September 30, 2010

Really Natural September 2010 Monthly Round Up



Electric Cars


Green Homes



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Organic Food News


Product review

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September 29, 2010

Really Natural Rewind: Naked Juice: The Superfoods Selection

Trying to find an appropriate time to stuff a couple of teaspoons of blue green algae into your mouth can be difficult, not to mention wheat grass, barley grass, spirulina, and chlorella. However, the Naked Juices Superfood line makes taking in ultimate nutrition with ultimate taste a treat.

nakedgreen.jpgNaked Juice is made from "bare-naked fruit", with no added sugar, preservatives, artificial colors or flavors, and claims to have a pound of fruit in every bottle. A Superfood is any food that is high in enzymes, phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, Chlorophyll, and antioxidants.

Naked Juice offers 3 flavors in their Superfood line.
"Green Machine" in my opinion, is the best of the three offering 5 superfoods in just one drink. While the color can cause a bit of anxiety (green juices do not have a history of good flavor), this one tastes more like apples, bananas and kiwi then grass -- something Odwalla has yet to master in their own green nutrient dense juice.

"Blue Machine", contains a host of berries and vitamins and general opinion would probably state that it is the best tasting of the three. More like a bottle of blueberries and blackberries, you could almost pour this stuff over vanilla ice cream it is so sublime.

"Red Machine" is a follow-up to the green and contains red algae or dulse and grain flax seed (for the omega-3 fatty acid content). Red Machine's motto is "Tangy, tart, good for the heart".

Be sure to drink your Superfood smoothie cold (kept at below 38 degrees Fahrenheit). Naked Juice lists the juices as available in 10oz, 15.2oz, 32oz, 64oz and 128oz.

All of these drinks are certified Kosher and vegan approved. The Naked Juice Superfood line makes great breakfast boosters.

Click the following link to read ingredient lists...

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September 28, 2010

Really Natural Rewind: Synergy: Trilogy Kombucha Tea

This is one of our most popular product reviews dating back four years ago!

So, faced with reviewing either a well-tasted ginger beer, an almost mainstream pomegranate soda or Synergy Trilogy Kombucha Tea, I decided to take my life into my own hands and drink the tea. I'm pretty sure I'm going to sorely regret not jumping into the soda.

Kombucha tea (pronounced kom-BOO-cha) is the latest "miracle cure". According to the Wikipedia website, the chef at the Google cafeterias prepares it from scratch for the employees and over 100 glasses are consumed. The packaging of Synergy: Trilogy indicates that Kombucha supports digestion, metabolism, immune system, appetite control, weight control, liver function, body alkalinity, anti-aging, cell integrity and healthy skin and hair. Also mentioned is the fact that the creator, G.T. Dave, began bottling this tea after his mother's success from drinking it during a battle with breast cancer.

Kombucha is inappropriately referred to as a mushroom. Actually it is the symbiosis of a live culture, much like what is found in yogurt, when mixed with yeast and fed a diet of sweetened black or green tea. The result is a filtered sparkling beverage, Kombucha tea, that holds the health properties of the cultures, as well as a slight alcohol content (less than 0.5%) from the fermentation. Essential nutrients are then present after fermentation such as active enzymes, viable probiotics, amino acids, antioxidants and polyphenols.

Bottom line: drink this and all will be well again... sort of.

First of all, there is no proven documentation on the health benefits of Kombucha, despite the fact that it has been around for centuries. No matter, the company's website boldly proclaims, "Feel the healing power of Kombucha."

Second, it is expensive. A 16 oz. bottle of the stuff cost $3.50.

Thirdly, Synergy: Trilogy Kombucha Tea tastes awful. It smells like yeasty ginger bread and tastes like sparkling raw lemon juice. There is nothing sweet about this. And thanks to the bits of yeast floating around, I stupidly shook the damn bottle, which caused it to explode upon opening and now my kitchen smells like bread dough.

Do I feel better? Not completely, although I do feel oddly wide awake, and I'm guessing I'm going to have to choke down more than 2 sips to find out the full story. The best part? Because of the unstable nature of the contents within, it has been known to create intestinal problems and in one case death. (It only has a 160 day shelf life.) It cannot be left improperly stored, which means I have to figure out a way to consume all 16 oz. this evening.

But by tomorrow my intestines should be glowing and my body balanced and ready to attack the day. I'll have to let you know.

(By the end of this article and 2/3 of the bottle of the tea, I was feeling very alert, like a cup of coffee alert without the jitters, despite 2 margaritas earlier in the evening and the taste was growing on me. No pun intended.)

About Millennium Products:

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September 27, 2010

Got BO? Natural Long Lasting Deodorant That Really Works

tom of maines deodorant.jpg
I've tried a lot of different natural deodorants, and I'd have to say that 99% of them do not hold up to a day of stress, heat, sweat, and exercise. That is, until I found Tom's of Maine - Apricot Long Lasting Stick. Without an overbearing scent, this deodorant does the job and provides lasting protection from odor.

Hops inhibits the growth of odor-causing bacteria. Sourced from castor beans and the mineral zinc, zinc ricinoleate is known to help trap odor molecules and absorb bad smells. Natural fragrance helps mask odor. Encapsulating natural fragrance oils with silica shells makes them last longer.

Tom's discloses all of the ingredients, which is unusual for many beauty companies.  Furthermore, the company guarantees their products and will refund the purchase price as well as shipping. 

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September 24, 2010

Ditch the Paper Towel Habit: PeopleTowels Fair Trade Organic Cotton Reusable Personal Hand Towel

I am always amazed at the number of disposable paper towels we go through when my family visits. It pains me to see them used for little drops of water on the counter, drying hands, etc. I do only purchase Seventh Generation Paper Towels, but they are still disposable.

PeopleTowels has a solution to the paper towel habit. These fair trade, organic reusable personal hand towels are a great alternative to the paper towel. Did you know:

The average person uses 3,000+ paper towels outside the home each year. Ambassadors will promote the B.Y.O.Towel message to their friends and families, and share the benefits of switching to PeopleTowels, such as reducing deforestation, waste and pollution. It is estimated that each person who switches from paper towels to PeopleTowels will save 1/4 of a tree, reduce landfill waste by 23 pounds and conserve 250 gallons of water every year.

These paper towel alternatives are also printed with eco-friendly dyes.

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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September 23, 2010

One More Reason to Eat Organic: Chocolate Contains Pesticide Lindane

broken chocolate heart.jpg I love chocolate, that's why it is so disheartening to learn that commercially-grown chocolate contains trace amounts of lindane, the same pesticide used in lice treatment shampoos. Care2 reports:

A study that sampled various conventional chocolate products found tiny amounts of lindane...

The U.S. EPA says lindane, which has been used as a pesticide for decades, has shown to cause a variety of toxic effects in animal subjects, "...such as reproductive and neurotoxic impairments."...

The World Watch Institute says the most cocoa is grown in West African countries, and that lindane is the most commonly used pesticide there. One way to limit potential exposure to lindane from chocolate is to only buy organic products. If a chocolate product is marked organic, it should be pesticide and insecticide-free.

It's a good thing my favorite chocolate is organic!

Image:  AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by Rev Dan Catt

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September 22, 2010

Really Natural Books: Yoga in Bed: Awaken Body, Mind & Spirit in Fifteen Minutes

The only time I have for yoga during the busy work week is first thing in the morning. I groggily get up and do my practice before coffee, and then I feel so much more refreshed and ready for my day.

Yoga in Bed: Awaken Body, Mind & Spirit in Fifteen Minutes is a new book that illustrates how simple it is to include a little bit of yoga in everyone's day before they even leave their bed.

An introduction to breathing exercises and simple postures, this guidebook helps yogis awaken and focus the body and mind each morning. As demonstrated in both the user-friendly book and accompanying DVD, doing yoga in bed for only 15 minutes a day is fun, playful, and brings clarity, a lightness of being, a sense of humor, and a new openness to exploration and self-understanding. Beautiful photography and a tasteful design combine with clear, precise instructions to help the reader feel greater peace as they engage with these poses. With no yoga class to drive to, no teacher to find, and no special clothing needed, this unique way to practice is a perfect fit for today's high-energy, fast-paced life.

Many of these simple stretches are perfect for the bed, but I do think that a mattress may not provide the support I need for doing poses such as cat. Also, in all of the photos the bed is very simple with just a sheet. My bed is a rumple of covers when I wake up, and I don't think stripping it or making it before beginning would really bring any ease into my morning. Many of the stretches though are perfect for simply waking and moving without the need for a harder surface or a neat and tidy bed.

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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September 21, 2010

9/11 Memorial Lights Trap Migrating Birds

The lighted tribute to the Sept 11, 2001 tragedy had to be turned off five times this year. Over 100,000 migratory birds were confused by the lights. Daily Mail reports:

Members of the New York City Audubon, a conservation organisation, noticed the confused birds and alerted organisers.
The lights were then switched off for 20-minute periods to allow the birds to gather their bearings and continue their journeys...

An estimated 90,000 birds die every year after becoming disorientated by lights and crashing into skyscrapers in New York as they migrate south for the winter.
Many owners of tower blocks dim or switch off lights at night to reduce the risk to birds.

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September 20, 2010

H2O Duo Stainless Steel Water Bottle Offers Versatility

There are a lot of stainless steel water bottles on the market now, so manufacturers are finding new ways to improve this product. Seattle Sports H2Duo Two-Part Bottle is made from 18/8 food grade stainless steel, but what is unique about this bottle is that it also unscrews in the wide area of the bottle. The wider opening makes it easier to add ice cubes or clean your bottle. Furthermore, the bottle's top can be flipped over and used as a separate cup.

  • Screw-off upper half, the H2Duo lets you add ice cubes and clean it easily (most stainless bottles have a small, narrow opening).

  • You can use the top or bottom pieces to drink from.

  • Comes with a grey silicone band that can be fitted over the top or bottom part of the bottle for a more comfortable drinking surface.

  • Our screw cap features flow-through threads that allow you to pour from the loosened cap

  • Includes a convenient cap lanyard, so you don┬┐t easily lose the great cap for this great bottle.

Unfortunately, like every other stainless steel water bottles on the market, this one is made in China (designed in the USA). Also, the plastic lid does not cover the lip of the bottle, thus exposing it to more germs.

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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September 17, 2010

Marie Veronique Organics Anti-Aging Day Serum: Intelligent Ingredients You Can Trust

anti_aging_dayserum.jpgWhenever I encounter a new organic beauty line, the first place I check to see if their claims are truly trustworthy is the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetic Database.  I am happy to report Marie Veronique Organics (MVO) holds true to their motto of "Intelligent Ingredients" with low hazard scores of one to three by EWG.

  • Anti-Aging Day Serum, SPF 20

  • *Defends against premature aging with a unique combination of natural humectants, emollients, anti-oxidants, and sunscreen
    *Protects against free radical formation due to UV exposure with powerful anti-oxidants such as coffee fruit extract and Calaguala fern
    *Prevents moisture loss from exposure to the elements
    *Contains non-micronized zinc oxide, a physical sun block that reflects UV rays without releasing wrinkle and cancer-causing free radicals
    *Absorbs into the skin without leaving a greasy or ghostly white film

    I also like how the serum is available in tints, which help to even out skin tone, and contains protective SPF ingredients.  MVO also makes a Moisturizing Face Screen SPF 30 in various tints that I would love to try.

    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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    September 16, 2010

    Research Develop Microscopic Solar Cells Can Self Repair

    I always like it when things fix themselves. From my internet to my car, I am always hoping that when things go wrong, they will simply correct themselves.  Now, scientists have developed a tiny solar cell that can do just that. 

    BBC reports:

    Researchers have demonstrated tiny solar cells just billionths of a metre across that can repair themselves, extending their useful lifetime.

    The cells make use of proteins from the machinery of plants, turning sunlight into electric charges that can do work.

    The cells simply assemble themselves from a mixture of the proteins, minute tubes of carbon and other materials.

    The self-repairing mechanism, reported in Nature Chemistry, could lead to much longer-lasting solar cells.

    Image:  AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by Vishvarupa

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    September 15, 2010

    Really Natural Homes: Keetsa Eco-Friendly Mattresses Ship to Your Home!

    keetsa eco-friendly mattress.jpg
    Eco-friendly mattresses can be very expensive, and conventional mattresses can contain pounds of toxic flame retardants. Keetsa offers an affordable, green alternative.

    We have three Keetsa mattresses in our home. The most recent one we purchased was the Eco Friendly Memory Foam With Spring Mattress Tea Leaf Classic Bamboo Fabric Castor Bean Oil Based Bio Foam

    Keetsa utilizes either an individually wrapped coil base or pre-consumer recycled foam base in our mattresses. The coil bases are made with recycled steel and individually wrapped to provide a supportive base while preventing motion transfer. Our foam bases utilize our innovative process of reclaiming our own scrap foam from the manufacturing process and mixing synthetic latex to create a recycled foam base material.

     The quality of these mattresses is very high, and they are very comfortable.

    One unique, eco-friendly aspect of Keetsa is the shipping and delivery. By compressing the mattresses into boxes that fit in most cars, they eliminate the need for large delivery trucks. Not only are these mattresses made of safe, eco-friendly materials, but the company has also considered the transportation footprint of their products.  Plus, shipping is free!

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    September 14, 2010

    The Good and the Bad of Baby Carrots

    baby carrots.jpg
    I still remember the first time I tried baby carrots. It was at my aunt's house one Thanksgiving when I was a child, and I thought they were so unique and delicious. I don't know what it was about changing the shape of a carrot and making it uniform that made it taste better, but actually baby carrots, which are not really baby at all, do have higher sugar content and less beta-carotene than their adult relatives. Care2 reports on the "odd evolution" of the baby carrot:

    Some would say that baby carrots are the dumb, consumer-driven spawn of the more dignified garden-variety carrot. Others, namely farmer Mike Yurosek, would say they are a genius exercise in agricultural efficiency, and a hell of a moneymaker. As the baby carrot lore goes, Yorosek got tired of seeing 400 tons of carrots a day drop down the cull shoot at his packing plant in Bakersfield, CA (the culls are those carrots that are too twisted, knobby, or plain ugly to be marketable). Sometimes more than 70% of his carrots were tossed, composted, or fed to livestock. In an effort to recoup some of these losses, Yurosek devised a way to take these culls, shape them and shave them into those familiar baby carrot fingers and essentially turn waste into profits (most baby carrots sell for 50% more than conventional carrots - it is all in the packaging).
    Knowing baby carrots are made from culled carrots has changed my opinion of them, but I am still concerned that some baby carrots are treated with bleach. Organic baby carrots do offer a safer options, as they are soaked in a citrus rather than a chlorine solution.

    Photo:  AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by savanna-smiles

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    September 13, 2010

    SmartSilk Pillow Protector Certified Asthma and Allergy Friendly

    smartsilk pillow protector.jpg
    Nothing lies as close to your head for as many hours as your pillow (1/3 of your life is spent in bed). It only makes sense to protect your pillow from allergens, like dust mites and pet dander, considering its close proximity to your nose and mouth. Smartsilk Pillow Protector offers such protection:

    Smartsilk is the only all natural bedding to be certified asthma and allergy friendly by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America and the Asthma Society of Canada. Smartsilk is proven to be an effective barrier against dust mites, allergens and pet dander and is resistant to mold and mildew. Our Smartsilk silk filled pillow protectors have a 233 thread count 100-percent cotton outer shell, are filled with 100-percent SmartSilk silk fill and are also machine washable in cold water and dryable on low. Smartsilk pillow protectors help to regulate body temperature, keeping your head and neck comfortable all year long. SmartSilk is scientifically proven to wick away moisture thus promoting a more comfortable nights sleep especially for those suffering with night sweats.

    Unlike many mattress and pillow protectors on the market, this one is made of all natural materials. Smartsilk is also "scientifically proven to be naturally fire retardant",unlike most bedding that is treated with harmful, toxic PBDEs.  Of course, it would be best if the outer shell was made of organic cotton, like the one I have from Keetsa.

    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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    September 10, 2010

    Not So Really Natural Cookbooks: Fix-It and Forget-It Christmas Cookbook 600 Slow Cooker Holiday Recipes

    Fix-it and Forget-it Christmas Cookbook: 600 Slow Cooker Holiday Recipes by Phyllis Pellman Good is filled with recipes that are quick to prepare but cook for many, many hours. Slow cookers are a great way to feed your family healthy meals made with whole foods, but unfortunately, you need to read the recipes in this book carefully. Some of the ingredients are less than all natural and they are heavy on the meat, but you can just omit these items from your cooking.

    "You absolutely can make holiday meals with ease and with pleasure," says slow-cooker champion Phyllis Pellman Good. Her latest collection, Fix-It and Forget-It Christmas Cookbook: 500 Slow Cooker Holiday Recipes, will fill your head with menu ideas, give you gentle guidance with each recipe, and deliver dishes that your friends and family will love.

    "Stop your fretting. Put an end to the nightmares. Get out your slow cookers!" Good urges. "Whether you're making late suppers, family brunches, or amazing holiday meals, these 500 recipes from home cooks across the country will allow you to feast with your loved ones without being exhausted and frazzled."

    I'm also confused as to why some versions of this book say 600 recipes and some say 500. They copy I got says 600 on the cover, but I did not count 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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    September 9, 2010

    Salmonella Pet Food Recall: 74,700 Hartz Natural Beef Dog Treats

    In the latest salmonella scare, it is not eggs but dog treats that have fallen victim. 74,700 bags of Hartz Naturals Beef Dog Treats have been voluntarily recalled. Medical News Today reports:

    The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) announced that The Hartz Mountain Corporation has voluntarily recalled 74,800 8-ounce bags of Hartz Naturals Real Beef Treats for Dogs which may be tained with Salmonella. Infection with salmonella, known as salmonellosis, can affect pets, such as dogs and cats, as well as humans - it is caused by Salmonella bacteria. Pets may develop gastroenteritis, spontaneous abortions, and septicemia. It is a zoonotic disease; it can be transmitted from the dog to a human.

    Your dog is much better snacking on 100% natural treats rather than Hartz products anyways.

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    September 8, 2010

    Really Natural Books: River House

    River House: A Memoir by Sarahlee Lawrence describes the author's journey from growing up in a remote region of Oregon, leaving to explore the world, then returning to her roots and organic vegetable farm. The story reminds me of what my own children's lives may be like, since they are growing up in a remote region of northern California. As a parent, I recognize the need for them to leave, get a higher and worldly education, but then I hope they may one day return and appreciate the unique childhood and place they call home.

    River House is one young woman's story about returning home to her family's ranch and, with the help of her father, building a log house on the property. Sarahlee Lawrence grew up in remote central Oregon and spent her days dreaming about leaving her small town for world adventures. An avid river rafter through adolescence, by the age of twenty-one, Lawrence had rafted some of the most dangerous rivers of the world as an accomplished river guide. But living her dream as guide and advocate, riding and cleaning the arteries of the world, led her back to the place she least expected -- to her dusty beginnings and her family's home. River House is a beautiful story about a daughter's return and her relationship with her father, whom she enlists to help brave the cold winter and build a log house by hand. Lawrence's father, landlocked on the ranch for decades, is a surfer who longs for the sea. Lawrence, a reformed river rat, has forsaken the water for a spell, determined to build a home. Together, they work through the harsh winter, father helping daughter every step of the way to achieve her dream. The surprise comes when Lawrence sees how she has helped him live his.

    River House: A Memoir is available for preorder and will be released October 1, 2010.

    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

    September 7, 2010

    Bulk is Green: Save 96% Shopping Bulk Foods!

    Many people assume buying in bulk means you have to buy massive quantities at warehouse stores. Bulk food shopping is not about big buys, unless you want it to be. Shopping the right stores allows you to buy the exact amounts you want from bins. 

    Be sure to bring your own containers or reuse your plastic bags, otherwise you are just replacing one form of packaging for another.

    It is also important to be careful if you have a food allergy when shopping from bulk bins. I once made my father, who is a celiac, very sick when the polenta I bought in bulk had been contaminated with some gluten from a neighboring bin. I assume some shopper had shared the scooper from another bin, or the store had not adequately cleaned the bin before switching products it contained.  Now, I won't serve food from bulk bins to those with food allergies.

    Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

    September 3, 2010

    iPhone App Drip Detective Helps You Calculate Water Waste From Drips and Leaks

    Ever wonder how much water you are really wasting from the leaky faucet? Drip Detective is a new iPhone or iPod touch that lets you calculate exactly how much water is wasted. Calculations are made by either measuring volume or tapping the screen each time a drip falls from your leak.

    Leaks are extremely annoying and usually fixed on the indoors, but outdoor water fixtures are a different story. We have a leaky one, and even though it is minor, it is amazing to see how much water is wasted over a day, week, month, or year.

    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

    September 2, 2010

    Electric Car News: OSU Buckeye Bullet Sets World Record 307 MPH

    How fast can an electric car go? Students at the Ohio State University may have just broken the world record for EV speed. The previous record of 245.5 MPH was set back in 1999. 11 years later, the new record is 307.7 MPH. Panacea USA explains:

    The record might have been broken years earlier, but electric cars are an obscure category in auto racing and few are interested in developing a battery-powered streamliner when piston-driven cars go much faster, said Dave Petrali, chief steward for U.S. Auto Club and a timer for the international motorsports body, the Federation Internationale de L'Automobile (FIA).

    "It takes a lot of power and a huge battery pack" for an electric car to attain high speeds, he said.

    The speeds still need to be verified by the FIA

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    September 1, 2010

    Really Natural August 2010 Monthly Round Up

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