At our house it’s not uncommon to find us barbequing year round. We have been known to trudge out to the barbeque on snowy days just for the sake of a juicy veggie burger (is there such a thing?). But now that summer is upon us the barbeque is ready for constant action.
As delicious as grilling is, research has shown that cancer-causing compounds are formed when protein foods (meats, poultry, and fish) are cooked at high heat. HERE are a few tips to keep your grilling green and healthy.
While you’re cooking your food here is a list of a few green accessories to help you create a delicious and safe meal:
These 12 inch skewers are perfect for making shish kabobs. Use them for veggies, tofu and/or fish, chicken or any other meat. Soak them in warm water before grilling to prevent burning of the skewers. Bamboo is a great green alternative to other woods. It is a renewable resource, capable of regenerating without replanting and it also has amazing anti-bacterial properties!
Have you ever tried to grill with a spatula that’s too short? I have and it doesn’t work! The heat kicks in and the food falls. This grilling tool set is great since the tools are actually meant for grilling and are each 19 inches long. The combination of bamboo and stainless steel make the set pretty darn eco-friendly.
This pan is perfect for spreading out food that might otherwise fall through the cracks. It does have slits-but much smaller than the spaces found on the grill. The pan is made from one of my favorite materials, stainless steel. It’s also easy to clean.
I have such a hard time grilling fish. The fish sticks to the grates and I seem to lose half the fish in the fire. The fish basket is great-it elevates the fish, or any other food, off the grates so the food can’t stick and it won’t burn. Ingenious! This basket is made from stainless steel.
Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! Is grilling in the plans for the weekend?
If the product gets a 0-2 hazard rating it is welcomed into my home.
Anything over a 2 it goes back to the store.
Labor intensive, right? But so worth it.
When I was given the opportunity to review a few Juice Beauty products I was armed and ready to go through my 6 step process (a few less steps because the product was mailed to me). I had been hearing about Juice Beauty for quite sometime from my friend Micaela over at Mindful Momma, so I was curious to see for myself what this brand was all about. I chose the Green Apple Age Defy Collection because how could I pass up products that claimed to “Brighten, Lighten, Tighten”?
I’ve been using the products for a few weeks now and here are my thoughts:
Green Apple Cleansing Gel
I generally use old fashioned soap and water in the morning and evening. The Cleansing Gel has a nice, light green apple scent. It textured like a hand soap and was easy to apply and rinse off. My skin felt great after each application. It received a 1 (very low hazard score) on the Skin Deep site. Sold!
Green Apple Peel Full Strength
I enjoyed trying the peel. Again my skin felt fresh and clean after use. I don’t think I would use a peel on a regular basis. It seems too labor intensive. Juice Beauty recommends using the peel once a week. I guess I could handle that-especially if it’s going to smooth and firm my skin!
Green Apple Age Defy Serum
This serum comes in a pump bottle and I absolutely loved it. It was easy to apply and soaked into my skin without being greasy.
Green Apple Age Defy Moisturizer
This was by far my favorite product. I loved the scent and the texture. My skin felt smooth and it wasn’t greasy or oily.
Repair Eye Treatment
I’m always hesitant to apply creams around my eyes since the skin is so sensitive. I tried this cream a few times-there was a very small sample in the kit. It went on easily and smelled like green apples! I think I would probably stick to using the moisturizer for my entire face, including my eyes.
What I love about Juice Beauty-their EcoChic Values:
Clinically Validated Results: efficacy achieved through cutting edge organic technology.
Authentically Organic: target a standard for all Juice Beauty products to fall within 80 – 98% total organic content. Meet California Organic Products Act minimum of 70% total organic content (excluding water) by using a certified organic base & ingredients.
Powerful Action Without: Stay on the cutting edge of purity by excluding Parabens, petroleum, butylene and propylene glycol, PEG, sodium lauryl sulfates, pesticides, phthalates, artificial dyes or synthetic fragrances. Continual preservative improvement.
Support our USDA Certified Organic Farmers: Stay close to our suppliers.
Buy Local: Buy the majority of our ingredients locally from the West Coast.
Sustainable & Recycled: Use only sustainably sourced and/or recycled paper for all supplies, focus on recycled components & recycle again.
Solar Power & Gluten Free Labs: Manufacture the majority of our products using Solar Power and all manufacturing done in Gluten Free Labs.
No Animal Testing: Conduct no animal testing.
Give Back. Juice Beauty currently donates a percentage of all profits to the following charities: San Francisco Breast Cancer Fund; The Organic Center, Teens Turning Green; Conservation International and the documentary-Miss Representation.
A few of my wishes for Juice Beauty products
I have been searching high and low for a moisturizer that contains sun protection. I would be completely sold if the Green Apple Age Defy Moisturizer included some SPF. Just checked their site and they have a moisturizer with 15 SPF-I’m sold!
There’s a lot of plastic packaging. I’m guessing glass packaging would be cost prohibitive, but it would be nice.
Now it’s your chance to try out Juice Beauty products! Juice Beauty has generously offered to give one Groovy Green Livin reader a $50 gift certificate to be applied towards the products of your choice.
For another opportunity to win this kit, Karen at EcoKaren s is also giving a $50 gift certificate away. Check that out HERE.
A few weeks ago my 11 year old son woke up not feeling well. He stayed home from school that day and ended up missing part one of ‘The 5th Grade Video’. You know which video I’m talking about-most of us have seen it (or some variation of it) during our own childhood. The movie is a rite of passage for 5th graders and the kickoff into the world of puberty.
My son was pretty disappointed that he missed ‘The Video’. The disappointment quickly turned to horror when he realized the DVD would be sent home and we would watch it TOGETHER. For those of you who don’t have children, this is the WORST possible scenario for a 5th grade boy: mom, son, popcorn and the puberty video. No giggling allowed.
We sat down with my laptop and plugged in our headphones. I’m pretty much an open book when it comes to this stuff, so the video was no big deal to me. Not so for him. We were instructed only to watch the ‘boy’ segment. After 18 minutes of watching him squirm we turned it off and I asked if there was any new info. He proudly exclaimed “nope”.
Deodorant and antiperspirant for 5th graders
Then came the amazing part: we launched into a very interesting discussion about deodorant. The video stressed over and over that the boys should start wearing deodorant. There was also mention of antiperspirant.
My son walked away from that 18 minute video with one piece of new information. He needs to buy deodorant and he needs to wear it NOW.
I walked away from the video with very mixed feelings. Not every 5th grader needs deodorant. No 5th grader should be wearing antiperspirant. As we all know, kids develop at different rates. There might be some kids out there who have begun puberty and are offensively smelly. Yep-deodorant might help them out in the social scene. But it really comes down to personal choice, not a video mandating that they wear it.
We need to provide education about deodorant and antiperspirant
Conventional deodorants and antiperspirants contain controversial aluminum and their ingredient list is long and filled with other suspicious chemicals that I don’t want on my body and I certainly don’t want on my 11 year old’s body. The video didn’t mention any of that.
We are a culture obsessed with smelling pretty. Take a stroll down the deodorant isle at any supermarket and the options are endless. A recent poll of over 500 parents revealed that approximately 50% of children ages 4 to 11 are using deodorant by age 11.
Say no to antiperspirants
Aluminum-based compounds are the active ingredients in antiperspirants and they block the sweat glands to keep sweat from getting to the skin’s surface. Some scientists have claimed that using the aluminum-based compounds in antiperspirants may be a risk factor for the development of breast cancer and/or Alzheimer’s. If you are determined to use a product use deodorant (not antiperspirant).
Overall ‘The Video’ was filled with the perfect amount of information for a 5th grade mind. Thankfully, for the moment my son has forgotten about deodorant. I’m sure we’ll be revisiting this discussion soon.
How would you handle the 5th grade deodorant debate?
Everything from the food we eat to our cleaning products, furniture, personal care products and our yards can contain toxic chemicals. No one wants to be exposed to these harmful chemicals, but where do we begin? How do we sort through all the information? Sometimes it just makes sense to combine forces to find an answer. The astonishing and knowledgeable women of the Green Moms Carnival have once again joined together to share their wisdom, tips and stories, helping to shed some light on a confusing and overwhelming issue: how to keep toxins out of our home.
Margie from Healthy Child Healthy World shares Eight Steps to Purging Toxic Chemicals From Your Home. Healthy Child Healthy World’s motto says it all: “No one can do everything but everyone can do something”.
Betsy from Eco-Novice sheds some light on Avoiding Toxins in Baby Products. Betsy has a three month old and this is her third child. She has lot of tips to share about what she’s learned along the way.
Danika from Your Organic Life talks about the whys and hows of buying second hand furniture in her post: Buying 2nd-Hand Furniture that’s Off-Gassed from Model Homes.
INSPIRATION FOR NON-TOXIC LIVING
Carolyn of Women of Green shares a podcast with Liberty Phoenix, the sister of River and Joaquin Phoenix. Liberty’s story is heart-wrenching: she experienced the death of her baby due to toxic out-gassing in his nursery and started a green building store so no other parent would have to ever experience what she did.
I was and continue to be inspired by the untimely loss of a 5 year old boy in our community to cancer. His family’s strength and perseverance inspired me to find ways to Keep Toxic Chemicals Out of My Home.
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.
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.
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.
Stainless steel is where it’s at in my kitchen. I’ve really been working hard to make my kitchen a “Teflon Free Zone”. The Teflon pots and pans are being swapped out on an as needed basis. The Teflon cooking utensils have slowly been replaced by their wooden and stainless steel counterparts. I finally tossed the scratched and scary non-stick cookie sheets and replaced them with stainless steel cookie sheets from ESP. Love them (as much as anyone can love a cookie sheet).
My quest for a few cast iron pans is still on, but for now stainless steel is where it’s at in my kitchen. Our family is a family filled with wannabe cooks. I am not Julia Child by any stretch of the imagination, but I do like to cook. My husband is an amazing cook and my three boys have expressed an interest in cooking. Let’s just say they can scramble a mean egg and make toast the perfect shade of brown.
Suffice it to say, our stainless steel pots and pans are constantly in use. As you probably know, stainless steel pots and pans are not non-stick. There are times when things don’t stick, but with my kids cooking the pans are generally covered with ‘stuff’ that doesn’t want to come off.
A little TIP for cooking with stainless steel: heat the pan first and then add cold cooking oil.
How to clean stainless steel pots and pans the green way
For the past umpteen years I’ve been using good ol’ fashioned elbow grease to clean our stainless steel pots and pans. I usually let the pans soak overnight and then in the morning wash with hot, soapy water. I never wash the pans in the dishwasher-this could damage the stainless steel finish.
Friends of ours were visiting a few weekends ago and we cooked dinner together. One of the pans took a beating and was a challenge to clean even after soaking overnight. We decided to look into a few other ways to clean stainless steel.
Cover the bottom of the pan with vinegar. Sprinkle in some baking soda. My kids love to watch the interaction between the vinegar and baking soda-they will fizz and bubble. Let the mixture sit for 2-3 minutes. Rinse it out and wash.
Heat the pan after use and then pour in hot water. Once the water is hot use a wooden cooking spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen and remove excess food. After you’ve loosened most of the food, dump the water from the pan and wash in warm, soapy water. Don’t put hot stainless steel into cold water in the sink-this could warp the pan.
Fill the dirty pot or pan with 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water. Bring the mixture to a boil. Let it cool to the touch, then wash thoroughly with hot, soapy water and dry.
For tough stainless steel stains and burns: Mix together equal parts baking soda and water to form a paste. Apply it to the burned or stained area. Allow the paste to sit for 15 minutes before scrubbing it away with sponge or a clean cloth. Wash the pot with warm, soapy water or poor in a cup of vinegar and sprinkle in baking soda. Add a half cup of water, and allow it to simmer on the stove for at least 20 minutes. Pour the mixture out and scrub the pot clean.
When my three boys were babies they wanted to chew on everything. It seemed as though all of their teeth came in at once. I struggled to find a teether that was safe. Most of the teethers on the market were made from soft plastic or PVC and I knew they could have phthalates. Phthalates have been shown to disrupt hormone activity, reduce sperm counts and have been linked to liver cancer and breast cancer. Not something I wanted my little guys chewing on. I wanted something non-toxic and ultimately ended up wetting washcloths and freezing them.
Dress Me Up Organic
If only Dress Me Up Organic had been around when my guys were teething! Dress Me Up Organic is a small, green, independent toy company located in Victoria British Columbia, on the west coast of Canada. They specialize in handmade, natural, organic cotton soft toys, eco-teethers and baby linens for young children.
Jen Williams, mom to five children, is the founder of this innovative company. Jen has an environmental background and has always been passionate about environmental causes. When she chose to have kids she was frustrated that there were no products that she felt comfortable giving her kids. This was especially true when it came to teethers, since she didn’t want to use homeopathic tablets, plastics or rubber, and there were not a lot of other options.
Organic Teething Bonbon
Jen started Dress Me Up Organic as a way to bring great quality products to parents so that they can feel confident that the products are safe when they give them to their children. One of the top sellers at her shop is the organic Teething Bonbon, which was designed by her friend, Tressa Brotsky (a mom as well).
What I love about the Teething Bonbon
They are handmade
No toxic chemicals
The Teething Bonbon is made from certified organic cotton and naturally antibacterial lamb’s wool
It can go in the washing machine and dryer
Just dip the end knots in cooled boiled water and leave the center dry. Throw it in the freezer and it’s ready for use!
Since I don’t have little ones around anymore I wasn’t able to try it out first hand, but I know my kids would have been chewing on the Teething Bonbon. I would have been relieved knowing they were getting safe relief from their teething pain.
Disclosure: I was sent a complimentary Teething Bonbon from Dress Me Up Organic for review. The opinions are my very own.
I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney, mom of three and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. I hope you'll join me as I embark on a journey to live a healthy life. Along the way I might make a few pit stops to fight for issues that affect the health and safety of our families. Come along with me as I work hard to make the world a little safer for each of us. Together we'll discover that simple, small changes can lead to a healthier lifestyle and a greener planet.