Monday, December 31, 2012

Start The New Year With A Clean Body & Mind - Safe Detox Tips

I don't know about you, but after this holiday season, I'm in serious need of a detox! All that rich food, sugary treats and desserts, way too many snacks, a few too many holiday martinis.... It's all catching up to me. I've been feeling overly stuffed and sluggish for a couple of weeks now, so I decided before the holidays that once January hit I would do a good cleanse and get my body back in tip-top shape for the rest of the winter. I tend to stay away from the weird extreme cleanses that are really hard on your body, and opt for the more natural and gentle detox diets which eliminate sugars and other junk completely for a period of time. I find these safer and more natural, as they help the body support what it does naturally, without causing it too much stress. (Click here for more info on my favorite detox diet - the Total Wellness Cleanse.)

Detoxing is a wonderful way to get healthy and accomplish some of your New Year's goals. It can help you lose weight. It can give you back your energy. And it can help you improve your brain function. However, detoxing also comes with risks if not done properly. Here are 5 tips for detoxing safely.

#1 Get doctor approval. If you have an existing health condition make sure you get permission from your doctor. Diabetes, pregnancy, kidney disease and anemia or low blood pressure may be reasons to avoid detoxing.

#2 Start slow. Detox too quickly and you can experience serious side effects. They include dizziness, headaches and stomach upset. Diarrhea isn’t uncommon. If you experience an onslaught of symptoms consider stepping back your detox plan. Symptoms are the result of too many toxins being released into your system at once. They can also be a result of withdrawal from processed foods or chemicals. If you normally drink a lot of caffeine or diet sodas you may experience withdrawal as your body adjusts.

There are two approaches to detoxing. You can ease into it. For example, you might drink one juice meal and eat two solid meals the first day. Juice for two meals the second and third day with one solid meal. And then juice for the next two or three days to complete your detox. You might also ease back into eating solid foods by reversing the process.

The other approach is to be aware of your body’s reaction and make adjustments as you go. For example, if you’re juicing and have a detox reaction you might eat one solid meal during the day.

#3 Keep a journal. Journal your symptoms and side effects. Also journal what you ate/drank before you experienced the symptoms. That way you can recognize patterns in what you’re eating or your symptoms.

#4 Detox when you don’t have to be “on.” Detox when you can rest and relax. The weekend or an extended weekend is a great time. You can take it easy on your body and mind while you’re detoxing. If you have to go to work or tend to family while you’re detoxing it can be extra stressful. Get plenty of rest and treat your body well.

#5 Drink water! Water helps flush the toxins out of your body more quickly. The faster they’re out of you, the faster you’ll feel better. The faster you’ll have renewed energy, focus and mental clarity.

Finally, make sure to follow a trusted detox plan. If you experience any unusual symptoms or side effects, contact your physician or nutritionist. Don’t detox without a solid, safe and proven plan. To your great health in the year ahead!

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Video - Fair Trade: The Movie

This short video explains the benefits of fair trade for the farmer, the economy, the environment, and the consumer, showing how each piece of the economic system is improved upon through fair trade practices. The successful use of a fair trade system serves as a positive model for change, and demonstrates that it truly is possible, economically feasible, and even preferable for all parties involved to evolve to a fair-trade model.

Check it out to be inspired and motivated to get involved in supporting fair trade, even if it's just through making small changes in your purchasing habits for products you already buy!

Fair Trade - The Movie. An original.
Fair Trade is about helping small family farmers in developing countries get organized and develop their business skills in order to tap into the world market directly.

We hope you've enjoyed our articles, videos, and resources for living a cleaner, greener, healthier, and more sustainable lifestyle throughout the year! We will be taking a break next week for the holidays, but be sure to check back at the start of 2013 for more green living news, tips and ideas, and we're planning some great changes to benefit all of our readers in the year ahead.

From your friends at New Holistic Living, have a wonderful, safe, fun, and healthy Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What Can You Do to Make Your Town a Fair Trade Town?

Fairtrade is the global movement to bring about a better world through regulating and labeling products Fairtrade if they meet certain criteria. These criteria relate to fair pricing, employment practices and environmental sustainability.  They help build local businesses, agriculture and artists. 

If you believe strongly in this movement, you may want to do more than buy Fairtrade products and share your enthusiasm for fair trade with others.  One thing you can work towards is to make your town a Fair Trade town.  Here’s how:

Sign announcing Leuven's Fair Trade Town status
Sign announcing Leuven's Fair Trade Town status (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Step One:

Visit Fair Trade Towns USA.  It’s a national movement devoted to helping unite people just like you with others around the country. 

Step Two:
Understand and begin working within your community to meet the five Fair Trade town criteria, which include:

* Form a steering committee
* Outreach to area retailers
* Engaging the community
* Gain media attention
* Pass a fair trade resolution

They suggest a few principles to help you create your Fair Trade town.  These suggestions include:

* Find key influencers in your community and contact them.
* Demonstrate an interest in your community for change. 
* Educate key influencers – tell them what Fairtrade is, how your community is motivated for change and how they can go about meeting this demand. 
* Publicize your successes to further reach members in your community and to motivate further change.

English: A Traidcraft Fairtrade stall in a chu...
Fairtrade show stall. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Step Three:

Host an event. Events are a great way to cover several of your steps in one fell swoop.  You can gain the media attention you need, educate your community and reach your local movers and shakers (and influence politicians) with one key event.  Event suggestions include:

* Concerts
* Wine/food tastings (with fair trade products)
* Fashion Show

If you’re stumped or would like to recruit help to make your town a Fair Trade town, consider contacting other Fair Trade towns in your state.  They’ll have the experience and connections to guide you.  A Fair Trade town is a town you can be proud of, and as more and more Fair Trade towns pop up around the country, awareness will spread and person by person, town by town, the world will become a better place. 

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Monday, December 17, 2012

What Is Fairtrade & Why Should You Care?

I discovered a new store yesterday - well, really just new to me - it's been there a few years, but the few times I was in the area it was outside of their business hours. It's such a cool little store - all focused on natural, sustainable, local and fairtrade products. (I browsed for far too long!)

You may have seen some packages labeled "Fairtrade" on a visit to your local market.  Or perhaps you’ve noticed the media addressing the topic of Fairtrade.  Even notable Starbucks Coffee has started an initiative to use only Fairtrade coffee in their establishments.  But what exactly is Fairtrade?

Fairtrade Certified quinoa producers in Ecuador
Fairtrade Certified quinoa producers in Ecuador (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Fairtrade is essentially an organized system to ensure that producers, artisans and businesses worldwide are treated fairly.  That means fair pricing and practices.  Fairtrade also works to ensure environmental sustainability, fair labor conditions, and the reinvestment of resources into local communities - something that's good for everyone.  Essentially, Fairtrade is for the betterment of all.

So who regulates Fairtrade and who determines if a product or business can be labeled Fairtrade?  Internationally, there is the Fairtrade Labeling Organization, or FLO, which co-ordinates Fairtrade labeling at an international level.  Their offices are located in Bonn, Germany and they:

* Set international Fairtrade standards
* Organize support for producers around the world
* Develop global Fairtrade strategy
* Promote trade justice internationally

Nationally, there is the Fair Trade Federation.  The FTF was established to strengthen and promote North American organizations fully committed to fair trade. The Federation is part of the global Fairtrade movement, building equitable and sustainable trading partnerships and creating opportunities to alleviate poverty.

WFTO Fair Trade Organization Mark
WFTO Fair Trade Organization Mark (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Likewise, there is also a European Fair Trade Association. EFTA's goal is to promote fair trade and to make fair trade importing more efficient and effective.

Fairtrade Action Network was established to connect volunteers who are interested in promoting fair trade. Their goal is to create an internet community to share ideas and experiences on fair trade campaigning.

As you can see, Fairtrade is a global initiative. According to FLO, in 2008, Fairtrade certified sales amounted to approximately $4.08 billion worldwide, a 22% year-to-year increase.  As per December 2008, 746 producer organizations in 58 developing countries were Fairtrade certified.

Buying Fairtrade products helps to ensure people around the world are essentially treated fairly.  It brings global commerce to a whole new level.  The Fairtrade label gives you the confidence the people who made your product are living a better life.  It’s a great movement - one you can be proud to participate in. For more ideas on how you can get involved, check back for Wednesday's post.

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Video - Reduce Exposure to Toxins in 5 Areas

This video provides succinct guidelines for reducing the toxins entering your body through cleaner air, water, and food choices. From choosing a good air filter, to filtering your water, to finding and identifying organic foods that are affordable, to choosing natural cleaning and personal care products, she offers a number of tips that can help reduce toxins in your daily environment. Tips such avoiding dry cleaning, and choosing natural methods of pest control in your home and garden. She also lists ingredients to avoid when shopping for personal care products, and reviews the "Dirty Dozen" list - produce which is most contaminated through conventional farming, and is most important to buy organic.

Check out this informative video to learn more about how you can reduce toxins in your home and lower your toxic load naturally.

Brenda Watson's Detox Strategy: Vibrant Health in 5 Easy Steps - Reduce Exposure
Excerpt from Brenda Watson's Detox Strategy (PBS Special) where Brenda Watson, CNC explains that the "R" in RENEW is for Reduce. She gives you some easy ways to reduce exposure to toxins in your life.

For more helpful tips on reducing your toxic load, as well as where to find cleaner, healthier products, visit

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Are High End Filter-Free Air Purifiers Really a Better Deal?

Whether you watch television, read magazines, or use the internet, there is a good chance that you have seen advertisements for air purifiers that do not require the use of replacement air filters.  These advertisements often claim that you can save a considerable amount of money overtime with the purchase of a filter-free high end air purifier.  Although this is true in many cases, many consumers are left wondering if air purifiers that do not need replacements are really a good deal.

Samsung to Enter Chinese Air Purifier Market
Samsung Air Purifier (Photo credit: samsungtomorrow)
When it comes to determining if filter-free air purifiers are really a good deal, there are a number of important points that you will want to take into consideration. These points, a few of which are touched on below, can help you decide what type of high end air purifier you should purchase for your home.

One point that you will want to take into consideration is your use.  Are you looking to temporarily clean the air, like if you have family staying at your home for about a week or two?  If one of those family members is a smoker or if a family pet will be coming too, you may not need to invest in a high end filter-free air purifier.  While filter-free air purifiers do work, they are costly.  With that being said, their costs do pay off over time with regular use, since you do not have to purchase potentially costly replacement filters.  However, if you do not plan on using a filter-free air purifier on a daily basis, the extra costs may not be worth it to you.

When looking to purchase a high end filter-free air purifier, how much you are willing to spend upfront should also be taken into consideration.  As previously stated, air purifiers that do not need replacement filters, especially those that are considered high end systems, do cost more money.  Depending on the brand and where you make your purchase from, you could easily spend thousands of dollars on a high end filter-free air purifier.  As previously stated, you can see a return on your investment in a few years, but it is important that you first have the money to spend.  If not, you should still examine high end air purifiers, as they are known for their strength, durability, better and long lasting results, but those with filters tend to be more affordable.

Another important point to take into consideration when looking to buy a high end filter-free air purifier for the home is quality.  Since filter-free air purifiers make the most out of new technology and they are known for their results, many assume that they are all considered high end products.  This isn’t necessarily true anymore due to knockoffs.  Many companies have seen how well filter-free air purifiers have sold, so they try to make their own.  Unfortunately, many do not use quality materials or the same technology.  That is why you will want to make sure that you purchase a true high end filter-free air purifier.  One great way to do this is by using the internet to your advantage.

The AHAM-certified seal lists a rating for tob...
The AHAM-certified seal lists a rating for tobacco smoke, pollen, and dust removal, and a rating for room size. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When looking to research high end filter-free air purifiers, if you already have a make and model in mind, perform your search with that information.  If not, you should use search phrases like “air purifiers with no filters,” “high end filter-free purifiers,” or “best filter less air purifiers.”  The results that you will find may be links to websites were air purifiers are being reviewed or sold.  Wherever your internet search takes you to, be sure to read reviews online and examine ratings.  This will help to ensure that you spend your money wisely.

Finally, the space that you need to clean should be examined.  Are you looking to clean the air in one or two rooms or your whole house?  It is also important to examine the CADR.  This is the Clean Air Delivery Rate.  This is the rate in which an air purifier can clean the air inside your home.  It is best if you choose a high end air purifier with a higher CADR, especially if you are looking to filter the air in a large space, or more than one room. (A couple of good examples are below.)

Filter-Free Air Purifiers:
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Monday, December 10, 2012

How to Save Money When Buying A High-End Home Air Purifier

If you are looking to improve the quality of the air inside your home, as well as your health, you may be interested in buying a home air purifier.  If this is your first time looking to buy an air purifier, you will want to go with air purifiers that are considered high-end.  This is because they often produce the best results and last much longer.  Unfortunately, many individuals are turned off by the costs of high end air purifiers.  Although these quality air purifiers are more than worth their costs, there are also a number of steps that you can take to help you save money.

A Sharp FU-888SV Plasmacluster air purifier.
A Sharp FU-888SV Plasmacluster air purifier. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
One of the best ways to save money on the purchase of a high-end home air purifier is to understand your options.  This is important, as it enables you to compare prices, brands, and quality.  In fact, comparing prices is another one of the ways that you can go about saving money on air purifiers.  You can visit a number of your local home improvement stores to compare air purifiers and their prices.  If this approach is too time consuming for you, the internet can also be used to compare prices, but at a much quicker rate.

When using the internet to compare prices on air purifiers, it is best if you know what you are looking for, especially if you are looking to save yourself time.  With that being said, the internet is also a great way to research, examine, and compare different high end air purifiers.  If you do already know what make or model air purifier you want to purchase, incorporate your wants and needs into your standard internet search.  This can help to give you targeted results.  These results should be links to online stores that sell the air purifier that you want more information on or that you want to buy.

In addition to using the internet to compare prices on high end air purifiers, you can also use the internet to make your purchase or purchases.  When doing so, a great way to save money is to examine manufacturer websites.  Although air purifiers are commonly sold in traditional retail stores, many product manufacturers also sell their products online themselves.  Many shoppers find it much cheaper to shop directly with the source, as the middleman and other expenses are eliminated.  Although the savings may not be huge, they can still help if you are shopping for a high end air purifier on a budget.

English: Air ionizer/purifier with its corona ...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If you would prefer to shop for a high-end air purifier locally, there are still easy ways that you can save money.  Consider calling a few local stores, like home improvement stores, to ask about available high end air purifiers and their prices.  This approach is a great way to compare prices, but without having to make multiple trips to different home improvement stores.  In addition to home improvement stores, air purifiers are also sold at many department stores and discounts stores.  Although these types of stores are known for their affordable prices, they may not have a large selection of high end or high quality air purifiers, if any at all.

The above mentioned ways are just a few of the many ways that you can go about saving money on the purchase of a high end air purifier both on and offline.  And for extra ways that you can save money, be sure to search for sales.  Many stores advertise their sales on air purifiers online or in local newspaper inserts.  Coupons are also a great way to save money.  Some home improvement stores place money saving coupons in their weekly newspaper inserts.  Although hit or miss, there are some product manufacturers that have may also have coupons available for printing on their websites.  These coupons, if you are able to find them are another great way to save money on your purchase of a home air purifier.

Home Air Purifiers Online: 
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Friday, December 7, 2012

Video - Healthy & Tasty School Lunches

This short video gives you some great ideas to make your kids lunches delicious, fun, and healthy. Once you make sure your kids' lunch boxes are safe, you want to make sure that what's in the box is also safe and healthy for your child! These tips will help create fun and visual interest in your kids lunches, and encourage them to try and eat different nutritious foods. Check out some of these tasty tips for ideas on how to get your kids to eat healthier at school and at home.

Quick Tip Recipes: How to Make Healthy School Lunch for Kids - Weelicious
Healthy School Lunch Tips: Don't know where to start when it comes to packing a delicious and healthy school lunch. These tips, tricks and ideas will help you think outside the lunchbox making the process a breeze! Tell us what you think! Post...

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

How to Make Kids’ Lunchboxes Waste-Free

We talked about safety issues with lunchboxes on Monday, but what about making your lunch containers safe AND environmentally friendly? When we think of school lunches, many of us picture a brown bag containing a paper napkin, a sandwich on store-bought bread in a plastic baggy, a box of juice or milk, and perhaps a piece of fruit and a plastic-wrapped cake or cookie.

A lunch sits on a blue tablecloth with a brown...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
What we probably don't picture are landfills heaped with non-biodegradable plastic packaging and brown paper bags that were not recycled. Let's take a new look at the portable kids' lunch and find ways to make it less wasteful, along with keeping your kids safe.

1. Lunch box not bag

Not only is a reusable lunchbox (see Monday's post for some safe options) or insulated bag more environmentally friendly, but it provides a convenient container and carrier for the reusable containers and flatware your child will be bringing back home.

2. Reusable containers

Remember the thermos you used as a child? Filling a thermos with a cold drink is less wasteful than juice boxes, bottles of water, cartons of milk, or other convenience-packaged beverages. Refillable glass, stainless steel or hard plastic water bottles are another great option.

Covered glass containers or the thermos are good for hot or cold foods - chopped fruit, potato salad, or green salad are good cold options for such containers. Warm food suggestions are pasta, soup, or some of those wonderful dinner-leftovers.

3. Cloth napkins

These are not expensive and come in a wide range of designs. Let your child personalize his or her lunch with a unique napkin. Choose cloth napkins that can be washed with your regular laundry.

4. Do away with plastic straws and flatware
Straws are really not necessary, especially if you are using a refillable water bottle. Go ahead and pack whatever forks and knives you normally use at the table, or get a special set for your child's lunchbox. Since you'll be packing your kids' lunch in a reusable lunch bag, it's a simple matter for the flatware to be put back in the bag, brought home and washed.

Lunch box for January
Lunch box for January (Photo credit: monicca)
5. Home-made food

Remember the store-bought bread mentioned in the beginning? It undoubtedly came in a plastic bag or packaging. Making your own bread is not only healthier - it's cheaper and saves on throw-away packaging. And it's much more delicious as well! The same goes for the meals you pack. If you have to open a can or open a package to prepare their lunch, that's one more thing you will be throwing away.

Store-bought cakes and cookies, canned pasta or soup, and bags of chips are some suggestions of waste-producing items you can make yourself or dispense with altogether - the homemade versions will be tastier AND much healthier too!

6. Sandwiches

How do you pack this old lunch stand-by without plastic baggies? There are all sorts of reusable containers available that are just right for a sandwich. Flat containers with tight covers in hard plastic or glass are a great solution. They are widely available, washable, and they keep the sandwich from getting squished.

Lunch time does not have to be waste time! These tips should help you pack a healthier and more environmentally friendly lunch for your kids.

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Monday, December 3, 2012

5 Safer Alternatives to Dangerous Lunchboxes

Are lunchboxes dangerous? And we're not talking about what's in them, although sometimes that can be scary enough! But we're going to assume that you lovingly pack your child’s lunch for school-filling that adorable Hello Kitty or Snoopy lunchbox with healthy items, tasty treats and enough nutrition to get them through the day.  Unfortunately, that adorable lunch box may be poisoning them and actually hindering their learning experience – the exact opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish.  Here are a few safe lunchbox alternatives, lead free and still completely adorable.

Lunch boxes
Lunch boxes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
What makes some lunchboxes dangerous?

In short, recent studies have shown that a large percentage of lunchboxes leach lead.  This means your child may be eating their sandwich you lovingly made that morning and consuming dangerous levels of lead with their PB&J.  The culprits are usually vinyl lunchboxes made by major lunchbox manufacturers and sold at standard retail outlets.  Lead causes behavioral and learning problems and prolonged exposure can lead to cancer and death.  However, this article isn’t designed to scare you, rather to empower you to protect your beautiful children and keep them safe.

5 Safe Alternatives to Dangerous Lunchboxes

1. Reusable bags.  Many manufacturers are making really nice reusable bags designed specifically to carry lunches and smaller items.  Children can find them in their favorite colors and designs and spills are easily cleaned up by tossing them in the washing machine.

2. Recycled plastic.  Several businesses have popped up which produce lunch totes and containers made from recycled plastic bottles.  Not only are you providing your child a safe alternative, you’re being environmentally conscious – something many children are aware of and will be proud to be using an environmentally friendly lunch box.

3. Stainless steel.  Many children are image conscious or prefer to have notable characters on their lunchboxes.  Be it Spiderman, Dora the Explorer or Hello Kitty, they want the image on their lunchbox.  Stainless steel lunchboxes, think the old-fashioned flip top boxes you carried when you were young, are lead and PVC free. 

Two types of small paper bags
Small paper bags (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
4. Brown Bag it.  Paper bags are a great way to send your child to school with a personal message written or decorated on the outside.  And for the environmentally conscious, paper bags can be reused many times and you can purchase recycled paper bags or recycle them yourself.  Additionally, those plastic bags collecting in your cupboard from the local market can be reused as lunch bags several times over – they’re not pretty but it’s good to use them and give them a purpose.

5. Make your own.  A trip to the fabric store with your child where you can pick up the supplies can be a fun adventure with your child.  They can help you choose the items and even help make their lunchbox they're carrying with them something they’re proud of each and every day. 

There are many safe lunchbox alternatives.  Talk with your child to find a solution that keeps them safe and makes them happy. 

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