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Welcome once again for another week's round-up of eco-foodie news, tips, links & recipes. Each week I glean tasty bits from the various blogs & sites I follow outside of the Kos-verse and bring them together here for your perusal. If you have a good tasty bit to share let us know about it in the comments!

And your weekly "what is this?" for your guessing pleasure:


It's Time to End the War on Salt

For decades, policy makers have tried and failed to get Americans to eat less salt. In April 2010 the Institute of Medicine urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to regulate the amount of salt that food manufacturers put into products; New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has already convinced 16 companies to do so voluntarily. But if the U.S. does conquer salt, what will we gain? Bland french fries, for sure. But a healthy nation? Not necessarily.

Study Investigates Association Between Intake of Sodium and Potassium and Deaths Among U.S. Adults

According to background information in the article, previous trials and studies have demonstrated apparent associations between increased blood pressure and high sodium intake or low potassium intake. "Recently, several studies suggested that the ratio of sodium to potassium intakes represented a more important risk factor for hypertension and CVD than each factor alone," write the authors. "Examining the joint effects of sodium and potassium intakes on CVD risk is particularly important because most of the U.S. population consumes more sodium and less potassium daily than recommended."

Salt cravings may be the origin of all drug addictions

New research has shown that cocaine and opiates may hijack the same brain connections that serve to make us crave salt. The scientists discovered this when mice with blocked addiction-related pathways no longer had the sodium cravings that normal mice did.

Drinking six to eight cups of water called 'nonsense' in editorial

In a commentary published online in the British Medical Journal, Margaret McCartney quotes experts that say drinking too much water can cause hyponatremia (low sodium levels in the blood) and expose people to pollutants. And the public health push makes people feel guilty for not drinking enough.
The answer isn’t cut and dry, says an article by the Mayo Clinic, and depends on your exercise level, health conditions and the heat and humidity of your environment. In general, the Institute of Medicine recommends about nine cups of beverages for women and 13 cups for men.
“If you drink enough fluid so that you rarely feel thirsty and produce 1.5 liters (6.3 cups) or more of colorless or slightly yellow urine a day, your fluid intake is probably adequate.”

Omega-3 Reduces Anxiety and Inflammation in Healthy Students

A new study gauging the impact of consuming more fish oil showed a marked reduction both in inflammation and, surprisingly, in anxiety among a cohort of healthy young people.
The findings suggest that if young participants can get such improvements from specific dietary supplements, then the elderly and people at high risk for certain diseases might benefit even more.

Can We Be Trained to Like Healthy Foods?

Rather than focus on limiting the unhealthful aspects of diet, Gary Beauchamp, a biopsychologist and a leading expert on chemosensory science, prefers to study the promotion of good-for-you foods. Based on data he has collected in the past 40 years, Beauchamp thinks ''that complex multisensory flavor profiles—even more so than individual tastes such as sweet or bitter—are influenced by our experiences during the first few months of life." And if parents introduce healthful tastes and flavors, such as carrots or broccoli, early on, an infant will not only rapidly adapt, but will also develop a preference for these flavors that could persist for a lifetime.

Makers of food, drinks marketed to children propose their own rules

The self-imposed regulations, announced Thursday, would give companies time to make adjustments. Under the plan, the recipes of about one-third of all food and beverages marketed to children would have to change as of Dec. 31, 2013, if they are to continue being advertised.
The self-regulation effort involved a number of the largest food and beverage producers in the U.S., including Kraft Foods Inc., Kellogg Co., Nestle, Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc.
The move came after a handful of federal agencies, including the Federal Trade Commission, were directed by Congress to establish guidelines for such advertising.

New Mass. school food rules ban sweet snacks

The rules, approved unanimously by the state Public Health Council, ban foods with artificial sweeteners, trans fats, and caffeine from schools' a la carte lines, vending machines, stores, events and fundraisers. They also ban fried foods and limit the amount of fat, sodium, and sugar that can be in school foods.
In addition, the regulations require schools to offer unsweetened fruits and vegetables wherever food is sold besides in vending machines, and provide water for free at all times. Breads must be made with whole grain, juices must be 100 percent fruit juice, and flavored milk cannot have more sugar than plain low-fat milk.

Going Meat-Free One Day a Week Saves More Greenhouse Gas Emissions Than A 100% Local Diet

All the talk in recent years about local food has led some people to believe that's the greatest way to reduce their diet-related carbon footprint. That's wrong, and as a recent study shows, cutting out red meat (not even chicken or fish) for less than a day has the same net impact on emissions as eating a local diet 100 percent of the time. That's not to say people should stop there, since that net impact totals a mere four to five percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, according to the study published in the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology.

Car2go Brings First All-Electric Car Sharing Service to the US

It makes sense on a number of levels to start an all-electric service in San Diego, explains Car2go CEO Nicholas Cole. "It's a bit of a tech hub, and one of the great things is that ECOtality and the EV Project are in the process of installing 1,000 charging stations in the city by the end of the fourth quarter in 2011. Car2go will have direct access."
Car2go's model is simpler than competitors like Zipcar. Whereas Zipcar requires members to pick up and return cars from the same location, make reservations to rent vehicles in advance, and pay by the hour, Car2go members can rent vehicles by the minute without reservations--and drop off the vehicles at designated points throughout the city.

Home & Garden

Solar Power Near You: One Nation Off the Grid

This is exciting news: last year we wrote about 1Bog, the San Francisco-based company endeavoring to make solar purchases more accessible and affordable by having you sign up and pay for solar panels as a group. Well, while previously only residents of the largest solar markets could take advantage of the group pricing, the program has been such a hit that now every place in the nation is eligible if you can get enough people in your neighborhood to sign up!

Smart Gardener Creates Customized Garden Plans for You and Sends Gardening To-dos

Gone to Seed: Swiss Chard
Gorgeous photos and some good advice regarding Swiss Chard plants.

5 Clever Uses for Toothpaste

Nontoxic, homemade brass polish

25 Alternate Uses for Coffee Filters

10 Helpful Tips to Keep Pets Comfy and Safe while Travelling

Turn a Shoe Organizer into a Planter

Make Quick and Dirty Fire Starters Out of Egg Cartons, Drier Lint, and Candle Stubs

Increase Grilling Flavor by Making Your Own Charcoal

Vinegar-The Frugal Person's Manna (part 1)(part 2)

Tiered Table Stand Made with Decorative Tins

Homemade Scrubbies Scouring Pads


Romesco Sauce

Asparagus Crab Soup

Cold Borscht-Chilled Beet Soup

Quinoa chowder with cumin, feta and spinach

Chopped Vegetable Salad with Lemon Garlic Dressing

Asian Kohl Slaw Yes, as you might have guessed from the spelling it's made with kohlrabi!

How to make ricotta cheese

Franglais: Boursin Smashed Potatoes

Lemon and herb potatoes While they oven roasted these I can totally see this working in foil packets on the grill too!

Potato & Asparagus Pizzas

Espagueti Verdi

Whole wheat raspberry ricotta scones

Pecan peach ice cream

Well, that is our weekly plate of tasty bits! Thanks for stopping by!

9:42 PM PT: cross-posted to firefly-dreaming and Original Cin's

Originally posted to Environmental Foodies on Wed Jul 20, 2011 at 04:04 PM PDT.

Also republished by Living Simply.

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