Whole Living Daily

G-Free Friday: Sweet Pepper Holiday Cheese Ball

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Cheese balls are famous this time of the year, but this is no ordinary, picked-it-up-at-the-deli-on-the-way-to-the-party cheese ball. I recently discovered the most flavorful dried peppers from Frontier Organics that are incredibly versatile and perfect for this recipe.  They're so naturally sweet that they add the perfect flavor when mixed with cream cheese -- no need to add any sugar or processed toppings- just simply a handful of these peppers (I bought them in bulk so that I could use them in a few holiday recipes, plus they just look so pretty in a bowl for a holiday display) mixed with sea salt and pepper and there you have it! A perfect appetizer for any occasion. If you are lactose intolerant or vegan you can choose Go Veggie Cream Cheese; if not, I recommend Organic Valley Cream Cheese.  Both are sold in health food stores and Whole Foods Market.
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America Recycles Day Targets Food Waste

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Here at Whole Living, we've been paying close attention to the issue of food waste, and we're not alone. Today is America Recycles Day, and this year's theme is "Feed People, Not Landfills," which highlights ways people can reduce the amount of food they waste.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, food is the single largest type of waste going into our landfills and incinerators. And when food is disposed of in a landfill, it decomposes and become a significant source of methane, which a potent greenhouse gas. Read More...

Beauty Bag Spy: Olympic Rower Meghan Musnicki

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Being a summer Olympian doesn't mean being an autumn slacker, at least not for rower Meghan Musnicki. Since taking gold with the women's eight team in London, she's on a break from team practices, but she's ramping up her individual workouts with cross training like trail running, biking, and CrossFit.  "I use the term 'break' loosely as we have to report to training camp in San Diego at the end of the year and showing up out of shape is going to make it incredibly difficult!" she tells us.

Given Meghan's constant exposure to the elements and her intense workout schedule (along with the multiple daily showers that go with it), we asked her to share the products that keep her hair and skin in world-class shape. Read More...

Smoothie Wednesday: Fall Market Smoothie

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Some of my favorite New York fall mornings are spent a short walk from my apartment at the Union Square Farmer’s Market. This weekend everything looked so delightful, so I gathered a beautiful pumpkin, a colorful bunch of flowers, some crispy apples, a few heirloom carrots, several bundles of kale, and a handful of fresh ginger for a smoothie. The earthy carrot and tangy ginger lend an unexpected kick to this smoothie that I’ve been enjoying on its own or paired with a salad.
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The Clean Plates Special: Escarole with Top Chef's Antonia Lofaso

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This installment of the Clean Plates series features raw escarole, a member of the chicory family and technically a kind of endive that's traditionally been cooked in soups and sautés. This intense, lacy lettuce can have large, bitter, dark green outer leaves and more delicate, smaller inner yellow shoots. The vegetable is a rich source of iron, potassium, vitamins A and K, magnesium and calcium. Read More...

Ask Mindy: Is a Plastic Loofah More Eco-Friendly Than a Natural Sea Sponge?

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Which is better: using a loofah (which I know is made out of plastic) or a natural sea sponge? I'm worried that the sponges aren't harvested sustainably. —Pam Janets

First, I have to admit I’ve got a soft spot for a sponge, which are animals, after all. I would much rather see a live sponge on a coral reef than its dead skeleton in a bathroom. Turning these puffy primitive invertebrates into glorified washcloths—when so many greener alternatives exist—makes me sad, not only for the sponges’ sake, but for the health of ocean ecosystems and human beings, as well.

Ecosystem impacts
Sponges are found as far north as Alaska as well as in the South Seas; they grow on coral reefs and in the oceanic deeps. They provide biomass, structural habitat, water filtration, and shelter for numerous species, reports Ocean Health Index, a collaborative research project including 65 scientists, Conservation International, and the New England Aquarium.

Sponges are an important food source for sea stars, turtles, and some fish. When sponges and their “intricate architecture” are removed, it hurts these ecosystems. Australian sponge gardens, specifically, have been designated as biodiversity hotspots.

Human health benefits
Medicines derived from sponges have proved invaluable; research shows that natural chemicals in sponges kill cancer cells. For example, Ara-C, a drug used to treat leukemia and lymphoma, is taken from a Caribbean sea sponge. Read More...