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Archive for Healthy Living

May 23rd, 2016

5 Foods to Boost Your Mood Naturally

5 Foods to Boost Your Mood Naturally

The direct link between food and mood can’t be denied and that old adage ‘you are what you eat’ still stands true. Hippocrates was the first to suggest the healing power of food when he said “Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food”. If you’re feeling down in the dumps or a little off there are a few foods to consider adding to your diet that might help.

Here are five foods to help improve your mood**

Salmon (and other fatty fish)

More and more evidence has shown that omega-3 fatty acids (found in fatty fish such as salmon, herring, sardines, and tuna) may help boost your mood. Omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon and other fatty fish including herring, sardines and tuna, can impact your mood, behavior and personality.

Chocolate

Any list that includes chocolate is my kind of list! There’s more and more evidence that dark chocolate can enhance your mood. Chocolate has been shown to “improve depression and anxiety symptoms and help enhance feelings of calmness and contentedness.” Make sure the chocolate you’re consuming is dark chocolate without added sugar and milk, organic and fairly traded.

Fruits and Veggies

Eat your veggies! In a study of close to 3,500 men and women those who ate their fruits and veggies were less likely to report feeling depressed than those who ate processed foods, refined grains and high-fat dairy products.

Vanilla Yogurt

We’ve known for a while that fermented foods, including yogurt, help boost our mood. A recent study found that a spoonful or two of vanilla yogurt be a quick fix. What’s the reason that vanilla yogurt seems to do the trick? The vanilla flavor could be comforting. It’s known that certain scents can boost your mood via endorphins and vanilla happens to be one of those special scents.

Of course my favorite vanilla yogurt is Stonyfield!

Swiss Chard

Add a bit of Swiss chard to your diet to bump up your mood. All types of chard contain high levels of magnesium, a necessary nutrient to help your brain and boost your energy levels. Did you know that magnesium deficiency is a common condition among people diagnosed with clinical depression? My favorite way to eat chard is in a stir fry with a little olive oil and garlic. Here’s another Swiss chard recipe that looks delicious.

If you’re looking for a few superfoods to help beat anxiety check out my list HERE.

What’s your favorite food to help improve your mood? I’m still sticking with chocolate!

Remember a change in diet is a only a first step. Don’t forget to get enough sleep, drink water and smile when you first wake up in the morning!

**Before starting any new diet and exercise program please check with your doctor and clear any exercise and/or diet changes with them before beginning. I am not a doctor or registered dietitian. I do not claim to cure any cause, condition or disease. I do not provide medical aid or nutrition for the purpose of health or disease.


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May 18th, 2016

11 Green Websites You Should Know About

11 Green Websites You Should Know About

My work day begins most days with a quick read through my news feed and a giant cup of tea. When it comes to hot off the press green or eco news I have a few go-to websites that I generally turn to for all the important information.  I wanted to be sure that I wasn’t missing anything so I recently reached out to many of my trusted blogger friends in the green blogosphere to see what websites they turn to for everything green. No surprise, they had some fabulous suggestions!

Here are a few suggestions for websites covering everything green 

Food Tank

Food Tank is a website that runs on the premise that our food system is broken. The site focuses on building a global community for safe, healthy, nourished eaters. They spotlight environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable ways of alleviating hunger, obesity, and poverty and create networks of people, organizations, and content to push for food system change.

Robyn O’Brien

Robyn shares a wealth of information concerning our broken food system and the need for GMO labeling. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Robyn’s work she’s a former financial and food industry analyst, who has been called “food’s Erin Brockovich” by the New York Times and Bloomberg. She triggered an allergic reaction in the food industry when she asked: “Are we allergic to food or what’s been done to it?”

Climate Nexus

Climate Nexus is a site dedicated to highlighting the wide-ranging impacts of climate change and clean energy solutions in the United States. They believe that the human cost of climate change is too great to ignore. They work closely with NGOs, institutions, and other key influencers on climate change and energy issues to raise awareness, dispel misinformation, and showcase solutions in the U.S.

Environmental Health News

Environmental Health News is an independent, foundation-funded news organization that reports and publishes news stories on environmental topics. They cover stories about health, water, children, food and more.

TreeHugger 

TreeHugger is a sustainability site which strives to be a one-stop shop for green news, solutions, and product information. Their topics vary from week to week and include stories about cutting-edge green information. I’ve been following them for many years and am impressed by their ability to churn out multiple stories on a daily basis.

Civil Eats

Civil Eats provides daily news and commentary about the American food system. The site brings together over 100 contributors who discuss sustainable agriculture.

Grist

Grist is a site that makes me laugh out loud several times a day. With their catchy (and sometimes shocking) post titles, they end up making me chuckle and want to read more. They’re an online news organization that uses humor to interpret green issues & inspire environmental action. They cover climate, energy, food, cities, politics, business, green living, and the occasional adorable baby animal.

Ecowatch

Ecowatch is relatively new to the green scene and has quickly become a  leading website reporting on environmental news, green living, sustainable business, science and politics. The site works hard to unite all shades of green to ensure the health and longevity of our planet. I’ve been following Ecowatch and often share their information. I admire how they use their platform to share environmental news and encourage individuals to take action.

FairWarning 

FairWarning is a nonprofit investigative news organization that focuses on public health, safety and environmental news, and related topics of government and business accountability.

Greenbiz.com

Since 1991, GreenBiz has chronicled, and been a catalyst for thought leadership in aligning environmental responsibility with profitable business practices. They cover topics such as sustainability, energy, buildings, supply chain, water, transportation, and cities.

The Guardian (UK)

The Guardian (UK) edition is more of a general news source, but many times will focus on green or eco news. I scan through it daily to see if there’s anything relevant. Many times there is something green or eco that’s of interest.

Twitter, Facebook and Other Social Media Sites

Twitter, Facebook  and other social media channels are a great first step when looking for breaking green and eco news. My first stop is my news feed on Twitter and then a quick scroll through my business page feed on Facebook for all that’s happening in the green and eco worlds. It’s a nice way to get a sampling from many different sources.

Thank you to Diane from Big Green Purse, Jen from Jen and Joey Go Green, Ronnie from Econesting, Erin from ElyOrganics, Betsy from Eco Novice , Kristi from Savvy Women’s Alliance, Leigh Ann from Green4U, Anna from Green Talk and Amity from Green Child Magazine for sharing their trusted green and eco resources.

What are some of your top websites for green and eco news?


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May 11th, 2016

Best Non-Toxic Eczema Creams and Lotions

Best Non-Toxic Eczema Creams and Lotions Groovy Green Livin

Eczema is persistent, dry, itchy skin. Chances are you or someone you know suffers from eczema since over 30 million Americans may have some form of it. Many times this chronic skin irritation leads to scratching and bleeding. There are so many expensive creams out there claiming to fix the eczema problem, but most don’t work. Conventional doctors often prescribe steroid creams (hydrocortisone), which don’t really cure the problem and instead end up drying out the the skin even more.

There are a few non-toxic creams and lotions out there that really help manage eczema issues. It’s important to work with your doctor to find the right combination.

Here are a few favorite eczema creams and lotions

Emily Baby & Adult Skin SootherBest Eczema Creams and Lotions Groovy Green Livin ($12 for 1.8 oz jar)

Emily Baby & Adult Skin Soother (Unscented) is our all-time favorite. The unscented Emily Baby and Adult Skin Soother was originally formulated for the company owner’s infant, Emily. There are are 5 natural, high quality ingredients. Nothing Else. The Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database has rated this product a zero (out of a scale of 0-10 for low to high risk)! Ingredients: Olive (Olea Europaea) Oil Angelica Sinensis Root Beeswax Potentillae Chinensis Herb Mentha Haplocalyx Herb. The only downside is the lotion is very greasy.

Egyptian Magic Skin Cream ($28 for 4 oz jar)

Best Eczema creams and lotions Groovy Green Livin

Egyptian Magic Skin Creamworks like a charm on hard to beat eczema. According to the site, it’s made with Olive Oil, Bees Wax, Honey, Bee Pollen, Royal Jelly, Bee Propolis & Divine Love (without additives, preservatives, fragrances, chemicals, parabens, not tested on animals). The jar lasts for a long time since a little goes a long way. The cream can be quite greasy once applied.

I also like to use Earth Mama Angel Baby Angel Baby Lotion ($12) and Lifestyle in Green Soothing Organic Baby Lotion ($24 and this does contain almond oil) for red, rash prone skin.

Another option is to make your own lotion or cream. I’m not much of a DIYer, but I did find a “recipe” that includes very safe ingredients and looks very similar to the lotions I’ve mentioned.

Homemade Natural Eczema Cream

What lotions and creams do you use for eczema and other skin irritations?


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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!

 

May 2nd, 2016

5 Traveling Hacks for Savvy Families

5 Traveling Hacks for Savvy Families Groovy Green Livin

There’s nothing like traveling and exploring new places with my family. My boys have been traveling since they were infants since we needed to travel by plane to visit my family. We’ve made time over the years to take them to other places, both close and far away. Whether it’s by planes, trains or automobiles, I can’t get enough of seeing that spark in their eyes when they discover a new culture. I can finally say that my boys are at the perfect age to travel ( 12, 14 and 15) and actually remember some of what they see. Thankfully we have photos from earlier trips because they claim to remember very little.

Over the years I’ve learned a few tricks to help make traveling a little less painful and stressful with small (or large) children.

TSA Pre✓®

If you want to get through those security lines quickly  TSA Pre✓® is the way to go. This is the first year that I’ve had TSA Pre✓® and it was well worth the $85 application fee which is valid for 5 years. How did I not have this before?!

TSA Pre✓® is an expedited security screening program for travel within the United States.

Passengers considered low-risk who qualify for the program can receive expedited screening. Have you noticed the TSA Pre✓® lines at the airport security stations? With TSA Pre✓® you can skip the regular lines and hit the much shorter TSA Pre✓® line without having to remove shoes, belts, laptops, liquids, and jackets. If you’re a frequent traveler and interested in applying head HERE. The application process was quick and painless. We filled out the application online and set up a short appointment. A few weeks later our approval letters arrived in the mail. Only my husband and I have TSA Pre✓® and our kids reap the benefit by tagging along without having to pay a fee.

Global Entry

If you’re traveling overseas a few times a year you might want to consider applying for Global Entry. Global Entry is a program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. All applicants undergo a rigorous background check and in-person interview before enrollment. Although I considered applying for this, it didn’t make sense for our family. The cost is $100 per applicant (children must also apply) and the interview process only takes place at qualifying airports.

Everyone Gets Their Own Suitcase

On a recent trip overseas we decided that everyone was old enough to wheel their own suitcase. We purchased 5 different color carry-on bags, one for each of us. It was somewhat challenging to pack for a week in a smaller suitcase, but we all did it. We didn’t check any luggage so there was no risk of lost suitcases and once we landed everyone was in charge of their own bag.

Keep Your Passport Safe

Once our destination is reached we always lock the passports in a safe. On this last trip we scanned our passports and had a copy accessible by email and in our Dropbox. If your passport is stolen report it immediately. Find the nearest US Embassy or Consulate and explain what happened. They will advise you on next steps.

Bring an Empty Reusable Water Bottle

Avoid buying plastic water bottles at the airport by bringing an empty reusable water bottle through security. My favorite is this Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Water Bottle with a Bamboo Cap. If you want something easy to roll up and store check out this Vapur Water Bottle. Once through the security lines refill your water bottle at the closest water fountain.

Do you have any travel hacks to share? 


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.


 

April 27th, 2016

Join Me in the Tom’s of Maine Less Waste Challenge

Join Me in The Tom's of Maine Less Waste Challenge

Did you know that the average American family produces nearly 125 pounds of waste every week? That’s a lot of garbage!

I think about the amount of trash we generate every Sunday evening as we roll an overflowing garbage can to the curb for pickup the following morning. Although our recycle bins are generally filled, I continue to be amazed each week by the amount of garbage our family of 5 continues to produce.

It’s time to change that.

Tom’s of Maine #LessWasteChallenge

For 45 years, Tom’s of Maine has been taking its own #LessWasteChallenge by developing natural personal care products with a focus on natural, responsible and sustainable practices and materials. Today, Tom’s of Maine has a goal of zero waste to landfills by 2020 at its manufacturing facility in Maine. Now it’s time to bring the challenge into our own homes. 

My Week of Less Waste

As many of you know, I work closely with Tom’s of Maine as a brand ambassador in their Goodness Circle. It’s my job to share both the products and all the good things the company is doing. This month, in honor of Earth Month, Tom’s of Maine has teamed up with recycling leader, TerraCycle, to decrease the amount of trash ending up in landfills by launching the #LessWasteChallenge.

I decided to join in and take the pledge to reduce the amount of trash we’re adding to landfills by signing up HERE. I hope you’ll join me (it’s free and only takes 30 seconds)!

Tom’s of Maine and Terracycle challenged me to reduce my household waste for one week and track my progress using the Waste Less Tracker.

Waste Less Tracker

Here are a few things that our family was able to do:

Tom’s of Maine teamed up with TerraCycle to create a few Less Waste Tips. Here’s one of my favorites: 

Less Waste Tip – Turn Your Toothpaste Carton into a Gift Box 

I’m happy to report that we’ve added another recycling bin and significantly reduced the amount of trash we’re sending to a landfill each week. It would be fantastic if you joined in and took the Less Waste Challenge. Let me know how it goes!

How much waste do you produce each week? Ready to change that?!


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.


Disclaimer: I’m working in partnership with Tom’s of Maine and I am compensated for my work. All opinions are my own. I only work with companies I support and think you, my readers, will like. 

April 13th, 2016

Better Life Loves Target and Here’s Why

Better Life Loves Target Groovy Green Livin

Thank you to Better Life for sponsoring this post

Last week I had a few hours to kill while my son was at soccer practice. There was a Target nearby so I decided to run a few errands. While walking up and down the aisles at Target I was amazed by the number of organic and natural products displayed throughout the store. I was thrilled to see a brand that I’ve been using for many years prominently displayed on their shelves: Better Life!

Better Life Groovy Green Livin

For a limited time Better Life Natural Cleaning Products are being featured in the seasonal section of over 800 Target stores.

Why I Use Better Life

Some of my favorite non-toxic cleaning products are from Better Life. A few years ago I worked closely with the company as an official blogger. Do you remember when Better Life was on Shark Tank? They’ve really taken off with a new look and a new motto: “Safe for the Mess Makers (Not the Mess)”. Their products are plant-derived and are free of dyes, synthetic fragrances, sulfates, and petroleum solvents. They’re also biodegradable, packaged in recyclable containers, and never tested on animals.

Created by two dads, Better Life has come up with a line of non-toxic cleaning products that keep kids, pets and the planet safe. And their ingredients are actually all listed on the label. Something you don’t always see on cleaning products since manufacturers are NOT required to list all ingredients. Not only are their products safe, but they don’t cost a fortune.

Enter the SweepstakesBetter Life Loves Target Groovy Green Livin

Better Life Natural Cleaning Products are now available in more Target stores than ever from March 27 through May 13.

They’re celebrating this partnership with a massive 6- week sweepstakes through May 13th.

To enter choose any of the options HERE, but keep in mind: sharing a photo of the Target display on the Better Life Facebook page, on Twitter, or on Instagram with the #BetterLifeLovesTarget hashtag will give you more entries. The more you share between March 27 and May 13, 2016 the more chances you have to win the Grand Prize!

Grand Prize: Better Life’s No Dirt Left Behind Kit valued at $139.49, a $500 Target gift card, and a gift basket of some of their favorite natural brands.

Head to the site to ENTER !

The winner will be drawn and announced at 5pm CST on Friday, May 13th

If you’re planning to head out to buy some of your favorite Better Life products don’t forget to print out a $1 off coupon.

Have you tried Better Life? What’s your favorite product? I’m loving the Floor Cleaner for my hardwood floors.


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.


Disclaimer: I’m working in partnership with Better Life for this post and I am compensated for my work. I also received several Better Life products to test out. 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. 

 

 

 

April 12th, 2016

Is Aluminum Foil Recyclable? The Answer is Complicated

Is Aluminum Foil Recyclable? Groovy Green Livin

Aluminum foil made its way into our kitchen a few years ago, joining forces with other alternatives to plastic wrap. Plastic wrap has been around for generations, preserving leftovers and keeping food from becoming stale. Unfortunately plastic wrap is made from a form of plastic called low-density polyethylene (LDPE). Plastics that have been touted as safe and “BPA-free”, such as LDPE, might not be as safe as we once thought. We have no way of knowing if any plastic is safe without fully testing the chemicals used. Chemical additives have been found to leach from “safe” plastics into food and drinks. Plastic wrap also ends up in our overflowing landfills where it will likely sit for years.

Our kitchen drawer is now filled with reusable napkins and a roll of aluminum foil ready for occasional use. Last week I was asked about recycling aluminum foil. I’ve been asked this question many times, so here’s the scoop.

Is Aluminum Foil Recyclable?

Is Aluminum Foil Recyclable? Groovy Green Livin

The quick answer is yes, but of course it’s a bit more complex.

Aluminum cans, used for sodas and other popular beverages, are recyclable. Cans have the highest recycling rate of any beverage container in the U.S., much higher than glass and plastic. Recycled cans go from the recycling bin to the store shelves within 60 days. Making cans from recycled materials takes 95 percent less energy and 95 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than using new metal.

Here’s the complicated part. Aluminum foil is just as recyclable as aluminum cans, but some recycle programs aren’t equipped to process foil. Aluminum foil is many times covered in food scraps and most recycling facilities won’t accept  food covered items. Also, smaller aluminum foil scraps can clog the recycling equipment.

I just checked with my town and found that commingled recyclables (plastic, glass, and metal containers) can be placed in the recycle bin. The only aluminum that can be recycled are beverage cans, metal food cans aluminum pie plates and trays. They all need to be rinsed clean and crushed if possible. NO recycling aluminum foil in my town.

Bottom Line

You’ll need to do a bit of research to determine whether or not your city or town recycles aluminum foil. If there’s a way to recycle your aluminum foil do it! Today’s aluminum cans have an average of 68% recycled content.

Do you know if your city or town allows aluminum foil to be recycled?


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photo credit: Aluminum-Foil_14964-480×360 via photopin (license)

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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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