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Archive for Healthy Living

March 2nd, 2017

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

 

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

5 Products to Buy Organic

Organic Sheets

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

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

Organic cotton swabs

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

Tampons

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

Towels

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

Wine

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

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

What are your favorite organic products?


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February 24th, 2017

7 Foods to Help Boost Your Immune System

Foods to Help Boost Your Immune System Groovy Green Livin

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

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

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

Broccoli

Foods to Help Boost Your Immune System Groovy Green Livin

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

Oats

Foods to Help Boost Your Immune System Groovy Green Livin

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

Garlic

Foods to Help Boost Your Immune System Groovy Green Livin

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

Nuts

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

Fish

Foods to Help Boost Your Immune System Groovy Green Livin

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

Berries

Foods to Help Boost Your Immune System Groovy Green Livin

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

Sweet potatoes

Foods to Help Boost Your Immune System Groovy Green Livin

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

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


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


February 16th, 2017

Books to Read Aloud With Your Kids About Diversity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are a few more favorites to read together:

Do you have any favorite books about diversity? 


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


Disclosure: Some links on this page are affiliate links, which means that at no additional cost to you I may get a small commission if you make a purchase. 
February 7th, 2017

How You Can Resist: Now is NOT the Time to Bury Your Head in the Sand

How You Can Resist: Now is NOT the Time to Bury Your Head in the Sand Groovy Green Livin

I have to admit that it was a big deal for me to share my first political post on Facebook. I agonized over what to share. Who would “like” it? Who would give me dirty looks at the gym?

Talk with me one-on-one and I’m happy to share my political views loud and clear. But there’s something different about sharing publically. Putting my political views out there for the general public doesn’t come easily to me. I’ve never been one to cover my front lawn with signs and talk politics at a party. One would think that being a blogger is somewhat synonymous with putting it all out there, but surprisingly I’m a relatively private person. My kids are completely off limits when it comes to social sharing unless they consent and my blog has always been (and will remain bipartisan). My goal is to educate and share information that’s applicable to everyone concerned about their health and the environment regardless of race, religion and political affiliation. And political perspectives have been off the table. Until now.

I really don’t care about likes and dirty looks. It’s my responsibility to speak out.

I can no longer sit on the sidelines. The time to resist is now.

When politics turn to basic human rights I no longer can sit on the sidelines cheering on my friends who have the courage to speak out. Yes, I can (and will) continue to cheer them on, but I need to do more.

I’ve been sitting idle for weeks. Months. Not really sure what to do. Paralyzed and overwhelmed by the looming possibilities.

There’s so much happening that I either don’t understand or can’t wrap my head around. I’m a trained lawyer and I’m still having trouble understanding the process behind all of the impetuous appointments and orders being shoved down our throats. I’m not sure where to turn first and where to best use my energy to resist.

One thing I’m absolutely sure about is that the time to act is now.

As we continue to witness horrific changes impacting the diverse people of our country the fight has only just begun.

If we all commit to acting against extremism and devote a few minutes each day to resist, together we can make a difference.

Here’s how you can help:

  • Get involved. Decide what moves you and act on it. Don’t wait.
  • Check before you share. Make sure you’re sharing real news on social media. Check your sources before sharing information.
  • Follow or connect with people you trust and listen for their leads on a call to action. Contact me if you want a list of my go-to organizations and people to follow.
  • Talk to your children. Of course please be age appropriate, but don’t be afraid to talk with them about what’s going on in the world. Use books to help your child understand the issues. Here are a few great books on what it’s like to be a refugee.
  • Sign up for Daily Action alerts by text.
  • Get to work on a local level and elect/appoint those who are like-minded and care.
  • Volunteer for organizations that are working hard to protect our interests.
  • Make a donation. Chose an organization that is making a difference and show your support.
  • Focus on getting good people into the seats in the mid-term elections. That is going to be key!

Don’t forget that resistance works! Your voice does matter.

If you have more suggestions on how to resist please share!


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


January 25th, 2017

Best Non-Toxic Lip Balm for Kids and Adults

Raise your hand if your lips are chapped. I have tubes of lip balm everywhere, ready to be applied over and over throughout the day.

This is the time of year when many of us have dry, cracked lips. With the wind, snow, and lack of humidity, chapped lips are here to stay for a few more weeks. That leaves many of us searching for the best way to treat our lips with care.

There are plenty of lip balms out there, but not all are created equal.

Best Non-Toxic Lip Balm for Kids and Adults Groovy Green Livin

Many conventional lip balms contain petroleum byproducts which don’t belong on your lips. These petroleum based ingredients have many different names including:

  • Paraffin Wax
  • Mineral Oil
  • Toluene
  • Benzene

Petroleum products are possibly contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals and may also cause allergic reactions in some. The European Union has mandated that petrolatum used in cosmetics has to proven to be non-carcinogenic.

Since what you put on your lips goes into your body I’ve spent the past few weeks searching for a few safe, non-toxic lip balm options.

I have a few favorite lip balms to share with you.

Dr. Bronner’s Organic Lip Balm

I’ve been a fan of everything made by Dr. Bronner’s for many years. Best Non-Toxic Lip Balm for Kids and Adults Groovy Green LivinDr. Bronner’s Organic Lip Balms (Naked, Peppermint, Lemon Lime, Orange Ginger)  are some of my favorites. Made with organic beeswax, organic jojoba, avocado and hemp oils these are top notch. They’re also certified organic!

Badger Organic Lip Balm

Badger Organic Lip Balm actually moisturizes your lips rather than drying them out like other conventional lip balms. It goes on smoothly and is long-lasting with a fantastic texture and smell. There’s an unscented version for those who don’t want any fragrance. All the ingredients are good enough to eat.

LEAP Organics Lip Balm

LEAP Organics Eucalyptus, Mint, And Shea Butter Lip Balm is Certified Organic. With a combination of coconut oil, olive oil and shea butter this is a great lip balm. I’m a fan of the Eucalyptus Mint flavor.

Lulu Organics Lip Balm

I’m in love with Lulu Organics Ruby Mint Lip Balm. This company is a small, organic beauty company based in upstate New York. All products are handmade from simple and safe ingredients including organic hemp oil, organic olive oil, organic jojoba oil, organic almond oil, organic coconut oil and more! This is not a good choice for those with a nut allergy. It also comes in another flavor, Organic Cardamom Lip Balm.

If you really want to know what’s going in and on your body try making your own lip balm. I gave it a shot HERE.

I also have a few non-toxic lipstick suggestions. Check them out HERE.

Do you have a favorite lip balm? I would love to hear what you use and why.


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


Disclosure: Some links on this page are affiliate links, which means that at no additional cost to you I may get a small commission if you make a purchase. None of the companies have paid me, I just really like their products!
January 6th, 2017

My Picks: 4 Non-Toxic Mascaras for the New Year

If I had to pick one type of makeup to use every day it would be mascara with lipstick coming in at a close second. When I was in my teens lipstick or lip gloss would have been the front-runner since at the time I had long, dark lashes and rarely used mascara (or any makeup!). Now, when I want a little extra lash length one of the four mascaras below are my go-to.

Before I was in the know I would head to CVS to grab an over the counter mascara that promised to lengthen my lashes. Over the years I’ve discovered that I have very sensitive eyes. Those conventional mascaras with all sorts of questionable ingredients were making my eyes irritated. I began investigating safer mascara options and found a few that work and don’t make my eyes inflamed. When investigating the safety of makeup I always start with the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep cosmetics database.  The database rates the safety of over 64,000 products.

Beautycounter Lengthening Mascaras ($29)

I can’t say enough good things about Beautycounter as a company. Their mission is to get safe products into the hands of everyone. Not only are they selling safer products (without ingredients from their “Never List“) but they are also advocating for meaningful regulation in the beauty industry.
My Picks: 4 Non-Toxic Mascaras for the New Year Groovy Green LivinBeautycounter Lengthening Mascara rocks! Your lashes won’t clump together and the mascara stays on for hours without smearing and smudging. The ingredient list looks relatively clean and even includes a few organic ingredients. This mascara received a 2 (low hazard) from the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database.

Pacifica Dream Big Lash Extending 7 in 1 Mascara ($16)My Picks: 4 Non-Toxic Mascaras for the New Year Groovy Green Livin

Pacifica Dream Big Mascara is vegan and cruelty-free. The applicator is innovative with a twisting feature that allows you to adjust the length and the volume of your lashes. I took a look at the ingredient liked what I saw.  This mascara doesn’t irritate my eyes even when I forget to remove it at night.

W3LL PEOPLE – Expressionist Bio-Extreme Black Mascara ($27)My Picks: 4 Non-Toxic Mascaras for the New Year Groovy Green Livin

I love my W3LL PEOPLE Black Mascara. I also have it in pro blue, which is a really fun color to use on my dark lashes. This mascara doesn’t have any harsh artificial chemicals or petroleum derivatives that can irritate the sensitive eye area. It’s also 100% cruelty-free, petroleum-free, paraben-free, gluten-free, coal tar-free, aluminum-free, fiber-free, and clump-free!

Zuzu Luxe Mascara ($18)

My Picks: 4 Non-Toxic Mascaras for the New Year Groovy Green LivinI’ve been using Zuzu Luxe Mascara  for a few years and I’m really happy with the product. Zuzu cosmetics are lead-free and each product is tested during and after manufacturing for pH values, viscosity, microorganisms or any other contaminants. They also don’t use any parabens in their products. The mascara is gentle and non-irritating as well as clump proof and non-smudging. This mascara received a 2 (low hazard) from the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database.
Take a look HERE for a few more non-toxic beauty products that you’re going to LOVE!


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


Disclosure: Some links on this page are affiliate links, which means that at no additional cost to you I may get a small commission if you make a purchase. None of the companies in this article have paid me. I just really like their products!

December 20th, 2016

How to Fill Your Plate With Good Food (Plus a Free eGuide!)

How to Fill Your Plate With Good Food Groovy Green Livin

Having healthy food in my kitchen has become a priority over the years. Once I had children my commitment to good food and healthy options took over. After years of attempting to create healthy habits, my kids still give me a big eye roll when they’re looking for snacks. Much to their dismay, we generally don’t have large amounts of junk food hanging around. And I like it that way. The hope is that my kids will someday understand the importance of healthy eating and incorporate some of the things that we do into their own homes.

Overall there’s a general misconception that healthy foods are always more expensive than unhealthy options. First off it’s important to acknowledge that processed, packaged food is usually cheap because it’s cheap to make. It’s true that quality food can cost more, however, there are plenty of ways to add good food to your diet without much of an added expense. The most important way to tackle this is to plan ahead and do your homework. 

Here are a few ways to add good food to your diet.

Buy organic

Buy organic foods whenever you can. In a nutshell, products with an organic certification are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones. For most of us, it’s not feasible to buy organic all the time so pick and chose where you spend your hard earned dollars. A study found substantially higher levels of antioxidants and lower levels of pesticides in organic fruits, vegetables, and grains compared with conventionally grown produce.

Read your labels

All packaged foods come with a label that’s filled with valuable information. Use this information to learn more about what you’re putting in your body. For example, sugar is sugar. It can be disguised in may ways on a food label, but it’s all sugar. Sugar is hiding everywhere: cane sugar, beet sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, glucose. There are over 50 names for sugar. Also, look for foods that are labeled non-GMO.

Learn to cook

Cooking your own food is the only way to know exactly what’s in the food you’re consuming. It’s also a great way to try something new. Cooking can also be creative and fun. Pass on that cooking gene on by letting your kids be active participants in the cooking process.

Variety

Spice up that dinner plate by adding color! A plate filled with colorful, fresh, organic food is a good indicator that it’s a healthy plate.
This coming year I’m continuing my commitment to good food.  I’m not perfect and unhealthy foods do sneak in, but I try. I hope you’ll join me. Take a look HERE for a variety of ways to include good food in your life.

Here’s your chance to win a $100 gift card!

Did you know that there’s an app that tells you where you can find near-expired products still sitting on the shelf? The closer the product gets to the expiration date the lower the price. For this info and more great tips and trends take a look at  Feeding the Good Food Future eGuide.

Everyone who downloads the Feeding the Good Food Future eGuide between now and Dec. 31 will be entered to win a $100 gift card to help you get started on new ways to support good food! Three lucky winners will be selected in early January.

What good food resolutions will you make this year?


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


 Disclosure: I’m working in partnership with New Hope Network and I am compensated for my work. All opinions are my own.  Always. I do my best to only work with companies I support and think you, my readers, will like.  
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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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