October 15, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

October 13, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

October 11, 2010

Natural Enzyme Cleaning: BioWish Healthy Clean Multi-Purpose Spray

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

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

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

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

  • Eliminates odors, does not mask them

  • Breaks down fats, oils, grease and dirt

  • No petrochemicals

  • No added phosphates, ammonia or chlorine

  • Safe for plants, animals and septic systems

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

  • 100% natural and non-toxic

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

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

October 8, 2010

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

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

Cacao (kə-kau, ka-kow):

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

We tried out two cacoa products by Navitas:

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

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

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

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

October 6, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

October 4, 2010

Ayurvedic Cooking Uses Organic or Wildcrafted Spices to Balance Your Health

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

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

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

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

October 1, 2010

New Derma E Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Natural Beauty Products Fight Aging

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

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

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

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

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 29, 2010

Really Natural Rewind: Naked Juice: The Superfoods Selection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click the following link to read ingredient lists...

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 28, 2010

Really Natural Rewind: Synergy: Trilogy Kombucha Tea

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Millennium Products:

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 27, 2010

Got BO? Natural Long Lasting Deodorant That Really Works

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

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

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

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

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