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Archive for Healthy Living

September 5th, 2014

Writing for The Huffington Post and Other Groovy Green Updates

Groovy Green Livin Huffington Post

This week The Huffington Post in partnership with NRG launched a new section called Generation Change. This launch is very exciting for many reasons, but one that is super exciting.

Writing for The Huffington Post

My BIG news: I’m going to be writing for this new section of The Huffington Post! My first post went live this week: How Climate Change Could Affect Your Breakfast. I’m thrilled to be a part of this exciting and important addition to an already fabulous publication.

This new HuffPo section is dedicated to creating awareness of and fostering a conversation around climate change and clean energy with the goal of preserving our planet. It will explore everything from clean technology options for homes and businesses to breakthroughs in climate legislation and the latest developments at the forefront of renewable energy.

Through a mix of news articles, slideshows and instructive content about sustainability, along with opinion pieces from thought leaders on the topics of climate and energy policy, Generation Change will be a prime resource for educating readers about the realities of global warming and the importance and impact of our individual choices, as well as those of society as a whole.
I would love for you to check it out and comment if you feel up to it. Better yet, if you’re on social media please give it a share!

Here’s a Tweet for you:

Featured on everydayhero

I’m also honored to be featured on everydayhero, a company that helps people give back to causes they are passionate about. everydayhero, it is an online platform that helps people fundraise for any cause they choose. The platform is integrated with MapMyFitness, VolunteerMatch, Facebook and Twitter, so that people can see how everything they do (fun for charity, volunteer at the SPCA, share their stories on social) contribute to and count towards giving to a cause. All this information is calculated into your Giving Footprint that grows with your activities over time.

Stay tuned for more from me on The Huffington Post.

And while you’re waiting have a fabulous weekend! Any big plans?

~Lori

 


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: IllinoisLibrary via photopin cc

September 4th, 2014

Mudderella Boston: A Mud Run Gone Wrong

Groovy Green Livin Mudderella Mud Run

Back in March a friend convinced me to sign up for Mudderella Boston. It was a hard sell, but I decided to give it a try.

A Mudderella race is a 5-7 mile, muddy obstacle course. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

I’ve been hearing for years about Tough Mudders and this seemed like a simple way to ease myself  into a mud race.

I registered,  joined a team and trained. My annual triathlon was placed on hold and Mudderella was going to be my big race this year.

The race is scheduled for this Saturday and I won’t be there for a very good reason.

Then the emails from Mudderella started showing up in my inbox. One after another.

Mudderella changed the location of the run 4 times!

I was willing to travel to all the locations until the final email arrived.

Eight days before the run,  Mudderella let participants know that the race venue had been changed, yet again, to Westbrook, Maine. This new spot is about 2 hours and 15 minutes from my home. And it’s in Maine, not Boston.

Not quite feasible when you have other life commitments to drop everything and spend an unexpected day in Maine.

What was originally marketed as a Boston Mudderella is now a Maine mud run. Not what I had signed up for.

Mudderella stepped up to the plate and decided to help their loyal runners out by offering the following:

  • All parking will be free. 

Why was there a parking fee in the first place?

  • On-site spectator ticket purchases will be only $10. We normally charge $20 for on-site spectators, but we will continue to honor the online price of $10 for any spectators who want to come to the event.

That’s right-if you’re watching a family member run in the mud you have to pay $10!

And best of all (insert sarcasm):

  • You can transfer to a future Mudderella event in 2014 or 2015 for free. If you are really unable to make it to Mudderella Boston this year because of the change in location, you can get a free transfer to any future Mudderella event.

No refunds people! We had no choice but to transfer our $96.00 entry fee to another Mudderella race. Just what I want to do after losing complete confidence in this organization.

I’m not the only one who’s angry. There’s an entire Facebook Page dedicated to this- Mudderella Boston: We Want a Refund.

But from every loss there is a gain.

This weekend I won’t be joining the Mudderella gang in Maine. Instead I will be running a 5k close to home in support of an incredible organization.

Groovy Green Livin Mudderella Mud Run

ME STRONG is a charitable organization dedicated to supporting the friends, families and individuals battling cancer. The organization was formed in the fall of 2011 when a  group of four friends organized a 5k in honor of their close friend Linda Ryan. The summer of 2011, Linda had just completed her first marathon when a few weeks later she was diagnosed with recurring cervical cancer. Today Linda is healthy and is living with no evidence of cancer. Yay Linda!

How would you handle Mudderella’s poor planning? Would you travel the 2 plus hours to the new venue?

 


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: Presidio of Monterey: DLIFLC & USAG via photopin cc

September 2nd, 2014

Waste Free Lunch Gear to Add to Your Lunch Box

Groovy Green Livin Waste Free Lunch Gear

Packing a waste free lunch has become second nature in our home. There aren’t many plastic baggies to choose from- we ditched those a few years ago- and there are plenty of reusable options.

All three boys pack their own waste free lunch with a little guidance from mom and dad. The process isn’t pretty. Food and crumbs are generally everywhere. If you’re able to let this piece go (I still have a hard time with it!) the independant lunch packing process is worth it. Through making their own lunch they are beginning to understand what a green and healthy lunch looks like.

What is a waste free lunch?

Children’s lunches create more than 3.5 billion pounds of garbage each year, which amounts to 18,760 pounds of trash annually from an average sized elementary school. Think of all the paper napkins, plastic utensils and plastic water bottles that go straight to the landfill!

By using reusable products we can all kick off the school year in an eco-friendly way.

We’ve added a few waste free reusable options to our lunch box options this year. 

1. Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Food Canister

I really love the Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Food Canister. It  comes in two sizes-   16 -Ounce and 8-Ounce and both are perfect for snacks and other lunch box items. The canisters have a screw on stainless steel lid that closes tightly and prevents leaking. These containers are not insulated and will not keep items hot or cold.

2. ONYX 2 Layer Sandwich Box

Another brilliant creation- this Onyx Stainless Steel 2-Layer Large Sandwich Box comes with two stackable layers that close firmly together with a locking system. The top layer is perfect for a sandwich and the bottom, larger layer is perfect for a side item such as grapes, crackers or any other lunch time treat. This system could be used as your lunch box or can be packed in your reusable, waste free lunch bag.

3. EcoLunchBox Blue Water Bento Splash Box

The ECOlunchbox – Blue Water Bento Splash Box is ocean themed with a stainless steel bottom and silicone lid.  The lid is designed to be easy to open for all ages, with tabs on all corners for little fingers to grab and open. This box is the perfect size for grapes, crackers and other lunch-time snacks.

4. LunchBots Duo Stainless Steel Food Container

We love the duo LunchBots and have a few in different colors. Our favorite way to pack up a LunchBots Duo is to put slices of cheese on one side and crackers on the other. LunchBots containers are plastic and BPA-free. One word of caution-don’t pack anything that could leak in this container since it’s not air tight.

What are some of your favorite waste free lunch gear?

If you’re looking for a safe, non-toxic lunch box, HERE are a few of my picks.


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.


 

*Some links in this post are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may get a small commission if you make a purchase. Thanks for your support in this way! I would also like to thank ONYX, Klean Kanteen and ECOLunchBox for samples of their products. All opinions are my own.

 

 

August 27th, 2014

5 Healthy Back-to-School Tips For Families

Groovy Green Livin Healthy Back-to-School

The countdown has begun. Only a few days left until it’s back-to-school. How did that happen?

At dinner tonight my ten year old announced that this was his best summer ever. Overcome with emotion, I nodded in agreement. It really was the best summer ever.

Next summer has tough shoes to fill. Once the snow returns I’ll be planning and dreaming. In the meantime we’re bracing for the back-to-school frenzy that’s about to enter our care-free lives.

To help with the back-to-school transition here are a few tips to keep your family healthy and sane

Get enough sleep

A few years ago we tried transitioning to a back-to-school schedule before school began. That didn’t work. Now we dive in head first the evening before the first day of school. I’m a bit worried this year about my kids nodding off in school since our schedules are so irregular at the moment.  

Do your kids get enough sleep? Here’s some interesting info from the National Institute of Health:

  • Sleep Facts: School-aged children and teens need at least nine hours of sleep a night. Adults need seven to eight hours of sleep a night. I need a solid eight to feel human.
  • Sleep Tips: Set a sleep schedule, going to bed and waking up the same times each day. Keep room temperature on the cool side. A TV or computer in the bedroom can be a distraction.

Pack a waste-free  and healthy lunch

Children’s lunches create more than 3.5 billion pounds of garbage each year, which amounts to a crazy 18,760 pounds of trash annually from an average sized elementary school. That’s a lot of waste.

Making a lunch box zero-waste through the use of reusable products will minimize the amount of garbage kids create through their school lunch.

Check out some of my favorite waste-free products HERE.

Lunch boxes and toxic chemicals don’t belong together. Unfortunately some lunchboxes are releasing toxic dust into our children’s lunchbox food. Thankfully not all lunch boxes are toxic. HERE are a few safe lunch box choices for everyone in the family.

Make healthy choices when it comes to snacks and treats in your child’s lunch.

  • Don’t buy individually packaged snacks i.e. fruit cups, single serving cookies, chips and crackers. There is a lot of wasted packaging and the cost per item is much more expensive than buying in bulk.
  • We try to buy organic when we can. Remember Organic doesn’t always mean healthy. There are organic foods out there that that are processed, contain lots of sugar and are unhealthy.

Sub out toxic back-to-school supplies

If  a school supply list is specific and asks for a product that could be harmful to my child or other children I  have no problem deviating from the list.  For example I always send in a safe alternative to alcohol based hand sanitizer.

Eat brain food

It’s so simple to add a few foods bursting with brain fuel to the weekly menu. Try adding blueberries, salmon, broccoli and lentils.

Choose a safe backpack

Children’s vinyl “back‐to‐school” supplies (including backpacks) have been found to contain elevated levels of phthalates, hazardous chemicals that have been banned in toys, yet remain widespread in vinyl back‐to‐school supplies.

Vinyl backpacks could also contain high levels of lead, which can wipe off onto children’s hands and ultimately end up in the child’s mouth.

HERE are a few safe preschool backpack suggestions and HERE are my picks for safe elementary school backpacks.

So are you ready for back-to-school?


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: Gerry Dincher via photopin cc

August 21st, 2014

Mom Detective Asks: Is BPA Lurking in Your Fleece?

Groovy Green Livin BPA Fleece

This piece was originally published over at Moms Clean Air Force.

When my oldest son was born he was showered with all sorts of wonderful gifts from friends and family. One of our favorite presents was a bright red fleece blanket with his name monogrammed in big white letters on one of the corners.

This adorable and durable blanket stayed with my son for many years. He slept with it, rolled around on it and chewed it while teething. After many washes and years gone by, it’s now tucked away in a “save” box somewhere deep within my attic.

Today, as I continue the tradition of giving fleece blankets to many of the new babies in my life, I wonder if these blankets are truly safe.

Could there possibly be bisphenol-A (BPA) lurking in those cuddly, soft gifts?

Is There BPA in Fleece?

Fleece is made from post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic soda bottles and other discarded plastic. That’s right-fleece is made from recycled plastic!

Here’s how the question of BPA (bisphenol A) in fleece comes into play. BPA is a chemical used in the production of plastics and many other products. BPA has been linked to a variety of health problems such as reproductive disorders, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Since fleece is made from plastic components, the question of BPA in our fleece garments becomes a valid concern.

There’s good news and caution for consumers.

You don’t have to worry about baby’s fleece — or your own — when it comes to BPA. As Dr. Sarah Vogel, author of Is It Safe? BPA and the Struggle to Define the Safety of Chemicals, explains:

BPA is not used in plastics used to make soda bottles.  The kind of plastic it’s used in, polycarbonate, is too hard for that purpose and too expensive. Polycarbonates are not recycled in most municipalities as they fall into category 7 which is ‘mixed’. So they end up in landfill and BPA has been detected in landfill leachate. 

The epoxy resins BPA is in are used to coat metals, like food cans.  BPA has been found in recycled cardboard –most likely because of its use in carbonless paper (like cash register receipts) that is in the recycled paper mix.  It would be quite challenging to remove it from the recycling process, I suspect.

I worry more about the food cans. There is evidence that you can significantly reduce exposure to BPA by removing food cans from the diet, which demonstrates the importance of that route of exposure.”

I decided to look towards the top sellers of fleece products for some answers: Patagonia and L.L. Bean. Both companies confirmed that they use post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic soda bottles to make their fleece.

Patagonia

Patagonia has many green initiatives in place — including recycling used soda bottles, unusable manufacturing waste and worn our garments (including their own) into polyester fibers to produce many of their clothes. One of my favorite Patagonia programs is something called Common Threads where they take back old outdoor garments (including their own!) for recycling into new fibers.

Good news: Patagonia confirmed that there is no BPA in their fleece.

L.L. Bean

L.L. Bean responded similarly when asked about BPA lurking in their fleece products.

“The majority of our Trail Model Fleece program contains up to 85% recycled materials, mostly old soda bottles. Our recycled materials do not contain any BPA at all.”

L.L. Bean confirmed there’s no BPA in their fleece. But as I suspected…

“All of our kids’ sleepwear is flame retardant as required by the US Federal government — all of the fabric in our kids’ sleepwear meets federal safety requirements for children’s sleepwear.”

Although there are many more makers of fleece products out there, a confirmation from both of these fleece clothing retailers is a good indication that the majority of fleece doesn’t contain BPA. 

The Environmental Impact of Fleece

Along with the good news that BPA isn’t hiding out in our fleece gear comes another concern about fleece and its impact on the environment.

study found that microscopic plastic debris from washing clothes is accumulating in the marine environment and could be entering the food chain. Some of our synthetic clothes are made of PET or polyethylene terephthalate. PET is a member of the polyester family of polymers, which are spun to make fabric which can release up to 1,900 tiny fibers each time they’re washed! PET does not biodegrade, and these microplastics are being ingested by marine life.

Fortunately BPA in fleece products doesn’t pose a problem, however there are plenty of unregulated toxic chemicals remaining in products found on the shelves of our stores.

Take action! It’s time to put the pressure on. It’s time to take the burden away from the consumer and place it where it belongs – with retailers and industry. We need legislation in place that will strengthen the way our government regulates toxic chemicals by requiring more thorough health testing of products BEFORE these chemicals end up in the bodies of our children.

If you agree parents shouldn’t need to be detectives or have a PhD in toxicology to know that their children are safe from toxic chemicals, please head over to Moms Clean Air Force to sign HERE.

photo credit: dan.danowski via photopin cc

August 11th, 2014

5 Ways to Stop Mosquito Bites From Itching

Groovy Green Livin Mosquito Bites

Mosquito bites are running rampant in our family. Legs, arms, and any other exposed body part- mosquitoes don’t discriminate. My ankles are under attack.

Did you know that only female mosquitoes bite? They need our human blood in order to lay their eggs.

Thankfully there are a few techniques out there that really work to take the itch out of those pesky mosquito bites.

5 Ways to Stop Mosquito Bites From Itching

Baking Soda

Mix baking soda and warm water. 

  • Mix together until a paste forms.
  • Once you have a good consistency apply the paste directly to the bug bite.
  • Leave the paste on for a few minutes and then wash off with warm water.
  • Baking soda paste can be messy so try to remain still while the paste is on your skin.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apply apple cider vinegar to the mosquito bite.

  • Soak a cotton ball or the tip of a Q-Tip in apple cider vinegar.
  • Once saturated place directly on the mosquito bite.
  • Hold in place for a few minutes to relieve itching.

Tea Bag

Use a cold, used tea bag for mosquito bites.

  • Use a tea bag for regular use.
  • Cool it off. I like to place it in the refrigerator so it’s cold when applied to the mosquito bite.
  • Apply to the affected area and hold for a few minutes.

Lavender Oil

Lavender Oil kicks those itchy mosquito bites.

  • Dab a small amount of lavender oil directly onto a mosquito bite for instant relief from itching.
  • Lavender oil is soothing and acts as a natural anti-inflammatory.

Toothpaste

Rub a small amount of non-gel toothpaste onto a mosquito bite. 

  • Don’t rub it in completely. Be sure to leave a visible amount on top of the bite.
  • If you can stand to leave it on overnight give it a try.
  • Rinse off in the morning with water and soap. The toothpaste will dry the bite out.

What’s your favorite way to treat a mosquito bite?

HERE are a few more ways to treat itchy bug bites. If you’re looking for DEET-free bug repellent take a look HERE.Also, these 3 mosquito repelling plants are good to have around.

Please note: if the bite doesn’t seem to be going away or continues to get larger please visit your doctor.

photo credit: vipin baliga via photopin cc

August 8th, 2014

Heading Back-to-School With a Little Lunchbox Love

Groovy Green Livin Back-to-school with Lunchbox Love

Picking out a back-to-school lunch box is underway for many families. Once the lunch box has been selected the next natural step is figuring out what goes inside. There are countless options for reusable containers, reusable napkins and water bottles. There’s one more item to add to that lunch box to make it complete: Lunchbox Love note cards.

Groovy Green Livin Back-to-school Lunchbox Love

As a member of the Lunchbox Love Mom Panel I get first dibs on checking out their new products. Lucky me!

This summer, just in time for back-to-school, Lunchbox Love launched several new lines of note cards while keeping their popular cards and sayings of the past. Every morning it’s so simple to pick a pre-printed Lunchbox Love note and slip it into your child’s lunch box.

Each of the 12 cards per packet is pre-printed with all sorts of inspirational sayings. For example “Always be yourself!” and “Tell yourself you can do it.”  When your child flips the card over they’ll find an interesting piece of trivia or a joke to share with friends at the lunch table.

Here’s a sample piece of trivia: “It’s impossible to sink in the Dead Sea“. Did you know that? I’ve actually swam in the Dead Sea and it’s true. It’s also very hard to swim in the Dead Sea. Floating works the best and it’s a blast!

My favorite new card pack is the Lunchbox Love® for Kids – Volume 68 (Jokes). There’s nothing like having a joke tucked into your lunch box. You’re instantly guaranteed to become the life of the party at the lunch table.

More Exciting Back-to-School Lunchbox Love News

The brand has a whole new look just in time for back-to-school. Lunchbox Love recently relaunched the entire website and blog and it looks great. Check it out HERE.

DisclosureI’m a member of the Lunchbox Love® Mom Panel and am compensated for promoting the company in a variety of ways, including writing posts like this one. All opinions are my very own. 

 

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About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney, mom of three and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. I hope you'll join me as I continue on my journey to live a healthy life. Along the way I just might stop to make some noise about issues that affect the health and safety of our families. Come along with me as I fight for a safer world for all of us. Together we'll discover that simple, small changes in your life can lead to a non-toxic, healthier lifestyle and a greener planet.

Click HERE to contact Lori

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