Reiki natural healing may trump man-made antidepressants

"Life's not easy."

I am not immune to this cliché. Lately, bad memories from the past surfaced with the help of corporate job stress, a car accident involving a semi-truck, adapting to a new town and never-ending family responsibilities. The result is a terrible sickness: stress. 

Even good things have added stress. For the past few months, I have been helping small, locally owned businesses grow their social media presence. It's been rewarding. But it also was one more to-do on my to-do list.

I've helped my yoga studio by advising on better Facebook exposure and placing them in the local newspaper. I also have been coaching its yoga teachers by setting up and educating them on how social media grows businesses. As part of this work, I met Tonya, a 30-something woman who does Reiki massage.

While Reiki sounded familiar, it was the first time I had met a practitioner.Tonya explained that Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction that promotes healing. It is administered by laying hands and is based on a life force energy. It has been given the thumbs up by Dr. Oz and used by more than 800 U.S. hospitals.

I have to admit, after Googling the term, I was pretty skeptical.  It sounds weird, right? If you break down the word, Rei means "God's wisdom or the higher power" and Ki is "life force energy." I am a spiritual person who believes in God. Yet I never put a lot of faith in healing arts besides yoga, which I’ve taken for years on and off to cure mental alignments and get stronger physically. Luckily I have an open mind, and Tonya's just a regular mother and wife with a contagious laugh who happens to be a Reiki  practitionerBecause if it wasn't for her inherent normalcy, I swear I would never have tried it.

Tonya applies Reiki techniques on one of my yoga studio's teachers, Margaret. 
The treatment starts in a quiet room. I laid on my back on a massage table. Tonya placed her hands on my head, while my mind spun with appointment dates, chore lists, hurt feelings and a visual snapshot of getting rear-ended and spun like a top by a semi.

After a few deep breaths, it felt like a black cloth was—inch-by-inch—cloaking the negative images that were racing through my mind.

Tonya kept moving throughout my body, including the neck, the shoulders and the arms. Then she placed her hands at the end of my rib cage. I almost lost my breath. It felt like shock waves moved through the rib cage upward and also towards my abdomen. It was such a strange sensation that I felt a little scared.

When the session was complete a little over an hour later, Tonya smiled and asked, “Stressed out much?”

That was an understatement. She also asked if I got headaches—something I had been suffering from in the mornings for the last 10 months. On some days, the pain was downright debilitating. "I have too much on my plate," I said.

While I didn’t feel like my entire life changed that day, I knew instantly that I left a lot of unresolved feelings and stress with Tonya. I am not sure how it works, but if you are going through tough times, try Reiki. At least “Like” Tonya’s Reiki for Healing Facebook page to learn more about it.

Meatless Monday Recipe: Gluten- and Dairy-free Orecchiette Pasta w/ Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Looking for something healthful and delicious? Then try this smokey roasted Brussels sprouts, fresh baby spinach, and tangy tomatoes creamy pasta dish. Just as delicious when made gluten- and dairy-free. Even better, it is packed with nutrients like vitamin A and C.

#Meatless Monday Brussels Spout, Spinach and Tomato Pasta
2 lbs Brussels sprouts, halved
3 3/4 cups orecchiette (little ear) or small tubular pasta
1/2 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup butter (or olive oil)
3/4 cup white wine or stock of choice
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
4 oz cream cheese (or vegan substitute)
2 cups baby spinach
1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded

Toss halved Brussels sprouts in olive oil, salt, and pepper on a baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Then, saute onions and garlic in butter for 2-3 minutes.  Stir in wine.  Bring to boil and cook until liquid is reduced by half. In a large saucepan,  combine the Brussels sprouts, pasta, onion mixture, diced tomatoes, and cream cheese. Stir frequently over medium heat until heated through and cream cheese is completely melted. Salt and pepper to taste.

Remove from heat.

Add baby spinach and mozzarella and toss until combined and spinach wilts just slightly, about 2 minutes. Garnish with Parmesan if desired.

Serves 6.

Meatless Monday Recipe: Mushroom Burgers

My husband really liked these burgers. So I know you will, too!

#MeatlessMonday Husband-approved Mushroom Burgers
1 slice bread
8oz button mushrooms
1 15oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/3 cup vital wheat gluten or rice flour
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp steak sauce
pepper to taste

Place bread slice in food processor until it becomes breadcrumbs. Add mushrooms and kidney beans in food processor and pulse until crumbly and combined.

Combine spices, flour, soy sauce, and steak sauce and add in food processor. Pulse all ingredients in food processor until combined.

Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray. Form 7 patties and place on cookie sheet. Spray tops of patties with cooking spray.

Cook at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Flip, re-spray, and bake for another 8 minutes. Flip, re-spray, and bake for another 5 minutes.

Build burgers as desired.

Next-Gen Green Giveaway: Make a statement with a recycled Cable Bike Chain Bracelet

Have you ever checked out It has some of the most incredible artists from all over the globe. And since I have some bike-addicts as friends and followers, I was intrigued by the jewelry developed by Re-Cycled Accessories, founded in 2007 by Brock and Cindy Garvin of Vernon, BC, Canada.

I recently sat down with them to discuss their recycled bicycle materials used in their art. To thank you for reading this post, they will be giving away a Cable Bike Chain Bracelet. How do you win? Comment in the space below the blog or go to Next-Gen Green's Facebook page and use the secret phrase,” Thanks Next-Gen Green! Get out and ride!” While you are online, please like Next-Gen Green’s Facebook page.

What is your product?
We have created an original line of jewelry and accessories for the cycling enthusiast.  Everything is made with quality recycled bicycle parts.

What type of materials do you use?
We use recycled bicycle spokes, chains, brake cables, shifter cables, cogs, tires, tubs, rims and even the odd bike frame.

What is your inspiration?
The original inspiration came from our young son when he wanted a bracelet made from a bike chain.  He wanted a bracelet that looked like it was one piece, with no hooks or catches. That turned out to be our signature piece: The Hidden Link Bicycle Chain Bracelet.  This is still one of our biggest sellers today.  (Visit the Facebook page to learn more.) Now, the inspiration comes from the sheer joy of creating something new and beautiful from something old and discarded.

Why is using recycled materials important?
There is too much waste in our society today.  Good quality bicycle parts are made with very beautiful, quality materials that deserve to have a second life. Our goal is to build a fun, yet sustainable product line that screams with our passion for life. We have even made a recycled bicycle trailer.

View Brock and Cindy’s full line at their website.

Giveaway rules: Must be 18 to enter. Names will be printed and placed in a sealed box and picked at random/pure chance of winning. The giveaway ends on 12 a.m. Feb. 23, 2012. Any giveaway worth $600 must be reported to the IRS. 

Green Tip of the Day: Your Dishwasher Is a Friend to the Environment

There are two little known facts about one of our society's favorite kitchen appliance, the dishwasher. First, I recently read that the drying cycle on a dishwasher sucks up half the total energy use of the appliance. So I tried running a load with the drying cycle off. The difference? None. The dishes had the same amount of moisture on them as they did with the drying cycle.

Next, like many people, I hate the bleachy smell of conventional dishwasher soap in my kitchen. But eco-friendly cleaners don't always get the dishes quite as clean. Then I stumbled upon this recipe.

Here it is below:
  • 2 c borax
  • 2 c Arm & Hammer washing soda
  • 2 c lemi shine
  • 1 c kosher salt

It's billed as being good for hard water, which I don't have, but it seems to do the trick anyway. And I did not bother to buy kosher salt.  If you have trouble finding some of this stuff, ask at your local hardware store. I did end up having to order the LemiShine via

10 sustainability megaforces' impact on business over the next two decades

The costs associated with environmental impacts for business operations are doubling every 14 years. New research from KPMG International has identified 10 megaforces that will significantly affect corporate growth globally over the next two decades.  The 10 global sustainability megaforces are as follows:

Climate Change: Predictions of annual output losses from climate change range between 1 percent per year, if strong and early action is taken, to as much as 5 percent a year, if policymakers fail to act.

Energy and Fuel: Fossil fuel markets are likely to become more volatile and unpredictable because of higher global energy demand.

Material Resource Scarcity: As developing countries industrialize rapidly, global demand for material resources is predicted to increase dramatically. Business is likely to face increasing trade restrictions and intense global competition for a wide range of material resources that become less available.

Water Scarcity: It is predicted that by 2030, the global demand for freshwater will exceed supply by 40 percent. Businesses may be vulnerable to water shortages, declines in water quality, water price volatility, and to reputational challenges.

Population Growth: The world population is expected to grow to 8.4 billion by 2032. This will place intense pressures on ecosystems and the supply of natural resources such as food, water, energy and materials.

Wealth: The global middle class (defined by the OECD as individuals with disposable income of between US$10 and US$100 per capita per day) is predicted to grow 172 percent between 2010 and 2030. The challenge for businesses is to serve this new middle class market at a time when resources are likely to be scarcer and more price volatile.

Urbanization: In 2009, for the first time ever, more people lived in cities than in the countryside. By 2030 all developing regions including Asia and Africa are expected to have the majority of their inhabitants living in urban areas; virtually all population growth over the next 30 years will be in cities.

Food Security: Global food prices are predicted to rise 70 to 90 percent by 2030. In water-scarce regions, agricultural producers are likely to have to compete for supplies with other water-intensive industries, such as electric utilities and mining, and with consumers.

Ecosystem Decline: The decline in ecosystems is making natural resources scarcer, more expensive and less diverse, increasing the costs of water and escalating the damage caused by invasive species to sectors including agriculture, fishing, food and beverages, pharmaceuticals and tourism.

Deforestation: Forests are big business. Wood products contributed $100 billion per year to the global economy from 2003 to 2007 and the value of non-wood forest products, mostly food, was estimated at about US$18.5 billion in 2005. Yet the OECD projects that forest areas will decline globally by 13 percent from 2005 to 2030, mostly in South Asia and Africa.

Source:  KPMG International

Meatless Monday Recipe: Tortilla Casserole with Swiss Chard

Visit this link for a wonderful recipe for the Swiss chard, which often comes in my CSA share. I've also discovered that this recipe lets me use all those crumbles at the bottom of the tortilla chip bag, or even stale chips. In fact, I use them to replace some of the tortillas in the recipe. We love chips in our house, and not a bit goes to waste, even if we buy the Costco-sized bag and someone forgets to close up the bag one too many times.

After you de-stem the chard, don't forget to save the stems; chop them up and them in at the same time you add the mushrooms.

The recipe says to use a 9x13 pan, but I use a slightly smaller one and it works fine.

Next-Gen Green Giveaway: Eco-seamstress upcycles materials to help the earth

Eco-seamstress Christine Maloney chooses vintage or second-hand fabrics in her upcycled, upsewn items intended for every day use. One of my favorite, common-sense pieces is her reusable snack baggies that each of us can use for our family or for our brown-bag lunches. I recently virtually sat down with Christine to discuss her projects. As a bonus, she will be giving away a set of her snack baggies to one lucky Next-Gen Green reader. How do you win? By commenting below or on Next-Gen Green’s Facebook page using the secret phrase, “Thanks Next-Gen Green.  I want Christine's upcycled goods!”

While you are online, please like Next-Gen Green's Facebook page and Christine's Facebook page.
How long have you been eco-sewing?
I've been eco-sewing for nearly 20 years.  The first project I intentionally eco-sewed was a Halloween costume I made for my infant daughter - a black cat outfit and a skullcap with pointy ears made from an outdated cotton dress I'd had since high school.  She's now 17. Since then, I've made many of my kids' Halloween costumes from upcycled materials and have branched into quilting, home decor, ornaments, kitchen textiles, tote bags, baby items, doll clothing, re-usable snack baggies, reusable menstrual pads and plushies.

What type of material do you use?
Reusable snack baggie.
Occasionally, I will purchase new fabric from the clearance section of the fabric store to mix-n-match with my at-home stash.  For my quilting projects, the batting I use is glue- and resin-free and is made with USA-grown cotton.

What is your inspiration?
My kids are my biggest inspiration.  I want to feel that I'm doing my best to leave them a cleaner planet and providing them the needed skills to be stewards of the earth in their daily choices.  

Why is it important to use recycled and eco-materials?
Casserole Carrier
There are so many reasons that using eco-materials is important. Americans' over-consumption has set the precedent for developing countries. We need to show the world that earth-friendly re-use is hip (not just necessary).  Also, what better way to give objects a second-life?  Lastly, and my favorite reason, is that vintage fabrics are beautiful.  

In addition, eco-sewing is multifaceted, teaches my kids to be mindful of their choices and shows others that eco-friendly choices can be intrinsically rewarding.

Contact Christine via e-mail or visit her website. Please show your support!

Giveaway rules: Must be 18 to enter. Not valid in Canada. Names will be printed and placed in a sealed box and picked at random/pure chance of winning. The giveaway ends on 12 a.m. Feb.17, 2012. Any giveaway worth $600 must be reported to the IRS.

Meatless Monday Recipe: Husband-invented gluten-free veggie lasagna

By Mary Rose Roberts
I have to confess. I am not the best chef in the house. In fact, it is my husband—who owns, runs and cooks at a restaurant that schools me nine times out of 10 in the kitchen. Food he makes can be healthful or sinful. But with a Meatless Monday challenge at hand, he did a little of both. Of course, vegan folks can switch out the ricotta cheese with a soft tofu and the shredded mozzarella with an oil-based substitute. To all others, get ready for a super cheese delight from Mr. Next-Gen Green that's packed with healthful veggies.

#Meatlessmonday Husband-invented gluten-free veggie lasagna
1 zucchini, sliced thin long ways
4 oz. baby bella mushrooms, chopped
2 cups spinach, whole
2 tomatoes, chopped
¼ cup of red onion, chopped
Starting second layer.
½ cup of ricotta (or soft tofu)
½ cup of shredded mozzarella cheese (or shredded vegan cheese)
½ tsp. salt
3 tbsps. Olive oil
Olives, chopped (optional)
Giardiniera (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Drizzle olive oil on the bottom of a baking dish. Add half of the sliced zucchini, half the mushrooms and half the spinach. Add half of the ricotta (or tofu) and shredded cheese. Add half of the tomatoes. Add all of the onions. Repeat for a second layer.

Bake until top layer is slightly browned, or for about 45 minutes. Sprinkle the top with olives (optional) or giardiniera if you like it spicy (optional). Serve immediately.

Next-Gen Green Giveaway: Valentine's Day heart tag from Mommy Tags

I fell in love with our next giveaway, dubbed Mommy Tags, the minute I laid eyes on them. Artist Maize Hutton started Mommy Tags in 2003 to commemorate the birth of her niece. It became a full-blown business and was highlighted in 2004 in American Baby, a national magazine. Her personalized name tags soon graced the necks of celebrity moms, such as Courtney Cox and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Products are handcrafted in the USA and carry the official made in Montana seal. Even better?  Maize will be giving away one heart tag to a Next-Gen Green reader for Valentine ’s Day (see picture below right). How do you win? Comment below or go to Next-Gen Green’s Facebook page and use the secret phrase, “Thanks Next-Gen Green. I love made in the USA Mommy Tags!”

In addition, all readers can receive a 10% discount with their order by using the code BUMP10. Please support this fabulous company!

While you are online, please like Next-Gen Green’s Facebook page and Mommy Tags' Facebook page.

What are the tags made of?
Each tag is handcrafted from recycled silver, fired in a kiln and then finished and packed for shipping.  The silver we use is .999 silver, the purest silver you can purchase.

Why is recycled silver unique?
Because the silver is recycled, it has more of an organic feel and sound to it than the typical sterling silver tags cut from sheets of silver.

What type of tags do you create?
Our line includes Mommy Tags, Daddy Tags, Tot Tags, Wagg Tags (for pets), Remembrance Tags, Circle of Love tags and our ever popular Doodle Tags where a parent can upload their child's drawing and have it made into a pendant. 

Why do you “go green”?
I adopted a green attitude as a young child in the 1970s when my parents recycled enough aluminum cans from their lounge and liquor store to send the family of five on a two-week vacation to Hawaii. 

View the entire Mommy Tags line by visiting their website.

Giveaway rules: Must be 18 to enter. Not valid in Canada. Names will be printed and placed in a sealed box and picked at random/pure chance of winning. The giveaway ends on 12 a.m. Feb. 9, 2012. Any giveaway worth $600 must be reported to the IRS. 

Green Tip of the Day: Top 10 Tips to Be Environmentally Conscience

  1. Purchase locally grown food.
  2. Use baking soda, vinegar and water mixtures for household cleaning.
  3. Carry reusable water bottles with you to work and on errands,
  4. Reduce your meeting travel. Try video conferencing instead.
  5. Bring a green-lunch kit to work to reduce waste from disposables.
  6. Swap out your bulbs.
  7. Consume seafood only from sustainable sources.
  8. Use fair-trade, organic health and beauty products.
  9. Commute by bike to reduce your carbon emissions.
  10. Focus more on family and less on stuff.
Source: The Nature Conservancy

Top fish to eat in order to save ocean populations, plus app

Want to know what fish you should buy or order based on whether it is being overfished? The Monterey Bay (Calif.) Aquarium now offers an app for that dubbed Project FishMap. It lets users share the locations of restaurants and markets where they have found sustainable seafood. In addition, they also have a pocket guide that will tell you which fish to pick. I’ve included a list below of the recommended fish to eat, which will help you save our ocean's fish populations. Stick to this list and feel good about it.

While some of the list recommends farmed fish, most environmentalists say it is better for your health and to protect wild populations to protest farmed fished. I don’t eat farmed myself. But that is a choice left to the individual.

Best Fish to Eat
Abalone (U.S. Farmed)
Arctic Char (Farmed in Recirculating Systems)
Barramundi (U.S. Farmed in Fully Recirculating Systems)
Capelin (Iceland)
Catfish (U.S. Farmed)
Clams (Farmed)
Clams, Softshell/Steamers (Wild-caught)
Cobia (U.S. Farmed)
Cod, Atlantic (Hook-and-line from Iceland and Northeast Arctic)
Cod, Pacific (U.S. Bottom Longline, Jig and Trap)
Crab, Dungeness (California, Oregon and Washington)
Crab, Kona (Australia)
Crab, Stone
Crawfish/Crayfish (U.S. Farmed)
Croaker, Atlantic (U.S. Non-trawl)
Giant Clam/Geoduck (Wild-caught)
Haddock (Hook-and-line from U.S. Atlantic)
Halibut, Pacific (U.S.)
Lobster, California Spiny (California)
Lobster, Caribbean Spiny (Florida)
Lobster, Spiny (Baja California, Mexico)
Mackerel, Atlantic (Canada)
Mackerel, King (U.S. Atlantic and U.S. Gulf of Mexico)
Mackerel, Spanish (U.S. Atlantic and U.S. Gulf of Mexico)
Mahi Mahi (Troll/Pole from U.S. Atlantic)
Mullet, Striped
Mussels (Farmed)
Oysters (Farmed)
Perch, Yellow (Lake Erie)
Pollock, Atlantic (Gillnet and Purse Seine from Norway)
Prawn, Freshwater (U.S. Farmed)
Prawn, Spot (Canadian Pacific)
Rockfish, Black (Hook-and-line from California, Oregon and Washington)
Sablefish/Black Cod (Alaska and Canadian Pacific)
Salmon (Drift Gillnet, Purse Seine and Troll, from Alaska)
Salmon Roe (Drift Gillnet, Purse Seine and Troll, from Alaska)
Salmon, Freshwater Coho (U.S. Farmed in Tank Systems)
Sardines, Pacific (U.S.)
Scad, Big-eye (Hawaii)
Scad, Mackerel (Hawaii)
Scallops (Farmed)
Scallops, Sea (Diver-caught in Laguna Ojo de Liebre and Guerrero Negro, Baja California Sur, Mexico)
Sea Urchin Roe (Canada)
Seatrout, Spotted ( Wild-caught from Florida and Louisiana)
Shrimp (U.S. Farmed in Fully Recirculating Systems or Inland Ponds)
Shrimp, Pink (Oregon)
Squid, Longfin (U.S. Atlantic)
Striped Bass (U.S. Wild-caught)
Striped Bass (U.S. Farmed or Wild-caught)
Swordfish (Hawaii Harpoon, Handline)
Swordfish (Harpoon & Handline-caught from Canada, the U.S., North Atlantic & East Pacific)
Tilapia (U.S. Farmed)
Trout, Rainbow/Steelhead (U.S. Farmed)
Tuna, Albacore (Troll/Pole from the Canadian and U.S. Pacific)
Tuna, Albacore ("White" Canned) (Troll/pole from the Canadian and U.S. Pacific)
Tuna, Bigeye (Troll/Pole from the U.S. Atlantic)
Tuna, Skipjack (Worldwide Troll, Pole-and-line)
Tuna, Skipjack ("Light" Canned) (Troll/Pole)
Tuna, Yellowfin (Troll/Pole from the Pacific and U.S. Atlantic)
White Seabass (Hook-and-line from California)
Whitefish, Lake (Lake Huron and Lake Superior)
Whitefish, Lake (Trap-net from Lake Michigan)