March 31, 2010

Chaco Flip Flops Eco Tread Features 25% Recycled Rubber

I finally splurged on a pair of Chaco women's "Eco Tread" flip flop sandals! I tried to buy a pair on sale last year, but they were too small, and they didn't have my size. I've waited a year, and now I am the proud owner of a pair of Chaco flip flops. These sandals are stylish and comfortable.  Sure they are expensive, but they will last a long time.

All flip, no flop. An innovative redesign of the essential summertime sandal.
• BioCentric™ footbed with PU formulation oriented towards out-of-box comfort
• Fixed straps anchor under mid-foot to eliminate "flop" and promote active use
• Nylon toe piece engineered for the perfect blend of durability and comfort
• EcoTread outsole features 25% recycled rubber

BioCentric refers to the footbed that is designed to support and has won the Seal of Acceptance by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). These are flip flops that will hold up to dancing at a music festival or walking miles of city blocks.

Chaco also donates money to the Grand Canyon Youth program helping get young kids on the river.

Grand Canyon Youth is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Flagstaff, Arizona. Our mission is to give youth (ages 12-19) an experiential education along the rivers and canyons of the Southwest in an effort to promote environmental awareness, community involvement, personal growth, and teamwork among people with diverse backgrounds.
Great sandals and helping kids experience can't be beat!
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March 30, 2010

WTF? Cut Hair Used as Cheap Fertilizer and Food Additive

You've probably heard of the great program Locks of Love, in which people donate long hair to make wigs for sick children, but did you know that short hair clippings are used as cheap fertilizer and as food additives? Mother Jones explains:

Human hair isn't the only source of L-cys. You can extract it from poultry feathers or even synthesize it in a lab--although the end product is no different than what you'll get by dumping tons of barbershop waste into vats of hydrochloric acid and separating the coveted compound from the resulting chemical stew. George Cherian, chairman of Indian hair exporter Raj Impex Hair, however, has long been the cheapest source of L-cys. You'd be hard pressed to find a richer source: Human hair contains up to 20 percent cysteine by weight, while duck feathers may yield only about half as much.

But you'd be equally hard pressed to find food manufacturers willing to admit that they use the hair-derived version.

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March 29, 2010

Fair Labor, Organic Bamboo T-Shirt Supports Great Lakes Restoration

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Are looking for a really cool, really comfortable eco-friendly shirt? thINK Conscious Apparel Thistle Bamboo Tee is my new favorite top. Made from eco-friendly bamboo and organic cotton, this shirt is made with fair labor practices and helps support the Milwaukee Community Service Corps, which works to restore the Great Lakes.

The Corps recognizes the potential of every young person to be a positive, contributing member of the Milwaukee community. By channelling [sic] this potential into educational, job-training, and environmental conservation experiences, we boost their morale, academic performance and provide a benefit to the local community.

The t-shirt is made in Turkey and printed in Wisconsin. Supporting inner city youth and eco-friendly fashion is easy with thINK apparel.
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March 26, 2010

Eco Fashion: Stewart + Brown Hemp Jersey Cinch Skirt

Stewart + Brown is one of my favorite eco-friendly clothing companies.

Karen Stewart and Howard Brown, partners in life and work, launched their ethical fashion brand in 2002 from Los Angeles, California. Inspired by their love and respect for nature and a passion for design, Karen and Howard were filled with a sense of purpose and determined to pioneer the sustainable fashion movement.

Stewart + Brown's hemp hemp jersey cinch skirt is one of my favorite items of clothing. It is the softest hemp I have ever felt and is super comfortable to wear. The drawstring gather on the side makes the skirt unique. The skirt is a little bit expensive at $98, but you won't be disappointed in its quality, and if you are like me, you will certainly get your money's worth by wearing it all the time.
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March 25, 2010

Electric Vehicle Taxis Come to Tokyo

The Hinomaru Limousine Company of Tokyo, Japan has introduced two Mitsubishi i-MiEV to be used as electric taxis.  These EV taxis are designed for short haul passengers, and obviously, they can't have much luggage from the looks of the EV.  Other cities in Japan already use EV taxis.

Via: Green Car Congress

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March 24, 2010

Natural Body Care: (SEED) Uses the Power of Nature (Grape Seed Enriched)

Grape seed extract is pretty amazing stuff leftover from the winemaking process! I've used it to cure toenail fungus, and now there is a line of body care products that harnesses its power for natural beauty: (SEED)

(seed)+ Nourishing Body Lotion, Restful Lavender Sage: Brimming with the power of grape seed oil providing natural Vitamin E, the lotion is also rich in linoleic and essential fatty acids, which protects the skin and aids in moisturizing. The lotion also includes soothing green tea extract and shea butter for extra conditioning benefits. Our favorite part, the lotion absorbs quickly, is not greasy, and is long-lasting. Now that is the power of nature at its best! Available in three different scents: Invigorating Citrus Blend, Restful Lavender Sage, and unscented.

Moisturizing Body Soap: This grape seed oil and extract enriched body soap includes an additional boost from refined pomegranate, apricot and strawberry seeds to gently exfoliate and cleanse --bye bye scaly skin!
Available in two different scents: IInvigorating Citrus Thyme, and unscented.

Lathering Shampoo Bar: This spectacular grape seed oil enriched shampoo also includes conditioning panthenol Pro-Vitamin B5 and fruit seed oils which are shown to moisturize and repair stressed tresses. We love the compact quality of this bar making it easily portable - great for the gym and it lasts a long time. So long plastic bottle! This bar was especially formulated for short hair and guys love it! Available in two different scents: IInvigorating Citrus Thyme, and unscented.

Of course, all of these products come in recyclable or biodegradable containers, and they are made in the USA. I do wish the ingredients were organic though.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

March 23, 2010

Ditch the Paper Towels: Cloth Reusable "Paper" Towels

Many of my friends have completely ditched paper towels, but I still keep a roll of brown recycled ones for really nasty clean up jobs I don't want to use my kitchen towels on. In fact, when my friend's father visited, he was pleased to see I was a paper towel user, as this was an issue between his daughter and him, and sent me a roll of super absorbent ones (he didn't like my brown paper towels).

Well, I have finally found a solution to paper towels: reusable paper towels! They aren't really made of paper, but they are cloth towels that can be used like a paper towel for those dirty jobs. They aren't quite as absorbent, but who cares when you are doing something that is better for the environment! They also come with a neat little bag you can hang from your cabinets to make them easy to dispense. The towels are made of "super absorbent birdseye diaper fabric", which got me thinking, why aren't I just using all those old cloth diapers I have from two children?

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

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March 22, 2010

World Water Day 2010: Clean Water for a Healthy World

I may sometimes forget to write about greening major holidays on Really Natural, such as Valentine's Day and Halloween, and I get annoyed with Earth Day, but World Water Day is an important day we should all reflect upon. This year's theme is "Clean Water for a Healthy World".

Every year, 1,500 cubic kilometres of wastewater are produced globally. While waste and wastewater can be reused productively for energy and irrigation, it usually is not. In developing countries 80 percent of all waste is being discharged untreated, because of lack of regulations and resources. And population and industrial growth add new sources of pollution and increased demand for clean water to the equation. Human and environmental health, drinking and agricultural water supplies for the present and future are at stake, still water pollution rarely warrants mention as a pressing issue.

The goal is to "raise the profile of water quality at the political level". So fill yourself a glass of clean tap water and write your politicians letters to honor World Water Day.

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March 18, 2010

Last Wild Michigan Wolverine Dies

I grew up in Columbus, Ohio and was raised to loathe the Michigan Wolverines. This longstanding football rivalry may not have been settled in a stadium but by the forces of climate change on its mascots. Buckeye trees remain in the buckeye state, but the wolverine state just lost it's last wild wolverine. Treehugger explains:

It's a sad day for Michigan, which lost its only known wolverine. The species has been on the decline, especially as snowpacks have shrunk. And now the wolverine state now really has no reason to call itself that. The last known wolverine - a 28-pound female that was first spotted in 2004 - was found by hikers over the weekend, dead from natural causes.

Image: FHWA

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Organic Dried Fruit by Peeled Snacks Favorite of Oprah

Last month on another blog, I reviewed Peeled Snacks not so favorably for their food additives. The company read my review and kindly sent me the organic version of their dried fruit. Peeled Snacks Organic Fruit Picks Variety Pack comes in five flavors: pine-4-Pineapple, Cherry-go-round, Apricot-a-lot, Apple-2-the-core, and Banan-a-peel.

Organic or 100% natural single serving snacks that you can grab-and-go! We offer eight delicious varieties, featuring large pieces of dried fruit or dry roasted nuts. Our snacks are a natural source of vitamins, minerals and fiber. They have no trans fats, no hydrogenated oils, and no artificial flavors or colors. They are also cholesterol, wheat, gluten and dairy free.

Apparently Oprah has called Peeled snacks her "favorite afternoon snack". I do like the organic varieties better than the preserved ones; however, I think that packaging is a concern. There is very little fruit in each package, as it is designed for a snack, but it seems excessive for just four pieces of dried fruit (that's what I found in the pineapple package). One of the biggest problems I find with snack products is packaging. You are much better buying in bulk and reusing containers for snacks.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

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March 17, 2010

Roasted Seaweed Snacks from Korea

I am addicted to seaweed snacks, as are my kids. Sea's Gift Korean Seaweed Snack (Kim Nori), Roasted & Sea Salted is absolutely delicious and the perfect salty snack. It melts in your mouth and it is easy to devour a whole package before you know it.

  • All natural Korean seaweed snack

  • Roasted in sesame oil; Lightly salted with sea salt

  • Abundance of minerals & vitamins

  • Low calorie; No cholesterol; Healthy Snack

  • Wonderful nutty flavor

The only drawbacks to this wonderful snack is the packaging. It is heavily packaged for a little bit of seaweed, and each package comes with a "moisture absorbing packet". I understand this is necessary, but I wish they would include more seaweed in each packet. It is also a drawback that this product is shipped the all the way from Korea, but I really do love it and forgive these faults for the occasional treat.
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March 16, 2010

The 1st Apple Certified Solar iPhone Charger


I love my iPhone, thus I was excited to discover a solar iPhone charger approved by Apple. The Surge Hybrid Solar Charger for iPhone 3G and 3G S uses the sun to recharge your gadget. GreenUPGRADER explains:
Unveiled about six months ago, the Surge is a lightweight, hard-shell case with an integrated solar and battery system that means you could spend a lot less time charging your iPhone and worrying about its dwindling battery life. With a two-hour sit in direct sun, the Surge will give your iPhone about 3o minutes of 3G talk time...

When fully charged, via sun or USB, the Solar Surge's the lithium-ion polymer battery can effectively double the life of your iPhone or iPod Touch. The additional battery power adds a whole new dimension of freedom for iPhone users. As anyone who likes to run memory-sucking apps knows, iPhone battery life can evaporate right before your eyes.

I have not personally tried this solar case/charger, but I would love to. I am not sure where I would place my phone in direct sunlight to actually use the charger for two hours duration, but the concept is cool.
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

March 15, 2010

Really Natural Kitchens: Odor-Free Stainless Steel Compost Pail

I have used the same funky plastic tupperware container for compost for over ten years. The plastic is stained and stinks, but I could never justify buying a new compost pail until I visited a herbalist friend of mine in Oregon. On her counter was a bright and shiny odor-free compost pail. I decided it was worth the expense.

The Odor-Free Countertop Compost Container has a replaceable filter in its lid. It is stylish and holds a lot of compost before having to make trips to the pile. It really classes up my kitchen counter, and I know it will last at least as long as my old tupperware.

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March 12, 2010

Environmentally Friendly Shoes: El Naturalista

Are you looking for a quality pair of eco-friendly shoes? I recently visited a friend of mine and tried on her El Naturalista shoes. I had to own a pair!

You do your part to recycle and be as earth-friendly as possible, why stop there? The inviting Iggdrasil mary jane from El Naturalista is comfortable, attractive, and just right for the environmentalist in all of us. The vegetable-tanned leather is churned with ground tree bark and river stones for weeks to make the hide resilient to dirt, water, and daily wear and tear. It features pretty contrast stitching, too.

El Naturalista takes social and environmental responsibility seriously, which I was pleased to learn after buying my shoes.

El Naturalista frog Eco Policy

El Naturalista is an international shoe brand that makes comfortable yet fashionable footwear inspired by nature and people.

Adherence to our environmental policy is a prerequisite for doing business at El Naturalista. All suppliers, factories, agents and sales personnel must be strongly committed to our earth friendly practices.

We are continually working to find even better and more eco-friendly ways to produce our shoes. Our customers are aware of our environmental policies and our increasing sales demonstrate that consumers approve and support- our efforts.

  • We use natural materials and dyes

  • We avoid using polluting substances and toxic products

  • We seek to protect the environment

  • We maximize the use of biodegradable and recyclable/recycled materials

  • We pay fair compensation to providers and employees

  • We promoted traditional forms of production

  • We support the use of appropriate new technologies

  • We operate with corporate transparency

Shoes and material

El Naturalista uses the least harmful materials in the production of our shoes. We use natural dyes. We use recycled materials as much as possible: for example, the recycled polyurethane inner liner and the recycled rubber insoles (N 096 Iggdrasil). When dyeing leather, El Naturalista uses the least harmful chrome combination for the environment. Additionally, El Naturalista has developed the "pergamino leather", which is treated without the use of chrome.

I am very impressed with the quality and comfort of El Naturalista, and I definitely will explore other styles by this brand.
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

March 11, 2010

European Union Bans Overfished Bluefin Tuna Upsetting Japan

The European Union (EU) has joined a worldwide ban on Atlantic bluefin tuna because the species has been over-fished. Unfortunately for sushi lovers, especially in Japan, raw tuna may be hard to acquire and unethical to consume as a result. The Guardian explains:

Raw tuna is a key ingredient in sushi and sashimi in Japan, the world's main purchaser of bluefin. Although the ban would not prevent the fish from being caught, it would end the trade between European fishing fleets and Japan, where about 80% of captured bluefin ends up.

"This is like telling the US to stop eating beef," said Kimio Amano, a 36-year-old broker at the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo who joined about 100 other dealers - many clad in work boots and shiny waterproof overalls - to chant slogans calling for better use of the ocean's resources.

Amano's analogy is flawed, since cattle are part of agribusiness and not wild creatures. I don't support the cattle industry's practices of inhumane treatment.  I do understand Amano is trying to make a cultural not environmental analogy; however, I would think the Japanese would also want to protect this species important to their diet. 
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

March 10, 2010

Really Natural Books: National Geographic's True Green Life in 100 Everyday Ways

It's exciting to announce the latest book in National Geographic's True Green series: True Green Life: In 100 Everyday Ways

This colorful, practical book presents scores of completely new tips for simply yet surely transforming everything from our vacations to our health to our celebrations. Ten chapters, liberally illustrated with 100 color photographs, present a wide cross-section of useful and uncomplicated ways not only to help the environment, but also to save money through smarter use of resources. Surprising facts, easy-to-understand advice, and a dynamic presentation follow the style of the previous True Green titles: friendly, familiar, and sure to be this season's favorite among the many readers who already know and love these books.

This title will be released next week on March 16, and we were lucky enough to receive and advance copy for review. The presentation of True Green Life: In 100 Everyday Ways is very user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing. I love the information on "recycling holiday cheer" and don't mow it away". From light green to dark green, everyone can learn something from this resource.  The book ends with the reminder:

Treat the Earth well: it was not given to you by your parents,
it was loaned to you by your children.
We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors,
we borrow it from our children.
-Ancient proverb

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.
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March 9, 2010

Peugeot Diesel Gets 75 MPG Across Europe


To see if regular drivers could replicate mileage claims by Peugeot, the car company hosted a Paris to Geneva Eco Cup.  Using regular diesel models, drivers got an impressive mileage, even with larger models.  Autobloggreen explains:

Over the course of the two-day, 622-mile drive, the competitors put up some pretty impressive numbers. The top overall result came in a C-segment 308 hatchback with an overall average of 74.9 miles per gallon (U.S.). Next up was the smaller 207 HDi 90 with 72.5 mpg. Particularly impressive were the 5008 MPV with 70.6 mpg and the new 3008 crossover with 65.9 mpg. Part of the competition included a prescribed time window based on the speed limits along the route to make sure that drivers didn't simply drive at excessively slow speeds.
Too bad these efficient models are not available in the US.  As Peugeot states, "This is a great reminder that, in this dynamic and technology-obsessed industry, genuine environmentally friendly motoring is available for the masses right now." 

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

March 8, 2010

Spilled Milk Organic Cookies Use Fair Trade Chocolate Chips

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The Rabbit Hole Bake Shop makes delicious organic "oatie" cookies.

As the creators of Spilled Milk, we always choose to venture down the rabbit hole. We're very excited to share our newest venture, Spilled Milk Oaties. Enjoy their organic and whole grain goodness and rich, comforting flavors. Take a deep breath and smile, because these cookies are brought to you from two friends who truly believe life is a little easier when you can laugh at spilled milk.

These cookies come in four flavors:

  • peanut butter cocoa oatie
  • apricot oatie
  • chocolate chip oatie
  • ginger oatie

Not only are these cookies made from organic ingredients, but the chocolate is Fair Trade certified.  I'm a big cookie fan, and these taste like cookies made at home with wholesome ingredients.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

March 5, 2010

Hippie Chips: Peace, Love, and Gluten Free

Rock and Roll Gourmet has several snacks that appeal to the hippie in all of us. With a slogan like "Peace, Love, & Gluten Free", who wouldn't want to try a flavor called "Woodstock Ranch" or "Memphis Blues Barbeque". Hippie Chips are all natural, but they are not organic. Personally, I think the flavored varieties are overdone, but the plain "Sea of Love Salt" was tasty.

Hippie Chips are the best tasting and most unique baked potato chip in the world.

Every chip's shape is as individual as you are. They are ultra light and low in fat and calories.

With superlative taste and exceptional texture, Hippie Chips will awaken the free spirit in you!

Don't Worry, Be Hippie!

Rock and Roll Gourmet also make Sweet Emotions. These snacks are also baked, made from multigrains and have only 60 calories. My daughter thinks they taste "a little funny", and I prefer simple organic chocolate when I need to satisfy my sweet tooth.

Rock & Pops is a flavored popcorn line by the company.  I just have a hard time getting behind snacks that are not organic.   

I think the gimmick of these products is cute, but in my opinion it is a little overdone. I am not sure if it is just another attempt to make money off of the 1960s or provide a healthy snack.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

March 4, 2010

OSU: Eating Garlic Reduces Your Risk of Cancer

The health benefits of garlic, besides warding of vampires, has long been known. New research conducted at the Ohio State University (OSU) has found "hints at garlic's cancer-fighting potential".

Researchers have designed a urine test that can simultaneously measure the extent of a potential carcinogenic process and a marker of garlic consumption in humans.

In a small pilot study, the test suggested that the more garlic people consumed, the lower the levels of the potential carcinogenic process were.

Good news for garlic lovers and those with cancer in their family tree!

Image: Bellybytes

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

March 3, 2010

LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

lush comforter.jpg
According to the Mayo Clinic:

Seasonal affective disorder (also called SAD) is a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year. If you're like most people with seasonal affective disorder, your symptoms start in the fall and may continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody.

LUSH "Fresh Handmade Cosmetics" is tackling SAD head on with fun products to lighten your mood and cheer you up!

The Comforter Bubble Bar by LUSH:
After a chilly walk home in the snow, wrap yourself up in The Comforter Bubble Bar ($8.75). A hot bath of fruity, blackcurrant bubbles provides instant warmth and comfort inside and out. Formulated with bergamot, the uplifting essential oil calms nerves and is recommended for people suffering from S.A.D. - or those with regular winter blues.

Therapy Massage Bar by LUSH:
Calm your mind and your senses so you can feel at peace during these cold winter months with Therapy Massage Bar ($8.75). This 100% organic shea and cocoa butter bar increases circulation and warms muscles. The lavender plays a major role to ease senses, calm the nervous system and relieve stress.

Happy 4 SAD Shower Gel by LUSH
Need something extra to keep spirits soaring as temperature rapidly falls? Just in time for the coldest season of the year, LUSH has brought back Happy 4 Sad ($25.95) as a Retro product! The ultra-violet colored shower gel is perfect for when the UV index is at zero. It contains neroli oil, an anti-depressant to help make it through the darkest of days. So lather up with this scent that will keep you smiling throughout the day.

I am bugged by the fact that the shower gel contains D&C Red No. 33 and FD&C Blue No.1. None of these products have been evaluated by the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep cosmetic database, but other LUSH products have received hazard scores from three to seven.

Spring may be right around the corner, but these LUSH products are fun to use in any season or mood. They smell delightful and live up to LUSH's handmade, naked reputation.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

March 2, 2010

Message to Obama: Put Solar Panels Back on the White House

It's time solar panels returned to the White House. The Carter administration installed solar panels to power the White House; however, Republican president Ronald Reagan promptly removed the panels when taking office. It's time for Obama to restore renewable energy to the White House. Renewable Energy World writes:

I have no idea why the President has not acted to put solar back on the White House proper. The last news source I can find says he was "considering it." Clearly, he and Energy Sec. Chu are supporters of renewable energy. Nevertheless, as Stephen Lacey noted in his excellent podcast, the German parliament's Reichstag building now uses passive solar, solar PV, solar thermal and other RE technologies to offset almost all of its energy needs. What's taking so long with the relatively smaller White House?

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

March 1, 2010

Really Natural February 2010 Monthly Round Up



Electric Cars

Energy Savers

Fair Trade




Monthly Round-Up

Product review

Really Natural Books




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