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Archive for Healthy Living

January 26th, 2015

3 Small Kitchen Appliances I Can’t Live Without

Small Kitchen Appliances Groovy Green Livin

I always love taking a sneak peek into someone else’s home. I’ve shared with you what’s under my kitchen sink and some of my favorite safe shampoos and lotions. My friend Lindsay has also shared some behind the scenes glimpses into her home with a look at what’s under her sink and what’s in her pantry.

Today it’s time to take a little peek into my kitchen, which you can see in its entirety in my interview with ABC World News.

There are 3 small kitchen appliances that I use every day and I can’t live without them!

I spent a lot of time researching and seeking out the safest brand before buying each one. They are not inexpensive, but so worth the investment. Feel free to piggy back off my research and treat yourself to one of each. You deserve it!

There are affiliate links below. See * for full disclosure.

VitaClay Organic Multi-Cooker/Rice Cooker
3 Small Kitchen Appliances I Can't Live Without Groovy Green Livin

I’ve had multiple rice cookers over the years and hands down I like the VitaClay Organic Multi-Cooker/Rice Cookerthe best. The interior pot is ceramic rather than stainless steel and doesn’t contain aluminum, lead or any non-stick chemicals. It works like a charm every time I make rice or any grain. I’ve even used it for oatmeal.

There are multiple settings: for white rice (Quinoa), Brown rice (Wholegrain, or Wild rice), Sweet rice (Sushi, Sticky), Reheat, Stew (Roast or Steam or Beans, or less liquid cooking), Soup (Broth or more liquid based cooking) and Yogurt(yes, you can make your own yogurt).

It seems to cook the rice very quickly. My favorite feature is the “delay start”. I can program the rice cooker to turn on at a set time. Once the rice finishes cooking it automatically keeps it warm.

My only challenge with this rice cooker is that the lid is sometimes difficult to take off when the pot is hot.

PRICE:$119.95

All-Clad 6.5-Quart Slow Cooker with Black Ceramic Insert
3 Small Kitchen Appliances I Can't Live Without Groovy Green Livin
The All-Clad 6.5-Quart Slow Cooker with Black Ceramic Insert is the best of the best.

If you’re anything like me and driving your kids around just before dinner time, this slow cooker is for you. It has a 26-hour programmable timer, which allows you to time dinner perfectly. It’s also quite large so we can prepare a meal and have lots of leftovers. I love that it turns to the warm setting once the cooking’s complete. The ceramic insert is very easy to clean.

PRICE: $179.95

The SodaStream Crystal

 

3 Small Kitchen Appliances I Can't Live Without Groovy Green Livin

We love our SodaStream . There are quite a few versions out there, but we chose the SodaStream Chrystal since it uses a reusable glass carafe. Personally I’m not a fan of carbonated water (I don’t like the bubbles), but the rest of my family can’t get enough. Since this love of sparkling water has turned into a bit of an addiction I decided to do a little homework to make sure that consuming a lot of the bubbly stuff wasn’t impacting our health.

The bottom line: carbonated water is basically harmless. It’s just water and bubbles. An added bonus: by using a SodaStream you’re creating a positive impact on the environment by not using all the plastic bottles and cans generated from the store bought version.

PRICE: $179.99

What’s your favorite kitchen appliance? 

 


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*Disclaimer: I’ve included Amazon affiliate links for each of these items.  I will earn a small commission off of anything you buy through these links. Thank you for your support this site. All opinions are 100% my own, as always!

January 23rd, 2015

5 Healthier Peanut Butter Dessert Recipes

Healthier  Peanut Butter Dessert Recipes Groovy Green Livin

Now that my son no longer has a peanut allergy (stay tuned for this amazing story) nuts of all kinds have been a staple in our home. And there’s a good reason.

In a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found people who ate a daily handful of nuts (including peanuts which are technically legumes) were 20 percent less likely to die from heart disease, cancer and other chronic illnesses over a 30-year period than were those who didn’t.

So in honor of National Peanut Butter Day (January 24th, 2015) I’m going to share with you 5 amazing recipes from a few peanut butter loving bloggers.

But first this fact: Did you know that it takes 550 peanuts to make a 12 ounce jar of peanut butter?

Now it’s time to take a peek at these delicious recipes and if something floats your peanut-butter-loving boat click on the link to bring you to the full recipe. My only suggestion-use organic peanut butter without added sugar whenever you can.

Healthy Peanut Butter Fudge by Chocolate Covered Katie

I was so excited to stumble across this recipe for Healthy Peanut Butter Fudge. Something so delicious without butter, heavy cream, or high fructose corn syrup.

Healthy Peanut-Butter-Fudge Groovy Green Livin

No-Bake Energy Bites by Gimme Some Oven

What got me with these delicious treats is the “no-bake”. And they’re incredibly easy to make. Take a peek here.

Peanut Butter No-Bake-Energy-Bites-Groovy Green Livin

Double Peanut Butter Layer Cake with Chocolate Fudge Frosting by Desserts with Benefits

This Peanut Butter Layer Cake with Chocolate Fudge Frosting looks seriously decadent, but it’s also healthier than most cakes, low sugar, high in fiber and high in protein.

Healthy Peanut Butter Cake Groovy Green Livin

 

Creamy Chocolate Peanut Butter and Avocado Pudding by Healthfully Ever After

Chocolate, peanut butter and avocado sounds like an interesting combo in this recipe. There are only 7 ingredients and the recipe is relatively healthy! This recipe calls for Greek yogurt and personally I like to add Stonyfield organic Greek yogurt to my recipes. I think you know why!

healthy chocolate peanut butter avocado pudding Groovy Green Livin

Flourless Chocolate Brownies with Salted Peanut Butter Topping (Gluten Free!)by Nutritionist in the Kitch

This cake is flourless! Guess what holds it together? Sweet potatoes! Don’t worry, Christal assures us that you can’t taste the sweet potato for all you sweet potato haters.

FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE BROWNIES WITH SALTED PEANUT BUTTER TOPPING (GLUTEN FREE!) Groovy Green Livin

 Enjoy National Peanut Butter Day! What’s your favorite peanut butter recipe?

 


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.


 

January 20th, 2015

3 Important Tips for Buying a New Car

3 Important Tips for Buying a New Car Groovy Green Livin

For years I’ve wanted to head to the Detroit Auto Show which happens annually in January. I’m generally invited every year by gracious car manufacturers, but unfortunately the timing never seems to work out on my end. Someday I’ll hopefully get there to check out the latest and greatest in the auto industry.

This year I had the best of both worlds. I discovered that I didn’t have to travel far to get to a fabulous auto show. Who knew the New England International Auto Show was happening  just a few minutes from my home?!

When I was invited to attend the New England International Auto Show by SheBuysCars as a guest of Chevrolet I was beyond excited. I love how they refer to this show on the website as “Sneak Peeks for Auto Geeks”. I’m not sure I qualify as an auto geek, but I do love checking out the newest imported and domestic vehicles. I’ve been reviewing various cars on my site for a few years- so maybe that does place me in the “auto geek” category?

3 Important Tips for Buying a New Car Groovy Green Livin

3 Important Tips for Buying a New Car Groovy Green LivinThe day did not disappoint. It kicked off with a Design and Urban Mobility panel discussion. Of course I couldn’t help myself and had to ask the panel to name a few of their favorite sustainability initiatives. Wade Bryant, Manager, GM Advanced Design Studio & Design Senior Consultant on the Urban Active Solutions was all over my question. He spoke about how Chevy is in the forefront when it comes to sustainability. Check out some of their initiatives here. He also spoke about how there’s always room for improvement and it remains a work in progress.

After the panel came the reveal of the Chevrolet Trax. This is Chevy’s cross between an SUV and a compact car. This smaller car can seat up to five. One of my favorite features is the ability to fold the front passenger seat flat. This would allow for storage of long items such as skis or a surfboard, up to eight feet long. Not bad for a small vehicle.

We were then taken on an exclusive tour of the auto show led by James Bell, the Head of Consumer Affairs for General Motors. Mr. Bell knew his stuff and gave us the low down on many of the vehicles at the auto show.

3 Important Tips for Buying a New Car Groovy Green Livin

Women and Cars

My favorite panel happened after lunch. A few dynamic women spoke about Women in Automotive: How We’re Changing the World. They spoke about how on the consumer side more and more women are making the car deals. On the business side they are seeing more women rising to the top within the car industry. Pretty impressive.

For those of you who haven’t heard of SheBuysCars, it’s a pretty amazing organization. SheBuysCars is a web community for women who buy, care for, and live their lives in and around their cars. The brainchild of TravelingMom.com founder Kim Orlando and editor and journalist Scotty Reiss, SheBuysCars is created for the 80 percent of women who influence car purchase decisions. Their mission is to empower women as owners and buyers of cars.

3 Tips for Buying a New Car

When it’s time to invest in a new car here are three quick tips to help you through the process:

  • Test drive the car. I can’t emphasize this enough. Have your entire family pile in the car and make sure everyone fits. Especially if your car has a third row. Many of those third rows are a tight squeeze. Make sure the car is comfortable. Think about how much time we spend in a car!
  • Do your homework.  There is very little that remains a secret when it comes to car purchases. Once you find a car you’re interested in spend some time researching the available features and the value of the car. Look at reviews and be sure to check out safety records, Head over to She Buys Cars for great advice.
  • Check out the repair costs BEFORE purchasing the car. Head to the dealer or a local repair shop and ask for comparisons on what repairs will cost on a few vehicles you’re interested in.

The day ended with a group photo of the fabulous Boston Parent Bloggers . I also had a chance to catch up with my friend and fellow YoGetter, Alison from Green With Renvy.

3 Important Tips for Buying a New Car Groovy Green Livin

Overall the day was a complete success.

Just curious- did you walk into the dealership and make the deal on your car? 

 


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:  Chevrolet and SheBuysCars provided me with complimentary access to the New England International Auto Show and compensation for this post.  As always, all opinions are my very own.

 

January 13th, 2015

5 Tips for Staying Healthy and Active With Your Family

5 Tips for Staying Healthy and Active With Your Family Groovy Green Livin

My spin class at the gym was packed this morning. Not a spare bike to be found. Just goes to show you that no one wants to be outside when the temps are below zero. Or maybe everyone has a New Year’s Resolution to hit the gym?

Whatever the reason may be, during the winter months it can be somewhat challenging to stay active and healthy.

I’ve somehow managed over the years to stay motivated and we’re doing the same as a family. I’ve figured out a little trick. When I throw out an idea for a family activity I leave very little wiggle room for anyone to bail. For example I sometimes randomly announce “In about 15 minutes we are all going for a hike”. There are inevitably a few groans and moans, but if we all head out the door it’s unlikely that anyone will want to stay behind.

There are a few things you can do to keep your family healthy, happy and active throughout the winter months. Once these suggestions become part of your daily routine the transition to spring and summer will be a breeze.

Eat Healthy Food

This sounds so simple, yet it’s a challenge for many of us. When we’re rushing around it’s hard to fit in a good, healthy meal. I try to keep healthy after school snacks easily accessible. Slicing up veggies are quick and easy. Also, as a special treat we are well stocked with Stonyfield yogurt. Another easy snack to grab n go.

Stay Active Together

Find an activity that everyone in your family loves to do and go with it! Our family happens to love to ski. We try to spend as much time as we can on the slopes. I love it most because there are no screens involved and we’re outside together even on those chilly below zero days.

Cook Together

It’s so important to let your kids be active participants in the cooking process- especially if they show an interest. If they cook it they’re more likely to eat it and hopefully love it. Especially if the food they’re preparing is healthy. Having cookbooks for kids around the house will make the process that much easier.

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is so important in our overall health. In a large U.S. study, people who tended to get less than six hours of sleep nightly were more likely to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and to be obese.

Allow Your Children to Explore

Allow your children to find what they really love to do and support them in their decision. I always tell my kids that I truly don’t care what activity they choose as long as they’re moving. If everyone in your family has different interests, alternating activities might work well. What one child may love might not resonate with the others and that’s OK. Unless it’s skiing of course.

How do you keep your family healthy and active? 

 


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: This post was created in partnership with Stonyfield. I am honored to be a paid YoGetter Captain for Stonyfield Organic. All opinions in this post are my very own. 

 photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via photopin cc

January 12th, 2015

The Scary Truth About Red Dye No. 40

The Scary Truth About Red Dye No. 40 Groovy Green Livin

I went to the movies with my 11 year old last night. Just the two of us. We went to one of our favorite movie theaters-where the seats reclined and the arm rests were incredibly wide and comfortable.

Before the movie started we waited in line for candy. When we reached the counter my son had a hard time deciding what to get. I tried really hard not to interject (although I was dying to tell him to skip all the candy!). Instead we ended up having a lengthy discussion about which candy was better for you. Seems like a strange conversation to have, but it brought up some real issues. He held up a box of chocolate covered raisins and Sour Patch Kids and we compared ingredients.

The Sour Patch Kids contained:

Sugar, corn syrup, modified corn starch, citric acid, tartaric acid, natural and artificial flavors, yellow 5, yellow 6, red dye no. 40, blue 1

Not much by way of real food in those little candies. When we checked the ingredient list on the chocolate covered raisins this is what we found: No artificial food dyes.

Dark Chocolate (Sugar, Chocolate, Cocoa Butter, Milkfat, Soy Lecithin, Nonfat Milk, Lactose, Artificial & Natural Flavors), Raisins, Sugar, Tapioca Dextrin, Confectioner’s Glaze (Lac-Resin), Alkalized Cocoa

The raisins won the “better for you” contest, although I’m not sure either one truly belongs in this category.

The Scary Truth About Red Dye No. 40

Red food Dye No. 40 was listed on almost every candy package we looked at. Turns out it’s the most commonly used dye in the United States. Red Dye No. 40 or FD&C Red Dye #40, is widely used in the foods and drugs that we consume on a daily basis. It’s been approved by the FDA for use in food products and must be listed as an ingredient on labels.

And it’s not only found in candy. Red Dye No. 40 can be found in soda, salad dressings, toothpaste, mouthwash, and even medicine (think about the lovely pink hue of your antibiotics).

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest the Red 40 is made from petroleum and possesses a “rainbow of risks to children.” Those risks include hyperactivity in children, cancer (in animal studies), and allergic reactions.

Here’s the crazy part.

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. Food and other products containing artificial food coloring and sold is Europe would have a warning label in that would say:  “May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.” We have no warning label in the US.

Red Dye No. 40 Dangers Groovy Green Livin

What continues to amaze me is that these companies are clearly able to remove dangerous artificial food dyes from their products and have done so in other countries, yet they’re not willing to remove them from products sold in America.

What does this say about how these companies value the lives of American children? Seems pretty apparent that they’re less concerned with health than they are with their bottom line.

What you can do about Red Dye No. 40

  • READ LABELS: In America all food labels must spell out which artificial food dyes are used in a product. If you see Red 40 listed (or any other color with a number after it) steer clear. Read your labels very carefully so you can make an educated decision about the food you buy. I think you’ll be amazed at how many times Red Dye No. 40 shows up on a label.
  • SUPPORT COMPANIES that don’t use artificial food dyes. Let your dollars do the talking!

Do you try to avoid Red Dye No. 40 or other artificial food dyes?

 


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: Special via photopin cc

January 9th, 2015

5 Eco-Fashion Finds to Keep You Warm This Winter

Eco-Fashion Finds Groovy Green Livin

Happy weekend everyone!

It’s still cold and snowy here in Boston so I thought I would share with you a few of my favorite winter eco-fashion finds.

All boots are 20% off over at Planet Shoes through January 11, 2015. Use BOOTS20 at checkout. I’ve had my eye on this pair of winter boots from Pajar ($136 with the discount).

Eco-Friday Finds Groovy Green Livin

 

I’m the proud owner of the Violet Invinity Scarf from prAna. I actually have it in two different colors. It’s so easy to wrap around your neck for that added winter warmth. This scarf will keep you toasty warm as the temperatures plummet ($45.00).

Eco-Friday Finds

 

Another one of my loves: this Nano Puff® Jacket from Patagonia. This jacket will last you for years and keep you warm and dry. I use mine as a base layer when I’m skiing and I wear it solo the rest of the week. It comes in a variety of cool colors. The jacket is windproof and water-resistant, and made with warm, incredibly lightweight, highly compressible PrimaLoft® Insulation. Patagonia is one of my favorite eco-companies ($199.00).

Eco-Friday Finds Groovy Green Livin

This prAna Living Women’s Jackie Cadet Hat is so adorable. The hat is winterized for those cold temperatures. There’s a strap in the back of the hat that allows for adjustment ($36.00).

 

Eco-Friday Finds Winter Fashion Groovy Green Livin

 

Warm but not waterproof, these convertible fingerless gloves are made from 100% locally-sourced alpaca yarn. These fair trade gloves were made by artisans in Bolivia through Greenola, a Chicago-based fair trade company that works with cooperatives in the Cochabamba area. Greenola also donates 10% of its profits to its partnering non-profit, Solidarity Bridge ($52.95).

raleigh-glitton__95940.1415211241.500.659

 

Stay warm this weekend! What’s your favorite eco-fashion find this winter?

 


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: Ed Yourdon via photopin cc

January 8th, 2015

How to Keep Your Car in Tip Top Shape During the Winter

How to Keep Your Car in Tip Top Shape During the Winter Groovy Green Livin

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post and I am receiving compensation. As always, all opinions are my own.

It’s official. Winter has arrived in Boston. Today I’m in my office with a fire blazing, a hot cup of tea and multiple layers of clothing. You would think having grown up in Wisconsin the cold would be no big deal, but I can’t shake the chill.

This morning the cold almost got the best of my car. When I tried to start it the ignition didn’t turn over immediately. After a few “coughs” it finally started.

Thankfully there are a few simple tips to make sure your car is ready for the winter months ahead.

  1. A clean car is your first line of defense against winter.  While the winter season typically takes a toll on your car, proper maintenance can go a long way to preserving your investment.   Getting a new wash and a fresh coat of wax before the temperature starts to fluctuate can be your first line of defense against winter elements like ice, salt, sand and slush. Vehicular corrosion also occurs most quickly when temperatures rise and then fall below freezing.  Try to find a WaterSavers® Car Wash in your area. These car washes typically use only 40 gallons (151.5 liters) or less of fresh water per car wash.
  1. Rotate your tires. Most people know they should get their oil changed every 3,000 miles, but many forget their tires need maintenance as well. Tires should be rotated before winter and then again every 6,000 miles.
  1. Add some winter weight to your oil. Changing your oil and filter is especially important during the winter. Drivers who live in a colder climate should consider changing to heavier, winter-weight oil during the winter months. 
  1. Take care of your wiper blades. Your windshield wiper blades are your first line of defense when the snow starts to fly. Make sure your wiper blades are in good, working order and replace them if you have doubts. It’s better to make this change now instead of finding out your blades aren’t working when you really need them. 
  1. Take your car in for a tune-up. Any noises, pings or sluggish starts you currently notice will only intensify as the temperature drops. It’s best to get your vehicle in for a tune-up as soon as possible to get any issues addressed. 
  1. Give your steering some power. Check your powering steering fluid each month, and make sure the car is warmed up before you do so. If you find the level is low, look for leaks in the hoses or pump. Low power steering fluid will make your car more difficult to steer, which is something you’ll want to avoid as the roads get slick. 
  1. Protect yourself from carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide leaks are dangerous at any time, but they are especially deadly during the winter when you will be driving your vehicle with the windows closed. Have your exhaust system checked to make sure no leak exists. 
  1. Apply the brakes. Besides the seatbelt, your car’s brakes are its most important safety feature. This is especially true in the winter when slippery conditions can make stopping difficult. Before the first snow fall, bring your car to an experienced mechanic to verify that your brakes are ready for the season.

How do prepare your car for the winter?

photo credit: PommeGranny via photopin cc

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by  International Car Wash Association (ICA). All opinions are my own. For more information on sponsored posts, read here.

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About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney, mom of three and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. Come along with me as I work hard to make the world a little safer for each of us.

Click HERE to contact Lori

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