The Alternative Consumer

This blog focuses on environmental issues, and healthy lifestyle choices -- new products and service options for your self, your friends, family and home. It's all about making smart choices, and living well!

Friday, July 28, 2006

water filtration

On these hot, humid, summer days I'm more aware of staying hydrated...which brings me to the hot topic of wondering just how clean/safe/pure are our sources of water. I do not profess to be an authority on this topic, but I've uncovered some pretty good resources for info on this topic. The Environmental Protection Agency, Natural Resources Defense Council and even offer good background info about testing our tap water, as well as comparisons of water filtration systems. My meanderings also lead me to an unexpected site that highlights the Aquasana water filtration system as the system of choice.

alternative masques

A big shout out to my friend for turning me onto Chakra Masques...they're wonderful. I just indulged in a mini spa treatment of Blue Throat, for "peace and calm", a quick morning shower, followed by a dab of "cell enhancer" moisturizer. I'm feeling glad all over. This party pack of 8 small jars, the "travel tube" contains 1 jar for each of our 7 chakras (amethyst crown - knowledge; indigo third eye - inner strength & positive outlook; blue throat - inner peace & calm; emerald heart - harmony & balance; yellow solar plexus - alleviate exhaustion & burnout; orange sacral - energy & self-confidence; red root - warmth & vitality). The approach is -- "identify your Chakra that is out of balance by letting the colors speak to you. Line the masques up and select the color that most appeals to you. Use this selected masque." If you want to impart some TLC on your energy centers, try this holistic healing approach, it's available at ($30.) and makes a great gift, to you or that other someone special. peace.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Nuts about Nuts

For easy-to-follow and refreshing dishes, click on THE VEGAN DIET ...Jackie's latest ideas feature nuts, fabulous salads and plum ideas for plums. Very tasty, summertime goodness right at your fingertips!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Rap on Wrap

Put an end to that annoying habit of using plastic bags, yes those extremely handy but really nasty dumpsite-fillers. Try using re-usable containers for storing your food and pantry items. Either rifle through your mom's cupboards or comb through flea markets & tag sales for those fabulous Pyrex and generic glass containers that you can use for storing leftovers in the fridge.

Or check out some eco-friendly options from London-based Natural bio-degradable, GM-free, fully compostable cornstarch bags to store foodstuffs. Replace your plastic trash can liners with those that are made from potato starch or biodegradable, 100% recycled polythene.

NC offers many more practical alternative products -- if you find yourself feeling guilty as you reach for the aluminum foil as part of your outdoor grilling ritual, it's time to make the switch...NC offers a brand new brand, made of 100% recycled aluminium. Their parchment paper is made from unbleached paper with a silicone coating, thus not being exposed to or ingesting the usual chemical compounds found in these greaseproof papers.

These products can be found in the kitchen/grocery section (pgs 2 & 3) of the Natural Collection site.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Delivering the Goods

10 years ago I began getting organic produce delivered fresh to my apt, and I'm happy to say that the service I used, Urban Organic is still going strong. What I always appreciated about them was their enthusiasm for what they do. Included in each week's box of certified organic produce was an enclosure with suggested recipes and tips on storing the green goods. I still refer to their list. They were probably the first organic produce delivery service for NYC, and have expanded to now offer an array of organic groceries as well. Yes, they preceded Fresh Direct. Nice going, Guys and keep up the good work.

There's a new organic delivery service in Melbourne, Australia, that will deliver organic dairy, produce as well as other groceries to your door every Monday, provided you order by Saturday, 8pm. If you use them, let me know how it goes.

Fit to a T

Fun and clever project from the folks at UK-based, better thinking. If you want to weigh-in and help design the perfect t-shirt: eco-friendly, perfect shape, color, here. Not only is this an opportunity for you to participate in creating the all-important perfect t-shirt, but it's a great way for better thinking to get some great pr.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Good Food On-the-Go

Fret no more when foraging for food in the Big Banana...I stumbled upon Really Cool Foods last night. This enormous space appears clean, modern and fresh from the outside, so I ventured in for a quick visit. The concept is simple and fun.

Throughout the store, you'll find free standing, rack-card displays. The displays are filled with recipe cards. Now these are not your typical recipe cards. Each card contains an attractive photo of the meal/dip/soup/etc and is color-coded to coordinate with the components needed to prepare the meal by selecting the items on the shelves. Their foods are organic and/or natural.

You reach for each component on the shelf, hit the checkout, and can prepare your meal at home in under 20 minutes. The cards not only list how to prepare the meal, but also what "equipment" you need and even suggestions on what "goes with" the dish. Really Cool Foods indeed. Cool recipes for healthy food when on the run.
1059 3rd Ave @ 63rd St, Open 7 days, 11a-9p. 212 605-0900.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Nightmare on 42nd Street

It's summertime. Livin' is easy, & lovin' is large. Everybody just wants to take in the sunshine...strolling, rolling, or sitting 'n sipping sweet organic coolers all over town. Right?

It shouldn't be that difficult to get from here to there, east side to west, without losing our cool...feeling covered in grime both inside and out...cranky and full of angst. That grid lock's gotta go.

Time's Up! has 2 special events scheduled tomorrow, Friday July 14 in Brooklyn & Manhattan...for live music & all you need to know, click here. Another group of active bikers and walkers tackling this problem is One of their tours, the Harlem (not Hudson) Valley Rail Ride is July 30. Or, check out Transportation Alternatives...with videos, dvds (now playing: Contested Streets) and all sorts of "educational programs" to help humans access the city streets in a more userfriendly way. Rock Roll Ride ny.

Monday, July 10, 2006

out of sight

Apologies for not writing in awhile. Hope you missed me as much as I missed you. I broke my reading glasses days ago and procrastinated about remedying the situation. But early this afternoon I saw the light. I had to make some critical decisions that required actually being able to read and see CLEARly and next thing ya know I'm getting an eye exam at LensCrafters. Can't wait for the 'script to be filled, 'cause I'm still struggling to see out of the emergency specs I've strapped on.

Just wanted to say Thanks for the attentive care I just received from Clifton at the Third Ave & 49th St location. And remind everyone about the eyeglass recyling program at LensCrafters. If you have specs that you don't need or want anymore, simply drop them off at any LensCrafter location. To date, this donation program has helped over 3 million people in need throughout the world. After living a very blurry existence for the past several days, I can see now, more than ever, the value of this wonderful program. Click HERE for store locations.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Blog2Recycle! Protecting the Environment

Please take the time to click on our previous renter, " Protecting the Environment", to experience a non-profit organization's blog that takes on the issues of recycling batteries and cell phones, and creating fun events...Eclectic and important stuff.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Biophilia, the New Bling

Not a drug, or is it? Biophilia is a love for nature, and hopefully we'll see more of this built into our buildings in the near future. In theory, biophilic design elements impact our health and ability to heal more than we may realize. A biologist (of course), E.O. Wilson coined the term biophilia in 1984. Roots took hold, and the concept morphed naturally into a modern-day trend in sustainable design. Thankfully. For more on this cool phenom, check out a very useful site.

Cleaning, it's a Killer

As I've said before, I'm a big proponent of using the simple stuff -- baking soda, distilled white vinegar and salt to clean just about everything...but it's worth checking out Seventh Generation's 208-page paperback, Naturally Clean, with lots of solid advice on how to rid yourself of the dirt and grime in your life without polluting your beautiful bod and lovely mother earth.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

dreamy e-house

A visionary and architect extraordinaire, Michael McDonough created this off-beat, yet perfectly balanced, cantilevered home over the course of the past 6 years and it all began as a web-based project. The July issue of upstateHOUSE magazine highlights the Hudson Valley in all its green-ness, and features this fab and funky modern marvel. For inspiration, and details on this elegantly efficient and eco-friendly work of art, click HERE. And for more press, including a video clip, visit www.e-house.

What's on tap?

Most of us probably take our tap water for granted -- never questioning what, besides H-2-O may be in it. I was shopping for a new shower fixture, and uncovered a very useful site. According to Lifekind, "There is growing evidence that chlorinated drinking water causes bladder cancer and rectal cancer. Many chlorinated water supplies probably contain some amount of THM (trihalomethanes), which are carcinogenic compounds."

Not only will I check all my water sources for chlorine, but also cross-reference Lifekind's Chemical Glossary with ingredient lists of some products that are already on my shelves. There may be other hazardous-to-my-health ingredients lurking nearby.

They seem to be a wonderful company. Besides water and air filtration, Lifekind is also the exclusive manufacturer of 100% certified organic mattresses that are made-in-the-USA, and currently ON SALE. And they offer a wide array of personal products and household goods that are manufactured using non-toxic ingredients. For their eco-friendly cleaning products, click HERE. And if you want to reach for the $59 shower de-chlorinator with hand-held massage shower kit, click HERE.

A Question of Balance

If you've over-indulged on the party circuit this holiday weekend and are feeling kinda pooped, you might want to explore an ayurvedic cure for yourself. But be careful, herbs are not meant to be taken randomly. If you're already taking either prescription medication or herbs of any kind, check with your medical and/or herb practitioner before ingesting anything else. Here's a potent combo of herbs brought to you by that just might cure what's ailing you. And I quote Seshmaan, "We seek good Karma by keeping our Dharma!"