September 1st, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
If you missed Walt Disney Studios’ Earth in theaters, pick up the DVD, which releases today.
Gorgeous cinematography captures polar bears marching across ice, elephants enjoying a swim and whales breaching the ocean’s surface. (Click here to watch the trailer.)
The film is the first feature-length documentary from the new, eco-conscious production unit Disneynature. Cowritten and codirected by the award-winning Alastair Fothergill (Planet Earth, The Blue Planet), and narrated by Oscar-nominated actor James Earl Jones (voice of Darth Vader!), it’s an amazing tour of our home planet.
“In addition to providing compelling entertainment that audiences of all ages and backgrounds can enjoy, we also hope to raise awareness of the many ways that everyone and anyone can do their part to help our planet,” says Disneynature head honcho Jean-Francois Camilleri.
Adds Martyn Freeman of coproducer BBC Worldwide: “Earth captures some of the rarest and most beautiful imagery of the planet ever photographed by a team of the world’s top cinematographers. Audiences will get to see their planet in an exciting new way.”
I agree with Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly (one of the most trustworthy film critics out there), who calls the finished project a “super-duper deluxe nature documentary.” She believes Earth “clearly aims to recruit young viewers as conservationists.”
That’s a mission we all can support.
The DVD’s suggested retail price is $29.99, but Amazon is currently selling it for $16.99.
Read More:Disney’s “Earth” Available on DVD Today
August 22nd, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
Outdoor entertaining, whether you’re hosting a summer cookout or a fall brunch, should focus on celebrating good times with family and friends—not worrying about what to serve.
You can prepare cold appetizers, salads and side dishes in advance. They’re an easy way to add flavor without turning up the oven’s heat.
Here are some outdoor entertaining tips to make guests happy and your life easier:
- Go Organic. Use fresh, seasonal, organic ingredients. Your guests will appreciate big flavors that won’t weigh them down.
- Gather Round. Set up a chips-and-salsa bar. It’s a great way for guests to mix and mingle. Try yesterday’s recipe for Black Bean and Corn Scoops, an alternative to traditional salsa. Guests will also enjoy Tomatillo Salsa, Granny Smith Guacamole, Charred Red Onion Salsa and Fiery Fruit Salsa.
- Bowl Them Over. Add a festive touch with brightly colored serving bowls and plates.
- Made in the Shade. Some guests are sensitive to heat and sunlight. Make sure an indoor room is available for cooling off. If you have a large gathering, consider renting a tent or setting up chairs and tables under a shady tree.
- Keep It Cool. Chill empty plates and glasses before giving them to your guests. This will help keep foods and beverages cold.
Tips courtesy of Tostitos
Read More:5 Outdoor Entertaining Tips
January 1st, 2007 - Barbara Feiner
Happy 2007 from OrganicAuthority.com!
If nurturing your organic body and soul has made your list of New Year’s resolutions, then mark your calendar for 9 p.m. Thursday. That’s when “The Dan Ho Show” debuts on the Discovery Health Channel.
Author of Rescue from Domestic Perfection, Dan Ho’s life changed in February 1998. While working during the dinner service at his successful Chicago restaurant, he had a seizure, followed by an out-of-body experience.
The man who owned a large house, decorated with a vengeance and meticulously tended to his garden realized his life was not his own. Everything had been “perfectly” executed—the way it was “supposed to be”—down to the last platter and end table in his living room.
Ho realized his lifestyle and struggle to attain perfection were detrimental to his health. His culinary talents and impossible-to-achieve fitness regimen had backfired, leaving him obese.
Ho decided to simplify his life, paying close attention to his health and environment. Style and wellness, he decided, cannot exist independently.
“The Dan Ho Show” is designed to liberate viewers from the “deluge of lifestyle gurus who portray an impossible standard of so-called perfection, all at the expense of true, expressive style.” Ho’s suggestions will help you crawl out from under the rigid commandments imposed by cooking, entertaining, gardening, decorating, cleaning and grooming mavens.
Start the new year by playing the Dan Ho Game online.
Photo by Todd Plitt
Read More:Happy New Year!
July 14th, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
If you’re a fan of the Bravo series “Top Chef,” you may have been rooting for Andrea Beaman (above), the lone natural and organic foodie of the 12 culinary contestants. “Top Chef,” for the uninitiated, is a “Survivor”-style weekly series in which competitors cook their way through a slew of Iron Chef-caliber challenges, to be judged by some of America’s leading gourmet gurus.
Beaman often confounded the judges because she didn’t fit the standard haute cuisine stereotype. She’s a natural nutritionist and holistic health counselor whose approach to food is drawn from personal experience. At 28, she was chronically sick, overweight and diagnosed with a thyroid disorder. This propelled her to surrender her junk-food habits and develop a dietary regimen that’s rich in fresh organic food.
Today, Beaman appears to be the picture of health—and while she was eliminated from the competition for her consistently veggie-centric menus, it hasn’t slowed her career. She completed her cookbook, The Whole Truth Eating and Recipe Guide, and continues to counsel clients in her East Coast practice.
I’d like to thank Bravo for giving us permission to reprint one of Beaman’s most popular “Top Chef” recipes: Curried Sweet Potato. On the show, she served it alongside a lovely Quinoa Pilaf—a recipe we’ll feature next week.
To learn more about Beaman, please visit her website. She also provides telephone consultations if you live outside the New York area.
Curried Sweet Potato
2 sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat oven to 375°. Wash sweet potatoes. Dice into 1-inch cubes.
- Put sweet potato cubes into a bowl, and coat with olive oil, curry powder and sea salt.
- Place into a baking pan. Cover and bake for 50 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking for 10 minutes.
Bravo photo by David Moir
Read More:Curried Sweet Potato
July 10th, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
Perhaps you’ve adopted an organic lifestyle and have made a commitment to buying organic food because you’re battling a weight problem. If so, you’ve taken a step in the right direction.
A new study published in the July 5 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association reveals the health risks for women who are extremely obese may be underestimated, as they have a higher prevalence of hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol than women at lower levels of obesity.
Obesity diagnosis and treatment are typically based on body mass index (BMI) of at least 30. BMI is calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared. Three categories of obesity have been defined:
- Obesity 1 (BMI of 30–34.9)
- Obesity 2 (35–39.9)
- Extreme obesity (40+)
The latter 2 categories—sometimes termed “severe obesity”—are increasing rapidly in the United States. From 1986 to 2000, prevalence of BMI of 30 or higher approximately doubled, BMI of 40 or higher quadrupled, and BMI of 50 or higher increased fivefold. In 2000, 2.8% of all U.S. women—and 6% of African-American women—reported measurements consistent with extreme obesity.
Dr. Kathleen McTigue and colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh conducted a study to examine the relationship between weight category and risk of death and coronary heart disease (CHD) in a large sample of U.S. women. They found extreme obesity prevalence differed with race/ethnicity, from 1% among Asian and Pacific Islanders to 10% among black women.
“We found that obesity was linked with considerable health risk and that accounting for degree of excess weight is important in understanding weight-related health risk,” the researchers write, concluding that their findings have “important clinical and policy implications.”
Healthcare providers can help patients assess their weight-related health risks, which would allow more informed decision-making about lifestyle and health.
Read More:Obesity Health Risks
March 28th, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
The sun has decided to participate in preparations for Earth Day, which is less than a month away. Use your dedication to organic living and the environment, coupled with the wonders of modern technology, to teach your children more about our planet.
NASA and San Francisco’s Exploratorium are teaming up to provide webcast, podcast and broadcast of tomorrow’s total solar eclipse. The coverage is part of this year’s Sun-Earth Day theme, “Eclipse: In a Different Light,” which shows how solar eclipses have inspired people to observe and understand our universe.
This eclipse is special because the total phase lasts more than 4 minutes at the center of the path. (Most last only a minute or two.) The next total solar eclipse is Aug. 1, 2008, and it will be seen in northern Canada, Greenland, Siberia, Mongolia and northern China. The next total solar eclipse visible from the United States won’t happen until Aug. 21, 2017.
If you’re a teacher, share the event with your students. NASA’s Public Service Channel (#101) and Education Channel (#102) will carry the webcast. NASA’s Media Channel (#103) will carry a live feed of the eclipse.
Read More:Here Comes the Sun
March 27th, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
Just a reminder that The New Medicine airs on Wednesday evening (check your local PBS listings). Hosted by the late Dana Reeve, it’s of particular interest to those who embrace organic living, holistic healthcare and alternative therapies.
“When Bill Moyers’ series, Healing and the Mind, premiered on PBS more than 10 years ago, the emerging field of ‘mind-body medicine’ and a range of alternative therapies from acupuncture to meditation still lay on the fringes of the U.S. healthcare system,” says Catherine Allan of Twin Cities Public Television, the show’s executive producer. “Today, the field is exploding, driven by a growing body of hard research data, as well as consumer demand, and led by pioneering doctors who understand the significance of the mind-body connection.”
The New Medicine reveals that medical education is changing. The show takes us to Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, one of a growing number of medical schools where there’s renewed emphasis on teaching some of the skills of pre-modern medicine: the importance of listening, comforting and encouraging the body’s own healing abilities. The traditional doctor-patient relationship is undergoing a shift from paternalism to partnership, as practitioners and consumers have begun to promote a more holistic form of healthcare called integrative medicine, which seeks to heal the whole person, rather than simply cure a disease.
“We as a healthcare system have kind of lost our way a little bit over the last two decades by becoming so enamored of technology and specialization that we’ve lost sight of the individual as an individual, a very complex entity,” says Dr. Ralph Snyderman, chairman emeritus of Duke University. “We ought to understand that we are engaged in healing, and healing involves caring. And caring is at the root of the practice of medicine and at the root of the physician-patient relationship.”
“Some people might feel like, ‘Well, this is kind of the touchy-feely, soft side of medicine. Why pay attention when you know what’s important in getting the x-ray and giving the antibiotic?’ ” adds Dr. Arthur Kleinman of Harvard. But this attitude is dangerously shortsighted in his view. If you’re a doctor who fails to take the time to understand an individual’s personality, history, habits and fears, “you’re practicing veterinary medicine,” he says.
Be sure to check out The New Medicine: Companion Book to the Public Television Series, with a forward by Dana Reeve. It includes in-depth interviews with physicians and research scientists featured in the program, as well as tips on how to choose the best doctor and how to get the most out of your visit.
Read More:Old Concepts, New Medicine
March 10th, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
You stop by your favorite organic coffeehouse, craving a deliciously hot latte or cappuccino. So, what’s the real difference between ordering a regular vs. a nonfat drink?
If you opt for a small size, made with nonfat milk instead of low-fat milk (the standard at many coffee bars), you’re looking at a difference of 20 to 30 calories, says Karen Collins, a registered dietitian in private practice and nutrition adviser to the American Institute for Cancer Research in Washington, DC. Buy a large latte or cappuccino, and there’s a 40- to 50-calorie difference.
“Fat content changes by about 3 to 5 grams,” she says. “Your choice of portion size actually has far more impact. Without changing the type of milk used, changing from small to large in portion size adds from 70 to 140 calories per serving, and ordering super-large sizes available at some places adds even more.
“The other big factor is whether you turn this coffee beverage into a dessert by adding goodies like mocha, whipped cream or caramel syrup,” Collins continues. “Making it a ‘dessert coffee’ adds 50 to 150 calories to a small, or 130 to 230 calories to a larger, drink. If you splurge on one of these drinks once a week or so, none of these differences is really significant. But if you drink one daily, these details can really add up and affect weight control and overall health.”
Read More:Organic Living: Low-Fat Vs. Nonfat Lattes
March 9th, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
One of the last projects Dana Reeve undertook before she died Monday of lung cancer was to host the PBS special The New Medicine, scheduled to premiere 9 p.m. Wednesday, March 29 (check local listings).
The two-hour documentary will be of special interest to those dedicated to organic living, focusing on a burgeoning movement in U.S. hospitals and clinics to integrate high-tech and holistic medicine. The program suggests medical practice in America may be on the brink of a transformation: As scientific findings reveal the mind plays a critical role in the body’s capacity to heal, the medical community is beginning to embrace a new range of treatment options, including many once considered fringe.
The New Medicine goes inside medical schools, healthcare clinics, research institutions and private practices to show physicians at work on the cutting edge of this new approach. By paying attention to a person’s cultural values, lifestyle, stresses and supports, these doctors acknowledge the important role that patients can—and should—play in their own healing and healthcare. The program introduces viewers to patients who are benefiting from relaxation therapy, visualization tapes and self-hypnosis.
Read More:PBS to Air “The New Medicine” in Memory of Dana Reeve
January 6th, 2006 - Barbara Feiner
Earlier this week, I covered the new food labeling requirements on trans fats. Also effective Jan. 1 is a new law that requires labels to clearly state if food products contain any proteins derived from the eight major allergenic foods:
- Crustacean shellfish (shrimp, crab, lobster)
- Tree nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, etc.)
The Food and Drug Administration enacted the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) because approximately 2% of adults and 5% of infants and young children suffer from food allergies—30,000 of which require emergency room treatment. About 150 Americans die each year from allergic reactions to food.
FALCPA requires food manufacturers to label products with the identified ingredients in one of two ways:
- Include the name of the food source in parentheses following its usual name. For example:
Ingredients: Enriched flour (wheat flour, malted barley, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), sugar, partially hydrogenated soybean oil and/or cottonseed oil, whey (milk), eggs, vanilla, salt, leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphate, monocalcium phosphate), lecithin (soy), mono- and diglycerides (emulsifier).
- Place the word “Contains,” followed by the name of the food source from which the major food allergen is derived, immediately after or adjacent to the list of ingredients. The type size cannot be smaller than that used in the ingredients list. For example: Contains Wheat, Milk and Soy.
FALCPA does not require food manufacturers or retailers to remove or relabel products that were labeled before Jan. 1. Consumers with allergies must recognize there will be a transition period and continue to read package ingredient statements.
The new labeling law will be especially helpful to children who need to learn how to spot the presence of substances they must avoid. For example, if a product contains the milk-derived protein casein, the product’s label will have to use the term “milk” in addition to the term “casein” so those with milk allergies can clearly understand its presence.
Read More:Food Labels Must List Common Allergens