If equipped with the right resources, we are able to make better decisions for ourselves, as well as take hold of our power as a consumer and actually create change.
Hello, EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. Tap this into your Bookmarks Bar now.
The Environmental Working Group’s mission is to “use the power of information to protect human health and the environment”. Skin Deep Cosmetics Database was created in 2004 to divulge skincare ingredients and safety precautions otherwise unregulated and unlisted on cosmetics packaging. It now includes about 70 thousand different products within their searchable database, rating brands and ingredients based on their levels of safety and/or toxicity. Leave-in conditioner…Toothpaste…Lip Liner….even baby products… it’s extensive, and totally user-friendly. The site sees over 1 million visitors per month.
Before you go plowing through all of the ingredients in your bathroom cabinet (you know you want to…) explore the site and focus on 1-2 personal care products you would be willing to update to something cleaner. The site can be overwhelming, and there’s no way to control everything we touch. But little edits to your daily routine will reap great benefits; not only for your body, but will support responsible brands who have chosen to edit the toxic chemicals out of their products.
If you don’t have access to organic produce, or simply choose to buy non-organic, this is a great product to keep under your sink. Biokleen Produce Wash (or brands alike) is a concentrated liquid that removes pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and dirt from the surface of food. The all-natural ingredients (mainly grapefruit seed extracts and lime) have powerful disinfectant abilities, and usage is also known to hold the taste and appearance of food for longer periods of time.
How to use:
Soaking Method: add 1 tablespoon produce wash to every 16 oz of water and soak bulk produce for 2 minutes, rinsing thoroughly afterwards. This works well for broccoli, grapes, lettuce and other greens.
Direct Method: Apply a couple drops directly to fruits or vegetables and scrub with hands under running water, rinsing thoroughly. Good for apples, tomatoes, eggs, etc.
Cooking at home gives you the satisfaction of knowing all ingredients of your meal, as well as where all of the food was grown/how it was raised, etc. Unfortunately, I’m a big foodie and eating out is one of my favorite things to do. SO…it’s quite luckily that I live in a city full of incredible restaurants who pride themselves on supporting healthy, clean produce and sustainable food and farming systems. If I know a restaurant holds this of great importance, I can feel confident that the ingredients on my plate are free of added hormones, pesticides, chemicals or processed ingredients….and can scarf down without a care in the world.
Here is an extensive list of just some of the restaurants who support local, organically grown produce and offer humanely raised meats/freshest fish. Basically, this is your SF city bible to eating out.
A16 - Marina
Alembic - Haight/Ashbury
Americano - Embarcadero
Baker and Banker - Lower Pac Heights
Bar Jules - Hayes Valley
Bar Tartine - Mission
Beretta - Mission
Blue Plate - Bernal Heights
Cafe Gratitude - Mission
Coco 500- SOMA
Cha Cha Cha - Haight/Ashbury and Mission
Contigo - Noe Valley
Green’s Restaurant - Marina/Fort Mason
Market Bar - Ferry Building
Maverick - Mission
Mission Beach Cafe - Mission
Mixt Greens - Financial District
Nopa- Western Addition/NOPA
Olea - Nob Hill
Perbacco - Financial District
Quince - Financial District
Range - Mission
Roam - Cow Hollow/Marina
Rose’s Cafe - Cow Hollow/Marina
Rue Saint Jacques - Nob Hill
Serpentine - Potrero Hill
Slanted Door - Ferry Building
Slow Club - Mission
SPQR - Pacific Heights
Spruce - Laurel Heights
Tataki - Lower Pac Heights
Terzo - Cow Hollow/Marina
The Plant Cafe - Marina
Universal Cafe - Mission
Yield Wine Bar - Dogpatch
Zuni Cafe - Civic Center
As a last note….if you’re at a restaurant where you are unsure of the quality of produce/meats, never feel awkward asking where the food came from. ”Is your produce grown locally or organically?” ”How was this beef raised?” TOTALLY ACCEPTABLE.
(Restaurant list based on article in “Buy Fresh Buy Local: The Eater’s Guide to Local Food”. Bay Area, 4th Edition)
In addition to being mindful about foods you put in your body, its also important how you prepare these foods before doing so. I am a big proponent of baking with parchment paper vs. aluminum foil. While aluminum is not classified as a carcinogen by the US Department of Health, studies have shown it possesses nerotoxic properties.
Theres a couple of ways you can use parchment paper.
A fun and new way of preparing your chicken or fish: Create a parchment paper ‘envelope’. The pocket works as a steam oven and quickly cooks the ingredients while maintaining flavors and prevents from drying your meats and fishes out. Tear a large piece of unbleached parchment paper and place ingredients in the center of the paper. Fold diagonally, roll and tuck ends underneath. Brush the top of the paper with olive oil to prevent the paper from cracking in the oven.
You can also simply line your baking sheets with parchment paper for roasting vegetables or baking cookies. The paper has non-toxic non-stick properties, so greasing the tray is unnecessary, cutting down on additional fats.
Tonight, baked my wild salmon in parchment paper and roasted my organic red potatoes in garlic, coconut oil, salt and pepper atop the paper as well.
Organic Apple Cider Vinegar is another one of those unsuspecting miracle workers. Hiding in a glass container in a golden, bitter smelling liquid, this all-purpose vinegar is truly a-mazing and a downright health tonic. The easiest way benefit is to drink 1 tbs ACV mixed in warm water in the AM.
There is a reason you can find it in both the health and condiment aisles at the store. Here are 25 reasons why you should have this in your fridge at all times…
1. Prevents flu and stomach illness 2. Dissolves kidney stones 3. Detoxifies the body of heavy metals and toxins 4. Regulates pH balance in the body 5. Relieves tummy aches or nausea 6. Relieves heart burn or chronic acid reflux 7. Relieves asthma 8. Relieves allergies 9. Pour 1 cup in warm bath for a calming, detoxifying 20 minutes 10. Lowers glucose levels in diabetics 11. Aids weight loss by curbing appetite + breaking down fat 12. Relieves migraines 13. Relieves sinus pressure and nasal infections 14. Lowers blood pressure 15. Lowers cholesterol 16. Kills cancer cells or slows growth 17. Reduces inflammation, relieves arthritis
18. Pour in small bowl and leave out for an all-natural fruit fly trap 19. Conditions and detangles hair 20. Uses as household cleaner, deodorizer or disinfectant 21. Works well to clear up fungal, bacterial, viral infections 22. Soothes bug bites 23. Gets rid of warts (ACV on cotton ball, cover with Band-Aid, leave on over night for 1 week) 24. Helps reduce/prevent acne…use as spot treatment, facial toner or mix with Aztec Clay Mask for an amazing firming and clarifying mask (I swear by it).
25. Re-balances good bacteria in the intestinal tract
And, a bonus…which happens to be my favorite use of all: COOKING.
Mix a few tablespoons with olive oil, sea salt and pepper for a totally delicious salad dressing.
Dont forget to buy it organic to gain the ultimate benefits. $2-$4 bucks at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, or Real Foods.
Many whole foods nutritionists promote using lots and lots of herbs and spices in your everyday cooking. Delish. These flavoring agents actually work as antioxidants, protect our cells from free-radicals, provide vitamins and minerals, and yes, are low in calories! But hold the phone. You should not bother just using any old synthetically processed spice. Non-organic spices are robbed of the most potent active ingredients which provide the health benefits. Why would you waste your time flavoring your food with ingredients that are made via artificial ingredients and chemical processes. SO important to make the tiny extra investment and buy organic spices so you feel great about what you add to your food every day.
Here’s 5 of my favorite Spices know to be super good for you and their benefits….
Ginger: reduces inflammation in cells and aids in digestion and liver function
Chili Pepper: known to inhibit the growth of cancer cells, aids in weight management, helps to relieve chronic sinusitis, and improves heart health.
Garlic: the most sold natural supplement on the market. Garlic lowers cholersterol, kills bacteria and parasites, aids in healthy blood flow, and supports anti-aging.
Nutmeg: relieves indigestion, stimulates the brain, and helps to detoxify the body.
Black Pepper: Yep! So good for you! Benefits include prevention of heart disease, constipation, the common cold, and has antioxidant properties effective in preventing cancer. Best if the pepper is freshly ground.
For more info on spices and their health benefits: http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/healthy_spices.html
Great for your body, so place these bad boys on display! I found these jars at the Alameda Flea Market for a dollar each, bought a white paint pen, and check ‘em out. So easy and cheap! I refill them with my organic spices whenever they start running low.
No I do not own a garden in my San Francisco 12-unit apartment building…but composting my food scraps is still extremely important to me. And here are a few reasons why:
Scraps are turned into something good for the environment (compost) versus being sent to decompose in landfill where they’ll produce methane (the most damaging greenhouse gas and 21 x’s more potent than C02) destroying our atmosphere even more.
Composting removes up to 75% of material out of the solid waste stream….less trash sitting around on our planet.
Once recycled back into the earth, it’s amazing for our soil - improves water retention, prevents erosion, and binds contaminants so not taken in by plants.
Returns nutrients to soil such as phosphorus, potassium, nitrogen and other trace minerals, all creating optimal plant growth and health. Healthier soil = better plants w/ less contaminants, which then equals less toxins and cleaner food on my dinner plate.
He’s small, inexpensive, and allows air to flow in and out of the sides causing a drier composting process, which means no odor or fruit flies. Less that 25 bucks here: http://www.amazon.com/Full-Circle-FC11301-Kitchen-Collector/dp/B004XWGS1G/ref=sr_1_20?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1334294067&sr=1-20
To commit to eating a whole-foods, all-natural diet is committing to a lot of extra work, time, money and preparation….no doubt about it. But with baby steps and a great resource or guide, it can become a thoughtless and easy daily routine. I find that if I correctly stock my fridge at the beginning of the week, it is so much easier to whip up quick and no-brainer meals without a ton of effort throughout my crazy busy schedule.
I’ve put together an ‘Ultimate Shopping List’ for you to use when doing your grocery shopping at the start of the week. I pretty much stock up on a combination of the below each week, with slight changes depending on what fruits and vegetables are in season. I’ll also choose to snag some at the store vs. some at my Sunday Farmers market depending on prices, availability, etc.
SO many delicious and innovative meals can be created from simply the below ingredients… Enjoy!
Root Vegetables/Winter Squashes - when seasonally available
Chicken, Meat, Fish
Free Range, Organic Chicken Breasts
Wild Caught Salmon
Grass-Fed, Organic Beef
Organic Whole Grains/Seeds/Nuts
Quinoa - duh.
Whole Unsalted Almonds
Beans and Legumes - buy in bulk bins and soak before cooking for healthiest option
French Lentils (green, red)
Organic Spices - I try to always keep these on hand
Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
Other/Items to Have Stocked
Organic Sugar Free Almond Milk
Organic, Free-Range Large Brown Eggs
Xyletol (the best sweetener for your body)
Extra Virgin Organic Olive Oil
Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
And, some of my favorite once in a while treats…
Organic/Raw Almond Butter - i could eat this by the spoonful and finish the jar in a couple days, which is why I buy it sporadically. Also, If you buy it correctly (raw, organic, no sugar added) it can get real expensive. Its an every so often treat in my smoothies in the morning and on some celery for a snack.
Fresh Mint/Cilantro/Basil Leaves - because I live by myself it takes a while to use these up, and the washed leaves do go bad fairly fast. If I’m making a particular meal, or want to spice up a few dinners in a row, I’ll bring these home.
One of my favorite products I am using right now is Epicurean’s Probiotic face cream.
This product is meant to balance the good bacteria on your skin while killing off the bad and purging the congestion that causes bad breakouts. This stuff is a-mazing. It creates a mild exfoliation when applied, which feels fresh and energizing. I have also noticed how much it helps heal old breakouts and smoothed my skin DAYS after I began using. What else scores this product some mad props? Its ingredients are all natural, and include include key probiotics, which are what work to restore healthy flora on the face.