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Archive for Healthy Living

May 27th, 2015

5 Simple Things I Do Every Day to Stay Healthy

5 Simple Things I Do Every Day to Stay Healthy Groovy Green Livin

I do my best to keep things as simple as possible every day, but that doesn’t always work out. I’m sure that’s true for many of us. There are days when I’m running around like crazy and those days are anything but simple. And then there are the days where I’m sitting at my desk most of the day hopefully being incredibly productive.

Regardless of how my day unfolds, there are a few simple things that I always try to fit in.

Drink Lemon Water

Every morning squeeze a half a lemon into a glass of water kept at room temperature (use a whole lemon if you’re over 150 lbs). Continue squeezing and drinking this mixture throughout the day. Adding a little lemon to your diet can help with everything from weight loss and bad breath to preventing wrinkles.

Eat a Mango

I’ve taken the old adage “eat an apple a day” to a whole new level: “Eat a mango a day”. When a mango is ripe the flavor is magical. It is a little piece of nature’s candy. Did you know there are over 1,000 varieties of mangoes? They’re known to help prevent cancer, improve digestion, boost your immune system and contain a big dose of Vitamin A for improved eye health. Now that I’ve figured out how to peel and eat a mango without embarrassing myself they’ve become part of my daily menu.

Workout

Working out in the morning jump starts your metabolism and gives you an energy boost that will many times last throughout the day. I’ve been exercising in the morning for years and it works. My morning schedule has been crazy, so a morning workout doesn’t always happen. I try to find time during the day, every day, to fit some form of movement in.

Wear Sunscreen

Do this every day, rain or shine, warm weather or cold. There’s no question, the best form of sun protection is to stay out of the sun (although a little outdoor time is recommended for much needed Vitamin D). It’s not realistic to stay out of the sun or cover-up 24/7 so we need to turn to sunscreen for some additional protection from the sun’s harmful rays. Find a safe, non-toxic sunscreen (don’t use a spray) and apply it every morning before you head outside. My favorite sunscreen for the face is Coola Sunscreen. It doesn’t go on greasy and is a great choice for every day wear.

Stretch

Yes, this is in addition to my daily workout. My job requires that I sit at my desk for sometimes hours at a time. Earlier this year a study was released finding that sitting increases our chances of getting a disease or a condition that will kill us prematurely, even if we exercise. So now in addition to working out I try to incorporate some of THESE SIMPLE STRETCHES into my daily routine.

What simple things do you do every day to stay healthy?


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


photo credit: Tulips Stretching for the Warm Sun via photopin (license)

May 19th, 2015

15 Food Facts That Will Knock Your Socks Off

15 Food Facts That Will Knock Your Socks Off Groovy Green Livin

15 Food Facts That Will Knock Your Socks Off

Here you go…..

1. A typical 20 ounce bottle of soda contains about 16 teaspoons of sugar from High Fructose Corn Syrup.

10 Food Facts That Will Knock Your Socks Off Groovy Green Livin

 

2. About 70% of olive oil being sold is not actually pure olive oil.

15 Food Facts That Will Knock Your Socks Off Groovy Green Livin

 

3. Graham Crackers got their name in 1829 from Sylvester Graham who believed in a strict, bland vegetarian diet to rid society of sexual desires and impure thoughts.

15 Food Facts That Will Knock Your Socks Off Groovy Green Livin

 

4. Many candy companies in the U.S. use artificial food coloring for the candy they sell and distribute in the United States, but that same candy sold in Europe gets its coloring from natural sources.

15 Food Facts That Will Knock Your Socks Off Groovy Green Livin

 

5. Most of the wasabi served outside of Japan isn’t true wasabi, it’s a mixture of horseradish, mustard and food coloring.Many marshmallow brands have added corn syrup and artificial color (Blue 1).

15 Food Facts That Will Knock Your Socks Off Groovy Green Livin

 

6. Ten cups per day of green tea delayed cancer onset 8.7 years in Japanese women and three years in Japanese men.

15 Food Facts That Will Knock Your Socks Off Groovy Green Livin

 

7. Adding lemon to your water helps to not only decrease blemishes, but wrinkles too!

15 Food Facts That Will Knock Your Socks Off Groovy Green Livin

 

8. You’re going to eat about 2.030 calories if you head to Burger King and for a Double Whopper with cheese (1,070), onion rings (410), vanilla milkshake (550). Depending on age and gender, most adults should eat between 1,600 and 2,400 calories a day.

15 Food Facts That Will Knock Your Socks Off Groovy Green Livin

 

 

9.  Freezing food does not destroy or remove any nutrients. So go ahead and eat your (frozen) veggies!

15 Food Facts That Will Knock Your Socks Off Groovy Green Livin

 

10. Many bread products contain an amino acid known as L-cysteine, which is used as a softening agent. L-cysteine is derived from either human hair or poultry feathers or hog hair, and it can be found in many popular brand-name products. As of 2012, the European Union requires that all L-cysteine be produced from sources other than human hair.

15 Food Facts That Will Knock Your Socks Off Groovy Green Livin

 

11. Zucchini is actually a fruit, not a vegetable. The seeds of a zucchini make it a fruit.

15 Food Facts That Will Knock Your Socks Off Groovy Green Livin

 

12. Decaf coffee doesn’t generally mean caffeine free.

15 Food Facts That Will Knock Your Socks Off Groovy Green Livin

 

 

13. The world record for corn eating is 33 and a half ears in 12 minutes.

15 Food Facts That Will Knock Your Socks Off Groovy Green Livin

 

14. McDonalds’ Southwest Salad with grilled chicken is more fattening than their hamburger.

15 Food Facts That Will Knock Your Socks Off Groovy Green Livin

 

15. After chopping garlic rub your hands on your stainless steel sink or with a stainless steel utensil for 30 seconds before washing them. Say goodbye to that stinky garlic smell.

15 Food Facts That Will Knock Your Socks Off Groovy Green Livin

 

Do you have a favorite food fact?


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photo credits: Coca-Cola via photopin (license)California Olive Oil, 5/2014, by Mike Mozart of TheToyChannel and JeepersMedia on YouTube #California #Olive #Oil #TreesGraham crackersDay 77: Wasabi Blobgreen teaCitrons – Yellow alternateFamily Trip Pentwater, MI July 05, 2014 6Frozen Peas, Brötchen,  Zucchini,  Crack, coffeeO’ahu: Diamond Head and Honolulu. Patty and Bun, London,  Garlic.

May 14th, 2015

4 Apps That Make Hiking Fun For the Entire Family

Apps That Make Hiking Fun Groovy Green Livin

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that those of us who sit for long hours during the day raise our risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and early death.

I generally spend time every day exercising in some way before settling down at my desk to work. Clearly that’s not enough. 

Those who engage in regular physical activity but still spend a large proportion of their day in sedentary activity were found, on average, to be 30% less likely to die of any cause in a given period than were those who get little to no exercise. But even those who punctuate a long day of sitting with a vigorous workout were estimated to be 16% more likely to die of any cause in a given time than were those who do not sit for long.

It’s time to get up from that desk and head outside for a hike.

Hiking is such a simple way to enjoy the great outdoors alone, with your family or with friends.

You don’t have to hike Mount Everest. Hiking can be as simple as a 20 minute walk on a nearby trail or as challenging as a full day hike up the side of a mountain.

If you’re getting hiking push-back from your family try using one of these apps to persuade your kids to enjoy hiking and the outdoors as much as you do.

Geocaching (FREE)

This is our favorite way to explore on a hike or when traveling. Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. There are Geocaches hidden all around the world. The treasure could be a toy, pencil, stickers or something else . We’ve also hidden a few Geocaches of our own. You will need to create an account HERE to play.

iNaturalist (FREE)

iNaturalist provides a place to record and organize nature findings, meet other nature enthusiasts, and learn about the natural world. Once you log in to the app you’re able to record what you see along the hike.

Bird ID app (FREE)

See a bird that you don’t recognize? This app will ask you five simple questions about a bird you are trying to identify and then come up with a list of possible matches in North America.

MyNature Animal Tracks ($1.99)

MyNature Animal Tracks will help you identify animal tracks on your hike. Search by track size and shape in seven different illustrated categories to identify over 46 animals across North America. You can also access digital images of animals and listen to each animal’s vocalization.

How do you make hiking fun for the entire family?


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


 

photo credit: Trailmix.Net via photopin cc

May 12th, 2015

Why I Eat Fermented Foods (and You Should Too!)

Why I Eat Fermented Foods Groovy Green Livin

Some fermented foods don’t look very appetizing at first glance, but they pack a powerful nutritional punch.

Sauerkraut (translation “sour cabbage”) is one of the best known fermented food out there. It brings back interesting childhood memories for me. I remember watching my grandfather and father smother kosher hot dogs in sauerkraut. The more sauerkraut the better. The powerful smell and distinct taste is something that would literally make me run the other way.

Little did I know that this was one of many fermented foods that is a must in everyone’s diet.

What are fermented foods?

The process of fermenting our food isn’t a new one: History shows that early civilizations were making wine and beer between 7,000 and 8,000 years ago. Before refrigeration was available people would ferment food to preserve and extend the life of their food. When you ferment a food, you encourage growth of “good” microorganisms in it, while preventing growth of spoilage-causing microorganisms.

Why eat fermented foods?

Fermented foods are chock-full of probiotics or good bacteria. Probiotics are bacteria that help keep everything balanced in your intestines. The human digestive system is designed to have “good” and “bad” bacteria. Trying to maintain a balance between the two keeps our digestive system healthy. Studies show probiotics benefit everything from intestinal issues to allergies to weight loss.

Adding fermented foods to your diet

Just a little fermented food goes a long way. There’s no need to replace entire meals with fermented entrée. Instead substitute fermented foods for some of your favorite conventional foods. Here are a few examples to get you started.

  • When you pick up a loaf of bread choose sourdough. Sourdough bread is  fermented over several days by using a “starter” of combined flour and water.
  • Use kefir and yogurt instead of milk in your smoothie.
  • Try sauerkraut as a relish on hot dogs and hamburgers. Make your own if you’re feeling ambitious.
  • Kimchi or kimchee is a traditional fermented Korean delicacy which is made from vegetables including cabbage and a range of spices and seasonings.
  • Add pickles to everything. A few pickles go a long way.
  • Try kombucha, a fermented drink you can find at the supermarket. If you don’t like it the first time, try it again.
  • Have a bowl of miso soup before dinner. Or use miso as a marinade for fish and meat.
  • Tempeh is one of my favorite fermented foods. Tempeh is relatively new to those of us in the west, but it’s been a staple for hundreds of years for many living in Asia. Tempeh is made from cooked and slightly fermented soybeans and formed into a rectangular patty. The consistency is similar to that of a  veggie burger. Many use it as a meat substitute in dishes. I’ve used it in chili, stir-fry and on the grill. As with any soy product, it should be eaten in moderation.

If you’re interested in learning more about fermentation check out these books:

  1. Fermented Vegetables: Creative Recipes for Fermenting 64 Vegetables & Herbs in Krauts, Kimchis, Brined Pickles, Chutneys, Relishes & PastesFermented Foods Groovy Green Livin
  2. Fermented Foods for Health: Use the Power of Probiotic Foods to Improve Your Digestion, Strengthen Your Immunity, and Prevent Illness

What’s your favorite fermented food?

photo credit: Making and sharing kimchi in Gaemi Village, 1 December 2012 via photopin (license)

 


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


Disclosure: 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 in advance.

May 7th, 2015

5 Safer Nail Polish Brands

5 Safer Nail Polish Brands Groovy Green Livin

 

Nail polish comes in and out of my life. Over the past decade it’s pretty much been out. Pre-kids it was a different story. Enjoying an occasional mani/pedi was something I truly looked forward to when I was practicing law. It was an escape from the office. There was a cute nail salon just a few short blocks away. On occasion I would treat myself  to a new color and a few moments of “me time”.

As much as I loved the pampering, I remember walking into the salon and being overwhelmed by the smell. As most of us know, nail polish has a very distinct smell that’s impossible to ignore. After a few years of regular nail salon visits I started to question what was causing that smell and the safety of the nail polish I was putting on my fingers and toes. A little bit of research caused me to go cold turkey. I decided that the chemicals in the polish didn’t belong on my body. No more nail polish for me.

Problem with conventional nail polish

Nail polish often includes this “toxic trio”:

  • Toulene– Toluene is added to gasoline,  and used as a solvent.  Inhaling toulene has been found to cause irritation of the upper respiratory tract and eyes, sore throat, dizziness, and headaches.
  • Formaldehyde– Formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable, strong-smelling chemical that has been classified as a known human carcinogen (cancer-causing substance).
  • Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) -This chemical is banned in Europe. Phthalates have been shown to disrupt hormone activity, reduce sperm counts and some preliminary studies show that they may be causing a slow and steady demasculinizing of men.  Other studies have linked phthalates to liver cancer and breast cancer.
  • Other assorted toxic chemicals.

There are safer, toxin free nail polish options on the market.

Not only are these safer nail polishes made without the 3 common chemicals found in nail polishes (Toluene, Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), Formaldehyde), but they are also free from 2 other very dangerous chemicals (Formaldehyde Resin and Camphor).

Now I’m back. My fingers are for the most part still au natural, but an occasional pedicure is back in the mix .

Here are a few of the nail polish brands I feel comfortable using:

  1. Zoya Nail Polish –  My local nail salon uses Zoya Nail Polish and I really like this brand. The polish is easy to apply, comes in a wide variety of colors and stays on well.
  2. Acquarella Nail Polish – Acquarella Nail Polish received a 1 (low hazard) score on the Skin Deep website.  This polish is completely water based with virtually no odor.
  3. Piggy Paint Nail Polish – Piggy Paint Nail Polish scores a 2 over at Skin Deep. This polish is kid friendly and doesn’t contain formaldehyde, toluene, phthalates, biphenyl A, ethyl acetate and acetone.
  4. Scotch Naturals Non-Toxic Nail Polish – Scotch Naturals Non-Toxic Nail Polish and their kiddie line, Hopscotch Kids got it right with their polish.  Both water based polishes are safe polish that actually lasts.  They come in very cool, eco-chic colors and there is no chemical smell!
  5. Suncoat Non-Toxic Nail Polish Suncoat’s motto is “We believe beauty and toxic chemicals don’t belong in the same sentence.” Their polish is water-based and free of toluene, formaldehyde, phthalate plasticizers (BDP etc) and alcohol, and also free of acetates and toxic preservatives such as parabens and methylisothiazolinone (Neolone 950). It’s colored with mineral pigments and natural colorants. The coolest feature: it peels off! No remover needed

Don’t forget to find a safe nail polish remover

Many nail polish removers and artificial nail products contain a host of toxic chemicals known or suspected to cause cancer, reproductive harm, asthma and other negative health effects. If you’re looking for a safe nail polish remover take a look HERE.

What’s your favorite nail polish brand?


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


 

Disclosure: 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 in advance.

May 4th, 2015

How to Get Rid of Ants Naturally

How to Get Rid of Ants Naturally Groovy Green Livin

Finally the warm weather is here and with it I’ve noticed an constant stream of ants marching through our kitchen. These aren’t red ants or ants with wings. They’re black common house ants that look like this:

How to Get Rid of Ants Naturally Groovy Green Livin

We’ve been trying to determine where they’re entering our house, but haven’t found the source. In the meantime we’ve been wiping all kitchen surfaces down, vacuuming and making sure that all food is stored properly.

Unless the situation is out of control,  I’m not willing to use pesticides. I don’t want them near my kids or pets. Conventional pesticides contain toxic ingredients that can, according to the EPA, affect the nervous system, cause skin and eye irritation, affect hormones, the endocrine system, and cause cancer.

There are non-toxic alternatives out there for ant control

But before I share the natural ant remedies that do work, there are a few that I’ve tried that really haven’t worked.

  • I’ve tried sprinkling cinnamon around the kitchen and it didn’t work very well. The ants tried to avoid the cinnamon, but ended up taking a different route. It’s also pretty messy.
  • Lemon Juice mixed with water in a spray bottle and a vinegar spray won’t work in my kitchen. Ants don’t like them, but neither do my granite counter tops. Frequent use of vinegar or lemon juice will dull and weaken the sealant on the granite over time.

Here are a few non-toxic remedies to keep the ants away

  • Clean up all surfaces. Vacuum floors, wipe down counter and stove tops.
  • Make sure food is stored properly.
  • Keep garbage sealed.
  • Use soapy water in a spray bottle to kill individual ants. This will also clear away the chemical trail that is left behind for other ants to follow. I like using Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint for this.
  • Find where the ants are coming in and plug the hole with a water/sugar/borax mixture on a towel. According to this article the trick is plenty of sugar and a tiny bit of Borax. More ants will appear initially, but in a few weeks they disappear.
  • Another variation on the borax mixture above is to add a tiny bit of peanut butter to the borax/sugar solution and strategically place these homemade ant traps around the house.
  • HERE are a few more interesting natural ant remedies that I might try if these don’t work.

How do you keep ants out of your home?

 


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


 

photo credit: Peep out via photopin (license) and TN ant 111710 via photopin (license)

April 30th, 2015

Our Family Garden Finally Takes Off After a Long Winter

Our Family Garden Finally Takes Off Groovy Green Livin

* Disclosure: I received organic seeds from High Mowing Organic Seeds for my participation in the Stonyfield YoGetter Blogger Program. All opinions expressed in this post are my own.

And so it begins again. Our garden is finally underway after a very long winter. Over the past 4-5 years I’ve been trying to create a garden. There have been years where we’ve been successful and other years not so much. It’s been a challenging process. The location has changed at least three times as we attempt to find a spot with the most sunlight. Our home is surrounded by trees so the sunlight is limited. Over the years the trees have matured and the sunlight continues to decrease. The latest garden spot is to the left, in front of our house. We’ve tried to make it look pretty by adding a stone wall.

Family Gardening Project Groovy Green Livin

Planting our Garden

I know that our garden isn’t going to be a big producer of veggies and it’s not going to impact our weekly shopping list. Plain and simple: our kids are the motivation for planting a garden. In past years they scan the garden daily looking for something ripe enough to pick. This year my son has decided that the garden’s going to be his baby. He’s planning to plant and take care of the everything with a little help from his parents. Perfect!

To help us get started this year we received an assortment of organic seeds  from High Mowing Organic Seeds. The company has over 600 heirloom, open-pollinated and hybrid varieties of vegetable, fruit, herb and flower seed. High Mowing has long been a leader in the organic and sustainable seed movement. They offer the first full line of organic, Non-GMO Project Verified seeds for farmers and gardeners.

Our Family Garden Finally Takes Off Groovy Green Livin

It was too cold to plant the seeds directly in the ground so we decided to reuse a few yogurt containers and paper cups to plant the seeds under an indoor grow lamp.

Our Family Garden Finally Takes Off Groovy Green Livin

Dirt was added to each container in our driveway and then the seeds were planted and brought inside to avoid the cold.

Our Family Garden Finally Takes Off Groovy Green LivinWe waited and waited for something to grow. Finally a seed sprouted!

Our Family Garden Takes Off Groovy Green Livin

We’re going to wait a few more days to see what else decides to sprout and then we’ll plant the seedlings in the garden outside.

If you’re interested in planting a garden HERE are a few tips to get you started:

Do you have a garden? What are you growing in your garden this year?


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


Disclosure: I work in partnership with Stonyfield as a YoGetter and I am compensated for my work . The opinions and thoughts contained in this post are 100% mine. I only work with companies I support and think you, my readers, will like. 

 

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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

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