Good News: Week 1

In this new weekly feature here on Goodlifer, we will share our favorite stories of the week. This week, we learned that our brains can actually grow, that New York City may be an ecologically diverse hotspot, that vegan diets are becoming more mainstream and that caring more about yourself may make your marriage happier. We reflected of green sacred cows, the modern meat scene, wondered where all the organic denim has gone and dreamed ourselves away to faraway lands.

SCIENCE: Did you know your brain can actually grow?
“New Year’s resolutions often have to do with eating more healthfully, going to the gym more, giving up sweets, losing weight — all admirable goals aimed at improving one’s physical health. Most people, though, do not realize that they can strengthen their brains in a similar way.”
This Year, Change Your Mind, by Oliver Sacks, The New York Times

BIOLOGY/URBANISM: New York City as diverse ecological hotspot.
“Indeed, as scientists explore the abandoned dumping grounds of Canarsie, or the beat-up marshes where the saltwater of New York Harbor meets the streams that still run out of the hills in Queens, they are discovering the depth of our wilderness. We’ve long known that our waters are home to herring, mackerel, shad, blues, anchovies, blackfish, stripers, crappies, Lafayettes, tomcod, hake, eel, weakfish, killifish, and perch—but we’re only starting to understand that they swim above a still-operative and vibrant food chain of smaller creatures.”
The Concrete Jungle, New York Magazine

HEALTH & WELLNESS: Vegan diets are becoming more mainstream
“You’ve come a long way, vegan. Once mocked as a fringe diet for sandal-wearing health food store workers, veganism is moving from marginal to mainstream in the United States. The vegan “Skinny Bitch” diet books are best-sellers, vegan staples like tempeh and tofu can be purchased at just about any supermarket, and some chain restaurants eagerly promote their plant-only menu items. Today’s vegans are urban hipsters, suburban moms, college students, even professional athletes.”
Vegan diets becoming more popular, more mainstream, by Michael Hill, The Washington Post

SUSTAINABILITY: Asking some tough questions about sacred (green) cows
“The Third Wave Green concept we’ve introduced at EcoSalon means taking a hard look at the environmental movement’s sacred truths and considering whether or not they exclude diversity of thought and, most important, hold up to scrutiny. Not always an easy or comfortable task. [—] We’re starting with 10 common green assumptions many of us subscribe to, and asking: should we?”
Third Wave Green: A Cold Hard Look at 10 Sacred Cows, by Scott Adelson, EcoSalon

FOOD: Cooking, writing & the Modern Meat Scene
“If a book about nose-to-tail butchery seems a little hard core, even for the most committed foodie, then you have yet to be introduced to Marissa Guggiana’s passionate and inclusive world of locally driven, compassionately produced, “righteous food.” Look no further than her new book’s introduction to be utterly charmed and intrigued. Marissa, a meat purveyor from northern California, writes the way people should flip pancakes – lightly, skillfully, joyfully – and you can’t help but be inspired by her portraits of the new culinary superstars.”
Primal Cuts: Cooking with America’s Best Butchers (A Review/Interview), by Karen Kanan Corrêa, Ecocentric

TRAVEL: The 41 Places to Go in 2011.
“From the beaches of Mexico to the wilds of Kurdistan, the places on this year’s list take you to the end of the world and back.”
The 41 Places to Go in 2011, The New York Times

ECO-FASHION: Where did all the organic denim go?
“Two years ago, when going green was red-hot in the fashion industry, there were plenty of organic jeans to choose from. Brands including Levi’s, Banana Republic, Genetic Denim, 7 For All Mankind, Earnest Sewn, Aristocrat, Loomstate, Del Forte and J Brand offered at least one pair made with some amount of organic cotton, which is grown without environmentally threatening chemicals (according to the Sustainable Cotton Project, a nonprofit organization, conventional cotton consumes 25 percent of the world’s chemical pesticides and fertilizers). Today, none of the brands do. Which raises the question: Where has all the organic denim gone?”
In Eco-Jeans, the Green Becomes Harder to Spot, by Alexandra Zissu, The New York Times

SUSTAINABLE LOVE: Why caring more about yourself may give you a happier marriage.
“A lasting marriage does not always signal a happy marriage. Plenty of miserable couples have stayed together for children, religion or other practical reasons. But for many couples, it’s just not enough to stay together. They want a relationship that is meaningful and satisfying. In short, they want a sustainable marriage.”
The Happy Marriage Is the ‘Me’ Marriage, Tara Parker-Pope, The New York Times

About author
A designer by trade, Johanna has always had a passion for storytelling. Born and raised in Sweden, she's lived and worked in Miami, Brooklyn and, currently, Ojai, CA. She started Goodlifer in 2008 to offer a positive outlook for the future and share great stories, discoveries, thoughts, tips and reflections around her idea of the Good Life. Johanna loves kale, wishes she had a greener thumb, and thinks everything is just a tad bit better with champagne (or green juice).
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  1. Great choices!! xx

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