Archive for the ‘health’ Category

designed for the dump

November 11, 2010

If you haven’t checked out the latest installment of the “Story of…” series, it’s worth a look & listen. It’s about the lifecycle of our electronics. All of the TVs, cell phones, game consoles, laptops that we buy and eventually kick to the curb are seriously toxic to produce and dispose of. Do we really need a new cell phone every two years like the phone companies like to push? Do we really need that fancy new laptop when we can upgrade ours with a new hard-drive? Watch the video, and then decide.

The Story of Stuff home page


join me at downtown women’s club

September 29, 2010

Curious about what it takes to create a cleaner, greener, healthier home? This Thursday meet me at the Downtown Women’s Club monthly meetup to find out how you can make healthier choices at home that both improve your health and the health of the land.

We’ll talk about some of the most harmful household products many people harbor in their homes, as well as simple switches for a dramatic improvement in indoor air quality and health. Then feel free to grab a cocktail and mingle with me and members of the Downtown Women’s Club. Men are welcome, too!

Thursday, September 30

Linger Cafe & Lounge
533 Atlantic Avenue
Brooklyn NY 11217

reminder! diy natural beauty products

September 21, 2010

Come join me at my latest Deer Stop workshop this Thursday and learn to pamper yourself with homemade beauty supplies…


September 23 · 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Deer Stop
455 Grand Street, #3, Brooklyn, NY 11211

It’s healthier for you. It’s less expensive. It imposes fewer toxins on the environment. And it cuts out all those plastic and glass containers that you would otherwise buy every time you need more product.

Every day, the average man uses about 6 personal care products, and the average woman about 12. The majority of these products are full of synthetic, harmful chemicals. These chemicals are absorbed straight through the skin and inhaled into the lungs, entering the bloodstream and the organs. They also enter the water and soil, contaminating ecosystems on a mass scale. In this workshop, we’ll continue our process of being healthier towards ourselves and our environment, and in doing so, withdrawing from some of today’s more harmful industries. Come learn to make your own products using naturally sourced materials. It’s so easy, it’s inexpensive, and you’ll know exactly what you’re putting on your body.

We’ll make 3 luxurious personal care products that you’ll get to take home with you and use right away. We’ll also share several other beauty care product recipes that you can play with at home, and provide you with a list of the most natural, healthy product lines you can buy from if preferred.

REGISTRATION This workshop is $25 and requires registration. Please email to register.

Also, please consider re-posting this event for your friends.

Learn more about the lovely Julia Frodahl and her amazingly serene yoga studio DEER STOP:

tips on furnishing your home in a less toxic way

September 14, 2010

The following is a guest post from Caroline Smith, who has written for a number of blogs. Caroline tries to furnish her own home in a green and natural way, and runs a site that features a selection of eco-friendly bar stools.

For years, people have decorated their homes without knowing the consequences of using toxic materials. Since researchers have discovered that some danger exists in many common household products, furniture and fabrics, and even many of the groceries that are brought into the home, consumers are becoming more conscious of their purchases. By searching for the greenest options available, homeowners can limit their family’s exposure to toxic elements. While finding eco-friendly products is not an easy task, the following questions can help with the decision making process:

• Is the item to be purchased made from recyclable materials?

• What policies does the manufacturer have in place to promote environmental accountability?

• Are the stains and paints used on the product low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs)?

• Do the fabrics have non-toxic finishes?

• Are the materials used gathered from a sustainable-source?

At first glance, it might seem impossible for one product to fit all of these qualifications, but this is not true. As consumers become more aware of living a less toxic lifestyle, greener, healthier products are becoming more widely available. For instance, bar stools are now available that have been made from recycled aluminum soft drink cans. These bar stools, manufactured by Emeco, are guaranteed to last a lifetime and boast that they may last as long as one hundred and fifty years. By purchasing products like this, consumers can prevent tons of debris from overloading the landfills. These eco-friendly bar stools are a great recycling project, but for people who still prefer wood furniture, there are other great options.

When buying wooden items, consumers should first check to see if any fabrics, stains and finishes have a low emission of gases. Then, they should determine if the wood comes from an environmentally managed forest. This is easily done by looking for a sticker containing the logo of the Forest Stewardship Council, or FSC.

To prevent VOCs from entering the home and reducing the air quality when new furniture is brought into the house, consider these tips:

• Purchase furnishings that are made from organic wool, cotton, or hemp.

• Make sure the padding is natural rubber foam or recycled polyfill

• Only buy furniture with finishes that are guaranteed to be formaldehyde free.

• Ascertain that water-based glue has been used to secure joints.

People exposed to indoor air contamination may not experience immediate health issues, but the toxic gasses emitted by new furniture can have long-term effects for the whole family. These can range from lung damage to a weakened immune system. Some studies have even found a negative effect on the reproductive system and brain cells. This is the reason that everyone remodeling or redecorating a home should be concerned with choosing the least toxic materials available.

the power to eliminate hidden toxins

August 15, 2010

I don’t like to use scare tactics to convince people to lead healthier lives, but the problem is, there are some pretty scary things in this modern world. Some pretty scary things in probably every household in this country. Whether it’s formaldehyde in furniture, lead in toys, or phthalates in fragrances, it’s not so easy to avoid some exposure to these chemicals (like the video above points out). And though many of these chemicals have been ubiquitous for at least the last 50 years, the data are finally mounting and becoming public as to the harm they actually pose.

What I find empowering despite this dark news is that we do have a good deal of control over our exposure to these baddies. We can do some research and find better, less toxic products while boycotting the stuff that’s toxic. We can eliminate products from our homes that are causing us harm. We can support legislation that ensures industry is being honest and using safer materials. We are not powerless. If we focus our energies on this priority – of creating a healthier, happier world – then we can be healthier and happier.

Still not convinced? Come to my workshop tomorrow night (Monday the 16th) at Sun In Bloom. Full details here.

If you can’t make it to the workshop, get in touch. I’ll be happy to help!

REMINDER: clean & clear workshop

August 9, 2010

gerber daisy Pictures, Images and Photos

Come join me on Monday, August 16 at a delicious cafe in Brooklyn for an engaging and interactive evening!

In collaboration with GreenEdge NYC & Sun In Bloom~

Let me show you how easy it is to make your own cleaning products at this fun, hands-on workshop…

Clean & Clear: Improve the Health of Your Home

Home is a sacred place, a place to find comfort and security, a place to breathe easy. Unfortunately, the air quality in our homes and workplaces can be up to 10 times worse than the air outside (and our city has poor air to begin with).

But fret not! There are several simple solutions you can implement to improve the health of your home, as well as those who inhabit it.

This hands-on workshop led by Liz Neves, Healthy Home Consultant from Raganella, will help you:

• Make your own customized, non-toxic, non-polluting cleaning products
• Identify everyday household products that may be harmful to your health
• Learn about plants that filter out toxins in your home
• Walk away with skills you can apply right away

Please bring
• An 8 ounce glass jar (with lid)
• An 8 ounce spray bottle (we will have spray bottles available if you can’t bring one)

At the end of the evening you will take home a Surface Scrub and a Glass Cleaner.

Cost: $25 Purchase now!

Find empowerment in creation!

Monday, August 16
at Sun In Bloom
6:30 to 8:30
Come at 6:30 to grab a bite, workshop begins at 7.

real help for haiti – UPDATE

July 28, 2010

There are only 5 days left to reach the goal for Hands That Feed on Kickstarter (read more about the project below). The thing with Kickstarter is, if they don’t make their goal, they don’t get any of the money pledged. But here’s the good part, a generous donor has just offered to work outside Kickstarter and independently match the next $2,000 in donations that are made!

If you think it’s a worthy cause, all you have to pledge is $10. If you don’t have $10, maybe you could tell a few friends who do. Please watch the video and read on to learn more. Then give generously, if you can.

Big earthquakes – like the one that hit Haiti in January – often leave a wake of disaster. And the 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti was disastrous to an already compromised country, affecting approximately 3 million people, leaving people homeless and hurt, taking people’s lives. But out of the destruction, comes opportunity. An opportunity to heal the poorest country in the Western hemisphere.

There are many methods for helping people in need, but which are most effective? Giving the power to the people to help themselves, in my mind, will have the longest lasting positive effects. Enter, Hands That Feed:

Hands That Feed is a documentary film exploring the agricultural collapse in Haiti, its role in the post-earthquake food crisis, and the emerging grassroots development models that seek to restore Haiti’s food supply and environment.

The Film

Hands That Feed will narrate the experiences of dynamic young adults in post-earthquake Haiti, representing a range of innovative grassroots recovery organizations, as they seek to build a sustainable future for the country. The film starts on the streets of Port-au-Prince. Following our characters through day-to-day life, the viewer learns how Haiti lost the ability to feed itself, turning a natural disaster into a crisis. The inspiring young people undergo personal transformation, mirroring the potential transformation of the nation, as they study sustainable agriculture techniques and trauma relief through yoga practices. They then tour the country as teachers, experiencing the hardships of post-earthquake Haiti. The viewer witnesses the challenges, frustration, and victories of teaching society to be self-sufficient in both agriculture and leadership.

Learn more about Hands That Feed and consider supporting them by giving to their Kickstarter campaign so they can complete this important project.

committed to a non-toxic lifestyle

June 10, 2010

I urge you to watch this series of important videos by Dr. Sanjay Gupta about how toxins are pervasive, persistent, and impacting us all, everyday.

An initial reaction to this might be easy to become paralyzed and perhaps feel helpless. But I see this as an opportunity to highlight the importance of our choices, especially what we choose to surround ourselves and our loved ones with. We all have the power to make these choices:

  • Choose organic and sustainably grown food and fibers
  • Opt for non-toxic cleaning supplies, beauty products, and furnishings
  • Advocate for improved energy efficiency, for alternative non-polluting fuels, and against the burning of fossil fuels
  • Support local businesses who source their goods responsibly
  • Buy used goods and think before purchasing new ones (whether they are really ‘needed’)
  • Help others find non-toxic solutions for their home and self care

Collectively, our actions have the power to shape our world. As the oft-quoted Gandhi said,

Almost anything you do seems insignificant. It is very important that you do it.
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

I’m taking this opportunity to reaffirm my commitment to act as responsibly as I can to protect myself and others from toxic pollutants by making these choices. Are you with me?

UPDATE! ecological living workshop series

June 1, 2010

We’re offering this workshop again, mark your calendars! This time, the class includes 30 minutes of asana (yoga). See you there!

I’ll be leading a series of workshops starting in June that focus on ecological living skills, with the first one focused on creating a healthy home environment. Full details below, and on Facebook!


Thursday, June 10, 2010
7pm to 9pm
455 Grand Street #3, Brooklyn NY 11211

There is a connection between our choices, our health, and the well-being of everyone on the planet. You are an integral part of this interrelationship. This hands-on workshop series is designed to help you develop skills for living as a more active participant in a regenerative and abundant culture, and a little less as a consumer dependent on what are often destructive and exploitative means. There is also empowerment in making your own things, which has far-reaching psychological benefits, and a depletion that comes with consuming, which also has far-reaching effects. We’ll talk about that a little bit as well.

The series will be led by me and hosted by the most gracious and generous Julia Frodahl, of Deer Stop. Please follow the link below to read more about Julia. Also please note, it is not necessary to attend every workshop in the series. You can pick and choose from the ones that interest you and that work with your schedule.



Home is a sacred place, a place to feel at ease and secure, and a place to regenerate. Unfortunately, the air in our homes as well as our workplaces can be up to 10 times worse than the air outside (and our city has poor air to begin with – yikes!). But fret not! There are several simple solutions you can implement to improve the health of your home, as well as those who inhabit it.

In this interactive workshop, you will:
1. deepen your skills of observation and interact with “stuff” in a new way
2. recognize patterns in your routine that might contribute to an unhealthy home
3. learn about plants that filter out toxins in your home
4. make your own customized cleaning products
5. walk away with skills you can apply right away

We will provide you with all you need to create, but feel free to bring your favorite essential oils to enhance your cleaning products.

Light snacks will be served.


This workshop is $25 and requires registration. Please email to register. (An RSVP here of “attending” does not register you. Please RSVP here AND email Julia.) Also, please consider re-posting this event for your friends.


our future, our food

May 11, 2010

Curious about growing food in the city? Want to know more about the strong community focus of gardening in an urban setting?

Next Wednesday, May 19 from 6 to 7pm at the Manhattan location of the New York Botanical Garden…

Our Future, Our Food: The Role of Community Gardens in Urban Agriculture

Presented by urban farmer Karen Washington, the lecture inspires growers and consumers to use gardening as a tool to educate and enrich their local communities.

Karen Washington is a garden advocate and community activist who for 25 years has been helping people cultivate healthier foods and neighborhoods in the Bronx, in part through a City Farms market that she launched. She’s also a member of the New York Botanical Garden’s Board.

Register with the New York Botanical Gardens at their new site: with class code 104GAR 805 Section B or call 800.322.NYBG (6924) for more information.

• 104GAR 805 Section B: Wednesday, May 19, 6–7 p.m., Manhattan (20 West 44th Street, Midtown)