Keep the sweet smell of Valentine’s Day chemical free!

flowr valValentine’s Day… the holiday of LOVE! There might be someone you would love to shower with romance and affection, but while you put together the lovey-est of treats, you want to be sure to make the best choices.

I’ve written about all of the ways to keep it eco-friendly – from chocolates and candles, to wining and dining (and you can read that entire post here).

But Valentine’s Day is a hugely popular holiday for flowers.  The problem?  About 70% of flowers sold in the U.S. are imported and grown using highly toxic chemicals, including pesticides, fertilizers and fungicides. It doesn’t sound so pleasant to take a big “whiff” now, does it?!  This is a danger to us as consumers, workers cultivating the flower crops and florists working with them daily.  It also pollutes the land and groundwater and creates an unhealthy environmental effect.

This Valentine’ Day consider organic flowers! These farms instead use environmental and sustainable practices (without toxins) to insure that everyone in the chain, including the environment, isn’t put at risk.  And it also simply supports local, domestic farming. Diamond Organics, California Organic Flowers and Organic Bouquet will help put you in the right direction to locate a florist that offers organic flowers or buy online if you want “green” blooms.veriflora

You can also look for the VeriFlora label or ask your florist if they are VeriFlora certified and you will know you are buying an organic and sustainable product.

Be assured you’re NOT bringing those toxins into your home or sending them to someone you actually love (or at least like a LOT!).

The scent of organic flowers is pure (non-toxic) sweetness!

The “beauty” and benefit of fabulous bamboo!

bmboo III’m excited (and a bit relieved) to see more and more products popping up that use that fabulous, sustainable grass… bamboo! (Yes! It’s actually a grass!)

It no longer takes a trip to a specialty shop or expensive eco-boutique to find much of what you’re looking for.  In fact, even my local grocery store carries a line of bamboo kitchen towels.

And why do I think bamboo is so fabulous? Well, it just so happens bamboo is the fastest growing plant on the planet and its uses are vast.  It’s naturally anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and hypo-allergenic, can be grown without herbicides and pesticides and is a critical element in the production of oxygen. (See why I have “the love”?!?)

Bamboo products include: fabrics/clothing, furniture, building materials, flooring, housewares/tableware & utensils, medicine, paper, food… on and on!  Now is the time to start reading product labels closer than ever and make a fabulous, sustainable choice.bmboo III

Oh, and one other thing… this fact: “It is believed, if bamboo were planted on a mass basis, it could completely reverse the effects of global warming in just six years and provide a renewable source of food, building materials and erosion prevention.”

You just fell in love too, didn’t you?

Before you get seafood, get “Seafood Watch” first!

seafd wtch logoI’ve really, consciously, tried to put more seafood into regular rotation on our menus around the MGG house… not always easy with little kids, but most of the time they go along with the program!

My biggest concern, however, has always been knowing what to buy.  It’s really not so cut-and-dry and you can’t just memorize all of the do’s and don’ts since it really matters ‘how and where’ it was raised/farmed or caught. Yes, that’s the tricky part.

Luckily, while on vacation, I discovered a fantastic resource that’s the solution to my woes.  My discovery came in the form of a nifty little pocket guide called Seafood Watch, compiled by the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

The guides are broken down by regions of the country based on the seafood most commonly found in those areas.  The intent is to help us purchase healthy seafood from sustainable sources… and THAT puts my mind at ease.seafd wtch book

They’re really easy to understand too, because there are three categories “Best/Good/Avoid” and they’re color-coded green, yellow or red (obviously for “Go/Caution/Stop”!).  The recommendations are science-based, peer reviewed and use ecosystem-based criteria… again, another sigh of relief!

All you need to do is go to their Pocket Guide page, choose your region, print a copy and put it in your pocket… then voila!… questions answered. And if you happen to be a sushi lover like me, they have a great Sushi Guide too.

So get moving on those lean proteins and omega-3 fatty acids … with a pocket full of information it will taste much better with a side of “peace of mind” too!

Is climate change affecting your HEALTH?

Global WarmingThat’s a question I had always wondered about.  When we think about climate change, or global warming, we often visualize an image like a polar bear precariously balanced on a small floating patch of ice but, in the bigger picture, can it affect our own health?

The answer is absolutely.

Unfortunately, there are many ways that are often overlooked and never even discussed when we consider climate change.  The change in global temperature can have long-term effects on human health because it affects the food we eat, the diseases we get, the disorders we develop, the air we breathe and the water we drink… all the things essential to a healthy body.

Here are just a few concerns to consider if anyone ever thinks this is only an environmental issue:

  • Greenhouse gasses can cause respiratory issues and more severe problems for asthma suffers because plants will actually produce more allergens when temperatures increase.
  • Extra heat creates more ground-level ozone, and increases pollution, which creates added stress for our heart and lungs.childhealth
  • Rising temperatures can increase the range of infectious parasites and therefore increase the rate and severity of infectious diseases.
  • Weather extremes will increase, resulting in intense heat waves or bouts of bitter cold, resulting in cardiovascular and respiratory disorders.
  • Crops can become compromised, decreasing the yield and reducing their nutritional quality.
  • Water supplies are reduced along with the quality of water, coupled with an increase of water-borne illnesses.

Research has shown that bugs, plants, animals are all literally moving closer to the poles to escape the increases in heat.  Tropical fish have even been found off the coast of Long Island, New York, because of the rise in water temperature.

The next time someone rejects the idea of climate change affecting their lives, remind them that our environment can’t change without changing us too!

Bamboo, bamboo, bamboo….

I have this tremendously long list of words that I absolutely hate saying. Not because they are taboo words or have a bad connotation, but because they sound ridiculous when you SAY them. (Try sounding smart while you say the word “doily”… serious, it should be followed with a “duhhhh”!)

Okay, so this is just one of my little “issues”, but one word that I love to say is bamboo! Isn’t it just a fun word?!?!? But more than that, it is an amazing resource. I’m discovering more and more about this fabulous grass (yes, it’s a woody grass).

There are some incredible facts about bamboo, but I was amazed to learn that it is literally the fastest growing plant on earth – on average, six inches a day, but in some climates… 4 FEET in 24-hours! That is amazing. Plus, it is naturally anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and hypo-allergenic, can be grown without herbicides and pesticides and is a critical element in the production of oxygen. It sounds like nature’s most environmental offering to all of us.

Bamboo products include: fabrics/clothing, furniture, building materials, flooring, housewares/tableware & utensils, medicine, paper, food… and the list goes on. And keep in mind these are really, really broad categories. I recently bought some kitchen towels made of bamboo and I think they’re great. They don’t get stinky and smelly, they dry faster than cotton towels and even hold more water. Add to it the anti-bacterial qualities and I think I’m in love!…

And get a load of this fact: “It is believed, if bamboo were planted on a mass basis, it could completely reverse the effects of global warming in just six years and provide a renewable source of food, building materials and erosion prevention.”  Wow.

My point is simply to say “give ‘bamboo’ a chance!” It’s readily renewable, sustainable and has a lot less impact on the environment.  

Bamboo, bamboo, bamboo…. what a smooth and (undeniably) environmental word… rolls off the tongue…. unless it’s turned into a doily (sheesh!).