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Archive for Healthy Living

March 28th, 2016

Big Changes in GMO Labeling! What You Need to Know

Big Changes in GMO Labeling! What You Need to Know Groovy Green Livin

Many of us want GMO labeling and it’s finally happening!

For years we’ve been fighting for something that seems so simple. We want to know what’s in our food. We’ve been asking for GMO labeling and transparency and after years of effort food industry giants now have no choice but to comply.

A few weeks ago the Senate failed to pass a bill that would prevent states from requiring GMO labeling. This was a huge victory for consumers and a disappointment for many organizations who have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to prevent  labeling. This defeat also gave a green light to the small, but powerful state of Vermont. Vermont passed a GMO labeling law back in 2014 and it’s scheduled to go into effect in July 2016.

What does Vermont’s GMO labeling law mean?

As of July 2016 if a food company wants to sell food in Vermont it must comply with Vermont’s GMO labeling law. Food companies can’t realistically create separate packaging for their products sold in Vermont, so their only option is to start labeling all products. This little state has created a labeling standard that will go into effect nationwide. Pretty amazing Vermont.

Over the past few weeks we’ve seen quite a few companies come forward with an announcement that they’re going to include GMO labeling on their products. This is a huge win for all of us!

Here are the companies who are “voluntarily” implementing GMO labeling in response to Vermont’s law:

This is BIG news for all consumers. GMO labeling is rapidly catching on throughout the country thanks to Vermont’s GMO labeling law. It’s important to read your labels since the GMO language can sometimes be challenging to find (small print). Try to buy organic food when you can. Remember that a non-GMO label is only certifying that a product does not contain GMOs. An organic certification provides much more, including a certification that the product doesn’t contain GMOs.

Stay tuned for more companies jumping on the GMO labeling train. When you shop do you look for food without GMOs? 


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March 18th, 2016

Grassfed Yogurt: What Are The Health Benefits?

Grassfed Yogurt Health Benefits Groovy Green Livin

Have you noticed that there seem to be more and more products with a “grassfed” label?  And it’s not just beef boasting the label, dairy products from milk to yogurt are also prominently displaying a “100% grassfed” label.

Eager to learn more about this new addition to our labeling system, I had a chance to hear from Tim Joseph, the founder of Maple Hill Creamry and the supplier of the milk for all of Stonyfield’s “100% Grassfed” products.  Stonyfield just launched their 100% Grassfed yogurt in four delicious flavors (vanilla, plain, blueberry and strawberry). I know because I had a chance to sample each.

Part of my job as a Stonyfield YoGetter  is sharing with you new and exciting products as they make their way onto the shelves in the supermarket.  Early this morning I made a quick trip to our local Whole Foods Market and was excited to find Stonyfield Organic 100% Grassfed yogurt already on the shelves.

What is 100% Grassfed?

Healthy cows are happy cows! Cows have been eating grass forever. When we’re talking about true 100% grassfed products, they come from cows who have grazed in pasture year-round rather than being fed a processed diet for much of their life. Without going into too much detail, grass-based dairy farms are efficient, sustainable farming systems free of many of the resource consuming practices of large-scale conventional and organic dairy farms. Organic, grass fed dairy cows are healthier and live about twice as long as conventionally fed cows.

An interesting and confusing piece of the grass fed label is that “grassfed” is NOT a regulated term by the government on dairy products. However, it is regulated when found on beef products. If a product is labeled organic the USDA organic standards require only 30% of a cow’s diet to come from eating in a pasture and the remaining 70% of their diet can be from corn, soy or other fillers.

Benefits of 100% Organic Grassfed

There are so many benefits to eating products made from milk from a grass fed organic cow.

  • Milk that comes from 100% grass fed cows has a more flavorful fatty acid profile than from milk from conventionally fed cows. It is higher in omega-3 fatty acids and lower in omega-6 fatty acids (a healthier combination).
  • There are no GMOs, synthetic pesticides and herbicides used in organic cow feed or pastures.
  • No use of artificial growth (rBGH)hormones.

Stonyfield 100% Grassfed Organic Yogurt

Grassfed Yogurt: What Are the Health Benefits? Groovy Green Livin

The Stonyfield Maple Hill Creamery team sets joined forces to set a new standard with the creation of Stonyfield 100% Grassfed Organic Yogurt. If you look closely at the yogurt container you’ll see a PCO seal, which means that a third-party verified that the milk used to make the yogurt comes from 100% grass fed cows. The purpose behind this new label is to create traceability and integrity around the grass fed claim.

Stonyfield’s 100% Grassfed yogurt comes in four delicious flavors (vanilla, plain, blueberry and strawberry). I loved the vanilla, as I do with most types of yogurt. It was exceptionally creamy and had a light vanilla flavor. The strawberry and blueberry required a quick stir to mix in the fruit from the bottom. This yogurt is not a low-fat option since it’s made with whole milk. Overall my family gave the yogurt a big thumbs up as a special treat.

Have you tried Stonyfield’s 100% Grassfed yogurt? I would love to know what you think and if you’re able to find it at your local market.


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.


Disclosure: I’m a brand ambassador for Stonyfield Organics. I am compensated and receive product samples. All opinions are always my own. 

photo credit: Blueberries & Greek Yogurt via photopin (license)

March 14th, 2016

5 Green Products That Will Make Your Life Easier

5 Green Products That Will Make Your Life Easier @groovygreenlivi

5 Green Products That Will Make Your Life Easier

In honor of Earth Day, which is rapidly approaching on April 22nd, I gathered together a list of a few green products that are innovative and interesting. Many of these will make life easier, help the planet and also save you a few pennies in the long run.

Green Products That Will Make Life Easier 

Water Powered Digital Clock with Temperature ($19)
Are you tired of running out of batteries? The lxo Water Clock keeps perfect time without batteries or electricity. Just open the fill cap and add water. This cutting-edge technology enables the clock to generate it own clean energy.

Stainless Steel Compost Bin 5 Green Products That Will Make Your Life Easier Groovy Green Livin ($26)

Composting hasn’t come easily for me. It continues to be a work in progress. I now have all the right equipment- an outdoor compost bin and an indoor compost pail, which is always under the sink. It’s amazing how I’ve reduced the amount of garbage we throw away by composting our kitchen food waste.

Nest Learning Thermostat5 Green Products That Will Make Your Life Easier Groovy Green Livin ($238)

We’ve been using a Nest Thermostat for a few years and it doesn’t disappoint. Nest learns the temperatures you like and programs itself in about a week. It automatically turns itself down when nobody’s home to help you save energy. With the Nest app, you can change the temperature, check energy history and get an alert if your home is too hot or cold.

Reusable Organic Produce Bags 5 Green Products That Will Make Your Life Easier Groovy Green Livin ($10)

Concerned about plastic touching your food? These breathable drawstring reusable organic produce bags are made with 100% certified organic cotton so you can not only keep plastic from coming in contact with food, but also keep plastic out of our earth.

5 Green Products That Will Make Your Life Easier Groovy Green Livin
Tumbler That Keeps Drinks Hot Or Cold For Hours and Hours ($43)

Almost every day I make myself a cup of tea and then forget to drink it. By the time I remember the tea is cold and I’m no longer interested. Problem solved! This reusable mug is made from stainless steel and keeps ice cold twice as long as a plastic tumbler and also works well for hot beverages. One of the reviewers said she put coffee in the mug at 10:30 am and it was still hot at 3:30 pm. I’m sold!

Do you have any favorite green products that you can’t live without?


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!

 

March 10th, 2016

Change the Way You Live and Eat! Book Review and Recipe: Eating Clean By Amie Valpone

Change the Way You Live and Eat! Book Review and Recipe: Eating Clean Groovy Green Livin

When a friend does amazing work I always like to share. Amie Valpone, the Editor-in-Chief of The Healthy Apple, just launched a new “cook book”, Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation, and Reset Your Body.

Although her book contains over 200 recipes, it is really so much more than a traditional cookbook.

I’ve been trying to remember when I met Amie for the first time. I think it was at a blogging conference in New York City in 2012. We were both at a breakfast sponsored by Stonyfield and happened to be sitting together. I was immediately drawn to Amie’s charm and wit, and her incredible story.

Amie is New York City chef specializing in simple gluten-free, soy-free, and dairy-free “clean eating” recipes. After visiting countless doctors and the Mayo Clinic with no results, Amie was able to heal herself from a decade of chronic pain and multiple ailments, including Lyme Disease, Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome, Hypothyroidism, Adrenal Fatigue, Leaky Gut, and Heavy Metal and Mold Toxicity. This “cook book” outlines her journey of how she healed from a decade of chronic illness and it’s filled with over 200 detox-approved plant-based recipes free of gluten, dairy, soy, refined sugar, eggs, corn and processed ingredients.

Amie is a rock star in the cooking world and fills her time cooking for a variety of clients, including celebrities and people with busy lifestyles, who enjoy healthy, organic, whole foods.

Her new “cook book”, Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation, and Reset Your Body is filled with gorgeous photos, deliciously simple recipes and information on how Amie found whole health. She was kind enough to share one of her fabulous recipes with us.

Her recipe for Coastal Carrot “Fettuccine” with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Pumpkin Seeds intrigued me since I’m completely addicted to my new Spiralizer.

Change the Way You Live and Eat! Book Review and Recipe: Eating Clean Groovy Green LivinCoastal Carrot “Fettuccine” with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Pumpkin Seeds

Serves 4

In this dish, the “fettuccine” is actually made from carrots shredded into ribbons with a vegetable peeler. I think you’ll be surprised at how much it tastes like the real thing. The sauce clings to the ribbons, giving each bite a delectable, earthy flavor. 

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ cup grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 ½ tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil, divided
  • 3 large rainbow or orange carrots, peeled
  • 1 cup Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, toasted, for garnish

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and saute until soft and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of the basil and saute until the tomatoes burst and release their juices, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, slice the carrots into ribbons, using either a spiral slicer (aka spiralizer) or a vegetable peeler (this is easiest when you hold the carrot down on a flat surface).

Add the carrots, Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce, paprika, salt, and pepper to the pan, and cook until the carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining ½ tablespoon basil and the pumpkin seeds before serving.

This is just a small sample of what Amie’s innovative “cook book” has to offer. I have to admit that I’m excited to test out some of the other recipes.

If you’re interested in checking out Amie’s cookbook, Eating Clean, click HERE.

What’s your favorite “cook book”? You can add this one to the list!


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!

Text excerpted from EATING CLEAN, © 2016 by AMIE VALPONE. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

March 8th, 2016

It Can Be Done! Bringing Safe Deodorant to Students

It Can Be Done! Bringing Safe Deodorant to Students

This is a story about deodorant.

If you’ve been following along for a while, you know that one of my favorite sayings is “Together we can change the world“.

I’ve seen it happen over and over.

Here’s yet another example of how a small change can have a big impact-and the starring community in this story is none other than my very own.

Bringing Safe Deodorant Into the Schools

Here’s the back story.

In 5th grade all students in our community have the opportunity to watch a “puberty movie”. It’s a right of passage throughout our country for many kids about to reach puberty. The film talks about what to expect as they approach puberty. I’ve never had a problem with the content shared with the kids. It’s age appropriate and reinforces the information that they’re (hopefully) receiving at home.

Throughout the video there is mention that kids this age should start wearing deodorant. There was also mention of using an antiperspirant, which is not safe for any age.

Each of my sons walked away from that 18 minute video with one piece of information. They needed to start wearing deodorant immediately. They even came home with a sample to test out.

The sample was a conventional deodorant filled with all sorts of ingredients that I really didn’t want under their arms.

I wrote about my concerns. Twice. Which prompted discussions with the principal, community members and the PTA.

For many years the state was supplying samples of deodorant for the kids. And then there were budget cuts. After a tremendous effort was made by the PTA it turned out that the cost of supplying a safe, non-toxic, deodorant sample to the entire student population was cost prohibitive. As most of us know, the safer deodorants tend to be more pricey than the conventional deodorants and antiperspirants and many don’t come in sample size.

But the PTA didn’t give up. One of the board members graciously reached out to a contact at one of my favorites-Tom’s of Maine– and they agreed to help out and share their new Tom’s of Maine Wicked Cool! Boys and Girls Deodorants with our 5th graders!

This deodorant doesn’t contain aluminum, parabens, artificial fragrances, colors or preservatives. I couldn’t think of a better product to introduce young children to their first dose of deodorant.

As many of you know, I’ve been working with Tom’s of Maine as a brand ambassador and part of their Goodness Circle for the past two years. I love this company for so many reasons and the list just got longer.

Big shout-out to all the parent volunteers who made this happen and for Tom’s of Maine who was willing to invest in a group of kids. Many times that first sample is what they’ll end up using for many years to come. It’s nice to know that their first exposure to deodorant will be safe.

If you’re looking to find this deodorant, specifically made for teens, you can find it online or at your local Target.

Check out my list of safe deodorants for teens and tweens HERE.

Does your 5th graders watch the “puberty movie”? Do they come home with samples? I would love to hear about it.


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: Here they come!!!! via photopin (license)

March 1st, 2016

How to Find a Humidifier to Combat Indoor Air Pollution

How to Find a Humidifier to Combat Indoor Air Pollution Groovy Green Livin

This post was originally published at Moms Clean Air Force

After a long tug of war between fall and winter, the Northeast winter has finally settled in. It appears as though the cooler air is here to stay for the duration. Along with the cold, dry air comes a laundry list of cold-weather conditions impacting many including chapped lips, stuffy noses, colds, dry skin, allergies and asthma. Many times a humidifier is a welcome addition to a home trying to combat the drying effects of the winter air.

What does a humidifier do?

There are many different versions of a humidifier, but all add moisture to the air. The moisture in turn increases the level of humidity in your living space, which helps alleviate the common cold-weather conditions. The added moisture can also help with reducing static electricity in your home and can also help reduce cracks in paint and furniture. Using a humidifier can also help to improve indoor air quality.  Air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk according to estimates. In 2012, around 7 million people died, one in eight of total global deaths, as a result of air pollution. 4.3 million of those deaths were attributable to indoor air pollution.

Why some kids need a humidifier

From infants to teens, some kids (and adults!) need to have humidity added to the dry air in their living space. Using a humidifier can relieve:

  • cold symptoms including a chronic runny nose
  • dry skin
  • chapped lips
  • hay fever symptoms
  • nose bleeds
  • asthma and allergy flare-ups
  • sinus congestion
  • dry throat

*If you or your child has asthma or allergies, talk to your doctor before using a humidifier.

How to use a humidifier

As wonderful as a humidifier can be, it’s important to prevent too much moisture from entering your home. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends keeping your home’s humidity level between 30 percent and 50 percent. If too much moisture is released into the air it can stir up dust mites and molds, both of which can cause allergic reactions. The EPA also suggest using filtered water when possible to avoid circulating the minerals and micro-organisms found in tap water.

Humidifiers must be cleaned regularly to work properly and effectively. Mold and bacteria growth happen quickly when there’s stagnant water. The best case scenario is to empty the humidifier tank on a daily basis and wipe it dry before refilling. Make sure to unplug before cleaning! Clean the humidifier with a three-percent hydrogen peroxide solution every three days (found at most pharmacies) or an apple cider vinegar and tea tree oil solution. Be sure to rinse the tank after cleaning.

It’s also important to read the manual and change the filters regularly. Check the filter often and if it looks dirty change it.

What to look for when buying a humidifier

Humidifiers come in all different shapes and sizes so it’s essential to determine what’s a good fit for your living space.

There are generally three types of humidifiers:

  1. Warm mist humidifiers heat water to a boil, then push out the steam.
  2. Cool mist expel cool mist
  3. Whole-house humidifies the entire house and are generally used with a forced-air heating system

Always use a cool mist humidifier for children. They can easily get burned from the warm mist.

To decide what size humidifier to purchase you’ll need to measure the square footage of the room. Once you have that information read the packaging to determine what size is a good fit.

TELL YOUR GOVERNOR: PROTECT OUR CHILDREN FROM CLIMATE POLLUTION

Do you have a humidifier that you love? Please share!


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



photo credit: Philips Air Washer via photopin (license)

February 25th, 2016

Latest News and Updates in My Groovy Green World

Latest News and Updates in My Groovy Green World Groovy Green Livin

It’s been a while since I’ve given Groovy Green updates so I thought I would take some time to share a few of the highlights from my Groovy Green world.

Before I jump in, has the weather been crazy where you live? The weather’s been odd in New England. To think I was skiing last week and today I went for a run in 60 degrees. Now back to the updates!

Named One of The Top 25 Sustainable Living Blogs

Thank you to Solar Power for naming Groovy Green Livin one of The 25 Best Sustainable Living Blogs. I’m honored to be in such good company. Take a look at the list HERE. I’m sure you’ll recognize many names and maybe you’ll find a few more sites to follow.

Quoted in This Moms Clean Air Force Piece

Most of you know that I write consistently for Moms Clean Air Force (MCAF) as their “Mom Detective. Judith Ross wrote this important piece for MCAF, The Link Between Environmental Toxins and Breast Cancer, and was kind enough to quote me. Take a look HERE at the articles I’ve been writing for Moms Clean Air Force.

Writing for Healthy Way

My writing continues over at HealthyWay. Head over HERE if you’d like to see what issues I’ve been focusing on.

Featured in Launch of an Amazing Non-Profit

A few years ago I had the good fortune to connect with Kristi Marsh. For those of you who don’t know Kristi she’s a powerhouse, and she lives in Massachusetts!

Kristi just launched Savvy Women’s Alliance, a nonprofit association dedicated to nurturing mainstream women who are interested in nontoxic living.

Thanks to Kristi and her team for featuring me on their new site! You can take a look at the article HERE and make sure to check out the rest of the Savvy Women’s Alliance site.

Study Finds Clear Differences Between Organic and Non-Organic Products

If you need more reason to make the switch to organic, a new study has shown that both organic milk and meat contain around 50% more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than conventionally produced products.

Finally…. The Federal Government is Taking Action on Crumb Rubber Turf

I’ve been writing about the dangers of artificial turf for quite some time. Finally three federal agencies are teaming up to investigate the safety of crumb rubber artificial turf used in playing fields and playground all across the country.  The goal of their investigation will be to answer questions raised about synthetic turf made from recycled tires and possible risks for young athletes. It’s about time!

Any updates to report in your world? I’d love to hear about them!


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: Summer via photopin (license)

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Alper-46

About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney, mom of three and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. Come along with me as I work hard to make the world a little safer for each of us.

Click HERE to contact Lori

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