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Green Purse Alerts!

Why My Purse is Green

Because I believe…

  • the fastest, most effective way to stop polluters is by pressuring them in the marketplace
  • women can be the world’s most powerful economic and environmental force if we intentionally shift our spending to the best green products and services
  • women have the power right now to solve many of our most serious environmental problems by using our green purses to make a difference
  • women must act – intentionally, collectively, and with the full force of our purse power behind us – if we hope to leave our children and grandchildren a better world.
  • July 29, 2013

    Eco-Friendly Soaps & Lotions, Plus Organic Energy Drinks & Honey

    The July EcoCentric Mom Box offers lots of interesting goodies you're either going to want to put in your body or on it.

    IN Your Body

    Julyboxsmall1 I hate to admit it, but the first thing I do when I get an EcoCentric Mom Box is to see what foods it contains. Maybe that's because it usually arrives around lunch time! In any event, I've really enjoyed this month's taste treats. They included:

    Honibe Honey Lozenges and Honibe Honey Delights Candy - The lozenges are made from 100% pure dried honey - and they sure taste like it. They're also infused with menthol and eucalyptus; I can imagine using them in the fall and winter if I get a sore throat or stuffy nose. The Honibe Honey Delights are also made with 100% pure dried honey - and that's eat. They taste delicious and are just sweet enough to satisfy my sweet tooth.

    Continue reading "Eco-Friendly Soaps & Lotions, Plus Organic Energy Drinks & Honey" »

    July 01, 2013

    Natural Mosquito Repellent to Ward Off Summer Bugs & More

    My Ecocentric Mom Box has arrived just in the nick of time. Summer is in full swing, which means so are the mosquitos. There are lots of ways to reduce mosquitos around your home, but most of us still need Mombox1to use some kind of repellent when we're in the garden, at a picnic, or taking a walk. This month's Mom Box included Herbal Insect Repellent from Turtle Moon that's worth giving a try. Made from essential oils like lavender, eucalyptus and wild geranium, it smells great to me (though not to bugs), sprays on so you can rub it in, but is not greasy.

    I was a bit skeptical of another product in the box until I tried it. It's a lip scrub, believe it or not. This is a terrific solution if you have chapped lips that you just can't seem to keep moist.  Essence of Antiquity Pomegranate Lip Scrub works like hand or body scrubs you might have tried. Organic sugar provides the grit that gently wipes off rough skin cells, leaving lips feeling surprisingly moist.

    Afterwards, I tried the Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques Lip Colour, a lip stick made with shea butter, coconut oil, jojoba oil and pomegranate oil (NOT lead, which is found is a surprising number of lip sticks). All those oils left my lips feeling soft and healthy. NOTE: this lipstick is pretty shimmery, so if that's not for you, you can use it as a base and put something more subdued on top.

    Another healing product in this month's box was the Brigit True Organics Magic Healing Skin Balm Stick. This balm claims to help heal skin irritation, bug bites, and dry skin. I wasn't able to verify those claims independently, but given the ingredients - extra virgin olive oil, beeswax, calendula - I can imagine that it does a pretty good job moisturizing and soothing.

    Continue reading "Natural Mosquito Repellent to Ward Off Summer Bugs & More" »

    April 30, 2013

    Ecocentric Mom Box: Put on Your Best Face (Mask)

    An EcoCentric Mom Box is both dependable and surprising. Dependable because you can count on the sample products it contains to be non-toxic, low impact, and a great bargain. Surprising because every box introduces a whole host of healthy personal care products, shampoos, soaps, and even foods that you might have no idea existed. I like the box because it constantly gives me fresh ideas for ways I can practice my Big Green Purse commitment and shift my spending to greener goods to protect myself, my family, and my community.

    Aprilbox1 (1)  This month’s box is no exception. Here’s a rundown of the dependably surprising items I found. (NOTE: If you’d like to receive your own Ecocentric Mom box every month, you can sign up here. Big Green Purse readers get a 10% discount on any subscription plan you choose.  Be sure to enter code ECOMOM10 at checkout.)

    7th Heaven 100% Natural Face Mask – This mask uses Moroccan Clay infused with fresh fragrances of apricot and orange to hydrate, cleanse and tone skin.  After you use it, moisturize with…

    Natures Gate Rice Bran Facial Moisturizer – This light lotion smooths on easily and leaves no greasy film behind.  It complements perfectly the…

    Biotin Shampoo and Conditioner, and Acai Body Wash – Also made by Nature’s Gate, all these products combine botanical, herbal and floral ingredients to create personal care products you’ll feel good using, even more so if you brew a cup of …

    Continue reading "Ecocentric Mom Box: Put on Your Best Face (Mask)" »

    April 17, 2013

    #EarthDay Insights: 13 Ways to Make Your Food More Eco

    Maybe you already eat organic produce. You've cut down on meat. You grow your own lettuce. That's  great! But Earth Day is nothing if not a time to consider...what else can we do, especially when it comes to the food we buy and eat?

    Food Tank Danielle Nierenberg of The Food Tank suggests 13 important ways we can reduce the environmental impact of growing, processing, marketing, and disposing of our food. Take a look at the list. I hope you'll add your own recommendations!

    1) Eat more colors
    The colors of fruits and vegetables are signs of nutritional content. The American Cancer Society reports that richly colored veggies like tomatoes can help prevent cancer and heart disease. Eggs that have brightly orange-colored yolks are also high in cancer-fighting carotenoids, and are more likely to be produced by healthier chickens.
     
    Vegetables 2) Buy food with less packaging
    Discarded packaging makes up around one-third of all waste in industrialized countries,  impacting the climate, and our air and water quality. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s analysis of different packaging for tomatoes found that polyethylene terephthalate (PET) clamshell packaging increases tomatoes’ associated carbon emissions by 10 percent. What's better? Choose foods you can buy in bulk, and bring your own bags - even to the produce aisle.
     
    3) Choose seasonal produce
    Many farmers markets, including the New York City Greenmarkets, offer guides about which products are in season. Locally sourced, seasonal products can also be found at major grocery stores. Or sign up for a weekly CSA, which provides a mix of fresh, seasonal produce throughout the year. Other programs, such as Siren Fish Co.’s SeaSA in San Francisco, offer seasonal meats and seafood.


    Continue reading "#EarthDay Insights: 13 Ways to Make Your Food More Eco" »

    March 27, 2013

    Fragrance, Fitness and Fig Bars? Only in this Month's EcoCentric Mom Box

    Ecocentric mom logo  If you like surprises, an EcoCentric Mom Box is just the thing for you. Every month, this box full of eco-goodies shows up at my door and I have no idea what's going to be inside. I hate to admit it, but I always hope there will be some new food try, and generally there is. But I'm also likely to find new cosmetics, some new kind of soap, coupons that offer significant discounts for e-stores I didn't know existed and lately, perfume. This month's box contained all that and more. The biggest surprise was a $50 gift card to itrain.com, an online source for downloadable workout programs, music, and HD videos.

    I decided to use the gift card when I would need it most: after I snarfed down the food.

    Nature's Bakery Fig Bars - These are not your normal gummy Fig Newtons! The actual cookie (see photo)  is made from stone ground whole wheat flour; yes, it tastes "healthy" - but it's delicious, too. The filling is thick, 20130327_114710hearty and flavorful. Fig filling is what you expect for a fig bar, of course. But the raspberry-filled bar was just as tasty. Other benefits: these bars are dairy free, contain zero transfats, are kosher, and are made in the USA. Definitely something I'd put in my or my kids' lunch or take to the gym with me instead of a power bar.

    Go Raw Spirulina Energy Bar - I was expecting this crunchy snack to taste, well, icky. But it's light, flavorful, and the faint banana taste might make it very popular with kids. PLUS: it's free - as in gluten, wheat, nut and GMO free. Organic, too.

    EBoost - Here's an alternative to the powdered sugary energy drinks you might be mixing up. EBoost is sugar-free, contains no artificial flavors, and has only 5 calories per serving. Add it to still or sparkling water for a refreshing drink.

    Continue reading "Fragrance, Fitness and Fig Bars? Only in this Month's EcoCentric Mom Box" »

    March 26, 2013

    US-China Greener Consumption Forum Lays Groundwork for Future Projects Together

    How can the world's two consumer "superpowers"- the U.S. and China - work together to reduce the impact that consumption has on us and our world?

    Group  That was the topic a capacity crowd addressed on March 22 at the U.S. - China Greener Consumption Forum. The event, held at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. and co-sponsored by Big Green Purse and the International Fund for China's Environment, pulled together scientists, consumer advocates, public policy advocates, and green entrepreneurs to share ideas about strategies to inspire manufacturers to create greener goods -- and get consumers to buy them.

    HIGHLIGHTS:

    The Forum focused primarily on women because women spend 85 cents of every dollar in the  marketplace – and we’re not just buying cheese doodles and diapers. As I say here on CCTV, the national television network of China, we buy more clothes.  More food.  More cosmetics and personal care products than men. We also buy more electronics, more home furnishings, almost as many tools, just as many cars. Women are spending billions of dollars, day in and day out, year in and year out.

    But even with all that clout, we won’t be able to use this power of the purse effectively until we achieve true gender equity worldwide, points that both Ban Li, Deputy Counsel of the Shaanxi Women's Federation, and Liane Shalatek, Associate Director of the Heinrich Boll Foundation North America, made very powerfully.

     Christine Robertson of Earth Day Network facilitated a provocative panel on the impacts consumption has on our health and the health of the planet. Sarah Vogel of Environmental Defense Fund (pictured  8589602452_4cbfc26167 right) was peppered with questions after her presentation on the way the toxic chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA) affects the reproductive systems of men and women alike.

    Ping He of the International Fund for China's Environment, the co-sponsor with Big Green Purse of the Forum, moderated the session on barriers to sustainable consumption and solutions that help surmount them. Meaningful eco-labels and standards can make a big difference, pointed out Arthur Weissman, President and CEO of Green Seal, especially when those standards are set by an indendent third party (like Green Seal is) whose primary interest is not in selling products, but in helping manufacturers become more sustainable over time.

    LISA JACKSON, Former EPA Administrator

    Lisa J podium Lisa Jackson's luncheon keynote address was the highlight of the day for many people. As a mom, scientist, and long-time public servant, Lisa has a unique appreciation for the impact consumption has on us as individuals and on society as a whole. She spoke movingly about being the first African-American to serve as head of the EPA and how important it is to bring women as well as people of color and low-income populations into the conversations we're having about pollution and climate change.

    Lisa noted that her favorite law is the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act because it empowers people to protect themselves wherever they live. She is also proud of technology EPA has shared with the city of Shanghai to help monitor air pollution there.

    Lisa agreed that the way we use both the purse and the pocketbook can inspire manufacturers to reduce pollution and energy consumption.

    Continue reading "US-China Greener Consumption Forum Lays Groundwork for Future Projects Together" »

    January 04, 2013

    Candy I Don't Feel Guilty About, and a Whole Lot More in This Month's EcoCentric Mom Box

    Ecocentric Jan The December EcoCentric Mom box arrived right in the middle of the holiday season, so I decided to open it in the new year instead. What better way to start off 2013 than by sampling some new organic taste treats and healthy products for my skin and hair?

    Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews - There was lots of food in this month's box, but my favorite by far were these candy-like "energy chews."  Made with USDA certified organic ingredients that are gluten- and dairy-free, they're wonderfully flavorful but not too sweet. I had intended to eat "just one," but gobbled them all right up once I tasted them.

    Clandestino Milk Chocolate Banana Bar - Between the subtle banana filling and the milk chocolate covering, these bars pack a nice little energy punch.

    Tisano Organic Chocolate Tea - I drink at least six cups of tea a day, and chocolate is one of my favorite foods, so you can imagine how much I liked trying out this new combo. One added benefit: though the tea is made from pure cacao beans, it's calorie-free.

    Organic Nectars Chocolate Bars - Yes, more chocolate! These bars are certified organic, vegan and completely free of dairy, peanuts, soy, gluten, GMOs and refined sugar. I especially liked the one flavored witht raspberry.

    Continue reading "Candy I Don't Feel Guilty About, and a Whole Lot More in This Month's EcoCentric Mom Box" »

    January 03, 2013

    My Green Goals for 2013: Less Bathroom Plastic, More Home-Made Yogurt, Better Compost

    I learned a long time ago not to make New Year's resolutions per se. They could be so general and vague, they could also be frustratingly easy to abandon. Without accountability to anyone but myself, it didn't really seem to matter if what I resolved to do oozed away after a month or two (if I even made it that long!). And the "pay back" or reward for keeping my resolutions seemed hard to measure. Sure, I might have resolved to save more energy or use less water, but without actually measuring what I used or what I saved, there wasn't much incentive to use less or save more.

    This year is going to be different. I'm not making resolutions, I'm setting goals - specific goals that will have real environmental benefits and that I can measure with real "before" and "after" statistics.

    Though I hope I'll reduce my environmental footprint in all sorts of ways this year, I'm only setting three specific goals in the hopes that a narrower focus will lead to broader achievements.

    GOAL #1 - MAKE MY OWN YOGURT

    Organic_yogurts I eat two cups of yogurt every single day - plain, non-fat, usually Greek-style yogurt that serves as the delicious base for whatever fresh fruit happens to be in season. It's a healthy and mostly eco-friendly breakfast - marred only by the fact that I buy the yogurt in big plastic throwaway tubs. When I was in college, I had an electric yogurt maker and made my own yogurt every week. I also made yogurt by mixing milk and yogurt starter in a bowl, then keeping it in a warm oven for several hours until the whole mixture became yogurt-like. Over the years as I was busy raising kids, running a business and writing books, I've gotten away from making my own yogurt. But I'm appalled at how many plastic yogurt tubs I throw away every week. If I made my own yogurt using milk I can buy in glass bottles from my local food coop, I would go from three or four plastic tubs a week to zero. So one goal for 2013 is to start making my own yogurt.

    Do you make your own yogurt? If you have a recipe you love, please share it!

    GOAL #2 - USE NO MORE THAN THREE PRODUCTS BOTTLED IN PLASTIC IN MY BATHROOM

    Continue reading "My Green Goals for 2013: Less Bathroom Plastic, More Home-Made Yogurt, Better Compost" »

    December 06, 2012

    Quick, Homemade Jams and Applesauce in Beautiful Jars Make Special Holiday Gifts

    Want to make your own food gifts for the holidays? Here are two recipes - one for homemade cranberry jam courtesy of Whole Foods, one for homemade applesauce courtesy of me - that are simple, delicious, and guaranteed to inspire anyone who receives them to lick her lips!

    CRANBERRY JAM

    Cranberry jam This recipe cooks up in minutes. I made a version of it as a cranberry chutney for Thanksgiving, adding a sprinkle of ground ginger rather than nutmeg to give it a little zing.  Spoon it into clean glass jars, and wrap in a lovely tea towel - or just crisscross a ribbon around it and add your personalized gift tag.

    By the way, I make gift tags by recycling Christmas cards I received the previous year. If you cut out rectangles with pinking shears, they're quite cute!

    INGREDIENTS

    • 1 (16 ounces) bag fresh cranberries
    • 2 apples (Fuji, Gala and/or Golden Delicious), peeled, cored and grated
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup orange juice
    • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

    HOW TO PREPARE

    Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan and heat to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring frequently, until cranberries have popped open and mixture is thickened, about 8 minutes. Let cool completely. Transfer to small jars, if desired. Store in refrigerator for up to two weeks.

    You can find more DIY food gift recipes from Whole Foods here.

     

    APPLESAUCE

    INGREDIENTS

    ApplesApples. That's it. I usually use a combination of Honey Crisp and Winesap, but you should use whatever you like to eat. If you're not sure, just go to your farmer's market - chances are they'll have lots of apples and will be happy to cut you some slices so you can choose one or a combination.

    HOW TO PREPARE

    Peel all the apples. Cut out the core, then slice into eighths. Put into your food processor and puree.

    That's it.

    I like applesauce made this way more than cooking down the apples and then pureeing them or mashing them up. They're more flavorful, and easier, too, as it saves me a lot of time not standing over a boiling pot of apples making sure they don't burn.

    One tip: Once I have a big pile of apple peels, I put them in a pot of water and add a couple of cinnamon sticks and some whole cloves. I turn the heat to low and just let the aroma from this apple "potpourri" fill the house. It's heavenly.

    September 30, 2012

    September's EcoCentric Mom Box Review

    This month's "Mom Box" from EcoCentric Mom contained a great assortment of cleaning products, personal care products, and even a few snacks.  


    IMG_2044  On the laundry front, the box included two sample pouches of Ecover Natural Laundry Powder ZERO, as in fragrance-free.  I'm partial to laundy powder as opposed to liquid in a plastic bottle, so I particularly like this sample. I should get four loads of laundry out of the pouches, given how little detergent my efficient, "high e" washing machine uses.

    The personal care products featured:

    Lotus Wei Joy Juice Mist, a combination of blood orange, Davana (strawberry-like) and Marigold essences, plus pink daisy. It comes in a glass bottle, with just a minimum plastic spray pump attached, which I appreciate, as I'm trying to keep my bathroom plastic-free.

    Beauty Without Cruelty Facial Cleanser. This is a lightly-foaming, soap-free cleanser, that is paraben free and has never been tested on animals. I like the slightly fruity scent. 

    Continue reading "September's EcoCentric Mom Box Review" »

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