July 30, 2010

Hint Premium Essence Water: 0 Calorie, 0 Preservatives, 0 Sweeteners

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Sometimes water is just not enough to quench your thirst, or you would like a little flavor without all that sugar or high fructose corn syrup common to beverages.
Hint Premium Essence Water offers a healthy alternative.

The idea behind Hint is simple: pure water, nature's original refreshment, accented with a hint of natural flavor. No sugar, no artificial sweeteners no preservatives! Hint is a refreshing alternative to sodas, juice and other sweetened drinks and it tastes great.

I like the subtle flavor of Hint, but if you are used to sugary liquids, it may take some adjustment of your tastebuds. Since I am a mostly water drinker, Hint tasted full of flavor.  Their motto is "drink water, not sugar".

Hint does come in plastic containers (#1), and the label reads "Coming soon 15% less plastic".

Hint Water is also good in cocktails!  

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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July 29, 2010

WTF? DIY Personal Satellite Kit for $8000

Have you ever dreamed of having your own personal satellite orbiting the earth? Now's your chance. For $8000, Interorbital will sell you:

A TubeSat is designed to function as a Basic Satellite Bus or as a simple stand-alone satellite. Each TubeSat kit includes the satellite's structural components, printed circuit board (PCB) Gerber Files, electronic components, solar cells, batteries, transceiver, antennas, microcomputer, and the required programming tools. With these components alone, the builder can construct a satellite that puts out enough power to be picked up on the ground by a hand-held amateur radio receiver. Simple applications include broadcasting a repeating message from orbit or programming the satellite to function as a private orbital amateur radio relay station. These are just two examples. The TubeSat also allows the builder to add his or her own experiment or function to the basic TubeSat Kit. Examples of add-on experiments or applications include the following:

▼ Earth-from-space video imaging
▼ Earth magnetic field measurement
▼ Satellite orientation detection (horizon sensor, gyros, accelerometers, etc.)
▼ Orbital environment measurements (temperature, pressure, radiation, etc.)
▼ On-orbit hardware and software component testing (microprocessors, etc.)
▼ Tracking migratory animals from orbit
▼ Testing satellite stabilization methods
▼ Biological experiments
▼ On-orbit advertising
▼ Private e-mail
▼ Space art
▼ Space burials

Do we really need more space junk? Already, old satellites have turned into debris that is "dangerous" and could potentially impact other satellites. Do we really need a bunch of small personal satellites in outer space too?

So far, most interest in the personal satellites has come from universities and hobbyists.

Via: Discovery News

Image: Interorbital

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July 28, 2010

Bear Naked Cranberry Raisin Cereal: 100% Pure & Natural and Partnered with Terracycle

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Bear Naked Pure and Natural Cereal is delicious and of the same standards of naturalness you would expect from Bear Naked.

Ever since our very first batches of granola, we've been searching for ways to un-invent food and celebrate the variety Mother Nature provides...So as we thought about cereals, we felt they should be more than just hearty flakes. We wanted a mouthful of bearly processed goodies we could actually pronounce. And that's what you hold in your hands...A thoughtfully crafted blend of nature's boldest flavors, richest textures, mouthwatering aromas and REAL nutrition that makes your body smile.
In our camp, we believe every sunrise reveals a new adventure, and this cereal is for those of you who want to wake up and experience a pure and natural breakfas

At first glance, I was concerned this product did not contain organic ingredients, as there is no USDA label. Upon closer inspection, there are many organic ingredients, and I appreciate Bear Naked does not overstate this fact since the product is not 100% organic.

Another concern I have is with packaging. You only get 12.5 ounces per bag, which doesn't last long around my household, and the packaging is not recyclable. Bear Naked has teamed with Terracycle to address this issue.

Every year millions of non-recyclable bags and wrappers end up in landfills. TerraCycle and Bear Naked are committed to finding new uses for old bags and wrappers. As an eco-friendly innovator, TerraCycle will develop unique new products made from used bags and wrappers and upcycle them into shower curtains, tote bags and so much more
Although upcycling is probably better than recycling, the chances of these bags making it to Terracycle by the average consumer are slim compared to the recycling bin.

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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July 27, 2010

Greenpeace UK Responds to BP CEO Change by Closing 50 Gas Stations

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July 26, 2010

The Best Natural Lotion for Dry Skin and Harsh Conditions: Weleda Skin Food

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I recently went on a backpacking trip in the wilderness. Four days of sun and wind exposure, as well as swimming, can wreck havoc on your skin. The best defense and treatment so your skin doesn't end up looking like and feeling like a weathered piece of leather is Weleda Skin Food. Not only does Skin Food nourish your skin, it protects it!

Dry, rough skin of any age gets indulgent moisture with this intensively nourishing, deeply hydrating cream. It's a unique, ultra-rich whole-body cream that deeply hydrates, restores and protects your skin. Stubborn dryness on your elbows, hands and feet are moisturized and conditioned with the essential fatty acids and vitamin E in our organic sunflower seed oil. Organic pansy is known for its mild antiseptic properties that calm dry irritation. Soothing rosemary leaf extract's mild antiseptic properties and the anti-inflammatory properties of Biodynamic® and organic calendula flower extract gently nourish and care for your skin. Deeply moisturized and protected, your skin looks soft and supple with a healthy glow. It's your recommended daily allowance of radiance, and it's just what you and your skin are craving.

I highly recommend Skin Food!  It saved my skin while in the wilderness, and it is also wonderful for regular use at home.

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July 23, 2010

Eco Luxury for Baby by Apple Park

If ever there was a portion of our population that needed and deserved eco-friendly products, it's the babies. Apple Park understands that by producing original products made from "organic, sustainable and recycled materials". We were sent two samples of these beautiful baby products that are truly luxurious:

Apple Park Deluxe Crib Blanket:

Luxurious, sensual and completely natural, these 100% organic cotton blankets trimmed with natural silk, are perfect for the crib or anytime.

Apple Park Apple Seed Rattle:

Leaf: natural silk and hemp blend
Apple: 100% organic cotton
Filling: sustainable corn fiber, 100% organic cotton fiber and recycled non-toxic plastic rattle
Mini Apple Box: 100% recycled paper printed with soy ink and finished with a grosgrain ribbon handle

The crib blanket is expensive, but sustainability does come at a cost and the rattle is quite affordable. I also like how the company includes and considers the packaging in their product descriptions. That is unusual and packaging is truly a part of an item's sustainability factor. Apple Park products are manufactured in their own certified organic factory in China.

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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July 22, 2010

Google Buys 20 Years of Wind Power

Google has been putting their money into sustainable wind power. Three months ago, the company invested $38.8-million in two North Carolina wind farms. Now, the internet giant has "has entered into a deal to buy wind power from NextEra Energy Inc for the next 20 years to power data centers". Globe and Mail reports:

Google Energy LLC will begin buying wind power from July 30 from NextEra's facility in Iowa at a predetermined rate, Urs Hoelzle, Google's senior vice president of operations, said in a blog on Google's website.

"Incorporating such a large amount of wind power into our portfolio is tricky, but this power is enough to supply several data centers," Hoelzle added...

The often-quirky company said in late 2007 that it would invest in companies and do research of its own to produce affordable renewable energy - at a price less than burning coal - within a few years.

The company's Google Energy unit, formed in December, allows the company to buy large volumes of renewable energy from the wholesale power market.

Now, perhaps, those internet searches won't be contributing to your carbon footprint.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

July 21, 2010

Natural Licorice: No High Fructose Corn Syrup

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The American Licorice Company has just released an all-natural licorice. This tasty product comes in two flavors:

This confection is made in the USA by a family-owned company.
-all natural ingredients
-no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
-no high fructose corn syrup
-low in fat, cholesterol and sodium
-vegetarian, vegan, and kosher

I liked both flavors, but I did prefer the strawberry. Licorice makes a great snack, but I wish the ingredients were organically-grown. There are organic licorices available; however, I have never tried them. 

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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July 20, 2010

Science Barge: Urban Farming in NYC

Urban Farming: Hydroponics in the City from Dawn Productions on Vimeo.

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July 19, 2010

Honest Tea Organic Half Tea & Half Lemonade

Honest Tea Half Tea & Half Lemonade is a delicious thirst quenching beverage. I like how Honest Tea is now available in most gas station convenience stores, which is handy on road trips, but that accessibility came at a cost. Coca-Cola owns 40 percent of the company. 

The Half Tea & Half Lemonade is the same quality and taste I have come to expect from Honest Tea.

  • Half Tea & Half Lemonade

  • Fair Trade Certified

  • USDA Organic

  • Organic Twist on an old fashioned classic

One annoyance I have with the products I was sent was they came packaged with styrofoam peanuts. Not only does the Coca-Cola stock acquisition cause me to question the integrity of the company, but the packaging causes concern too.

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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July 16, 2010

Indoor Gardening: Grow Your Own Shitake Mushrooms

shitake mushroom kit.jpgOne challenge for urban dwellers is space for gardening. One easy and fun solution is a Shiitake Mushroom Kit

Grow your own fancy mushrooms with our all inclusive kit! A mushroom treasured by many, our Shiitake Patch (Lentinula edodes) is composed of a unique blend of sterlized, enriched sawdust fully colonized with a select Chinese strain. Esteemed for both is health stimulating properties and its culinary value, our Shittake kit out-produces by far that of any known competitor. Shiitake mushrooms can be harvested at two week intervals up to 16 weeks. A 50-80 degree Fahrenheit environment is ideal. Each kit comes with illustrated instructions and is guarantee to produce.

Unfortunately, our kit has never produced as abundantly as pictured above. We have had several mushrooms at a time, but I have been disappointed with the results, even after contacting the company for special instructions. I don't know what we are doing wrong, as I have friends who have had great results with mushroom kits.

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July 15, 2010

Mice Study: Socialization Reduces Cancer

Hanging out with your friends and family may actually reduce cancer, according to a new study. Conducted at the Ohio State University (OSU), research with mice found that those with tumors actually went into remission when placed in environments with more mice. Care2 reports:

After three weeks in the new environment, only one in 20 of the cancerous mice showed no improvement. In most of the mice, tumor mass shrank 77 percent, and the size 43 percent. Apparently the key to the improvement was the new complex social interaction. More physical exercise alone, had no impact.

Although the results may not transfer directly to humans, social interaction in the form of love and support is important for every human to live healthily, especially those with serious illnesses.

Photo: ernest figueras

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July 14, 2010

Really Natural Personal Care: Kiss My Face Peace Castile Soap

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I've long been a fan of Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Soap for its versatility. From dog washing to dishes, there is nothing you can't do with castile soap. Kiss My Face has just introduced their own line of 100% natural all purpose castile soap. It comes on many flavors:

Give Peace Soap a chance! You'll love it. (Peace & love... some things never go out of style.) Combining organic olive oil with coconut, hemp and jojoba oils for luxurious lather and mildness, we have created a totally pleasurable cleaning experience- from head to toe, ceiling to floor, our castile soap cleans skin and much more. Veggie, countertop, dishes or sweater, it does it all and it does it better.

Castile soap has been used for centuries around the world, originating in the Castile region of Spain. This simple soap formula is so effective that it has changed little in 500 years.

One of the things I love about castile soap is it is safe for grey water systems and to use when camping or backpacking. I don't leave home without it when I head into the woods for an adventure.

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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July 13, 2010

Oil Spill News: Disturbing Gulf Shores Fly Over Video of BP Slick

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July 12, 2010

Really Natural Books: Off the Grid: Inside the Movement for More Space, Less Government, and True Independence in Modern America

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I live off the grid, which if you are not familiar with the term, refers to homes that are independently powered by solar, wind, and/or hydro and is not connected to the utility power grid.

Off the Grid: Inside the Movement for More Space, Less Government, and True Independence in Modern America is a new book that will be released on July 27, 2010.

In OFF THE GRID: Inside the Movement for More Space, Less Government, and True Independence in Modern America (Penguin Original; On-Sale: August 2010; ISBN 978-0-14-311738-4; $15.00) award-winning documentary filmmaker and part-time off-gridder, Nick Rosen, takes readers on a fascinating and complex journey through a seemingly simple lifestyle. Nick traverses the US, encountering both luxury hideaways and harsh environs, to investigate the growing trend for off-the-grid living. His adventures take him from one overlooked part of the country to another, in rented cars that often double as hotels and on public transit when his subjects demand it. He spends time with all sorts of individuals and families striving to live the lives they want-- bathing in hot springs, forgoing municipal power and amenities--in the ultimate search for freedom from government and its far-reaching grasp.

The stories in this book are really fascinating, but I have to take offense with the cover. Picturing a half-painted shack with a vicious dog caged in the front yard pushes the stereotype that to live off the grid you have to be a little whacky and primitive. Sure some of the people in the book are those types, but already many mainstream folks believe you can't have a normal home off the grid. The text of the book addresses these concerns:
The people featured in OFF THE GRID, as within the movement at-large, are not always the into-to-the-wild recluses that one might expect, although a few such are profiled, including the rustic character made popular through Elizabeth Gilbert's The Last American Man and gun-toting novelist Carolyn Chute as well as cult author Alan Weisbecker. To the contrary, many of those living off-the-grid have built communities of like-minded people, often families with young children who are committed to helping one another. There are groups of devoted environmentalists who see this lifestyle as the only responsible way to counteract the massive energy consumption prevalent in ordinary American life. Others live this way rather unexpectedly, after finding urban and suburban lifestyles in conflict with their personal ethics, and still others were forced into their situations by economic factors beyond their control.

I've shown the cover to other people that live off the grid, and their reaction is the same. In fact, one person said they wouldn't buy the book because of the picture. I know you aren't suppose to judge a book by the cover, but it's hard not to.

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

July 9, 2010

Vegan Garden Recipes: Organic Kale Chip

As summer time temperatures are heating up, I am searching for ways to use up the kale in my garden before it starts to bolt. One super easy recipe that kids love is kale chips. This snack is healthy and a good replacement for potato chips.

Organic Kale Chips

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Line a cookies sheet with parchment paper.
  • Cut or tear kale into bite size pieces and lay out on cookie sheet. 
  • Spritz kale with olive oil and Bragg's Liquid Aminos or soy sauce. 
  • Sprinkle lightly salt and nutritional yeast over kale. 
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes, depending on the oven.

You may want to experiment with different spices to flavor your kale chips. They should turn out crunchy and sort of melt in your mouth. Of course, you can buy kale chips, but it is much more fun and easy to make your own.

Image: daveeza

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July 8, 2010

New Study: Virgin Olive Oil Protects Against Breast Cancer

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Researchers at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona have discovered that a "key mechanism" in virgin olive oil protects against breast cancer. Eureka Alert explains:

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in Western countries. Research carried out with animal models demonstrate that a diet rich in fats is directly related to the incidence of cancer. Some types of fats however can play a protective role against the development of these tumours. Such is the case of virgin olive oil, rich in oleic acid, a mono-unsaturated fatty acid, and containing several bioactive compounds such as antioxidants. A moderate and regular intake of virgin olive oil, characteristic of the Mediterranean diet, is associated with low incidences of specific types of cancer, including breast cancer, as well as with having a protective role against coronary diseases and other health problems...

Scientists demonstrated that virgin olive oil is associated with higher incidences of benign breast tumours and at the same time with a decrease in the activity of the p21Ras oncogene, which spurs uncontrolled cell proliferation and stimulates the growth of tumours. In addition, olive oil suppresses the activity of some proteins, such as the AKT, essential for the survival of cells since they prevent apoptosis, the cell's "suicide" programme. Between proliferation and apoptosis in tumour cells, these effects tip the balance towards cell death, thereby slowing the growth of tumours.

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July 7, 2010

Natural Beauty: Handcrafted, Organic Based Cosmetics by Christopher Drummond

Even though I do not wear cosmetics on a regular basis, it is fun to find all-natural, handcrafted, vegan beauty products. Designed by a former model and professional makeup artist, Christopher Drummond Beauty goes "beyond mineral makeup" to create a safer product. We tested out two of Christopher's products:

Ultra-fine, milled mica powder. Light shimmer and radiant color to enhance your skin tone. A truly unique powder blush that imparts a flattering radiance to your cheeks. Remarkably silky texture for easy application and subtle shading. Accentuate cheekbones for a youthful look. Softer tones around the eyes to soften expression and rejuvenate.
This is lip gloss made for every woman. Not only does it have beautiful, transluscent color that is not too much, but not invisible; our formula is free of petroleum (a gasoline by-product), parabens, dyes, carmine, artificial dyes or fragrances. Our lip gloss is lightly scented with organic essential oil of blood orange that promotes healthy lips that appear fuller and more luscious. Naturally

Both of these products are great, high quality natural cosmetics. You can trust the ingredients. Whether you wear makeup every day or only on special occasions, your skin deserves the best.

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

July 6, 2010

Join the Slow Food Movement!

Slow food, the obvious antonym to fast food, is a movement that is growing across America. The Slow Food Nation says we need to "take back control of our food" so our food is "good, clean, and fair".
The three central principles of the Slow Food plan are these: food must be sustainably produced in ways that are sensitive to the environment, those who produce the food must be fairly treated, and the food must be healthful and delicious.
It's a simple concept that will change your health and benefit our environment. If you haven't joined yet, it's time!

Via: Huffington Post

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July 5, 2010

EWG Safe Sunscreen Recommendation: Alba Botanica Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30

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The news on the safety of sunscreen is scary, especially the potential for sunscreen ingredients to cause cancer. One product my family relies on that made EWG's top list is Alba Botanica Mineral Sunscreen, Fragrance Free SPF 30.

This fragrance free, lightweight lotion for all-over use helps prevent sunburn with an effective, mineral-based, UVA & UVB broad-spectrum reflective barrier. Contains extracts of aloe vera, green tea and lavender soothe and repair, protecting sensitive skin against the free radical damage that often results from exposure to the sun. Formulated with natural titamium dioxide, this sunscreen lotion contains vitamin E, organic sunflower and jojoba oils plus organic green tea and organic aloe to care for sensitive, sun-exposed skin.

I've put this sunscreen to the test during backpacking trips, and it offers great protection under the harshest conditions.  EWG gave it an overall hazard score of 2.  Alba Botanica also makes a kids' version.

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July 2, 2010

4th of July Fun: EcoSMART "Organic" Natural Insect Repellant

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Fourth of July weekend is rapidly approaching, and I am sure you will be spending some time outside. From BBQs to fireworks, bugs can be a nuisance to your outdoor fun. Insect repellants containing the pesticide DEET are know to have adverse health effects, especially for children. One natural alternative is EcoSMART Organic Natural Insect Repellent.

Harnessing Nature's own defense against insects ― essential oils ― EcoSMART's non-toxic, botanical skin repellent is safe for use on children of all ages, and works as effectively as DEET and synthetic chemicals. A revolutionary plant based formula is the secret to the efficacy of EcoSMART's insect repellent. Unlike conventional DEET-based formulas, EcoSMART's patented technology uses 100 percent food grade ingredients to keep mosquitoes, gnats and more away for hours. It has a fresh, natural scent is non-oily and dries quickly.

Using rosemary, cinnamon, and lemongrass oils, this naturally-based repellant uses the word "organic" on it's label. That is my only problem with this product, as the ingredients are not certified organically-grown, and the word usage seems to be part of the marketing confusion many personal care products create for consumers.

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

July 1, 2010

Really Natural June 2010 Monthly Round Up



Electric Cars




General News


Green Homes





Monthly Round-Up

Product review

Really Natural Books







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