4 Reasons to Leave Your Shoes at the Door

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I didn’t always but, now that I have little ones crawling all over my floor, I ask people to take off their shoes upon entering my home.  Most of the time I feel bad asking that of them, especially if it isn’t their first instinct (I’m working on that). But, the more I learned about why it’s a good idea (as if the fact that those shoes have most likely been in a public bathroom recently isn’t enough), the more I felt confident in my request.  Below, see my top 4 reasons to remove your shoes when you walk in the door.

1) Bacteria- A study from the University of Arizona collected germs and microbes on footwear. The researchers found 421,000 units of bacteria on the outside of the shoe, including E. coli, meningitis and diarrheal disease; Klebsiella pneumonia, a common source for wound and bloodstream infections as well as pneumonia; and Serratia ficaria, a rare cause of infections in the respiratory tract and wounds, reports Reuters.  Gross.

2) Toxic Chemicals- Studies show that unhealthy chemical herbicides from walking on grass outside can easily be tracked into the home.  Exposure to these chemical herbicides can cause immediate problems like skin rashes and gastrointestinal upsets and although long-term health effects of the herbicide are unknown, I think we can all agree it probably ain’t good for us, our kids or our pets.  Also, the EPA’s Doormat Study showed that virtually all lead dust found in homes is tracked in from lead contaminated soil outside. No thank you!

3) Allergens-  Pollen, pet dander and other common allergens can be brought inside on the bottoms of your shoes.  Then they get trapped in your home with you.  If you or your kids have allergies, you definitely don’t want to be bringing even more allergens into your home than you are already exposed to outside.

4) Dirt- This isn’t the biggest deal in the world, but shoes inside mean dirt and grime inside.  This equals more cleaning for you and more use of cleaning products.

So next time you have guests over, kindly ask them to remove their shoes.  While you’re at it, might want to ask them to wash their hands (especially if you have small children).  Washing with soap and water removes all kinds of microorganisms, including viruses that cause colds and flu.

Perfect Morning Smoothie

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It is important to start your day of with the right nutrition, and sometimes I just don’t feel like eating a big meal first thing in the morning.  So, some days, I make a delicious smoothie to get me through the first half of the day and to jump-start my metabolism.  Below is my current favorite recipe with links to the brands I use.  This recipe is dairy-free, gluten-free and is packed with vitamins, protein and healthy fats…did I mention it was delicious?!

Ingredients

1 organic banana

3-4 Frozen Organic Strawberries

1 Small handful of Frozen Organic Blueberries

1-2 Leaves of Dino Kale

1 Heaping spoonful of Raw Organic Almond Butter

1 Spoonful of Raw Organic Coconut Oil

Homemade Organic Almond Milk (enough to fill the cup about 3/4 of my 20 oz vitamix cup.  Add more or less depending on your consistency preference)

5 Drops of Vitamin D3 (5000 IU total)

Two droppers full of Liquid Vitamin B Complex

1 tsp  Vitamin C Powder

1-2 tbls Protein Powder

 

Directions

Put all ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

 

 

Divine Delivery: Goodeggs.com

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This is for all the lovers of healthy, sustainable food and free delivery.  I’ve found an amazing new food delivery service that rocks.  It’s called Good Eggs and their mission is to grow and sustain local food systems worldwide.  They believe that eating locally is not only healthier, but is good for the economy and tastes better too!  Don’t be fooled by the name though, they carry all different products from seasonal fruits and veggies, to humanely raised meats and fish, to kombucha and mouth-watering desserts.  They also have free delivery for orders of $30 or more!  So far, I’ve had a great experience with not only the quality of the food, but also the ease of the ordering and delivery.  If you live in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New Orleans or Brooklyn, check ’em out and get ordering!

Wonderful Website: Life Without Plastic

Life Without Plastic is a website dedicated to bringing you safe, high quality, ethically sourced, Earth friendly alternatives to plastic.  Everything from kitchen items to pet care items, and bath & body care to kids and babies products.  This is a great place to look for everyday items that are non toxic and support a plastic free environment.  A few of my favorite products they sell are below..

1) 1000 ml GLass Love Bottle with Ceramic lid:  I have two of these that I fill up with filtered water and keep in the fridge for when I want cold water.  Also great to have on the table at dinner time for easy water refills.

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2) Freezycup Stainless Steel Individual Popsicle Mold:  I haven’t used these yet, but with summer around the corner I can’t wait! NOTE: Buy the wood holder for your popsicle molds if you don’t have a stable flat surface in your freezer.

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3) Stainless Steel Children’s Bowls:  Super cute and a great alternative to plastic! NOTE: Lids from standard yogurt containers (750g/26oz) fit nicely on these bowls for keep leftovers fresh.

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An apple a day…can cause cancer?!

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Apples have always been associated with good health, hence the saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”.  They are full of fiber and antioxidants. Unfortunately, according to a new study, this saying does not apply to conventional apples in the US.  This new study found that 80% of conventional apples in the US are treated with a pesticide called Diphenylamine that is banned in Europe because it has been linked to Nitrosamines, which are well-known and well-studied cancer-causing chemicals.  This also goes for applesauce and apples used in non organic baby food. Thanks America!(sarcasm)  I’ll never understand why US food companies will continue to use known carcinogens and/or toxic ingredients in their products that have been deemed unsafe in other parts of the world.  I find it very upsetting. To avoid this pesticide and other toxic chemicals on your produce, please buy organic whenever possible.  Another alternative is to check out The Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list.  It tells you which foods show the highest concentrations of pesticides so that you can avoid those at the very least.  So, I guess we should change the old saying to “An ORGANIC apple a day keeps the doctor away”.

What IS a baby carrot anyway?

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Ever wondered what the heck makes a baby carrot a baby carrot?  Did it come out of the ground that way?  Is it a big carrot shaved down to a baby size?  Are they as healthy for you as regular carrots?  I’ve also heard rumors that baby carrots are soaked in chlorine before being packaged, which I found super disturbing.  I personally don’t buy baby carrots, I just wash and cut up regular, organic carrots, but I know a lot of people eat them, especially kids. So I wanted to get the story straight and here is what I found out:

1) Baby carrots do come from a smaller, thinner carrot variety, but are in fact vigorously peeled and cut to achieve their baby carrot size.  In the industry they are actually called “baby cut carrots”, where actual baby carrots are just slightly smaller sized carrots that are harvested at a younger age than larger carrots.  I personally love smaller sized carrots (whole, not baby cut), they are sweeter than the huge ones!

2) Baby carrots (organic and conventional) ARE soaked in a chlorine bath before packaging!  Now, before you freak, it’s not straight up chlorine.  It is actually a water/chlorine solution that supposedly contains the same amount of chlorine that is allowed in your tap water.  This is to prevent food borne illness and they are rinsed again with fresh water before being packaged. Apparently, most lettuces and pre-cut vegetables go through the same process.  Still doesn’t sound very appetizing to me and this is why we have a whole house water filter to filter out things like chlorine.

3) Baby carrots may be less nutritious than regular, organic, full size carrots.  Baby carrots apparently contain 30% less beta carotene than a regular carrot.  This is because of the variety of carrots used  and the fact that they are peeled.  Many of the carrot’s nutrients are found in the skin or just below it.  However, because a carrot’s flesh and peel are the same color, it indicates that there is a very similar nutritional value inside and out.  So no need to worry if you prefer to peel, just remember to still wash it before and/or after peeling to prevent ingesting any possible pathogens.

4) Baby carrots are more expensive than buying regular carrots and washing/cutting yourself.

My take away:  After doing this research, I still believe that washing and cutting your own organic carrots is the best way to go.  It is cheaper, takes two minutes, and you can rest assured that there will be no possible chlorine residue, no pesticides (because they are organic) and that they contain all of the nutrition they are meant to.  Now, that said, I also wouldn’t freak out and not eat baby carrots that were served at a friend’s bbq or not let my kid have one.  It ain’t gonna kill you.  But, my philosophy remains the same: food is most nutritious in it’s most natural state.  So buy organic carrots, scrub them well with a veggie scrubber, cut it you prefer and munch away!

NOTE: If your carrots ever become white-ish, or flimsy in the fridge, soak them in cold or ice water to rehydrate them and they will come back to life.  Sometimes I prefer to wash and cut the whole bunch at once, so to prevent dehydration, I’ll store them in a glass tupperware filled with water and it keeps them fresh.

3 good reasons to use organic tampons

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When most of us think of tampons, we think of all of the typical brands we see at the drug store and we assume that they are safe to use.  I mean, why wouldn’t they be?  Why would they be approved for use inside our bodies if they were not safe for us?  Right?  Well, after doing some research I have found some pretty upsetting information about the ingredients in conventional tampons and the possible harm they can cause.  I am so glad that I switched to organic cotton tampons a few years back and I hope after reading this post that you do too!

Here are three  good reasons to switch to organic cotton tampons:

1) Chlorine bleach- To get that clean-looking white color, tampons (unless otherwise stated) are bleached with Chlorine.  This process creates Dioxins and Furans, which are defined as highly toxic compounds produced as a byproduct in certain manufacturing processes.

2) Pesticide residue- Yup, unless it is organic cotton, cotton plants are treated with chemical pesticides that can leave a residue on the cotton.  Not to mention that  85% of cotton in the united states in GMO (genetically modified), bad for us and the environment. The chemicals in these pesticides are known carcinogens (substances capable of causing cancer in living tissue).

3) Unknown fragrance chemicals- Unfortunately, “fragrance” is considered a trade secret, so companies are not required to disclose their ingredients.  Even “unscented” products may contain masking fragrances, which are chemicals used to cover up the odor of other chemicals.  Fragrances (in not only feminine products, but soaps, lotions,  shampoos, candles, cleaning products and more) can contain allergens, phthalates (a class of chemicals linked to hormone disruption), neurotoxins (chemicals that are toxic to the brain), and/or synthetic musks ( a class of synthetic aromachemicals to emulate the scent of natural musks, and are known to be toxic to the environment and to proliferate estrogen-responsive human breast cancer cells).

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want any of these things near by body, let alone inside it!  The vaginal area has extremely permeable mucus membranes and sensitive tissue that readily absorb whatever is in the products we put on or in it.  That’s why I urge you to switch to organic cotton tampons.  Know what you are putting in your body.  You can buy the brand I choose here or find them in a store near you here.

The Truth About Your Favorite Tea

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I don’t know about you, but I love myself some tea.  I always try to drink organic teas, but on occasion I drink conventional if that is all that is available.  I never gave much thought to what the tea was packaged in and what the actual tea bag itself was made of, until I read this alarming post by Food Babe.  If you love tea or know someone who does, it is definitely worth a read.  You can find it here.