What’s On My Food?

Most of us are aware of The Dirty Dozen/Clean 15, but what about foods not on there? Things such as almonds for instance, how important is it to buy those organic or not? I LOVE this resource: What’s On My Food: http://www.whatsonmyfood.org/

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Why I’m so thrilled to have discovered Earthpaste!!

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There is hardly an ingredient NOT of concern in this toddler toothpaste. Compare the ingredient label pictured with  Earthpaste, and you’ll see why I’m SO in love with this toothpaste (Earthpaste that is!). Earthpaste= purified water, Redmond (Bentonite) clay, Xylitol, Redmond Real Salt, Tea Tree oil, and Essential Oil. Resharing my Earthpaste review again, I can’t share or recommend this product enough! I wish it were in the homes of every single family!

Earthpaste review: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=677690208913289&set=a.568349859847325.144572.397517646930548&type=1&theater

FB thread with comments, Q & A on this post: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=684883631527280&set=a.430947503587562.117422.397517646930548&type=1&theater

Trillium Organics Belly & Body Polish Review

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Trillium Organics Belly & Body Polish Review, based in Sturgeon Bay, WI.

This is one of those lines that I can’t find anything I don’t love about. The entire line is USDA certified organic, and nothing rates above a 1 in EWG. Someone on my page suggested I check out the line, and I immediately loved what I saw- absolutely no ingredients of concern to me. I was just about done clicking around on their site when I saw a reference to the fact that they are a WI-based company (I’m a WI mama—my love for this company was sealed)

From their website: “Trillium Organics is your source for Authentic USDA Organic body care and all-natural skin care products. Trusted by the Organic Consumers Association and treasured by glowing fans worldwide, Trillium Organics blends and pours each and every organic skin care product by hand. If you find yourself troubled by Eczema, Psoriasis, Keratosis Pilaris, or Dry Skin, we have the solution for you. No matter how much or how little you wish to pamper your skin, we have solutions and systems that will help you heal and restore your skin’s natural glow.”

Categories & offerings:

**Bath & body: body polish, body oil & body butter, soaking salt, botanical soap, roll-on perfume in 10 safe scents.

**Skin & face: advanced Argan age defying, daily balancing calm rosacea, oil free acne control.

**Baby: Breathe Free tea tree Aroma rub, breathe free tea tree gently soap, fragrance free barrier balm, fragrance free moisture oil, tubby ruby soapless cleanser, healthy bathday gift set, get well soon gift set, and baby shower gift set.

**Mama: belly butter, body polish, gently soap, moisture oil & skin soothing sampler.

**Conditions & recovery: psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, keratosis Pilaris, dry skin, cancer treatment and your skin, cradle cap, diaper rash.

Here are the two products I was sent:

OGmama Relaxing Lavender Belly and Body Polish— 4 oz./$10.00, 24 oz. $24.00. Product description from their website: “your ticket to a comfortable stretch in the third trimester. During the third trimester, the skin is stretching so much that it itches. To scratch it with fingernails could damage the dermis and start stretch marks. Luckily, Organic Body Polish satisfies and stops the itch while supporting the resilience of the skin to stretch even further. Our Salt Crystals are perfect crystalline cubes, so they do not scratch the skin like other salt scrubs, or finger nails. They exfoliate gently yet effectively. The removal of surface dead skin cells stimulates the regeneration of new cells, further enhancing the skins healthy stretch without adding toxins or leaving marks.” They sent me this product during my 1st trimester, so I held on to it for quite some time waiting for the 3rd trimester to arrive. I can say it definitely feels wonderful to rub on to my tight, stretched baby belly. I use it pre-bath, rub it on really well & let the oils soak in for a bit before getting in the bath. Then I follow-up with my favorite belly butter afterwards. I can’t say what difference it’s made for my stretch marks, as obviously there’s no way of knowing what they would be like without this product. But I can say it feels wonderful to rub on and is made with a host of wonderfully nourishing organic ingredients: Crystalline Salt, Organic Sunflower Oil, Organic Safflower Oil, Organic Olive Oil, Organic Lecithin, Organic Lavender Oil, Non-GMO Vitamin E, Organic Chamomile, Organic Calendula, Organic Lavender.

 

Vapor Rub- $7.00/ .5 oz. or $15.50/ 3 oz. They also sent me an OGbaby Breathe Free Tea Tree Organic Aroma Rub, which I was fortunate enough not to need this winter as my whole family escaped with no illness! It is nice to have a product like this on hand though, and even though we’re going into summer now a good friend of mine & her son have just came down with some sort of respiratory ailment. It will be nice to have on hand with new babe who will be joining us any day now. Ingredients: Organic Olive Oil, Organic Beeswax, Organic Eucalyptus Oil, Organic Tea Tree Oil.

I know this is not a line everyone reading this will be able to afford as it’s one of the higher-end lines on my ‘approved’ list. But as we all know, making products with completely organic ingredients is not cheap. You also have to take into account that these products do not contain water as a 1st ingredient, but are full of nourishing oils, which means you get a very concentrated product that will last a long time (I hate paying for water myself!). I’m very happy to have this WI-based company on my “best-of-the-best” list, and thank them for sending me these products to sample! I also love the gift basket ideas they offer, and would love to give one to the next expecting Mama I know and/or receive one myself!

They have received several awards & recognitions: USDA Organic Certified, Leaping Bunny Authenticated, Green America Qualified, Certified Woman Owned Business, Green Product Alliance, Recommended as a “Brand to Trust” by the Organic Consumer’s Association.

 

Website: http://www.trilliumorganics.com/

FB page: https://www.facebook.com/trilliumog

 

 

EcoJarz Review

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EcoJarz review- stainless steel & silicone lids for Mason jars, stainless steel straws & spoons & glass mugs with handles. Disclaimer: these are NOT made in the USA! So, why am I reviewing them, isn’t my mission to find only products made in the USA? Not exactly–my mission is to find the safest products on the market for our families, and I always hope that those options also happen to be made in the USA, which many times they are. But there are certain instances where that is not the case, and it almost always involves products made out of stainless steel. It is very rare to find stainless anything made in the US, unless you’re looking at high-end kitchen gear (pots & pans, etc).

When I first started this page a little over a year ago one of the things I was shopping for at that time was a stainless steel sippy cup made in the USA for my one year old. It was such a frustrating search, as I kept finding great cups & getting excited, only to find the small print somewhere that they were made in China. After many hours of searching I realized a stainless sippy cup made here just did not exist, and that is still the case today to my knowledge (if anyone knows of one do share!). Glass is ALWAYS my 1st choice, and now that my babe is a toddler, he drinks from Mason jars, as does our whole family (we used a Life Factory sippy with him 1st when he was around 1, which he broke within a week). So, I’ve been thrilled by the various Mason jar lids on the market, and have been using & recommending both Re-Cap lids as well as Cuppow lids to make your own sippy cups for some time now. Although both those options are indeed made in the US, they are still plastic. Even the fact that they are BPA-, PVC- & Phthalate-free still didn’t thrill me; they are still plastic. I like them, but I don’t LOVE them. So, sometimes we have to compromise, and I’ll take stainless made abroad over plastic made in the USA any day. No, I don’t like the carbon footprint that comes with the additional shipping, but as I said I am able to find most products I need made here, and an exception here & there doesn’t make me lose sleep at night (I also recently shared some stainless steel popsicle molds with you that are made in Hong Kong, the best choice I felt in that instance too).

Where exactly these products are made, from their website: “Ecojarz is a diverse business! We have a close relationship with a small Vietnamese company that provides the raw lids to us, we do all end-processing, finishing and shipping from Upstate NY and IN. We love our partners overseas but for environmental and logistical reasons we are constantly exploring many options to get the lids locally despite the considerable increase expense.” What exactly does that mean? Here’s what the owner, Kirby elaborated: “Ecojarz silicone is produced in Vietnam, then processed, cleaned and packaged in USA.  Ecojarz stainless steel raw material is imported to Vietnam from the USA, Japan, and sometimes other counties, then it is stamped, then shipped to USA to be finished in a tumbler, cleaned and packaged.   Ecojarz mugs come from Mexico and EcoJarz wide mouth is manufactured in the USA.  Responsibly made means that I personally have been inside all of the places producing Ecojarz stuff.   I say places because we work with a lot of very small suppliers that work out of their houses, family business style.” The straws & spoons are also produced through the same Vietnamese relationship.

About the company & these products: “We are a young company focused on challenging the concept of throw-away culture. Our first product — the Stainless Steel EcoJarz Drink Top — is designed  to make reuse the new norm. Because our drink tops fit standard canning jars, they also fit hundreds of other bottles and containers that are disposed of everyday.This drink top will fit any standard mouth jar, whether it’s an empty tomato sauce, salsa, or mayonnaise jar. With EcoJarz, the possibilities of turning jars into long-lasting, always-handy, on-the-go drink vessels are almost endless. We suggest reusing a jar you may already have. In fact that is the whole point for us.  Every time someone uses a mayo jar they are basically saving the planet single handedly. For those of you who may not already have a favorite jar, we also offer glass mugs.”

EcoJarz makes both stainless (my 1st choice) & silicone (my 2nd choice) lids, as you can see in the attached photo. Here’s some info about both the silicone & stainless used in these products, from their website: The Metal lids are made of 304L Surgical Stainless Steel. Silicone is a flexible rubber-like material made primarily from Silicon (sand/rock) and Oxygen. It has many useful properties and is rapidly becoming commonplace in kitchens all over the world as a high-temperature and inert replacement to plastic. It is a great insulator, does not support bacterial growth, is UV stable, does not off-gas, is non-toxic and is highly reusable. You can learn more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silicone#Cookware.

I gathered a variety of sizes of jars that I had around my house for the photo, 2 regular mouth & 2 wide mouth (the quart has chopped garlic in it, but wanted to show you the variety of sizes these lids can fit). The glass mug with the handle was sent to me by them, and is the only Mason jar I have with a handle, I realized it’s kind of nice! But, both they, and I highly encourage you to use jars you already have. The great news is that all Ball & Kerr Mason jars are made in the US. I’ve accumulated more than a cupboard full over the years, of all sizes, leftover from jellies, etc. They all come in handy, and I’m growing to love the wide-mouths more & more. The EcoJarz lids have a silicone gasket on the inside so they have a nice, snug fit. The straight smoothie straws fit snugly & make a very nice fit, while the straws with the bend in them are slightly looser. If you were to tip the jar upside down with either straw you would get a little bit of leakage. I started my son on a Mason jar sippy with a lid around 14 or so months, and yes we had a spill here & there (usually intentionally), but he got the idea very quickly. He now loves using straws & knows where they are in our drawer & will go grab them himself, especially for smoothies. We both favor the ones with the bend in them, it’s kind of nice not to have to pick up the glass, but we’ve been using both styles & enjoying them. I reviewed some glass straws by GlassDharma a few months ago, and several of you expressed concern over the possibility of them breaking & your preference for stainless over glass in this instance. They also sent me 4 long handled spoons. I unfortunately just broke the last of my nice tall pint jars that I love using for one of my favorite treats: root beer floats, but I will be getting some more soon & those spoons will be perfect for that, a shake, or a thick smoothie, among other things. Here are their offerings & prices. You can mix & match lids & straws & the more you add on the more you save. And, for the international friends of the page:

Do you ship internationally?
Yes, however due to the most recent cost-increase by the USPS, it is getting more expensive than ever to ship over the pond.  While we try to keep our shipping prices as low as possible, please note that the typical price to ship two jars across the ocean is $30 USD.

 

For more info, prices & options please visit their website:

Website: http://www.ecojarz.com/

FB page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/EcoJarz/424371460935290?ref=br_tf

 

One very exciting tidbit they also shared with me is they will soon be adding some new products to their line that will be made in the USA! I thank them for sharing these products with me, and can’t wait to see what the new offerings are!

 

 

 

 

FINALLY, a safe dish soap that actually works!!

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I have a VERY, VERY exciting announcement to make, one I’ve been waiting to make for quite some time–no, I didn’t have my baby yet Poofy Organics has perfected a dish soap!!!!! They had sent me a trial version a few months ago & it just wasn’t perfect. I can do without bubbles/lather in just about anything, but for some reason can’t do without them for dishes. Kristina played around with the recipe, sent me a sample last week, and it’s FABULOUS!!! A safe, effective dish soap is one of the most FAQ I get on this page, and I’ve been very frustrated with the options, even the safest ones have ingredients of concern. The ingredients in this are fabulous, and it works SO well.
The 1st time I tried it was with a tiny sink of dishes, just to see how it worked. I did the dishes, went outside for an hour or more, and came back & there were still bubbles in the sink! Then I let the dishes build up to the point where I had 2 sinks full and put it to the test again, the bubbles lasted through the whole load, and it was a pretty greasy load too! Last night hubby did dishes & without me asking for feedback he said “Wow, this stuff gets them squeaky clean”, and it really, really did. The dishes were so clean, no leftover grease or grime that I’ve experienced with some of the more eco-friendly brands I’ve tried. I cannot recommend this highly enough, and hope many of you are as excited as I am.
Ingredients: Ingredients: Purified Water, Saponified Organic Oils of Coconut, Olive & Jojoba, Decyl Polyglucose ( EWG rating of 0!), Organic Vegetable Glycerin, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Xanthan Gum (EWG rating of 0), Organic Aloe Vera, Organic Essential oils of Lemon & Rosemary, rosemary extract. Price=$10.00/16 oz. bottle. Many brands say just use a tiny amount, but I always find myself squirting quite a bit in for desired effect, but you honestly just need a little squirt of this stuff. AND, it has a wonderful, clean, fresh scent!
 The Xanthan gum and Decyl Polyglucose are from non-gmo corn and the glycerine is USDA organic from soy.
Fb thread with comments & questions: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=680411315307845&id=397517646930548

Review of Josiah’s Oils products

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Review of Josiah’s Oils products, based in Lancaster Pennsylvania —As all of us have different expectations, of course results will vary. These are my experiences with these products, and I don’t expect any product to satisfy 100% of the people who try it.

A little background on this business  “Our products are hand-made for our family & yours! My company is named after my son. Josiah is a precious little boy who happens to have Down syndrome.  Josiah abounds with unconditional love!  Essential oils and green-living have benefited Josiah so much that one of our goals is to educate families about our journey into holistic health. So if you have questions: ask away! A portion of our profits will assist children with special needs (a common theme I’ve seen among many of the small, WAH family ventures I’ve done reviews for is they share a spirit of donating back to organizations of importance to them!). Another tidbit I thought several of you may appreciate is that the entrepreneur behind Josiah’s Oils is a homeschooling Mama of 5!! There are so many reasons that supporting small businesses is great, knowing your money is going to help support a WAHM making great, safe, effective products is definitely one of them!

Preservatives are one of my biggest ingredients of concern in any product. I even avoid using & recommending Sodium Benzoate, a preservative many consider mild & have no hesitation putting on their skin. I will always, always use an alternative that doesn’t include a preservative if one exists, and thankfully they do exist in just about every category imaginable. How does Josiah’s Oils avoid the use of preservatives? I love reading statement such as the following: “We make every product to-order – just for you nothing is sitting on a shelf aging! That way we can promise that your lotion is FREE of un-natural preservatives! Take care of your body – start with your skin!” All products contain numerous organic ingredients.  I also love notes such as this: “Don’t see what you need?  We will be happy to whip up a custom blend JUST FOR YOU!  Just e-mail us!”

I was sent 3 products to sample: a travel-size Insect Away & Hand Sanitizer, and a full-size tube of Sun Stick. A couple of things I really love about Josiah’s Oils website is you’ll find several links to Research Pages and Safety Sheets which share important information regarding the use of an ingredient (effectiveness of Essential Oils), or why it’s important to avoid other ingredients (DEET, Triclosan, etc.). I also love that there are highly concentrated refills available for many of the products such as the hand sanitizer, insect spray and more. Add 10-12 drops of these concentrated oils per ounce of water in a spray bottle & you have a whole new batch! This is both an eco-friendly, and budget-friendly solution that I love to see businesses offer!

Hand sanitizer: Prices vary from $5.65 for 2 oz. travel size- $12.50 for the 6 oz. X-large, with one option in-between. The travel-size is perfect for the purse or diaper bag, and while I always prefer washing my hands to using a sanitizer it’s great to have a safe, effective product on hand for those times when a sink & soap are not nearby. It sprays a very nice fine mist, smells of cinnamon & clove with a hint of lemon are what stand out to me. The website includes an extensive list of ideas for using this sanitizer other than your hands (high chairs, shopping carts, etc). Sanitizer ingredients: “Our Powerful Essential Oils Mold/Virus/Bacteria Killing Blend: Purified, distilled water, Aloe, Organic  Cinnamon [leaf & bark], Rosemary, Lemon & Clove oils.   A tidbit I found informative & interesting: “Also, essential oils do not kill the “good” bacteria we need in our bodies.”

Insect away: Price varies from $4.50 for the travel-size to $12.60 for the X-Large, with a size in-between. AND, this product is on sale: 10% off on their website through the month of June. Ingredients:  ALL-Natural Insect Away Oil made from our tried-and-true Essential Oils Blend recipe including organic peppermint, lemongrass, cedar wood, citronella, eucalyptus & rose geranium!  We live on the banks of a river & have a variety of pesky insects. The gnats have been among the worst offenders thus far, and the mosquitos have just started to show themselves in the evening hours. The 1st time we used this I sprayed my toddler down, sent him out with dada & told him to report back in a few minutes. They came in and Dada said, he got bit immediately and I asked where & he said on his cheek, which was the only place I didn’t put it! I rubbed some on my hands & applied it to his face & sprayed his neck & sent them back out & he had no more new bites! It has also been effective against the gnats, which are more of an annoyance than anything! It produces a very nice, fine mist. Cedarwood & eucalyptus are the scents that stand out the most to me.   Sun Stick- SPF 30. $14.99/ 4 oz. solid tube. Also available in 2 sizes is a Sunny Day Lotion (SPF 30) and pocket-sized (lip balm size) tubes of the Sun Stick which come in a pack of 3 (great to keep in purse or diaper bag). Ingredients: Active: Zinc Oxide (22%, non-nanoparticle – SPF 30) Inactive: Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Sunflower Seed Oil, Grape Seed &  Olive Oil, Vitamin E & Beeswax. I like that the Sun Stick comes in a deodorant tube, as it makes for easy application. The 1st thing that surprised me about this product is although it is white like all sunscreens, it goes on completely clear. It has a slightly similar scent to the Insect Away, I can’t really pinpoint anything in particular, but it has a pleasant smell.  I have used this on my toddler several times on his ears, neck & face and once on his arms, back & chest, and not during the time of day when the sun is most intense as it’s his nap time, but I can say he didn’t turn the slightest shade of pink. He actually enjoyed me applying this to him, it seemed like it felt good especially going on his arms, he said “mama do more” vs. attempting to rub in a traditional more liquidy sunscreen that you squirt from a tube, which always is a slight struggle I’m sure many of you can related to. It rubs on very easily like a deodorant, and is not all that greasy, it’s quite convenient! From the website: “How does our NON-Nano particle Zinc work without these harmful chemicals? Our Zinc Oxide works as a physical block – it sits on the skin’s surface; it is NOT absorbed into the skin. In this case, light is either absorbed into sunblock material or reflected away from the skin, similar to a mirror or aluminum foil….Zinc Oxide should be reapplied often at regular intervals to provide continued protection if you’re spending time out in the sun – being especially cautious around the sea or pool and between 10 and 2 pm when the sun is the most intense.”

UPDATE (8/30/13)- SHAMPOO Just in time for the1st buying club order! Shampoo is one of my most frequently asked questions, so I’m so happy to have another safe, effective solution to offer you. I have only used this shampoo a couple of times, as it is a brand new offering by Josiah’s Oils, but I have no hesitations recommending it. It produces a decent lather, not a super lather, but it definitely does lather. I only wash my hair once or twice a week, so it’s a bit greasy when I do wash it. I find with most shampoos the lather/bubbles kind of die once they get in my hair, so I have a hard time telling if it’s the shampoo or my hair/water type. I didn’t follow up with my normal spray-in detangler to see how it felt without it, and I really didn’t need it. The apple cider vinegar is a natural conditioner. I also love that it has sea salt in it. My hair has never felt as healthy as it does after a swim in the ocean, which helps strip any build-up you might have. It smells great, and my hair doesn’t feel oily or greasy when dry. Ingredients: Purified Water, Decyl Glucoside*(from NON-GMO corn starch), Sea Salt, Organic Vegetable Glycerin, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Organic Unrefined Shea Butter, Organic Rosemary & Orange Essential Oils*. 8 oz. $9.00 or 16 oz. $14.99, both which are great prices!

The website is full of products for all sorts of conditions and ailments. It’s quite an extensive list with absolutely no ingredients of concern which is something we all know is not easy to find. Other products include: foaming hand wash, bed bug spray, lice OFF spray, dry skin, eczema, itchy skin remedies, too much sun lotion, healing salve, UNpetroleum (Earth) jelly, whipped & infused body butters, organic veggie wash, nail fungus relief, lip balms, congestion fighters, healing deodorants, green clean your home, headache relief, poison ivy relief, zit zappers, soaps, foaming baby bath, happy baby Bum paste, Boo Boo stick, vapor rub, lotions, sleepy time relaxation blend, sore muscle relief, yeast relief, several essential oil custom blends and gift sets (and I’m sure I probably left a few things out!).   All packaging is USA made, most of their ingredients are local except for Shea as it comes from Africa.

Josiah’s Oils is offering a 10% off coupon for all new customers: ECOFRIENDLYFIRSTTIME10

Website: http://www.josiahsoils.com/index.html

Fb page: https://www.facebook.com/JosiahsOils

Label Reading

So, you all know that my main mission is to get y’all reading labels for yourselves. I wanted to share this experience I had earlier in the week while staffing at my food co-op. A lady came in asking if we had Brown Cow Maple yogurt. I told her we had stocked it for awhile but it wasn’t organic so we quit carrying it, even though it was popular. She said “oh no, no”. I belong to a co-op a few hour…s away & they only carry organic items, they would NEVER carry a non-organic yogurt. I said OK, it is possible Brown Cow makes an organic & non-organic maple yogurt, but I highly doubt it- just be sure to check out the label.
Well, by the time my shift was done a few hours later she had returned home, checked the label and called to tell me it was NOT organic. She had been eating it for 2 years under the assumption it was, because she trusted her food co-op to provide only organic options!! So, just a friendly reminder, always, always read labels. I’m working hard to make sure my food co-op does provide the healthiest options in every category in the store, but you cannot assume that is the case where you shop- you HAVE to take matters into your own hands!

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