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Archive for Healthy Living
November 18th, 2013
Flavored potato chips seem to be all the rage.
A long, unexpected weather delay in an airport yesterday gave me ample time to search far and wide for healthy snacks. I stumbled upon a variety of unhealthy snack options, some of which were downright disgusting. But when you have hours to kill in an airport things that would look appalling on a normal day start to look somewhat appealing. Desperation at its best.
What I discovered is quite simple: If you’re a lover of strange flavored potato chips then the airport is the perfect place for you.
These chip flavors are about as far away from the classic flavored salt and vinegar or barbecue chips as you can imagine. Think Chicken & Waffles or Pecan Pie. Yep. These are (or were) real flavors (I think Chicken & Waffles has run its course).
Not one is appealing to me, but clearly I’m in the minority since they’ve made their way onto market shelves and people everywhere seem to be passing the time snacking on a bag of these flavored potato chips.
Curiosity prevailed and I felt compelled to do a little digging.
What was making these fine flavored potato chips such a hot and tasty commodity?
After a bit of legwork I was able to confirm that Chicken & Waffle chips actually do contain chicken. The natural flavor added to the chips includes chicken flavor. There’s also the chicken & waffles seasoning that makes these flavored potato chips probably taste like the real deal. To be fair, I’ve never tasted them.
And then there’s the Pecan Pie flavored chips by offered by Pringles for a limited time only. Yes, your salty and sweet dessert Pringles have been released. According to the Pringles site these chips are “… like a mega-nutty sweet flavor explosion for your pie hole”. Wow.
While browsing through the lengthy ingredient list I didn’t see pecans mentioned anywhere (nor pie for that matter). A few other ingredients jumped out including: YELLOW 6 LAKE, RED 40 LAKE, and BLUE 1 LAKE. Just like grandma’s real pumpkin pie, right?
And the last flavor I’ll pick on for today: Cheese Burger Flavored potato chips by Pringles. For some reason this flavor tops wins my vote for most revolting. It’s just wrong. I read through the ingredient list several times and I’m still not sure what gives these chips their cheesburgery flavor. It could be the “natural smoke flavor” or perhaps the “natural and artificial flavors”. I’m pretty sure the flavor doesn’t come from the YELLOW 6 LAKE, RED 40 LAKE, or BLUE 1 LAKE that I found in these chips.
Do these chips contain genetically modified ingredients?
Placing all the frightening ingredients aside, there’s one larger issue that you won’t find on most labels. These chips could contain genetically modified ingredients.
In the U.S., Americans spend $10 billion a year on potato chips alone. Approximately 90 percent or more of the nation’s corn, soybean, canola and cottonseed are genetically modified, along with a growing list of fruits and veggies. According to the Non-GMO Project:
Genetically modified NewLeaf potatoes were introduced by Monsanto in 1996. Due to consumer rejection by several fast-food chains and chip makers, the product was never successful and was discontinued in the spring of 2001. There are no genetically engineered potatoes in commercial production, and potatoes are considered “low-risk” by the Non-GMO Project Standard.
So it’s not the potatoes I’m worried about. It’s the corn and soy. Most of these chips contained corn, canola or soy oil and/or corn flour that I found listed as an ingredient in most potato chips.
Find a Safer Chip
Look for organic chips that have the Non-GMO Project Verified label.
One of my all-time favorite chip brand is Late July Organic (affiliate link). They’re not potato chips, but they have some pretty fancy flavored chips including Mild Green Mojo Multigrain Tortilla Chips and Dude Ranch Multigrain Tortilla Chips. All of their chips are organic and Non-GMO Project Verified.
What’s your favorite brand of chips?
Disclosure: Please know that if you make a purchase using a link on this page, I may earn a commission and I am very grateful for your support of this site. Thank you. (Read all the fine print here.)
photo credit: Adam Kuban via photopin cc
November 15th, 2013
The national recycling rate has increased every year for the past 30 years. The current recycling rate is 34.7%. That sounds a bit low to me. It’s time we step it up a notch!
There are many creative ways to improve an existing in-home recycling system or to create a new recycling system from scratch. The folks at Rubbermaid and The Home Depot have teamed up to make it simple for each of us to find a recycling system that works!
American Recycles Day is November 15th
America Recycles Day, a program of Keep America Beautiful, is a nationally recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States. Since it began in 1997, communities across the country have participated in America Recycles Day on November 15 to educate, promote environmental citizenship, and encourage action.
Recycling Makes Sense
Recycling allows us to reuse materials, which in turn conserves natural resources. It also saves water and energy, improves air and water quality, lowers pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and preserves landfill space. After we’ve worked hard to reduce our consumption the need for recycling becomes important.
Recycling is Easy
1. Make recycling a habit
Create an indoor spot where recyclables are collected before they make their way to the outdoor bins. Place a recycle bin in your kitchen to hold all your recyclables before you take them outside. This will make it easier to remember to recycle, you won’t have recyclables cluttering your counter space, and you’ll make fewer trips outside.
2. Make recycling convenient
Recycling systems are actually very personal. They are created based upon the layout of your home and they need to work for you and your family. If it’s not a convenient system it’s not going to work.
Different recycling requirements are in place depending upon where you live. If you live in an area where you need to sort your recycling you’ll need to set up a bin system that accommodates this.
If you live an area with a single stream recycling program you can place all of your recyclables together in one bin.
Find a system that is convenient and works well for your family. Making recycling and access to your recycling bins convenient is the only way recyclables will end up where they should.
3. Find Bins That Work Within Your Space
Keep Recyclables Out of Sight
Do you cringe when you see recyclables piling up on the counter or a trash bin sitting out in plain view? Do you like clean counters and closed doors? If you answered yes to both then you are most likely an Out of Sight (but not Out of Mind Recycler). Check out The Hidden Recycler from Home Depot. It attaches to the inside of a cabinet door to collect recyclables out of sight and keeps your counters clear. The bag is durable, machine washable, and is made of recycled material. Collect your recyclables and simply take them out to your recycle bin. This is a great product for single stream recyclers.
Combine Trash and Recyclables
The 2-in-1 Recycler contains trash and recyclables all in one location. The top bin is perfect for collecting recyclables the lower bin tilts out to hold your trash. The 2-in-1 Recycler could also be used to sort two different types of recyclables.
Keep Recyclables Outside
If you don’t have the space to sort your recyclables inside then check out The Stackable Recyclers from Home Depot. They’re the perfect solution for storing recyclables outside or in the garage. Three sizes can be stacked and interchanged to suit your sorting needs.
The Home Depot has a great assortment of Rubbermaid® Recycling bins available in their stores. There is an even bigger assortment of Rubbermaid® Recycling bins available on homedepot.com with 44 different products to choose from.
(This post is brought to you by Home Depot and Rubbermaid. All opinions are my own. For more information on sponsored posts, read here.)
photo credit: Rubbermaid Products via photopin cc
November 12th, 2013
Lululemon yoga pants and tops have been staples in my wardrobe and make an appearance most days of the week. I’ve been a Lululemon fan for many years, but that’s about to change.
For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about- Lululemon is a brand that makes technical athletic clothes for yoga, running, working out, and any other sweaty endeavor. The clothing is very comfortable, stylish and very expensive.
I generally don’t call out a brand like this, but enough is enough.
Yoga pants that don’t come in all sizes?
Lululemon focuses only on the little guys. Little as in size. The company admitted that plus-size apparel was not part of their vision.
“The largest sizes — the 10s and the 12s — were relegated to a separate area at the back of the store, left clumped and unfolded under a table.”
Just. Not. Cool.
The Lululemon PR nightmare continues
Back in July 2013 Lululemon customers were complaining the retailer’s yoga pants were see-through. Certainly not something you want to experience as your bending into your best Downward Dog.
The company responded with exactly what they should NOT have said: basically it’s the consumers fault. Whatever happened to the customer is always right? The company insisted that customers who feel the pants are too sheer are probably just buying them too small. Lululemon ended up recalling 17 percent of its product (and losing $67 million).
I actually took a few of my yoga pants into the store to find out if they passed the sheer test. At $98 a pop sheer yoga pants weren’t going to work. After meeting with a sales person and inspecting the yoga pants we determined that mine were solid. Phew. So ridiculous.
Lululemon doesn’t work for all women?
Recently the company’s founder decided to make another BIG blunder. The founder of Lululemon recently said ”Quite frankly, some women’s bodies just actually don’t work” in Lululemon’s pants, Wilson said on Bloomberg Television’s Street Smart.
Say what? Seriously, who is this guy?
“It’s about the rubbing through the thighs,” he added, and “how much pressure is there.”
And he knows this because?
There you have it. The founder of this company really doesn’t get it. At all. This is not the way to win a woman’s heart or her dollars.
My search for new yoga pants
And now I’m left with a lot of yoga pants, tops and jackets. I’ll keep wearing what I’ve got, but now I’m on the lookout for a new brand to support. I’m done Lululemon. All women’s bodies are not created equal and that’s what makes us fabulous. Women don’t deserve to be treated like this. Ever.
If you have a fabulous clothing company in mind for yoga, running, working out, and any other sweaty endeavors please let me know. I’m all ears and ready to jump from the Lululemon ship.
photo credit: Gamma Man via photopin cc
November 6th, 2013
Toxic Chemicals Found in Certain Brands of Tampons, Pads and Other Feminine Care Products
Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE) just released a new report which found toxic chemicals linked to cancer, hormone disruption, and allergic reactions in certain brands of tampons, pads, douches, wipes, and sprays.
Not good news since these products come in contact with some of the most absorptive tissue on women’s bodies and many of us use them for a few days every month!
“Feminine care products are not just your average cosmetics, because they are used on an exceptionally sensitive and absorbent part of a woman’s body,” said Alexandra Scranton, WVE’s director of science and research and author of the report. “Greater scrutiny, oversight and research are badly needed to assure the safety of these ingredients for women’s health.”
Toxic Chemicals in Feminine Care Products are Unregulated
The FDA does not require feminine-care product manufacturers to tell you what’s in their products.
The report, Chem Fatale: Potential Health Effects of Toxic Chemicals in Feminine Care Products, examines unregulated toxic chemicals in feminine care products that may result in serious health problems, like increased risk of breast cancer, reproductive problems, asthma, and allergic reactions. Chemicals of concern commonly used in feminine care products include cancer-causing chemicals, reproductive toxins, hormone disruptors, and allergens.
Some shocking highlights of the report:
- While pads and tampons are used almost universally by all women, Black and Latina women use some feminine products like douches, wipes, and sprays in greater numbers than white women, meaning these women of disproportionately impacted by the toxic chemicals in these products.
- Pads and tampons are regulated as medical devices, which means that companies don’t have to disclose any ingredients in these products.
- Other feminine care products are regulated as personal care products, which means that companies are legally allowed to keep fragrance ingredients a secret from consumers—even the toxic ones.
- Test results show dioxins, furans, and pesticide residues in tampons, which have been linked to cancer, reproductive harm, and endocrine disruption.
- Lots of feminine care products contain formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, and formaldehyde is a carcinogen and a potent allergen.
- The FDA considers common chemicals in feminine washes to be safe “for external use only.” However, it is extremely likely that some internal vaginal exposure will occur from regular use.
- Anti-itch creams commonly contain chemicals that are either allergens or irritants, and can actually exacerbate the very symptoms that women are attempting to treat.
- Because of weak regulation companies do not have to prove the chemicals they are using in these products are safe. That means companies are legally allowed to use ingredients linked to cancer, birth defects, and other chronic diseases
- Check out this video demonstration from our friends at Naturally Savvy showing how when an Always Infinity pad is set on fire it burns rapidly potentially indicating petrochemicals, plastics, and other chemicals, while a Natracare pad hardly burns.
How to Reduce Your Risk of Exposure to Toxic Chemicals in Tampons and Other Feminine Care Products
- Avoid Hall of Shame products.
- Read the labels to avoid chemicals of concern.
- Look for brands that disclose all ingredients, including what’s in fragrance.
- Reduce your use of feminine care products. Try using a menstrual cup.
- Eliminate use of products that may be unnecessary.
- Choose unscented products where available (particularly tampons and pads).
- Choose chlorine-free bleached or unbleached cotton tampons and pads. Choose organic when possible.
- If you are having allergic symptoms, switch brands! When you do switch – call the company’s 1-800 customer service to tell them why!).
- Tell the FDA if you’ve had symptoms that may be from a feminine care product. Call 1-800-332-1088 or fill out a consumer reporting form available HERE.
Take Action: Ask Procter & Gamble to Disclose Ingredients
We have a right to know what’s in the products we use in and on our bodies. Feminine care products aren’t things we like to discuss on a regular basis, but we need to talk about this so they get the attention and scrutiny they deserve to assure their safety for women’s health.
Toxic chemicals have no place in feminine care products. Period. And it’s time to do something about it.
Join me in asking Procter & Gamble, makers of Tampax tampons and Always pads, to disclose the ingredients in those products and remove toxic chemicals linked to women’s health problems by signing HERE.
Are you surprised that toxic chemicals were found in some brands of tampons and pads?
photo credit: ma neeks via photopin cc
November 4th, 2013
Carbonated water is water in which carbon dioxide gas has been dissolved and little bubbles form. We recently started making our own carbonated water at home with a Sodastream. We generally add a squeeze of lemon or lime to create a low calorie alternative to still water. The kids all love it and our Sodastream is working on overtime.
Personally I’m not a fan of carbonated water, 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.
Is carbonated water bad for your bones?
The rumors about carbonated water being bad for your health likely began in the early 1990′s when poorly reported studies were published which suggested that drinking soda, specifically cola, raises the risk of bone fractures among adolescent girls and older women who were former college athletes. No association between non-cola soft drinks and bone fractures was found. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) “there is no connection between the carbonation in soft drinks and bone loss. In fact, certain carbonated mineral waters have been shown to improve bone health.”
ANSWER: NO. There is no connection between the carbonation in soft drinks and bone loss.
Does carbonation cause tooth decay?
Usually tooth erosion comes from drinking soda and other soft drinks that are filled with sugar. The sugar combined with the carbonation can cause tooth decay-not the carbonation alone. Be wary of any added flavoring and take the time to read the label even if you think there is no added sugar.
According to a 2001 study published in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation, “sparkling mineral waters showed slightly greater dissolution than still waters, but levels remained low and were of the order of one hundred times less than the comparator soft drinks.”
The flavor packets that come with most home carbinators should be avoided. That’s where the sneaky sugar is generally hiding.
ANSWER: NO. Carbonation doesn’t seem to have a significant effect on tooth enamel erosion.
Does carbonated water create stomach issues?
When I was a child I remember the first thing my mother gave me to soothe an upset stomach was a glass of ginger ale. The combination of ginger (known to ease a stomachache or to relieve motion sickness) and carbonation worked wonders.
Carbonated water eases the symptoms of indigestion (dyspepsia) and constipation, according to a study in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
ANSWER: NO. There are no known negative effects of sparkling water on your stomach.
Bottom Line: Carbonated water is basically harmless. It’s just water and bubbles. An added bonus: by using a home carbonator you’re creating a positive impact on the environment by not using all the plastic bottles and cans generated from the store bought version. You’re also saving money in the long run. Enjoy!
Disclosure: Please know that if you make a purchase using a link on this page, I may earn a commission and I am very grateful for your support of this site. Thank you. (Read all the fine print here.)
photo credit: notashamed via photopin cc
November 1st, 2013
Better Life on Shark Tank!
Tonight is a BIG night for the folks over at Better Life. The founders of Better Life all-natural cleaning products, Tim Barklage and Kevin Tibbs, will be taking on the “sharks” on the hit ABC television show Shark Tank. I’m inviting all of you to fasten your seat belts and come along for the ride. Let’s get those remotes ready.
- Watch Better Life on “Shark Tank” Friday, Nov. 1 at 9 p.m. ET on the ABC Television Network!
- Join Better Life’s Shark Tank virtual watch party and catch Tim and Kevin’s live reactions by following #SharkTank and #CleanHappens. (you can sign up on Facebook to join Better Life’s Virtual Watch Party)
Better Life All Natural Cleaning Products
I’ve mentioned Better Life before and let you know that I’m an official blogger for the company. Better Life® is a line of plant derived, natural cleaning products. It was started in 2007 by Tim Barklage and Kevin Tibbs, life-long friends and first time parents. Featuring a full product line of all-purpose cleaners, specialty surface cleaners, soaps and lotions, Better Life’s mission is to create products that are completely safe and unbeatable in performance. Better Life’s products are free of synthetic fragrance, cruelty, sulfates and petroleum. 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.
I’ve been using Better Life cleaning products for quite a while and really like how they work and how simple the Ingredient Summary on each product is to read. Some of my favorite Better Life products that may or may not appear on Shark Tank are:
Who Are the “Sharks” on Shark Tank?
The Sharks of “Shark Tank” – tough, self-made, multi-millionaire and billionaire tycoons – give budding entrepreneurs the chance to make their dreams come true and potentially secure business deals that could make them millionaires. The entrepreneurs who dare to enter the Tank must try to convince the Sharks to part with their own hard-earned cash and give them the funding they desperately need to turn their dreams into million dollar realities. But the Sharks have a goal, too – to get a return on their investment and own a piece of the next big business idea. When the Sharks hear an idea worth sinking their teeth into, they’re more than ready to declare war and fight each other for a piece of it.
Win a Year’s Supply of Better Life
ENTER for a chance to win a YEAR’S SUPPLY of Better Life natural cleaning products. Enter daily! ENTER HERE.
Tune-in and Watch Better Life on Shark Tank
Don’t forget to tune-in on Friday, Nov. 1 at 9 p.m. EST (8 p.m. CST ) on the ABC Television network to see Better Life natural cleaning products on Shark Tank.
Will Better Life be a Shark Tank cleaning products winner? You will have to tune-in to see.
Disclosure: The kind folks at Better Life sent me a few cleaning products to test out. There are affiliate links in this post. All opinions are my very own. Always!
October 31st, 2013
Hundreds of moms and dads along with some of their adorable children flew in to Washington DC from all over the country to let Congress know that we need toxic chemical reform. Now.
I traveled in from Boston, which proved to be nothing compared to the people who made their way to our nation’s capital from places like Alaska, California, and Montana. I’ve been to both Safer Chemicals Healthy Families Stroller Brigades and I have not one regret for making the trips.
This year I had the privilege of meeting some pretty spectacular people with some pretty unbelievable stories. Hopefully over the next few weeks I’ll be able to share a few of those stores with you. One thing that struck me about the journey to DC was that each of us arrived with our own story and reason for being there, but we were brought together for one common goal – to let Congress know that we mean business and the time for toxic chemical reform is NOW.
Over 200 moms, dads, cancer survivors, nurses, and advocates gathered at the U.S. Capitol to ask Congress for real reform of our toxic chemical laws.
Nursing pillows and car seats are doused in toxic flame retardants. Toxic chemicals are found in children’s jewelry. Early puberty, childhood cancer, infertility, learning and developmental disabilities are rising at alarming rates. There is no legislation in place to protect us. Companies aren’t required to test the safety of the chemicals in their products. This needs to stop.
I think we did our job while we were in DC, and we did it well. A BIG thank you to Lindsay Dahl and the rest of the Safer Chemicals Healthy Families team and coalition for making this event a tremendous success.
Here are a few highlights from the day.
The Massachusetts delegation rocked. What an inspiring group of women. Here I am with Cheryl Durr Patry who is on the steering committee for The Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow, and is the founder of Medfield Green Moms and Madeleine Doggett who’s a student leader from Northeastern University and feels so strongly about these issues that she’s interning with Clean Water Action.
And our other Massachusetts representative joins us in this photo outside the Senate office building. Eugenia Gibbons leads a strong mom network in greater Boston and brought her amazing 1 year old Sylvie with her. She also brought a friend along and I borrowed her child for this photo.
Another thing that makes this trip so special is connecting with friends. Seeing Shane from Environmental Booty always makes me smile.
It was great to catch up with Filmmaker Penelope Jagessar Chaffer and her darling daughter.
Catching up with Anne Brock from Flour Sack Mama is always a highlight (photo courtesy of Anne)
Actor Jessica Beals spoke .
We had an opportunity to meet with Senator Elizabeth Warren’s office, Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III’s office, Senator Markey and Congressman Capuano to discuss the issues.
So nice to finally meet Molly Rauch from Mom’s Clean Air Force and see Anneka and Ronnie (not pictured), also from Moms Clean Air Force.
After a successful visit to DC I’m now back home celebrating a Red Sox World Series win and getting ready to trick-or-treat with my kids!
Enjoy the rest of your week. Any big plans?