Friday, April 30, 2010

NOVICA fair trade jewelry for Mother's Day

Mother's Day is right around the corner and what better thing to give to your mom than something that benefits other women too?  NOVICA, working in tandem with  National Geographic, provides a platform for international artisans and offers a huge variety of handmade jewelry perfect for Mother's Day.  Novica incorporates fair trade wages as well as 0% interest loan options for artists to get a good start.  This in turn builds stronger communities and livelihoods for talented artists as well as unique and wonderful jewelry for those grateful to have access to such pieces.

Novica is offering a 10% discount on select Mother's Day gifts.  Check out this gorgeous Chrysocolla bracelet from Peru.  I was so thrilled to find this as I had lost a chrysocolla necklace I bought at a street market in beautiful Cuzco.  Chrysocolla is not something you see every day and this bracelet is even prettier than the piece I had.

As you are shopping, you can read a bio on the artist who created each piece, which makes the experience more personal.  When the item arrives, it is gift wrapped and in a velvet bag (they may not all be that way, check the description to be sure).

If you are looking for something different for mom and like the idea of supporting a good cause, check out Novica for a special Mother's Day gift.  The site also offers other hand made products such as artwork and clothing.  Find them HERE.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

But where do you get your protein?

Twice this week I have been asked, by two different health care professionals, where I get my protein.  This is a common response to finding out you enjoy a vegan diet* and it never ceases to amaze me how much the protein myth has got its teeth into our culture.  I want to say, but I'm afraid it would sound rude, have you ever seen a gorilla?  Or a chimp?  Their diet is mostly leafy greens, which are loaded with protein by the way.  And they could tear your head off with a casual swat, that's how strong and powerful they are on their vegan diets**.

You can take one look at a gorilla and see that protein is not an issue for them.  It's not for us either but rather a long standing myth making people think they need animal products. Protein is just a chain of amino acids and they come in many varieties. Pure, unadulterated food from the plant kingdom is the highest quality, most easily assimilated protein we can eat with leafy greens topping the list.

There is a ton of literature out there on this topic, so I am not going to try to encapsulate it in a blog post, but I will steer anyone who would like to know more to the following books:  THE CHINA STUDY, by Campbell and GREEN FOR LIFE by Boutenko.

* I do eat raw organic honey on rare occasion--vegan police don't come after me!
** Gorillas eat about 3% insects, but it's 97% plant food otherwise.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sonicare Electric Toothbrush

I started getting religious about brushing and flossing my teeth over a decade ago when I took my then-dog to the vet.   The veterinarian told me that I could extend my dog's life by keeping his teeth clean.  The vet explained that the plaque that builds up on the teeth ends up in the bloodstream causing arterial plaque and heart disease.  And I immediately thought, well if it works for dogs, it probably works for us too.

It was a vet that educated me on this--a vet.  Shouldn't I have known from my doctor or dentist?  Many years later I began to hear about it in the mainstream as a proactive thing for humans to do for their arterial health.  Well it's true, if we keep our teeth clean, it extends our life.

My current dentist highly recommends Sonicare.  After years of brushing and flossing habitually, my teeth are pretty clean.   But I was curious about the electric toothbrush everyone raves about, so I tried it.  My favorite part is the gum massage you get.

The brush is said to blast plaque off your teeth, but I think you can do just as well with a toothbrush, if you are committed.  The Sonicare does make it fun and takes very little effort.  For people who don't like to brush, I think it would be a great incentive.  It would be wonderful for someone with arthritis, older folks, and kids.  Also, they tell you your teeth will get whiter and I think mine actually did.  The charge holds for a long time, about two weeks.

It feels weird at first, almost deal breakingly weird.  But you get used to it after a couple of times and then it feels fine and even soothing.  When you're done, your teeth feel super clean.  Find it HERE.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Groovy Holidays Fabulous Eco Friendly Party Hats

Groovy Holidays has you covered for your next celebration.  Check out these ridiculously cute felt party hats. They come in hip, whimsical designs that would be perfect for a birthday or New Years.  I love that they are not yet another throw away party item, but rather something you can use over and over.

They are well made enough to last through many celebrations and would make a nice keepsake or party favor.  Some of the hats are in crown or pirate shapes which can go in the kids' costume box for daily play.   Find them HERE. 

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Prana Organic Clothing for Spring and Summer

I get so excited to find fashionable organic clothing.  For a long time, I've been on the lookout for organic jeans which seem to be pretty scarce.  Check out these cute jeans from Prana--organic, cropped, super soft and comfy, perfect for Summer.  The fit is a loose boyfriend fit.  They have the jeans paired with this colorful belt inspired by Mexican tapestry.  
Accessories that let you add a punch of color and interest to an outfit are always a great addition to the wardrobe.  Wouldn't you love to do your gardening looking this good?   Be sure to check out Prana's organic line for some great options in organic clothing.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

HAPPY EARTH DAY and Five Earth Day Activities For Kids

1.  Do some earth-art.  Draw pictures of our world, wildlife, and changes we can make for a healthier planet.  Make a dandelion necklace or art from objects found in nature.

2. Plant some seeds or a little starter plant.  Kids love to watch seeds sprout to life and nurture their own plant which fosters a feeling of connection to our earth.

3.  Go on a nature walk and write down the different plants, trees and wildlife you see to research later.

4.  Walk or take the bus for the day.

5.  Make a change.  Go vegan for the day, trade your regular laundry soap for soap nuts, buy organic, etc.  Use glass instead of plastic--enter my giveaway for Kidishes for instance (see previous post).  Kids are enthusiastic about making beneficial changes and it's empowering for them to know they are making an impact with their choices.

Image Credit: woodleywonderworks

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Fabulous Eco Friendly KIDISHES ** Giveaway **

I never liked those plastic kid cups and bowls, and dishes as they smell like plastic (gross), they tend to scratch easily, and they tip, not to mention they are not good for our planet or our bodies.

Kidishes are the perfect alternative to BPA leaching, earth un-friendly plastic.  They are virtually indestructible (see website for entertaining demos), a nice solid weight, and eco friendly to boot.  Recyclable and dishwasher safe, this Duralex tempered glass is iconic in France and featured in the Musee Des Arts Decoratifs.

The simple, clean-lined design will match any decor and the size is ideal for kid portions.  My son loves having his own personal dishes and I love that he is using safe dinnerware.  Find them HERE.

*GIVEAWAY*  Enter to get your very own Kidishes by leaving a comment below.  Extra entries for:
 1. Following this blog by going into your dashboard and adding Eco Mama to your "Blogs I'm Following," 2. Tweeting about this giveaway or Blogging about this giveaway, just be sure to leave a separate comment for each entry for the random counter.


This giveaway is now closed, and the winner is....HiHo Rosie!

True Random Number Generator
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Monday, April 19, 2010


The PBS show American Experience is running the Sundance film,  EARTH DAYS, for the next couple of weeks in celebration of the environmental movement.  Check out the trailer here:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

AUSTIN AIR Allergy Machine Air Purifier

Is the pollen getting you down?  Are your eyes bothering you or do you wake up with sneezing fits?  As beautiful as Spring is, it brings with it a host of potential irritants.  This year my eyes were inflamed and it was really hard to wear contacts, and mornings were fraught with sneezing.  My five year old has also been a little sneezy.

Here is my solution to a good night's sleep when allergens are high--the Austin Air Allergy Machine.  Sleeping with the Allergy Machine on allows a more restful sleep and the absence of waking up stuffy and sneezy.  I have been using this for the last couple of weeks and there is a noticeable difference in how I feel upon waking and throughout the day.

Austin Air purifiers are medical and military grade, they're hard core.  They are great for people with asthma, and other chronic respiratory issues.  The HEPA filter removes 99.97% of airborne particulates larger than 0.3 microns, including pollen, dust, smoke, mold, spores, dust mite allergens, and pet dander which can be hard on the immune system.  We've all heard the stats that indoor air pollution is worse than outdoor, here is a great solution to that.

The Allergy Machine has three speeds, the highest sounds like a fan and the lowest is barely detectable.  I've been putting it on high for about an hour before bed time and then lowering it to medium.  I find the white noise soothing and helpful to block out external sounds, enhancing sleep.  The machine cleans the air in my bedroom four times per hour.

The appearance, as air filters go, I think is attractive.  It's just a simple box shape and I love the casters which allow for easy maneuverability.  They come in several colors to match your decor, they are energy efficient and come with a five year warranty.  The air filters are designed to last five years with normal household usage.  From my research, I think they are one of the more economical air purifiers out there with the most bang for your buck.

We filter our water, why not filter our air?  I think it's particularly important for the hours that we are sleeping.  This is when our bodies are rejuvenating and taking care of business. It just makes sense to me to give our immune systems a break so that our bodies can function optimally. Find the Allergy Machine HERE. 

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Children's Globe for Earth Day

Earth Day is coming and a great way to talk about the earth with kids is to have a visual aid, like this fabulous Children's Globe from World Globe Universe.  Globes have always been a source of fascination for me, especially illuminated globes, they just seem a little bit magical.

Globes are a great way for kids to have a hands-on experience.  This particular globe showcases wildlife by its geographic orientation.  Most kids love animals and this makes learning geography fun as well as fostering an appreciation for the beautiful world we live in and the extraordinary creatures that inhabit it.  When the globe is illuminated (it has a switch on the cord), the marine animals become visible.  It casts a lovely comforting glow as a night light as well as being educational--great for the classroom and kids' room.

This globe is well made and strong enough to stand up to toddler impact.  It's perfect for pre-schoolers and kindergardeners, find it HERE.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Vacu Vin Pineapple Slicer

If you like pineapple, you are going to Love this Vacu Vin Stainless Pineapple Slicer.  So often when I'm at the store I find myself eyeballing the pineapples and debating whether I want to make the commitment to prep it later.  More often than not, I don't want to bother with it.  And when I do buy the pineapple, it will usually end up rotting for that very reason.  I'm not lazy, I just don't like dealing with the pokey pineapple, the hard core and the mess.

I just tried this slicer, and I am thrilled!  It's completely effortless.  You just twist the bottom of the slicer into the pineapple until it's all the way in, then pull, and out come perfectly sliced pineapple rings!  It's really that easy, I can't believe it.  When you are done, there is a little pineapple juice left in the bottom to drink and perhaps a little--not much--meat left to scrape out and eat with a spoon.  And then you have a beautiful pineapple for drinks or serving vessel for tropical stir frys or raw foods, anything you can think of, brilliant!  Find it HERE.

This year we will be eating a lot more pineapple thanks to this.  It's stainless steel, sturdy and essential for anyone who loves pineapple.  It would be a wonderful addition to a raw foods kitchen and would make a great gift. Fabulous.  Find it HERE.

Monday, April 5, 2010

TWIG, by Fat Brain Toys

The Easter Bunny brought my son this fabulous toy, TWIG, and though I thought at first he might be a little old for it at five, it was a hit.  There is enough going on with the interconnective blocks and endless possibilities that I think it works for a wide age range, making this a great value for purchase during that first year.  They'd probably do well on conference tables for meetings as even adults are more productive brainstormers when they have something interesting to play with.

The blocks are well made of renewable rubber wood and Twig comes with its own cotton bag for storage.  Toys always get huge points from me for addressing the storage issue and the bag is functional and cute.

I love the open ended play concept and Twig is perfect for building brain power and creativity and good old fashioned fun with a modern twist.  Find it HERE.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

LaundryTree Soap Nuts

"Did you know there's a fruit that will get your laundry clean?" ask the folks at LaundryTree.  I LOVE this product.  No waste, no chemicals, no allergens, no fragrance. Perfect!  It's also ideal for the newer front loading HE machines and naturally softens fabric, so you don't have to use fabric softener either.

 Have you ever walked past a dryer vent and found yourself with an immediate headache?  Or had trouble being around certain people because of the laundry soaps they use?  I have.  I find most laundry detergents to be a complete assault on my senses causing headache and nausea, I also avoid that isle at the grocery store like the plague.

I'm okay with the fragrance free options such as Seventh Generation, but even with those you still have a giant plastic container to get rid of, what a waste.  Soap nuts are the solution to all of this.  And if you need a scent, LaundryTree offers a starter kit containing your choice of essential oils which are a non toxic alternative to the harsh carcinogenic fragrances found in your typical laundry soap.

Harvested in the Himalayas in a sustainable manner, providing fair trade wages to over 300 women each day, these soap nuts are a win-win, healthy for us, for the earth and local communities.  There is a ton of information on the LaundryTree website about how they are harvested and their many uses and benefits.  Earth Day is coming, an opportunity to make a change.  Maybe one change to consider is switching to soap nuts?  I'm already there, not buying laundry soap in those big bottles again! Find them HERE.

Friday, April 2, 2010

High Raw Detox Day 2

Feeling fine today, no detox symptoms but not doing anything hard core. 
Morning:  Green Juice-broccoli stalks, kale, lemon, carrot, apple, chard.
Mid Morning:  Grapefruit with Stevia
Lunch: Half of a Yam w/coconut oil, salt and pepper, and flash sautéed greens (kale, chard, mustard, spinach, garlic).
Dinner:  Made an exception for red potatoes (not part of Natalia Rose's plan) since leeks came in my organic delivery box.  Boiled the potatoes, sautéed some leeks, then tossed together with kale and chard.  I know potatoes are not the most detoxy thing I could eat, but it's warm and comforting and actually I don't think the small red potatoes are all that bad on occasion.
*I've been freezing cold today and wanted warm food.  The green drink and the grapefruit were the only raw items today, but I ate a ton of very lightly heated greens.