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Plants are the backbone of life on Earth, and are essential sources of food, medicine and shelter. Important as they are, plants can also be a source of fun, especially in do-it-yourself projects.



Until the mid-19th century, plants were the only source of dyes. However, when scientists discovered that they could produce pigments from synthetic chemicals, dyes from plants became somewhat of a lost art.

Courtesy of onlinefabricstore.net


Today, we’re reviving this art that can be enjoyed by yourself or with family and friends. By using pigments from plants, you save on cost while ensuring that your dye is safe and all natural.

Here are some of the plants that can be used in making your own coloring:



Courtesy of Google Images


• Avocado and beets for red/pink/purple dye
• Turmeric, onion skin and celery leaves for yellow dye
• Grapes for purple dye
• Spinach for green dye
• Coffee for black/brown dye
• Chili powder & carrots for orange dye

Project #1: Coffee Hair Colorant



Materials:

• 3-4 tbsp of any kind of coffee
• ½ cup of hair conditioner
• Apple Cider Vinegar (optional)
 
Step 1: Mix the ingredients together until the coffee dissolves.
 
Step 2: Put a towel around your shoulders to avoid stains.
 
Step 3: Using a brush, apply the mixture by spreading it evenly on your hair, starting from the roots.
 

Step 4:  After an hour, add 1 cup of apple cider vinegar into the pail of water then rinse your hair, the vinegar helps the hair color lasts longer.
 
Step 5: Dry your hair and style it.


This dye darkens white and light-colored hair. If you want to achieve a darker tone, repeat the procedure until you get your desired color. But if you don’t like the way your hair color turned out, the coffee will fade after a few washes in the shower.

Project #2: Spinach Fabric Dye



Materials:

• PH-neutral soap
• 8 tsp alum (tawas) per pound of clothing
• Spinach
• Stockings
 
Step 1: Wash the fabric with the PH-neutral soap.
 
Step 2: Fill the pot with water then add alum.
 
Step 3: Fill stockings with spinach and add to the boiling water.
 
Step 4: You can tie the fabric with rubber bands for a tie-dye design. Add it to the boiling water and let it simmer until desired color is reached.



With the help of PH-neutral soap and alum, the green color lasts longer. To keep the color from fading, use gentle soap when washing your fabric.

Project #3: Paint it Hot Pink!



Materials:

• Egg
• 1tsp vinegar
• 1stp water
• 1tbsp sugar
• Pigment (beets extract)

Step 1: To make your hot pink dye, separate the egg yolk from the white.

Step 2: Mix the the egg yolk with a bit of water, sugar, and vinegar.

Step 3: Add the beets extract (you can get this from by the beets) for the pink color finish.

Step 4: Mix all the ingredients until reached the expected texture of the paint.

Step 5: Pour it in a mini jar for a cute presentation.



You can use this on paper, wood and even bricks! Because of the egg, the paint will smell a little.
But after a few days, the smell will go away.

Try this project at home and make it a bonding activity with your family. When you experiment, that’s where the fun comes out!

By: Panahon.TV Intern – Beatrice Hernandez


Nutrition Month is a health awareness campaign held every July. It came into being when former President Ferdinand Marcos signed Presidential Decree No. 491 (Nutrition Act of the Philippines) on June 25, 1974, creating the National Nutrition Council to promote good nutrition.

This year’s theme is “Healthy diet, gawing habit for life”, which includes the following components:

Courtesy of http://www.nnc.gov.ph/~ziamelinbe/


Fighting Obesity and Being Overweight

Excess weight occurs when a person has accumulated excess body fat. Since 1980, worldwide obesity has nearly doubled. In 2008, more than 1.4 billion adults were considered overweight. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Philippines is one of the developing countries with high levels of obesity. A survey conducted last 2011 showed that 22.3% of Filipino adults are overweight and 6.1 percent are obese.



Why do people become obese?

Consuming too many calories. The energy value of food is measured in units called calories. When we eat and drink, we put energy into our bodies. But eating too many calories and not burning enough of them can lead to weight gain.

Consumption of processed or fast food. Such foods that are high in fat and sugar may appeal to our taste buds, but are detrimental to health. They make you pile on the pounds, but not on the nutrition.

Lack of Physical Activity. People need to exercise to burn excess fat, improve muscle tone, boost energy, and naturally increase your body’s production of the human growth hormone.



Why do people become Overweight?

Excessive food intake that aren’t burned turn into extra pounds. But other factors that aren’t related to diet and a sedentary lifestyle can also cause you to be overweight. Here are some of them:

  • According to the archived journals of Disease in Childhood, babies of mothers who smoked during their pregnancy are 48% percent more likely to be overweight. Dr. Stephen Weng of the UK Center for Tobacco Control Studies at the University of Nottingham said that the risk may be because of the poor lifestyle and behavior that many smokers possess. Breastfeeding may help reduce the risk of babies becoming overweight, but babies born to women who smoked weighed less at birth and were breastfed for a shorter period of time.
  • Stress is an indirect factor of weight gain. Nutritionist Rita Gatchalian says that when people are stressed, they tend to overeat. This is because the stress hormone cortisol increases one’s appetite. Lack of sleep, also a stressor, may also cause weight gain.

  • Some medicines can slow down the rate at which your body burns calories and may increase your appetite or cause your body to hold on to extra water.

  • Antidepressants can increase cravings for carbohydrates.
  • Steroids tend to cause insomnia, increased appetite and water retention.
  • Beta blockers and angiotensin-receptor blockers which lower blood pressure and prevent migraine respectively, slow down metabolism.

Obesity Vs. Overweight

Obesity is a hundred percent increase of the normal weight for one’s body type, while being overweight is 50% higher than the normal weight. Being obese and overweight can lead to diabetes, high blood, and hypertension.

Can an overweight person be malnourished?

Malnutrition or “bad nutrition” is a state in which a deficiency, excess or imbalance of the essential parts of a healthy diet cause measurable effects on body tissue.

Through the years, the term has been associated to people who don’t have enough to eat—people whose bones stick out from their narrow frames. But today, malnourishment has a new face. Overweight people can still be malnourished if they eat foods that don’t have the proper nutrients.

To make sure you are eating a well-balanced diet, remember the following:

  • Nothing good comes from eating sugar.
  • Avoid too much sodium.
  • Protein is good for our body but take note that eating large amounts of protein inhibit the proper functioning of our digestive system.
  • Good carbs such as fruits, vegetables, oatmeal, and whole grain can help lower blood cholesterol and heart disease.
  • Bad carbs are foods that contain almost no nutrients and are high in sugar. Soft drinks, cakes and ice cream are examples of bad carbs.
Nutritionist Rita Gatchalian

The Importance of good Nutrition

Food provides our bodies with energy and nutrients so we can live, grow, and function properly. They can protect us from diseases like heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Eating nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains will help you maintain a healthy body weight. It can also delay the effects of aging, and can positively affect your mood and increase focus.

By Panahon TV Intern- Darlene Joy Lodronio

Photo credit: JV Noriega
Photo credit: JV Noriega

Throughout history, mankind has been fascinated with the Moon. In the field of arts alone, the Moon is a constant inspiration, sparking the creation of poems and fantasy stories, love songs, and mythology.

Its symbolism is as rich and varied as its phases—a howling wolf’s shadow cast against a looming full Moon heralds terror, while a sliver of a Moon against a backdrop of brilliant stars spells romance.
But the ultimate proof of our lunar enchantment was when the United States ambitiously sent humans on a mission all the way to the Moon. On July 21, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin held the honor and distinction of being the first men to walk on the Moon.

To the Moon and Back

The Moon is the sole natural satellite of our planet. Second to the sun, it is the brightest thing in our sky. With its diameter of almost 3,500 kilometers, the Moon rotates in time with the Earth, facing our planet with always the same side of its surface, filled with craters and dark plains formed by prehistoric volcanic eruptions.

Once a month, it orbits around the Earth, altering the angle between our planet, the Moon and the Sun. Visually, this translates into the cycle of the Moon’s phases.

Phases of the Moon

In local mythology, the most popular Moon-related figure is Bakunawa, the god of the underworld that comes in the form of a winged giant sea serpent. When a lunar eclipse occurs, Bakunawa is said to have swallowed the Moon with its humongous mouth, the size of a lake. To prevent the creature from devouring the satellite, townsfolk would bang their pots and pans beneath the night sky to scare Bakunawa into spitting out the Moon.

Mad about the Moon

It’s scientifically proven that the Moon affects our planet through the gravitational pull between them. From the vantage point of the Earth’s surface, one can see two bulges created mostly by our oceans (and a bit of the earth’s crust)—the outward bulge in areas nearest to the Moon, and the inward one in areas farthest from the satellite. This is how the Moon generally affects ocean tides.

Still, some believe that the Moon’s influence extends beyond pulling on the ocean’s surface. In connection with how the word lunatic got its name (from the Latin word luna, which means Moon), there are groups that argue that the Moon, particularly its full phase, causes behavioral changes in humans. This is based on the reason that since our bodies are 75% water, the Moon’s gravitational forces also hold influence over us.
Everything from suicides, births, epileptic and heart attacks, to crimes and injuries are said to be Moon-related. But according to livescience.com, there are no conclusive studies that indicate a definite link between such occurrences and the Moon. It even suggests that when strange events happen during the Full Moon, people tend to pay special attention to them, chalking them up to this particular lunar phase. But when the same events occur during the other Moon- phases, they are dismissed or forgotten.

A Salute to the Moon

Photo credit: Heinz Orais
Photo credit: Heinz Orais

In Hatha Yoga, which emphasizes the physical practice of yoga, the Sun represents masculine impulses, shown in sweat-inducing, active yoga poses called asanas.

Meanwhile, the Moon symbolizes our cooler, feminine side—the primary focus of the Moon Salutation or Chandra Namaskara, a fifteen-step sequence that is both gentle and introspective. Here are the slow, mindful steps to achieve the yoga sequence:
1. Stand tall and allow your jaw to relax. Maintain a soft gaze while picturing the Full Moon in your mouth like a soft, soothing lozenge. Allow the sensation of the Moon to drift towards the back of your head and hold it there.
2. Slowly inhale while raising arms overhead.
3. During a long exhalation, gently touch your brow center, heart center then finally fold forward, your palms touching the ground. Step back your left foot and drop your left knee to the ground.
4. Bend your right leg into a forward lunge and raise your arms while inhaling, palms in prayer position overhead.
5. Slowly exhale while lowering your arms, touching your brow center, heart center then the ground. Step back into downward-facing dog pose.
6. Inhale and drop both knees on the floor into table pose. Look up.
7. Exhale and go into child’s pose.
8. Inhale, go up onto your knees, lift your hips and spread your arms. While looking up, allow yourself to be filled with gratitude.
9. Exhale. After bringing your palms in prayer position overhead, touch the back of your neck with your thumbs. Settle back on your heels. Bring your chest toward your thighs and elbows on the floor. Extend arms in front of you and press palms on the ground.
10. Inhale and slide your chest forward, going into upward-facing dog.
11. Exhale and go into downward-facing dog. Bring your left foot between your palms and drop your right knee.
12. Bend your left knee while inhaling and raise your arms in prayer position overhead.
13. Exhale and touch your brow center, heart center. Step your right foot in front of you and fold forward.
14. Inhale and stand up tall. Raise your arms and press palms overhead to salute the Moon.
15. Exhale, allow your palms to touch your brow center, and let them end in prayer position over your heart center.
Upon finishing the sequence, close your eyes and picture the Full Moon resting at the back of your mind. Let its brightness fill your mind, its beam reflecting out through the point between your eyebrows. This sequence aims to calm, and is said to be safe for women undergoing menstruation and pregnancy.
In another yoga system called Ashtanga, asanas are not practiced during the New and Full Moon days. Practitioners believe that these days are “dangerous” because the Sun and Moon’s combined gravitational forces are on an all-time high, creating conflict. Yogis welcome these days to rest from doing their asanas.

The Trending Moon

The Moon has even gone as far as shaping fashion. According to skwirk.com, the first Moon landing influenced 1960s fashion, inspiring designers to use new and exciting materials such as plastic, vinyl and even PVC, a type of resin used in manufacturing garden hoses and floor tiles. Just imagine the creations crafted from these materials!

Fast-forward to today and the Moon is still making waves in the fashion industry, this time, in high-end watches. These days, watches don’t just tell the time, they’re also beefed up with other features that show different time zones and—you guessed it—Moon-phases.
These complications are usually a hit with women, the Moon-phase feature appealing to their eye for beauty.

Audemars Piguet Moon-phase, encased in 18-carat pink gold, indicates the day and current phase of the Moon. (image from watchalyzer.com)
Audemars Piguet Moon-phase, encased in 18-carat pink gold, indicates the day and current phase of the Moon.
(image from watchalyzer.com)

Meanwhile, Maurice Lacroix, a luxury brand of Swiss watches, boasts of pioneering Moon-phase watches in the 1980s—the reason for which was that some of the company’s clients based decisions on whether the Moon is full, waning or waxing.

Its modern version displays not only the Moon-phase, but also the day, the month, and of course, the time. Timepiece connoisseurs are sure to appreciate its built-in jewels such as sapphire crystal and silver gold.

The Masterpiece Phases de Lune showcases the silver Moon against the deep-blue night sky. (image from hodinkee.com)
The Masterpiece Phases de Lune showcases the silver Moon against the deep-blue night sky.
(image from hodinkee.com)

So the next time you find yourself gazing at the Moon, take a moment and marvel at how this celestial body has shaped our culture, and continues to inspire us in ways both whimsical and scientific.
And if the Big Cheese could tell you how it feels about all this attention, it would probably say that it’s simply over the Moon about it.

Sources: Yogainternational.com, Joyisyoga.com, Nytimes.com, Mauricelacroix.com, Pinoy-culture.tumblr.com

We’ve read and heard slogans about how saving the environment can also save the planet. But how do we attain such a seemingly ambitious goal? The answer is by breaking it down into simple earth-friendly changes we can easily incorporate into our daily routine. Here are some practical steps in going green.

Kick the plastic habit.
Sudden floods have long been the bane of metro living, especially during the rainy season. And it doesn’t take a tropical cyclone to cause water level to rise; just a bout of afternoon thunderstorms is enough to cause massive floods and heavy traffic all over the city.

According to the EcoWaste Coalition, a non-government waste and pollution watchdog, waste is one of the major causes of flooding as these clog drainage systems. Metro Manila’s daily waste weighs in at an alarming 8,601 tons per day and is estimated to rise to 9,060 tons per day in 2015.

That is why the group supports the implementation of Republic Act 9003, an act providing for an ecological solid waste management program. The coalition’s major projects include Balik Bayong, which encourages consumers to carry their purchases in a bayong or a reusable bag instead of plastic, which add to the problem of non-biodegradable waste. In fact, EcoWaste has been actively pushing for the banning of plastic bags with the help of local government units. Cities like Muntinlupa, Las Piñas and Quezon City have banned the use of plastic bag, especially in wet markets.

Eat sustainable food.
Greenpeace, another environmental group that aims to change attitudes and behavior of people on protecting and conserving the environment, says that eating fruits and vegetables is more eco-friendly than eating meat. According to a 2006 report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the livestock industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all the forms of transport in the planet combined. Moreover, forests are being destroyed to make room for pastures to feed these animals, killing off thousands of trees that mitigate floods and global warming.

If you want to take eating green a step further, Greenpeace suggests growing your own produce in your backyard to ensure that your veggies, fruits and herbs are pesticide-free.

Cook with minimum energy.
Eco-friendly cooking begins with the right equipment. Greenpeace suggests that before buying large appliances, you should check and compare their energy ratings to know how many kilowatt-hours of energy they use up per month.

Compared to metal pans, glass dishes heat up more quickly, using less time and energy for cooking. Also remember that the bottom of your pan or pot should be the same size as the burner to use the minimum amount of energy.

Before cooking, thaw frozen foods first. And when boiling water, put a lid on the pan to make it heat up faster. Turn down the heat after water boils. Lightly boiling water is the same temperature as water in a rolling boil.

Store food smart.
Greenpeace says no to plastic and suggests using reusable glass containers for storing food in the refrigerator. Speaking of refrigerators, do you know that they use more energy than any other appliance in your home? Here are a few tips to minimize their energy consumption:

• The fridge’s temperature should be kept at 38 to 42°F (3 to 5°C), the freezer at 0 to 5°F (-17 to -15°C).
• Do not open your refrigerator door repeatedly. Before opening it, first decide on which item to get to avoid energy wastage.
• Don’t place your fridge in a warm spot, such as near the heater or in direct sunlight.
• For its efficient operation, clean the condenser coils at the back or bottom of your fridge at least once a year.
• Keep the door gasket clean to make sure that dried food and residue won’t damage its seal.
• Remarkably, energy consumption by the most efficient refrigerator models is largely unrelated to their size. The most efficient 14 cu. ft. fridge on the market today only consumes 106kWh/y. These efficient refrigerators are about 5 to 15% more expensive to buy, but will save you loads of money and energy.

Make the most of your bathroom time.
Each time we use the bathroom, it’s inevitable to use water. To make sure we don’t waste our most valuable resource, Greenpeace dishes out some ways on how we can be eco-warriors even during bathroom time:

• Use a pail for flushing or install dual-flush toilets to minimize the amount of water used. Use your wastebasket for miscellaneous bathroom wastes. Flushing garbage wastes water and can cause treatment problems.
• Mend any dripping taps or leaking pipes immediately. Don’t leave the tap running while brushing your teeth or shaving.
• A shower (about 10 minutes) uses 2/3 of the amount of water as a bath.
• Install water-saving devices for your taps and showers. Energy saving shower heads can save up to 20% of hot water usage and cut down your electricity bills. A faucet aerator will reduce the flow without reducing the water pressure.

By making these steps part of your daily habits, you’re well on your way to saving the planet—a task that doesn’t need superheroes to achieve, but small, individual acts that will make a difference in the long run.

Sources: ECOWASTE COALITION | Greenpeace Philippines | Greenpeace USA

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