EVOL is love backwards. Did you see that right away when you looked at the logo? I have to admit that I didn’t. I’ve walked by the EVOL display hundreds of times in the frozen section at our local Whole Foods, but it never dawned on me that EVOL was love backwards. I needed my 12, 11 and 9 year old to tell me. Not cool.
I love to cook, my husband loves to cook and our kids cook, but cooking doesn’t always happen. This time of year we generally find ourselves sitting on a field most nights watching soccer or baseball with a little karate thrown into the mix. Somehow we manage to pull together an edible meal most nights, but there are those occasional evenings when it’s just not going to happen. On those rare days I like to have quick meal options available. Not fast food, but something that I don’t have to put much thought into.
Enter EVOL. EVOL isn’t your average frozen food. Their frozen meal options hit high on the “healthier food” scale.
NOTHING ARTIFICIAL. EVOL’s products have no artificial flavors, colors, additives, preservatives or fillers.
ALL NATURAL PROTEINS. EVOL’s Chicken, beef, pork, eggs and cheese come from animals on US Family Farms that are fed a 100% vegetarian diet and raised without the use of Antibiotics or Hormones.
HORMONE-FREE CHEESE. EVOL’s cheese is rBGH, rBST and rennet free.
NON-GMO GRAINS, VEGETABLES & OILS. EVOL’s grains, vegetables and oils are GMOFree.
Where is EVOL sold?
EVOL can be found in over 7,000 retailers nationwide such as Whole Foods Markets, Stop N Shop, Costco, Safeway, Kroger, Target and Publix.
The back story
You can find the full story on their site, but in a nutshell three talented guys came together to make this company happen. If you’re a Survivor fan you might recognize one of the company’s founders.
What we thought
I’m not a meat eater (unless it’s really expensive turkey -organic and raised without antibiotics) or cheese eater so I wasn’t able to try most of the samples sent over. That didn’t stop my kids from digging in and they gave everything a thumbs up.
The best part on my end was recognizing every ingredient listed and knowing that most of them were products generally stocked in my fridge. EVOL’s products have no artificial flavors, colors, additives, preservatives or fillers. Nothing but real food.
We did notice that the Chicken Enchilada Bake didn’t look quite like the photo on the front of the box, but that didn’t stop them from eating every last drop.
The sodium count was pretty high on some of the products-the Chicken Enchilada Bake came in at 630 mg.
The bowls are compostable and made from a chemical-free process that uses very little water.
The box that some of the products come in is made from recycled paper board.
Bottom Line: EVOL’s products were top of the line when it comes to gluten-free frozen foods. The company is the complete package: solid ingredients including many organic and natural, great sustainable intentions, and great taste according to my kids. I would not recommend eating their products daily since they are no substitute for a fresh, home cooked meal. In a pinch they do the job and they do it well.
Glade brings back memories. Hasn’t it been around forever? I remember a spray can of Glade sitting on the back of most toilets when I was growing up. I can’t shake the heavy, flowery scent coming from a room after someone sprayed.
I stopped using Glade, and all spray room fresheners well before the Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC)—an international environmental organization—conducted a study called, “Clearing the Air: Hidden Hazards of Air Fresheners” in which they found 86% of air fresheners tested contained dangerous phthalates. 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.
Now there’s more
SC Johnson, makers of Glade air fresheners, say they’re committed to transparency: “We know you value transparency, and we’re committed to sharing what’s inside our products.”
Except when it comes to fragrance ingredients.
Our amazing friends over at Women’s Voices for the Earth did product testing which shows allergens and hormone disruptors like synthetic musks hiding out in Glade air fresheners. But you won’t find these chemicals on the label, because the makers of Glade keep fragrance ingredients a secret from consumers.
What else is Glade hiding?
We have a right to know what’s in the products we bring into our homes. And we have the power to convince Glade to put an end to this secrecy. They’ve said it themselves: “As a family company, listening and responding to consumers is [our] top priority.”
How you can help
Women’s Voices for the Earth has launched a viral image campaign to convince SC Johnson to disclose fragrance ingredients in Glade air fresheners.
SIGN THE PETITION. Please take a minute to sign the petition telling Glade to stop keeping toxic secrets! Remember the Tide petition victory? That’s proof that our collective voices do make a difference.
LIKE AND SHARE. Head over to my Facebook page and LIKE/SHARE the image to help us make it go viral on social media to spread the word to as many people as possible.
TAKE ACTION. Post the image to Glade’s Facebook page and tell them you have a right to know what you’re spraying in your home.
You’ve probably seen the blue ENERGY STAR logo on appliances and other energy efficient products. Here’s the scoop:
Team ENERGY STAR is a exciting initiative from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, developed to engage and educate all of us about saving energy in our home. What I love most about the program is that Team ENERGY STAR empowers kids to help protect the climate through simple, doable actions. And we all know that kids are where it’s at if any change is going to happen.
I’m teaming up with my friend Diane over at Big Green Purse along with a long list of fantastic bloggers to help spread the ENERGY STAR message and work together to engage and educate American youth and their families about saving energy in the home.
Why is saving energy important?
About 70 percent of the electricity we use comes from power plants burning fossil fuels. Burning fossil fuels causes greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change – a real and urgent challenge affecting people and the environment worldwide. Using energy-efficient products and practices reduces the amount of carbon pollution added to the atmosphere and can lessen the effects of climate change.
Why is protecting the climate important?
Climate change is a real and urgent challenge affecting people and the environment worldwide.
Human activities such as electricity production and transportation add significant amounts of carbon pollution to the atmosphere. This carbon pollution, along with other greenhouse gases, is the primary cause of most of the global temperature rise observed over the past 50 years.
The good news
In 2012 alone, Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR, saved enough energy to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 50 million cars — all while saving $24 billion on their utility bills. Those are some pretty impressive stats.
Now for some fun
I don’t know about you, but I’m just about ready for summer. One of my favorite summertime activities is going to see all of the blockbuster movies that make their way onto the big screen.
This year ENERGY STAR partners PTO Today and LG Electronics have brought in the heroic characters from the new movie EPIC, to help kids learn about the importance of saving energy while having fun at the same time.
Being part of the team involves the following simple steps:
Take action to reduce your energy use at home
Help your family and friends save energy
Encourage your family and friends to take the ENERGY STAR Pledge
Inspire others by sharing your story
Check out the movie EPIC
The movie looks great. Big names lend their voices to make this film happen including Steven Tyler, Colin Ferrell, Beyonce Knowles and Amanda Seyfried. Here’s a short description and a trailer:
EPIC is a 3D CG adventure comedy that reveals a fantastical world unlike any other. From the creators of ICE AGE and RIO, EPIC tells the story of an ongoing battle between the forces of good, who keep the natural world alive, and the forces of evil, who wish to destroy it. When a teenage girl finds herself magically transported into this secret universe, she teams up with an elite band of warriors and a crew of comical, larger-than-life figures, to save their world…and ours.
How you can join in the fun
By joining Team ENERGY STAR kids will get the chance to earn cool prizes courtesy of PTO Today, LG Electronics USA and 20th Century Fox. The first 200 families to submit an energy-saving story will receive 2 tickets each to see EPIC, courtesy of Fox. Kids will also get the chance to earn some great prizes from LG Electronics USA and maybe even see their name in lights in Times Square. All the kids have to do sign up HERE and click on “Submit your energy-saving success story.”
Disclosure: I am writing about Team ENERGY STAR because I support the program and because I believe it is important to educate the public about energy efficiency and climate change. I have received a modest “thank you” reward from LG, an ENERGY STAR partner, in appreciation for my post. That gift in no way influenced my belief that saving energy is important and necessary.
Lipsticks and Glosses May Contain Potentially Troubling Levels of Metals
I’ve told you this before-I am a lip balm/lipstick junkie. I can’t get enough of the stuff. I have lipstick containers stashed everywhere-in the car, drawers, coat pockets, bathrooms-no space is spared. I love lipstick.
I’ve written in the past about studies which showed lead in many of our favorite brands of lipstick. Now a new study has found that many popular lip products also contain cadmium, chromium, aluminum and other metals — some at levels that may be harmful.
4 Sisters Take Their Photo Every Year For 36 Years
This photo display is very touching so I wanted to share. Back 1975, American photographer Nicholas Nixon took a photo of his wife Bebe and her three sisters, and they came up with an idea to make it an annual tradition. Over a period of 36 years they took an annual photo of the four sisters, in the same order. If only we had done something similar in our family. Hindsight at this point. Take a look at this beautiful journey through interesting hairstyles, sweaters and aging HERE.
Five Minute Vegan Strawberry Sorbet
For those of you finally in the throws of spring and warmer temperatures, this is the perfect weekend to try out this recipe for Vegan Strawberry Sorbet. It really does take 5 minutes to make. And for those of you getting hit with a May snow storm, I’m so very sorry.
Stay tuned for another Green Report (that’s the plan). Happy, groovy green weekend to all!
We walked to school today. To some of you that may not sound like a big deal. Walking or biking to school may be a part of your daily routine. But for us it’s not a regular occurrence. Today was walk or bike to school day in our community, a day where the big yellow bus didn’t take our kids to school.
Way back when someone had the not-so-brilliant idea to create little pockets of housing around town without sidewalks. We happen to live in an area where there are sidewalks, but once you reach the tip of the neighborhood you’re dumped onto a main thoroughfare without sidewalks and without a safe way to school. Big bummer.
So today we joined together with a few neighbors and met up with kids from all over to walk and bike to school together.
My oldest decided to bike to school. I walked to school with my younger two.
Why walk or bike to school?
It’s fun. And that it was. I had a chance to walk and talk with my kids and others for a mile walk. Usually we’re rushing around trying to get out in the morning so this was a great way to start the day.
We used our feet instead of a car or bus. When families decide to lace up their sneakers or strap on their bike helmets to get to school instead of riding in a car or bus, they help reduce the amount of air pollutants emitted.
In 2009, 203,000 children ages 15 and younger were injured in motor vehicles crashes; 15,000 of those injured were pedestrians (NHTSA, 2011). Teaching children how to look both ways and walk or bike with caution was a big component of the walk. We had our own police escort with flashing lights. Very fancy.
We clearly weren’t the only ones who decided to walk or bike to school today.
Why we should ride or walk to school more often
A Danish study this past year looked at nearly 20,000 Danish kids between the ages of 5 and 19. It found that kids who cycled or walked to school, rather than traveling by car or public transportation, performed measurably better on tasks demanding concentration, such as solving puzzles, and that the effects lasted for up to four hours after they got to school.
And then there’s the benefit of physical fitness. Being active before sitting in a classroom all day is priceless. Learning to incorporate fitness into your daily routine is a precious life skill.
We are active as a family, but I’m determined to make walking or biking to school happen more often. Logistically it’s not that easy, but it’s doable and it’s a necessity.
Reusable bags are taking over our kitchen and that’s a good thing. I’m talking about reusable snack and sandwich bags for packing our school lunch and they’re everywhere, filling drawers and cabinets waiting to be used.
My three boys are pretty much on auto pilot in the morning. Once their alarm clock goes off (aka mom) it doesn’t take much nudging to get everyone out of bed.
We all head downstairs and within a matter of minutes our kitchen turns into a tornado. Breakfast preparation and lunch packing begins. Food and reusable bags are everywhere-the floor, counters and other random spots. I just take a deep breath and let it go because it’s well worth it. All three boys make their own lunch and breakfast with minor supervision from mom and dad. It’s pretty amazing to watch them begin to understand what a green and healthy lunch looks like-starting with reusable bags instead of plastic baggies.
Moving away from the use and toss mentality and investing in a few reusable bags for lunch is such a simple way to make a BIG environmental impact.
Our friends over at MightyNest have an extensive collection of reusable sandwich and snack bags to choose from (and lots of other eco-friendly products!).
MightyNest has graciously offered to giveaway a snack/sandwich reusable bag set to FOUR lucky Groovy Green Livin readers. Here’s what will be given away (one set per winner):
I had never heard of this brand before. Eco-Ditty reusable snack bags and reusable sandwich bags are made from 100% organic cotton with a Velcro closure. The outer colorful fabric is printed with low-impact inks and the inside is made from un-dyed organic cotton liners. They are all BPA Free, Lead Free, PVC Free and can be hand or machine washed in cool water.
I’ve reviewed LunchSkins before and have a few of my own! Lunchskins come in all sorts of great designs and are made from cotton fabric coated with a “food-safe” polyurethane liner. These bags are durable and withstand the high heat of the dishwasher. Fabric and inks have been independently tested for safety and are lead-free, phthalate-free and BPA-free.
Semilla Snack Bags
Another reusable bag brand that’s new to me-Semilla. These bags are hand sewn in one of my favorite cities-San Diego. We’ve been using our bag for sandwich wraps and they actually fit! I love that these bags can go right into the washing machine. The fabric is a Hemp and Organic Cotton blend and the liner is 100% nylon. The lining is non-toxic nylon: lead free, phthalate free and BPA free.
SnackTaxi has been a staple in my reusable bag drawer for a long time. The bags are sturdy and durable. They have a new addition to their reusable bag offerings- gluten free snack bags and reusable sandwich bags! These bags will keep your gluten free snacks distinct from other foods. The label on outside of bag reads “Gluten-Free” as opposed to “SnackTaxi” found on the other SnackTaxi bags.
The kind folks over at MightyNest have graciously offered to give FOUR Groovy Green Livin readers one of these snack and sandwich reusable bag sets. The Giveaway will close at 1 pm EST on 5/3/13. By entering your name and other information you acknowledge that you have read and are agreeing to ourOfficial Rules. Good luck!
Right before my vacation I spent a few hours at a local MiniLuxe salon. Lucky me! The timing was perfect. I was headed to warmer weather for a week off and was thrilled to have a little pampering before the official start to my vacation.
Years ago I was a regular at a local mani-pedi salon. Those days are long gone. After many years of mani-pedis, I stopped wearing polish altogether. I couldn’t ignore the smell of the polish-a smell that reeks of toxic chemicals. Also, with three young boys that’s just not at the top of priority list.
If you’ve been following along here for a bit you know that I will only use non-toxic nail polish or no polish at all. The same goes for nail polish remover. I now pay closer attention to what goes on my fingers and toes. I’ve discovered that not all nail polish and removers are created equal.
Thanks to the kind folks at MiniLuxe I was able to test out their lovely salon and treat myself to a hot oil manicure and pedicure. My first question before heading into the shop: “Do you have non-toxic products?” I was assured that they did.
MiniLuxe currently has 7 Massachusetts locations offering a wide array of services including mani-pedis and waxing. When I walked in I first noticed that the salon was modern, clean and colorful. It didn’t have that overwhelming smell of polish that knocks your socks off at many salons.
The color selection was massive. They carry many different brands of polish. I went for a brand that I know is non-toxic, Zoya. Zoya Nail Polish is a nail polish free of toluene, formaldehyde, DBP (phthalates) and camphor.
I was happy to see there weren’t plastic bags floating around the shop.
While I did have the opportunity to select my own polish color the base coat and top coat that were used were taken straight from the manicurist’s station. I’m not sure if this was non-toxic. Next time I will probably bring my own.
I was very impressed that every instrument came straight our of a sterilization bag. It was clear that the instruments used were clean and only used on me. I don’t know if this is standard in the industry, but it was a relief to see.
The manicure and pedicure were quick. I had the warm oil treatment which was divine. I have to admit that I would have liked the massage portion to last a wee bit longer. I could have added an extended hand/arm massage for $6 and an extended foot massage for $8.
Overall the pricing is middle of the road with a Signature Manicure coming in at $19 and a Signature Pedicure at $37. You can add French finish for $6 and warm oil for $10 along with a few additional add-on options.
The mani-pedi polish lasted my entire vacation. My toes still look perfect 2 weeks later, my nails not so much.
Will I go back?
I would. Next time I’ll probably bring a few of my own products to be sure that I’m truly getting the non-toxic treatment. The service was good, the place was clean and I carved out some time to be pampered.
Update: I was assured by MiniLuxe that all their polish, including top and base coats, are non-toxic and 3, 4, and even 5 free. “3 Free” are nail polishes without Dibutyl Phthalate, Toluene, and Formaldehyde. “5 Free”are nail polishes without Dibutyl Phthalate, Toluene, Formaldehyde,Formaldehyde Resin, and Camphor.
Disclosure: Thanks to the kind folks at MiniLuxe for the complimentary warm oil manicure and pedicure. All opinions are my very own. Promise!
Lori Popkewitz Alper, Founder and Editor of Groovy Green Livin, provides eco-wellness consulting for businesses, schools, homes and individuals; and inspiration for a greener lifestyle through her Groovy Green Livin blog and website. Read more….