Organic Hair Color

Image courtesy of marin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’m not a big fan of coloring my hair, but when gray strands starting making an appearance right above my forehead, it was time to make a move. Thankfully, Richmond is home to Red Salon Organics which carries Organic Color Systems, a completely ammonia-free line of hair color. I was a little nervous to try out this organic line because gray can be tough to cover and organic products are typically not as powerful as their chemical-laden cousins. But my stylist said the gray wouldn’t be a problem so I went for it. The color turned out beautiful. It was like a lush shiny version of my own color. The best part is that you don’t leave the salon smelling like chemicals. The color has a slight licorice smell that I actually kind of like.

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Time to Think About Summer Produce

It seems like an odd time of year to think about where you’ll get your fruits and vegetables come summer, but it’s actually the perfect time to consider buying a share in a CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture program. Simply put, CSA members buy a share of a farm’s product and receive regular deliveries throughout the growing season. Participants pay upfront now so farmers can plan how much they will plant and buy materials. You also want to reserve your spot while there is still room available.

The benefit to consumers is farm fresh produce usually grown close to home. It’s also common receive a greater variety of foods than you would normally buy at the grocery store. Depending on the farm you choose, you might have multiple types of apples or corn delivered or even some produce you wouldn’t normally buy. The downside is figuring out how to prepare the bounty you’ll receive.

I just relocated to Virginia and here some farmers team up with one another to offer CSA members an even greater variety of options and a longer growing season. One CSA has options for a produce, share, diary share or a mushroom share to choose from.

Many farms also offer options to harvest some of your own food to keep consumer costs low. So take a few minutes and do a little research on the CSAs in your area. It could change the way you eat this summer.

Photo credit: happykanppy / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Easy Tips for Buying Organic Produce

Apples rank #1 on the "Dirty Dozen" list

One of the biggest reasons most people don’t buy 100% organic is because it can really drive up your grocery bill. So, like many, I end up having to make choices when it comes to organic vs. conventional. The area of the grocery store with the most choices tends to be the produce section. The one rule I almost always follow is that I buy conventional produce if the fruit or veggie has a skin that I remove before eating, like bananas or oranges. Yes, the pesticides could seep through, but if I’m going to draw a line, that seems like a good place to start. Otherwise, I try to buy organic. But even then, I wonder if it’s really worth higher price.

Thankfully, the Environmental Working Group makes grocery trips a little easier with their annual list, “The Dirty Dozen.” They list the 12 fruits and veggies that they found to have the highest levels of pesticides. If you’re going to buy organic, these are the choices to make in the produce aisle. The top five are:

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Strawberries
  4. Peaches
  5. Spinach
You can find the entire list here. And an explanation of how those foods made the list here.

The EWG also has a list of the “clean 15.” These are the fruits and veggies least likely to test positive for pesticides. That means they are ok to buy conventional. The top five are:

  1. Onions
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Onions
  4. Avocado
  5. Asparagus
Click here for the full list.
The list is too long to commit to memory, so I like to bookmark either this page or the page linked with the entire list and pull it up on my iPhone when I get to the grocery story. That way I don’t have to guess and I know I’m getting all the benefits of fresh produce sans the nasty chemicals.

Benefits of Organic Wine

Written by: Lora Moncheck

Organic Wine Section at West Point Market

Lately I have been on an organic food kick.  And I figured if I am going to eat organic I may as well drink organic as well, and that includes alcohol.  It wasn’t very easy for me to find the organic wine.  I searched my local grocery stores and couldn’t find it anywhere.  I finally found it at a specialty food store near me called West Point Market in Akron, Ohio. They didn’t have a big selection but I did have a few options to choose from.  Trader Joe’s is also another store that has a decent collection of organic wines.

To be a certified organic wine, it has to be made from organic grapes which are grown with no pesticides.  However, natural wine is wine that is grown with organic grapes and does not contain sulfates or one that has less than 10 parts per a million naturally occurring sulfates in it.

The bottle I chose was called Our Daily Red from California.  I prefer sweet red so this was a little bitter for my liking, but still good. The smell and taste was the same as other conventional wines I’ve had in the past.  It also only cost $10 for the bottle, which I didn’t think was a bad deal at all. In fact, all of the bottles were priced around $10 – $20.

If you have ever read “Skinny Bitch” by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin you’ll know they rave about organic red wine.  It is filled with antioxidants, cancer-fighters and helps prevents heart disease.  Since organic wine is seemingly better for you, not overly priced and tastes no different, I can’t see why I wouldn’t continue to by it in the future if I can find it.