October 31, 2006

October Wrap-Up

It's time for our October wrap-up. And once again, it's been a busy month at Really Natural. The FDA lifted its ban on fresh spinach. And we spent our time thinking about the really important stuff - namely, shoes, pumpkin pancakes, and hemp underpants. (Lindsay Lohan may not be wearing them, but quite frankly, we think she should be.)

We had reviews of Crispy Fruit, Tazo Chai, The Ginger People's Ginger Soother, and Uncle Sam cereal, and shared our recipes for a Hot-Toddy-To-Cure-What-Ails-You (do not operate heavy machinery after polishing off a batch of these ones) and Bee Pollen Popcorn.

If you're grinding bee pollen to make the popcorn, look into our solutions for grinding flax seeds. If you'd rather mash up something bigger (say, your recyclables), check out the Eco-pod. And if recycling is really what you're into, check out Tree-cycle recycled seatbelt bags from Harvey's Boutique, Ecoist's movie poster bags, some funky new uses for your old vinyl records, and Deborah Lindquist's recycled cashmere dog sweaters. Not to mention her bustiers.

Yep, it all comes back to underwear. Keep it clean with Planet Delicate laundry wash. Or better yet, don't even get out of bed. And to feather your nest, check out Nest, a new nonprofit micro-loan fund that supports women entrepreneurs around the world by selling crafts and designs by women artists and designers.

What else was on our brains this month? Babies. Alexis and Todd gave birth to baby Stavros, inspiring us to wax euphoric about organic cotton baby toys. Laura launched Super Cool Baby, and sent us a note about organic cotton onesies. And since baby's bigger sib needs something cool as well, we recommended a visit to JoMamaCo, a mom-run Southern CA outfit selling hipster toddler t-shirts. Finally, just under the wire for October, out came baby Ewan, which made us wax nostalgic for Obi Wan Cannoli and the cast of Store Wars.

Weekend reading, anyone? We're reading The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan and may never be the same. Equally life changing (but in different ways) was Tracy Kidder's Mountains Beyond MountainsThe Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer. Also on our list: Grub: Ideas for an Urban Kitchen, and yep, we admit it, The Sonoma Diet, which, among other things, encourages lean protein (see our article on "Which Fish is Safe") and a healthy amount of red wine. (May we recommend a bottle of organic Civatella Rosso?)

Last but not least, we offered up tips for a healthy Halloween, from Whole Foods and Bodybuilding.com. (We're guessing this is the first time those two appeared in the same sentence.)

Yep. It's been a full month. Can't wait for November.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

October 31, 2006

Happy Healthy Halloween, Part 2

Whole Foods Halloween not your style? Well, for something completely different, check out this article by Jeremy Likness on BodyBuilding.com. Among Jeremy's tips for a healthier Halloween:

Take in fewer carbohydrates throughout the day. This will deplete glycogen so that your "treats" are more likely to re-supply your muscles than get stored as fat.

Train intensely after having a few low carbohydrate meals to further deplete glycogen stores.

Save those treats for post-workout. Have a protein shake with your favorite candies on the side!

Have a meal replacement shake or some other, healthy meal, before sampling the candy. With your appetite appeased, you are less likely to gorge and go overboard on the treats.

Avoid taking coffee in conjunction with your treats, as coffee combined with sugar may increase fat storage.

The article ends by getting all metaphorical on us. Our ugly non-buff bodies are actually a costume, and we have the opportunity to take that costume off and reveal the "real us" with bodybuilding. As Jeremy explains:

Eventually, I made the choice and I changed my costume. Now, I like the way it fits. Me? I'm the same person, but I've grown both on the inside and the outside. Inside, I learned to let go of emotions that ruled my life - depression, anger, envy, and other negative influences that were just dragging me down. This inner change gave me the strength, faith, and belief to realize that I am in control - and so, I slowly changed the outside to a more comfortable fit. Now I like the way I wear my body.

Okay, bodybuilding isn't necessarily the first thing we think of when we think Really Natural. Still, we think Jeremy's messages is actually a pretty good one. So go on, be like Jeremy. And change your costume with healthier eating, exercise, and, yes, visualization. Happy Halloween, Jeremy. Can't wait to see what you're wearing next year.

Read more at BodyBuilding.com.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

October 31, 2006

Happy (Healthy) Halloween, Really Natural Readers!

It's Halloween. Time for trick-or-treating, and with it, big bags of candy. Does that mean those of us at Really Natural are hiding our heads under a sheet?

Nope. We embrace our inner monster and give in to dressing up, ringing doorbells, and yes, all the tasty treats that go along with it. But we also keep an eye out for more wholesome ways to celebrate. If we're going to be digging in to Kit Kats and Snickers Bars, we might as well make sure we get our fruits and veggies in as well.

Whole Foods is there to lend a hand with their guide to Halloween Party Recipes and Tips. In addition to the cute little clementine jack-o-lanterns pictured at right, they've got recipes for Crunchy Bones Party Snack Mix and Halloween Mini Meatballs in Bloody Barbecue Sauce.

More at Whole Foods.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

October 30, 2006

Save Us Obi Wan Cannoli -- Welcome Baby Ewan!

There's a new kid on the blog(pire). Blogpire Prez Jay Brewer, his wife Maya, and their daughter, Anya, welcomed a new baby into the world this weekend. In honor of brand new baby Ewan, we'd like to revisit a classic video that had us in hysterics when it first made the rounds: Grocery Store Wars, a short film by the Organic Trade Association.

Watch Cuke Skywalker, Princess Lettuce and Ham Solo do battle against the Darth Tater and the dark side of the farm. Giggle at Tofu D2 and C3 Peanuts. Roar like Chewbroccoli. And take some satisfaction in knowing that the folks who care about organic foods also have a sense of humor about it.

Use the Farm, Cuke. Obi (e)Wan, this one's for you.

View Store Wars.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

October 27, 2006

Weekend Reading: The Sonoma Diet

What's not to like about The Sonoma Diet?

Dr. Connie Gutterson has created a Mediterranean-style diet that balances nutrition-rich "power foods" like almonds, red peppers, blueberries, olive oil, tomatoes and whole grains with moderate amounts of wine and a focus on enjoying your meals. She replaces calorie tracking with a simple way of measuring your food (dividing your plate into quadrants and filling them with the appropriate amount of vegetables, lean meat and grains). And she teaches you how to prepare foods in ways that give you maximum flavor and nutritional bang for minimum calorie buck.

We've tried Weight Watchers (online, of course) and struggled to continue tracking points, especially after that initial thrill of early weight loss wears off. And we all know someone who had initial success with Atkins or South Beach, only to get grumpy from carb deprivation, and then gain the weight back and develop high cholesterol.

What we like about The Sonoma Diet approach is that it's focused on teaching healthy eating habits, and emphasizes flavor and nutritional balance. It's about foods you should eat more of, and how to combine them for better nutrition instead of a list of foods you have to do without.

And the sample menus (e.g. scrambled eggs and wheat toast for breakfast, salad Nicoise for lunch and Tandoori chicken with roasted eggplant salad for lunch) sound not only do-able, but downright yummy.

Sign us up, and pour us another glass of Zinfandel.

Buy The Sonoma Diet and its companion volume, The Sonoma Diet Cookbook.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

October 26, 2006

Cameron Diaz Rocks Ecoist Recycled Handbags

Cameron Diaz is touting the new Ecoist handbag collection made of recycled movie billboards. According to Ecorazzi:

“Last week, Cameron Diaz showed up to boyfriend Justin Timberlake’s William Rast fashion show sporting an Ecoist handbag. The bag was specially made for Diaz and consists of recycled movie billboards, plastic clasps and zipper.”

How cool, right? Ecoist prides itself on having a full line of handmade handbags that use 100% recycled materials. Taken from their site,

“Ecoist recycles candy wrappers, food packages, billboards, and other materials that would otherwise end up in landfills. We are finding uses for waste-bound materials and will continue to do so until those non-biodegradable materials are no longer manufactured. Apart from recycling, Ecoist utilizes organic and earth-friendly fabrics in the manufacturing of it products.”

Ecorazzi got the scoop, though it looks like they may have gotten the wrong picture. The bag pictured inset next to their pic of Cameron is a candy wrapper bag. The movie billboard bags look like the bag pictured below right. Taking a cue from Timberlake's hit song "Sexy Back," that's what we call a "Sexy Bag."

Available at Ecoist.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

Recipe: Bee Pollen Popcorn

We recently went out for dinner at Gargoyles on the Square in Somerville, and were titillated by a menu that include a Petit Veal Cutlet with cream cheese noodles, bee pollen popcorn, cocoa nibs, and onion powder. (Yes, we do, on occasion, eat veal.) The bee pollen popcorn got more rave reviews than the rest of the meal combined - and it was a very good meal - so we vowed to recreate it at home. After submitting our results to a dinner party of nine on Sunday night and receiving ovations, we feel ready to share.

Note: DO NOT serve this dish to anyone allergic to bees. Also, don't be tempted to up the quotient of bee pollen unless you're accustomed to eating it. Bee pollen can cause an allergic reaction in anyone allergic to bees, and too much of it can cause gastrointestinal distress to anyone who isn't used to it. That said, it's chock full of B-vitamins and anti-oxidants and is said to boost immunity. Also, on popcorn, it tastes really good. (See the Herbal Information Center for more nutritional info on bee pollen.)

Here's the recipe:

Bee Pollen Popcorn a la Jess Brooks*
1/2 cup popcorn (unpopped)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon bee pollen**
Approximately 2 teaspoons salt (to taste)
Approximately 2 teaspoons sugar (to taste)

Heat oil over medium high heat in a large, heavy duty saucepan. Place 3 kernels of popcorn in saucepan and cover. When they pop, you'll know the oil is hot enough. Pour remaining popcorn kernels into saucepan and shake continuously until popping bascally stops, leaving lid open enough to release steam. (You'll want to wear oven mitts, because the pan will get quite hot.) Remove from heat.

Grind bee pollen to a fine powder in a coffee grinder or flax seed mill. Sprinkle over popcorn and stir. Add salt and sugar to taste and stir to ensure that bee pollen, salt and sugar are distributed evenly. Enjoy.

Makes a great accompaniment to soup or salad.

* Again, credit for originating this dish goes to the chef at Gargoyles on the Square. Thank you, Gargoyles, for broadening our palates and exciting our tastebuds once again.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

October 25, 2006

Organic Wine - Civitella Rosso

We just polished off a bottle of Civitella Rosso, an organic wine with a plucky little porcupine on its label, and cannot resist sharing it with the world.

It's made by Sergio Mottura, an estate winery in Umbria, from a combination of Montepulciano and Merlot grapes, and tasted just incredible with our butternut squash tart. Evidently it's also quite delicious with pizza, duck, barbecue, and roast chicken. Yum.

We bought ours at Hi-Rise Bakery. You can buy yours from a wine importer in Colorado.

Available at Bacco Imports.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

The Ginger People Ginger Soother

Editor's Note: Earlier this summer, we posted a brutally honest review of Synergy Trilogy Kombucha Tea. As you may remember, we (ahem) weren't crazy about it. So, what are we drinking these days? Funny you should ask....

Within the stomach, loins and lung,
Praise of hot ginger rightly may be sung
It quenches thirst, revives, excites the brain,
And in old age awakes love again.

This poem, from Toussaint-Samat's A History of Food, appears on the back of Ginger Soother, a new ginger, honey and lemon flavored drink from The Ginger People. We can't vouch for the awakening of love in old age bit, but one sip definitely has us singing the praises of this tasty little drink.

Made with Chinese yellow ginger, Ginger Soother has 19 grams of ginger per serving. Ginger is a powerful antioxidant with a number of healing properties - soothing sore throats, warming internal organs, and easing nausea. Better yet, it's delicious -- refreshing, spicy, not too sweet. Could be just what the doctor ordered to get you out of your beverage rut.

Available at The Ginger People.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

October 24, 2006

Blogpire Podcast - Liquor Snob - All The News that's Fit to Drink 10.24.06

Blogpire 144 Our special guest Jake Jamieson from Liquorsnob.com teaches us about Tequila, and we taste test P.I.N.K. caffeinated Vodka. And of course, we have the latest news and views from around the 'pire. We also answer your questions from the past couple of weeks so keep sending them in to podcast at blogpire dot com.

[iTunes]Subscribe to the Podcast directly in iTunes (MP3).
[RSS] Add the BlogPire Podcast feed to your RSS aggregator and have the show delivered automatically (MP3).
[MP3] Download the show (MP3).
[LISTEN] Listen to the show in your browser.

With Hosts: Russell Miner and Jay Brewer and guest Jake Jamieson

ArrowContinue reading: "Blogpire Podcast - Liquor Snob - All The News that's Fit to Drink 10.24.06"

Blogpire Productions Permalink social bookmarking

Cheeky Baby and Mama's Belly

Sounds like a children's story or the name of some weird hippy rock band, right? Well, actually, it's the name of a "sensuously aromatic organic" body oil for mom and shea butter creme for baby packaged by Joli Bebe Boutique. According to the folks there, the Mama Belly Oil is

an essential oil blend for pregnancy of Lavender, Roman Chamomile and Red Mandarin. It protects blossoming skin against stretchmarks, and has a relaxing, yet uplifting effect aromatherapeutically. It is multi-purpose and may be used also as a massage oil for mother or baby or as a bath oil.

The Cheeky Baby Creme is

shea butter baby creme, is pure, gentle and effective for use on baby's chapped cheeks or bottom, for baby massage, and on baby's dry skin. It will not aggravate eczema and is rich in nutrients. Additionally, it is wonderfully moisturizing on Mom's dry hands as well. Both of these products contain 99% certified organic ingredients and are completely natural with USDA certification pending.

Both are among the goodies Joli Bebe Boutique may be including in the complimentary baby goody gift baskets it sends to celebrity moms like Gwen Stefani, Katie Holmes and Angelina Jolie, according to Ecorazzi.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

Bump and Grind: Grinding Flax Seeds

In our review of Uncle Sam's Cereal, we mentioned that you get more nutrional value out of ground flax seeds than whole ones. So, asks the astute reader, how do I get my flax seeds ground? Well, there are a couple of options.

First, you can buy your flax seeds pre-ground. Products like Barlean's Forti-Flax contain flax seed meal which are convenient and can be used straight from the jar. The challenge here is that flax seeds lose their nutritional value when exposed to air and light, so you'll need to keep them refrigerated.

You can also grind them yourself with a flax seed mill - whole flax seeds are far less expensive than ground seeds, and that way, you're only grinding the seeds you're planning to use right there and then.

A number of health food stores sell flax seed mills. We like the look of the William Bound Electric Flax Seed Mill, pictured at right, which has three speed settings for coarse, medium and fine grind, and comes with a cleaning brush.

We grind our flax seeds in a regular coffee grinder. Not as fancy as a flax seed mill, but it definitely does the trick.

Seem like too much work to buy a grinder and flax seeds? Wheatgrass Kits sells a Flax Seed Grinding Kit that includes everything you need to get more flax in your diet - the grinder, 5 pounds of flax seeds, and Johanna Budwig's book Flax Seeds as a True Aid Against Arthritis, Heart Infarction, Cancer and Other Diseases.

Buy flax seed-related products

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

October 23, 2006

Sam's Your Uncle: Review of Uncle Sam Cereal

Really Natural reader Matt from Quincy, MA recently suggested that we offer up a review of Uncle Sam Cereal, his favorite breakfast meal, which he'd been forced to order on Amazon when his local Whole Foods stopped carrying it.

According to Wikipedia,

Uncle Sam Cereal is a ready-to eat breakfast cereal first introduced in 1908 and is presently manufactured and marketed by natural food manufacturer U.S. Mills of Needham, Massachusetts.
It was that year that company founder Lafayette Coltrin of Omaha was instructed by his personal physician to add flaxseed to his diet. Coltrin so enjoyed the taste of toasted flaxseed on the whole wheat flakes he ate for breakfast that he decided to market the combination. Given his resemblance to Uncle Sam, Coltrin named his new cereal after him. The top-hatted silhouette of "Uncle Sam" on the box is, in fact, Coltrin's.

The cereal consists solely of vitamin-enriched toasted whole wheat kernels pressed flat into flakes. Whole, toasted flaxseed is then mixed with the flakes. The result is a high-fiber, ready-to-eat cereal with a low glycemic index and, because of the flaxseed, an exceptionally high amount of omega-3 per serving.

So that's the background.

On a recent visit , our Whole Foods had Uncle Sam in stock, so we recently picked up a box and dug into it yesterday morning. Long story short: Matt's right; it's delicious.

Some tasting notes: We bought original Uncle Sam, because the original is the original, and also because it only cost $1.99 at our Whole Foods (vs. $3.69 for Uncle Sam Mixed Berries). As mentioned above, the cereal has a low glycemic index because of its whole grain wheat flakes and whole toasted flax seeds; it's also got 10 grams of fiber per one cup serving. The flakes are surprisingly (and pleasantly) crunchy - not hard like some healthy cereals which make us feel like we might lose a tooth. And though it filled us up until lunchtime, it was tasty and light.

Two quibbles, or items worth noting: First, there is a note on the box which encourages you to shake it vigorously before opening to better distribute the flax seeds. Do not forget to shake the box. Second, we've read that for maximum health benefit, you should grind your flax seeds before eating them because whole flax seeds are hard to digest. So be sure to chew thoroughly.

Buy Uncle Sam Cereal.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

October 20, 2006

Tree-Cycle Seatbelt Bags Debut at OsCene

Heading to the O.C. next weekend? Be sure to check out the Laguna Art Museum's OsCene 2006. The event, which has its opening party next Thursday night (10/28), will spotlight original artwork from 45 Orange County-based artists, including painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, multi-media installations, video/film, fashion, and "kustom kulture." Among the art being unveiled: designer Dana Harvey's "Tree-Cycle", an installation that illustrates the design process he embarked on to create "tree-cycle" bags, a collection of handbags made out of recycled seatbelts from cars sent to the scrap heap.

Scott from Harvey's Boutique sent over some early pictures of the tree-cycle bags, and they look amazing. Hats off to Harvey for finding a way to make such a snappy looking handbag out of recycled materials, and then taking the time to show other people how to do it.

Exhibit runs October 29th through January 21 at Laguna Art Museum. Really Natural readers are invited to the opening party on Thursday, October 28th from 7-10 p.m.

Tree-Cycle Seatbelt Bags available at the museum and at Harveys once the show opens.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

Weekend Reading: Mountains Beyond Mountains

Author Tracy Kidder and Dr. Paul Farmer are speaking at tonight at Sanders Theater in our hometown of Cambridge. If you haven't read Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World, Kidder's book about Farmer and his organization Partners in Health, buy it today. It's an incredible story - inspiring, exhausting, beautiful - that will make you question your life and what you're meant to do on this earth. In a good way.

Buy it at Amazon.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

October 19, 2006

Which Fish is Safe to Eat?

The Harvard School of Public Health and the Institute of Medicine released conflicting studies yesterday detailing the health benefits and the risks of eating fish. The Harvard study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, says the cardiovascular health benefits from eating fish high in omega-3's outweighs the risk of contaminants such as PCBs. The Institute of Medicine is less optimistic, saying eating a diet rich in fish "may" reduce risk of cardiovascular disease.

As reported in The New York Times, both studies have come under fire from environmental groups and the Consumers Union for neglecting to address the risk of mercury in tuna. Nutrition experts like Marion Nestle argue that consumers are already confused about which seafood is safe to eat; these studies won't make it any clearer.

So, what's a concerned consumer to do? Check out Ocean's Alive or the Monterey Bay Aquarium website for downloadable guides to which fish are safe to eat.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

JoMamaCo Organic Kids T-Shirts

Get us started on the organic kiddie clothes and we just can't stop.

Check out these itty-bitty hipster duds from JoMamaCo. All organic cotton t-shirts from a friendly and funky little Southern California company dedicated to earth-friendly apparel and products. Work-at-home moms started the company and still run it out of their homes. Their kids appear throughout the site modeling clothes and products.

We like the Soul Rebel t-shirt.

Available at JoMamaCo.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

Organic Onesies, Baby. Super Cool.

Thanks to Laura at Super Cool Baby for letting us know about these cute little numbers. Made from 100% organic cotton, these organic onesies are hand-screened and available in newborn to 4 year old sizes as well as in a long sleeved and short sleeved version.

Check 'em out at Super Cool Baby.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

October 18, 2006

Nest - Nonprofit Micro-Loan Fund and Shopping Site

John Muir once said, "Everyone needs beauty as well as bread."

So quoth the women who started Nest, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to support women artists and artisans in the developing world by helping them create sustainable entrepreneurial businesses. They'll accomplish this mission "by providing micro-credit loans to be used for the purchase of the supplies and materials necessary to begin and/or maintain art or craft-based businesses." But wait, it gets better, and you can help:

The funds for these loans will be generated by selling a unique line of clothing, accessories and merchandise for the home produced exclusively for Nest by a group of artists and designers. Nest will also develop a line of ceramic pottery, women’s clothing and other items with the Nest logo. In addition to these exclusive items created by well-known designers, the recipients of Nest loans in developing countries will also make their crafts available to Nest as repayment for the micro-credit loans. These items, too, will then be incorporated into the Nest line of merchandise. In this way, Nest will draw together artists from across the globe into a cooperative network with a shared vision of mutual support.

When you buy from Nest, you have not only have purchased a unique and beautiful item for yourself or your home, you have participated in a proven effort to better the lives of women all across the globe. Through our work, and your participation, women all over the world will be able to plant their roots in a refuge filled with warmth, solace, comfort and joy. It is our sincere hope that Nest can help you create a home, both for yourself and women the world over, filled with energy, beauty and peace.

Amen, sisters. Good luck.

Via this morning's Daily Candy.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

Rock and Roll...and Recycling

We recently sold our CD collection to a local music store. We pocketed some serious cash ($2-4/CD) and felt good knowing that our music collection would find new life in someone else's CD player. Renew, reuse, recycle...dig?

But the question remained - what do we do with all our old records? We can't play 'em. Our neighborhood record store won't take 'em. (The guy behind the counter looked at us funny for even asking.)

Which is why we were delighted to find out about Jeff Davis's Vintage Vinyl. The Brooklyn artist gives old records new life by turning them into snack bowls, coasters, table top art. A perfect gift (and maybe a hint) for your favorite music lover. Buy one of the bowls and you can even select your preferred music genre (Classic Rock, Country, Crooners, etc.).

Salsa, anyone?

Available at Modern Artisans.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

October 17, 2006

Keep It Simple, Stupid: Simple Greentoe Shoes

greentoe-shuf.gifWe mentioned a while back that Timberland has begun adding a "nutrition label" to its shoes, describing the company's environmental and community impact. Well, Simple Shoes takes it one step further (pun intended) with Green Toe shoes. Available in six styles, the shoes are designed for minimal environmental impact, using ingredients such as water-based cement, cork, jute, bamboo and crepe latex.

shuf2.jpgThe "Shuf," featured here, features a "soft boiled humanely harvested wool felt upper" and "a supportive and lightweight natural cork footbed." We tried them on at our local shoe store, and were amazed at how comfortable they are. They are definitely getting added to our wish list.

Available for men and women at Amazon.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

October 16, 2006

Sweet Dreams: Organic Cotton Sheets

Think about it. You spend nearly a third of your life (approximately 2,920 hours/year) sleeping. What better place to think natural and organic than your bed? Want to upgrade your slumber gear and do something good for the planet? Check out these organic cotton sheets from 2kh.

Unlike most luxury linens which are made from conventional cotton, these premium 250 thread count sheets feature the finest organic cotton, grown without the use of toxic chemicals. A distinctly modern color palette of rich chocolate brown, deep sky blue and pristine cream is accented in a double marrow stitch embroidered border - adding a stylishly chic look to any bedroom.

Stylish sheets that are still organic? We're sleeping better already.

Available at 2kh.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

October 13, 2006

Debbie Does Paris - Deborah Lindquist at Ethical Fashion Show

Also appearing at the 3rd Annual Ethical Fashion Show in Paris this weekend: LA designer Deborah Lindquist. According to her website, Linquist is

one of LA’s most sought after environmentally conscious designers (who) continues to impact the world of fashion with her mix of old “reincarnated “ and new eco-conscious fabrications. Her love for the environment and fashion inspires exquisite collections that are not only Ecologically sensitive but cutting edge as well.

Rock on, girl.

Lindquist's designer bustiers and rockstar threads have graced the bodies of Hollywood trendsetters such as Gwen Stefani, Demi Moore, , Jessica Simpson, Paris Hilton, and Charlize Theron. And their dogs. Check out her adorable doggie sweaters, made of recycled cashmere (of course), which come in patterns such as a skull and crossbones, a cross, flowers, a peace sign and a fleur-de-lis.


Available at Deborah Lindquist.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

Weekend Reading: Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen

"What is GRUB?" ask Anna Lappe and Bryant Terry, authors of a new book which bears that name. They then proceed to answer the question dictionary definition style:

1. grub is healthy, local, sustainable food for all 2. grub is food that supports community, justice, and sustainability 3. grub should be universal

Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen is the first collaboration between Lappe, co-author (with her mother Francis Moore Lappe) of Hope's Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet and Terry, a chef and food justice activist. Designed to offer readers compelling reasons to eat food that is organic, local and "fair," it combines education around the differences between "fake" food filling supermarkets and locally produced organics with recipes and suggestions for healthier eating and living. The book includes 24 simple, seasonally-themed menus designed to inspire readers to think about their food and have fun with it.

Check out the book's website for recipes, ideas, and Lappe's own blog.

Buy Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

October 12, 2006

Ethical Fashion Show - US Designer Grace Trance

Don't just stand there, let's get to it. Strike a pose, there's nothing to it. Vogue (vogue vogue vogue)... Yep. The Ethical Fashion Show has us humming Madonna and vogue-ing at our cubicles.

Here's a quick look at one of the designers from the U.S. who is exhibiting, Grace Trance. According to the fashion show's official website, Trance is a San Francisco fashion designer,

who believes the organic origins of fabric and workmanship are the source of good design. She uses hemp for its distinctive texture and quality, organic cotton for its versatility and bamboo for its exquisite softness and drapability. In conjunction with using local, sweatshop-free manufactures, Grace Trance works to build on sustainable solutions through relating style and innovation.

Sounds good to us. We'll take the outfit with the purple tights.

Available at Grace Trance.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

Weekend in Paris: 3rd Annual Ethical Fashion Show, October 13-16

Looking for something "Really Natural" to do this weekend? Head to Paris, daaaahling, for the 3rd Annual Ethical Fashion Show. Organized by the Universal Love Association, the event will feature 60 "ethical" designers from all over the world. Its goals are to promote ethical designers, foster dialogue and information exchange between organizations and individuals concerned with fair trade and sustainable development in the fashion industry, and to provide information for designers, retailers and consumers about fair trade and fashion.

The event takes place at Tapis Rouge, 67 rue du Faubourg Saint Martin 75010 Paris. Buyers and designers only Friday, Saturday and Monday. Sunday is open to the public.

Thanks to our friends at The Natural Store for passing along the invitation.

Learn more about the 3rd Annual Ethical Fashion Show.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

October 11, 2006

Ecopad, Meet Ecopod (and Get 10% Off, Courtesy of Grist)

Our friends at Single Serve Coffee have blogged about Ecopad, a refillable coffee filter for the Senseo. The refillable pod allows you to enjoy your single serve coffee maker, without worrying about the waste of disposable coffee pods.

Well, move over, Ecopad. And meet Ecopod, the next generation in trash compaction. Or the first generation in recyclable compaction. Or a really cool gadget for your kitchen. Whatever you call it, it does look pretty cool.

Produced by the unusual partnership of BMW DesignworksUSA, Williams-Sonoma, dwell magazine and musician Jack Johnson, Ecopod has removable storage containers for paper, plastic bags, glass bottles and other recyclables. Insert aluminum cans and plastic bottles and step on the pedal to hear what the website calls "the sweet sound of compaction" as they're flattened into a portable pod for curbside collection.

Enter the coupon code GOGRIST in the Promotion Box and receive 10% when you order online.

Via Grist.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

October 10, 2006

Forage Your Food!

God, the farmer's market is so passe. According to The Sunday Times, these days, all the cool kids are foraging their food.

You can hardly strike up a conversation these days without a "lovely little farmers' market" this and a "supporting an entire Guatemalan village" that. Once you're on the bandwagon, it's clear the bandwagon can run out of control pretty quickly.

Which might explain why I am standing in the sludgy shallows of the River Severn, eating bits of vegetation I find swirling around my wellies. I am foraging for my supper, which is either incredibly sophisticated and will trump any other food show-off for some time to come, or is incredibly unsophisticated and won't. I suspect it's both.

Read more.

Via Treehugger.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

Wooden Plastic Bag Dryer from Greenfeet

plastic bag dryer.jpgWe'd like to live in a world without plastic bags. But for most of us, the reality is, they're cheap, convenient, and well, a way of life. And while we can cut down on our use, we're unlikely to eliminate them from our lives altogether.

Enter Greenfeet's wooden Plastic Bag Dryer - a great way to few more uses out of your plastic bags, saving some landfill space, and saving yourself some money besides.

Wash bags out with soap and warm water, and hang them over the dowel to dry. Do them at night before you go to bed, and they'll be dry by morning. Bonus feature: The center dowel is perfect to dry out wide mouthed water bottles or Tupperware beverage containers. Washes up to 8 bags and one container at a time.

Available from Greenfeet.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

October 9, 2006

Gisele Bunchen Saves the Rainforest

It's Columbus Day. What better time is there to sit back and reflect on indigenous people and the havoc we've wrought on them over the years? And who better to raise our awareness than...Gisele?!

Today's Ecorazzi reports that Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen is starring in a new commercial calling attention to the plight of the indigenous people of the Xingu River in Brazil, who are suffering due to deforestation and clean water issues in the Amazon.

Gisele will be starring in a new commercial to educate the public on the issues. These include a controversial hydroelectric dam that is under construction and river pollution from cattle ranchers, loggers and soy farmers.

Read the full story - and check out some fab pictures of Gisele from the photo shoot at Celebitchy.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

BlogPire Podcast - Autumnal Festival Episode - Fun Fall Products 10.09.06

Blogpire 144We feature all the things you need to get your Fall spirit rolling. Recipes and products from TheCookingNews.com and KitchenContraptions.com. Hear about all the latest natural products at ReallyNatural.com, and find out why we're excited about the Magic the Gathering card game expansion.

[iTunes]Subscribe to the Podcast directly in iTunes (MP3).
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With Hosts: Russell Miner and Jay Brewer

Program details after the jump...

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Blogpire Productions Permalink social bookmarking

Lunchbox Treat: Crispy Green Fruit Snacks

Trick or treat. Smell my feet. Give me some...freeze dried fruit?!

That's the message from Crispy Green, makers of a series of freeze dried fruit snacks, samples of which arrived at the Really Natural offices a couple of weeks ago. The company uses the same basic principles used by breakfast cereal makers to make the red berries in your Special K so tasty, and then packages the fruit in single-serving snack packs that make it easy to get your apples, peaches or apricots on the go. According to Crispy Green's press release, the snacks would make a "frighteningly healthy" alternative to sugary Halloween candy. We tried the snacks, and sent some home with our co-workers to see how their kids would like 'em.

Parents praised the convenience, healthfulness and simplicity of the product. Each snack package contains a single serving of fruit, the equivalent of which is listed on the package (e.g. one cup of apple, two apricots, or one medium peach). The ingredients are simple - just the fruit itself - and each bag contains 40 calories or less. Folks also liked the fruit's "lunchbox-ability" - unlike a regular peach which might squish or bruise on the way to work, or cut fruit, which would turn brown if left in a lunchbox all morning, the Crispy Peaches stay fresh, crunchy and delicious in their little vacuum sealed bags.

One colleague lamented all the packaging that goes into single serving snacks, but noted that Crispy Green is hardly the only snackmaker to go this route. And the fact is, single servings aren't just easy to pack; they also make it easy to monitor serving sizes.

Size-wise, folks noted that the individual snack bags of fruit work better as lunchbox addition than as a stand-alone snack. "If this was all my kids ate when they got home from school, they'd need to eat three packages." Then again, three servings of fruit vs. three chocolate chip cookies? You be the judge.

The final and most important question: How did they taste? Michelle's boys, Alex, Colin and Caleb, ages 5-9, loved 'em - for lunchboxes, an afternoon snack, or even Halloween. Caleb thinks they're better than a Snickers bar. Mike's kids said A-OK for lunch, but don't try to swap them for candy at the end of October. The grown-ups in the office were also big fans, though we weren't quite ready to give up the leftover candy. I liked mine in the morning over yogurt.

According to Crispy Green's website, the Trenton Times called the fruit snacks "one of the most wholesome new snacks to come out of New Jersey during the past few years." We find that statement itself kind of funny, but we don't doubt it.

Crispy Green fruit snacks cost $7.99 for a 6-pack or $81.50 for a case.

Available at Crispy Green.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

Snuggly Baby Gift: Organic Cotton Turtle

Need a baby gift? What's not to love about this cute and cuddly organic cotton turtle from 2kh?

100% organic cotton shell, fill it with unbleached cotton clippings, add embroidered eyes for safety, and you have one of the most environmentally safe toys made in the world today. Hand crafted in Vermont, these animals are super-soft, adorable and best of all, machine washable and safe for all ages.

The store also carries bears, whales, bunnies and elephants.

I want one for me.

Available at 2kh.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

October 6, 2006

Fall Foliage Without the Raking: Eleni's Cookies

Okay, this is stretching the limits of "natural, wholesome and organic" but there are some things we just can't resist. Like these cute little squirrel cookies, sitting on a pile of autumn leaves and acorns. Yep. They are irresistable.

Eleni's of New York City offers these "Fall Foliage" cookies in two varieties - ginger spice and sugar. Squirrels, acorns, and bright colored leaves you don't have to rake. What more could you ask?

Eleni's uses all natural ingredients - you know, sugar, butter, flour. So while the cookies aren't "organic," they should at least get points for "wholesomeness." And after all that raking outside, don't you deserve a little treat?

Eleni's is currently offering a 10% discount on all web orders delivered by October 12th. Enter promotion code FALLFOLIAGE06 at check out. And save us a squirrel!

Available at Eleni's.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

Weekend Reading: The Omnivore's Dilemma

OmnivoresDilemma.jpgIs it just me, or is everyone talking about The Omnivore's Dilemma?

Michael Pollan, author of the bestselling book The Botany of Desire, uses the book to look at four different answers to the question "What should we have for dinner?" He traces the origins of four meals - McDonalds; Whole Foods; a small, self-sustaining Virginia farm; and a "hunter-gatherer" expedition - from field to dinner plate. In the process, he looks at the causes of what he calls our "national eating disorder," and offers up some solutions.

Read the intro and first chapter of The Omnivore's Dilemma. Buy the book.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

October 5, 2006

Jane's Home Remedy for the Common Cold

hot-tea.jpgDoes fall have you feeling under the weather? Our friend Jane offered up this home remedy for the common cold, which makes good use of Tazo Decaf Chai:

6 cups of strong tea (6 teabags), brewed for five minutes or longer 1/2 bottle of red wine sliced oranges 1/2 cup of brown sugar

Simmer over low heat to boil off the alcohol. Add more sugar to taste. According to Jane, it should be sweet not bitter, "so you'll want to keep drinking it." Keep it at a simmer, and keep filling your mug with it until you finish the pot.

We have several theories about why this makes you feel better. One has to do with all the antioxidants found in the tea, wine and citrus fruit. The other is it makes you tipsy. Either way, we heartily endorse this home remedy. Thanks, Jane, for helping to cure what ails us.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

Timberland Revisited: 20% Off Online Orders

Hey Folks,

Last week we blogged about Timberland's new "nutrition label" on all shoes. Well, if you're itching to pick up a pair and see for yourself, now through October 11th, they're offering 20% off and free shipping on all online orders. Enter Promotion Code DMOCT20 at checkout.

At Timberland.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

Tazo Chai, Take Me Away!

tazo chai.jpgIt's October. The days are getting shorter, there's a chill in the air, and our wool sweaters are starting to see the light of day again. It's time for Tazo Chai. I'll take mine in the Decaf variety. Tazo describes it as

"a sensual blend of exotic spices and rich black teas relieved of their caffeine. Naturally decaffeinated under the watchful eye of a Tazo tea shaman, the leaves first surrender their native caffeine, then joyously mingle with African rooibos, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom to create a hearty potion which can dance on the tongue all night long. Sweeten and serve with milk (or yak butter, when available)."

Not sure about the yak butter bit. I like mine with honey and whole milk. It reminds me of the sweet and spicy chai I drank while building houses with Habitat for Humanity in Nepal.

Available at Tazo.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

October 4, 2006

Nothing Says Fall Like...Pumpkin Pancakes!

mix-pancak-pumpkin.jpgAdmit it. You closed your eyes in late August, early September. You wake up, and suddenly it's October. The days are getting shorter, nights are getting longer, you need to put on a sweater - or even a jacket - to leave the house. Everything feels so...October-like. Yep. It's fall.

Well, you can't fight it. Might as well get into it. And in our humble opinion, the best way to do that is to...make pancakes! Pumpkin pancakes, that is. Got an email from our friends over at Dancing Deer to let us know that they're embracing the season with a whole bunch of fall flavors. Though they're known for their cookies, what strikes our fancy right now is their Pumpkin Spice Pancake and Waffle Mix. Made of all natural ingredients, like unbleached wheat flour, pumpkin flour, natural pumpkin, powdered buttermilk, cane sugar, baking powder and soda, salt, and spices, all you need to do is add milk, eggs and sugar.

We're picturing ours with toasted pecans and hot maple syrup. Maybe with a sliced Ida Red apple on the side. Mmmm.... October feels better already.

Available at Dancing Deer.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

Keep It Clean - Planet Delicate Laundry Wash

lingerie.jpgWe couldn't resist one more picture of the Enamore undies. Buy all those hemp knickers, though, and you'll need something to help keep 'em clean.

May we recommend Planet Delicate Laundry Wash, a hypo-allergenic biodegradable laundry wash? Safe to use on many kinds of delicate fabrics including silk, wool, cashmere, and (ahem) sexy vintage cotton and hemp underpants.

Available at Amazon.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

Greenlight Fall Issue Out Now

092906-greenlight-fall06.jpgSustainable Style Foundation's Spotlight just turned us on to greenlight magazine, available online:

Just in time for Fall, greenlight's latest issue provides practical advice and inspiration in an easy-to-read digital format. The OSSA Award-nominated publication features ideas for an eco-Halloween, 10 real-life green cars, and much more.

Sign up for 4 free issues at Greenlight.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

October 3, 2006

Vintage Cotton and Hemp Lingerie: Part 2

LadyinLingerie2.jpgIt conflicts with our "less is more" mantra, but we honestly can't get enough of Enamore's vintage cotton and hemp undies, photographed so fetchingly and featured at The Natural Store.

According to the blurb on the site, this limited edition pair, featuring vintage printed cotton combined with cream-colored hemp silk and ruffled black lace, is designed as "special occasion wear." As we can see.

Enamore lingerie available at The Natural Store.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

Vintage Cotton and Hemp Lingerie

enamore-lingerie.jpgGoing freestyle not your style? Check out Enamore's lingerie collection at The Natural Store. Several stunning styles available. The ones pictured here feature cream hemp silk combined with French Blue and Rouge Vintage Printed Cotton. Finished with elegant pink bows, cream lace and cream ribbons.

Available at The Natural Store.

Via Sustainable Style Foundation's Showcase.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

October 2, 2006

Lindsay Lohan Goes Commando to Save the Earth

lindsay.jpgGod, we love Ecorazzi. Is the healthy, wholesomeness of an organic and natural lifestyle ever getting to be too much? Click on over for celebrity dish with an eco-friendly twist. For example, this recent story offers an eco-activist explanation for Lindsay Lohan's recent undie-free antics:

Many times, in order to help the environment, we need to give up certain things in our lives. This could mean using reusable containers instead of disposable Ziploc bags to store food or shutting off lights when we leave the room. It could also mean giving something up completely, such as printing emails, in turn choosing to read and store them electronically.

Well, now America’s socialites have taken a step towards a better earth in their very own way. They have given up panties. This is a huge win for the environment. They have given up the thong, which caused much energy to be used in creating the little strings that rested well above their pants line. Not to mention the pesticides used to grow any cotton that might have been used in the production of said thongs. This is great news.

Read more at Ecorazzi. Or better yet, check out pictures of hot (and wholesome?) models in organic hemp lingerie and make the call for yourself about which is more attractive.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

Treehugger: Not All Hybrids are Created Equal

hybrid.jpgTim McGee posted a great article comparing the energy-efficiency of conventional and plug-in hybrids on Treehugger:

Plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles may get you 100 miles per gallon, but where did those extra miles come from? What about the larger batteries needed? How does the return on investment change? A new study released last week by ACEEE (American Council for Energy Efficient Economy) compares your typical hybrid to one you can recharge at home. The study indicates that 'plug-in' hybrids may not offer the benefits a buyer expects. We highlight what you should consider before jumping to the plug-in option.

Read more at Treehugger.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

FDA Lifts Ban on Fresh Spinach

spinach2.jpgThe FDA has lifted its ban on fresh spinach products, limiting the ban to already recalled products containing spinach from the central California company Natural Selection Foods. From the San Francisco Chronicle:

"All of the spinach implicated in the current outbreak has been traced back to Natural Selection Foods" of San Juan Bautista, said Dr. David Acheson, chief medical officer at the federal agency's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. "Right now, the only spinach we're saying shouldn't be consumed is the spinach that was subject to the recall."

Read the official notice (and other press releases on the spinach E. coli outbreak on the FDA website.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking

October 1, 2006

September Wrap-Up

It's time for the September wrap-up. It's been a busy month at Really Natural. We welcomed students back to school by selling them our old stuff on Craigslist, and offering tips on how to green your dorm room, courtesy of MTV and Tufts University.

Green building get several shout outs, from Brad Pitt, MIT and The New York Times.

Popeye's favorite vegetable was in the news as the FDA banned fresh spinach after E. coli breakouts across the country. Thankfully, that's a thing of the past, and we can continue to enjoy spinach salad from our CSA share or our Organic Veggies By Mail care package.

We talked about several green, natural and organic products that make our lives easier, including bamboo dinner plates, the Simple Human Cabinet Mount Trash System, the Envirocycle Backyard Composter, organic playdough, the Green Power Gold Juice Extractor, UnPetroleum, Seventh Generation recycled toilet paper, and Oops I Pooped biodegradable dog waste bags.

And then there are the things we want, including Herman Miller's Leaf lamp, Andy Gregg's bike chairs, Japanese message beans, and Timberland's Pacific Grove Mary Janes.

We featured stories on groups and individuals who making the world greener in several senses of the word: Richard Branson's $3 billion pledge to fight global warming, REBAR Group's parking interventions in San Francisco, the City of Boston's Best Bites campaign, Parents Against Junk Food, the Eco-Pioneers, Timberland, and John Abrams of South Mountain Company.

And we had tips on how to make your own life greener, from washing your clothes in cold water to how to renovate your lawn.

Last but not least, we started a section called Weekend Reading, which covers the books we've been reading and hearing about. On this month's list: Eric Schlosser's Chew on This, The Company We Keep, and, courtesy of author Deirdre Dolan, The Complete Organic Pregnancy.

Okay, I think that's just about everything. Everything but the pepitas and our continuing quest for a natural deodorant that works.

Whew. No wonder we're exhausted. And excited for October.

Jess Brooks Permalink social bookmarking
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