Edible Film Made from Essential Oils Can Protect Food Better Than Plastic

By Amanda Froelich

If you’re looking to reduce your carbon imprint without really changing your lifestyle, this edible film may be one of the available solutions to doing so. According to new research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a newly-developed edible film containing the essential oils clove and oregano may protect food better than conventional plastic film.

The study was led by researchers from the Department of Food Technology at the Federal University of Vicosa. The team recognized the need for a sustainable film to protect food. They also know of the oils’ antimicrobial properties and theorized that they could be embedded into food packaging. It turns out they were right.

By using low-speed mixing and ultrasonication techniques, the team was able to form coarse emulsions and nanoemulsions of both clove bud (Syzygium aromaticum) and oregano (Origanum vulgare). Afterward, they added methylcellulose, a type of edible fiber, to create the film sheets.

Then they conducted an experiment. Two preservative-free loaves of bread were baked—one was covered with the edible film and the other with conventional plastic film. After 15 days, the researchers noted that the bread covered with the edible film had marked reduction in both yeast and mold counts, likely due to the smaller-sized particles providing more enhanced protection.

All in all, it was concluded that the film made with essential oils maintained the bread’s freshness for longer than the calcium propionate and plastic version. This is an important find, as natural treatments are often considered to be inferior to conventional ones.

“Both essential oils reduced the rigidity and increased the extensibility of the methylcellulose films, effects that were even more pronounced for nanodroplets,” the researchers wrote. “Both essential oils lessened the counts of yeasts and molds in sliced bread during 15 days, and droplet size reduction provided a further improvement in antimicrobial properties.”

It is also worth noting that the edible film is much healthier than plastic film because it does not contain chemical preservatives to extend the shelf life of food. These chemicals can leach into the food they’re supposed to be protecting and have been linked to health conditions. It is for this reason experts recommend you store your to-go lunch and leftovers in ceramic, stainless steel, and glass containers.

“Leachables from plastics can include everything from leftover monomer building blocks to additives used to make plastic strong or malleable,” explains a report by Chemical & Engineering News, which is published by the American Chemical Society (ACS). “Probably the most infamous leachable from plastics is bisphenol A (BPA), which is used as a building block in polycarbonate bottles and in the epoxy-resin liners of metal cans.”

It is presently unknown if or when this product will be available in markets, but if it were available in your city right now, would you use this edible film? Comment your thoughts below and share this news!

IMAGE CREDIT: stocksnapper

This article was sourced from Truth Theory

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UK’s First Vegan And Vegetarian CBD-Infused Restaurant Opens In Brighton

By Amanda Froelich

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is taking the world by storm. This is because the component of the marijuana plant has been proven to produce strong medicinal and therapeutic effects for a wide range of conditions, including cancer, Alzheimer’s, pain, and nausea. Because of the efficacy and safety of the plant, the UK legalized medical marijuana treatments and hemp CBD products in November of 2018. One month later, The Canna Kitchen opened its doors to the public. The vegan and vegetarian restaurant is the first in the UK to infuse cuisine with CBD.

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According to High Times, the restaurant is located several blocks away from the ocean in Brighton. Sam Evolution, the founder and manager of The Canna Kitchen, chose the location, the interior’s smooth, pastel tones and the ornately designed wood detail to create a pleasant experience for customers. He and his team want to improve the way people perceive the plant, which is why they create high-quality, healthy, and creative dishes that can all be infused with cannabis, based on the patron’s desires.

“I want to create something special,” said Head Chef Charlotte Kjaer.“I like to combine natural flavors and aromas of the plant with different types of food. I want to transmit the passion I have for this wonderful plant through my creations.”

The chef is familiar with the plant’s many components, and their benefits. “Everybody is talking about CBD now but we also cook with other cannabinoids as CBG (cannabigerol) and CBN (cannabinol),” she continued.

Dining options at The Canna Kitchen range from a Buddha Bowl (tofu, seasonal roast roots, quinoa salad, homemade slaw, hummus, salad, housemate sauerkraut, and CBD-infused tahini) to the local soup of the day, served with local sourdough bread and CBD-infused olive oil. For a sweet treat, you can choose from a chocolate hemp brownie, poached pair with hemp vanilla ice cream, or a “canna Snickers” bar. And to wash it all down, there is hemp tea.

“Our mission is to change the way people think about the cannabis plant by creating beautiful vegetarian dishes which are tastefully complemented with its infusion. Cannabis is a highly nutritious, versatile, and powerful herb; it is packed full of flavor, fragrance, and natural therapeutic benefit.” Kjaer said.

The experience doesn’t end with the meal. Afterward, you can move upstairs to the dispensary and lounge section. Maybe you’ll choose to enjoy a CBD joint while sipping infused Moroccan coffee on the terrace with friends. If you came empty-handed, you can purchase everything from vaporizers to skin-care products to pet food (all with THC levels below 0.2%) from the dispensary.

The stigma associated with cannabis is lessening, which is why the public’s response to The Canna Kitchen has been “very good,” according to Evolution. “People are curious towards the plant and we want to spark a larger conversation around it, inform the public.” 

“I feel that eventual decriminalization is inevitable, it’s just a matter of time. I would like to see a great deal of education brought forward in relation to the responsible use of, not only cannabis, but all plant medicines, which are here to help us. I think The Canna Kitchen will most certainly lead the way for many more concepts like it in the UK. I have learned about Jeremy Corbyn’s son opening a hemp cafe in north London, we are extremely excited about this, and needless to say he has our full support on this project. It’s an exciting time for hemp/cannabis, which is being bought back into mainstream recognition, where it belongs,” he concluded.

What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!

IMAGE CREDIT: TheCannaKitchen


Amanda Froelich — I’m an RHN, plant-based chef, freelance writer with 6+ years of experience, Reiki master therapist, world traveler and enthusiast of everything to do with animal rights, sustainability, cannabis and conscious living. I share healthy recipes at Bloom for Life and cannabis-infused treats at My Stoned Kitchen. Read More stories by Amanda Froelich

This article was sourced from Truth Theory

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Eye-Opening Infographic Exposes The Harms of Fragrances in Personal Products

By Amanda Froelich

When you purchase hygienic products, such as deodorant or body spray, do you contemplate the safety of the ingredients? Probably not, because you, like millions of other people, assume that the company has your best interest in mind. While we wish this were true, it simply is not.

As Women’s Voices reports, it is legal for companies to keep fragrance ingredients a secret. In fact, the term “fragrance” can be a mix of up to 100 different chemicals, out of more than 3,000 commonly-used fragrance chemicals.

To make matters worse, many of those chemicals are linked to human and environmental harm. “Our report found that three out of four of the toxic chemicals in the beauty and personal care products we tested were fragrance chemicals,” said Connie Engel, Ph.D., BCPP Senior Manager of Science Translation. “And most of these toxic chemicals were not found on the product label.”

To educate the populace on the potential dangers of using products that contain fragrances, Women’s Voices created the following infographic. We think you’ll agree that it is incredibly eye-opening.

What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!


Amanda Froelich — I’m an RHN, plant-based chef, freelance writer with 6+ years of experience, Reiki master therapist, world traveler and enthusiast of everything to do with animal rights, sustainability, cannabis and conscious living. I share healthy recipes at Bloom for Life and cannabis-infused treats at My Stoned Kitchen. Read More stories by Amanda Froelich

This article was sourced from Truth Theory.

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Australian Gov’t Wants to Kill Two Million Feral Cats By Dropping Poisoned Sausages From Airplanes

By Amanda Froelich

Cats: they may rule the Internet, but the Australian government has a merciless stance toward them. To “solve” the country’s feral cat problem, the government intends to kill two million free-roaming cats (a large chunk of the total feral cat population) by 2020. That’s approximately between 2 and 6 million felines.

According to CNN, certain areas in Australia are even more committed to exterminating public enemy number one. In the northeastern state of Queensland, a council is offering a $10 ($7) bounty per feral cat scalp. The animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has slammed the policy for being “cruel.”

The neighboring country of New Zealand has a similar stance toward cats. Prominent environmentalists have proposed a cat-free future, which has led to a heated debate on the merit of exterminating or allowing feline cats. In this article, we’ll dive into both sides.

Why would anyone be anti-cat?

The simple answer is that feral cats kill. The first cat arrived in Australia in the 17th century. Since then, their numbers have skyrocketed. Today, the feral cat population is estimated to cover 99.8% of the country.

Unlike domesticated cats, feral cats live in the wild. They may belong to the same species, but feral cats are forced to hunt for survival. As a result, they typically act a lot less “cute” when approached by humans — or other critters, for that matter.

An estimated 20 mammal species have gone extinct due to the feral cat population, according to Gregory Andrews, national commissioner of threatened species. He told the Sydney Morning Herald that as a result, feral cats are the single biggest threat to native species on Australia.

This is a big deal, considering the island nation was cut off from the rest of the world for thousands of years. As a result, 80% of Australia’s mammals and 45% of its birds are found nowhere else on the planet.

Victims of feral cats include native birds and reptiles. In fact, a spokesperson for Australia’s Department of the Environment and Energy told CNN that cats are believed to kill more than 1 million native birds, and 1.7 million reptiles across Australia every day.

Feral cats also prey on the brush-tailed rabbit-rat, which is classified as “vulnerable” by the Australian government. “We are not culling cats for the sake of it, we are not doing so because we hate cats,” said Andrews.

It seems that those in favor of exterminating the wild felines are driven by a compulsion to protect native species and the fragile ecosystem. Of course, there are valid arguments against the government’s plan.

Misdirection, maybe?

As CNN reports, it is possible the government is creating a stir to avoid tackling more pressing concerns, such as habitat loss by urban expansion, logging, and mining. These sensitive issues are devastating the environment, perhaps far more than hoards of feral cats. But, is action being taken to curb unsustainable activity? Probably not to the extent, it should be.

Doherty touched on this when he said, “There’s a possibility there that cats are being used as a distraction to some extent. We also need to have a more holistic approach and address all threats to biodiversity.”

The method of poisoning the cats is also a topic of discussion. According to New York Times, poisoned sausages will be dropped from airplanes to thin out the feral feline population. The sausages will be made from kangaroo meat, chicken fat, spices, and herbs. Reportedly, they are capable of killing a cat within 15 minutes of being eaten.

The sausages are manufactured at a factory in Perth and are intended to be dropped from planes at intervals of 50 kilometers in places where cats freely roam. To ensure the sausages taste good, the man who developed them tested them on his own cats. Of course, he omitted the poison.

“They’ve got to taste good,” said Dr. Dave Algar “They are the cat’s last meal.”

What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!


Amanda Froelich — I’m an RHN, plant-based chef, freelance writer with 6+ years of experience, Reiki master therapist, world traveler and enthusiast of everything to do with animal rights, sustainability, cannabis and conscious living. I share healthy recipes at Bloom for Life and cannabis-infused treats at My Stoned Kitchen. Read More stories by Amanda Froelich

This article was sourced from Truth Theory.

h/t CNN, CBS Local IMAGE CREDIT: Pixnio

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How Exercise Could Reduce the Likelihood of Developing Alzheimer’s Disease

By Amanda Froelich

Did you know? When you exercise, endorphins are released into your bloodstream. The “feel-good” hormones can elevate your mood, which is why many people regularly exercise. However, a new study found that exercising also produces another hormone, one that may improve memory and protect against Alzheimer’s disease.

The study was published in Nature Medicine and was co-led by Ottavio Arancio, MD, PhD, a researcher at Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain.

Several years ago, exercise researchers discovered the hormone irisin. This hormone is released into the circulatory system during physical activity. The early studies suggested that irisin primarily plays a role in energy metabolism. However, new research has discovered that the hormone may also promote neuronal growth in the hippocampus, or the area of the brain responsible for learning and memory.

“This raised the possibility that irisin may help explain why physical activity improves memory and seems to play a protective role in brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease,” said Arancio.

Arancio and his colleagues first looked for a link between irisin and Alzheimer’s in people. After studying tissue samples from brain banks, they found that irisin is present in the human hippocampus. They also learned that the hippocampai levels of the hormone are reduced in people with Alzheimer’s.

Their next task was to explore what irisin does in the brain, so they turned to mice. The experiments revealed that irisin, in mice, protects the synapses in the brain and the animals’ memory. When irisin was disabled in the hippocampus of healthy mice, the animals’ synapses and memory weakened. The opposite occurred when the team boosted brain levels of irisin.

After discerning the importance of irisin, the researchers studied the effects of exercise on irisin and the brain. Science Daily reports:

In the study’s most compelling experiments, the researchers found that mice who swam nearly every day for five weeks did not develop memory impairment despite getting infusions of beta amyloid — the neuron-clogging, memory-robbing protein implicated in Alzheimer’s.

Blocking irisin with a drug completely eliminated the benefits of swimming, the researchers also found. Mice who swam and were treated with irisin-blocking substances performed no better on memory tests than sedentary animals after infusions with beta amyloid.

The findings point to the conclusion that irisin could be exploited as a therapy for preventing or even treating dementia in humans. Arancio and his team are now searching for pharmaceutical compounds that can increase brain levels of the hormone. Or, at the very least, they hope to find a compound that can mimic its action.

In the meantime, I would certainly encourage everyone to exercise, to promote brain function and overall health,” he said. “But that’s not possible for many people, especially those with age-related conditions like heart disease, arthritis, or dementia. For those individuals, there’s a particular need for drugs that can mimic the effects of irisin and protect synapses and prevent cognitive decline.


IMAGE CREDIT1: vampy1

IMAGE CREDIT2:  Dean Drobot

This article was sourced from Truth Theory.

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Carl’s Jr To Debut CBD-Infused Burger On 4/20 That Costs $4.20

By Amanda Froelich

Each day, more people choose to supplement with CBD. This is likely because the component of the cannabis plant (which is non-psychoactive, unlike THC) has been proven to benefit a variety of ailments — from cancer to Alzheimer’s. The problem is, CBD remains illegal in many states and countries. As a result, the use of it still holds a stigma.

The public’s perception of cannabis is rapidly changing, however. This was made evident when last week, the burger chain Carl’s Jr announced that it will be celebrating 4/20 (or the “stoner’s holiday”) by debuting a CBD-infused burger.

According to The Independent, the Rocky Mountain High: CheeseBurger Delight (CBD) features two 100 percent charbroiled beef patties, pickled jalapeños, pepper jack cheese and Crisscut fries. Reportedly, it will be topped with a special hemp-based CBD oil-infused version of Carl’s Jr signature Santa Fe Sauce.

The special will only be available at one location in Denver, Colorado. Furthermore, it will only last the day of 4/20. However, cannabis enthusiasts can visit the Carl’s Jr restaurant located at 4050 Colorado Blvd in Denver, Colorado and purchase the special for just $4.20. If it turns out to be a hit, Carl’s Jr might make it a permanent menu item.

To create the CBD sauce, the chain partnered with the local Colorado company Bluebird Botanicals for its hemp-derived oil. Consuming CBD does not result in a change to mood or perception. Its most notable benefits are relaxation and pain-relief.

“From our early introduction into plant-based options to bringing the rare indulgence of truffles to our menu with the new Bacon Truffle Angus Burger, our customers have come to expect innovative and unique menu offerings, and we’re thrilled to be the first quick service restaurant to be testing CBD infused options,” said Patty Trevino, senior vice president of brand marketing at Carl’s Jr.

What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!


Amanda Froelich — I’m an RHN, plant-based chef, freelance writer with 6+ years of experience, Reiki master therapist, world traveler and enthusiast of everything to do with animal rights, sustainability, cannabis and conscious living. I share healthy recipes at Bloom for Life and cannabis-infused treats at My Stoned Kitchen. Read More stories by Amanda Froelich

IMAGE CREDIT: Carl’s Jr.

This article was sourced from Truth Theory.

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Indoor “Ferris Wheel” Garden Grows 90 Plants At Once, Year-Round

By Amanda Froelich

Who doesn’t want access to less costly organic fruits and vegetables year-round? Thanks to the new OGarden Smart system, this may soon be a reality for all. The rotating garden can grow up to 90 plants at any given time. Furthermore, it has an automatic watering system — a relief for anyone who doesn’t have a green thumb.

According to TreeHugger, the Ferris wheel of sorts can hold up to 60 plants at various stages of growth. As the wheel steadily turns, the roots of the plants are dipped into water at the bottom. They are continuously nourished by a 120 watt LED in the center.

30 seedlings can fit in the incubator below. The seedlings are started in cups filled with organic soil and fertilizer. They, too, are also automatically watered. All one has to do is ensure the water reservoir stays full. This isn’t too hard, as it dries up every 10 days or so and a warning will pop up if you forget.

Once the seedlings are sprouted, they are transferred to the wheel. After reaching maturity, they are harvested. The entire process takes 30-40 days, after which the seed cups and the plant roots can be composted. Then, the process restarts.

The system is especially appealing to urban dwellers who want to grow their own food year-round. The inventors took this into consideration, as well as the overall cost . “We looked into other hydroponic solutions, but they only allowed us to grow a few herbs in the kitchen and did not really made a difference in our food expense. Everything we grew was gone in 1 to 2 meals.”

With 60 plants approaching harvest and 30 sprouting below, you’re able to have a continuous supply of fresh produce. “There are 90 available spots, so with a good rotation, you can have 2-4 large vegetables a day, every day,” OGarden Smart added.

The company boasts the ability to grow everything from celery and kale to bok choy and strawberries. Herbs can also be grown year-round to add a little flavor to homemade stews and salads.

How much does it cost? No surprise, the OGarden Smart system is not cheap. It is presently retailing for CAD$1,463 (USD$1,095). However, the creators urge potential buyers to consider how much they will save long-term in grocery bills. Home-grown organic vegetables are approximately 70 cents per plant — a stark contrast from organic produce obtained in supermarkets.

“According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it costs a family of four an average of $850 per month for groceries. OGarden Smart can save you up to 80% on your veggie expenses – allowing you to cut down your grocery bill.” Based on this calculation, the system could pay for itself within a few months.

The company launched two Kickstarter campaigns to fund the OGarden Smart system. After the first redesign, the company added automatic watering, automatic LED lighting, 10-day water autonomy, and a water warning system. It measures 53″ tall x 29″ wide x 15″ deep. Empty weight is 61 lbs, full weight is 100 lbs. Visit the company’s website to learn more.

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What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!


I’m an RHN, plant-based chef, freelance writer with 6+ years of experience, Reiki master therapist, world traveler and enthusiast of everything to do with animal rights, sustainability, cannabis and conscious living. I share healthy recipes at Bloom for Life and cannabis-infused treats at My Stoned Kitchen. Read More stories by Amanda Froelich

IMAGES CREDIT: Ogarden

This article was sourced from Truth Theory.

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Stressed Out? New Study Suggests You Need a 20-Minute “Nature Pill”

By Amanda Froelich

The idea of retreating to nature when life gets too hectic is nothing new. For instance, this study suggests that negative ions in natural environments benefit those suffering from depression and anxiety and contribute to feelings of mental-wellbeing. But, for the first time ever researchers have deduced a specific dose of an urban nature experience to counteract the effects of stress. The researchers concluded that a 20-minute “nature pill” is sufficient to significantly reduce stress hormone levels.

“We know that spending time in nature reduces stress, but until now it was unclear how much is enough, how often to do it, or even what kind of nature experience will benefit us,” says Dr. MaryCarol Hunter, an Associate Professor at the University of Michigan and lead author of the research. “Our study shows that for the greatest payoff, in terms of efficiently lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol, you should spend 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking in a place that provides you with a sense of nature.”

Credit: Pixabay

The study was published in Frontiers in Psychology. The researchers hope the finding encourages health practitioners to consider prescribing a “nature pill” before conventional treatments.

As GoodNewsNetwork reports, nature pills could be a low-cost solution to reduce the health effects associated with high stress levels which stem from growing urbanization and indoor lifestyles. Hunter and her colleagues wanted to provide evidence-based guidelines for prescribing a nature pill, so they designed an experiment that gives a realistic estimate of an effective dose.

Over an 8-week period, participants of the study were asked to take a nature pill with a duration of 10 minutes or more, at least 3 times a week. Before and after the nature pill, levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, were measured from saliva samples.

“Participants were free to choose the time of day, duration, and the place of their nature experience, which was defined as anywhere outside that in the opinion of the participant, made them feel like they’ve interacted with nature,” explained Hunter. “There were a few constraints to minimize factors known to influence stress: take the nature pill in daylight, no aerobic exercise, and avoid the use of social media, internet, phone calls, conversations and reading.

Building personal flexibility into the experiment allowed us to identify the optimal duration of a nature pill, no matter when or where it is taken, and under the normal circumstances of modern life, with its unpredictability and hectic scheduling,” she continued. “We also accommodated day-to-day differences in a participant’s stress status by collecting four snapshots of cortisol change due to a nature pill,” says Hunter. “It also allowed us to identify and account for the impact of the ongoing, natural drop in cortisol level as the day goes on, making the estimate of effective duration more reliable.”

Credit: Pixabay

After analyzing the data, the researchers concluded that a 20-minute nature experience is enough to significantly reduce cortisol levels. They also found that if you spend more time in nature (between 20 and 30 minutes), cortisol levels dropped at the greatest rate. Past 30 minutes, additional de-stressing benefits continue to add up, albeit at a slower rate.

“Healthcare practitioners can use our results as an evidence-based rule of thumb on what to put in a nature-pill prescription,” said Hunter. “It provides the first estimates of how nature experiences impact stress levels in the context of normal daily life. It breaks new ground by addressing some of the complexities of measuring an effective nature dose.”

Hunter and her colleagues hope that this study inspires further research in this area.

“Our experimental approach can be used as a tool to assess how age, gender, seasonality, physical ability and culture influences the effectiveness of nature experiences on well-being. This will allow customized nature pill prescriptions, as well as a deeper insight on how to design cities and wellbeing programs for the public,” Hunter concluded.

What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!

This article was sourced from The Mind Unleashed.

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