Friday, April 29, 2011

EWG Skin Deep Safe Cosmetics Database

Skin Deep has become an invaluable resource for me over the past few years, in finding great, non-toxic skincare products and cosmetics. Theirs is the most comprehensive and user-friendly product database I know of for finding, ranking, and choosing safe and effective all-natural skincare products (they also rank the non-natural stuff, just so you can compare and see what you've been putting on your skin all these years!)  On our website, we always try to suggest products that are ranked no higher than 4.

If you've never visited, check it out, and you will want to bookmark this one! They've recently redesigned their site, to make it even more user-friendly.

EWG Gives Skin Deep a Makeover | Environmental Working Group
Subtitle:&nbspPopular Cosmetics Database Offers New Format and Expanded Resources
EWG Public Affairs: 202.667.6982. Washington, D.C. Dateline: April 21, 2011.
Publish Date: 04/21/2011 5:00
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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"Natural" Cosmetics & Skincare

In the cosmetics world, the word "natural" can have a couple of different meanings, and both can sometimes be deceptive. There are so many different professional models that are often said to have "the natural look." This means that they appear to look the way they do "naturally," without a lot of added makeup. But it is no secret that these models are working with makeup artists behind the scenes and are done up to look as thought they are perfect even when they get out of bed in the morning. (Of course, this doesn't stop us from buying lots of cosmetics to try and look like them!)

Logo of the Natural Products Association.Image via Wikipedia
However, "natural" these days also means something else. It is a word that we associate with fresh, safe and organic types of products. This is what everyone wants in today’s world because we are trying to focus on the environment and becoming healthier, and many make up companies have lines that include natural products.

This “natural” makeup is considered to be safe. But is it? If you are reading the label on the back of your “natural” face wash or “natural” toner, you may see a lot of different chemical type words that you cannot pronounce. Natural does NOT always mean natural these days so you have to be careful when you are purchasing these types of products. This is especially true for products that are marked as natural, as they are sometimes more expensive than other cosmetics.

Canister of lye (sodium hydroxide)Image via Wikipedia
The problem is with regulating the laws involved in manufacturing cosmetics. “Natural” is a word that can be used by companies with just a little bit of truth involved. Natural products will have natural elements. The lipstick that you buy may contain some plants that were grown organically (that is, without the use of chemicals). The advertisements put this fact on the package, but ignore the fact that the organic plants are then mixed up in the lab and combined with a number of synthetic or man made ingredients.

How can you tell if a product is really natural? This is easier than you would think. Turn the box over and look. There are thousands of synthetic ingredients that are used in makeup all the time, and these are actually not hard to recognize. By finding truly natural products we can be sure that we are taking good care of our skin. If your product contains fragrance, sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium hydroxide, talc, or products that you cannot even say, you should not believe that it is natural. (Visit our previous post on reading natural product labels, for some more helpful info on this.)

If you have questions, feel free to email us, or visit our website for a lot more information on good and all-natural skincare and cosmetics (we will also share a great resource with you on Friday, for finding these products quickly and easily, and comparing them to similar products to find the very best one for your health and budget, so be sure to check back!).
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Monday, April 25, 2011

Non-Toxic Nail Polish?

Ladies (and creative-thinking gents) - this one's for you. If you aren't aware of just how many toxins are in commercial nail polish, the answer is....a LOT. And, although some of the toxins dissipate as the polish dries (you know that "nail polish" smell?), some of them absorb through your nail beds and into your body. Personally, I love having pretty toes (especially in the summer), but was often bothered by the thought of all the toxins that I might be subjecting my body to. Fortunately, many companies are now recognizing this, and there are several new non-toxic nail polish formulas now on the market.

Hopscotch Save 10%

Here is a good one, and they are actually having a sale right now, through May 12, so stock up and save 10%. They have just launched a new line for kids and teens, so you can find some new, brighter spring colors as well. Click the link below (or banner above) for your coupon, and to shop for these tasty, pretty, and safe water-based polishes.

10% OFF Hopscotch and Scotch Naturals Toxin Free Polishes

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Why is Plastic Packaging Toxic?

Check out this eye-opening video on why plastic packaging can be so damaging to your health. BPA has been in the news a lot the past few years, but some people still don't know exactly what it is, or why you should avoid it. This video and article will give you a basic overview of some of the very scary effects these chemicals can have on our bodies. There are many healthier choices available these days - everything from baby bottles, to food containers, to water bottles can be found in better, cleaner materials that will not contribute to your toxic load and damage your health.

Why Is Plastic Packaging Toxic?
Learn more and download a free health report on toxins at ! In this segment, Dr. Isaac Eliaz exposes the growing dangers of plastic packaging. Each year in the United States, nearly 90 million plastic bottles are purchased, burdening ...

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Exploring the Benefits of Detoxing for Fitness and Health

When you complete a detox program, and begin living and eating cleaner and healthier, you will begin to notice that your body will actually tell you when you are becoming toxic again. One of the benefits of living holistically is that you become more in tune with your body, and if you listen to the signs, you will start to notice when your toxic load is increasing.

There are times that you feel sluggish and unusually tired or stressed out. Your body may experience continuous aching, you may have diarrhea or constipation, and feelings of clumsiness. Rapid weight gain and the incapacity to lose the excess weight can also be signs of having excess toxins in the body. (I have noticed on numerous occasions that a sudden onset of such symptoms can be alleviated with a good bowel movement and a big glass of clean water - such a simple remedy has made me feel worlds better within minutes, as long as I pay attention and notice the symptoms of toxic stress taking hold.)

Mixed municipal waste at Hiriya transfer stati...Image via WikipediaMost toxins found in the body are found and stored in your fat cells. For Americans who are eating the usual American diet, you are essentially feeding garbage to your cells. In detoxing your body and cleaning that unwanted garbage from your cells, you should pay attention to your elimination organs.

There are particular organs in your body that deal with cell waste management. These organs play a major role in the detoxing process for a fit and healthy body.

1.    Your liver is the organ that filters and removes the unwanted chemicals in the body. It sorts out the toxins and sends them to the appropriate organ for elimination during the process of circulation. The principal elimination organs will back up the liver on where these toxins will be stored and then eliminated.

2.    The lymph glands also play an important role in eliminating toxins. A network of tubing carries excess waste out of the cells and to the final elimination organs. The appendix, thymus, tonsils, and spleen are major lymphatic glands that help the major organs of the body in cleansing and detoxing.

Mineral water being poured from a bottle into ...Image via Wikipedia3.    The kidneys help in the water management of the body. They are the ones that keep the chemistry of the blood properly alkaline by eliminating the dissolved acid waste. You can help your kidneys to function well by drinking plenty of clean, fresh water. It is much better if you drink fresh alkaline juices and purified water.

4.    The lungs also help keep the blood purified. They allow fresh oxygen to go directly to the bloodstream. And oxygen is responsible in removing waste gases that are found in every cell of the body. Deep breathing and fresh air is very helpful in keeping the lungs healthy and free from toxins. If you live in an urban area, it is recommended that you find an oxygen rich area where you can perform deep breathing. A park with a lot of green trees and grass is a good oxygen-rich environment, as is a lush and healthy organic garden.

5.    The colon is a solid waste management organ in your body. Medical practitioners have found many peolpe can have up to 80-pounds of mucus and rubber-like solid waste that are found on the walls of the colon. (Yes, it sounds disgusting, but it's in there!) Detoxing and cleaning the colon sometimes be a tough thing to do. However, having a free waste colon can certainly provide you with a much a cleaner and healthier body.

If you are undertaking a detox program, and start experiencing some unpleasant signs of detoxification, you may taking a walk, or getting some other form of regular exercise. Exercise is an essential key in having a fit and healthy body. Many diet doctors also suggest that you drink plenty of lemon water. This is an effective way of maintaining good circulation and can increase the rate of detoxification inside the body.
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Examples of Detox Systems:

Monday, April 18, 2011

Fun Video for the Kids on Green Living

Introduce your kids to the concept of living clean and green, through this fun little video which can serve as a great teaching tool! Through this story of an imaginary bug community, your kids can learn fun and simple ways to contribute to a more sustainable lifestyle and a healthier planet. This is a great way to start a discussion about what your family can do in your own home to make a difference.

Check it out, and share with your kids - and if you don't have kids, pass this blog link on to someone who does!

The Energy Comes From Within: A Green Living Story By Lennar
Lennar is proud to present a new video storybook that includes everything to help kids and families start living a greener life. Follow the adventures of a smart little lightning bug named Joules, as he and his friends come up with a plan to help sav...

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Want to Know What's In Your Food? Grow It Yourself!

While, as we have shown, eating organically does not have to break the budget, there are times when it can get expensive, especially if you don't have access to a good local farm market or CSA. So why not grow your own? I need some recipes for Spring greens, if you ...Image via WikipediaGrowing some of your own food is not only helpful for the environment, but it also provides many other great benefits, such as healthy and delicious produce for the dinner table, an increased sense of connection to the environment and your impact upon it, and the fulfillment and satisfaction of knowing you are providing for yourself and your family. Heck, it's even a great form of exercise!

We cover this topic in detail on our sister Sustainable Gardening blog, but it is also very relevant here. One of the best ways to know what is in your food is to grow it yourself. Whether or not you choose to grow organically (and we hope that you do!!), you will know what inputs were used in growing the food, how fresh it is, and of course, where it came from! You won't have to wonder if the labels are telling the truth, or what chemicals your organically grown food may have been exposed to during transport and delivery. You will not only save money on groceries, but also save on fuel costs and reduce the toxic load of the planet as a whole, by eating food that has not been transported for hundreds (or even thousands) of miles before it reaches your table. In fact, the only transport involved will be done by your two legs!

Why not try growing a garden this year, and see how rewarding (and healthy) it can be? For articles, tips and resources on starting your own garden, including choosing and preparing a garden spot, gardening in small spaces, making your own compost (organic fertilizer!) and much more, visit our Sustainable Gardening blog at
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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Easy Ways to Make the Switch to Organic Foods

If you are interested in improving the way that you eat and lowering your toxic load, you may also be interested in making the switch to organic foods.  Although many individuals are able to do so with ease, it can take others a little bit more time.  If you are looking for easy ways and tips to help make the switch to organic foods, please continue reading on.

The National Organic Program administers the O...Image via WikipediaThe first step in making the switch to organic foods involves getting used to the cost.  Many individuals who decide to go organic without first researching are put off by the costs, as organic foods often do cost more.  This is something that you should prepare for. Although organic foods are more than worth their costs, you should still prepare for the change. (However, it can certainly be manageable - see our earlier post on the cost of organic local food vs. commercially grown groceries.)

In addition to preparing for the cost increase, you should also examine ways that you can save money when eating organically.  For example, organic food coupons can be found on online coupon websites, as well as the websites of organic food manufacturers.  Simply Organic and Earth’s Best Organic are known for regularly offering free printable coupons on their websites.  Also, familiarize yourself with stores in the area that are known for their affordable prices or great sales on organic food - often you may find a local farmer's market or CSA offers the best prices, and also the best/freshest quality.

It is also a good idea to start preparing for the disappearance of many of the artificial additives that are found in many foods.  Although many will notice a taste difference, that taste difference is usually an improvement with organic foods.  Even still, it takes some people time to get use to.  For example, soda, like Pepsi, is not considered organic.  If you are interested in having a truly organic diet, you will need to eliminate it from your diet.  This can be easier said than done for many, as they grow dependant on the caffeine and other artificial additives.  That is why a quick and complete change to strictly organic food (if you have been eating commercially produced foods exclusively) is sometimes advised against. 

Simply Organic Macaroni and CheeseImage by aMichiganMom via FlickrAs stated above, a quick switch to organic foods doesn’t always work well for everyone.  What you will want to do is consider making a slow transition, especially if you are dependant on a particular food or drink.  Sometimes slow is the best way to go.  Consider incorporating a few organic snacks, like organic crackers or organic fruit bars, into your diet on a daily basis.  Next, start with one meal, like organic oatmeal and fruit for breakfast.  After a week or a few days, replace another meal with organic foods.  Do so until you are completely organic.

You will want to examine and try as many organic food products as you can.  You should have multiple brands and flavors to choose from.  For example, Simply Organic and other manufacturers sell organic flavors, extracts, spices, and dinner mixes.  Give as many of these items and flavors as you can a try until you are able to find something that you like.  This is a nice approach to take because it is important to remember that there are a large number of benefits to eating organic foods - even besides reducing your toxic load, as important as that is.
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Monday, April 11, 2011

14 Foods That Cleanse Your Liver

As anyone who has ever had a health class knows, the liver is one of the main organs for removing toxins from the body - in fact, that is its main function. With the huge toxic load that most of us in modern society face on a daily basis, it goes without saying that this majorly important organ is getting a serious workout, to say the least. When the liver is overloaded, it becomes more difficult for it to process the fats and toxins moving through our bodies, which obviously is not a healthy thing.

However, there are plenty of great foods that can actually help clean out a lot of these toxins, without going through any unpleasant "cleanse" side effects. Check out this article for some great ways to reduce your toxic load and cleanse your liver naturally - just through the foods you eat - and guess what? Most of them are really delicious!

14 Foods that Cleanse the Liver
14 Foods that Cleanse the Liver. By Dr. Edward Group on 04/06/2011. Modern society has created a sad state for our over-processed livers. Anytime we overeat or eat processed or fried foods, and, anytime we are exposed to environmental ...
Publish Date: 04/06/2011 13:00

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Friday, April 8, 2011

Video - Bottled Water vs. Tap Water - 20/20 Expose

Here is a very interesting expose by 20/20 on the difference between tap water and bottled water - where is bottled water really from? Is it really cleaner? Does it really taste better? (And if not, why do we spend so much money on it? And fill up our landfills with millions of tons of plastic bottles - not to mention, our bodies with potential toxins from the bottles themselves....)

You will definitely want to check this one out. (Even if you don't drink bottled water, you probably have friends who do - please share this with others, as it is important for our planet - and health!)

Bottled Water vs Tap Water on 20/20
Bottled Water vs Tap Water on 20/20 with John Stossel.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Do You Know What's In Your Bottled Water?

I wanted to share this eye-opening article from the Environmental Working Group from a couple of months ago. I try to keep up with their news, as they always post things you don't ever find in the main-stream media, and they are a great third-party source for healthy news and studies about greener living and reducing our toxic load.

The part I found the most interesting was that filtered tap water received a MUCH higher grade than any of the listed bottle water brands! Getting a good water filter can literally save you thousands of dollars over the years, not to mention, you will get as good (or better!) quality water, plus help save the environment from all those plastic bottles. (See below for a few suggestions for water filters.)

Images of bottled waterImage via Wikipedia01/07/2011 - Published by the Environmental Working Group;

Labels on expensive bottled water may lead us to think the water inside comes from pristine springs or has amazing healing powers. But bottled water companies don't have to tell us what is in those bottles.

EWG decided to look at what they do tell us. And the story can be summed up in a few words: not much.

EWG's just-released 2011 Bottled Water Scorecard,, grades more than 170 bottled waters on the information they do or do not disclose on their labels and websites.

When we looked for answers to obvious questions -- Where does the water come from? Is it purified? How? Have tests found any contaminants? -- nine out of the ten best-selling brands didn't answer at least one of those questions.

Yahoo! published this investigation on their home page and Green section and it made a huge splash (no pun intended).

Because we know you care about what you drink, and feed your family -- we wanted to make sure you saw this important right-to-know report.

Click here to see Yahoo!'s take on the best and worst of the brands they looked at,

A Few Water Filters Suggested by the EWG:
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Monday, April 4, 2011

Spring Cleaning? Make Your Own All-Natural Cleaning Products

It's time for spring cleaning! But what exactly are you cleaning with? There are hidden toxins in many household cleaning products. Most of us never even think about it as we go about our daily chores, but many of these chemicals are easily absorbed through the skin, and you can also breathe them into your lungs.

Cleaning toolsImage via WikipediaOver time, these toxins can build up in your system and cause any number of known and unknown negative effects.

Aside from detergents and cleaning agents, endocrine-disrupting chemicals can also be found in most plastics, pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides.

Fortunately, you can take control of your household environment, and simply avoid using toxic chemicals in your home. Instead, seek out natural laundry detergents and cleaning products, or do as many others are starting to, and make your own out of natural ingredients that are known to be safe.

Check out this article for some great tips to help with your spring cleaning chores, using simple and natural ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.

Spring Cleaning Naturally | Living Well Moms
Lemons have antibacterial properties so they make an excellent choice as disinfectants for your home. You can cut lemons in half to remove stains from counter top or to clean the chopping board. Let it sit for a while before wiping it ...
Publish Date: 03/28/2011 8:26

To learn more about reducing the toxic load in your household, visit for a FREE checklist on what you can do to lower your family's exposure to common household toxins.
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Friday, April 1, 2011

Help Reduce Global Warming with Your Transportation Choices

Transportation is important to the lives of many individuals, not just Americans.  Many commuters rely on the road to get them to and from work, to travel on vacation, to run weekly errands, as well as to make it to important appointments.  Unfortunately, we are starting to learn just how much of an impact our reliance on transportation costs.  This is most evident in global warming and the ensuing climate change. 

Scientific studies on climate helped establish...Image via WikipediaWhen it comes to global warming, you will find that it is defined as the rise in the earth’s temperature, due to the increase in the emission of greenhouse gases.  First of all, although the sheer number of the vehicles on the road does have a negative impact on global warming and the environment, it is not the sole cause.  With that in mind, transportation is an issue that should be discussed.  It has been said that each car that is taken off the road can reduce carbon emissions by as much as seven to eight hundred pounds!

Although there is proof that our vehicles have a negative impact on the planet, most of us keep on driving, as if there were nothing wrong.  Why is this so?  It is largely due in part to a popular misconception.  Unfortunately, many drivers believe that they have to completely give up their vehicles or buy a new, more energy efficient (and possibly expensive) one.  Of course, these methods are some good ways to go about reducing the amount of carbon dioxide that enters into the earth’s atmosphere, but it is important to remember that these two options are not the only ones. 

As previously stated, you do not have to completely give up your vehicle to help in the fight against global warming.  What you will want to do, however, is limit your uses.  Are you able to carpool or use public transportation?  Is your workplace within walking distance?  If it is, you may want to leave your vehicle in your driveway more often.  With that in mind, remember that you do not have to completely give up your vehicle.  For instance, you may need to drive yourself to and from the supermarket.  If so, try and invite a friend along or carpool with another family member.  Also, limit your shopping trips and get as much as you can all in one trip.  These are all fairly simple steps that can help.

They say bikes get in the way of trafficImage by richardmasoner via FlickrIn keeping with using your vehicle, it advised that you get your vehicle checked often.  Does your car’s air filter need to be changed?  Are your tires properly inflated?  Did you know that these two simple things can save you money, while helping to stop the affects of global warming?  They can.  In fact, many experts suggest that you change your car’s air filter once a month.  As for your car tires, keeping your tires properly inflated at all times can help to get you better gas mileage, as well as lessen the amount of pollutants that come from your vehicle.

As previously stated, one of the best ways to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions from your vehicle is to upgrade.  If you are driving an older model, you may want to consider upgrading.  There are a number of affordable energy efficient vehicles and hybrids available for you to choose from.  Even if you are unsure as to whether or not a new car is in your budget, you may still want to take a look at what is available.  Many consumers are actually surprised with the affordability of many hybrids and other energy efficient vehicles (and remember you will also save on fuel costs over time).

As a reminder, you are urged to do your part to help limit the amount of carbon dioxide that enters the earth’s atmosphere from your own vehicles.  But remember that you can do your part without going completely "green" (which is a term used to commonly define global warming activists), if that idea doesn't appeal to you right now. It is okay to start small. Every step that you take to help in the fight against global warming, no matter how large or small, is likely to help.
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