Every winter, the majority of us catch at least a cold or two, if not something worse, like the flu or pneumonia. It is just the way of the world. Typically when we catch one of these, we reach for over the counter cold medicine to help us deal with the symptoms and get through our day. In fact, in 2011, we spent over $4 BILLION dollars on cough and cold medications.
However, as innocuous as over the counter cold medicines seem to be, they are still full of drugs and chemicals. So, this winter, when I felt myself coming down with a cold, instead of just taking the nearest over the counter cold medicine, I decided to research them a bit to see what there ingredients were and what they could be doing to my body.
The Holidays are upon us once again. As green-focused people, the Holidays can present somewhat of a challenge. You want to take part and celebrate with your friends and family, but you also want to make sure that you do not waste or increase your impact on the Earth too much. Some people choose to make their own gifts or buy only used items, which are both great ideas, if you have the time to do so. However, not all of us do.
Luckily, the number of eco friendly gift choices keeps expanding each year. So, if you do not have the time to make something yourself or spend hours hunting for the perfect used item in thrift or antique stores, you can still buy something and feel good that it does not harm the environment too much.
Here are our Green Gift Guide for 2012.
Read more on Green Gift Guide for 2012…
For many of us, our routine includes a daily shower, which includes washing and conditioning our hair. It has been a habit for so long for most of us that we don’t think twice about it and if it could in fact be harming us.
I was in the shower the other day and reached for one of the numerous shampoo bottles in our shower holder like normal. However, this time I took a second to think about what I was putting on my head. I took a glance at the ingredients list on the shampoo bottle and found that it was a very long list and that I could not pronounce half of them. This worried me. Over the past few years, I have found that when the ingredient list is long and there are many ingredients that you are not familiar with, it usually means the product contains things that can be harmful to your health.
After I got out of the shower, I decided that I was going to research shampoo and the main ingredients found in it and if they can have harmful effects on your health. Per usual, I was shocked and amazed at what I found.
Like many people, we have cats. Despite the fact that their litter smells sometimes and that they throw-up hairballs on the carpet and shed all over our couches, we really do love them and try to do our best by them.
In truth, they are really my cats, as I am the one that takes care of them, gives them food and water and cleans out their litter boxes. The other day, I was cleaning out the litter and started to wonder what the litter was made of and if it was safe for them to use. I mean, every time I poured new litter into the litter pans, I would hold turn my head and hold my breath to keep from breathing the dust in. I knew litter was primarily made out of clay, but I did not know what else was in it or what kind of environmental impact it had.
I also wondered if there was a better way to deal with the dirty litter. My existing method was to scoop the dirty litter into a plastic bag and then throw that plastic bag in the trash, which is not green at all. But, as far as I knew, there was no other way to dispose of dirty cat litter.
So, I finished cleaning out the cat litter, filling up their food and water bowls and set out researching my questions. I soon found out that traditional clumping cat litter is not very good for cats, people or the environment and that there are much better options out there that also help with the problem of disposal of dirty cat litter.
As you may or may not know, traditional deodorants and antiperspirants contain some pretty nasty ingredients. Ingredients such as aluminum, parabens, propylene glycol and triclosan have been linked to various conditions, including: cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, endocrine disruption, and kidney and liver function disruption (to learn more, read our post about aluminum in deodorant). Once we learned about how bad traditional deodorant can be for your body, we started looking for some natural alternatives and wrote a review on 4 natural deodorants that we tried.
However, none of the 4 that we tried were perfect. They all had their own flaws, from not working, to bad odor, to high cost. So, we kept looking for more of them to try out. We eventually found 3 more that we thought were worth trying and put them to the test. Here is how they performed and stacked up against the others.
Wasps, one of nature’s most feared and gruesome creatures. Their long thin and thick bodies often remind us of something almost primeval. Anyone who has ever done battle with wasps around their home knows what awful creatures they can be. I am one of those people.
Last spring, there were wasps everywhere around our house. They were buzzing by our front porch, hovering around our cars, flying over our heads and pretty much constantly around us anytime we were outside. As we try our best to be green, we tried to live with them, knowing that if we did not bother them, they would not bother us. However, they were everywhere, so it was very difficult. Then, one day, a wasp got trapped between the storm door and the front door of our house. When our daughter came home and opened the storm door to get into the house, the wasp darted out and stung her. I will never forget the sound of her cry when that happened.
That was the day that I decided that the wasps had to go. But, I still wanted to be green about it, so I looked into how to get rid of wasps naturally and here is what I found (we recently wrote about how to get rid of ground bees naturally as well).
The Holidays are fast-approaching and you may be wondering what you can buy for your friends and family members that will not only make them happy, but also not impact the Earth too much. It is a tough line to walk. In past years, it was very difficult, as there were fewer eco friendly gifts out there. You usually had to resort to doing something nice for the person or perhaps making them something yourself.
Now, however, there are many more eco friendly gift choices out there, so you can still buy something and feel good that it does not harm the environment too much. Here are our favorite eco friendly gifts for 2011. Read more on Eco Friendly Gifts – Our Green Gift Guide for 2011…
Ok, this is a bit of an embarrassing post, but everyone gets constipation now and then right? We just don’t like to talk about it. I mean, no one likes to tell people that they have had to deal with constipation, but we all do. I recently had to deal with a bout of constipation and found myself looking for remedies.
Like most people, my first thoughts went to traditional laxatives available at your local drug store. However, I had never had to take a laxative before, so I was not familiar with them. To get more familiar with them, I started doing some research.
After doing a bit of research, I was taken back a bit by what I learned and thought that it was worth sharing.
We quit drinking soda a while ago (see our post on the dangers of soda as to why we quit). When we first quit, it was a real struggle to find soda replacements. We had been drinking soda for a long time and were used to drinking beverages that had some taste, so switching to plain water was not very viable for us.
So, we set out to find some good soda alternatives. We researched and tried hundreds of different drinks to find ones that we could drink regularly as a soda replacement. We wanted to find drinks that were healthy and natural, but that also tasted good. I mean, what is the point of replacing soda with something else full of nasty chemicals?
So, to evaluate all of the drinks we tested, we used a specific set of criteria. All of the soda alternative drinks we tested had to:
- Contain all natural ingredients. Organic, non-GMO (genetically modified organisms) and fair trade ingredients are even better.
- Not contain any artificial sweeteners.
- Have a reasonable amount of sugar.
- Taste good!
After trying out hundreds of different drinks, here are the 4 drinks that stood out above the rest and have become part of our daily rotation. Read more on Soda Alternatives – Our Top 4…
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Almost all traditional deodorants on the market today contain triclosan and/or aluminum. Both of these chemicals have been linked to major health problems. Triclosan is known to cause cancer and aluminum has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. In deodorant, aluminum comes in the form of aluminum chlorhydrate which is a heavy metal that can be absorbed through the skin. When you apply these chemicals to an area near the underarm lymph nodes they are very easily distributed throughout the body (check out our post on aluminum in deodorant for more information). Read more on Natural Deodorants – A Review of 4 of them…