Friday, December 18, 2009

TOPS Ten Tips for a Healthy, Happy Holiday


Thanks to the Take Off Pounds Sensibly Organization(TOPS)for submitting this wonderful holiday tip sheet. Check it out then check them out!

The holiday season doesn’t have to create havoc on your weight-loss goals, says TOPS Club, Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the nonprofit weight-loss support organization.. Follow these ten strategies to navigate the eating season for a great time without a great gain.

1. Don’t go hungry. Arriving at a party on an empty stomach is a recipe for disaster that can lead you to overeat and make poor choices. Have a light snack of a low-fat, high-fiber food a half-hour before you go, such as yogurt, an apple with a teaspoon of peanut butter, a piece of string cheese, or vegetables with low-calorie dip. This will help curb your appetite and make it easier to control your intake.

2. Treat yourself. There’s no need to ban your favorites; decide what you want to try and then set a limit. Cakes, cookies, and pies are available year-round, so indulge in small portions of only the best seasonal, holiday foods. Just a taste of something special can be enough to quell a craving without going overboard.

3. Take control. Offer to bring a low-calorie dish or platter to holiday gatherings. By preparing something that you know fits into your meal plan, you’ll have at least one healthy item on hand and other guests will likely appreciate it. Your hostess may also be grateful for the lessened stress of preparing multiple dishes.

4. Slow your pace. Eat slowly until you are satisfied, not stuffed. It takes about 20 minutes for your body to signal that you’re feeling full, so enjoy each bite and give yourself time to know when you’ve had enough. You’ll likely consume less than usual.

5. Mind your beverages. Drink plenty of water to help feel full and hydrated. Adding a twist of lemon or lime to sparkling water is a lively alternative to alcohol and coffee drinks, which can actually make you feel sluggish. Alcohol can also impair your judgment and make it difficult to stick to healthy eating resolutions. If you do choose to imbibe, select light beers and wines, and limit your intake to one or two drinks per occasion. Drink high-calorie seasonal favorites, like egg nog, punch, and full-fat hot chocolate, in moderation – or steer clear of them altogether.

6. Pair up with a friend. Make a pact that you will support and help keep each other on track. Don’t hesitate to lean on each other if you need encouragement to resist tempting treats or power through a workout. Remember, you’re not the only one refraining from holiday overindulgence.

7. Keep moving. It’s easy to let workouts fall by the wayside. If you aren’t able to set aside time each day for exercise, commit to at least 30 minutes three days per week. Many people continue their regular walking or jogging schedules year-round, but also consider walking in malls or the building where you work. Indoor pools, weight-workout rooms, tracks, and basketballs courts are commonly available in community facilities and schools. Municipal ice skating rinks, both indoors and out, offer a change of pace from the usual routine, while cross-country skiing and hiking let you build up your strength while enjoying nature’s beauty. Maintaining a workout routine also can help you manage holiday stress by releasing “feel-good” endorphins and provide a “time out” from worry and harried thoughts.

8. Rest up. Make adequate sleep – seven to eight hours – a priority, especially during this busy season. Getting enough rest can help repair your body, keep you mentally sharp, and enable you to be more productive.



9. Make friends and family a priority. Although food and drinks can be a big part of the holiday season, they don’t have to be the focus. Set aside time to spend with good friends and family, making memories that make the holidays worthwhile.

10. Keep your perspective. Be realistic and maintain a long-term view of your weight-loss goals. Overeating one day won’t make or break your plans; just aim to eat healthy and in moderation the next day. Dieting can be especially difficult during the holidays. Focus on maintaining your present weight and look toward the new year as a fresh start.

Remember, there will be many more holidays to enjoy. Employ these tips and come January, you will feel as good about yourself as you did before Thanksgiving – one more reason to celebrate.



TOPS Club Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the original, nonprofit weight-loss education and support organization, was established more than 61 years ago to champion weight-loss support and success. Founded and headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., TOPS promotes successful weight management with a philosophy that combines healthy eating, regular exercise, wellness education, and support from others at weekly chapter meetings. TOPS has about 170,000 members in nearly 10,000 chapters throughout the United States and Canada, and several chapters in Europe.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

NBC News Chicago with Ginger Zee-Green Holiday Entertaining



NBC News Chicago with Ginger Zee-Green Holiday Entertaining
View the News Clip Here

Today I had the pleasure of appearing on the NBC News in Chicago to discuss Green Holiday Entertaining! You can even see green all year long with your eco-friendly Airwear eyeglass lenses, manufactured with 100% recycled water and 100% recycled packaging!

Green Holiday Entertaining can be organized in three categories, set up, enjoying the gathering and clean up.

When you incorporate products that are manufactured by companies who are mindful of the environment, you can effortlessly live green all year long. Here are some products that I recommend:

Set Up:

Take a look around the house to make sure everything is in its place before guests arrive...even the bathrooms. Make sure you have plenty of Marcal Small Steps 100% Recycled bath tissue on hand, made from only recycled paper NOT trees. Did you know that if every household in our country used just one roll of Marcal Small Steps bath tissue, together we'd save over 1 million trees?!

Next, consider using LED holiday lights, offering almost a 90% energy savings. This decorating idea is good for your pocketbook and the planet

Use Preserve Products mixing bowls and cutting boards to prepare your meal; this product is made from 100% recycled #5 plastic and can be used over and over again for years---keeping piles of plastic out of landfills.

Finally, add some finishing touches to your holiday preparations with live plants arranged in holiday planters; when the holidays are over, you can replant the flowers or plant into another planter.

Enjoying the Gathering:


When you serve your holiday meal, remember to put out Marcal Small Steps 100% recycled paper, fine dinner napkins. The texture of these napkins has a nice formal look and feel to them.

Holiday meals always taste better when you include as much locally produced food as possible. You support your community farmers and producers (keeping the money in your own community) and the food is much more fresh and flavorful. If you are in Chicago, try visiting the Green City Market for local goodies.

Remember to use VerTerra elegant plates, bowls and platters when you are in need of a sophisticated and sustainable option. These gorgeous products are made from fallen palm leaves, which makes them perfect for compost piles (when you're done using them :) and gives them more appeal knowing that NO trees were harmed in the making of these plates.

For more relaxed festive gatherings, stock up on Preserve Products' plates and cups. All of the products are made with #5 recycled plastic and can be used over and over again--instead of throwing them away after the party (dishwasher safe, too).

All good things must come to an end, that's why these three ideas for Green Holiday Entertaining--Clean Up are a must:

Marcal Small Steps has one other product that I really like, and use almost every day at home: their super absorbent paper towels. Knowing that trees are important for our planet's survival, I refuse to use products (when I have control over it) that waste paper when there's an eco-friendly option! The folks who manufacture Marcal Small Steps have been saving trees for over 60 years by using only recycled paper for their product line--bravo!

No one likes a smell home, especially a toxic and smelly home. The two founders of Method Cleaning products are "squeaky green" in my book! They've come up with a line that's eco-conscious AND very hip and stylish! A cleaner way to clean!

The final product that I suggest for Green Holiday Entertaining is biodegradable trash bags for all of your holiday party "trash". It makes perfect sense to wrap it all together in a plastic bag that won't take 1000 years to break down in nature!~

Stay Tuned to this blog, as I will be posting a video link to view my NBC-5 Chicago news segment about Green Holiday Entertaining soon!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

WE HAVE A WINNER!!


YAY!! WE have winner in our Essilor's Airwear/TwitterMoms blogging contest about "Seeing Green to Live Green". We had so many amazing entries, it was challenging selecting a winner.

Since Essilor's Airwear eyeglass lenses are made with 100% recycled water and uses 100% recycled packaging, it's easy to see why so many moms are "seeing" green; and this contest proved it. We all really do care about our choices and how they impact the planet. I love that by just purchasing earth-friendly eyeglass lenses we can be green moms!

You can read our winning blog by Rhiana, below:

REDUCE the poo: Got a baby? Did you know that ordinary disposable diapers take over 1000 years to disappear from our Earth? Cloth diapering is a wonderful thing, but not practical for everyone. Welcome biodegradable diapers to the neighborhood! (Enter gDiapers and Nature Babycare.) Of course, if you’re really brave [and have a lot of free time] you could try EC.

REUSE clothing: Fashionista? Go green without a lot of green. Create a clothing swap with your similar-sized, similar-taste friends and neighbors. Raid each others’ closets. Want something new? Go shopping together (carpool). Chip in on a few great outfits. Share. Circulate and reuse baby/kid clothes too! (I just made baby pants out of Hubby’s old t-shirt!)

RECYCLE everything: This family of 4 humans (one of which is a baby) and 2 dogs usually has about 1-2 bags of garbage per week. How? We recycle as much as possible … that toilet paper roll, tissue paper from that birthday gift, the box the noodles came in, the plastic thingy from new socks … You name it, we recycle it! (Remember last week when I told you not to forget to recycle those plastic bags?) Most counties have recycle pick-up that doesn’t require that you separate glass, aluminum, and plastic from one another. Our recycle collection does ask that we flatten boxes and paper. Go ahead … sign up. Don’t have pick-up in your area? Look for a recycle center near you now!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Greening Your Holidays


The holidays are a time of joy and thanksgiving and this year, you can also make it a time of renewal for the planet. Without going to too much trouble, you can implement several green aspects into your holiday preparations and celebrations.

Technology to Save Energy: You are going to be on the computer anyway, so consider sending holiday greetings to family and friends via e-mail. For lots of holiday fun, check out Elf Yourself to turn yourself and family members into elves for the holidays—virtually.

Reuse It: If you prefer to send handwritten notes, make your own cards with paper you already have. Or look for holiday cards printed on recycled paper. Eliminate envelope waste by sending postcards or folding and sealing notes so you can address them on the outside. Every bit of paper you save, really adds up and it saves you money on postage!

Recycled Party:
When hosting holiday parties, use reusable glass or plastic ware, and recycled paper napkins. Marcal Small Steps products are made from 100% recycled paper rather than from trees, making your party oh-so-eco-chic and festive. At Biodegradable Store, you can find various biodegradable paper plates and cutlery to keep your party green through and through.

Bag It: Lately everyone seems to be remembering their reusable grocery bags at the grocery store, but we also need to carry our own canvas bag or backpack, or reuse shopping bags when shopping for gifts and holiday decorations. One smart choice is Chico Bag’s new rePETe bag made from seven plastic bottles that would ordinarily end up in landfills; instead, they’re put to good use in this reusable tote that can carry up to 25 pounds of gifts, food and other goodies.

Non-Material:
Any mother will tell you that she’d prefer receiving gifts of your time or services. Consider a free breakfast in bed or perhaps a lunch date. Save valuable resources and share some quality time with a loved one. Consider gift certificates—for restaurants, movies, babysitting, etc.—or give consumable items such as baked goods.

Give What Is Needed: Resist the urge to spend money on fad gifts that may not even be used; instead, give gifts that are on someone’s list and are possibly made locally or in the US. This approach results in happy gift recipients and a happy planet (less waste).

Re-gifting Is Not a Crime: Pass along hand-me-downs and heirlooms as special gifts for family members. These are also called “story gifts” because they carry stories with them, and often invoke treasured memories. Share a story and some history with a loved one!

It’s a Wrap:
According to the Medical University of South Carolina, waste output increases 25 percent during the holiday season. When wrapping gifts, consider re-using packaging from previous years or maybe even use the funny pages from the newspaper or use recycled wrapping paper. Get creative and use unique containers to hold gifts, such as cloth sacks or boxes from other products. Save countless trees and give your creativity muscle a boost!

Ever-Green:
Everyone loves the smell of fresh cut holiday trees, however, Consider alternatives to a cut tree, such as a live tree, decorated houseplant or artificial tree. To maintain that reminiscent evergreen odor, consider tree-scented air fresheners or candles. Check out EarthKind for some eco-friendly options. Also, remember to recycle your Christmas tree when you can no longer use it. Many neighborhoods have tree recycling programs.

Decorate with Nature:
Use natural items from around the house to decorate your tree, such as popcorn, berries and outdoor greens. Mother Nature will be so proud!
Buy Energy-Saving “LED” Holiday Lights: Now you can decorate your house with LED lights that use 90 percent less energy than conventional holiday lights, and can save your family up to $50 on your energy bills during the holiday season. LED lights are available at many major retailers, including Target, CostCo and Ace Hardware.

Buy Organic or Locally-Grown Produce:
And cook at least some vegetarian meals—make the most out of food resources and fuel. Support local family farmers who grow sustainable meat and produce. Not only does it taste better, you’ll be doing your part for the planet too. Consider preparing food that does not have to be refrigerated to lower the amount of power wasted by continually opening and closing the fridge. Give away untouched leftovers and unwanted gifts. Others less fortunate than you could be very appreciative of these re-given gifts.

Fair-Trade Chocolate: Fill your stockings with Fair-Trade Chocolate and you can eat your way to a better planet. Consider Divine Chocolate, whose mission is to improve the livelihood of smallholder cocoa producers in West Africa by establishing their own dynamic chocolate brand.

Cool House: Take a pledge this New Years’ to reduce your home energy use by buying energy-efficient light bulbs. Installing only six compact fluorescent light bulbs will save the average American family $60 per year. If there’s a fire in your fireplace this Christmas, turn down that thermostat—lowering the temperature even five degrees can take 10 percent off your energy bill.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Airwear Eco-Contest to win$


See Green to Live Green! Blog about your top three eco-friendly tips for the chance to win some green$

Want to join the green movement, but aren’t sure how? Intimidated that you might need to turn your routine upside down to be more eco-friendly? Join me to encourage families to try little things to make a difference everyday and to look for products that work for them and the environment.

That’s why I've up with Twitter Moms and Airwear® to invite other environmentally-conscious consumers to share their visions of a greener world. Airwear eyeglass lenses from Essilor are now made using environmentally conscious practices such as 100 percent recycled water, 100 percent recyclable packaging, and the company re-purposes unused materials in other industries. With these new, green practices Airwear is conserving millions of gallons of water and eliminating 570,000 pounds of plastic waste every year!

Going green can be as simple as buying eco-friendly products or shopping locally for produce – every little thing adds-up to make a sustainable impact on the environment as a whole. As I always say, “How you treat yourself, your family and your home all add up to how we collectively take care of our planet."

CONTEST DETAILS:
Me, Airwear and TwitterMoms want to know what you’re doing to green your routine!

HOW IT WORKS:
To participate, write a post on your own blog about your Top Three Green-Living Tips and describe what you and your family are doing to make the world a greener place. Your blog post should include at least one link to LighterSaferGreener.com. Then, go to the discussion page and leave a comment with your blog link. That's it! We also encourage you to embed a “Lighter.Safer.Greener.” contest button on your blog (you get the button from LighterSaferGreener.com site) to encourage readers to share what their families are doing to make the world a greener place – they could win Airwear eyewear for the entire family. Feel free to upload photos or videos to show your “greening” in action. My family proves that recycling can be fun, teachable moments! Contest officially ends on midnight EST on December 19th. All participating bloggers will be contacted by Twitter Moms the week after the contest.

PRIZES
- Fifteen bloggers who enter the contest will be randomly selected to receive a $50 American Express gift card – a nice chunk of change to put toward greening your routine!
- And the blogger who posts the most creative tips will receive $100 American Express gift card – even better!

So go ahead, share how you see the world through “green” colored glasses!

When Tweeting about the contest, please use #Airwear.
Good Luck!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Product Labeling Act by Rep. Steve Israel


No matter what your party affiliation or your opinion on the Health Care Reform Bill, you HAVE TO AGREE with this proposed legislation! Rep. Steve Israel from New York is concerned about ingredient labeling for household cleaning products and is DOING something about it.

Check out this video blog to find out more!

Support the cause to KNOW what's in your cleaning products, it could be killing you...literally!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fooditude



Kids love tasty food and tv, now there's a little of both!
Come to A Taste of Fooditude: an Evening to See, Taste, and Tell!

Support Independent TV and Media that Empowers Kids to Make Healthy Choices
Chicago chefs will pair up with “kid chefs” to celebrate the mission launch of “Fooditude”, a reality based television program that interactively teaches the basics of cooking and nutrition in a fun and relevant way. The launch party will include live music, a silent auction, and delicious food prepared by local chef’s. The evening will culminate with the presentation of Fooditude’s video mission statement and will provide a glimpse at some of the work already produced for the project.

Tickets are available for purchase at www.fooditude.tv and are $40 for an adult and $25 for kids. At the door tickets will be an additional $5!

WHEN: Wednesday, November 18th 6:30-9:30 PM
WHERE: Architectural Artifacts - 4325 N. Ravenswood
Fooditude. . . it’s Kids’ TV with a Bite!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Soy it Isn't So!


Thanks to one of the most revealing newsletters I read today, www.healthfreedomalliance.org:
It is no secret that at Health Freedom Alliance in the choice between regular and organic food, they prefer organic! They take great strides to provide their members with as much scientific research as they can on the harmful effects of pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics that are used in the food industry today. They know they are not alone and that many of their members go out of their way to shop for organic foods and maybe even pay a little more to keep themselves and their families as healthy as possible. Which is why it is so disturbing to find out that the food company giant Dean Foods has recently been caught trying to fool customers into thinking the Silk brand soy milk they produced was organic.

At one point, up until early 2009, the milk was made with organic soybeans. But then Dean Foods switched to conventional soybeans, which most of the time are grown with pesticides. Somehow they forgot to mention this to anyone. They kept the same bar codes on the milk cartons and kept the label the same, while only quietly switching the word "organic" with "natural." And of course they kept the price the same. Because the bar codes were kept the same even some retail grocery stores were just as fooled as the consumer. Said one store owner. "We don't want to be part of customer deception." It appears that consumers need to be more careful then ever in distinguishing between organic and natural labels.

*Rule of thumb, read labels!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Flu Fending Foods


I truly thought for some strange reason that my family would be immune to the nasty flu that's going around like wildfire, but I was wrong. This past week, my son came down with a hefty dose of fever, chills, etc. which proves to me that no matter what you do, sometimes you still get sick.

It's no secret that kids don't eat a completely balanced diet like adults aim to do. You know the drill, hiding candy in their desk drawer, or throwing vitamins in the fish bowl, etc. I used to feed my dog brussel sprouts from the kitchen table and to this day, my mom never knew (until now). Nowadays, I'd climb to the highest mountaintop to have a plate of sauteed brussel sprouts and onions!

Take charge this season and feed your body what it needs to fight off the flu and come out on top. A run-down body that is out of balance inside and out makes way for viruses to come in and wreak havoc to your immune system and health. It's almost impossible to live in a society and not come into contact with the multitude of germs that are literally everywhere during the flu season, however you can reduce your own susceptibility and strengthen your immune system by simply choosing the right foods to put on your plate--and, once in a while, open a window or two to let the germs out and fresh air in--cool or not.

Leafy Greens

Kale, spinach, seaweed and algae are excellent sources of Vitamin D, the immunity-booster we usually get from sunshine in the summertime. Along with contributing to a stronger defense against people coughing, recent studies indicate that higher Vitamin D levels can benefit ailments as diverse as osteoporosis and multiple sclerosis.

Red Bell Pepper

Gram for gram, red bell peppers have twice as much immune-enhancing vitamin C as an orange. Vitamin C is an essential weapon in your flu-fighting food arsenal; it can decrease the duration of a cold by 80 percent and the severity of symptoms like sniffles and cough. Eat red bell peppers chopped up in omelets or on sandwiches. Or, for a quick spaghetti sauce, saute chopped red bell peppers, garlic and olive oil until tender. Puree and drizzle over your favorite whole-wheat pasta.

Yogurt

Yogurt contains probiotics- good bacteria that line our intestines and defend our body against invading germs. Buy plain yogurt to get fewer calories and less added sugar than you do from fruit-flavored versions, and add your own sweetness with a teaspoon of honey (which may also be an immune booster, because it feeds good bacteria in our gut). To make sure your yogurt contains probiotics, look on the container for the National Yogurt Association's "Live and Active Cultures" seal, which means there are at least two types of healthy bacteria and 100 million bacteria per gram.

Green Tea

Green tea contains an immune-boosting chemical called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). To get the most health benefits from this hot drink, steep tea in boiling water for about 4 minutes. You can change up the flavor by steeping tea with a 1-inch chunk of fresh ginger, fresh mint leaves, a twist of orange peel or a cinnamon stick. Aim to drink 3 cups (24 ounces) or more per day.

Almonds
Almonds are an excellent source of the disease-fighting antioxidant vitamin E. Aim to have 24 almonds (1 ounce) per day as a snack; use chopped almonds on oatmeal, salads or stir-fries; or try this recipe for sugar-and-spice almonds: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lay raw (unsalted) almonds on a cookie sheet, spray with cooking spray, and sprinkle with brown sugar and a pinch of cayenne. Bake for 6 minutes, cool and eat!

Kiwi, Grapefruit Orange

All are great sources of vitamin C, the antioxidant we've known for decades to be powerful in fighting colds and flu. Chop up and create your own fruit salad--or perhaps dip the pieces in yogurt for a one-two punch of benefits.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes' beta carotene content makes them an immune-enhancing food. Beta carotene, the vitamin that gives sweet potatoes their orange pigment,is converted to vitamin A in the body, which research suggests may be particularly helpful in the treatment of respiratory infections. These taste best just roasted and topped with a small pat of butter!

Chicken Soup

A research study published in the medical journal, Chest, found that chicken soup has mild anti-inflammatory properties, which may help prevent colds and flu by decreasing mucus production and throat swelling and irritation (so you might be spared the sniffles or sore throat associated with colds). Make your next batch of soup with chicken, onion, sweet potato, turnips, parsnips, carrots, celery and parsley.

Garlic
Sulfur compounds in garlic may make us 2.5 times less likely to get sick this season-these compounds have been shown to kill viruses. Fresh garlic has more immune-boosting potential than cooked, so add a clove of fresh minced garlic at the end of cooking. Try this healthy version of fresh garlic bread: Toast sliced bread and rub with fresh garlic cloves.

Ginger
Ginger contains gingerol, a natural plant compound that can help fight off infection. Put a 1-inch chunk of the spicy root into a cup of boiling water to make ginger tea, or make fresh ginger vinaigrette to top raw or cooked vegetables. Here's how: Mix 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons vinegar, 1 teaspoon grated ginger and 1 teaspoon sugar.

Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts contain selenium, an antioxidant that may help protect us against conditions such as colds, flu and even cancer. But be careful: These nuts are rich in selenium (they have about 10 times more than other foods), but they're also high in calories- 190 calories per 7 nuts.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Treasures Found


I came upon this fantastic site, bottledupdesigns.com and thought you might want to considering it for your "green" holiday gift-giving.

The jewelry is handmade from antique glass and bottles reclaimed from wooded habitats and rural farmlands throughout the beautiful part of the country where the artist, Laura Bergman, lives, in Pennsylvania. While outside one day, digging and collecting she found several collectible bottles, and over time, she also saw so much wildlife running through the broken remains that she decided to do something about it. Now the broken pieces of bottles and dishware come home with her and are handmade into a remarkable line of recycled glass jewelry, "Bottled Up Designs". When Laura began making these she found herself explaining over and over again what the glass was that people were looking at, so she decided to put each piece with a card telling "The Story of the Glass" so every customer can enjoy the remarkable history behind their piece. This image is of her pink depression glass earrings, which sell for $45. www.bottledupdesigns.com

Born Free


I am 7 years gone from having an infant and often miss that time in my children's lives. There are so many wonderful new products for infants, nowadays. Here's one I wish were around when I needed it.

BornFree, an all-natural, Bisphenol-A (BPA), Phthalates and PVC free line of bottles, cups, pacifiers, teethers and accessories for babies and kids.

BornFree was the first brand to provide a completely safe line to consumers, even before health concerns over plastic bottles and chemicals made the headlines. The products also have unique venting systems that minimize vacuum pressure as well as orthodontic silicone nipples and pacifiers, safe for kids’ developing teeth (developed under the guidelines of biological dentistry).

A-List celebrities like Nicole Richie, Halle Berry, Ashlee Simpson Wentz, Heidi Klum and Tori Spelling are all huge fans of the brand and use the products with their kids. BornFree products are sold at Target, Babies R Us, CVS, Whole Foods, Buy Buy Baby and more. Check it out!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Joy of Pomegranates


The pomegranate is one of the oldest fruits known to man. It has been around for centuries, yet people forget how versatile it can really be! It is the perfect fruit to experiment with in the fall months. Even the rich red color reminds people of the warm colors of leaves changing.

It is perfect in stuffing, salads, and great with fruit salad. It is even a beautiful decoration for having guests over. Though the pomegranate is extremely rich in anti-oxidants and very healthy, the sugar content of the fruit can run pretty high; which is why HINT Essence Water is the perfect solution to get your fall pomegranate fix without the sugars and calories!
Check out the HINT flavored Pomegranate-Tangerine drink: the perfect Fall beverage.
drinkhint.com

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fund Raising for a Good Cause


Now that the school year is back on track, their attention turns to fundraising. All schools need to meet the demands of raising money but unfortunately, it often means selling stuff that people don't want. From gift wrap to coupon books to chocolate bars, families and the neighbors spend a lot of money supporting their schools, the traditional way. Insert Koru Fundraising, where they are looking to transform the fundraising industry.

The company has taken a deep look into how to genuinely better the fundraising industry and here are a few things that they found
- From resource extraction, production, distribution, consumption and disposal, much of the goods sold are so wasteful to our planet. Each product sold by Koru is analyzed for its green factors. For example, 70% of goods sold are made in North America.
- Buy buying stuff that is unhealthy (insert chocolate bars), we doing a big disservice to our children, who often consume many of those chocolate bars. Koru focuses on selling consumables that are only deemed organic and in no way selling anything that can be considered toxic to families whatsoever.
- By selling things that people don't want to make a buck, we are teaching a poor lesson to our children. Koru focuses on a comprehensive educational program, provided free of charge to groups, by the animation studio Planet Bonehead. Its one thing to teach students about the environment, its even better to do something about it.
- Charity is long lost in fundraising. Koru Fundraising is a member of One Percent for the Planet and allows groups to choose where Koru's sales will go towards and encourage them to give back as well.
- Products are often overpriced. By offering products at or below retail, products not over $20, Koru helps groups follow the number one business rule, "keep your customers happy"

Its nice to someone out there is making a step in the right direction.

For more information go to korufundraising.com or email info@korufundraising.com

Monday, October 5, 2009

Toxic Waters? Rarely, but let’s keep it that way!


I love how other green moms are finding this blog--it makes all of my hard work, worthwhile. I was delighted when I received an email from Lydia Chambers, co-founder of Back2Tap, a social business working with schools and groups nationally to run green fundraisers and raise awareness about the wastefulness of disposable plastic. Her idea was to write this article for "you", me and anyone else you can forward this to, to bring awareness around some of the issues we face with our drinking water. THERE are plenty of clickable links throughout so you can check out further resources, etc. so you can make your own conclusion and decision about your family's drinking water. Hydrate Well! (and thanks to Lydia) **Remember to click the BACK arrow after reading the linked articles so you can get back to this blog posting!

The New York Times series “Toxic Waters” written by Charles Duhigg presents a disturbing view of our drinking water quality in the USA. The first article about herbicides (atrazine in particular) points out that it is time to strengthen some of the federal drinking water standards in light of new research. You can read more about it in my earlier Earthsense blog entitled “Don’t give up on tap water.” The second article in this series is about industrial waste, particularly in the coal-mining region of West Virginia. Basically, Duhigg says the 1972 Clean Water Act was largely successful at stopping the rampant pollution of our rivers, lakes, and streams, but over the last 10 years it has not been well enforced by the EPA or states. Consequently, our water quality is going downhill again. His third article is about agricultural runoff which is a type of non-point source pollution (it doesn’t come out of a pipe). Most of this runoff is not regulated by the Federal government, and it is not well regulated by local governments. Disposing of huge quantities of manure by spraying it on nearby fields has led to bacteria and parasites in local water bodies and drinking water wells in heavily agricultural areas.

Before you panic and revert to bottled water, you might want to follow the advice of the New York Times on-line article “How safe is your tap water?” First visit the EPA drinking water quality reports that are available on-line to check out the quality of water in your town. Then, find out the names of the polluters that are located near you, by visiting the interactive database of water pollution records for the United States that was amassed by The New York Times. If you are one of the small percentage of people who have impaired drinking water from your private well or your public water system, your next best step would be to use some sort water filtration at home while you lobby your legislators for cleaner water. Don’t assume that bottled water is any safer, by the way. It is regulated by the FDA, an even more poorly funded and staffed governmental agency.

There is a positive side to the story. The EPA reports that 92% of the population served by community water systems had no reported health-based violations. There’s also hope that investigative articles like these will pressure the EPA and states to improve enforcement of the Clean Water Act laws that were wisely enacted to protect us all those years ago. Finally, Lisa Jackson, the new head of EPA has acknowledged these problems and says she will address them. The more people who raise these issues with regulators and politicians, the better chance we have of achieving meaningful improvements so that everybody in the United States will be able to drink their tap water and enjoy recreation in our water bodies without fear of getting sick.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lighter Safer Greener


Lighter-Safer-Greener

More than 150 million Americans use corrective eyewear, so why not select an eco-friendly option to see the world through greener "lenses"? Airwear® lenses provide a unique combination of benefits for active lifestyles through superior comfort and performance; and they are quite a "green" option. As the first Essilor material (what the lenses are made of) to go green by significantly reducing its environmental footprint by implementing responsible manufacturing--it's now lighter, safer and greener than ever before.

o Packaging: New Airwear® packaging uses 100% recyclable cardboard made form 100% wooden fibers that are recyclable. This packaging change is helping reduce Airwear®’s environmental footprint by eliminating 570,000 pounds of plastic waste every year-from US airwear products alone (from airwear research). Normally lenses come in a cardboard box with the lenses in a plastic cup, which looks like a hockey puck. By removing the plastic and going with a cardboard option, Airwear® is the first lens company anywhere in the world to use this type of packaging.
o Water Consumption: All Airwear® lenses are manufactured using 100 percent recycled water, cutting water consumption in half and conserving millions of gallons of water.
o Waste Recycling: Waste produced from Airwear® lenses will be put to use in other industries, such as automobiles and writing instruments.
o Eyewear Donation: Rather than throwing old lenses away, Airwear®, in partnership with the Lions Club, will accept glasses and donate them to those in need. Check your local Lions Club Web site for more information on to donate. ** It's estimated that most people get new eyeglasses every year or two, so why not just repurpose them?

ASK YOUR eyecare professional for Airwear® lenses in your next pair of perscription glasses!
Visit the Lighter, Safer, Greener Airwear® site to find out more and to read some of my green mom eco-tips!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Healing the Tummy: Looking Underneath the Yogurt Label


Today's post comes from Robyn O'Brien, author or the Unhealthy Truth and founder of www.allergykids.com.

As headlines swirl about who-knows-what being found in our food supply, another ingredient continues to make the news: probiotics.

Probiotics are increasingly added to the food supply to help replace what the antibiotics are taking away: health-promoting bacteria, the healthy little critters in our digestive tracts that are essential to the digestive process.

In today's New York Times, Tara Parker Pope highlights the increasing use of these probiotics in our food supply. In her smart column, she suggests that Buyer Beware: plenty of manufacturers appear to be exploiting the increasing popularity of these ingredients, as a way to promote their products. Parker Pope then gives smart tips and savvy insight into ways that you can navigate the yogurt aisle (where probiotics are most commonly found), for those of you making a concerted effort to address the growing health impact that antibiotics in our food appear to be having on our health.

Looking Underneath the Yogurt Label is a smart read for those wanting to do more for their health without damaging their pocketbooks and for those hoping to understand the role that probiotics play in addressing the antibiotics in our food supply.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Hidden Dangers of Soy


What are the Hidden Dangers of Soy?

In my friend, Dianne Gregg's book, Hidden Dangers of Soy, she highlights the many common health concerns connected to soy. From Soy allergies and weight gain to menopause. Is soy a threat to your family's health? Decide for yourself.

In her book, Dianne discusses soy health claims,

Is soy good for your heart? The FDA thought so in 1999. It approved wording for packaging claims that “diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol” with 25
grams of soy protein a day “may reduce the risk of heart disease.” The American Heart
Association also supported soy as a heart helper. However, research during the next five years told a different story. The AHA withdrew its support for soy and soy supplements in 2005, and the FDA may be ready to take another look at the research.
.
In 2006, the Soy Daily Club Web site published an editorial that claims soy has many benefits, “including multiple studies that have proven that consumption of foods containing soy protein can play a significant role in cholesterol management”

Is it really proven or significant? It’s clearly not proven, and even the most
positive of the 41 research studies shows only a small decrease in cholesterol. Doesn’t it make more sense to just skip the “magic soy formula” and spend your shopping dollars on fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and other healthy food?


After developing a severe allergy to soy that nearly killed her, Dianne Gregg learned the truth behind this supposed health food. “The Hidden Dangers of Soy” is the culmination of her efforts to educate others on the issues in hopes more will avoid soy’s underreported—yet widely researched—negative health impacts. She has appeared on numerous radio shows and seen on CBS4 (Miami).

Listen to Dianne on the radio Tuesdays, 4pm - 5pm EST where she interviews experts and authors in the health and wellness industry.

To find out more or to purchase the book, click here.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Love, The Climate-Live Earth


I love this blog: green LA girl; she always has the coolest things to say. Last week, she posted about Love, The Climate, and I wanted to share it with you! Read it, Act on it and let's do our humble part to save "MaMa" (earth that is).

What do you do when all the headlines about the Climate Bill are full of doom and gloom? Start a social media-fueled eco-giveaway called Love, The Climate, of course.

That’s a new project enviro-group Live Earth kicked off earlier this week. Instead of getting depressed about a watered-down Climate Bill that may or may not pass, Love, The Climate urges everyone to imagine a better future — then upload a video or photo, leave a voicemail or note on Facebook, or even tweet with a positive message to senators — who’ll be taking up the climate bill in the coming weeks (A version of the bill already passed in the House in June).

And to entice people to get uploading and tweeting, Love, The Climate’s giving away a Schwinn commuter bicycle — plus 10 more eco-themed prizes ranging from eco-friendly soap to solar-powered gadget charger.

That happy giveaway’s a huge contrast to news headlines that warn “Vital signs weak for climate bill,” “Climate Bill Drifts Into a Potomac Fog,” and “Senate Delay on Climate Bill Could Stymie Copenhagen Talks.”After all, Love, The Climate isn’t reporting on the outlook of the Climate Bill so much as imagining a green future in which the bill’s already been passed.

What if your senator opposes the Climate Bill? You could try creating a wry sort of message pretending the senator changed his or her mind. “Thanks for passing the bill — I’m so glad trees still exist!” you could enthuse. The idea’s to “thank those who are making a difference, and show those who haven’t yet seen the light how much more love they’ll receive when they change their minds,” according to Live Earth’s press release.

The hope with Love, The Climate is that positive, funny messages will get people to embrace a can-do attitude — then start pushing for a strong Climate Bill — and also take action for Climate Week and the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen while they’re at it.

So make a phone call, upload a photo to Flickr, write on Facebook, put together a video, or tweet with #lovetheclimate in your missive. And be sure to enter the drawing by Sept. 25 for a chance at the prizes.

Image via Live Earth

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Kids Konserve


Check out this out!

For school lunches, using reusable containers is responsible, and economical! Using reusable lunch packing products is one easy step toward saving our environment as well as your hard earned dollars. The perfect solution for all of your lunch packing needs is the colorful and fun Kids Konserve waste-free lunch kits! With a squiggle Ice Pak & Cover made of non-toxic, biodegradable material, that fits perfectly on the bottom of the lunch kits, your child's lunch will stay cold for hours; and and the ice pack doesn't sweat!

The Signature Waste-Free Lunch Kit contains a recycled cotton sack, cloth napkin, 304 food-grade stainless steel beverage bottle, food Kozy (alternative to a plastic sandwich bag) and two 304 food-grade stainless steel food containers, $40.00. Other choices for kit styles are, butterfly, caterpillar, moss colored, or orange colored. You can also order the kit contents individually. To take a look at the Kids Konserve lunch kits a a whole lot more (great ideas and products), simply click here.

FOR A 15% Coupon to KidsKonserve.com simply type in: greenmoms1 where they ask for a coupon code and you can save even more money on your child's lunch!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Seeing Green When Going Back to School


With the start of a new school year, it's also a chance for families to kick start a new routine to support the environment and establish every day green habits. With this in mind, today Essilor announced the first-ever eco-friendly eyewear - Airwear® lenses are now manufactured using environmentally-conscious practices, including 100 percent recycled water and packaging, and the added process of re-purposing unused materials for other industries.

To read the whole article, click here:

Airwear invites environmentally-conscious consumers to share their visions of a greener world by entering the "Lighter.Safer.Greener." contest, which launches October 1. Families can submit creative ideas for how they are making the world a greener, more sustainable place for a chance to win Airwear eyewear for their entire family. Enter the contest at lightersafergreener.com where you can learn more about Airwear's new eco-friendly practices, and view more of my tips to live healthy, well and wise this school year.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Just in Case You Forget


Just in Case You Forget

I get busy, like most moms, and sometimes forget little things; but going local or organic whenever possible is something you should always keep in mind!

Here's something I printed out and keep handy, just as a little reminder.

TOP 10 Reasons to EAT ORGANIC

Organic Products Meet Stringent Standards
Organic Food Tastes Great!
Organic Production Reduces Health Risks
Organic Farms Respect Our Water Resources
Organic Farmers Build Healthy Soil
Organic Farmers Work In Harmony With Nature
Organic Producers are Leaders In Innovative Research
Organic Producers Strive To Preserve Diversity
Organic Farming Helps Keep Rural Communities Healthy
Organic Abundance – Foods and Non-Foods Alike!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Green Piece?


I was frustrated by what I read in Jennifer Grayson's Huffington Post article, Is Your Ass Worth One Million Trees a Year, article.

Being a green mom I know that, trees help stop global warming by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and that by using recycled paper products we all do our small part to save the existing (mature) trees we do have, period. Grayson reports that,
"Greenpeace's five-year-long battle against tissue-product mogul Kimberly-Clark (K-C) came to a victorious end last week, with the Kleenex/Scott/Cottonelle manufacturer agreeing to source 40 percent of its North American tissue fiber from recycled or Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified pulp by 2011.


My question, as an ordinary mom--who happens to love trees, is why is Greenpeace settling for just 40%? I'm not sure why they wouldn't expect 100%? Why not support what Marcal Small Steps brand of recycled home paper products is doing--using only 100% recycled paper for their products? I see the Kimberly-Clark move as more of a marketing ploy than an actual "act of green-ness".

The facts are just staggering; and when you really start to take a long, hard look at it, it's unavoidable, is your Bum worth 1 million trees? Or, can you tough it up and save some trees...and do your small part to preserve what's left and protect our planet? It kind of makes you think what brands are YOU supporting?

It's truly up to you, because women are the primary household spenders in this country, we do have the power!

-The US has one of the lowest recycled paper rates in the world, 77% Netherlands, 67% Germany, 52% Japan 45% USA
-1/2 the world's forests have already been clear cut or burned.
-We cut down 83 million acres of trees every year (the size of New York State) to make paper products
-When paper product manufacturers use the term, "virgin fiber" it literally means, trees!
-It takes decades for newly planted trees to recover the amount of carbon released from old growth trees that have been cut down
-Each American consumes 700 pounds of paper products each year. That is seven times more paper than the worldwide average of 100 pounds per person
-About 40 millions tons of paper that could be recycled are thrown away each year in the U.S.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Eating Out Green Style!


Whenever I go out to dinner with my family, I'm always so excited when I notice an organic or "local" entree on the menu; so you can imagine my glee when I discovered, Eatwellguide.com. On this site, you can search for local organic farmer's markets, restaurants, groups, and more!

As a green mom, you have to be clever and up on the latest organic-y green trends and this website offers you just that!

If you have any other nifty green ideas like this, email me at, bethaldrich16@gmail.com and I'll include it in a future post!

Bon Appetit!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Earth Talk Question of the Week


My partnership with E/The Environmental Magazine, offers me the opportunity to share some interesting content about what's going on in the world. This week they shed some light on the infamous Exxon Valdez oil spill from 1989.
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Dear EarthTalk: I haven’t heard much of late about big oil spills like the infamous Exxon Valdez. Has the industry cleaned up its act, or do the media just not report them? -- Olivia G., via e-mail

In the wake of 1989’s massive Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska’s Prince William Sound, when 11 million gallons of oil befouled some 1,300 miles of formerly pristine and wildlife-rich coastline, much has been done to prevent future spills of such magnitude.

For starters, Congress quickly passed the 1990 Oil Pollution Act which overhauled shipping regulations, imposed new liability on the industry, required detailed response plans and added extra safeguards for shipping in Prince William Sound itself. Under the terms of the law, companies cannot ship oil in any U.S. waters unless they prove they have response and clean-up plans in place and have the manpower and equipment on hand to respond quickly and effectively in the case of another disaster.

Also, the law mandates that, by 2015, all tankers in U.S. waters must be equipped with double hulls. The Exxon Valdez had only one hull when it ran aground on Bligh Reef and poured its oil into Prince William Sound, the southern end of the oil pipeline that originates 800 miles to the north at Prudhoe Bay. By comparison, a 900-foot double-hulled tanker carrying nearly 40 million gallons of crude oil did not leak when it crashed into submerged debris near Galveston, Texas in March 2009.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, average annual oil spill totals have dropped dramatically since new regulations took effect in 1990. Between 1973 and 1990, an average of 11.8 million gallons of oil spilled each year in American waters. Since then, the average has dropped to just 1.5 million gallons, with the biggest spill (not including those resulting from Hurricane Katrina in 2005) less than 600,000 gallons

Despite these improvements, critics say the industry still has more work to do. While protections have been beefed up in Prince William Sound, other major American ports still lack extra precautions such as escort tugboats and double engines and rudders on big ships to help steer them to safety when in trouble.

Another area that the 1990 law doesn’t cover is container ships that don’t transport oil as their cargo but which carry a large amount, anyway, for their own fuel for the considerable distances they travel. Such ships could also cause a major spill (anything more than 100,000 gallons, by Coast Guard standards). Yet another concern is the great number of smaller oil spills that occur every day at industrial locations (including but not limited to oil refining and storage facilities) and even in our own driveways. These will continue to add up to a heavy toll on our environment, even if another oil tanker never spills at sea again.

And while the total number and volume of oil spills is down dramatically from bygone days, the trend of late warrants concern. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) Office of Response and Restoration reports that oil spills in U.S. waters have risen again over the past decade, with 134 incidents in 2008 alone. Green leaders worry that if Bush administration plans to expand offshore oil drilling are not overturned by President Obama, oil spills in U.S. waters could remain a sad fact of life.


CONTACTS: NOAA Office of Response and Restoration, www.response.restoration.noaa.gov; U.S. EPA Oil Pollution Act Overview, www.epa.gov/OEM/content/lawsregs/opaover.htm.


SEND YOUR ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTIONS TO:

EarthTalk, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; earthtalk@emagazine.com. Read past columns at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/archives.php. EarthTalk is now a book! Details and order information at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalkbook.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Make A Shoe Donation-Make a Difference


Lands’ End and Soles4Souls™ Invite Customers To Donate Shoes At Chicago-area Inlet Stores
Help Change The World – One Pair At A Time


Lands’ End and Soles4Souls™ have paired up to invite customers to donate new or gently used footwear for people in need – around the corner and around the world. It is estimated that Americans have 1.5 billion pairs of unused shoes lying in their closets. Anyone who donates a pair will receive a voucher good for 10 percent off the purchase of Lands’ End footwear at a Lands’ End Inlet location or the Lands’ End Warehouse Clearance event.

Make a Donation – Make a Difference
Lands’ End Inlet stores will collect footwear donations from August 1 – 30. Look for the Soles4Souls collection box at each participating location. From August 5 – 10, customers can also make a donation at the Lands’ End Warehouse Clearance event being held near the company’s headquarters at the Harris Park Ley Pavilion in Dodgeville, Wis.

“If you have shoes that you don’t wear anymore and they are just taking up space in your closet, please bring them in and donate them to this worthy cause,” said Marla Ryan, vice president, retail for Lands’ End. “As families continue to tighten their budgets, every measure counts – especially as kids are heading back to school. Many will be faced with the reality of needing new and dependable footwear that is suitable for fall and winter. Through the amazing work of Soles4Souls, with the help of Lands’ End hosting this footwear donation drive, more children and adults in communities across the United States will benefit.”

Lands’ End will accept all types of new or gently worn shoes including athletic, dress, snow boots and sandals for men, women and kids. Gently worn shoes should still be wearable, have solid soles with no holes, laces (if applicable) and be clean and free of mud. All sizes, from toddler to adult, will be accepted.

Recycling Soles to Change Lives
“We can use the shoes taking up space in your closet to change the world one pair at a time,” said Wayne Elsey, founder and CEO of Soles4Souls. “It’s one of the most simple, yet profound, gifts you can make, because it will greatly improve someone’s life in the most difficult of times.”

The idea behind Soles4Souls is a simple concept; collect shoes and give them away. In the aftermath of national and international disasters such as the Asian Tsunami and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Soles4Souls has provided more than five million pairs of shoes to people who desperately needed footwear.

All area Lands’ End Inlets are accepting donations through August 30:


Lands’ End Inlet
7205 W. Dempster
Niles, IL 60714
847-470-0320

Lands’ End Inlet
1522 E. Golf Rd
Schaumburg, IL 60173
847-413-0100

Lands’ End Inlet
20 Convenience Center
Corner of Butterfield & Highland
Lombard, IL 60148
630-953-8855

For more Lands’ End Inlet locations, visit www.landsend.com/shops.

About Lands’ End
Lands’ End® is one of the world’s largest retailers of clothing for the family. In addition, Lands’ End offers an innovative collection of fine quality goods for the home. Lands’ End merchandise can be purchased online at www.landsend.com, by calling 1-800-800-5800, and by visiting the Lands’ End shop at Sears. Lands’ End is a proud member of Sears Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ: SHLD). And, all high-quality Lands’ End merchandise is Guaranteed. Period.®

About Soles4Souls
Nashville-based Soles4Souls™ facilitates the donations of both new and used shoes, which are used to aid the hurting worldwide. Soles4Souls has distributed more than 5 million pairs (currently donating one pair every 13 seconds) to people in over 125 countries, including Honduras, Uganda, Romania, and the United States. The charity has been featured in Runner's World and the Green Guide by National Geographic. It has also appeared on CNN, NBC, ABC, FOX, CBS, BBC and hundreds of regional outlets around North America. Soles4Souls is a 501(c)(3) recognized by the IRS; donating parties are eligible for tax advantages. Visit www.giveshoes.org for more information.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Guest Post by Robyn O'Brien


This special blog post is from my dear friend, author and healthy food advocate, Robyn O'Brien. 
when finished reading this insightful article, please log on to www.Robynobrien.com to find out more about Robyn's amazing story and what she's doing to protect all of our children!
Enjoy, 
Beth
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As headlines swirl, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the nation's food safety laws have an eerie similarity to the federal approach to safe guarding our citizens from exposure to toxic chemicals and toxic financial assets.  If our federal aviation system were to adhere to the same loose, deregulated standards that we are now seeing in the chemical industry, the financial industry and the food industry, we'd be allowed to board airliners without first being checked for bombs, guns, knives, or any other objects designed to harm passengers and the crew.

That said, legislation will soon be introduced in the House and Senate that if it becomes law will protect every single American, including babies not yet born from a life of daily contamination to a host of toxic chemicals, some of which are extremely potent at even low doses.

New Jersey's senior Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D), a kind hearted senior Senator with ten grandchildren who I had the honor of meeting last month in Washington, DC,  and Chicago Congressman Bobby Rush (D) are poised to offer a landmark reform plan - The Kid-Safe Chemicals Act -  to fix the failed federal toxics law that instead of protecting humans and the environment from the dangers of chemical exposures, has in fact allowed an entire population of people to become polluted, beginning in the womb.

The Kids Safe Chemical Act addresses the fact that back in 1976, with the passage of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), legislation was approved that allowed over 60,000 chemicals in existence at that time to be deemed 'safe' for use without a single thorough test to prove that to be true. And in the three-plus decades since the law was passed, and additional 20,000 chemicals have been rushed into the marketplace with little or no safety tests.

Today, 1 in 3 American children has allergies, ADHD, autism or asthma, with the Centers and Disease Control recently reporting stunning increases in the number of children expected to be insulin dependent by the time they reach adulthood.  With 17.6% of our GDP being consumed by health costs, there is an urgent need to address the health of our children and the impact that this generation of children is having on our country, our families and our health care system. 

The Kid-Safe Chemicals Act, or Kid-Safe, would help protect the health of the American children by placing the burden of proof on the chemical industry, requiring manufacturers to first prove a chemical is actually safe before it's allowed into a consumer product. Currently, all of these chemicals are allowed into the marketplace until they are proven dangerous. 

As I highlighted in a recent presentation in Atlanta, the American Cancer Society reports that the United States has the highest rates of cancer of any country in the world and that migration studies show that if someone is to move here from a country like Japan, their likelihood of developing cancer increases fourfold, which chemicals should they test first? Why not start with those founding people, particularly babies.

Readers can learn more about the Kid-Safe legislation, its amazing efforts to improve the health of our children and even join in the discussion as scientists, researchers, lawmakers, policy analysts and journalists interested chemicals policy reform engage in an online back-in-forth at this new site hosted by my friend and heroes at the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

As has been repeatedly demonstrated over the last several months, our system has some pretty significant shortcomings so a strong grassroots contingent of committed individuals will be key in order to deliver legislation to President Obama.

The chemical industry's lobbyists, a group worthy of a John Grisham novel, as I highlight in my book The Unhealthy Truth have and will continue to spend millions to defeat any real reform efforts, and are gearing up for battle at the very moment.

As a matter of fact, The Washington Post recently revealed that the chemical industry lobbyists recently joined forces with the food and beverage industry at a secret meeting to develop a plot based on "fear tactics" to put the breaks on plans to mildly restrict the use of just a single chemical, BPA. At this point, they may be enlisting the help of one of the most infamous players in the lobbying game, a man who has earned the nickname of "Dr. Evil."  

But these industry funded folks may not realize what they are up against.  We are mothers, fathers, creators and nurturers. We are teachers, lawyers, accountants and writers. And our children's futures rest in our resiliently remarkable hands. We are soundly educated, compassionately connected and have been given the tools through this remarkable legislation to affect change.

As a mother of four, with a background in finance, I am profoundly grateful for the Kids Safe Chemical Act and invite you to learn more about this important legislation and to participate in affecting this extraordinary change for our children. 

The opportunity is tremendous. The adventure is ours for the taking.

If we each take action, together we can begin to restore the integrity that is now lacking in our system.  We can create a ripple of hope whose force is more powerful than any one of us could achieve individually, and Dr. Evil and his gang of lobbyists won't stand a chance!

 To learn more, I invite you to visit http://www.ewg.org ; www.ewg.org and www.robynobrien.com.

Cherries, Basil and More!


Summertime means fresh basil, cherries and more! With farmer’s markets brimming full of fresh fruits and vegetables, I thought it might be nice to focus on three of my favorites.

 

Cherries, so delicious right now, you could eat them by the bagful (just avoid the pits). Cherry season is short so hit your local farmer's market and try the fantastic selection of summer cherries available right now!

 

A growing body of science reveals tart cherries, enjoyed as either fresh, dried, frozen cherries or cherry juice, have among the highest levels of disease-fighting antioxidants, when compared to other fruits. They also contain other important nutrients such as beta carotene (19 times more than blueberries or strawberries) vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, iron, fiber and folate. 

Emerging evidence links cherries to many important health benefits – from helping to ease the pain of arthritis and gout, to reducing risk factors for heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. Cherries also contain melatonin, which has been found to help regulate the body’s natural sleep patterns, aid with jet lag, prevent memory loss and delay the aging process. Cherries also contain an ibuprofen-like substance that works as an anti-inflammatory. This substance helps reduce arthritis pain. Besides helping promote sleep, cherries also have many anti-cancer properties, and a substance in cherry juice may help prevent tooth decay!

 

For a quick snack pack a small container full of fresh or dried cherries for a nutrient-rich sweet treat.

 

This month on my FHI Online magazine read Kath Ibbetson’s article, Basil, King of Italian Herbs, to find out some interesting information and cooking tips/recipe on this fragrant edible herb.

 

The herb that’s most popularly associated with Italian cuisine is basil (Basilico). There are several varieties, but you’re most likely to find sweet basil in the shops—it has large, aromatic leaves. Cooking with basil, especially if you grew it yourself, is wonderfully satisfying (continue reading). 

 

The benefits of certain healthy “skin” foods can be read in Cher Murphy’s article, Dining Tips for Healthy Skins. According to the CDC, there are around 25 million visits to dermatologist offices in the country. The largest organ of the body, skin weighs in between 6-9 pounds and covers two square yards. It plays an essential role in the body, providing everything from protection from viruses to sensing hot and cold, and even regulating our body temperature. Our skin is also the most noticeable thing on our bodies, and our diet can have an impact on whether it looks dull or glowing (continue reading).

 

Whether you’re going to the beach or heading to the office, be sure to pack your bag full of healthy fresh grown local fruits and vegetable this summer—your body will love you for it.

For more useful tips and ideas about healthy living visit my website, ForHerInformation.com

 

 


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

New Parents Eco Tips


New parents want what’s best for their baby; parenting is a full time job without sick days or paid vacation, which leaves little room for your other concerns - like being mindful of the environment. Life is overwhelming enough, so while you’re managing your home and budget and raising your family, keep it simple when it comes to living eco friendly. By taking small steps everyday and making green a part of your every day, you are creating a profound positive impact on the planet: a gift for your child’s future. 

Each of these simple suggestions below will bring you and your family one step closer to living an eco-friendly life, and it’s well worth the effort. 

The most important eco-friendly thing a new parent can do is to accept that they are one person and they can only do so much. It’s o.k. to take easy small steps towards living a greener life because in the long run, the small steps really add up to big benefits. By keeping the Three R’s (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) in mind every day, parents can ensure that they are maintaining a green household. 

When you recycle or repurpose household items such as paper, you give back to the planet in a big way. Then, by using earth-friendly recycled tissue paper products, such as Marcal Small Steps, you save countless trees because companies like Marcal use only 100% recycled paper for their products not trees. (http://www.marcalsmallsteps.com). Marcal has been using paper instead of trees to make their products for over 50 years, showing a long-term commitment and integrity to the planet-to save 1 million trees. Marcal’s personal pledge is the perfect for new parents to consider when going green, http://www.marcalsmallsteps.com/pledge.html, now at this milestone in their lives. 

One of the most exciting things for new parents to do is to prepare the nursery for their baby. The main thing to keep in mind is that you want your baby’s room to be healthy and clean. A great way to start is by using non-toxic paint for the beautifully painted nursery walls. Indoor air can be three times more polluted than outdoor air, and according to the EPA, is considered one of the top 5 hazards to human health. Paints and finishes are among the leading causes. Mythic non-toxic paint is a clean, low odor paint alternative that provides the durability and coverage you expect from a premium paint without the off-gassing VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) and toxins that emit years after drying with most paints.  

Once you’ve gotten the room painted, install a high quality air filter to clean and purify the air from airborne cleaning products, and product off-gassing to dust. Because there is such a wide range of options available, a great resource for parents is Consumer Reports online (http://www.consumersearch.com/air-purifiers/review), where they rate and explain about the variety of filters on the market. 

The room is decorated and ready to fill with lots of goodies, including some eco-friendly toys made from natural, safe materials, preserving the environment. Keeping in mind that babies put everything in their mouth, you want to be aware of VOC’s and other harmful chemicals that may come in contact with your baby. Plant Happy Toys, whose mission is to connect people and planet through play, offers a wide variety of “playful” options. 

Your baby will be crawling, toddling and grabbing on to many surfaces in the nursery and beyond before you know it, so take some time to think about the cleaning products you use in your home and on your baby. Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (study: http://www.natural-health-information-centre.com/sls-JACT-report.html)is just one of several commonly used toiletry chemicals associated with a variety of diseases. Water is adequate for washing babies, and if lather is irresistible, use eco-friendly, organic toiletries occasionally and sparingly. If eco-friendly cleaning products are too expensive, use distilled white vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, Epsom salts, or lemon juice. Unless your favorite cleaner is eco-friendly, you're sending VOCs, petrochemicals, pesticides, and chlorides into the air, and that isn't good. These airborne pollutants used in a number of conventional cleaning agents to, among other things, help speed the drying process. They can irritate mucus membranes and cause other short- and long-term physical damage. 

* Use gentle Castile soap and water - these have been shown to keep surfaces as free of bacteria as antibacterial soaps do.

* Look for safer ingredients - products labeled nontoxic, bio-based, chlorine free, organic, phosphate-free, natural fragrance, and/or biodegradable.

* Avoid using products that say POISON, DANGER, WARNING, or CAUTION.

* Reduce the need for anti-bacterial soaps by frequently requiring hand washing.