App coaches users on super food diet

SuperDiet Genius iPhone app generates daily and weekly diet plans with exact portion sizes of super foods based on your build, weight loss goals, and even what foods you have in your kitchen. Using the top 100 super foods—the healthiest, antioxidant and nutrient rich foods on earth—the app customizes your diet based on your weight, height, gender, age, activity level, rate of weight loss, and even food preferences.

It costs $3.99.

Does your soda pop have alcohol in it?

Coca-Cola and Pepsi contain minute traces of alcohol, scientific research published in France has revealed. The revelation will cause concern among those who chose the carbonated soft drink for religious, health or safety reasons. According to tests carried out by the Paris-based National Institute of Consumption, more than half of leading colas contain the traces of alcohol.

Validating the value of stay at home parents

Society needs to place a value on stay at home parents.
By Tonya Yancey
Recently, I was at my monthly Bunco meeting and a fellow female player mentioned she put in an application at the local school district.  She was a stay at home mom of a senior in high school, an eighth grader and a preschool-aged child, but now was headed back into the working world of the 9- to 5-ers. 

“Oh that is going be so difficult,” I said.

“Thank you,” the woman said. “You are the first person to say that to me.”

As stay at home moms, we know the challenges that every working mom faces, whether they are in the working environment or “just” a stay at home mom.  We moms all understand that parenting is a verb; it is active 24/7.  There are no breaks and there are no vacations, unless you pay someone else to monitor your children.

Where and when did we get so far off track, in that our value is based on whether or not we have earned income?  Someone has to raise the children. If it isn’t you or your spouse, then you will have to seek out proper, paid child care.  It seems to me that raising a child is the most valuable job position anyone in any society could have.  Perhaps, I’m wrong.  What I do know is that parenting has most definitely been my most challenging job.  Not just the physical challenges, such as feeling as though I had chronic flu the first trimester of my first pregnancy or the sleep deprivation headaches I got for the first five years of their precious lives, plus the added pressure of the fact that I was raising little sponges who absorb everything I do and say. 

All of my behaviors have a direct impact on how my children will perceive themselves and then be able to relate to others. Marianne Williamson says, “If hours of active mothering were calculated even at minimum wage, then mothering would be the largest industry in the world.”  So what is this idea or perception that being a stay at home mom or dad has little value?  The idea may be that the stay at home parent is just lounging about on the couch eating bonbons, when the reality is the stay at home parent just wants to be able to use the bathroom before their bladder burst and alone would be a treat if not a mini-vacation.

What all stay at home moms and dads want, the one thing they really, really, want is validation. They want to hear that the job that they do, the hours spent diapering, feeding, cleaning up something or someone, endless piles of laundry, driving someone to and from, getting up at 3 a.m. to clean up someone’s vomit, every hug, kiss, smile given and received, matters.  It matters and is honored.  And when the stay at home parent at a social gathering is asked the inevitable question, “What do you do?” and when one replies, “I’m at home with the kids,” honoring them with a response of gratitude and a simple “thank you” would be so healing and gratifying.

We stay at home parents are in service for our families and ultimately our communities and no amount of earned income can ever buy back these priceless years of childhood.                                                                    

Find out the salary a stay at home mom would earn here

12 most toxic fruits, vegetables guide updated

EWG's Shopper's Guide to Pesticides has been updated. The guide lists fruits and vegetables with the most pesticide residues and the most important to buy organic. You can lower pesticide intake substantially by avoiding the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating the least contaminated produce.

This year, EWG has expanded the Dirty Dozen with a Plus category to highlight two crops -- green beans and leafy greens, meaning, kale and collard greens - that did not meet traditional Dirty Dozen criteria but were commonly contaminated with highly toxic organophosphate insecticides. These insecticides are toxic to the nervous system and have been largely removed from agriculture over the past decade. But they are not banned and still show up on some food crops.  Commodity crop corn used for animal feed and biofuels is almost all produced with genetically modified (GMO) seeds, as is some sweet corn sold for human consumption. Since GMO sweet corn is not labeled as such in U.S. stores, EWG advises those who have concerns about GMOs to buy organic sweet corn.

Grilled Sesame Chicken with Pickled Cucumber Salad

By Anna Fischer Wulff
Delicious, healthful and garden fresh!  I love it when I can just hit up my container gardens for herbs and veggies.  And since I don't eat meat, the chickpeas in the salad gave me the protein I needed while my husband enjoyed the extra texture they provided along with his chicken. 


  • 1  15oz can of chick peas, rinsed
  • 1/2  seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1/2  cup basil leaves, torn 
  • 1  shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2  tablespoons  olive oil 
  • 2  teaspoons  red wine vinegar
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2  tablespoons  sesame seeds
  • 2  teaspoons  paprika
  • bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 2 1/2 pounds)


In a medium bowl, toss the chickpeas, cucumber, basil, and shallot with the oil, vinegar, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.

Heat grill to medium. In a small bowl, combine the sesame seeds, paprika, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

Remove the skin from the chicken and discard. Sprinkle the chicken with the sesame seed mixture, pressing gently to help it adhere. Grill, covered, until cooked through, 9 to 10 minutes per side. Serve with the chickpea salad.

Tips for boosting electric bill savings on hot days

Sweltering hot days make it harder to keep your home cool, straining air conditioning systems and energy budgets. The Energy Education Council (EEC) offers some simple tips to boost comfort and save on electric bills during the sultriest of days:
  • Make sure your air conditioner filter is clean. Change or clean it monthly during the cooling season.
  • Ensure air can move freely around the air conditioner unit coils. Remove leaves and plant overgrowth that could keep it from operating efficiently.
  • Use ceiling and oscillating fans to create a "wind chill" effect. The moving air makes the temperature feel cooler and allows a higher air conditioner thermostat setting while maintaining cooling comfort. For each 1-degree increase in the thermostat setting, cooling costs can be lowered by about 3 percent.
  • Avoid unnecessary trips in and out of the house, which let in hot, humid air.
  • Turn off lights, televisions, and computers when not in use.
  • Close drapes and shades on sunny days.
  • Plan to do hot work, washing and drying clothes, cooking, and baking, during cooler morning and evening hours.
  • Keep your kitchen cooler by cooking in a microwave oven or grilling outdoors.
  • Make sure heat-producing appliances like televisions and lamps are away from the thermostat. They will increase the temperature near the thermostat and cause the air conditioner to run when it is not needed.
  • Install a timer or a programmable thermostat to increase and decrease the temperature automatically. Leave it on a higher temperature while you are away, and set it to cool the house half an hour before you return home.
  • Seal air leaks and cracks. Weather stripping and caulking are inexpensive ways to improve efficiency and cut energy costs year round.
  • Ventilate the attic, and check insulation. Adequately sized vents and/or an attic fan can help keep hot air from building up. If you can see the ceiling joists in your attic, consider adding insulation. Proper attic insulation can save up to 30 percent of your cooling bill.  Be sure the insulation does not block vents or cover exhaust fans.
Increased summer electric demands do not only place a strain on budgets, they also can place a severe strain on your home's electrical system, which poses a dangerous shock and fire hazard. Frequent circuit breaker trips or flickering or dimming lights, TV screens, or computer monitors are signs of an overloaded electrical system or faulty wiring that should be checked immediately by a professional.

For more information and tips to help cut costs and improve home safety, visit and       

Ready to commit to driving less?

Ready to start a drive less challenge in your city?
By Kathy Schrenk
There's a project called Drive Less Challenge, which started in Menlo Park, Calif. three years ago to get people biking, walking, riding transit and carpooling. It focuses on events like bike safety checks, giveaways and rallies at schools. It also has a website where people sign up, log their trips and enter to win prizes.

It's grown each year. Earlier this year, it celebrated 10 cities on the peninsula south of San Francisco. Corporate sponsors help with an end-of-challenge party and buy donating prizes. Check out the Drive Less Challenge website. Maybe you can help start one in your town?

New iPad App Tracks Personal Carbon Footprint

Verde, the new app for iPad, is a tool that reveals how to save at least $200 each year in energy efficiency upgrades. It educates users on the money and carbon that can be saved by simply upgrading older appliances. Users also learn how simple behavioral changes, like hibernating a computer, turning off unused lights and  notching the thermostat down one degree can lead to significant savings.

The app offered by Verde Sustainable Solutions, L3C has an opt-in automated energy cost finder that looks at a person's entire home to make recommendations to help save energy. It is an educational tool dedicated to helping its users make better decisions for their pocketbooks and the planet.

Verde Sustainable Solutions, L3C is a Chicago-based environmental firm founded in 2010. Committed to mission before profit, Verde promotes and educates others on the principles of sustainability by advocating for renewable energy and increased energy efficiency.

It costs $4.99.

Who's who: Botanist practices what she preaches

By Mary Rose Roberts
What’s fun about redesigning a blog is the ability to step back and determine how to freshen up content. I want nextgengreen to be a community, so it’s important we get to know each other—either by volunteering to blog or by being highlighted as unofficial members of what I hope to be a very large, very inclusive international club.

So to start, I will be interviewing the winners of nextgengreen’s monthly giveaways when they are willing, starting with May 2012’s giveaway winner who is Sheri Paul. Sherri picked up a pair of upcycled earrings from WIRED owner and creator, Melissa Kolbusz.

Sherri's a botanist who gets to work in what is arguably one of the most beautiful places on Earth: Anahola, the Hawaii-Island of Kauai. Ever since she was a child, she preferred to be outdoors exploring and enjoying nature. Later, she received a bachelor's of science degree in environmental conservation and presently works for the Division of Forestry & Wildlife, preserving and protecting endangered Hawaiian plants.

“I think when you appreciate and enjoy something you try your best to protect and care for it,” she said.

Sherri makes conscious conservation decisions on a daily basis, including supporting the local economy. She shops at her local health food stores and farmers' markets. She also grows an organic garden with seeds and seedlings from the island.

“When eating out, I choose places that serve local cuisine and support our local farmers,” she said. “I also share my knowledge with friends and family and try to convince them to avoid big chain restaurants and stores.”

Sherri believes it is important to buy green products for human health and for the health of the planet.

“Every time I make a purchase, I feel I am casting a vote and that vote is for the protection of our environment,” she said. “The more people who buy green products the higher the demand for them will be and that's a great thing.”

Welcome to the new nextgengreen!

By Mary Rose Roberts
We are excited to launch our newly designed blog today. Our editorial team worked with the design guru at hello belle studio, located in Chicago, Ill. The studio reworked the blog layout and helped develop the brand mark, an artistic rendition of the tree of life. The tree of life concept has been used in science, religion, philosophy, mythology, and theology to represent the interconnectedness of all life on Earth--an apt representation of the blog's mission of reuse, recycle and renew.  

I started the blog less than a year ago to have a central location to post information—such as healthful recipes, conservation tips and eco-product reviews—where all my friends could access it. And that is still the core of the blog’s mission: Create an online community where people can share ideas on how to reuse, recycle or renew products. This includes how we buy products, the type of products bought, and environmental/social-justice issues associated with consumerism.

We’ve made a lot of changes to the blog to meet this mission statement. A navigation bar has been added so it is easier to quickly find information, including a new tab for People. This area showcases people making a difference by changing their lives or those in their communities. It also highlights people who follow the blog, including product giveaway winners. Look later today for a profile about an islander who won our last giveaway, WIRED earrings. Of course, we will continue to throw in surprise product giveaways often. (You will have only one day to enter so check back with us often to get your chance to win.)

Visit our new About page and find bios of the blog’s contributors, including Food Editor Anna Fischer Wulff and Health Editor Tonya Yancey. Our two contributing bloggers are Nikki Golden, a DIYer and marketing/grammar guru, and Kathy Schrenk, who covers West Coast issues. (For blogging opportunities, visit our Contact page.)

Finally, sponsorship has been added to the right side of the page. Please take a moment to visit the banner ad(s) and tell them nextgengreen sent you!

We love feedback, so let us know what you think of our new look. And thank you for your support.

With love,

Mary Rose