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Archive for Healthy Living

June 18th, 2015

The Countdown to Summer Has Officially Begun! Bring On the Chips and Dip

The Countdown to Summer Has Begun Groovy Green Livin

The countdown to summer is here. Believe it or not, my kids still have a few days of school left thanks to the never ending snow days.

I’m ready to kick back and enjoy some quality family time.

I have my summer bucket list in place and a few good books to read. I’ll be doing plenty of work, but won’t be writing quite as often. Come and find me on Instagram. I’ll be sharing some of my summer adventures over there. I would also love to see what you’re up to.

Our BBQ gets a lot of action during the summer months. It’s so easy to grill and create a meal that everyone likes. While we’re waiting for the grill to fire up we generally put out a few healthy snacks to keep everyone happy. Cut veggies are a family favorite. We mix it up with different arrangements and unique vegetables.

Summer Groovy Green Livin

It’s summer! Bring on the chips and dip

We also love putting out different types of chips. I’ve been a Late July Organics fan for quite some time. I was first introduced to their fabulous chips when I was in New York for a BlogHer/Stonyfield party.  Here are a few things I love about the company:

  • Late July Organic Snacks is a family owned and operated company that cares deeply about family and the integrity of their products.
  • All their products certified USDA organic and proudly wear the organic seal.
  • Their research and development team includes their two sons- ten-year-old Stephen and six-year-old Benjamin.

My favorite Late July Organic chips are their Late July Organic Snacks Sea Salt by the Seashore Multigrain Tortilla Chips. Have you tried them? They have Organic Flax, Organic Millet, Organic Brown Rice, Organic Quinoa, Organic Amaranth in them with just the right amount of sea salt.

The Countdown to Summer Has Begun Groovy Green Livin

The cut up veggies and the chips wouldn’t be complete without something to dip them in. Thanks to Stonyfield for coming to rescue. This Creamy Hummus recipe made with Stonyfield Greek yogurt is just what we needed.

What’s your favorite healthy snack during the summer? Don’t forget to come and find me on Instagram.

 


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 am a Stonyfield YoGetter Blogger Captain and receive products samples and/or compensation for sharing Stonyfield news and products with my readers. I was given a sample of Late July Organic Chips and Stonyfield Yogurt for this article. I was already a fan of the products, and as always, opinions are my own.

photo credit: Vegetable colors via photopin (license)

June 15th, 2015

My Ultimate Summer Bucket List

my ultimate summer bucket list Groovy Green Livin

In one short week summer officially begins for our family. I’m looking forward to the change of pace and lack of schedule during the summer months. The transition from spring to summer isn’t always an easy shift for me, but I’m determined this summer to try a few new things that will keep me motivated and focused on enjoying every moment.

My Ultimate Summer Bucket List

Try something new. I’m thinking a new hiking trail or running route could work for this one. Or maybe something more extreme like kneeboarding or wakeboarding.

Do paddle board yoga. And lots of it. I started practicing paddle board yoga a few years ago and generally do it a few times over the summer. This summer I’m shooting for more often. Paddle board yoga is a combination yoga on a paddle board and yes, you’re in the water. It’s a pretty intense core workout and great way to stay in shape if you’re away from the gym.

Cut way back on sugar. Did you know that 80% of the 600,00 items sold in grocery stores have added sugar? Also, sugar can be addictive. In a study, 43 cocaine addicted laboratory rats were given the choice of cocaine or sugar water over a 15 day period. 40 out of 43 chose sugar. This summer I’m going to cut back on the amount of sugar I’m eating. I’m not going to cut it all out because I’ve tried that and it doesn’t work for me. Being conscious and limiting my sugar intake is the goal.

Try Whole30®. As part of my sugar detox I’m also going to try The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom. I just bought the book and it’s still sitting on my kitchen counter, but I’m committed to trying it over the summer. I did a 21 day detox and loved it so I think I’m up for this challenge. Think of it as a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system. Let me know if you’re up for trying this with me.

Find a bug repellent without DEET that actually works. For the past few years I’ve been on mission to find a bug repellent that’s safe and actually keeps the bugs away. It’s been no easy task. I’m a mosquito magnet. This year I’m sticking with Buzz Away and Babyganics Natural Insect Repellent. Fingers crossed that I don’t get eaten alive.

Stay off my lap top when my kids are around. I’ve been working on this throughout the year and done fairly well. Over the summer it’s not as easy since my kids are around during the days and I have work to do. Waking up on the early side or staying up late gives me those extra hours to get my work done without impacting my time with my kids. I’m very grateful to have a flexible job.

Put that phone down. I just read a great article in the Washington Post, 5 lessons my tween has taught me about social mediaMy favorite piece of advice was  “Put your phone down”. Sometimes I find myself taking photos of the most absurd things, just for the sake of posting something on Instagram. It’s so important that we remember to live in the moment and it’s just as important to remember that everyone doesn’t need to see what you’re doing every waking moment.

What’s on your bucket list this summer? 


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.


Some links are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may get a small commission if you make a purchase. Thank you for supporting this site!

photo credit: Shounan_Cloudy_day_45 via photopin (license)

June 9th, 2015

How to Make a Summer Camp Survival Kit

How to Make a Summer Camp Survival Kit Groovy Green Livin

Summer camp is right around the corner. It’s hard to miss the 6 empty duffel bags sprawled across my floor.  They are ready to be filled with summer camp essentials ranging from underwear to handheld water-misting fans.

Packing for three kids headed to overnight camp can be somewhat daunting, but it somehow all works out in the end. Everyone makes it to camp and has what he needs.

Most camps provide a packing list, which helps guide the packing process. In a few short days it will look like a bomb went off in our house, with piles of clothing and other necessities waiting to find their way into the appropriate duffel bag.

Each year I try to create a list of must-haves for those families looking for safer camp supplies and other essentials.

Here are a few to add to that camp survival  kit (*affiliate links):

Toms of Maine Toothpaste 

I’ve added Tom’s of Maine Fluoride Free Children’s Toothpaste to our survival kit this year. Many flavors have been tested and Silly Strawberry is the only flavor that my kids will use, so we’re sticking with it.

Garden Goddess Organic Sunscreen and Babyganics Sunscreen

This year I’m adding a new sunscreen to my list of favorite sunscreens. My kids actually like it and don’t complain. Can’t beat that. Goddess Garden Kids Natural Sunscreen is our sunscreen of choice for camp this summer. The ingredients are safe and it doesn’t go on thick and white. In addition to the regular tube of sunscreen is also comes in a pump bottle and a spray bottle. I’m not a fan of spray sunscreens, but if you’re going to use one this is as safe as it gets.

Another option is Babyganics Mineral-Based Sunscreen which doesn’t contain PABA, phthalates, parabens, fragrances or nano-particles.

Emily Body Lotion and Soap

We use Emily Baby & Adult Skin Soother (Unscented) Groovy Green Livin Emily body lotionfor everything including bug bites, rashes and eczema and Emily Super Dry Skin Soother for those really dry patches of skin. I’ll also be sending a bar of Emily Skin Soothing Soap (Unscented). I love the smell of this soap.

Mabel’s Labels Clothing Labels 

Groovy Green Livin Camp Supplies

I’m a big fan of Mabel’s Labels for labeling clothing. Everything that goes to camp has to be labeled or it won’t make it home. My favorite labels are Mabel’s Labels Tag Mates, which stick directly onto the clothing tag and don’t come off. I also love the Limited Edition Camp Combo Packs, which includes a variety of labels (the shoe labels are awesome!).

Stationary to Write Home

There are a few different options when it comes to stationary. I always try to make it simple for the camper so they’ll hopefully write home more often. If you have a younger camper this Bunk Junk Sports Fold Over Stationeryis great. They can check off a few boxes and send it home with a lot of valuable information. For older kids who want to write more Bunk Junk Sports Stars Fold Over Stationery is perfect.

Babyganics Bug Repellent

There are two brands of bug repellent to add to your summer camp survival kit. I’ve been using  a DEET free bug repellent called Buzzaway  for a few years and it really works well. I’m also trying Babyganics Natural Insect Repellent. If you’re looking for natural ways to treat bug bites take a peek  HERE.

Babyganics Shampoo and Body Wash

If you’re looking for a safe shampoo that your kids will probably use try Babyganics Shampoo + Body Wash . With no parabens, sulfates, phthalates, mineral oil, petrolatum, fragrance or dyes, this is a perfect choice for a non-toxic summer!

My camp essentials list changes a bit each year as new products are released and formulations change. Here are a few summer camp posts from years past:

 


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*Thank you to Goddess Garden Organics, Babyganics and Emily for sending products to review. 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. Some links are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may get a small commission if you make a purchase. Thank you for supporting this site!

photo credit: DSC_9177 via photopin (license)

June 4th, 2015

Are There Toxic Chemicals Hiding in Your Child’s Car Seat?

Hazardous Chemicals Found in Popular Child Car Seats Groovy Green Livin

Many young children spend hours in a car every week strapped into a car seat. When my kids were infants they basically lived in their car seat. I would drag them from activity to activity strapped in. The car seat snapped directly into the stroller during those first few years of life. If they fell asleep in the car I would bring the entire car seat into the house and let them continue their nap in the seat.

In a new study released today by the nonprofit Ecology Center  (at the consumer-friendly site, www.HealthyStuff.org) the findings show that some of our favorite car seats are filled with toxic chemicals.

Looking back, I wonder how many hours my kids spent in those car seats on a daily basis? And to think I was strapping them into their car seat to protect them, not to expose them to toxic chemicals.

CHILDREN’S CAR SEAT STUDY

The Ecology Center tested 15 infant, convertible and booster car seats and found that while most seats still contain dangerous chemicals, some companies have taken big steps towards reducing chemical hazards.

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of seats tested contained hazardous halogenated flame retardants and over half contained non-halogenated organophosphate flame retardants, some of which are hazardous as well. The study finds the hazardous flame retardant chemicals and alternatives used by companies are poorly regulated, putting consumers at risk, and questions the fire safety benefit of using these chemicals. Top rated companies in the study, Britax and Clek, have been aggressively implementing policies to reduce hazards in their products while still meeting all safety standards.  The poorest performing company was Graco.

The study is the fifth in series of studies identifying poorly regulated chemical hazards in car seats since 2006. HealthyStuff.org has tested 377 car seats in the last 9 years.  Added flame retardant chemicals are not bound to the car seat materials and thus are released over time. Infants, toddlers and children can be exposed through inhalation, ingestion and dermal (skin) absorption of these chemicals.

According to Safer Chemicals Healthy Families, this is one more example of how the lack of regulation in cars has resulted in car interiors having some of the highest levels of hazardous chemicals, including flame retardants.

Here’s what The Car Seat Study found:

Graco’s Nautilus 3-in-1 car seat in Matrix, according to Ecology Center’s research, is one of the most toxic car seats.

Best 2014-15 Car Seats:

  • Britax Frontier and Marathon (Convertible)
  • Clek Foonf (Convertible)

Worst 2014-15 Car Seats:

  • Graco, My Size 65 (Convertible)
  • Baby Trend, Hybrid 3-in-1 (Convertible)

Other brands with products tested include: Chicco, Cybex, Dorel Juvenile Group (Eddie Bauer, Safety First), Evenflo, Harmony Juvenile, Orbit Baby, Peg Perego. To see if your car seat is on the list take a look HERE.

Here’s what you can do

  • Find a safer car seat. Check in with the retailer directly and ask about their use of toxic flame retardants.
  • Use your dollars and your voice to let car seat manufactures know that toxic flame retardants in car seats are unnecessary and unacceptable.
  • Occasionally vacuum the car seat and your car. According to Consumer Reports, this will help limit the amount of dust, which is where chemicals released from the seat or vehicle’s interior may settle.

Is your child’s car seat on the list? How can we get car seat manufacturers to remove toxic flame retardants from their products?

 


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.


 

 

 

 

June 1st, 2015

6 Tips for Finding a Safe Multivitamin

6 Tips for Finding a Safe Multivitamin Groovy Green Livin

I have to admit that I’m not very good about taking a multivitamin. I’ve tried on and off over the years, but I never seem to stick to it. Right now I’m taking a Vitamin D supplement and that’s it. As an aside, I found an amazing sugar-free Vitamin D gummy that I really like. Yes, it’s a gummy, but I rarely miss a day.

When it comes to multivitamins there are plenty to choose from. Just walk up and down the aisles of any supermarket or health food store. It can be overwhelming.

If you’re in the market for a multivitamin there are a few things to think about before investing in a particular brand. 

1. Look for simple and few ingredients

When I’m buying any processed food, including a multivitamin, I look for a short ingredient list filled with ingredients I’m mostly familiar with and ingredient names I can pronounce.

2. Avoid Added Sweeteners

Read the ingredient list. Children’s vitamins are often the worst-all those gummy multivitamins are often loaded with sugar. Look for anything ending in -ose and steer clear. More often than not these are a form of sugar: sucrose, maltose, dextrose, fructose, glucose, galactose, lactose,  glucose solids, cellulose and sucrose, Also, sugar, Xylitol, high fructose corn syrup and maltodextrin. There are plenty of multivitamins on the market without added sweeteners.

3. Watchout for GMOs

Genetically Modified Organisms (also called GM, GE or GMOs) refers to crop plants that are consumed by animals and/or humans that have been tweaked or modified in a lab to boost desired traits such as: the ability of the plant to produce its own pesticide, disease resistance and improved nutritional value. We want to avoid these in our food (including multivitamins) whenever possible. Watch for multivitamins with added soy, cotton, canola, corn, sugar beets, Hawaiian papaya, alfalfa, and squash (zucchini  and yellow).

4. Skip the Artificial Dyes

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest artificial food dyes are many times made from petroleum and possess a “rainbow of risks to children.” Those risks include hyperactivity in children, cancer (in animal studies), and allergic reactions.

In America all food labels must spell out which artificial food dyes are used in a product. Read your labels very carefully so you can make an educated decision about the multivitamin you buy. 

5. Natural Ingredients Not Synthetic

Finding a multivitamin with natural ingredients v. synthetic isn’t always easy to detect. Look for something on the label that says “whole food multivitamin or all ingredients derived from whole foods”. Also read the ingredient list to see where the ingredients come from-do they come from plants and other natural sources?

6. When Possible Look for Organic

There are a quite a few organic multivitamins on the market.

In a nutshell, products with an organic certification are made without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), or ionizing radiation.

USDA certified products cannot intentionally contain GMOs.  The USDA does not require testing for GMOs, so accidental contamination may occur.

Do you take a multivitamin? What’s your favorite?


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.


Please be sure to contact your physician before taking any multivitamins

photo credit: Pills 3 via photopin (license)

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?


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 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.

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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.

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