January 31, 2013

Village Naturals Therapy Muscle Relief Natural Lotion

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We've been using this lotion for quite some time and it does wonders after snowboarding for the day.

  • Massage away muscle aches and pains while aromatherapy vapors help you feel better
  • Deep penetrating therapeutic formula enriched with vitamins and skin softening ingredients
  • Help improve skin circulation and appearance
  • Includes mineral bath soak, liquid mineral bath, mineral shower gel and body lotion
  • Contains juniper to calm and restore, sage to soothe and comfort, and wintergreen to relax and invigorate

At Village Naturals Therapy Muscle Relief Natural Lotion 16 fl oz


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January 31, 2013

Glass Dharma Glass Straws: Reusable, Durable, and Healthier than Plastic

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If you have sensitive teeth, have children, or just like to have fun, Glass Dharma glass straws are for everybody! I love these straws!

Since March of 2007 GlassDharma has been producing glass drinking straws. The GlassDharma mission is to create world-wide awareness about single use plastics and how damaging plastic straws are to our environment. Glass Straws provide an alternative that eliminates the need for straws made from plastic.

Actually, we were sent a set of straws four years ago to review on my other blog. We have only broken one, which we could have sent back for the lifetime guarantee.  These glass straws continue to remain clean, durable, and popular with my family, plus they help us live a more plastic-free life.

There are five reasons why you should switch from plastic straws to glass ones:

    1. Glass Dharma's straws are handmade in the USA (Fort Bragg, CA)
    2. Glass doesn't leak toxins into your beverages
    3. Glass straws are dishwasher safe making them easy to clean and sterilize
    4. Glass Dharma straws are guaranteed for life against breakage
    5. Glass straws won't end up in our oceans as part of of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Some of these straws also come with a little cleaning brush, but we find that the dishwasher does a great job when you place them in the utensil section and don't really need it.
 

Glass Dharma straws come in a variety of sizes and designs (dots!) to fit your beverage needs. From cocktails to smoothies, there's a perfect glass straw. I am so thrilled to have more Glass Dharma straws in my kitchen!

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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January 30, 2013

Gluten-Free Cookbooks: Cooking with Quinoa for Dummies

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I have to say I find the title of the "Dummies" books a bit insulting, but heck you don't have to take it personally. Their approach to giving out information is easily accessible to all: dummies and savants alike.

Cooking with Quinoa For Dummies by Cheryl Forberg, RD is filled with recipes and a few photos sure to get your mouth watering.

Touted as "the gold of the Incas", quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) has many health benefits. It is high in both protein and fiber, gluten-free, and has been known to help those with cardiovascular health problems, as well as people who suffer from migraine headaches. Research also shows that the nutritional composition of quinoa is important in fighting breast cancer, especially in post-menopausal women. It is a great gluten alternative, and provides complete protein in vegetarian or vegan dishes. Not only does it have all of these phenomenal health qualities, quinoa is also delicious and extremely versatile!

Quinoa can be made into a breakfast porridge, stuffed into a wrap for lunch, combined with vegetables for a hearty salad, rolled with spices and breadcrumbs to make a delicious burger, and added to an assortment of cakes and breads for an extra protein punch. Cooking with Quinoa for Dummies shows you how you can easily incorporate quinoa into each and every one of your meals and snacks.

  • Offers over 140 gluten-free recipes for incorporating quinoa into breakfasts, lunches, snacks, dinners, and desserts
  • Explains the health benefits and disease-fighting power of this superfood
  • Provides the 4-1-1 on how quinoa can help you lose those unwanted pounds
  • Includes a 16 page color insert with beautiful photos of gluten-free quinoa-packed meals
My whole family loves quinoa, especially my kids! I even love it in chocolate. It cooks up faster than rice and is great alone or part of a dish, even soup!
 

This is not a vegetarian cookbook, but there are plenty of veggie recipes. I want to try the quinoa Nutty Banana Bread recipe!

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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January 29, 2013

Really Natural Books: The Business of Baby

business_of_baby.jpgThe Business of Baby: What Doctors Don't Tell You, What Corporations Try to Sell You, and How to Put Your Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Baby Before Their Bottom Line by Jennifer Margulis is an eye opening book that discovers what many midwives, natural childbirth advocates and mothers suspect about the maternal medical infrastructure of this country.

In the tradition of Jessica Mitford's The American Way of Death, an eye-opening work of investigative journalism that challenges our common wisdom about pregnancy, childbirth, and the first year of a baby's life, showing how the mother and child's wellbeing are often undermined by corporate profit margins and the private interests of the medical community

Award-winning journalist Jennifer Margulis questions the information parents are given by the medical community and the consumer culture, addressing the relationship between the vast money-making business of pregnancy and the early childcare advice parents are given. Margulis encourages us to question what we're told about prenatal and infant care and explains how financial interests skew the care we give to mothers and infants. She investigates how the diaper industry perpetuates longer delays in potty training than ever before; why cesareans are increasingly prevalent; why more women don't breastfeed; and why, despite our state-of-the-art medical technology, the United States has among the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the industrialized world.

An illuminating combination of investigative journalism, meticulous research and in-depth interviews with parents, doctors, midwives, nurses, and scientists, Margulis's critique uncovers how business interests and profit margins undermine the health of pregnant women and their babies. Shocking, groundbreaking, and revelatory, The Business of Baby arms parents with the information they need to make informed decisions about their own health and the health of their infants.


Randomly opening the book, I came upon a section discussing the Hepatitis B vaccine which is given to hospital born babies in the US almost immediately after birth. Why? It is a sexually transmitted blood-borne virus. My midwives taught me your child was only at risk if you were an IV drug user or prostitute. Furthermore, instead of vaccinating the vast majority of infants, it would make more sense to test the mothers for the illness (which does occur in routine prenatal care) and then respond appropriately. Margulis quotes a pediatrician that says the vaccine is given not because they fear children will get sick but just in case they grow up to be part of this at-risk group (IV drug users and prostitutes). Plus, there are safety concerns with the vaccine.

Vaccine discussion is just a small part of this book. From Cesareans to ultrasounds, this in depth analysis of birthing practices in the United States needs to be read by all expectant parents to help you make informed choices and save money. I highly recommend this book!

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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January 28, 2013

Hard Rock Cafe's Imagine There's No Hunger

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One of my favorite John Lennon songs growing up was "Imagine". It inspires us to imagine and different world than ours. Imagining is the first step to setting intention and making it reality.

The Hard Rock Cafe partnered with Why Hunger to sell limited edition products to raise money to fight hunger:

For a fifth year artist and musician Yoko Ono Lennon generously lends her support to Hard Rock International and WhyHunger for IMAGINE THERE'S NO HUNGER, a global campaign to combat childhood hunger and poverty through the backing of sustainable agriculture education and feeding programs for children and families in need. Proceeds from Hard Rock's campaign will directly benefit WhyHunger and its grassroots partners worldwide, working to advance long-term solutions to hunger and poverty by supporting community-based organizations that empower individuals and build self-reliance.

We were sent the following products:


  • Bracelet* - This red bracelet is embossed with the Hard Rock and WhyHunger logos and #IMAGINENOHUNGER. ($1 or more donation in cafe)

  • Men's T-Shirt** - Inspired by John and Yoko's philanthropic vision, this navy cotton tee features a winged rock and roll guitar with "IMAGINE THERE"S NO HUNGER" on the front, and the word "Imagine" with John Lennon's caricature and signature on back. ($26)

  • Women's T-Shirt** - Inspired by John and Yoko's philanthropic vision, this burgundy cotton tee features a winged rock and roll guitar with "IMAGINE THERE'S NO HUNGER" on the front, and the word "Imagine" with John Lennon's caricature and signature on back. ($26 exclusively at hardrock.com)

  • Bear*** - This grey bear dons a blue and purple satin bow, and features the Hard Rock logo on one paw and John Lennon's iconic caricature on the other. ($18)

  • Pin****- This gold base metal pin features a red guitar with "IMAGINE THERE'S NO HUNGER" across purple wings. The pin also features John Lennon's signature and the Hard Rock Cafe logo. ($12 exclusively at hardrock.com)


This Hard Rock campaign was very brief (November 2012-December 2012), and we did not get to the review during this time. These products, other than the men's shirt, appear to be no longer available, but the Why Hunger campaign continues year round and is the "official charity for Times Square New Year's Eve 2013". You can donate anytime!

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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January 24, 2013

Really Natural Books: Lose Weight, Stop Stress and Make Better Love: 5 Easy Steps by Training Your Brain

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My first reaction to Lose Weight, Stop Stress and Make Better Love: 5 Easy Steps by Training Your Brain by Dr. Sommer is the title. It's a whammy! Is this what most people want from life?

If you want to

  • lose weight and are tired of diets
  • feel relaxed (without pills) and reduce stress, with mindfulness
  • have better control of your life, to take charge in more effective ways, and even improve your love life
This life changing short, easily understood book will tell you how, using brain science.

Lose Weight, Stop Stress & Make Better Love in 5 Easy Steps by Training Your Brain provides you with a brief, very effective guide to help you conquer stress and overeating, and thus successfully, once and for all, fight weight-gain and obesity.

Lose Weight, Stop Stress & Make Better Love in 5 Easy Steps takes a very different approach to the problem of weight control. Using your brain power and nervous system you can modify, if not eliminate, a major cause of unhealthy eating: STRESS. Did you know that our brain can convert stress feelings into hunger signals?

Moreover, using modern brain science you will be able to apply the techniques learned here to enhance the pleasure in your love life, and can even help you to sleep better.

In this innovative book he shares his therapeutic breakthroughs in the service of helping with weight, stress and love life problems affecting the lives of increasing millions of people, worldwide.

The wallet card with the 5 Steps in the book is a free bonus that can be with you at all times as a constant companion, strengthening your ability to deal with food/drink, hunger, and stress. It is key to a more fulfilled, happier life. In addition, information on how to acquire the 5 Step Mobile Apps is also in the book.


This little book includes things like "Personal Daily Weight Control Logs" and information on how to control your weight without dieting. On the section for stress relief, the two principles of "Present Centered" and "Process Absorbed" are explained. As for making love, it relates to stress. 

Personally, I find more value in the Dalai Lama's How to Expand Love: Widening the Circle of Loving Relationships for self-help advice. I think it is more about giving and receiving love that helps us deal with stress that leads to the problems Dr. Sommer is addressing in his simple book.  We can't ignore our spiritual side, just as much as we can't ignore the physical side. 

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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January 23, 2013

R.W. Knudsen Lemon Lime Spritzer: Great for Cocktails!

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Are you looking for an all natural sparkling beverage? R.W. Knudsen Spritzer, Lemon Lime is a great cocktail ingredient or soda alternative. It contains 60% juice. Unfortunately, it is not organic, but R.W. Knudsen's manufactures organic sparkling essences, as described on Naturally Savvy. We weren't sent any of those to try.

Very few companies have been as deeply dedicated to organic practices for as long as R.W. Knudsen Family. Long before the average consumer even knew what "organic" meant, the company was using organic ingredients out of their enduring commitment to reducing the amount of synthetic pesticides and herbicides used in agricultural practices. In fact, in 1997, R.W. Knudsen Family was the first processor in the country to volunteer to become a certified organic processing facility. They have stayed true to that standard in their creation of new products--including Sparkling Essence.

If a company is as dedicated to organic practices as described above, I would expect all of their products to be organic. R.W. Knudsen does make organic juices too.

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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January 22, 2013

Control Hunger and Overeating with Re-Body Hunger Chews

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Are you trying to lose weight naturally or simply maintain a healthy weight? Sometimes we need help staving off cravings and hunger that can turn into unhealthy, high calorie munch fests! Even those individuals who do not need to lose weight sometimes need a little help controlling hunger, especially if it is emotionally charged.


ReBody - Hunger Chews Mandarin Orange with Satiereal Saffron Extract have only 30 calories, and they are sweetened with evaporated cane juice and saffron.  They are designed to help you control hunger and overeating.

Naturally Savvy explains:

So many of us eat when we are anxious, tired or bored. Re-Body Hunger Chews™ and Re-Body Hunger Caps™ can help you curb cravings that can derail your diet. They're made with clinically researched Satiereal, a proprietary extract of saffron that's been shown to help reduce overeating and snack cravings between meals. In a study of Satiereal, researchers followed 60 healthy, mildly overweight young women in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study that lasted weeks. Compared to a placebo group, the women who took Satiereal experienced a reduction in their desire to snack.

When I want to stave off hunger between meals, I usually drink tea or eat fruit or seaweed. This doesn't always work.  These Re-Body Hunger Chews would be great to keep in the car for those times when fattening choices may be made on the go.

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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January 21, 2013

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Let's Remember the Children's March!

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January 18, 2013

Relieve Flu Symptoms Homeopathically with Oscillococcinum

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It's a nasty flu year, and although there are many natural methods to prevent the flu, sometimes we simply succumb despite the best prevention attempts. I work at a school, which I think is one of the most dangerous places to work in terms of germs. Just yesterday, over half of the class was out with the flu. Monday, a little girl sneezed all over me. It is inevitable I will get sick.

I rely on homeopathy to treat my body. I trust it and find it more effective than over-the-counter medications full of chemicals and artificial dyes. For the flu, I turn to Oscillococcinum. According to the manufacturer Boiron:
Flu-Like Symptoms

USES: Temporarily relieves flu-like symptoms such as fatigue, headache, body aches, chills and fever DIRECTIONS:
  • Adults and children 2 years of age and older: Dissolve entire contents of one tube in the mouth every 6 hours, up to 3 times a day.
  • Children younger than 2 years of age: Ask a doctor.
I like using homeopathy with my children, as my son is very reticent about taking any medication, but these little pills do not bother him.
 

Naturally Savvy also recommends Oscillococcinum:

As a general rule, homeopathic medicines should be taken at the onset of symptoms. They offer safe, natural solutions without a doping effect or risk of drug interactions, so there is no need to wait to take action at the crucial early stages.

For instance, Oscillococcinum® works best when you first start feeling achy or run down. Clinical studies show that Oscillo® reduces the severity and duration of flu symptoms when taken at the onset and it's supported by more than 75 years of use throughout the world. Its sweet-tasting, kid-friendly, melt-away pellets dissolve quickly under the tongue. No water, chewing or swallowing is required. There are no side effects or interactions with other medications and it's safe for children 2 years of age and older.

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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January 17, 2013

Save Money: Budget Savvy Diva's Guide to Slashing Your Grocery Bill

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One of my friend's is always quick to remind that the more money you spend, the more money you need to make. In this time of economic recession, saving money is even more important or urgent than before when jobs were more plentiful.

Budget Savvy Diva's Guide to Slashing Your Grocery Bill by 50% or More: Secret Tricks and Clever Tips for Eating Great and Saving Money by Sara Lundberg is a handy little book. From coupons to sale cycles, Lundberg offers tips that are easy to implement.

Do you want to score the hottest bargains and best deals? It's easier than you think! In this helpful pocket guide, Sara Lundberg, author of the super-saver website BudgetSavvyDiva.com, reveals her cleverest, most effective and down-right sneakiest strategies for saving money while filling the cart with all your favorite foods. Thanks to the advice in this book, you'll quickly be navigating the grocery aisles like a pro:

•Tips for maximizing coupons
•Tricks for finding hidden bargains
•Delicious recipes that stretch every dollar
•Techniques for smart, stress-free shopping


These tips work for shopping at health food stores and coops too! Our coop has a great coupon book that if you hit at the right time saves a bundle.

Lundberg also talks about creating a stockpile in the kitchen of staples that last and figuring out how much food you really need to prevent food waste.


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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January 16, 2013

Natural Skin Care: Juice Beauty Organic Be Bright Green Apple Collection

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There are a few natural beauty companies I adore and fully trust, like Dr. Hauschka and Naturopathica. Juice Beauty is another one of those brands.

We were recently sent Juice Beauty's Organic Be Bright Green Apple Collection. It contains:

Brighten, lighten, tighten with the Be Bright Green Apple Collection. An age defy wonder kit with bestselling products that contain our powerful antioxidant cocktail of DMAE, Alpha lipoic acid, Peptides, and Co-Q10 are combined with vitamin antioxidants to hydrate, smooth fine lines and leave your skin glowing for the holidays!

WHO SHOULD USE IT?

Juice Beauty's Be Bright kit is designed for all skin types (except sensitive skin), 20's and up and is effective for dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and uneven skin tone and texture...

Juice Beauty is constantly updating our ingredients to bring you results using the safest, local, organic and natural ingredients possible.


I absolutely love these products! They make my skin feel so good, and the case is reusable and made from recycled material.

Juice Beauty really is the "organic solution". The Environmental Working Group has given the company an overall hazard score of zero to three. That's pretty low!

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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January 15, 2013

Porlandia Snarks Natural Deodorant [video]

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January 14, 2013

Natural, Holistic Cat Treats and Dog Food from Humboldt Pet Supply

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What you feed you pet is just as important as what you feed your family. Even though pets live shorter lives than humans, they still deserve quality food made from quality ingredients.

We recently discovered from a good friend a "groovy" pet store called Humboldt Pet Supply, which has a local and online presence:

Humboldt Pet Supply is dedicated to keeping your pet healthy and your planet green. Our goal is to provide pet owners with better options for pets and the environment by featuring products that are organic, sustainably made and whenever possible, LOCAL.
We are a proud member of 1% for the planet which helps support Humboldt Wildlife Care Center and the Environmental Protection Information Center.

We were sent the following awesome, natural and holistic products available from Humboldt Pet Supply:

Dr. Harvey's Power Patties for Cats:
Dr. Harvey's Power Patties are a natural treat for cats. Made from easily digested tripe, this treat delivers vitamins, minerals, digestive enzymes, and essential fatty acids to keep your cat strong, healthy, and happy.

Pure Vita Pure and Natural Holistic Grain Free Dog Food-Salmon Formula:
PureVita Salmon & Potato is made with Delicious Salmon & Potato. It is a true single source protein which is rich in Antioxidants with Pomegranate and blueberries. It has Complete and Balanced Nutrition for all of life's stages. This Pure and Holistic Pet Food is appropriate for all life stages of your dog's life.

My pets love these treats and dog food, and I feel good about my children handling them since they are all natural. Treats and food that contain artificial ingredients inevitably end up not only in the pet's mouth, but in other places where they could contaminate your family. It only makes sense to chose organic, natural products for your pets as it does for your human family. Thankfully, Humboldt Pet Supply offers many choices!

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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January 11, 2013

New Ology Products by Walgreens Endorsed by Healthy Child Healthy World

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We were sent a gift card from Walgreens in order that we could go to the store and pick out which of the new Ology line of products we wanted to try. I have to say, the experience was a bit overwhelming. I am not familiar with drugstore shopping, and I had envisioned all of the Ology products would be on display together somewhere as a featured new product. Instead, they were interspersed with other more mainstream products of the same nature, which makes sense for the average shopper, but it didn't help them stand out.

"Walgreens is proud to be leading the charge by providing 'Ology,' the first nationally accessible and affordable line of household liquid products free of harmful chemicals available in our stores," said Joe Magnacca, president of daily living products and solutions for Walgreens. "Ology reflects our dedication to innovation, our constant drive to improve our customers' quality of life, and our ongoing commitment to help people get, stay and live well."

"Increasing evidence shows that the chemicals included in everyday products could be contributing to children's diseases and behavioral disorders, including asthma, autism and cancer," says Gigi Lee Chang, CEO of Healthy Child Healthy World, one of the nation's leading independent non-profit organizations dedicated to the empowerment of consumers and the protection of children from harmful chemicals. "Until the U.S. adopts better regulations around product safety--like we do in other countries--parents are left to bear the burden of protecting their children's health by educating themselves and making conscious purchases. With the help of Walgreens Ology products, concerned consumers now have easier access to affordable and safer solutions."


The fact these products are endorsed by Healthy Child Healthy World is huge! This is an organization I trust wholeheartedly, unlike the Sierra Club's endorsement of Clorox Greenworks.

With our gift card, we purchased the following Ology products to try:

All of the bottles are made from 100% post-consumer materials.

There are a lot of Ology products, and I think it is great that consumers have a choice now in mainstream stores like Walgreens. It seems like there is a Walgreens on every corner in cities and suburbs (but there isn't even one in my rural county).

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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January 10, 2013

Antibacterial Clean Bags: Avoid illness from unclean reusable shopping bags

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Last year, it was all over the news that reusable shopping bags were responsible for an outbreak of viruses. MSNBC reported on one such case:

Eventually, interviews revealed that most of those who became ill ate packaged cookies at a Sunday lunch. Where did the cookies come from? Turns out, the culprit was a reusable grocery bag of snacks left in the empty hotel room occupied by the first girl who got sick.
Quickly, the puzzle fell into place. The girl had been very ill in the hotel bathroom, spreading an aerosol of norovirus that landed everywhere, including on the reusable grocery bag hanging in the room.

I launder my reusable shopping bags often, but not before each shopping trip. One solution is antimicrobial and antibacterial bags, like the ones from Go Clean Bags.

At first, I assumed these bags used nanoparticles or some other such questionable method to be "naturally" resistant. Clean Bags uses Chitosan:

We do not use hazardous Triclosan used in products like antibacterial soap, clothing, toothpaste nor do we use Nano-Silver. We coat all our bags and inserts with a Chitosan based solution!

Haven't heard of Chitosan? Well Chitosan naturally inhibits the growth of bacteria, mold, mildew and fungi. It is produced from chitin (ki'tin), a natural resource that is abundantly renewable. Chitin is a primary substance found in the discarded shells of crustaceans, such as crabs. It contains unique antimicrobial properties and is naturally non-allergenic, especially for consumers sensitive to shellfish. The antibacterial mechanism of the solution chitosan is a non-leaching type, which means that chitosan cannot be released from the textile onto food products in the bag.

Bacteria, mold and fungus deteriorate fabric. Chitosan prevents the formation of these microorganisms, maintaining the fabric's integrity. Since Chitosan is produced from a natural resource, it is 100% safe and studies from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concluded, "no adverse ecological effects have thus far been attributed to its presence." We still advise to wash our bags and they will stay antibacterial and antimicrobial for a period of six months and over 20 washes.

Some people actually take Chitosan as a supplement, which does imply something of its safety around your food.

It still seems like regular washing of reusable shopping bags is a viable solution, but if you are especially concerned about germs and viruses, Clean Bags is for you!

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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January 9, 2013

National Geographic Books: Thrive Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way

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Are you happy? What makes you happy? Do you even know what makes you happy?

Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way by Dan Buettner has gotten a lot of media attention. NPR reports:

Buettner devotes a section of Thrive to Denmark, where the "gross national happiness" is incredibly high. When asked why this is, he notes that the country's leveling tax structure enables its citizens to have more freedom. "Normally when we think of happiness, we think of money and status, but Denmark teaches us the opposite lesson," he says. "There, you have a place where you are taxed to the mean. A cultural norm reminds everybody that they are no better than everybody else, so you're not going to choose your career path based on status. You're in a place where a garbage man makes as much as a lawyer. So what you have are 4 million people who excel at things like furniture design and architecture."

Buettner also notes that in Denmark, most people only work "37 hours a week on average, and they take their full six weeks of vacation," noting that a liberal work schedule leads to greater happiness overall.

From Singapore to San Luis Obispo, Buettner examines happy places on our planet. Things like family matters, as in Singapore where it is the "center of social structure" and extends beyond genetics to friends providing an "extended support system". Or as in San Luis Obispo where grapes come into play (my secret to happiness :)). One glass of wine increases dopamine in the brain making one feel happy. Or as in Mexico where the sunny warm climate provides vitamin D, also known as the "happiness vitamin".

Beyond simple ideas like being in the sunshine and drinking wine, Buettner dives deeper into contentment and offers lessons at the end of the book.

In THRIVE, New York Times bestselling author and explorer, Dan Buettner, reports on the surprising findings from his five-year global study on the keys to personal happiness. In addition to sharing his extraordinary accounts of the happiest people on the planet, Buettner examines how their unique lifestyles correlate to their extraordinary well-being. Finally -- and most important -- Buettner details how to incorporate these powerful characteristics into our daily routine so that we, too, can THRIVE.

This book is printed 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.

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January 8, 2013

Natural Flu Care: NaturaNectar Throat Guardian Spray Uses Honey and Berries

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I am finally over the flu! Six days later, and a sore throat that would not quit, I am slowly regaining my energy. 

 I never resort to over-the-counter medicines. I find there is no need, unless a high fever is involved. Instead, I rely on trusted herbal remedies, such as Source Naturals Wellness Herbal Resistance Liquid.

We were just sent NaturaNectar Throat Guardian - Bee Berry - Spray to try. Unfortunately, I did not have this product during the peak of my sore throat to truly test its effectiveness.

Throat Guardian's main ingredient, Propolis Water Extract (PWE™), is a gentle yet effective water-based, all-natural spray extracted from Brazilian bee propolis that does not contain alcohol, harmful chemicals, or other substances that may harm the body's mucous membrane. PWE is clinically-studied to produce a healthy inflammation response. It is free of artificial preservatives, color, scents and flavors and sourced from the purest, most wholesome ingredients.

With two to three sprays of Throat Guardian, one gets the best immune support--a perfect, all-natural, and convenient solution for daily oral hygiene for the whole family. And so before succumbing to everyday health challenges, use NaturaNectar Throat Guardian daily to support overall oral and respiratory health and wellness.


Unfortunately, this product is preserved with sodium benzoate, a food additive I try to avoid. Wise Geek explains the concerns:
Sodium benzoate is a sodium salt that occurring naturally in some foods, but is also widely used as a chemical preservative...The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Health Protection Branch in Canada (HPB) report that in low doses it is safe for consumption, although when combined with ascorbic acid it forms the chemical benzene, a suspected carcinogen....

When combined with ascorbic acid -- also known as vitamin C or citric acid -- the preservative converts to benzene, a carcinogen reported to cause leukemia, DNA damage, damage to mitochondria in cells, cell death and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Additional studies show that sodium benzoate mixed with certain artificial food coloring causes hyperactivity in children.


Considering most people consume vitamin C when sick, this is very concerning!

I find it misleading to use the word "natural" on the label of such a product.

UPDATE 1/17/13:

...we noticed your concerns about the ingredient sodium benzoate which is in Throat Guardian. The Founder and CEO, JL Paes-Leme, is very aware of this and he wanted to directly address this concern you have brought up.

 

"NaturaNectar has already acted on such concerns and addressed the problem with its manufacturer. It has conducted stability tests with a new version of the product without sodium benzoate and it was approved.  The next batch of products will not have this preservative. In relation to the claim "natural" the product isnatural by the definition of the NIRC. Please look the link below. Therefore it is not misleading in any way. Misleading customers is something that NaturaNectar does not practice as an ethical company."

 

http://www.naturalingredient.org/pledge.htm

 

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

January 7, 2013

Samsara: Amazing Film of our Diverse World (follow-up to Baraka)


Samsara is defined as "the ever turning wheel of life". Beyond just a sanskrit definition, it is an important aspect of Asian religions, like Buddhism and Hinduism. It embodies the continuous flow of life, our present life, our past life, karma, etc. It is an appropriate title for this amazing film!

Samsara is the much awaited follow up to Baraka, a movie that amazed me.

Filmed over a period of almost five years and in twenty-five countries, SAMSARA transports us to sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial sites, and natural wonders. By dispensing with dialogue and descriptive text, SAMSARA subverts our expectations of a traditional documentary, instead encouraging our own inner interpretations inspired by images and music that infuses the ancient with the modern.

Expanding on the themes they developed in BARAKA (1992) and CHRONOS (1985), SAMSARA explores the wonders of our world from the mundane to the miraculous, looking into the unfathomable reaches of man's spirituality and the human experience. Neither a traditional documentary nor a travelogue, SAMSARA takes the form of a nonverbal, guided meditation. Through powerful images, the film illuminates the links between humanity and the rest of nature, showing how our life cycle mirrors the rhythm of the planet.


This film is so unique, beautiful, and inspiring. It does not hold back on any part. From militia to monks, from desert to forest, it is all there. Now, it is available on blu-ray for the best quality, color, and experience.

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

January 4, 2013

Switch: To a Smarter Energy Future [Documentary]


We all know that something has to be done to meet our energy needs. There are many alternatives and many campaigns selling us on which one is cleanest and best. There is much confusion and delusion.

Switch: To a Smarter Energy Future is a documentary, as well as an energy project website, that makes energy information accessible to anyone. You don't need a scientist to understand and explore our options.

Every energy resource -- fossil, nuclear and renewable -- is undergoing profound changes. And overall, we're gradually shifting from coal and oil to the energies of tomorrow.

This sweeping transition is the subject of Switch. But rather than advocate for how it should happen, Switch travels the world to discover how it most likely will happen.
Switch is also about a changing energy conversation. Today, it's polarized and unproductive. Switch focuses on practical realities and encourages a balanced understanding.

Finally, Switch is about changing the way we use energy, to realize the many economic and environmental benefits of efficiency...

In 2009, documentary filmmaker Harry Lynch and geologist Dr. Scott Tinker set out to make a film on our energy transition. The goal was not to advocate for one technology over another, not to suggest how the transition should happen -- but to try to determine how it actually would happen, based on scientifically-sound investigation and the practical realities of the world of energy as we discovered them. The result, is Switch.


This movie and website are very educational!  It helps form and solidify opinions letting you make a choice as by trying to be unbiased in its presentation.

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

January 3, 2013

Bulu Box Monthly Subscription Vitamin and Supplement Sample Box

Screen shot 2013-01-03 at 8.34.18 AM.png
When you peruse the vitamin and supplement aisles, there are a lot of choices. It is hard to know what product actually work, that you like, and that are worth the price. Buying full size products just to discover they are not what you wanted is a waste of money. Bulu Box has a solution.

Bulu Box is the first vitamin, supplement and general health subscription sample box designed to help you feel your best. Every month, you'll get a box filled with 4 to 5 premium, curated samples from top brands. Look forward to a new mix of products for both women and men, including vitamins, weight loss, sports nutrition, protein, diet, energy, detox, digestion, sexual health, herbs, natural remedies, endurance and more. We'll make sure you get enough to decide if the product is right for you. No shipping or shady fees. Depending on your plan, you can cancel anytime. Get ready for a healthy discovery!
The box we were sent had the following products:
Some of the samples are really small, such as two capsules, making it hard to truly test a product out. In fact, for product reviews, I request larger samples in order to really get a feel for a product, which I can see might be an issue for Bulu subscribers. It is a great way to get exposed to many new 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
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