Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Unreal Candy Unjunked

So, with Halloween right around the corner, and autumn officially here, it's been all about fall in my house– munching apples, pumpkin picking, hayrides, and decorating. And, as mentioned, gearing up for the 31st. 

Something that I always at least try to do when it comes to choosing candy to hand out to trick-or-treaters is to find a brand that is of the lesser evil, such as organic lollipops. We all know "healthier" candies are hard to come by, unless you make it yourself, but luckily someone– a 13-year-old boy, actually –has come to the rescue.

When Unreal Candy Unjunked™ co-founder Nicky Bronner one day looked into finding out just what was really in his Halloween candy, he discovered just how bad for the human body it really is. He and his dad set out on a mission to recreate some of their favorite candies using all natural ingredients, no artificial anything, and less sugar than the average candy. Incredibly, they achieved success and Unreal was born!

Unreal™ makes all the classics in better-for-you versions: "M&Ms", "Snickers" and "Reese's Cups" are all now available in (practically) guilt-free versions. I've tried all of those that I just mentioned, and they tasted great! Which is, of course, the most important factor when it comes to finding sweets without all the junk on the ingredients label. Here are just some of the better-for-you ingredients you can find in Unreal™ candies:
  • beetroot juice (for color)
  • organic blue agave (sweetener)
  • traceable cacao (Fair Trade chocolate)
When possible, Unreal™ uses organic and Fair Trade ingredients, as well as vegetable-based food coloring, and are Kosher and corn-free. Additionally, they all claim to use sustainable palm tree oil (a type of oil that has proven to be especially detremental to the rainforest that is commonly used in many chocolate candies), all non-GMO ingredients, and are also gluten-free. Sounds to good to be true, right? Well, it looks like it's something to believe in, and for a chocolate lover like me, this is VERY EXCITING NEWS!

as for the Greensumer Tier of Truth...

Made in a sustainable, eco-friendly manner
Made from sustainable, eco-friendly materials
USDA organic (some)
Fair Trade certified (working towards)
Animal cruelty-free (uses grass-fed dairy)
Super awesome!

You can find where to purchase Unreal Candy Unjunked™ by clicking here. Have a happy Halloween!

Bonus: easy to make, eco-friendly Halloween ghosts that children of all ages can make–


Easy to make: all you need is papertowels, tissue to stuff the heads with, pipe cleaners or string, and tape, plus a marker to draw the face on with. This only took a few minutes and was very easy to do with my Lily, who's 3 1/2. Alternatively, you could use tissue paper, burlap, coffee filters, or plastic bags. Have fun! Boo!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


I was out of commission for the last 2 weeks because of a throat infection I was trying to shrug off as bad seasonal allergies. Finally went to a doc and got the diagnosis, so after a few doses of antibiotics plus tons of green tea with honey and lemon, I'm back to feeling close to normal.

Today I want to share with you the new snack craze that is sweeping my household by storm. NatureBox delivers monthly boxes of healthy snacks right to your doorstep for a fair price of starting at just $20 per month. I gave it a try when I randomly saw an ad for it and became intrigued, and also when I saw I could get my first box for $10, and quit receiving boxes anytime I want.

The first box came, and much to my delight, I was pleasantly surprised at how awesome the snacks were! The rest of the fam enjoyed them too! Here's a pic of my first delivery-

This box included yummy Teriyaki Twists, Santa Fe Corn Stix, Cocoa Waffle Wafers (my favorite!), Cherry Berry Bonanza, Guacamole Bites, and Sweet Blueberry Almonds (my daughter's favorite!). We devoured them all in probably less than two weeks! Many of them were vegan and all contained natural and minimally processed ingredients.

Aside from being delicious, fairly priced, and convenient, NatureBox also donates a portion of proceeds to WhyHunger, an organization working to solve problems with hunger and poverty. They also donate some of their snacks to partners of WhyHunger working to feed children of low-income families and others in need.

My personal faves are Cocoa Waffle Wafers, Sweet Blueberry Almonds, Honeycomb Sunflower Kernels, and Pear-glazed Pralines. Yum, yum, yum!!! Clearly I have a sweet tooth...If you're wondering if they have options for those with allergies or are sensitive to gluten, they are working to make more options available; read more here.

 On the Greensumer Tier of Truth...

This product is:

(Box) Made from recycled materials

Gives back to the planet by charitable means


Super awesome!

I highly recommend this product! Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Snack TAXI

One thing that I am super crazy about is reusing plastic bags as much as possible before they are simply deteriorating to beyond functional. I have been known to patch up small holes in the bottoms of plastic grocery bags and even rinse out Ziploc bags so they can be reused repeatedly. Yep. My mission is to keep things out of landfills as long as possible!

You can imagine I also own a lot of Tupperware and other reusable containers, but those things tend to take up a lot of space and also not always be the best option for transporting things like snacks around in. So, when I received a free SnackTAXI reusable sandwich bag from my Green Fest goody bag, I was more excited than Lily when I give her M&Ms. Not only are SnackTAXIs clever and totally functional, but they're super cute! Look at the one I got–


They are machine washable, although I always just rinse mine out in the sink and leave it to dry in the dish rack. The outside of the bags are made of conventional cotton or organic cotton, and the inside material is polyurethane-coated nylon. According to the SnackTAXI website, all materials are BPA-, lead-, and phthalate-free! All bags are made in the USA, are sold throughout the USA, and you can also order them online. 

Lily running around with her SnackTAXI

One of the things I like best about SnackTAXIs is that they were invented by a mom, just like me, who was sick of sending her kids off to school with sandwich-filled plastic bags that would just end up in the trash. It's wonderful how the things that happen in real life are what always offer us the inspiration to create something new. SnackTAXI also offers options to use their products as fundraising materials for schools and other non-profit organizations.

As for what the SnackTAXI hits on the Greensumer Tier of Truth...

This product is:
Made in a sustainable, eco-friendly manner
Made from sustainable, eco-friendly materials 
USDA organic 
Animal cruelty-free 
Super awesome!
Purchase your own SnackTAXI product here
polyurethane coated nylon.
polyurethane coated nylon.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Nature's Earthly Choice Three Continent Blend

A week and a half ago, I attended a meditation retreat in the peaceful woods of south Jersey. I had the privilege of working with a vegan chef and instantly became inspired to get creative in the kitchen after returning home. I did some grocery shopping, and purchased a new grain blend by Nature's Earthly Choice called Three Continent Blend. This blend includes amaranth, red quinoa, white quinoa, wild rice, and brown rice. I got it at the bargain price of $3.99 for a 14 oz. package. The recipe for what I made with it is below...

Mixed Grains with Lentils
makes about 6 side servings

1 cup Earthly Choice Three Continent Blend grains
1/2 cup lentils
2 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cilantro, chopped
Salt and garlic powder or minced garlic to taste

Rinse the lentils well under cold water, then place in pot covered with one inch water. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and salt and garlic powder to your taste, then bring to a boil. In a separate pot, heat the remaining olive oil and saute the shallot in it for about 2-3 minutes, or until tender. Add the white wine and stir until absorbed into the shallot. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Pour in grain mix, and bring temperature down to low and cover the pot. Cook for about 12 minutes, or until all water is absorbed and grains are chewy and tender.

When grains are cooked, stir in the lemon juice and lentils. Serve alongside fish, or salad to keep it vegan, topped with some of the freshly chopped cilantro. This side dish also tastes good cold.

Citrusy Cilantro Dressing

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp cucumber, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp agave syrup or honey
1/2 tsp freshly ground sea salt

Place all ingredients into a food processor, then process for 20-30 seconds until smooth. Add more ingredients to your taste. Serve over salad. I had this over red leaf lettuce, radish, and cucumber.

I had never tried Nature's Earthly Choice before, nor even heard of the brand, but I was definitely pleasantly surprised. I have been trying to incorporate more healthy grains into my diet and my family's diet, and I have tried quinoa many times, but in this combination, it really shined. The addition of the white wine in this recipe made it especially tasty and savory. 

The one thing that disappointed me about Nature's Earthly Choice was that I could not find any information on how the grains are harvested. I wanted to know if their farmers were paid fair wages, if they supplied from small farms, what their labor standards are, if they are grown using Earth-friendly means, etc. There was nothing on their website, the Environmental Working Group didn't say anything about Nature's Earthly Choice, and no one got back to me after I left not 1, but 2 emails with their customer service, AND left a voicemail on their customer service line. Hmm. Yes, I am not pleased.

That being said, I almost didn't want to blog about this product, but I feel it is even more important for consumers to know when a product may not be as completely fabulous as it seems. Yes, this is a quality product that tasted very good, and is clearly a healthy source of food. But, it's not organic (although Nature's Earthly Choice does offer some organic products as well), and I'd like to know if it's GMO (probably is). It would be nice to have this information easily available to customers and potential customers, and it would be nice if SOMEONE could respond to my emails. 

The only tier this product hits on the Greensumer Tier of Truth is that it's vegan! There was a brief testimonial located here that said "all of their food products are non-GMO", but no where else on the site was that confirmed. Very suspect.

So, the choice is yours, dear readers! Whether you decide to purchase this product or not, you are now informed!


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Equal Exchange Chocolate

Greetings! So...this is my first post! Hoorah!

I haven't blogged in a while so I may be a bit rusty, so forgive me if I come off as dull (and feel free to tell me if do!). After having a baby I needed something to fill the little time I had to myself that made me feel creative and productive at the same time, so I started Healthy Mommy, Healthy Baby. Then my career got back into gear, so I had to stop all my healthy recipe posting. Time passed. I got antsy. I needed a writing outlet again, so here it goes!

You might be wondering– why did I choose to write about green products? Well, I'll tell you what all really started this. Back in April, I went to this fabulous, amazing event called Green Festival in New York City. There, I met so many incredible, passionate people and learned about all the innovative products and services they were offering. My mind was abuzz for days after the expo, and I couldn't help but gab to everyone I know about all the new green goodies I picked up. The seed for a green-sumer blog was planted. I thought and thought about it for a few days, even wrote an outline and took some pics of my eco-friendly haul. But, time was not available to me back in the spring. I didn't forget about my idea, though, and finally my creative spirit couldn't take it, here I am!

Now, the question became...which product should I review first? Which had the most impact on me? Which would people like to hear about? To try for themselves? I looked over my list of things to review, and the one that stood out the most was the one I Instagramed as soon as I tried it: Equal Exchange chocolate.

Who doesn't like chocolate? Crazy people, that's who...and the lactose-intolerant, who I will personally apologize to now. You poor, poor things.

I met one of the most lively and genuinely enthusiastic sales reps at the Equal Exchange booth. She told me lots of exciting and inspiring things about Equal Exchange, like how are the cocoa bean farms are farmer-owned, how the entire operation is co-oped and Fair Trade, and free from child labor. But, really, all it took to get me on board with Equal Exchange was the chocolate itself. WOW! I picked up three flavors: Orange Dark Chocolate, Ecuador Dark, and Mint Chocolate. All were spectacular, and I am not even exaggerating when I say that. Best chocolate ever, and not just because it's such a socially responsible and eco-friendly company, but because the chocolate is so effing delish! I also got the Spicy Cocoa and can't wait to enjoy it this winter!

To add to Equal Exchange's amazingness, the wrapper is biodegradable, being made from non-GMO wood pulps that are either FSC certified, or working towards becoming certified (it can be quite a process!). Many of the bars are vegan, and all are organic. Equal Exchange also offers organic coffees and teas, as well as Fair Trade bananas, which are pretty difficult to come by these days.

You can purchase Equal Exchange products on their website, from Whole Foods Supermarkets, and other specialty health food stores. 

This product is:
1. Made in a sustainable, eco-friendly manner
2. Made from sustainable, eco-friendly materials
3. FSC certified
4. USDA organic
5. Fair Trade certified
6. Made from recycled materials
7. Gives back to the planet by charitable means
8. Animal cruelty-free
9. Vegan
10. Super awesome
 Hits every tier on the Greensumer Tier of Truth! 
Hooray for Equal Exchange!