Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Use Plastic Bottles in Gardening

Whoever loves gardening or would like to take it as a hobby, try to use plastic bottles as pots, you will be surprised by the benefits and the effect of this unusual adoption.

Many people would like to take gardening as a hobby, but they don’t have too much money and space to start with. The best they can do is plant potted flowers or plants, and some may have a headache to allot space to place the pots.
Why not start with plastic bottles? Take a look at the list of benefits; you will notice that using plastic bottles can save money and space, allow you to be more environmental friendly and facilitate home decoration.

1)      Plastic bottles are easy to get. Soft-drinks, water are sold in this kind of container. If you don’t consume any bottled drinks, you can ask your friends and neighbors to save you some.

2)      Come from your own consumption or from others, plastic bottles can be counted as “free”, definitely cheaper than buying a new pot.

3)      Most of the plastic bottles are transparent, but there are some brands offering different colors. It can be colorful without your additional painting or decoration.

4)      Plastic bottles have different size. You can move the plant from a small bottle to a bigger one easily.

5)      The plastic bottles are light than pots, and we can make an opening easily with a cutter. But they are tough enough in bearing heavy weight. 

6)      When you move the plants from the small bottles to bigger ones, you will have to cut open the plastic bottles. Clean them for they are still qualified for recycling.

7)      Bottled plants are wonderful decorative materials. Hanging them individually or in groups as a curtain, either way beautifies your home, and the latter one saves place or even serves as a partition wall.

8)      The various shape, size and color options of the plastic bottles, together with the color of flowers and plants are perfect for color matching. You can easily arrange a combination in your delight.
After knowing the benefits, let’s take a look at an actual sample. The two photos were taken in the Hong Kong Flower Show 2014. It is a proof that we can extend the lifespan of the plastic bottles to help us develop our gardening hobby and beautify our home at a lower cost with minimum space taken.

A good hobby is beneficial to one’s life. It is worthy of investing time, money and energy on gardening. Maybe you can become an expert and develop your planting hobby to a profitable business as the article suggested below. Anyway, enjoy yourself. 

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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Sodium in Diet

Toe pain revealed to me how careless I had handled my diet. Learn from my experience and be aware of your intake amount of sodium in diet from now on.

What’s wrong with my toes?

One evening I walked for two hours successively to shop an item. Pain from my feet tortured me throughout. I used to walk longer than this and encountered no problem. What’s wrong?

When I got back home to examine my feet carefully, I noticed that the pain came from my toes. How numb the ten little toes looked? A little bit too purple, hardened and swollen, I would say. The idea of “death” stole into my mind. Were my toes all dead? Not yet for pain still existed.

To find out the cause of this abnormal change, I tried a few possibilities. The cold weather might be the cause. So, I wore two pairs of socks instead of one pair at a time and even dug my feet into four layers of blanket. Well, there was no improvement. The toes were still like dead fish.

Was I walking too little recently and so the feet couldn’t stand the two hours exercise? I stretched my feet as much as I could, but again, no improvement. Wait a minute, if the inadequacy of exercise was to be blamed, why the pain came from the toes only, not the whole feet?

I couldn’t help knitting my brow. There was a common saying, “Pain from a specific area of the foot means a part of your body is undergoing health problem.” So, which part went wrong?

I decided to examine my recent diet see if it would give me some hints. I listed out the foods and drinks that I consumed and checked the labels of their packaging. I found the villain eventually. It was the excessive sodium in diet. 

What is the safe level of sodium intake?

Healthy adults should have their sodium intake not more than 2300mg per day, and no more than 1500mg per day for those with high blood pressure. Patients of congestive heart failure, liver cirrhosis and kidney disease may need even lower amounts. Always consult your doctor for the safety level according to your body and health. In other words, it will be fine to maintain a low sodium intake, but excessive intake is definitely hazardous to health.

(The alarming difference for one serving: left is the instant noodle, right is the udon, photo taken by the author)

Where was my excessive sodium intake come from?

Surprisingly, the villain was an instant noodle that alone contributes to 2107mg. No matter how much I love eating, it couldn’t stay in my diet anymore. I replaced it with an Udon (Japanese noodle) that only consisted of 84mg per serving. The difference is alarming, isn’t it?

Usually I eat one serving of noodle for a meal. But we have at least three meals per day. There are many foods and drinks consisted of sodium, we may add up the amount for the ingredients we used in cooking, but we easily lose count when dining outside. A little bit here, a little bit there, we don't need to worry about inadequate intake. On the contrary, we must still count and check the excessive intake shortly. Don't let your body run wild to tell you this.

How to check the excessive sodium intake?

As mentioned above, I replaced the ingredient with a low sodium portioned one upon discovery. Drink a lot of water to wash out the undesirable elements. A lot doesn’t mean over-drink; here it means to replace your usual coffee, tea, soft drinks with water for a while to let water work its magic.

Prevention is always better than cure. We must learn to read the labels for every ingredient albeit its commonness. Do a little bit calculation to get a rough idea on the intake level and make the adjustments among the meals to bring down the intake level of sodium. Keep a good balance strictly in a daily basis.

We may need to forsake some favorite foods and drinks or reduce the intake amount and frequency, but good health should be given the top priority. Eat well and be healthy all the time.

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