The best thing about my job as a Health Coach is that I help people change their food and eat more responsibly by way of respecting their bodies and our earth. The best thing about my other job as an Interior Designer is to promote using sustainable materials in order to build beautiful spaces conducive to wellness and happiness. Here's my list of Top 5 products that I'd recommend for your home which are earth-friendly, cost efficient and ultimately better for our health and well-being.
No- not panda food, bamboo
is a super durable, tough, high-quality and commercial-grade material suitable for residential spaces as they have low formaldehyde emissions; is perfect for allergy-sufferers as they don't promote dust or harbor dust mites; easy to clean; an inexpensive alternative to hardwood, costing 25-50% less; looks great!
ZERO Voc Paint
A LOT of building materials, carpets, paints, floors, solvents, composites, upholstery and personal care products off-gas or emit Volatile Organic Compounds- carbon based chemicals that evaporate at room temp, which can harm our health a great deal
. Yolo Colorhouse
paint comes in a ridiculous range of colors and are tried and true: no carcinogens, toxins, mutagens, hazardous air pollutants, formaldehyde, ozone depleting compounds, VOCs or funky odors. Check out this nifty color selection
tool on their site!
100% Organic Cotton Sheets
Gentle on our skin and the earth, organic cotton is hypoallergenic, soft and safe. Did you know it takes about 1 lb of chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilizers to grow the cotton needed to create ONE bath towel? Planted on only 3 percent of arable land, traditional cotton crops account for 25% of the total pesticides and herbicides used annually - about 350 million pounds per year. Ouch. Turning cotton into fabric without the use of chemicals allows the cotton fibers to retain strength, softness and durability. Get bedded with the best
Cradle-to-cradle TextilesReally nice
, green fabrics and rugs have come a long way using the cradle 2 cradle
method- a new approach to industrial design that promotes the regeneration/reincarnation of a material to give birth to a new form/function post its life cycle as opposed to the conventional method of cradle to grave
design- which sees the product at the end of its life in landfill. C2C textiles come from renewable sources, is recyclable and safe for human health and the earth. Some of my favorite green textiles: Sina Pearson
, and Mod Green Pod
, just to name a few- all which are only available to the trade so hire me as your Interior Designer and I'll grant you access to beautiful, earth-friendly textiles.
Most recycled glass products remind me of the unwanted jelly nougat candy from childhood found at the bottom of my trick or treat vessel. But I love the icy smooth look of bio glass
- made from crushed, recycled bottles and such using a process of heat and pressure with NO chemicals, dyes, resins or epoxies. Would look smashing in a contemporary bathroom and as kitchen counters
Change your food AND change your home for a healthier, happier you. A great way to support change is by the consumer choices you make.
Happy Green Living!
Totally into noodling, I'm always on the hunt for a way around bloat-and-sleep-inducing pasta that's actually really good for you and never dull on flavor. I finally got around to getting some fun new toys for the kitchen to include a Spiralizer
, which is now easily my favorite tool of all time, because this is what it does:
See how pretty? You can yield 'noodles' from zucchinis and top with a hearty home-made chunky tomato sauce loaded with peppers and other veggies for a delicious and satisfying dinner. I know.
Pretty it is, but is it good?
Chunky Homemade Tomato Sauce
4-6 Big Organic Tomatoes, chopped (Heirlooms are even better)
2 tablespoons Grapeseed or Olive Oil
1 Shallot, diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Green Pepper, chopped
1/2 Fennel, chopped
1/2 Leek, chopped
1 cup Organic Spinach
1 tablespoon Oregano
1/2 tablespoon Black Pepper
Sea Salt to taste
Sprinkles of Cayenne for kick (optional)
2 tablespoons Organic Tomato Paste (optional, for thickness; if using please watch out for HFCS!)
In a skillet, heat oil and throw in garlic and shallot/onion. Add peppers, fennel and leek and saute for 5 minutes. Throw in chopped, juciy tomatoes and stir. If using paste, add it in now. Cover and let cook over low heat for 10-12 minutes. Add spinach, oregano, black pepper and salt, stir and let thicken into a chunky sauce. Top over spiralized noodles and enjjjoooyy! Being creative with food has never been funner...
I've been wanting a juicer forever just so that I can whip up my own fresh juices; but in the meantime I finally ordered (with much anticipation) some really fresh, creative and delicious concoctions from a lovely local company in SF called Living Greens
, run by the lovely Michelle and Bryan.
'Immune Rocket' and 'Liver Detox'
The power of juicing is multifold; it's simply a wonderful way to get some good quality nutrition due to the fact that you're getting more fruits and veggies than you normally ever would consume, thereby getting a load of densely packed vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. And since juice doesn't require digestion, all this nutritional goodness is going straight into your system. Abundant in fruits and vegetables are antioxidant Vitamins A, C, E and B's- all of which are potent liver cleansers- not to mention riboflavin, potassium and magnesium. Deficiencies in said V & M will manifest as cracked lips, easily sunburnt skin, hair loss, brain fog, sluggishness, digestive issues, skin problems and poor immunity. You can also count on balanced pH levels due to the fact that all veggies are super alkalinizing.
I've been bursting with energy all day long (enough to run 5 miles at Crissy Field) and don't want it to be over.. I ordered 3 delicious kinds ('Immune Rocket', 'Liver Detox' and a Weekly Special with Fennel- one of my fav veggies) which have sustained and left me feeling vibrant and nourished all day long; I haven't been tired, hungry or requiring (large) meals.
What a delicious 1-day cleanse- and a wonderful weekly routine to look forward to! If you're in the bay area, be sure to holler at Living Greens
. They'll even deliver to your office!
Staying in is the new going out... well, for the most part. At least home is where the heart is. I sure love nesting indoors with my fav boys- esp. when it's frigid out. Give a thoughtful gift this season with these fab and affordable home accessories!
Bamboo Grow Box
Handmade bamboo grow pot with lacquered lid (all-natural lacquer, btw) that becomes drainage saucer. Includes certified organic basil seeds. Also avail in Parsley at EcoShop
I am not a Paper Cup.
Double-walled thermal porcelain with silicone top masquerading as a paper coffee cup, this eco-friendly alternative to disposable cups won't burn your hands but still keep your bevs hot. (Big ups to my coworker Erin for using hers everyday!). Available at MoMa Design Store
and a bunch of other places: $15-20.
Months Toothbrush Set
A year supply of sustainable bamboo toothbrushes with the months printed on the handle to remind you when to switch them out. 4 toothbrushes in set (but you already knew you should change your toothbrush every three months, right?).Izola, $12.50.
Glass Milk Carton Creamer
A delightful and artful rendition of the classic mini milk carton, this durable glass creamer is a whimsical reminder of cafeteria lunches. Uncommon Goods
Pocket Gourmet Garden Salad Kit
This Gourmet salad kit comes in circular tin and includes seeds for assorted greens, bunch onions, pencil carrots and bite-size tomatoes. Pencil and cultivation/recipe booklet included. Olive Barn
This tree kit includes the tree seed, organic growing medium, bonsai scissors, and directions. Comes in recycled steel grow box and is wrapped in ribbon made from recycled plastic bottles. Available in assorted specimens including Japanese Black Pine, Gardenia, and The Grey Elm- Uncommon Goods
Tis the season for staying cozy indoors!
What's in a name?I'm delighted to've received some free goodies from San Franola Granola, a new local biz here in Granola capitol that prides itself on hailing from "a state of American immigrants with a lineage of surfers, sailors and soccer players"... Uniquely San Francisco, originally Californian and authentically West Coast- "Dad channeled a little sun, sand and fog when coming up with this recipe".Need I say more?
Bonus clever points are awarded them for setting themselves apart from the rest, for creating this chunky, crunchy mouthful of pure all-natural ingredients, AND cute packaging.
Thanks San Franola Granola. You're the real San Francisco Treat.
I love a shop that aspires to teach greenness by carrying products that reflect this ideal. Green Rainbow is one such online store that has everything from organic clothing to candles, natural soaps, recycled kitchen stuff like glass plates, recycled jewelry, toys, stuff for her, him and pets. Here are some of my top picks:
6"x8" party bowl, ideal as a serving platter for salads and such and would be so useful for all the dinner parties I love throwing. It's chemical free, non-toxic, compostable, biodegradable, reusable, fridge safe. Comes in a pkg of 8. $5.5.
This Wild Sunflower Soap comes nestled in a round terra cotta dish. Ingredients include saponified oils of coconut, palm, castor, and safflower, soybean protein and essential oils of sweet orange and cinnamon. $8.
This owl-head wallet is a hemp and organic cotton blend, and is screen-printed by hand using water based inks. Classic billfold with six pocket interior. $24.
Loving this vintage metal sign.. Hand rusted, with grommeted corner holes for easy hanging. Other signs in the collection include "Laundry" and "Bath". $32.
This cool 19 pc dragon puzzle is made of Basswood from managed forests and can be painted! Doubles up as a great kid toy/activity as well as home decor. Other puzzles in the collection include a butterfly, dinosaurs, a train and boat. $25.
This just in--- New York State Governor just signed into law a ban on baby/children's food related products containing BPA (Bisphenol A). Under this new law, sippy cups, baby bottles, straws or pacifiers containing BPA cannot be sold in NY State.
BPA is a chemical used in polycarbonate plastic food and beverage containers and in resin linings for cans. BPA is associated with a host of health and developmental issues such as early onset puberty, polycystic ovary syndrome and breast and prostate cancer. Because children’s bodies are smaller and metabolize more rapidly than adults, toxins build up in their bodies quickly, and infants have been detected with high levels of BPA in their bodies. BPA has also been linked to obesity, infertility in males and females, brain dysfunctions, learning disabilities, thyroid disruption, heart disease, and diabetes.
It's huge for a state as large as New York, both in population and economy to pass such a ban. NY joins Connecticut, Maryland, Washington, Vermont, Minnesota and Wisconsin. California has pending BPA legislation...
In general- a good rule of thumb to look for the BPA-free label, like these awesome water bottles that I wrote about in this older post. It's not just baby related; watch out for canned foods, microwave popcorn, and toothpaste bottles. Not to mention, ATM receipts, CDs, shower curtains, bike helmets, car seats, eye glass lenses all contain BPA or Bisphenol-A (all at varying levels from high to trace amounts). Yes, a lot of these are hard to avoid, but make small steps. Switch the shower curtain to fabric, decline the receipt, use pyrex and more glassware, ditch the canned food items for Organic veggies, and use parchment paper bags to get produce from the store. One day at a time...
Get yourself reacquainted with Olive oil! Yes, it's one of the most popular cooking oils, and at that, a great source of heart-friendly-monounsaturated fats (the good, healthy fat) but did you know that its uses extend beyond the kitchen? It's an incredible cleaning agent and a gentle, effective moisturizer for skin.
Here are my suggested top alternative uses for Olive Oil:
*Unsqueek door hinges! Forget the WD40. Olive oil works just fine... no mold, no lingering chemical smell either.
*Buff, shine, and polish a bunch of household items: rub oil with clean cloth to prevent tarnish or corrosion and/or add sparkle to your stainless steel products, rusty tools, stuck scissors, leather furniture, and shoes!
*Bathe, shower, scrub, shave, & moisturize! Add a few drops in your bath, or while showering, use it along with a scrubbing agent to exfoliate, and also shave your legs! Ditch the $$$ moisturizers and oil up the skin for an incredible softness and nutrient-rich alternative to creams and lotions. And while you're at it, rub into cuticles!
*Hair tonic: Control the frizzies! It's kind of better than your $20+ pomade; no build up either!
*Get your key or zipper unstuck... Keyholes get rusty and keys get stuck; so do zippers. Rub keys with oil using a cotton swab and place in rusty lock. For zippers, rub oil onto the teeth, and gently pull on tab.
*Remove makeup: Attention gals, guys and babies- whether it's every day or Halloween, massage oil onto face and rub off with damp cloth.
Remember, you don't need amazing, expensive, unfiltered, dark-green, extra-virgin Olive Oil for alternative uses other than cooking.
Happy Olive Oiling!
A real fav of mine of all time, 'Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps' are really that magical. This family company recently celebrated their 150th anniversary, and continue to deliver their multi-purpose, all in one, USDA certified organic, quality grade soaps made with fair-trade ingredients.
Their soaps are made of a combination of organic extra virgin coconut, olive, jojoba and hemp oils, together with pure essential oils, natural plant-derived Vitamin E, and citric acid to protect freshness. Available in bar or liquid form, it cleans effectively without being aggressive and produces a velvety-lather that leaves the skin silky-smooth and refreshed. My favorite scent is peppermint, but the variety includes lavender, citrus, tea tree, almond, rose, and eucalyptus. All versions are biodegradable and vegetable-based. They are packaged in 100% post-consumer recycled (PCR) cylinder bottles and paper labels and best of all, they contain no synthetic foaming agents or fragrances, thickeners, whiteners, or preservatives!
Dr. Bronner's products are perfect for sensitive skin, camping and hiking trips, as hand soap, shampoo and body soap! Also available are lip balms, moisturizers, conditioners, and baby care.
This well-loved product was documented in a film which was released a few years ago, called "Dr. Bronner's Magic Soapbox". This documentary delves into the history and incredible family legacy behind this socially-responsible company. Quite magical indeed... Check out the trailer!
Introducing Refoveo Bags, designed by my dear friend Ximena Sarango! Fully lined with heavy duty canvas, these fashionably repurposed market bags are handmade by seamstresses in Peru, sweatshop-free. Check out her website to view the 4 different designs; comes in a bunch of great colors and sizes- perfect for the farmers market, shopping, or everyday toting! You can order them through Proxy Apparel, an online site that supports ethical fashion.