Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cooking with Bambu For Peaceful Energy

Not only does using good quality kitchen utensils and cookware make cooking easier and more enjoyable, it is great for promoting strong, radiant health. One staple cooking tool that I like to use in the the kitchen is the bamboo spoon. It is made out of completely sustainable bamboo and is 100% natural. Using bamboo lends a more peaceful and gentle energetic quality to the food you cook, as opposed to the slightly stronger energy and lightly metallic taste that sometimes occurs from using metal cookware. The bamboo spoons I use in my kitchen are Bambu brand. They have a variety of shapes and sizes to accommodate various cooking methods. I like to use my bamboo spoons for making stir fries, dry roasting nuts and seeds and for serving salad.

Check out Bambu's products to help yourself build a more sustainable home and support your healthy cooking and lifestyle:


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Cooking in Non-Stick or Aluminum Pans, What's the Big Deal?

Over the past ten years or more, there have been concerns about the toxicity of using aluminum and non-stick pans. What's the big deal, right? What actually happens when food is heated in these kinds of cookware? People have been using aluminum for years...

Well, I think this article from TreeHugger.com sums up the information best, addressing health concerns when using these types of cookware.

"Aluminum, a soft metal, is found nearly everywhere in the environment. Most exposures to aluminum occur through ingestion or eating and drinking, with daily intakes generally low, averaging between 30-50 mg. For the typical person, drinking water, medicines and other pharmaceuticals (such as antacids and antiperspirants) are the biggest contributors to aluminum exposures; however, aluminum cookware is also a potential source. As you note, aluminum exposures have raised some health concerns due to the effects of aluminum on the human nervous system and the much discussed (but inconclusive) linkages between aluminum exposures and Alzheimer's disease.

Aluminum exposures from cookware, of which more than half is made of aluminum, is not well studied, but is thought to be a relatively minor source of aluminum exposures. Exposures to aluminum through food can occur when aluminum leaches or otherwise dissolves from the cookware into the food. Leaching is most likely when the foods being cooked or stored are highly basic (like baking soda) or highly acidic (like tomato sauce, lemon juice, oranges, or vinegar). For example, tomato sauce has been shown to contain 3-6 mg aluminum (per 100 g serving) after cooking in aluminum pans, which translates into about one-tenth of the typical daily intake. This leaching of aluminum with acidic foods does not happen with aluminum cookware that is anodized, or electro-chemically processed to seal the aluminum in the cookware. Clemson University Extension’s Home and Garden Information Center tested different cookware types, and found anodized aluminum cookware to be safe. Regardless, it would probably be wise to store tomato sauce and other acidic foods in something other than an aluminum pot."

Using aluminum cookware sounds pretty risky, right? If food is meant to be prepared mindfully and lovingly, for the nourishment of our friends and family, then why would use such questionable wares in our home kitchens? When we know that natural, non-toxic pots, pans and utensils not only don't cause harm, but can actually support our bodies and improve our health, why would we use anything else? Food for thought.

Find the full article from TreeHugger Here

As for non-stick Teflon pots and pans, this snippet from the Environmental Working Group says it best:

"Non-stick surfaces are metal pans (such as aluminum pans) coated with a synthetic polymer called polytetrafluoroetheylene (PTFE), also known as Teflon, a DuPont brand trademark. Learn more about Teflon and its perfluorinated chemical “family” (PFC’s) in our chemical dictionary.

Toxic fumes from the Teflon chemical released from pots and pans at high temperatures may kill pet birds and cause people to develop flu-like symptoms (called "Teflon Flu" or, as scientists describe it, "Polymer fume fever"). Ingesting particles that flake off scratched non-stick cookware isn't toxic because solid PTFE flakes are inert.

Manufacturers' labels often warn consumers to avoid high heat when cooking on Teflon. But EWG-commissioned tests conducted in 2003 showed that in just two to five minutes on a conventional stove top, cookware coated with Teflon and other non-stick surfaces could exceed temperatures at which the coating breaks apart and emits toxic particles and gases.

See a graphic of what happens at to Teflon at various temperatures.
Health dangers: When you breathe kitchen air polluted with fumes from overheated Teflon, you're at risk for developing flu-like symptoms (yes, "Teflon flu"). The long-term effects of routine exposure to Teflon fumes, and from Teflon flu itself, have not been adequately studied.

PFCs have been found in nearly all Americans tested by federal public health officials. Chemicals from this family are associated with smaller birth weight and size in newborn babies, elevated cholesterol, abnormal thyroid hormone levels, liver inflammation and weakened immune defense against disease.

Environmental hazards: Manufacturing PFCs and the consumer products that contain them poses great risks to the environment and wildlife. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says PFCs present "persistence, bioaccumulation, and toxicity properties to an extraordinary degree."
Wow, really? Well if you haven't already thrown out your non-stick pots and pans by this sentence, I bet you'll want to. But you know what, don't take my word for it, look into this subject for yourself. Especially if you have children or feed large groups of people on a regular basis. If you care about the well-being of your family and friends, think twice before cooking with aluminum and on non-stick surfaces.

Find the full article from the Environmental Working Group Here

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Shea Butter: The Ultimate Versitile Skin Care Product

Shea butter - it's so simple, yet so versatile. So many products today, even the natural ones, have 10 or 20 things listed in under their ingredients. This ONE ingredient is powerful, effective and great for skin. Shea butter comes from the nut of the African shea tree and is actually edible, so you know you can put it on your skin. Unrefined shea butter is the best for skin care, because it has the most healing properties.

Shea Butter can be used for:
  • Sun protection - it has skin protecting qualities that help mildly block UV rays
  • All over facial/body moisturizer and eye cream- it helps reduce fine lines, minor scars and age spots and deeply moisturizes
  • Lip balm - this is usually a main ingredient in lip balm, so rub it on to keep your lips soft
  • Hair tamer and styling product - take a small amount and rub it between the palms of your hands. To define kinky, tight curls, rub through clean wet hair and let air dry. For wavy or straight hair, take a small amount and lightly apply to already styled, dry hair for a light hold and to tame flyaways.
  • Deep moisturizing hair and scalp treatment - massage a generous amount into hair and scalp. Let it sit for at least half an hour. Shampoo and condition hair as usual. You might need to shampoo a couple of times to get all of the butter out. Then pat hair dry, blowdry and style and your hair should be shiny and voluminous.
  • Soften feet - slather shea butter onto clean, dry feet and massage. The cover feet with warm cotton socks and go to sleep. Wake up with smooth, soft feet.
  • Soothe dry, cracked hands - when hands are dry and cracked during cold weather, smooth on shea butter like a hand salve. Reapply as necessary.
I recommend finding some unrefined, organic, fair trade shea butter for best result. A little goes a long way with this stuff. I have had my shea butter jar for years and it is still great.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Get Hands-On Green Inspiration

Have you ever met someone that is SO caring, good, and hard working that this person and their efforts inspire you for a lifetime? Well, imagine being in a room surrounded by that kind of magic~ because that's where I was last night! Yes, there wasn't just one awesome person at this event I went to, the room was filled with incredible, passionate, caring people who work hard to do good in this world.

Last night I went to a Green Festival Holiday Celebration in NYC. This event was to engage fellow green-lovers to be a part of the planning and actualization of the FIRST EVER NYC Green Festival 2012! As you probably know, I am a big fan of Green Festival, and have been since 2004. The cool thing about the Green Festival Host Committee is that YOU can actually have a hand in creating this awesome event by volunteering to be on various themed committees, such as Eco-Fashion, Organic Foods, Green Energy, Social Justice, etc. Along with that, you get the opportunity to work with some of the most brilliant and nicest people out there. At this meeting alone, I had the pleasure of getting to speak with Alisa Gravitz, Executive Director of Green America, Denise Hamler, Director of the Green Business Network, Georgia Malki, CEO and President of Seven Star Inc., the nations premier green events expert, and Alix Davidson, Senior Regional Director of NYC Green Festival, to name a few. It was such a pleasure!

Get involved and use your talents and skills to benefit people and the planet through Green Festival NYC 2012.  Email Alix@greenfestivals.org for more information.

Also, save the date and spread the word about

Green Festival NYC
April 21-22, 2012
North Javits Center
655 West 34th Street

Saturday 10am - 7pm
Sunday 11am - 6pm



Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Thirsty Cold Weather Skin? Try this Regimen.

Is your winter skin in desperate need of a drink? As we age, it is easy for skin to look dry, wrinkled and flaky, especially in cold winter months. Trying to find heavy moisturizers that plump up our dry skin without leaving it too greasy and likely to breakout can be a hassle.

So here are some exciting all natural suggestions that should do the trick! These tips and products will help your skin look its best during the year's harshest season.

1. First, minimize eating baked flour products. Hard, crunchy foods like chips, crackers, cookies, cakes and breads are dried out from being surrounded by heat in an oven. The oven dries out the food (cooking it) so you can eat it. When you eat these foods, you are drying out your body- thus drying out your skin. Try to replace those baked snacks with water rich foods. Eat some leafy greens. Make warm vegetable soups or a nice, hot, steamy pot of oatmeal with cinnamon, nutmeg and dried fruit.

2. Next, get your hands on some all natural facial products and make yourself an ultra-moisturizing skin regimen. My favorite products right now are Power Repair Skin Toner followed by Vitamin C Solution (both by Super Salve Company), then Grateful Body Facial Moisturizer and last, a little bit of shea butter as eye cream. Once you apply makeup, spritz your face with Power Repair Face Mist by Super Salve Company. This will help set your makeup and give your extra moisture so your skin will look natural and supple, instead of powdery and dry. It also smells amazing.

3. Last - Exfoliate. Daily. Cell turnover happens fast, so help your skin out by sloughing off old, dead cells to let your skin breathe, detoxify and be more radiant. Lightly scrubbing your face with a warm washcloth not only feels great in cold weather, but it is actually good for you- and your skin!

Some information on Super Salve Products:
  • Skin Toner - Removes the last traces of cleanser residue and debris and prepares the skin for better absorption of moisturizers. Using the toner regularly is an important step to healthier skin and a beautiful complexion.
  • Vitamin C Solution - Delivers high potency antioxidants into the skin cells. It is helpful in reducing fine lines, wrinkles, under-eye puffiness, and enlarged pores. 
  • Power Repair Face Mist - A high potency mist that delivers vitamin C ester into the skin cells. It is helpful for hydrating and soothing skin while firming and repairing damage. It also contains MSM, which is great for skin!