October 17, 2012

Toxic Halloween: Gimbal's Fine Candy Full of Artificial Colors and Flavors

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Sometimes, I really wonder how we get certain products sent to us. We are a natural living blog!

Halloween is rapidly approaching. It is a time when children and adults dress up in costumes and consume large amounts of candy. This celebration of ghosts and ghouls does not have to include toxic substances, but unfortunately, for most, the candy they consume is full of chemical colors and flavors.

We were sent Gimbal's Fine Candies Gourmet Jelly Beans, 41 Flavors:

We want parents and families everywhere to know that Gimbal's Fine Candy is a safe and delicious treat for everyone to appreciate, even despite food allergies. Recent studies show that 1 in 12 children are living with a food allergy, and many parents worry about the contents of food and the facilities in which the food was produced.

Gimbal's Fine Candies products AND facilities are free of the eight most common food allergens (tree nuts, milk, egg, gluten, soy, fish, and shellfish), eliminating the risk of cross contamination. Countless customers have reiterated to us how our for making candy available to them despite their food allergies.


They may be free of such common food allergens, but Red 40, Red 3, Blue1 Lake, etc., are also suspected causes of ADHD and other health problems. Livestrong.com explains:
Behavior Issues
Some children may be particularly sensitive to artificial dyes, including Red 40, and for these children consuming this food coloring can increase behavioral issues and lead to hyperactivity, attention problems, irritability, learning problems, aggressiveness and restlessness. Eliminating these artificial colors from the diet of sensitive children may lower or eliminate their need for ADHD medications, according to a June 2008 article posted on CBSNews.com.
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DNA Damage
A number of tests have shown that Red 40 given to mice can damage their DNA, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Although some of the tests were negative, those involving the liver, colon and glandular stomach were positive. These results may not carry over to humans, but do show a potential harmful effect from consuming Red 40.

Cancer
The Center for Science in the Public Interest notes that the tests done in the 1970s using mice were problematic and not conclusive as to the potential cancer risk of consuming Red 40. Compounds in Red 40 have been linked to cancer, according to Columbia University Medical Center, including 4-aminobiphenyl and benzidine. Tests have also found cancer-causing contaminants in this food coloring, including p-cresidine and aniline.


The outside of the Gimbal's package promotes the products as "Made with real fruit juice" and "A good source of antioxidant vitamin c". I think it should come with a warning about chemical colorants.

We were sent more than just the jelly beans, but I am so disgusted, I won't even list them here.  I will not try this product. I will not let my children consume it either.

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.

Read More in: Food | Health | Kids | Product review

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

October 16, 2012

Are your cotton clothes GMO?

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In the current debate about the safety and labeling of GMO food products, there's another issue that may be overlooked. Is your clothing made from GMO grown cotton? The answer is most likely yes, unless it is organic cotton clothing.

The Telegraph reports:

The so-called 'franken frocks' will not harm the health of the person wearing the GM cotton but many feel that the public has not been consulted about the long term implications on the environment...

In India up to 90 per cent of the crop is now genetically engineered to be resistant to certain pests. In China and the US it is also GM...

Amy Leech, Soil Association research assistant, explained that GM cotton can use dangerous pesticides and gives farmers little control over their own crop.
She claimed that organic cotton uses less water and is a better deal for farmers.
"Growing cotton is a toxic business; it uses a lot of pesticides - putting in peril the lives of women, men and children in cotton farming communities. 77 million cotton workers suffer poisonings from pesticides each year."


Organic cotton clothing is becoming more and more affordable. Alternative Women's Organic Short Sleeve Scoop Neck Tee start at only $5!

Image: License

Attribution Some rights reserved by lemuelinchrist

Read More in: Fashion | environment

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October 15, 2012

Soft Gear My Booster: Recycles Raw Materials, Made in the USA

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Booster seats can be helpful for little children sitting in big chairs at big tables. Soft Gear My Booster Seat is made from some synthetic material that makes it firm yet squishy, as well as tactile enough to stay on a chair.

Soft Gear My Booster is made with our exclusive closed cell foam technology and is mold-resistant and latex free. The patent pending suction cups on the bottom of the booster and the hand holds on each side help to prevent your child from slipping and falling. Plus, it's anti-microbial so microorganisms won't degrade your booster or affect your child's health. My Booster is lightweight and transportable so your toddler can avoid germs from public booster seats. Carrying case included.

Booster seats can get pretty nasty, as little kids drop food all over them; however, I am afraid of anti-microbial products. I think they weaken our immune systems, create super bugs, and often contain nano-technology.

On the back of the package, My Booster states, "By purchasing Soft Gear products you are also helping to reduce your carbon footprint." The reasoning given is each product is made in the USA reducing fossil fuel consumption in transport, and the facilities recycle raw materials. Both are commendable actions, yet I do wonder about the actual materials used in the product and whether they could also be made from recycled content.

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.

Read More in: Baby | Kids | Product review

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

October 10, 2012

Scientists Change Fruit and Vegetable Recommendations to 7 Servings Daily

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As an educator, the Five a Day campaign has been the focus of nutrition information. Forget the food groups of my youth, or even the more modern food pyramid...today, children are encouraged to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. As much as this a challenge for many Americans, scientists have just raised the ante to seven a day.
 

Daily Mail explains not only are seven servings better for your health, it makes you happier:

They have discovered that people who eat between seven and eight portions a day felt more cheerful, loved and optimistic about the future.

Seven a day: Scientists claim that people who eat between seven and eight portions of fruit and veg a day felt happier about themselves and life

Researchers from the University of Warwick analysed surveys involving 80,000 Britons which included questions on their diet and general feelings.

Each person was given a score between 0 and 10 based on their satisfaction with life.

Bad weather and poor harvests push up food costs as experts say the era of low prices is over

Those who ate more than eight portions a day got an average score of one point higher than people who didn't eat any.

Professor Andrew Oswald from the Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy in the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick, said: 'This study has shown surprising results and I have decided it is prudent to eat more fruit and vegetables. I am keen to stay cheery.'...

Their study, published in the journal Social Indicators Research, concludes: 'Our findings are consistent with the need for high levels of fruit-and-vegetable consumption for mental health and not merely for physical health.'

The academics do not know exactly how fruit and veg may improve wellbeing.
But they contain chemicals known as antioxidants which are thought to reduce stress levels.

Recently several studies have found that children who eat more fruit and veg are less at risk of depression in later life.

The link between nutrition, mental health, and physical health cannot be denied.  We are whole beings.

Image:  License

AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by karimian

Read More in: Food | Health

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

Handmade, Organic Knit Toys by Zubels

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Super soft and sweet, Zubels makes organic knit toys that are handmade with love. We were sent the Zubels Frog Freddy Hand-Knit Doll. I appreciate the handmade organic fibers, as well as the low impact dyes of this toy. The price of $20, although seeming high for the doll itself, is not considering it is not made in China in a factory.

What are eco-friendly dyes?

Zubels uses only eco-friendly low impact dyes. Low impact dyes are eco-friendly for several reasons.
1) They don't contain toxic chemicals or mordants (used to help set the dye)
2) They have a high absorption rate (which leads to less water needed during dyeing)
3) They use low temperatures during dying (which saves energy)
4) They are more expensive (which means that they are reclaimed and not wasted)

The doll is not 100% natural, as it contains polyester fiber fill.

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

Read More in: Kids | Product review

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

October 9, 2012

Study: GMO crops lead to superweeds lead to more pesticide use

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One reason GMO crops were developed was to reduce pesticide use. Unfortunately, a new study has found that exactly the opposite is happening when GMO crops are grown in subsequent years. Superweeds, those that are resistant to pesticides, are created, and more and more chemicals are used in effort to kill. It's basic evolution: survival of the fittest superweed.

Nation of Change explains:

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) require more pesticide use on crops, say the authors of a 16-year study published in Environmental Sciences Europe. According to the researchers, 527 million pounds of a toxic herbicide have inundated farmlands since 1996. What's more, this abhorrent amount is much greater than that promised by Monsanto, which claims that GM crops require smaller doses of herbicides like the company's best-selling Roundup Ready.

This study found, however, that although farmers did reduce Roundup Ready use by 2 percent between 1996 and 1999, herbicide use resurged with a vengeance thereafter. This was a result of the emergence of "superweeds" that resist herbicides, requiring farmers to use more of it with each application.


Now we don't only have to worry about the negative effects of GMO crops to our health and environment, we also have increased pesticide use to be concerned about as well.

Image:  License

Attribution Some rights reserved by andypowe11

Read More in: Food | environment

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

October 6, 2012

Bitsy's Brainfood: Unique Snack Combinations Full of Omega-3 and DHA

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Are you looking for an interesting snack for you children that sneaks in flavors and goodness? Bitsy's Brainfood does just that in a pleasantly surprising way.

Bitsy's Brainfood was started by two new moms who shared a simple belief -- that healthy bodies and healthy minds are connected, and that learning to eat smart should be fun.

The fact is that certain foods are smarter than others. So the idea was to create Bitsy's Brainfood, a line of smart snacks... bite-sized treats packed with the good stuff to help support developing bodies and brains, like vitamins and Omega-3, and packaged with content that's educational and oh-mega cool. Plus, we've yet to meet a kid who doesn't love snacks or a parent who doesn't crave nutritious, on-the-go options.


We were sent a lunch bag with two flavors:

The packages of organic snacks are affordable ($2.50/box). The lunchbag and water bottle that accompanied our samples is very cheap. Even if BPA free, I wouldn't let my children drink from such weak plastic. The website, which is largely designed for children, is somewhat annoying. Furthermore, our samples were sent in an enormous box!  The snacks themselves are unique and a great way to get children a little extra nutrition between meals.

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

Read More in: Food | Kids | Product review

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

October 5, 2012

Vegan, Sugar Free Multivitamins: Playmaker Nutrition for Active Kids and Teens

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I believe it is optimal for humans to get their vitamins and minerals from food; however, we have all experienced the picky eater in our children. In our family, we do take supplements, just not every day.

Playmaker Nutrition's Sugar Free Multivitamin is designed for active kids and teens. This vegan formula is also free of gelatin, gluten, milk, eggs, soy, nuts, and animal derivatives. The colors and flavors are all natural.

The Backstory
Playmaker Nutrition is the brainchild of two fathers with backgrounds in health and sports who are parents to active tweens and teens. As their children grew, they became increasingly concerned about the nutritional content their kids were getting in their diets. Like most parents, the guys found that as their respective children got older and develop(ed) their own specific tastes/preferences, directly controlling what their children will eat is challenging. As such, they explored ways to supplement their children's diets to get them the necessary vitamins and nutrients for which their kids don't naturally gravitate. Finding a lack of chewable vitamin options designed to meet the growing needs of active children between the ages of 8-18, Playmaker Nutrition was born.

These gummy vitamins have 25% of most vitamins, which I like. I don't like overloading my kids' systems with supplements that may or may not be absorbed.  They do not contain iron, which is something my son has had low levels of in the past and something I look for in a multivitamin.


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

Read More in: Health | Kids

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

October 3, 2012

MC Yogi - Be the Change (The Story of Mahatma Gandhi)

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October 2, 2012

Organically Grown AllGood Provisions Perfect for Healthy Snacking

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Looking for a quality organic snack? AllGood Provisions can keep you supplied with their eco-friendly packaging and affordable prices. We were sent two packets to try:

ALLGOOD is an original brand of organic, nutritious, and earth-friendly snack foods. Good, natural food, it's that simple.

ALLGOOD foods are certified organic and free from harmful pesticides, growth hormones, and synthetic fertilizers.

Each of our products contains rich vitamins and minerals important to a healthy diet. Good, natural nutrition from the earth.

At ALLGOOD we are continually exploring ways to reduce our ecological footprint and operate in an earth-friendly manner.

It is our firm belief that businesses have a responsibility to do their best to create positive social and environmental change. AlLLGOOD has been a proud member of 1% for the Planet since our inception.


I like how they say right on the packaging what state the food originates from boldly.


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

Read More in: Food | Product review

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

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