Go Green Get Fit – Week Four

by Tiffany in Health & Healing

I’m one of 30 bloggers participating in the 12-week Go Green, Get Fit Challenge as part of the EcoMom Alliance Sustain YourSelf™ Program presented by PlanetShoes.com. This is my week four update, you can read about week three here.

The temperature outside reached scorching last week and that impacted my workouts. I also took time off for the 4th and don’t regret a minute of it. In fact, I had so much fun I am repeating it this week. Also a factor is the fact that my local CrossFit box has fewer available classes because we have a member who qualified to compete in the 2012 CrossFit Games. Woot! Many of the coaches and members are traveling with him to LA to cheer him on and that will effect this week’s schedule and some of next week. I plan to kick back and watch the games on TV.

On Monday the warm up was 2 rounds down and back for each with 5 pushups and ten situps between each exercise… Samson lunges, bear crawl, spidey lunges, plank walks. Skill was 3×3 dips on the bar. Strength was 5 rounds tempo dips and 6 DB bent over row (40 lbs). WOD was 21-15-9 dips, air squats, and DB bent over row.

On Tuesday my hubby went golfing so no gym time for me.

On Wednesday we all drove up to my parent’s house for the holiday. I also had no desire to do any of the insane “Freedom” workouts that many boxes were hosting. I actually saw one that lasted 4 hours! I like exercise but I have no desire to fry myself.

Thursday and Friday were spent sleeping in, taking my son fishing, going out to eat, seeing movies with my folks (Spiderman, Magic Mike), and going to garage sales.

Saturday I returned home but not in time for the Olympic Lifting class so I did a workout at home using Power Body: Kettlebell Bootcamp with Angie Miller. This time I used the 15 pound Kettlebell that the DVD recommends. I sweat up a storm even though I was in the A/C.

Sunday I did a Kettlebell workout using the Body Sculpting with Kettlebells for Women book. I have mentioned before how much I love this book so I think it is time to stop borrowing it from the library and actually buy it. I did two sets of the Gold Program, Week 1, Day 1. Warmup, rack squats, Push Press, Double Arm Overhead Swings, Backward Lunges w/Pass, Bent Over Row, Pushups, and Russian Twists.

I had a question from a Facebook friend when I posted one of my workouts via Daily Mile. She asked what weight kettlebells I use when I workout. Well, it depends on the moves and reps actually. If I am doing two handed exercises with few reps I go for a 25-35 pounder. Two handed with lots of reps I go for a 20 pounder. So if the workout calls for 50 reps then I will go heavy. If I will end up doing 100 reps or more then I go lighter. For workouts where the moves are kind of complex (aka one legged poses and figure eights) and for those that focus on one arm, I will go lighter… say 15-20 pounds and I may have one in each hand.

How did your workouts go this week?


The Easiest Facial Scrub Ever & You Can Eat It Too

by Tiffany in Beauty

A few nights ago I was noticing that my facial skin was rather dull and needed a little exfoliation badly. I thought about running out to the store and looking to see what they had but I knew I would stand there and agonize over the ingredients in the cleansers and then ultimately come home empty handed. So I looked through my pantry and spied some almond meal thinking that might work on its own or with other ingredients. I picked up my copy of the book Organic Body Care Recipes: 175 Homeade Herbal Formulas for Glowing Skin & a Vibrant Self and saw that almond meal was the main ingredient in several different exfoliating cleanser recipes. In fact one recipe was easy peasy, just a couple teaspoons almond meal and water.

I went up to the shower straight away and was delighted to find that it works quite well AND it tastes good too! It reminds me of baby cereal. I am excited to dig deeper into the book and see what else I can make. ;) In fact it spurred me to make a bunch of my own house cleaners the next day too and I want to post about that but I am trying to locate the email addy for the gal who sent me the essential oils I used in them. If that rings any bells with someone, please give me a holler!



TGIF – Kettlebells, Natural Parks, and the Ethics of Meat

by Tiffany in Tidbits

TGIF! Have a great holiday weekend and spend lots of time hugging your babes and other loved ones. I am not religious so I tend to view this holiday as time I get to spend with my kiddos (and extended family) as they do something they love, like hunting for colorful eggs and getting some little treats. Whatever this season means for you… enjoy.

I kicked off the weekend with a good CrossFit workout… rowing, running, burpees, situps, pushups, squats, rope climbing, kettelbell swings, and hip extensions. Most of these were AMRAP or as many rounds/reps as possible. It was a tough one! I dived into my car afterwards and downed a dark chocolate coconut water. Lots of magnesium and potassium for recovery, plus it tastes like chocolate milk. Bonus! I will probably take a bath in magnesium flakes later too.

My post last Friday about my thyroid had some concerned about my carb intake. I am aware that there are a few in the WAPF blogging world who have suddenly decided that a high carb diet is best and that eating ice cream and pretzels for dinner is the way to go. First, I am not buying it, AT ALL. Second I am not low carb, nor is paleo low carb. What I am experiencing with my thyroid was due to calorie restriction. Not eating enough caused my body to be severely stressed, which made my thyroid go crazy. I upped my calories and things are improving. I can’t say everything is 100% fine now but that is because it is really darn easy to send your thyroid into a tailspin and really darn hard to work your way out of that. That is just the way it works unfortunately.

As for being me being low carb or paleo being low carb…. nah. This morning I had a cup of greek yogurt mixed with 4 Tablespoons of Linwoods Ground Flaxseed, Cocoa, Strawberries and Blueberries. I also had the coconut water. By 8:00 a.m. I already had over 60 grams of carbs and 50 or lower is generally considered low carb. I will end the day somewhere around 100-130ish grams. So no, not low carb. If you eat dairy like I do or have lots of fruits and veggies I am not sure how you can go low carb. I prefer to concentrate on getting good quality carbs instead of relying on junk carbs (like grains) and sometimes that is harder but oh well. My health is worth it. Love this satire article posted by Lea of Nourishing Treasures about all the reasons why going high carb is good for you. Losing weight from amputation?? I really shouldn’t laugh but I can’t help it.

Okay on to other stuff.

On My Bookshelf…

Reading Before They Are Gone right now. It is about a Dad who is uniquely positioned to see how climate change is affecting our National Parks and he decides his kids need to see them before they are forever changed. Thus he takes them on a year long journey to visit these endangered places. So far, very good.

Just finished Body Sculpting with Kettlebells for Women. It is an amazing book and I highly recommend it. Kettlebells are what you see in the photo at the top of this post and I have fallen deeply in love with them. Yes, I even wear a miniature size kettlebell necklace daily. This book demonstrates why they are so awesome and superior to dumbbells. I can testify to what the book says about how they manage to work deep muscles, down in your core, that dumbbells are ineffective with. My first workout with kettlebells I was sore for days and I had been working out 3-4 times a week with dumbbells for over a year and never got all the deep muscles that the kettlebells did. I was also used to heavier circuit machines weights… think 100+ pounds. After using Kettlebells once I could barely get on and off the toilet and had to get assistance taking my clothes off. I knew from there that these were miracle devices. Just one move, the Kettlebell Swing, works 9 different muscle groups. It would take 9 different dumbbell exercises and their corresponding reps to get the same results. The author also talks about how she was a workout junkie and had to workout 2 hours a day to keep her physique. Now she works less than half that, thanks to kettlebells.

On the docket is All the Money in the World which is supposed to be a good book about changing your perspective where money is concerned, to view it as a tool instead of a resource.

Also plan to read Pandemonium, the sequel to Delirium, which I loved. It takes place in a world similar to the one in the movie Equilibrium (which rocks BTW!) where everyone has decided that emotion is the source of all strife and so they medicate it out of you. In this book series they surgically alter the brains of their citizens to make love and deep emotion impossible. Why it is that I love dystopian novels so much cannot be explained. I think maybe it has to do with the inner strength required to stand up to the establishment.

Link Love for the Week…

My lovely friend Stephanie at Good Girl Gone Green is giving away some organic and natural hair conditioner that she uses in conjunction with no poo to combat dryness. Make sure to stop by and check that out.

The aforementioned friend also alerted me to this article written by Annie Leonard of Story of Stuff fame. It is about consumer guilt surrounding Apple products.  It was timely for me because this month or next I plan to get the iPad 3 and it is a source of guilt for me. It will be my first iPad and the only other Apple products I have are my iPod and Shuffle which I bought 8 years ago and still use to this day. I think I am doing pretty good not buying things I don’t need or upgrading just because a newer, better model is out. Maybe I can ease up with the guilt.

Mark Sisson at Mark’s Daily Apple wrote a great article on Why Eating Meat is Ethical in response to the NY Times Essay contest. He is limited as to what he can bring into his argument because there is a word count and also a request not to mention issues like sustainability, factory versus pastured, local , etc. That is just plain ridiculous but his article is good. It might be said that in many ways he avoids the question by highlighting why we shouldn’t even question the ethics of meat because we aren’t questioning the ethics of plant based diets, which is also riddled with environmental problems and death to animal life. It is not a cop-out IMO, it is a valid point.

Fellow CrossFitter and green mom blogger Paige wrote about why she is doing CrossFit and is not going to go paleo. For those not familiar, CrossFit and paleo go together like peas and carrots. She quoted me in her article as well as fellow paleo gal Deanna Duke of Crunchy Chicken.

Spotted this article, The Toxic Truth About Gluten-Free Food and Celiac Disease, this week and enjoyed it as well. I too am not down with the gluten free trend I see. Gluten free junk is still junk no?

This HuffPo article, More Americans Went Without Medicine Last Year, made me appreciate how deal sites like Groupon are making it easier to get medical services you might need or want. I support these sites/deals because I want to see more of them. I get chiropractic care, acupuncture treatments, and just recently bought lab work of all things. The lab works includes a complete Thyroid profile, lipids testing, Vitamin D 25-hydroxy test, Iron profile, blood-count, C-reactive protein test, glucose, and Potassium. It’s good to have all this info so you can see where you are with nutrients and adjust your diet where necessary. You may think your diet is healthy and meeting all your requirements but what does your blood say? I hope to see naturopathic services on these sites soon. I think that so much of our healthcare problem in this country can be fixed with diet and exercise instead of medication but we still need a way to access cheaper services directly and deal sites are filling this need for many.

Also wanted to share that Abe’s Market is now offering sample products of many of their natural, green products and food. You pick the 3 samples you want, pay $2.00 for shipping, and you get to cheaply test some great products. They sent me a sample box and I really like their idea/concept. They also happened to send me some NutCase Crunch (a paleo cereal) which is a big favorite of mine. How did they know??! I also got a vegan soap with Yerba Mate leaves and an organic Cocoa Calendula Balm for irritated skin. All of it was great and I see some other stuff I would like to try as well. Can’t beat the price either. Check it out when you get a chance.

And I am done, done, done. Do you have any good links to share?

It’s a Wrap – Stinky Bathrooms, Nature Stimulus, and Meatloaf

by Tiffany in Tidbits

TGIF! Have an awesome weekend everyone!

Occasionally I do a link round up to highlight all the cool stuff I have come across lately. It is also nice to do a more “fluffy” post when I am short on time and that I am right now. I leave this weekend for Detroit to attend Ford’s Innovation & Design Fantasy Camp and NAIAS, (#FordNAIAS). I was invited by Ford and they are putting me up while I am there. They also invited several of my green bloggy friends and we will hopefully get to pal around while there so I am very excited. I will get to see the entire design process from start to finish and see what they have planned as far as green technology goes.

Okay, so cool links…

Liked this short and sweet post from Ruth’s Real Food, Does Your Bathroom Stink? Don’t Buy Air Freshener. Change Your Diet. I have said to people before that if they are asking my advice about what natural deodorant to use that maybe they need to figure out what in their diet is making them stink in the first place. Sometimes I think that makes me come across a bit holier than thou I think… you know, like my you know what don’t stink. BUT honestly I find that I only smell bad if my diet has also been bad. The stinky bathroom issue is the same.

LOVE this link that shoes you how to make Upcycled Sweater Boots. Amazing!

Recently had a couple people ask me about what type of strainer to use for making Kefir since metal mesh strainers are generally considered a no-no. They are harder to find but you can get nylon mesh strainers. Here is one on Amazon.

A great article from Richard Louv: NATURE’S OWN STIMULUS PACKAGE: 7 Ways to Improve Our Lives in Tough Economic Times. When money is tight it is easy to feel like life sucks and we don’t have money to do anything fun. This is a very limited way to see things. “A nature stimulus package — may be just what the doctor and the economist ordered.”

I have been enjoying Simple Mom’s ebook One Bite at a Time – 52 Projects for Making Life Simpler. Perfect for the New Year! You can get it only for only $4.00 using code HAPPYNEWYEAR (till Jan. 10). It covers 52 common projects that many take on during the year, or attempt to, and helps you work through them in steps. It’s really a marvelous value for the price.

Others books I am reading include: Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival and The Magnesium Miracle.

I made the primal meatloaf from this recipe and OH MY GOODNESS it was GOOD! There are apples in the meatloaf instead of crackers or bread. My kids devoured it and asked me to make it once a week at least. I am not big on using ground beef since my gall bladderless body can’t handle grease (ala no burgers for me) but this was not a problem with this dish. All the grease pooled around the meatloaf so I just pulled it out and let it drain a bit on a towel before serving. No tummy issues. On a side note I am wondering if I should be taking bile salts and digestive enzymes since I am eating a lot more fats and I have no gall bladder. This is something I need to research.

Soon we will be confronted with Thin Mints again. I appreciated this article Girl Scout Cookies or Chemicals? It has an ingredient list inside the post and boy oh boy are those babies bad for us. I think it is time we stop buying this processed crap and act like we are doing a GOOD thing for kids. Or maybe I am just bitter because I tried to get my daughter into Girl Scouts this year and was told they are full unless I want to become a leader and start my own troop.

Have a GREAT weekend all!



Baby Shampoo – Still Unsafe for Babies?

by Tiffany in Birth & Baby

Safe and Natural Baby Shampoo

It was about two years ago now that I wrote about the issue of toxic bubble bath. That post was spurred by a Campaign for Safe Cosmetics report that highlighted known carcinogens in baby bath products and Johnson & Johnson appeared on the report several times. This just happened to coincide with a blogger campaign the company was running, trying to get mom bloggers to endorse their products. I was pretty livid at the time and while I hoped that J&J would clean up their act, I highly doubted they would. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics called upon Johnson & Johnson to reformulate its baby shampoo and remove formaldehyde releasing chemicals. So did they?

Yes and no it turns out.

Between July and October of 2011, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics reviewed labels of Johnson’s Baby Shampoo sold in 13 countries to see if the products contained quaternium-15, a chemical preservative that kills bacteria by releasing formaldehyde.

We found that Johnson’s Baby Shampoo sold in the United States, Australia, Canada, China and Indonesia contains quaternium-15, while Johnson’s Baby Shampoo sold in Denmark, Finland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Sweden and the U.K. contain non-formaldehyde preservatives.

Obviously, it is possible for Johnson & Johnson to make baby shampoo without formaldehyde, and that’s what the company should be doing in all countries.

Wow. They prove that they can in fact do the right thing and make a safer product but apparently have decided to do so only in the countries with tougher product standards. American babies still get the cancer causing chemicals. Only after this latest report came out has J&J promised to phase these chemical nasties out of their products worldwide but I think a boycott is in order until they do. There are plenty of other companies who were ALREADY doing right by babies and they should be the ones rewarded with our patronage.

A better brand to try:

Earth Mama Angel Baby – USDA Certified Made With Organic Ingredients. No 1,4-Dioxane, formaldehyde, or phthalates. No sodium lauryl sulfate, cocomidopropyl betaine or other synthetic surfactantsNo artificial preservatives (parabens, phenoxyethanol, etc).

In particular you might like the Angel Baby Shampoo & Body Wash. They also have some great soaps and washes for the whole family, mom approved.

They smell great, they work, and they aren’t filled with questionable and potentially unsafe ingredients. A+

For a budget alternative you can do what I personally do and use Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap. They have an unscented variety for babies. We use the peppermint. I dilute a few squirts in some water and usually add some essential oils as well, inside a Ball jar. The jar sits next to our shower and we shake it up and pour a tablespoon or so into our hand and then use on our hair and bodies. Works like a charm and my kids get snarly when some other shampoo product makes an appearance. They prefer the Dr. Bronners.

Do you have any alternative suggestions?