Friday, March 12, 2010

Helping Hounds

By Brianne Harrison

Greyhounds are amazing creatures—majestic, elegant, and from what I hear, incredible family pets. But the breed has a storied (and often tragic) history, with many of these dogs ending up on racetracks, where they’re frequently subjected to strenuous races and cruel treatment. Too often, their careers are short, and dogs are disposed of once they’re no longer bringing in money.

Thankfully, there are a number of rescues devoted to saving these dogs and finding them good homes. One, Greyhound Friends of New Jersey, Inc., is having a fundraiser March 27. The evening will feature prizes, a buffet dinner, cash bar, and a tricky tray, all for a $25 donation. Space is limited, so if you’re interested in spending a fun evening helping animals in need, e-mail

In other news…
Nature’s Variety has issued a voluntary recall of its Chicken Formula Raw Frozen Diets for dogs and cats with an expiration date of 10/29/10 or 11/9/10 and Chicken Formula and Organic Chicken Formula Raw Frozen Diets with an expiration date on or before 2/5/11 due to possible salmonella contamination. If you’ve purchased any of these items, return them to your retailer for a full refund or replacement.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Books for a Better World

By Jennifer Chaky

I frequently have customers ask me what they can do with their used books. Here at the store, I started a book swap-shelf where locals can pop in and browse the books that have been left by others and drop off books that they are finished with. Books are just one of those things that should be passed on. It keeps books out of landfills/incinerators and spreads knowledge. What can be better than that?

Well, here is a website that took that idea to a world-wide level and is going beyond just sharing books: it is also supporting world literacy. At Better World Books individuals can actually sell their unwanted books using the buyback program. Simply type in the ISBN of each book you want to sell, and Better World Books will give you a price for each book and even pay for shipping to them (using carbon-offset shipping no less!). They then sell the books, with proceeds going to five major nonprofit literacy partners and over 80 literacy-based non-profits.

Jennifer Chaky is the owner of Go Lightly, Montclair New Jersey's green-living store. She lives in Montclair with her daughter and menagerie of rescued animals.

And if you are shopping for books, you can browse the huge selection that will either come from Better World Books new or used, or from an independent bookseller partnering with BWB. They even have a database of local libraries that offer "online sidewalk sales" of discarded library books.

So when you're doing your Spring cleaning, or next time you're in the market for books, check out Better World Books and be a part of making the world better!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

It’s Cold (Season) Out There!

By Lauren Johnson

The weather's been warming up a bit lately, but it’s still cold season, which means thinking twice about touching doors and grocery carts with bare hands. And with the cold air sucking the moisture out of every crevice of your body, like me, you may find yourself in moisturizer overdrive. My biggest winter issue is dry lips, but with colds coming and going, I’m always wary about germs collecting on my chapstick.

Fortunately, I found a product that kills two birds with one stone. Honey House Propolis Salve (.85 oz.) shares a dual purpose in that is can be used as a skin salve as well as a lip balm. The bonus is that propolis (which bees make by combining the resins of poplar and conifer trees, beeswax, and pollen) has an acidic pH, which causes it to possess anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties.

Not only does this product soothe the driest skin and lips, it has a delicious warm honey aroma that will make you want to put on the kettle for a cup of tea.

Honey House Propolis Salve
Ingredients: Olive oil, calendula*, plantain, comfrey root, raw honey, beeswax, propolis, and vitamin E *organic, to order, or for store locations

Starting Point

By Gerard Bochese

With the myriad exercise equipment lined up in the gym and the plethora of exercises to choose from, where does one begin when designing an effective workout program?

Though designing an exercise program may seem complex and confusing, it can be broken down to fairly simple movement patterns. The human body has moved and performed the same way since its inception. The apparatus we use today may be very high tech but the movements are based on what we call Primal Movement Patterns:

1) We push
2) We pull
3) We level change
4) We flex and extend
5) We twist and rotate
6) We ambulate

If we include these movements in our exercise routine we will cover all aspects of our training and see positive results both aesthetically and functionally.

Each category holds a multitude of exercises and by simply choosing several from each category you can build a solid and complete routine that will both strengthen the individual muscle groups and, more importantly, balance the body so it will be equally strong in all movements and directions.

Balancing the body is extremely important in achieving optimal fitness and staying injury free. So often people only train the muscles they can see in the mirror or the muscles that are their favorite on the beach – chest, abs biceps. However, by overtraining certain muscle groups at the expense of other groups we create muscular imbalances in our bodies that will result in postural problems, chronic pain, and potential injury. Furthermore, if the body is not well balanced and certain muscles are noticeably weaker, this will affect your ability to strengthen and develop those muscles you really like – the body works as one unit and a weakness in one area will affect another area. Therefore, it becomes critical that you do an equal amount of exercises in each category (ex. If you do 5 push exercises you must do 5 pull exercises).

Here are some examples of exercises from each category:
1) Push – chest press, tricep extension
2) Pull – seated row, bicep curl
3) Level change – these make up our leg exercises – squats, lunges
4) Flex and extend – shortening and lengthening our core – crunches (shorten), hyperextensions (lengthen)
5) Twist and rotate – using cables, resistance bands or medicine balls we perform rotating motions through our core
6) Ambulate – jogging, sprinting, jumping forward

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Learn to Live Holistically

By Brianne Harrison

You hear a lot about holistic health and alternative health practices these days, but as with anything that starts to get very popular, there’s a lot of information out there to sort through. How do you know which treatments are best for you and your family? How do you go about choosing the right practitioner? What can be treated, and how do they do it?

The annual Mindful Living Holistic Health and Wellness Fair, which will take place March 21, aims to answer many of these questions—and any others you may have—by giving attendees the chance to meet vendors who specialize in a wide array of complementary health and wellness disciplines. Now in its third year, the Holistic Health and Wellness Fair has highlighted yoga studios, fitness instructors, massage therapists, Reiki practitioners, green architects, chiropractors, acupuncturists, wellness centers, homeopaths and naturopaths, to name just a few. This year promises even more for both adults and children. Parents can chat with practitioners and sample a wide variety of products while the younger members of the crowd are treated to a musical performance by Sister Sing Sister String and demonstrations by Wholesome Kids Cook, Jen Slaw Juggler, and Step2gether.

The event is free and open to the public, so stop by, have your questions answered, and find new ways to live a healthier life.

The 3rd Annual Mindful Living Community Holistic Health and Wellness Fair will be held March 21 from 12 noon to 4 p.m. at the Maplewood Woman’s Club, 60 Woodland Rd., Maplewood. For more information, visit

Monday, March 8, 2010

Mussel Power

By Brianne Harrison

When I need to do a quick, lean, satisfying meal at any time of the year, I find myself grabbing a bag of mussels. Mussels are rather brilliant creatures. They’re inexpensive, cook in minutes, and practically create their own sauce. They can be eaten on their own, in a white wine sauce, or with chopped tomatoes and herbs. Like chicken, the possibilities are nearly endless, but this is my favorite preparation:

Steamed Mussels
1 lb mussels, cleaned and debearded
½ yellow onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ cup dry white wine
a few sprigs of thyme

Pick over the mussels and discard any that are open and don’t close when lightly tapped.

In a large pot with a lid, heat just enough olive oil to cover the bottom over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions and sauté for a minute, until the onion starts to take on a creamy color.

Add the mussels, white wine, and thyme. Cover the pot and let steam for about 5-7 minutes, shaking the pot occasionally. Check the mussels; if they’re open, they’re done.

I usually serve this over whole-wheat spaghetti, with some garlic bread to sop up the juices. If you want a slightly more robust sauce, remove the mussels from the pot after they’re done and whisk a knob of butter into the juices.

Healthy Roundup
Mussels are fairly low fat and are good sources of protein, vitamin C, Thiamin, riboflavin, folate, potassium, zinc, vitamin B12, iron, phosphorus, manganese, and selenium.

Garlic has been said to reduce cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure. It’s also an excellent source of vitamins B6 and c and a good source of selenium