September 14, 2009
I was recently sent samples of White Sands Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioner. These products are designed for color treated hair, and although they are vegan, they are not natural. White Sands Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioner are sulfate and silicone free, and according to the press release I received, "all natural".
As 100% Vegan, Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioner by White Sands is an all natural, sulfate, silicone, and cruelty free cleansing duo powered by Wheat and Silk Amino Acids. The line excels at moisturizing dry, damaged hair from the inside out, while providing superior hair color protection with each use.
If it is all natural, then why is the last ingredient FD& C #40, a synthetic food color made from coal tar or petroleum? Chris Gupta
From the Dictionary of Food Additives: FD and C Red # 40:
This dye, approved in 1971; is a member of the family of Azo Dyes; it is widely used in the cosmetics industry. Allied Chemical has an exclusive patent on it. It is substituted for FD & C Red #4 in many cosmetics, food and drug products. Many American scientists feel that the safety of Red #40 is far from established because the manufacturer conducted all of the tests. The dye should not have received a permanent safety rating. The National Cancer Institute reported that p-credine, a chemical used in preparation of Red #40, is carcinogenic in animals. The FDA permanently listed Red #40 for use in foods and ingested drugs but only temporarily listed it for cosmetics and external drugs. FD means food & drug; C means for cosmetics.
According to Wikipedia, FD & C Red #40
was introduced to replace a truly natural food coloring made from Amaranth. There are other ingredients in the White Sands product that I question. I think it is also important to note that it is only the press release that claims the product is all natural, as their is no such information contained on the products' bottles.
Consumers need to be cautious when companies claim their products are all natural. Often ingredients are included that are naturally derived, yet consumers assume this is the same as being natural. FD & C Red #40 comes from the natural source of petroleum or tar, but that doesn't mean I want to put it in my hair or in my body.
September 11, 2009
One of the things I love about imported, artisan goods is they are usually eco-friendly, in addition to being unique and aesthetically pleasing. five ACCESSORIES offers many items that include a bit of philanthropy with every purchase.
The company began while Christine Hutchison and her husband, Wells, were on their honeymoon in Bali. While there, they met a Balinese tour guide who told them how much difference five dollars a month can make to a family in Bali. While admiring the beautiful handbags and jewelry made by local artisans, the couple had the idea to start five, a company that embodies both their entrepreneurial and philanthropic zeal. The mission of the company is to create income generating programs for individuals in need, donate a large portion of it's sales to worthy charitable causes and foster the use of sustainable material in fashion.
We were sent a natural handbag from Bali
and a triangular solid wood bracelet
to try out. The Sayan Night bag is made from dark slats of bamboo and is on sale! It is very stylish and practical with a metal clasp closure. The triangular sold wood bracelet is also made from bamboo in Bali.
You can feel good about supporting five ACCESSORIES and will be rewarded with unique items that make wonderful gifts giving back to the communities in which they were made.
September 9, 2009
We like Bob's Red Mill and have just received samples of Bob's new gluten-free corn products.
- Gluten Free Corn Flour: Corn Flour is freshly stone ground at Bob's Red Mill and contains all of the bran, germ and endosperm. Add it to your favorite pancake, biscuit or bread recipe for added flavor and nutrition. Try making your favorite cornbread recipe with part or all corn flour instead of cornmeal. Your cornbread will be richer and less crumbly when made this way.
- Gluten Free Corn Grits/Polenta: Corn Grits-Polenta makes a popular breakfast, especially in the Eastern and Southern states. Many gourmet Italian and Mediterranean restaurants feature our polenta. The recipes on our packages are simple and delicious. Also makes a delightful hot cereal served with milk and honey or brown sugar.
- Gluten Free Medium Cornmeal: Medium Grind Cornmeal makes the best cornbread possible-gives a great texture without an overabundance of crumbs.
My dad is a celiac, so we are always looking for new gluten-free products. Bob is committed to maintaining the gluten-free integrity of its products by dedicating a "gluten-free manufacturing facility that is completely separate from the rest of the manufacturing and production areas." Bob's gluten-free products don't have that ubiquitous warning about facility cross contamination many gluten-free products contain.
I wish Bob's new gluten-free products were organic and available in bulk. Sure it is better to buy in bulk, but Bob's packages are convenient and available in many more stores that don't have bulk bins. The packaging also reduces the risk of cross contamination in bulk bins from careless consumers.
August 28, 2009
Larabar Fruit & Nut Food Bars come in 15 different flavors made from the simplest ingredients. I recently discovered these all natural bars when a friend brought them on a backpacking trip. Most of the bars have only two or three ingredients, like simply dates and cashews. For example, cashew cookie:
Cashew Cookie -- two ingredients, one incredible flavor! The unprocessed, creamy cashews are rich in iron, zinc and B Vitamins. The chewy dates have more potassium than bananas. Together they form a bar rich in fiber with 2 grams of heart-healthy Omega-6 fatty acids and 15 essential vitamins and minerals. So much sustaining nourishment in such a simple recipe. Raw natural food for health. For life. For fun. Uncooked, unprocessed, no added sugar, non-GMO, gluten free, dairy free, soy free, vegan, kosher. Sugars and carbs are naturally occurring in fruit. Good source of fiber. All fat comes from nuts only and provides 2 g of Omega 6 fatty acids. Cholesterol and sodium free. 1 1/2 Servings of fruit based on the USDA Food Guide Pyramid.
These simple bars are delicious and convenient. Of course, a better option would be to simply eat organic cashews and dates together as whole foods (Larabars are not organic), but sometimes the convenience of a bar can't be beat.
August 21, 2009
One way to conserve resources it make what we have last longer, especially big items like furniture. Slipcovers are a great way to give new life to old furniture, but many slipcovers are made from synthetic fibers. Sure Fit makes 100% cotton covers that are machine washable, a must for when you have young children. We have a Sure Fit Cotton Duck Linen Futon Cover for our old futon couch. Even if you don't have older furniture you wish to cover, a slipcover can protect your new furniture from children and pets. They are also great for college back-to-school decorating.
August 12, 2009
Sometimes you just need convenience, and GoPicnic
fits the bill. These ready-to-eat meals use natural ingredients, many of which are organic. They do not require refrigeration or preparation, and there are even Kosher, gluten-free, vegetarian, and Halal options. GoPicnic
meals are easy to take on trips and grab when you have no time to prepare a meal or snack to go; however, there is certainly a lot of packaging involved. The greener option is to make sure you have time to pack whole foods, but in a pinch, GoPicnic offers a natural, convenient solution.
August 5, 2009
Ice-Qube Starter Emergency Preparedness and Emergency Survival Kits
are an easy way to prepare for an emergency. The starter kit includes: flashlight with batteries, toothbrush, Mylar blanket, poncho, face shield, water container, Lifesavers candy, garbage bags, planner card, and water container. There isn't really much that is natural about this survival kit, and it would be simple to make your own using more eco-friendly products. The starter kit is small and would be perfect for your car. Ice-Qube makes other emergency preparedness kits too for baby, office, home, and pet. The Ice-Qube kits are designed to be gifts, and I am quite happy to have a mylar blanket for my car.
July 31, 2009
On a recent backpacking trip, my friend had a SteriPEN Classic Handheld Water Purifier
. This cool little device uses a UV light to kill pathogens.
The SteriPEN Classic eliminates viruses, bacteria and protozoa as its Ultraviolet Light (UV) destroys the DNA of microbes. It is effective against Outdoor Microbes like Giardia and Cryptosporidium; Travel Pathogens that cause Diarrhea, Dysentry, Hepatitis, and Legionnaire's Disease; Household Germs such as Bird Flu and Influenzas, E. Coli & Salmonella; and Staph & Strep; Natural Disaster Risks like Botulism, Cholera, Smallpox and Typhoid. SteriPEN Classic makes a great addition to Emergency Preparedness Kits.
It takes about 90 seconds to purify a Klean Kanteen
, and the Steripen is really small. My friend uses her Steripen not only in the backcountry, but when she travels abroad to avoid "Dehli belly". Steripens do take batteries, so it is important to carry an extra set with you when you use it in the field. A SteriPen Solar Charger
is available, but it takes a very long time to work.
July 29, 2009
My son received a Sprig Toys Eco-Truck Loader
. This toy is made from recycled plastic in Europe (Czech Republic) and contains no paints. It's durable, perfect for sand play, and comes with minimal packaging.
Sprig Toys, Inc., is an eco-friendly company dedicated to making the best toys
the right way.
Inspired by our collective desire to keep kids active and the planet healthy, Team Sprig is dedicated to infusing creativity, smart design, quality manufacturing, earth-friendly materials, product satisfaction and responsible business practices into a superior line of fun, kid-powered toys.
We help make the world a better place and we get kids off the couch. Pretty cool, huh?
My son loves his Sprig Toy, and Sprig is one plastic toy company
I feel good about supporting.
July 27, 2009
Did you know that some perfume contain phthlates and parabens? Sylvie Beljanksi has just released fleur d'amour, a fragrance that "allows women to indulge in a safe, phthalate-free way with a combination of French sophistication and technological innovation." Creator Belijanski explains:
I believe that a woman's beauty routine should be toxin-free, because putting toxins in your body will make you neither healthy nor beautiful. A natural beauty routine will make you feel good inside and out. Fleur d'Amour was created for the woman wants to do everything she can to maintain a healthy routine - and include a final indulgence.
I looked up several other fleur d'amour ingredients on Skin Deep
to see how safe the fragrance sample would be for my daughter's play. Hazard scores go from 1 to 10, with 10 being the most hazardous:
I am not a perfume fan and personally prefer essential oils
that I know are all natural; however, fleur d'amour
offers women a safer alternative to many commercial fragrances.