Tag Archives: Organic

10 Reasons to Eat Fresh Produce Even if Scientists Promote Canned and Frozen

Screen Shot 2013-06-03 at 1.32.58 PMAccording to a new report published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture by researchers at UC Davis, canned and frozen produce may have as many, if not more, nutrients than fresh produce. How can this be?

This extremely misleading announcement draws on the fact that, by the time that cucumber or lettuce or broccoli makes it into your hands at the supermarket, fruits and vegetables often sit on trucks and in shelves for days after they were picked. Vitamin and other nutrient levels can drop dramatically in that brief interval, whereas the process of canning and freezing may better preserve these nutrients in the long-run.

The report, and other similar ones published over the years, may be intended to inspire more widespread acceptance of canned and frozen produce, and not to say that we should do away with fresh produce altogether. Obviously for those who can find farmer’s markets or other local sources of fresh-picked fruits and veggies, canned and frozen varieties will pale in comparison. The unfortunate reality, however, is that too many communities in this country have little to no access to fresh foods. If you’ve ever heard the term “food desert” then you know what we mean. Broader reform in that regard is certainly necessary, and if canned vegetables provide any temporary palliative then we should be no means shun them.

Food, of course, is a human right. And there are many reasons why fresh produce is essential to overall health and happiness. Here are 10 of our favorite reasons to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, even if canned produce can provide the same nutrients:

  1.  More opportunities for creative cooking. Did you know beets come attached to beautiful, iron-rich greens that can be sauteed and served alongside the roots?
  2. Shopping at the farmer’s market is super fun. Fruits, vegetables, sprouts, cheeses, and breads of every variety! Fresh eggs! Organic meat! Is that home-brewed kombucha?
  3. Have a more tactile experience with your food. There’s something wholly unromantic about ripping the top off a can of green beans… Handling roots, leaves, and washing dirt off is all part of the sensual process of food preparation.
  4. You can compost the stems and excess bits, make soil, and then grow your own produce on your porch, windowsill, or garden!
  5. No amount of re-hydrating and re-constituting can recover the crispy crunch so enjoyable about fresh veggies that gets lost in the freezer.
  6. The metallic aftertaste of a can? No thanks.
  7. No risk of botulism and other bacteria often carried in canned and preserved foods.
  8. If you have extra oranges, berries, or whatnot, you can always pass them out to neighbors and give them as little tokens to people who visit your abode. Can’t quite do the same with a bag of frozen peas…
  9. Eating fresh produce is what people have been doing for centuries. Shouldn’t that count for something?
  10. The golden rule in food consumption: Limit the number of steps it takes for your food to get from the farm to your kitchen as a way of ensuring freshness and healthiness.

What are your reasons for eating fresh produce? Or for eating canned or frozen produce, for that matter?

Angelina Jolie Got a Double Mastectomy – Should You? 10 Alternative Preventive Measures.

Angelina Jolie arrivingSo, Angelina Jolie got a double mastectomy as a preventative measure, in order to reduce her risk of breast cancer.

Should you do the same?

Angelina apparently had a particularly strong genetic tendency as well as a strong family history. Angelina made a brave choice that may have been the best one for her, but it is worth careful consideration around whether this preemptive strike is the right choice for any woman who carries the BRCA1 gene.

Genetic risk is real, but epigenetics has the potential to trump genetic risk. Epigenetics literally means “on top of genetics.” Epigenetic “tags” sit on top of our genes and turn them on and off. These tags are influenced by our experiences and environment. What we eat, how much stress we undergo, and what toxins we’re exposed to can all alter our genes. We are not at the mercy of our genes as much as they are at the mercy of our diet and lifestyle choices.

Here’s an example that should strike hope into our very souls: Dr. Dean Ornish has conducted research that found a vegan diet caused more than 500 genes to change in only three months. How? Epigenetic tags turned on genes that prevent disease and turned off genes that cause a variety of illnesses, including breast cancer, heart disease, prostate cancer, and other illnesses.

I think the term “Holistic Medicine” has been used so much that it has almost lost it’s meaning. What might be a better term is “Context-Driven Medicine.” Our bodies—our hormones, organs, tissues and systems—do not act in a vacuum. They respond to our environment and thoughts. Thought creates biology. So does environment. When we are afraid, our chemistry changes. When we inhale pollutants, our
chemistry changes. Conversely, when we enjoy whole food, fresh air, good company, and feed ourselves inspirational thoughts and ideas, we affect our thoughts, emotions, environment, epigenetic tags and, ultimately, our genes.

So what about mammograms?

Prevention is different from early detection. Early detection doesn’t stop breast cancer from arising. Prevention does. When we better our lives, our breast health can improve in response.

Here are some simple (but sometimes hard to hear) tips to support breast health:

  • Avoid alcohol. There is not safe level of consumption. For a good summary of this, check out this video. We like to drink alcohol for relaxation and, in some cases, to support heart health, but there are better, more effective ways to support heart health without increasing the risk of cancer.
  • Eat lots of veggies. Changes in diet may prevent 30-40 percent of cancer cases, or 3 to 4 million cases annually. Veggies protect against many types of cancer by enhancing cancer-protective capacity, deactivating carcinogens and blocking tumor development.
  • Have an exercise routine that is right for you.
  • Avoid too much coffee, especially non-organic. Coffee seems to have an affinity with breast tissue and women with sensitive breasts around their period might do well to avoid it.
  • Breastfeed! This increases circulation in the breast tissue. Women who nurse have lower risks of breast cancer. This decreases the potential for stagnation in the breasts. When we are not breastfeeding we can increase circulation in our breasts by massaging them on a regular basis.
  • Avoid the use of antiperspirants. They don’t allow the release of waste products from the local area.
  • Breathe deeply. This opens the chest area and reduces stress.
  • Eat organic, when possible. Especially meat and dairy, if you consume them. They concentrate pollutants that act as bad estrogens and are carcinogenic.
  • Avoid environmental pollutants. If you happen to be in an environment that is polluted from off gassing of carpets, paints, plastics, construction materials, etc. maybe fill the room with houseplants. They help to purify the air.
  • Don’t smoke. Please.

There’s more information on breast health and why all these things are important in Chapter 13 of my book Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life.

6 Creative Ways to Green Your Life in Time for Summer

First out of the trapThere’s a lot of pressure these days to be sustainable superheroes with canteen-packing totes, perfectly organic diets, and pricey hybrid cars. Most people are lucky to have access to a grocery store that even stocks local, organic foods, let alone at a price that’s amenable to the average income. These issues aside, sustainability and environmental decline are real issues that every individual should feel it within their power to combat with simple measures in their daily lives. That’s why we’ve collected 6 online resources that will hopefully inspire you to green your home, live healthier, and feel confident in the contribution you are able to make toward a sustainable world. Have fun!

  1. Start composting: An oldie but goodie, if you haven’t joined the compost bandwagon yet then now is your chance! It requires a bit of effort in the set up, but once your compost is up and running, sustaining it will be a breeze. And you don’t need a big backyard or garden to make it happen. Here is the ultimate guide to urban composting.
  2. Make an alternative energy source: You probably never even thought it within your power to create your own alternative energy. But think again! Here is a super simple, efficient DIY video on how to make your own backyard wind turbine. Even if you don’t feel like building a whole wind power generator, consider the ways you can reduce electricity – make use of natural light, look into energy-efficient shower heads, etc.
  3. Try backyard farming: Please don’t buy a $1,300 chicken coop (unless that’s what you’re into.) But do let this fascinating article on chic backyard farming inspire you to try your hand at raising chickens, growing vegetables, making preserves, or whatever you have the time and energy for. You don’t need to spend exorbitant amounts on boutique tools and tailor made gardening gear – a bit of space, time, and love are the most important ingredients.
  4. Recycle creatively: Recycling isn’t just about throwing bottles and cans in the proper bin. Explore ways to get creative with your recycling, like by making gifts and household products out of broken bike chains, old clothes, empty jars, and more.
  5. Make your own clothes: You don’t need a degree in fashion to start making your own clothes, but let this new sustainable fashion program, recently launched by Buckinghamshire New University, inspire you to work good eco-habits into your wardrobe. Thrifting is a great place to start, or have a clothing exchange party with your friends!
  6. Green your office: Whether you work from home or in a big office, there are lots of ways to reduce your footprint (and save money) at work. This can include switching entirely to Googledocs and electronic files to cut back on printing, using recycled paper, instituting communal office lunches, and more.

We hope you feel inspired and empowered to incorporate some green practices into your home and work environment! Summer is a particularly great time to get outside and plant those backyard gardens, start biking to work, take a thrift store outing, and the like. What tips do you have for green living? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments section below!

Healthier Living: 6 Steps To Start Taking Today

This week’s episode of “Perfectly Imperfect Parents” on The Chopra Well focuses on how parents can teach and model healthy living habits to kids. Dr. Cara Natterson from the show shares her own tips for a healthier, happier lifestyle.

By Dr. Cara Natterson

Frankly, that phrase is pretty intimidating: “Healthy Living.” If you aren’t abiding by it perfectly when you read it, it actually even feels judgy. It’s not meant to be, though. Healthy living is a goal, and so maybe the better term would be “healthier living.”

What is healthier living? It is taking whatever you are doing a step in the right direction. You know when you are really, really craving that chocolate chip cookie after lunch and you fight the urge and choose a juicy tangerine instead? And then you are completely floored that you sweet craving is gone because you have actually consumed something sweet? Yeah, that’s healthier living. It doesn’t mean you will never have the cookie – of course you will – but you are finding ways to make better choices some of the time.

Here are six keys to healthier living:

1. It means eating better by eating more whole foods and fewer processed ones. I do think it means eating more organic foods, but I don’t think organic brownies count.

2. Healthier living means choosing water over juice or soda.

3. It means exercising regularly, which for most people means forcing themselves to get out of the chair and start moving.

4. Healthier living means going to bed earlier and aiming for 8 (or if you are a growing kid, 10) hours of solid sleep. Like I said, it’s a goal. But it is a goal that is far easier to reach when you turn off the TV.

5. Healthier living means reducing screen time and chemical exposures.

6. It means finding ways to reduce stress, which for one person might be a yoga class and for another might be getting through a towering pile of mail and paying the bills.

Perhaps most importantly, healthier living means that you are doing better today than you did yesterday. And so that means it is never too late to start. Sometimes I sit down with families and talk about nutrition and exercise and sleep, and their eyes glass over. If a thought bubble could emerge above their heads it would say, uniformly, “You want me to do what?! That’s waaaaay too much to change.” But if you take little tiny steps and make small changes day-by-day and week-by-week, it really is doable. And you’ll feel better. And one day, you’ll go from aiming to be healthier to just being healthy.

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and stay tuned for more inspiring lifestyle tips on “Perfectly Imperfect Parents.”

Past Articles:

Managing Grandparents: How to Be a Parent When You’re Still Someone’s Child

How to Teach Our Kids About the Perils of Lying

Should Parents Allow Their Kids On Social Media

photo by: AlicePopkorn

Green Romance: A Healthy Approach to Intimacy

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The scene is set for romance…perfume, candles, flowers, chocolate, and champagne. But wait…some of these products might contain toxic chemicals! A new report from the Centers for Disease Control says that almost half of all Americans are now living with physical conditions and diseases that could be caused by exposure to toxic chemicals.

Know this: What you put on your body gets in to your body. Take perfume, for example. Most perfumes you buy in department stores can contain over 100 different synthetic chemicals to make the scent, plus things like phthalates, and parabens. These are endocrine disrupters – gender-bender chemicals that make girls develop earlier and reduce testosterone levels in boys. When shopping for perfume, look for those made from pure organic essential oils. They’re safe, non-toxic and more subtle than a synthetic perfume…your perfume won’t precede you when you enter a room and it won’t linger after you’ve gone!

What surrounds you can also get in your body and your bloodstream. Artificially scented candles for example, contain chemicals that can trigger asthma and allergies. Also, toxic chemicals have been found in the by-products in the combustion of artificial scents. Instead, choose candles scented with essential oils. Plus, most candles, unless otherwise labeled, are made from paraffin, a petroleum product, and fumes from paraffin wax have caused kidney and bladder tumors in lab animals. Choose beeswax candles with cotton wicks (make sure it doesn’t contain a lead core which will release into the air). There are two types of beeswax: solid, which are dipped or molded and burn well; or rolled, made from sheets of beeswax and tend to burn more quickly. Another good choice is soy candles.

How about roses…romantic right? Well, not if they’re sprayed with pesticides! These are toxic to our planet and to the growers. Look for organically grown flowers that use only natural repellants. When you choose something like that, you’re not only removing harmful chemicals from our environment, you’re also helping to improve the lives of flower growers, who are mostly women in developing nations.

Now, what goes in your body…Chocolate, which I think is my favorite food, is the ultimate in romance. Dark chocolate triggers feel-good chemical endorphins in our brain, which is so important for getting in the mood. The Aztecs believed that chocolate had aphrodisiac qualities, acting almost like a love potion. But most commercially made chocolate contains pesticides. So look for organic chocolates – they’re non toxic and delicious.

Finally, wine and champagne. Did you know that conventionally grown grapes are one of the most heavily sprayed crops on the planet? So, again, look for organic wine and champagnes. You can find some amazing organic varieties that taste wonderful, are very high quality and are competitively priced to those made conventionally.

Try green romance this Valentine’s Day. Non-toxic products will enhance your health, vitality and in turn your sensuality. For more tips go to my website www.supernaturalhome.com

Beth Greer, Super Natural Mom™, is the bestselling author of Super Natural Home as well as a radio talk show host and impassioned champion of toxin-free living who busts open the myth that our homes are safe havens. Beth is a columnist for The Washington Times Communities, Greenopolis.com and NaturallySavvy.com. Follow Beth on Twitter. Become a fan on Facebook.

Originally published in 2010

12 Ways to Give Back to the Earth

We may be deeply aware, during this season of giving, that our lives depend on the gifts of the Earth. So how can we give back to the Earth? Here are 12 close-to-home ways to practice all year round.

radishes
Fresh radishes from a farm near my home in Boulder, CO

1. Eat closer to home. The average American bite of food travels 1500 miles to reach the table. That’s an astronomical amount of fossil fuel used just in transporting the food, to say nothing of growing and packaging it. Join a local CSA (community-supported agriculture), or shop at farmers’ markets. For more info, see scientist and Earth lover David Suzuki’s page on food and our planet.

2. Eat organic. We all know it’s better for human health, and for the same reasons it is better for soil, water, and air health too. Eating organic keeps the soil, the foundation of life, healthy and safe. It keeps synthetic nitrogen out of waterways and prevents carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere. What’s good for your body is good for the Earth. Give back to Earth by giving back only substances that the Earth enjoys.

3. Thank your food. Look, really look, at the plants and animals on your table. Notice each one. Imagine the rice or oat or wheat grasses waving under the sun, the carrots developing underground, the strawberries ripening on the vine. If you eat meat, think about every animal. Picture the cow grazing (and if you eat cows, eat free-range, grass-fed, not corn-fed ones), the chicken scratching (make sure they led happy lives outside of cages), the fish swimming. Think about the life labor that the hen put forth in making an egg, the goat her milk.

Gratitude is a time-honored way of reciprocating. Thank each animal, each plant, every time, for the gifts of their lives and their bodies. Christians call it saying grace. Buddhists call it eating mindfully. All of us can thank the plants and animals. Our lives depend on them. Literally.

bikemower
Bike-powered mower, from ecogeek.org

4. Power down your lawn care. A gasoline-powered lawn mower, gallon for gallon, emits more air pollutants than a car. Figured conservatively, even after new 2012 EPA lawn mower emissions standards, a mower emits as much pollution as four cars.

And don’t even think about leaf blowers. The noise disturbs humans and birds, they pollute in the same way lawn mowers do, and they disperse into the air millions of microorganisms that were intended to be left in the dirt to compost and renew, such as mold, dust, and animal feces.

If you have to use a mower, use a manual push mower. If your lawn is too big for a push mower, ask yourself, Do I really need this much grass?

5. Plant natives in your yard or in containers on your patio. Locally native plants, trees, and flowers evolved in community with each other and in tandem with the climate and soils in your area. They can handle the heat or the cold or the humidity or wind of your particular place. When you plant natives, you are expressing appreciation for your bioregion, seeking to live in harmony with it. Planting natives invites the local insects and pollinators back to your area, which in turn brings the birds and animals. Planting natives is a way of saying thank-you to your place.

6. For body care, stick to biodegradable. Pick your teeth the old-fashioned way, with wooden toothpicks instead of the tiny plastic picks and brushes that many dentists’ offices are passing out to their patients. For skin and hair care, avoid products with a chemical scent, which likely means they’re depositing synthetic chemicals on both you and your environment. Find products with the label certified biodegradable, which indicates they have been tested and met biodegradable standards.

7. Teach your children reciprocity. Even small children understand fairness. No one wants to get the short end of the stick. Teach your children to give back when they receive something. Practice it yourself. If each of us truly gave as much as we took, the world would change.

Urban redwoods in Joaquin Miller Park, Oakland, CA
Urban redwoods in Joaquin Miller Park, Oakland, CA

8. Thank a tree. As you walk down your street, notice one tree or plant every day. Thank it for making oxygen. Your life depends on it. Go one step further in appreciating trees by stopping junk mail.

9. Work to reduce pesticide use in your neighborhood. We all know about pesticide use in agriculture, but pesticides are used at an equivalent rate on suburban lawns. What about the playing fields at your local school? (Fungicides and herbicides are pesticides too.) Children absorb more pesticides per pound of body weight than do adults, according to the National Academy of Sciences. For more info, see the “Lawn Care” page at Beyond Pesticides.

10. Refuse overpackaging. Say “no thanks” to foods or supplements prepackaged in tiny portions. Every piece of plastic ends up in a landfill—or on beaches or becoming part of the enormous swirling toilet bowls of plastic in our oceans, endangering the lives of sea creatures. Say no to those individually wrapped slices, those one-serving containers. Buy your food from farmers’ markets when you can (it’s local too!). Make it part of your lifestyle to reduce your use of plastic or go plastic free altogether.

11. Host a zero-waste party. It’s easier than you think. Paper plates and cups can be composted in municipal composting processes, and cornstarch-based compostable flatware and cups are now easy to find. Or visit your local thrift store and buy a few dozen older plates and forks and wash them afterward, then donate them back after the party’s over. Same with glasses and cloth napkins. I spent $25 at a thrift store for my last dinner party and then got credit afterward for the same amount in donation. That thrift store benefits a nonprofit group, so when they sell their merchandise twice they raise even more money.

12. Volunteer for a cleanup or restoration project in your area. You get the pleasure of meeting like-minded neighbors in addition to the joy of giving back to the Earth in a very direct and immediate way. The sense of camaraderie and a deep-seated satisfaction after a half day of work keeps restoration volunteers coming back. They look forward to having more fun! For a list of organizations working in ecological restoration around the country, see the Global Restoration Network.

Be a “Qualitarian” and Eat Your Way to Amazing Health

In the latest episode on 30 DAYS OF INTENT, Natalie and Iman are joined by YouTube star HeyKayli for a meeting with renowned dietician, Ashley Koff. Ashley leads them in a workshop on meal planning and juicing. We interviewed Ashley on what is means to be a “qualitarian” and how to make simple changes in our diets to improve our overall health.

The Chopra Well: Hi, Ashley! Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. You call yourself a “qualitarian”? Can you tell us more about that?

Ashley Koff: When it comes to what’s best for our bodies, I used to say “there isn’t a label, any one -ian, that sums up what people should do” but then I came up with Qualitarian – which means “making the better quality choice each time we put something into our body (food, beverage, supplements).”  This breaks down into a few things – the act of making a choice means you are involved and taking responsibility for what goes into your body. It also means you need to learn enough to know what the better quality choice is; better quality means the one that the body will recognize easily as fuel, it’s as close to Mother Nature’s whole foods as possible, no chemistry projects here. And finally, making the better quality choice means that every food is an option so you can respect your cultural influences, your personal preferences, and you can enjoy variety of food choice.

CW: What’s your advice for staying healthy on a tight budget?

AK: I advise people to look at their overall lifestyle budget versus just their food budget. Are there places that you can add money to your food budget to support your health? That said, looking at items like organic frozen fruits and vegetables will definitely save money versus buying in-store ready to eat. Also, buying plain ingredients and assembling your eating occasions yourself will save lots compared to buying the ready-made, especially the single-serve options.

CW: If someone were to give up or change one aspect of their diet, what should it be?

AK: By far, THE WORST thing one can put in their body are things that we don’t know what it does to the body or that is shown to alter internal function. The good news – these are NOT food…they are chemicals derived from chemistry projects, GMOs, and toxins used in chemical farming. So the best thing someone can do is to exchange any of these for better quality choices which include anything from Mother Nature’s whole foods pantry.

CW: There are so many popular diets around these days – primal, vegan, macrobiotic, raw…What’s your two cents?

AK: As a dietitian, I work with patients to develop their plan – the one personalized to them, so I would say that the best thing that you can learn to do, regardless of any of these that you may choose to follow for short or long term, is stick the word “my” in front of it and make sure it is tailored to your body, your needs and preferences. So choose from my paleo, my vegan, my gluten-free and always make these diets Qualitarian ones, as no food program based on lesser quality options is a good one for anyone.

Ashley teases Natalie about her Oreo ice cream habit.

CW: Do you have a guilty indulgence? Is there room in a healthy lifestyle for the occasional indulgence?

AK: So here’s the thing – I indulge, yes, but I rarely feel guilty about it. My choices – even the indulgent ones – are mine, so I respect them as such. I had mint chip ice cream with my niece and nephew yesterday because they took me to the shop for my birthday. I don’t know if it was organic, I don’t normally consume dairy at all, but I had a few bites (okay, half a scoop but I ate out all the chocolate chunks and left most of the ice cream) but I won’t feel guilty about it. I went to yoga, did a few hours of gardening, and was on the elliptical yesterday so I am not worried about the calories, and if it’s another year or six months before I have non-organic dairy again or ice cream, I am okay with that.

I am still a Qualitarian. When I do feel guilty is when I allow myself to be talked into something I don’t want to have, or consume something “just because it’s there” that doesn’t even taste that great. I know better, and I try to do better, but I have weak moments just like everyone else. I refuse to attempt to be perfect as I would never ask that of any patient either.

Have you tried any yummy (or not so yummy) nutrition plans? Let us know!

Subscribe to The Chopra Well for more of Natalie and Iman’s amazing journey on 30 DAYS OF INTENT!

More on 30 DAYS OF INTENT:

Kundalini Yoga and the Art of Awareness

Orgasmic Meditation: An Interview with Sexpert Nicole Daedone

Laughter: The Most Fun You’ll Ever Have Meditating

Make a Difference Mondays: Organic Consumers Association


Organization:
Organic Consumers Association

Website: http://organicconsumers.org/

Who They’re Serving: Everyone concerned with GE foods, truth in labeling, Fair Trade, environmental sustainability, and corporate accountability in the food and farming industries.

Mission: The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is an online and grassroots non-profit 501(c)3 public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability. The OCA deals with crucial issues of food safety, industrial agriculture, genetic engineering, children’s health, corporate accountability, Fair Trade, environmental sustainability and other key topics. They are the only organization in the US focused on promoting the views and interests of the nation’s estimated 76 million organic and socially responsible consumers.

Why We Chose Them: The recent uprising against Monsanto genetically engineered and modified foods (see Millions Against Monsanto for more info) the current California GMO Labeling Ballot Initiative (the first of its kind in America) and Whole Food bowing to USDA pressure to accept the mass commercialization of GE crops have highlighted the upcoming need for grassroots and citizen led protest against these types of changes to the food industry and the need for truth in labeling regarding all GE products.

How You Can Make a Difference:

  • Visit the Take Action tab on the Organic Consumers Association Website to quickly fill out online petitions you would like to support.Volunteer to help collect signatures in the State of California for the California GMO Labeling Ballot Initiative. Over 80,000 signatures are needed to get the CA Food Labeling Act of 2012 on the Ballot. Simply linking you Facebook, blog, or website to this online petition can help get this act on the ballot.
  • Donate online to the Organic Consumers Association to help support this type of grassroots lobbying and legislative action to support organic and sustainable food and farming.
  • Subscribe to Organic Bytes the OCA’s weekly email publication.

Make a Difference Mondays is a series here at IntentBlog to spotlight individuals, organizations, and causes making a positive difference in our global community. We’ll also be sharing opportunities for engagement and suggesting tangible actions you can take to make the world a better place. 

Intent Video of the Day: Can organic feed the world?

“People say organic can’t feed the world, but if the developing world were to adapt organic production they would have tremendous increases in yield.”

“Food Rules” by Michael Pollan – RSA/Nominet Trust competition:

Everyday we spotlight one remarkable video to inspire you to fulfill your intentions and improve your life. Do you have a video you’d like to suggest? Send it to us at editor [at] intent.com.

Green Romance: Eco-Healthy Choices to Enhance Your Sensuality

The scene is set for romance…perfume, candles, flowers, chocolate, and champagne. But wait…some of these products might contain toxic chemicals! Remember that what goes on your body also goes in your body and into your bloodstream, so be sure to choose products without a lot of added chemicals.

A spritz of most department store perfumes, for example, can contain over 100 different synthetic chemicals to make the scent, plus things like phthalates, and parabens. These are endocrine disrupters, that mess with your hormones. When shopping for perfume, look for those made from pure organic essential oils. They’re safe, non-toxic and more subtle than a synthetic perfume…your perfume won’t precede you when you enter a room and it won’t linger after you’ve gone!

What surrounds you can also get in your body. Artificially scented candles for example, contain chemicals that can trigger asthma and allergies. Instead, choose candles scented with essential oils. Look for soy or beeswax candles with cotton wicks (make sure it doesn’t contain a lead core which will release into the air), because most candles, unless otherwise labeled, are made from paraffin, a petroleum product, and fumes from paraffin wax have caused kidney and bladder tumors in lab animals.

How about roses…romantic right? Well, not if they’re sprayed with pesticides! These are toxic to our planet and to the growers. Look for organically grown flowers that use only natural repellants. When you choose something like that, you’re not only removing harmful chemicals from our environment, you’re also helping to improve the lives of flower growers, who are mostly women in developing nations.

What goes in your body can impact your health, well-being and mood. It’s well known that chocolate, especially dark chocolate, triggers feel-good chemical endorphins in our brain. The Aztecs believed that chocolate had aphrodisiac qualities, acting almost like a love potion. But most commercially made chocolate contains pesticides. So look for organic chocolates – they’re non toxic and delicious.

Before you sip that wine or champagne, did you know that conventionally grown grapes are one of the most heavily sprayed crops on the planet? So, again, look for organic wine and champagnes. You can find some amazing organic varieties that taste wonderful, are very high quality and are competitively priced to those made conventionally.

Try some green romance this Valentine’s Day season. Using non-toxic products will surely enhance your health, vitality and in turn, your sensuality.

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