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Archive for Healthy Living

April 14th, 2017

Hey Costco: It’s Time to Get Toxic Chemicals Off Your Shelves

Hey Costco It's Time to Get Toxic Chemicals Off Your Shelves Groovy Green LivinWhen I joined Costco a few years ago their organic selection was limited so I opted for other markets for the bulk of my shopping. Fast forward to the present and Costco is now taking the lead as the largest organic retailer in the United States. In 2015 they sold $4 billion of organic produce and packaged foods.

Costco it’s time to get toxic chemicals off your shelves

While Costco has become a leader in carrying organic produce and adhering to fair wages, they have a problem that needs to be addressed. Some of the products on the shelves in their stores contain harmful chemicals. I’m talking about chemicals like cancer-causing, hormone-disrupting flame retardants, some of which show up in toddlers at five times the rate of their mothers.

Safer Chemicals Healthy Families released a report called Who’s Minding the Store? — A Report Card on Retailer Actions to Eliminate Toxic Chemicals“. This report gave large retailers a letter grade for actions they’ve taken to eliminate toxic chemicals. Costco received the second lowest grade of any retailer evaluated, receiving only 9.5 points and a letter grade of F. The company has no public written safer chemicals policy in place, unlike many of their competitors. Costco was surprisingly the only major retailer that did not publicly report any progress in getting rid of chemicals of high concern over the past three years.

Costco has made some progress since the report was published by recently updating its website. The site describes the development and implementation of a Costco Restricted Chemical List (RSL) and Smart Screening Program for toxic chemicals.

While this is a step in the right direction, they still have some work to do.

Joining Costco again

I let my Costco membership lapse a few years ago and have been contemplating joining again. The store is a 15-minute drive from my house so it’s not convenient, but I’m drawn to their commitment to organic products. My decision would be much easier if they also committed to reducing toxic chemicals in products they sell. Not only would they be a leader in selling organic products, but they would pave the way for other retailers to eliminate harmful chemicals from their products. The time has come for Costco to take the next step and announce a robust safer chemicals policy with clear benchmarks and timeframes to reduce and eliminate toxic chemicals in products on the shelves in their stores.

Here’s how you can help:

  1. Go to the store and fill out a comment card.
    Next time you are at Costco, fill out a comment card voicing your concerns. Costco comment cards may be available in stores near the customer service desk. Or you can print a card HERE, fill it out at home, and drop it off at a nearby Costco.
  2. Make an electronic comment.
    Take action online and submit a digital comment to Costco.
  3. Call the customer line.
    Dial the customer support line and express your concerns with a Costco customer service agent: 1-800-774-2678

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.


April 5th, 2017

Sunscreen Spotlight: Goddess Garden to the Rescue!

Sunscreen Spotlight: Goddess Garden to the Rescue! Groovy Green Livin

This post is brought to you by Goddess Garden.

After too many years baking, burning, and blistering in the sun the damage is done…or maybe it’s not? I’ve gone from being a sun worshipper to a sun dodger. Having melanoma run in your family will do that to you.

Sunscreen has become an integral part of my daily skin care regiment and here’s why…..

The sun can cause skin aging throughout the year

Did you know that 90% of the visible signs of skin aging are caused by the sun? Yes, UVA rays can lead to wrinkles and dark spots, resulting in premature skin aging.

Those damaging sun rays are strong year round. During the summer months, UVB rays are strongest from 10am-2pm. Aging, damaging UVA rays are dangerous throughout the day. They can even damage your skin through clouds and windows.

Most sun damage occurs at times when we’re not thinking about sunscreen: walking the dog, playing in the driveway with the kids, errands at lunch, even your daily commute! The average American spends 100 hours per year driving to and from work. That’s the equivalent of 60 hours of UVA exposure just from going to and from work.

Did you know the majority of sun damage occurs after age 40?

A series of studies cited by the Skin Cancer Foundation shows it’s never too late to protect your skin. After age 40, skin gets thinner, so the rays penetrate deeper and show damage easier. It also takes longer to heal, which means sunscreen is more important than ever.

Retinol, a synthetic form of Vitamin A, is the most sought after ingredient for treating aging skin. Unfortunately, retinol comes with some nasty side effects. The good news is there are natural anti-aging solutions, and you don’t have to resort to retinol to see results. 

Goddess Garden to the rescue!

Every year I do my best to test out several sunscreens and share my findings with you before the heat of summer sets in.

I’m kicking off this season with a closer look at two products from one of my favorite sunscreen brands: Goddess Garden. I’ve recently started working with Goddess Garden as a brand ambassador, which means I help them get the word out about their products. Last year Goddess Garden was one of my Top Picks for Safe Sunscreens for Kids.

Goddess Garden recently introduced me to their dynamic duo: Face the Day Sunscreen & Firming Primer paired with Under the Sun Pre-Sunscreen Serum. Although we’re still patiently waiting for sun-drenched days, I’ve had a few opportunities to use both products.

Sunscreen Spotlight: Goddess Garden to the Rescue!

They both come in small, glass bottles and have a lovely, light scent. By using a small amount of Under the Sun Pre-Sunscreen Serum, mineral sunscreen will go on evenly and smoothly. Packed with safe ingredients, they are both easy to apply and don’t leave behind a white, sticky film. Using both products under facial powder seems to work well.

Through independent testing, Goddess Garden found that when Face the Day Sunscreen & Firming Primer and Under the Sun Pre-Sunscreen Serum are used daily for 90 days, the appearance of wrinkles was reduced by 23%. Sounds good to me!

What do you do to protect your skin from the sun?


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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. Thanks for your support!
March 30th, 2017

A Night to Remember: Saying Goodbye to Plastic Bags at Town Meeting

A Night to Remember: Saying Goodbye to Plastic Bags at Town Meeting Groovy Green Livin

I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve lived in Massachusetts for over 20 years (how is that possible?!) and I’ve NEVER been to a Town Meeting until this week.

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about let me fill you in.

What is Town Meeting?

Participating in a Town Meeting is democracy at its best. Registered voters gather together to voice opinions and directly effect change in the community. The Annual Town Meeting is generally held in the spring to enact the following year’s budget, plus whatever other matters are placed on the Town Meeting warrant, either by the Selectmen or by citizen petition. Cities and towns throughout the US each have their own form of democracy and it could look very different from what we have here.

After the election this past November I decided to make an effort to become more involved on a local level. After all, that’s where it all begins.

I kicked off my involvement by marching in Boston with thousands and became truly inspired to do more. I wrote a political post which is pretty out of character for me. One of the suggestions I shared was to “get to work on a local level and elect/appoint those who are like-minded and care.”

So I decided to heed my own advice and off I went to my first Town Meeting.

Sitting down beside a friend I took a look around at the full house and couldn’t help but think that every one of these people had taken time out of their busy schedules to be there.

They knew something that I was just discovering: that their voice mattered. Coming to Town Meeting was a simple way to voice opinions, listen to others and vote on matters that would help shape our community.

Wow. How had I missed this opportunity for so many years?

Vote to Ban Plastic Bags

A Night to Remember: Saying Goodbye to Plastic Bags at Town Meeting Groovy Green Livin

Aside from my general interest in participating in the process there were a few articles up for discussion and a vote that caught my attention. I was most interested in the proposed plastic bag ban. From water bottles to plastic wrap, I’ve been writing about the detrimental effects of plastic for years.

There’s no denying that plastic bags are polluting our environment. It’s hard to miss the enormous number of plastic bags swirling around in local parking lots and water ways. The bags never fully decompose and remain a significant threat to marine animals and other wild life.

Over 40 other communities in Massachusetts have passed bylaws to reduce the use of thin-film plastic bags.

I’m proud to share that after a lengthy discussion the bylaw passed and plastic bags are now banned. The bylaw doesn’t alleviate all plastic bags from circulation, but it’s a great start. The ban applies to those thin plastic bags we receive at the grocery check-out.

What you can do

Now we all need to do two things:

  1. Focus on remembering reusable bags when we shop.
  2. Add your community’s Town Meeting (or whatever form of democracy your city or town subscribes to) to your calendar.

Given that there’s been a tremendous amount of municipal support, it’s my hope that Massachusetts will enact a statewide plastic bag ban in the near future.

The plastic bag ban is a baby step, but a step in the right direction and I’m proud to have been a small part of the process.

What form of government is there in your city or town? Is there a Mayor? City Council? Town Meeting? How do you participate?


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.


 

 

March 9th, 2017

It’s Time to Ditch Your Reusable Plastic Water Bottle

It's Time to Ditch Your Reusable Plastic Water Bottle Groovy Green LivinIt’s time! Line up your reusable plastic water bottles and please (pretty please) STOP using them.

I’ve been secretly cringing for years when I see someone drinking from a brightly colored, BPA-free reusable plastic water bottle. Reusable plastic water bottles are a dime a dozen at my gym, sit alongside yoga mats in my yoga studio and crowd the classroom in my son’s karate class. They are everywhere. And I get it. Plastic water bottles are easier to transport than glass or even stainless steel. They generally don’t dent or break and drinking from them is a breeze. Placing those conveniences aside, plastic water bottles come with a list of possible health hazards and the list isn’t pretty.

It's Time to Ditch Your Reusable Plastic Water Bottle Groovy Green Livin

Removing BPA from plastics was a good start, but it’s not enough

A few years ago we learned that BPA is a hormone-disrupting chemical that’s been linked in lab studies to breast and prostate cancer, infertility, early puberty in girls, type-2 diabetes, obesity and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Now we’re discovering that  “BPA-free” doesn’t mean it’s safe“. Once BPA was found to be toxic, retailers and brands began replacing it with substitutes that could be just as dangerous. Many manufacturers have replaced BPA with something called fluorene-9-bisphenol, or BHPF. In a recent study, it was found that BHPF has the potential to cause fertility problems.

When you buy a plastic water bottle it doesn’t come with a list of “ingredients” so it’s virtually impossible to know what they’re made from.

Time to ditch the plastic

The information is starting to stack up against plastic reusable water bottles. Even those companies that have phased out BPA could still be using a chemical that has almost the same negative health impact on our bodies-hormone disruption. As the evidence continues to mount showing that plastic water bottles could be dangerous why not be proactive and make the switch to stainless steel or glass water bottles?

A few of my favorite non-plastic reusable water bottles

I have a few favorite reusable water bottles to share. Take a peek HERE.

There’s another favorite reusable water bottle to add to the list. Klean Kanteen let me do a test run with their new insulated (cold drinks only) Reflect reusable water bottle. I’ve been using it for a few weeks and I love that it’s completely plastic free. The lid is made from bamboo and stainless steel, and the bottle is completely stainless with a silicone seal.

Do you avoid reusable plastic water bottles? How about BPA free products? 


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 on this page are affiliate links, which means that at no additional cost to you I may get a small commission if you decide to make a purchase. 
March 2nd, 2017

5 Products to Buy Organic That Might Not Be On Your Radar

 

5 Products to Buy Organic That Might Not Be On Your Radar Groovy Green LivinMany of us are already buying organic food and non-toxic personal care products whenever we can. While buying organic is always the better option, it is impossible and cost prohibitive to buy everything organic. Our focus tends to be on organic foods, but there are a few organic products that deserve our attention and should be added to our cart the next time we shop.

5 Products to Buy Organic

Organic Sheets

With almost 1/3 of our lives spent in bed, what we have in our bedrooms does impact our health. Many conventional bedding options contain formaldehyde and chemical dyes.

Organic bedding doesn’t contain any of the chemicals that regular bedding could have. Since we’re spending so much time in our beds why not make the investment (organic bedding tends to be pricey) in organic bedding and take care of our bodies?

Organic cotton swabs

For a few cents more you can buy organic cotton swabs for your ears and makeup removal. This will protect your ears and face from harmful chemicals used in the production of cotton. Cotton is one of the most heavily fertilized crops, which means your cotton swabs contain unwanted pesticides. If you want to keep bleached, chemical laden cotton out of your ears and off of your face make the investment in organic cotton swabs.

Tampons

If you’re not the menstrual cup type then organic tampons are the way to go. There have been studies finding toxic chemicals linked to cancer, hormone disruption, and allergic reactions in certain brands of tampons, pads, douches, wipes, and sprays. Unfortunately, the FDA does not require feminine-care product manufacturers to tell you what’s in their products. This is frightening since tampons come in contact with some of the most absorptive tissue on women’s bodies and many of us are using them for a few days each month. Make the switch to organic!

Towels

I don’t know about you, but I use my bath towel almost every day. Coming from the gym, yoga or a run, a shower is generally needed. Many conventional towels are chemically treated with bleaches, dyes, and industrial chemicals used when manufacturing conventional cotton. Towels come in direct contact with your skin so buying organic makes sense if you want to avoid harsh, harmful chemicals.

Wine

Did you know that there is no such thing as a 100% sulfite-free wine? Sulfites develop naturally as a by-product of fermentation in small amounts and can cause allergic reactions and asthma symptoms. Sulfites might not be added, but all wine, beer, and cheese contain some natural sulfites.  Organic wine in the US cannot contain added sulfites, but can contain naturally occuring sulfites.

If you’re looking for wine that doesn’t contain added sulfites, buy yourself a bottle of organic wine. Organic wine in the US cannot contain added sulfites. The wine may have naturally occurring sulfites, but the total sulfite level must be less than 20 parts per million. If wine is made in the US and it contains added sulfites (an additive used to prevent spoilage) it must contain these words on the bottle label: “Contains Sulfites”. Some winemakers will add sulfites to prevent wine from oxidizing and spoiling quickly. It’s surprising that the US is one of the only countries that requires bottles be labeled if a wine contains sulfites.

What are your favorite organic products?


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.


February 24th, 2017

7 Foods to Help Boost Your Immune System

Foods to Help Boost Your Immune System Groovy Green Livin

This is the time of year when our immune system is working in overdrive. It’s been a rough winter filled with stomach bugs, colds, and the flu making the rounds. With our homes sealed up tightly to keep the cold air out, germs end up hanging around longer than we would like. It turns out that viruses could have an easier time spreading in the colder temperatures. There’s also a good chance that your immune response is slower in the colder weather, making it more challenging to stay healthy.

There are simple ways to naturally strengthen your immune system and keep you healthy throughout the winter months.

Adding a few nutritious foods to your diet is a simple way to boost your immune system and pave the way for optimal health.

Broccoli

Foods to Help Boost Your Immune System Groovy Green Livin

Broccoli is a family favorite. It’s one of the only vegetables that all three of my kids will eat. Broccoli is a superfood, with a laundry list of super powers. One cup of broccoli fuels the immune system with a large dose of beta-carotene and multiple trace minerals.

Oats

Foods to Help Boost Your Immune System Groovy Green Livin

A bowl of oatmeal is an easy, nutritious crowd pleaser. Add a few mix-ins to that bowl of oatmeal and you have your own fabulous creation. Oatmeal contains beta-glucan which helps to improve our immune response to bacterial infections. So grab yourself a bowl of oatmeal in the morning or anytime throughout the day.

Garlic

Foods to Help Boost Your Immune System Groovy Green Livin

Garlic is one of my favorite spices for a number of reasons. This spice is truly an immune system booster packed with nutrients the help ward off colds and the flu. It’s also known for its antiseptic and anti-fungal properties.

Nuts

Foods to Help Boost Your Immune System Groovy Green Livin There’s some truth in the saying “a handful of nuts a day keeps the doctor away.” Nuts are filled with essential nutrients for optimal immune system function. Chock full of antioxidants, vitamins, and zinc, nuts are a great way to give your immune system a big boost.

Fish

Foods to Help Boost Your Immune System Groovy Green Livin

Fish is top notch for so many healthy reasons. When you’re looking for a fish to improve immune function focus on oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, and tuna. Be aware that too much of a big fish isn’t a good thing since there can be substantial amounts of mercury. But fish in moderation is a fantastic source of omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin D.

Berries

Foods to Help Boost Your Immune System Groovy Green Livin

Bring on the berries! Aside from being delicious, berries are a great way to add important antioxidants to your diet.  Eating berries can give a serious boost to your immune system and help keep you healthy throughout the year.

Sweet potatoes

Foods to Help Boost Your Immune System Groovy Green Livin

I have to admit that I’m pretty excited to have sweet potatoes on this list. It’s hard not to like these delicious potatoes which are rich in Vitamin C and beta-carotene, two important nutrients needed for immune strength.

What are your favorite immune boosters to help keep away colds and the flu?


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.


February 16th, 2017

Books to Read Aloud With Your Kids About Diversity

Books to Read Aloud With Your Kids About Diversity Groovy Green Livin

Long gone are the days when we all snuggled up in bed and read aloud. When my kids were younger they used to love reading books together before bed. It was our nightly ritual regardless of where we were. Our bookshelves were overflowing with a wide variety of books, which at times made the book selection process somewhat drawn out but worth it.

Once the teen/tween years hit that snugly, pre-bedtime ritual was cast by the wayside and independent reading took over. Although I know that’s completely normal, I still miss reading books aloud together. Now our reading “together” consists of being in the same room and reading different books at the same time. And that’s a rare occasion. I guess that’s what happens when you have teenagers.

It turns out that all that reading aloud with our kids may actually help them in the long-run. A new study was just released by Scholastic which stresses how important it is to read aloud with your kids. According to the study:

“One of the most important things parents can do, beyond keeping kids healthy and safe, is to read with them. That means starting when they are newborns and not even able to talk, and continuing well beyond the years that they can read by themselves. Study after study shows that early reading with children helps them learn to speak, interact, bond with parents and read early themselves, and reading with kids who already know how to read helps them feel close to caretakers, understand the world around them and be empathetic citizens of the world.”

When choosing books to add to your family library, Liza Baker the Editorial Director at Scholastic says it’s important to look for books that have “culturally or ethnically diverse story lines, settings or characters.”

Here are a few favorite read aloud books with a diversity theme:

It’s OK to Be Different by Todd Parr
Books to Read Aloud With Your Kids About Diversity Groovy Green Livin

It’s Okay To Be Different was one of our favorite books when my kids were little. This book is for the younger crowd and addresses acceptance, understanding, and confidence. The bright, bold and colorful pages along with the silly pictures will hold any young child’s attention. Hopefully, this book will spark plenty of family discussions.

All Kinds of Families! by Mary Ann Hoberman
Books to Read Aloud With Your Kids About Diversity Groovy Green Livin

All Kinds of Families! addresses what it means to be a family. It introduces children to non-traditional families and how you can make a family out of anything. All you need is love.

One Green Apple by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Ted Lewin
Books to Read Aloud With Your Kids About Diversity Groovy Green Livin

One Green Apple eloquently shares a story about a new kid in school from a different country who doesn’t speak the same language as her classmates. Farah, a young Muslim immigrant, takes a trip with her class to an apple orchard. As the class works together to make apple cider she finally begins to connect with the other students and starts to feel that she belongs.

Chocolate Milk Por Favor: Celebrating Diversity With Empathy by Maria Dismondy Illustrated by Donna Farrell
Books to Read Aloud With Your Kids About Diversity Groovy Green Livin

When a new student who doesn’t speak English shows up at school this book, Chocolate Milk, Por Favor: Celebrating Diversity with Empathy, shares the importance of friendship and kindness.

Wonder by R. J. Palacio
Books to Read Aloud With Your Kids About Diversity Groovy Green Livin

Wonder a must read for the 8-12-year-olds (and everyone older).  Auggie, a 10-year-old boy is like all other 10-year-olds except he has a facial deformity. After being homeschooled his entire life he’s sent to public school in 5th grade. This book asks us to reevaluate what the true meaning of “normal” really is. A fabulous story of friendship and fitting in.

Here are a few more favorites to read together:

Do you have any favorite books about diversity? 


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 on this page are affiliate links, which means that at no additional cost to you I may get a small commission if you make a purchase. 
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About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney, writer, mom of three boys and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. Join me as we work together to make the world a safer place for all.

Click HERE to contact Lori

Lori on ABC World News

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