 1/4 cup of the batter in each pancake.

Replace 1 cup grated potato with grated sweet potato or yam.

Add 1 tablespoon of minced fresh dill, parsley, or basil.

Add 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onion.

Add 1 clove pressed or minced garlic and 1/2 teaspoon seeded and diced chile pepper.

Add 1/2 cup peeled and grated parsnip or carrot.

Create Italian latkes by adding 1 tablespoon Italian Spice Mix

Go Mexican by adding 1 tablespoon minced cilantro and 1 teaspoon each of chile powder and cumin.

Add 1/2 cup grated vegan cheese for an over the top latke experience.

For a gluten-free version replace the spelt flour with brown rice flour.

*Recipe and image excerpted from The 30 Minute Vegan’s Taste of Europe 150 Plant-Based Makeovers of Classics from France, Italy, Spain and Beyond, by Mark Reinfeld.*