Getting Fit with “Green” Fashion and Accessories

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America’s closets are turning green. In USA Today’s story on eco-friendly green fashion, we see how the same environmental sensibilities that have swept the foodie world (farm-to-table, organic produce) are making their way into the fashion industry.

So why choose eco-friendly apparel? Social consciousness – ethical treatment of animals, protecting natural resources – is a big motivator. But no one wants to wear something that doesn’t look and feel good too.

Get in gear and support the planet with these eco-friendly workout finds that will not only have you feeling great about doing right by the environment, but will have you looking good while doing so!

Joe To Go

Talk about a perk: Used coffee grounds are woven into the lining of this Moving Comfort Vixen sports bra (from $36, movingcomfort.com) to help keep skin cool, dry and odor-free.

Short Story

Subtle details like a raw fabric border below the tie-cord waistband give these organic cotton French terry Adidas by Stella McCartney Essentials shorts ($70; shop adidas.com) extra style points!

Tanks A Lot

Sport one of these Horny Toad Swifty V tanks ($58; hornytoad.com) during your next sweat session. The sleeveless staples incorporate recycled polyester fibers that wick away moisture.

Strike A Pose

Made from a sustainable fabric and treated with low-impact dyes, these Beyond Yoga fold-over capris ($71; beyondyoga.com) also boast recycled elastic for a “safe” stretch and comfy fit.

Now Hear This

Econation wooden earbuds ($15; merkuryinnovations.com) allow you to support the cause without sacrificing sound quality.

Metal Protector

Silver particles in this bamboo SilverSport Silver towel ($21; silversport.com) nix odor-causing bacteria. Bonus: non-skid threading prevents the sweat sopper from sliding off machines mid-workout.

Water Porter

The protective sleeve of the Bamboo Bottle ($25; opensky.com) is sourced from sustainable bamboo, while the inner bottle features 51 percent recycled glass.

Tread Lighter

The uppers of these New Balance newSKY 101 sneakers ($70; newbalance.com) are constructed from 95 percent recycled water bottled – eight per shoe – to give you an environmentally FRIENDLY kick!

Beach Motivator

Going to the beach can be a hassle if you’re a parent. Strut your stuff wearing your new eco-friendly gear and work up a sweat! Have baby in tow? Not a problem. BB Waters’ newest innovation, BeachBaby Towa’Round ($20; bbwaters.com), makes it easy to get around in the sand. Now you and your little one can go have some fun in the sun!

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Fertility – What You May Not Know

Image10 percent of couples end up facing infertility, which is defined as an inability to conceive after having unprotected sex for six months to a year. Though age is the most common cause, researchers are identifying a host of other factors that could cause trouble. The good news is that many are easy to change. Read on for a pre-baby correction course.

1) Exercising too much may hurt your chances of getting pregnant

If you’ve got babies on the brain, consider giving your body a break. New research in the journal Fertility and Sterility found that normal-weight women who exercised vigorously (including running and fast cycling) five or more hours a week were 42 percent less likely to conceive each month than those who were sedentary. Intense exercise can disrupt hormones and ultimately interfere with ovulation. The group with the best luck getting pregnant consisted of moderate movers who enjoyed activities like walking.

2) Make sure to add vitamin D to your prenatal vitamin mix

The “sunshine vitamin” is emerging as a major player in the fertility game as it may affect egg quality and embryo implantation. Ask your doctor to test your levels. If you’re lacking, she’ll probably recommend a supplement, as it’s hard to get ample D from the sun or food sources.

3) Scale back caffeine intake while you’re TRYING to get pregnant

A study from Denmark revealed that women who downed 300 to 700 milligrams of caffeine per day had a 12 percent lower chance of conceiving in a given cycle; those who drank more than that reduced their odds by 37 percent. Caffeine may decrease uterine blood flow, which can make conception and implantation more difficult.

4) Too much mercury could reduce your chances of getting pregnant

This toxin is well-known for interfering with neurological development in the womb, but it’s also associated with conception problems. In fact, a Chinese study found that infertile couples at more fish and had higher mercury concentrations in their blood than fertile pairs. Researchers think that this harmful compound may damage eggs as well as sperm.

5) Garden-variety stress can wreak havoc on fertility

Intense emotional turmoil can throw off your cycle, and even at lower levels can cause ovulation problems. A recent research review of women who had used assisted reproductive technology found that stressed-out women were less likely to conceive than their calmer counterparts.

Back To School Means Back To Healthy

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After a Summer filled with barbecues, festivals, parties, and vacations, your kids are finally back to school. If all that summer fun has wreaked havoc on your daily health regime, fear not! Follow these easy 5 tips to get your life, and health, back on track.

1) Watch Your Wording

When laying out your lifestyle goals and objectives (for yourself AND your family), be careful not to express too vaguely. Rather than saying, for instance, “I will be more organized,” try, “I’ll spend 15 minutes of each day de-cluttering part of one room.” Likewise, in lieu of “I want to lose weight,” shoot for “I plan to drop 1 pound a week by cutting out late-night snacking.” Hoping to eat in more often? Commit to whipping up a home-cooked meal just three nights a week.

2) Build Your Case

To help clarify your goals and pump up your motivation, make a list of pros and cons. So if you’re aiming to exercise more, for example, pros would include as many reasons as possible to support that (e.g., you’ll lose weight, sleep better, boost your immunity, and lower stress). The cons would identify anything that might stand in the way of your success – say, a packed schedule or money issues. Don’t even attempt to tackle that resolution until the driving factors dramatically outweigh the obstacles.

3) Set Up Incentives

The urge to return to your old ways is going to be pretty powerful at times, which is why it’s critical to regularly galvanize and even reward yourself. Brought lunch from home for the entire work week? Treat yourself to a lipstick or some new songs for your iPod. For high-tech encouragement, turn to websites like habitforge.com and stick.com. They’ll send you emails with inspirational messages and even let you wager on your accomplishment: You can arrange for your hard-earned cash to be given away to a friend if you don’t meet your goals. How’s that for motivation?

4) Rally Support

Research proves that people who make healthy changes together are more likely to succeed. The more similar your objectives are, the better you’ll all do-so if your spouse isn’t up for the brand of self-improvement, keep looking. Check out sparkpeople.com to find a compatible diet comrade, ask someone in your HR department about getting a Weight Watchers at Work program going, or locate a running team in your area through the Road Runners Club of America (rrca.org).

5) Plan Ahead For Slip-Ups

Setbacks are inevitable. But you can improve your chances of a quick recovery by visualizing the fallout in advance. Imagine yourself reaching for a cigarette or biting into that forbidden piece of devil’s food cake. What will you do to avoid smoking the whole pack or scarfing down every sweet in sight for the rest of the day? Sometimes it’s as simple as reminding yourself that a small misstep is just that-a pause in your progress rather than an excuse to throw in the towel-and that you can pick up right where you left off. Enlisting a “backsliding buddy” (a person you call whenever your resolution mojo is faltering) also helps. The only difference between people who reach their goals and those who don’t is that those who succeed didn’t give up.

Avoiding Toxic Products for Your Kids

One would expect that the toys our children are exposed to are safe. Moms have enough to worry about without the notion that their kids are handling products containing hazardous, disease-causing carcinogens. However, tragically, there are a shocking amount of manufactured goods containing harmful levels of toxins such as lead and cadmium. Selecting nontoxic products for your children is absolutely imperative to maintain a long, healthy, and happy childhood. Reading up on toy safety is important to keep up with the nontoxic toy trends and provide your child or children with fun, reliable merchandise.

To give you an overview of hazardous chemicals often found in toys, there are three major contributors. Lead is a very toxic element that can lead to serious health problems. When it is absorbed (by inhaling or swallowing it, in most cases), it spreads throughout the body, acting as a poison wherever it is dispersed. Most of the time, lead damages bone, negatively affecting the body’s ability to absorb calcium. Presently, most of the lead used in the manufacturing of toys has been replaced by cadmium, which is also detrimental to child health. Cadmium has been known to weaken bone structure, negatively impact kidney function, and slow brain development. Phthalates are another issue. This chemical is used to create flexibility or soften hard plastic in toys and is known to damage hormone development. Along with these poisonous contaminants, it is important to beware of small pieces that your child could possibly choke on, such as magnets. Unfortunately, studies have shown certain toys to have choking misinformation or ambiguous warnings. Magnets and small pieces accidentally swallowed can lead to suffocation and intestinal blockages. In order to avoid these pollutants in your children’s toys, there are specific actions you can take.

To name a few tricks to keep your loved ones out of harm’s way, be extremely careful of what you buy. Educate yourself about toy safety and the products you buy. It is important to understand that certain toys are more dangerous than others. Read up on parenting blogs that support nontoxic products, such as BB Waters’ site: http://www.bbwaters.com. This is an excellent resource to answer your toxicity-related questions and explore opinions and information from like-minded, caring parents. BB Waters’ newest creation is a must-have stroller accessory, transforming your beach experience into a total breeze. The BeachBaby Towa’Round fastens to your child’s stroller, allowing you to effortlessly navigate through the sand. All products featured on the site are eco-friendly and 100% nontoxic.

If you can, try and purchase natural products such as unpainted wood. Avoiding plastics is a huge step in the right direction, steering clear of lead and phthalates. Additionally, more naturally made, nontoxic toys last longer and will save you time and money in the long run. Also relating to the importance of buying naturally crafted toys, stay away from low-cost, plastic jewelry, frequently known for containing both lead and cadmium.

Buy your toys selectively, putting your child’s best interest first. Use this information to contribute to the overall wellbeing of your family.

Sources for this article:

“Cleaner Living: Non-Toxic Toys for the Holidays.” MomsRising.org. CT Working Moms. Web. 31 May 2013.

 

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Blog written by Rebecca Eisenberg. View more of Rebecca’s work here.