Food

Why the Bulk Bins Should Be Your New Favorite Grocery Aisle

And two pro-tips for avoiding the plastic bags

If you haven't heard yet, bulk bins are awesome! They have so many options, things are surprisingly cheap, and they give you a great reason to use all of those trendy mason jars you have been collecting for the last 5 years.

Seriously, I have seen all of these zero waste people talking about the wonders of bulk bins for a while, but I finally decided to give it a go. And you know what, it was kind of fun. I realized there are some surprisingly great options in the bulk bins. Like chocolate covered pretzels, popcorn, all sorts of nuts, and like 8 different options for rice (who knew there were so many). And you can get things just in the quantity that you need, so extra food isn't just sitting around getting stale. I had a list for the week, and I decided to see how much of it I could get in the bulk bins. Besides the veggies and tomato sauce, I could get pretty much everything there.


I have to say, I was a little surprised. And, apparently, so was the girl at the checkout scanner. As she rang things up, she seemed surprised by how cheap some of the things in my haul were. I don't know if that's a good thing or not, but it is definitely a testament to how inexpensive shopping the bulk bins can be.

So, why did I try shopping in the bulk bins to begin with? Well, yes, I was looking forward to using all of my pretty mason jars, but also, the fact that most of these foods are healthier was a great incentive. Not only are they healthier because of their intrinsic qualities (I bought a lot of rice, beans, nuts, and dried fruit for the week as opposed to my usual snacks of cookies and chips), but also the fact that they aren't packaged in plastic or absorbing BPA from a can lining is another one.

Often foods that you buy from the middle of the grocery store are things in cans and plastic containers and bags. A lot of research has been done recently looking at food packaging, and they have found all sorts of chemicals in the packaging. Things ranging from BPA, which we all already know is bad (or will if you read this article), to PFAS because the packaging is trying to be oil or water resistant. While I love a box of Kraft mac 'n' cheese as much as the next person, I don't know if ingesting the phthalates are worth it. Anyway, with all of this knowledge, it was enough to persuade me to give the bulk bins a chance.

And no surprise if you've made it this far, it was totally worth it! While I might not be buying everything from the bulk section just yet, you better believe I am officially a convert. And, so much so that I am ready to start bugging all of my friends, and all of you, about it.



Pro Tip: Bringing Your Own Glass Jars

Also, pro tip: if you are bringing your own glass jars, ask at the customer service counter to get the tare weight of your jars before you start filling them up (the tare weight is how much they weigh empty). This makes sure you are only paying for the food you are buying and not paying for the weight of the jars that you already own. I had to do this because, as I mentioned, I have been collected mason jars and other glass jars for a while (I didn't know what I was going to use them for, but I had them!), so I brought them with me to collect all of my bulk bin goodies.

Even Better Pro Tip: Bringing Your Own Cloth Bag

Even better pro tip: bring a set of cotton cloth bags instead of jars. Another thing I learned, filling certain jars can be difficult, especially if the opening of the jar is smaller than where the food will come out. Let's just say there were a few runaway chickpeas when I went shopping. It might be easier to use the bags, and then put things into the jars once you get home. Also, the cloth bags weigh a lot less and don't clink around as you make your way to the grocery store. You live and you learn.

So, give it a shot. It's better for you, better for the environment, and better for your bank account. What more persuading do you need? Gather your mason jars and get shopping!

Roundups

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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Family

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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Roundups

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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Life

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.

References:

  1. https://www.nrdc.org/media/2007/070919
  2. https://kellybroganmd.com/is-your-uber-air-freshener-making-you-sick/
  3. https://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/how-to-make-3-naturally-scented-air-fresheners-for-cars/
Roundups

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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