April 21st, 2013 - Jill Ettinger
Global food giant Unilever has called tea the ‘hottest beverage’ being consumed around the world. And they don’t mean a temperature too hot to drink. They’re talking about the saleability of tea products, particularly as soda sales decline over obesity and obesity-related illness concerns.
Read More:Tea Drinking Tops the World’s ‘Hottest’ Beverage Category
April 23rd, 2012 - Jill Ettinger
The environmental organization Greenpeace has released a report showing high levels of illegal pesticides in several of the most popular teas. According to the report, “some well-known tea companies are ignoring national laws and either turning a blind eye or being complicit with their suppliers’ illegal conduct.”
Read More:Are Illegal Pesticides Brewing in Your Favorite Teas?
March 25th, 2011 - Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese
At this year’s Boston Seafood Show, which opened on March 20th, worldwide organic farming advocate Naturland is urging the fishing industry to consider more eco-friendly fishing techniques.
Hans Hohenester, chairman of the Naturland board of directors, says current fishing practices are unnatural, unsustainable, and contaminate waters with harmful chemicals and antibiotics.
That’s why Naturland has impressive standards and strict procedures for ensuring organic and sustainable production.
Read More:Naturland Promoting Eco Fishing & Aquaculture
September 5th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Making time to brew a satisfying cup of organic tea or coffee before rushing out the door each morning is back in vogue, as many of us bid adieu to high-priced cafes and coffee shops.
The right appliances can help you master the art of making smooth-tasting, flavorful hot beverages.
Read More:Brew a Great Cup of Organic Coffee or Tea
July 11th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Most cats have a visceral reaction to catnip (Nepeta cataria), whose aromatic oils entice them to eat it, rub up against it, roll around on the floor and/or drool. (This is your cat on drugs…)
Growing your own organic catnip is a breeze. Tolerant of virtually any type of soil, the perennial thrives outdoors and in windowsill gardens. You can buy a packet of 450 certified organic catnip seeds for as little as $1.89.
Organic Cat Toys
As for organic cat toys, Duckyworld Products sells a variety of stuffed playthings, including 100% organic catnip pillow toys ($7.69) and the adorable Stinky Sardine ($8.75). The company’s toys are filled solely with 100% organic catnip—no cotton fillers, plastic pieces or other cheap mainstream stuffings.
DIY crafters should check out Holly Tse’s Make Your Own Cat Toys: Saving the Planet One Cat Toy at a Time ($11.95), which features more than 50 projects and lots of eco-friendly cat care tips.
Brew a Cup of Organic Catnip Tea
Humans are not immune to catnip’s botanical powers. Steep dried plant leaves in hot water, and you’ll enjoy a lemony mint tea.
Celebration Herbals sells a box of 24 ready-to-use organic catnip teabags for $4.89. The bags are chlorine-free and can be composted after use, and the box is made from recycled paper.
DIY Beauty Products
Organic catnip essential oil is a natural mosquito repellant, and you can use it to scent handmade bath and body products (soaps, lotions, bath salts). It can, however, be expensive: about $23 per fluid ounce. That said, a little goes a long way, so consider it an investment.
Read More:Frisky Felines—and Their Owners—Enjoy Organic Catnip
May 10th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Starbucks and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have partnered to reduce waste from single-use cups and other packaging.
Starbucks’ goal is to ensure 100% of its cups are reusable or recyclable by 2015.
Currently, the coffee chain considers its cups to be recyclable only in communities where they’re collected and accepted at commercial and residential recycling systems. One of the major challenges Starbucks faces is a variance in local recycling capabilities.
“We know we can’t solve this problem simply by purchasing cups that are labeled ‘recyclable’ or ‘compostable,’” says Jim Hanna, Starbucks’ director of environmental impact. “We have to ensure our customers actually have access to recycling services at their homes, at work and in our stores. We’ll only be successful if the various businesses and organizations that touch this issue are aligned and equally motivated to take action.”
Starbucks’ “holistic approach has the potential to make a significant impact on the entire food-service industry,” says Peter M. Senge, PhD, a senior lecturer at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.
In the last year, Starbucks has introduced front-of-store recycling in Toronto, Canada, where its cups are recyclable, and in San Francisco, where its cups are both recyclable and compostable.
The company plans to introduce front-of-store recycling in Seattle this summer and is discussing testing and implementation plans with other communities, including Denver, Chicago and Boston.
“This collaborative, solution-oriented approach is good for business and good for our planet,” says Jim Hunt, Boston’s chief of environment and energy.
Reusable Cups Preferred
Starbucks also encourages its customers to help reduce cup waste by opting for reusable alternatives.
The company has launched a global marketing campaign to increase tumbler use. Last year, more than 26 million beverages were served in reusable cups in U.S., Canadian and UK stores—a behavioral shift that kept nearly 1.2 million pounds of paper from ending up in landfills.
For Your Organic Bookshelf: My Sister’s a Barista: How They Made Starbucks a Home Away from Home
Read More:Starbucks, MIT Collaborate on Recyclable Cups
March 24th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
While a cup of coffee can get you moving each morning, a java jolt is also a great pick-me-up for your organic garden.
You can use coffee and tea byproducts as a slow-release fertilizer and key compost ingredient. Thinly dispersed coffee grounds serve as a soil amendment that puts nutrients back into the ground.
Here are some tips for getting “grounded”:
- Add coffee grounds (including filters) and tea bags to compost piles to create a rich, all-natural source of energy for plants.
- Dilute with water to make a fast-acting fertilizer.
- Use in soil for houseplants or in vegetable beds.
- Some gardeners believe coffee grounds can help repel pests, such as snails and slugs.
- If your garden needs more nitrogen, turn to coffee. Nitrogen is essential for leaf development.
- Plants that thrive in acidic soil—think pines, evergreens, blueberries, raspberries, roses, azaleas, gardenias, ferns, rhododendrons, lily-of-the-valley and marigolds—can benefit from coffee grounds, which slightly lower soil pH.
- Feed coffee grounds to garden worms. Worm excrement and the aeration provided by tunneling worms work wonders in the garden.
Read More:Give Your Garden a Coffee Break
December 14th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
People who drink more coffee (regular or decaffeinated) or tea appear to have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a rigorous analysis of previous medical studies.
Each cup of regular coffee consumed in a day was associated with a 7% reduction in risk, according to researchers at the University of Sydney, Australia. Those who drank 3 to 4 cups per day had roughly a 25% lower risk than those who drank 0 to 2 cups per day.
People who drank more than 3 to 4 cups of decaffeinated coffee per day had about a 33% lower risk of developing diabetes than those who drank no decaf. And those who drank more than 3 to 4 cups of tea had a 20% lower risk than those who drank no tea.
“That the apparent protective effect of tea and coffee consumption appears to be independent of a number of potential confounding variables raises the possibility of direct biological effects,” the authors write in a paper published in the Dec. 14/28 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.
Because decaf seems to offer protective benefits, caffeine is unlikely to be responsible for the reduced risk. Other compounds in coffee and tea—including magnesium and antioxidants known as lignans or chlorogenic acids—may be involved, the authors note.
Future studies will be required to determine whether therapeutic coffee and tea “doses” can help prevent type 2 diabetes—a disease that will affect 380 million people by 2025.
If such studies confirm these beverages’ interventional effects, the authors envision a time when “we advise our patients most at risk for [type 2] diabetes to increase their consumption of tea and coffee in addition to increasing their levels of physical activity and weight loss.”
We, of course, recommend organic coffee and tea to reduce your exposure to pesticides and toxic chemicals.
Read More:Coffee, Tea Consumption Linked to Lower Diabetes Risk
December 9th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
December is a great time to buy organic teas for yourself or as holiday gifts.
Tea producers roll out new flavors and boxed samplers that are sure to delight organic tea aficionados.
Here are some of my holiday recommendations:
- Art of Tea’s caffeine-free Blueberry Cheesecake dessert tea is handcrafted from organic and Fair Trade South African rooibos, honeybush and antioxidant-rich blueberries. It’s infused with a natural, creamy flavor.
- Numi’s new Mint Puerh comes from China’s Yunnan Mountains. Large handpicked leaves are slightly oxidized in the sun, yielding a golden tea. The flavor is smooth and mellow, with a sweet aftertaste.
- The Republic of Tea’s new Blood Orange Green Tea is a limited edition, created in partnership with Whole Foods Market. Ingredients include organic/Fair Trade full-leaf green tea, organic orange peel, natural flavors and orange fruit.
- The Chopra Center’s Organic Passion Plum Holiday Tea, also a caffeine-free limited edition, combines organic hibiscus, cinnamon, rosehips, orange, Siberian ginseng and passion flower.
Visit the OrganicAuthority Shop for a wide selection of your favorite teas—from Tangerine Ginger to Jasmine Pearl.
Read More:4 New Organic Holiday Teas
September 5th, 2009 - Barbara Feiner
Pears are one of my favorite fruits, and they’re currently in season.
Two new organic pear products have found their way into my grocery cart: Zhena Caramelized Pear Tea and Wallaby Nonfat Bartlett Pear Yogurt.
The Caramelized Pear Tea is a blend of organic ingredients: 100% Fair Trade green tea, pear pieces, marigold flowers, and caramel and pear flavors. The 15 biodegradable tea sachets, made of GMO-free corn silk, are packed in a recyclable, airtight tin.
The Bartlett Pear Yogurt also features all-organic ingredients: cultured pasteurized nonfat milk, evaporated cane juice, pear juice concentrate, natural flavor, pectin and locust bean gum. A 6-oz. container has 130 calories and meets 25% of your daily calcium requirement. Click here to find a store near you.
Pick up some organic pears at your local farmers’ market, and try four favorite recipes:
- Romaine, Pecan and Pear Salad
- Wilted Greens with Pinot Pears
- Marjoram-Scented Pears with Gorgonzola
- Pear and Chocolate Spread
Also: Check out an old favorite, Dishmate Pear Ultra Concentrated Dish Washing Liquid.
Read More:New Organic Pear Products