Archive for Healthy Living

October 3rd, 2017

5 Natural Ways to Kick the Common Cold That Actually Work

5 natural ways to kick the common cold

It’s September and I already have my first cold of the season. We all know that there’s never a good time for a cold, but the coughing sneezing and other symptoms always seem to appear at the most inopportune times. I guess there’s only so much we can do to prevent the inevitable!

I know I’m not alone. Everyone seems to be sniffling, sneezing and coughing, trying desperately to find remedies to ease their symptoms. Now that I have a cold, my goal is to shorten its duration.

Here are a few tricks I’m using to help kick my cold. 

Please remember to visit your doctor if your symptoms persist or worsen. 

Eat Healthy

Eating healthy seems like an obvious choice when combating a cold. This is the time of year when our immune system is working on overdrive. We are back to a packed schedule with work and family and there’s little time to care for ourselves. By eating healthy food we can naturally strengthen our immune system and stay healthy throughout the year. A few of my favorites menu additions are broccoli, salmon, nuts, and garlic.

Use a Neti Pot to help with cold congestion

I’m in love with my Neti Pot. Whenever I have a cold or any sort of congestion I turn to my Neti Pot. It takes a bit of an effort and it’s not pretty to watch, but if used correctly it removes excess mucus, pollen, dust, and other environmental irritants from the sinus passages. Don’t forget to add the salt!

Take Homeopathic Nature’s Way Umcka ColdCare

I’ve been using Nature’s Way Umcka ColdCare Chewable tablets since my symptoms first appeared and they seem to be doing their job. I always keep them in stock so we can start taking them whenever a cold begins.

Drink Hot Tea

My cabinets are filled with an arsenal of hot tea options. When I feel a cold coming on I break out my organic cold and flu brew. I also like Traditional Medicinals, Organic Throat Coat Tea when I have a sore throat. The heat from the tea helps boost the immune system. My kids love Traditional Medicinals Just for Kids Organic Cold Care Tea. If hot tea’s not your drink of choice make sure to find other ways to drink plenty of liquids!

Oregano

While Oregano is delicious on pizza, pasta, and many other foods, it can also help kick a cold. Oregano oil has antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it ideal for reducing the duration of a cold. I generally take oregano oil when the first symptoms appear. I like to keep oregano oil soft gel tablets in my kitchen cabinet so they’re ready to go. You can take an oregano capsule twice a day with meals. To treat a sore throat add 6 drops of organic oregano oil to a glass of water and gargle a few times each day.

Don’t forget to get enough sleep and drink plenty of liquids!

Please speak with your doctor before trying any of these remedies.


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Disclosure: Some links in this post are affiliate links meaning,at no additional cost to you, I may get a small commission if you make a purchase. Thanks for your support! 
September 19th, 2017

Helping Others Through Heifer’s School Milk Feeding Program

Helping Others By Giving One Student Fresh Milk for a School Year

Photo courtesy of Heifer International

Thank you to Heifer International for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my very own.

Last night was one of those nights where everyone decided to linger at the dinner table. I treasure those moments since they are becoming far and few between. As my kids get older and their lives ramp up I’m finding that there’s less time to just hang out. Especially during the school year when schedules and meals rarely line up.

The conversation bounced all over the place (which I love) and we finally settled on a discussion about helping others. Given the current state of the world, it was unfortunately easy to come up with many scenarios where people truly need help. Even though I’m not sure my kids are hearing what I’m saying, my philosophy is to keep talking about these situations and how helping can come in many different forms. The hope is that someday my children will demonstrate that they’ve heard me on some level. We shall see!

One of my favorite organizations dedicated to helping others is Heifer International. I’ve been a longtime supporter of Heifer. When I’m struggling to think of a gift for someone who has it all, Heifer is my go-to. Their gift options are incredibly unique as they work to end world hunger and poverty. Our family has been known to give a flock of geese or chicks in honor of a friend’s birthday.

Helping Others Through Heifer’s School Milk Feeding Program

Heifer has another fantastic program, the Heifer School Milk Feeding Program, which just launched in July 2017. The program reflects full circle implementation of Heifer’s work to help communities; in this case “cow to the classroom.”

Since 2008, Heifer’s Tanzania program has focused on helping dairy farmers increase milk production. They are now broadening that focus to create more viable and diverse markets for these farmers. With the help of farmers, government agencies, and school districts, Heifer has created a school milk feeding program to encourage a generation of milk-drinkers and increase the well-being and nutrition of eager students.

The launch of the School Milk Feeding program allowed 1,742 pupils in the Njombe region to receive fresh 200ml packets of pasteurized milk and these students will continue to receive a free, daily packet of fresh milk every day Monday – Friday during the school year. Pretty amazing!

The ultimate goal of the program is to provide 9,000 pupils (ages 9 and under) in the Njombe, Iringa, Mbeya, and Songwe regions with a packet of free fresh milk every day Monday – Friday during the school year.

Helping Others By Giving One Student Fresh Milk for a School Year

Photo courtesy of Heifer International

Milk Facts 

Did you know that one packet (200ml) of milk contains at least a quarter of the daily calcium requirements for children? By donating just $75, one student will receive fresh milk for a school year (that’s just 40 cents a day)! Supporting the program will positively impact communities by

  • Providing milk for children who suffer from a lack of proper nutrition
  • Empowering students to focus on learning instead of hunger
  • Creating a reliable market for producers
  • Increasing farmers’ incomes and reducing poverty

How you can help

Heifer International has been my go-to for holiday gifts, birthday gifts and more. Make a donation of any size! Just $75 can provide one student with fresh milk for a school year (that’s just 40 cents a day). Click HERE to help.

In support of School Milk Day on September, 27th let’s give a gift that grows!

Here's How You Can Give One Student Fresh Milk for an Entire School Year

Please share!

Every time this post is shared on Twitter or Facebook Women Online, will donate $1 (up to $2,000)! Please click below to share on Twitter.

Make a difference! Help Give One Student Fresh Milk for a School Year @Heifer #GiveHeifer Click To Tweet

What are some of your favorite ways to help others?


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 Disclosure: This post was brought to you by Heifer International. All opinions are, of course, my own.
September 12th, 2017

5 Ways to Combat Stress as We Transition to Fall and a prAna Discount Code!

Long gone are those lazy days of summer as we transition to the structured days of fall. Shifting from one season to another is no easy task. Many of us are feeling elevated levels of stress due to the changing of the seasons coupled with the upheaval happening in the world.

As we struggle to make sense of the world right now and as we scramble to wake our children in the morning stress levels are on the rise.

Feeling overwhelmed or stressed out can be caused by so many different scenarios. Being prepared for unexpected stress is important during this volatile time and throughout the year.

Here are a few ways to combat stress as we confront any transition.

Eat Well

The old adage, “you are what you eat” holds so much truth. Eating the right foods is the first line of defense when it comes to treating stress. Take the time to fill your body with good, unprocessed food including a wide array of fruits and vegetables (organic when you can!).

We always try to participate in a CSA in the fall. Community-Supported or Community-Shared Agriculture (CSA) is also known as “subscription farming.” We buy a subscription from a local farmer and receive a “share” of fresh, organically grown fruit and/or vegetables.

Reconnect With You 

It’s time to embrace your adventurous spirit. What do I mean by that? Take some time for adventure!

Reduce stress by embracing your adventurous spirit! @prAna #WhereDoYouprAna Click To Tweet

I didn’t write much this summer. I needed a reboot so I decided to take the summer off to spend time with my family. With three teen boys, it’s hard not to think about the short amount of time remaining before they head off to college. As the clock loudly ticks I’m craving more time. So the luxury of a summer off was perfect.

Now I’m back and kicking off the fall by jumping in headfirst. We went from zero to sixty this weekend doing activities that I love with my kids. Saturday was gorgeous and sunny for my son’s first soccer game. I’m not ready to give up my summer wardrobe so I mixed and matched. Check out my Brenna pants from one of my favorite companies, prAna.

5 Ways to Combat Stress as We Transition to Fall

5 Ways to Combat Stress as We Transition to Fall

Iconic Citgo sign in Kenmore Square, next to Fenway Park

Thanks to the Boston Red Sox I was able to take five (yes, 5!) teenagers to a baseball game this weekend. The day was beautiful and a good time was had by all. Unfortunately, the Sox lost, but they’re still in first place in the American League East.

My prAna Sage Joggers were perfect for a day at Fenway Park. I’ll be taking them with me on all of my travel adventures this year.

I’m a prAna fan and been wearing prAna for many years. This is a brand that I was initially drawn to because of style, but knowing that they truly care about our health, the environment and our planet makes wearing their clothing that much more appealing. At prAna one of their core philosophies is sustainability. You can’t beat that!

Drink water

We all know that drinking water is important for optimal health. When we don’t drink enough water it can cause dehydration and increase the cortisol levels in our body which can lead to increased stress! Fill that reusable water bottle and keep it close by throughout the day.

Sleep

Now that my kids are teenagers it’s becoming more difficult to get enough sleep. The kids are up later and out later, which means that I’m up later too. Sleep is so important for maintaining a strong immune system. Studies show that people who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick. Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover from an illness.

Move Your Body

Throughout the year it’s important to keep active. Exercise could boost your immune system and possibly help it guard against cancer. Try to schedule regular activity throughout the day and make exercise a priority. It’s important to find a form of exercise that you love so you can stick with it.

Thank you and a prAna discount code for you!

As a thank you for being a loyal Groovy Green Livin reader you are eligible for 15% off at prAna by entering this code at checkout: MHMLA15

Please note that the discount is valid through October 10, 2017, and is not valid for Influencers, online gift certificates or with any other offer.

How do you handle transition?


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


 Disclosure: I’m a prAna influencer, which means I receive special pricing on prAna products as well as sneak peeks at their new collections and product releases.  I was sent the Brenna Pant and Sage Jogger for review. All opinions are, of course, my own.
September 8th, 2017

6 Healthy Staples You Will Always Find in My Kitchen

6 Healthy Staples You Will Always Find in My KitchenCooking healthy meals and choosing nutritious snacks becomes much easier when there are healthy choices at your fingertips. There are a few staples that are usually available in my kitchen, making nutritious snacks and meals easier to prepare. As our family heads into a busy season of juggling work, school and kid’s activities it’s important to make reaching for healthy options a priority.

Here are a few of my favorite kitchen staples that you’re likely to find if you stop by for a visit.

Olive Oil

Olive oil has always been one of my favorite oils to use and has been touted by some to be one of the healthiest oils. It has so many interesting uses ranging from cooking to cleaning stainless steel appliances. Olive oil has a fairly high cooking temperature and adds great flavor to many dishes.We always have a few large bottles of olive oil hanging around on the counter or in the cabinet.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is another favorite that has become a staple in my kitchen (and bathroom!). I use it for everything from cooking and baking to removing my makeup. Go for the organic coconut oil if you can.

Maple Syrup

We like to spend time in Maine over the summer and summers wouldn’t be the same without Maine Organic Maple Syrup. Maple syrup is one of my favorite natural sweeteners and is perfect for baking. My kids can’t get enough of the stuff on pancakes and French toast. It’s important to read the label before buying to make sure you’re getting pure maple syrup.

Eggs

Eggs are a staple in our home and as a result, our fridge is constantly filled with at least a dozen eggs. Our family’s been part of a CSA for many years and we receive an organic egg share each week. The eggs are delicious and definitely taste different than their store bought version (we did a taste test to prove this!).

Rice

Rice is a favorite at our house. It tops my list since it’s so easy to prepare. I use a rice cooker (THIS is my favorite rice cooker) with a timer so the rice is ready whenever we’re ready to eat. Make sure to rinse your rice before cooking to remove some of the arsenic. Here are a few interesting rice/arsenic facts from Treehugger:

• Basmati rice contains lower levels than other rice.
• Brown rice usually contains more arsenic than white rice (because of the husk).
• Growing rice organically doesn’t make a difference to levels.
• Rice cakes and crackers can contain levels higher than in cooked rice.
• The levels of arsenic found in rice milk far exceed the amounts that would be allowed in drinking water.

Baby spinach

6 Healthy Staples You Will Always Find in My Kitchen

You will always find a container of baby spinach in my refrigerator. It’s great for a quick smoothie add-in or a sprinkle on top of any dish. Spinach is a nutritional rock star with one cup providing nearly 20% of the recommended allowance of dietary fiber and over 337% of the recommended allowance of vitamin A. One cup of spinach also provides over 1000% of the RDA of vitamin K which helps to maintain the strength and density of our bones.

What staples are in your kitchen?


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


Disclosure: Some links in this post 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! 
July 26th, 2017

5 Ways to Create a Non-Toxic Dorm Room

5 Ways to Create a Non-Toxic Dorm Room Groovy Green LivinI walked into a store last week and found myself lost in multiple aisles dedicated to back-to-school “necessities” for a college dorm room. I’m still in full summer mode, so it’s hard to wrap my brain around anything having to do with back-to-school. I realize that someday in the not-too-distant future, I too will be embracing a dorm room set-up for my own children.

As families send their children off to college it’s important to think about their safety on many levels. Limiting a child’s exposure to toxic chemicals in their dorm room is a great place to start.

By taking the time to purchase non-toxic essentials for your college student’s dorm room you’re helping to foster a healthy few years away from home.

Here are a few areas to focus on when shopping for a non-toxic dorm room

Dorm Room Bedding

It’s hard to believe that we spend almost 1/3 of our lives spent in bed and it’s probably more for a college student! Since we’re spending so much time horizontal it’s crucial to focus on the safety of our bedding.

Many conventional bedding options contain formaldehyde and chemical dyes. Making the switch to organic bedding will help create a safer sleep environment.

While organic can mean pricey, organic bedding doesn’t have to cost a fortune.When looking for those extra long twin sheets for a dorm bed there are a few organic options out there for budget conscious college students.

PBTeen also has a few organic sheet and comforter options that are priced right.

Personal Care Products

Take the time to find safer personal care products for your college student.

Here are my picks for shampoo and body lotion. I also have a few personal care product favorites that can be found in my bathroom (click on the links for my suggestions).

Laundry Detergent

When it comes to laundry detergents, some really are safer than others. Send your child off to college with one of these brands:

Reusable water bottle

If your college student hasn’t made the switch to a reusable water bottle it’s time! My favorite is the S’well Teakwood Water Bottle. The bottle keeps your drinks cold for 24 hours and hot for 12 hours. It’s made from stainless steel and is non-toxic, non-leaching and BPA free. For every bottle sold, S’well will plant one tree through the American Forests Foundation. They are a bit pricey, coming in at close to $40 for a 17 oz water bottle.

I also like the Hydro Flask insulated stainless steel water bottle ($28) which comes in a wide variety of matte colors and the exterior never sweats. The insulated stainless steel water bottle keeps drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot for up to 6 hours. As added bonuses, Hydro Flask comes with a lifetime warranty and donates 5% back to a charity of your choice.

Towels

Parents secretly hope that their college student showers more than once a month while they’re away at school. Most conventional towels are bathed in chemicals that can be harmful to your body. When stocking up on bath towels for the dorm room try to buy organic when you can.

I really like Magnolia Organics Bath Towels and the price is right ($17).

Do you have any other suggestions for creating a non-toxic dorm room?


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


Disclosure: Some links in this post 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! 
June 26th, 2017

Why Mineral Sunscreen is a Safer Choice

This post is brought to you by Goddess Garden.

This time of year most of us are slathering on sunscreen before we head out the door. We all know how challenging it is to get our kids to wear sunscreen, but it’s a necessity if we want to avoid skin cancer. I’ve been forced to make the switch to a non-aerosol spray mineral sunscreen since that’s all my kids will wear.

The skin cancer risk increases for those who had at least five blistering sunburns when they were 15 to 20 years old. They have a 68 percent increased risk for common skin cancers like basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas and an 80 percent increased risk of the deadlier melanoma by the time they reached middle age.

Time to #GiveChemicalsTheBird and make the switch to safer sunscreens! Click To Tweet

Mineral sunscreens are great for those with sensitive skin

Most traditional sunscreens use toxic chemical sunscreens that absorb and scatter the sun’s rays into the skin. Along with those ultraviolet (UV) rays, the chemicals are absorbed and can get into the bloodstream. The skin is the body’s largest organ—let’s protect it! Sunscreen chemicals can trigger allergies and other skin reactions. Since natural minerals reflect the UV rays and aren’t absorbed into the skin, they are much less likely to cause irritation. This makes mineral sunscreens a great choice for those with sensitive skin or anyone who wants to avoid synthetic chemicals.

Why Mineral Sunscreen is a Safer Choice Groovy Green Livin

Mineral sunscreens are immediately effective and don’t break down in the sun

Most of us have heard that we should wait 20 minutes after applying sunscreen before heading into the sun. Do you know why? The chemicals go through a reaction with your skin before they’re effective. Chemical sunscreens also break down quickly in the sun, requiring not-so-safe ingredients as stabilizers. Liquid plastics are also often added to keep the chemicals from being absorbed too quickly. Natural mineral sunscreens aren’t as complicated. They’re immediately effective and stay that way—no liquid plastics or toxins required.

Minerals sunscreen offers broad-spectrum protection, naturally

Chemical sunscreens guard against the burning rays (UVB), but not all of them protect against early skin aging. It’s important to check the label to be sure a sunscreen provides natural broad-spectrum protection from both UVB (burning) rays, as well as the UVA (aging and damaging) rays, as zinc oxide does.

Mineral sunscreens are reef safe

Chemical-based sunscreens can cause harmful damage to the world’s coral reefs. By making the switch to a safer, mineral sunscreen you can help stop this damage.

Why I love Goddess Garden mineral sunscreen

Every year I do my best to test out several sunscreens and share my findings with you throughout the summer. Goddess Garden consistently makes it onto my “favorites” list over and over. Last year Goddess Garden was one of my Top Picks for Safe Sunscreens for Kids. This year Goddess Garden showed up as one of the top Safer Spray Sunscreens for Kids, Teens, and Adults in 2017.

Here are a few of my favorite Goddess Garden products:

Have you made the switch to mineral sunscreen?

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! 


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


 

June 8th, 2017

How to Prepare Your Child for Overnight Camp

How to Prepare Your Child for Overnight Camp Groovy Green Livin

Overnight camps throughout the country will start over the next few weeks. Both my husband and I went to sleepaway camp and we have successfully passed this tradition on to our own children. The reasons why I love sending my kids to camp is long but allowing a child to develop “broadly as a human being” tops the list.

Getting your kids to go to an overnight camp isn’t always easy. For a child who’s a homebody, the thought of leaving for weeks can be overwhelming and anxiety provoking. Especially when you break the news to them that their 4-8 weeks will be spent without technology. Yes, that means no cell phone for 4 weeks! As a parent, this is truly a highlight.

For some children, this will be their first adventure away from home and for others, this is an annual experience.

Here are a few tips from a seasoned overnight camp family to help prepare your child for their sleepaway adventure.

Visit the camp

Most camps have a visiting day before the official start day. If you can arrange some time to visit the camp your child will have an opportunity to check out the camp before they move in for a few weeks. Seeing the camp will help ease anxiety and remove some of the unknowns.

Pack together

Our camp sends out a detailed list of what the kids need to bring. We have learned to follow the list but remove items that are never used. For example, the list suggests rain boots. My kids have never worn rain boots and this is a heavy item to include in the duffel bag if they’re not going to wear them.

Involve your children in the packing process. Let them label their clothing and pick out their shirts, shorts, and bedding. Use their age as a guide for how much or how little control you can hand over.

Having your child participate in the packing is crucial. They begin to come to terms with going to camp. It becomes real. They also need to know what they’re bringing with them. My sons were very excited while we were packing together once they saw all of the ‘fun’ equipment being packed into the bag. We packed a fancy flashlight, a fan with a water mister, an organizer to hang on the bunk and other camp necessities.

Talk about homesickness

Before you child heads off to camp take the time to talk about feeling homesick. Almost every child misses home at some point over the summer. It can be devastating to receive a letter from your child letting you know that they are miserable and want to come home now. If you do receive one of those letters don’t hesitate to reach out to the camp to let them know. Generally, those feelings turn around pretty quickly and the next letter will let you know that camp is amazing.

Listen

Anxiety about camp can show up at unexpected times and in unexpected ways. If your child is acting out or acting differently it could be a sign that they’re anxious about camp. Take the time to listen to your children and help them find strategies to work through any concerns prior to their departure.

Other articles to help prepare your child for summer camp:

How do you prepare your child for overnight camp?


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


 

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About Lori

Hi! I’m Lori, a recovering attorney, writer, and mom to three boys. Join me as I uncover and share the latest info on healthy living. Learn more.

Click HERE to contact Lori

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