Posts Tagged ‘cancer’

In addition to smoking cigarettes and making toast in the bathtub, you may now put paraffin candles on your “to avoid” list.  Lighting one of these wax candles can release toxins such as toluene and benzene into the atmosphere.  Far from the relaxing or romantic gesture that these flammable favorites are intended to represent, paraffin could in fact cause cancer, dizziness or asthma if used on a regular basis.  In 2009, researchers presented their findings to the annual American Chemical Society’s meeting in Washington, and identified paraffin candles as a previously unrecognized source of indoor air pollution.  The National Candle Association maintains that paraffin is not toxic as it is approved by the FDA, but those with allergies, asthma, chemical sensitivities, or other concerns about the use of petroleum products would do best to purchase beeswax or soy candles.

Soy candles made from hydrogenated soybean oil, and beeswax produced by the bodies of the humble insect, are clean-burning, last longer than paraffin, are environmentally friendly, and do not drip or leave sooty deposits.  Beeswax in particular produces negative ions, which have been shown to increase the production of serotonin in the brain and elevate mood.  As a business that is concerned with the health of the human animal and the spaces they inhabit, Bambu Batu carries a only soy and beeswax candles, including scented and unscented lines from Big Dipper Wax Works, VegePure and Sparx.

Now that you have been enlightened and want to get rid of those old paraffin offenders, there are a few resources that may help you to dispose of them with the minimum of environmental impact.  “Take-back” programs such as the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District in Duluth, MN  or accepts old paraffin candles or crayons via the post and recycles them into campfire starters or new drawing tools.  Earth911 is an excellent site that allows you to find the appropriate resting place for just about anything, or if you are feeling crafty, you can even make your own ski wax with old candles.

Lighten your load and get rid of the old oil-based tea lights and tapers for something a little more natural!

Got a date for dinner tonight?  No?  Well, then how about a fig?  These sweet little treats are practically jumping off the trees this here in San Luis Obispo at this time of year.  Figs are perfect for a quick snack or a delicious addition to salads and sauces, and appetizers.

Originating in Asia and cultivated heavily throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East, this Ficus (and member of the Mulberry family) can range from 6-9 meters in height with smooth grey bark  The fruits of the common fig tree rage from green to deep purple to brown.  Its leaves are large, green and lobed. Figs love dry, warm, sunny areas with deep and well-drained soils.  With deep root systems and large, shade-creating branches, these plants are popular additions to gardens and farms here on the Central Coast.

Healthy Habits- The leaves of the fig tree have been used to treat bronchitis, and have been shown to lower triglyceride levels, reduce the amount of insulin needed by diabetics, and aid in healing ulcers.  The fruits are also high in fiber, packed with potassium, and full of antioxidants.  This humble fruit may even diminish the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women, promote bone density, and protect against macular degeneration.

Fun with Figs- Both appetizing and fun, fig turkeys add whimsy to the party.  Using a whole fig as the body, insert an almond to into the apex (stem side) for a beak, pretzels sticks for legs, raisins for eyes, and your favorite leafy greens or thinly sliced pairs for the fanned tail feathers.  Attach with toothpicks and serve with a good sense of humor.

Recipe for Success- Figs are remarkably versatile and easy to prepare.  From biscotti to toast rounds topped with goat cheese and figs, the possibilities are as varied as your imagination.  Why not make a little fig jam for holiday gifts this year?  Browse through the California Fig Advisory Board’s website for some inspiration and a ton of recipes.

Feature the fig in your next dish for a healthy and delectable burst of flavor!  With such a large amount of goodness in such a small package, it isn’t hard to fig-ure out why so many are crazy about this amazing fruit.