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Archive for Healthy Living

January 20th, 2015

3 Important Tips for Buying a New Car

3 Important Tips for Buying a New Car Groovy Green Livin

For years I’ve wanted to head to the Detroit Auto Show which happens annually in January. I’m generally invited every year by gracious car manufacturers, but unfortunately the timing never seems to work out on my end. Someday I’ll hopefully get there to check out the latest and greatest in the auto industry.

This year I had the best of both worlds. I discovered that I didn’t have to travel far to get to a fabulous auto show. Who knew the New England International Auto Show was happening  just a few minutes from my home?!

When I was invited to attend the New England International Auto Show by SheBuysCars as a guest of Chevrolet I was beyond excited. I love how they refer to this show on the website as “Sneak Peeks for Auto Geeks”. I’m not sure I qualify as an auto geek, but I do love checking out the newest imported and domestic vehicles. I’ve been reviewing various cars on my site for a few years- so maybe that does place me in the “auto geek” category?

3 Important Tips for Buying a New Car Groovy Green Livin

3 Important Tips for Buying a New Car Groovy Green LivinThe day did not disappoint. It kicked off with a Design and Urban Mobility panel discussion. Of course I couldn’t help myself and had to ask the panel to name a few of their favorite sustainability initiatives. Wade Bryant, Manager, GM Advanced Design Studio & Design Senior Consultant on the Urban Active Solutions was all over my question. He spoke about how Chevy is in the forefront when it comes to sustainability. Check out some of their initiatives here. He also spoke about how there’s always room for improvement and it remains a work in progress.

After the panel came the reveal of the Chevrolet Trax. This is Chevy’s cross between an SUV and a compact car. This smaller car can seat up to five. One of my favorite features is the ability to fold the front passenger seat flat. This would allow for storage of long items such as skis or a surfboard, up to eight feet long. Not bad for a small vehicle.

We were then taken on an exclusive tour of the auto show led by James Bell, the Head of Consumer Affairs for General Motors. Mr. Bell knew his stuff and gave us the low down on many of the vehicles at the auto show.

3 Important Tips for Buying a New Car Groovy Green Livin

Women and Cars

My favorite panel happened after lunch. A few dynamic women spoke about Women in Automotive: How We’re Changing the World. They spoke about how on the consumer side more and more women are making the car deals. On the business side they are seeing more women rising to the top within the car industry. Pretty impressive.

For those of you who haven’t heard of SheBuysCars, it’s a pretty amazing organization. SheBuysCars is a web community for women who buy, care for, and live their lives in and around their cars. The brainchild of TravelingMom.com founder Kim Orlando and editor and journalist Scotty Reiss, SheBuysCars is created for the 80 percent of women who influence car purchase decisions. Their mission is to empower women as owners and buyers of cars.

3 Tips for Buying a New Car

When it’s time to invest in a new car here are three quick tips to help you through the process:

  • Test drive the car. I can’t emphasize this enough. Have your entire family pile in the car and make sure everyone fits. Especially if your car has a third row. Many of those third rows are a tight squeeze. Make sure the car is comfortable. Think about how much time we spend in a car!
  • Do your homework.  There is very little that remains a secret when it comes to car purchases. Once you find a car you’re interested in spend some time researching the available features and the value of the car. Look at reviews and be sure to check out safety records, Head over to She Buys Cars for great advice.
  • Check out the repair costs BEFORE purchasing the car. Head to the dealer or a local repair shop and ask for comparisons on what repairs will cost on a few vehicles you’re interested in.

The day ended with a group photo of the fabulous Boston Parent Bloggers . I also had a chance to catch up with my friend and fellow YoGetter, Alison from Green With Renvy.

3 Important Tips for Buying a New Car Groovy Green Livin

Overall the day was a complete success.

Just curious- did you walk into the dealership and make the deal on your car? 

 


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:  Chevrolet and SheBuysCars provided me with complimentary access to the New England International Auto Show and compensation for this post.  As always, all opinions are my very own.

 

January 13th, 2015

5 Tips for Staying Healthy and Active With Your Family

5 Tips for Staying Healthy and Active With Your Family Groovy Green Livin

My spin class at the gym was packed this morning. Not a spare bike to be found. Just goes to show you that no one wants to be outside when the temps are below zero. Or maybe everyone has a New Year’s Resolution to hit the gym?

Whatever the reason may be, during the winter months it can be somewhat challenging to stay active and healthy.

I’ve somehow managed over the years to stay motivated and we’re doing the same as a family. I’ve figured out a little trick. When I throw out an idea for a family activity I leave very little wiggle room for anyone to bail. For example I sometimes randomly announce “In about 15 minutes we are all going for a hike”. There are inevitably a few groans and moans, but if we all head out the door it’s unlikely that anyone will want to stay behind.

There are a few things you can do to keep your family healthy, happy and active throughout the winter months. Once these suggestions become part of your daily routine the transition to spring and summer will be a breeze.

Eat Healthy Food

This sounds so simple, yet it’s a challenge for many of us. When we’re rushing around it’s hard to fit in a good, healthy meal. I try to keep healthy after school snacks easily accessible. Slicing up veggies are quick and easy. Also, as a special treat we are well stocked with Stonyfield yogurt. Another easy snack to grab n go.

Stay Active Together

Find an activity that everyone in your family loves to do and go with it! Our family happens to love to ski. We try to spend as much time as we can on the slopes. I love it most because there are no screens involved and we’re outside together even on those chilly below zero days.

Cook Together

It’s so important to let your kids be active participants in the cooking process- especially if they show an interest. If they cook it they’re more likely to eat it and hopefully love it. Especially if the food they’re preparing is healthy. Having cookbooks for kids around the house will make the process that much easier.

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is so important in our overall health. In a large U.S. study, people who tended to get less than six hours of sleep nightly were more likely to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and to be obese.

Allow Your Children to Explore

Allow your children to find what they really love to do and support them in their decision. I always tell my kids that I truly don’t care what activity they choose as long as they’re moving. If everyone in your family has different interests, alternating activities might work well. What one child may love might not resonate with the others and that’s OK. Unless it’s skiing of course.

How do you keep your family healthy and active? 

 


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: This post was created in partnership with Stonyfield. I am honored to be a paid YoGetter Captain for Stonyfield Organic. All opinions in this post are my very own. 

 photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via photopin cc

January 12th, 2015

The Scary Truth About Red Dye No. 40

The Scary Truth About Red Dye No. 40 Groovy Green Livin

I went to the movies with my 11 year old last night. Just the two of us. We went to one of our favorite movie theaters-where the seats reclined and the arm rests were incredibly wide and comfortable.

Before the movie started we waited in line for candy. When we reached the counter my son had a hard time deciding what to get. I tried really hard not to interject (although I was dying to tell him to skip all the candy!). Instead we ended up having a lengthy discussion about which candy was better for you. Seems like a strange conversation to have, but it brought up some real issues. He held up a box of chocolate covered raisins and Sour Patch Kids and we compared ingredients.

The Sour Patch Kids contained:

Sugar, corn syrup, modified corn starch, citric acid, tartaric acid, natural and artificial flavors, yellow 5, yellow 6, red dye no. 40, blue 1

Not much by way of real food in those little candies. When we checked the ingredient list on the chocolate covered raisins this is what we found: No artificial food dyes.

Dark Chocolate (Sugar, Chocolate, Cocoa Butter, Milkfat, Soy Lecithin, Nonfat Milk, Lactose, Artificial & Natural Flavors), Raisins, Sugar, Tapioca Dextrin, Confectioner’s Glaze (Lac-Resin), Alkalized Cocoa

The raisins won the “better for you” contest, although I’m not sure either one truly belongs in this category.

The Scary Truth About Red Dye No. 40

Red food Dye No. 40 was listed on almost every candy package we looked at. Turns out it’s the most commonly used dye in the United States. Red Dye No. 40 or FD&C Red Dye #40, is widely used in the foods and drugs that we consume on a daily basis. It’s been approved by the FDA for use in food products and must be listed as an ingredient on labels.

And it’s not only found in candy. Red Dye No. 40 can be found in soda, salad dressings, toothpaste, mouthwash, and even medicine (think about the lovely pink hue of your antibiotics).

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest the Red 40 is made from petroleum and possesses a “rainbow of risks to children.” Those risks include hyperactivity in children, cancer (in animal studies), and allergic reactions.

Here’s the crazy part.

Many candy companies in the U.S. use artificial food coloring for the candy they sell and distribute in the United States, but that same candy sold in Europe gets its coloring from natural sources. Food and other products containing artificial food coloring and sold is Europe would have a warning label in that would say:  “May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.” We have no warning label in the US.

Red Dye No. 40 Dangers Groovy Green Livin

What continues to amaze me is that these companies are clearly able to remove dangerous artificial food dyes from their products and have done so in other countries, yet they’re not willing to remove them from products sold in America.

What does this say about how these companies value the lives of American children? Seems pretty apparent that they’re less concerned with health than they are with their bottom line.

What you can do about Red Dye No. 40

  • READ LABELS: In America all food labels must spell out which artificial food dyes are used in a product. If you see Red 40 listed (or any other color with a number after it) steer clear. Read your labels very carefully so you can make an educated decision about the food you buy. I think you’ll be amazed at how many times Red Dye No. 40 shows up on a label.
  • SUPPORT COMPANIES that don’t use artificial food dyes. Let your dollars do the talking!

Do you try to avoid Red Dye No. 40 or other artificial food dyes?

 


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: Special via photopin cc

January 9th, 2015

5 Eco-Fashion Finds to Keep You Warm This Winter

Eco-Fashion Finds Groovy Green Livin

Happy weekend everyone!

It’s still cold and snowy here in Boston so I thought I would share with you a few of my favorite winter eco-fashion finds.

All boots are 20% off over at Planet Shoes through January 11, 2015. Use BOOTS20 at checkout. I’ve had my eye on this pair of winter boots from Pajar ($136 with the discount).

Eco-Friday Finds Groovy Green Livin

 

I’m the proud owner of the Violet Invinity Scarf from prAna. I actually have it in two different colors. It’s so easy to wrap around your neck for that added winter warmth. This scarf will keep you toasty warm as the temperatures plummet ($45.00).

Eco-Friday Finds

 

Another one of my loves: this Nano Puff® Jacket from Patagonia. This jacket will last you for years and keep you warm and dry. I use mine as a base layer when I’m skiing and I wear it solo the rest of the week. It comes in a variety of cool colors. The jacket is windproof and water-resistant, and made with warm, incredibly lightweight, highly compressible PrimaLoft® Insulation. Patagonia is one of my favorite eco-companies ($199.00).

Eco-Friday Finds Groovy Green Livin

This prAna Living Women’s Jackie Cadet Hat is so adorable. The hat is winterized for those cold temperatures. There’s a strap in the back of the hat that allows for adjustment ($36.00).

 

Eco-Friday Finds Winter Fashion Groovy Green Livin

 

Warm but not waterproof, these convertible fingerless gloves are made from 100% locally-sourced alpaca yarn. These fair trade gloves were made by artisans in Bolivia through Greenola, a Chicago-based fair trade company that works with cooperatives in the Cochabamba area. Greenola also donates 10% of its profits to its partnering non-profit, Solidarity Bridge ($52.95).

raleigh-glitton__95940.1415211241.500.659

 

Stay warm this weekend! What’s your favorite eco-fashion find this winter?

 


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: Ed Yourdon via photopin cc

January 8th, 2015

How to Keep Your Car in Tip Top Shape During the Winter

How to Keep Your Car in Tip Top Shape During the Winter Groovy Green Livin

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post and I am receiving compensation. As always, all opinions are my own.

It’s official. Winter has arrived in Boston. Today I’m in my office with a fire blazing, a hot cup of tea and multiple layers of clothing. You would think having grown up in Wisconsin the cold would be no big deal, but I can’t shake the chill.

This morning the cold almost got the best of my car. When I tried to start it the ignition didn’t turn over immediately. After a few “coughs” it finally started.

Thankfully there are a few simple tips to make sure your car is ready for the winter months ahead.

  1. A clean car is your first line of defense against winter.  While the winter season typically takes a toll on your car, proper maintenance can go a long way to preserving your investment.   Getting a new wash and a fresh coat of wax before the temperature starts to fluctuate can be your first line of defense against winter elements like ice, salt, sand and slush. Vehicular corrosion also occurs most quickly when temperatures rise and then fall below freezing.  Try to find a WaterSavers® Car Wash in your area. These car washes typically use only 40 gallons (151.5 liters) or less of fresh water per car wash.
  1. Rotate your tires. Most people know they should get their oil changed every 3,000 miles, but many forget their tires need maintenance as well. Tires should be rotated before winter and then again every 6,000 miles.
  1. Add some winter weight to your oil. Changing your oil and filter is especially important during the winter. Drivers who live in a colder climate should consider changing to heavier, winter-weight oil during the winter months. 
  1. Take care of your wiper blades. Your windshield wiper blades are your first line of defense when the snow starts to fly. Make sure your wiper blades are in good, working order and replace them if you have doubts. It’s better to make this change now instead of finding out your blades aren’t working when you really need them. 
  1. Take your car in for a tune-up. Any noises, pings or sluggish starts you currently notice will only intensify as the temperature drops. It’s best to get your vehicle in for a tune-up as soon as possible to get any issues addressed. 
  1. Give your steering some power. Check your powering steering fluid each month, and make sure the car is warmed up before you do so. If you find the level is low, look for leaks in the hoses or pump. Low power steering fluid will make your car more difficult to steer, which is something you’ll want to avoid as the roads get slick. 
  1. Protect yourself from carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide leaks are dangerous at any time, but they are especially deadly during the winter when you will be driving your vehicle with the windows closed. Have your exhaust system checked to make sure no leak exists. 
  1. Apply the brakes. Besides the seatbelt, your car’s brakes are its most important safety feature. This is especially true in the winter when slippery conditions can make stopping difficult. Before the first snow fall, bring your car to an experienced mechanic to verify that your brakes are ready for the season.

How do prepare your car for the winter?

photo credit: PommeGranny via photopin cc

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by  International Car Wash Association (ICA). All opinions are my own. For more information on sponsored posts, read here.

January 5th, 2015

7 Healthy Foods to Add to Your Diet in 2015

 

7 Healthy Foods to Add to Your Diet

Happy New Year!

With every New Year comes new beginnings and new opportunities. As I’ve mentioned in the past, New Year’s resolutions don’t work very well for me. Instead I try to make simple, small changes throughout the year.

I’m just returning from an incredible family vacation. I hope you were able to take a few days off over the holidays as well. Right now I’m trying to return to a regular routine, including a healthy diet. I didn’t stray far over vacation, but there were sweets hanging around and indulging did happen.

Throughout 2015 I’m going to try to add a few more of these healthy foods to my diet

Kimchi

Kimchi is a traditional fermented Korean dish which is made from a variety of vegetables including cabbage and spices.

Researchers in Korea published a recent study showing kimchi as a probiotic. Probiotics are bacteria that help keep everything balanced in your intestines. Some of the known benefits of probiotics are treating diarrhea, preventing and treating yeast infections and urinary tract infections, treating irritable bowel syndrome, preventing and treating eczema (and potentially allergies) in children and boosting the immune system.

Farro (aka Emmer)

Farro is pretty new to the North American scene, but has been served in Italy for over 2,00 years! Farro is the Italian name for emmer wheat and is best known for its roasted, nutty flavor and chewy texture. It’s a great replacement for rice and other cooked grains. It is a form of wheat so those with a wheat or gluten sensitivities might want to steer clear. Farro is high in fiber and protein and is also rich in magnesium and B vitamins.

Coconut Flour

Coconut flour is one of the healthiest flours around. It’s gluten free and because it’s not a grain-based flour, it is non-inflammatory and low in carbs. Coconut flour has 5 grams of fiber per 2 tablespoons (with only 2 grams of total and saturated fat). It’s not a straight substitution for other flours since it tends to be dry. Take a peek here for some recipe ideas.

Matcha Tea

Matcha (powdered tea) tea is the dried leaves of  green tea ground into a powder. The green powder is whisked with hot water in a bowl to make matcha tea.

The list of health benefits is long including  providing many minerals and vitamins. It can also protect against many kinds of cancer and help prevent cardiovascular disease.

Here’s the brand I’m going to test out: DoMatcha Organic Green Tea

Dark Chocolate

This is your license to eat more chocolate (provided it’s dark chocolate without added sugar and milk, organic and fairly traded). Chocolate, much like blueberries, reduces cortisol – the stress hormone that causes anxiety symptoms.

Nuts

In a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found people who ate a daily handful of nuts were 20 percent less likely to die from heart disease, cancer and other chronic illnesses over a 30-year period than were those who didn’t.

Lychee

This exotic fruit has a hard shell and a single, glossy, brown seed, that is inedible. Lychee contains oligonol, which is thought to be an antioxidant. It’s also a fantastic source of Vitamin C and the Vitamin B’s including thiamin, niacin, and folates.  It has a high sugar content so those with restricted diets might want to limit consumption.

Watercress

Bring on the watercress in 2015! You might be used to seeing this leafy green as a garnish on your plate, but it’s about to take a front seat. Watercress is an aquatic plant found near springs and is a close cousin to mustard greens, cabbage, and arugula. A 2014 study found watercress as having the highest nutrient score of any fruit or vegetable.

What foods do you want to add to your diet this 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.


 photo credit: PhilNolan via photopin

December 23rd, 2014

Vacation: If You Need Me I’ll Be Here

If you need me I'll be here Groovy Green Livin

If you need me I’ll be here (see photo above), or somewhere close by.

As 2014 comes to a close I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your support this year. I am truly grateful for each and every one of you and all you bring to this amazing community of groovy greeness that we’ve created together.

As the momentum we create continues to grow I can see clearly that together we can and will continue to make a BIG difference in 2015. Your voices do matter.

I’ll be closing up shop for a few days to spend some quality time with my family. Although there’s not much snow at the moment I have high hopes that mother nature will dump some of her white stuff on the ski slopes. If you need me, chances are I’ll be skiing, reading, cooking or playing a board game by the fire. If you want to follow along on my daily adventures I’ll be posting photos on Instagram- so head on over and check them out. I would love to see what you’re up to.

May whatever you do to celebrate the holidays and ring in the new year bring you much joy and happiness. I am going to take a few days off from writing and I will be back in 2015 with more groovy green info to share. I’m looking forward to connecting with you here and on Facebook, Twitter,Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ or maybe even in real life.

Much of my gratitude and love this year goes out to you. Thank you.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Wishing you much love and groovy greenness in the new year.

~Lori

If I need you where will you be? How are you spending the holidays? Hopefully doing something spectacular!


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: dolanh via photopin

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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.

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