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Archive for Healthy Living

October 7th, 2014

10 Things I Learned at ShiftCon in Los Angeles

Groovy Green Livin ShiftCon

I’m back from ShiftCon in LA! ShiftCon is the very first international social media conference focusing on wellness, health, and the environment. What a fabulous experience. There’s so much to share, so I thought I would start off with things I learned (or realized) while at the conference.

1. I love my peeps. No, I mean I really love my peeps

Photo courtesy of Paige Wolf

Photo courtesy of Paige Wolf

We are not all the same. We have different opinions within a movement that’s making corporations stop and listen. We come from different places and different backgrounds. But we’re all working towards one goal: to make a difference and to make the world a better place for us all.

2. Meeting IRL makes a difference

Groovy Green Livin ShiftCon

 Trina from O’Boy Organic and Sarah from Mindfully Frugal Mom

Blogging is kind of a funky profession. Many of us collaborate online and have never met in real life. Heading to a conference like this and having an opportunity to hug a person with whom you’ve worked with for years is an incredible experience.

3. Together we can change the world

Groovy Green Livin The Food Babe at ShiftCon

After hearing Robyn O’Brien and Vani Hari, the Food Babe,  give keynotes and feeling the brilliant and inspirational energy in the panel rooms, I have no doubt that together we can change the world. There are smart women and men out there (and I mean really smart) working tirelessly to make sure that happens and I have no doubt that it will.

4. Competition is out and collaboration is in

The profession of green and sustainable blogging thrives on people working together towards a few goals. Rarely have I encountered someone within the green blogging sphere who wasn’t willing to share information.

5. I love speaking in public

Groovy Green Livin ShiftCon Social Media and Blogging for Change

Social Media and Blogging for Change Panel presented by Lindsay Dahl of Safer Chemicals Healthy Families, Trina O’Boyle from O’Boy Organics and me.

A few years back, when I was practicing law I used to get physically sick before a trial. I was always well prepared, but the thought of speaking in public took hold and did a number on me. Over the past few years my public speaking opportunities have increased. At first I was hesitant to take any on for fear that I would become physically ill. Slowly I’ve been accepting more and more and I’m finding that I love speaking in front of an audience. Whether it’s in front of television cameras or speaking on a panel, I can’t get enough. I finally figured out why-because I’m speaking about something that I’m passionate about and it’s coming from my heart.

6. We need more men to show up at ShiftCon next year

There were a token few. I had the pleasure of meeting Mike, The Green Dad, who bravely decided to come to this conference among a sea of mainly women. We need more men. Their reach is different and their voice is needed to bring this movement to all.

7. We each have a unique perspective to bring to the table

It always amazes me that although we have so much in common we can also have so much diversity. Some of us come from conservative religious backgrounds and others from the left of left. But it doesn’t matter. That’s how we reach everyone.

8. You won’t be alone if you decide to wake up at 6:30 am to practice yoga or run a 5k

Coming from the East Coast,  it wasn’t bad waking up at 6:30 for an exercise fix. Thankfully I wasn’t alone.

Groovy Green Livin Shiftcon Yoga and 5K

 Penelope Jagessar Chaffer from Toxic Baby, Margie Kelley from Breast Cancer Fund and Paige Wolf from Spit That Out!

9. It’s possible to have delicious, healthy food at a conference

I’ve been to quite a few conferences and usually the food is nothing to write home about. The food was fabulous at ShiftCon- fresh, non-GMO, organic and healthy.

10. Green brands are where it’s at

When I first walked into the exhibit hall it was incredible to see all the brands and organizations that believed in and invested in this conference. I saw so many familiar faces including my Stonyfield crew, Organic Valley, Applegate, and Safer Chemicals Healthy Families. It’s not an inexpensive endeavor to set up a table at a conference. Thank you to each and every one of them for taking that leap of faith.

A special long distance hug to my friend and colleague, Micaela of Mindful Momma who wasn’t able to come to ShiftCon this year. Our thoughts go out to her and her family.

What were your top takeaways from ShiftCon? Who’s planning to go next year?


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.


September 30th, 2014

ShiftCon: Shift Happens. Be a Part of It. I’m Speaking!

Groovy Green Livin ShiftCon

The eco wellness community is many members strong. Our bonds have been strengthened by our online connection and an occasional meet face-to-face. Our friendships and collaborative efforts continue to grow, but there’s something missing in our tight and powerful community. We’re lacking a space to exchange ideas and information in real life. There are countless blogging conferences out there to choose from, but none of them are designed specifically for us.

Until now. Finally someone’s decided to step up to the plate to change that.

We all know there’s something much more magical that happens when we collaborate face-to-face.

A little over a year ago I was at BlogHer, a blogging conference in Chicago, and I had the good fortune of connecting with Leah Segedie (third over from the left in the photo above), the founder of Mamavation and the powerhouse behind a new conference that’s launching this coming weekend in Los Angeles called ShiftCon.

During that conference last summer ShiftCon was only a dream, but it has blossomed into a reality. Through the hard work of Leah Segedie and her team at Mamavation this conference is happening and I couldn’t be more excited.

This weekend I’ll be hopping on a plane to Los Angeles to collaborate with so many of my colleagues in the green world, many of whom I’ve never met in real life.

ShiftCon is the very first international social media conference focusing on wellness, health, and the environment. This conference blends workshops, networking, parties, and intense collaboration of changemakers all over the United States and Canada in one place.

Stay tuned for photos and updates. This one below is from one of my favorites from the Safer Chemicals Healthy Families Stroller Brigade.

Groovy Green Livin Safer Chemicals Healthy Families

I’m Speaking! If You’re Headed to ShiftCon Come Join Me!  Social Media for Change

Not only will I be spending time with so many green colleagues, but I’ll also be speaking at this conference! I’m on a panel called Social Media For Change alongside two of my friends and colleagues, Lindsay Dahl (in the middle of this photo) and Trina O’Boyle (on the far left in the top photo).

The panel will be happening on Friday, October 3rd at 1:30 pm PST. Be there!

If you’re interested in using your writing and your leverage to make a difference in the world, here’s why this panel is for you!

We’ll be covering some important questions when it comes to a successful social media campaign.

  • How can my writing fit into a larger movement and have the highest impact?
  • How can I start and run a successful petition? And do they matter?
  • Is there a best practice for taking social causes with out being too political?
  • What is the best social media network to break out of the “echo chamber”?
  • How to run a successful campaign.

Enter our raffle!

If you attend our panel in person, we’ll be collecting business cards for a live raffle.

The prize:

You’ll get the chance to work one on one with our panel after the conference to help analyze opportunities to make your social impact stronger. Are you interested in running a petition about an issue you care about? We’ll help you craft that petition and create a successful campaign. Want to take on topics that may alienate some of your base? Get expert messaging advice how to build the movement without offending people. Want advice on which non-profit partners are the best to work with on the topics you care about most? We’ll help recommend the best organizations in the field.

Let me know if you’re planning to be at ShiftCon! I’d love to connect with you. 


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.


September 26th, 2014

My Appearance on The Weather Channel: Talking With Your Kids About Climate Change

Groovy Green Livin Lori Alper on The Weather Channel

How I Ended Up on The Weather Channel

One of my favorite things about my job is the unpredictability of each day. Unexpected events pop up all the time, keeping me on my toes. This week I was invited to appear on The Weather Channel, AMHQ with Sam Champion! I’m incredibly grateful to the wonderful team at Moms Clean Air Force (MCAF) for supporting me and recommending me for this incredible opportunity. As many of you know,  I work closely with Moms Clean Air Force as a writer on their site.

I was asked by The Weather Channel to appear in two segments, both of which aired yesterday. In the first segment an asthma specialist was interviewed about the high number of asthma related ER visits in September. I was asked to come up with a few questions for the physician and share stories about what it’s like to raise a child with asthma. I ended up having a very short appearance in this piece.

My big debut came in the second segment, where I had a chance to discuss how to talk about climate change with your kids, and how to raise a responsible child who’s cognizant of how his/her actions affect the environment.

Here’s the clip:

It always amazes me how a half hour interview can be edited down to 2 minutes and 46 seconds! And that was actually long for a segment.

A big thank you to Sam Champion, Maria LaRosa (who is also a mom to 3 boys!) and The Weather Channel for featuring and supporting our growing group of “mom bloggers” (I don’t love that classification, but that’s for a different blog post) and for the willingness to cover important topics such as climate change and the rising rate of children with asthma.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! 

xo 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.


September 21st, 2014

Why This Mom Cares About the Climate Crisis

Groovy Green Livin People's Climate March

This post was originally published in The Huffington Post

Although I live only a few short hours from New York City, a trip to New York this weekend just isn’t in the cards. I’ll be sticking close to Boston as thousands of people join forces for The People’s Climate March this Sunday, September 21st. It’s being dubbed the “largest climate march in history” by organizers, and has the potential to draw hundreds of thousands of people to the streets of New York City.

Unfortunately I won’t be one of them. Like many, I want to be there, but for one reason or another can’t make it happen. Thankfully, we are so fortunate to live in a world where we no longer have to be physically present to have a big impact. The internet and technology make all of this possible. So on Sunday, while so many amazing people find themselves physically marching in support of a climate crisis I so desperately want to stop, I’ll be following along, sharing and adding to the experience virtually.

Why I Care About the Climate Crisis

My family is unique and yet like so many other families. Every day I celebrate my three boys, since without them I couldn’t wear my treasured “mother” hat.  Creating our family didn’t come easily.  We were forced, as many are, to place a tremendous amount of thought into whether or not we wanted to bring children into this world. Infertility will do that to you. We made a conscious decision to start a family and found our way through both adoption and natural childbirth.

Now here we are-14, 12 and 10 years after making that difficult decision to bring life into this world. A world in which my boys will soon inherit along with a climate that’s spiraling out of control right before our very eyes.

It is implausible to imagine saddling the children of today with the world as it presently exists. Something must be done to repair our planet, and it must be done quickly.

As people flood the streets of New York City this Sunday, September 21st,  for the People’s Climate March I’ll be marching along in spirit, doing my part from afar to show I care deeply about this issue (these are things you can do too).

  • I’ll use my voice on social media to share information and spread the words of the march participants, using the hashtag #PeoplesClimate.
  • I’ll continue writing about the climate crisis we’re all facing.
  • I’ll share photos and create banners with the words: ‘Action, Not Words: …..!’ (add your local, national, or regional demand in dotted area at the end). Photos can be submitted by social media share using #peoplesclimate hashtag or check this link.
  • I’ll continue to talk, create discussion and share perspective with friends, neighbors and colleagues on the issues surrounding climate change.

My boys are starting to understand the complexities of our world, but they are too young to have a voice-or a voice that will be heard and make an impact. As parents it is our job to advocate for our children and protect them from injustice. The People’s Climate March is a perfect opportunity to be a voice among many, stepping up to the plate to make the world a better place for us all.

Will you join me?

photo credit: f_lynx via photopin cc


September 18th, 2014

Why Agave is Worse Than High Fructose Corn Syrup

Groovy Green Livin Agave Nectar

For those of you still using agave as a sugar substitute, I have some bad news. But before I break the news to you, I have a confession: I still use agave. It’s in my ketchup and probably a few other places in my kitchen. I fell for the hype, and I know I’m not alone.

No more. It’s time to ditch it. Once the ketchup’s gone agave is no longer welcome in my kitchen. Here’s why.

What is Agave?

Agave nectar (aka agave syrup) comes from the Blue Agaves that grow in the volcanic soils of Southern Mexico. The plants are large, prickly and look like a cactus. The same plant is used to make tequila.

Why We Should Avoid Agave

Most agave nectar or syrup found in the US is actually a highly processed and refined sweetener made from the root of the agave plant. Actually, it turns out that agave is processed in a very similar way to high fructose corn syrup, and has a higher fructose content than any other common sweetener, even more than high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

Many who once stood behind agave as a sugar substitute are now saying something very different.

Dr. Andrew Weil says:

I’ve stopped using agave myself and no longer recommend it as a healthy sweetener. The reason agave ranks relatively low on the glycemic index is because it has a high content of fructose. Fructose does not readily raise blood sugar (glucose) levels because the body doesn’t metabolize it well. New research suggests that excessive fructose consumption deranges liver function and promotes obesity. The less fructose you consume, the better.

As it turns out, agave has a higher fructose content than any other common sweetener, more even than high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)

Agave is made through a chemically intensive process, including the use of genetically modified enzymes. It’s basically high-fructose corn syrup (or worse!) disguised as a health food.

What Should We Use Instead of Agave?

There are a few natural sweeteners that are on my ‘A’ list.

Raw Honey

Honey is at the top of my sweetener list. If honey isn’t for you, check out my top three natural sweeteners HERE.

It’s important to remember that 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, agave. There are over 50 names for sugar.

What’s your go-to sweetener?


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: Kelly Sue via photopin cc

September 16th, 2014

Sports Drinks and the Message We’re Sending Our Kids

Groovy Green Livin sports drinks

Back to school means back to sports for many families across the country.

Along with sports comes sports drinks. With bright and enticing colors, they’ve become the go-to drink for players of every sport.

Who can blame a budding athlete? Sports drinks are marketed as a way for athletes to” re-fuel” during a game or competition.  They “provide fuel, fluid and nutrients before, during and after activity.”

Even if your child doesn’t play a team sport there’s no shortage of sports drinks. You’ll find them at birthday parties and in lunch and snack bags.

A fantastic marketing campaign has led us to believe that those sports drinks are nutritious as well as delicious. But the ingredient list on most sports drinks is far from healthy.

There’s a small amount of good news for fans of sports drinks 

After a big dose of consumer pressure, Gatorade removed the controversial brominated vegetable oil (BVO)-patented as a flame retardant that’s been banned in Europe and Japan- from all of its sports drinks. Yes, there was a flame retardant in Gatorade not too long ago.

Also, sports drinks are caffeine free, unlike energy drinks which are loaded with caffeine.

Unfortunately, there’s not much more good news for sports drinks.

What’s really in sports drinks?

Sports drinks are touted as healthy and nutritious, but their ingredient list tells a different story.

Here’s a sample ingredient list from a big sports drink company:


Remember the rule: If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat (or drink) it.

After water the first 4 ingredients are sugar! Sugar is sugar, regardless of its name.

  • Isomaltulose=sugar
  • Sugar=sugar
  • Dextrose=sugar
  • Maltodextrin=sugar

And when asked why there are artificial colors (Yellow 5 & 6) in their products, they responded with this:

The colors in Gatorade provide visual appeal and help reinforce the flavor perception. They are also useful in helping our customers to quickly locate their favorite flavors as well as helping stock clerks group the flavors correctly on the store shelf. The colors used in Gatorade are certified by the FDA for use in beverages and reviewed for safety to the consumer.”

Pretty lame excuses for adding artificial coloring.

Why are doctors and nutritionists recommending sports drinks? 

I’m somewhat baffled by this one. Many seem to be taking the position that these sports drinks are replenishing your body with necessary nutrients after a workout. While I do understand the need to replenish your body with necessary nutrients, I’m just not convinced sports drinks provide the best way. They are filled with loads of sugar, artificial coloring, plus a long list of other ingredients that are difficult to pronounce. These sports drinks are adding unnecessary calories to our children’s diets-adding to the obesity epidemic.

Clearly this isn’t real food….or drink.

Maybe it’s time to focus on sending our kids a better message?

Why aren’t we, as a society and as parents, suggesting that our children drink water. Gasp. Yes, water. So simple, low calorie and just one pronounceable ingredient.

What are your thoughts on sports drinks? Do your kids drink them? No judgment, would just love to get the conversation going.


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: Steve Snodgrass via photopin cc

September 12th, 2014

Air Purifier Review: Alen BreatheSmart FIT50

Groovy Green Livin Alen BreatheSmart FIT50 HEPA Air Purifier

With winter almost knocking on our door I can’t help but think about how all the windows and doors in my home will soon be sealed tightly to keep the cool air out and the warm air in. Along with the cool temps and sealed up homes comes a big concern: indoor air pollution.

We generally think of air pollution as an outdoor problem, but our indoor air can be polluted too. Indoor air pollution can come from many different sources including tobacco products, oil, gas, coal and wood, building materials, couches, carpets, cleaning products and more.

How you can improve your indoor air quality: BreatheSmart FIT50

If you’re looking for a simple way to improve your indoor air quality, try adding a few indoor house plants.

Another easy way to remove contaminants from the air is to use an air purifier.  I’ve tried several air purifiers over the years and have never found one that made much of a difference- until now.

I was sent a BreatheSmart FIT50 made by the Alen Corporation for review. When the box showed up I was a bit surprised by the size of the unit (it’s W16.75″ x H22.25″ x D10″), but once it was out of the box its sleek look won me over.

Groovy Green Livin Alen BreatheSmart FIT50 HEPA Air Purifier

The BreatheSmart FIT50 HEPA Air Purifier just launched over the summer and I’m pretty impressed with what it has to offer.

  • Covers up to 800 sq. ft. on high
  • Is extremely quite when running
  • Has 4 fan speeds and an timer that can be set
  • A filter change indicator light-no more trying to remember when you need to change the filter!
  • A HEPA filter that captures dust, allergens and other pollutants

This air purifier has two features that really make it stand out from other air purifiers I’ve tried out. One of my favorite features is the ability to change the look of the front panel-there are several color designer panels to choose from.

Our entire family agreed that the coolest feature is the colored light around the power button.

Groovy Green Livin Alen BreatheSmart FIT50 HEPA Air Purifier

There are three different light colors and each has a meaning:

  • Blue: Low quantity of airborne particles detected
  • Yellow: Moderate quantity of airborne particles detected
  • Red: Significant quantity of airborne particles detected

When we first began using the air purifier the light was consistently red. I tried moving the unit around to different rooms in the house and all came up red!

After using the BreatheSmart FIT50 for a few weeks I’ve noticed a big difference in the air quality. The light has switched from red to yellow. Phew! This time of year my fall allergies kick in big time and I’m not sneezing as much as in past years.

Bottom Line on the BreatheSmart FIT50 Air Purifier

Overall I really like this air purifier. It’s a bit larger than units I’ve used in the past, but it’s extremely quiet when running. The air quality in the house seems to have improved-there is less sneezing and the indicator light changed color, indicating less airborne particles. The true test is yet to come once our house is closed up for winter. The air purifier is on the pricier side, coming in at $499.00.

Do you use an air purifier?

Disclosure: I did receive an Alen BreatheSmart Fit50 for review. I was neither paid for your review, nor am I employed by Alen Corporation. All opinions are my 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 embark on a journey to live a healthy life. Along the way I might make a few pit stops to fight for issues that affect the health and safety of our families. Come along with me as I work hard to make the world a little safer for each of us. Together we'll discover that simple, small changes can lead to a healthier lifestyle and a greener planet.

Click HERE to contact Lori


Lori on ABC World News

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