November 8, 2010

Really Natural Green Holiday Eco-Friendly Gift Guide 2010

The following recommendations for eco-friendly gifts come from our favorite products we've reviewed in 2010.  Happy Holidays!

Greek Revival.jpg

Gifts for the Cook:

  • Really Natural Cookbooks: Greek Revival: Cook for Life:  Greek Revival: Cooking for Life by Patricia Moore-Pastides is a beautiful cookbook filled with delectable recipes and incredible photographs.  From roasted cumin carrots to stuffed eggplant and zucchini, there are plenty of recipes to please any palate from vegetarian to omnivore.  
  • Really Natural Cookbooks: Green & Black's Chocolate Recipes: From the makers of my favorite chocolate, comes an incredible cookbook! Green & Black's Chocolate Recipes, Revised Edition is the kind of cookbook that makes you drool. Not only is it filled with incredible organic chocolate recipes, it also gives you an education into cocoa (e.g. growers' associations, education, cultural information).
  • Really Natural Cookbooks: The Homesteader's Kitchen Recipes From Farm to Table: Every once in awhile I come across a cookbook that I get really excited about. The Homesteader's Kitchen: Recipes from Farm to Table is full of delicious, whole food recipes, as well as incredible photographs. It is motivating to me as a gardener to inspire new creations in the kitchen from what I have grown. From Miso Vegetable Soup to Brown Rice Cream with Dates, Cinnamon, and Vanilla, your palate will not be disappointed.
  • Really Natural Locavore Cookbooks: Emeril Lagasse Farm to Fork: If you have a garden or love to shop at farmers' markets, you know the value of cooking with fresh, local ingredients. Famous chef Emeril Lagrasse does to and has written a cookbook to help you stay creative while maintaining locavore ideals. Farm to Fork: Cooking Local, Cooking Fresh is an aesthetically pleasing cookbook filled with beautiful photographs and delicious recipes.
More Gifts for the Cook:

  • Time for a Tea Party!: I love the layout of this book, and how it includes recipes for food to accompany each tea party idea. From a Mexican tea party to your basic iced tea, everything is covered. It is truly inspirational! The traditions of drinking tea are largely absent in American culture except for in the play of little children. Lisa Boalt Richardson, certified tea specialist, can change all of that with her two books!

  • Really Natural Kitchens: Odor-Free Stainless Steel Compost Pail: The Odor-Free Countertop Compost Container has a replaceable filter in its lid. It is stylish and holds a lot of compost before having to make trips to the pile. It really classes up my kitchen counter, and I know it will last at least as long as my old tupperware.

  • Really Natural Cookbooks: Bob's Red Mill Cookbook: Whole & Healthy Grains for Every Meal of the DayBob's Red Mill Cookbook: Whole & Healthy Grains for Every Meal of the Day includes many wholesome recipes. From zucchini chocolate muffins to wheat berry minestrone, you are sure to find many inspirations to add more whole grains into your diet. This cookbook also includes "Gluten-Free Baking Fundamentals", as well as many recipes safe for Celiacs.
  • Really Natural Cookbooks: Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar: Mmmm, I love cookies! Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar: 100 Dairy-Free Recipes for Everyone's Favorite Treats is a handy book filled with great recipes for vegetarians and omnivores alike! From Tahini Lime Cookies to Whole Wheat Fig Bars, you can't go wrong with these delicious recipes. Great images of the finished products make you drool and motivate you to get into the kitchen and start baking.

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For the Stocking:  

  • YummyEarth Organic Gummy Bears are Gluten-Free: YummyEarth Organic Gummy Bears are certified organic, gluten-free, soy-free, contains no corn syrup, made from real fruit juice, peanut-free, etc. These organic gummy bears also contain 100% Daily Vitamin C.

  • 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. 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.
Gifts For the Hard Core Greenie: 

  • Ditch the Paper Towel Habit: PeopleTowels Fair Trade Organic Cotton Reusable Personal Hand Towel: PeopleTowels has a solution to the paper towel habit. These fair trade, organic reusable personal hand towels are a great alternative to the paper towel. These paper towel alternatives are also printed with eco-friendly dyes.
  • Recycled Cotton Farmer's Market Tote by Olive & Myrtle: Spring time means the return of The Farmer's Market. Of course, you wouldn't want to shop the market with those horrible plastic bags from the supermarket, and hopefully you don't have any in your home anyways from using reusable bags. Olive & Myrtle makes the perfect bag for your farmer's market or any shopping excursion. I really love our Recycled Cotton Tote Bag and think recycled cotton is certainly an eco step above simply organically grown cotton.


yoga-in-bed-awaken-body-mind-and-spirit-in-fifteen-minutes.jpgGifts for the Health Conscious:

  • Really Natural Books: Grow Your Own Drugs: Easy Recipes for Natural Remedies and Beauty FixesGrow Your Own Drugs: Easy Recipes for Natural Remedies and Beauty Fixes is written by ethnobotanist James Wong. Wong believes, and I agree, that it's easy to grow and make your own natural remedies. This is a great book for the seasoned herbalist and amateur alike, and it is an incredible resource I know I will refer to over and over again. The title is pretty unique too!

  • Natural Yoga Mat Made from Jute and Rubber: This mat is costs about $37.00, and it smells wonderful fresh out of the packaging. I have an aversion to smell of new yoga mats, even ones that are PVC-free, but this yoga mat had the sweet smell of jute. The jute mixed with rubber also gives the mat a different texture that I preferred to traditional yoga mats the first time I tried it.

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Gifts for the Beauty: 

  • Marie Veronique Organics Anti-Aging Day Serum: Intelligent Ingredients You Can Trust: Whenever I encounter a new organic beauty line, the first place I check to see if their claims are truly trustworthy is the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetic Database. I am happy to report Marie Veronique Organics (MVO) holds true to their motto of "Intelligent Ingredients" with low hazard scores of one to three by EWG.
  • New Derma E Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Natural Beauty Products Fight Aging: 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.
  • Really Natural Books: No More Dirty Looks - The Truth About Your Beauty Products: Beauty products are notorious for making false organic marketing claims and containing harmful ingredients. From lead in lipstick to phthalates in lotions, consumers are challenged to find truly natural products. A new book has the answers you need. No More Dirty Looks: The Truth about Your Beauty Products--and the Ultimate Guide to Safe and Clean Cosmetics defines and explains the risks of many common cosmetic ingredients.
  • Really Natural Beauty: Biodynamic Dr. Hauschka Rose Day Cream: I rarely buy natural beauty products anymore, as I get plenty of samples to review. Recently, I found myself out of face cream and resorted to purchasing one of my old favorites: Dr. Hauschka Rose Day Cream. Although I don't have any "irritated skin conditions", I like how this cream is thick and nourishing, but it doesn't feel heavy and oily. I do spend a lot of time in the sun gardening, so I like the soothing qualities of the rose cream.
  • Natural Body Care: (SEED) Uses the Power of Nature (Grape Seed Enriched): Grape seed extract is pretty amazing stuff leftover from the winemaking process! I've used it to cure toenail fungus, and now there is a line of body care products that harnesses its power for natural beauty. Of course, all of these products come in recyclable or biodegradable containers, and they are made in the USA. I do wish the ingredients were organic though.

Gifts for the Book Lover: 

  • Really Natural Books: River HouseRiver House: A Memoir by Sarahlee Lawrence describes the author's journey from growing up in a remote region of Oregon, leaving to explore the world, then returning to her roots and organic vegetable farm.
  • Really Natural Books: Animal FactoryAnimal Factory: The Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy, and Poultry Farms to Humans and the Environment by David Kirby is an eye-opening, informative account of how factory farming is negatively affecting our health and environment. I like how Kirby tracks factory farms affect on families, as it gives a human touch to a story that is truly overwhelming to contemplate.
Gifts for the Green Techie: 

  • Reusable Moshi Neato Computer and Flat Screen TV Cleaning Kit Features Green Packaging: The grey pad is used for wiping dust particles off your screen, then the black one removes smudges. The grey pad worked well, but the black one did not get all of the marks off of the screen, although it got the majority of them. Moshi uses soy inks on its packaging and all of the materials are recyclable. It would be better if the packaging was made from recycled materials.
  • The 1st Apple Certified Solar iPhone Charger: I love my iPhone, thus I was excited to discover a solar iPhone charger approved by Apple. The Surge Hybrid Solar Charger for iPhone 3G and 3G S uses the sun to recharge your gadget.
synergy.jpgGifts for the Green Fashionista: 

  • Synergy Organic Clothing: Fashionable, Sustainable, and Affordable: It is hard to find organic fashions that are actually affordable, but Synergy Organic Clothing has done just that! I recently purchased an Organic Cotton Bird A-Line Skirt ($46), and I keep going back for more Synergy items! Not only is this skirt made from organic cotton, but is colored with low impact dyes and made in Nepal.
  • Eco Fashion: Stewart + Brown Organic Stevie Blazer On Sale!: Sometimes eco-friendly fashion can be expensive, but at least you are getting sustainability along with great style. Good news! The Stewart + Brown Stevie Blazer is on sale! It is super comfortable, and like all Stewart + Brown items, the quality is high. These "organic pioneers" know how to make eco-friendly chic!
  • Fair Labor, Organic Bamboo T-Shirt Supports Great Lakes Restoration: Are looking for a really cool, really comfortable eco-friendly shirt? thINK Conscious Apparel Thistle Bamboo Tee is my new favorite top. Made from eco-friendly bamboo and organic cotton, this shirt is made with fair labor practices and helps support the Milwaukee Community Service Corps, which works to restore the Great Lakes.
  • Eco Fashion: Stewart + Brown Hemp Jersey Cinch Skirt: Stewart + Brown's hemp hemp jersey cinch skirt is one of my favorite items of clothing. It is the softest hemp I have ever felt and is super comfortable to wear. The drawstring gather on the side makes the skirt unique. The skirt is a little bit expensive at $98, but you won't be disappointed in its quality, and if you are like me, you will certainly get your money's worth by wearing it all the time.
  • Environmentally Friendly Shoes: El Naturalista: Are you looking for a quality pair of eco-friendly shoes? I recently visited a friend of mine and tried on her El Naturalista shoes. I had to own a pair! El Naturalista takes social and environmental responsibility seriously, which I was pleased to learn after buying my shoes.

Gifts for the Traveler and Nature Lover: 

  • Chaco Flip Flops Eco Tread Features 25% Recycled Rubber: BioCentric refers to the footbed that is designed to support and has won the Seal of Acceptance by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). These are flip flops that will hold up to dancing at a music festival or walking miles of city blocks. Chaco also donates money to the Grand Canyon Youth program helping get young kids on the river.
Gifts for the Babies and Kids!:

  • Eco Luxury for Baby by Apple Park: If ever there was a portion of our population that needed and deserved eco-friendly products, it's the babies. Apple Park understands that by producing original products made from "organic, sustainable and recycled materials".
  • 150 Great Ideas to Get Kids Outside and Into NatureGet Out!: 150 Easy Ways for Kids & Grown-Ups to Get Into Nature and Build a Greener Future is a budget-friendly, easy to pick up book about ways to engage your child in nature and combat Nature Deficit Disorder.
wisdom of the last farmer.jpgGifts for the Organic Gardener: 

  • Organic Gardening Magazine:  From organic summertime lawn care to keeping backyard chickens, the current issue is full of inspiration. As an avid gardener, I find I need motivation at times. Reading Organic Gardening gets me excited to be in the garden, and the recipes provide further encouragement when it comes to harvesting and being creative with your bounty.
  • Really Natural Books: Wisdom of the Last Farmer: Early in my gardening years, a friend gave me Epitaph for a Peach: Four Seasons on My Family Farm. I was moved by this family's tale of Japanese internment, organic farming, and the Sun Crest peach. In fact, I planted a Sun Crest peach in my orchard so I could experience this incredible fruit that is difficult to market in today's grocery store monoculture. Now, David Mas Masumoto has written a new book Wisdom of the Last Farmer: Harvesting Legacies from the Land.
  • Really Natural Books: Recipe for Raising Chickens: Minnie Rose Lovgreen's Recipe for Raising Chickens: The Main Thing Is to Keep Them Happy is an easy to read handbook with everything you need to know to raise chickens. Written by Minnie Rose, an Englishwoman who was scheduled to travel on the Titanic but "hopped" an earlier boat, this book is full of humor and simple wisdom.

Gifts for the Pets:

Photo:  Attribution Some rights reserved by Nina Matthews Photography

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.

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Posted by Jennifer Lance at November 8, 2010 4:30 AM

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