September 26, 2012

Obese children have 30-40% greater health risks

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We all know that maintaining proper weight is important for our health. From our joints to our heart, our bodies are designed to function at a normal weight. Unfortunately, the standard American diet full of preservatives and processed food, in addition to a sedentary lifestyle, has caused obesity rates to rise alarmingly. Of particular concern are obese children.

A new study has found that obese children have even greater health risks than previously thought. Science Daily reports:

Researchers at the University of Oxford show that obese children and adolescents have several risk factors for heart disease including raised blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and a thickening of the heart muscle, compared with normal weight children.
 They warn that, if these risk factors are allowed to progress into adulthood, obese children could already be at a 30-40% higher risk of future stroke and heart disease than their normal weight counterparts.
Feed your children fresh fruits and vegetables and be sure they get exercise every day!

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September 21, 2012

Clif C Bars: 70% organic and all natural for healthy snacking

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Clif is synonymous with energy bars. Clif C bars are double-layered fruit and nut bar that looks delicious. Unfortunately, this is another box that got buried in the office, so these samples had expired before I could taste them.

Clif C Bars come in four flavors: blueberry, raspberry, apple, and cherry pomegranate.

NEW CLIF C is the first double layer fruit and nut bar
Using only a handful of ingredients, we lightly bake our bar, sprinkle it with nuts and add a hint of sea salt to make the flavors dance
Fruit, Nuts and Sea Salt - our dedication to the best nature has to offer
70% organic and all natural
One serving of fruit in every bar
Good source of fiber (contains 4.5g total fat
We source ingredients that are not made using gluten, soy, dairy or wheat
No trans fat, no GMO's
Certified Kosher
Vegan and vegetarian

They are currently unavailable on Amazon, and they are backordered on Clif's site.

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. 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

September 20, 2012

Trans fatty acid putting millions of Europeans at risk

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I've always assumed Europeans ate healthier than Americans. I don't know why. Apparently, their diet is still full of "persistently high trans fatty acid content of certain fast and convenience foods", just like Americans. Science Daily reports:

While the overall TFA fat content of foods has fallen, few European countries have imposed any legal limits, meaning that it is perfectly possible to buy certain packaged and restaurant foods which still contain very high levels, say the authors.

Trans fatty acids (TFA) are primarily produced by the industrial hydrogenation of vegetable oils, a process that solidifies them and helps to prolong the shelf life of the baked goods in which they are used...

Clearer food labelling is one way of curbing trans fatty acid intake, but most countries still rely on food manufacturers to voluntarily reduce the TFA content of their products, the authors point out.

Only a few countries -- Denmark, Austria, Switzerland and Iceland -- have gone down the legislative route and forced industry to limit the amount of TFA used in foods to 2% of the total fat.

But foods containing trans fats, which can comprise up to 60% of the total fat content, can still legally be sold as shop bought packaged goods, or unpackaged in restaurants and fast food outlets elsewhere in Europe, the authors emphasise.


In the US, trans fat labeling became mandatory in 2006. New York city has banned it in restaurants. High consumption of trans fat leads to heart disease.

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September 19, 2012

Safety 1st 98.79%-99.98% Naturals Baby Beauty Care

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You may be familiar with the brand Safety 1st for their baby proofing products, like cabinet latches and outlet covers. Safety 1st also makes a line of 98.79%-99.98% natural baby beauty products called Naturals. Each product clearly states on the front what its percentage of natural ingredients content is. We were sent the following products to try:

Only two of these products have been scored by the Environmental Working Group. Both received a hazard score of five, with greatest ingredient of concern being fragrance. I'm always concerned when a product says fragrance on its label. What exactly is that fragrance? If it is an essential oil, why not just come out and state it?

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. 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

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September 18, 2012

Malaria, Lymes, West Nile, Oh MY! Diseases on the rise in North America thanks to climate change

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As our temperate climate warms, diseases that thrive in tropical climates are increasing in North America. Alternet has identified five such illness:


  1. Lyme's Disease

  2. West Nile Virus

  3. Malaria

  4. Ciguatera

  5. Naegleria fowleri


Just how are rising water-levels and steamier temperatures playing with the planet's pathogens? As the Environmental Protection Agency notes, disease-causing agents are passed on through food, water and animals such as "deer, birds, mice and insects." Climate change may be altering these transmitters, allowing certain diseases to proliferate as extreme changes in water, heat, air quality and more wreak havoc with the waters and animals that host some of our deadliest diseases.

It's really pretty scare stuff that will perhaps finally catch the attention of climate deniers when they fall prey to illness.

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September 17, 2012

Celadon Road 20 SPF Sunscreen: great products, accessibility an issue

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We've reviewed Celadon Road before, and I do truly like their products. This time, we were sent Sunscreen SPF20 by a public relations company, rather than a Celadon Road consultant.

Our Original Sunscreen is fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, ecosystem approved, cruelty-free and comes in 100% recyclable packaging. Did we mention the remaining ingredients are gluten-free, corn-free, vegan edible-grade 86% certified organic? Just remember: it goes on your skin, not on your salad.

I continue to be frustrated by Celadon Road's accessibility. I do really like their products, but if I would not have had a prior consultants info, I could not have found the sunscreen on their website. Even so, the product photo was blurry.  Even my crappy old iphone photo is better.

Celadon Road's products are made of simple ingredients. To order them online, you either need to know a consultant already or fill out a form to have a consultant contact you. I don't have time for that. The multi-level marketing may be good for people to start their own businesses as independent consultants, but it also interferes with accessibility of these great products.

I love the quote from Sitting Bull on the sunscreen package.

This product is made in the USA.

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. 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

September 14, 2012

Low Acid Coffee for Sensitive Stomachs Endorsed by the Vatican

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I know several people that have had to give up coffee because their stomachs could not handle its acidic nature. This would be very tragic for me personally. I love coffee!

HealthWise 100% Colombian Supremo, Low Acid Ground Coffee and HealthWise 100% Colombian Supremo Decaffeinated are designed for people with sensitive stomachs.

Our coffee is produced using what we call the TechnoRoasting™ process. Starting with only the finest 100% Colombian Supremo beans, we roast a coffee that is like no other coffee on the market - low in acid, high in minerals and micro-nutrients, and high in yield. The coffee taste is not bitter. There is no harshness. There is no need to use creamers or sweeteners to mask the bitterness present in other coffees. Beyond that, due to the unique roasting process, the coffee can remain on a warmer much longer and still maintain its fresh taste....even be refrigerated and re-heated.
I am sorry dear reader, but I have not actually tried these coffees. I am a little worried, as they are preground (I like freshly ground in my kitchen), and I limit myself to one cup a day. I don't want to risk it! Plus, it is not organic. Perhaps I will try the decaf later and let you know.

Strangely, the packaging says it is endorsed by the Vatican. How do you get that endorsement?

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. 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

September 13, 2012

Toxic dichlorobenzene linked to early puberty in girls

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Our toxic environment is changing our bodies, literally. The age girls are experiencing their first menstruations has shifted dramatically over the last 100 years. When I experienced this first hand as a teacher (a first grader got her period!), I blamed hormones in milk products, but it's not that simple.  There are many chemicals contributing to earlier periods, and a new one has just been identified.

Mothering.com explains:

Over the last 100 years, the average age when puberty arrives fell from around 16 to 17 years of age to 12. It continues to drop. Experts say some of this can be attributed to better health. And some of it has to do with high rates of childhood obesity. But there's a growing body of scientific evidence linking it to a variety of toxins.

The newest villian is dichlorobenzene. This chemical vaporizes into the air and is commonly used in air freshener, mothballs, and solid toilet bowl deodorizers. It's harmful to the liver, kidneys, and respiratory tract. The study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that girls with higher levels of dichlorobenzene in their urine had their first period seven months earlier than girls with lower levels. An earlier CDC study found residue of this chemical in nearly every person they tested. Personally, I don't know anyone who uses air fresheners, already associated with other health problems but apparently sales are booming. Even if we never use products containing this chemical in our homes, they are often found in public buildings. Awareness is important. So is an outright ban, now being discussed by the European Chemicals Agency.


It is crazy to think of what chemicals are bodies host from products we do not even use. We are only just beginning to see the consequences to our health.

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September 12, 2012

Digipower eco-friendly smartphone case made from grass

IMG_1978.jpgDigipower is the maker of accessories for your gadgetry. We were sent an eco-friendly case for smartphones and digital cameras that is made from grass!

Mobile tech enthusiasts who want to make a statement about the environment as much as about their technology can now do both with the market introduction today of the new "Back to Nature" Series of eco-friendly cases for PDAs, smart phones, and ultra-compact cameras by Mizco International's (www.mizco.com ) DIGIPOWER Division. The cases feature recycled paper, hemp, cotton, and bamboo!

Unfortunately, I cannot find this product on the internet anywhere, so perhaps Digipower gave up on their green cases. This is one of those products that has sat in my office buried before review, thus the times and availability has changed. Too bad, it is unique and well constructed of grass!  The magnetic closure is very handy.  I guess these products didn't sell well.

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. 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

September 11, 2012

2012: 1 car for every 7 people on Earth

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We all know that passenger vehicles are one of the largest greenhouse gas contributors. As we push for electric and hybrid vehicles, as well as increased fuel economy, the rise in the number of cars globally is increasing dramatically.

According to the Worldwatch Institute:

Rising sales translate into ever-expanding fleets. An estimated 691 million passenger cars were on the world's roads in 2011. When both light- and heavy-duty trucks are included, the number rises to 979 million vehicles, which was 30 million more than just a year earlier. By the end of 2012, the global fleet could top 1 billion vehicles----one for every seven people on the planet.

Electric vehicle (EV) production remains at barely perceptible levels. Although several countries have issued targets for future EV fleets, it remains to be seen whether these goals can be met. China, for instance, wants to put 5 million plug-in hybrid-electric and fully electric vehicles on its roads by 2020----which could account for more than 40 percent of the global EV fleet that year. An analysis by Deutsche Bank Climate Advisors, however, suggests that production of 1.1 million EVs and a fleet of 3.5 million in China is a more realistic projection.

Unfortunately, of the 76.8 million passenger vehicles on the road in 2011 (not including light trucks), hybrid vehicles only account for 2% of all cars.

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September 10, 2012

Paperless Kitchen: Each Skoy Cloth Saves 15 Paper Towel Rolls

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There are major things you can do to help the environment, like converting your home to renewable energy, and there are little things you can do, like using reusable shopping bags.

One of my eco sins is using paper towels. I hate them, but I have yet to go completely paper free in the kitchen. This is a little thing I could do for the environment, which is much easier and less expensive than getting an electric car.

Paperless Kitchen has the solution with Skoy earth friendly cloth:

SKOY is the perfect cloth for your home due to its absorption ability of 15X its own weight in liquid. If you used regular paper towels, you would need at least 15 sheets to soak up that much fluid. The cloth is washable so you are able to re-use it for months. It has a quick dry feature and does not provide a suitable environment for bacteria, unlike a sponge which can leave your dishes, counters and hands dirty and bacteria ridden. Simply, microwave your SKOY cloth regularly to kill germs and keep you and your home healthy.

SKOY is perfect for the environment too, simply by the fact that you are cutting down on the use of paper products used in your home, the cloth's durability and absorption, and because the cloth is entirely degradable. Now you can rest easy knowing not only is your home safe from bacteria, but you are protecting the Earth by keeping waste out of landfills and using a product that will compost easily.


I don't have a microwave, but I am not worried about keeping Skoy cloths sterile. They are safe to use in the washer/dryer or dishwasher.

Skoy is super absorbent and affordable. Bye, bye recycled paper towels!

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. 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

September 6, 2012

Motherhood Exaggerated: Dealing with life-threatening illness in a child

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Motherhood Exaggerated by Judith Hannan is a book I can relate to. It is the story of motherhood dealing with a child who has a life threatening illness. Judith's daughter has a rare bone cancer; my son has a congenital heart defect. My son's illness was discovered when he was a baby. Judith's daughter's was discovered when she was eight-years-old.

Judith Hannan has performed a valuable service by publishing this remarkably honest account of the crisis she and her family went through as her daughter--now a brilliant and beautiful young woman--dealt with a rare form of cancer. She takes us with her on her journey through the valley of the shadow of death and then back to the sunshine of life. Tears of remembrance came to my eyes and will to the eyes of other readers who have been through similar crises. Judith's willingness to share intimate
feelings and to discuss difficult moments is a gift that will help so many, as it has already helped me, to deal with the pas [sic] as well as the future. --Alan M. Dershowitz

This book is published by CavanKerry Press, a "not-for-profit literary press dedicated to art and community". Thankfully, all of their books are use recycled paper. Just this book alone saved "2 trees, 1 million BTUs of energy, 127 lbs. of CO2, 67 lbs of solid waste, and 524 gallons of water".

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. 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

September 5, 2012

More from Celadon Road...Multi-level marketing eco-friendly products

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After criticizing the tiny samples we were originally sent from a Celadon Road consultant, we were sent a box of full size products. If you are not familiar with Celadon Road, it is a company that sells eco-friendly products through hosted parties and independent consultants.  

We've actually been contacted by a few Celadon Road consultants lately. The following samples were sent to us by Lowenna Prestel:
Lemon Mint Glass Cleaner:
More than Just a Natural Way to Eliminate Streaks. Shouldn't your glass cleaner do more than promise to eliminate streaks? Celadon Road's™ Lemon Mint Glass Cleaner does! Not just the natural way to leave windows sparkling and clean, it's also an all purpose cleaner that boasts a fresh scent which naturally repels flies. Plus, safe for everyone to use...Next time, you can accept your little one's enthusiastic offer to help - worry free!

Odor Eliminator:
Naturally Conquer Unpleasant Aromas. Do dingy diapers, fishy cuisine or the kitty's potty leave your home feeling, well... not so fresh? Celadon Road's™ Odor Eliminator destroys odor naturally, freshens instantly and eliminates those unwanted smells on contact. Non-toxic, biodegradable and safe to use around children and pets, it's a safe and effective weapon to combat food, pet, smoke and other unpleasant aromas

Stain Remover:
Life happens, and in your home, stains happen! But, dangerous chemicals and harmful fumes aren't the only option. With Celadon Road's™ all-natural Stain Remover, made with Certified Organic ingredients, safely remove food, beverage, blood, pet, mold and mildew stains from nearly any hard surface, carpet or hard-to-reach spot. Safe to use around children and pets.

Jasmine Laundry Detergent:
Conquer Laundry Mountain Naturally. With the essence of pure essential oils, it takes only 1-2 tablespoons of Celadon Road's™ low-sudsing Jasmine Laundry Detergent to work its all-natural magic on any dreaded laundry mountain! Use in regular or high efficiency washers. Dissolve in water for washing floors and walls. An all-natural family formula, this detergent was originally created to ease the suffering of a child with eczema aggravated by commercial laundry products.

Butter Bar Soap:
Soothing Shea Butter Butter Bar Soap. With our natural shea butter formula, this is one bar of soap that will soothe even the most sensitive skin gently. Leaving your body moisturized and beautifully radiant, our formula won't irritate your skin and creates a healthy and natural cleansing experience.

All of these products are priced affordably. I do like the smell of the glass cleaner, and I did not worry when my dog started licking the door after I had cleaned it. The ingredient lists are simple and natural, which is something I truly appreciate.

I wish the products were more easily accessible though. After my parents' experience with Amway, I can't help but feel suspicious of multi-level marketing companies. I hope the Celadon Road consultants, which I imagine include a lot of stay-at-home moms, are successful! These are nice, natural products!

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. 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

September 4, 2012

Tattoo ink linked to skin infections and cancer

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Body art is in. Although I don't have any tattoos, I have contemplated a few.

According to the Natural Health Blog, there are ingredients in tattoo ink that are causing an increase in serious skin infections:

An outbreak of a nasty, hard-to-treat skin disease attributed to tattoo ink ingredients prompted both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue warnings about the associated health risks of tattoos.1 According to a CDC report released earlier this week, these skin infections are caused by a type of bacteria known as "nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM)." The report says that the infections typically "require a minimum of 4 months of treatment with a combination of two or more antibiotics."

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. The more worrisome concern is that NTM infection can lead to other conditions, including lung disease, co-infection with staph and eye problems, and infections of other organs.


Furthermore, many inks contain heavy metals:
First of all, the National Center for Toxicological Research has found carcinogenic substances among tattoo ink ingredients.2 The pigments often contain heavy metals like lead, titanium, and cadmium, as well as phthalates and hydrocarbons that are carcinogens and endocrine disruptors.3 According to an FDA fact sheet, some inks contain dyes "suitable for printers' ink or automobile paint." The FDA currently is conducting investigations to determine the long-term effects when the ink breaks down in the body or gets exposed to light, but as of now, nobody really knows the long-term effects.

Experts do warn, though, that black ink in particular may be trouble from the carcinogenic point-of- view. These inks contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which the EPA says are "among the most potent and well-documented skin carcinogens." Anecdotal evidence points to skin melanomas occurring with some frequency at tattoo sites, but again, study evidence is lacking.


Perhaps one should think twice before getting more ink?

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September 2, 2012

Really Natural Monthly Round Up August 2012

Baby

Beauty

DIY (Do It Yourself)

Electric Cars

Food

Green Cleaning

Health

Kids

Monthly Round-Up

Office

Organic Food News

Pets

Politics

Product review

Really Natural Books

Recipe

Shopping

community

environment

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

September 1, 2012

Radically Simplify Your Life: You Can Buy Happiness

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Unfortunately, we live in a consumer culture which does affect our happiness. We want things, even eco-friendly things, and if we don't get them, many of us suffer. 

 Don't let the title of this book by Tammy Strobel fool you, it's not about buying your happiness but making choices to downsize and live more sustainably.

You Can Buy Happiness (and It's Cheap): How One Woman Radically Simplified Her Life and How You Can Too is written by the blogger at Rowdy Kittens.

Once, Tammy Strobel and her husband were living a normal middle-class lifestyle: driving two cars, commuting long distances, and living well beyond their means. Now they are living the voluntary downsizing -- or smart-sizing -- dream. In this book Strobel combines research on well-being with numerous real-world examples to offer practical inspiration. Her fresh take on our things, our work, and our relationships spells out micro-actions that anyone can take to step into a life that's more conscious and connected, sustainable and sustaining, heartfelt and happy.

I found the author's conversation with Dusti Arab interesting, as it involves kids. Tammy does not have kids, and those of with them, know they have a lot of crap! My son, especially, has lots of toy trucks and tractors. Sure most of them are eco-friendly, but our house is overrun. It's the obligatory holidays and gifts from others that packs the place. The conversation with Dusti is interesting about how you handle family and friends as you downsize. For example, giving a gift to the Goodwill can be insulting to those that don't understand your motivation.

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. 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
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