5 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

On April 22, 192 countries from around the world will all celebrate a very important holiday—Earth Day!

Schools will plant trees, groups will pick up trash in community parks, and thousands of people will pitch in to help clean up our earth in an effort to keep it beautiful for generations to come. This holiday is such a great reminder to all of us about how we must take care of the earth we live on.

We at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction believe we should take care of our earth as if every day is earth day. Which is why, on this holiday, we want to share a few ideas of things you can do to celebrate earth day that will help keep our planet clean and safe.

This Earth Day, and every day after, see if you can put some of these activities into action.

Picnic and Park Cleanup

Every now and then it’s nice to pack up a picnic lunch, head to your favorite park, and enjoy time outside with your friends and family.

The next time you head out for a picnic, we suggest you bring a few trash bags with you.

Before you dig into your delicious picnic basket, spend 15 minutes with your friends or family walking around the park, picking up trash. The more people you have, the quicker you’ll be able to clean up your park.

After you’ve collected your trash, dump it in the nearest trash can, wash up with some hand sanitizer or wet wipes, and then reward yourself for a job well done by diving into your picnic feast.

Take a Bike Trip

There’s nothing more fun than a bike ride on a nice sunny day—except maybe taking a bike ride to grab some ice cream or another one of your favorite treats.

If you live in town and can bike to your local ice cream parlor, celebrate Earth Day with a bike ride to grab a sweet treat.

Taking your bike instead of a car cuts down on gas emissions, which pollute the earth. Plus, you’ll get some good exercise as you ride your bike.

We then encourage you, if you feel safe enough, to take your bike instead of a car wherever you can. We understand this isn’t possible for everyone, but if you live in a community with safe bike paths, give it a try!

Plant a Garden in Your Yard

Planting a garden is a great way to make your yard look beautiful while helping the earth.

Planting a flower garden helps the bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds get the food they need from nectar to thrive. More important, flowers provide bees with the energy they need to pollenate our food sources so we can eat fresh produce.

If you’re a tree lover, planting trees is great, too! Adding a few new trees in your backyard is good for increasing oxygen levels as trees take unbreathable CO2 emissions and turn it into oxygen.

Last but not least, you can also plant a veggie garden. The flowers on the vegetables provide bees with food. In return, the bees pollinate the flowers so that your vegetables can bud and grow. Bonus, you get the reward of having fresh organic veggies when you grow your own garden!

Make a Recycle Bin for Your Home

Every day people throw recyclable materials, like plastic, in the trash. And this is a problem because plastic doesn’t decompose.

When nonbiodegradable products are put in landfills, they pollute the earth and can even put animals at risk. If you’ve ever seen pictures of animals caught in plastic soda rings or images of birds and other critters tangled in plastic bags, you know what we’re talking about.

The good news is you can help change this problem.

All you have to do is go out to the store and get a bin. If you’d like, you can decorate it and label it “recycle.” Then all you need to do is throw your plastic containers, cardboard, and glass products in the recycle bin instead of the trash.

Once you’ve collected a full bin of recyclable materials, dump it in your outdoor recycle trash bin, or bring it to your local recycling center.

Turn Trash into Treasure with Repairing and Repurposing

These days, people are quick to throw things in the trash without trying to fix or reuse what they are throwing away.

A great example is a basketball that has a leak. Instead of throwing away the basketball, you may be able to fix it with a simple patch job. When you can repair instead of throwing away your things, you create less waste.

On the other hand, there are things that can’t be repaired or used in the same way again.

One example is an old t-shirt that no longer fits because you’ve grown. Instead of just throwing it in the trash, there are several things you can do with it.

First, you could donate it to someone in need, as long as it’s in good condition.

If it’s not in good condition, consider cutting it up into small cleaning rags and using those pieces of clothes to clean instead of buying a new package of washcloths at the store.

If you use some creativity, there are many ways you can repurpose older things into new things.

Do you do anything special to celebrate Earth Day? Share it with us in the comments below!

Delicious and Nutritious Plants for Your Spring Vegetable Garden

Spring has officially sprung, and it’s time to start planting your spring garden, packed with delicious and nutritious veggies. Yum!

If you’ve never planted a vegetable garden before, or are looking for some new ideas for your existing garden, you’ve come to the right place. Today, we’re going to share some of our favorite veggies that thrive in gardens during the cooler spring months.

Even better, we’re going to share some delicious recipes you can use once your veggies are mature and ready to harvest.

Keep reading to discover the best types of veggies to plant this time of year and a variety of different recipes you can use to make these nutritious veggies taste great!

Lettuce

From iceberg to romaine, spring is the prime season for growing lettuce. In fact, it’s the best time you should have this leafy vegetable in your garden.

That’s because as soon as the weather gets hot, lettuce wilts and dies. So, start planting now!

We recommend growing romaine lettuce in your garden. The darker-colored lettuce varieties tend to have more vitamins and nutrients, like manganese, potassium, biotin, vitamin B1, copper, iron, and vitamin C, and are a very good source of dietary fiber.

Once you’ve harvested your lettuce, try out this delicious lettuce wrap recipe!

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1-1/2 teaspoons peanut oil, divided
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 1 can (8 ounces) water chestnuts, drained and diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh gingerroot
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium teriyaki sauce
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup julienned green onions
  • 12 Bibb or Boston lettuce leaves
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Directions:

#1. In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, cook chicken in 1 tablespoon oil for 3 minutes; drain. Add the mushrooms, water chestnuts and ginger; cook 4-6 minutes longer or until chicken is no longer pink. Drain and set aside.

#2. In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar, teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, garlic powder, red pepper flakes and remaining oil. Stir in the carrots, onions and chicken mixture.

#3. Spoon onto lettuce leaves; sprinkle with almonds. If desired, fold sides of lettuce over filling and roll up. Yield: 6 servings.

Recipe source: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/chicken-lettuce-wraps 

Broccoli  

Broccoli is another hardy cool weather veggie, which makes it perfect for springtime planting.

The best part—it’s a very low maintenance plant to grow. As long as you plant it in an area with full access to sunlight and water it every day, you’ll have beautiful broccoli stalks shooting up in your garden before you know it.

Tip: Broccoli does not like hot weather. For this reason, we advise you to pick up partially grown stalks from your local plant nursery so it has time to mature before summer hits.

Once harvested, each stalk is packed with dietary fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin E, manganese, phosphorus, vitamin B1, vitamin A, potassium, and copper. All of these nutrients are vital for a healthy body.

When your broccoli is ready to eat, we recommend trying out this broccoli salad recipe.

Broccoli Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5-6 cups fresh broccoli florets (about 1 pound of florets)
  • 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup cooked, crumbled bacon
  • 1/4 cup of red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup of frozen peas, thawed (or fresh peas if you can get them)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey

Directions:

#1. Bring a large pot of water, salted with a teaspoon of salt, to a boil. Add the broccoli florets. Cook 1-2 minutes, depending on how crunchy you want the broccoli. 1 minute will turn the broccoli bright green, and leave it still pretty crunchy. 2 minutes will cook the broccoli through, but still firm.

#2. Drain the broccoli and immediately put into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. After the broccoli cools, drain it well before dressing it in the next step.

#3. Combine broccoli florets, almonds, crumbled bacon, chopped onion, and peas in a large serving bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, cider vinegar and honey.

#4. Add dressing to the salad and toss to mix well. Chill thoroughly before serving.

Recipe Source: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/broccoli_salad/

Asparagus

Asparagus is a delicious and hardy spring vegetable. The only downside—this type of produce tends to be expensive when you buy it from a grocery store.

The solution: Grow your own at home and save big!

Because asparagus is typically grown from asparagus crowns that you buy at your local garden store, this veggie is pretty easy to grow. It’s also low maintenance, which makes it the perfect vegetable for those who are new to gardening.

On top of being easy to grow, it’s also very nutritious. It’s a very good source of fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E and K. It also contains chromium, a trace mineral that enhances the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells.

Pretty neat!

Personally, my favorite way to consume asparagus is by cooking it on the grill.

Simply coat the asparagus stalks in a little bit of olive oil, then lightly salt and pepper.

Throw the stacks directly on the grill, or use a grill pan, and cook for about 10-15 minutes. The longer you cook the stalks, the softer they will become.

Super easy and delicious!

Tip: You can add whatever seasoning you like to asparagus. Experiment with different seasoning combinations until you find the flavoring you like best!

Do you have a favorite spring vegetable?

Let us know in the comments below!