Bacon… tastes so good and after watching this vlog… hopefully it will be a little bit less bad for you!
For further information about Sodium Nitrate – Read the Twinkie Report.
Summer is coming – which sunscreen will you slather on your skin?
Sunscreen is a product that we are encouraged to use to protect ourselves from harmful UV rays while enjoying the outdoors. If you’re a parent, it’s likely you are even more concerned about protecting your children’s sensitive skin and making the safest choice possible.
But what to do we really know about the safety of the products we are choosing – in my research – it seems clear that we don’t know enough.
Note – be prepared when switching to safer sunscreens you are going to move into products that are going to be thicker, whiter and slower to absorb that other sunscreen choices. This is because they rely on a high concentration of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to block the suns rays.
At least 7% zinc oxide or titanium dioxide for UVA & UVB protection.
What to Avoid:
Spray and Powder Sunscreen
Sunscreen insect repellent combo – pesticides absorbing into your body
Ingredients; Oxybenzone or benzophenone-3, skin absorption, allergies, hormone problems
Brands; Coppertone, Banana Boat and Most Neutrogena
From the EWG:
No one understands the health implications of our exposures to complex mixtures of industrial compounds and pollutants: remarkably, federal health standards do not require companies to test most products for safety before they are sold, including nearly all chemicals in sunscreen and other personal care products. Little is known about the safety of most industrial chemicals. In the absence of data the federal government approves new chemicals for the market using computer models to predict if they are toxic to humans.
After 30 years of debate,the government has failed to set mandatory sunscreen safety standards. Companies are free to make their own decisions on everything from advertising claims to product quality. FDA now stands in direct violation of a Congressional mandate requiring the agency to finalize sunscreen safety standards by May 2006, flouting not only Congress but also consumers, who are reliant on sunscreen to protect their health.
EWG’s Top Ten List:
California Baby (SPF 30 or Higher)
CVS (with zinc oxide
Jason Natural Cosmetics – Sunbrellas Mineral Based Sunblock
Kiss My Face – Paraben Free series
Neutrogena – Sensative Skin Sunblock
Olay Defense Daily UV Moisturizer with zinc
SkinCeuticals Physical UV Defense
Solar Sense Clear Zinc for Face
Walgreens Zinc Oxide for Face, Nose, & Ears
After studying the EWG’s extensive list the following products have an EWG score of 0-3 for toxicity. My selections are for individual products, not the brands in general, as brand scores can vary widely.
Jason Natural Cosmetics Sunbrellas: Mineral Based Physical Sunblock SPF 30+
Kiss My Face Sunscreen Spf#30 + With Oat Protein 100% Paraben Free
Nature’s Gate Organics Be Solective Sunscreen for Face, SPF 30
All California Baby Sunscreens
Dermalogica Super Sensitive Face Block, SPF 30
Mustela Sun Cream for Sensitive Areas, SPF 50
Kiehl’s All-Sport ‘non-Freeze’ Face Protector, SPF 30
DDF Organic Sunblock, SPF 30
CVS Sunscreen with Zinc Oxide, SPF 45+
Walgreens Sunblock with Zinc Oxide for Face, Nose & Ears, SPF 45+
Olay Complete Defense Daily UV Moisturizer, SPF 30 – Available at my Target
No-Ad Ultra Sunblock Lotion, SPF 60
If you must use a spray – these are your best bets:
Almay Sun Protector for Body Spray, SPF 30
Dermalogica Waterblock Solar Spray, SPF 30
Banana Boat Ultra Mist Kid’s Tear Free Continuous Spray Sunblock Lotion, SPF 30 – Only SPF 30 the SPF 50 is rated 9!
Shopping at Target:
I was recently at target, they had walls of sunscreen. I could only find one of the above products – After an hour of research using my telephone I was able to find 2 sunscreens that were an EWG 3 and the lowest score for a spray was a 5.
Coppertone WaterBabies Pure & Simple – SPF 50 – oil, fragrance & dye free
Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunblock Lotion – SPF 60+
Banana Boat Kids Continuous Spray Sunscreen – SPF 50
To learn more:
With plastics plastered all over the news I am working harder than ever to reduce plastic use in our home.
I thought I’d share some techniques that work for me in our home.
Use glass containers for food storage:
My favorite way to store leftover foods in my fridge is the 6 Cup Rectangular Pyrex dishes with blue lids – we have 8-10 of these and I love this system.
- Leftovers always look good.
- They are the perfect size, not to big, not too small.
- They stack nicely – so things look organized.
- They are clear so you can see what is inside them and you are more likely to remember what you have and finish it off.
- They can go in the freezer, oven or microwave.
- They can go from fridge to table for casual dinner service.
- We use a round pyrex 10 cup bowl (with lid) to keep ready made salad in our fridge. The salad stays fresh for much longer in this bowl. Prepare your salad – leaving out anything mushy (in our house that’s tomatoes). I’ll often chop a few days of extra salad fixin’s, throw them in the bowl. The next day or two, all I have to do is add more (organic)mixed greens – Salad is done.
- I have a stack of 8-10 custard cups (a few with lids too). These are great for reheating small servings of food – they were perfect for warming baby food too.
Reduce plastics at your point of purchase:
When shopping, make glass packaging a criteria – you’ve been there. You’re at the store, you’ve studied the label. You are trying to figure out which product is the best choice – all things being equal – pick glass.
For example – not too long ago I was trying to decide between Ralph’s Brand and French’s Brand Worcestershire Sauce -the only 2 brands of Worcestershire I’ve found without HFCS (this is really my life). They still had a few unknown ingredients – but they seemed to be relatively equal. One in glass, one in plastic. I chose the French’s – it was in glass.
There are now many products that I routinely purchase in glass, Peanut Butter, Almond Butter, dressing, tomato sauce and such. Some things may be prohibitive to your budget (for most families I’m guessing Milk), but if you look you’ll find you have a choice more than you realize.
Re-Use the Glass:
I’m gearing up to start making my own beans (to avoid the can), so I’m saving all these glass jars and lids. Soon I will have enough to get cooking – in the meantime they fill in as food storage when I’m out of pyrex.
I keep the salad dressing bottles, they are good for storing homemade fruit or berry pancakes syrups & I have visions of making salad dressing… one day soon. Help me Martha!
There you have it. A few simple ways we are using less plastic in our home.
What’s working for you?
By Tania Reuben
Time is counting down for the holidays and if you are looking for way to green your gifting this year, check out some of these ideas.
We’ve compiled some of our favorite finds to make gift giving a little easier!
Don’t miss our current giveaways!
Plan Toys is an industry leader in making fantastic eco friendly toys for children. These toys are non toxic, durable and will allow the child in your life to play creatively for hours.
Purchase PLAN TOYS through amazon.
Green Toys Made in the USA from recycled Milk Jugs! These toys are non toxic and instead of plastic being wasted, they are turning it into great toys. Look for Trucks, sand toys, garden kits & this cute tea set that is food safe! Win a Dish Set from PND – CLICK HERE.
Hessnatur offers a great selection of well priced classic menswear and children’s clothing. Organic whenever possible, Natural, Non Toxic and Fair trade from concept through execution. I’ve never met a woman who wasn’t happy to receive the gift of Cashmere! Save 25% for the holidays.
Sub Urban Riot makes super hip, yet still relaxed t-shirt that have been seen on Entourage and It’s always Sunny In Philadelphia. Note – there line is slimmer cut, so if you are looking for an ‘American Cut’ T-Shirt Choose from these styles; horse tee, RIOT, tee, hell yeah, and majestic panther.
I love Etsy – it’s an online site for artisans to showcase their handmade and crafted wares. You can spend hours getting lost in the sites of all the vendors.
Here are a few of my current favorites!
Allison designs are stunning and have broad appeal – I would love to receive any one of her designs as a gift! Her etsy store is full of necklaces, bracelets and my favorite – earrings. CLICK HERE for the PND Review & Giveaway.
This mother of two designs simple, unique treasures from her studio in the Garden State. With an Etsy shop full of earrings, necklaces, rings and bracelets you are sure to cross someone off your list with a visit to her shop.
I love all the fantastic color choices this etsier employs in their line. A great etsy shop to check out, full of colorful necklaces, earrings and bracelets.
If lingerie is on the list, go organic where pure really counts! Couture Cottons makes organic underwear and cozy organic pajamas. Yet another example of design breaking down the barrier of what “organic” looks like. Check out our Review and Giveaway CLICK HERE.
Who Doesn’t love a fabulous new heels for all the great parties! NeuAura makes fabulously stylish vegan and eco friendly designs to step out for the holidays in style. They make styles to walk you through your entire year. Don’t forget to check out their fantastic Thames boots!
The ultimate Eco Asscecories! Made from recycled juice boxes, magazines and newspapers and stylish too! Check out the Diva Giveaway and Review – CLICK HERE.
Based in Los Angeles – This Etsier makes a nice selection of gorgeous handbags that have a slightly retro feel to their design. In a day and age when most handbags are made in China Yellow Wallpaper is handmade. What a stylish way to buy Made In the USA.
Juice Beauty has some lovely sets that are perfect the holidays. CLICK HERE to read our review of their Green Apple Moisturizer and Juice Beauty.
We reviewed Everyday Minerals earlier this year and love the quality of their products. Check out the review and be sure to enter their ENCORE giveaway!
House & Home
Looking for a unique gift for the hostess that has it all, the glass straw is a great solution! Prices start at $6 and gift sets of 4 start at $23.
PND has been encouraging readers to bring their own bags while shopping, you can encourage your friends to do the same, with style use an EnviroVoque Reusable Bags as a fun stocking stuffer or in place of wrapping paper. They offer some great designs that will make you want to remember to use them! Retail for $7.95-9.95.
GIVE THE GIFT OF TIME
SPUD Organic Delivery
Buy the harried Mother’s and Father’s in your life a gift certificate to SPUD organic delivery if they are in your area. If not check out Local Harvest for options that will work for your recipient. We use SPUD and I have to say that not much is better than having trips to the grocery eliminated from your to do list and fresh organic products delivered to your door!
Use the code PURENATURALDIVA to save $25 over 4 orders.
IT’S A WRAP
I wish we could have covered even more ground this year! There are so many great people and companies that with a little effort you can get into the swing of greener giving.
Don’t forget to wrap greener too! Use paper made with 100% post consumer waste, reusable gift bags, or try the Diva Solutions and make your own gift bags!
If you live in North America and have an infant, chances are you are using plastics. If you are using plastics there is good reason to be informed and careful in their use.
Whenever you can opt for stainless steel or glass alternatives. That said, I use plastic and you likely will/do to. Let’s be as informed as we can in their usage.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION WHEN USING PLASTICS
- Never microwave any plastic.
- Never cover any food to be microwaved with plastic wrap.
- Avoid storing babies food in plastic.
- Wash plastics on the top shelf of your dishwasher or by hand.
- Avoid using old and scratched plastic bottles.
- Choose Glass or Stainless Steel Baby Bottles – this is your best protection against future headlines! My concern is that we’ll discover down the road that other petroleum made plastics also leach.
- If you are choosing Plastic Baby Bottles, most manufacturers now make BPA-free baby plastic bottles, with all BPA headlines in the news. If you are using plastic – double check to ensure bottles you use are BPA free.
- Choose bottle nipples made from silicon. They are the most durable and inert options. Latex rubber nipples can cause allergic reactions and can contain impurities linked to cancer. The same goes for pacifiers. Throw away any nipple or pacifier that is discolored, thinning, tacky or ripped.
- Liners: Only use if you them if you have a colicky baby and they’ve been advised by your doctor. The soft plastic liners may leach chemicals into formula, especially when heated. They are also a poor choice from an environmental perspective.
- Glass, that is the best choice for storing & freezing pumped milk – if you can come up with a system that work for you.
- The sealable plastic nursing bags designed for storing breast milk are made of polyethylene. Studies published in Early Human Development and Nutrition Review showed no chemical leaching into the milk, but did indicate that milk stored in these bags may lose some nutrients because they cling to the plastic. This is what worked for our family. I would freeze the milk flat on a box, once frozen stand it up and place at the back of the milk inventory. Thawing was very quick in warm water.
- Let me know if you come up with an efficient glass storage method, I’d love to share it with my readers!
- When your infant starts on their first foods, instead of plastic dishes use glass custard cups. They are durable, can be microwaved, and some even have lids. Chances are – at this stage – you’re the one doing the feeding. Why risk exposure at this very early stage?
- Before you know it your baby is going to start eating real food. Chances are you will be serving most of that food on plastic dishes. my children are 3 & 4 years old, so I know why! Plastic is less likely to break when it’s tossed to the floor.
- Don’t store left over foods in the plastic dishes – store the leftovers in the custard cups we were just discussing – in my books. Less time in the plastic = less time for chemical leaching.
- Look for stainless steel or tempered glass bowls to use as snack containers – they are your safest option. We originally purchased plastic bowls for dry snacks and chopped fruit – my understanding is that leaching occurs most with heat and liquids, but if we could do it again, I’d choose a safer material. BTW – plastic bowls break too!
- If you are using plastic dishes – move your children to regular dishes at an earlier age. My 2 year old son eats his dinner on the same plates as the rest of the family and at the dinner table drinks from a glass. We’ve only lost one plate.
- Duralex glasses are extremely durable, they are tempered making them stronger than regular glass. Shopping for glasses look for Duralex if you want to keep them for a while!
- Avoid polycarbonate for babies food and drinks.
- Polycarbonate plastics, marked with a #7 code or PC; they are rigid, transparent and used for food storage containers and water bottles, among other things. Trace amounts of BPA can migrate from these containers, particularly if used for hot food or liquids.
IF IT MUST BE PLASTIC
- Plastics with the recycling labels #1, #2 and #4 on the bottom are better choices because they do not contain BPA.
- Soft or cloudy-colored plastic does not contain BPA.
Check out these plastic alternatives available at amazon:
These dishes are tempered glass:
KIDISHES Kid-Friendly Tempered Glass Bowls, Plates and Tumblers
These look great for on the go lunches:
LunchBots Pico Stainless Steel Lunch Container
By Tania Reuben
What is Castille Soap anyway? Sounds strange. Sounds like something I don’t use.
My mom came for a visit a few years ago and wanted to be sure we had time to go to Trader Joe’s to buy some Castille Soap. I was not supportive. I have since become a fan.
What Is Castille Soap?
Castille Soap is a simple and pure vegetable based soap. Don’t let the name scare you. It originates centuries ago when soap was made in the Castille region of Spain from olive oil. By the early 1900′s the name Castille Soap had come to refer to vegetable based soaps.
This soap is pure enough that when you pick up the bottle the ingredients are simple and straight forward. Water, Saponified Coconut, Olive and Palm Oil, Hemp Oil, Jojoba Oil, Citric Acid, and Vitamin E.
The best known Brand of Castille Soap is Dr. Bronners. Dr. Bronner’s products score from 0-3 on the EWG list. And the Castille Soaps are typically a 2. Dr. Bronner’s is also Organic, fair trade and packaged in 100% post consumer recycled plastic. They are my brand of choice.
What do we do with this “Magic” (as Dr. Bronner calls it) soap?
- It’s a key ingredient in my All Purpose Green Cleaner. More cleaning formulas are coming! Check back often.
- I use it to clean my fruits and vegetables – add a few drops to a bowl, soak for a few minutes, rinse and enjoy.
- It can be used undiluted as a body wash and is gentle enough to use on your babies skin – my sister uses the unscented to clean her year old. Just be sure to use a few drops on a cloth, it’s very concentrated so you don’t need much.
- It can be used for laundry soap with a tsp of baking soda.
- I use it to make a foaming hand soap – I’m working on the exact formula – when I have it right I’ll let you know. In the meantime safe your foaming pump bottles when they are empty, you’ll need them for the foaming hand wash.
So there you have it. It’s not nearly as mysterious as it originally sounded. Now if my mom could have said “It’s a vegetable based soap named after the Castille region of spain” I might have converted years ago. A soap named after a region, sound very sophisticated. That sounds like something I have to try!
For the best selection, buy Dr. Bronner’s from Amazon.com. You can also find it at local organic markets and even at Target.
For an interesting take on “Real Soap vs Fake Soap”, check this out:
By Tania Reuben
With the Canadian government banning two common lipstick ingredients and questions surrounding lead and it’s use in lipsticks.
A guide to the safe selection of lipstick is in order.
The suggested choices have a maximum hazard rating of 4 in the EWG Cosmetics Database – 4 is on the low end of a moderate hazard rating(4-6). There were so many choices that rated 4 and under, it didn’t seem necessary to add hazards. Also, given that lipsticks are worn on our mouth – better safe than sorry.
Diva Top Picks:
NVEY Eco Organic Lip Lustre
Burt’s Bees Lipstick
Organic Wear Lip Veil & Organic Wear Lip Gloss
MAC Matte Lipstick, Glaze Lipstick, Satin Lipstick, Cream Lipstick and Frosted Lipstick
DuWop Shades of Venomn & Anti-Venom Satin
Bare Escentuals Lipsticks
Covergirl Continous Color Cream & Covergirl Outlast All Day Lipcolor
Shop carefully – many of these companies have a number of lipstick offerings – pick another Covergirl Lipstick and you may be selecting a 7 or 8 on the EWG hazard rating.
By Tania Reuben
Presuming – We’re trying to use less plastic in our daily lives.
Use the following tips to minimize your family’s exposure to plastic toxins:
- Do not use plastics in the microwave – including cling wrap.
- Avoid using plastics with oily food – toxicity leaching increases with contact to oily foods.
- Avoid the dishwasher, especially with plastics that are used for food storage – heat and some detergents cause the plastic to break down. Increasing the leaching of possible toxins.
- Avoid using plastics for warm foods or beverages – leaching is increased with heat.
- Avoid cling wrap – use paper, wax paper or use the Diva Solutions: Paperless “Paper” Towel System. Many cling wraps contain harmful pvc’s that will leach into food.
- When serving food on plastic dishes – think young children – transfer the food for storage. Typically plastic dinnerware is not storage grade.
- Discard plastics that are scratched and worn.
- Don’t drink your water out of plastic bottles.
- Use extra precautions with all baby products – coming soon – plastics and your baby.
- Choose “green” or bio based plastics. You can now find bio based disposable dinnerware and cutlery (I’ve even seen them at Smart & Final)- as an added bonus these products are also compostable.
Finally – once again – use less plastic!
By Tania Reuben
The first step towards safer plastics: Eliminate them wherever you can.
This is can be hard, so small changes, one step at a time. Check Out – Diva Guide: Use Less Plastic in Your Home.
Like it or not – plastics are a big part of our lives. How can we navigate their use in the safest manner possible.
Learn to “read” your plastics. Look on the plastic for the little triangle – inside that triange you will see a number.
Avoid plastics numbered: 3 & 6
Know your polycarbonates or number 7 plastics- when in doubt skip it:
The 7 category is the one that all the BPA fuss is about.
There are safe 7′s – they will be labeled “PLA” or “compostable”. In learning more about the number system I was surprised to find that my “tried and true”, nice quality rubbermaid containters are all 3′s – and therefore unsafe!
So now that you know how to pick your plastic – learn the safest way to use them. The manufacturing of plastics involves a variety of petroleum based chemicals. The primary concern with plastics is leaching of toxins into our food and beverages. This risk is increases with heat.
All of the above information does not mean that the number 1,2 & 4 plastics are completely safe. They are manufactured using petroleum products and limiting their use is likely a good idea… which brings us back to the beginning. Eliminate plastic wherever possible!