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Archive for Healthy Living

November 4th, 2016

My Day In Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Office

My Day In Senator Warren's Office Groovy Green Livin

After living in Massachusetts for too many years to count, I’m proud to call it home. It’s the people I’ve connected with over the years that make it such a special place. My Day In Senator Elizabeth Warren's Office Groovy Green Livin

Monday was a perfect reminder when I had the privilege of spending the afternoon in Senator Elizabeth Warren’s office with a group of incredible women. Each of these women shared her passion with Senator Warren (through her staff) and we talked about the need for strong federal legislation to protect consumers from toxic chemicals in personal care products and cosmetics. The purpose of the meeting with Senator Warren’s staff was to discuss the proposed Federal Personal Care Products Safety Act, which will be front and center during the next Congressional session.

Thanks to Clean Water Action, I was invited to participate in this important meeting. I’ve worked with this organization for quite a while and love everything that they’re doing. Last year I was humbled to receive an award from Clean Water Action for being a “Rockstar Mom for Safe Chemicals”.

We spoke freely about why we think federal cosmetics safety reform is so urgently needed. The United States has not passed a major federal law to regulate the safety of ingredients used in personal care products since 1938. The situation is a mess. Personal care products and makeup are ending up on the shelves in our stores containing harmful, poisonous chemicals. Some of these toxic products are used on children and families daily.This is simply unacceptable.

Each one of us shared why product safety and transparency is so important to us and to everyone.

Senator Warren’s staff seemed open to working together to make product safety a top priority.

As everyone was talking and sharing I looked around the room and realized what a powerful group we were. Every single woman in the group has dedicated her life to protecting the public from toxic chemicals. We all come to the movement from a different place, each woman with an incredible story to tell.

My Day In Senator Warren's Office

I left feeling humbled, empowered and reenergized. Just more proof that together we truly can make a difference. Fingers crossed that we have more meetings with Senator Warren in the near future. It’s time to make safer products a reality for all.


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November 2nd, 2016

Get Out and Vote for Your Children’s Health

Get Out and Vote for Your Children's Health Groovy Green Livin

At this point in the election cycle, it’s pretty easy to lose sight of what’s at stake when we head to the polls to vote. Things have gotten ugly and out of hand and there’s so much hatred and animosity. These days it’s hard to imagine a “United States of America” since division and divisiveness are working against us. With November 8th being the official day to vote, we all have a responsibility to ensure that this horrible cycle stops now.

For many of us, Election Day is already here. We have an incredible opportunity in many states to show up at the polls early to vote. Although yesterday was a crazy day, I found some time in the early evening to cast my ballot because so much is at stake.

We haven’t heard much by way of agreement in the months leading up to the election, but there are a few things I think we can ALL agree on: harmful pollution, climate change, and toxic chemicals are putting our families at risk. And these issues are impacting all children, regardless of their family’s political affiliation.

If we care about our children it's time to get out and vote! #CleanAirMomsVote Click To Tweet

As parents, we care about our children and grandchildren and will do anything to protect them. We know that harmful pollution is making our children sick and increasing the threat of climate change. We also know that toxic chemicals don’t belong in any products sold to our families. There’s so much more work needed to ensure that our children are safe.

Get Out and Vote for Your Children's Health Groovy Green Livin

I made a career switch and now work to protect our children by giving them a voice. I’ve asked Procter & Gamble to remove a cancer-causing chemical from their Tide Free & Gentle laundry detergent, I’ve marched in Washington DC to ask our Senators to vote for safer products on the shelves in our stores and I started a petition asking Disney to take toxic chemicals out of their princess and Spiderman lunch boxes marketed to children. I work hard to improve transparency when it comes to food, GMOs, personal care products, and makeup.

By electing candidates who care about these issues we can give all children a voice and a fighting chance. Here’s why it’s important to vote:

  • CLEAN AIR. Air pollution from fossil fuels leads to bad air quality in too many communities. Increases in smog can trigger asthma attacks and exacerbate other chronic health problems. Do not let your child’s health be voted away to protect polluters’ profits. Instead, VOTE to protect little lungs from toxic air pollution.
  • CLIMATE CHANGE. The same harmful pollution that is making our children sick is causing rising temperatures and extreme weather events. Our changing climate is making smog worse. It increases respiratory health threats, particularly for people with allergies and asthma. Also, intense heat waves exacerbate heart and lung conditions. VOTE for candidates who support proposals to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. And vote to put our country on a clean energy path while protecting American jobs!
  • TOXIC CHEMICALS. Dangerous chemicals are found in our daily lives. They often enter our homes and bodies without our realizing it. In fact, these chemicals may not even have been disclosed, identified or studied. Thousands of toxic chemicals found in everyday products are linked to potential reproductive and developmental toxicity, endocrine disruption, birth defects, cancer, asthma, headaches and skin irritants. Children are among the most vulnerable to such chemicals.

Please join me in pledging to get out and vote for our children’s health on or before November 8th! Take the time to educate yourself on the candidate’s positions and make the right choice. Your children’s future depends on it.


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


This post was produced with support from Clean Air Moms Action. All opinions are, of course, my own.

October 27th, 2016

Top 7 Habits for Healthy Families

top-7-habits-for-healthy-families-groovy-green-livin

Sometimes I feel like a broken record. Encouraging my kids to make good choices and develop healthy habits sounds simple, but often they don’t listen to my repeated “requests”. I think most parents of teens and tweens would agree that there’s a fine line between nagging and gently encouraging. Let’s face it, kids are exhausted from being bombarded with demands from school, home, and extracurricular activities. It’s a lot for them to handle! Now throw in the constant reminders about creating healthy habits and that could cause a rebellion.

It’s time for a new strategy to encourage my kids to form healthy habits.

Rather than continuing with my repeated requests I’m going to say very little. It’s time to lead by example and here’s the plan. 

Be a good role model

Kids, regardless of their age, are watching everything we do. Well maybe not everything, but they are aware on some level and take note of our actions and behaviors. As parents, we hope that our children have strong role models in their life who possess qualities that encourage them to become better people. If we want them to develop good habits it’s our job to show them the way.

Get moving!

A workout every morning has been part of my routine for many years and I’m hoping to instill this habit in my kids. Any sort of movement jump-starts your metabolism and gives you an energy boost throughout the day. Encouraging kids to find a form of exercise that they love is the key to forming habits that will last a lifetime.

Spend time outside

With all the technological distractions in life, it’s so important to find a way to spend time outdoors with your family. Studies have shown that children who play and explore outdoors are less stressed and happier and healthier.

Sleep

It’s harder and harder to encourage kids to get enough sleep as they get older. The increasing demands of school and extra-curricular activities take up much of their free time, leaving less time for rest. It’s important to teach school-aged children about the importance of sleep and having a consistent bedtime schedule. I know it’s not easy to keep screens out of their room during the night, but encouraging a screen free bedroom helps establish healthy habits throughout life.

Eat well and drink plenty of water

Cooking Top 7 Habits for Healthy Familiesis a big part of our family life. Over the years our kids have become active participants in our kitchen. We also belong to a CSA so they can see where their food comes from. I’ve found that if my kids cook they’re more likely to eat the food and hopefully love it. If you want to make healthy eating and snacking a priority choose organic, whole-grain foods when you can. Stonyfield yogurt is our go-to snack! Individual packaging makes it so simple to bring a few along when you’re out for the day. Incorparate water into your daily rountine by pouring a glass of water (or your beverage of choice without sugar!) with every meal.

Brush your teeth and floss

Brushing your teeth with a safe toothpaste is an important habit to form early on. Our favorite is Tom’s of Maine Silly Strawberry. Many of us were taught to brush our teeth without flossing, but that’s like cleaning 70% of your body.  It’s quite simple: if you have teeth you should floss.  Flossing your teeth every day is a simple way to extend your life and improve your gum health. Seek out a floss that doesn’t contain Teflon. HERE are a few safe alternatives.

Limit screen time

As we all know, screens are everywhere. Children are exposed to screens at an early age and continue to be exposed throughout their childhood. Establishing firm guidelines and places for screen free locations throughout your home, such as bedrooms, will help your children develop healthy screen habits throughout life.

What healthy habits do you hope to pass on to your children?


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


 Disclosure: This post  is sponsored by Stonyfield and Tom’s of Maine. I did receive products for review. All opinions are my own. Some links 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!
October 18th, 2016

What Egg Carton Labels Really Mean

What Egg Carton Labels Really Mean Groovy Green Livin

Eggs are a staple in our home and as a result, we are constantly restocking our supply. Our family’s been part of a CSA for many years and we receive an organic egg share each week. The eggs are delicious and definitely taste different than their store bought version. The CSA delivers the eggs in plain egg cartons, devoid of any labels. Almost all egg cartons at the supermarket tell a different story.

On your next trip to the supermarket take a good look at the egg cartons. As a consumer, it’s become quite confusing to buy a simple carton of eggs since most are covered with confusing labels. It’s hard to understand what they all mean and whether or not there’s any truth behind the label. While some labels are truly a regulated certification, others are just words that don’t mean much of anything.

Before we jump into egg carton labeling let’s be clear that white and brown eggs pack the same nutritional punch. There’s virtually no difference. There’s a simple explanation: White-feathered chickens lay white eggs while brown feather chickens lay brown eggs.

The next time you’re at the market for eggs here’s a cheat sheet to help you decipher the confusing world of egg carton labels.

What Your Egg Carton Really Means Groovy Green Livin

What egg carton labels really mean. Take this guide with you the market! Click To Tweet

Cage-free eggs (free run)

If you’re envisioning chickens roaming around freely in a cage-free environment this probably isn’t the case. Cage-free or free run chickens generally are uncaged and can stretch their wings and move about freely. That’s it. This doesn’t mean they have any outdoor access and it also doesn’t mean that they have plenty of room to move about freely. It’s impossible to tell from the “cage-free” egg carton label whether the hens are packed together in a “cage-free” environment or have enough space to roam around.

Free-range (Free-roaming)

Unfortunately labeling eggs “free-range” doesn’t mean very much. Hens in a free-range environment are uncaged and can go outside if they want to. There’s no requirement that they spend a specific amount of time outside or that they go outside at all. If eggs are “Certified Humane,”  the hens must have access to at least two square feet of outdoor space for up to six hours a day. California has state regulation that says eggs sold in California must come from hens that have enough room to lie, stand, turn around and spread their wings without touching another bird. Any eggs originating in California or being sold there must be in compliance.

Pasture-raised

This is a completely unregulated term but still widely used on eggs. It seems to mean the bird has more space to roam than a cage-free hen. According to one farm: “Grass-fed/pastured hens are raised on pasture, as opposed to being kept in confinement and fed primarily grains.”

Certified Organic

An organic certification on your eggs actually means something (finally!). Eggs with a U.S. Department of Agriculture organic certification label come from uncaged hens that are free to roam in their houses and have access to the outdoors. Due to the strict requirements, the hens are fed an organic feed produced without conventional pesticides or fertilizers and they’re never given antibiotics.

What type of eggs do you usually buy?


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


 Egg carton graphic designed by the talented Sara Popkewitz.
October 7th, 2016

6 Stylish Reusable Water Bottles You’ll Want to Own

6-stylish-reusable-water-bottles-youll-want-to-own

More and more people are making the switch to reusable water bottles. Just this morning I was walking out of a spin class at the gym and I noticed a woman carrying an interesting looking reusable water bottle with a wood finish. Looking down at my old, dented water bottle I came to the realization that reusable water bottles do sometimes need to be replaced. We’ve also been known to misplace a water bottle or two (or more) over the years.

When reusable water bottles first became popular there weren’t many options. There were a few different brands and an assortment of basic colors. Now the market has exploded and so have choices. There are options for various sizes, colors, shapes and special features .

I have my eye on a few stylish reusable bottles to add to my collection and here they are.

S’well Teakwood Water Bottles ($39)

reusable water bottlesThe S’well Teakwood Water Bottle is at the top of my list. This is the water bottle that I spotted at the gym this morning and I love the look. The bottle keeps your drinks cold for 24 hours and hot for 12 hours. It’s made from stainless steel and is non-toxic, non-leaching and BPA free. For every bottle sold, S’well will plant one tree through the American Forests foundation.

They are a bit pricey, coming in at close to $40 for a 17 oz water bottle.

Corkcicle Canteen- Water Bottle and Thermos ($36)reusable water bottles

The Corkcicle Canteen has a stainless steel interior and comes in a variety of cool, new colors, shapes, and sizes. I have my eye on the matte blue. This bottle keeps Beverages cold for over 25 hours and hot for over 12 hours.

Estilo Glass Water Bottles – Set of 4 (Green, Black, Blue, Pink for $17)

reusable water bottlesThe Estilo Glass Water Bottles  are glass water bottles covered with a silicone protective sleeve. They come in a set of 4 and are reasonably priced at $17 for all 4. I’m always concerned about plastic caps on reusable water bottles but these have a high-quality stainless steel cap with the seal made from food grade silicone.Reusable water bottles

Seattle Sports H2Duo Two-Part Bottle ($45)

I’m in love with the Seattle Sports H2Duo Two-Part Bottle. This reusable water bottle is stainless steel on the interior and has a wide opening, making it easy to add ice cubes and simple to clean. The bottle twists apart at the middle for easy cleaning and compact storage. Lanyard is used to attach the cap to the bottle so it won’t get lost.

Hydro Flask Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Reusable Water Bottles ($28)

reusable water bottlesThe Hydro Flask insulated stainless steel water bottle isn’t new to the market, but it continues to stand out as one of the best. It comes in a wide variety of matte colors and the exterior never sweats. The insulated stainless steel water bottle keeps drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot for up to 6 hours. As added bonuses, Hydro Flask comes with a lifetime warranty and donates 5% back to a charity of your choice.

MIU COLOR® Glass Water Bottle ($14)

reusable water bottlesI really like the look of these MIU Glass Water Bottles. Each can be paired with a colorful nylon sleeve. There is a loop on the sleeve, which makes the bottle convenient to carry. The bottle is made of ultra clear borosilicate glass. The cap is made high-quality stainless steel, with a seal made of food grade silicone.

Do you have a favorite reusable water bottle?


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


 Disclosure: Some links are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may get a small commission if you make a purchase. I was not paid to promote these products, I just happen to like them. Thanks for your support!
September 28th, 2016

Please Stop Using Baby Powder With Talc

please stop using baby powder with talc

Baby powder was a staple in our bathroom when I was growing up. I vividly remember the white powder container standing prominently on the countertop. Like so many families, the most common use was after a bath. To this day, the smell of baby powder makes me think of clean babies and children.

Baby powder has joined a growing list of products marketed to familes that could be harmful. Much like Tide Free and Gentle laundry detergent, it can sometimes contain a cancer-causing ingredient: talcum powder.

Babies aren’t the only ones using baby powder. Many adults continue to use baby powder as part of their daily ritual in place of deodorant or for feminine hygiene. Remember the Shower to Shower ad: “A sprinkle a day keeps odor away”?

What is talcum powder?

According to the American Cancer Society: “Talcum powder is made from talc, a mineral made up mainly of the elements magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. As a powder, it absorbs moisture well and helps cut down on friction, making it useful for keeping skin dry and helping to prevent rashes.”

What’s the problem with baby powder with talc?

Prior to 1970, many powders contained talc which also contained asbestos, a known cancer-causing chemical. After the 70’s consumer products no longer used talc with asbestos. The safety of asbestos-free talc, which is still widely used in many products, is less clear and has been possibly linked to an increased risk of ovarian cancer.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) had listed talcum powder as possibly carcinogenic (cancer-causing) to humans when applied to the genital area.

Listing talcum powder as possibly carcinogenic is enough reason for me to never use it! It’s hard to understand why these companies would continue to use talc as the main ingredient in their products if there’s a possible connection to ovarian cancer. 

The evidence that talcum powder is dangerous continues to mount. Two juries in St. Louis have found Johnson & Johnson responsible for causing ovarian cancer by awarding $72 million to one cancer plaintiff and $55 million to another. And the cases again Johnson & Johnson continue to grow with 1,800 cases having been filed in St. Louis against Johnson & Johnson for its talcum powder.

The cases claimed that Johnson & Johnson knew “about the hazards associated with talcum powder, and it basically conspired to hide that fact from the public and from the medical community.”

What products can have talc?

Talc is widely used in makeup, baby powder and adult body and facial powders. It can also be found in food, such as rice and chewing gum, and a number of other consumer products.

Johnson & Johnson baby powder still contains talcum powder. According to Johnson & Johnson “We continue to use talc in our products because decades of science have reaffirmed its safety.”

What you can do and there are alternatives!

My question is why risk it? There’s no need to use talcum powder (a possible cancer-causing substance) when there are talc-free alternatives out there.

Before you purchase a product read the label! Make sure that what you’re buying doesn’t contain talc.

Here are a few talc-free alternatives:

Reach out to Johnson & Johnson and other retailers. Let them know that if they’re not going to remove talc from their products we demand a warning on the label on products.

Stop using baby powder and other products with talc. Did you know there was an issue with talcum powder? 


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


 Disclosure: Some links 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!

 

September 19th, 2016

Steel Cut Oats and Yogurt Make a Perfect Pair

Steel Cut Oats and Yogurt Make a Perfect Pair

While on vacation this summer I spent an afternoon shopping in a quaint Maine town. In one of the shops, I discovered an entire aisle filled with Bob’s Red Mill products. After checking out everything I walked away with a bag filled with Bob’s Red Mill organic, gluten free oats. I knew this would not go to waste since Oatmeal has always been a staple in my house.

Steel cut oats are my favorite type of oatmeal. They are also sometimes called “Irish Oatmeal” and “Pinhead Oats”. Steel cut oats are oat groats cut into several pieces. This type of oatmeal is the least processed and as a result, it takes longer than regular oatmeal to cook. Well worth the wait.

I’ve started making steel cut oats in my slow cooker so I don’t lose any time on those rushed mornings (every morning!).

Bob’s Red Mill Organic Steel Cut Oats and Stonyfield

Steel Cut Oats and Yogurt Make a Perfect Pair

Now back to Bob’s Red Mill. This company has an endless supply of grains, some organic and some not and all of their products are GMO-free and there are plenty of gluten-free options. Bob’s Red Mill Organic Steel Cut Oats are top notch. When paired with a little Stonyfield yogurt you have an instant breakfast of champions.

Steel Cut Oats and Yogurt Make a Perfect Pair @Stonyfield @BobsRedMill #stonyfieldblogger Click To Tweet

Some people like to add a bit of sugar to their oatmeal. Rather than reaching for processed sugar, why not try adding Bobs Red Mill Organic Coconut Sugar? Coconut sugar has a similar flavor to brown sugar and isn’t quite as processed. But sugar is sugar and it’s important to use moderation. I like my oatmeal straight up without any sweetener. Adding fruit, nuts, cinnamon or raisins works for me and is a great way to change up the texture and flavor.

Here’s my favorite slow cooker oatmeal recipe. It’s incredibly simple!

Recipe for slow cooked steel cut oatmeal

Combine 4 cups water, 1 cup organic steel cut oats and 1/2 tsp. salt in a slow cooker. Cover with lid and cook on low for 7-8 hours or overnight. Add your favorite dried fruit, cinnamon, nuts, raisins or yogurt. Makes 4 servings.

What do you add to your oatmeal?  


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


 Disclosure:  I’m a Stonyfield YoGetter Captain and I do receive compensation.  Stonyfield partnered with Bob’s Red Mill for this post and I was sent a bag of steel cut oats and coconut sugar for review. All opinions are, of course, my own. Some links are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may get a small commission if you make a purchase. Thanks!
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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

Lori on ABC World News

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