Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Well, I think this article from TreeHugger.com sums up the information best, addressing health concerns when using these types of cookware.
"Aluminum, a soft metal, is found nearly everywhere in the environment. Most exposures to aluminum occur through ingestion or eating and drinking, with daily intakes generally low, averaging between 30-50 mg. For the typical person, drinking water, medicines and other pharmaceuticals (such as antacids and antiperspirants) are the biggest contributors to aluminum exposures; however, aluminum cookware is also a potential source. As you note, aluminum exposures have raised some health concerns due to the effects of aluminum on the human nervous system and the much discussed (but inconclusive) linkages between aluminum exposures and Alzheimer's disease.
Aluminum exposures from cookware, of which more than half is made of aluminum, is not well studied, but is thought to be a relatively minor source of aluminum exposures. Exposures to aluminum through food can occur when aluminum leaches or otherwise dissolves from the cookware into the food. Leaching is most likely when the foods being cooked or stored are highly basic (like baking soda) or highly acidic (like tomato sauce, lemon juice, oranges, or vinegar). For example, tomato sauce has been shown to contain 3-6 mg aluminum (per 100 g serving) after cooking in aluminum pans, which translates into about one-tenth of the typical daily intake. This leaching of aluminum with acidic foods does not happen with aluminum cookware that is anodized, or electro-chemically processed to seal the aluminum in the cookware. Clemson University Extension’s Home and Garden Information Center tested different cookware types, and found anodized aluminum cookware to be safe. Regardless, it would probably be wise to store tomato sauce and other acidic foods in something other than an aluminum pot."
Using aluminum cookware sounds pretty risky, right? If food is meant to be prepared mindfully and lovingly, for the nourishment of our friends and family, then why would use such questionable wares in our home kitchens? When we know that natural, non-toxic pots, pans and utensils not only don't cause harm, but can actually support our bodies and improve our health, why would we use anything else? Food for thought.
Find the full article from TreeHugger Here
As for non-stick Teflon pots and pans, this snippet from the Environmental Working Group says it best:
"Non-stick surfaces are metal pans (such as aluminum pans) coated with a synthetic polymer called polytetrafluoroetheylene (PTFE), also known as Teflon, a DuPont brand trademark. Learn more about Teflon and its perfluorinated chemical “family” (PFC’s) in our chemical dictionary.
Toxic fumes from the Teflon chemical released from pots and pans at high temperatures may kill pet birds and cause people to develop flu-like symptoms (called "Teflon Flu" or, as scientists describe it, "Polymer fume fever"). Ingesting particles that flake off scratched non-stick cookware isn't toxic because solid PTFE flakes are inert.
Manufacturers' labels often warn consumers to avoid high heat when cooking on Teflon. But EWG-commissioned tests conducted in 2003 showed that in just two to five minutes on a conventional stove top, cookware coated with Teflon and other non-stick surfaces could exceed temperatures at which the coating breaks apart and emits toxic particles and gases.
See a graphic of what happens at to Teflon at various temperatures.
Health dangers: When you breathe kitchen air polluted with fumes from overheated Teflon, you're at risk for developing flu-like symptoms (yes, "Teflon flu"). The long-term effects of routine exposure to Teflon fumes, and from Teflon flu itself, have not been adequately studied.Wow, really? Well if you haven't already thrown out your non-stick pots and pans by this sentence, I bet you'll want to. But you know what, don't take my word for it, look into this subject for yourself. Especially if you have children or feed large groups of people on a regular basis. If you care about the well-being of your family and friends, think twice before cooking with aluminum and on non-stick surfaces.
PFCs have been found in nearly all Americans tested by federal public health officials. Chemicals from this family are associated with smaller birth weight and size in newborn babies, elevated cholesterol, abnormal thyroid hormone levels, liver inflammation and weakened immune defense against disease.
Environmental hazards: Manufacturing PFCs and the consumer products that contain them poses great risks to the environment and wildlife. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says PFCs present "persistence, bioaccumulation, and toxicity properties to an extraordinary degree."
Find the full article from the Environmental Working Group Here
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Shea butter - it's so simple, yet so versatile. So many products today, even the natural ones, have 10 or 20 things listed in under their ingredients. This ONE ingredient is powerful, effective and great for skin. Shea butter comes from the nut of the African shea tree and is actually edible, so you know you can put it on your skin. Unrefined shea butter is the best for skin care, because it has the most healing properties.
Shea Butter can be used for:
- Sun protection - it has skin protecting qualities that help mildly block UV rays
- All over facial/body moisturizer and eye cream- it helps reduce fine lines, minor scars and age spots and deeply moisturizes
- Lip balm - this is usually a main ingredient in lip balm, so rub it on to keep your lips soft
- Hair tamer and styling product - take a small amount and rub it between the palms of your hands. To define kinky, tight curls, rub through clean wet hair and let air dry. For wavy or straight hair, take a small amount and lightly apply to already styled, dry hair for a light hold and to tame flyaways.
- Deep moisturizing hair and scalp treatment - massage a generous amount into hair and scalp. Let it sit for at least half an hour. Shampoo and condition hair as usual. You might need to shampoo a couple of times to get all of the butter out. Then pat hair dry, blowdry and style and your hair should be shiny and voluminous.
- Soften feet - slather shea butter onto clean, dry feet and massage. The cover feet with warm cotton socks and go to sleep. Wake up with smooth, soft feet.
- Soothe dry, cracked hands - when hands are dry and cracked during cold weather, smooth on shea butter like a hand salve. Reapply as necessary.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Have you ever met someone that is SO caring, good, and hard working that this person and their efforts inspire you for a lifetime? Well, imagine being in a room surrounded by that kind of magic~ because that's where I was last night! Yes, there wasn't just one awesome person at this event I went to, the room was filled with incredible, passionate, caring people who work hard to do good in this world.
Last night I went to a Green Festival Holiday Celebration in NYC. This event was to engage fellow green-lovers to be a part of the planning and actualization of the FIRST EVER NYC Green Festival 2012! As you probably know, I am a big fan of Green Festival, and have been since 2004. The cool thing about the Green Festival Host Committee is that YOU can actually have a hand in creating this awesome event by volunteering to be on various themed committees, such as Eco-Fashion, Organic Foods, Green Energy, Social Justice, etc. Along with that, you get the opportunity to work with some of the most brilliant and nicest people out there. At this meeting alone, I had the pleasure of getting to speak with Alisa Gravitz, Executive Director of Green America, Denise Hamler, Director of the Green Business Network, Georgia Malki, CEO and President of Seven Star Inc., the nations premier green events expert, and Alix Davidson, Senior Regional Director of NYC Green Festival, to name a few. It was such a pleasure!
Get involved and use your talents and skills to benefit people and the planet through Green Festival NYC 2012. Email Alix@greenfestivals.org for more information.
Also, save the date and spread the word about
Green Festival NYC
April 21-22, 2012
North Javits Center
655 West 34th Street
Saturday 10am - 7pm
Sunday 11am - 6pm
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Is your winter skin in desperate need of a drink? As we age, it is easy for skin to look dry, wrinkled and flaky, especially in cold winter months. Trying to find heavy moisturizers that plump up our dry skin without leaving it too greasy and likely to breakout can be a hassle.
So here are some exciting all natural suggestions that should do the trick! These tips and products will help your skin look its best during the year's harshest season.
1. First, minimize eating baked flour products. Hard, crunchy foods like chips, crackers, cookies, cakes and breads are dried out from being surrounded by heat in an oven. The oven dries out the food (cooking it) so you can eat it. When you eat these foods, you are drying out your body- thus drying out your skin. Try to replace those baked snacks with water rich foods. Eat some leafy greens. Make warm vegetable soups or a nice, hot, steamy pot of oatmeal with cinnamon, nutmeg and dried fruit.
2. Next, get your hands on some all natural facial products and make yourself an ultra-moisturizing skin regimen. My favorite products right now are Power Repair Skin Toner followed by Vitamin C Solution (both by Super Salve Company), then Grateful Body Facial Moisturizer and last, a little bit of shea butter as eye cream. Once you apply makeup, spritz your face with Power Repair Face Mist by Super Salve Company. This will help set your makeup and give your extra moisture so your skin will look natural and supple, instead of powdery and dry. It also smells amazing.
3. Last - Exfoliate. Daily. Cell turnover happens fast, so help your skin out by sloughing off old, dead cells to let your skin breathe, detoxify and be more radiant. Lightly scrubbing your face with a warm washcloth not only feels great in cold weather, but it is actually good for you- and your skin!
Some information on Super Salve Products:
- Skin Toner - Removes the last traces of cleanser residue and debris and prepares the skin for better absorption of moisturizers. Using the toner regularly is an important step to healthier skin and a beautiful complexion.
- Vitamin C Solution - Delivers high potency antioxidants into the skin cells. It is helpful in reducing fine lines, wrinkles, under-eye puffiness, and enlarged pores.
- Power Repair Face Mist - A high potency mist that delivers vitamin C ester into the skin cells. It is helpful for hydrating and soothing skin while firming and repairing damage. It also contains MSM, which is great for skin!
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Even though I stopped eating meat, I NEVER thought I would eat Tofurky. It just sounded too weird. But one day, I decided to try it out. I do not make a habit of eating fake meats, because I don't think it is good to consume them regularly, but I figured - I like to be adventurous with food, so I would give it a try. I got myself the Tofurky Italian Sausage.
On the package was the sausage sliced up and served over pasta and sauce, so I decided to give that a try (see my picture above). It surprisingly came out well! I served it with some steamed kale and cauliflower and it went really well together. The sausages were a little spicy, but other than that, I actually liked it. I suggest following the instructions on the package about how to prepare the sausage. Here is my easy recipe for the sauce:
3 Tofurky sausages, sliced on the diagonal in chunks
1 yellow onion, half moon sliced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 yellow crookneck squash, half moon sliced
1 jar of Eden Organic Spaghetti Sauce
- Saute the Tofurky in some olive oil in a pan for a few minutes on medium heat on each side, then set aside on a plate.
- Saute onions and garlic for 4 minutes. Then toss in the squash, and saute. Let cook for 2 minutes.
- Pour the spaghetti sauce over the cooking vegetables and add the cooked sausage. Bring to a simmer and cover.
- Let sauce, vegetables and sausage cook for 12 minutes, then taste and add salt as needed.
- Serve over brown rice spaghetti or your favorite pasta. Maybe add some extra fun to your meal by serving with some garlic bread...
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Mr. Ellie Pooh - with a name like that for a paper company, you've gotta be intrigued. Well, the name is pretty self explanatory. This company makes cute and functional paper from elephant poo. I first heard about this company years ago at Green Festival. Their concept is brilliant. Elephants in Sri Lanka were being killed by people, so the people who started Mr. Ellie Pooh decided to help the people of Sri Lanka see elephants as an asset instead of a threat. They started taking elephant dung and turning it into beautiful paper, made of 50% fiber from elephant dung and 50% post consumer paper.
Mr. Ellie Pooh paper is handmade, acid free and all natural. It comes in various colors, sized, as memo books and pads, as greeting cards or stationary. I have a bunch of the cute heart shaped papers- perfect for writing small notes or for crafts.
The best thing about this paper is that every time you use it, you can feel good knowing that you are helping to save the elephants in Sri Lanka.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
I recently got knocked out with a bad case of food poisoning - I think I am over eating fried food at restaurants... Even though it was a painful and uncomfortable experience, it was also an opportunity to put what I have learned about healing and food to the test. With some advice from my expert macrobiotic chefs and friends, I was able to regain my strength and my ability to eat real foods again.
One dish that I decided to make to help me regain my strength was Fish Soup. Not only did this soup help me to feel stronger, it also tasted delicious! Here is the recipe. And just remember, if you are ever feeling weak - fish, root vegetables, stronger seasonings and cooking foods for a longer amount of time is a great way to go.
Strengthening Fish Soup
toasted sesame oil
1 onion, sliced in half moons
2-3 carrots, kinpira (matchstick) cut
burdock root or other root vegetable, kinpira (matchstick) cut - optional
4 cups of water
2 stamp sized pieces of kombu seaweed, soaked in water for a few minutes
5 pieces of cod fish
barley or brown rice miso paste
4 stalks of scallions, in 2 inch slices
- Heat your pot to medium low and saute onions in a small amount of sesame oil. Occasionally stir the onions and let them cook for about 4 minutes.
- Add in carrots and other (optional) vegetables. Stir and let cook for 5 minutes.
- Turn the flame down to low, sprinkle vegetables with a little sea salt and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally for 25 minutes.
- Pour 4 cups of water over the vegetables in the pot. Add in the kombu and turn the heat to high. Bring to boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add in pieces of cod and cover. Let cook for 4 minutes or until the cod is tender.
- Add in scallions and dissolve miso. Taste the broth and add more miso to taste.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
In the kitchen, cold weather means it's time for hearty, rich soups, stews and roasting. A great way to do this and help your body keep you warm is by using heavier cookware. It is definitely time to bust out the cast iron skillets, pressure cookers and ceramic coated cast iron pots.
A few years ago, I had the opportunity to cook with Le Creuset ceramic coated cast iron pots. It was heavenly. My food came out evenly and well cooked, and just plain delicious. The reason why is because the pots are heavier in weight than regular stainless steel, making food hearty and more strengthening. The pots also conduct and retain heat very well and are durable and efficient. I bought my mom one of these pots last year and she LOVES it. I recommend using these pots for making stews or overnight oats with dried apricot compote. Basically, I think these pots are best for making warm comfort foods.
Check out the collection of Le Creuset:
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Does your rice to come out perfectly light, fluffy and evenly cooked every time? If not, here is an easy and inexpensive way to prevent grains from sticking to the bottom of your pot or burning. A flame tamer (aka flame deflector/simmer ring) is a great way to tame the heat on your gas or electric stove. It creates an even distribution of heat, so that whatever you cook comes out just right, every time!
The flame tamer can be used for cooking pretty much anything, stove top. I use it every time I cook any whole grains and sometimes I use it to cook beans or when I want something to cook slowly for a long period of time. It is a pretty inexpensive kitchen tool and you will definitely get your money's worth. You can get your hands on one at your local kitchen store or order online. Amazon has it HERE for $4.99.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Wow, this organization absolutely blows me away! I first heard about Me to We at Green Festival in 2004. I know, I know - you will hear me say that I heard about a lot of these kinds of things from Green Fest, but it's true- every time I go I learn totally amazing things and am inspired by incredible people.
So, I spoke with the people at their booth and ended up buying this book, written by two brothers, who have done amazing work and traveled all over the world to help improve people's lives. I got half way through the book, then packed it up and moved, so once I get it out of storage, I will finish it. What I read was inspiring and beautiful. If you consider yourself an activist or at least care about other people and how you can help change the world, then you should read this book.
Anyway, I want to talk about Me to We, a social enterprise with a mission. I am going to take this straight from the website, since they say it best:
"Me to We transforms consumers into world changers, one transaction at a time. Me to We sells socially conscious and environmentally friendly clothes, books and music – as well as life-changing experiences. We also provide inspiring speakers, leadership training and transformative travel experiences.
Me to We measures the bottom line, not by dollars earned, but by number of lives we change and the positive social and environmental impact we make. Half of Me to We's profit is donated to its charitable partner, Free The Children."
Free the Children helps to educate and empower children in North American and the UK and has "brought over 650 schools and school rooms to youth and provided clean water, health care and sanitation to one million people around the world, freeing children and their families from the cycle of poverty."
Also, the people who founded Me to We, Marc and Craig Kielburger, are excellent examples of people who see a real need in society, have a vision, work to build it and are successful financially AND in making the world a better place by changing people's lives. Seriously. Let these guys be an example to motivate you and help you accomplish your goals and dreams!!!
Check out their website, look into their books and get ready to be inspired. Then take that inspiration and do something amazing and good.
Monday, October 17, 2011
Are you experiencing coughing and chest tightness now that we are in the season of Autumn? If your lungs seem less-than-happy, try eating natural foods that are specifically good for healthy lung functioning, such as lotus root. Lotus root is a root vegetable that has a mild sweet flavor and crunchy texture when lightly cooked. It is great for drawing mucus out of the body and helps your lungs feel happy and healthy.
A few weeks ago I felt congested because I had been eating more bread than usual. I had been staying away from those things for a little while and eating lots of vegetables, whole grains and soups to help remedy my symptoms, but I still did not feel 100% better. I decided to make some Lotus Root Miso Soup and after eating it a few times, I felt like myself again within two days! I could breathe normally, my chest felt relaxed and I stopped coughing.
Lotus root is not just good in soups, it can be used in stir fries, cooked with rice or beans or cut into big chunks and cooked in a stew. I bought myself dried lotus root online and soaked it for 1/2 an hour before cooking it in my soup. You can use fresh or dried for this recipe. Here is the recipe I used, but feel free to substitute or add in any vegetables you like:
- 2 cups filtered water
- 1 stamp sized piece of kombu seaweed
- organic barley miso
- 2 stalks of scallions
- 15 slices of dried and soaked lotus root
- 1 carrot
- Rinse the piece of kombu and place it in a pot with the water. Bring to a boil.
- Slice carrot in thin diagonal slices and slice scallions in 2 inch diagonal slices.
- Once the water is boiling, place the lotus root slices into the water. Let it cook for 12 -15 minutes.
- Add carrot slices to boiling water and let cook for 5-7 minutes or until the carrot slices are soft. Turn the stove to simmer.
- Scoop 1 tablespoon of miso into a ladle and dissolve the miso. Taste the soup and add more miso to taste. Add scallions.
- Serve the hot soup in individual bowls, sit and relax. Enjoy the soup and appreciate how you are honoring your body by eating something healing, that is made with love.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
I know it might seem silly to be excited about deodorant, but this one works so well and smells amazing- plus it's all natural and does not contain any aluminum!
Now that we know that much of what we put on our skin gets absorbed through our pores and goes directly into the bloodstream, it becomes more import to make healthy choices about body care products. Using chemical deodorant may not seem like a big deal, but people are exposed to small amounts of toxins on their skin 50 times a day or more - considering how often a person uses hand soaps, shampoos, conditioners, hair styling products, toothpaste, moisturizers, cosmetics, etc. Add that up with environmental toxins and a lifetime of exposure, and that's a lot of toxicity!
Taking small steps to lessen toxic chemical exposure can make you have a healthier, happier home, family and life. It can also be an opportunity to creatively find solutions, like making your own body care products and mindfully consuming less, which is good for you wallet and for the environment.
You can find Home Health Roll On Deodorant in Herbal Scent in natural food stores, or easily online. I ordered mine in bulk from LuckyVitamin.com This website is great because if you order in bulk, you get a better discount.
Home Health Deodorant
Monday, September 26, 2011
- For a longer lasting natural way to freshen your bathroom and even your whole home, there are a few simple things you can do. First, open all of the windows in your home. This will help to bring fresh air in and move old stale air out.
- Next, get your hands on a diffuser and some essential oils. This is my favorite way to refresh a room. It also helps to create an enjoyable mood and can help people to feel relaxed, invigorated or balanced. Fill the top of the diffuser with a few tablespoons of water and then drop one type or a combination of essential oils in the water. Put up to 20 drops or so of essential oil. Then, put a tea light candle in the bottom of the diffuser and light it. Place the diffuser on a stable surface, away from an edge or where children can reach it. As the candle heats up the essential oils, the wonderful scent of the oils will waft throughout your home.
You can find the [affordable] diffuser pictured above here, Beautiful Diffuser
Not sure which essential oils to try in your home? Choose Your Mood
Here are more options for natural ways to freshen your home, Freshen Air Naturally
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Remember apples and peanut butter from your childhood? Well, here is a fun updated version. I was inspired to make this while I was craving sweets and thinking of the common combos, apples & peanut butter and apples & honey. Put them together, and this is what you get- a macro alternative to both! This recipe is fast, easy and delicious, and kids and adults will like it. After I made it I thought of McDonald's Apple Dippers (sliced apple with caramel dipping sauce). Trust me, this one is way more satisfying and totally healthy.
organic smooth peanut butter
organic brown rice syrup
2 drops of umeboshi vinegar
a tiny bit of water
- Mix together 2 large Tablespoons of peanut butter with equal parts of rice syrup and the ume vinegar.
- Add in a tiny bit of water to smooth out the consistency and keep stirring. Continue to add water and stir until you have the desired consistency.
- Wash and cut apple into slices.
- Serve the sauce with a spoon and spoon over apple slices. Enjoy the deliciousness. Yum.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Tote your cosmetics in this cute, stylish and water resistant recycled purse from Engage Green. It is lined with cloth inside and is durably constructed to survive living in your purse. I bring mine everywhere with me, since it is spacious enough to hold a lot or a little. Check out this purse and a variety of other eco-accessories at http://www.engagegreen.com/
Monday, September 5, 2011
Many people light candles to help set a relaxing mood, to use in a diffuser, or to commemorate special holidays and events. If you are someone who uses candles in your home on a regular basis, it's a great idea to look into buying a non-toxic kind. Often times, the wax in candles can be made of paraffin, which when burned, can give off poisonous fumes which pollute the air and harm your lungs. Buying beeswax candles can be great because they are non-toxic, but can also prove to be expensive.
I was recently on a mission to find myself some affordable tea lights, since I use candles in my home on a weekly basis. Everywhere I looked I found cheap toxic candles, and not many alternatives. On a routine trip to Whole Foods, I stumbled upon a very affordable and totally toxin-free box of unscented tea lights at a great price. I was so happy after all that searching, I snatched up 3 boxes! Now I use my good-for-me-and-the-planet candles every week in peace- knowing that they are not harming me or my roommates or guests. I am so happy about my new find, I wanted to share it with everyone. So, if you are in the market for tea lights and want to create a healthy and happy home, try out these babies! If you really want to stock up on these because you use them often, you can get them for as low as $48.00 for a case of 400.
Feel good about the products you use in your home around your family. Have peace of mind that you are buying products that will only lead to bringing greater health and happiness to your loved ones. Even though a product like this is more expensive initially that what you might be used to using, you are investing in your family's well-being for the future.
Happy candle burning!
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Finally- an upcoming fair trade fashion event in NYC to attend! This is going to be one awesome night full of shopping, education and celebration.
A bunch of unique designers and retailers will be showing off their sustainable styles. Anything you purchase at (Sustainable) Fashion's Night Out is something you can continuously feel good about every time you wear it.
Get ready to be inspired by noble causes, beautiful art, and incredible people. Then go home and do something with your inspiration. Inspiration is only worth something if you put it into action.
(Sustainable) Fashion's Night Out
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Textile Art's Center
26 West 8th Street
6:00 - 10:00 pm
Hope to see you there!
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Switching to using cloth napkins has been in my mind for a while, but has not been something I have been able to do, since I have been traveling. But, now that I am (hopefully) staying in one place for a while, I will be able to enjoy my new napkins and feel good about not creating a lot of unnecessary waste from paper napkins.
I recently scored my colorful, hand printed fair trade napkins at the eco-boutique, Sustainable NYC, but if you don't live in New York, you can find cloth napkins at any home store. Also, if you want to take your eco-commitment up a notch, you can find organic and fair trade varieties online, in many colors and prints.
Check out this website for the classic striped variety above, which are 40% organic cotton:
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Mop your floors in a few enjoyable minutes with the Rubbermaid Reveal Spray Mop. A good friend of mine excitedly told me about this awesome mop. It is durable and lightweight and has a reusable microfiber pad that you can toss into your washing machine when it gets dirty. No more disposable pads- more over Swiffer!
It also picks up 50% more dirt and dust than regular mops. The mop has a refillable spray bottle so you can make your own all-natural cleaning solution or use plain hot water. This is especially important if you walk around your house barefoot or have small children crawling around on your floors, since using chemical cleaners can leave a residue of chemicals. I like to use a solution of hot water and white vinegar for cleaning floors, but if you want to really get it clean, you can dilute some Dr. Bronner's with water and spray away!
Check it out online:
Rubbermaid Reveal Mop
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
For another way to be eco-fashion conscious- Go Vintage! For some reason, I forgot about this easy and often times affordable way to be stylin' and green. I used to be really into wearing a lot of thrift and vintage pieces when I was in high school and got into swing dancing. Part of the fun of going out was getting dressed up in fun finds from the vintage stores.
Walking around Park Slope in Brooklyn, I stumbled upon this very cute, crazy store, Odd Twin. The dramatic and interesting window display definitely caught my attention- if you walk by, you will know what I mean. The person behind these displays is very creative, has a great eye for color & style, and knows how to make you want to walk in the front door. Plus, every time I walk by- they have a new display! I love it.
Enough about the display, time to move onto the clothing. Ok, seriously everything I tried on in this store was seriously fabulous. It's not just another vintage shop, the owner (and buyer) really knows what she's doing! She selects very stylish, colorful and artfully designed vintage pieces in good condition. You won't have to hunt for the good stuff, because the entire store is filled with it! The sizing is also very good. Most of the stuff I tried on fit me very well and I ended up scoring 2 very adorable, unique dresses.
Besides being eco-friendly, vintage fashions are oftentimes more modestly cut than more contemporary clothing, so if you like cute blousey tops, 3/4 sleeves, little jackets and over-the-knee skirts and dresses, you are sure to find it here. Plus buying vintage also means you won't show up to a social gathering wearing the same dress as that girl...oops!
All in all, I am loving vintage again. The best part about it- it never goes out of style. Thanks for the reminder of how stylish and eco vintage can be Odd Twin!
Check them out online, or better yet, in person.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
In summertime, I find an array of super sweet, sugary cold drinks, fruit juices, and caffeinated iced teas and coffees that are easy to access but leave me with a serious case of the blahs. To keep me feeling cool and energetic, I love creating my own concoctions of tasty beverages, one of which, is kukicha tea.
Kukicha tea is rich in minerals like zinc, selenium, copper and manganese. It also contains vitamins A, C, B1, B2, niacin, theanine, flavonoids and amino acids. It also contains catechins, which act as powerful antioxidants, that minimize the effect of free radicals before they have a chance to damage other cells. Kukicha tea also helps to alkalize the body, which helps to prevent disease. Pretty great, right?
An easy way to make this tea is to boil a pot of water, tear off the tea bag paper labels and toss the tea bags into the pot. Bring the water with tea bags to a boil and then simmer for 5-10 minutes, depending on the strength of tea you like. Eden Foods brand has an excellent organic and kosher kind of kukicha tea. I take the individual bags to work with me and make myself a cup every morning. This tea can be enjoyed hot or cool.
For variety, try mixing 1/2 cool tea and 1/2 organic apple juice with a squeeze of lemon. It's a nice pick-me-up. Experiment with different combos of kukicha and other beverages, and don't forget a fun garnish. Enjoy!
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Even though this sounds serious and scary, it doesn't mean there isn't a great alternative to those pesky plastics! Queue: Kleen Kanteen. This water bottle is totally BPA-free, made from high quality, food-grade stainless steel, and is super sturdy. The have a variety of sizes, colors, different tops for convenience and they even have kids sizes. I bought my Kleen Kanteen at the San Francisco Green Festival years ago, and have been loving it ever since. I seriously recommend you get yourself one if you are still drinking from plastics.
Check out Kleen Kanteen online or at your local natural food store:
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
I know there is so much out there in the world right now that needs our attention- from just taking care of our own needs, to the needs of our family, friends, and our communities. Finding extra time to put into thinking about the world outside of our immediate bubble can seem impractical at times. But, when we do have time, finding a wonderful worth-while cause and working with incredible, caring, good people is a great way to go.
My cause right now is the NYC Fair Trade Coalition. They are awesome. These people volunteer their time, energy and care into helping all kinds of people all over the world. They help others provide for themselves and their loved ones by creating opportunities for fair labor and fair wages, which is a great cause and one that truly makes an impact on the quality of people's lives.
We, the general American public, buy goods on a daily basis- so why not get good quality, stylish products that help make the world better and support good values?
I recently attended a networking event with the United Students for Fair Trade and the NYC Fair Trade Coalition. It was great! It was at this eco-boutique, Sustainable NYC. They have a good range of home products, clothing, jewelry, and natural body care products. They also have a cute little eco-cafe!
Along with meeting some cool, nice and ambitious people, I also found out more info about this very exciting fair trade fashion event, Fair Trade Fashion's Night Out. This event is scheduled for September 8, 2011, so mark your calendar's people! This is going to be a night to remember! I will keep you posted as the planing for this event evolves. Can't wait!
Think about what you are passionate about. Find a little time to volunteer somewhere that you feel genuinely helps people and does good. Get involved.
Check out more info on NYC Fair Trade Coalition:
Friday, July 1, 2011
Sorry for the lack of posts, since my move to NYC things have been hectic, to put it mildly. Anyway, I am back and excited to share some super awesome eco info with you, and I am starting with my new favorite restaurant. I am gonna go all out and say that I think this is the BEST RESTAURANT in NYC! No, really.
So, you may have heard of it, especially the macros out there, but I think it is still worth talking about. Ozu Restaurant is macrobiotic, kosher and just plain awesome. Their menu has a wide selection os tastly and well balanced fare. My favorite thing to order right now, that is great for the summer season and oh-so-relaxing after a stressful week of work is the ZARU SOBA GOMOKU, which is cold soba topped with tofu, fried tempeh, cucumbers, bean sprouts, louts root, shiitake, and kombu, served with dumpling sauce on the side. It is awesome.
Also, I am a big fan of desserts, especially kanten- and Ozu's fruit kanten is by far the best I have had in NYC restaurants.
Along with delicious and well-balanced food, they also provide excellent customer service. Ozu's servers are very friendly, helpful and will tell you what they like best on the menu if you ask. All in all, I recommend this place to anyone who likes fresh, healthy, balanced meals, a clean, cozy atmosphere and friendly, good service. Check them out online and check them out in person!
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Spring tulip after rainfall in Massachusetts
One of my favorite things about the season of Spring is getting to change the kinds of foods I eat to light, fun and refreshing! Spring is a time of upward rising energy, which means time to eat more foods that grow upwards out of the ground. Some really wonderful foods to emphasize in our Springtime cooking are:
- leafy green vegetables like kale, Chinese cabbage, collard greens, scallions, parsley, bok choy, sprouts, and dandelion greens
- sour tasting foods like sour green apple or lemon - help stimulate the liver to cleanse the body
- sweet foods - help relax the liver if it is too contracted, i.e. you are are feeling too contracted and need to mellow out
Having these things in mind while cooking will aid our bodies in doing some internal "spring cleaning" and will also help us lighten up in this new season.
Another Springtime tulip in Massachusetts
Some ideas for Spring Cooking are:
- Grain Salad with lightly sauteed colored vegetables, seasoned with some olive oil, sea salt and fresh lemon juice - this is a fun idea to jazz up your usual grain dish with bright colors and fresh flavors
- Corn on the Cob - lightly steam it for a few minutes and serve with a schmear of umeboshi paste, this brings out the sweetness even more, yum!
- Light Pressed Salad - choose a juicy vegetable like crisp cucumber, finely chop some bright purple cabbage or carrot and even add some sliced green apple. Sprinkle with sea salt and press with a weight for a few minutes. Rinse, then serve with an optional sprinkle of vinegar and sesame seeds.
- Fresh Fruit Kanten- the most delicious way to relax, cool off and get yourself into a good mood. This is my all time favorite dessert.
Green Apple Kanten
I have been having fun making different types of kanten, and the two that I liked the best were Green Apple Kanten and Raspberry Peach Kanten. Check out this recipe I made:
Raspberry Peach Kanten Cups
2 cups peach juice
1/4 cup cold peach juice
3/4 cup fresh of frozen raspberries
1 flat Tablespoon agar flakes
1 flat Tablespoon kuzu
pinch of sea salt
- Put 2 cups of juice, salt and agar into a pot on the stove. Bring the pot to a boil while continuously stirring.
- Once the liquid comes to a boil, continue stirring and simmer on low. Keep stirring until the agar flakes dissolve.
- Dissolve the kuzu in 1/4 cup of cold peach juice by mixing it together in a small cup or bowl.
- Pour kuzu juice mixture and frozen raspberries into the simmering pot of liquid. Continue stirring until the liquid becomes translucent, this should only take a couple minutes.
- Take the pot off of the stove and spoon liquid into individual serving cups. Let stand on the counter at room temperature or put them into the refrigerator to firm up.
- Once the kanten has become firm it is ready to serve. Enjoy!
Monday, May 23, 2011
Glendale Falls in Middlefield, Massachusetts
So my eco-challenge is coming to an end, but it doesn't mean I will stop doing some of the things I have become aware of and changed.
I realized how I am often surrounded by people who don't care about the environment with the same passion as I do. That was very difficult for me, because I felt like some of the people I hang around with think I am weird enough for eating organic, whole foods and caring about my health. It definitely made it more challenging, but it also helped me to remember that I care about my opinion of myself and the environment more than I care about other people thinking I am an extreme tree-hugger.
For many people, it is easy to look the other way or to think that one piece of trash won't make a difference. But it does. I used to be one of those people, but once I experienced the breathtaking beauty of nature, I changed. I had to change, because I knew that if I kept my bad habits of being wasteful and apathetic, I was personally contributing to the denigration of nature and the health of the planet, the people around me and myself.
After traveling to some beautiful places in the world, I saw the natural beauty that existed and I had to do all I could to make sure it was still there in the future.
But deciding YOU care doesn't mean you have to make-over your whole life and become a recycling obsessed extremist who spends all day protesting.
The best way to make any lasting real change in your life is to do it very slowly, one step at a time. So start small, with something like always bringing a reusable water bottle with you where ever you go. Or keep reusable shopping bags in your car so if you need to shop, they are ready and waiting for you!
Remember that every little thing you do does add up. Every person you share with about your commitment to the environment is a possibility for you to inspire someone new. Every time you do something good, you are changing the world in ways you can't even begin to imagine. So keep going and keep trying. We will get there!
Lake Champlain in Burlington, Vermont
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Degenerative diseases have taken over the world. More people than ever have serious health conditions like diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Half of the American population takes at least one prescription drug. The majority of Americans are overweight.
This film examines the claim that most of these diseases can be controlled or reversed by eating a whole foods plant based diet. It is about time a movie like this came out!
Doctors T. Colin Campbell and Caldwell Esselstyn conduct and examine the research and show us that food really can be our best medicine. Anyone who cares about health and living a good quality life should definitely see this one!
Watch the official trailer and get more info here:
Monday, May 16, 2011
This eco-challenge is seriously difficult. I guess I picked a bad time to take on this challenge, because I have been celebrating holidays in the last few weeks, which means I have been walking all over the place, going to different people's homes to eat meals. I have also been cooking at other people's homes a lot, so that has made it difficult to not use an aluminum baking pan when all the other pots or pans are being used, or to not drink from a plastic water bottle or plastic cup, since that's what everyone grabs easily.
One good idea my sister and I came up with that has come about from this challenge is figuring out how to ways to resolve the challenges we come up against with being mindful about wasting.
One thing I thought of was bringing a tiny wash cloth and/or handkerchief in my purse so I can use it when I need to, instead of using paper towels to dry my hands or napkins when I eat somewhere or while I am at work. This might sound strange, but actually, in Japan is has been the norm for years! The best thing about this is that the way the Japanese do it is so cute and fashionable. Often in Japan, paper towels or hand dryers are not provided in public restrooms, so many people just bring a cute mini towel in their purses.
Here is one place to get some super soft organic wash cloths:
One really good life lesson I have learned from all of this is that even if I am in a situation where I can't do what is ultimately best for the environment, it does not mean I have to give up and let the whole eco-challenge go out the window. I think for many people, myself included, sometimes when life gets busy with balancing work, home, school, friends, spirituality, health, etc., it's easy and common for us to forget about or lose track of the things we care about. Every week I am in a situation where I am faced with using disposables, throwing away plastic cups, paper napkins or plastic food bags. I recognize that I just have to try to make the best choice possible and know that what I am doing is important to me, so I can't give up or stop trying. Hopefully, I have a lifetime of making these kinds of choices and every choice I make that is good really does make a difference.
In a way it is like making any life change, like changing your diet for example. Just because I fall off of the wagon once and eat a box of donuts isn't the end of the world. I just need to pick myself up and try to make the next thing that goes into my mouth healthy.
Sometimes those simple sayings in life really are the most valuable:
"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."
With that being said, I will leave you with a few of my favorite inspirational quotes:
"If you really want something you can figure out how to make it happen." -Cher
'In a gentle way, you can shake the world." -Mohandas Gandhi
"Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine." -Lord Byron
"If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one." -Mother Teresa
"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion." -Dalai Lama
Thursday, May 12, 2011
I just HAVE to write about H & M's new Conscious Collection, I am so excited! Eco-fashion going mainstream and being easily accessible by so many people, while also being affordable is so beyond awesome. Not only are the designs for this collection super cute, they are white, which make them perfect for the new Spring and Summertime weather. This collection uses recycled fabrics, organic cotton, and tencel. Tencel is a natural and renewable resource.
Here is a cute perfect-for-spring top I got:
Many of their pieces from this collections are very versatile. You can layer tops like this one with other more relaxed slouchy pieces for a comfortable chic look, or pair it with a more structured cardigan or jacket and statement jewelry for a more polished-put-together look.
H & M has put together a whole website all about their Conscious Collection, which includes information about corporate responsibility, a 2009 Sustainability Report, and information about them using greener goods. I love it.
You can check it out here:
You can read more about H & M and shop there from their website:
H & M's Conscious Collection
Monday, May 9, 2011
The best thing about Credo is that they donate 1% of all charges to progressive nonprofits like Human Rights Watch, Democracy Now!, and the Rainforest Action Network. Since 1985 they have donated over $65 million to nonprofits like Doctors Without Borders and Planned Parenthood. They've done too much good for me to list, so instead, you can check it all out HERE.
Credo mobile also gives you the option to buy a completely refurbished phone (see picture above). This means that some of the parts of the phone are recycled and the phone is being reused, which keeps phones from going into landfills. I like my new phone and I like that I can make choices that help make the planet just a little bit greener.
Check out the list of nonprofits Credo supports:
Check the Credo website:
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Good hygiene is important and so is caring about the environment. Why compromise? Support both with Eco-dent Gentle Floss.
Eco-dent is a vegan floss that is waxed using rice bran, instead of bees wax. It is made out of nylon instead of silk, which can involve toxic chemical sterilization and could involve child labor. What makes this floss so clean and green is that it is 100 yards per package (which is up to 300% more floss than other brands, and the packaging is plastic-free - they only use cardboard packaging which is recyclable and biodegradable.) Gotta love it! I have been using it everyday for years and my teeth and conscience are happy.
You can buy Eco-Dent at your local natural food store or online.
Monday, May 2, 2011
One great speaker I heard at Green Festival's Fair Trade Pavillion in San Francisco was Kilian Moote, from the Not For Sale Campaign. They partnered with the International Labor Rights Forum to create this awesome new iPhone/iPod app (I just downloaded) called Free2Work.
This app empowers consumers with information they need to know so they can make educated decisions about what companies and business practices they want to support with their money.
Is buying your favorite candy bar contributing to child slave labor?
Is the underwear you are wearing right now made by people who are paid a living wage to support their families?
Well, now you can find out about these things and more by downloading the app or even just checking out the website.
One really cool thing that Killian spoke about is that through creating Free2Work, their goal is not to point out everything wrong with a company, but rather to help companies put into place a system for addressing problems so that they can make improvements for workers and the environment. Through increasing company transparency, accountability and empowering workers, we can create safe, healthy and fair working conditions for people.
Check these websites:
Not for Sale Campaign Website
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
So, if one roll of paper towels equals about 1 tree (according to online sources), then I saved 1/3 of a tree on Wednesday!