Can You Trust A Non Toxic Or Green Cleaning Products Label?

 

One question I wish I’d known the answer to a long time ago is: Can you trust a non toxic or green cleaning products label?

It’s tough when they’re not really tested.  Here are some statistics:

 

  • Of the over 80,000 chemicals used in the U.S. the EPA has required toxicity testing on fewer than 500.
  • 42 billion pounds of chemicals are produced and imported each year, we don’t know the health risks of 75% of them.
  • Less than 20% of the estimated chemicals manufactured in the past 50 years have been assessed for their neurotoxicity.

 

So consider this point: If the company has been making a chemically based product for years and then suddenly when the market trend shifts towards natural and non-toxic products comes out with a so called “natural” or “green” product that should definitely raise a big red flag.  Where is their motive?  True product safety OR profit margin!

 Can You Trust A Non Toxic Or Green Cleaning Products Label?

Companies that start out with a deep commitment to safety first & non toxicity to humans and the environment tend to stay true to that philosophy. Many other companies will shift back and forth based on a trending market, not a true commitment.

That’s the answer to a question I wish I’d known much earlier: Can you trust a non toxic or green cleaning products label?  If you liked this article and want to get more like it go to TheGetGreenKey.Com and you can get my 20 free articles on the TOP things you MUST know about your cleaning & laundry products & what things I wish I’d know a long time ago!  See you in the next article!

 

Lisa is a home environmental specialist focusing on smart, safe alternatives for families concerned about today’s toxin epidemic

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Which Foods Are The Worst For The Environment?

 

The argument that a vegetarian diet is more planet-friendly than a carnivorous one is straightforward: If we feed plants to animals, and then eat the animals, we use more resources and produce more greenhouse gases than if we simply eat the plants.

As with most arguments about our food supply, through , it’s not that simple.  Although beef is always climatically costly, pork or chicken can be a better choice than broccoli, calorie for calorie.  Comparing cows with pigs, and meat with plants, is often done using data from the Environmental Working Group, which produced a report in 2011 that detailed the environmental cost of meat.  The report includes a chart that ranks various foods according the amount of emissions generated in the course of production.

Ruminants are the worst offenders, with lamb generating 39 kilograms of carbons  dioxide for each kilogram of meat, and beef generating 27.  Then come pork (12), turkey (11) and chicken (7).  Plants are all lower, ranging from potatoes (3) to lentils (1).  But there’s another way to look at the same information.  If you stop eating beef, you can’t replace a kilogram of it, which has 2,280 calories, with a kilogram of broccoli, at 340 calories.  You have to replace it with 6.7 kilograms of broccoli.  Calories are the great equalizer, and it makes sense to use them as the basis of the calculation.

 

“There are other arguments, on both sides – so many that it’s easy to pic the ones that make the case for whichever kind of agriculture you’re inclined to support.  Grass-fed cows don’t compete for plants humans can eat, and animals grazing on non-irrigated pastures don’t compete for water that could be used to grow food (true), but grass digestion creates more methane than grain digestion (also true).”

 

When you reorder the chart to look at climate impact by calorie, the landscape looks different.  The ruminants still top the chart, but the monogastrics look a whole lot better.  Low-calorie crops like broccoli don’t do so well.  Although beef still looks bad and beans still look good,  pork and poultry are on a par with green vegetables.  (Which means that a beef-and-leaf paleo diet is the worst choice going environmentally speaking)

The claim that vegetarianism is kinder to the planet also fails to consider a couple of kinds of meat that aren’t on the Environmental Working Group’s chart.

Deer and Canadian geese do active damage in the areas where they’re over populated, and wild pigs leave destruction in their path wherever they go.  Eat one of those, and do the planet a favor.

Most people, though, are most likely to get their food from the farm, and it’s important to note that, although the chart attaches one number to each kind of food, farming styles vary widely and not all pork chops or tomatoes, or eggs are created equal.  Unfortunately, its all but impossible for us consumers to figure out the climate impact of the particular specimens on our dinner table, whether they’re animal or vegetable.

Which foods are the worst for the environment

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, organic agriculture’s CO2 emissions per acre are significantly less than those of conventional agriculture.  But yields per acre are also generally lower, and that mitigates the savings.  Counterintuitively, the strawberry you buy from the farmer down the road might have a bigger environmental footprint that the strawberry you buy from far away, where a large farm in an ideal climate may grow it more efficiently.  But it might not.  You can’t know.  It’s maddening.

When it comes to meat, trying to eat responsibly presents a genuine conundrum:  What’s best for the planet is often what’s worst for the animal.  The efficiencies of modern conventional livestock farming do indeed decrease greenhouse gases, but they also require the confinement and high density that draw the ire of animal welfare advocates.

 

“The case for plants has to include their nutritional value.  Carbon aside, broccoli beats pork, hand down.”

 

Growing an animal as quickly as possible decreases climate impact because it’s that many fewer days (or weeks or months) the animal is here to pollute.  Increasing feed efficiency likewise decreases the acreage devoted to growing the animal’s food.

Rich Pirog, senior associate director of the Center for Regional Food Systems at Michigan State University, has studied the environmental impact of various ways of raising livestock; he has co-authored studies of Iowa cattle and pigs.  For beef, he found that feedlots, where cattle are kept at high densities and fed grain, beat pastures, where animals are allowed to graze, in the tally of environmental impact.  (A study just published in the Proceedings of the National Academics of Science reached a similar conclusion.)

There are other arguments, on both sides – so many that it’s easy to pic the ones that make the case for whichever kind of agriculture you’re inclined to support.  Grass-fed cows don’t compete for plants humans can eat, and animals grazing on non-irrigated pastures don’t compete for water that could be used to grow food (true), but grass digestion creates more methane than grain digestion (also true).  Grazing cattle on grasslands can sequester carbon in the soil, but improperly managed grazing can make things worse rather than better.  Pollution from manure reservoirs on conventional farms can threaten water and crops, but manure in reservoirs, from animals in confinement, can be converted to energy by methane digesters.  Then there’s the price of meat, inevitably high in less efficient systems.

The meat vs other meat debate is irrelevant to the committed vegetarian, but there are issues other than greenhouse gases in the meat vs plant debate, too.  The case for meat includes the ability of an animal to contribute constructively on an integrated farm (chickens help with pest control), the potential for turning food waste (spent grain, whey, expired dairy) into high-quality protein, and the ability to use grasslands, inappropriate for row crops, to produce human food (with grazing cows or goats).

The case for plants has to include their nutritional value.  Carbon aside, broccoli beats pork, hand down.  And it has to consider killing, which many plant eaters find unacceptable.  While the moral implications are beyond the brief of a column devoted to matters of fact, we all have to acknowledge that agriculture is an animal killing enterprise.  Does the rat, poisoned because it’s a threat to the grain stores, count for less than the pig, raised and slaughtered with care?

There is no one label (vegetarian, local, organic) that carries all the responsibility.  There isn’t a last word, which means there’s not a lot of room for sanctimony.  While I think we all need to pay attentions, vegetarians shouldn’t tell omnivores to eat quinoa instead of pork any more than omnivores should tell vegetarians to eat venison instead of quinoa.

 

Where do you stand?  Tell us what you think in the comments or by joining the conversation on any of the social networks to the left of this article.

 

Lynne is a Certified Nutrition Consultant and Therapeutic Massage and Ethics Educator with extensive study in preventative nutrition and physiology. For over 35 years, Lynne has helped thousands of people through consulting, seminars and writing.

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Boost Your Mood With These “Feel Better Foods”

 

It’s not uncommon to turn to food when you need a pick me up.  But too often, food choices derail our plans to eat healthy

 

Foods can have a noticeable effect on our moods.  We know that eating healthy will help us lose weight, but there are so many other benefits.  For one, you’ll feel more upbeat and energized.

Now munching on blueberries isn’t going to do much for you if you’ve just devoured a double cheeseburger, but eating healthy foods, at least 80% of the time, will help you find more energy, think more clearly and lose weight.

 

Tired?Pineapple Feel Good Foods - Improve Mood

Try colorful fruits like cranberries, plums or pineapple.  These fruits contain antioxidants that fight off free radicals known to drain energy and damage neurons in the brain.  Leafy greens such as spinach and Swiss chard are also packed with antioxidants.  Aim for several servings of colorful fruits and leafy greens per day.

For sharper focus, reach for foods rich in omega-3 fats, such as salmon, mackerel, herring or sardines.  Fatty-acid-rich foods help cushion your brain cells, improving mood and memory.  These foods will help you feel  better, and can reduce your risk for dementia down the road.  Aim for 3 servings a week.

 

Stressed?Oranges Feel Good Foods - Improve Mood

You may be temped to grab a bag of chips.  Instead, peel an orange.  Oranges can give you an instant energy and mood boost.  This super-nutritious citrus fruit is full of vitamin C, which helps pump oxygen through your body and brain to recharge your system.

Snacking on vitamin-C rich bell peppers and citrus fruits may contribute to lower levels of cortisol.  Cortisol is the stress hormone that is released when your body goes into “fight or flight” mode.  Research suggests large doses of vitamin C may actually stop stress before it starts by reducing the amount of cortisol released.

 

Restless?  Cherries Feel Good Foods - Improve Mood

Enjoy a handful of dried, tart cherries before you call it a night.  Besides their rich supply of antioxidants, cherries are high in melatonin, the hormone that improves quality of sleep.  An increase in the hormone may tell your brain it’s time to wind down for the night.

 

Anxious? Almonds Feel Good Foods - Improve Mood

Reach for a handful of nuts like almonds and pecans.  Why?  They are high in B vitamins, such as thiamine, which may improve the body’s ability to withstand stress.

 

 

 

So the next time your feeling one of the above emotions, reach for these foods to boost your mood!  Do you have a favorite mood boost food you go to?  Let us know in the comments below.

 

 

Lynne is a Certified Nutrition Consultant and Therapeutic Massage and Ethics Educator with extensive study in preventative nutrition and physiology. For over 35 years, Lynne has helped thousands of people through consulting, seminars and writing.

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Old vs New Food Labels (Cartoon)

A little humor to go with all the new talk about food labels!

 

food labels cartoon

 

Lynne is a Certified Nutrition Consultant and Therapeutic Massage and Ethics Educator with extensive study in preventative nutrition and physiology. For over 35 years, Lynne has helped thousands of people through consulting, seminars and writing.

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“Big Organic” Organic Farming Faces New Larger Challenges

 

We’ve all seen it, whether your looking for it or not, those “USDA Organic” labels are showing up more, and in more places too.  It’s no longer pushed into a “special” corner or separated from the bunch, and it’s also available year round.  It’s now called “Big Organic”  and you can find non local organic foods in the grocery aisles year-round, thanks to organics’ meteoric expansion during the past three decades.

USDA Big OrganicIt’s at this intersection of supply and demand where some people question organics’ exponential growth wondering if the movement has lost its soul along the way.  Many longtime organic champions voice concerns about the implications of “Big Organic” and how it affects the true tenants of organic agriculture. Producers, retailers, and shoppers alike fret about increased environmental and economic impacts as organic expands.  Are the worries justified?  Or must organic farming scale up to compete in a global marketplace.

 

 

What Is Big Organic?

 

You may support your own small-scale organic favorites: local companies that make great, wholesome products, sell them at regional shops,and maintain a homemade, hometown vibe.  But you’ve undoubtedly seen ( and likely bought) Big Organic too: large-scale operations, such as Earthbound Farm or Horizon Organic, that supply enormous amounts of certified-organic products to national and international markets (think Costco and Walmart), often at lower prices.

Small towns are not the only parts of the U.S. that desperately need access to organics across socioeconomic lines.  Even large urban districts with sound infrastructure suffer from restricted access to affordable, organically grown produce and packaged goods.  Walmart recently released a statement that it intends to double its organic-produce offerings, but it didn’t mention accountability measures or specific time frames.  As the organic market grows to meet demand, the following challenges and compromises will grow too.

 

Local Challenges

 

Although small-scale organic farming & food makers are the movement’s roots, they sometimes struggle to produce enough, often because or forces outside their control (weather, commodity price fluctuation, sourcing difficulty) that can drive up prices.  In contrast, large companies are able to lean on a deep and wide supply network, which mitigates some of the variables all food producers face.

Organic Farming Big OrganicLet’s say, for example, that you make a fantastic granola with certified-organic ingredients in a small commercial kitchen.  You might order your oats from a nearby farmer you know personally and your nuts and dried fruit from in -state sources.  “But then you  decide to expand your business, so now you need to make a lot more granola.  That probably means connecting with suppliers you don’t know but who can provide larger quantities, perhaps from distant or even international farms.  In addition, now your ingredients travel from all over the world to reach you, and you must ship your finished products in all directions-using vastly more production resources and fossil fuels than before.  So more people get your organic granola, but it’s a trade-off.

“Scale has always been a challenge in organic food for the simple reason that conventional farming, organics’ antithesis uses herbicides, pesticides, and GMOs to maximize crop yield in the shortest time possible.  Large-scale organic operations also aim for healthy yields but subscribe to a broader ethical and sustainable farming approach.” say Danny Houghton, vice president of marketing and sales at One Degree Organic Foods in Abbotsford,,  British Colombia.  “Choosing to compete in this way with conventional farmers in not something that should be passed over lightly.  It’s a daunting task.”

 

Economic Challenges

 

Size also matters when it comes to making organic goods affordable form more consumers.  Large-scale companies can reach a larger pool of customers because of improved production and transportation efficiencies, say Houghton.

Earthbound Farm, suppliers of now-ubiquitous organic boxed lettuce, was among the earliest organic  players to go big.  “We’re Organic Earthbound Lettuce Organic Farmingproud to offer an organic alternative to conventionally product food where people do the majority of their shopping: at the supermarket,” says co founder Myra Goodman.  Because Earthbound Farm is able to achieve economies of scale by large production year-round in a suitable climate, it is able to make organic farming more affordable and reach a larger audience.  Another little-heralded economic benefit:  Organic farming is more labor-intensive and provides more long-term work for skilled farm workers, thus contributing to local economics.

But while availability goes up and prices go down, Goodman also acknowledges that something important gets lost.  “Small growers can offer consumers a much more intimate connection with their food.  It’s wonderful to be able to meet the people who are growing your food face-to-face, whether at a farmers’ market or while picking up your CSA box, and be able to ask questions and hear their unique stories about what’s going on in their fields or orchards,” she says.  Another often-overlooked consideration: In a time when many large-scale organics are owned by conglomerates, such as Unilever and PepsiCo, smaller ones tend to be independently owned and invested in their local communities.

 

Environmental Challenges

 

Because of USDA organic standards, which took effect in 2000, all verified-organic manufactures must comply with strict regulations and meet regular inspection requirements.  In as sense, these standards were written with organics’ soul in mind, to create a level playing field for anyone seeking to ear the trusted USDA Organic seal.

Organic Farming LettucesOne Primary function of these standards: to protect Earth.  Small organic farming producers are nimble enough to implement new strategies or change harvest practices if necessary when prices or weather patterns fluctuate, but the sheer size of large operations often force them to rely of gas and water sucking farm equipment to meet their supply goals.

Even so says Goodman, it’s worth it.  According to the USDA, there are nearly 5 million acres or organic farmland across the nation, representing less than 1 percent of total U.S. agricultural acreage.  “The more people buy organic food, the more land is farmed without dangerous synthetic chemicals.  Earthbound Farm alone avoids the use of more than 19 million pounds of synthetic agricultural chemicals every year; that’s a huge impact,” she says.

Organic benefits Earth’s inhabitants, too and not just the shoppers who eat clean, toxin-free foods.  Farm workers in organic fields are exposed to far fewer pesticides and herbicides compared with convention farms, many of which require no safety measures for laborers.

 

Vote With Your Dollars

 

So is small always beautiful?  That depends on your priorities.  “While all food companies are entitled to make a profit, you should do your homework and choose to reward companies that balance the pursuit of profit with tangible, sustainable business practices,” says Houghton.

Whether you find shelves of organic cereal in a big-box store or a single organic brand in a small town, Goodman’s personal approach may simplify your decisions.  “I think in this conversation about big and small organic, it’s really important not to pit one against the other and realize that all organic farming is a huge step in the direction of creating a healthy and sustainable food supply,” she says.  “People need to know that when the health of their family and the environment is a top concern, they need to choose organic first and foremost.  The questions of size an location are truly secondary.”

The thing I really like about this article is that it shows the incredible challenge this originally “Grass Roots” industry and the consumers who support it face.  It’s like any small high quality product or process that goes above and beyond for a social or moral impact, but then is faced with growth and expansion that will pull at the very core that holds it together.  I do believe that “Organic” is good overall, and will definitely be positive from an environmental standpoint.  But in a world where the big international companies could eventually run the majority of the market, I think is where you lose most of the economic value.  Will we follow the clothing & manufacturing trends and eventually import the majority of “Organics” because we want it cheaper & companies can make it cheaper elsewhere?  Lets hope not, but in the mean time, support your local co-op or farmers market, you won’t be able to beat that local organic farming “Freshness.”

Article Adapted From: -Delicious Living

What’s your take on “Organics”? Share your comments and stories in the comments below or with us social media.

 

 

Brian is the co-founder of The Universal Key & an Entrepreneur who has been involved in 7 different start ups. His focuses are on Social, Lifestyle & Sustainable Business’s.

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