I believe there is a lot of misinformation and prejudice against one of our planets most abundant and safest material- hemp. As green is officially becoming the new black, more and more consumers are looking into sustainable, natural fibers to have in their homes and closets. And it is a widely accepted truth that products made from hemp fibers are among the greenest of the bunch.
Hemp products are typically well made, sustainable and are usually sold using fair trade practices. Products made from hemp offer an ideal alternative to fabrics produced using harmful chemicals and practices. Hemp also produces more fiber per acre than trees, and can be renewed two to three times per year!
Hemp is the most durable of natural fibers and one of the safest natural resources to maintain. Growing and harvesting hemp does not require any environmentally damaging chemicals or pesticides. Hemp is one of the easiest crops to grow and does not deplete the natural resources in the soil. It needs very little water and grows is most regions.
Bearing this in mind, I was happy to find a line of chic hemp bags that were imported using fair trade practices and utilize this miracle fiber. Topanien Global Gifts sells a line of hemp bags that are earth friendly, durable and fashionable. The bags range from spacious to over the shoulder bags and sling bags to small travel bags. My favorite bags from this line sport a youthful & chic bohemian “Ohm” or “Peace” symbol.
As a bonus, the bags are imported from Guatemala using fair trade practices that allow the artists to make a fair living wage while enjoying humane work conditions. I am thrilled to see more and more retailers making a conscious effort to provide better choices to consumers.
World Challenge 08 is a one of a kind competition presented by BBC and Newsweek in association with Shell. The competition is aimed at finding projects or small businesses from around the world that have shown enterprise and innovation at a grass roots level. Voters choose the business they feel is making the biggest difference and shows the most innovation and the winner will receive a grant of USD $20 000 to put back into their project/business, and two runners up will each receive USD $10 000. Voters have until November 22 to cast their vote.
My friends at The Leakey Collection (pictured above) are among those being honored with this nomination. If they are selected, they will use the prize money to build a hydroelectric dam to reduce the use of fuel in the remote areas of Kenya and allowing the Maasai to thrive for generations to come. Visit their page to vote and see their story piece produced by BBC.
Obviously (by the title of this blog) I am fascinated by the movement from top fashion designers to create gorgeous garments and accessories using sustainable and environmentally sound materials. I am thrilled this is not just a trend- but a permanent fixture in the fashion community. Every so often I discover little gems that I like to share (and sometimes wear if I am lucky). I was excited to come across Mudshark Streetwear, an online retailer featuring the best & up and coming Canadian designers with a wonderful selection of Independent and Eco Fashion at a reasonable price.
I absolutely love the look of this Elroy Apparel Sequoia Dress (pictured above). The dress is fully lined and made from fabric that is a mixture of soy, organic cotton and a touch of spandex jersey knit for that comfy T Shirt feel. The design is an open round neck dress with large front pockets set in seams, rouched center front, and back waists and hems for a bubbled look. It is fully lined.
Check out this sleek & hot backless Elroy Apparel Idesia Dress. It ties at back waist for a perfect fit. And the best part: the fabric is 100 percent bamboo jersey knit. I love the simple elegance of this peice and the tie back would make this a flattering fit on just about anybody.
So tough economic times means more of us should be brown bagging it to work and school, right? I am all for this movement, but want to ‘brown bag it’ without having to actually carry a brown or (worse yet-a plastic) bag. A friend of mine recently turned me on to these lunch boxes she discovered for online that are designed to be the solution to the endless, tedious task of packing lunches for yourself or your children.
I believe this item is a must have because of its incredible quality and durability. One lunchbox lasts for YEARS- not a school year, but many school years. No more wasting money and resources by contanstly buying plastic baggies, paper bags, and cheap vinyl lunchboxes that fall apart in a matter of months (and let’s face it- will get that gross lunchbox “funk”).
The special Lock & Lock containers that comes with each Lunchsense lunchbox are awesome. They do not leak, they open and close easily, they go from freezer to fridge to microwave with ease. I love packing a lunch without having to frantically search for container lids!
The Lunchsense lunchboxes are simple, durable, easy to clean and multi-functional. Each box folds out and becomes a convienent and sanitatary placemat. They are popular with moms because they are lead-free, vinyl-free, and have dishwasher safe, BPA-free containers that fit perfectly into the box. They also include a rigid, leakproof ice pack (how cool is that?).
Sarah Snow discusses fair trade and eco friendly accessories in this CNN segment! More info at http://www.leakeylife.com
The Leakey Collection has created a special line of Zulugrass jewelry to help the fight against Breast Cancer.
I am a self admitted tuna addict- but during my pregnancy last year, I became a little alarmed about the news I was hearing about mercury levels in my tuna and how it could affect my baby. I had always thought I doing something good for my body- but my doctor cautioned me about eating too much tuna and advised me to keep it to a maximum 1-2 servings per week and to avoid Albacore Tuna (I was probably eating 4-5 servings a week).
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services & the US Environmental Protection Agency, “some fish and shellfish contain higher levels of mercury that may harm an unborn baby or young child’s developing nervous system. The risks from mercury in fish and shellfish depend on the amount of fish and shellfish eaten and the levels of mercury in the fish and shellfish. Therefore, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are advising women who may become pregnant, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and young children to avoid some types of fish and eat fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury.”
Ok, so what is an expecting or nursing mom who wants their tuna salad to do? While in Oregon last week, I sampled Oregon’s Choice Albacore Tuna. I had heard their fishing methods target younger fish from abundant stock that contain significant lower levels of mercury. I will say their albacore tuna is the freshest and best tasting canned tuna I have found anywhere. But putting that aside, they are family owned and utilize sustainable fishing methods. Their hook and line Albacore fishery is now certified as eco-friendly by the Marine Stewardship Council (www.msc.org) via the American Albacore Fishing Association.
According to Oregon’s Choice; the longer the fish has been in the ocean, the more time it has to accumulate mercury. The fish they catch have not had the time to accumulate mercury as compared to the large amounts of mercury found in the large old fish favored by major canners. The younger fish swim closer to the surface of the water, which is where they fish; while the older fish swim closer to the ocean floor. More information about very low levels of mercury in Albacore can be found at the American Albacore Fishermens Association.
There are 2450 mg. of Omega-3 Fatty Acids per 55 gram serving of our albacore tuna as opposed to leading commercial tuna companies that have Omega-3 content of 450 mg. per 55 gram serving.
The fish are harvested using hook and line methods that result in little or no bycatch. No nets are used in their dolphin-free fishery.
If you live on the West Coast, there are a number of food stores that carry their tuna. However, you can also order from their Website. The 6 oz. can of the Gourmet Albacore Tuna Lightly Salted is just over $4 plus shipping (but you actually get 6 full oz of tuna unlike the main commercial tuna companies) and you buy them in cases of 12 or 24.
I recommend you try this recipe from the site that was emailed to them from a happy customer:
|CALIFORNIA TUNA SALAD|
|1/2 teaspoon grated lime rind
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon liquid red pepper seasoning
1 ripe avocado
2 cans Oregon’s Choice Gourmet Albacore Albacore tuna, drained
1 sweet red pepper, cored, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch squares
1/2 of 8-oz. can sliced water chestnuts
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Whisk together lime rind and juice, olive oil, honey, cumin, salt and red pepper seasoning in medium size bowl until blended. Pit and peel avocado; cube. Add to dressing; toss to prevent discoloring. Flake tuna into bowl with the avocado and dressing. Add red pepper, water chestnuts and cilantro to tuna; toss to combine. Serve chilled over bed of lettuce or use as a sandwich filling.