Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Healthy Holiday Kitchen Tips from EWG

Here is a great and timely article from the Environmental Working Group for keeping your kitchen safe and your family healthy this holiday season. We often don't realize what harmful chemicals live in our kitchens - and how these can affect our health. Find out what you can do to minimize the impact of these chemicals on yourself and your family - and the environment at large. Follow the links below for some of EWG's great resources.

Jane's Holiday Kitchen
By Jane Houlihan
Senior Vice President for Research, EWG

One of my favorite things about the Holidays, especially Thanksgiving, is spending time with my family -- in the kitchen or around the table. If you're looking for great new recipes to enliven your cooking, or as a gift for your friends and family, check out EWG's 2011 Holiday Gift Bag. It includes Anna Getty's Easy Green Organic Cookbook, a To-Go Ware Snack Stack and other great items to green your holiday kitchen. Click here to order one today (supplies are limited).

As Senior Vice President for Research at EWG, I want to make it easy for you to prepare your holiday feasts with your family's environmental health in mind. Just follow these simple tips as you shop, cook and eat together:
Click here for full article...
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Monday, November 28, 2011

Are You A Guinea Pig?

Check out this short video which lists many of the major toxic chemicals that can be commonly found in household products. It's no laughing matter, to be sure. We encourage you to take action today, and for to download a FREE helpful checklist of common household items that can contain these chemicals, as well as some safer alternatives, just go to

Click Here to Get your Free Checklist For Reducing Toxins In Your Home Today

Friday, November 25, 2011

Superfoods for Super Skin

It’s been said we are what we eat, and that sentiment definitely holds true when it comes to our skin. It’s our body’s biggest organ, and it deserves all the nutritional TLC we can give it. So take a look at what you’ve been feeding yourself, and therefore feeding your skin.

One the most important components of skin health is vitamin A, and probably one of the best sources of it is low-fat dairy products. It could be said the health of our skin depends on vitamin A. Low-fat yogurt is not only high in vitamin A, but also acidophilus, the "live" bacteria that is good for intestinal health. Turns out, it may also have an impact on the skin, since it aids in digestion. Other good sources of vitamin A include cod liver oil, sweet potatoes, carrots, leafy vegetables, and fortified breakfast cereals.

logan and mystery berriesImage by mccun934 via FlickrIt’s important to also make sure you’re eating foods rich in antioxidants, such as blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and plums. The benefits of these foods for healthy skin are plentiful. The antioxidants and other phytochemicals in these fruits can protect the skin cells, so there is less chance for damage. This in turn guards against premature aging, and keeps skin looking younger longer. Other fruits and vegetables that are high in antioxidants include artichokes, black, red, and pinto beans, prunes, and pecans.

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are essential to your skin. Include salmon, walnuts, canola oil, and flax seed. EFAs keep cell membranes healthy, and allow nutrients to pass through.

We also need healthy oils, which contain more than essential fatty acids. Eating good-quality oils helps keep skin lubricated and keeps it looking and feeling healthier overall. Look for oils that are cold pressed, such as olive or extra virgin oil. We only need about two tablespoons a day of healthy oils, so use wisely.

Whole Grain Mix for GrindingImage by Chiot's Run via FlickrSelenium plays an important role in the health of skin cells. Turn to foods like Whole-wheat bread, muffins, and cereals; turkey, tuna and brazil nuts for this important nutrient. Recent studies show that if selenium levels are high, even skin damaged by the sun may only suffer minimal, if any, damage.

Choosing the whole grain versions of complex carbohydrates can have a significant effect on insulin levels. Processed and refined sugars can cause inflammation that may ultimately be linked to skin break outs.

Green tea has anti-inflammatory properties, and it protects the membrane of the cell. It may even help prevent or reduce skin cancer risks.

Water plays such an important role in your overall health, and it has a profound effect on your skin’s health as well. Well-hydrated skin is healthy and young-looking. It also helps move the toxins out of your system so they have less chance to do damage.
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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Video - Skin Detox Methods

Here is a quick video on some methods to remove toxins from your body through your skin - our largest cleansing organ. The book she references is a great one for anyone interested in living a healthier, less toxic lifestyle. If you want to check it out, there is a handy link below the video.

Detoxify Your Body with a Skin Cleanse - Detoxification
See for more info. Host Zoe Simpson explains why its important to keep the skin healthy for detoxification purposes. Based on Chapter 7 from The Beginners Guide to Natural Living by Larry Cook. Distributed by Tubemogul.

The Beginner's Guide to Natural Living - Find it Here on

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Get Great Skin From the Inside Out

Our skin is the first thing that people see of us. But, to make it look its best requires us to watch what we do to our insides. To get the best from our skin, we need to eat foods that nourish us and don't fill us up with toxins that are hard for the body to process.

Human skin structureImage via WikipediaThe skin is after all an organ. It is the only one that is on the outside of our body. As such, whenever there is a problem on the inside of our body, it will show up in our skin. Have you ever experienced dull and lifeless-looking skin? You were probably also sick at the time. The reason for this is that our skin is actually our largest detoxing organ.

In order to prevent the skin from looking sick, you need to feed your body the right way. Eating healthy keeps your skin healthy as well. Here are some ideas of how to eat for a great-looking outer layer!

* Berries – Berries of all sorts are full of antioxidants. We know that antioxidants fight free radical damage done in the body from cellular activity. It is this damage that can lead to wrinkles, saggy skin and other signs of aging. To keep skin strong, toned and looking its best, keep free radical damage to a minimum. Try strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and others.

* Water – Drink as much as you can. Water gives the body an internal shower. It helps the body to remove toxins at the same time. Try drinking at least eight glasses a day.

Green teaImage via Wikipedia* Green tea – This contains antioxidant substances called polyphenols. These are also found in chocolate that contains a high level of cacao. Polyphenols have anti-inflammatory properties. This increases immunity levels as well, and it has been said, they can slow the aging process as well.

* Dairy products – Eat full-fat yogurt, cheese, and cottage cheese. Why full fat?? The fat is an essential part of the milk. Removing it impairs digestion and removes a lot of the nutrients that are contained in the fat. Dairy contains vitamin A, an essential vitamin for skin health. But guess what? It's not in the milk - it's in the cream. If you remove this, you are removing the vitamins along with it. Eating full-fat dairy products in moderation is perfectly fine for your metabolism, and actually some studies have shown may even improve it. Yogurt also contains live cultures and probiotics to keep the digestive system clean and the bowels moving properly to remove unwanted waste products. A healthy intestinal system also shows in the skin.

omega 3 fatty acidsImage by malloreigh via Flickr* Omega 3 fatty acids – These are great for increasing heart health but also can improve the look and feel of skin. Fats are needed for proper cellular membrane construction. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in plant oils like olive oil and flaxseed oil. Also, eating cold water fish like salmon gives you a healthy dose of it. Try to eat fish at least twice a week - but be careful which fish you eat. Large fish can contain high levels of mercury, and fish farmed overseas may be contaminated with a lot of other junk. (Here are a couple of links which may help you in choosing healthy, safe fish: )

* Whole grains – They don’t just keep the blood sugar level but also contain minerals that nourish skin. Whole grain cereals and breads contain selenium, vitamin E and vitamin A. All are helpful for healthy cellular growth of the skin and reduced inflammation. However, many grains are hard for the human body to digest. Consume sprouted grains where possible, to aid in digestion and absorb the most nutrients possible.

Keep your body healthy on the outside by feeding it well on the inside, and your skin will look great in return - even through the winter months!
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Friday, November 18, 2011

Superfoods to Stomp out a Cold

Well, here we are again - facing the start of cold and flu season. Already half the people in my office are coughing and sneezing everywhere! For me - so far, so good. I follow a pretty aggressive regimen of vitamins and supplements throughout the winter months - plus I eat lots of good foods!

An Ikea garlic press, with pressed garlic.Image via WikipediaMany people don't realize that not only do healthy, nutrient-dense foods nourish your body and help the cells grow and reproduce, they also help arm your body’s defenses to ward off attacks from germs that cause colds. Low-fat meats, fruits, vegetables and whole (especially sprouted) grains all play a part in preparing your body to do battle.

Another important component of your anti-cold defense system is water. When your body is dehydrated, it’s at an increased risk of germs latching on and not letting go. So be sure to drink plenty of water and decaffeinated drinks to help your body stay hydrated and ready.

Just one cup of yogurt a day may work to keep the gastrointestinal tract healthier, which can help ward off colds. It has to be yogurt with live cultures, as this is the key ingredient that helps keep the GI track ready to rumble. And an added bonus to eating yogurt - recent studies suggest regular dairy consumption helps you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.  Yogurt is easy to make on your own, or get some good cultured stuff at the healthfood store.

Garlic contains allicin, an antibiotic that has been shown to prevent complications from a cold in some research. Garlic can be added to many of your favorite dishes to spice them up and help you suit up to do battle against cold germs.

Yellow and green Bell peppers, North End marke...Image via WikipediaIt’s been said an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Well, so can an orange. One orange a day provides your recommended daily allowance of vitamin C (assuming it's fresh, which oranges from the grocery store may not be). Oranges are also abundant in flavonoids, which helps your body’s cells regenerate and stay healthy and strong. Green bell peppers are the vegetable family’s best vitamin C source. Add them to a salad, or simply slice one up and eat it raw - or add one to a smoothie (a new favorite of mine). Flavonoids are also found in peppers. You may even want to prepare a green pepper dip seasoned with garlic for an added germ-kicking effect - yum!

Lean ground beef, especially when prepared with a bit of garlic, can maintain cell health and fight off illness. It’s a good source of protein, selenium and zinc, and when eaten with a bit of tomato, is a great defense during cold season.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Color Your Way to Daily Health

It’s important that we eat plenty of different fruits and vegetables every day. Diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. Fruits and vegetables provide essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and other substances that are important for good health. Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories and are filling, and some can even help flush unhealthy toxins from your body.

Fresh herbs, fresh spices and vegetables sold ...Image via WikipediaYou’ve probably heard about the "5 A Day for Better Health" program. It provides easy ways to add more fruits and vegetables into your daily eating patterns. It’s vital that we eat a wide variety of colorful orange/yellow, red, green, white, and blue/purple vegetables and fruit every day. By eating vegetables and fruit from each color group, you will benefit from the essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that each color group has to offer alone and in combination.

There are many different yet simple ways to start incorporating vegetables and fruit into your familiar and favorite meals. You can begin your day with 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice, slice bananas or strawberries on top of your cereal, and have a salad with lunch and an apple for an afternoon snack. Include a vegetable with dinner and you already have about 5 cups of fruits and vegetables. You may even try adding a piece of fruit for a snack or an extra vegetable at dinner.

Fruits and vegetables from a farmers market. c...Image via WikipediaDon’t be afraid to try something new to increase your vegetable and fruit intake. There are so many choices when selecting fruits and vegetables. Kiwifruit, asparagus, and mango may become your new favorite. Keep things fresh and interesting by combining fruits and vegetables of different flavors and colors, like red grapes with pineapple chunks, or cucumbers and red peppers.

Get in the habit of keeping fruits and vegetables visible and easily accessible – you’ll tend to eat them more. Store cut and cleaned produce at eye-level in the refrigerator, or keep a big colorful bowl of fruit on the table. This will not only nourish your body but even perk up your spirits!

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure - The Importance of Superfoods

It seems like everywhere you look, there’s a new pill or medicine that will ‘instantly cure’ your sickness, disease or health issue. And while taking a pill to cure what ails you might seem convenient and simple, maybe it’s really time to sit down and take a good, long look at what you’re feeding your body, or as it might be, not feeding your body. Are you truly giving your body the nutrients it needs to take care of itself? Most of us find when we take a look at what we’ve been eating that the choices we’ve been making in the name of convenience, simplicity, or saving time have actually been detrimental to our overall health – body, mind and spirit.

Diagram of the brain of a person with Alzheime...Image via WikipediaObviously we focus a lot on toxins here, and how to reduce them in our bodies and environment. Although there are many ways to do this, one of the most important is through our diet, as this is one of the main ways that toxins enter our body. And I'm not just talking about prescription drugs, or synthetic chemicals - many of the "foods" we consume on a daily basis can actually have a toxic effect upon our bodies, even though they aren't technically classified as poisonous (trans-fatty acids (aka trans fats) are a good example of this).

Our modern day diet largely consists of excessive consumption of starch, sugar, fried and fatty foods - all of which can have a very toxic effect within our bodily systems. As a result, diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s and some cancers are becoming more and more common.

Cover of "Superfoods"Cover of SuperfoodsHealthy foods and good nutrition can not only help keep you fit, but treat disease as well. You may not even have to go to a health food store. You can purchase them right at your grocery store, or (as we recommend) make a trip to your local farmer’s market. And if you focus on basing a healthy, well-balanced diet on the 14 “Superfoods,” the detrimental effects of these diseases can be slowed, stopped or even reversed.

And when you nourish your body physically with these nutrient-dense foods, your mental capacities increase, and your spiritual wellness is enhanced as well. In addition, since your spiritual health is optimal, it will shine through to the outside, and people will notice you’re happy, calm, and that your stress levels have decreased dramatically.

I think this is so important that we are going to be bringing you a lot more information on this topic over the next few months. We will be sharing many articles on these super-foods and how they can nourish you, help keep you healthy, and help your body do what it was meant to do - cleanse itself of toxins and heal itself naturally.

So be sure to check back often for more ways to cut the junk out of your daily eating and replace it with members of the Superfoods group. Your body, mind and spirit will all be healthier as a direct result.
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Friday, November 11, 2011

Detox Diet Recipe - Mesclun Salad with Mushrooms & Sundried Tomatoes

If you dread the idea of a detox diet because you think you will be forced to choke down strange green juices and bland, plain foods, you couldn't be more wrong! A good detox diet includes lots of fresh veggies and fruits, tasty herbs, and flavorful and healthy seasonings - this amazing salad is a great example.

I am actually looking forward to my next detox after watching this video - it made me so hungry!  Check it out, and see how good you can eat, even while feeding your body just what it needs.... (Tasty Tip: For a main-dish meal, you may also want to add some cooked garbanzo or black beans.)

Brett Elliott's Ultimate Herbal DETOX recipe - Green salad
A detox diet like no other. During the Ultimate Herbal DETOX program it can be hard to invent new meals every day so here we show you how to make a delicious green salad in only 5 minutes. Visit Salad for Two Ingredients ● 2 to 3 lar...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What to Expect From a Detox Diet

If you’re considering a detox diet it’s important to know what to expect. Detoxing can improve your health. However, they’re not easy. Detoxing can be a very big challenge. Whether you’re undergoing an extreme cleanse or a gentle detox diet, here’s what to expect.

Headache!Image by Silver Starre via Flickr#1 Headaches. Headaches are a very common side effect of a detox diet. It’s generally attributed to withdrawal.

For example, if you regularly drink a few cups of coffee in the morning and suddenly you stop drinking it, you may experience a headache. Your body is accustomed to the regular consumption of caffeine and will go through withdrawal when it is no longer present.

You can experience withdrawal from sugar and foods that act like sugar in your body as well. Any detox diet will eliminate junk food and high glycemic foods. If you’re accustomed to eating them you quite well may experience a headache.

You can reduce the effects of the headache by making sure you’re well hydrated. This flushes the toxins from your body. Also, headaches can be caused by dehydration which is also a common side effect from a detox diet. Drink a lot of water or tea.

#2 Diarrhea. Diarrhea is caused by a number of things. When you detox you’re intentionally influencing the release of toxins from your tissues so you can purge them from your body. They are expelled from your body when you go to the bathroom and when you sweat. You’ll likely go to the bathroom often as your body eliminates toxins. You may also experience diarrhea simply due to the detox products or foods you’re consuming.

For example, if you’re drinking a detox tea or taking herbs then you are promoting a laxative effect. Also, if you’re juicing then you’ll likely be consuming much more fiber than you’re accustomed to which can cause diarrhea. However, if you are detoxing using only natural and fresh foods, most people should not experience this side effect, although you may find relief from constipation if that is an issue for you.

#3 Insomnia. Often the first few days of a detox are a bit disruptive. Your body is adjusting to your new eating habits or routine. This can cause a bit of insomnia. It’s best to try to detox over a weekend when you can grab naps throughout the day and not get overtired.

detoxificationImage by sillydog via Flickr#4 Mood swings and irritability. It’s very common to feel quite moody when you’re detoxing. Not only are you dealing with the stress and emotional issues of not being able to eat normally, you’re also purging toxins from your body which can cause hormones to become temporarily imbalanced. Not to worry, when the detox is over you’ll feel ten times better and your systems will have essentially ‘reset’.

#5 Renewed energy, vitality and mental clarity. Once the detox is over most people report feeling fantastic. They have more energy. They have more mental clarity. They are also better able to manage stress and lose weight. Once your detox is complete, and even prior to completion, you will likely begin to feel quite wonderful. This is because the toxins have left your body and you’re regaining your health.

Detoxing can be difficult. Depending on the detox plan you’ve chosen and your detox goals you may experience a few side effects. Many people report that the benefits far outweigh the temporary side effects. Detox smartly. Be prepared for the side effects. Choose a plan that’s right for you and make sure you’re healthy enough to detox by consulting your doctor before staring any detox plan.

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Monday, November 7, 2011

How to Choose the Detox Method for Your Health and Goals

A detoxification program can help you achieve a number of health goals. However, every diet or detox program will have different results. It’s important to first determine what you want to achieve and then to choose a detox method that supports your goals. Here’s how to choose a detox method for your health and goals.

Cover of "Detox (Natural Care Handbook)"Cover of Detox (Natural Care Handbook)Step One: What Do You Want to Accomplish?

The first question to ask yourself, and it may be a difficult question to answer, is “why”? Why do you want to detox? Some potential reasons or goals may be:
  • To improve my health
  • To gain more energy
  • To eliminate my addiction to ________ (fill in the blank with your own food addiction. It might be sugar, white flour, caffeine, diet soda, etc…)
  • To lose weight
  • To reduce inflammation
  • To improve my complexion
  • To stop recurring Candida infections
  • To improve my immune function
Step Two: Do Your Research

There are many, thousands actually, detox programs to choose from. Some are safe. Some aren’t. Some are proven to work. Some are a bunch of bunk. It’s important to make sure you’re choosing a program that is:
  • Safe – Make sure it doesn’t ask you do take nor do anything that is risky to your health. Detoxing is about improving your health, not taking risks with it.
  • Proven – Look for reviews, testimonials and endorsements by respected medical and health professionals.
  • Realistic – If a diet asks you to drink nothing but a laxative tea for ten days that’s just not realistic. You’ll be cranky, irritable, stressed and probably unable to fast for ten days.
You also want to make sure the program supports your goals. It should be designed specifically for your needs.

Step Three: Evaluate Your Lifestyle

Some diets and detox programs just don’t work in the real world. It’s very difficult to give up eating for several days and still function normally. Make sure any detox program you choose is something that you can fit into your life. A two or three day detox plan often works best because you can detox on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday. During the weekend you can take it easy, relax and manage your detox side effects.

And detox programs that allow you to ease into them can be beneficial. Going cold turkey on any food or eating habit can be extremely challenging. If you have difficulty sticking to any type of diet, consider a detox program that allows you to ease into it by gradually reducing your bad food habits until you don’t miss them at all.

Detoxing can be a great way to achieve a number of health benefits and goals. Be honest with yourself about your goals and your lifestyle. Choose a safe program that will help you gain better health. And it’s always best to talk to your doctor or alternative healthcare provider about detoxing – it’s not right for everyone.

To learn more about toxins in your body, and reducing your toxic load, visit
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Friday, November 4, 2011

Video - Grocery Store Wars

Ha ha! Okay, this one's a bit silly, but we all need a break from the serious from time to time. I was going to post something more serious, but it was so unique I just had to share. This one made me laugh out loud - it's really quite creative, and the "Star Wars" references are kooky and fun.

Check it out, and end your week with a smile, and some organic food!

Grocery Store Wars (2005)
Not long ago in a supermarket not so far away. Help fight the dark side of the farm. Rate the film, favorite the film, comment the film and subscribe to our channel for the freshest Free Range films.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Organic Pet Food: Is There Such a Thing?

Are you a pet owner?  If you are, you likely take steps to ensure that your pet is happy and healthy.  Unfortunately, many pet owners find it difficult to do so, especially where food is concerned.  In April of 2007, a large pet food recall left many pet owners wondering what they should feed their pets.  Although time has passed since that recall, many pet owners still second guess their decision to feed their pets “traditional,” pet foods.  If you are one of those pet owners, consider feeding your pet organic pet food.

Organic dog cookies at Harrod's, LondonImage by ciao_yvon via FlickrOne of the many questions that pet owners have concerning organic pet food is if it really does exist.  It does.  Right now, a large number of organic pet food sellers are independently run operations, also commonly known as small to medium sized businesses.  With that being said, a large number of pet food companies are now developing lines of organic pet foods, especially for dogs and cats.  This means that many pet owners now have a relatively large selection of organic pet foods to choose from.  This is a surprising fact for many, as some pet owners never knew that there was such a thing as organic pet food.

As nice as it is to hear that organic pet food does exist, many wonder why they should give it to their pets.  After a close examination, you will see that there are a number of reasons why organic pet food is advised.  One of those reasons is that organic foods, including foods for pets, are natural, safe, and healthy.  When feeding your pet organic pet food, you do not have to worry about chemicals in the foods, including harmful chemicals or otherwise safe chemicals with harmful amounts.  Most organic food companies have strict restrictions that they must follow.  These restrictions may include no chemicals on or near the production line.  This can help to eliminate errors or confusion.

Since there are a number of benefits to feeding pets organic pet foods, many pet owners start examining their options.  Unfortunately, many are turned away by the costs.  Yes, organic pet food often does cost more, but many find it more than worth the cost. In fact, many devoted pet owners are willing to pay the extra money to just get the comfort and peace of mind that is commonly associated with natural, organic foods.

Pet Store Signage | Exterior Signage Upgrade |...Image by I-5 Design & Manufacture via FlickrIf this is the first time that you are looking to buy organic food for your pets, you may be curious as to how you can go about doing so.  If you are interested shopping locally, you are urged to visit one of your local pet supply stores.  Since these stores specialize solely in pets, you are likely to find the largest selection of organic pet foods.  Other options involve supermarkets and department stores; however, they may only have a limited selection of organic pet foods, if they even have any at all.

As nice as it is to be able to purchase organic pet food locally, you may find the best results with shopping online.  You can easily find organic pet food for sale online.  What is nice about shopping for organic pet food online is that you are often present with a large selection of products.  In fact, you will see that a large number of websites that sell organic pet food products are actually run by individuals who just have a love for pets.  You can find these websites with a standard internet search - or see below for some examples. Comparative shopping on sites such as can end up saving you quite a bit.

As previously stated, there are a number of benefits to switching your pet or pets to organic foods.  In addition to organic pet foods, did you know that you can also purchase other organic items for your pet?  You can and these items can include pet treats and pet toys - made without harmful chemical contents for your dog to ingest.

Some Examples of Organic Pet Foods:

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