Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Is your Puffer Coat or Comforter CRUEL?

Your down coat or bedding may be the result LIVE PLUCKING of geese.

I did an investigative report for Salon. Check it out here 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Flame Retardants in all your furniture, the scandal:

After my son was born more than a decade ago, we got a new couch and carpeted the sun-room to make things more baby-friendly. For some reason I became freaked out about flame retardants + the petrochemical crap in carpets. I am grateful that my husband and his dad spent a whole afternoon laboriously removing the carpet and sofa and NOT A WORD or a grumble. Now, there's hard evidence, and the scandal is worse than you can believe:
RESEARCHERS this summer purchased 42 children’s chairs, sofas and other furniture from major retailers and tested them for toxic flame retardants that have been linked to cancer, birth defects, diminished I.Q.’s and other problems.
In a study released a few days ago, the Center for Environmental Health reported the results: the toxins were found in all but four of the products tested.
“Most parents would never suspect that their children could be exposed to toxic flame-retardant chemicals when they sit on a Mickey Mouse couch, but our report shows that children’s foam furniture can carry hidden health hazards,” a co-author of the study, Carolyn Cox, said in releasing the report.
These flame retardants represent a dizzying corporate scandal. It’s a story of corporate greed, deceit and skulduggery, powerfully told in a new HBO documentary, “Toxic Hot Seat,” that is scheduled to air on Monday evening.
This is a televised window into political intrigue and duplicity that makes “House of Cards” or “Breaking Bad” seem like a Sunday school picnic.

read more here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/24/opinion/sunday/kristof-danger-lurks-in-that-mickey-mouse-couch.html?smid=pl-share

Friday, December 06, 2013

Monday, November 11, 2013

Wholesome Chow ORGANIC Gluten Free Flour - a winner~

Gluten-free flour is hard enough to find as it is, but I worry about GMOs and pesticides and I was so thrilled to try Wholesome Chow's ORGANIC GF flour (it's also vegan). Substituted it 1:1 for normal recipes, and here's Smitten Kitchen's chocolate chip peanut butter cookies. I also substituted coconut sugar and GF chocolate chips, etc., and made not only a healthy version but they tasted pretty close to "real" cookies. Then again, I've been GF/organic/white sugar free for so long, who knows.

Even better, this mix is completely allergy free: no wheat, soy, gluten, dairy, eggs, casein or nuts.  At our son's school, everyone has some kind of allergy, and this is going to be perfect.

I also made these wonderful pumpkin muffins, for which I just mixed up mooshed organic steamed pumpkin from the farmer's market, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and flour and got these beauties:

They also make baking mixes and it uses organic evap'ed cane juice--as well as cake and frosting mixes. These aren't low-carb, for the paleo types, but when I want to bake things for guests and have them not necessarily scream GLUTEN FREE, this is my go-to mix. For kids who need to be allergy-free, this is heaven!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Carcinogens in your Trader Joe's shampoo:

Yesterday's post was about using soap nuts do to you laundry AND use the last bits for a healthy shampoo. Maybe after you read this, you'll see it makes loads of sense; I didn't know cocamide DEA was so horrible, I remember seeing it in almost all my shampoos. It causes CANCER:

The Oakland-based Center for Environmental Health has sued four retailers -- Walgreens, Vogue International, Lake Consumer Products and Ultimark Products -- for allegedly selling shampoos and personal care products that contain thecarcinogenic chemical cocamide diethanolamine (cocamide DEA) without proper warning, CEH Communications Director Charles Margulis told The Huffington Post.

If the claims are true, the companies may be in violation of California law, as the state identified the chemical as cancer-causing in June 2012. Under Proposition 65, businesses must notify Californians of "significant" amounts of chemicals in products for purchase. Cocamide DEA, a chemically modified form of coconut oil, is used in shampoos and other personal care products as a thickener or foaming agent. Companies were given until June 2013 to comply and properly label the products.
These companies are only the first four of more than 100 against which the CEH has vowed to pursue legal action; others include Trader Joe's, Walmart, Kohl's and Sephora, Margulis told HuffPost. According to a study commissioned by the CEH (which is not yet available online), the chemical was found in 98 products, including some manufactured by Paul Mitchell, Colgate Palmolive and Colomer. Other products marked as organic or marketed for children were also found to contain the carcinogen.

read more http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/30/shampoos-carcinogens-center-for-environmental-health_n_3831982.html?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women:

Friday, August 30, 2013

Karma Clean soap nuts

I was recently doing a residency where they provide (wonderful!) food, the artists do the cleanup. They had those brightly colored soap pod things, very convenient, someone laughed as I carefully used two spoons to pick it up. When asked why, I said it's that they FELT very toxic. They now have these pods for laundry detergent, too.

Sadly, I was right, I read a story about how a toddler DIED after he ate one of those detergent pods: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/15/child-eats-laundry-detergent-pod_n_3764770.html

Anyway, if you really like the convenience of packets, there's nothing easier than these Karma Clean soap nuts packets. You toss 'em in the wash--up to 5 washes--then toss 'em into the compost OR you can even soak them in hot water and use as shampoo. I use a product from India called Aritha, that is also made of soap nuts. Soap nuts are basically just the nuts of a kind of tree and they lather and clean GREAT, I think better than chemical soap. We've been using these for years, plus, our appliance guy said they seem to be very gentle on the washer.

Check out Karma Clean, which is a genuine small business owned by a real person--and maybe bug your local health food store to carry these: http://karmaclean.info/

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Today's Wheat is just TROUBLE ~

One thing that really bugs me lately is when people make fun of people who are going gluten-free because it's a "fad." I have a medical condition for which I need to go gluten-free, but guess what, I feel much better and also maintain a good weight. Friends I've suggested go gluten-free have all lost weight when needed.

Anyway, maybe this is not to far-fetched. Apparently the wheat we eat today is not as "normal" as what we used to eat. Indeed, the doctor talks about "gliadin" in the new wheat, and that's exactly the protein that makes autistic kids more autistic.

 Modern wheat is a "perfect, chronic poison," according to Dr. William Davis, a cardiologist who has published a book all about the world's most popular grain.
Davis said that the wheat we eat these days isn't the wheat your grandma had: "It's an 18-inch tall plant created by genetic research in the '60s and '70s," he said on "CBS This Morning." "This thing has many new features nobody told you about, such as there's a new protein in this thing called gliadin. It's not gluten. I'm not addressing people with gluten sensitivities and celiac disease. I'm talking about everybody else because everybody else is susceptible to the gliadin protein that is an opiate. This thing binds into the opiate receptors in your brain and in most people stimulates appetite, such that we consume 440 more calories per day, 365 days per year."
Asked if the farming industry could change back to the grain it formerly produced, Davis said it could, but it would not be economically feasible because it yields less per acre. However, Davis said a movement has begun with people turning away from wheat - and dropping substantial weight.
"If three people lost eight pounds, big deal," he said. "But we're seeing hundreds of thousands of people losing 30, 80, 150 pounds. Diabetics become no longer diabetic; people with arthritis having dramatic relief. People losing leg swelling, acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, and on and on every day."
To avoid these wheat-oriented products, Davis suggests eating "real food," such as avocados, olives, olive oil, meats, and vegetables. "(It's) the stuff that is least likely to have been changed by agribusiness," he said. "Certainly not grains. When I say grains, of course, over 90 percent of all grains we eat will be wheat, it's not barley... or flax. It's going to be wheat.
"It's really a wheat issue."

Read more here