EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. STARTING OCTOBER 13, 2014 A NEW TIME FOR THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAM MEANS A NEW TIME FOR THIS SEGMENT… YOU CAN NOW STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 835AM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: With winter fast approaching, make sure your indoor air is healthy. Finding ways to sustainablyKeep your indoor air as healthy as possible improve the quality of your indoor air will minimize your health risks.

Everything that’s in our home makes up our indoor air quality. The materials we’ve used to build our house, the paint on our walls, our furniture; all the pieces that make our house a home can potentially be harmful to our health.

Pollution from power plants, cars, and other transportation is a well-known contributor to outdoor air pollution, but our indoor air quality is often worse; it can be up to 10 times worse for you than the air outside. Microbial pollutants like mold, pet dander and plant pollen can combine with chemicals like radon and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to create a pretty toxic environment in your home; since we spend an average of 90% of our time indoors and 65% of our time inside our homes, according to the National Safety Council, that can add up to allergies, asthma and worse.

Source: Treehugger.com

Some ways to keep your indoor air healthy:

  • Maintain proper ventilation.
  • Minimize the use of harsh cleaners or cleaners with strong fragrances. Anything that is artificially scented pollutes your environment. The word “fragrance” on a label can mask up to 100 different chemicals, and synthetic scents have been found to trigger migraine headaches and asthma attacks.

Check out this University of Washington study to find out more information about why the word “fragrance” in products should be a red flag for consumers: http://www.washington.edu/news/2008/07/23/toxic-chemicals-found-in-common-scented-laundry-products-air-fresheners/

  • Garden and take care of your lawn without using pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. These toxic chemicals can be tracked into your home on shoes, clothes or paws.
  • Houseplants are some of the most effective air cleaners.
    • Aloe Vera soothes burns and removes formaldehyde from the air.
    • Corn plants remove benzene and cigarette smoke from the air.
    • Spider plants absorb carbon monoxide.
    • Peace lilies remove acetone, trichloroethylene, benzene and formaldehyde.
    • Dwarf date palms negate harmful effects from xylene (found in paints).

Source: Natural Health Magazine, July/August 2010

  • Avoid smoking indoors. Tobacco smoke contains thousands of indoor pollutants at high concentrations.
  • Don’t idle cars, lawnmowers and so on in the garage (especially attached garages).

For more tips on improving indoor air, visit Greenguard Environmental Institute.

Check out this really amazing air purifier – the ANDREA air filter. ANDREA employs both active plant filtration, along with water and soil to provide a multistage system that cleanses air from harmful toxins that can irritate and be harmful to your lungs. It naturally purifies air by drawing it with a whisper-quiet fan to propel it through the leaves and root system of a plant, then out through water and soil filtration and back into the room environment.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Greenguard Environmental Institute
The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI) was founded in 2001 with the mission of improving human health and quality of life by enhancing indoor air quality and reducing people’s exposure to chemicals and other pollutants. In keeping with that mission, GEI certifies products and materials for low chemical emissions and provides a free resource for choosing healthier products and materials for indoor environments.

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Through my association with Ecocentric Mom, I get to review a lot of wonderful products. And when I was asked to review Bathing Baby Hair & Body Wash from Bathtime Baby & Kids, I was thrilled. Even though myBathtime Baby girls aren’t babies anymore (sniff), I tend to gravitate towards trusted baby products for all our bathing needs. Both of my daughters are extremely sensitive to harsh chemicals so I really need to be vigilant about the products I purchase for them.

This product is wonderful and extremely gentle. The girls really like the amazing scent of this product and I really like that it doesn’t contain any artificial fragrances or dyes.

Not to mention:

  • It is paraben-Free, glycol-free & sulfate-free.
  • It is hypoallergenic.
  • Like I mentioned above, there are no artificial fragrances or dyes.
  • It is scented only with pure essential oils & extracts.
  • And, it is cruelty-free & vegan.

From the Bathtime Baby & Kids site: “Our mission is to raise awareness of environmental toxins and health risks in personal care products.

We are committed to providing non-irritating and non-toxic products for babies and children. We believe that bathtime should be an enjoyable and bonding experience. Using safe products brings peace of mind and Duckie Robe security.”

Then to make this product even more wonderful, Bathtime Baby & Kids uses BPA & Phthlate Free packaging, both ecofriendly and recyclable. The bottles are #2 HDPE and the caps are made of BPA-Free polypropylene. AND this product is made in the USA.

You can purchase this product on the Bathtime Baby & Kids site ($14.50 for 8 fl oz bottle) or click HERE and go to “Stores” to see if you’re lucky enough to have their products carried at a shop near you.

Disclosure: I am a part of the Ecocentric Mom Blogger Team. All the opinions expressed are completely my own. Affiliate links appear in this post.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. STARTING OCTOBER 13, 2014 a new time for the christopher gabriel program means a new time for this segment… YOU CAN now STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 835am (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: October is breast cancer awareness month. According to a report by the World Cancer Brazaar - Bras on BroadwayResearch Fund (WCRF) and the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), a significant amount of cases (a minimum of 38%) could be prevented if we followed a few recommendations that were confirmed during their research.

None of these recommendations should be a big surprise. They are all things we know are building blocks of a healthy lifestyle… common sense. The choice is ours. To implement these recommendations into our daily lives or to ignore them. Especially when 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime and there are 230,000 new invasive breast cancer cases discovered each year.

Here are a quick look at some of the Cancer Prevention Recommendations from the report:

  • Maintain a healthy body weight. Convincing evidence shows that weight gain and obesity increases the risk of a number of cancers, including bowel and breast cancer. Maintain a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular physical activity to help keep your risk lower.
  • Be physically active for at least 30 minutes every day.
  • Avoid sugary drinks and limit your consumption of energy-dense foods (foods high in fats and/or added sugars and/or low in fiber). Translation: avoid process foods, soda and juices and eat whole foods.
  • Eat more of a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes such as beans. Organic whole foods reduce the risk of breast cancer by modulating estrogen, a chemical that’s native to our bodies but a frequent precursor to cancer when present in the wrong amounts. For example, cruciferous vegetables—such as broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts and collard greens—contain a compound that changes how estrogen is metabolized, making the body’s own estrogen less likely to promote cancer. Source: OrionMagazine.org
  • Limit consumption of salty foods and foods processed with salt (sodium).Bras on Broadway 2013

And always remember do not smoke or chew tobacco.

For the complete list of recommendations and the full report, visit http://www.wcrf.org/.

What’s not covered in these recommendations, but we know are also contributing factors to cancer and other chronic diseases, are toxic chemicals. With more scientific evidence emerging all the time, it’s clear that the chemicals in our environment play a role in altering our biological processes. It’s also clear that our exposures to toxic chemicals and radiation are connected to our breast cancer risk (and other cancers and diseases but this month we’re focusing on breast cancer).

One big culprit when it comes to toxic chemicals is our personal care products.

In the U.S., major loopholes in federal law allow the cosmetics industry to put thousands of synthetic chemicals into personal care products, even if those chemicals are linked to cancer, infertility or birth defects. At the same time as untested chemicals have been steadily introduced into our environment, breast cancer incidence has risen dramatically. Source: Breast Cancer Fund

Following are some of the chemicals commonly found in our personal care products and how they impact our health:

Phthalates: Phthalates are a group of endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are found in cosmetics like nail polish and in synthetic fragrance—both perfumes and fragrance ingredients in other cosmetic products. Phthalate exposure has been linked to early puberty in girls, a risk factor for later-life breast cancer. Some phthalates also act as weak estrogens in cell culture systems. This class of chemicals has been linked to hormone disruption, which can affect development and fertility. Although some phthalates are being phased out of cosmetics under consumer pressure, diethyl phthalate (DEP) is still used in many products, including fragrance. In 2010, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found DEP in 12 of 17 fragrance products tested for their report, “Not So Sexy.” Product tests conducted by Consumer Reports ShopSmart magazine in January 2007 found the phthalates DEP and DEHP (which is banned in Europe) in each of eight popular perfumes tested. DEP is a ubiquitous pollutant of the human body, found in 97 percent of Americans tested by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recent epidemiological studies have associated DEP with a range of health problems, including sperm damage in men. Most fragrances don’t list phthalates on the label, but hide them under the term, “fragrance.”

Triclosan: Triclosan is used in antibacterial soaps, deodorants and toothpastes to limit the growth of bacteria and mold. It is a common antimicrobial agent that accumulates in our bodies and has been linked to hormone disruption and the emergence of bacteria resistant to antibiotics and antibacterial products. The chemical, which is classified as a pesticide, can affect the body’s hormone systems—especially thyroid hormones, which regulate metabolism—and may disrupt normal breast development. Along with its negative health effects, triclosan also impacts the environment, ending up in lakes, rivers and other water sources, where it is toxic to aquatic life.

To get the full list of chemicals you should avoid, visit http://www.breastcancerfund.org/clear-science/environmental-breast-cancer-links/cosmetics/.

To find out what is in the personal care products you and your family use every day, visit the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database at http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/.

If you haven’t already, watching Annie Leonard’s, The Story of Cosmetics is a must see. She has an excellent way of getting to the heart of an issue in a really disarming manner. “Toxins in, toxins out.” To view, visit http://www.storyofstuff.org/movies-all/story-of-cosmetics/

Locally, you can donate to Bras on Broadway, a fundraiser where every dollar donated stays in our region to help those who are fighting breast cancer. To find out more, visit http://brasonbroadway.com/.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

The Breast Cancer Fund

The Breast Cancer Fund works to connect the dots between breast cancer and exposures to chemicals and radiation in our everyday environments.

They translate the growing body of scientific evidence linking breast cancer and environmental exposures into public education and advocacy campaigns that protect our health and reduce breast cancer risk.

They help transform how our society thinks about and uses chemicals and radiation, with the goal of preventing breast cancer and sustaining health and life.

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As part of my partnership with Ecocentric Mom, I receive one of their bimonthly subscription boxes for review. Ecocentric Mom Box for July/August 2014

This is how it works: Ecocentric Mom is a natural/green health/home/beauty product discovery subscription service that gives you three different box options: Mom-to-be, Baby Box, or Mom Box. Boxes ship every-other-month (6 times per year). An every-other-month model makes boxes more affordable for all moms. Ecocentric Mom works hard to pack the very best of the best in each and every box… and they deliver (pun intended)!

The September / October Mom Discovery Box is full of products I would never have discovered on my own. It’s a great service to learn about healthier products that can reduce the amount of toxins in your household.

Here’s a look at the great products I received this month and I’ve included some discount codes that you can use also:

PureProC Silk Smoothing Gel/Hydrating Serum ($85 full size) PureProC Silk Skincare by Silk Therapeutics delivers skin health and anti-aging benefits without harsh chemicals or preservatives (not tested on animals; Paraben and Phthalate-free). And the smell is heavenly! Can’t wait to experience the results of this product.

Discount: Promocode is ECOMOM, valid 10/1/14 to 10/31/14. Save 40% off Retail Pricing http://ecmom.co/PureProC

Ecocentric Mom box

BioTerra “Z-Z-Z” Sleep Herbs ($4.99 for a 5-day supply, $19.99 for a 30-day supply) BioTerra Herbs is a California-based company that is passionate about clean and honest herbal products. “Z-Z-Z” Sleep herbs relieve occasional sleeplessness and promote a restful sleep. I LOVE that BioTerra is Non-GMO Project verified. With the impeding disruption-in-my-sleep-day fast approaching (you may call it the end of Daylight Savings Time), this product will certainly come in handy.

Discount: 15% OFF the order from BioTerraherbs.com with code ‘ecocentricmom’. One time use, valid 9/20/14 to 11/20/14 

7th Heaven Natural Skin Masks ($2.99 per mask) 7th Heaven Naturals sources the purest minerals and most uplifting moisturizers to create a heavenly addition to any skin routine. They have healing, cleansing, and revitalizing skin masks made from the finest clays, sourced from the Atlas Mountains of Africa to the sandy beaches of Thailand. I’m already a huge fan of this product and was very excited to see it in my box!

Discount: ECOMOM2 until 12/31/14 at  http://ecmom.co/7thHeavenNaturals

Arora Creations ‘Bhindi Masala’ Spice Blend ($3.99 per packet) Arora Creations, Inc. launched the first-ever USDA-certified Organic Indian Grocery product line in the US market. They are currently the only Organic IndianEco Ditty Reusable Sandwich/Lunch Bags Grocery product line available, and they take great pride in the fact that they conducted a 2+ year search for their organic ingredients world wide to formulate their flavors. I can’t wait to try this!

Eco Ditty Reusable Sandwich/Lunch Bags (starting at $9.99 for a snack ditty and $13.99 for a wich ditty) These are AWESOME! They are made from Organic Cotton and can be washed and reused 100’s of times, saving money and reducing waste. They come in tons of different adorable patterns and there even is one your kids can decorate themselves.

Discount: 20% off entire order – use code ECOCENTRIC at check out. Valid from 10/1/14 through 11/15/15 at http://ecmom.co/ecodittylunch

Bioray After the Flow Herbal Supplement ($58 full size 4 oz bottle) BIORAY, the Natural Detox Company, make liquid herbal supplements for adults and children that naturally remove toxins, support immunity and replenish strength and vitality to the body and mind. I received the Bioray Before the Flow Herbal Supplement in my Ecocentric Mom July/August Mom Discovery Box and have really noticed a difference in my energy level when I’m using it so I’m really excited to try this product.

Discount: Use ecocentricmom for $10 off through 12/31/14 at http://ecmom.co/BioRayATF

WooBamboo Slim Handle Bamboo Toothbrush ($4.95 adult toothbrush, kids 2-pack for $5.95) Sustainable, eco-friendly toothbrushes. I was THRILLED to see this product in my box! I am always looking for products that help us to reduce our plastic waste and this is a wonderful way to promote both a healthy and an eco-friendly lifestyle. AND they have children’s toothbrushes! Excuse me while I go WooBamboo Slim Handle Bamboo Toothbrushplace an order with my 20% off that I received with this month’s Ecocentric Mom’s Box and you can use it to! :)

Discount: ECOCENTRIC for 20% off at http://ecmom.co/woobamboo until 12/31/14

Annie’s Organic Cheddar Snack Mix Bunnies ($1.19 1oz pack, full size 5oz $4.29. $0.50 retail coupon included in box) Annie’s and I go waaay back… I can’t Annie's Organic Cheddar Snack Mix Bunniesthink of a product of their’s that I don’t love. These are great snacks to pop in my girls’ lunch boxes and I can trust that they are made with good ingredients. If you come trick or treating at our house this Halloween, you my get to a bag of these too!

Jillian Wright “Breakout Blocker” Serum ($75 29ml) Breakout Blocker is a non-irritating, non-drying clarifying serum from Jillian Wright Skincare that brightens skin without harmful medicated ingredients. Breakout Blocker helps reduce redness and fight acne for those with congested, inflamed, oily, or problematic skin. I can’t wait to try this product.

Disclosure: I am a part of the Ecocentric Mom Blogger Team and receive bimonthly subscription boxes for review. All the opinions expressed are completely my own. Affiliate links appear in this post.

 

 

 

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: As you start thinking about Halloween this year, make a conscience effort to make this fun holiday aHalloween 2010 little more healthy for your family and less scary for the planet.  

I don’t need to tell anyone how unhealthy and expensive Halloween can be. According to the National Retail Federation, “Halloween will be celebrated in record numbers in 2014, with more than two-thirds of Americans buying Halloween costumes this year. Total spending for the holiday on costumes, decorations, candy and more is estimated at $7.4 billion.”

Some really scary facts:

  • This generation of kids has a life expectancy that is shorter than their parents.
  • The EPA considers that 60% of all herbicides, 90% of all fungicides and 30% of all insecticides found in non-organically grown foods are carcinogenic.
  • Over 6,000 synthetic chemicals are used in the processed-food industry.
  • A 2004 study found that children’s behavior measurably improved after a one week diet without preservatives and artificial colors and dramatically worsened on the weeks they were given preservatives and artificial colors.
  • Coco beans used for chocolate that are grown in full sun (as opposed to shade) are susceptible to disease and therefore require heavy doses of toxic pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.
  • The chocolate industry has engaged in the use of child slaves and other unethical treatments of growers.
  • Store-bought costumes, makeup and accessories may contain phthalates, cadmium, lead and other toxins.

Source: Green Halloween

USAgain Halloween

Here are some ways to make your Halloween a little more “EEK-o-friendly” this year. Focus on one area you could make a difference or freak out your family and do it all:

The Costumes:

Don’t spend money on poorly made plastic, unnatural fiber costumes that are thrown away before the last candy corn is devoured. Avoid costumes and masks made of Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC). Many children’s Halloween costumes and masks are made from PVC – the most toxic plastic on the planet. These products usually contain phthalates to make them flexible. Phthalates disrupt the hormone system and have been linked to adverse effects on reproduction and development, as well as asthma in children. Look for PVC-free costumes – or get crafty and create your own costume with items you already own. Or, take a trip to your local resale shop and let your imagination run wild.

The Treats:

To lessen the possibility of a sugar overload, before you head out for tricks and treats, give your kids a full, healthy meal. And, when you’re handing out the treats, instead of unhealthy candy, hand out organic candies, pencils, stickers, crayons, fake tattoos or small toys.

Local places to find organic treats and fun alternatives:

The Trick or Treating Bags:

Your Trick or Treat bag could be anything. Use your imagination. You could use a bucket, purse, basket or cloth bag that you decorate to enhance your costume. For example, one year my littlest went as an adorable piggy (note: costume was a gift from Grandma for our oldest daughter many years ago). The treat “bag” she used was a little decorative silver bucket that we use for storage, it looks like a farmer’s feed bucket. Perfect.

The Decorations:

Use natural decorations like pumpkins, squash, gourds and hay bales. And when, for example, your pumpkin The goddesses' pumpkinhas done it’s duty as a jack-o-lantern, toss it in the compost bin. Or buy decorations that can be used year after year. You’ll save money and the environment.

Join the Prairie Roots Food Co-op and ensure that every year you, your family and our community will be able to buy local and organic pumpkins and squash.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Plastic Pollution Coalition at http://plasticpollutioncoalition.org/

Plastic Pollution Coalition is a global alliance of individuals, organizations and businesses working together to stop plastic pollution and its toxic impacts on humans, animals, the ocean and the environment.

Plastic Free Halloween

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAM. WE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Pediatric cancer is now the leading cause of death by disease among U.S. children. Preventable childhood cancers are totally unacceptable so do your part to keep our children healthy.

In the U.S., 15,780 children under the age of 21 are diagnosed with cancer every year; approximately 1/4 of them will not survive the disease. A diagnosis turns the lives of the entire family upside down. (Source: American Childhood Cancer Association)

Check out Healthy Child Healthy World’s 5 Easy Steps to get you started:

  • Avoid Pesticides: Pesticides have been linked to a range of health problems, including asthma, hyperactivity and behavior problems, cancer, learning disabilities, reproductive disorders, and compromised brain development.
    • Use non-toxic or least toxic pest remedies such as soapy water to kill ants and boiling water to kill weeds.
    • Prevent pests through good sanitation.
    • Remove shoes before entering your home to prevent tracking in pesticides.

Use these resources to help you make safer decisions:
Beyond Pesticides Alternatives factsheets
Pesticide Action Network

  • Use Non-Toxic Products: Think about all the products you come in contact with every day: personal care products, cleaners, computers, carpeting, cabinetry, cushions, cosmetics and much, much more. Do you know what’s in them? Many contain known carcinogens. Protect your health from this constant assault by making sure your products and furnishings are non-toxic. There are an increasing number of safe and healthy alternatives.
    • Read labels and ask questions about what chemicals are in the personal care and cleaning products, as well as furnishings, that you buy.
    • Look for products made from natural, rather than synthetic, materials.
    • Buy, or make your own, safer cleaning products.
    • Look for personal care products with certified organic ingredients and those with the fewest ingredients, or make your own.
  • Clean Up Indoor Air: We are breathing all the time so our air quality is very important. And, typically, the worst air is generally inside, where most people spend roughly 90% of their time.
    • The products we use are the source for a substantial portion of indoor air pollution. Because of this fact, it’s essential to know what’s in the products you buy and opt for the most natural and non-toxic choices.
    • Utilize plants to filter indoor air.
    • Open windows for a few minutes a day to ventilate rooms.
    • Wipe your feet on a doormat or remove your shoes at the door.
    • Check your homes vents, ducts, and heating and cooling filters.
    • Vacuum at least twice a week using a HEPA filter, and/or mop floors.
    • Change your vacuum bag, and be sure it has a clean filter to prevent the spreading of dust, which can be redistributed into the air.
  • Eat Healthy: Pound for pound, children eat and drink more than adults. Therefore, healthy eating is Community Garden harvestessential in order to safely nourish their growing bodies.
    • Choose to eat and prepare organic, whole foods rather than packaged foods whenever possible. The easiest way to eat healthier is to start making your food instead of buying prepared food and warming it.
    • Avoid genetically modified organisms (aka GMOs or genetically engineered foods).
    • Choose safer seafood. Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch website to learn more and print a pocket guide.
    • Read labels. Look for foods with few and identifiable ingredients. Avoid the top five risky additives: Artifical Colors (anything that begins with FD&C ), Chemical Preservatives (Butylated Hydroxyanisole [BHA], Sodium Nitrate, Sodium Benzoate), Artificial Sweeteners (Aspartame, Acesulfame-K, Saccharin), Added Sugar (High Fructose Corn Syrup [HFCS], Corn Syrup, Dextrose, etc), Added Salt (Look at the sodium content and choose foods with the lowest amounts.)
  • Be Wise With Plastics: Plastics are everywhere and in most cases are very affordable and convenient. But, increasingly scientists are finding that a hidden cost may be our health. Some common plastics release harmful chemicals into our air, foods, and drinks.
    • Reduce the use of plastics, especially with foods and beverages. For example, opt for filtered water in a stainless steel reusable water bottle rather than single-use, plastic bottled water and reusable glass storage containers over plastic.
    • If you do buy plastic, chose safer plastics #2, 4 or 5.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Healthy Child Healthy World

Healthy Child’s mission is to help parents create healthier environments for our children. “With a growing body of evidence linking everyday environmental contaminants to asthma, learning disabilities, obesity, cancer and more, Healthy Child translates the science and inspires parents and caregivers to create healthy environments where families can flourish.” Their site in full of great information, tips and an awesome blog.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: October is International Walk to School month and Wednesday, October 8th is Walk to School Day. Get involved. Walking is good for all of us and great for the environment.

Here are some reasons to support walking and biking to school courtesy of WalkBiketoSchool.org:

  • To enhance the health of kids
    • Physical Activity
      • Free, convenient, enjoyable and does not require special equipment or training: Walking is a great way for adults and kids to be active. Lack of physical activity is a major cause of chronic illness and death for our country’s adults. Being overweight can cause health problems like diabetes during childhood and research shows that physically inactive kids are more likely to grow up to be physically inactive adults — and are therefore at high risk for obesity and related illnesses.
      • There are plenty of great reasons to walk to school — less traffic, safer streets, cleaner air — but one of the best is that children and parents will be healthier. With obesity rates skyrocketing and only one-quarter of American’s able to get the Surgeon General’s recommended daily dose of exercise (just 30 minutes), it’s an ideal time to encourage people to walk to school for their own health and well-being.

How much activity should kids get? Elementary school-aged children should accumulate at least 30 to 60 minutes of age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate physical activity from a variety of activities on all, or most, days of the week.

What about adults? To promote their general health, adults are encouraged to meet or exceed recommendations of at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity “most” days of the week.

  • To improve air quality and the environment
    • Walking or biking to school protects the environment and your health. When children decide to lace-up their sneakers to walk, or strap on their bike helmets to pedal to school instead of riding in a car, they reduce the amount of air pollutants emitted by automobiles.
    • These air pollutants can be especially harmful to children. Children have respiratory systems that are not fully developed, they spend more time at higher activity levels, which can cause them to breath more deeply and take in more air pollution. They are also more likely to have asthma or other acute respiratory problems that can be aggravated by air pollution than other age groups. By walking or riding a bike to school, children lower the amount of vehicle miles traveled (VMT), which helps reduce toxic air pollutants.
    • Vehicles emit a variety of air pollutants. For example, ground level ozone is created by a chemical reaction between nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compound gases in the presence of heat and sunlight. Visit http://epa.gov/air/ozonepollution to find more about ozone and www.epa.gov/air/urbanair/nox/hlth.html to learn about nitrogen oxides.
    • Particulate matter are particles of dust, soot, smoke, dirt, and liquid droplets that are also released into the air by cars, trucks and other vehicles. Go to www.epa.gov/air/urbanair/pm/index.html to learn more about particulate matter.
    • Hazardous or toxic air pollutants like the ones mentioned above are known or suspected to cause serious health effects such as cancer, birth defects, or respiratory, neurological, immune, or reproductive effects. To find out more, visit www.epa.gov/air/toxicair/newtoxics.html.
  • To create safer routes for walking and bicycling
    • The promotion of bicycling and walking to school provides an opportunity to address safety. Every year, about 25,000 child pedestrians are injured by motor vehicles. Reducing the risk of injury includes teaching children pedestrian and bicycle skills. It also means reminding drivers to watch for others using the road. Hazardous conditions along routes to school need to be identified and fixed.
    • Some of the best ways to increase the safety of a child’s walk or bike to school are to:
      • Provide safe, well-maintained walkways separate from vehicles
      • Teach children to cross streets at marked crossings and to always look left-right-left
      • Slow traffic in neighborhoods and near schools through traffic calming and enforcement
      • Work with parents of children with disabilities and special education professionals to identify accessibility barriers
      • Ensure that walkways are continues and meet national accessibility standards
      • Install curb ramps at every intersection and mid-block crossing
      • Provide accessible pedestrian signals at intersections

Check out who’s walking in your area at WalkBiketoSchool.org.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:Walking

Walk Bike to School.org

It began as an idea… In 1997, the Partnership for a Walkable America sponsored the first National Walk Our Children to School Day in Chicago, modeled after the United Kingdom’s lead. Back then, it was simply a day to bring community leaders and children together to create awareness of the need for communities to be walkable.

It evolved into a movement… By the year 2002, children, parents, teachers and community leaders in all 50 states joined nearly 3 million walkers around the world to celebrate the second annual International Walk to School Day. The reasons for walking grew just as quickly as the event itself.

Whether your concern is safer and improved streets, healthier habits, or cleaner air, Walk to School Day events are aimed at bringing forth permanent change to encourage a more walkable America — one community at a time.

Now it’s a priority… In 2005, new legislation recognized the value of Safe Routes to School programs and is providing funding for States to establish programs. Politicians and other government officials are paying attention to the importance of safe walking and biking to school. Obesity, concern for the environment and the effects of urban sprawl on communities has led to the joining of efforts among those that care about these and other related issues like school siting and traffic congestion.

Join International Walk to School activities.

EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Eating organic produce, meat and dairy is healthier for your family and the environment (and it tastes better). Products with a USDA Organic label were grown and processed without toxic and persistent pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.  

Here are some money saving tips to help you eat healthier and stay within your budget:

  • Comparison Shop. You may be able to find less-expensive alternatives at different stores. Many major chains are coming out with their own organic brands but make sure it’s certified organic. According to Mark Kastel, the senior farm policy analyst at The Cornucopia Institute, ”Major food processors have recognized the meteoric rise of the organic industry, and profit potential, and want to create what is in essence ‘organic light,’ taking advantage of the market cachet but not being willing to do the heavy lifting required to earn the valuable USDA organic seal”. Products with a USDA Organic label were grown and processed without toxic pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Certified organic production also prohibits sewage sludge, antibiotics, ionizing radiation, synthetic growth hormones and genetically modified organisms.
  • Check out the 2014 Environmental Working Group’s Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce and find out what produce is highest in pesticide residue.
  • Grow One Thing. Unless you have a lot of land, you’re probably not going to feed your family only from yourPeppers home-grown harvest, but you will find that growing a tomato plant can produce a lot of tomatoes. Pick one (or three) things to grow in your yarn, on a balcony or in a sunny window.
  • Cook More. The more convenient the food is, the more expensive it is. For example, buying an organic frozen dinner may save you time in the same way a conventional frozen dinner would, but it costs quite a bit more than its non-organic counterpart and much more than a homemade meal. Buy organic items that are lower in price (such as produce), and make your own dishes from scratch.
  • Stock Up. Stock up on your favorite items when they go on sale. Or try something new that is on sale or is priced well, and you may find a new favorite.
  • Buy in Bulk. Buying in bulk will keep costs down. Look for many pantry staples often available in bulk, such as beans, legumes, rice, flour, nuts, chocolate chips and so on.
  • Organic Coupons. Keep an eye out in the Sunday paper and grocery circulars for coupons and, again, stock up to take best advantage of the savings. Organic bargains are everywhere so click on About.com’s Frugal Living page where you will find All Organic Links.
  • Shop in Season and Buy Local. Shop farm stands and farmers’ markets for the freshest produce and support local farmers at the same time. Purchasing in season produce from your grocer may also keep costs down. And you can also save money by becoming a member of your local food co-op.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Prairie Roots Food Cooperative at http://prairie-roots.coop/

Prairie Roots Food Co-Op is dedicated to building a healthy community by providing access to natural, organic and local food. A food co-op is a member-owned, member-controlled grocery store that operates for the mutual benefit of all members and according to common principles established for cooperatives. A food co-op provides community members with access to local, all natural, organic, and specialty foods. In turn, local producers gain broader access to the local market. Food cooperatives play an important role in helping to foster the relationship between local producers and community members.

THIS WEEKEND: Find Prairie Roots at Eco Chic’s Junk Market and Alley Fair

Find out more information about Eco Chic’s Junk Market at http://beingecochic.com/junk-market/.

Eco Chic Junk Market 2014 Find out more information about Alley Fair at http://www.alleyfair.com/. The Alley Fair is Saturday, September 20th, 2014 (Daytime Events) from 11am to 7pm and include an Artist and Makers’ Market, Harvest Market, food, games, live art demonstrations, music and performers.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Instead of spending time raking and bagging up your leaves this fall, use them as mulch for your lawn. Leaves can be used to improve your lawn and reduce the use of chemical fertilizers.

We have talked before about grasscycling and the long term benefits to your lawn. This fall mulch your leaves back onto your lawn. Leaves can be used to improve your lawn and reduce the use of chemical fertilizers. Leaves also make great mulch, garden cover and rich compost. It’s good for your lawn and reduces the time you spend raking.

A Drawback of Leaving Leaves at the Curb: Phosphorus

Tree leaves are full of phosphorus. Piles of leaves can release large amounts of phosphorus into surface water run-off, ultimately resulting in high concentration in rivers, lakes, ponds and streams. This can lead to changes in animal and plant populations and degradation of water and habitat quality (exessive algae bloom).

To learn more about the effects of phosphorus on our water quality visit the U.S. Geological Survey’s website. Source: Pleasantville Recycles

Mulching Leaves On Your Lawn

Use your mower to cut leaves into small pieces, allowing them to fall into and under the grass instead of resting on top of it. This process results in increased surface area, which in turn makes it easier for insects and microbes to consume the leaves and get the nutrients back into the soil.

Lawns where leaves are mulched directly into the grass are healthier than the lawns with no leaves added and a healthier lawn has fewer weeds.

Compost Your Leaves

Composting is another great way to handle leaves at home. When you add leaves to your compost bin be sure you also add some nitrogen rich material to help the leaves (which are high in carbon) break down. Grass clippings, fruit scraps and vegetable scraps are an excellent source of nitrogen. You can also speed up the composting process by chopping up your leaves before you put them in the bin.

Some people like to keep a few bags of leaves to add to their compost piles throughout the year.

Source: City of Madison

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Ecosystem Gardening

Ecosystem Gardening is about teaching you how to become a steward of your own property and to begin making positive choices in your own backyard for wildlife and the environment. This site has great tools and resources to help you make a difference in your own outdoor space.

Conservation Begins In Your Own Backyard with Ecosystem Gardening

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: A properly maintained vehicle will last longer, pollute less and save fuel.Baby Greek Goddess on her bike

There are many reasons to practice good vehicle maintenance and to take steps to reduce your vehicle’s impact on the environment and public health. A properly maintained vehicle will last longer, pollute less and save fuel.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Avoid excessive idling. Excessive idling wastes fuel and can actually reduce the life of your vehicle. Newer vehicles are designed to warm up in 30 seconds or less, even in cold weather. Turn your engine off if you’re waiting for an extended period of time. Contrary to popular myth you typically don’t use more fuel restarting your vehicle. If you wait over 10 seconds to restart your vehicle, you are saving fuel.
  • Don’t top off your tank. Fuel spilled when your tank is over-filled usually evaporates and pollutes the air. Topping off also produces excessive gasoline vapors that contribute to bad ozone days and are a source of toxic air pollutants such as benzene. Remember you pay for the gas that evaporates or is spilled on the ground.
  • Care for your tires. Keep your wheels aligned and your tires properly inflated to increase fuel efficiency and make them last longer. Studies show that a 7 psi under-inflation can result in 10% increase in rolling resistance. Under inflated tires can lower gas mileage up to 1 mile per gallon. Check the tire pressure once a month.
  • Combine errands to make fewer trips. Your vehicle burns more gas and pollutes more in the first few minutes after a cold start then when warmed up and operated for longer periods. Combine trips or seek alternative modes of transportation like walking, biking or public transit.
  • Watch your speed. The average vehicle loses nearly two percent in gas mileage for every mile per hour over 55. Driving at high speeds also causes tires to wear out sooner because rubber breaks down faster at higher temperatures.
  • Drive smoothly. Over-accelerating and braking quickly are hard on your vehicle. If you can drive smoothly, you’ll save up to two miles per gallon. Fast starts use up to 50 percent more gas than slower starts.
  • Travel light. Clear out the trunk. For every 50 pounds of stuff you’re carrying around, you lose 1/4 miles per gallon.
  • Don’t ignore the light. In newer vehicles, the check engine light on your dashboard will turn on if the on-board computer on tour vehicle senses something is awry with your emission control equipment. Visit your mechanic and have your vehicle checked. If you don’t have a check engine light but your car sounds different, is running rough or emitting smoke visit your mechanic sooner rather than later. Small inexpensive repairs can turn into large expensive problems if left unchecked.
  • Recycle your used car products. Most fluids from your car are toxic and must be handled carefully. You can dispose of many used and unwanted car products properly at a household hazardous waste facility. They’ll recycle them or dispose of them safely. Batteries, tires, antifreeze, gasoline, motor oil and oil filters, diesel fuel, brake fluid and automatic transmission fluid can be recycled.
    • Antifreeze is toxic to pets and harmful to humans. Don’t pour it down the drain. Store used antifreeze in its original container.
    • Batteries contain lead and acid that can be recycled. These materials can contaminate ground water if not disposed of properly.
    • Used motor oil can be recycled at the curb in the Portland area. Pour the oil into an unbreakable, see-through container with a screw-on lid like a milk jug. Never pour oil down a household or storm drain where it can travel directly into streams and underground water sources or disrupt waste-treatment facilities.
    • Tires can be recycled but services vary across the state. Never burn tires. Tires emit highly toxic and noxious smoke when burned.

Source: State of Oregon Department of Environmental Control, Fact Sheet, Save Money and Clear the Air

LOCALLY

For more information about the City of Fargo’s Hazardous Waste Facility, visit http://www.cityoffargo.com/CityInfo/Departments/SolidWaste/Householdhazardouswaste/. If you’re in the Moorhead, Minnesota area, check out http://www.ci.moorhead.mn.us/departments/operations/sanitation.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Be Car Care Aware at http://www.carcare.org/

The “Be Car Care Aware” campaign is a consumer education program about the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair. The site has great tips and information on things like Car Care Resources and Car Care Service Schedules. There is also a comprehensive Do It Yourself section.

Being kind to your environment through refined, renewed and resourceful living.

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