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October 3rd, 2013

5 Simple Steps to a Greener Life – VIDEO

 

Groovy Green Livin Greener

Remember when I traveled to New York to film 5 short videos for Manilla covering the many ways we can all lead a greener life?

The first video is ready to share! I would love to hear what you think.

Simple Steps to a Greener Life

If you’re not a green king or queen, switching to a more environmentally friendly lifestyle can be daunting. Fortunately, there are simple ways to reduce your environmental impact without drastically impacting your daily life.

1.     Phase out plastics from your home—especially those used for food storage:

Plastics can leak harmful toxic chemicals into our food, which can affect our long-term health. Switch to glass storage containers to ensure that your food stays fresh and you stay healthy.

2.     Switch to reusable bags:

The next time you visit the supermarket, bring along reusable bags. Leave them in the front seat of your car or in another visible spot so that you remember them. Not only will you be saving the environment, but you’ll also be reducing the clutter in your home.

3.     Start using non-toxic cleaning products:

Conventional cleaning products are filled with toxic chemicals that don’t belong in your home. Instead, try to find brands that don’t contain harsh chemicals like. ammonia, synthetic fragrance, chlorine bleach, parabens and phosphates, or consider making your own cleaning supplies.

4.     Replace your personal care items with safe, non-toxic alternatives:

The most eco-friendly way to a greener life is to replace items with environmentally conscious alternatives as you run out of them. When your shampoos or other personal care items run low, replace them with non-toxic products like those found on the EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. If a product has a high hazard score, it shouldn’t be coming in contact with your body.

5.     Leave your shoes at the door:

While the Jones’ lawn might be green, it’s also full of pesticides and other harmful chemicals. All of those toxins march right into your living space when you wear your shoes from outdoors into your home. Create a space outside or in the garage where you can kick off your shoes until the next time you venture outside.

I would love to hear your steps for a greener life! 

The video is also airing on the Manilla blog and at Yahoo! Finance. More videos are coming so stay tuned! 

photo credit: epSos.de via photopin cc

May 27th, 2013

Manduka Yoga Mat and unBLOK Party

groovy Green Livin yoga

Yoga has been a big part of my life for many years. My first yoga class was taught by Barron Baptiste at a  Boston gym. I remember taking the class with a friend and laughing as we realized how inflexible we truly were-in more ways than one.

My practice has evolved over the years. At times it is a constant and other times it’s virtually non-existent. What keeps me coming back is knowing that yoga is always there if I need it.

Much like finding a therapist or a  doctor, finding a yoga studio that fits is crucial. The right yoga studios provides a space to unblock and come into healthier, happier minds, bodies and spirits.

Groovy Green Livin yoga

Yoga mats and equipment are also a big part of any yoga practice. I’ve tried many different brands of yoga mats over the years. Manduka is an eco-friendly brand that I’ve come across over the years. The Manduka eKO Eco-Friendly Yoga Mat is made from sustainable, natural tree rubber and is completely biodegradable. There are no PVC or oil-based eco materials like TPE or PER. The mat also doesn’t contain phthalates or toxic foaming agents. I spend so much time with my face and body on my mat so it’s important that it’s made from a non-toxic material.

The kind folks at Manduka sent me a yoga mat to try out. The mat was incredibly comfortable and very light. The best part was not slipping during a  hot and sweaty yoga practice. It comes in a variety of awesome colors. When first opened the mat has a very strong smell from the natural rubber. It needs to be aired out before using. It generally takes a few weeks for the smell to fade.

Manduka unBLOK Campaign

Manduka is celebrating the launch of a new digital campaign called unBLOK.  They are encouraging all of us who practice yoga to  nominate and vote for the studios that helped them “unblock” in their practice for a chance to win a range of prizes!

Inspired by the unblocking that naturally occurs when you have a powerful yoga session, Manduka is supporting the launch with a digital campaign celebrating the community spaces that help practitioners achieve breakthroughs: local yoga studios. The unBLOK party campaign and contest encourages yogis to nominate their local studio via Facebook, sharing how their favorite practice space helps them “unblock” and return to the world with new clarity.

Through the unBLOK party campaign and contest, Manduka is making it easy for practitioners to show their studio some love.

Here’s how you can join in the fun:

Nominate: Head over to Manduka’s Facebook page and answer a few questions on your inspirational studio. Manduka will thank you with a special offer.

Select: Manduka will select five studio nominations to feature on their site. The selected studios will be outfitted in Manduka yoga gear.  Additionally, five people who nominate will be gifted with an unBLOK kit.

Vote: The community will be encouraged to vote for their studio of choice.  The winning studio will receive additional Manduka yoga gear and an in-studio experience inclusive of yoga taught by a high-profile teacher followed by a celebration with music, food and product giveaways. Woo hoo!

Give: Manduka will sponsor a teacher or teachers at the winning studio to do their own seva work bringing yoga to an underserved area in their local community.

Nominations will run through May 28th.  After nominations you can vote for your favorite studio finalist here.

What yoga studio has inspired you?

photo credit: mezone via photopin cc

Disclosure: I was sent a Manduka Eko Lite yoga mat to test out. All opinions are my very own. There are also a few affiliate links in this post. Any products ordered through the links will put a few pennies in my pocket and help support this blog. Thanks very much!

December 14th, 2012

Cork Building Blocks from Eco Bay Home {Review and Giveaway}

Groovy Green Livin cork building blocksIf you have a child or two who loves to build and create masterpieces then these cork building blocks will rock your world. My kids have been using wooden building blocks for years so building blocks in general aren’t a new concept. We’ve created roads, garages, houses, jumps and towers.

What makes these cork building blocks rock (has a ring to it, doesn’t it?) is that they are soft and lightweight. They also don’t have any toxic paint or finish on them. No worries if they end up in a little one’s mouth. My guys have also been known to chuck a wooden building block at someone’s head. These don’t hurt as much.

My kids are 12, 10 and 9. I was amazed to see their excitement when the box of cork building blocks arrived. When given the OK they ripped the box open and spent a good hour creating and recreating.

We started off with this.

Groovy Green Livin cork building blocks

The castle quickly turned into this.

Groovy Green Livin cork building blocks tower

EcoBayHome.com offers a range of products for the home all made from environmentally friendly materials. The set of cork building blocks comes with 20 pieces  includes a handy storage bag to take the cork blocks on any outing. The building blocks are made from 100% natural, 100% renewable cork which is sustainably harvested from the Cork Oak Tree. The blocks in the set come in a variety of shapes and sizes which encourages children to use their creativity in numerous ways. The cork building blocks are recommended for children 3 years old and up while slightly older children (just like mine) enjoy playing with these cork blocks just as much.

GIVEAWAY

EcoBayHome.com has graciously offered to give one Groovy Green Livin reader a set of cork building blocks (value $49.95). By entering your name and other information you acknowledge that you have read and are agreeing to our Official Rules.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was sent a set of cork building blocks  for review from EcoBayHome.com. The opinions expressed in this review are my very own.

 

August 30th, 2012

Five Tips to Green Your Barbeque

 Groovy Green Livin Organic Vegetables on the grill

Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of summer and this year it’s bittersweet. Over the past few weeks our summer groove has finally fallen into place and I’m not ready to let it go. I admit there’s a slight craving for a routine-normal bedtimes, some sort of schedule and consistency. But I’m still not ready. Thankfully we have a few days and a few BBQ’s planned before school kicks in. If you’re planning to head to or host a barbeque this Labor Day (or any other day) there are a few simple ways to make it eco-friendly.

1. Green your grilling

As delicious as grilling is, research has shown that cancer-causing compounds are formed when meat, poultry or fish are cooked at high heat. Try cooking your food at low temperatures, flip it frequently and don’t leave it on the grill longer than necessary. While grilling your food make sure to use green accessories to help you create a delicious and safe meal.

2. Reusables instead of disposables

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American produces about 4.4 pounds (2 kg) of garbage a day, or a total of 29 pounds (13 kg) per week and 1,600 pounds (726 kg) a year. That’s a lot of trash. BBQ’s are know for their abundance of paper products and plastic utensils. How about mixing it up a bit this year and adding in a few reusable products in place of those single-use plastic and paper products? Using reusable cloth napkins, stainless steel flatware, reusable plates or even stainless steel straws would be a simple way to make a big impact.

3. Non-toxic bug repellent

The bugs can be fierce this time of year. DEET bug repellents can be toxic if we apply too much and leave it on our skin too long. Thankfully there are a quite a few bug repellents out there that are DEET-free. There are even plants that can be strategically placed around your yard that act as natural bug repellents. Our DEET-free bug repellent of choice this summer is Buzzaway.

4. Recycle bottles and cans

I cringe at the number of bottles and cans tossed into the trash at a barbeque. If you are hosting the party take the time to set up a extra bin or two for recyclables.  If you’re headed to a BBQ and there’s no recycle container you might just have to carry it home.

5. Use fresh, seasonal and local food

  • Safe for you-Grill and prepare organic and hormone-free meat, poultry and wild fish whenever possible.
  • Safe for the planet-Buy local food whenever possible. When the food is locally grown or produced it doesn’t need to travel far to reach you-which means less fuel is needed to transport.

Looking for something delicious to  bring to your barbeque this year?

My friend Amie over at The Healthy Apple has a spectacular recipe for your Labor Day BBQ. It’s a gluten-free twist on a traditional pasta salad and one that you won’t want to miss: sweet orange n’ grape pasta salad. This lovely recipe has no added sugar, no processed dressings and takes about 20 minutes to whip up. Hope on over to The Healthy Apple to check it out and while you’re there make sure to spend some time reading about Amie’s awesome approach to clean eating.

How are you spending Labor Day weekend? Any BBQ’s in your future?

Vegetable kebab. | Stock Photo © jura13 #2494373

Linked up with Seasonal Celebration.

 

August 17th, 2012

{Review} Experimenting with Barefoot Running

Groovy Green Livin triathlon green grass

Running over the finish line in my annual triathlon

Over the years I’ve had plenty of foot injuries. Plantar fasciitis has tormented me through many years of running and a heel spur made walking and running pretty uncomfortable. Thankfully my injuries haven’t been acting up lately I think in part because I religiously replace my running shoes after 6 months and use prescription orthodics in all of my running and exercise shoes.

My fascination with barefoot running

I’ve always been facinated by barefoot running. I’ve wondered whether running without all that man-made support in traditional running shoes would cure my foot ailments.  When Planet Shoes, a sponsor of the Go Green Get Fit Challenge, offered to send me a pair of shoes to test out I jumped at the opportunity to give barefoot shoes a try.

Groovy Green Livin Planetshoes logoI’ve worked with Planet Shoes in the past and absolutely love this company’s mission.  From their eco-friendly selection of shoes and carbon free shipping option to  their partnerships with charitable organizations, this company rocks the true meaning of green.

I chose the Merrell Dash Glove barefoot running shoe. Have you seen the Vibram® Five Fingers shoes with 5 toes? These shoes have a Vibram® Sole. I like the look of the Merrell shoes much better than the Vibram® Five Fingers.

Groovy Green Livin Barefoot running shoes

Starting off slowly

Everything that I’ve read about barefoot running suggests starting off slowly so your feet have a chance to become accustomed to the barefoot experience. I started off wearing them around the house. They are extremely light and comfortable. The shoes feel very different from my running shoes-there’s very little built in support and I wasn’t using my orthodics.

Next I ventured out on a walk with my new shoes. I have to admit that I missed the extra inch in height my running shoes give me. Barefoot shoes are flat, with no heel whatsoever. The walk went well. My feet and knees felt completely normal.

The gym was next on my list. I went wearing my new barefoot shoes, but not to my usual high impact class. I tested them out in a body conditioning class where there really wasn’t much jumping or running. One person commented that they looked like water shoes, which I hadn’t thought about but they really do.

Running barefoot up next

My next step will be taking these purple and pink pretty shoes out for a run. The Merrell site suggests:

Choose familiar terrain at first. Different types of terrain can affect your training. Steep ups and downs and areas filled with obstacles, like roots or rocks, should be avoided until you’ve built up greater endurance and strength.

After one week in these shoes I’m not completely sold on barefoot running. I’m planning to continue easing into them slowly. My traditional running shoes are still in the rotation and I don’t see them going away anytime soon. The good news: I haven’t had any knee pain or foot pain during my transition to these shoes. From all I’ve read it sounds like barefoot running is best on off-road trails. I’m a bit leery about their performance on asphalt, which is where most of my runs take place.

Have you tried barefoot running? Any words of wisdom for us beginners?

 

Disclosure: I was provided with a pair of shoes, courtesy of PlanetShoes.com, a sponsor of the Go Green Get Fit Challenge, from The EcoMom Alliance Sustain YourSelf series. There are a few affiliate links in this post-if you purchase through these links it will place a few pennies in my pocket and help support this blog. Thanks!

June 19th, 2012

5 Non-Toxic Summer Camp Essentials

Groovy Green Livin Summer Camp © philipus - Fotolia.com

Today I’m getting on an airplane with my oldest son to take him to overnight camp. He’s going for four weeks, two weeks longer then last year.  I wish I could say that I’m not freaking out, but I am.  Thankfully, there’s a level of comfort sending him to this camp-he’ll be with two of his cousins and it happens to be the camp that I spent most of my summers during my own childhood. But four weeks is a long time. There doesn’t seem to be any apprehension on his part-he’s excited, packed and ready to go.

We’ve been packing for weeks. Two huge duffel bags are filled to the brim with the ‘stuff’ the camp suggests bringing on their packing list. If you and/or your children have gone to camp (overnight or day camp) you know that most camps have a  “packing list”. This list includes everything to pack, from how many pairs of underwear to number of stamps.

Whether it’s day camp or overnight, when you send a child to camp it means giving up control over that child for a few weeks. They will eat what they want and probably do things that they wouldn’t normally do at home. That’s what camp’s all about.

There are few essentials that I’m sending with him to try to keep his camp experience as non-toxic , eco-friendly and green as possible.

Here are a few of my summer camp favorites:

Sunscreen Groovy Green Livin Purple Prarie natural sunscreen

Purple Prairie SunStuff SPF 30 is one of my favorite sunscreens. We started using it last year and it worked really well. HERE are a few other favorite sunscreens, perfect for those summer camp days in the sun.

Bug repellant Groovy Green Livin Buzzaway natural bug repellant

I’m sending my son to camp with a DEET free bug repellant. Buzzaway is our bug spray of choice this year. It contains a blend of wintergreen, citronella, cedarwood, peppermint and lemongrass oils and it works well.

DEET is the most widely used insect repellent in the US and is the leading ingredient in most conventional bug repellants.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) claims that as long as consumers follow label directions, insect repellents containing DEET aren’t dangerous. The tricky part is following the directions-most of us don’t and we end up applying too much bug repellent and leave it on our skin for far too long. DEET then becomes highly toxic.

Bug bites

There are also natural ways to treat bug bites. Check out a few of my favorites HERE.

Shampoo Groovy green Livin Earth Mama Angel Baby natural shampoo

He’s going to camp this year with shampoo that doesn’t contain any toxic chemicals.

Our go-to shampoo this year is Earth Mama Angel Baby Shampoo and Body Wash. Body wash and shampoo all in one- we’re killing two birds with one stone! Last year he came home with his soap unopened.

Deodorant Groovy Green Livin Toms of Maine Natural Deodorant

He doesn’t wear deodorant yet, but if he did he’d go to camp with Tom’s of Maine Deodorant.

I’m just thinking how smelly a cabin filled with 11 year old boys will be. Conventional deodorants and antiperspirants contain controversial aluminum,  their ingredient list is long and filled with other suspicious chemicals that I don’t want on my son’s body. Fortunately, there are safer alternatives.

Toothpaste Groovy Green Livin natural toothpaste

Toothpaste is a tough one. He’s going to be brushing with The Natural Dentist Cavity Zapper in Groovy Grape .This toothpaste does have fluoride, but doesn’t contain sodium lauryl sulfate or any harsh ingredients. Thanks to Suzanne of Mommy Footprint. we have a few new fluoride-free brands to try out when he comes back from camp.

Do you have any natural or organic favorites to pack for camp?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you buy anything through the links it will put a few pennies in my pocket. Thanks!

© philipus – Fotolia.com

June 15th, 2012

Summer, Grilled Watermelon and Living Plastic Free

Groovy Green Livin summer green and yellow flower butterfly

The clock is ticking. The big yellow bus is going to pull up at any moment. Summer vacation is ALMOST here. Well, not quite. There’s a whopping 2 hours of school on Monday. Talk about delaying the start of summer!

My Plan for the Summer

Honestly, I have no plan. My hope this summer is to find a happy balance between work and quality time with my family. I’m not quite sure what that will look like yet, but we shall see. So sit tight and join me as we begin our summer journey.

Groovy Green Livin Top 25 Eco-Friendly MomsGroovy Green Livin Named Top 25 Eco-Friendly Moms

I am honored to have been named one of the Top 25 Eco-Friendly Moms by Circle of Moms again this year. I know how valuable your time is so I wanted to extend a big ‘thank you’ to each and every one of you who clicked on that “thumbs up” next to Groovy Green Livin for the past 2 weeks. If you haven’t already, check out some of the other groovy green blogs on the list: SafeMama.com, Natureal Mom, The Greening of Westford, The Eco-Friendly Family, Climate Mama, Healthy Home Magazine, The Eco Chic, I Thought I Knew MamaSpit That Out: The Overly Informed Parent’s Guide to Raising Children in the Age of Environmental Guilt, and Green Gifts Guide, plus many more!

Join Me for a Plastic Free Book Party

Looking for something to do on Monday, June 18th at 1 pm ET? Hop on over to The Motherhood where I’ll be co-hosting a chat  in celebration of my friend, Beth Terry’s launch of her new book: Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too.  We’ll be talking about Beth’s book and living plastic-free. Get personal solutions and tips on limiting your plastic footprint, letting go of eco-guilt and saving money along the way.

Grilled Watermelon Recipe

I’ve never thought to grill watermelon. It’s one of my favorite fruits, so I’m willing to give it a try. I stumbled across this recipe for a Grilled Watermelon Salad with Feta, Mint and Lime from The Family Dinner. Super easy and sounds delicious (minus the feta for me)!

Have a great weekend! Have you every tried grilling watermelon?

Photo: © Sergejs Bespalovs #8830279 Deposit Photo

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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

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Lori on ABC World News

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