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DECISIV E o n i t a L The Best Source for Cultural and Consumer News Winter 2012

Eco Paraíso

The Best Sites and Surroundings to Get Back to Nature

Our Experts Show You: > How to Start a Raw Food Diet (p.2) > Top solar-powered gadgets (p. 3) > How to invest in green companies (p.4)

Our green expert shares tips to reduce, reuse, and recycle

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yourchoices The Guide To What’s Inside Volume 3 | issue 1 | winter 2012

Publisher: Randi Payton

feature set: on the cover

Editor-in-Chief: Lyndon Conrad Bell. Associate Publisher/Editor: Valerie Menard Editorial Director: Joyce Gates Art Director: Fran Sherman consumer editor: Tiffany Tilley contributing writers: Giselle Achecar, Ruben Arvizu, Lillian Aviles, Jeffrey Luis Taylor, Graciela Tiscareno-Sato Multimedia Managers:Thuan Ngo decisive latino sales: Valerie Martinez Decisive Media Headquarters: 8201 Corporate Drive, Suite 500 Landover, MD 20785 Tel: 301-850-2858 • Fax: 301-390-1825 President & CEO: Randi Payton Vice President: Karen Payton Production/Distribution: Joyce Gates Business Manager: Damon Redmond Sales Director: Karen Payton executive assistant: Jane Godshall multimedia marketing: Rich Baron DECISIVE MEDIA DETROIT: Leonard Corbin event director: Margorie Staten Decisive Latino magazine © 2011 is published four times annually as a newspaper-delivered publication and digital e-magazine by Decisive Media Your complete resource for research and opinion on consumer products and services Visit us at, email us at:

05 08 02

Eco Paraíso By Lillian Aviles

Cities are nice but for real relaxation, nothing beats nature. We look at destinations in Puerto Rico and Mexico where travelers can unwind, explore, and escape.

The Green Routine By Ruben Arvizu

Our Eco expert shares six tips to start the new year with a green objective.

the usuals:

inside every issue 02 Health 03 Technology 04 financial


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Membership applied for October 2010

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by Giselle Achecar

Tips for Starting a Raw Food Diet

What do Demi Moore, Donna Karan and Alicia Silverstone have in common? They’re celebrity raw foodists. These women eat a diet that is 75 percent plant-based and raw. The first thing to understand about the Raw Food Diet is that it’s a lifestyle choice, not a weight loss plan. You’ll lose body fat, particularly if you’re now consuming meats, saturated fats, processed sugars, and caffeine. You’ll chop, dehydrate, sprout and blend your way to lower cholesterol. But if you want to look like Demi, you’ll have to make it a way of life. Technically, raw food hasn’t been cooked, processed, microwaved, irradiated, genetically engineered, or exposed to pesticides. The diet includes fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, grains, legumes, and herbs in their natural state. Also allowed are cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil, raw coconut oil, and raw almond butter. You can even have raw milk, raw milk cheese, raw fish and meats. But none of the food can be heated above 118 degrees Fahrenheit, which leads to this disclaimer: The American Dietetic Association (“ADA”) warns that cooking food below 118 degrees may not kill harmful, food-borne bacteria. The FDA says consuming raw meat, dairy and milk is a no-no.

So why eat a raw food diet? This diet contains fewer trans and saturated fats. It’s low in sodium and sugar and high in potassium, magnesium, folate, fiber, vitamin A, and antioxidants. Proponents believe heating food above 118º F destroys its live enzymes and causes chemical reactions that create acidic toxins, including the carcinogens, mutagens, and free-radicals associated with diseases like diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, and cancer. Extensive scientific evidence to support these claims is lacking. A 2005 study in the Journal of Nutrition found that a diet rich in raw foods aids digestion and reduces bad cholesterol and blood pressure. In fact, these studies show that eating a raw food diet can help reduce the risk of bladder, oral, pharyngeal, laryngeal, esophageal, and gastric cancers. One study quoted in The Iowa Source concluded that long-term raw foodists experience tremendous improvements in “mental/emotional/spiritual” health.

What’s the bad news? Because essential nutrients like vitamin B12, iron, zinc, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids are found in animal products, a typical raw food diet doesn’t provide enough. One study found that people on raw food diets have higher levels of homocysteine and lower HDL cholesterol or good cholesterol levels, increasing risk factors for heart disease. Moreover, people with hypoglycemia or diabetes should use caution on the raw food diet. Although the antioxidants, vegetables and fiber can help, over-consuming fruit juices, for example, may worsen the condition. The ADA doesn’t recommend this diet for older people, infants and children. Here are a few quick tips for new raw foodists: 1. Take a supplement with B12, calcium, omega 3 fatty acids and iron. 2. Start slowly, your body will detox quickly. 3. Steer clear of raw taro, cassava, potatoes and rhubarb; all can be toxic in their raw states. 4. Children and seniors should not attempt this diet. My advice? Eat fresh fruits and veggies EVERYDAY. Your body will thank you for it.dD

Giselle Achecar is the creator of EcoRico, an eco-lifestyle brand that includes the online EcoRico cooking show, EcoSexy video tips and the groundbreaking personal success program “Marry Your Passion with Your Purpose.”


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by Jeffrey Luis Taylor

Save energy with solar-powered gadgets

Solar technology will play an increasing part in all of our lives going forward but we may be more used to it than we know. Many common gadgets already tap the Sun to create electricity through photovoltaic cells. With ideal conditions, a typical solar-powered device can stay operational between eight to ten hours after approximately ten to twelve hours of exposure (charging) from the Sun. Beyond solar calculators and wristwatches, the following items range in price, but they all require power from the Sun.

It’s a Grass Spring is coming, with sunny days and green grass that needs to be cut. The world’s first fully automatic lawn mower, Husqvarna’s Automower Solar Hybrid is powered (in part) by the Sun. In addition to a charging station, the Automower comes with a large integrated solar panel. Using sunlight, the solar cells extend cutting periods before a recharge. Unlike gas mowers the Automower has no exhaust emissions. A convenient settings panel allows you to map out your yard and cutting preferences. A timer lets you decide how long you want Automower to cut. Suitable for lawns up to 1/2 acre, depending on light conditions, it’s available at authorized Husqvarna dealers or www.husqvarna. com, Suggested Retail price: $2,999.95

Get a Charge The soBAT II solar powered backup battery and charging unit by Scosche works with almost any handheld USB powered device. You can do a direct charge to a device or place the Scosche soBAT ll in the Sun to collect rays and charge your device later. This is a great feature making it versatile enough to use when jogging, cycling and hiking. The soBAT ll charges handhelds at the same rate as a wall charger. When fully powered the soBAT ll can recharge a cell phone twice. Available at: WalMart and www.scosche. com. Price: $29.99

Night Light Using bright LED solar lights around your sidewalk or house means you’ll never need to remember to turn them on and off or bury wires to use electricity. The Stainless-Steel Solar-Powered Lantern by Enchanted Garden runs on rechargeable AAA batteries that soak up power from the Sun. A photo sensor turns the light on at dusk and off at sunrise. Available at most big box home improvement stores, these lights come individually for as little as $2.99, or in sets of six for $14.99 or larger packs.

Weather or Not A very high tech way to keep tabs on your outside environment is a Solar Powered Wireless Weather Station by La Crosse Technology. It comes with a variety of features including inside and outside temperature and inside and outside humidity. Information is gathered via remote sensor. The two AA rechargeable alkalines that are included receive power from the solar cell. Solar Powered Wireless Weather Station by La Crosse Technology is available at Kohl’s stores or www. Suggested retail price $39.99dD

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by Graciela Tiscareño-Sato

Tips for sustainable and responsible investing


Shortly before speaking at the recent San Francisco Green Festival, I found myself standing under a large model of Planet Earth and the words “Too big to fail.” I was asked to write on a dry erase board what I believed was too big to fail.

It was a clever festival/Facebook campaign to get us to imagine what in our own lives matters so deeply that we will not allow its failure, just like our planet. Many of us choose to invest in its vitality with our efforts to reduce, reuse, and recycle, but there are publicly traded green companies, devoted to alternative fuels for example, that we can choose to invest in by buying stock. At the festival, I met representatives from Calvert Investments who termed the company, a “leader in Sustainable and Responsible Investing (SRI).” When corporate folks introduce themselves as industry leaders, I am typically dubious. But when I asked my friend, Emily Bouchard, a family, wealth, and money coach at the Wealth Legacy Group in the San Francisco Bay area, to recommend resources for me, Calvert was one of two she sent my way. As Emily shared her recommendations, she also reminded me about due diligence and what gets in the way. “When looking at doing something new with your money, familiar patterns of behavior can show up,” she cautioned. “Know that your ‘innocent’ money persona may feel overwhelmed and attempt to derail your good intentions, by avoiding doing what’s uncomfortable and unknown. That’s when seeking out sound advice and getting recommendations from trusted and experienced advisors will make you feel much more competent.” As we begin the New Year, you may have financial goals you want to achieve. One of mine that you may share reads, “Invest x percent of retirement funds in sustainable, greener investments and organizations.” To that

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end, here are key questions to ask to help you prepare to invest: • What percent of your portfolio are you looking to invest in SRI? • Are you looking to invest in established SRI mutual funds like those managed by Calvert and others? • Are you on the leading edge of SRI and looking for ways to invest in Certified B Corporations (companies with a social agenda) as more come into existence? • Are you looking at established, publicly traded corporations already in your portfolio and reevaluating investment decisions based on their corporate sustainability initiatives and benchmarks? • Are you looking to separate the truly green companies from the “green washers” (fakes) before you invest? The Internet offers many sites, like, that can help steer you in the right direction. • How much reading do you want to do before you invest in entities that function as if our planet matters? As you answer these questions, you’ll be well on your way to narrowing down how you want to start and where you want to put your first chunks of money. Sitting down with a financial advisor after you have achieved this first clarity will undoubtedly make it easier for you to go from wanting to invest in greener, more socially responsible entities, to actually becoming an investor in 2012. dD

eco paraíso Environmentally Friendly Destinations for the Green Traveler by Lillian Aviles


iving a green lifestyle involves choices, from what food to eat, to what gadgets to buy. On a larger scale, you can also choose a green alternative for your next vacation. Continuing our theme to highlight and support ecological destinations and green properties that make an effort to lessen their carbon footprint, we are delighted to feature the following select areas that will both amaze and enchant the eco-minded Latino traveler.

mexico Destination: Sian Ka’an | Quintana Roo The state of Quintana Roo on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is mostly known as an international hot spot, attracting thousands of tourists daily to its large international resorts. Just over two hours south of Cancun’s main strip, however, lies one of the country’s most protected and diverse biospheres, Sian Ka’an or “Origin of the Sky” in Mayan. Near the relaxed beachside Mayan ruins of Tulum sit approximately 1.3 million acres of tropical forests, lagoons, sinkholes, wetlands, mangroves, beaches and more. One is instantly transported to a world of awe-inspiring nature and beauty rich in color, sound, and scent. Home to over 1,200 plant, 100 mammal (including the sacred jaguar) and 336 bird species, Sian Ka’an is also home to 23 known archeological sites that date back 2,300 years. The second largest barrier reef in the world that extends from Mexico into Belize and onto Honduras flanks its beaches. Sian Ka’an was deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site and forms part of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Program. To visit Sian Ka’an, I highly recommend a low impact small group (two-tosix person) eco tour. Pricing for a full day tour can range between $115 to $250 per person depending on the activities you wish to include and if you require private transportation from your hotel.

hacienda tres rios

Accommodation: Hacienda Tres Ríos | Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo In 2006, Tres Ríos was recognized by the Mexican government as a “regional and national model for sustainable tourism development” and its recognition was well deserved. This large 273-room hotel offers luxury accommodations and service while taking huge steps to protect the vast wildlife that surrounds it. Situated in an ecological park with 326 acres of tropical rainforests that include fresh water rivers and ten cenotes (cave-like sinkholes), this property is home to 120 species of plants and 90 species of animals. The setting is unique as it combines jungle, mangrove forest, and coastal dunes all on one property. Green practices used during construction and daily management include: using regional materials and finishes, conserving 4,000 native plants, rescuing eleven endangered species, using cold water from deep wells to cool air conditioning systems, and using heat generated from air conditioning to heat water.

Hacienda Tres Ríos Carretera Cancún-Tulum, Km. 54 Quintana Roo, 77760 México

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children, it comprises winding paths that lead through a canyon, dry scrubland, wetlands, and a botanical garden. The biodiversity of El Charco is a real surprise, particularly to an untrained eye–at first glance one doesn’t see much but the more you focus, the more you see! Eighteen species of reptiles and amphibians, 156 species of birds, 32 species of mammals, along with 110 species of butterflies reside here. Open daily during daylight hours, park entrance fees cost approximately $3 for children and $7 for adults and group and private tours are available on request.

Accommodation: SonjoWasi Villa | San Miguel de Allende An enchanting villa that can be rented for small groups, families, friends, or wedding parties, this gorgeous property located in the center of San Miguel de Allende’s historic district is an oasis of lush terraced gardens and serenity. The villa has four en-suite bedrooms, a large kitchen, dining and living rooms along with a cozy library. The grounds include an outdoor pool, Jacuzzi, terraces and tiered gardens that can be used for events. From the start of a long renovation that transformed what was once a family retreat to a villa rental, the owners of SonjoWasi Villa chose to incorporate a plan of sustainability for the new phase of their property. They started with the implementation of an ultra high-tech water filtration system. You won’t see a plastic bottle anywhere on the property as all faucets provide fresh and clean drinking water. During the two-year renovation, recycled woods and materials were reused to lessen waste. Last year a grey water and rain collection and filtration system was installed in order to provide ample water to irrigate the gardens. The pool water is heated by solar panels and all organic waste is recycled, composted, and used as fertilizers for the gardens. sonjowasi villa

Destination: Cañada de La Virgen and El Charco del Ingenio | San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato After years of careful excavation and restoration, the very lunar pre-Columbian archeological site, Cañada de La Virgen or “Gorge of the Virgin,” is now open to the public. Just under 20 miles southeast of the colorful art-filled colonial town of San Miguel de Allende, it sits on privately held property. Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History operates the actual archeological site, but a family-run nature preserve called Sanctuary Cañada de la Virgen that focuses on providing unique experiences while respecting the environment operates the surrounding landscape. Every visitor must read and sign a wilderness agreement before entering the nature preserve. Activities available upon request and priced according to group size include horseback riding, camping, hiking, astronomy tours, and meditations. Minutes outside of downtown historic San Miguel de Allende lies a 167-acre nature reserve called El Charco del Ingenio. A delight for both adults and

SonjoWasi Villa Recreo 100, Col. Centro, San Miguel de Allende Guanajuato, 3770, México

Destination: Culebra Natural Wildlife Refuge | Culebra Island Culebra Natural Wildlife Refuge, home to over 1,400 acres of bird-nesting colonies and other wildlife, is the ideal location for amateur and professional naturalists alike concerned with preserving the ecosystem. Culebra Island itself is also a favorite destination for its secluded and pristine beaches that are great for snorkeling and hiking in nearby forests. Founded in 1909 by Theodore Roosevelt, this refuge is one of oldest in the U.S.’s wildlife refuge system and is comprised of lands on the main island of photograph by Michael Darter 2010


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puerto rico

Culebra along with 22 smaller islands in the same vicinity. Its remarkably beautiful natural environment includes mangroves, dry tropical forests, caves and beaches. The Culebra Refuge is open daily from sunrise to sunset. The Mt. Resaca trail, Cayo Luis Pena, and lsla Culebrita are all accessible without permits. Travelers can reach Culebra Island by flying from San Juan or by ferry from the town or Fajardo.

Accommodation: Tamarindo Estates | Culebra Ideal for a tranquil escape, Tamarindo Estates consist of twelve bungalowstyle apartments that are tucked among 60 acres of undeveloped land. These self-catering and simple accommodations are not deemed as luxury. However, if you consider privacy and tranquility a luxury, look no further! Located on Culebra Island’s Marine Reserve, the management of Tamarindo Estates has to adhere to particular ecological standards in order to safeguard

their environment, particularly since the refuge is a nesting site for several species of seabirds and preserves important habitat for endangered sea turtles and the Culebra giant anole.

Tamarindo Estates Culebra Island, Puerto Rico 00775

Destination: Vieques National Wildlife Refuge | Vieques Derived from the native Taino word “Bieque” meaning small island, the island of Vieques is only 22-miles long however, it has a rich history and is home to the largest national refuge in the Caribbean. This serene island just seven miles off the eastern shore of Puerto Rico’s mainland was used as a U.S. Naval base since the 1940s through 2001 when the U.S. Navy began transitioning lands back to the municipality of Vieques. These lands now form The Vieques National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) and its mission is to conserve, protect and enhance the wildlife and environment of these lands. Encompasses 17, 771 acres of protected lands, its topography includes subtropical dry forests, grasslands, mangroves, salt flats, beaches, and coastal strand forests. This diverse habitat includes equally diverse inhabitants: about 150 bird, 22 amphibian, 800 fish and four reptile species can be found on the refuge. The blissful sandy beaches, such as La Plata, will keep nature lovers in a state of wonderment and discovery. A unique island experience includes swimming in its Bioluminescent Bays, home to large colonies of dinoflagellates that light up like fireflies, producing incredible glowing waters best seen in the hix house moonless nights. Only five bays exist in the world (three in Puerto Rico) and one of the most spectacular bays is the northeast’s Mosquito Bay in Vieques. The Vieques NWR is open to the public and can be visited year-round from 6:00 AM until dark. Travelers can reach Vieques by flying from the cities of San Juan or Ceiba or by ferry from the town or Fajardo.

and peaceful beaches are just minutes away. Designed by renowned architect, John Hix, who is also owner of Hix Island House, this property was constructed keeping the utmost detail in mind, particularly when it comes to conservation. Hix took all of the surrounding environmental factors into consideration. For example, the property was built in a position that takes advantage of constant winds. The electricity is solar powered and rain water is collected and used to water the gardens. Hix also used WabiSabi concrete blocks to construct the hotel making it hurricane, earthquake, and fire proof. The Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association has selected Hix Island House as the 2011 Green Small Hotel of the Year for the second year in a row and in 2002 the property won the U.S. EPA Environmental Quality Award.

Hix Island House Hotel Vieques, Puerto Rico 00765 www.HixIslandHouse.comdD

Accommodation: Hix Island House | Vieques Hix Island House is an architectural delight located on the serene island of Vieques. It’s surrounded by 13 acres of uninhabited nature, with the exception of wildlife. With thirteen loft-style apartments housed in four buildings, this destination is an idyllic retreat for those wanting privacy and tranquility, as well as disconnect (there are no phones or televisions). Open-air private terraces and outdoor showers give way to dramatic views of flora and fauna

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green routine


Six tips to help reduce our impact on the planet by Ruben Arvizu

In 2011, we reached the seven billion mark of human population. As the guardians of the planet, we need to pay more attention to the fragility of our world when dealing with environmental issues. For decades, many books and essays have been telling us about the negative consequences of the explosive increment of humans on planet Earth. More people simply cause enormous pressure on the natural resources and the food supply. The world consumption of fossil fuels such as oil, gas, and coal has increased by 75 percent over the last 30 years and continues to grow. If we don’t change our consumption patterns, global energy demand will far exceed traditional production capacity. When we use fossil fuels we create pollution due to the release of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. The concentration of this gas has remained relatively stable for 10,000 years, but increased by 30 percent since the industrial revolution. These extra emissions are responsible for climate change and its consequences: droughts, melting ice, rising sea levels, increased tornadoes, hurricanes and cyclones, floods, the extinction of animals and plants unable to adapt to changes, etc. Is there anything that we, everyday citizens, can do to help ease this problem? Of course we can, by putting into action the well-known old axioms of the environmental movement: reduce, reuse and recycle. Let’s concentrate on a few tips.

Ruben Arvizu is the film producer-writer and director for Latin America of Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society ( and president of Arvintel Media Productions (


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If any of your devices must run on batteries, choose rechargeable batteries: they are much more economical and environmentally friendly than disposable ones. If you do use disposable ones, recycle them at places like Radio Shack.

5. Take quick showers instead of a bath. You only use ten gallons of water for a shower against 35 for a bath! Some homes may require owners to run the water to get it to heat up. If so, try capturing some of that water in a bucket that can be reused in the household, e.g. for flushing the toilet.



1. Lower the thermostat. In the winter, try to keep a maximum temperature in your home of 66-68° F. That ambient temperature is a little brisk but reducing the temperature five degrees in your home or your workplace represents a savings in your energy bill of up to eight percent. At night, when you’re under the covers, or during the day, when you are away, try an ambient temperature of 60 ° F in your home. If you leave for an extended period (a long weekend or a weekly holiday), keep your thermostat at 53 ° F maximum. To heat the home naturally, open your curtains in the morning.

2. Opt for the microwave oven.

6. Avoid unnecessary packaging. Choose products in bulk, drink filtered tap water, and buy other drinks in returnable bottles. Use reusable bags or boxes for shopping. Buy refillable products (cleaning products, etc.). If you forget to do this, always remember to recycle, e.g. paper, bottles, plastic bags, whenever possible. Are you aware of the “plastic soup” of waste floating in the Pacific Ocean? It covers an area twice the size of the continental United States. Charles Moore, an American oceanographer who discovered the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” or “trash vortex,” believes that about 100 million tons of flotsam is circulating in a region that stretches from Hawaii to Japan and is growing at an alarming rate. “Every little piece of plastic manufactured in the past 50 years that made it into the ocean is still out there somewhere,” said Tony Andrady, a chemist with the USbased Research Triangle Institute. Let’s put some action to our words and try to do even our most modest efforts in benefit of this beautiful blue planet. Having fun and enjoying life is not in conflict with respecting and protecting our common house, for us and for the ones to come.dD

Many foods (like potatoes) can be cooked or reheated in a microwave oven. It consumes up to 75 times less energy than a conventional oven.

3. Optimize your refrigerator. Producing cold takes a lot of energy. The refrigerator and the freezer represent more than 25 percent of your total electricity consumption: do not place them in a warm room or near a heat source (sink, stove, window to the sun). Do not overload your refrigerator: this increases energy consumption and reduces the shelf life of foods (cold air circulates less).

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4. Use rechargeable batteries.


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dl winter 2012 final single pages  

The Best Sites and Surroundings to Get Back to Nature Our Experts Show You: Our green expert shares tips to reduce, reuse, and recycle Get Y...

dl winter 2012 final single pages  

The Best Sites and Surroundings to Get Back to Nature Our Experts Show You: Our green expert shares tips to reduce, reuse, and recycle Get Y...