October 29, 2010

Halloween Sweet Treat Alternative: Popcorn, Indiana


Ghosts and goblins will soon be overloading the sugar content of our children. Whether organic treats or not, popcorn offers a nice break from the sugary snacks.

Popcorn, Indiana makes authentic, all-natural kettlecorn. Unfortunately, it is not organic, but it is tasty. It comes in many varieties:


My favorite flavors are the aged cheddar and gourmet, but I am too fearful to try the bacon ranch. It just sounds gnarly to me. It does not list bacon as an ingredient, so I am not sure if it is vegetarian. "Natural flavor" can mean anything.

Popcorn, Indiana is a real place (population 42 says the sign).

We are wildly fanatical about healthier, whole grain snacking. Our mission is to make the best tasting better-for-you snacks on the planet. We have our own facility, filled with honest-to-goodness corn that is specifically grown for popping. We have special kettles that are filled, by hand, one scoop at a time, by real people, who are carefully producing, oh-so-lovingly, the greatest popcorn you've ever had. That sentence had a lot of commas, so you know we're serious.

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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October 28, 2010

Top 30 Natural Food Company Take Overs: Who Really Owns Your Favorite Organic Brand?

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I recently had the pleasure of defending one of our favorite natural foods brand to a friend, who mistakenly thought it was owned by a grocery giant. When seeking proof for Nature's Path's independence, I came across the above chart.

Such information is always so disheartening. To discover your favorite organic brand is actually owned by a company you have no faith or confidence in to uphold organic standards can be depressing. From Horizon using feed lots to Silk Soymilk choosing GMO Chinese soy over organic American farmers, rarely does a corporate acquisition mean good things for natural food. Although this chart is two years old, the information is important for consumers to reflect upon thier brand loyalty.

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October 27, 2010

Really Natural Cookbooks: Greek Revival: Cook for Life

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I love Greek food! It is one food I craved when pregnant, and any chance I got to dine out on Greek food, I took. 

 I've never been one to make Greek cuisine at home, other than the occasional salad. That's all about to change!


Greek Revival: Cooking for Life by Patricia Moore-Pastides is a beautiful cookbook filled with delectable recipes and incredible photographs.

From Booklist

Down-home Greek, even Mediterranean cooking is best experienced as a meat-light peasant diet, embracing olive oil, grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits as its main ingredients. No wonder that public-health professional (and first-time author) Moore-Pastides, Greek by marriage, not only provides 87 authentic recipes but also promotes this healthy way of eating through frequent references to current scientific research. Many of these diet's benefits are widely recognized, especially protection against heart disease; other features, like the avoidance of highly processed foods and the use of omega-3 fatty acids, are well documented within her text and in the appended references. Each recipe, though simple to follow, doesn't emulate modern cookbooks in its format; instead, all are written in a narrative, surrounded by the author's stories of living in Greece and Cyprus. Color photographs and occasional sidebars also help cooks complete dishes successfully, whether a traditional gyros or saganaki or a special-occasion moussaka or tava (slow-cooked lamb stew). A foreword by Dimitrios Trichopoulos, from Harvard School of Public Health, emphasizes the goodness of Greek eats. --Barbara Jacobs

From roasted cumin carrots to stuffed eggplant and zucchini, there are plenty of recipes to please any palate from vegetarian to omnivore.  

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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October 26, 2010

Global Warming Causing Wildflowers to Bloom Early


It only makes sense as climate change alters our temperatures, that plant life would adapt its life cycle in response. The Good Human reports:

University of Maryland ecologist David Inouye has been studying wildflowers in the Rocky Mountains near Crested Butte, Colorado for four decades, and has noticed that blooms have indeed begun earlier over the last decade. Aspen sunflowers, among other charismatic high country wildflowers, used to first bloom in mid-May, but are now are doing so in mid-April, a full month earlier. Inouye thinks that smaller snow packs in the mountains are melting earlier due to global warming, in turn triggering early blooms.

I can't say that I have noticed similar changes where I live, as each year there is such fluctuation. It's also interesting to consider the ability of wildflowers to migrate to higher elevations seeking climates similar to their original home; however, scientists fear some wildflower species will not be able to migrate fast enough. Seed saving efforts are underway.

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October 25, 2010

Tom's of Maine Wicked Fresh! Toothpaste and Mouthwash Clinically Proven to Fight Bad Breath

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Wicked Fresh Toothpaste and Wicked Fresh Mouthwash are "Clincally proven to reduce VSC's - what bad breath germs produce".  That's a good thing, as I once had a student ask why teachers always have bad breath.  I told him it was the coffee :) 

 I've always been wary of toothpastes that promise fresh breath, as they are usually super strong in flavor. I was pleasantly surprised Wicked Fresh is actually mild-flavored. 


  • Cool Peppermint Wicked Fresh! Toothpaste: "the first toothpaste to feature the company's patent-pending, flavorless botanical licorice root extract combined with a punch of powerful natural mint flavor oils for refreshing taste that will help banish bad breath."

  • Wicked Fresh! Mouthwash:  "powered by the naturally sourced mineral zinc-chloride to help stop bad breath and uses a proprietary blend of natural mint oils to deliver great taste and a clean, cool feeling in your mouth."

This toothpaste does contain sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), which I tend to avoid.  Tom's response:

As formulated for cosmetic use, SLS has not been found to cause cancer in any recognized scientific research studies. When used in our toothpaste, SLS has limited contact with the gums and is then rinsed out. In the body sprays, a very low level of SLS is used, just enough to disperse the fragrance oils. And to ensure consumer safety, a clinical study was run on the body spray to verify that this level of SLS in the product did not cause irritation when left on the skin. At the levels used in our products, SLS has no known toxicity--not even when ingested.

Tom's does make an alternative SLS-Free toothpaste.

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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October 22, 2010

All Natural Minerals Pet Odor Eliminator for Carpet and Furniture

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I love my pets, but the truth is, the dogs are stinky! From meeting skunks to just being dogs, their odor sometimes linger.

Earth Care Clear the Air Pet Odor Remover for Carpet and Furniture is all natural and pulls pet odors out of carpets, rugs, tile, linoleum, and hardwood.

Earth Care Clear the Air Pet Odor Remover for Carpet & FurnitureEarth Care Clear the Air Pet Odor Remover for Carpet & Furniture acts like a magnet by attracting and neutralizing smells. It is made from an all natural mineral, is non toxic and biodegradable and safe for Planet Earth. It is also safe around children and pets. Earth Care Clear the Air Pet Odor Remover for Carpet & Furniture adsorbs odors rather than masking them with a fragrance.

This product is made in the USA and can be added to your soil as a nitrogen amendment after use. 

The car is another great area for its application.  That's where I notice pet odor the most.


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October 21, 2010

New Study: Sugar, Salt, Fat Biologically Addicting

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A new study may reveal why so many Americans are overweight: foods full of sugar, salt, and fat are actually addictive! I've always recognized I have a chocolate addiction, but for many Americans, this research explains why they might binge on an entire bag of potato chips or box of cookies. Dr. Hyman writes for the Huffington Post:
Our government and food industry both encourage more "personal responsibility" when it comes to battling the obesity epidemic and its associated diseases. They say people should exercise more self-control, make better choices, avoid overeating, and reduce their intake of sugar-sweetened drinks and processed food. We are led to believe that there is no good food or bad food, that it's all a matter of balance. This sounds good in theory, except for one thing...

New discoveries in science prove that industrially processed, sugar-, fat- and salt-laden food -- food that is made in a plant rather than grown on a plant, as Michael Pollan would say -- is biologically addictive.


For me, this research explains why the cycle of obesity repeats itself throughout generations and continues to expand greatly. Until grocery stores stock more whole foods, and the sugar, salt, and fat-ladened foods are few and far between on the shelves, the American addiction will continue. Dr. Hyman continues:
Environmental factors (like advertising, lack of menu labeling, and others) and the addictive properties of "industrial food," when added together, override our normal biological or psychological control mechanisms. To pretend that changing this is beyond the scope of government responsibility or that creating policy to help manage such environmental factors would lead to a "nanny state" is simply an excuse for Big Food to continue its unethical practices.

Photo:  Attribution Some rights reserved by Tobyotter

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October 20, 2010

Plant-Sourced, Certified Organic Calcium Builds Stronger Bones in 180 Days

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I have a hard time taking calcium. It usually upsets my stomach, but I have recently discovered plant-based calcium. It is much more gentle, and as a vegetarian, I am ensured my dietary ethics are not being compromised by my supplements.

AlgaeCal is derived from the South American Algae Algas Calcareas.

Most of the calcium supplements sold today are derived from limestone, so unless you know what to look for, the chances are that you're swallowing things like citric acid, oyster shells, coral and stones. This rock-sourced calcium can be difficult to absorb and can cause digestive problems. We're just not meant to eat rocks!

However, there's another type of calcium that's ideal for the vegan or vegetarian diet. Plant-sourced calcium comes from an edible substance: algae. A study shows that plant calcium can increase the growth of human bone building cells from 200 to 400% more than other types of calcium. AlgaeCal is raw, unbleached, completely plant-based and the only USDA Certified Organic calcium available. It is easy to digest, rich with other essential bone health minerals and ecologically harvested.

Furthermore, AlgaeCal backs its products with a 6 month refund guarantee if after 180 days your bones are not stronger as evident on a body DEXA scan.
In a six-month randomized, open label human clinical study, 176 women and men ages 18 to 85 used AlgaeCal Plus and Strontium Boost supplements and followed a healthy diet while participating in a light exercise program. In just six months (180 Days), participants experienced a significant average INCREASE in bone mineral density of 2.8% as evidenced by before and after DEXA scans. Highly compliant participants experienced an INCREASE in bone mineral density by an incredible 3.7%.
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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October 19, 2010

Urban Garden Movement in Richmond, CA Turns Vacant Lots Into Food

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Richmond, California is one of those East Bay towns that can be sore on the eyes. Industry has left, and crime is an issue, but citizens have found a unique way to beautify and feed this economically depressed region by taking over vacant lots and turning them into gardens. Truthout explains:
Once a month, Latino and African American families-often people who live just a few blocks from each other but rarely had a chance to meet in the past-gather at the garden and have a barbecue. Tomatoes, chard, and corn grow in raised beds across the street. Muslim families from the local mosque just a few blocks away pluck fresh mint from the garden for making traditional Arabic tea. The garden is the work of Urban Tilth, one of the dozen or so groups at the center of Richmond's urban garden movement. It was built by community members, often young people, and is tended in part by students and teachers from the elementary school next door. And it has become a community gathering space...

People rarely get a say in what happens to land when their city falls apart. But in the last five years, some Richmonders have taken matters into their own hands. Often with official permission but sometimes without, they have planted more than two dozen gardens in public lots and school grounds all over the roughest parts of town. Urban Tilth calls them "farms," and last year grew 6,000 pounds of food, which went to dozens of local families.

This is an amazing story that should be replicated across the country. From upscale neighborhoods to ghettos, urban gardening brings communities together, reduces crime, and provides healthy local food.

Photo:  AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by anarchosyn

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October 18, 2010

Handcrafted Organic Herbal Bitters by Urban Moonshine Aids Digestion

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The tradition of taking bitters began in 1824 when a German physician in Venezuela discovered their effect on curing sea sickness and stomachaches. Urban Moonshine has brought the Old World tradition to modern times using organically-grown herbs.

Cultures around the world have long believed that bitter flavors are essential to good health because they stimulate the digestive system. Thus began the tradition of steeping bitter-tasting roots, leaves, berries and fruits in alcohol and serving the mixture before or after a meal. Often the formula was accompanied by more pleasant tasting carminative herbs such as ginger, fennel, cardamon, or orange peel.

Whether brewed according to secret recipes by medieval monks or concocted according to oral tradition by wise women, the first bitters had medicinal purposes. Over time, the theory, if not the recipes, passed into the hands of apothecaries and on to the makers of 19th Century patent medicines. After bartenders discovered that bitters softened the often harsh liquors of the day, the cocktail was born. Until the late 1880s, any drink called a cocktail contained bitters--this includes such classics as the martini, the Manhattan and the Old-Fashioned. Only in the 1950s did the taste for bitters fade.

Now, whether you enjoy them as an apertif, digestif, or as a remedy to settle an upset stomach, calm a hangover or gently cleanse the liver, bitters are back!


We tried out two flavors of Urban Moonshines handcrafted digestif bitters:
 Urban Moonshine supports local farmers and is a member of United Plant Savers, whose mission is to "protect native medicinal plants of the United States and Canada and their native habitat while ensuring an abundant renewable supply of medicinal plants for generations to come".


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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October 15, 2010

Really Natural Books: Whole Earth Discipline: Why Dense Cities, Nuclear Power, Transgenic Crops, Restored Wildlands, and Geoengineering Are Necessary

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Stewart Brand is well-known for the Whole Earth Catalog, a book that was very influential in my own efforts to live a greener life. Now Brand has written another book: Whole Earth Discipline: Why Dense Cities, Nuclear Power, Transgenic Crops, Restored Wildlands, and Geoengineering Are Necessary that has recently been released in paperback.

The title alone is enough to grab your attention and immediately form opinions about the content. I just dig in my heels when I read about anyone advocating for nuclear power; however, Brand shows us how many of the areas of the Green Movement typically viewed with "distaste and distrust" may actually be green. Take for example urbanization: cities are green as they use "resources more efficiently".  

Many of Brand's tenets are a hard pill to swallow for environmentalists. Take for example this excerpt on nuclear power:

The more I thought about the standard environmentalist stance on nuclear waste, which I had espoused for years, the nuttier it seemed to me. The customary rant goes: "You have to guarantee that all the radioactivity in the waste will be totally contained for ten thousand years (no, a hundred thousand years; no, a million years), and if you can't guarantee that, you can't have nuclear power." Why? "Because any amount of radioactivity hurts humans and other life forms. It might get in the ground water."

What humans? The assumption seems to be that future humans will be exactly as we are today, with our present concerns and present technology. How about, say two hundred years from now? If we and our technology prosper, humanity by then will be unimaginably capable compared to now, with far more interesting things to worry about than some easily detected and treated stray radioactivity somewhere in the landscape. If we crash back to the stone age, odd doses of radioactivity will be the least of our problems. Extrapolate to two thousand years, ten thousand years. The problem doesn't get worse over time, it vanishes over time.


Sorry Brand, but I don't buy your logic. This is much of the same attitude that began in the Industrial Revolution, and rather than the problems going away, we are now faced with climate change, high cancer rates, etc.

Despite my reservations, I do recommend this book. It is well researched and thought-provoking, and I do agree with some of Brand's ideas.  It is good to read and contemplate ideas to help solidify your own. 

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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October 14, 2010

Jaguar Concept Car is Electric Hybrid with 3 Times Less Carbon Emissions than Prius

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Jaguar is known for beautiful, luxury, performance cars, and the company's latest concept car will not disappoint enthusiasts. The C-X75 is an electric hybrid with a range of 70 miles, but also has two small gas engines. What is truly "amazing" about this concept car is the low carbon emissions. Philip Proefrock of EcoGeek reports:

Jaguar's latest concept vehicle C-X75 is a sleek, beautiful car that even has two small gas turbine engines in back. But despite all the performance features, it is actualy an range extended electric hybrid (REEV) like the Chevy Volt with four electric motors in the wheels, on-board batteries that give it an all electric driving range of nearly 70 miles (110 km).

 

The C-X75 has amazingly low carbon emissions: a mere 28g/km of CO2. For comparison, the current model of the Prius emits 89g/km - three times as much, although the Prius is the second cleanest vehicle on the UK Department for Transport list.


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October 13, 2010

Green Halloween Treats: YummyEarth Organic Gummy Bears are Gluten-Free

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Halloween is just a couple weeks away, and one thing I hate about this holiday, is all of the crappy candy my children collect. We make a deal in our home to trade the bad candy for good, and of course, we only hand out organic candy to the children we see trick or treating.

YummyEarth Organic Gummy Bears are certified organic, gluten-free, soy-free, contains no corn syrup, made from real fruit juice, peanut-free, etc.

Ingredients
Organic Rice syrup, organic cane sugar, gelatin, organic carrot juice, organic aronia juice, organic black currant, organic curcuma, natural flavor, citric acid, ascorbic acid, organic sunflower oil.

These organic gummy bears also contain 100% Daily Vitamin C.

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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October 12, 2010

Shrinking Chinese Glaciers: 27 Percent by 2050

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It's really become an old story now, the world's glaciers are shrinking. Last year, we reported on how Antarctica's glaciers is melting four times faster than a decade ago, now ChinaTimes of India reports:

The average area of glaciers in western China might shrink by 27.2 percent by 2050 because of global warming, damaging crop production and worsening droughts, according to a report released at the UN climate talks in north China's Tianjin Municipality...

Xinhua quoted the report as saying that forecasts of glacier recession patterns, summer temperatures and precipitation showed that the average glacier area in western China might be reduced by 27.2 percent by 2050. Ocean glaciers, affected by wet airflow from the oceans, would shrink by 52.5 percent, and Asian continental glaciers, formed in the continental climate would shrink by 24.4 percent.

The ramifications are far reaching for this heavily populated country. From drought to reducing crop production, it is not good news.

Photo:  Attribution Some rights reserved by lwtt93

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October 11, 2010

Natural Enzyme Cleaning: BioWish Healthy Clean Multi-Purpose Spray

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Cleaning supplies can be some of the most toxic products in our homes. In fact, some states are so concerned they have finally required companies to fully list product ingredients so consumers can make wise choices. Ariel Schwartz writes for Fast Company:

The New York law, which will be enforced beginning this week, will be a boon to companies that offer non-toxic cleaning chemicals. Chicago-based BiOWiSH Technologies, offers a powerful, biodegradable system for breaking down organic waste. The technology can be used in everything from multi-purpose cleaning spray to removing unnecessary chemicals from industrial wastewater treatment plants.

"Unlike normal chemical based cleaning products that rely on phosphates--these are used in detergents to stop materials from sticking so that they can be washed away--our tech can do the same task, but without any chemicals," explains Rod Vautier the CEO of BiOWiSH. Phosphates from cleaning products can enter waterways, leading to eutrophication of lakes and generating fish-killing algae blooms.

We have recently tried out BIOWISH's multi-purpose spray called Healthy Clean.
Benefits:

  • Eliminates odors, does not mask them

  • Breaks down fats, oils, grease and dirt

  • No petrochemicals

  • No added phosphates, ammonia or chlorine

  • Safe for plants, animals and septic systems

  • Reduced impact on the environment (less packaging, transport and storage)

  • 100% natural and non-toxic


I like how with this product comes with tablets you mix with water, thus you are not paying for water nor is the liquid adding to the shipping weight of this product. It is also very important to me that BIOWISH is all-natural and makes the products Material Safety Data Sheet readily available to consumers.  From stainless steel to carpet, Healthy Clean is safe and effective  on a variety of surfaces.  

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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October 8, 2010

Organic Power Foods for the Modern Lifestyle: Cacao Nibs and Lip Balm

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There are many ancient foods that have become trendy lately for their antioxidant health benefits. Navitas Naturals has brought us many great products featuring these "power foods for a modern lifestyle". Of course, cacoa is one of my favorites.

Cacao (kə-kau, ka-kow):

the dried seeds of a South American evergreen tree (Theobroma cacao of the family Sterculiaceae), which are most commonly used in making cocoa, chocolate, and cocoa butter. Also called cacao bean, and cocoa bean.

We tried out two cacoa products by Navitas:


  • Navitas Naturals Organic Raw Cacao Sweet Nibs
    Navitas Naturals Cacao Nibs are the partially ground cacao beans that are the natural source of all chocolate products. And though the Mayans may have touted cacao as the "Food of the Gods," we've got dessert on our minds. With their crunchy texture and intense flavor, our cacao nibs are healthy, gourmet, and a delicious addition to all kinds of treats. From adding them into a brownie batter, sprinkling on ice cream, or even just tossing into a trail mix, there is virtually no wrong way to add more of this "real chocolate" into your life. Plus, with cacao's soaring levels of antioxidants, and trace minerals like magnesium and iron, you can feel good in every way about enjoying this chocolatey superfood.

  • Cacao Power Lip Balm:
    Almost everyone loves the taste of chocolate, but did you know your skin loves it too? Enjoy the benefits of chocolate all day with Navitas Naturals Cacao Lip Balm. This buttery lip moisturizer is made from the pure, cold-pressed oil of the cacao bean, along with a rich mixture of nature's most skin-friendly oils. The result is an aromatic and sensuous balm that leaves your lips hydrated and soft and your nose equally invigorated. Move over Hershey's -- this is a real chocolate kiss.

Both of these products are affordable. The nibs are of course delicious and make a great snack. At first, I feared the cacao lip balm's flavor would cause me to lick my lips, which would dry them out even further, but it did not. It smells wonderful, which is enough to satisfy one's craving for cacao.

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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October 7, 2010

Are Your Clothes Contributing to Environmental Disasters?


Many people begin their efforts to live healthier more natural lives by switching to organically-grown foods. Even more important for our planet's health is switching to clothes made from organic cotton. Jake Richardson of Care2 writes:

The Environmental Justice Foundation lists several of the pesticides used in cotton growing: Aldicarb, Endosulfan, Monocrotophos, and Deltamethrin. These chemical products can cause harm to humans. Aldicarb is listed by the World Health Organziation as "extremely hazardous," The Institute of Science in Society says that one drop can be fatal to an adult male. Endosulfan was reported to have caused 24 confirmed deaths of cotton workers in the African nation of Benin in 1999. An estimated 70 other deaths were reported from the same Endosulfan exposure. (Source: Institute of Science in Society)

The US Geological Survey stated in a paper explaining why they are investigating cotton production, "Cotton receives as much as 7 kilograms per hectare of herbicide and 5 kilograms per hectare of insecticide (Gianessi and Puffer, 1990)." As an indication of how these amounts compare to those used on a common food grain, they wrote, "These applications of pesticides are 3 to 5 times greater per hectare than applications of pesticides to corn, yet there have been no regional studies of pesticide fate in the cotton belt."

Depressing statistics when you consider how much cotton is in your closet.   As the video states, one t-shirt takes 2000 liters of water to produce, and that does not include the pesticides and herbicides used in production. 

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October 6, 2010

Really Natural Pets: Certified Organic Anti-Fungal, Anti-Bacterial, Anti-Itching Shampoo Bar by Dermagic

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Dermagic makes products that really work and are good for dogs with stubborn skin problems. We've always used oatmeal baths on our dogs when their skin is flared up from flea infestations, but Dermagic offers certified organic herbal remedies that are easier to use than oatmeal and smell wonderful.

When you have a wriggly pup in the sink, one hand does double duty with a shampoo bar! Our bars lather beautifully with no sulfates, rinse easily and cleanly, they're portable (no spills!) and they smell wonderful. You and your pets will love these, and one 3.5 oz bar will outlast a 16-ounce bottle of liquid shampoo for a great value too! ((NOT RECOMMENDED FOR CATS.)

These wonderful shampoo bars are handmade in the Pacific Northwest from certified organic ingredients. And for every 10 shampoo bars purchased, a tree is planted!


I was a little concerned a shampoo bar would not allow me to truly lather my dog's fur thoroughly, but I found the bar easy to use. In fact, my dog liked the way it felt like a massage as I rubbed it into his fur.

I do think that almost $8 a bar is a little pricey when you have big dogs. A bottle of Dr. Bronner's lasts much longer and is cheaper. It is my usual doggie shampoo.

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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October 5, 2010

Campus Cycling: Michigan State Sells Cheaper Bikes to Students and Staff


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The best way to get around any college campus is to cycle. Students and staff that bike to class can park right in front of buildings saving time and money.

Michigan State University (MSU) and Fuji bikes have partnered to encourage more cycling on campus by offering discounts to students and staff. Treehugger explains:

So it's with some excitement that MSU has joined Fuji University, a program that allows students, faculty and staff to buy new Fuji bikes at a discount. Oh, and there's also a university-owned and -operated bike shop to go along with it.

MSU is the only university in the Midwest, and one of only five in the nation, that belongs to Fuji University. Campus officials say they hope the partnership will keep more people (and greenhouse gases) off the roads, and make for healthier students.


Of course, students can buy a cheaper, used bicycle for their commute to and from class, but it is nice that Fuji and MSU are giving them a chance to buy a quality bike at a discount. Now all students and staff need are spartan helmets to accompany their bikes!

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October 4, 2010

Ayurvedic Cooking Uses Organic or Wildcrafted Spices to Balance Your Health


Most Americans think of spices as something used to add flavoring to their food. Not so when it comes to Ayurvedic cooking, where their is more consideration for your overall health than simply satisfying your tastebuds.

R-U-Ved has made Ayurvedic cooking easier by creating three spice blends to improve your constitution (dosha).


  • Propita Spice Powder:
    For those who tend to run on the warm side, get easily irritated and impatient and experience digestive difficulties, ProPita eases digestion and calms the Pitta dosha. It includes mango powder, dried coriander leaves, mint, pomegranate seeds, fennel, basil, cumin and rock salt.
  • Prokapha Spice Powder:
    Those who are primarily Kapha or experience Kapha imbalances may feel sluggish, often experience respiratory conditions and gain weight easily, and will benefit from the stimulating ProKapha spice blend, which consists of black pepper, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, piper longum, garlic and rock salt.
  • Provata Spice Powder:
    Those who are primarily the Vata dosha or have a Vata imbalance may tend towards anxiety and absentmindedness and experience flatulence and constipation. The warming, soothing ProVata blend consists of cardamom, ginger, cloves, cumin, coriander seeds, fennel and rock salt to help bring balance to the at-times ungrounded Vata.
These spice blends are delicious, and they have the added bonus of improving your health. They are also very affordable at about $4.00 a bottle. They are all natural and do not contain any preservatives.


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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October 1, 2010

New Derma E Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Natural Beauty Products Fight Aging

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I've never been one to be concerned about fighting the signs of aging, as it is inevitable, but who doesn't want to maintain their youthful appearance? Derma E has introduced a new line of products that contain hyaluronic acid, "a naturally occurring substance in the body that binds to water to lubricate and hydrate tissue". Derma E uses only non-animal sources for their hyaluronic acid (Actimoist Bio-2), so they maintain the company's cruelty-free ethics. I tried out the following three products from the new hyaluronic acid line:

  • Derma E Natural Bodycare Hyaluronic Hydrating Mask:
    This intensively hydrating mask blends hyaluronic acid with olive oil, avocado, cupuacu butter, jojoba oil and aloe for an ultra-hydrating, age-defying experience that reveals soft, smooth and supple skin.
  • derma e Hyaluronic Acid Day Crème:
    Hydrating formula. A light moisturizing creme combines Hyaluronic Acid with Vitamin E, Ester-C and Aloe Vera, especially formulated for day use. Hyaluronic Acid is a naturally occurring substance in the body that binds water in the connective tissue. Improves collagen health for increased strength and elasticity for firmer-looking skin. Reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by plumping skin tissue. No animal testing. Made in USA.

Not only do these products feel great on your skin, they also smell wonderful. My skin felt very refreshed after using the cleanser, mask, and day creme. Like all Derma E products, they are also affordable.

One thing to note is that according to the Environmental Working Group's cosmetic database Skin Deep, Derma E is non-compliant with the Compact for Safe Cosmetics: "This company has signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics and made progress toward compliance, but has not met all requirements: they have not yet fully listed all ingredients on product labels."

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
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