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Archive for Healthy Living

October 18th, 2016

What Egg Carton Labels Really Mean

What Egg Carton Labels Really Mean Groovy Green Livin

Eggs are a staple in our home and as a result, we are constantly restocking our supply. 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. The CSA delivers the eggs in plain egg cartons, devoid of any labels. Almost all egg cartons at the supermarket tell a different story.

On your next trip to the supermarket take a good look at the egg cartons. As a consumer, it’s become quite confusing to buy a simple carton of eggs since most are covered with confusing labels. It’s hard to understand what they all mean and whether or not there’s any truth behind the label. While some labels are truly a regulated certification, others are just words that don’t mean much of anything.

Before we jump into egg carton labeling let’s be clear that white and brown eggs pack the same nutritional punch. There’s virtually no difference. There’s a simple explanation: White-feathered chickens lay white eggs while brown feather chickens lay brown eggs.

The next time you’re at the market for eggs here’s a cheat sheet to help you decipher the confusing world of egg carton labels.

What Your Egg Carton Really Means Groovy Green Livin

What egg carton labels really mean. Take this guide with you the market! Click To Tweet

Cage-free eggs (free run)

If you’re envisioning chickens roaming around freely in a cage-free environment this probably isn’t the case. Cage-free or free run chickens generally are uncaged and can stretch their wings and move about freely. That’s it. This doesn’t mean they have any outdoor access and it also doesn’t mean that they have plenty of room to move about freely. It’s impossible to tell from the “cage-free” egg carton label whether the hens are packed together in a “cage-free” environment or have enough space to roam around.

Free-range (Free-roaming)

Unfortunately labeling eggs “free-range” doesn’t mean very much. Hens in a free-range environment are uncaged and can go outside if they want to. There’s no requirement that they spend a specific amount of time outside or that they go outside at all. If eggs are “Certified Humane,”  the hens must have access to at least two square feet of outdoor space for up to six hours a day. California has state regulation that says eggs sold in California must come from hens that have enough room to lie, stand, turn around and spread their wings without touching another bird. Any eggs originating in California or being sold there must be in compliance.


This is a completely unregulated term but still widely used on eggs. It seems to mean the bird has more space to roam than a cage-free hen. According to one farm: “Grass-fed/pastured hens are raised on pasture, as opposed to being kept in confinement and fed primarily grains.”

Certified Organic

An organic certification on your eggs actually means something (finally!). Eggs with a U.S. Department of Agriculture organic certification label come from uncaged hens that are free to roam in their houses and have access to the outdoors. Due to the strict requirements, the hens are fed an organic feed produced without conventional pesticides or fertilizers and they’re never given antibiotics.

What type of eggs do you usually buy?

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 Egg carton graphic designed by the talented Sara Popkewitz.
October 7th, 2016

6 Stylish Reusable Water Bottles You’ll Want to Own


More and more people are making the switch to reusable water bottles. Just this morning I was walking out of a spin class at the gym and I noticed a woman carrying an interesting looking reusable water bottle with a wood finish. Looking down at my old, dented water bottle I came to the realization that reusable water bottles do sometimes need to be replaced. We’ve also been known to misplace a water bottle or two (or more) over the years.

When reusable water bottles first became popular there weren’t many options. There were a few different brands and an assortment of basic colors. Now the market has exploded and so have choices. There are options for various sizes, colors, shapes and special features .

I have my eye on a few stylish reusable bottles to add to my collection and here they are.

S’well Teakwood Water Bottles ($39)

reusable water bottlesThe S’well Teakwood Water Bottle is at the top of my list. This is the water bottle that I spotted at the gym this morning and I love the look. The bottle keeps your drinks cold for 24 hours and hot for 12 hours. It’s made from stainless steel and is non-toxic, non-leaching and BPA free. For every bottle sold, S’well will plant one tree through the American Forests foundation.

They are a bit pricey, coming in at close to $40 for a 17 oz water bottle.

Corkcicle Canteen- Water Bottle and Thermos ($36)reusable water bottles

The Corkcicle Canteen has a stainless steel interior and comes in a variety of cool, new colors, shapes, and sizes. I have my eye on the matte blue. This bottle keeps Beverages cold for over 25 hours and hot for over 12 hours.

Estilo Glass Water Bottles – Set of 4 (Green, Black, Blue, Pink for $17)

reusable water bottlesThe Estilo Glass Water Bottles  are glass water bottles covered with a silicone protective sleeve. They come in a set of 4 and are reasonably priced at $17 for all 4. I’m always concerned about plastic caps on reusable water bottles but these have a high-quality stainless steel cap with the seal made from food grade silicone.Reusable water bottles

Seattle Sports H2Duo Two-Part Bottle ($45)

I’m in love with the Seattle Sports H2Duo Two-Part Bottle. This reusable water bottle is stainless steel on the interior and has a wide opening, making it easy to add ice cubes and simple to clean. The bottle twists apart at the middle for easy cleaning and compact storage. Lanyard is used to attach the cap to the bottle so it won’t get lost.

Hydro Flask Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Reusable Water Bottles ($28)

reusable water bottlesThe Hydro Flask insulated stainless steel water bottle isn’t new to the market, but it continues to stand out as one of the best. It comes in a wide variety of matte colors and the exterior never sweats. The insulated stainless steel water bottle keeps drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot for up to 6 hours. As added bonuses, Hydro Flask comes with a lifetime warranty and donates 5% back to a charity of your choice.

MIU COLOR® Glass Water Bottle ($14)

reusable water bottlesI really like the look of these MIU Glass Water Bottles. Each can be paired with a colorful nylon sleeve. There is a loop on the sleeve, which makes the bottle convenient to carry. The bottle is made of ultra clear borosilicate glass. The cap is made high-quality stainless steel, with a seal made of food grade silicone.

Do you have a favorite reusable water bottle?

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 Disclosure: Some links are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may get a small commission if you make a purchase. I was not paid to promote these products, I just happen to like them. Thanks for your support!
September 28th, 2016

Please Stop Using Baby Powder With Talc

please stop using baby powder with talc

Baby powder was a staple in our bathroom when I was growing up. I vividly remember the white powder container standing prominently on the countertop. Like so many families, the most common use was after a bath. To this day, the smell of baby powder makes me think of clean babies and children.

Baby powder has joined a growing list of products marketed to familes that could be harmful. Much like Tide Free and Gentle laundry detergent, it can sometimes contain a cancer-causing ingredient: talcum powder.

Babies aren’t the only ones using baby powder. Many adults continue to use baby powder as part of their daily ritual in place of deodorant or for feminine hygiene. Remember the Shower to Shower ad: “A sprinkle a day keeps odor away”?

What is talcum powder?

According to the American Cancer Society: “Talcum powder is made from talc, a mineral made up mainly of the elements magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. As a powder, it absorbs moisture well and helps cut down on friction, making it useful for keeping skin dry and helping to prevent rashes.”

What’s the problem with baby powder with talc?

Prior to 1970, many powders contained talc which also contained asbestos, a known cancer-causing chemical. After the 70’s consumer products no longer used talc with asbestos. The safety of asbestos-free talc, which is still widely used in many products, is less clear and has been possibly linked to an increased risk of ovarian cancer.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) had listed talcum powder as possibly carcinogenic (cancer-causing) to humans when applied to the genital area.

Listing talcum powder as possibly carcinogenic is enough reason for me to never use it! It’s hard to understand why these companies would continue to use talc as the main ingredient in their products if there’s a possible connection to ovarian cancer. 

The evidence that talcum powder is dangerous continues to mount. Two juries in St. Louis have found Johnson & Johnson responsible for causing ovarian cancer by awarding $72 million to one cancer plaintiff and $55 million to another. And the cases again Johnson & Johnson continue to grow with 1,800 cases having been filed in St. Louis against Johnson & Johnson for its talcum powder.

The cases claimed that Johnson & Johnson knew “about the hazards associated with talcum powder, and it basically conspired to hide that fact from the public and from the medical community.”

What products can have talc?

Talc is widely used in makeup, baby powder and adult body and facial powders. It can also be found in food, such as rice and chewing gum, and a number of other consumer products.

Johnson & Johnson baby powder still contains talcum powder. According to Johnson & Johnson “We continue to use talc in our products because decades of science have reaffirmed its safety.”

What you can do and there are alternatives!

My question is why risk it? There’s no need to use talcum powder (a possible cancer-causing substance) when there are talc-free alternatives out there.

Before you purchase a product read the label! Make sure that what you’re buying doesn’t contain talc.

Here are a few talc-free alternatives:

Reach out to Johnson & Johnson and other retailers. Let them know that if they’re not going to remove talc from their products we demand a warning on the label on products.

Stop using baby powder and other products with talc. Did you know there was an issue with talcum powder? 

P.S. If you liked this post you might enjoy our FREE Groovy Green Livin NewsletterReceive new posts and special opportunities delivered right to your inbox! Sign up HERE.

 Disclosure: Some links 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 19th, 2016

Steel Cut Oats and Yogurt Make a Perfect Pair

Steel Cut Oats and Yogurt Make a Perfect Pair

While on vacation this summer I spent an afternoon shopping in a quaint Maine town. In one of the shops, I discovered an entire aisle filled with Bob’s Red Mill products. After checking out everything I walked away with a bag filled with Bob’s Red Mill organic, gluten free oats. I knew this would not go to waste since Oatmeal has always been a staple in my house.

Steel cut oats are my favorite type of oatmeal. They are also sometimes called “Irish Oatmeal” and “Pinhead Oats”. Steel cut oats are oat groats cut into several pieces. This type of oatmeal is the least processed and as a result, it takes longer than regular oatmeal to cook. Well worth the wait.

I’ve started making steel cut oats in my slow cooker so I don’t lose any time on those rushed mornings (every morning!).

Bob’s Red Mill Organic Steel Cut Oats and Stonyfield

Steel Cut Oats and Yogurt Make a Perfect Pair

Now back to Bob’s Red Mill. This company has an endless supply of grains, some organic and some not and all of their products are GMO-free and there are plenty of gluten-free options. Bob’s Red Mill Organic Steel Cut Oats are top notch. When paired with a little Stonyfield yogurt you have an instant breakfast of champions.

Steel Cut Oats and Yogurt Make a Perfect Pair @Stonyfield @BobsRedMill #stonyfieldblogger Click To Tweet

Some people like to add a bit of sugar to their oatmeal. Rather than reaching for processed sugar, why not try adding Bobs Red Mill Organic Coconut Sugar? Coconut sugar has a similar flavor to brown sugar and isn’t quite as processed. But sugar is sugar and it’s important to use moderation. I like my oatmeal straight up without any sweetener. Adding fruit, nuts, cinnamon or raisins works for me and is a great way to change up the texture and flavor.

Here’s my favorite slow cooker oatmeal recipe. It’s incredibly simple!

Recipe for slow cooked steel cut oatmeal

Combine 4 cups water, 1 cup organic steel cut oats and 1/2 tsp. salt in a slow cooker. Cover with lid and cook on low for 7-8 hours or overnight. Add your favorite dried fruit, cinnamon, nuts, raisins or yogurt. Makes 4 servings.

What do you add to your oatmeal?  

P.S. If you liked this post you might enjoy our FREE Groovy Green Livin NewsletterReceive new posts and special opportunities delivered right to your inbox! Sign up HERE.

 Disclosure:  I’m a Stonyfield YoGetter Captain and I do receive compensation.  Stonyfield partnered with Bob’s Red Mill for this post and I was sent a bag of steel cut oats and coconut sugar for review. All opinions are, of course, my own. Some links are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may get a small commission if you make a purchase. Thanks!
September 14th, 2016

Let’s Stop HIV Together

Let's Stop HIV Together

I don’t remember when I first learned about HIV and AIDS, but I do remember being frightened, confused and having questions. It was the early 80’s and I was young, but knowing someone who was diagnosed with AIDS wasn’t uncommon.

Fear of contracting the virus was everywhere and along with it came stigma (shame and disgrace that results from prejudice associated with something regarded as socially unacceptable). Stigma around HIV includes certain words, beliefs, and actions that have a negative meaning for those at high risk for getting HIV or those already living with HIV.

HIV has been around for more than 30 years. HIV-related stigma continues to be a barrier that we must overcome to reach the goal of an AIDS-free generation in the United States.

So many people have been diagnosed. People from ALL walks of life. Too many people.

Let's Stop HIV Together

So much has happened over the past 30 years since the first reports of what became known as AIDS.

We’ve come a long way with treatments and survival rates, but unfortunately, HIV is not a thing of the past.

HIV is not a thing of the past. Let's #StopHIVTogether. @groovygreenlivi @talkHIV Click To Tweet
  • More than a million people are living with HIV in the U.S. 
  • Approximately 45,000 Americans become infected with HIV every year.
  • About 1 in 8 people living with HIV don’t know they have it.

Thankfully a positive diagnosis is no longer a death sentence. People can now live healthy fulfilling lives with the proper treatment.

While the overall infection rate has decreased in the US, there is a significant risk to those 50+ who are less likely to get tested and, as a result, are subject to higher death rates than those who are younger.

Unfortunately, the stigma still exists. It remains one of the underlying reasons for low testing rates within the 50+ age group.

Take a few minutes to watch Theresa’s story. She’s a mother, a grandmother and she’s living with HIV. Theresa is a perfect example that HIV does not discriminate.

What you can do to raise HIV awareness

Let’s Stop HIV Together (#StopHIVTogether) is a campaign working hard to raise HIV awareness and its impact on the lives of all Americans and fights stigma. The goal is to show that persons with the virus are real people—mothers, fathers, friends, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, partners, wives, husbands, and co-workers.

We all have a role to play in stopping HIV, and it starts with supporting people living with the virus and talking about it with our friends, families, and loved ones.

  • Get the factsLearn about HIV and AIDS, and take steps to protect yourself.
  • Get testedTest. It’s easy, free, fast, and confidential.
  • Get InvolvedShare your story, make a difference, support others. Every voice and every story is important.

HIV is not a thing of the past, but rather something we need to continue to talk about while advocating for those most affected.

Let’s stop HIV together. This September 18th is National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day. To help reduce stigma take the time to educate others about HIV and safe sex . Share your own personal stories. Use your voice, whether it be through social media, writing or facilitating discussions! It’s the only way things will change. 

I have no doubt that together we can make a difference.

This post is made possible by support from the Let’s Stop HIV Together campaign. All opinions are my own.

September 8th, 2016

3 Safer Laundry Detergents



3-safer-laundry-detergentsEvery summer all three of my boys go to sleepaway camp. When they come home their duffle bags are a disaster. Clothing is jammed inside mixed together with sand, dirt and other surprises. Laundry is one of my least favorite activities, but when my kids come from home from camp it’s a must.

When it comes to laundry detergents, some really are safer than others. Making your own is always the best option but isn’t for everyone (like me!). Instead, I’ve opted for investing the time to find safer brands that actually work.

Here are a few of my favorites.

Better Life Laundry Detergent, Lavender Grapefruit

I’ve been using Better Life products for many years. Better Life Laundry Detergent contains no harsh chemicals and has a lovely scent that’s not overpowering like so many conventional detergents. It works great on colors and fairly well on whites and received an “A” in EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning.

 Molly’s Suds Laundry Powder

Molly’s Suds Laundry Powder is amazing. I was introduced to this brand last year at ShiftCon. After meeting the founder and hearing her story, I was hooked.  This detergent doesn’t contain harsh chemicals, dyes and synthetic fragrance, toxins, preservatives, and GMOs. It’s also safe for septic systems and High Efficiency (HE) washers. I really want to try their Molly’s Suds All Sport Liquid Laundry WashIt received an “A” in EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning.

Green Shield Organic Laundry Detergent, Free & Clear

GreenShield Organic USDA Organic Free & Clear Laundry Detergent is a staple in my home. It was created by a dad on a mission to protect families from the harmful chemicals found in most cleaning products. Their products are certified organic, which means that their products must contain 95% or higher organic ingredients. It received an “A” in EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning.

What’s your favorite laundry detergent? I would love to hear!

P.S. If you liked this post you might enjoy our FREE Groovy Green Livin NewsletterReceive new posts and special opportunities delivered right to your inbox! Sign up HERE.

 Disclaimer: Please know that if you make a purchase using a link on this page, I may earn a commission (at no extra cost to you), which in turn helps support this site. None of the companies I promote on this page have paid me, I just really like their products. Thank you! 
July 13th, 2016

5 Fabulous Ways to Donate Used Toys

5 Fabulous Ways to Donate Used Toys Groovy Green LivinThe toys were starting to take over. We have a closet in our basement that was bursting at the seams. It was filled with trucks, cars, trains and every imaginable game from the time my three boys were toddlers.

All three of my kids are at sleepaway camp for a few weeks. I’m missing them like crazy, but I know they’re having a fantastic time. The time for sorting and cleaning out that overflowing closet was here.

Over multiple days I pulled everything out and started sorting them into piles. Most were in decent shape so I really wanted to find a good home for them.

Many of the charities out there such as Goodwill and The Salvation Army take donations and resell them in their retail shops. The proceeds from any sale are then placed back into programs they support. As much as I love seeing the toys used for something good, they’re not directly donated to those in need. While this is an OK option, I knew that I wanted to pass along the toys directly to a family who would use them.

Here are 5 ways to donate used toys directly to a child in need

Here are 5 ways to donate used toys directly to a child in need Click To Tweet


I started with Freecycle, which is an amazing nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It’s all about reusing and keeping good stuff out of landfills. There is a Freecycle group in the town next to mine. I posted all the cars, trucks and trains on the site. A sweet woman was at my house within an hour. She takes care of her great-nephew so the toys were perfect. There’s no tax deduction if you use Freecycle.

ROOM TO GROW, Boston and New York

Room to Grow helps babies born into poverty throughout their first three years of life. The organization provides families with developmental information, customized support, and all of the needed baby items. If you live in Boston or New York this organization is a great option. They are looking for donations that are new or nearly new, clean and in truly excellent condition.


If there isn’t a collection in your area Second Chance Toys could be the answer. If you can gather 50+  gently used plastic toys from your community, Second Chance Toys will arrange for a drop-off at a local organization. Just go to collect toys to register.  They’ll give you access to flyers, merchandise and other promotional items to promote your collection.


Check HERE to see if there’s a local homeless shelter in your area. Please call them to see if there’s a need before dropping off a donation. Local homeless shelters may want small toys to give to children they are housing.


If you have stuffed animals to donate try Stuffed Animals for Emergencies. The organization was founded to help ease anxiety and fear when children are in a crisis situation. SAFE chapter members collect new and gently used stuffed animals, toys, books and blankets to be redistributed to emergency organizations, children’s services, hospitals, homeless shelters and many other places that help children during times of crisis.

Do you have any other donation suggestions to add to the list? 

P.S. If you liked this post you might enjoy our FREE Groovy Green Livin NewsletterReceive new posts and special opportunities delivered right to your inbox! Sign up HERE.



About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney, mom of three and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. Come along with me as I work hard to make the world a little safer for each of us.

Click HERE to contact Lori

Lori on ABC World News

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