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Archive for Healthy Living

April 8th, 2016

I’m Working With Tom’s of Maine in Their Goodness Circle!

I'm Working With Tom's of Maine in Their Goodness Circle! Groovy Green Livin

As many of you know, last year I was invited to work with Tom’s of Maine as a brand ambassador in their Goodness Circle. It was a great partnership and an incredible experience. Throughout the year I had an opportunity to get to know the company and many of their products ranging from toothpaste to lip balm and share my experiences with you.

I have some exciting news to share for this year~ Once again, I’ll be partnering  with Tom’s of Maine as a member of their Goodness Circle!

My family’s been using Tom’s of Maine for many years so this partnership feels very natural. When my kids were little we had a tough time finding a toothpaste that they liked. We went through tube after tube of toothpaste, looking for a winner. Most flavors made them scrunch up their little faces and say “ewww”. Tom’s of Maine Silly Strawberry saved the day and they still use it many years later. Tom's of Maine Goodness Circle Groovy Green Livin

What is the Tom’s of Maine Goodness Circle?

The Goodness Circle is a group of passionate and enthusiastic bloggers who share a passion for writing about healthy living. Last year I had an opportunity to head to Maine for a Tom’s of Maine luncheon with many of the bloggers involved in the Goodness Circle and the Tom’s of Maine team. It was so nice to finally put names with many of the faces I’d been in touch with over the year.

Why I Love Tom’s of Maine

Tom’s of Maine is headquartered in one of my favorite states- Maine! Their offices are only about an hour from my office so hopefully I’ll have an opportunity to hop in the car to visit their new offices.

My philosophy has always been to support companies doing good things. While this company is not perfect (what company is?!),  they have amazing initiatives in place and they’re taking so many steps in the right direction.

This sounds like my kind of company. Their site says:

“We are a company of kayakers and campers, hikers and mountain bikers and parents who poke around in tidal pools and take walks in the forest with our kids.

That’s why caring for the environment is something we’ve focused on since 1970. This value comes to life in the way we select ingredients, our manufacturing practices at our Sanford, Maine plant, and the packaging we use.”

If you’re interested in hearing more about some of the ways they’re making a difference our world check out their Goodness Report.

My Favorite Tom’s of Maine Products

I'm Working With Tom's of Maine in Their Goodness Circle! Groovy Green Livin
My personal favorite Tom’s of Maine product is the Tom’s of Maine Long Lasting Deodorant. Finally a safer deodorant that actually works. I love the natural powder scent.  I’ve been using this brand for years and there are no artificial colors, or fragrances or preservatives. Tom’s of Maine products are simple to find at many retailers and come in a variety of mild fragrances.

More Good for the Planet News From Tom’s of Maine

This month Tom’s of Maine has teamed up with recycling leader, TerraCycle, to decrease the amount of trash ending up in landfills by launching the #LessWasteChallenge. For 45 years, Tom’s of Maine has been taking its own #LessWasteChallenge by developing natural personal care products with a focus on natural, responsible and sustainable practices and materials.  Tom’s of Maine has a goal of zero waste to landfills by 2020 at its manufacturing facility in Maine. Pretty impressive!

I’m planning to take the pledge and I hope you’ll join me. For one week work I’m going to work to reduce my household waste and track my progress. Stay tuned for more on this!

Take the pledge yourself right HERE! Its free and only takes 30 seconds!

Have you tried Tom’s of Maine products?  Which is your favorite?


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.



Disclaimer: I’m working in partnership with Tom’s of Maine and I am compensated for my work. All opinions are my own. I only work with companies I support and think you, my readers, will like. Some links are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may get a small commission if you make a purchase.

April 5th, 2016

How to Make the Switch to Clean Energy With MyDomino (Giveaway: Nest Programmable Thermostat!)

How to Make the Switch to Clean Energy & MyDomino Nest Giveaway! Groovy Green Livin

 This is a sponsored post created in collaboration with MyDomino. I did receive compensation. All opinions are my own.

When you hear the phrase “clean energy” what do you think?  Clean energy is heat and electricity produced from renewable resources such as solar, wind and water. This form of energy generates little or no pollution or emissions when used. When our electricity comes from clean energy sources we avoid the carbon dioxide emissions that would have come from burning fossil fuels like coal, oil, or natural gas. What a simple way to help prevent climate change!

Over the past few years we’ve been making small changes in our home to help reduce our carbon footprint. A few years ago we installed a tankless hot water heater (which I love). This water heater only provides hot water when needed and is therefore much more energy efficient than a standard storage hot water tank.

We also installed a Nest Programmable Thermostat and it doesn’t disappoint (*enter below to win your own Nest valued at $249!).  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.

I have a long bucket list of simple energy efficient upgrades I’d like to make at home, but I never seem to get to them….until now.

What is MyDomino?

How to Make the Switch to Clean Energy & MyDomino Nest Giveaway! Groovy Green Livin
When I was contacted by MyDomino I had no idea what the company was all about. After doing a bit of research I soon discovered that it’s a pretty cool service that helps consumers make environmentally friendly choices in their own home. They help with everything from getting and comparing solar quotes to finding the right electric car to picking the right LED light bulbs for your home.

Here’s how it works*:

Sign up to speak with the MyDomino Energy Concierge service.

  1. Visit MyDomino.com. Click “Get Started” and submit your information.
  2. Your concierge will schedule a 15 minute phone call with you to discuss energy saving options.
  3. After your call you will receive a dashboard where you can purchase products and track your actions.
  4. MyDomino concierges are available to answer questions about their vetted products or about new clean energy projects you undertake, such as a solar installation or purchase of an electric vehicle.

I made an appointment and ended up speaking with a very knowledgeable concierge from MyDomino. During our short call I quickly discovered that MyDomino concierges are not pushy salespeople and do not work on commission. What I love most about MyDomino is how personalized their service is. They spend the time getting to know you and then make energy saving suggestions specific to your situation. During my consultation we ended up talking about adding solar to my home, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a while.

If you’re wondering how MyDomino makes money they make a small referral fee from vendor products and services purchased through their site.

After my telephone consultation, I was sent an Energy Savings Plan tailored to my needs. The plan included several actions that I was able to take right away to start saving energy and money (switch to LED lights, wash laundry in cold water). On my personalized dashboard I was able to click on the suggestions and read additional articles filled with helpful information about energy savings possibilities.

MyDomino is a gem. Their service is so simple to use. Everything is laid out neatly and it’s easy to choose what energy saving actions will work for you and your family. There’s no pressure to do anything-it’s really up to you to decide what makes sense.

*MyDomino Nest Programmable Thermostat Giveaway (value $249)!

Now for the good stuff! The kind folks at MyDomino have  offered one Groovy Green Livin reader a Nest programmable thermostat. How cool is that?! There’s a two step process for entry (make an appointment and a short phone call with an Energy concierge) and you must enter by April 15, 2016.

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY HERE. Good luck!

CONGRATULATIONS TO SARAH L!


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.



Disclaimer: I’m working in partnership with MyDomino for this post and I am compensated for my work. I also received a Nest programmable thermostat to test out. The opinions and thoughts contained in this post are 100% mine. I only work with companies I support and think you, my readers, will like. 

March 30th, 2016

Is BPA In Your Food Cans? New Report Says Yes!

Is BPA In Your Food Cans? New Report Says Yes!

There’s some bad news for those of us who thought BPA was a thing of the past.

A new report released today tested nearly 200 food can linings for the toxic chemical, Bisphenol A (BPA) and found that two out of three cans tested have the chemical in the lining. The report took a look at cans of vegetables, fruits, soups, broth, gravy, milks and beans from Campbell’s, Del Monte, General Mills, Kroger, Albertsons and more.

BPA is an endocrine-disrupting chemical that negatively impacts our hormonal systems. It can also contribute to breast and prostate cancer, infertility, type-2 diabetes, obesity, asthma and attention deficit disorder. Other studies have shown that BPA can migrate into food and then into people, raising concerns about low dose exposure.

For the first time ever, this report also took a look at the replacement materials for BPA in can linings, and to what extent their safety has been studied.

Here are some of the report findings:

  • 100 percent of Campbell’s products sampled (15 of 15) contained BPA-based epoxy, while the company says they are making significant progress in its transition away from BPA.
  • 71 percent of sample Del Monte cans (10 of 14) tested positive for BPA-based epoxy resins.
  • 50 percent of sampled General Mills cans (six of 12, including Progresso) tested positive for BPA.
  • BPA was found in private-label cans sold at both Target and Walmart, the largest grocery retailer in the United States. In their private label products, 100 percent of Target cans sampled (five out of five) and 88 percent of Walmart cans sampled (seven out of eight) tested positive for BPA-based epoxy resins.

Some good news:

  • On the positive side, Amy’s Kitchen, Annie’s Homegrown (recently acquired by General Mills), Hain Celestial Group, and ConAgra have fully transitioned away from BPA and have disclosed the BPA alternatives they’re using. Eden Foods reported eliminating the use of BPA-based epoxy liners in 95 percent of its canned foods and stated that it is actively looking for alternatives. Whole Foods has clearly adopted the strongest policy of the retailers surveyed in the report. Whole Foods reports that store brand buyers are not currently accepting any new canned items with BPA in the lining material.
  • Upon learning about this report, Campbell Soup Company  agreed to switch to all BPA-Free packaging by 2017. While this is a step in the right direction we still don’t know what they’ll be using as a replacement liner. BPA-free isn’t enough.

What about the BPA alternatives?

The report found that retailers and brands that are phasing out BPA could be replacing it with substitutes that are just as toxic, if not worse. Unfortunately not much is known about the safety of these substitutes. Some of the retailers were lining the cans with a PVC-based copolymer that is made from a known human carcinogen. I think we can all agree that known and possible cancer causing materials don’t belong in a can liner that comes in contact with our food.

What can you do?

  • Consumers should choose fresh or frozen foods, or only purchase canned food from manufacturers and retailers that fully disclose the identity and safety of their can linings. Look for food packaged in other materials such as glass and Tetra Pak containers.
  • Demand that national brands, grocery stores, big box retailers and dollar stores eliminate and safely substitute BPA from all food packaging and label all chemicals used in can liners.
  • Join the national online campaign calling on Kroger and Campbell’s to eliminate and safely substitute BPA.

Campbell Soup Company‘s decision to switch to all BPA-Free packaging by 2017 is a step in the right direction. Hopefully other canned food retailers will follow their lead.

The question now becomes what will they switch to and will it be safer than BPA? 


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.


 

 

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? 


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.


 

 

 

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.

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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

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