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Plastic Purge Offer Tips On Avoiding Plastics

April 19, 2014

In a brand new book, you can learn why it’s necessary to purge plastic from your life – not only for the health of the planet, but for your health, as well. Plastic Purge highlights the most important things you need to know on why plastic isn’t always good (it’s not always bad, either) and simple ways to choose plastic-free items.

In 200 pages, Michael SanClements manages to cover the history of plastics, the degradation of the planet due to plastics, and how to keep them from harming your health. It’s done in a light hearted and super easy to understand way, so that anyone new to wondering how to possibly reduce their plastic consumption can quickly and easily discover the ins and outs of such an overwhelming topic.

Inspired by a Grist.com article that SanClements wrote, in which he tried to avoid plastics for 2 weeks, Plastic Purge takes a bit more of a lengthy approach as to how and why plastics are bad for our health. The first 100 pages are a glimpse into the history of plastics - how they were invented, why and how they’re made. It’s not boring (it could be), and there’s even some real-life drama in there, such as a chapter on Tupperware and how the owner of the company unceremoniously and cruelly ditched the woman who single handedly made him a millionaire.

Plastics were never happily embraced when they were first introduced, but mega-million dollar ad campaigns pushed them into American’s lives – and pocketbooks – and now we have a country obsessed with throw-away plastic items in all shapes and forms.

The second half of the book is the most important, to me. It actually has real life examples and products that will help you ditch the plastics that often come with health risks and choose healthier and more eco-friendly choices instead. I’ve written about all of these health-related ideas in my own book, The Everything Guide to a Healthy Home, so it is definitely good to see this information in a book solely focused on plastic consumption because it is vitally important to get this stuff out of your house and out of your lives!

I am seriously impressed that SanClements repeatedly makes the point that BPA-free plastics DO NOT equal no worries with plastic. As he points out, the alternatives to BPA could be even worse than BPA itself. He also shares the knowledge that BPA on store receipts is in far higher quantities than you could ever expect in your food – 250 to 1,000 times higher. That’s scary and that’s info you need to know!

If you’re concerned about plastics, either for the health of our planet or your own family’s health, this is a great primer to read to get an idea of what to do and easy ways to do it.

Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder Review

April 18, 2014

Organic Matcha BagI have been scared of matcha for a very long time. Seriously. There’s just something about this super strength green tea powder that made me think that it would taste horrible and have be bouncing off the walls for days on end. Then Kiss Me Organics contacted me about trying some of their organic matcha powder. I agreed. I don’t know why.

I’m so glad that I did!

Perhaps it was the claims of better skin, increased fat burning, all day energy, and massive amounts of antioxidants without all the pills. I need all these things. Now.

So I started scrolling through the fabulous e-book of matcha recipes that Kiss Me Organics provides with your order. There are over 50 recipes in this easy to read book – and they all sound good! I was kind of surprised, actually. I expected weird recipes without much taste, but the cookbook offers brownie recipes, cocktail recipes using Kahlua or champagne, main meals, smoothies and more.

Why would I even want to make a recipe with matcha? There are SO many health benefits that could possibly be found in this powder made from ground green tea leaves. Matcha is made from tea leaves grown in the shade, so they have a darker green color, which imparts more antioxidants. While matcha is made from green tea leaves, don’t compare it to just a cup of green tea. This is different - and much more powerful!

Matcha with Blender

According to Kiss Me Organics, one glass of matcha is equal to 10 glasses of green tea. And matcha has 137 times more EGCG, the antioxidant that helps with short and long term memory. I can’t be the only person who needs help there, can I?!

Even better, matcha offers up to four times more fat burning power to your diet. That’s a huge increase in fat burning!

So, in addition to calming you down while giving you sustained natural energy, matcha has a lot of other positive, proven health benefits going for it. Which is why I decided to make myself a matcha cocktail and put it to the test.

Matcha Orange CocktailI tried the Matcha Orange Cocktail, one of the first recipes in the book. Ingredients were simple – just matcha, sugar, water and orange juice.

Mixing up the cocktail, the green color of the matcha put me a little ill at ease, since they color is not often associated with pleasant tastes. But I forged ahead. Super easy to make, I was soon hesitantly sipping the green and orange drink.

I was surprised, though, that the drink was actually quite good!  No terrible earthy tastes to have to deal with just for the sake of nutrition. It was good – and I can imagine the other recipes will be good, too.

Now, keep in mind, there was plenty of sugar from the orange juice and table sugar to balance the taste of the matcha, but you can adjust to whatever suits your mood or needs.

How did I feel? I did feel more energized and more focused. Can’t speak to weight loss or sustained energy and better skin as of yet, but the thought of just 1/2 tsp. of a not-so-bad-tasting powder that can be added to just about anything I make for better health is a good thing!

Have you tried matcha? What did you think??

 

 

Win Weleda Products With Kabinet

April 17, 2014

weleda_twitter

I recently wrote about the chance to look inside my medicine cabinet through the new website, Kabinet.

Well, if that wasn’t a good enough reason to check out the new website, this is. You can win a FREE Weleda product just by adding it to your wishlist.

That’s right. Just visit the site. Click on the heart which “wishlists” what you’d like to try from Weleda, and sign up for a free account while you’re there. A total of 35 products will be given away by April 28, and you could be one of the winners!

I’ve written about Weleda many times before, and really like their products! In fact, their lotion is currently in my medicine cabinet – which you can find on Kabinet.com.

 

Jezebel Decadent Artisan Soaps – Natural and Sassy!

April 16, 2014

SoapsWith a name like Jezebel, you expect some sort of sassiness. Looking at the half-clothed women decorating the artisan body care products, you’ll soon realize that’s just what you get!

Jezebel Soaps is a young and fresh take on creating all natural soaps and body care products that are good for you. Turning its back on the traditional leaf and flower prints of most made-from-nature products, Jezebel Soaps harkens back to the days of burlesque and dares to create packaging with images of seriously sexy women.

As Kara Muller, founder of Jezebel Soaps, said, “My burlesque, risqué packaging is much more than a fun marketing ploy – it reflects my attitude towards my products. I truly believe that handcrafted soaps made from simple, old-fashioned ingredients make sexy and luxurious skin care products.” Indeed.

Body Butter

The body care line, which is just celebrating its first anniversary, takes tried-and-true formulas that have stood the test of time and aims to add a little pizzazz to make them more modern, with the addition of fragrances and specialty ingredients. Castile soaps get a little extra oomph with white clay. Buttermilk bath soaps have sea salt added.

Floozy Bath SoakJezebel’s product line includes soaps, massage oils, buttermilk bath soak, and body butter.  The products come in a variety of fragrances, all made with completely natural oils. Each fragrance is associated with a racy name, including:

Floozy – orange, vanilla and cedar

Harlot – a floral bouquet

Hussy – cedarwood, fir and grapefruit

Strumpet – citrus

Tart – lavender, orange and patchouli

Trollop – Ylang Ylang, patchouli, geranium and sweet orange

I was sent a selection of Jezebel body care products to try. The scents of each product are strong and intoxicating – definitely a bold fragrance that pairs equally well with each name! :) What I liked most was the fact that the ingredient list was small and easy to understand. Everything in these products is simple and natural. The packaging might get your attention first, but the commitment to pure products is likely what you’ll remember.

Products from Jezebel Soaps do NOT contain synthetic fragrances, sulfates, parabens, preservatives, colorants, or palm oils. The products’ sassy packaging is plastic-free and wrapped in recyclable wrappers and containers.

Soap Ingredients

New apothecary soaps – which treat problems such as acne, eczema and psoriasis – might not have the burlesque packaging, but are made with all natural ingredients nonetheless.

Hussy Massage oil

This Canadian line of all natural soaps is a great addition to your own stash of personal care products, but keep in mind that it’s definitely a conversation piece for a gift for a friend!  Think about bridal showers, Valentine’s Day, engagement parties and birthdays. Your friends will be amused, but then thank you for the all natural find!

Save Big on Organics With Bagged Produce

April 15, 2014

Bagged LemonsOrganic fruits and vegetables can be pricey. I am not arguing that. If you find ways to minimize those costs, though, you can score healthy-for-you produce at a fraction of the cost of what you think you might have to spend.

For instance, I’m a big believer in having half of a lemon in a glass of water each morning. It clears out toxins, speeds metabolism, and even my aesthetician just recommended that I do it for clear skin. Lemons are expensive, though. I’ve tried growing them, but a cold snap took out the tree. So it’s off to the supermarket to buy them – at a considerable cost.

Just this week, lemons were on my grocery list. At Whole Foods in Orlando, individual lemons were .69 cents each. That’s .35 cents a morning just for a water additive, but it is improving my health. The cost just didn’t sit right with me, though, especially when I bypassed lemons at Publix, too, because they were 3 for $1.99 – and they weren’t organic.

I was thrilled to see a display at Whole Foods for bagged lemons. I got 10 lemons (a 2 lb. bag) for just $3.99! That’s .39 cents each – a savings of .30 for each lemon. Even better, these are organic lemons, grown by Tomorrow’s Organics and Made in the U.S.A.!

Bagged AvocadoesI was also considering some avocados, too. At 2 for $4 for conventionally grown avocados, and 2 for $5 for organic ones, the price was just a little too steep. I found a bag of organic avocados, though, that brought the price down into doable terrain. Four avocados grown organically in Mexico were $5.99. Still a little steep, but at a cost savings of $1 per organic avocado.

These prices were in effect April 2014 at Whole Foods, Turkey Lake, in Orlando, Florida.

Sugarcane Plates from EcoProducts

April 12, 2014

Disposable plates, bowls, cups and cutlery in the food service business is a big problem in the waste stream. Billions of take-away food containers and serving pieces are tossed every year, without being recycled. EcoProducts is a company striving to change the face of waste in the food service industry by offering sustainable, greener options that work!

I was able to review EcoProducts’ Sugarcane Square Plates. The large plates would be great to serve up an entire meal in a food service buffet, or maybe at a picnic. The plates are similar to a cardboard or paper plate in feel, definitely not plastic-like. I thought that the sugarcane material might mean that liquids and grease would soak right through, but I was wrong.

EcoProducts Plates

 

I put a hot meat and vegetable dish soaked in olive oil on a plate and let it sit for a few minutes before picking it up. I expected the grease or some liquid to have soaked through the bottom, but was seriously surprised to find nothing had leaked through the plate. Even in the course of eating off of the plate for another 10-15 minutes, there was no evidence of any liquid or grease soaking through the plate.

EcoProducts reclaims sugarcane stalks, which are discarded by companies after extracting the juice, and uses the material that would otherwise go to waste to create a sustainable, disposable food service industry product. The sugarcane plates can be composted in food waste composting bins. Freezer and microwave safe, as well as able to handle hot and cold foods, the sugarcane plates are emblazoned with the EcoProducts logo in the center of the plate, promoting a company’s efforts at sustainability by using EcoProducts.

A variety of other food service industry products made from other natural materials are available, as well. Visit EcoProducts website for more information and to promote your commitment to sustainability through food service programs.

 

How to Find Healthy Snacks on a Budget

April 11, 2014

Odwalla Protein BarsI have a confession. While shopping at Target, I was starving. I wanted something quick, and I happened to be right near the registers. I grabbed a Twix candy bar. It was .79 cents.

A little indulgence every now and then isn’t something bad, even a Twix bar. But I grabbed that candy bar as a meal replacement, and I was hungry soon after stuffing my body with tons of not-so-good stuff.

Having healthy snacks available when you need them takes a bit of planning. Doing it on a budget takes a bit of planning, too. But scouring the sales at a grocery market as you walk the aisles can save you big bucks, and plenty of empty calories.

Most people say healthy snacks are too expensive. After paying .79 cents for a Twix bar, I disagree.

At my local Whole Foods, there was a special this week on Odwalla Protein Bars. The power packed granola-type bars came in several flavors, and have 12-14 grams of protein in each one, plus plenty of wholesome ingredients. The price? Just .67 per bar. Cheaper than a candy bar, and will last you longer, too. This was an incredible sale, but it was easy to stock up on several bars to keep on hand for a while.

Kind Bars Almond CoconutAnother favorite of mine is Kind Bars. The nuts and fruit combos are packed with protein and healthy ingredients. The bars typically retail for about $1.79 each, unless you watch for a sale. The Kind Bars are often on sale at Whole Foods and Publix for $1.25 each. These are often my breakfast, so at just .45 cents more than a candy bar and I get an entire meal, not just a snack, it’s well worth the cost. Keep in mind snack sized bagged chips are nearing $1.25, too, without the health benefits.

Beef SticksWhile I’ve never been a fan of beef jerky (Have you seen the ingredients in the stuff?? And the MSG????), I have just discovered the Vermont Smoke and Cure Beef Sticks. They were on top of the beef counter at Whole Foods, and after looking at the ingredients, I thought I’d try one. Totally impressed, I keep on eating more.

I enjoy the BBQ Seasoning Beef Stick (doesn’t have pork like some of the others) that has just a bit of spice, but not tough or chewy like beef jerky. At Whole Foods, the price is $1.99 each. If I ordered them online, it would be $1.25. Again, super healthy, lots of protein, and just a tiny bit more than junk at the registers at a big box store or gas station.

These are just a few suggestions. Obviously, get something that tastes good to you, has a decent shelf life (at least one month, so you can store some away in a purse or desk drawer to have on hand), and watch for sales. Don’t let the bullies tell you that processed foods are so much cheaper than healthy options.