Green. Have you ever met someone that doesn’t like the color green? It might not be their first choice in wall paint, but years of research has primarily confirmed our brain’s naturally positive reaction to just about every shade of green. Be it the calm of a dark forest or emerald green, or the stimulation that comes with a bright lime green or chartreuse; the color carries very few negative connotations. Hold the paint brush though. An even better way to surround yourself with green without painting the walls is keeping a few house plants.
Your Brain on Plants
Many studies have been done on the way nature affects the brain and not a single one had anything bad to say. Most people are aware that nature makes us happy and much of that has to do with being surrounded by so much green. Bringing nature into your home or office is a great way to enjoy those benefits without having to go outside.
No green thumb? Fear not! Turns out placebos work almost as well in this regard. A highly realistic artificial plant in your line of vision will actually do the trick. Just don't forget to pretend to water it.
“My fake plants died because I did not pretend to water them” - Mitch Hedburg
Your Body on Plants
Those positive effects on your brain will trickle down to your body. In hospitals that had real or artificial plants in the rooms of patients saw that those patients had lower blood pressure, asked for less pain medication, and were often released sooner.
Unfortunately, to feel the full benefits of your body on plants the fake ones won’t do the trick since plastic doesn’t photosynthesize. Though photosynthesis on the scale of a house plant only produces trace amounts of oxygen, that isn't the only thing plants do for the air we breathe in our homes or offices. Although studies have shown that some plants can remove volatile organic compounds from the air, the jury is still out on how much of an impact they actually make on indoor air pollution. We do know, however, that plants increase humidity in the home. When you water your plants, they return the favor. Plants release up to 97% of the moisture they take in. A study by Washing State University saw a reduction in dust by about 20%, which is especially great if you don't like dusting. Increased humidity is also good for your skin and your lungs. It reduces the likelihood of catching the common cold and other respiratory diseases. It is recommended to have one medium to large plant for every 100 square feet to feel the effects.
Plant Killer, Qu'est-ce Que C'est?
It is possible to keep house plants even if you are forgetful and don't have much time, you just have to choose the right ones. To get the most out of the mental and physical benefits, plants with large green leaves are recommended. Here are a few to get you started.
Now go forth, give your brain a boost, and create a living room or office jungle!
Article Written and Researched by Victoria Buckwash
It's February and hearts are abound. They have been hung in windows, on walls and plastered on bags of candy. Not real ones though, that would be gross and messy, just imagine the liability. As we well know, the hearts that seem persistently in our line of vision this time of year bear very little resemblance to our actual hearts. So, why has the ubiquitous “heart shape” become the symbol of Valentine’s Day and our preferred representation of love itself? Turns out we’re as unsure about the origins of the ideograph as you are about your upcoming blind date.
Sultry Sex Symbol?
This plant was mostly used as a seasoning but was reputed to have another use as a contraceptive. Yep, ancient Greeks and Romans seasoned their food with birth control, but don’t go looking for it to sprinkle on your Valentine’s Day surf and turf. This plant was so popular that it is now extinct.
Expression of Religious Love?
The origin story that really takes the cake (or chocolates if you will) by way of likelihood is that the heart shape we hold so close to our, uh, hearts exists solely because some medieval scientist or philosopher guessed wrong. Our ancient ancestors started performing autopsies as far back as 367 BC and scientific research of the human anatomy continued for a few hundred years. However, research stopped around 200 AD and didn't start again until 1091, leaving a gap of about a thousand years in our knowledge of the human body.
Sex symbol? Expression of religious love? Debunked science? When we get to the heart of it, does it really matter? Let’s just be glad that we have love to express and a universal method of expressing it. Happy Valentines Day!
Researched and written by Victoria Buckwash
We all know the story of the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth. It was told to us countless times in grade school as we sat at our desks and drew hand turkeys with crayons, and topped them with little pilgrim hats and feathers. However, what's more interesting than Thanksgiving’s sordid past is the history surrounding the dishes that make up our November feast. This post-harvest celebration is stuffed with more traditions than the turkey itself. Did you ever stop to ask yourself where all these delectable dishes came from, aside from the oven? Have you pondered the origin of your pumpkin pie as you piled it high with whipped cream? Well, even if you didn’t you’re going to know by the end of this article. Come the holiday you can be the savviest person at the table as you drizzle information over everyone’s meal in lieu of gravy. Just kidding, don’t skip the gravy.
These Turkeys Were Made for Walking
If we are going to expound upon the origins of some of Thanksgivings most popular dishes we may as well start with the main course; the turkey. Brined, fried, baked, or tofu, just about everyone has this 11 million year old bird at the center of their Thanksgiving table. It is Turkey Day after all. But, why is it the main course you ask? The answer is simpler than you would expect. Essentially it bakes down to convenience. Wild turkeys are native to North America. When Europeans first made contact with the Americas it is estimated that some 10 million turkeys were roaming the land. As settlers began raising their own livestock, cows and goats were kept for their milk and not often eaten. Chickens were kept for their eggs and also not often eaten. Pigs were the primary meat source of colonial Americans but if you’re throwing a party you don’t want to eat what you already eat on a regular basis. Enter the turkey, delicious and not really good for much else than eating, and one bird could easily feed an entire family.
In 1863 Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday. By this time novelized images of the turkey as the main course had spread nationwide. The toughest part of meeting the growing demand for turkeys on this day was getting the turkeys to the people. Before refrigerated trains and trucks the only way to get them there was to take them for a walk. A very slow, long walk over several hundred miles. Vermont turkeys were marched to Boston, Kentucky and Tennessee turkeys were marked to Richmond. Turkeys dont really have a driving sense of urgency by nature, or maybe they knew they were on their death march, whatever the case, the average pace of a turkey walk was about one mile per hour. To make matters worse turkeys aren't very bright. As the sun sets, they will roost for the night in bushes and trees. The problem with this is that often times the turkeys would confuse an overcast sky, or especially shady woods with night fall and would prematurely settle down to roost. Once they decided they were done for the day “nothing would induce them to continue the march to the slaughtering pens.” Drovers would often travel miles out of their way to avoid densely shaded woods in hopes of keeping their turkeys moving. “Turkey Trots”, as they were called in Texas, remained the norm up until the 1930’s when commercialized farming and more efficient means of transportation arose.
Pumpion to Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkins have been cultivated in Central America since 5500 BC. The first known mention of Pumpkins in Europe dates back to 1536. The squash quickly took its place in English baking culture, but you're not very likely to find the custard based pumpkin pie we serve at Thanksgiving on an English dinner table. Pumpion pie, was made with pumpkins and apples, baked with rosemary, thyme, marjoram ( a type of mint), cinnamon, cloves and other spices. Early colonists brought pumpkins back with them on the Mayflower, but a lack of ovens and flower meant that it would still be some time until pumpkin pie as we know it became a popular dish. In 1796 American Cookery, by Amelia Simmons, was published. It was the first cookbook to be published here and it contains two recipes for pumpkin pie, one very similar to what we serve up today.