Monday, September 5, 2011

Green info and coupons!

Recycle Bank is a great website. They give you information about being greener and you accumulate points for reading the short infomation. In return for the points, you can get great coupons for restaurants, groceries, and other goods.  If they have Recyclebank in your area, they will even give you points for recycling! I have earned points in other ways, like recycling electronics and buying a specific box of Kashi cereal with a code inside.

Check it out:  

Right now, they have a 'Green Your School Challenge' and they are giving tons of prizes and points away.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Would you like to lie down in a bed of chemicals?

When I think about putting sheets on our beds, buying organic is a no-brainer for me. Why? We spend about 1/3 of our lives in bed and during all of that time, I want my family to be touching material that is not overly processed, has no pesticides, no insecticides, no herbicides and no bleach. Of course, buying organic is not always an option, so using sheets that have been washed many times can be a cheaper option.

Photo property of

So, when you have these sheets that have been repeatedly washed or organic, the last think you want to do is use toxic detergent to clean them (this kinda defeats the purpose of organic in the first place). Not only do eco-friendly washing options leave clothes cleaner (they don't use chemicals to "clean" them like conventional cleaners do), they are also better for the environment (they don't have phosphates, which harm water sources) and better for us (they don't contain endocrine disruptors and chlorine bleach).  Check out a review of some of the green detergents out there.

I have also been asked what I thought of bamboo sheets and towels.  This seems like an easy one because bamboo is sustainable (resource that renews at a rate equal to or greater than the rate at which it is consumed).  The problem is, that bamboo starts out in a wood-like form (do you ever see "pine sheets" or "oak towels"?) and in order to make it soft and fluffy, tons and tons of chemicals are needed. The processing of bamboo into cloth is so hard on the environment that you might as well save your money and buy conventional sheets.

Photo property of

As far as organic clothing goes, it is a good thing for so many reasons, but it is still somewhat pricey.  If you can afford it, yeah. If not, buy secondhand.  You are keeping clothes out of the landfill, they are cheaper and someone else has already gotten many of the chemicals out of the clothes with their washer. Just think twice before you buy a new t-shirt (that single shirt uses a third of a pound of pesticides and fertilizers).

Basically you should consider organic cotton for anything that touches your skin (sheets, clothes, cotton balls, diapers, maxi pads, tampons, towels, etc.) the other organic cotton offerings such as pillows or curtains or even sneakers are good for the earth and should be considered as well.  Many large retailers carry an assortment of organic cotton items to choose from. Happy Shopping!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Could I have a side of BPA with that, please?

Unfortunately for our fetuses, infants and children, bisphenol A, or BPA is rampant in the environment.

According to wikipedia:
"Bisphenol A is an endocrine disruptor, which can mimic the body's own hormones and may lead to negative health effects.  Early development appears to be the period of greatest sensitivity to its effects."

BPA is said to "affect" the prostate gland, the brain, development of fetuses, infants and children, the development of the mammary glands and accelerates puberty in females. Whoa!! By "affect" they are saying that these parts of the body will not develop normally.  Some studies suggest that exposure can lead to cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, liver enzyme problems, cancer and obesity.
Picture: property of
So, now we need to seek out where BPA is, so we can avoid it.
  • BPA lurks in #7 plastics that are hard and clear (so use glass or stainless steel or plastic that is specifically "BPA-free").
  • It is in the linings of canned food (fruits, veggies, beans, soup, tomato sauce, gravy), so buy fresh or frozen or dried beans or cans made by Eden Organic or Wild Planet.  These two brands do NOT put BPA in the linings of their cans.
  • It is also in the linings of canned beverages like Coke, V8 juice or beer.
  • It is on many of the store and restaurant receipts that we get, so put it away and wash your hands immediately.
  • The 5 gallon water bottles that are in many waiting rooms also contain BPA, so bring your own water.
This is one of those times when the media is not helping us, by saying that BPA is safe, so lets take this matter into our own hands and avoid it. Your kids and other small children in your life will be thankful when they are old and healthy.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Cover your mouth!

When my kids were sick last month, they were coughing.  During the day, the coughing was bearable if I kept them hydrated, but when they got into bed at night, the coughing really gets started.  I knew that Triaminic and other over-the-counter cough syrups were toxic. If you don't think it is toxic, read the ingredients and two pages of warning labels. The ingredients include: citric acid, edetate disodium, FD&C blue #1, FD&C red #40, flavors, glycerin, polyethylene glycol, purified water, sodium benzoate, sodium citrate, sorbitol, sucrose. Yuk!

So, I tried honey. It does work for about an hour and if they are not already asleep, they have a hard time getting there. (Keep in mind that my kids are over the age of 1, so honey is safe.)
Then, I was offered to try Boiron's Children's Chestal w/ honey (homeopathic cough syrup).  WOW, it actually works! Not only did both kids like the taste of it, they willingly took the meds.  When they were coughing hard, they took the liquid meds and within 20 minutes, the coughing all but stopped. I couldn't believe it!

Knowing that I can give my kids medicine that works and is not toxic is super. I always felt guilty about letting them cough.

Not only is homeopathy a good solution for what ails you (because it is based specifically on you) but Boiron is a good company because they continually replenish the plants that they use and actually care about and try to protect the environment.

According to
"Homeopathy is safe, effective, affordable, non-habit forming and comprehensive. It can be applied to both acute and chronic health problems with mental, emotional and physical symptoms. It is easily adaptable for self-care."

Sounds like a better option than all the carcinogenic meds on the shelves today...
(By the way, if you want to purchase this item, check here.)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sneakin' it in...

My kids are like many kids in that they do not like to eat their vegetables, anything green or fish of any type.  So, I have to sneak in veggies or give them more vitamins.  Or both.

I am grateful for the Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food by Jessica Seinfield and for the fact that organic baby food goes on sale often.  I buy baby food so that I can sneak it into macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, brownies, casseroles, smoothies, scrambled eggs, pancakes, cakes, muffins and pretty much anything that is mixed or starts out runny.  The key to the mixing is to combine colors (use an orange veggie for macaroni, not a purple or green one) and combine like flavors (if the dish is sweet, use sweet veggies like squash or sweet potatoes).  They are used to seeing the jars around when I cook and so far they have not vetoed them!

My kids have been taking a The 365 Kids Chewable multi vitamin for awhile and it has no artificial anything. I love it. Which is great, but it does not have fish oils or enough Vitamin D for the winter months (It should be about 1000iu.)  I found one that does. It is NutraSea for Kids and they have it at Whole Foods, The Vitamin Shoppe or online. It is a liquid, so I can mix it with their milk or juice or yogurt.  The only draw back is that it is a little pricey.  I justify that by thinking that it is cheaper than a co-pay if the kids don't take Vitamin D and get sick.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Save some green to buy more green.

People constantly comment to me that buying green is pricey. I agree, but you need to know the tricks and then it is not such a burden on the wallet.  Coupons are my favorite. The catch is if you use a coupon for an item that you may not use, it is not a good deal. I try to have coupons for most of the brand name items that I buy (the rest, I buy generic. Almost every store has a store brand organic.)  Here are some sites that have printable coupons.   Check this every other month for different coupons. Don't shy away from whole foods coupons, you can use them at Publix. These coupons change regularly and yes, you can use them at Publix too!   These change every week, so check back.  There is a print limit, so don't print them all at once. Their coupons are all natural and organic, you can print them from the site.  She has links to tons of coupon sites that may have organic or natural coupons.  These coupons expire quickly (2 weeks or so), so only print the ones that you’ll use soon. They also have a print limit, so print them sparingly. They usually have a coupon for regular batteries and rechargeable.  Using rechargeable is not only green, but it saves you green.  I have charged my batteries so many times and I can't remember the last time I bought alkaline.

Now go save some green, while you are saving the planet.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Can I recycle this?

Recycling can be a tricky job. Do you have to remove tops or not? Can the tops be recycled? What about recycling batteries, metal hangers and wine corks?  Luckily there is a wealth of information out there.

Most cities or garbage companies only take plastics #1 and #2. So, what do you do with the rest?  If it is a #5, you can bring it to Whole Foods.  Whole Foods will take the plastics, give it to recycling and they will make cool bags and other gear out of it.  They also recycle wine corks, so don't throw those corks away after you drink some vino! (Or of course you could compost the corks if you are feeling really ambitious.)

Check with your recycling program, because you may have to remove the tops from containers and set them aside. You can recycle them, maybe not with your garbage company but with Aveda. They collect plastic bottle caps to make new plastic bottles. Check on their website for the rules.

By far, the most helpful website is Earth911. Right there on their home page, you can type in the item in question and your area and it will tell you where to go. This is terribly helpful when you want to recycle something like batteries and don't know where to go.  (Hint-most Batteries Plus stores take them.)

Wire hangers continually pile up in our closet and they are so annoying.  My first instinct is to recycle them, but reusing them is much more environmentally friendly. Our dry-cleaner gladly takes any hanger, regardless of the color, and I am glad to give them away. If you can't give 'em away, check out earth911 for recycling centers.

If in doubt, check with your garbage company or your city recycling center.  Many recycling centers will take many things that they do not pick up in the curbside bins. The garbage company may even have special days that they recycle big items, so check their website or call.

Before you toss it, check with your resources or ask around, there is probably a place that will take it (either for recycling or reusing.).