Tag Archives: sustainability

Prana Sustainable Apparel Tank + Tight Review

This is a review of Prana Sustainable, Fair Trade, Ethically sourced apparel.

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Prana

Use code FFJCF17 for 15% off Prana apparel + gear to outfit your adventures 🌲

b i g g e r p i c t u r e s t u f f:

OUR PURPOSE – The Why Pursue sustainable, traceable, and responsible action to protect our environment and inspire the adventurous spirit.

OUR MISSION – The How Inspire, educate, and outfit our audience as we strive to fundamentally change the way clothing is made.

OUR MANIFESTO – The Promise We’re not in the business of making clothes, we’re in the business of setting the adventurous spirit free. We design with a purpose to inspire our audience to do as they will. We distill trends, fit, style, and performance to satisfy our audience’s basic needs, then get the hell out of the way so they can enjoy their own brand of experiences.

OUR VISION – The Way Transcend the Trends We’re more than makers; we’re doers. Our designs are inspired by our own experiences and built for our shared journey. We strive to make clothes that help us all thrive in any environment and embody our collective adventurous spirit so we can focus on what really matters. Whether you’re commuting to work or wandering the globe, rest assured we’ve been there and used those moments to design a better product

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My Experience:

No exaggeration; working with prAna is a dream scenario as a blogger. Ever since working in women’s apparel a few years back, I’ve been crazy about this brand. Not only is the fit exactly what I’m looking for, but I appreciate their commitment to sustainable fabrics. Don’t know what I mean, you can read a bit more on that here.

They are truly so unique in what they’re doing. They’re not sacrificing anything on their mission to create beautiful clothing while being mindful of where it comes from and how it’s made.

Even before being asked to participate in this campaign, I am the owner of 3 pairs of prAna jeans, one of my all-time favorite tank tops and close to 10 prAna dresses.

The Caraway Tight and Filament Tank were both two new items for me to try. I was immediately drawn to the Caraway Tight mainly because of the high-rise feature of the pant; I also thought the pattern had a subtle uniqueness to it that is rad.

Wearing a tank that has such beautiful detailing and is somewhat fitted was a new concept for me. I wouldn’t normally pick this tank out because I typically go for a loose fitting top and a skin-tight bottom (after typing that out, I realize how weird that sounds).

That said, I’ve actually been pleasantly surprised with how this one performs and feels. Though it lets your figure show, it’s not so tight that it feels uncomfortable, restrictive, or like it’s cutting in. You can tell there must be quite a bit of design work going into creating these pieces.

As a taller gal with long legs (almost disproportionate to my torso), I really have to rely on a high rise pant to have the top of the pant sit where I’d like it to so that I’m not tugging on them the whole time I’m working out. I love that prAna came out with a pant that has a higher rise. They provide a good amount of compression that’s flattering on the body and also pulls everything in tighter for workouts.

Learn more about the empowering message + information that prAna is spreading in these inspiring videos: The Not Impossible Mission of the Conscious Consumer and Why Hemp Matters.

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Garden of Life Summit Rundown: Probiotics + Protein + Organic Farming

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The notion of possibly summarizing my entire weekend at the Garden of Life headquarters is an incredibly overwhelming task. There are SO many ideals that were brought to my attention, many that were even more cemented in my thinking, and a ton of new ideals that I’ve been inspired to ponder. To sum up my general emotion triggered by being a part of this summit, I left Palm Beach feeling:

Inspired. Driven. Hyped on supporting organic. Enthusiastic. Invigorated. Energized. Healthy.

I ate so much good (both good tasting and good for me!) foods while I was there, I truly did leave feeling superpowered. I drank my weight in local, green juice, ate a plentiful amount of locally-caught seafood and even dined at a farm-to-table restaurant.

In regards to the information, knowledge and inspiration that I acquired, here are the main take-aways that I grasped from this weekend that I am applying and taking into my everyday life.

Before I get into all of the details, I’ll just add that I am a FEELER. By that, I mean that I am largely influenced by how things make me feel–both as a result of the information I hear and how I feel when using a product. Thus, a lot of these tidbits from the summit really resonated with me, or I related strongly to because I have experienced the protein for myself. Scientific backup is great (many desire solely that), and Garden of Life has that to back up their products, but, I am an advocate for these products because I have witnessed first hand the impact that they have had on my health. I feel like the best version of Jesica when I am eating loads of organic, raw, plant based foods. This kind of supplementation is a gigantic part of that. I consider each of the Garden of Life products to be beyond “just a supplement,” because the quality is supreme and they are whole food-based, they are in a league of their own.

I have bolded some of my favorite parts!

1. “Probiotics” is not JUST a buzz word. Your body NEEDS them to function optimally.

-The standard American diet, pharmaceutical drugs, etc. have diminished our bodies’ good bacteria population in the gut. The effect on human health is profound.

-Supplementing the diet with probiotics is key is returning this good bacteria population back to a point where the digestive system can assimilate, absorb and process nutrients as it’s supposed to.

-“At Garden of Life, we are greens, we are probiotics. It’s who are are.” -Sherri Gunn, Garden of Life.

-“So much more can be done with health & prevention.” -Dawn Jarvis, Garden of Life.

-There are trillions of microbial organisms in your body. You help the good microbes thrive by eating a rich, whole food based diet that limits processed foods.

-A natural, whole food diet without pesticides, GMOs helps heal the gut.

-Good bacteria in the gut helps protect against the bad bacteria. So, we need the good bacteria.

-Digestive health is responsible for absorption of all of the food we eat, which contributes to our overall vitality. That’s why gut health is such a focus.

2. Supporting organic is, indeed, so very important.

-“I do this because it means a lot.” -Jeff Brams, Garden of Life

-Traceability, sourcing, transparency and sustainability are so important in acquiring raw materials  ingredients.

-Supporting organic, family farms drives economic change. “This is the mission.” – Jeff Brams, Garden of Life

-GoL elevates the success of villages in Africa by sourcing from them.

-Biodynamic farming is utilized and valued. You must farm the soil, not the plants. It’s about the “symphony of the soil.”

3. Protein. Why so important?

-Your entire body requires protein to maintain itself, rebuild, repair and build.

-Whole food supplements are faster and more effective because they are assimilated like real food.

-Protein helps build muscle–then muscle helps clean sugar out of your system.

-Protein lowers ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates hunger.

-Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) don’t have to go thru the liver. They go straight to the muscle. This reduces lactic acid, aids recovery.

-Protein isolates are not the same as whole food based proteins because they cause the blood sugar to rise.

-“High quality protein has a satiating effect on the body.”-Jeff Brams, Garden of Life.

-“Protein is the original energy drink–it just provides energy through a different mechanism.” -Jeff Brams, Garden of Life

-Assaults to digestive tract causes inability to absorb protein (processed foods, pharmaceutical drugs, gluten, excess sugar, lack of good bacteria in the gut)

4. Tidbits on Garden of Life Proteins

Organic Plant Protein (OPP) created because of “grain free” demand, because customers want taste & texture. Contains more fermented ingredients (& nutrients due to superfood content), whereas GoL’s Raw Protein contains more sprouted. Fermented & sprouted ingredients are more easily digested than an unprepped seed.

-Unprepped seeds do not want to be digested. They want to be transported and deposited in a new home. Nature’s example: squirrels plant acorns, let them sprout and then eat them.

-Variety of proteins in one blend makes it work–gives you a complete amino acid chain.

Organic Plant Protein contains the superfoods baobab (acts as a prebiotic) & moringa (combats malnutrition).

Raw Meal has more protein & acts as a meal replacement, with significant amounts of fat, carbs and protein. Contains high nutrient content, thus less cravings and helps you feel fuller longer.

Raw Fit contains Fucothin (green coffee bean extract) which regulates and balances blood sugar.

-Adding power packed protein & superfood blends like these to your diet helps proliferate good microbes in your body.

5. Inflammation

-“The cornerstone of all disease is inflammation.” -Dawn Jarvis, Garden of Life

-Sugar encourages inflammation.

-Keep out artificial sweeteners that are causing oxidative stress.

6. Ingredients

-“We are fanatical about ingredients.” -Dawn Jarvis, Garden of Life

-14 strains of probiotics makeup GoL probiotics products

-Made cold, shipped cold

-Dawn Jarvis has an incredible resume with experience being a nutritionist for Wimbledon, yet one of my favorite quotes of her lecture is: “We use the organic stuff.”

-A little “did you know” from this weekend…”Flamingos are pink because of the large amount of antioxidants that they consume.”

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The Garden of Life team was incredibly accommodating, helpful, inspiring and enthusiastic–infectiously so! A special thank you to every one of them that took time away from their work week to help me learn and grow in this field, especially Rhonda & Ursula who made it all happen! I will always treasure the memory of this weekend and know that all of the eye-opening things I’ve taken away will propel me even farther in a positive direction!

Also, thank you to Tess at Core Evolution Palm Beach for the challenging workout!

Here are the links to the sites of the other incredible talented ladies that I met! Check out all of the great info and inspiration they have to offer!

Meg Kelly  http://www.TheCompostCook.com

Keleigh May  www.WhereTheresAMeal.com

Roshini Cope  http://www.Glamazini.com

Michelle Sutter  http://www.powered-by-mom.com/

Dr. Pamela Reilly  http://goodworkswellness.com/blog-2/

Amber Gebhardt  www.yogabycandace.com

Rebecca Warner Schiffenauer  www.campwander.com

Chelsea Gilson  www.travelingfig.com

Dr. Marie Miczak  http://drmiczak.blogspot.com/

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YogiToes Water Bottle & Headband Review

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YogiToes

Overall Rating: images

About YogiToes:

Integrity

Yoga’s ethical precepts guide our everyday choices.  We work with factories and vendors that also embrace these values, focusing  on labor, safety, environmental and manufacturing practices that meet exceptional global standards.

Recycling

Deeply committed to minimizing our carbon footprint. To date we have repurposed 3.5 million recycled plastic bottles into our product line.  We make the most sustainable choices possible throughout all aspects of our business.”

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Hibiscus Wide Headband

About:

“DESCRIPTION

A headband designed to comfortably hold back the hair, use as a wrist band, or cover the eyes during savasana

SIZE

4″ W (flat)

MATERIALS & DETAILS

  • 94% cotton, 6% lycra
  • Created using AZO, lead and heavy metal-free dyes to protect our workers, our customers, and our environment
  • Made in Korea.”

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Stainless Steel Water Bottle

About:

“DESCRIPTION

Day after day, year after year, this safe and convenient water bottle will keep your drinks fresh and clean tasting, while reducing your carbon footprint.

SIZE

.4 lbs; Capacity 25 fluid oz.

MATERIALS & DETAILS

  • Reusable, 100% recyclable and durable
  • Safe, BPA-free alternative to plastic
  • High-quality, food grade #304 L.N. stainless steel
  • Slim design fits most bottle holders
  • Toxin-free and non-leaching
  • Clean tasting (hot or cold)
  • Non-slip, rubber base
  • Removable Ecousable plastic cap with a straw lid.”

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My Thoughts:

YogiToes, a line under the Manduka Yoga umbrella, is a unique, vibrant, fun set of yoga gear and accessories that are made thoughtfully and with recycled, high-performing materials.

I love a great, wide, everyday headband that will stay on after vigorous activity. The headbands I’ve worn in the past that perform the best have a grippy strip on the underneath side, helping it resist movement. Though this headband does not have a grippy strip, it is wide enough to pretty much compensate for that. The material is very comfortable (94% cotton) and can truly make the perfect headband for wearing around the house, during yoga or for a run outdoors, alike. If I had to make one change to the design of the band, I’d make the circumference a little bit smaller so that the headband fits a little snugger (I would only want it snugger for workouts; not for wearing around the house). I didn’t have a problem with it wiggly back and off my head while running, but that was primarily because I wear large over-the-head headphones when I run that help keep my headband in place. While wearing this headband to volleyball practice with the team I coach, I noticed that I had to reposition the band a few times as it had slid backwards.

A good BPA-free, durable, portable water bottle is something that is very much a part of my daily commutes to work and practice. I always have filtered water around–it’s an absolute necessity. This stainless steel water bottle is a good size (holds 25 fluid oz.), fits all of my car cup holders and backpack bottle pockets and is substantial enough that I can drop it without fearing that it will be damaged. I like that you can drink out of the nozzle or unscrew the lid and drink out of the open bottle. Sometimes I like the lid-off approach when I am amidst a hard workout and feel the need to guzzle water.

I’d recommend both of these products (as well as Manduka’s yoga mats! I use mine for indoor workouts–so don’t think its use is limited to yoga). The quality is there, the sustainability is there and so it the personality behind the products.

Raw Green Organics Supplements Review

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Raw Green Organics

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

About Raw Green Organics:

“At Raw Green Organics, we believe that without our health and planet – we have nothing. Since our inception we’ve tried to re-think how to create a business that promotes health and sustainability. It’s definitely a work in progress, and there is always more we can do.

OUR VISION OF HEALTH & SUSTAINABILITY IS TO:

  • Reduce the ubiquitous presence of toxic chemicals in our natural environment (air, soil, oceans, etc), man-made environments (homes, schools, offices) and our personal environments (industrial pollution inside our own bodies);
  • Protect natural resources by minimizing waste and maximizing use/re-use;
  • Promote diversity and productivity through all facets of life – from cultural to ecological.

PRODUCT & PACKAGING

We love plants and all things living. We design our packaging to maximize their usage with our products. One day we will be 100% plant-based and sustainably-sourced, inside and out.

With that goal in mind, we:

  • Source natural, organic, sustainably harvested, renewable, pure raw materials for our products
  • Closely monitor the quality-control standards & protocols in our manufacturing to ensure highest quality, cleanliness, and overall product & ingredient integrity
  • Test all raw ingredients coming in, during production and in it’s final state going out to ensure the highest quality and safety
  • Track all the materials, ingredients, and packaging used in our products.
  • Use 100% renewable and/or recycled materials in all products, packaging, shipping materials, and office materials when possible
  • Specify and Use re-usable packaging, higher post-consumer recycled or FSC-certified materials, shipping material, & fully biodegradable pillow pack materials.”

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Protein

About:

“Our Organic Vegan Protein is locally sourced and made with organic North American yellow peas, organic sacha inchi protein, organic hemp protein and organic flaxseed.  It’s mild tasting, naturally high in protein and rich in Omega 3, 6 & 9 fatty acids.  Certified vegan protein that’s organic, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free and tastes great!”

B-Complex

About:

“Organic Vitamin B-Complex is a high potency organic formula which helps to replenish nutrients depleted due to strenuous physical activity.  B vitamins aid in producing energy from food, help support the healthy functioning of the nervous system and may be of assistance during times of stress.”

BCAA

About:

“Vegan BCAA or “branch-chain amino acids” are the building blocks of proteins. Some amino acids are made by your body naturally, but others must be attained through diet. Vegan BCAA stimulate the building of protein in muscle and possibly reduce muscle breakdown.”

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My Thoughts:

Raw Green Organics is a big breath of fresh air. Especially in regards to supplements that come in pill form, it’s so hard to find options that are very clearly organic and free of extra junk and fillers. There are a very limited amount of completely organic, complete supplement lines that are available. I’m so glad I discovered this brand.

The BCAA and the B-Complex were two new products for me to try. I’ve never taken a branch chain amino acids nor a b-complex supplement before, regardless of brand. I find that when my diet is up to par, I get adequate amounts of these things in the organic foods I eat. I value BCAAs for their ability to help the body recover, heal and grow–specifically in regards to physical training.

Many vegan protein powders have a brown rice protein base, which is a viable, healthful option for many individuals–but it’s nice to see Raw Green Organics change it up. They use gemma protein (which comes from peas) and is a nutrient-packed source of protein. The vanilla flavor of this powder is subtle, yet pleasant–& makes it pair perfectly with coconut, almond, peanut and cashew milk, alike.

In regards to performance & effectiveness: the BCAA and B-Complex are two of the few pill supplements that I’ve been taking every day, lately. Though I haven’t noticed a major difference, I do believe they have helped me keep up my momentum (without needing a recovery day) lifting and coaching volleyball. In the last month I’ve begun practice with my team and have also been hopping into the lineup during practice. Honestly, though I am a fit gal, I thought I’d be sore from the unique twisting motions that my body experiences while playing the game. I only had one day of slight soreness–and no other soreness to speak of. I have to think that these supplements have played a role in that.

I’d recommend these supplements to anyone that believe in investing in their health. Though the products aren’t cheap–they’re worth it. They’re amongst the very best that you can get your hands on and can really take your health and recovery to the next level.

GoGo Quinoa Review

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GoGo Quinoa

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

About GoGo Quinoa:

We started our operations in 2004 with the arrival of a first container of quinoa pasta. Our ambition was to create an ethical business dedicated to the promotion of organic food and fair trade practices. Six years later the GoGo Quinoa™ products line includes over 30 gluten-free, vegan and organic products made from quinoa and amaranth and distributed across Canada.

GoGo Quinoa is a manufacturer specialized in ancient grains and quinoa products. The purpose of GoGo Quinoa has been to provide healthy gluten – free products not only to those with celiac disease, wheat allergies, gluten intolerance or on wheat free diet, but also organic, vegan and delicious tasting products that the whole family will enjoy.

All our products such as our gluten-free cookies chocolate chips, gluten-free pasta with quinoa or amaranth grains, Granissimo blends and Ready to cook Paella, Pilaf, Burger Mix, Pancake mix, Hot cereal mix and many others are made with only highest quality ingredients.

We are headquartered in a twenty thousand square feet facility in Ville St-Laurent, in Montreal and continue to grow our line by developing and manufacturing products that incorporate local ingredients and fulfill our customers tastes and needs.”

Dark Chocolate Cake Mix

About:

“Moist and chocolatey, the cake mix is garnished with dark chocolate chips. Only a few minutes are required to prepare the batter.

Ingredients: 
Organic flour mix (brown rice, kaniwa), organic sugar, evaporated organic cane juice, organic tapioca starch, organic cocoa powder, organic chocolate chips, baking powder (alum free), organic flakes (amaranth, quinoa), baking soda, organic buckwheat porridge, guar gum, pink salt, organic chia seeds.”

Quinoa Crunchies

About:

“Gluten free and organic cinnamon sweet chip like snack.

Ingredients: 
Organic rice flour, organic quinoa flour, unrefined cane sugar and cinnamon. 

Allergy and intolerance information: 
Free of: Sesame seeds, Wheat, Kamut, Spelt or Triticale, Eggs, Milk and Soybeans.”

Vegetarian Paella

About:

“Ready to cook paĂ«lla mix. Very easy and very quick to prepare. A good source of iron and protein.

 Ingredients: 

Organic white rice, organic black and red quinoa royal, red beans and/or pinto beans, tomato powder, organic paprika, carrots, green beans and/or green peas, organic onion, red pepper, salt, organic garlic, and organic turmeric.”

Quinoa Burger

About:

Ingredients: 
Pre-cooked organic quinoa, organic quinoa flakes, organic amaranth flakes, organic quinoa flour, organic quinoa grains, salt, spices (cumin, black pepper, garlic, turmeric, parsley, tomato, onion, green pepper).”

Quinoa Cookies

About:

“Ingredients:

Organic royal quinoa flour, tapioca flour, rice flour, kaniwa (baby quinoa) flour, non-hydrogenated palm fruit oil*, evaporated cane juice, dark chocolate chips (pure dark chocolate also called chocolate liquor, cane juice, natural vanilla essence), brown sugar, quinoa puffed grains, chia seeds, sodium bicarbonate, natural vanilla extract. * From sustainable harvesting.”

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My Thoughts:

I am fascinated by brands that take one healthy food and generate a plethora of products with it as its foundation. GoGo Quinoa makes quinoa-packed goodies that range from vegetarian paella to cake mix.

If you have read any of my prior blog posts, you are aware that ingredients are of the utmost importance to me, regardless of taste. After reading GoGo Quinoa’s ingredient lists, mission, and method behind farming, I feel great about this brand. The ingredient list is chock full of organic ingredients, and their products also boast an Eco Cert Label. This means, from the Eco Cert website:

“Ecocert inspects products on the basis of this specification, and issues organic certification. The products in question must bear the wording ‘Ecocert-certified’. This is the only labeling guaranteeing organic certification for the consumer. The product can consequently be marketed being described as ‘organic.'”

So, in other words, a brand with this certification has been deemed organic, meaning:

“grown avoiding the use of chemical fertilizers or synthetic products, in ground fertilized with organic fertilizers and natural minerals favorable to life within the soil, application of the precautionary principle.”

In regards to taste, these products are very enjoyable. Sometimes, you try a cake mix that contains more healthful ingredients and it just does not taste good. In this case, all of these GoGo Quinoa products are very tasty. You can tell that there is a little something different about them, but it’s not a bad thing. If anything, the use of quinoa and the other grains like amaranth add some earthiness to the dishes.

It’s worth mentioning that I typically avoid grains. I don’t consume them on a regular basis. There are many differing opinions and thoughts on quinoa, but I consider it to be a complete protein and a seed. A few of these products contain rice flour–which I would typically stray from. I try to get my carbohydrate intake from mainly fruit. With all of that rambling, I simply am meaning to say that these products are not a gigantic part of my diet. They are a way to splurge healthfully, sans gluten.

The cookies and the cake were my favorites (can you say sweet tooth?). I could have eaten the whole box of cookies in one sitting. The paella and quinoa burgers are great because they can serve as a delicious alternative for those that do not eat meat. I do consume meat, myself, but I realize that there are many of you out there that are perhaps looking for vegetarian alternatives. Meat eater or not, though, I would recommend GoGo Quinoa products to all of you. Great quality, great flavors and an all around great brand with a thoughtful mission and outlook on producing food.