The SafeMama has created a comprehensive list of safe and rockin’ sunscreens that are not to be missed. All the sunscreens she approves must be free of Parabens, Phthalates, PEG’s (polyethylene glycols), Propylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, SLS/SLES and other toxic chemicals.
SafeMama has done her homework. She has personally tried many of the sunscreens and gives honest feedback about application, protection and ingredients.
Think before you apply pesticides to your lawn. Do you really want your children or pets rolling around in toxic chemicals? Is it worth exposing them to pesticides or herbicides so your lawn can look pristine?
Now that all of the spring cleaning is done (right?), what do you do with all the “stuff” you no longer need? Here’s some great advice from the Green and Clean Mom for having a successful yard or garage sale.
Its so nice to see all the locally grown fruits and vegetables starting to appear in the market. While buying organic is always the better option, it is impossible and cost prohibitive to buy everything organic. So how do we decide which fruits and vegetables to buy organic? Check out this handy dandy list of which fruits and vegetables have the most pesticides. The 2011 Guide will be out soon once USDA releases its latest round of produce testing.
Any other green summer tips to share?
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[Top photo used under Creative Commons from Lin Pernille/Flickr]
The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970. Fast forward 41 years and the celebration continues on Friday, April 22, 2011–just a few days away. Nickelodeon, The Motherhood and The Natural Wildlife Federation have launched a pretty cool initiative this year: Be Kind 2 Earth Day.
Hopefully all of us can be a part of this national project- all you have to do is “like” B Kind 2 Earth Day on Facebook and by doing so you are pledging to do one nice thing for the Earth on April 22nd. No worries if you don’t have a Facebook account-you can still do something good for mother earth.
I think we can all commit to at least one green act of kindness towards the earth, no matter how big or small.
The possibilities are infinite: go for a bike ride, pick up garbage on the sidewalk, plant a garden, get a group of friends together and clean up a playground or park, take a walk, make a bird feeder.
This year I am pledging to keep my reusable bags in the front seat of my car so I actually remember them. I am also going to refuse plastic straws at restaurants as part of an initiative by Beth Terry over at My Plastic Free Life to get restaurants to stop automatically handing out plastic straws.
B Kind 2 Earth Day is keeping track of where all this kindness is happening-just add in your state and it will be included in the tally. I am a state leader for Massachusetts, helping to spread the word about this wonderful project.
So this Friday, and every day, try to get outside and appreciate our planet. Just think-if everyone showed one act of kindness towards the earth the impact would be huge. Let’s take it one step beyond Earth Day and keep it going year round so our planet will be here for generations to come.
How are you celebrating Earth Day this year?
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Looking at the latest and greatest in green inventions, not only are they are pretty cool but they can also help reduce your carbon footprint. Green inventions and clean technologies are popping up everywhere because inventors know that going green is good business.
There are so many to choose from, each attempting to make your life a bit simpler and a bit greener. Not all will make it big-just a few of the many will catch on and go viral.
Ski season 2011 is in full swing. Here on the East Coast there is a mixture of natural snow and the man-made stuff, making the conditions perfect for any skier or rider. Skiing truly is a great way for a family to spend quality time together in the great outdoors.
Wherever your skiing adventures take you, there are many ski resorts to choose from. Most of us choose a resort based upon location, but know little about the individual ski areas’ environmental practices and policies.
According to Norma Ruth Ryan of the Colorado Wild (the umbrella organization for the Ski Area Citizens’ Coalition), for the time being they have no intention of expanding their report card into the Midwest or East Coast.
So I am starting my own Top East Coast Environmentally Friendly Ski Resorts list:
Shawnee Peak in Bridgton, Maine is a wonderful family mountain. It has a long list of green initiatives, making it appear to be very eco-friendly.
Disclaimer: I didn’t use the same method used by the Ski Area Citizens’ Coalition to make this determination. We ski at this mountain on a regular basis and see first hand how conscientious the mountain truly is.
When planning a family vacation-choose your ski resort wisely. By making eco-friendly choices, you can encourage the improvement of environmental business policies and practices at ski resorts.
Know any other great, green resorts that should be included?
Interested in the list of the the 10 Worst Ski Resorts-click HERE.
*Top photo used under Creative Commons from Planetlight
Healthy Child Healthy World is a non-profit involved in raising awareness and responsibility, inspiring parents to protect young children from harmful chemicals. Their site provides a forum which informs and inspires millions of people to take action and create cleaner, greener, safer environments for children and families. It is a place to find up-to-date information on current topics concerning children and their environment. Healthy Child Healthy World is my go-to site for so many topics.
I was thrilled when they asked me to host one of their Healthy Home Parties and then blog about it. These parties were created as way of educating and empowering family, friends, schools and the community to create healthy living environments for children.
One afternoon a big box arrived at my door and I couldn’t wait to see what was inside. I knew that Klean Kanteen and Luna were the biggie sponsors -but there were samples, coupons and information from so many others.
I was amazed to see how many companies had jumped on-board, offering samples and information -ready to make the world a safer place for our kids.
We were eager to try out the products and use the coupons. Each family was set up with a goody bag filled with an assortment of samples, coupons, information and instructions from me: try out the products and let me know what you think.
There is nothing like trying out a new, exciting product with your children-especially when there is no question that the products are completely non-toxic and safe. Here are some of our children checking out the goods. Sometimes a picture says a thousand words……..at least when sampling snacks is involved.
Here is one happy guy enjoying the Clif Kid Organic Twisted Fruit. My kids loved these too. Not only do they taste yummy they are also allergy friendly for those of us with food sensitivities in our families.
Nothing like some fun bubble bath from Yes to Carrots to provide hours of non-toxic entertainment in the tub. Check out these two cuties on the right-someday they will be completely mortified that this photo was used.
These two red-headed brothers were willing to try all the samples their parents were willing to share. They admitted to loving the Luna bars.
Lots of delicious samples were had by all. Each sample was yet another example of how snacks can be healthy, non-toxic and taste great. I think they all agreed! The non-toxic bubble bath and floor cleaners were also a big hit.
My guys showing their support for Klean Kanteen water bottles.
There were many other products highlighted-cleaners, Klean Kanteen water bottles, CleanWell Hand Sanitizer and many others. It was nice to share alternatives to the many harmful, toxic products on the market. Hopefully, with the information and coupons, we can all make at least one simple change that will create a safer world for us all.
If you are interested in hosting your very own Healthy Home Party click HERE.
If you are in the 20 and under crowd, Abercrombie & Fitch is probably your go-to clothing store. The store lures you in with its loud music, beautiful sales people, scantly clad mannequins and trendy fashions. As you walk by the store it is hard to miss the strong smell of fragrance wafting out the doors. I have to admit, I like going in the store; I like the loud music and I like the clothes-but the smell is enough to make me want to hightail it out of there.
A&F has quite a reputation; accusations of discriminatory hiring practices and the use of ripped, naked models in advertising campaigns geared towards children and young adults. Now they are adding “potentially poisoning employees and customers” to their growing list of reputation busters.
Turns out A&F is spraying its fragrance “Fierce” inside and outside its stores. Not only do they ask employees to spray the fragrance in and around the store, but they instruct them to wear it when they are working. According to a new study by Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, A&F Fierce contains 11 secret chemicals not listed on the label, some of which are linked to asthma, allergies and sex hormone disruption.
Now the 20 and under crowd is outraged and ready to do something about it. Teens Turning Green is a national organization of youth transforming the world by working to eliminate toxic exposures that threaten our health and the environment. They are calling on A&F to stop spraying its fragrance.
As part of a joint effort, The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics sent a letter to the CEO of A&F asking them to immediately stop this practice of spraying its stores and clothes with fragrance and, in the longer term, to reformulate its fragrances to remove hazardous chemicals and fully disclose all of the ingredients. A protest was held in front of A&F in San Francisco’s Westfield Mall on Tuesday, September 28, 2010.
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has launched a social media blitz on Twitter and Facebook Wednesday to Friday (September 29 to October 1), demanding that A&F stop spraying. You can post a stop-the-spray message on the A&F’s Facebook page and spread the word on Twitter. FYI-you have to “like” them on Facebook before you can comment.
Photo used under Creative Commons from Joe Marinaro
Energy drinks are the latest thing. You have seen them-those cute little bottles sitting neatly to the right or left of the cash register in gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores and convenience stores. They have been spotted on the counters at Bed Bath and Beyond and local pet stores. They are everywhere, hoping to provide you with that much needed burst of energy when you are feeling exhausted.
Their labels are cute and trendy, appealing mainly to teens and students who need to pull all-nighters, but reaching people of all ages. Their marketing claims to provide you with the energy you need to increase mental alertness and physical performance. The 5-hour ENERGY company claims “The two-ounce energy shot takes just seconds to drink and in minutes you’re feeling bright and alert. And that feeling lasts for hours.”
Let’s face it, we all feel exhausted at times-work, school, family, staying up too late. A little “pick me up” can be attractive. Many people continue to use coffee for caffeine intake-a known stimulant. The energy drinks bank on the attractiveness of a quick fix-just down the shot and you will feel the long lasting effects immediately. That’s why they are so appealing-they provide a quick punch; high dose of caffeine and instant effect. They are also available in many sizes and anyone can buy them, regardless of age.
There is no question that the drinks do work. They will keep you up for the promised 5 hours and sometimes much longer. The bigger problem is that we are not listening to our bodies when they need rest- drinking an energy drink is no substitution for the sleep your body requires.
What’s in those little shots of “energy”?
Photo under Creative Commons by Jennie Faber
Caffeine-caffeine can be found in coffee, soda and non-herbal teas. It is found in much higher quantities in energy drinks. Most energy drinks contain between 70 and 300 mg. An 8 oz cup of coffee contains 110-150mg for drip, 65-125mg for percolated, and 40-80 mg for instant. An 8 oz can of soda contains between 30-40 mg caffeine. An 8.4 oz can of Spike Shooter contains 300 mg of caffeine. Caffeine’s drug half life is perhaps 5-10 hours for many, though it can extend to 16 or more hours for some. That means, on the good side, half the caffeine dose is gone in 5 hours, three-quarters in 10 hours, seven-eighths in 15 hours. For many, sizable blood levels of caffeine never go away — which means they never properly sleep. Yikes!!
Taurine-taurine is an amino acid that our body naturally produces. Studies have shown that synthetic taurine is linked to illnesses ranging from high blood pressure to strokes and seizures to heart disease. It has been banned in some Scandinavian countries – like Switzerland – after being linked to the deaths of three consumers.
Guarana-guarana comes from plants in South America and is extremely prevalent in Brazil. Amazonian s have used it for a long time to increase alertness and energy. It’s denser in caffeine than coffee beans (about 2–4.5% caffeine in guarana seeds compared to 1–2% for coffee beans). Guarana is one of the richest sources of caffeine, containing up to three times the amount of caffeine as coffee. Unlike coffee, the amount of caffeine doesn’t have to be listed on guarana drinks. Initial symptoms of guarana overdose include difficulty urinating, vomiting, and abdominal cramps and spasms.
Sugar-most energy drinks contain a huge amount of sugar, although there are a few sugar free options on the market. Some energy drinks have the equivalent of 4 teaspoons of sugar. Each teaspoon of sugar contains about 15 calories. Many of the drinks come over-sized containing 3 or 4 servings per container. If this is consumed on a regular basis it could very easily contribute to the ongoing obesity problems we are seeing among children.
The danger of the drink
There are many ingredients in energy drinks. There isn’t enough information to know the long term effects on our bodies. We also don’t know enough about the interaction when they are all mixed together, used in high doses or mixed with other substances such as alcohol.
Caffeine is addictive-the more you drink the more you want. Coffee is generally sipped and drank slowly. Energy drinks are chugged and enter our systems quickly, giving us a burst of all these ingredients at once. Caffeine causes dehydration. We become thirsty and keep drinking-causing a vicious cycle. Caffeine keeps us awake-so we don’t get the requisite hours of sleep our bodies need. A lot of people experience side effects when they have over 200mg of caffeine in their system, including sleeplessness, anxiety, heart palpitations, irritability, headaches, nausea, muscle tremors, anxiety and the jitters.
Alternatives to Energy Drinks
Get plenty of sleep
Eating healthy and exercise are really the best ways to help the body tap into its own energy source.
Have you tried an energy drink? How did it effect you? Tell us all about it!
Lori Popkewitz Alper, Founder and Editor of Groovy Green Livin, provides eco-wellness consulting for businesses, schools, homes and individuals; and inspiration for a greener lifestyle through her Groovy Green Livin blog and website. Read more….