Why Cartons, Paper Boxes, and Glass Jars Should Be On Your Pantry Shelves Instead of Cans and Plastic Bags and Containers

For all your last minute dinner needs

Having some staples in the pantry is always a good idea for last minute dinners. But, instead of the typical cans and bags, we have some suggestions for healthier and safer shelf stable options. We recommend glass containers and cartons whenever possible. Cartons are those shiny papery boxes that most broths come in now that look like giant juice boxes. As you stroll the aisles, you will notice a lot more options starting to come in these boxes including tomatoes, beans, and even chunky soups.

But, why do I need to look for glass or cartons? Most canned food is lined with BPA so that the food doesn't react with the metal of the can. While the BPA lining makes the cans safer in terms of the food inside not eating away at the can (a positive thing), it can also seep into the food (a less positive thing). That means that when we are eating canned foods, we are also eating low doses of BPA, a chemical that has been linked to numerous health issues like cancers, brain and behavioral problems, reduced sperm production, infertility, diabetes and obesity, and heart disease. Maybe not the best. (Read more about why repeated low doses are no good).

Similar things are true for foods packed in bags (think rice, pasta, and nuts). While the bags may not all have BPA, they are still often made of plastic. Some have phthalates instead of BPA, but these types of chemicals all mess with your hormones. Additionally, some food packaging materials have chemicals like PFAS, which make them oil and water resistant, meaning the food won't break down the packaging. This is a benefit if we want the food to be shelf stable for a while, but less good when we realize that just like BPA and phthalates, the PFAS can be absorbed by the food inside, too. All of these chemicals can cause issues like infertility, weight gain, and cancers.

To help you out, we have been grocery shopping a lot lately searching for the best options. Look for things like oils, sauces, jellies and other condiments in glass jars. Most of these are pretty common and not significantly different in cost than options available in plastic containers. It's just a matter of knowing to search for them.

In the canned food aisle, you'll now notice more and more items coming in cartons. Broth and soups have been coming in these for a while. But now, you can find tomatoes in these cartons too. Tomatoes, because they are acidic, have been shown to absorb more of the BPA from the can linings. Some brands, like 365 Everyday Value at Whole Foods and Simply Balanced at Target, have also started selling prepared beans and chunky soups in cartons too.

Another good option is milk in these cartons. In the US it is much easier to find milk alternatives like soy, almond, and rice milk in boxes, but in other countries they have been selling cow milk this way for decades. You can also find lunch box sized milk boxes in the US from brands like Horizon or Organic Valley.

While cartons have been shown to be a healthy alternative in terms of containing fewer chemicals, we do recognize that they may be difficult to dispose of in certain place. Some neighborhoods have the ability to recycle them, but not all do. You can check if cartons are recyclable in your zip code. Depending on your ability to recycle these cartons, you will have to weigh the pros and cons from an environmental and landfill perspective.

Options that come in paper boxes are also an improvement. Try looking for things like rice, oats and pasta in boxes instead of plastic bags. Some have small plastic windows so you can see what's inside. This isn't ideal, but a small amount of plastic is much better than the entire package being made of it.

If you are having a tough time finding exactly what you want in carton or glass jars, consider looking in the bulk section or the frozen foods section. Frozen fruits and vegetables are a great budget friendly option and don't absorb anywhere near as many chemicals from the packaging as canned options do. They are just as easy to use for last minute meals, and often times an economical way to buy organic. Our favorites are things like spinach, corn, peas, and any and all types of fruit.

As you start to notice these options more often as you stroll the aisles, hopefully you will start to see a change in what you store on your shelves, too.


10 Best Non-Toxic Sunscreens

For the beach and all your outdoor sweaty activities. Reef safe too!

We updated our sunscreen roundup for 2019 with the 10 best reviewed, non-toxic mineral sunscreens we could find. As always, we make sure that our picks are easy to find online and in stores.

Sunscreen in our minds is synonymous with summer and being outside! But there are so many choices, it's hard to know if what you're getting is something that actually works and that other people like. Not to mention that there are some questionable chemicals in sunscreens that are definitely horrible for coral reefs and might be endocrine disruptors that soak through your skin. So look for one of our top 10 picks for non-toxic sunscreens the next time your tube is empty. We have plenty of options for everyday wear, sweaty sports and beach days!

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Heard of those sunscreen bans in Hawaii and Key West and thought "Well I'm never vacationing there so doesn't apply to me?" Well, turns out the chemicals in the ban that are bad for coral reefs may not be great for human health either. New FDA sunscreen guidelines could also change what active ingredients are found in sunscreen. Read more to find out how to get the safest sunscreen this summer.

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Tired of changing and throwing away tampons or pads every month? Want a zero-waste alternative for your period? Heard of menstrual cups and period underwear, but not sure which one to pick? Well, look no further! We rounded up the 10 best-reviewed non-toxic menstrual cups and organic period underwear options for you to try out. All of the menstrual cups are made of a flexible medical-grade silicone that collect fluid instead of absorbing it. The period underwear options we found are made with organic cotton, and can be washed.

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Environmental Factors May Have a Bigger Impact on Fertility than You Think

Breaking Down the Science and Ways to Limit Harmful Exposures

Trying to get pregnant should be an exciting time of planning for the next stage of your life, not one full of doctors visits, constant testing, and worrying about body temperatures. But, if you and your partner are struggling with infertility, you are not alone. According to the CDC about 12% of women have impaired fecundity, which is another way of saying that they are having difficulty getting or staying pregnant (1) [there are no statistics on infertility in men, but there is science showing that overall sperm count is decreasing(14)]. And, the science is clear, environmental factors definitely impact reproductive health - for both men and women. Some of the biggest impacts come from air pollution, pesticides, and endocrine disrupting chemicals (2), which are in all sorts of products and affect the way hormones interact with your body.

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9 Stainless Steel & Glass Tumblers

For iced coffee, iced tea, and smoothies on the go

Getting iced coffee in a plastic cup with a plastic straw is a lot harder to do after watching that video of a plastic straw being removed from a turtle's nose. Plus there is also that pesky condensation that creates a pool of water at the bottle of your cupholder or on your desk. So we found the 9 best reviewed stainless steel and glass tumblers, so that you can have your iced beverages in style this summer. Many of the brands have different sizes ranging from 20oz to 30oz and variety of colors. We prefer stainless steel or glass because many of the acrylic or plastic tumblers may have chemicals similar to BPA. We also link to some stainless steel straws because not all of these tumblers come with straws. And if you're like us, drinking iced coffee through a straw is just synonymous with summer.

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Easy Ways To Keep Your Car Smelling Fresh Without the Synthetic Scents

Cause Traditional Car Air Fresheners Are No Good For Your Health

Those little tree-shaped air fresheners dangling from a rear-view mirror or air vent clip-ons may feel festive, but most car air fresheners can be bad for your health. They seem so innocent, so how is that possible you might ask?

One of the biggest issues with these products is the mystery behind what goes into them. Believe it or not, It's actually hard to be 100% certain about what chemicals are in air fresheners. There's a ton of secrecy into what actually goes into a fragrance product because companies can claim their ingredients are trade secrets. We definitely can't say a product is safe if we don't even know what is used to make it.

However, we do know that most air fresheners are made up of a ton of synthetic fragrances. There are literally thousands of chemicals manufacturers can choose from when making a product with synthetic fragrance. And a lot of these chemicals are known to have negative impacts on our health. (1)

On top of that, fragrance in air fresheners usually contain both phthalates and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) (2). Although these chemicals can make scents powerful, they can also be allergens that cause coughing, headaches, and runny noses (2). Phthalates are also hormone disruptors and VOCs can be carcinogens. We definitely don't want to be constantly breathing in those chemicals, no matter how good they might smell!

The amount of space inside your car is also a reason we don't like traditional car air fresheners. A smaller space = more concentrated exposure, and since you probably have your windows closed 90% of the time, a car is one of the worst places to keep a strongly-scented product.

Luckily, there are easy, nontoxic ways to make your car smell fresh! You can keep a container filled with baking soda or a baking soda freezer pack hidden somewhere. Baking soda is a completely natural way to eliminate odors and a box is only a couple of dollars! Using scents from natural sources are also a great way to add a little freshness to your car. You can put a few drops of an essential oil onto a clothespin or another wooden item and leave it somewhere in your car (3). When the smell goes away, just replenish with a few more drops of oil! If you prefer something a little more contained, we also love putting satchels of lavender or rose petals around our car.

But perhaps the easiest way to get rid of a bad smell is to simply roll your windows down! Maybe rolling down the windows will help make your commute a little more relaxing too.



12 Best Non-Toxic Diaper Creams

Our top recommendations for your baby's bottom that parents love

Updated for 2019!

We get it- you're busy but you also want the best for your baby. But who has the time to sit down and do hours of research on the best diaper creams for your baby's bottom? That's why we're here! We have nothing butt (get it?) amazing products for our non-toxic diaper cream roundup. These 12 products are free from irritants like fragrances and use soothing ingredients to keep diaper rash at bay. Some options have non-nano zinc oxide to protect the skin, and some work more as an ointment to prevent redness. Looking for an organic diaper balm? We've got those too. As always, we thoroughly researched consumer reviews to ensure you're getting a stellar product that actually works and that parents love.

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