Brown Girl Goes Green

Healthy living, Green lifestyle, Beauty, Natural products

How to safely be a Vegetarian: Salads are NOT enough. April 29, 2012

Filed under: Eat Clean,Vegetarianism — backpackready @ 7:57 pm
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 *** A Healthy Vegetarian is a Thoughtful Nutrient Focused Meal Planner***

Although there are many ethical, health, and environmental reasons for vegetarianism, it can be detrimental to your health if not carefully planned.  Animals serve as thoughtless/easy sources of protein, essential fatty acids, Iron, vitamin B 12, etc that may not be as easily obtained from nonmeat sources. I personally recommend a daily multivitamin for this lifestyle.

Beef is full of protein but cows don’t eat other animals… they eat grass!… so where do cows get their protein from?”

The Most common question a vegetarian is asked is, “Where do you get your protein?”  Protein is actually very available from beans, tofu, chickpeas, etc.  What you should be concerned about is Vitamin B12, Iron, & Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)

21 Sources of Protein for Vegetarians:

I’ll list a few common/easy vegetarian Protein Sources from the above webpage:  Garbanzo beans (14.5 grams), Soybeans (28 grams), 1 cup tofu (22 grams), 1 cup lentils (18 grams), 1 cup yogurt (13 grams), Avocado (10 grams).

There are many sites that list plant vitamin B12 sources, but unfortunately, vegetables, seaweed, and whatever other plant sources mentioned are NOT reliable sources of adequate B vitamins. The levels of B12 in plants are highly dependent on where it is grown, when it is picked, and how soon it is eaten after picking.  Although I consider myself a “clean eater”, the most reliable way to get sufficient B12 is via fortified cereals & B12 vitamin supplements which are inexpensive & effective. If you are not vegan;  Milk, yogurt, and eggs are great vitamin B12 sources.

Good, easy to read article on the importance of Vitamin B12 & appropriate sources:

Iron Sources: Green leafy vegetables, prunes, chick peas, beans, millet.

12 Top Vegan Iron Sources & daily Iron Requirements:

 Tannins in Coffee & tea can decrease Iron absorption so don’t drink it within 2 hours of eating your iron rich foods.  I will emphasize that tea, especially Green Tea is an excellent source of antioxidants.  Just try to avoid drinking it with your high Iron foods.  Vitamin C increases absorption of Iron. So eat all the oranges and other vitamin C rich foods you want with Iron Sources. Conveniently, many foods that are rich in Iron are also rich in vitamin C.  Popeye must have been on to something 😉  Side Note:  If you decide to take Iron supplements, drink plenty of water and increase your  fiber intake,  as Iron supplements commonly cause constipation.

EFAs: flax seed oil, olive oil, avocados, nuts.

EFA: Research articles-Good for those with science background: Achieving optimal essential fatty acid status in vegetarians: . Vegetarian’s Challenge-Optimizing Essential Fatty Acid status (a bit easier to read than the first article)

Easy read to understand importance of essential fatty acids and sources:


Whatever your reason for considering vegetarianism, use those same reasons to work a little harder to ensure you obtain the nutrients you need for a full, long, healthy lifestyle that is free of animal cruelty. Besides…you’re not helping the cause when you are sick and malnourished with your hair falling out.

Wonderful link on nonmeat nutrient sources:



“Clean Eating”? What is it and what are the benefits? March 30, 2012

Filed under: Eat Clean — backpackready @ 5:56 am
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Clean eating is not a fad or a “diet”. It is a way of life that supports health and wellbeing by avoiding overly processed foods with hydrogenated oils, trans-fats, added sugars, and anything else that unnatural.

Basic Guide

*Start Reading labels: Avoid foods with white flour, sugar & sugar substitutes, saturated fats & trans-fats.

*What you should be eating

Complex carbs with 100%  whole grains.  Don’t be tricked into buying “multi-grain” as it is NOT interchangeable with whole grains.  Good site for more info on this:


Fresh fruits and vegetables (I’ll tell you how to make this cheaper). 

Lean meats: chicken & fish whenever possible (not fried). Staying away from processed fatty meats (NoNos: spam, Vienna sausages, mystery meat, etc).


*The Big PurgeGet rid of “Dirty” foods: Adopt a no junk food allowed policy.  If it’s not in your house, you are less likely to eat it.  Parents, remember that you are not “punishing” your child by decreasing their access to foods that predispose them to diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and obesity.  I’ll avoid my soapbox, but if your 3 year old is crying for McDonalds it’s because you have been taking them there…jus sayin’.

*Any lifestyle change takes time, so be patient with yourself and with your family.  It’s perfectly normal to slip up sometimes (i.e office parties, birthday).  The longer and more committed you become to health and clean eating the less slip ups you will have. 


Slip ups can be discouraging. Here are few ways to stay on track….

# 1 Tip:  NEVER EVER be caught hungry and without healthy options.  This is achieved by always carrying a snack: keep a bag of almonds in your purse or car, have fruit (fresh or dried) available, take a sandwich with you. 

#2:  Extension of #1: Become a Snack believer.  And EAT BREAKFAST.  When you are hungry, you become preoccupied with EATING (clean or dirty…who cares? I’m starving).  STOP SAVING YOUR APPETITE. What exactly are you “saving it for”?  It’s food, not a pot of gold.  You’re probably hard to get along with when you’re hungry anyway. When you go into an “eating situation” you are more likely to make healthy choices when you are not starving.  That is what to-go boxes are made for.

#3: Ignore Diet sabatogers: Diet sabatogers are not necessarily evil people.  They are your coworkers, your parents, your friends. Remember that your body is a temple (I Corinthians 16:9…if getting biblical helps you). If they choose to put hydrogenated oils and trans fats in their temples, that is up to them.  But, they should not be allowed to force them in yours. You have chosen a lifestyle that supports vitality and health.  You can NOT be a people pleaser with your health.  So… if you choose to eat a slither of birthday cake, make sure it’s what you want, not because you are concerned with what others think.  Good article on Diet sabatoge: Good blog on saying NO to food pushers:

#4: Be cautious about broadcasting your lifestyle change.  This can sometimes put the aforementioned diet sabatogers and health haters in full gear. Some people are just jealous in advance. They can already see you looking and feeling better. 

#5: Change the way you think about food.  You should eat to live not live to eat.  Stop striving to be FULL!!  Stop eating when you are no longer hungry.  That “full” feeling means you have eaten too much.  Eat slowly, drink sips of water between every few bites, and enjoy your food, don’t inhale it.  

Examples of ways to avoid close calls and health sabatogers.

1.       Unfortunately most of the best social experiences have the “best” food. You can still enjoy cookouts, parties, and other gatherings with food (GWF) while avoiding slip-ups.

a.       Eat before you go.  Doesn’t have to be a full meal. I always have a bowl of oatmeal before GWF.  If you do this, you can focus on the people not the food.  And…if you choose to eat there, you are less likely to overindulge…think 2 chicken wings, not 5.

b.       Okay you were in a hurry and didn’t eat beforehand (tisk tisk).  Start drinking water as soon as you get there. Water may take the edge off your perceived hunger, allowing you to think logically, and you probably aren’t drinking enough water anyway. Bottoms up (with water).

c.        Start with a salad or fruit. Just remember that lettuce and tomatoes do not cancel out fried chicken, croutons, ranch dressing, and other calorie-rich salad toppers.

d.       Put smaller portions of food on your plate. If at a restaurant with large portions, immediately put half in a to-go box.  We have a tendency to want to “clean our plates”, so just have less food there.

2.       Avoid alcohol when possible.  Drunkà Waffle house, Krystals, and ihop.  nuff said.



Give that “Trash” a New Life March 27, 2012

Filed under: Green — backpackready @ 11:26 pm
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I surfed the web far and wide to find ways to reuse items I would normally throw away.  Many of the sites list over 20 uses.  I am only addressing things I would realistically do (jus keepin’ it real).  Using a cereal box to start a fire may be possible, but I’m more likely to use it to mail something I sold on Ebay. The links are listed below if you want more ideas. Enjoy!

Cereal Boxes

  1. Cheap way to mail stuff.
  2. Cut it up and make a Bookmarks


Plastic Grocery Bags

  1. Trash bags (who hasn’t done this one?)
  2. Mailing fillers
  3. Keep several in your car: Trash, dirty shoes, car sickness
  4. Place a plastic bag inside or next to the sink when you peel fruits or vegetables. Easy cleanup.

Peanut butter jars

  1. Snack container on trips
  2. *See glass jars*

Glass Jars

  1. Picture frames (I ♥ this)
  2. Candle holder
  3. Storage: toothbrushes, candy, spices, hairpins.
  4. Desk organizer
  5. Store items you purchase in bulk such as spices, cereal, flour or grains.
  6. Utensil holder for forks, knives or spoons
  7. Give gifts such as chocolate, cookies, homemade jelly, trail mix, bath salts, etc. Add a special homemade touch by decorating the outside.
  8. Flower vase
  9. Organize sewing supplies
  10. Organize hair accessories (I already do this).
  11. Organize Laundry Supplies:  Perfect for storing your homemade “green” detergent.


***How to remove a jar label***

(1)     Remove as much of the label as you can with your fingers. 

(2)     Under hot running water rub remaining label off with a fork or spoon.

(3)     Remove any remaining adhesive with rubbing alcohol.

Wine bottles: I may have a few of these….

  1. Candle holders
  2. Fill empty wine bottles with olive oil, herbs, rice, vinegar, and other kitchen staples.
  3. Water plants while you are away: If the plant and pot are large enough to accommodate the bottle, simply fill with water and insert the neck into the soil.
  4. If you have a glass cutting kit:  homemade drinking glasses, candle displays, vase


  1. Gift wrapping. Use the comic section and they will see you as unique instead of cheap.  Use Magazine pages for smaller items.
  2. Mailing fillers
  3. Great for cleaning mirrors and windows
  4. Make your own seeding pots
  5. Burn it up. Instead of a starter log in the fireplace or at a bonfire, use tightly rolled pieces of newsprint instead.

Zip lock bags…  Not the ones you bought in the cute little boxes, the ones your pita bread, frozen veges, and almonds came in.   A zip lock bag is a zip lock bag.  Put a sandwich in it.  Nuff said.

 chopped onions inside an almond bag.

Shoe boxes: You can always paint or decorate the outside of the box. If you mess it up, it’s just a shoe box. Get another one and try again.

  1. Drawer organizers
  2. Organize manuals & warranties: You know the papers & little booklets that come with washer machines, computers, and food dehydrators.
  3. Organize cords: extension cords, power cords, camera cords  (make sure you put a label on the outside)
  4. Old photos
  5. Daily mail container
  6. Moving boxes for the small things ( silverware, jewelry, hair stuff)
  7. Organize spice jars in your cabinet
  8. Cover it with fabric & use to store CD/ DVDs.
  9. Taxes ewww: Put your receipts in them & mark the month /year on the end and store in closet for returns or taxes, etc.
  10. Small emergency kits to carry in your car.




Start Recycling…..I’ll tell you how.

Filed under: Green — backpackready @ 5:01 am
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Learning how to RECYCLE.  Yes, I said LEARN. If you did not grow up in an environment where recycling is common place, it’s difficult to know where to start.  Thank God for the internet!  I want to recycle not because it is the trendy thing to do, but because it is the right thing to do.  It is important to understand that recycling does not stand alone.  It is a component of a 3 part system: Reduce (don’t use or buy what you don’t need), Reuse (I’m sure that glass jar can be used for something else after a good rinse), Recycle the rest.

Source: Homemade Simple

  1. Know what can be recycled. This is just basic info, so check with your local recycling center for specifics on what they will and will not accept.  Source:
    1. Glass drinking bottles (no lid)
    2. Milk & other cartons
    3. Paper (duh).  This includes magazines, newspapers, waste office paper & greeting cards and cereal boxes.
    4. Aluminum drink cans. Some places don’t accept foil wrap so check first.
    5. Tin cans, paint tins, aerosol containers (not all places accept), coffee tins, jar lids, and bottle tops
    6. Plastics (look for the recycle symbol), leave the lid off.
    7. Glass drinking bottles (leave the lids off)

2.     Don’t be gross. Rinse the food or drink residues off before tossing it.  You may even think a new use for it after it clean. Ragu container with gunky tomato stuff=trash.  Clean glass bottle formerly known as Ragu= tooth brush holder, bobby pin container, or homemade jelly container.

 3.     Where do I put this stuff while I’m collecting it? Unfortunately Recycling takes up space, so you need to create a system that minimizes the clutter and doesn’t interfere with daily life.

A few ideas

  1. Tubs or small trash bins under the sink
  2. Containers outside the kitchen
  3. Separate material types into bags and keep them in a large tub
  4. If you have things that need to be taken to a processing center, you’ll need somewhere (back porch, back yard, secret closet, bat cave, where ever) to allow these things to accumulate.

 4.      Okay, now where do I take this stuff? Here is a site I found helpful.  It’s easy to navigate and all you have to put in is your zip code.

Or…you can just type in your location and “recycling” into yahoo or google and see what happens.


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