Friday, July 29, 2011

Finding Natural Dog Food Recipes

Your dog’s behavior, health, happiness, well being and longevity in large part depend on what you feed your dog. Although there are a variety of dog foods available in the market, natural dog foods are considered to be the best for a dog’s health. Dogs require specific nutrition that is necessary to maintain their health. The food that your dog eats should contain all the necessary nutrients as they play an important role in the proper functioning of your dog’s body. Natural and home-made dog foods are highly nutritious, plus your dog will love them!

Shelves of dog food. Includes Beneful and PedigreeImage via WikipediaNatural dog food is fairly easy to find these days, but as with human foods labeled "natural", it is best to check before buying, and make sure they are truly all natural. However, even the ones that are often contain a lot of salt or other things that your dog may not necessarily need so much of.

If you can, the best thing you can feed your dog (or yourself!) is home-made food. Natural dog food recipes are not difficult. In fact it is very easy to make your own natural dog food. Without any problem, you should be able to make most of these dog foods at home. All you require is access to some fresh natural ingredients. Natural dog food recipes can also help keep your dog healthy by providing all the nutrients they need in the freshest form. If you want to strengthen the immune system of your dog then making your dog's food at home yourself is your best bet.

Your dog may even find relief from allergies or fleas. Home-made natural dog food recipes are much better than processed pet food. Some experts believe that processed food is responsible for causing many illnesses among pets. A constant diet of processed dog food may give rise to coat and skin problems and other serious health problems. In some cases, it could even lead to premature death of your dog.

Natural dog food is a great source of energy as well, and will help keep your dog happy as well as healthy. Various natural dog food recipes are available online, and there are also a number of natural dog food recipe cookbooks. With the help of these books, you can make your own natural dog food at home.

a slow cooker Oval Crock PotImage via WikipediaDogs not only survive but thrive on this type of food. Here is just one example of a popular natural dog food recipe, which is safe and healthy for your dog.

Akita Style Rice and Lamb: The ingredients of this dog food recipe are lamb, brown rice, broccoli, potatoes, carrots and kombi. Brown the lamb in a skillet, and then add rice. Stir well until starting to brown, then add cubed potatoes. Cook a few minutes. Add to crock pot, along with a small quantity of water, and all other ingredients. Mix well, cover, and cook until tender. Yum!  So good you will probably want some too! 
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Natural Dog Food Recipe Books:

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Product Review: West Paw Design Eco Drop Pet Beds

Eco-friendly dog beds might sound like a bit of a luxury, but if you believe in sustainability and eco-friendliness and want to treat your dog to a soft, comfortable, chemical-free bed, the West Paw Design Eco Drop Pet Bed is fantastic. They come in several different sizes, so you can get the one that will work for the size of your dog. The material of the bed is made from a fleecy 85% recycled fabric, the filling is 100% recycled, from soda bottles.

I am sure your dog will love to curl up and snuggle into the soft cushions, so if you're in the mood to give your pet a treat that lasts for the next holiday, this one is a winner. The color choice of the dog bed is Ember Glow, Porcelain or Pearl with a grey-colored bottom. And as dog beds get easily dirty and hairy, the cover of the bed is machine washable and dryer safe.

Overall, these eco beds are earth friendly and natural and create a lovely hang-out for your dog. They are strong and very durable and constructed to a very high standard. If you are looking to invest in a dog bed that is designed with Mother Nature in mind, you won't be disappointed with the West Paw Design Eco Drop Pet Beds.

Where to buy: (Large, Medium, and Small sizes shown below).

West Paw Design Eco Drop Pet Beds:
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Monday, July 25, 2011

Tips to Detox Your Pet’s Space

We talk a lot on here about toxic load, and detoxification for you and your household, but what about your pets? Pets can find things toxic that you would have no reaction to (and vice versa), so it is a good idea if you have pets, to keep an eye out for things that may be harmful to them, even if you wouldn't give it a second thought for yourself. Accidental deaths and injuries can often result from pets getting into toxic substances. Like little children, pets need to be watched and, when left alone, their space needs to be free of toxins and dangerous substances. Here are some common things to look out for.

Another shot of my pets hanging out, for my us...Image via WikipediaFood:

Dogs are prone to eating all manner of food. Anything their owner is eating is fair game as far as they are concerned. But there are some common foods that can be harmful or even lethal to pets. Here are some foods to keep out of your dog's reach:

* Chocolate
* Grapes and raisins
* Soft drinks
* Coffee
* Walnuts
* Avocados


Cats are especially prone to munching on houseplants. They will also help themselves to your garden plants outdoors. Look online for a comprehensive list of plants that are poisonous to pets. Here is a partial list:

* Aloe
* English Ivy
* Morning Glory
* Yew
* Crocus
* Calla Lily

Provide cats with potted, sprouted greens like wheat and rye grass so that they will be less tempted to eat houseplants. Keep your dog on a leash or in a fenced-in yard, and inspect the yard before letting your dog have the run of the fenced area.

Household Cleaners:

Take care not to use toxic cleaners on your floors, whether carpet, vinyl, hardwood, or other flooring. Most harsh, chemical floor cleaners should either not be used (this is the best option, both for your pets AND your family!) or if they must, they should be used only when the pet is not in the room, and the pet should not allowed back into the room until the floor is dry. Store cleaners, including shampoos, laundry soap, and dishwashing detergent well out of reach of your pets.


Animals can eat some really disgusting things when allowed to roam unchecked through your neighborhood. Even your yard and immediate property can pose hazards.

Cats and dogs will catch and eat rodents, insects, and grass, all of which could contain poisons. Rodents could have ingested rat poison or have worms. Insects could have been exposed to pesticides or your pet may be allergic to the insect's bite or sting. And neighborhood grass could be sprayed with weed killer or other chemicals. (Hopefully if you're reading this blog, you are practicing organic lawn care/sustainable gardening, so your yard at least should be safe!)

Pet MiceImage via WikipediaSmall Animals:

Small pets like hamsters and mice need a safe space, too. Do not give your caged rodents cotton for bedding; they can ingest it, causing a blockage. Also, colored inks in newspaper and cardboard can be toxic (carcinogenic) to rodents, especially pet mice. So make sure your caged rodent has safe chewing toys and non-toxic bedding.

Keep all pills, medicines, and supplements out of your pet's reach. If you leave a bottle of pain reliever on the counter with the lid loose, your cat could knock it off and it - and the dog - could eat the pills and even be killed.

Do not use plug-in scents or scented candles in your pet's space. They may smell too good and invite ingestion. If you must, use non-toxic products, and keep them up well out of reach of pets.
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Friday, July 22, 2011

Can the Planet Bounce Back?

Today I would like to share with you a very interesting blog post, by Dr. Simeon Roger. I have been following his work for sometime, and have even purchased some of his products. I like his philosophy, and he writes some very interesting stuff.

Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf of Mexico near i...Image via WikipediaThis article is on disasters - specifically "natural" disasters. Citing from Dr. Simeon's post, in 2010 some 373 natural disasters killed 270,000 people in 131 countries. Wow, right?  (By the way, I wonder what we are up to now in 2011??)

Dr. Roger poses the question - what if some of those disasters weren't really "natural" disasters at all, as we tend to assume?

Before you go thinking I'm turning all conspiracy theorist, turn up your speakers and head over to check out this post. And then feel free to comment below with your own take on the future of our planet!

What About the PLANET'S Resilience??? - The Personal Resilience ...
Resilience... the word's Latin root means "to bounce back". And what do you bounce back from? You bounce back from an event that knocks you off your feet, interrupts
"business as usual" and leaves your head spinning. We often refer to these events as "disasters"....

Publish Date: 06/27/2011 13:06

If you would like to learn more about Roger's work - in particular his best-selling book, click here to visit his website.
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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Resource: Environmental Health News

Here is a great resource for you, brought to my attention by one of my other favorite health news sources - the EWG. This is one you might want to bookmark!

List of invasive species in the Mid-Atlantic r...Image via WikipediaThe veteran journalists, scientists and experts at the non-profit Environmental Health News monitor daily news coverage and major scientific articles, and summarize for you the recent critical developments in science, health and the environment.

Best of all, it's FREE!

Every day you will receive a quick summary of a number of articles, including EHN's original reporting, on the issues you care about -- from toxic chemicals, to food safety, climate change and other environmental risks. You can just follow the links to whichever articles you would like more detail on.

And did I mention that it's free?

To get today's stories and to sign up to get daily headlines sent to your inbox, just visit

You may also want to check out EHN's sister site. The Daily Climate ( which features links to worldwide news on climate change -- its causes and consequences as well as the potential solutions to a global challenge.

Or, just keep checking our blog, as we do sometimes feature articles and topics inspired from these!

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Support Your Right to Choose...Pesticide-Free Produce

We don't usually post fund-raising stuff here, but this is an important one. EWG's pesticide guide almost didn't get published this year - namely because "the powers that be" (a.k.a. our government) tried to squelch it. EWG put the pressure on, and got them to release the data, but as a non-profit, they are only able to bring such valuable information to us through our support. Please read the important letter below, and if you feel so moved, they would welcome your donations.  (I know it says by July 14, but they will still happily receive your donations after that date as well.)

(Published by the Environmental Working Group)

Dear Friend,

Did you know that our Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce -- the resource that
helps you to shop smarter -- almost didn't happen this year? Industry lobbied the
government to stop releasing the data EWG uses in the Guide and to keep you from
finding out about pesticides in your food. 

EWG fought back and made sure the government released the data, because our top
priority is empowering you with the best possible information to help you make
healthy choices.

But, we can't keep doing our research without your support, and we need you now more
than ever. We need to raise $25,000 by midnight Thursday, July 14 to keep us on
track for our 2011 budget. I'm counting on you to help us get there.

Give $10 or more today, and we'll send you our Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in
Produce bag tag. It clips onto your reusable shopping bag to help you make smart
choices about produce while you're shopping,

For EWG's Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce, we compiled FDA and USDA data on
pesticides in food and simulated the eating habits of thousands of consumers. EWG
encourages everyone to eat more fruits and vegetables, period; but we've shown that
by eating the right kind of produce, you can reduce your family's exposure to
pesticides by up to 92 percent.

EWG's Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce tells you exactly which foods are
most important to buy organic to limit your exposure. 

This seventh edition of EWG's Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce almost didn't
happen, but because of the watchdogging work we do with your support, we got the
data you rely on. 

A donation before Thursday, July 14 will give us the ability to keep doing
everything we can to arm consumers like you with the latest information to help you
make sound decisions at the grocery store.  

Don't have your Guide yet? Click here to make an immediate, secure donation of $10
or more to EWG and we'll send you our Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce bag
tag. We need your support to keep empowering consumers with the latest food safety

We recommend buying organic if you can. It's the best way to keep your family safe
from pesticides in fruits and vegetables. But we know that's not always possible, so
we published the research you need to make smart choices. 

We can't keep doing this kind of work without your continued support, so please make
a donation right away.


Ken Cook 
President, Environmental Working Group
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Friday, July 15, 2011

What to Consider When Buying an Air Purifier

Are you a smoker? What about a pet owner?  Do you keep all your doors and windows closed most of the time? If so, there is a good chance that the air inside your home isn’t as healthy as it could or should be. That is why you may want to think about purchasing an air purifier.  Air purifiers are electronic machines that work to clean up the air. They do this by trapping, and often eliminating, harmful bacteria and air particles, and other toxins in your home. In fact, you don’t even have to be a pet owner or a smoker to benefit from the use of an air purifier; anyone can.

A Sharp FU-888SV Plasmacluster air purifier.Image via WikipediaIf you are like most other Americans, when it comes to purchasing an air purifier, you may make the decision to purchase one and then go right out and buy one.  Although it is nice to get a product right away when you want it, there are disadvantages to doing so.  Essentially, you may be purchasing a product that is poor in quality. Without the proper amount of research, you will never know.

As mentioned above, it is important that you examine the quality of an air purifier before purchasing it. You can easily do this online. A large number of online websites allow internet users to comment, rate, or write reviews on a product that they have purchased. These products also include air purifiers.  If you know of anyone who uses an air purifier in their home, you may also want to think about asking them for suggestions.  Feedback from those who own the same product is the best way to learn about the quality of it. 

In addition to the quality of the product, it is also important that you examine the size of the air purifier you are interested in buying. When it comes to the size of an air purifier, you do not necessarily need to focus on the size of the actual machine, but you should focus on the size of the space that it is designed for. With cheaper, low-cost air purifiers, you will find that they only tend to treat the air in small rooms. These rooms commonly have a square footage of about 250-350 feet.  If you are looking to treat the air inside a larger room, you may need to spend more money on a larger air purifier. 

The same air purifier, cover removed.Image via WikipediaIt is also important to consider the cost of an air purifier.  Many individuals, regrettably, make a mistake when doing this. That mistake is believing that the purchase price is the only cost that they need to worry about. While there are some air purifiers that are filter-less, not all are. Many of these air purifiers, the ones that require filters, need to have their filters changed every so often. This can be as little as once every couple of years or as much as a couple of months.  It is important that you keep the cost of replacement parts, including filters, in mind.  When doing this, you may find that an otherwise low-cost air purifier turns into one that is too expensive for you to afford.

Since, in many cases, air purifiers are considered expensive, you are advised to look for air purifiers that come with warranties.  In most cases, you will find that many air purifiers have a manufacturer’s warranty. That warranty typically tends to last about a year.  If you are spending more than $400 on an air purifier, you may want to think about getting an extended warranty.  If you purchase your next air purifier from a retail store, you may need to pay for the warranty.  Despite possibly having to pay for an extended warranty, you will find that it is worth the cost. Should anything happen to your expensive air purifier, a warranty would, in most cases, prevent you from being out of luck.

The above mentioned points are just a few of the many that you need to take into consideration, when buying an air purifier. As previously mentioned, an air purifier can be a large purchase. That is why you are advised to fully research and examine all aspects of that purchase before making a final decision. It is the only way to make sure that you are not wasting your money.
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A Few Examples of Air Purifiers:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Video - Homemade Vanilla Body Cream

Here is a delicious recipe - for your skin! In fact, it looks so good, it made me a little hungry....   I'm running low on my favorite lotion right now, so I may try this soon!  Check it out, and feel free to share your own recipes or natural non-toxic beauty suggestions below.

And if you don't want to make your own, find out which products you can purchase that are TRULY natural and safe - find fact sheets with info, ratings, reviews, and more at at

Non Toxic Vanilla Body Cream
Sophie Uliano, NY Times Best Selling author of Gorgeously Green, the Gorgeously Green Diet, and Do It Gorgeously, shows you how simple it is to make your own beauty products. Vanilla Body Cream. Get all the indgredients at

Monday, July 11, 2011

New Resource: Natural Beauty Products Directory

Today we have a special announcement to make....   A week or two ago, we hinted at our upcoming new website, and it is now live! Of course it is still a work in progress - and probably always will be - but it is currently up and running and ready to use.

But first, check out this important excerpt from an article by Ageless Beauty:

Assorted cosmetics and toolsImage via WikipediaIf you spend a moment or two in the beauty section of a department store, you’ll probably walk away feeling totally overwhelmed by all of the lotions, potions, and serums that you’re recommended to use each day.

The beauty industry is booming, and it can get pretty confusing to try to separate the good from the bad, and the safe from the toxic when it comes to your daily skin care regimen. Fortunately, you can go back to basics when it comes to caring for your skin to see the greatest results in a smooth, fresh complexion.

You see, your skin is just like any other organ in your body: living, breathing, and in need of nutrition to stay young and healthy. Just in the same way that your health would be compromised if you constantly ate junk food and never exercised, your skin can be compromised if it’s overloaded with toxic chemical ingredients.

In reality, the majority of commercial beauty products are loaded full of chemical ingredients that affect the health of your skin and could even cause serious issues like skin cancer. Yes, many of these chemical ingredients are hard to pronounce and even harder to figure out what they will and won’t do for your skin.

To give you an example, a product ingredient like propylene glycol has been linked with kidney and liver abnormalities, dermatitis, and skin irritation. Sodium laurel or lauryl sulfate can cause cancer when combined with other chemical ingredients by penetrating the delicate barrier of your skin and allowing toxic ingredients in.

And don’t even get me started on parabens! Parabens are found in a wide array of over-the-counter beauty products, but they’re really bad news. In fact, on May 3, 2011, the French National Assembly voted to pass a bill that would ban the use of parabens in consumer products because they’re endocrine disruptors1.

Parabens are used as preservatives to extend the shelf life of a beauty product, but because up to 60 percent of a product is absorbed directly into the skin, parabens pose a serious risk as they’ve been linked with disrupted hormone function. A 2003 study in the United Kingdom detected parabens in 18 out of 20 breast cancer tumors, likely the result of direct product absorption affecting healthy cells2

Instead of risking exposure to a number of dangerous chemicals in your daily skin care routine, natural is best to hydrate, nourish, and rejuvenate aging skin.

[1] "France Passes Bill to Ban Parabens and Phthalates in Cosmetics”, Natural Cosmetic News - Natural Blog for the Cosmetic and Personal Care Industry June 16, 2011
[2] Clarke, Linda, "Metro - Paraben-free Products: What Lies Beneath," Metro- Choose Your City June 14, 2011

The article above describes, in scary detail, why we created our new website. And without further ado, here is the link: (more products added weekly, so be sure to check back soon, and submit your product requests as well!)
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Friday, July 8, 2011

Recent CSA News

This time of year, there are tons of updates and articles on CSAs - I browsed through a whole bunch of them, enjoying the pictures, learning about the varieties of different produce offered in different areas of the US, interesting CSA options I hadn't seen before (coffee??) and plenty of fresh, tasty-looking recipes. Here are just a few of the bounty of recent posts and articles on the summer's bounty of CSA offerings.  (The first one is particularly interesting in offering a cost comparison, which we also did back in February, but it's nice to see someone else coming to the same conclusion!)  And of course, if you don't know what a CSA - Community Supported Agriculture - is, find more info here:

A pint of strawberries produced through commun...Image via WikipediaCSA Share: July 2, 2011 « Michelle, etc.
I've mentioned before that I'm keeping track of the actual cost of our CSA per week and also the value of equivalent items from the grocery store. I'm comparing the goods to Peapod, Giant's home delivery grocery service, ...
Publish Date: 07/02/2011 14:42

CSA Week 2: Radish Cakes « Gluten Free Gobsmacked (includes a couple of tasty recipes)
A couple weeks ago, we opened our first CSA box with joy and glee. Zoe flipped the top open with a giggle. ”It's like Christmas, Momma!” she exclaimed. Ha! In my mind, I was thinking “Thank God Christmas doesn't come ...
Publish Date: 06/29/2011 1:28

Join a Coffee CSA for Fresh Beans on Your Doorstep Every Month
There's more to coffee than pre-ground grocery store blends, and if you're ready to explore it, consider joining a Coffee CSA (Community Supported Agriculture.) The CoffeeCSA project connects coffee lovers around the ...
Publish Date: 06/25/2011 16:00

CSA Weeks 3 & 4 | Sargent Choice (Lots of recipes!)
CSA Weeks 3 & 4. June 30, 2011 at 3:49 pm. As you may know, picking up our CSA box from Ward's Berry Farm at the Boston University Farmer's Market is one of the most exciting parts of our week here at Sargent Choice. ...
Publish Date: 06/30/2011 15:49

CSA Project – Week Three – First Meat Share « With Fork & Knife
CSA Project – Week Three – First Meat Share. July 2, 2011. tags: CSA, High Point Farms CSA, share. by The Swedish Chef. In the bag this week: 1 3.5-4 lb free range chicken, 1 lb nitrate-free smoked bacon, 1 lb lean grass fed ground beef ...
Publish Date: 07/02/2011 6:37
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Other Community Supported Agriculture Resources:

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Video - Community Supported Agriculture

Here is a really great video about Community Supported Agriculture, from the farmer's perspective. It really gives you a good idea of how this model benefits not only you, the consumer, but the farmer as well. It's such a win-win concept! One thing I hadn't thought about before is the debt that farmers incur, when using a traditional farming model. What she mentioned about the CSA method "breaking the debt cycle" really hit me - as someone who is pro-financial balance/anti-debt, and involved somewhat in the financial planning world, it is so cool to see how this holistic approach truly is improving the lives of everyone involved. Check it out, and if you haven't already, visit our website to find out how you can connect with a local CSA in your area!

Food Network: Community Supported Agriculture
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) offers a holistic approach to the production of sustainable food grown in urban areas. In this story, we learn of one urban farmer who successfully uses the CSA model to produce long-term sustainable crops that a...

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Monday, July 4, 2011

How to Eat Local, Stay Healthy, and Save Money

There are few ways to better reduce your toxic load than to clean up your eating. Avoiding processed foods (see our Cooking From Scratch blog for some great tips and recipes), and eating organically are the best ways to do this. Some people shy away from buying organic foods due to a perceived higher cost, and lack of understanding of the value. But as some of our previous blog posts have demonstrated, it doesn't have to be more expensive to eat organically, and even if your food bills are slightly higher to start with, this may be offset by lower medical bills in the future!  Eating clean and natural foods without all the chemicals and additives can help your immune system and whole body function better and better over time, as your body rids itself of toxins, and all your systems begin to work together as they are supposed to.

While organic produce can be found in just about any grocery store nowadays, we believe that eating locally-grown foods is a much more valid choice for holistic living - both supporting your local farmers and community, protecting the environment from unnecessary fuel usage, and providing you with fresher and therefore healthier foods, which have not been stripped of vital nutrients during transport and storage.

A farmers' market in Lhasa, Tibet. Celtuces ca...Image via WikipediaShopping at your local farmer's market is a great choice for finding fresh, local, and often organic foods - and can also be a lot of fun which the whole family can enjoy together!  There are literally thousands of farmers markets throughout the US (as well as other countries), and more crop up every day, as more people opt to support their local communities and make healthier food choices.You can find lots of local farmers market listings at one of our favorite sites:

If you are super-busy like me, and find it hard to get out to a farmer's market on a regular basis, a CSA may be a great option for you. Community Supported Agriculture has grown in popularity by leaps and bounds over the past few years. (When I first moved to Columbus, I could only find 5 or 6 CSAs in my local area; 8 years later, there are about 30 available - and more every year!) Using this model, customers are able to purchase a share of a farm's produce during the growing season, and the farmer has a built-in market, and also gets an influx of money right when they need it - during the spring planning season - rather than hoping to recoup their costs later throughout the year, and being uncertain as to how much planting to do. Typically shares are collected at a centrally located drop-off point - or in some cases even delivered directly to your door! This model creates much more efficiency through the whole process, reducing waste and maximizing food dollars.

The contents of a fruit and vegetable box from...Image via WikipediaIn most areas, summer CSA season is now in full swing. While some of the crops were delayed this year due to all the rain this spring, July brings an ever-increasing bounty of harvest, and I am greatly enjoying it, even if the first few shares are small. In my area, our CSA now includes lettuce/salad mix, cucumbers, herbs (dill, basil, cilantro, etc.), summer squash, mushrooms, and more. Green beans, peppers, and tomatoes are something to look forward to! (Your selection of available fruits and vegetables will obviously vary depending on your location.)

And remember that the CSA model is now used for many different things other than fruits and vegetables, so you may be able to increase your local food choices more than you would think. I also currently participate in a meat CSA (organic, local meats), and am also aware of a local herb & honey CSA, and local cheese, milk, and bread options through a CSA format as well. Many farmers of many different types are embracing the CSA model as a profitable and efficient way to get their products into the hands of consumers - and it's economically feasible for the consumer as well - often at a cost equal to or less than buying organic through a grocery store.

For more information on CSAs, as well as how to find one in your area, visit
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Friday, July 1, 2011

Video - Common Toxins in Your Water

Here is a short video detailing some of the common toxins you are exposed to (almost constantly) without maybe realizing it. It is cut off somewhat abruptly, and he seems to be selling some sort of DVD set on his website, but he's got some pretty good info there. For some other resources to do your own research, see below. (Note: If video does not appear below, click link to view.)

DETOXIFICATION: Your Path to Better Health and Disease Prevention: Essential information for anyone wanting to live a long healthy disease free life. Invaluable for individuals suffering from environmental illness or multiple chemical sensitivity. St...

Educational Resources:
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