I Hope This Doesn’t Ruin Your Halloween

by Holly on October 13, 2014

However I really hope it makes you think about the treats you buy.

Fair Trade. It’s an easy label to look past when we are deciding which chocolate or coffee to buy, especially if you’re more interested in the organic or gluten free labels. But I wonder how many people actually know what it means? Most people I’ve asked assume it has something to do with the environment.

Here is the definition from Fair Trade USA- the leading third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the United States.

“Fair Trade goods are just that. Fair. From far-away farms to your shopping cart, products that bear our logo come from farmers and workers who are justly compensated. We help farmers in developing countries build sustainable businesses that positively influence their communities. We’re a nonprofit, but we don’t do charity. Instead, we teach disadvantaged communities how to use the free market to their advantage. With Fair Trade USA, the money you spend on day-to-day goods can improve an entire community’s day-to-day lives.”

So why does fair trade matter?

Fair trade in general is a better deal for farmers, including cocoa farmers. In the fair trade system, farmers sell their produce directly to purchasers, who agree to pay more than the market price for the produce. Fair trade certified chocolate in particular, means that the product is produced without child labor.

The alternative is chocolate that is produced using child labor. By child labor, I will go with the Internationa Labour Organisation’s definition of work that “is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children; and interferes with their schooling by depriving them of the opportunity to attend school; by obliging them to leave school prematurely; or by requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.”

Many of the children are actually sold as slaves to work in the cocoa fields, forcing them to do hazardous work, which includes using dangerous machinery or tools, manually transporting heavy loads, working with hazardous agents or working long hours.

This is something we can’t ignore. It is real, and most of the chocolate sold in the US is made from cocoa fields worked by children and often child slaves. These children have machete marks on their legs from the work they do splitting open the cocoa pods.

As I’m carefully purchasing strictly organic fruits and veggies for my sweet boys, boys on the ivory coast are spraying pesticides and fungicides on the cocoa crops without wearing protective clothing as they breathing in the fumes.

Then we support this practice when we buy the chocolate. It is that simple.

The ILO calls the cocoa industry the worst form of child labor that exists today. And many mainstream brands know about it but turn a blind eye to this ugly truth in the name of the almighty dollar. They keep the industry alive. HOW IS THIS OK?

I firmly believe each one of us can make a difference in this world when we direct our money to the right sources.

Look for these labels:

and only purchase chocolate if you see one. Chocolate is not something we need to sustain life. If you don’t see the label, don’t buy it.

We can make a difference.

We vote for change with our dollar.

Every purchase matters.

THERE IS GOOD NEWS. We have lots of fair trade chocolate options at our fingertips! Here is a list of all kinds of delicious fair trade chocolate.


12 ways To Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer

by Holly on October 12, 2014

I get a little frustrated with ” Pinktober” for lots of reasons.

First of all, many of the products emblazoned with a pink ribbon contain known cancer causing chemicals. Let me rephrase-many of the items with pink ribbons on them are linked to breast cancer. This makes me crazy.

Secondly, it is supposed to raise “breast cancer awareness.” I’m pretty sure everyone knows about breast cancer. What we need is a “breast cancer prevention” month or a “take a look at your personal care products and since the FDA won’t ban the KNOWN chemicals linked to breast cancer, much less test the other 10,000 untested ingredients, it’s up to you to choose not to slather these on your skin every day only to be soaked up by your bloodstream and circulated around your body” month. Or a “clean up your diet and avoid plastic bottles” month. Or a “drink more water and eat more fiber” month.

Can you tell this is a subject I am passionate about?

A few Octobers ago I held a “reduce your risk of breast cancer” event in New York City, and wanted to share the information that was on one of my handouts:

­­­­­A woman in the U.S. today has a one in eight chance of getting breast cancer, however there is growing scientific evidence that lifestyle choices influence cancer risk. Even if you don’t smoke and eat your fruits and vegetables, there are many environmental toxins you are exposed to daily in your food, air, water, soil, personal care products, home and office that are known carcinogens. Therefore it is important to maintain a holistic lifestyle that supports your immune system to detoxify and protect your body from disease.


Here are 12 ways to reduce your risk of Breast Cancer:

  1. Eat organically produced food. This includes fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes and animal foods. BreastCancer.com has some great recipes here. Plant foods grown conventionally are laden with petroleum-based pesticides which are estrogen mimickers and confuse the body into accepting them into their cells. Meat that is not organic contains harmful synthetic hormones and pesticides from the food it consumed.

  2. Add Healthy Fats. Use olive oil and coconut oil in your cooking and take a fish oil and evening primrose oil supplement.

  3. Eat 30 grams of fiber per day. This will help rid your body of excess estrogen therefore lowering your risk of breast cancer.

  4. Get plenty of breast protective foods like flax seeds, soy, beans, foods rich in beta carotene, kale, green tea etc. Eating 2 apples everyday reduces your breast cancer risk by 30%.

  5. Avoid drinking out of plastic water bottles, using plastic wrap on your food, putting hot beverages in plastic and microwaving food in plastic containers. Plastic contains xenoestrogens which are shown to cause cancer.

  1. Exercise 

  1. Green your cleaning products. Start looking at what chemicals you are exposed to in your home. Laundry detergent, dish soap, air fresheners, and candles are all places dangerous ingredients are lurking. This week pick something you use everyday and upgrade it to something that is healthy for you, your family and the environment. Our health food stores are great places to find better options. You can also clean almost anything in your home with vinegar and baking soda, and olive oil makes a great furniture polish.

  2. Pay attention to what you put on your body- your skin will absorb it and it goes into your body- we know this is true because the birth control patch can cause a woman to stop ovulating and the nicotine patch satisfies a craving for a cigarette. Obviously what you put on your body winds up in your blood stream. The average woman uses 12 different personal care products everday, exposing herself to 166 different synthetic chemicals. Many of these chemicals are known to cause cancer. Make the switch to natural and organic body care. This includes hairspray, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, moisturizer, toner, shaving cream, all cosmetics, nail polish, and especially antiperspirants. Antiperspirants are strong chemicals, usually containing aluminum, which prevent sweating and sweating is a way for the body to eliminate toxins and unwanted materials with the help of the lymphatic system. So let your body do its job and use a natural deodorant.

  3. Go braless for 12 hours every day and don’t sleep in your bra. Also try to find bras without underwire.

  4. Catch some rays! Sunlight is the easiest to get vitamin d, and vitamin d is a hormone that protects our bodies from disease.

  5. Sleep in a totally dark room every night. Your body releases melatonin while you sleep which is one of the body’s first lines of defense against malignant breast cell growth. This can only be done, however, if you are in a dark room. This means: do not sleep with the TV, night light, or a bathroom light on, or the blinds open. It is also extremely helpful to go to bed before 10:30PM because this is when your body produces the most melatonin.

And here is a bonus tip:

-Try organic red wine. Organic wine contains 34% more antioxidants and Pinot Noir is highest in resveratrol which slows breast cancer cell growth. It has also been linked to clearer skin. Just remember if you drink alcohol at all, this depletes your body of folic acid which protects your body from breast cancer, so take a folic acid supplement. Whew.

I have also seen a few pink items I can support in good conscience. More on those later, but for now I leave you with my favorite:

This pink weight lifting bar by ReGyms.

During the month of October, $30 from every barbell sold will go directly to the Flatwater Foundation, providing mental health support for families affected by breast cancer.



How to Donate to Children With Hair Loss

October 5, 2014

I did it again! Chopped off 10 inches of my hair. This time I am honored to send it to Children With Hair Loss If you have hair to donate, it’s super easy. They require 8 inches, but the longer the better because little girls always request long hair for wigs. Knowing this made me [...]

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Zevia Review and Giveaway

September 14, 2014

When you’re a natural health enthusiast it is hard to drink soda, for many reasons. The artificial colors and flavors, the high fructose corn syrup and the sodium benzoate to name a few. Sodium benzoate is commonly used as a preservate in soft drinks (and lots of food and personal care products for that matter) and [...]

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$40 Noonday Collection Gift Card Giveaway

August 27, 2014

Noonday Collection uses fashion and design to create economic opportunity for the vulnerable. But what does that mean? What exactly IS Noonday? First I’ll tell you what it is not- It is not charity. Sometimes well intended charity can cause more harm than good. Noonday creates dignified jobs, better quality of life, long term trade, [...]

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