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June 12th, 2013

Unacceptable Levels: A Film About the Chemicals in Our Bodies and How They Got There

Groovy Green Livin Unacceptable Levels

And know that of all the people out there, you finally found someone that can truly make a difference. That person is – and always has been – you.” ~ Ed Brown, Debut filmmaker “Unacceptable Levels”

 Ever wonder about chemicals in your day-to-day life?

What’s in the air I breathe? The water I drink? The food I eat? Even the things I put on my skin?

Ed Brown wondered these same things after his wife suffered two miscarriages (they now have two beautiful children). But instead of just wondering, he traveled around the country with his video camera to interview top minds in the fields of science, advocacy and law and learned there are unacceptable levels of chemicals in so many things. Including our bodies.

Approximately 200 synthetic industrial chemicals interact with our cells every single day.

Ed’s documentary dissects the ways chemicals saturate our homes and environment amid a backdrop of a glaring lack of regulation. It chronicles the results of the post-WWII chemical boom and details common avenues of exposure, from food to fluoride to toxic sludge. View the trailer for his award-winning debut film, Unacceptable Levels—about the chemicals in our bodies and how they got there—here.

Some Unacceptable Facts from the film:

  • Autism now affects one in 50 children.
  • Cancer is the leading cause of death (after accidents) in children younger than 15 years in the United States.
  • In the last twenty years, the rates of asthma, allergies and ADHD are on the rise:
    • 400% increase in allergies
    • 300% increase in asthma
    • 400% increase in ADHD
  • $2.6 Trillion of the GDP is spent on treating disease every year.

Chemicals saturate our homes and environment amid a backdrop of a glaring lack of regulation. The film chronicles the results of the post-WWII chemical boom and details common avenues of exposure, from food to fluoride to toxic sludge.

Ed is touring the country this summer, with a bicoastal premiere June 12 at the ArcLight Hollywood in California and at the Avon Theatre in Stamford, Connecticut. He’ll be joined in Hollywood by Mariel Hemingway, Gary Hirschberg, Christopher Gavigan. Fran Drescher and other passionate environmentalists to inspire others to take action.

The L.A. World Premiere is invite only. But, the first 50 to show without an invitation will get in free!

Tickets for the Connecticut premiere can be purchased at the door.

Premiere screenings in several key cities: Austin (August 3rd), Boulder (July 16th), Chicago (July 24th), San Francisco (July 10th- 11th), and Washington DC (June 20th). First 50 to show up to any of the premieres will be admitted free!

To find a screening in your area, visit New screenings will be added, so be sure to check back often.

Connect with Unacceptable Levels on Facebook and twitter.

What others are saying about Unacceptable Levels…

“Unacceptable Levels is a hugely important film… Sadly, most Americans are misinformed or not informed at all about how many toxic chemicals we are being exposed to 24 hours a day. These toxins are making us sick and quite simply our lives are being threatened. We need to stand up and speak out. We must demand a healthy environment for ourselves and for our children. Unacceptable Levels poignantly reveals how chemicals have invaded our lives.”

—Mariel Hemingway Actress, Author, Healthy Living Advocate

“This movie lives the Healthy Child motto: No one can do everything, everyone can do something.  Ed Brown has done something by creating an amazing, powerful experience that moves all of us to realize how important it is to know how our system works and what we can do to fix it.”

—Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff Former Executive Director/CEO Healthy Child, Healthy World

“This film is a huge eye-opener!  Once a parent sees this, they thankfully won’t ever approach their child’s health & future the same way ever again!”

—Jessica Capshaw Gavigan Environmental Advocate and Actress

Are you heading to see the movie? Can’t wait to hear what you think.



photo credit: ToniVC via photopin cc


May 15th, 2013

10 Reasons to Love Brussels Sprouts

Groovy Green Livin Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are one of those vegetables that most people either love or hate. For many of us they’re no longer the food that our mother’s forced us to eat.  Brussels sprouts have graduated onto my superfood list and with good reason. They’re not only full of flavor, but they also have a ton of health benefits. I’m a lover and I know I’m not alone.

There are quite a few good reasons to become a lover of brussels sprouts.

  1. Lower cholesterol. Steamed brussels sprouts can help lower your cholesterol. Steaming allows their fiber to bind to bile acids in your digestive system more effectively, which allows those bile acids to exit the body as waste.
  2. Fight cancer.  Brussels sprouts contain glucosinolates and isothiocyanates, which are shown to fight against and also prevent various types of cancers, including bladder, breast, colon, lung, prostate, and ovarian cancer.
  3. Immune system boost. Brussels sprouts are filled with vitamins C, E, and A, as well as the mineral manganese, which promote a healthy immune system. A 1/2-cup serving of Brussels sprouts contains 48.4 milligrams of vitamin C, which is about 50 percent of what men need each day and about 65 percent of what women need on a daily basis.
  4. Bone health. Brussels sprouts are high in vitamin K (one cup contains 273.5% of the recommended daily allowance), which promotes healthy bones and prevents calcification of the body’s tissues.
  5. Eye health. Brussels sprouts are a good source of vitamin A, which is essential to proper functioning of the retina. It also helps prevent night blindness by helping the eye to adapt between bright light and darkness, helps reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and the forming of cataracts.
  6. Fiber power. Keep that digestive system moving smoothly by eating your brussels sprouts. Fiber also helps reduce cholesterol levels, which can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. A 1/2-cup serving of Brussels sprouts has about 2 grams of fiber.
  7. Healthy weight. They are a low-glycemic vegetable packed with a powerful punch. Just 100 g of brussels sprouts is about 45 calories, and contains 3.38 g of protein, 3.80 g of dietary fiber (10% of RDA) and zero cholesterol.
  8. Heart health. Brussels sprouts contain a compound (isothiocyanate sulforaphane made from glucosinolates) which aides in preventing inflammation in our cardiovascular system and can also prevent and possibly reverse blood vessel damage. 
  9. Pregnancy health. Studies have shown that women who get 400 micrograms (0.4 milligrams) of folate daily before conceiving and during early pregnancy reduce the risk that their baby will be born with a serious neural tube defect (a birth defect involving incomplete development of the brain and spinal cord) by up to 70%. Eating your brussels sprouts can help. Eating one cup of boiled brussels sprouts will give you approximately 25% of your daily recommended amount.
  10. Lower blood pressure. They are filled with potassium, which helps lower blood pressure and maybe even cholesterol.

These delicious little cabbages don’t fall under EWG’s Dirty Dozen as a vegetable that should be purchased only in it’s organic form, but I would suggest buying organic when you can. I rarely find organic brussels sprouts at the farmer’s market or local grocery store.

Do you love or hate brussels sprouts? Any luck finding organic sprouts?

photo credit: Esteban Cavrico via photopin cc

March 7th, 2013

Plant-Based Diet Cooking Demo with Chef Chad Sarno

Groovy Green Livin plant-based dietIncorporating more food from a plant-based diet has been a goal of mine for quite sometime. When a friend sent over an invite to a blogger event called ‘Entertaining with a Healthy Twist’ I was immediately sold. How could I pass on an opportunity to meet Chef Chad Sarno, a chef who focuses on  plant-based diets? Off I went to a local Whole Foods Market to participate in a cooking demo. Chef Sarno co-authored a cookbook with Kris Carr called Crazy Sexy Kitchen: 150 Plant-Empowered Recipes to Ignite a Mouthwatering Revolution. Kris is a cancer survivor (she calls herself a cancer thriver-I love that!) who inspires people to take charge of their health and happiness by adopting a plant-based diet.

Chef Chad Sarno is known for bringing his approach to healthy cuisine to some of the world’s premier health-focused restaurants, resorts, film sets and healing spas. He wears many hats, one of which is the Global Health Starts Here recipe developer for Whole Foods Market. I learned very quickly that he’s full of amazing tips for eating an animal-free, whole foods diet. Tips that I would actually use!

When I first arrived there were delicious vegan hors d’oeuvres being passed around and time to mingle with other local foodies. It was so nice to meet in real life fellow green blogger, Alison from Green with Renvy who I’ve been in touch with on Twitter for quite some time.

Groovy Green Livin plant-based diet

During his cooking demonstration Chad said something that really stuck with me: “Eating plant-based is so much more than just eating salads”. So true and so easy to forget.

Here are a few healthy tips for eating a plant-based diet which Chad shared with us during his cooking demonstration.

  • Ginger doesn’t need to be peeled, but if you do peel it use a spoon. There will be less ginger that goes to waste.
  • You don’t need oil to stir fry. Heat your pan and add onions. The seal created by the onions will create a non-stick surface. Now you’re good to go with your stir fry. No oil needed!
  • For a non-dairy substitute cashews are your nut. When blended they become smooth and a perfect dairy replacement.
  • Pureed dates are a wonderful sugar substitute.
  • Nutritional yeast makes popcorn irresistible.

Thanks to Whole Foods, I now have my very own copy of Crazy Sexy Kitchen with a “power to the plants” autograph.

Groovy Green Livin plant-based diet

 Do you have any tips to share for those of us wanting to focus on a plant-based diet?



January 24th, 2013

Breaking News: Tide Agrees to Reformulate Laundry Detergent!

Groovy Green Livin Tide

Breaking News: Tide has agreed to reformulate laundry detergents!

For those of you who have been following Groovy Green Livin for a while you’ll remember that Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE) released a report , Dirty Secrets: What’s Hiding in Your Cleaning Products?which revealed high levels of the cancer-causing chemical 1,4-dioxane hiding out in Tide® and Tide Free & Gentle® . 1,4-dioxane has been linked in animal studies to increased risk of breast cancer. This toxic chemical doesn’t appear on the Tide product label or on the product website, so consumers have no way of knowing it’s even there.

My Petition

Many of you know that I started a petition over at demanding that Procter & Gamble (makers of Tide) strip this harmful cancer-causing chemical out of Tide Free & Gentle®. As it turned out I wasn’t the only one who wanted these cancer-causing chemicals out of their Tide laundry detergent.

The petition went viral. Over 78,000 of you stepped up to the plate and raised your voice, demanding that Procter & Gamble change the formulation of their Tide laundry detergent. We knew Procter & Gamble could make this change because they’ve done it before.  Back in 2010 the company reformulated its Herbal Essences® shampoo to eliminate 1,4-dioxane. We continued to turn up the volume, letting Procter & Gamble know that we wouldn’t stop until they made a change.

Following the WVE report, As You Sow, an Oakland-based nonprofit, filed a lawsuit against Procter & Gamble for violating Proposition 65, the California law governing toxic chemical exposure in consumer products.

Victory! We did it!

The Power of We is a force to be reckoned withAlmost 80,000 of us came together demanding that Procter & Gamble remove this cancer-causing chemical from their Tide Free & Gentle® laundry detergent. After almost a year Procter & Gamble realized they could no longer ignore our concerns.

Procter & Gamble listened!

On January 24, 2013 Procter & Gamble, makers of Tide® and Tide Free & Gentle® detergents agreed in a California court to reformulate its detergents to reduce levels of 1,4 dioxane to below 25 parts per million. Procter & Gamble will complete the reformulation process by September of 2013!

The Power of Our Collective Voice

Yes, I started the petition but YOU made it happen. By taking a few seconds out of your day to add your name to that petition you made a difference.

This victory is a testament to the power of our collective voices. We just moved the biggest consumer product company on the planet to make a change, a big change, in just one short year. Together we not only made a difference in our own health we made Tide safer for the millions of people who use it globally.

Thank you to all the fabulous writers and friends who covered this story on their blogs and/or in other media. There are too many of you to name, but just know that you were instrumental in making this happen. Thank you.

Thank you to WVE for spearheading the report and working tirelessly to make sure Procter & Gamble was held accountable. Cassidy (the star of the victory video above) you rock!

Thank you to Healthy Child Healthy World, with an extra big shout out to Margie Kelly, for the endless support and guidance.

Thank you to As You Sow for adding that extra pressure that helped turn the tables on this issue.

Thank you to for providing a fabulous petition platform which empowers people everywhere to create change.

Together We Made this Happen

So after September of 2013 when you see a bottle of Tide® or Tide Free & Gentle®  sitting on the shelves in the store walk by with your head held high, knowing that you made that product a bit safer for families everywhere. Maybe you’ll even share the story with your children and let them know how powerful we really are.

Congratulations. This victory is yours!
Please take a moment to thank Procter & Gamble for listening to our concerns. 

photo credit: ladybugbkt via photopin cc

October 23rd, 2012

I Stand With Kids, Not Toxic Chemicals

Groovy Green Livin no to toxic chemcials

Toxic chemicals are everywhere. As parents most of us do our best to keep our kids safe, but unfortunately it’s not always easy or within our control. Our kids are exposed to toxic chemicals on a daily basis through a variety of consumer products found in our homes. This is unacceptable. If you’ve been a Groovy Green Livin follower for a bit you know that this is an issue I care about and I write about often.

Stand up for kids not toxic chemicals

Groovy Green Livin no toxic chemicalsToday I’m joining forces with Safer Chemicals Healthy Families and people across the country to ask our Congressional candidates to stand up for kids NOT Big Chemical! Toxic chemicals are found in so many consumer products that are in our homes-toys, lunch boxes, even Halloween costumes. Through these products and many others kids and their families are exposed to toxic chemicals like lead, pthalates, cadmium, and formaldehyde. Studies have shown a direct link  between toxic chemicals and childhood cancer, early puberty, infertility and learning and developmental disabilities. This can’t go on.

Girls and boys starting puberty much earlier than before

We already know that girls are maturing at a younger age, with many starting to develop breasts as early as age 7 or 8. Just this week research was released showing American boys are showing signs of starting puberty six months to two years earlier than they did 30 to 40 years ago.

Today people across the country will be contacting their Congressional candidates to ask them to stand up for the Safer Chemicals agenda. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican, Democrat or undecided-this issue affects all of us!

Healthy Families Day of Action: Here’s how you can help

  • Ask all candidates to stand up for the Safe Chemicals Act and say NO to Big Chemical by signing this letter.
  • Write a letter to the editor to your local newspaper calling on all candidates to support protections from toxic chemicals. Tips for writing a letter can be found here.
  • Share Safer Chemical Healthy Families action materials via social media.  Head over to their Facebook page or find them on Twitter and share our action links and images that state “I stand with kids, not Big Chemical!”

As parents it’s our responsibility to advocate for our children since they don’t have a voice.  We have a voice – it’s a collective voice that can be used in a very powerful way to effectuate change. Remember that any small action you make can and will make a difference.

Will you join me in this Healthy Families Day of Action? I’m hoping you will!

photo credit: Julie70 via photopin cc


September 11th, 2012

Why I’m Adding Probiotics to My Diet

Groovy Green Livin Yogurt as Probiotic

There’s a cabinet above the fruit bowl in our kitchen that’s overflowing with vitamin supplements. When I was pregnant I was very diligent and took my prenatal vitamin like clockwork. But ever since my pregnancies I’ve completely fallen off the wagon and all those supplements are sitting in the cabinet untouched.  I focus on eating well and hope that everything I need comes from my diet. Not always the case.

Adding vitamin supplements back into my diet has been on my mind for quite sometime. I’ve decided to turn over a new leaf now that the school year has begun.  I’m going to take a probiotic for starters and the rest of my family is going to join in on the fun.

What is a probiotic?

When someone mentions “probiotics” I automatically think of yogurt. The word “probiotic” is a compound of two Greek words: “pro,” to signify promotion of and “biotic,” which means life. 

Probiotics are bacteria that help keep everything balanced in your intestines. The human digestive system is designed to have “good” and “bad” bacteria. Trying to maintain a balance between the two keeps us healthy. Many times we are able to do this through a healthy diet and healthy lifestyle, but there are times when your body needs a little extra help. Taking medications, a change in diet, diseases, and the environment can upset our bodies natural balance. Adding a probiotic to your diet can help.

Health benefits of taking a probiotic

The list of potential health benefits of probiotics continues to grow. While research is on going, the Mayo Clinic suggests that taking a probiotic could help:

  • Treat diarrhea, especially following treatment with certain antibiotics
  • Prevent and treat yeast infections and urinary tract infections
  • Treat irritable bowel syndrome
  • Reduce bladder cancer recurrence
  • Speed treatment of certain intestinal infections
  • Prevent and treat eczema (and potentially allergies) in children
  • Prevent or reduce the severity of colds and flu
  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Help with obesity

Which probiotic supplement should I take?

All probiotics aren’t created equal. ‘Probiotic’ has been a buzz word in the supplement industry for a few years and many vitamin manufacturers are eagerly entering the retail space. There’s an over abundance of probiotic choices. Here are a few tips to help find a probiotic that’s right for you:

  • Use a reputable brand. Be picky.
  • Look for a high dose-over 8 billion live cultures per capsule.
  • Ask questions. I always accost the people at our local Whole Foods with questions.  

Here’s what I am using:

For the kids: Jarrow Yum-Yum Dophilus 120 Chewable Tablets

For the adults: Renew Life Ultimate Flora Adult Formula

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to probiotics so use your best judgment and chose a brand that you trust.

Top probiotic foods

There are plenty of foods out there that contain probiotics. Try adding any of these to your diet.

  • Yogurt
  • Natto
  • Kimchi
  • Kefir
  • Tempeh
  • Miso

Before taking any supplements please check with your doctor to make sure they are right for you.

Do you take a probiotic supplement? What do you recommend? 

Yogurt | Stock Photo © Simone Voigt #5030990

June 14th, 2012

Go Green, Get Fit with Me

groovy green livin go green get fit

Fitness Routine Disrupted

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you probably know that exercise is a big part of my life.  It really kicked in when I started law school many moons ago. During a school vacation week I traveled with my family to Israel. My brothers and sister were always (and still are) in fabulous shape. We decided to climb Masada-an historical mountain in Israel. Off went my sister and brothers and I fell behind, needing to stop periodically to rest. After a few comments in semi-jest from my family, I knew that the time had come to get in shape.

I joined a gym in Boston and made exercise a part of my daily routine. I did my first road race with my husband and a few close friends to celebrate my thirtieth birthday. I don’t always have a goal in mind when it comes to fitness, and I don’t always need one, but I continue to incorporate it into my life.  I mix it up with a little yoga, running, cycling and going to the gym.  I  ramped it up a few years ago and trained for my first sprint triathlon in honor of a little boy in our town who lost his life to cancer. It’s been four years and the triathlon has become an annual event.

When summer comes my consistent, daily work-out isn’t as consistent and it makes me crazy. I’ve tried over the years to find ways to work fitness in and been relatively successful, but there’s room for improvement.

Metabolism Changes

The amount I exercise had been pretty consistent over the years and my eating habits are in relatively good shape, with an occasional splurge or indulgence. My weight really doesn’t fluctuate that much and hasn’t in many years. BUT I’m starting to notice that my metabolism has changed and I  do need to pay closer attention to what goes in-the quantity of food I’m eating- or it could end up landing in the wrong spot.  So I need some motivation to stay where I am.

Go Green Get Fit Challenge

Groovy Green Livin Go Green, Get Fit

This summer I’m joining a group of 25+ remarkable green bloggers in the Eco Mom Alliance’s Go Green Get Fit Challenge presented by Healthy Home Magazine.  We are joining forces and on June 18, 2012 we will launch our 12 week health and wellness series where we will all share our ups and downs throughout the challenge. We will be working together to offer information, inspiration, and motivation for each other and-you guessed it-I’m hoping that you’ll join me too.

My Fitness Goals

  1. Pick up my pace in the swim portion of the triathlon. I also panic just before the start ‘gun’ goes off. Anyone want to train me? I’ve been swimming all of my life and feel pretty comfortable in the water. But I’m not fast.
  2. Cycle as fast as my husband. My legs aren’t as long, but I think I can do it. Especially since he doesn’t think I can.
  3. Find a consistent time to exercise over the summer or be accepting of the amount of time I find to keep in shape.

Will you join me? Pretty please.

What are your fitness goals this summer?

[Photo used under Creative Commons from Team Traveller/Flickr]


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About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. I like to make noise and stir the pot especially when an issue hits home and effects the health of our families. Join me as I make some noise and share along the way tips for living a green and healthy life. Read more.

Click HERE to contact Lori


Lori on ABC World News

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