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!

 

 

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”.

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.

Profile: Spirit Demerson

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Have you ever dreamt of a website that only carries the most luxurious, effective, non toxic skin care and beauty products?  A place where you could trust that each product has been vetted out by someone who believes that high performance skin and beauty products should also be non toxic to us and the environment?  Well, your dreams have become a reality with Spirit Beauty Lounge.  I had the pleasure of meeting Spirit Demerson, founder of Spirit Beauty Lounge, at the NYC Premiere of my documentary, GMO OMG.  She is a natural beauty (inside and out) and I wanted to pick her brain a bit about her company and her thoughts on skin care and make up.  I told her how I have managed to switch to non toxic products in almost all areas of my life, but that there are still a few make up products that I just haven’t been able to find healthy alternatives for.  Spirit generously offered to take the list of products I wish to replace and send me a bunch of new, healthy alternatives to try out!  I just received the glorious box of goodies in the mail this week and I am SO excited to give them all a try!  I am going to chronicle my experience with the transition, as well as share any products I find that I think are must haves for all of you.  So check back soon for updates on my journey!

Is your real name Spirit?
My real California-hippie-parent-given name is Spirit Ireland Demerson.
 
What inspired you to start Spirit Beauty Lounge?
I spent a lifetime trying to reconcile my love of luxury beauty products, with my commitment to health and sustainability.  I longed for a place where one could shop for products that were all as green and clean as they were beautiful. That didn’t exist, so I created it!
 
Is it possible to get the same performance as conventional products in natural skin care and make up products?
Generally I wouldn’t say the “same” but in most cases I would actually say natural performs better – it’s our expectations that tend to be off. Especially with skin care, many conventional products are formulated to give the immediate appearance or sensation of improvement, but not long-term, skin balancing, nourishing and strengthening results that we get from natural.  There are certain areas where natural will never compare to synthetic, but by and large it has always been superior.  We should remember, the reason chemists in labs synthesized most of the cosmetic ingredients out there was not to improve on nature, or because effective natural ingredients were lacking, but rather to mimic nature, at a much, much cheaper cost.
 
What is the worst common ingredient that people should avoid and why?
I wish this were an easy question to answer.  Just for perspective, the EU bans over 1,000 ingredients from use in cosmetics, the US bans 10.  Even the new Whole Foods Premium Body Care Standard bans over 400 ingredients.  It would be careless to pick one, or even 12, and think that everything is OK except for products that have those ingredients.  With thousands and thousands of unregulated ingredients in use in US cosmetics, I believe the better solution, for women who aren’t completely obsessive ingredients researchers like myself, is to look at this backwards;  If you can’t memorize a list of several hundred ingredients to avoid – buy only the ones you know and trust.  In most of the products you’ll find on spiritbeautylounge.com, you’ll recognize 90% of the ingredients as the types of things you’d eat (think: argan oil, licorice root, sea algae…).  Anything you don’t, look it up.  You’ll start to get familiar with the chemical-sounding-but-good-for-you ones like “Caprylic Capric Triglycerides” (a fraction of coconut oil).  This is why starting in a store that’s already done a lot of the work for you is so helpful, if you’re looking to shop better.
 
What are your top three favorite natural beauty products of the moment?
May Lindstrom Skin Clean Dirt
Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Essence
Kjaer Weis Blush in Desired Glow
 
Why are natural products more expensive than conventional products?
They really aren’t.  I think that’s a misconception.  The more you know about the cheap synthetic stuff that goes into products, the more you’ll find that what’s really overpriced is most everything you find in department store beauty counters.  Their minimal-benefit ingredients cost a tiny fraction of the markup you pay.  With a jar of RMS Beauty Un Cover Up you’re getting skin nourishing, anti-aging natural ingredients, that can cost nearly what you pay! With a silicone based designer product of the same price, it’s not multi-benefit or skin nourishing, and what you pay can be 20 times the cheap ingredient cost.
 
What is your recommendation for women who want to start the switch to natural products?  Where should they begin?
I know it can be overwhelming, you start to look around at everything you’re using and think “Oh no! I have to start all over figuring out what works for me!”  This is why I like to think of SBL as a service, and not just a store.  Our beauty experts, and myself, know exactly what that’s like and we specialize in transitioning.  You tell us what you’re using now, and we find the best way and the best products to crossover!
 
What is the best way for us to find out if a product we are using contains harmful ingredients?
Statistically, (if you use conventional personal care products) the odds are, it does.  The questions is: to what degree are you being exposed to them? I used to challenge my loved ones to pick any product they use daily – shampoo, lotion, lip balm… and look up the MSDS and research data on each ingredient in just that one item.  Then ask, “Am I OK with this going into my bloodstream?”  There are some products you may use on special occasions, and even then, only apply them to your nails or eyelashes – I’d say the exposure there is not something to stress about.  But think of the products you use frequently, in particular those you apply to and leave on the skin, knowing that you’re absorbing up to 65% of that into your bloodstream.  Toxins are a part of life on this planet, and unavoidable.  But consider the cumulative effects of that amount of exposure through the skin, and whether that’s something you’re really comfortable with.
 
If you could give some beauty advice to my readers, what would it be?
It’s cliché, but I learn more and more every day, that it truly comes from the inside out.  Making your health and vitality a priority as a woman, will without question, lead to you being more beautiful, and radiating more beauty, than anything you’re “giving up” ever could have.
 
What is a saying you live by?
Beauty is as beauty does.
 

Learn how to read the stickers on your fruits and vegies!

You know those annoying little stickers on your fruit and veggies that you have to peel off and they usually leave a sticky residue that you have to pick or cut off??  Well, those little stickers actually have a purpose and can tell you a lot about what you are about to eat!   Think of them like your produce’s passport, that tells you where it is from and where it has been.   Read below to become fluent in produce sticker reading…

If the number starts with 3 or 4 and has 4 digits-  It is a conventionally grown and therefore has been farmed with conventional methods using pesticides and herbicides.

If the number starts with 9 and has 5 digits- It is organically grown and therefore has not been treated with any pesticides or herbicides and is not genetically modified (GMO).

If the number starts with 8 and has 5 digits- The fruit has been genetically modified (GMO) and has been farmed using conventional methods using pesticides and herbicides.

 

 

Your favorite candy…unjunked!!

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My dreams just came true!  Ok, not all of them, but one of them.  I always wished that I could eat my favorite candies without having to eat all of the unnatural, unhealthy ingredients that come along with them.  I didn’t understand why candy companies couldn’t use real ingredients!  Well, it has been done.  And by a 15 year old no less.  Nicky Bronner (with the help of his millionaire, entrepreneur father) started UNREAL, a new candy company that boasts no GMOs and no artificial ingredients, colors or preservatives.  Not only that, but they did their best to actually replicate your favorite, brand name candies.  So far, they have replicated the Snickers bar, Milky Way, M&Ms, peanut M&Ms, and the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup!  I have not tried them yet, but I cannot wait, and I definitely know what I will be giving out this Halloween!  Check ’em out here and look for them at your local CVS, Target or buy them below now!

Peanut butter cups (Reese’s)

Candy coated chocolates (M&Ms)

Candy coated chocolates with peanut inside (Peanut M&Ms)

Candy bar with nougat, caramel, peanuts and chocolate (Snickers)

Candy bar with nougat, caramel and chocolate. (Milky Way)