Beautycounter: making it’s mark on the industry

I love this article and I love Beautycounter! Gregg Renfrew, Beautycounter’s founder and CEO, is fearless and inspirational and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of a company that is so “extremely focused on advocating and lobbying for cosmetic reform.” On top of that, I’m obsessed with pretty much all of the products as is my whole family including my kids 😍

Beaurycounter.com/stacykeener

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President Obama signed the Monsanto Protection Act :-(

Well, this sucks 😒 Obama signed the Monsanto Protection Act and denied Americans right to know what is in our food despite major outcry from the American public. βš–πŸ’°

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I am sharing to help keep people in the know. I am truly disappointed and very angry to hear this news.

I will continue to shop for products clearly labeled as non-GMO and In doing so I will be voting with my dollar. πŸ’Έ

dark act DARKAct_QRCode_TonyTheTiger How-to-Avoid-Toxic-GMOs obama-gmo-labeling-dark-act

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Cutting boards

As promised – here is my post about CUTTING BOARDS!

Before I began trying to move away from using plastics in the kitchen I solely used plastic cutting boards. I am ashamed to admit it, but I let them get old and badly scratched before replacing them and I would even put hot food directly on themΒ πŸ™ˆ

Now that I know better, I am doing better. I have swapped my plastic boards for a big wooden butcher block and I couldn’t be happier with the change. It’s a definite upgrade. I still held on to a few of my newer plastic boards and I use them exclusively for raw meat to eliminate worries of cross contamination. I wash them well and replace them often.

WHY WOOD IS BETTER THAN PLASTIC:

It would be important for me to note why plastic cutting boards are not a good option. For one thing, studies have shown that wood cutting boards contained less salmonella bacteria than plastic, so that’s a plus 😝
An article in the Huffington Post noted that “In studies on wood cutting boards, the bacteria sank down beneath the surface of the cutting board, where they didn’t multiply and eventually died off. On plastic boards, however, bacteria got caught in knife grooves that were near impossible to clean out, whether the board was washed by hand or dishwasher.” That said, there have been studies that proved that wood was just as likely to be contaminated as plastic if both were equally as deeply scratched. “Ultimately, cutting boards are vulnerable to contamination regardless of the materialβ€”and either a wooden or plastic one is okay as long as you keep it very clean and in good condition.”Β The article I quoted this information from is really worth a read.

Beyond the food contamination issue obviously is the concern of plastics toxicity. It seems many plastic cutting boards are treated with triclosan, which is on Beautycounter’s Never List and is something I stay away from. I knew it was found in soaps and sanitizers, but I never knew it was on many cutting boards 😑

For more information on the safety concerns of plastic cutting boards check out this post on the subject. This blog is fantastic and I’m signing up to follow this guy – great find!

HOW TO CHOOSE A BOARD:

I honestly cannot believe how much money wood cutting boards can go for! I cannot and will not pay upwards of $700 for a cutting board. In fact, I don’t want to spend more than $80! I wanted to know why wooden boards could vary so greatly in price, but after researching way too much about the types of woods you can pick I was thoroughly bored and still not sure which to choose. I did learn that “hardwoods, like maple, are fine-grained, and the capillary action of those grains pulls down fluid, trapping the bacteria – which are killed off as the board dries after cleaning, whereas soft woods, like cypress, are less likely to dull the edge of your knife, but also pose a greater food safety risk. That’s because they have larger grains, which allows the wood to split apart more easily, forming grooves where bacteria can thrive.” For more about that check out this article.

Still interested in the different types of wood grain and blocks on the market? Here is a link that describes many of your options in mind numbing detail lol.

HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR BOARD:

The reason I began researching cutting boards while already using a butchers block is because mine has deep cracks in it (they were there when we got it as a gift – clearly from the clearance aisle LOL). Cracks are bad because they harbor bacteria. Until I replace mine I will be doing my part in keeping it as clean as possible. Here’s how to keep them pristine:

You should not put wooden boards in the dishwasher or soak it in water as it will ruin the wood. This is because water permeating the wood is what causes the wood fibers to swell and then warp your board. It is also why it’s of the utmost importance to always thoroughly dry the board with a clean, dry towel after washing. To clean it you should wash it after each use with warm water and a little soap. To disinfect you can then wipe it down with vinegar. If you cut raw meat go one more step and give it a wipe with hydrogen peroxide. Then to deodorize use baking soda or lemon. Salt will brighten as will using an oil to condition. The only oils you’ll want to use are mineral or coconut. I prefer coconut as it’s healthier and doesn’t contain petroleum like mineral oil does.

The how-to information for the above listed cleaning methods can be found at the following site.
*Note- this article lists bleach as a method to purify a cutting board, but I would obviously never recommend putting a harsh, toxic chemical on there!

Additionally, microwaving your wooden cutting boards at for 10 minutes will sanitize and be more effective than applying any bleach solution.

MY DECISION:
I almost decided to go with a bamboo board. Bamboo is technically a grass that is less porous than hardwoods which allows it to resist knife scratches and better yet- it is an environmentally sustainable resource. It seemed like a great option until I read more from my new favorite blogger whose page I linked you to above in the WHY WOOD IS BETTER THAN PLASTIC section. He found a very reasonably priced board that doesn’t even use mineral oil, which as I mentioned contains petroleum, or toxic glues and is totally safe! I am going with his find, the Urthware brand, you can find them at at the link below.

I hope this helps. Does anyone have a board they are in love with? I’m open to other suggestions as I didn’t actually purchase my new board yet. Thanks!

cuttingboard

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Toxic Plastic

One of the hardest things for me to “switch for safer” has been the use of plastics in my home. I have been successful in the past couple years in almost never heating our food in plastic containers and have even been making a very conscious effort to not use the microwave in general. That said, we have roughly 5.7 million toys in our home and they are all made of cheap, toxic plastic from China πŸ˜–

It’s a work in progress to say the least, but I am trying hard to not be overwhelmed and to “go green” slowly, but diligently. I have made some swaps in the kitchen that I want to share to help you on your journey to healthier living.

Before I give you my product recommendations it’s important to understand why plastic is so dangerous – especially when heated and in contact with food. Check out this article for an in depth explanation.

Off gassing (also known as out-gassing) is a term mentioned in the above article that is important to learn more about. It is the release of gas that was dissolved, trapped, frozen, or absorbed in a material. It is a phenomenon that affects every single person in the modern world and is of major concern. It’s not just a concern for plastics, but in carpet and furniture and a host of other household items, but on this post I’m focusing my attention on plastics only. For the most part we have only been using plastic (aka polymers, which means a synthetic substance made of long chains of molecules, none of which are found in nature) since World War II. The true health effects are unknown, but there is certainly a questionable and substantial uptick in diseases, disorders and reproductive issues since then and our environment, including our overuse of plastics, has got to be to blame at least in part. Check out this article to learn more about off gassing.

Lastly, after reading about the dangers of plastic I became intrigued about silicone. I wondered how it could be any safer. This article was very helpful and worth a read.Β While silicone is certainly a better option than plastic, it’s still a wild card in my eyes, so whenever possible I’m trying to use glass and wood.

And now, my “switch to safer” recommendations:

Kids plates/bowls/cups – For a non-plastic line of plates and bowls for my kids I use Duralex, which is made of tempered glass, which makes it durable and completely safe (glass is the safest option for anything touching food).

For storage of food I LOVE my Pyrex glass containers. The lids are plastic and should not be heated, but for storage it is fine because it doesn’t even touch the food.

For those times I give in an use the microwave I use a glass cover.

For kids portable cups I use Thermos Funtainer sippy cups so I don’t have to worry about the plastic heating up in the car and off gassing into the water they drink during the hot months.

For sending food to school I’m lusting over the stainless steel Planet Boxes food storage containers, but they are so expensive πŸ˜–. Maybe it will be their Hanukkah gifts – just what they always wanted LOL.

I use stainless steel kids utensils rather than plastic. I do still serve plastic water cups, because what kid doesn’t want to drink from a cup with TMNT, Jake, Dory and any of the other beloved cartoon characters. It’s my compromise. It’s not heated, so it seems like a good time to throw them a bone. I also use Itzy Ritzy reusable snack bags rather than plastic bags for carrying apples around to avoid sugar drops and meltdowns πŸ™‚

I switched to wooden and silicone spatulas after moving to ceramic pans. I always got scared when the non-stick, plastic spatulas would start breaking off into the food YIKES! Can’t be heathy.

I switched to a wood cutting board that I LOVE! I will post tomorrow about this as I feel it’s worth a separate shout out. Stay tuned πŸ”ͺ

I hope this helps! Please share your switch to safer swaps in the kitchen – or anywhere!

plasti plastic plastics plasticss toxic plastic

danger toxic chemicals plastic sucks

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Kris Carr loves Beautycounter’s Touchup Skin Concealer Pen

FREE SHIPPING + TOUCHUP SKIN CONCEALER PEN RAFFLE!!!

I seriously ❀️ the Beautycounter Touchup Skin Concealer Pen! It is a miracle worker that is often called liquid gold and it is definitely a must-have item. It seems Kris Carr, a New York Times and #1 Amazon best-selling author, wellness activist and cancer survivor, agrees and says she loves the great application system and that it keeps things covered all day and night!

I will be doing a raffle for a FREE Touchup Skin Concealer Pen. Anyone who places an order over $75 by this Friday, the 29th, will be entered to win. FREE Shipping for every order until Friday as well πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰

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Local shout out – Iavarone Bros chicken nuggets (hormone & antibiotic free)

Product shout out: Iavarone Bros hormone and antibiotic free chicken nuggets!!! (Sorry to my out-of-town friends – this store is a local gem)

Big news – I just saw a pig fly! Ok, not quite, but something just as unbelievable happened – my kids both requested more chicken nuggets last night! My kids are super picky – for example, they will only eat Annie’s organic’s version of mac and cheese, no other brands will suffice – and homemade is not acceptable to them either. Meat is an even tougher sell for them. They are fruit and veggie addicts, but unfortunately protein is a challenge. Chicken nuggets, aka the all-time most popular kid food next to pizza, was shockingly a rough one for us. Until now, I literally had to stand over them and bribe or threaten them with dessert to get them to eat Earth’s Best nuggets, which was the only brand they would allow. Then I decided to try the Iavarone nuggets since I totally love the store and it was a giant success πŸ™ŒπŸ»

I will be buying a ton today and freezing a bunch so I always have them on hand. I try to limit meat eating outside the house since I can’t be sure what quality meat they are being served, so I need reserves at home to get the good stuff in when I can lol

For those who are unaware – Iavarone is a local gourmet specialty food company in New York with four european style marketplaces and one restaurant that specialize in offering a variety of international and gourmet foods. The best part is that aside from the fact that the prepared foods are unbelievably tasty they are all also hormone and antibiotic free from humanely raised animals. Whoohoo!

I know my local peeps are just as in love with Iavarone as I am. What dishes or products are a must get when I go to stock up later today?

iavarone nuggets

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Feta cheese is not only delicious, but also the healthiest!

One of my biggest downfalls in life is my extreme love of cheese. Feta is definitely on the top of my list and I’m happy to see its a better-for-you pick as far as cheeses go. Whoohoo πŸ˜πŸ§€πŸ

7 Benefits of Feta Cheese Nutrition β€” the Healthiest Cheese & Even Anti-Cancer

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Produce Fun Facts

FUN FACTS!

I just read a handful of truly fascinating facts about the proper way to eat certain foods and I had to share! I feel like I have had it wrong this whole time!

1) STRAWBERRIES: Eat them whole!

If you are eating pre-sliced strawberries, the fat-burning vitamin content of these sweet treats can be compromised due to prolonged exposure to oxygen. Instead, it’s best to eat them whole, or at least wait until you are ready to eat to slice and dice them. One thing you do not want to do is slice them and then store them, as this will reduce the fat-burning power of the great strawberry – and who wants to do that?!

2) GREEK YOGURT: Don’t dump the water!

When you peel back the lid, you are probably used to seeing some “water” that has settled on the top. Most people dump this down the sink, but this “water” is actually whey that is packed with protein, vitamins, and calcium. Don’t get rid of it! Instead, mix the watery whey back into the yogurt to avoid missing out on Greek yogurt’s fat-burning punch!

3) AVOCADO – Ripen overnight

The greener and harder the avocado the less ripe. If you refrigerate they will not ripen, so you can store them in the fridge until you are ready to use them to prevent waste. Once ready to use you can ripen them by placing them in a brown paper bag, which traps the ethylene gas they produce and helps them to ripen. To speed the process and ripen overnight, place them in a brown paper bag along with a tomato, apple or banana. This will produce more ethylene gas and speed up the ripening process. You can actually do this with many fruits including peaches, tomatoes, mangoes and pears.

Conversely, if you want to know when the avocado is over-ripened you can shake it. If you hear a rattle it means it is overripe and the pit has pulled away from the flesh. It will also appear to be more of a deep brown color and be softer to the touch.

4) To Cook or Not To Cook – Veggies:

You may have heard that most fruits and veggies are better consumed raw rather than cooked, as cooking can reduce their vitamin and mineral content. While this is true in many cases, it’s the exact opposite with tomatoes and carrots.

Why?
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a phytonutrient with many positive health benefits. Cooking actually increases concentrations of lycopene in tomatoes, so enjoy tomato sauce, roasted tomatoes, and other cooked dishes with tomatoes more often!

Same goes for carrots. Studies show that when carrots are cooked their levels of beta carotene go up. Beta carotene is a carotenoid that the body converts to vitamin A. It’s essential for the function of many systems in the body, from normal iron metabolism to vision to skin and immunity.

For more information on which vegetables to cook and which to eat raw (and why), check out this slideshow:

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