Category Archives: Healthy Living

Why use Organic Baby Shampoo and Wash

Your baby’s skin is the largest and most delicate organ. Yet we regularly massage the skin with products loaded with petrochemical ingredients. If you would read the label on the back of your child’s shampoo or wash bottle, you would see dyes, preservatives, synthetic foams, parabens and petrochemicals. Remember, the skin is a porous membrane, so up to 60% of products that are applied to skin will make its way into the body. This results in over 90 industrial chemicals that the body can’t breakdown and eliminate. This material will accumulate over time and can lead to serious diseases like cancer.

The average consumer can’t fully determine the long term dangers of applying various chemicals and corrosives to their children’s skin and scalp. As more parents are becoming aware, they are reconsidering using conventional bath products. Here is a further listing of some of the harmful ingredients in many conventional bath products:

  • Diethanolamine or DEA – This is a carcinogen that if used repeatedly could lead to cancer.
  • Propylene Glycol – Ingredient in industrial antifreeze. Gives shampoo slippery characteristic.
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – Inexpensive detergent chemical that creates foam. Found in most dish detergents.
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate – Found in industrial engine degreasers.
  • Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate- Inexpensive detergent and makes mixtures foam well.
  • Olefin Sulfonate – Deodorized kerosene

True organic shampoo and wash products offer a wealth of benefits for hair and skin that will be immediately noticeable. Organic products gently infuse your hair follicles and skin cells with natural minerals, herbal extracts, and oils. Keep in mind that not every natural ingredient is safe for a baby’s delicate skin. Some essential oils may be irritating so when choosing a shampoo or body wash for your baby, read the label carefully and be sure it has been proven safe for infants. There are lots of shampoos to choose from, so check out a few to see which one best meets your needs.

Vermont Soap Organic Baby Wash is great because it is two products in one. It can be used to wash both baby’s hair and body.  Bath time will only take about two squirts–one for the body and one to shampoo hair.  Typically, one bottle will last much longer than most store bought brands. So even though it’s a little more per bottle, you will save in the long run. Plus you’re getting the benefit of knowing you’re using the most natural ingredients for your baby’s sensitive skin.

When you use organic bath products, you’re also helping your environment by letting bio-degradable substances go down the drain and not harsh chemicals.

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Home Winterization Tips

How to Winterize Your Home and Save Money

1. Change Furnace Filters

2. Run Fans in Reverse – Most people think of fans only when they want to be cool, but many ceiling units come with a handy switch that reverses the direction of the blades. Counterclockwise rotation produces cooling breezes while switching to clockwise makes it seem warmer by making an updraft that sends the warmer air pooled near the ceiling back into the living space. This can cut your heating costs as much as 10 percent.

3. Winterize Your A/C and Water Lines – This one’s really easy, and it will save you wear and tear on your cooling system, so it can function at tip-top shape the next time you need it. Simply drain any hoses and air conditioner pipes, and make sure you don’t have excess water pooled in equipment. If your a/c has a water shutoff valve, go ahead and turn that off.

4. Turn Down Your Water Heater – While many conventional water heaters are set to 140 degrees F by installers, most households don’t need that level, and end up paying for hot water that just sits around, slowly cooling. Lowering the temperature to 120 would reduce your water heating costs by 6 to 10%.

5. Install Storm Doors and Windows – The simple act of installing a storm door can increase energy efficiency by 45 percent, by sealing drafts and reducing air flow. Storm doors also offer greater flexibility for letting light and ventilation enter your home. Look for Energy Star-certified models.

6. Use an Energy Monitor – Measure your way to savings with an energy monitor.  This device indicates household electrical usage by device in real time.  Now you´ll know if it is time for a new refrigerator or if that old air conditioner is still saving you money.

7. Use Caulking and Weather-stripping – Simple leaks can sap home energy efficiency by 5 to 30% a year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. That means it pays to seal up gaps with caulking and weather-stripping.

8. Insulate Your Pipes – Pay less for hot water by insulating pipes. That can also help decrease the chance of pipes freezing, which can be disastrous. Check to see if your pipes are warm to the touch. If so, they are good candidates for insulation.

9. Insulate your attic. One of the easiest ways to save some money is to ensure that you have at least 12 inches of insulation in your attic. Hot air rises and through the attic is where it’ll go unless you sufficient insulate it. The rule of thumb is that if you can see your ceiling joists (the wooden beams), you don’t have enough because those are often shorter than 12 inches. You should also reduce the amount of transfer through your attic stairway by installing an attic stair cover.

10. Turn off exterior water lines. Chances are you won’t be using any of the water faucets outside of your home, so shut the valve that allows water to those exterior bibs. This prevents the water inside from freezing and cracking your pipes.

11. Wrap your water boiler. Since it’ll be cold, it’s more important than ever to invest in a water heater blanket and warp your water heater so it loses less heat into the ambient air.

12.  Open the blinds in sunny rooms. Be sure to keep the blinds open on any rooms that get a lot of sun, ever little bit of extra heat can help keep those bills down.

13.  Get a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats can help you save a ton of money by only turning on when you most need it. All HVAC systems work the same way – they are either on or off (there’s no low, medium, or high intensity setting). If you can keep your system off when you’re not home or when you’re asleep, you can save yourself a lot of money. They are easy to install and often break-even (cost vs. savings) within the first year.

14.  Consider lowering the temperature setting on your thermostat. A lower temperature means the system is on less, so try lowering the temperature a degree at a time.

15.  Replace your HVAC air filter. During the winter, when the system will run more often, it’s good to replace it monthly so that you don’t have a dirty air filter ruining the efficiency of the system.

16.   Install window insulators. Window insulators are simply plastic sheets you tape up over windows to add an extra layer of protection from the cold. If you have especially drafty or old windows (especially if they’re single pane), consider replacing them.

17.  Block those leaks – One of the best ways to winterize your home is to simply block obvious leaks around your house, both inside and out, experts say. The average American home has leaks that amount to a nine-square-foot hole in the wall. First, find the leaks: On a breezy day, walk around inside holding a lit incense stick to the most common drafty areas: recessed lighting, window and door frames, electrical outlets. Then, buy door sweeps to close spaces under exterior doors, and caulk or apply tacky rope caulk to those drafty spots. Outlet gaskets can easily be installed in electrical outlets that share a home’s outer walls, where cold air often enters.

18.  Don’t forget the chimney – Ideally, spring is the time to think about your chimney, because “chimney sweeps are going crazy right now, as you might have guessed.” That said, don’t put off your chimney needs before using your fireplace.

One other reminder: To keep out cold air, fireplace owners should keep their chimney’s damper closed when the fireplace isn’t in use. And for the same reason, woodstove owners should have glass doors on their stoves, and keep them closed when the stove isn’t in use. An installation of a chimney draft guard will also prevent the loss of heat via your fireplace.

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Why Organic Fruits are Better

It seems more and more people these days know to go ‘organic’ when it comes to their fruit. Many of us understand some basic reasons for why organic is better, but there are also some fundamental differences between organic and non-organic fruit. The USDA’s farmers marketNational Organic Program defines organics as, ” A production system this is managed to respond to site-specific conditions by integrating cultural, biological and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.

The problem with non-organic fruit is the high concentration of pesticides. There are about 12 fruits and vegetables to avoid unless you are buying organic. The Environmental Working Group, a exposure of 90% by avoiding the “dirty dozen.”  The following are ranked in order of highest toxicity: peaches, apples, celery, sweet bell peppers, nectarines, strawberries, potatoes, cherries, lettuce, imported grapes, pears and spinach.

The good news is that there are several fruits and vegetables that are very clean. The “cleanest dozen” are ranked in order of lowest pesticide load to highest and are as follows: avocado, onions, sweet corn (frozen), pineapple, mango, asparagus, sweet peas (frozen), kiwi, bananas, cabbage and broccoli. You will note that these fruits and vegetables have a thick outer skin, that keeps the pesticide concentration low.

Even though these foods a tad bit more expensive, people who are conscious of the environment don’t mind the extra buck they need to pay as long as they feel they are doing something constructive for the environment and for themselves.

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Green Product Review: Smart Faucet

This Smart Faucet eliminates water waste by providing water only exactly when it’s needed  (in the beginning and end of the hand-washing event), and automatically shuts off the water while you’re lathering up, which saves water and heat.  No more constant adjustment with the hot and cold temperature setting trying to get the right temperature, as it is set at the desired heat setting.  The best feature of this product is that it’s made to retrofit directly on to your existing hardware.

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The Smart Faucet is a 1.5gpm (gallons per minute) aerator with an antimicrobial handle that controls water flow from the faucet. Water only flows when the handle is depressed, although there is a locking disk for continuous flow when needed.

The Smart Faucet requires no batteries or electricity to control consumption and is produced and packaged in the United States. The Smart Faucet can save up to 15,000 gallons when compared with the use of a standard 2.5gpm aerator. The Smart Faucet is an example of a low-tech solution that can save lots of resources and educate at the same time.

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Why is Cancer in Dogs on the Rise?

By Wondercide 

Cancer isn’t just for people. Pets can get cancer too, and one in three dogs are affected by cancer. It is the leading cause of death in dogs over the age of 10. Cancer in dogs is on the rise. But why?

From Race for the Cure to breaking news stories about cancer research, most of what we hear about cancer focuses on finding a cure for the disease. What about cancer prevention? What if we could determine what causes cancer in dogs, avoid these causes, and prevent cancer altogether?

Based on the rise of cancer in domesticated dogs, leading holistic veterinarians theorize that many of our modern conveniences and medicines are contributing to cancer in dogs. “In years past, many dogs died from common illnesses or were hit by a car. But now, we have vaccines and we keep our dogs indoors,” says Elizabeth A. Martinez, DVM.

How can you prevent cancer in your dog?

Start by changing your dog’s food intake.

Our beloved house pets evolved from wild cats and dogs who could forage for food and hunt highly diverse fish, reptiles, mammals, birds, and eggs. Cats and dogs are meant to live on a single-source protein diet that comes from animals, not plants. Grain-free, low-carbohydrate dog food is best, since filler grains like corn and wheat are hard for dogs to digest and most pet food companies use carbohydrates like potatoes as filler (to keep dog kibble cheap) and glue (to bind together other ingredients).

Because most dog food today is hard to digest, dogs aren’t getting the nutrients they need, which further contributes to cancer in dogs. Dogs have much shorter intestines than humans, which means most of their digestion takes place in the stomach, whereas human digestion takes place in the intestine. Nutrients are only absorbed from food during digestion. Essentially, dogs need to quickly absorb their food’s nutrients since they have short intestines, but the low quality of most modern dog kibble makes it too hard for a dog’s stomach to digest.

After you’ve switched your dog to natural dog food, reduce your dog’s chemical exposure.

These two actions both need to happen. Combining a high-quality raw food diet with high chemical exposure can be even worse for your dog than leaving him on a low-quality food!

For example, if a person is an unhealthy eater, they aren’t as sensitive to bad chemicals around them. Once a person switches to an organic, all-natural diet, they become more aware of chemicals in their environment since their body’s awareness isn’t suppressed by unhealthy food. The same process happens to your dog—she will become more sensitive when on natural food.

Many of the chemicals your dog encounters in their home, outdoor areas, and at the vet can cause cancer in dogs, regardless of what type of food a dog eats. Most common pesticides contain chemicals that are carcinogens(cancer causing agents). If you treat your home or lawn with pesticides like Raid or Bug B Gon, you’re exposing yourself and your pet to these chemicals, which have been known to cause skin issues, seizures, kidney failure and even premature death, in addition to cancer.

In the end, making these changes will help your dog live longer and reduce your vet bills. By feeding your dog higher quality food and reducing their chemical exposure, you can reduce cancer in dogs!

Product Spotlight:

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A powerful, non-toxic 16 oz. flea & tick spray for dogs and cats. Repels and kills fleas, ticks & mosquitoes on contact. Effective on all life cycle stages, this bio-based formula safely protects your pet without risk to adults or children.

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Benefits of Indoor Air Purifiers

Why Use an Air Purifier?

Indoor air pollution is widely recognized as one of the top environmental health risks.

Health effects
Symptoms can be mild and non-specific such as headaches, tiredness or lethargy; similar to colds and flu such as irritated eyes, nose or throat; or more severe such as aggravation of asthma or allergic responses. People who are more susceptible to air pollutants including newborns, young children, elderly people, heart patients, people with bronchitis, asthma, hay fever or emphysema, and smokers.

Pets and Pollen
Many animal allergens (from cats, dogs, birds or even cockroaches) can also spell problems for some people. The allergens are usually contained in the animal’s droppings, saliva or dander (tiny skin scales) and can become airborne when small particles dry and fall off. In people sensitive to them, inhaling these allergens can trigger a reaction in the lungs or nose, through asthma or hay fever.

Moulds and Mildew
These are fine, often invisible spores become airborne and can be inhaled. Damp areas in the house are a perfect place for mold and fungal growth, as are water-damaged carpets and building materials.
In people sensitive to mould spores, inhaling them can cause various allergic reactions. Mould can also produce poisons known as mycotoxins which, when absorbed, can sometimes affect the nervous system. Some fungi can also infect various parts of the body, particularly the lungs and skin.

Air Purifiers can eliminate these pollutants leaving the air clean and fresh.

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Natural Fat Burners

Here are some natural fat burners to help you lose weight:

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Cayenne 

Derived from Chili peppers, has the ability to trigger the ‘full’ feeling in stomachs when consumed. Cayenne also stimulates digestion, increases metabolism and fat burning.

Green Tea

Green Tea is known to assist weight loss and is a natural fat burner. It helps to boost metabolism and burn fat and is a common ingredient in diet pills. Green Tea is also rich in antioxidants. 

Ginseng

Ginseng helps to boost energy levels and metabolism
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Eat Out Less and Save Money By Eating Green

Here’s a way to save hundreds and even thousands. The best way to save is to take your lunch and make more meals at home. The average U.S. family spends over $5,000 annually. The typical U.S. family spend $4,000 on meals prepared outside of the home. By just brown bagging it 2 times per week an average family will save over $1000 fairly easily.
Cooking at home is also a great first step toward going green. By making your own food, you’ll pay attention to the ingredients you use, how they were grown and how nutritious and healthy they are. You will then consider if your ingredients are organic, whether they are locally sourced.
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Are There Harmful Ingredients in Your Shaving Cream?

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There are many options when it comes to the ingredients in shaving cream. The most popular shaving creams tend to be less expensive and filled with ingredients you probably can’t pronounce. In anumber of cases, higher quality shaving soaps and creams and lotions tend to contain more pure ingredients that are better for you and your skin. Are these unpronounceable ingredients harmful chemicals? It’s worth a look — after all, what you put on your body is just as important as what you put into it. There are several ingredients that can be found and avoided.

The most common chemicals to look for in aftershave / shaving creams are:

  • Benzyl acetate: linked to pancreatic cancer
  • Ethyle Acetate: May cause damage to the liver and kidneys, headaches and dehydration of the skin.
  • Terpineol: Linked to pneumonitis, central nervous system and respiratory damage, and headaches.
  • Propolene glycol is a humectant like glycerin, frequently found in antifreeze and brake fluid.
  • Triethanolamine (TEA) is anemulsifying agent, meaning it helps keep the oil and water from separating. Many formulas containing TEA are found to be contaminated with nitrosamines, which are linked to cancer.
  • Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulphate (SLES): Lauryl mimics estrogen, which is especially problematic for women, and laureth often hosts a known carcinogen called dioxane.
  • Mineral Oil: Mineral oil is a byproduct of petroleum.

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Green Product Review: Looflighter Electric Barbecue Lighter

This was one of our most anticipated product tests. We decided to test the Looflighter during a tailgate event to light the charcoal and flavor kindling for a smoker grill. Following loading of the charcoal, the Looflighter was plugged into a nearby Imagepower source. By holding the end of the Looflighter within a few inches of the charcoal for around 4:30 minutes, we began to see the whitening of the edges of the charcoal. Within minutes several briquettes were lit and the smoker was up and going, without the us of any lighter fluid or and other accelerant. Severa

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l hours into the process, it was noted that several coals were not lit and the strength of the fire was decreasing. We were able to point the Looflighter at the unlit charcoal. This would traditionally be an issue once a fire is in progress, but with the Looflight

er this posed no problem and the test was a complete success.

Please note that that the Looflighter comes with a 10″ cord, so the need for an extension cord may be necessary depending upon distance from a power source. The Looflighter would also be a great tool for lighting fireplace or chiminea fire.

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