I Got a Big, Fat "F" on This!

Earth Day inspired me to take another look at all the "green" products I use in my home. Although I've long made my own non-toxic, eco-friendly glass and all-purpose cleaners, I haven't yet started to make laundry detergent.  

Often, I will grab a jug of Trader Joe's Liquid Laundry Detergent, which is marketed as "all natural" and "earth friendly," and labeled as having "no harsh or petro chemicals" and being "non-polluting," "environmentally safe and responsible" and "biodegradable."

Sounds like a winner, right?

Well, imagine my surprise (and horror!) when I discovered on the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) "Guide to Healthy Cleaning" online database that it scored a big fat F!

F = Highest Concern: Potentially significant hazards to health or the environment or poor ingredient disclosure.

Certain ingredients in this detergent may cause:

  • developmental and reproductive toxicity
  • respiratory effects, including asthma
  • skin irritation, allergies or damage
  • general systemic/organ effects
  • acute aquatic toxicity

Yikes! I was majorly duped! From now on, I'm sticking with Planet laundry detergent, which scores an A (although, not all their products rank so well).

Be a Healthy, Savvy Shopper
According to the EWG, as with personal care products, U.S. law allows manufacturers of cleaning products to use almost any ingredient they wish, including those known to cause cancer, blindness, asthma and other serious conditions. And the government doesn't review the safety of products before they're sold.

Numerous studies are now showing that toxins in body and home products could also be causing weight challenges, as I wrote about here.

So, it's up to you and me to protect the health of our body and our planet by being savvy shoppers.

What Lurks Under Your Sink?
To check your products and select safer cleaners, click here for the EWG's "Guide to Healthy Cleaning" database, which rates everything from laundry detergent and all-purpose sprays to dishwasher soap and air fresheners.  

I Urge You to Do This Detox ASAP!

Diets, detoxes, cleanses and fasts are all the rage right now, especially with the many New Year's resolutions to lose weight and eat healthier.

Keep in mind, however, that what you put on your body is just as important as what you put in your body. 

Personal care products, such as lotion, shampoo, deodorant, makeup, shaving cream and baby wipes, are chockfull of toxic chemicals.

The Wild West in Your Bathroom
You may be surprised to learn that the personal care products industry is like the Wild West--highly unregulated. Companies can use pretty much whatever ingredients they want (untested!) and the FDA doesn't review these products for safety.

Everyday, you and your loved ones are absorbing, inhaling and ingesting hundreds of unsafe chemicals. 

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the average woman uses 12 personal care products containing 168 different ingredients daily. Guys, on average, use 6 products daily with 85 unique ingredients. And, teenage girls use an average of 17 products a day!

Huge Health Impact
Exposure to these chemicals has been linked to numerous adverse health conditions including:

  • infertility

  • reproductive organ abnormalities

  • birth defects

  • early puberty

  • cancer

  • thyroid disorders

  • ADHD

  • hormonal imbalances

  • chronic fatigue

  • depression

  • and many more

How to Detox Your Medicine Cabinet
Check your products and find healthier alternatives on EWG's SkinDeep website, which provides safety ratings for a wide range of items from lotion to lipstick.

"Organic" and "natural" products can also contain harmful ingredients; research these products as well.

Lastly, be sure to look up your kids' products too.  Their small, developing bodies are even more vulnerable to toxins.

To Your Good Health!

Adore Apples? What You Must Know Before Taking (or Feeding Your Kid) Another Bite

There's nothing like a crisp, tart yet slightly sweet apple to awaken your taste buds and naturally boost your energy.

With their season in full swing, it's important to know apples are the most chemically-contaminated produce. In fact, conventional apples contain an average of 20 to 30 different chemicals (e.g., pesticides) even after washing. Some of the apples tested by the Environmental Working Group had up to 48 different types of pesticides on them. Yikes!

Go Organic
When it comes to apples, organic is the way to go.

This is especially important for children as they are more susceptible to the effects of pesticides and chemicals due to their size and developing brain and nervous systems.

I love to buy organic apples at the farmers' market. They're smaller than conventional ones and not always perfect looking, but their flavor and freshness can't be beat.

Not all growers are certified organic but use organic practices; be sure to ask. Because they save money on the certification process, they're able to sell their goods at a lower price.

A Smart Snack
For a well-balanced, satisfying snack--great for kids and adults alike--spread organic nut butter on apple slices. My favorite combo is a Pink Lady with almond butter.

Storage Tips
Apples ripen quickly at room temperature; 10 times faster than apples kept at 35-degrees F. Store them in the refrigerator away from strong-scented foods like cabbage or onions to prevent flavor transfer.

Speaking of cabbage and onions, check out the super simple, yummy recipe below.

Branch Out!
Did you know there are 7,500 apple varieties worldwide? Next time you're apple picking, try a new variety--and remember to always buy organic and locally grown whenever possible.


Sauteed Apples & Cabbage
A seriously simple, super-fast recipe for a healthy, sweet and savory side dish.

This is one of those recipes you can make to taste, using more or less of the following ingredients depending upon your preferences.

1 large yellow onion, cut in half and thinly slice
1-2 organic apples, cut in quarters, remove core and thinly slice
1 small head of cabbage, remove core and thinly shred
1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of red-wine vinegar, plus more to taste
Salt and pepper
 
1. Cook onions in oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat until tender, 5 to 8 minutes. (I like to let them caramelize a bit).

2. Add apples and cabbage and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. You may have to add a bit more oil at this point.

3. Stir in red wine vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Taste and add more vinegar, salt or pepper as needed.

Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Real Simple.