My Photo

Or receive updates by email:

Delivered by FeedBurner


AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Get Our Newsletter:
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.
  • December 09, 2013

    Butter for Your Hands, Not Your Bread, Plus Much More from EcoCentric Mom

    EcoCentric Mom Box November It's that time of year when my hands are starting to feel so dry, you'd think I lived in the desert. Nope, it's just winter setting in, along with its prescription for cracking skin and painfully tight dryness. Happily, this month's EcoCentric Mom subscription box included butter - hand butter that is, made by The Seaweed Bath Co. from shea butter, neem oil and bladderwrack seaweed extract. I'm not sure what a bladderwrack is, but this balm feels great, and smells yummy, too, with a hint of citrus (or maybe that's what bladderwrack smells like...).

    Not to leave lips at the mercy of winter, either, the subscription box also included both the 3 Little Girls Holistic Oange Pop Lip Gloss, and lip scrub and lip colour from Lauren Brooke cosmetiques. The organic sugar in the lip scrub helps smooth chapped lips, then moisturizes with organic lecithin and shea butter. The lip colour is infused with organic pomegranate and non-GMO vitamin E. And of course, the lip gloss is organic, too. Winter or summer, I actually put lip gloss on top of lip colour for extra moisturizing, so am glad to try out both these products.

    Continue reading "Butter for Your Hands, Not Your Bread, Plus Much More from EcoCentric Mom" »

    May 28, 2013

    EcoCentric Mom Box Review: Ooh, Aah, and Yum

    MayMomBox1Large (1) (2)Every Ecocentric Mom Box comes packed with a selection of interesting, useful and tasty treats that help me make healthier, more eco-friendly choices when I shop. Here's the lowdown on what's in this month's box:


    Kallari Organic Chocolate Bar - I've written before why it's so important for chocolate to be produced organically. And when you shift your spending to organic chocolate, you encourage more conventional manufacturers to become more organic, too. Your purse power aside, Kallari chocolates make the shift worthwhile just because they taste so good. The 70% cacao bar included in this month's Ecocentric Mom Box was smooth, creamy and very flavorful. Plus, I love the fact that Kallari is produced via a cooperative of 850 indigenous Kichwa families in the Ecuadorian Amazon basin. The cooperative shares 100% of their profits among 21 rainforest communities to "maintain our way of life in one of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth." Try a bar!

    Continue reading "EcoCentric Mom Box Review: Ooh, Aah, and Yum" »

    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" »

    February 07, 2012

    Think Twice Before You Buy Hershey's Kisses for Your Valentine

    This Valentine's Day, before you cover your sweetheart with Hershey’s kisses, or toss a few of those treats into your kids’ lunch box, consider the alternative: organic, fair trade, bite-size bars made from cocoa produced by companies that care about people and the planet.

    Hersheyhaveaheart_small_0-300x186Why not Hershey’s? The company has been under fire for years from international organizations that monitor child welfare. Most of the world’s cocoa is produced in West Africa, where cocoa farmers typically live in poverty and where forced labor, especially among children, and human trafficking, are tragically common. Reports from concerned humanitarian groups describe how children often work long hours on cocoa farms performing hazardous work like using machetes, carrying heavy loads, and coming into close contact with toxic pesticides.

    Several non-profit groups organized a “Raise the Bar” campaign to ask Hershey to take meaningful steps to combat child, forced and trafficked labor in its supply chain, and an online petition drive generated over 100,000 letters to the company asking it to improve its cocoa sourcing practices.

    Happily, the company announced recently that it will commit to sourcing independently certified cocoa for its Bliss line by the end of 2012. However, Hershey’s produces many products that contain chocolate, including Almond Joy, Kit Kat, Whoppers Malted Milk Balls, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. What about responsibly sourcing ALL the cocoa it uses in all these products? Eighth grader Jasper Perry-Anderson has created a follow-up campaign on to ensure that the Hershey Company expands its commitment to certified cocoa to all its products in the future.

    Which gets us back to alternatives to Hershey’s Kisses for Valentine’s Day. Look for chocolates that are certified both fair trade and organic. Fair trade helps protect kids, and organic helps protect the environment. Here are some yummy options you should be able to find in your grocery store, at food co-ops, and at chains like Whole Foods that have made a commitment to carry more sustainably produced products.

    Dag-tsmoonDagoba – Ironically, Hershey owns this company, which was already organic and fair trade when it was acquired. Dagoba sources cacao, the primary ingredient used to make chocolate, from Latin America, South America and Madagascar. Their entire line of drinking chocolate, syrup, and cacao powder has been certifed Fair Trade by Transfair. You can buy a box of "bites" or choose full-fledged bars.

    Endangered speciesEndangered Species ORGANIC DARK CHOCOLATE CHIMP MINTS They're certified organic, vegan, gluten-free, kosher Non-GMO and the cacao is sourced from Rainforest Alliance Certified™  ethically traded cacao farms ensuring fair trade, responsible labor practices and sustainable farming. Plus they taste good!

    Wei of Chocolate -  This organic and fair trade chocolate, also certified by the Rainforest Alliance, is infused with "energetic" flower essences that they claim lead to greater tranquility, peace and joy. They're beautifully wrapped; a box-ful would certainly enhance my peace and joy, at least as long as they lasted!

    Lake Champlain Chocolates makes some delicious organic chocolates - but they're NOT Fair Trade: Organic Chocolate Truffles from Lake Champlain Chocolates -  or organic chocolate squares in flavors that include cinnamon, sea salt and almonds, milk, and dark.

    Then there's Ghirardelli. It promotes some of its bars as "100% all natural," but offers no explanation of what that means. There's no mention of Fair Trade or organic on its website, either. What gives?

    If you prefer chocolates from these companies, please go to their websites and encourage them to adopt certified fair labor and organic practices.


    Fill Your Heart With Organic Chocolate

    Environmental In-Box: Seeds of Change Chocolate


    Later this year, look for Hershey’s Bliss® products made with 100 percent cocoa from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms. Rainforest Alliance Certified farms have met comprehensive sustainability standards that protect the environment and ensure the safety and well-being of workers, their families and communities. Hershey’s Bliss® chocolates are available to U.S. consumers at more than 35,000 retail outlets. Meanwhile, you can read more about Hershey’s sustainability plans here.

    What Did I Miss?

    If you make an organic, Fair Trade chocolate we didn't mention here, please leave a comment with all the pertinent information. If you love an organic, Fair Trade chocolate we failed to notice, please let us know! Thanks.

    October 28, 2010

    Please: "Bury" Me Before I Die

    Glamour photo Well, not exactly. I mean, I don't want to be buried alive, or anything weird like that.

    But I've been to enough funerals and burials to know that they're usually wasted on the person being laid to rest. The people left behind - those still alive, in other words - get to have all the fun. As sad as the occasion is (and I mean absolutely no disrespect to those grieving the loss of a loved one), a funeral presents a wonderful opportunity to celebrate someone's life: who they were, what they loved, and the legacy they left behind.

    Why would I want to miss that?

    I don't. 

    So...I want my funeral service before I die. And I want it exactly like this:

    Continue reading "Please: "Bury" Me Before I Die" »

    May 25, 2009

    Environmental In-Box: Seeds of Change Chocolate

    Today begins a new feature on Diane's Big Green Purse: the Environmental In-Box product review.

    Every Monday morning, I'll review at least one of the products I've been sent during the previous week. I'll award three green purses to products that merit your consideration, two purses that are almost there, one purse to a product that's on the right track but has a long way to go. Plus, I'll give a "thumbs down" to goods that don't live up to their own claims.

    If you're familiar with the product yourself, please leave a comment. If you want me to review your product, please send me an e-mail first - there's no sense mailing me something I might not be interested in. But a note of caution: There's no quid pro quo here. Just because you send a product to review does not mean I will feel obligated to make glowing comments. I particularly abhor unverified claims, even the hint of greenwashing, and superlatives like "best," "greenest," "healthiest," or "first." Let the product speak for itself. And if you can't back up your eco-claims, please go back to the drawing board - or at least check out these labeling standards for some additional guidance.

    Here's what's in my In-Box today:

    Seeds of change chocolate Seeds of Change Chocolate - Seeds of Change built its reputation by preserving heirloom and traditional seed varieties. The company also produces certified organic foods "inspired by cultures and flavors from around the globe." Now they've turned their talents to chocolate. That's a very smart move in my humble opinion, given the environmental impact producing chocolate has -- as well as the fact that, in my household, chocolate is considered its own food group.

    The Product: Seeds of Change certified organic chocolate comes in six flavors: organic milk chocolate; organic milk chocolate with puffed grains (like a crisp); organic dark chocolate; organic dark chocolate with cherries and vanilla; organic dark chocolate with coconut; and organic dark chocolate with mango & cashew.

    What I like: The plain dark chocolate, with 61% cacao, is scrumptious - a great melt-in-your-mouth texture and full bodied flavor that lasts a long time. The milk chocolate is rich, smooth and creamy.

    What could improve?  I wasn't as wild about the bars that had cherries or mangos in them - the fruit pieces are so tiny, they felt gritty between my teeth. Plus, the bits are too small to impart much flavor; I never could taste the mango or cherry, though the coconut flavor comes through just fine. Overall I would have preferred larger pieces of fruit that seemed intentional, rather than an afterthought - think Cadbury's Fruit and Nut bars, where you can taste everything individually, but the flavors then meld into total deliciousness (however, Cadbury's bars aren't organic, a definite negative).

    Continue reading "Environmental In-Box: Seeds of Change Chocolate" »

    February 08, 2009

    Fill Your Heart with Organic Chocolate

    Any day is a good day to eat chocolate as far as I'm concerned. But on no day is it so special as on Choc bar Valentine's Day, when heart-shaped boxes full of cocoa-based delicacies can keep people (well, me) happy pretty much all day.

    That's particularly true if the cocoa is produced organically. Cocoa powder is derived from cacao seeds that grow in pods on the cacao tree. The tree's botanical name, Theobroma cacao, means "food of the gods," nomenclature with which I wholeheartedly agree. Cocoa "beans" are only called that once they're removed from the tree. What does any of this have to do with the environment? The cacao tree grows in the rainforest. Ideally, cacao trees will be grown on small farms, in the shade, to keep rainforests intact and reduce pesticide use. 

    Even better is organic cocoa that is also produced according to Fair Trade principles, ensuring that farmers are paid a decent wage for their work and no child labor is involved. In countries like Cote d'Ivoire in West Africa, children are being used like slaves to produce cocoa, with profits going to fund the country's civil war.

    Online, at natural foods stores and food coops, and increasingly at local grocery stores, you can find organic, fair trade cocoa and chocolate. Here are some brands to look for:

    * Dagoba

    * Divine Milk Chocolate

    * Endangered Species Organic Chocolate

    * Equal Exchange

    * Green & Black's

    * Theo

    Alter Eco

    But which of these tastes best?

    I asked the moms over at Green Moms Carnival for their faves. Here's what they recommend:

    Jess Trevelyan, who blogs at The Green Phone Booth, raves, "I love Divine first and foremost for the flavor (both dark and milk).But also cause the HQ is here in DC so I can support a local business."

    Lynn Miller of, has her favorite, too. "Diane, I love Green & Black's and Divine. Divine is fair trade from Ghana and is based here in DC. Black's is often on sale at places like Giant (yay!).

    Anna over at, did some serious research on the subject. "I went to the NYC chocolate fair this year and reviewed many of the organic chocolates," she reports. "I preferred dark chocolate with about 70-85 percent cacao. What I liked about the show is that the chocolate was not all
    offered at your local health food shops or was not made into bars. See the bark one or toffee one. I especially liked the foodie chocolate where it was infused with an herb or food ingredient. Try rosemary and chocolate some time. It is amazing." See Anna's articles, including "Organic Chocolate Never Tasted So Good."

    Got an organic or fair trade chocolate you love? Let us know!

    EcoCentric Mom
    Everbuying led light
    Green by