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April 12th, 2013
Here in New England the school vacations keep coming. I’m not complaining, just sayin’. We kicked off the first vacation in December and practically every month since there’s another week of vacation tucked in. Life is good in New England. And here comes another vacation!
Next week is our April vacation and I don’t mind telling you that I’m in need of a few days off. I won’t be writing much (probably not at all), and I will be focusing on some fun with my family.
Before I sign off for a few days I wanted to share some noteworthy happenings.
I was interviewed by the Chicago Tribune
I was interviewed by reporter Julie Deardorff and quoted her interesting Chicago Tribune article, Re-balancing your workout to lessen likelihood of injury. For those of you who have been hanging around Groovy Green Livin for a bit you know that exercise plays a large role in my life. I’ve bounced all around from triathlons to yoga and think I’ve found a pretty good balance at the moment. My interview with Julie was a lot of fun. We had a great time talking about how our workouts have changed over the years as we’ve ‘matured’.
Wondering which fruits and vegetables to buy organic?
It can be cost prohibitive to buy all organic fruits and vegetables each time you’re at the market. So how do you decide which fruits and vegetables to buy organic? Head on over to Manilla to read my new post filled with tips on how to decide which fruits and vegetables to buy organic.
The Safe Chemicals Act was reintroduced
This week Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) reintroduced the Safe Chemicals Act in the Senate, which will overhaul the archaic Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976.
This bill gives the EPA the necessary tools to oversee safety testing of toxic chemicals, and would put the burden on industry to prove that chemicals are safe before being put in products we use in our homes and schools.
I’ve been working hard, along with many others to get this bill passed. You can help by urging your senator to cosponsor Sen. Lautenberg’s Safe Chemicals Act and steer clear of Sen. Vitter’s “Pro-Chemical Industry Act.”
Join us in asking the top ten retailers to Mind the Store
As you may have read, I’m working with several other bloggers and Safer Chemicals Healthy Families on their new campaign called Mind the Store. Together we’re asking the nation’s top 10 retailers to avoid carrying what are being calling the Hazardous 100+ toxic chemicals.
Join us in telling the top 10 retailers in the US that it’s time to get tough on toxic chemicals and move away from the Hazardous 100+. Click HERE to add your personal message to all ten stores.
If you’re looking for a green book to read over your vacation check out my recommendations HERE.
Enjoy your week and I’ll see you back here soon!
Are you headed anywhere fantastic for vacation?
photo credit: esther** via photopin cc
March 15th, 2012
In 2009 I participated in my first triathlon. It was much more than a triathlon for me; it was a dedication to a 5 year old boy who was diagnosed with cancer while in preschool with my youngest son. My second triathlon was done in his memory. After a tragic and long battle with neuroblastoma, a rare form of childhood cancer, 5 year old Matty was laid to rest. The impact on Matty’s family and our community was profound and many of us continue to carry the weight of this loss with us today and forever.
Not surprisingly, the word ‘cancer’ is surrounded by some daunting statistics. Around 41 percent of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. About 12,060 children in the United States under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer in 2012. Since 1975 cancer in American children has increased, especially childhood leukemia and brain cancer.
As cancer rates continue to soar, toxic chemicals continue to make their way into our products with minimal government regulation. There is increasing evidence that these chemicals are impacting this surge in cancer cases.
No family should have to go through what Matty’s family, and countless other families, are forced to endure. Companies are adding cancer causing chemicals to their products and there are no repercussions.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
Make our own cleaning supplies.
Cleaning product companies aren’t required to tell us the chemicals they use in their products, and what they’re keeping secret from you could be hazardous to your health. Women’s Voices for the Earth, in a commissioned study, found hidden toxic chemicals in some of the most popular cleaning supply companies. Until we know what’s in the products we buy off the shelf, we can mix our own with safe ingredients like vinegar and baking soda.
Use the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database.
Before heading to the store to pick up new personal care products, try using Skin Deep. Skin Deep is a safety guide to cosmetics and personal care products put together by researchers at the Environmental Working Group. It’s one of my fav resources. I use it for all my makeup and personal care products. I can’t tell you the number of times I bought something and checked it out on Skin Deep, only to find it was extremely toxic.
Open our windows.
It’s finally spring! Many of our homes and apartments were built to be air tight. This might sound like great modern day advancements in building, but in reality it keeps the toxins in and the fresh air out. It’s time to open up those windows and doors to let the fresh air flow.
Take our shoes off.
In our house we are attempting to contain the toxin filled outdoors by declaring our home a “shoe free zone”. All shoes come off in the garage and they stay there until the next time we venture out.
Sign a petition or two.
Like many moms, my commitment to a greener lifestyle was strengthened after having children. I’m careful about what we eat, and am selective about products we use to keep our home clean. A report released by Women’s Voices for Earth, Dirty Secrets: What’s Hiding in Your Cleaning Products? found high levels of the cancer-causing chemical 1,4-dioxane in Tide Free & Gentle®. Please sign my PETITION asking Procter & Gamble (makers of Tide) to strip this harmful cancer-causing chemical out of Tide Free & Gentle®!
While you’re on a roll take a few seconds to sign Anna from Green Talk’s PETITION requesting that strict guidelines be enacted immediately to reduce arsenic in rice and food related products.
Ask congress for help
Toxic chemicals are pervasive in our daily lives, and despite our best efforts to purchase products free of toxic chemicals, we’re still routine exposed through the air, water and our home environment. Due to lax federal laws, industry chemicals are not tested or regulated for health and safety
We need all congressional candidates to know that the American public cares deeply about increased regulations on toxic chemicals. Ask your Congressional candidates to reject the chemical industry’s agenda and support the Safer Chemicals Agenda.
What are some other ways we can reduce our exposure to toxic chemicals?
This post is part of this month’s Green Moms Carnival -How to Keep Toxic Chemicals Out of Your Home- which I’m hosting! The carnival goes live Monday, March 19, 2012. Be sure to stop back for lots of great tips and suggestions for keeping toxic chemicals out of your home.
Photo © Ken Hurst – Fotolia.com
March 2nd, 2012
Every week I’m amazed by the variety of headlines that pass by my desk. This week was no different. Here are a few headlines that caught my attention:
- There was a lot of buzz surrounding opening day of The Lorax movie. The movie opens today-Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!
- There was also great information on how to avoid artificial flavors in your food.
- We found out that Walmart will be selling Monsanto GMO corn starting this summer.
- My friend Anna over at Green Talk started a petition asking the FDA and the EU to institute strict guidelines regarding arsenic in rice. Please take a few seconds to sign Anna’s petition.
- The beauty of Julianne Moore’s gorgeous clean air gardens (which happen to be right in New York City) helped to ground me and put some perspective on the larger issues facing us these days.
A Few Recipes to Try
Stephanie from Good Girl Gone Green shared an awesome recipe for an Almond Cup Smoothie. Amy from The Healthy Apple has a fantastic recipe for Arugula Salad with Moroccan Mint Brussels Sprouts ,which is dairy and gluten free. Anything with brussels sprouts catches my attention.
How Safe are Your Pots and Pans?
My ongoing search for non-toxic pots and pans continues. There are many different types of cookware to choose from, however not all pots and pans are created equal. Some materials used to make pots and pans shouldn’t come in contact with food. If you are trying to create a greener and cleaner kitchen there are a few types of cookware that should be avoided. Also pay close attention to the safety of your cooking utensils. Continue reading HERE.
Tell Tide to Take the Cancer Causing Chemicals Out of Their Detergent
Last I checked we had 1,882 signatures on our petition asking Tide to remove 1,4-dioxane (a known cancer-causing chemical) out of its detergent! That’s amazing.Thanks to everyone who has taken a few seconds and added their name to the list. If you would like to sign the PETITION please click HERE.
Pin of the Week
Pinterest continues to be my new playground. I’m thrilled to see so many of you have joined me. This week my favorite pin led me to this article on 7 Ways to Clean with Castile Soap. Dr. Bronner’s has been a staple in our house for a long time.
If you’re interested in testing out mineral makeup, don’t forget to enter the great giveaway from Style Essentials. The products are non-toxic, green and without harmful chemicals.
Are you heading to see The Lorax this weekend? Let me know what you think. Have a groovy green weekend!
[Photo used under Creative Commons from NW Newsflash/Flickr]
*There is an affiliate link in this post. Anything purchased through it will put a few pennies in my pocket. Thanks!
February 7th, 2012
Today’s the day. It’s time to join forces with Women’s Voices for the Earth, MomsRising and Healthy Child Healthy World, to demand that Procter & Gamble (makers of Tide) strip a harmful cancer-causing chemical out of Tide Free & Gentle®.
Like many moms, my commitment to a greener lifestyle was strengthened after having children. I’m careful about what we eat, and am selective about products we use to keep our home clean.
It probably goes without saying that in a house full of boys, we do a lot of laundry. I know that some cleaning products are marketed as safe and healthy, but in truth, what’s in the bottle can hurt you.
For example, it turns out that Tide Free & Gentle® isn’t so gentle. A report recently released by Women’s Voices for Earth, Dirty Secrets: What’s Hiding in Your Cleaning Products? found high levels of the cancer-causing chemical 1,4-dioxane in the detergent. 1,4-dioxane doesn’t appear on the product label or on the product website, so consumers have no way of knowing it’s even there.
This is especially concerning, because Tide Free & Gentle® is marketed to moms as a healthier choice for their children’s laundry. Infants and children are more vulnerable to chemical exposures, because their immune, neurological, and hormone systems are still developing.
1,4-dioxane is a known cancer-causing chemical, and has been linked in animal studies to increased risk of breast cancer.
Procter & Gamble (makers of Tide®) already have experience stripping 1,4 dioxane out of its products; in 2010, the company reformulated its Herbal Essences® shampoo to eliminate 1,4-dioxane. Unfortunately, Dirty Secrets test results show that the company has not chosen to make the same effort for its laundry detergent.
The Tide website says: Safety: The Most Important Ingredient in Tide®. If that’s true, then 1,4-dioxane should never have been in the product in the first place.
Please Sign the Petition
With the help of Healthy Child Healthy World, MomsRising and Women’s Voices for the Earth I put together a petition asking Procter & Gamble (makers of Tide) to strip this harmful cancer-causing chemical out of Tide Free & Gentle®!
Please join me by signing the petition asking Procter & Gamble to take immediate action to remove 1,4-dioxane from Tide Free & Gentle® and any other Procter & Gamble products.
Together we can make change happen.
[Photo used under Creative Commons from Pixel Drip/Flickr
February 2nd, 2012
Susan G. Komen for the Cure are you listening yet?
As a green lifestyle blogger there are many issues that fall well within my purview. The topics I tend to cover are widespread and can run the gamut from toys and food to anything related to health. Women’s health is a topic near and dear to my heart for a number of reasons: I care about my own health, the health of the many women in my life and the health of women in general.
It’s been hard to miss the collective outrage over the past few days directed at Susan G. Komen for the Cure for cutting their funding to Planned Parenthood (they received 680,000 from Komen last year). Planned Parenthood used the funding to pay for breast-screening exams for poor people.
About 12 years ago I ran a race in honor of and alongside a very special friend. It was the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. We were all decked out in our pink ribbons listening to the inspirational stories and looking around in awe at the sea of pink. Susan G. Komen was the creator of those pink ribbons, which have taken breast cancer awareness to another level. I’ll have you know I kicked some butt in that race and my friend kicked breast cancer.
I can safely assume that most of us know at least one person afflicted by this disease. Many of those with breast cancer were fortunate to catch it early, thanks to a simple (albeit uncomfortable) mammogram. And now those women are part of a strong and amazing group of survivors. Cutting the Planned Parenthood funding is effectively stripping the option of early detection away from those who have no means.
Truth be told, I really don’t care what the head of Susan G. Komen believes. She has a right to believe that abortion is wrong. What I find appalling is that she is willing to take those beliefs and directly make others suffer and/or possibly die. Victims of cancer don’t really care about politics and cancer sure as heck doesn’t care what you believe.
Lisa Stone of BlogHer said it perfectly:
Just as women are about more than our breasts, so is health care for women about more than abortions. Especially the kind of primary health care that Planned Parenthood has been providing for years to women and children who otherwise couldn’t afford it.
Now the good news is many people, because of the Komen decision, have pulled Komen funding and are donating directly to Planned Parenthood. The hope is Planned Parenthood will ultimately recoup most, if not all of the funding lost.
Komen’s made bad decisions before
The Planned Parenthood funding cut comes after other not so brilliant moves by Komen. Komen’s attorneys have been known to send out letters to groups who were using the language “for a cure” in their fundraisers. Really? Don’t they have anything better to do with their time then to go after piddly little fundraisers? Komen also came under fire for animal testing and experiments, which many times led to the animal’s death.
And what was Komen thinking when it released “Promise Me” perfume to raise money for cancer research? The perfume was tested and it was found to contain several ingredients linked to cancer. Say what? Yep cancer causing perfume from an organization working “for a cure”.
If you are looking for ways to help here are a few:
What’s your two cents on the Komen decision?
[Pink ribbon photo used under Creative Commons from SCA Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget/Flickr]
October 27th, 2011
As parents, it’s part of our job description to protect our children from harmful chemicals. Most of us know, all too well, that it’s not an easy job. As we go through our daily lives we are confronted with information overload, pressuring us to buy specific brands –the media, our friends, family-everyone has an opinion. When it comes to food products the ingredient lists are long and complicated; when it comes to choices the sky’s the limit. How do we sort through it all? How can we be sure we are making good choices for ourselves and our families?
Katy Farber has written a new e-book, Eat Non-Toxic: a Manual for Busy Parents, to help us navigate through the information and inspire us to create healthy environments for our families. Katy is an author, mother, teacher, and the founder of the well- known blog, Non-Toxic Kids. Her new manual is a guide for busy parents looking to limit their family’s exposure to chemicals and toxins in food and feeding gear.
The book is filled with practical, usable and helpful steps that provide much needed guidance and direction when it comes to protecting your family and the earth from harmful toxins and chemicals. Each chapter is filled with valuable information covering a wide range of topics relating to food and food safety.
A few of my favorite topics are:
- Find real, practical, and usable tips and ideas feeding your family in a safe and healthy way.
- Fantastic recipes using whole foods.
- Learn how to limit toxins in your family’s diet without tremendous cost, effort or time.
- Why we should eat local, organic and humanely raised meats.
- Cooking and food storage: why we need to limit or eliminate plastic in the kitchen.
As an added bonus for those of us who are really exhausted and crazy busy, the end of each chapter has the Tired Parents Cliff Notes- a summary of all the important stuff for those of us who need that extra help remembering the highlights (me!).
On sale now
Through Friday (October 28th, 2011), the manual will be priced at 25% off its regular price of 9.99. Click HERE to download the book.
This manual will help you simplify meal times, protect your children from unnecessary toxic exposures, eat healthier and tread lighter on the earth.
Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Disclosure: I was given a complimentary copy of this book for review. There is an affiliate link in this post. Any purchases through the link will put a few pennies in my pocket. The opinions are my very own. Thanks!
October 25th, 2011
Candy Corn, Kit Kats and M&M’s oh my!
Every Halloween it’s those bite sized candy bars that get me. Somehow on Halloween I give myself permission and I’m able to rationalize eating those fun- sized pieces (and lots of them). Bad news for me: the National Confectioners Association says that two 50-calorie bite-size candy bars may not seem like much, but 100 extra calories a day for a year can result in a 10-lb. weight gain. And come on-who can eat just two?
If that’s not enough to stop you from diving head first into the candy bowl, there’s more: chances are most of the candy you are consuming contains high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). There’s nothing wrong with a little indulgence on Halloween, but better to do so with the power of knowledge.
What is High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)?
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a man-made sweetener made from corn and can be found in foods and beverages on grocery store shelves in the United States. It can be found in a range of products from candy, soda and Twinkies to bread and ketchup. According to Planet Green :
There’s nothing natural about high fructose corn syrup and it most certainly does not exist in nature. The process starts off with corn kernels, yes, but then that corn is spun at a high velocity and combined with three enzymes…, so that it forms a thick syrup that’s way sweeter than sugar and super cheap to produce. That’s why it’s poured into a huge majority of mass produced processed foods.
Why is HFCS bad?
- It messes with your body and interferes with your metabolism so that a person can’t stop eating. It’s addictive and many think it’s one of the culprits behind childhood obesity.
- According to Healthy Child Healthy World, a few years back a study found mercury contamination in HFCS. Not good.
- HFCS is highly processed and has been linked to all sorts of health issues including obesity, cavities and a host of other health concerns and diseases.
- There is no nutrition whatsoever in HFCS.
- The use of HFCS isn’t very green and the environmental impact is huge.
- With more and more shoppers and manufacturers shying away from using HFCS the industry has gone to the FDA and requested a name change from HFCS to “corn sugar”. Even the corn industry knows that HFCS has a bad rap and there needs to be a change. You can click HERE to help prevent the name change, which would be very confusing to consumers.
How to avoid HFCS on Halloween
A few fun-sized candy bars make my kids smile on Halloween. I’m OK with that, but I’m all for getting rid of the leftover HFCS filled bonbons. Here are some ideas to help ditch the candy:
- Trade them. We have food allergies in our family so this is a simple fix for us. I usually buy healthy alternatives and trade with my kids. They take the good stuff and I collect the bad.
- Pay them. Yep, pay your kids for their candy. This works like a charm.
- Teach them. Read the labels on the candy together and teach your children why the candy isn’t good for them. We play a game -we look for the candy that has the most sugar, then the candy with the least sugar etc… Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?
- Donate them (the candy, not the kids). Do whatever you can to convince your children that the candy should be donated. Let me know how that goes.
Do you try to avoid high fructose corn syrup?
[Both photos used under Creative Commons-top photo from Juushika Redgrave/Flickr, side photo The Culinary Geek/Flickr]