Archive for Health & Fitness

December 4th, 2017

6 Non-Toxic Cookware Brands to Try

6 Non-Toxic Cookware Brands to TryYears ago I started tossing my old, scratched non-stick pots and pans and slowly began to replace them with safer, non-toxic brands.

My switch to non-toxic cookware has been a process. There’s so much information out there to sort through and investing in new pieces can be an expensive undertaking.

After years of research and many questions from interested readers, I’ve put together this list of non-toxic cookware. The list is constantly evolving and I’ll do my best to keep it updated. Here are a few of my fave safer pots, pans and bakeware.

Lodge Cast Iron Cookware

Lodge is one of my favorite cast iron brands because it’s reasonably priced and lasts forever. Before investing in cast iron take a look at the basics HERE. I’m a big fan of the Lodge 10 1/4-Inch Pre-Seasoned Skillet ($16). This is probably similar to the pan our grandparents used for everything. A few more to check out are the Lodge Cast Iron Skillet with Red Silicone Hot Handle Holder, 12-inch ($40) and the Lodge Reversible Grill/Griddle ($24).

Xtrema Ceramic Cookware

I’ve been a fan of X-trema cookware for a few years. Ceramic cookware has been on my radar for a while. All of their products can go from the stovetop to the oven to the broiler to the microwave. The pots and pans contain no PFOA coatings, and don’t contain heavy metals, lead or cadmium. Here are a few of my favorites:

Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Cookware

As much as I love Le Creuset, their pans are not cheap. They are top of the line so the hope is that once you invest in a quality piece or two you won’t have to replace them.

Two Stainless Steel Brands I Recommend

Stainless steel is a tricky type of cookware. Made from a mixture of several different metals, which can leach into your food if your stainless steel cookware is scratched or dinged. Overall, stainless steel cookware is considered one of the best and safest choices in cookware.

I’m a fan of All-Clad and have a few staples in my rotation of pots and pans that have been around for many years. I use the All-Clad 12 inch Stainless Steel Fry Pan with Lid ($120) almost every day. This All-Clad Stainless Steel Sauce Pan ($112) also gets a used daily. During the winter we use the All-Clad 16 Quart Stainless Steel Stockpot Cookware ($200) for soups and stews.

There are other stainless steel brands that aren’t as pricey and continue to live up to their non-toxic title. The Chantal Induction 10 inch Stainless Steel Fry Pan ($54) is a reasonably priced option. The Chantal Induction 2 Quart Steel Soup Pot with Glass Tempered Lid ($42)is perfect for winter soups. The Chantal 3.5 Quart Steel Sauce Pan ($72) is great for heating up sauces and leftovers.

Stoneware for Baking

If you like to bake, stoneware is a great alternative to aluminum cookie sheets and baking pans. Here are a few of my favorites:

What’s your favorite cookware? Please share your favorite brands!

 


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November 29th, 2017

Sustainable Style: Head to Yoga Class in Recycled Wear From prAna

Sustainable Style: Head to Yoga Class in Recycled Wear From prAna

Getting out of bed this morning was challenging. It was too early, bitterly cold and dark outside. A heated power yoga class was a perfect way to jumpstart my day. My yoga style is pretty simple: classic supportive tank and leggings are my go-to. Thanks to prAna, on those cold mornings I have a few versatile and stylish options in my closet to throw on over my standard yoga gear.

Check out my sustainable wear from @prAna and get yours at 15% off with discount code. #giftedprAna Click To Tweet

The prAna Rockaway Jacket pre-power yoga

When I reach into my closet I’m always searching for pieces that reflect who I am and what I value. Not every piece is a true reflection, but the tops and bottoms from prAna that I’ve accumulated over the years are always a sure thing. I’m loving my prAna Rockaway Jacket. The jacket is form-fitting and so soft on the inside.

I’ve been wearing prAna for many years. I started out wearing their yoga-wear way back when I took my first yoga class. I remember their tops were trendy and comfortable, with patterns that truly stood out. And they’ve lasted a long time. I still have a few originals in my closet to prove it.

Style with a Sustainable Twist

My initial love of prAna was solely based on style. Every piece I tried on was perfect for my daily adventures. It was a bonus when I discovered that the company was focused on “making good stuff in a good way”.

At prAna sustainability is one of their core philosophies. They focus on using materials and partnering with companies and factories that adhere to strict guidelines for safety and efficacy.

It’s hard not to support a company promoting sustainability and producing products with classic style.

Check Out What Sustainable Looks Like

I’m in love with my prAna Mantra Pant. They are incredibly comfy and perfect for those days that I’m working from home. I ordered a size smaller than usual and they fit perfectly. The pants are made from recycled materials, organic, Fair Trade Certified, Bluesign, and PFOA free.

Sustainable Style: Head to Yoga Class in Recycled Wear From prAna

The Mantra Pant in Black Herringbone

prAna Discount for You!

Now it’s your turn to try some prAna gear.

All Groovy Green Living readers are eligible for 15% off all non-sale items at prAna by entering this code at checkout:  CMGL17

Please note that the discount is valid through December 20th, 2017, and is not valid for Influencers, sale items, gift certificates or with any other offer.


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Disclosure: The kind folks at prAna sent me a Rockaway Jacket and Mantra Pant for review. All opinions are my very own. There are a few affiliate links in this post. Any purchases made will help support this blog. Thanks!

 

October 19th, 2017

Who’s in? Join Me for a Burpee Challenge

What have I gotten myself into? Somehow I signed myself up to do fifty burpees every day for thirty days. So now I need your help. I’m looking for a support team to hold me (and you if you join!) accountable. Interested in joining me?

I know you’re wondering why would anyone in their right mind want to do this? Valid question. 50 burpees are no small feat. Exercise and fitness have always been a big part of my life,  but this is taking things to a whole new level. For some reason, I was inspired by Anna Quinlan when she wrote about her experience doing 50 burpees every day for 30 days. No surprise that her entire body was sore for the entire first week and she sweat like a pig every single time throughout the month. Something about this really does sound appealing, doesn’t it?

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s what a burpee looks like.

Now, are you in?!

Who's in? Join Me for a Burpee Challenge #BurpeeChallenge Click To Tweet

When I shared the burpee challenge on my Facebook page a few eager, fit friends chimed in. Together we decided to give it a shot.

Kicking off on November 1st, we are going to do a burpee challenge: 50 burpees for 30 days.

If you want to start off with an easier version rather than doing the pushup, stick to a plank. I know that 50 pushups is a lot even without the added burpee. My goal is to do all 50 with the pushup. I really think I can do it. Over the summer I challenged myself to do 50 pushups and 50 situps every day. It wasn’t easy, but I did it most days. Burpees with pushups are an entirely different beast.

If you’re interested in joining in the fun but don’t want to do the pushup, here’s what a pushup-free burpee would look like.

So now that I’ve completely lost my mind, I’m hoping you’ll join me. I have no doubt that after the 30 days are over we’ll all feel fabulous. Too bad the short sleeves and swimsuits will be stashed away by then.

Are you ready to join me? Feel free to email or message me if you don’t want to publically commit. We can do this together!


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October 3rd, 2017

5 Natural Ways to Kick the Common Cold That Actually Work

5 natural ways to kick the common cold

It’s September and I already have my first cold of the season. We all know that there’s never a good time for a cold, but the coughing sneezing and other symptoms always seem to appear at the most inopportune times. I guess there’s only so much we can do to prevent the inevitable!

I know I’m not alone. Everyone seems to be sniffling, sneezing and coughing, trying desperately to find remedies to ease their symptoms. Now that I have a cold, my goal is to shorten its duration.

Here are a few tricks I’m using to help kick my cold. 

Please remember to visit your doctor if your symptoms persist or worsen. 

Eat Healthy

Eating healthy seems like an obvious choice when combating a cold. This is the time of year when our immune system is working on overdrive. We are back to a packed schedule with work and family and there’s little time to care for ourselves. By eating healthy food we can naturally strengthen our immune system and stay healthy throughout the year. A few of my favorites menu additions are broccoli, salmon, nuts, and garlic.

Use a Neti Pot to help with cold congestion

I’m in love with my Neti Pot. Whenever I have a cold or any sort of congestion I turn to my Neti Pot. It takes a bit of an effort and it’s not pretty to watch, but if used correctly it removes excess mucus, pollen, dust, and other environmental irritants from the sinus passages. Don’t forget to add the salt!

Take Homeopathic Nature’s Way Umcka ColdCare

I’ve been using Nature’s Way Umcka ColdCare Chewable tablets since my symptoms first appeared and they seem to be doing their job. I always keep them in stock so we can start taking them whenever a cold begins.

Drink Hot Tea

My cabinets are filled with an arsenal of hot tea options. When I feel a cold coming on I break out my organic cold and flu brew. I also like Traditional Medicinals, Organic Throat Coat Tea when I have a sore throat. The heat from the tea helps boost the immune system. My kids love Traditional Medicinals Just for Kids Organic Cold Care Tea. If hot tea’s not your drink of choice make sure to find other ways to drink plenty of liquids!

Oregano

While Oregano is delicious on pizza, pasta, and many other foods, it can also help kick a cold. Oregano oil has antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it ideal for reducing the duration of a cold. I generally take oregano oil when the first symptoms appear. I like to keep oregano oil soft gel tablets in my kitchen cabinet so they’re ready to go. You can take an oregano capsule twice a day with meals. To treat a sore throat add 6 drops of organic oregano oil to a glass of water and gargle a few times each day.

Don’t forget to get enough sleep and drink plenty of liquids!

Please speak with your doctor before trying any of these remedies.


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Disclosure: Some links in this post are affiliate links meaning,at no additional cost to you, I may get a small commission if you make a purchase. Thanks for your support! 
September 12th, 2017

5 Ways to Combat Stress as We Transition to Fall and a prAna Discount Code!

Long gone are those lazy days of summer as we transition to the structured days of fall. Shifting from one season to another is no easy task. Many of us are feeling elevated levels of stress due to the changing of the seasons coupled with the upheaval happening in the world.

As we struggle to make sense of the world right now and as we scramble to wake our children in the morning stress levels are on the rise.

Feeling overwhelmed or stressed out can be caused by so many different scenarios. Being prepared for unexpected stress is important during this volatile time and throughout the year.

Here are a few ways to combat stress as we confront any transition.

Eat Well

The old adage, “you are what you eat” holds so much truth. Eating the right foods is the first line of defense when it comes to treating stress. Take the time to fill your body with good, unprocessed food including a wide array of fruits and vegetables (organic when you can!).

We always try to participate in a CSA in the fall. Community-Supported or Community-Shared Agriculture (CSA) is also known as “subscription farming.” We buy a subscription from a local farmer and receive a “share” of fresh, organically grown fruit and/or vegetables.

Reconnect With You 

It’s time to embrace your adventurous spirit. What do I mean by that? Take some time for adventure!

Reduce stress by embracing your adventurous spirit! @prAna #WhereDoYouprAna Click To Tweet

I didn’t write much this summer. I needed a reboot so I decided to take the summer off to spend time with my family. With three teen boys, it’s hard not to think about the short amount of time remaining before they head off to college. As the clock loudly ticks I’m craving more time. So the luxury of a summer off was perfect.

Now I’m back and kicking off the fall by jumping in headfirst. We went from zero to sixty this weekend doing activities that I love with my kids. Saturday was gorgeous and sunny for my son’s first soccer game. I’m not ready to give up my summer wardrobe so I mixed and matched. Check out my Brenna pants from one of my favorite companies, prAna.

5 Ways to Combat Stress as We Transition to Fall

5 Ways to Combat Stress as We Transition to Fall

Iconic Citgo sign in Kenmore Square, next to Fenway Park

Thanks to the Boston Red Sox I was able to take five (yes, 5!) teenagers to a baseball game this weekend. The day was beautiful and a good time was had by all. Unfortunately, the Sox lost, but they’re still in first place in the American League East.

My prAna Sage Joggers were perfect for a day at Fenway Park. I’ll be taking them with me on all of my travel adventures this year.

I’m a prAna fan and been wearing prAna for many years. This is a brand that I was initially drawn to because of style, but knowing that they truly care about our health, the environment and our planet makes wearing their clothing that much more appealing. At prAna one of their core philosophies is sustainability. You can’t beat that!

Drink water

We all know that drinking water is important for optimal health. When we don’t drink enough water it can cause dehydration and increase the cortisol levels in our body which can lead to increased stress! Fill that reusable water bottle and keep it close by throughout the day.

Sleep

Now that my kids are teenagers it’s becoming more difficult to get enough sleep. The kids are up later and out later, which means that I’m up later too. Sleep is so important for maintaining a strong immune system. Studies show that people who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick. Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover from an illness.

Move Your Body

Throughout the year it’s important to keep active. Exercise could boost your immune system and possibly help it guard against cancer. Try to schedule regular activity throughout the day and make exercise a priority. It’s important to find a form of exercise that you love so you can stick with it.

Thank you and a prAna discount code for you!

As a thank you for being a loyal Groovy Green Livin reader you are eligible for 15% off at prAna by entering this code at checkout: MHMLA15

Please note that the discount is valid through October 10, 2017, and is not valid for Influencers, online gift certificates or with any other offer.

How do you handle transition?


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 Disclosure: I’m a prAna influencer, which means I receive special pricing on prAna products as well as sneak peeks at their new collections and product releases.  I was sent the Brenna Pant and Sage Jogger for review. All opinions are, of course, my own.
September 8th, 2017

6 Healthy Staples You Will Always Find in My Kitchen

6 Healthy Staples You Will Always Find in My KitchenCooking healthy meals and choosing nutritious snacks becomes much easier when there are healthy choices at your fingertips. There are a few staples that are usually available in my kitchen, making nutritious snacks and meals easier to prepare. As our family heads into a busy season of juggling work, school and kid’s activities it’s important to make reaching for healthy options a priority.

Here are a few of my favorite kitchen staples that you’re likely to find if you stop by for a visit.

Olive Oil

Olive oil has always been one of my favorite oils to use and has been touted by some to be one of the healthiest oils. It has so many interesting uses ranging from cooking to cleaning stainless steel appliances. Olive oil has a fairly high cooking temperature and adds great flavor to many dishes.We always have a few large bottles of olive oil hanging around on the counter or in the cabinet.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is another favorite that has become a staple in my kitchen (and bathroom!). I use it for everything from cooking and baking to removing my makeup. Go for the organic coconut oil if you can.

Maple Syrup

We like to spend time in Maine over the summer and summers wouldn’t be the same without Maine Organic Maple Syrup. Maple syrup is one of my favorite natural sweeteners and is perfect for baking. My kids can’t get enough of the stuff on pancakes and French toast. It’s important to read the label before buying to make sure you’re getting pure maple syrup.

Eggs

Eggs are a staple in our home and as a result, our fridge is constantly filled with at least a dozen eggs. Our family’s been part of a CSA for many years and we receive an organic egg share each week. The eggs are delicious and definitely taste different than their store bought version (we did a taste test to prove this!).

Rice

Rice is a favorite at our house. It tops my list since it’s so easy to prepare. I use a rice cooker (THIS is my favorite rice cooker) with a timer so the rice is ready whenever we’re ready to eat. Make sure to rinse your rice before cooking to remove some of the arsenic. Here are a few interesting rice/arsenic facts from Treehugger:

• Basmati rice contains lower levels than other rice.
• Brown rice usually contains more arsenic than white rice (because of the husk).
• Growing rice organically doesn’t make a difference to levels.
• Rice cakes and crackers can contain levels higher than in cooked rice.
• The levels of arsenic found in rice milk far exceed the amounts that would be allowed in drinking water.

Baby spinach

6 Healthy Staples You Will Always Find in My Kitchen

You will always find a container of baby spinach in my refrigerator. It’s great for a quick smoothie add-in or a sprinkle on top of any dish. Spinach is a nutritional rock star with one cup providing nearly 20% of the recommended allowance of dietary fiber and over 337% of the recommended allowance of vitamin A. One cup of spinach also provides over 1000% of the RDA of vitamin K which helps to maintain the strength and density of our bones.

What staples are in your kitchen?


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Disclosure: Some links in this post are affiliate links meaning,at no additional cost to you, I may get a small commission if you make a purchase. Thanks for your support! 
January 24th, 2011

How to Choose Healthy Pots and Pans

How to Choose Healthy Pots and Pans
Despite the ease and con­ve­nience of non-stick pots and pans such as Teflon, many health conscious people are tossing their non-stick and replacing them with healthier options.

WHAT’S WRONG WITH TEFLON?

Non-stick pots and pans are metal pans (such as aluminum pans) coated with a synthetic polymer called polytetrafluoroetheylene (PTFE), also known as Teflon. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), toxic fumes from the Teflon chemical released from pots and pans at high temperatures may kill pet birds and cause people to develop flu-like symptoms.

TEFLON: THUMBS DOWN

SAFER ALTERNATIVES TO NON-STICK

Aluminum

Aluminum from pots and pans can leach into food when the foods being cooked or stored are highly basic (like baking soda) or highly acidic (like tomato sauce, lemon juice, oranges, or vinegar). Aluminum is on the  list of top priority toxins in the United States (a list put out every year by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry), and aluminum has been clearly identified as a toxin for the human nervous system, immune system and genetic system. Aluminum has also been linked to Alzheimer’s.

ALUMINUM: THUMBS DOWN

Anodized Aluminum

Some health conscious cooks are turning to anodized aluminum cookware as a safer alternative. The aluminum is treated with a non-reactive hard coating of aluminum called aluminum oxidation, so that the aluminum can’t leach into food, and makes for what many cooks consider an ideal non-stick and scratch-resistant cooking surface. But questions about aluminum  in general remain.  If the pan is scratched it can leach -so get rid of it. Also, be prepared to spend some big bucks on these pans.

ANODIZED ALUMINUM: THUMBS SIDEWAYS

Cast Iron

Another good choice is going back to the cookware that your grandparents probably used, cast iron, which is known for its durability and even heat distribution. The downside of cast iron- most cast iron cookware needs to be seasoned after each use and this makes it not as worry-free as other alternatives.

CAST IRON: THUMBS UP WITH A LITTLE EXTRA EFFORT

Glass, Ceramic and Stoneware

Photo used under Creative Commons from Janek Mann

Glass, ceramic, and stoneware cookware are grouped together because they all have similar cooking and handling characteristics. This type of cookware is considered healthy as long as it has zero lead content-check any pans with glaze for possible lead. These pans are simple to clean since they can safely be washed in the dishwasher.

GLASS, CERAMIC AND STONEWARE: THUMBS UP

Silicone

When this first came out I was immediately skeptical.  All of those fun, funky colors are attractive-but are they safe? The jury is still out.  Some claim that silicone does off-gas, and raise concerns that additives may include petroleum or other harmful ingredients.  Others claim that there are no known health hazards.  I say err on the side of caution.

SILICONE: THUMBS DOWN

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is a mixture of several different metals, including nickel, chromium and molybdenum, all of which can trickle into foods. Leaching will happen only if your stainless steel cookware is dinged and the amount of leaching would be small. It is definitely NOT non-stick.  Soaking after use and before scrubbing is a must. Stainless steel cookware is considered one of the best and safest choices in cookware.

STAINLESS STEEL: THUMBS UP

BOTTOM LINE:

Most  nonstick coatings presently on the market contain the problem chemical PTFE. Gradually get rid of your non-stick and replace with  healthier options. I love All Clad stainless steel-although pricey they will last a lifetime and beyond. Glass Cookware is my go-to for baking. There are all sorts of “green” alternatives coming out that claim to be PTFE and PFOA free.  Just be sure to do your homework before investing in these.

Any other cookware you would suggest?

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photo credit: Sharon Drummond via photopin cc

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About Lori

Hi! I’m Lori, a recovering attorney, writer, and mom to three boys. Join me as I uncover and share the latest info on healthy living. Learn more.

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