October 31, 2011

Really Natural Books: DIY Solar Projects: How to put the sun to work in your home

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Many people view solar energy as something you need to hire a contractor to take advantage of or else be super handy. DIY Solar Projects: How to Put the Sun to Work in Your Home is a very user-friendly book containing many projects from the simple to the more complicated. From building a still to solar oven, there are seven projects to help you take advantage of solar heat. There is also loads of information on solar electricity, such as how to mount solar panels.

With high energy costs and a warming planet that needs cleaner fuel sources, the time has never been better for homeowners to get involved with solar energy. And despite what many may think, you don't need to spend $50,000 to coat your house with an array of panels to participate. In DIY Solar Projects (Creative Publishing international, Oct. 2011), environmentally-conscious (and cost-conscious) homeowners will find a surprising array of achievable, clever projects they can make and install to begin creating their own solar lifestyle. From a simple solar oven that can cook a roast in a couple of hours to a standalone solar water heater, this book provides clear instructions for sun-powered equipment homeowners can make and install on their own. Readers will see how to mount small photovoltaic panels on a roof, bring power to lights in a remote shed or garage, and create a solar still that purifies water without consuming power. A wood kiln, a battery charging station, and supplementary heat sources for your home are just a few of the other unique and highly practical projects in this book.

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

October 28, 2011

Really Natural Beverages: Acai Roots Organic Acai Juice Coconut Water Blend

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Acai berries are quite trendy these days, as is coconut water. Combine the two and voila: Organic Coconut Water + Acai by Acai Roots. This refreshing beverage hydrates while providing your body with important antioxidants.

Looking for the perfect food? One that's really good for you, and tastes great?

You've found it. Acai Roots delivers the Amazon rainforest's freshest acai -- the amazing super-fruit that's been associated with reduced risk or prevention of cancer, diabetes, chronic inflammation, and heart and vascular disease.

Packed with antioxidants, acai is also a rich source of omega fatty acids, phytosterols and dietary fibers that nurture a better digestive system. It also gives your body the protein, calcium, vitamins A, E, and B6 you need for optimum health.


Not only is this beverage great for your health, it has only 80 calories per serving.

I do feel that water is the best way to hydrate your body, but when you need a little more, this may be the beverage for you.

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

October 28, 2011

Organic Wine in Box (Asceptic) by CalNaturale

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Wine in a box has a bad reputation amongst serious wine drinkers; however, CalNaturale has won me over! The asceptic packs make this organic wine light and portable! I even took the cabernet into the Russian Wilderness (pictured above). Coupled with my stainless steel wine glasses, we were styling!

CalNaturale REPRESENTS THE VERY LATEST in high quality winemaking and innovative marketing: the grapes used to produce our wine were grown in the famed Paso Robles Appellation and are certified as having been farmed organically; that is, without the use of any pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. Carrying this sustainable theme even further, we have packaged CalNaturale in Tetra-Pak flexible packaging - convenient and very eco-friendly, utilizing less than half the greenhouse gasses, waste and energy in producing and transporting our product.

The cabernet was sweeter than expected, but it still had that dryness one expects. It was a very good combination. CalNaturale also makes an organic chardonnay from Mendocino.

I have issues with aseptic packaging being eco-friendly, as I cannot recycle it where I live, but it does allow one to take wine where a glass bottle would not. 

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

October 26, 2011

National Geographic Books: Brainworks: The Mind-bending Science of How You See, What You Think, and Who You Are

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Brain science fascinates me, and a new book by National Geographic has my whole family enthralled. Brainworks: The Mind-bending Science of How You See, What You Think, and Who You Are by Michel S. Sweeney is a companion to the three-part series "Brain Games" on the National Geographic TV channel.

The captivating companion book further messes with your head through the visual illusions discovered and perfected by masters of fine art as well as through deceptively simple illustrations that are finely crafted by psychologists to highlight the way we take in and process the world around us. In three sections, "Seeing," "Thinking," and "Being", you'll see for yourself why these visual illusions and experiments hoodwink the brain. You'll find out how the structure of the eye influences what you see. And you'll think of events that may not have actually happened, in order to learn how the mind can create a false memory.

Rather than simply displaying a collection of puzzlers or visual illusions, each chapter guides you through a series of perceptual and thought experiments firsthand and then walks you through your brain's reaction in clear, user-friendly language, providing every reader with a compelling personal interest in finding out why his or her mind acts the way it does.


As mentioned with previous reviews of National Geographic books it does not appear this book is made with FSC paper or recycled content; however, the National Geographic Society's mission does include conservation and their Green Guide is a great resource.

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

October 25, 2011

Really Natural Cookbooks: 300 Best Potato Recipes: A Complete Cook's Guide

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I love potatoes! I love growing them; I love eating them! They equate comfort food for me.

300 Best Potato Recipes: A Complete Cook's Guide is filled with delicious, easy to read recipes and many beautiful photographs.

A "desert island" vegetable if ever there was one, the potato appeals to all of us, whether in the form of traditional comfort dishes or in the guise of the new and exotic. Versatile, nutritious, inexpensive and unfailingly delicious, no other vegetable, and few foods in general, can make those claims.

These are just some of the delicious possibilities that the humble potato offers in this wide and varied assortment of recipes:
  • Classic mash de luxe
  • Garlic roasties with rosemary
  • Real English chips
  • Gnocchi-roni and cheese
  • Saffron potato cakes
  • All-American potato pancakes
  • Sweet potato-crusted shrimp
  • East Coast chowder
  • Creole potato salad
  • French potato galette
  • Fennel, potato and white bean stew
  • Potato lasagna
  • Oyster pie with top mash
  • Sweet potato gnocchi
  • Mennonite country potato doughnuts
  • Potato fudge.
Appetizers and snacks, soups and salads, side dishes, main courses, hearty vegetarian main dishes, baked goods and desserts make up this vast and colorful collection of recipes. The author also includes a complete history and origins of potatoes as well as a comprehensive chapter that covers hundreds of potato varieties.
This cookbook is not strictly vegetarian, but many recipes can be adapted, and many do not need to be. Shoot, I may even try to make the Mennonite Country Potato Doughnuts, considering my children have never eaten a doughnut before.

 

Disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples, unless noted differently in the review. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

October 24, 2011

Curamin Natural Pain Relief Giveaway!

curamin.jpg Would you like to win some all natural pain reliever? We have partnered with EuroPharma to giveaway one full size bottle of Curamin.

Terry Naturally Curamin is a natural, alternative pain relief supplement.

Experience relief from pain like never before with Curamin! Curamin is an all-natural formula that enhances the body's natural defense mechanism for the relief of occasional pain. The synergistic blend of BCM-95 curcumin, boswellia and other herbs in Curamin is 20X more powerful than using just plain curcumin. This fast-acting formula combines ingredients with multiple mechanisms of action to support the body's natural anti-inflammatory response and relieve occasional muscle pain due to exercise and overuse.

To enter, there are THREE things to do:
  1. Like Really Natural on Facebook or follow us on Twiter
  2. Like Europharma on Facebook or follow Terry Lemerond on Twitter or sign up for the Terry Talks Nutrition newsletter.
  3. Leave a comment to this post with your favorite natural pain remedy.
This contest will close on Monday, October 31, 2011 at midnight PST. Good luck!
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

October 21, 2011

Really Natural Health: Curamin 100% Natural Pain Relief

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I can't take ibuprofen or other standard pain medications, as my stomach is very sensitive. I am also a firm believer that when you feel pain, it is your body's reminder to slow down and take it easy; however, sometimes relief is needed in order to rest and relax.

Terry Naturally Curamin is a natural, alternative pain relief supplement.

Experience relief from pain like never before with Curamin! Curamin is an all-natural formula that enhances the body's natural defense mechanism for the relief of occasional pain. The synergistic blend of BCM-95 curcumin, boswellia and other herbs in Curamin is 20X more powerful than using just plain curcumin. This fast-acting formula combines ingredients with multiple mechanisms of action to support the body's natural anti-inflammatory response and relieve occasional muscle pain due to exercise and overuse.

I will definitely try this next time my carpal tunnel flares up.

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

October 20, 2011

National Geographic Books: The Untold Civil War

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Are you looking for an amazing gift for a history buff? The Untold Civil War: Exploring the Human Side of War by James Robertson is an astounding collection of photographs and stories!

Was Gettysburg a tactical success, or was the outcome determined by a far more mundane factor: access to fresh water? How did the need to spread information about the dead and wounded give rise to the U.S. Postal Service? Did President Lincoln really age so dramatically during the course of the war, or was a rare disease to blame for the shocking difference in images of him from before and during the war? From overlooked elements, such as the role of weather, health, and high emotions, to the world-changing effect of the rise of female workers, to the many "firsts" including the introduction of standard time, pre-sized clothing, canned goods, toilets, and Santa Claus, The Untold Civil War reveals new facets of a seemingly well-known slice of American history, just in time to commemorate its 150th anniversary.

Dramatically illustrated with archival images and objects and compelling contemporary photography, this book delivers a surprise on every page: from precious personal mementos to forgotten battle sites; from newly recovered glass-plate negatives that reveal long-obscured photographic details to long-lost documents; this book adds a new dimension to our understanding of the Civil War and is a must-have for anyone with an interest in American history.


Unfortunately, it does not appear this book is made with FSC paper or recycled content; however, the National Geographic Society's mission does include conservation and their Green Guide is a great resource.

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

October 19, 2011

Really Natural Foods: Tribe Hummus

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October is vegetarian awareness month (who knew we needed a month?), and what better way to celebrate than with hummus! This mediterranean classic is so good with carrots, chips, pretzels, bell peppers, etc.

Tribe Hummus has created four new flavors "free of artificial flavors, preservatives, cholesterol, hydrogenated oils and high-fructose corn syrup".


  • Cilantro Chimichurri

  • Olive Tapenade

  • Savory Mushroom

  • Mediterranean Style

 Although hummus is quite easy to make yourself, it is convenient to just grab a tub for snacking. The samples we were sent were not organic, but Tribe does make some organic varieties.  The Olive Tapenade was my favorite.

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

October 18, 2011

Can a Town Really Make Biking and Walking Illegal?

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Walking and cycling are both good for your health and for the planet. Whenever the option presents itself, I chose either method of personal transportation over riding in a car.

Hull, Wisconsin believes cyclists and pedestrians are causing problems on some roads, so the city council is considering outlawing them! The Grist reports:

Hull wants to restrict some of its roads to vehicle-only traffic -- although if you log your daily run with the City Council they might consider making an exception:

A town public safety committee, which examined general safety on town roads this summer, came up with a draft ordinance in September that requires biking, running or walking groups to register their travel plans with the town or bans them from using roads outright.

The ordinance is in response to what town officials say is a growing problem with road safety, but local groups are concerned about the impact on biking and running in the town.


A more appropriate response would be to build bike lanes and sidewalks.

Image credit:  Attribution Some rights reserved by johntrainor
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

October 17, 2011

Really Natural Beverages: Ginseng Up Caffeine Free Premium Drink

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If you are looking for a pick me up beverage but want to avoid caffeine and high fructose corn syrup, Ginseng Up may be for you.

Ginseng UP is loaded with premium Ginseng - an ancient and essential ingredient believed to boost energy, reduce stress and improve memory. That's why we say it's The Root of All Power.

Ginseng UP is made in the United States with natural flavorings and cane sugar.


We were sent the following flavors to try, although there are ten flavors in all available:

  • orange

  • apple

  • cola

  • lemon lime


Personally, I think water is the best energy beverage. The more you drink, the more hydrated your body is; however, if you need a little faster working herbal action, ginseng will do the trick.

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

October 14, 2011

Really Natural Books: Down There: Sexual and Reproductive Health the Wise Woman Way (Wise Woman Herbal) by Susan Weed

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Susan Weed is a rock star in the herbal world. Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year (Wise Woman Herbal Series, Book 1) was like a Bible to me when I was pregnant for the first time. Weed continues the Wise Woman Herbal Series with Down There: Sexual and Reproductive Health the Wise Woman Way (Wise Woman Herbal).

Herbal medicine pioneer and author, Susun Weed, says there are proactive measures that both genders can take to prevent cancer, keep their libido humming, and treat common maladies such as enlarged prostate, uterine fibroids, and incontinence.

This book discusses:

    • Foods to eat and foods to avoid for maximum reproductive health
    • How to make and use herbal medicines that are safe and effective
    • Things to try at home for common ailments "down there"--before going to the doctor
    • Top strategies for avoiding two common surgeries: prostatectomy and hysterectomy
Although it is part of the Wise Women Herbal series, Down There addresses for everyone, women, and men.  It is a great resource, but sometimes I feel like Weed simplifies herbal medicine a little too much. 

 

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

October 13, 2011

USFWS: "America's Coastal Wetlands are Vanishing at an Alarming Rate"

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There is bad news for America's wetlands, according to a new US Fish and Wildlife Service report. RESTORE AMERICA'S ESTUARIES writes:

A new federal report confirms that America's coastal wetlands are vanishing at an alarming rate, according to a national coalition of environmental and sportsman's groups concerned with the health and sustainability of our nation's coastal ecosystems.

"Status and Trends of Wetlands in the Conterminous United States, 2004-2009," released last week by the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), represents the most up-to-date, scientifically valid assessment of the nation's wetland habitats.

While the report holds out some hope - overall national wetland losses are slowing because of increased emphasis on wetland conservation, protection, and restoration - it is clear that not all habitats are created equal. The report documents substantial losses in coastal wetlands when compared to other habitat types. In the five years covered by the study, coastal wetlands experienced a decline of 110,000 acres or 2.4%-roughly the size of 84,000 football fields. This rate of loss far surpasses that of all other wetland habitat types.

Image Credit:  Attribution Some rights reserved by USFWS Pacific

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

October 12, 2011

Really Natural Beauty: Jason Natural Products Quick Clean Makeup Remover

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I don't wear make up, but you don't need to in order to benefit from Jason Natural Cosmetics - Quick Clean Make-Up Remover. This fragrance-free, paraben-free, SLS-free, and phthlate-free pads use the power of aloe and cucumber to hydrate and clean. They even remove waterproof makeup!

Always wipe the pre-saturated pad outward toward the hairline. Begin at your forehead, from the middle, wipe one way, then the other. Move to your cheeks, stroking from the base of your nose outward until makeup and blush are removed. Now stroke twice down your nose. Finally, hold the pad for a few seconds over each eyelid, then sweep outward removing eyeshadow and mascara. Lastly, turn the pad over and wipe away your lipstick.

This product (old formula) receives a hazard score of three from the Environmental Working Group.

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

October 11, 2011

Virgin Atlantic Announces Plan to Use Industrial Waste for Jet Fuel

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The western world is hooked on flying, yet air travel remains a large contributor of greenhouse gases and thus climate change. Biofuels have been tested, but Virgin Atlantic is developing a unique solution which will hopefully be more practical. Yale Environment 360 explains:

Virgin Atlantic Airways has announced plans to fly commercial routes using a waste-based, synthetic gas fuel that produces half the carbon emissions of the typical jet fuel. Using technologies developed by partners LanzaTech and Swedish Biofuels, Virgin says it will capture and chemically treat gas waste from industrial steel production facilities into an ethanol that can be be converted into jet fuel. The company plans to run test flights in New Zealand within the next 18 months and begin commercial operations in China by 2014.

Image credit: AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by Ingy The Wingy

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

October 10, 2011

Really Natural Books: National Geographic's Ocean Soul

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National Geographic is famous for excellent photography. Ocean Soul, a new book by Brian Skerry, upholds this tradition and takes it underwater!

Ocean Soul is a love story. It is a story of discovery. It is a story of hope.

The story begins when a boy who loves the sea attends an event with underwater photographers and has an epiphany: "I had always wanted to explore the oceans, but I now understood how I would do this. I would do it with a camera." With sheer deter mination, hard work, and a little bit of luck the boy, named Brian Skerry, realized his dream with more than 20 awe-inspiring articles for National Geographic magazine. Now, with Ocean Soul, he showcases his stunning photography and describes his adventurous life in a gripping portrait of the ocean as a place of beauty and mystery, a place in trouble, and ultimately, a place of hope that will rebound with the proper attention and care.


This book is truly beautiful and would make a great gift for any lover of aquatic life. One of my favorite images is of a lemon shark pup taken in the Bahamas. Skerry artistically documents a world many of us will never see.

It does not appear that the book is made from FSC paper or recycled content.

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

October 7, 2011

Really Natural Beauty: Jason Naturals 0 to 8 Hazard Scores

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I used to buy Jason Natural products because they are cheaper than many other beauty products at the health food store, that was until I had a negative reaction on my scalp. Ever since then, I avoid the label.  Thus, I was not surprised the company was targeted as one that committed "organic cosmetics fraud" by the Organic Consumers Association. In general, the brand earns hazard scores from zero to eight from the Environmental Working Group. Fragrance is one of the major ingredients that is a cause for concern.

We were sent the following Jason products to try:

I don't know if Jason's cleaned up their act, but many of these products have been reformulated so that's good.

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

October 6, 2011

California Subsidizes Logging Industry $18 Million a Year

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In a time when California is threatening to close numerous state parks, logging industry subsidies are coming under hard scrutiny. The Sacramento Bee reports:

The key question before the Accountability and Administrative Review Committee was whether any of that subsidy is justified.

Owners of the state's 8.7 million acres of private forestland argue they provide public benefits including wildlife habitat, clean air and carbon sequestration - not to mention about 22,000 jobs.

Environmental groups counter that logging causes habitat loss and water pollution and that the industry should cover all of the state's cost to police those problems.


Image credit:  AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by Velo Steve

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

October 5, 2011

Really Natural Beauty: Aubrey Saving Face Sunscreen and Creme de la Shave

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Aubrey Organics has long been one of my trusted beauty brands. We were recently sent two products to try:
Natural Sun SPF 15 Saving Face Lotion

Light enough to wear under makeup, this gently moisturizing sunscreen is custom-made for the face's more delicate skin. Use it in place of your regular daytime moisturizer to protect skin from sun damage any time you're outside.

Crème de la shave Raspberry Honey:
Get Closer. Made with rich emollients and fruit extracts, this moisturizing shave cream pampers and protects your skin for a luxurious, ultra-smooth shave and legs so soft, you may not need a lotion after shaving. You'll love its silky feel and indulgent berry scent.

The Environmental Working Group gives the sunscreen a hazard score of two. They have not rated the shave creme.

I do have extensive experience with the sunscreen, as I took it on a backpacking trip. We used a whole tube, but we never got burnt.

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

October 4, 2011

NIMBY: Wind Energy

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Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

October 3, 2011

Really Natural Monthly Round Up September 2011

Alternative Energy

Baby

Beauty

Business

Climate Change

Conservation

Energy Savers

Food

Health

Kitchen

Monthly Round-Up

Organic Food News

Pets

Politics

Product review

Really Natural Books

Recipe

Travel

Wildlife

environment

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking
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