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5 Free Ways To Detox Your Home

5 Free Ways To Detox Your Home

Excited to share 5 free ways to detox your home for free!  Often people think you have to spend a ton of money to detox your home getting all the latest gadgets.  But the truth is, you don't have to spend any money!  I'm sharing 5 free ways to detox your home in my new video, plus, I have a free download that shares my other 5 free ways to detox your home!  So 10 FREE ways to Detox Your Home!  Stop thinking you have to spend money to start detoxing.  You can start detoxing your life today and not spend a money!

 

Watch 5 FREE Ways To Detox Your Life Video here!

 

Grab your FREE download that will give you 10 ways to start detoxing your home today for FREE here!

 

5 Ways To Detox Your Home For Free:

1.Take off your shoes

2. Sunday Organic Fertilization

3. EWG Clean Fifteen List

4. Say no to any synthetic fragrance in your home

5. Open a window to let fresh air in

 

If you liked this post, be sure to check out past posts below:

 

Best Ceramic Cookware Sets (2021 Ultimate Guide)

Best Ceramic Cookware Sets (2021 Ultimate Guide)

Ceramic cookware has been all the rage more recently, but there is so much to be known before making an investment like that for your kitchen.  I am going to break it all down for you here so you can make an informed decision and really start detoxing kitchen cookware.  I mean, if you are going to eat clean and nutritious food, you definitely don’t want to be cooking it in a pan that is going to release toxins into your food and the air.  Plus, ceramic cookware is so sleek and pretty.  An added bonus to this easy to use, and functional cookware.  Let’s dive in!

*Affiliate Disclosure: I do have affiliate links in this blog post. If you purchase something from my link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.  This comes at no cost to you but is paid by the company.  I do not take becoming an affiliate with any company lightly.  If I am, it’s because I believe in the company and their product. 

*Suzi (Gurl Gone Green) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

What is ceramic cookware?

Ceramic cookware can be made of either 100% ceramic (this includes the core and the glaze) OR can be ceramic coating over a metal pan. To know exactly what this means I need to share a couple definitions with you:

Ceramic: of or relating to the manufacture of any product (such as earthenware, porcelain, or brick) made essentially from a nonmetallic mineral (such as clay) by firing at a high temperature

Clay: is an earthy material that is capable of being molded when moist but hard when fired, that is composed mainly of fine particles of hydrous aluminum silicates and other minerals, and that is used for brick, tile, and pottery  (1)  

In my opinion, more people think of cookware that has the ceramic coating over a metal core when they think of ceramic cookware then.  This type of cookware has a metal pan (typically aluminum) with a ceramic-coated non-stick cooking surface.  This surface is made from natural sand-derived silicon using a process called sol-gel.  You can read all about sol-gel here.

Is ceramic cookware safe?

Simply put, ceramic cookware is safe!  But let’s look at it a little closer to be certain. 

If you purchase from a reputable company, pure ceramic cookware should be non-reactive and free of harmful substances.  The materials used to create the nonstick glaze are also mineral based, thus no harmful chemicals will be leached into your food!  This means it is safe and you won’t be eating or breathing in any toxic chemicals.  

A few things you should do though to ensure the safety (and longevity) of your cookware:

  1. Purchase your cookware set from a company that is reputable and can show you the safety of their product.
  2. Follow the directions for use by the company
    • More than likely you should hand wash your ceramic cookware and not put it in the dishwasher.
    • You should use wooden or silicone utensils to minimize chips.
    • Don’t let your pan go from hot to cold to quickly.
    • Cook using low to medium heat.  DO NOT cook on high heat!
    • Use high smoke point oils to cook with (not only for better function & care of the pan but added taste to your food).  I like to cook with avocado oil, coconut oil or ghee. 
  3. If the cookware set is ridiculously cheap, it is probably too good to be true and will degrade or chip easier. I truly believe you get what pay for.
  4. If you do have chips in the ceramic coating you will want to replace it.  Although some brands do say that scratches, dents, or pits in the coating won’t affect the safety or performance of your pan, I disagree.  Whatever is beneath the coating is now going to be contaminating your food if there are chips.  Check with the brand you choose to see what is recommended for your cookware but also use your best judgement.

What about nanoparticles in ceramic cookware?

This is where it gets a little grey.  The ceramic coating that is applied to pans can potentially also include micro- and nanosized titanium dioxide particles and quartz silicium dioxide.  Well, what does this mean and why do we even care?

Unfortunately, titanium dioxide nanoparticles have been found through chronic oral exposure to result in immune disruption and pre-cancer lesions in the gut in a study from 2017 on rats. (2) This has been a more recent finding, so there may be more to come out in the future regarding exposure to these nanosized particles as further studies are conducted. Something I am definitely going to keep my eyes on!   

On a better note, these particles don't get released when there is no damage to your pan or until you reach VERY high temperatures (500 degrees C).  So with good care of your ceramic cookware and appropriate cooking temperature you shouldn't have any exposure to these nanoparticles.  Also, pure ceramic cookware is safe from these nanoparticles!  As with anything that is new there is bound to be new research that is always coming out.  I think it's always good to be a little skeptical of new things in general.  Since ceramic coated cookware is relatively new no research has been done on the safety of pan for the long run.  We just don't know because it hasn't been around long enough.  If safety is your number one concern then I would stick with pure ceramic cookware like Xtrema or my favorite stainless steel cookware 360.  

What is PTFE or Teflon?

Now if you are wondering why you can’t just purchase a cheaper cookware set with conventional non-stick coating, allow me to share some facts with you. It might seem like one more thing to consider when it comes to living a natural lifestyle, but let me assure you, it's an important one!

Non-stick cookware (or even many stainless steel cookware) may seem great initially but when you dig a little deeper it's easy to uncover the toxins lurking in them.  The most common nonstick cookware out there is Teflon. It has been trademarked as Teflon and contains the chemical Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE).  It's a popular choice for most people when it comes to cookware because it's non-reactive, non-stick and stain resistant. It basically is a cook's dream- that is until you read the fine print on the toxins it's releasing every time you cook with it!

95% of non-stick pots and pans are made with Polytetrafluoroethylene (Teflon). (3)

A deeper look into Teflon from the EWG back in 2003 and its claims that Teflon was safe under certain circumstances was debunked by research stating that in fact, Teflon did know that it releases harmful fumes for a very long time and can cause illness. (4)  

While Teflon was first made using the chemical Perfluorooctanoic (PFOA) in the 1950's, they started adding Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) acid, or C8, to it to help alleviate some of the lumpiness from just using Perfluorooctanoic (PFOA).  However, this produced an even greater toxic substance overall.  It has been linked to many diseases, from cancer, liver disease, thyroid issues and growth issues. Not only that, but it accumulates over time in the body.  It is present in the air and water.  Those who worked and lived in the area where it was made were exposed at high doses that created significant health issues, from birth defects in babies, to cancer, thyroid disease, ulcerative colitis, and high cholesterol. (5)

According to research from National Center For Biotechnology, (2003), Perfluorooctanoic (PFOA) acid, 11.1.9. 

It has been suggested that there is a significant dose response relationship between PFOA levels and ADHD. 

This substance is not something you want to be cooking with!  Research shows that it takes only 5 minutes for a pan to heat up to 750 degrees.  Once heated it then releases toxic gases.  Not only that, but as soon as the pan is scratched it also releases toxins into your food.  Even birds are affected by the chemicals at the lowest temperatures, completely dying. (6)

As you probably know, most people aren't cooking with low temperatures but exceedingly high temperatures!  Creating a recipe for toxic chemicals to be released into the air.

The thing is Perfluorooctanoic (PFOA) isn't just found in cookware but in SO many other products.  So the cumulative effect is great.  From irons, microwave popcorn bags, floss, baking cookware, curling irons, hair straighteners, carpets, sofas, waffle makers, rice cookers- just to name a few. There are so many safe alternatives to these products that will help keep you and your family safe from this ingredient.  One of them is making the switch to safe cookware!

How long does ceramic cookware last?

Unfortunately, ceramic cookware isn't known for their longevity of use.  But, I also have found this to vary greatly based on a few things.  Ultimately, ceramic cookware is going to need to be cared for properly to get the most use out of it.  If we are talking about ceramic coated nonstick pots and pans, they will lose their nonstick properties if you over heat them consistently.  I have read in multiple places that ceramic coated nonstick pots and pans have 1/6th the lifespan of their PTFE counterparts.  For some brands this could mean 1-2 year lifespan.  But I can say it totally depends on how you treat your cookware.

My experience with ceramic cookware longevity has shown that with regular use you'll need to replace it yearly if not sooner if you consistently are using it to cook with and have a larger family.  I know come people who can get away with longer because they might just be cooking for them and their spouse but for those who have larger families and they're using it multiples times a day you will need to change it out sooner.

On the other hand, 100% pure ceramic cookware if treated correctly can last much longer!  The brand I have used and will talk about below (Xtrema) has a warranty for 10 years!

What's better, stainless steel or ceramic cookware?

When many think of nontoxic cookware, stainless steel definitely comes to mind.  But, is stainless or ceramic better?  Let's take a look and see.

  • A big difference between stainless steel and ceramic nonstick cookware is that stainless is NOT nonstick.  Stainless steel is probably not the best choice for a beginner cook, but it is definitely doable. I always tell people their is a learning curve.  Which when you master it, isn't hard just isn't as easy as ceramic initially.
  • Ceramic is SO much easier to clean (and use) due to the nonstick coating.
  • BUT, stainless steel tends to be much more durable and scratch resistant.  A high quality brand can last you a lifetime whereas ceramic coated nonstick brands aren't going to last that long.  So in the long run you're going to spend more on ceramic than you would stainless steel.
  • Many also think stainless steel cookware can produce more flavorful foods than a nonstick pan can, which I've experienced with my 360 cookware myself.  The flavor is so much better!
  • We have discussed the safety of ceramic, but what about stainless steel? Stainless is also a MUCH BETTER option than traditional nonstick pans.  A concern with stainless steel cookware is the leaching of metals into your food.  The makeup of stainless steel can vary  from product to product and it's so important to know what yours is made of (some are made of scrap metal…from China!).  The bottom line is metals CAN leach into your food from stainless steel cookware.  High quality stainless steel cookware is safe however.  I love my cookware set from 360 Waterless Cookware.  A 360 cookware pot or pan has a layer of T-304 Surgical Grade Stainless Steel first, then the next layer is Aluminum Alloy- which helps to conduct heat throughout the cookware, and then the third layer is T-400 Series Stainless Steel.  Since the aluminum alloy is in the middle it never comes in to contact with your food. So just like ceramic cookware, stainless steel's safety is dependent on the brand you buy.  That's why I choose 360!  American made and manufactured- it's the real deal! 

Ultimately, both ceramic and stainless steel are good options for nontoxic cookware.  Which is better depends on what you are looking for in your cookware. If it's ease of use, ceramic definitely wins.  If it is durability, longevity and more flavorful food, you will want to pick stainless steel.  Regardless, you will want to research the brand you decided on to ensure the safety of your cookware.  You can read my full review of my favorite stainless steel cookware 360 Waterless Cookware here!  

I love my 360 Waterless Cookware!

 

Ceramic Cookware Review: Factors to Consider

Just like most things, there are definitely pros and cons to cooking with ceramic cookware.  

Pros To Cooking With Ceramic Cookware:

  • Nontoxic & Safe to Cook With If Cared For Properly
  • Nonstick Coating Makes Them Easy to Use
  • Clean Up Is Also Easy
  • Range Of Price Points Making Them Affordable 
  • Sleek & Pretty – A Great Addition To Your Kitchen
  • Creation Of Ceramic Nonstick Is More Environmentally Friendly Than Traditional Nonstick

Cons To Cooking With Ceramic Cookware:

  • Definite Learning Curve With Pure Ceramic Cookware
  • Unknown Safety of Nanoparticles In Ceramic Nonstick Coating
  • Durability- Can Range Based On Brand and Your Care Of The Cookware
  • Cost more in the long run

 

Best Ceramic Cookware

 

1. Caraway Cookware

If I had to pick a favorite ceramic cookware, it would be Caraway and they have a big mission! 

They craft well designed home goods that thoughtfully raise the standards of what you cook with.  Simply put, their products are designed to make your life easier and healthier. (7)

Can you imagine if all brands cared to make the consumers lives easier and healthier?!?  There is so much I love about this brand. Not only do these ceramic pots look sleek, but they perform so well too.  They are made using a mineral based coating that doesn’t leach into your food while cooking.  They also emit 60% less C02 than traditional non-stick coatings.  They first start with an aluminum and stainless steel base and then cover it with the mineral based coating- the aluminum is completely covered and does not leach into the food.  The mineral coating is free of lead, cadmium and teflon.  As with most ceramic pots and pans it is a mineral-based coating made of silica, oxygen, binders, and color pigments.

People used to be concerned about the mineral coating chipping but I’ve found high quality ceramic pots and pans don’t do that.  It’s the poor quality, usually inexpensive ones that tend to chip or wear off after a short amount of time.  As I like to say- you get what you pay for!

When I reached out to Caraway Cookware regarding their use of nanoparticles in their nonstick ceramic coating, this is what they had to say:

Our coatings do contain a small composition of titanium dioxide and nanoparticles, but the concentration of them do not pose a significant risk to consumers, from current studies we've looked into and research we've conducted. They are at levels lower than in common products such as sunscreen or yogurt. We are constantly ensuring we stay ahead of the curve and aim to offer the safest cookware on the market, and adjust as science tells us more!

Review of Caraway Cookware 

Caraway Cookware is definitely high quality. Very durable and stain resistant.  I have had some chips in my pan I've used the most.  It was after several months.  I did tell Caraway and they were happy to exchange it for me.  I haven't had any issues with chips in my other larger pots.  It’s also very easy to clean.  All you need is some warm soapy water and a scrub pad and it cleans things up really well.  I think my biggest takeaway is to use low heat and really care for it well.  Makes such a difference in the overall longevity of the cookware.  I've had my Caraway set now for over a year and still use it often! They come in several colors.  Check out my full review here!

I love my Caraway Cookware!

2. Our Place

I have been testing out the Always Pan from Our Place since January.   This is the newest ceramic cookware pan to me. The Always pan is so unique compared to anything else I've used in the past. It does so much and only requires one pan!

Our Place is founded on the idea of making cooking simpler and less cluttered.  Their goal is to bring people together over home cooked meals.  With the use of their ceramic cookware, that is definitely a mission I can stand behind!

The Always Pan is coated in a non-toxic, ceramic non-stick coating.  That means no PFOA, PTFE, GenX chemicals or any other toxic chemicals for that matter!  This pan uses the sol-gel technique I mentioned earlier that is primarily made from silicon dioxide.  Since it is tested to the standard of ceramic coating that means that NO heavy metals are able to pass through it.  Our Place takes it a step further and tests it to the standards of polymeric coating (this is a thin layered coating that provides superior adherence and protection from corrosion).  These standards mean that NOTHING can pass through their ceramic coating and that makes it the safest non-stick coating available!

When I reached out to Our Place regarding their use of nanoparticles in their nonstick ceramic coating, this is what they had to say:

Our Always Pan has an interior coating that is a sol-gel non-stick coating made primarily from silicon dioxide which is known in the cookware industry as ceramic non-stick. It's tested not only to the standards of a ceramic coating (meaning no heavy metals are able to pass through the coating) but also tested to the standards of a polymeric coating (which means that absolutely nothing can pass through the coating) – this makes it the safest non-stick option available. It's approved by both the FDA as well as EU standards for the highest level of food safety.  We are currently working on making our test results available to our customers on our site, but they are not up yet. Please stay tuned for when they are added, though. 

Review of Our Place Cookware

Initially I wasn't even going to review The Always Pan because I had read where people where talking about it having lead.  I looked into it further and read Lead Safes Mama's full review on The Always Pan and how she had found traces of lead and several other heavy metals in it.  You can read about her findings here.  She wasn't able to determine if the trace amounts were in the actual coating or if they were in the substrate of the pan.  Meaning, once the coating where's off you are left with the substrate.  Although, they were in the safe range technically at very low levels, she still had detected lead.  

Again, while this is concerning I also think you have to make an informed decision for you and your family.  Do I think this is a better option than a Teflon pan?  100%.  I also think that we encounter lead and heavy metals in many places in our products, food and environment in general.  If you eat kale you're ingesting heavy metals!  While I do think it's not something to bat an eye at, I also think it's choosing your battles when it comes to natural living and looking at your life and body and what is best for you.  I always think of the saying, good, better, best.  Sometimes good is enough for you, sometimes you need the best.  If you have suffered from heavy metals in the past, maybe choose an option that's lead free.  

Ok, now time to actually share what I thought of The Always Pan.  I really loved it!  It definitely lives up to the hype in my opinion.  It can do it all, from sauté, steam, boil, sear, fry- everything.  The goal of The Always Pan is to replace 8 pieces of cookware- so it makes cooking simpler.  It comes with a stainless steel steamer basket, a beachwood spatula, and a pourable spout.  It's also much lighter than a traditional ceramic pan coming in at 3lbs.  It's higher sides on the pan make it unique to other pans and easier cooking.  There really isn't anything I disliked about it- other than the lead findings!  😉  It works great for steaming veggies, cooking meat, tortillas- anything.  I think this would be a great addition for someone who hasn't made the switch over to nontoxic cookware or if you want to incorporate this into your overall nontoxic cookware options to try.  Check out The Always Pan here!

3. My GreenPan (Budget Friendly)

All GreenPans use Thermolon technology.  This technology was created in 2007 and was part of the first ceramic nonstick fry pan on the market.  Thermolon technology uses no toxic substances (no PFAS and PFOA, and it does not contain any lead or cadmium).   Silicon, which is derived from sand, is made into a sprayable solution, then cured onto the pan in an oven. This process releases 60% less CO2 than the curing phase for traditional nonstick pans.

GreenPans are so safe too!  While ceramic cookware is meant to be used on low to medium heat, even if do overheat your pan, the technology used can withstand this.  This would definitely not be safe to do this with a traditional nonstick pan. 

When I reached out to My GreenPan regarding their use of nanoparticles in their nonstick ceramic coating, this is what they had to say:

Our cookware does not contain nanoparticles. Thermolon coating does not contain any nanoparticles. Accordingly, there is no possibility for nanoparticles to leach into the food when cooking with GreenPan.

Review of My GreenPan

I was first introduced to GreenPan several years ago when I first was looking at ceramic coated cookware.  They were the first brand that was on the market that really was available with the ceramic coating.  I like that they are a more budget friendly option that you can find at Target- makes it so simple to tell friends and family about.  I've noticed that they have varying budget options when it comes to cookware.  Some are more budget friendly, and some are in the higher price point.  I've only personally used the lower budget cookware from My GreenPan.  They chipped the quickest out of all my ceramic coated cookware and didn't last nearly as long.  They also stained a lot easier and just didn't feel as high of quality as the other brands.  However, I have friends who have used the higher end lines from My GreenPan and they've had nothing but positive things to say about their experience.  I think as I had mentioned earlier, you get what you pay for!  The higher end brands I've noticed are only available online too and not at stores.  Check out My GreenPan here!

4. Xtrema

Xtrema Cookware is different than the other brands that I have mentioned because from the glaze on the cookware to the core it is made from 100% pure ceramic. I would argue it is the safest cookware on the market.  It is free of PFOA, PTFE, glues, polymers, coatings or dyes.  Ceramic is awesome because it's completely inert- meaning it won't leach any harmful toxins, no matter how long you're cooking or the heat level.  All of Xtrema has been tested for heavy metal content and is free from glues, polymers, coatings and dyes. If you want to see their testing results check them out here.  Xtrema comes with a 10 year warranty making an investment in this type of cookware easier. 

Review Of Xtrema

While I love the concept of Xtrema I find it very hard to work with overall after years of working with it.  There is a large learning curve and for an everyday pan it was hard to get the hang of it.  It is different than cooking with either stainless steel or cast iron. It heats very evenly.  You can take a dish from the fridge to the stove or oven- it's very versatile. It also can withstand high temperatures.  It's easy to clean Xtrema cookware too, just use warm soapy water.  You can also use baking soda or an abrasive scrubby if you need to.  The best way to heat an Xtrema is to turn the heat on low or low medium.  Since it's so great at heat conduction you don't need or want to crank the heat up to high.  Doing this would result in foods sticking or burning.  It's best to turn the heat on a couple minutes before you start cooking and then add a little cooking oil once it's heated.  I like avocado oil, ghee or coconut oil.  Don't add the oil to a cold pan, wait until it's heated up or it will cause foods to stick.  I have their 8-inch Versa Braiser.  It's nice because it has a lid and can be used for cooking meats, quiches, casseroles etc, but also can be used for cooking eggs with.   Check out Xtrema here!

If you liked this ceramic cookware post, check out past posts below:

360 Waterless Cookware

The Best Non Toxic Cookware (2021 Ultimate Guide)

Best Blenders 2021 Review

References:

  1. Merriam Webster Dictionary. (2021) merriamwebster.com.  Retrieved from: https://www.merriam-webster.com/
  2. Bettini, S., et al. (2017). Food-grade TiOimpairs intestinal and systemic immune homeostasis, initiates preneoplastic lesions and promotes aberrant crypt development in the rat colon. Scientific Reports. Retrieved from: https://www.nature.com/articles/srep40373
  3. Muenter, Olivia. (Jan 14 2021).  3 Ways Using Nontoxic Cookware Can Change Your Home.  Caraway Home.  Retrieved from: https://www.carawayhome.com/blogs/news/3-ways-using-non-toxic-cookware-can-change-your-home
  4. Dupont Workers Smoke Teflon-laced Cigarettes in Company Experiments. (n.d.) Environmental Working Group. Retrieved from: https://www.ewg.org/research/dupont-workers-smoke-teflon-laced-cigarettes-company-experiments
  5. Kelly, Sharon. (2016). Teflon’s Toxic Legacy.  Earth Island Journal.  Retrieved from: https://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/magazine/entry/teflons_toxic_legacy
  6. Canaries in the Kitchen: Teflon Toxicosis (n.d.) Environmental Working Group. Retrieved from: https://www.ewg.org/research/canaries-kitchen
  7. Caraway About Page (n.d.) Caraway Home. Retrieved from: https://www.carawayhome.com/pages/about

 

Best Blenders – 2021 Review

Best Blenders – 2021 Review

I am so excited to share with you my Best Blenders Review!  I am sharing all about the best blenders today.  It can feel like a big investment when purchasing a blender so you want to make sure you consider a few things before purchasing. I am going to share with you what I think are the most important considerations to make before choosing your blender. I have also compiled reviews by my friends and family who have used each of these blenders for years. They are sharing the ins and outs of the blender as well as what they like and they don't like about it.  

*Affiliate Disclosure: I do have affiliate links in this blog post. If you purchase something from my link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.  This comes at no cost to you, but is paid by the company.  I do not take becoming an affiliate with any company lightly.  If I am, it’s because I believe in the company and their product. 

Suzi (Gurl Gone Green) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

I've been wanting to do a proper blender review for you for a while.  As a fellow smoothie lover, a good blender is a necessity in my kitchen!  If you have one that works well it really can make life so much easier.  I find smoothies for me are an easy way to get in a nutrient dense meal in minutes!  I have a whole smoothie post I did on what I put in my smoothies and why here, plus recipes!

I realized though that blenders can be used for SO many things and really are a game changing kitchen gadget when making real, nutrient dense food.  

As you'll read below I have a lot of experience with several blender brands and know friends and family who have tried several others as well.  I thought what a great resource for my community to share and help do the research for you!  My hope is that you'll find your favorite blender and one that works in your budget.  

If it's anything I've learned in my years of testing out different kinds of blenders it's that you don't need to spend a lot of money to get a good blender!  In fact my favorite is around $100!

Nutrient dense food is so much easier with the right blender

 

Before you purchase a blender you will want to consider a few things to help you narrow down which blender will work best for you.  This can be different from person to person.  Obviously what I may love, may not be best for you.  Here are my top considerations before purchasing your blender!

 

1) Size

When looking at different blenders you need to consider the size of not only the blender pitcher but also the entire blender.  This is important because depending on what you have available for storage in your home this may make or break your choice.  If you want to leave the blender on the countertop, will the height allow it to fit under your cupboards?  If you plan to put it away in a cupboard between uses, what available space do you have and will the blender fit?

2) Capacity

Different blenders allow for different capacities for their blender pitchers.  If you plan to only use it for single serve, it may not be wise to splurge on a typically more costly full size blender.  But if you have a family or make larger quantities at one time, you may want a larger pitcher size.  An even better option for some is a blender that can come with both options!

3) Accessories Included

Like I mentioned above, you may want more then just the standard blender.  Different brands come with different accessories.  This can include single serve cups and a separate food processor amongst others.  Decide what you need and stick with that.  You will have less extra ‘stuff' to find a storage spot for! 

4)  Price 

Just like most things in life, price needs to be a considering factor when deciding on the blender that you will purchase.  Price can vary immensely.  But the great thing is that even the more budget friendly blenders can function quite well!  You can save money by not purchasing extra accessories too if they aren't needed.  

5) Ease of Use

Again depending on what you are going to use your blender for you may need very little as far as different speeds and settings go.  If one blender looks too complicated, pick a different one that is more streamlined.  Along with ease of use, I would consider if it looks like it will be easily cleaned up.  Specifically, being able to remove the blade to get it clean helps so much and it takes so much less time too!

6) Power

The power of your blender will be measured in watts.  Higher watts equals more power.  Again, depending on what you plan to use your blender for you may not need to purchase the blender with the most power, however you want to make sure you have enough.      

I have tested many blenders to find my favorites!

 

Best Overall Blender – Ninja

My top pick for Best Overall Blender is the Ninja.  The Ninja has so much to offer!  From choices of accessories, to high power to super easy to clean, I really think the Ninja has it all.  Not to mention all of this and you can get it for an affordable price!

Ninja Blender Reviews

Suzi's Brother Matt and sister in law Ama's Review- My brother Dr. Wholeness and his wife have the Ninja Blender that they have been very satisfied with!  It is easy to clean, and they use it nearly everyday.  My brother is a Naturopathic Physician and is constantly using it for smoothies and healthy vegan ice cream recipes.  You could say it gets well loved! They also had a Vitamix for years but have since become avid Ninja fans because it works just as good for them and is so much less expensive than a Vitamix.  So much so, that my brother asked for a Ninja for his birthday!  They find the power in the blender is just as powerful as the Vitamix.  They typically make smoothies, dressings and ice cream with it.  They love the single serve option and the option to use the large pitcher too.

Gurl Gone Green Team Member Becky's Review- I have had my Ninja blender for nearly 5 years.  Mine came with the full sized blender, 2 individual cups and a food processor.  I initially wanted this blender as a means to make pureed baby food for my youngest.  I had used a smaller, cheaper blender to make purees for my first child and that didn't hold up at all!  I have been very happy with this blender overall.  However, initially when Suzi asked me what I thought about my Ninja I told her I wasn't sure I was satisfied because lately it was leaving some chunks of fruit or ice in my smoothies and not blending them completely.  After looking into it I was able to purchase a new blade for just $30.  Since replacing the blade (it has been 5 years so I don't think that is unreasonable!) my smoothies are so smooth and creamy again.  I love that my blender is functioning like new and I didn't have to spend much.  I don't really use the individual cups often but I do like that I have the option if I wanted to.  We love to use our food processor for fresh salsa in the summers and it is the only food processor we have.  The use of the blender is also super simple and easy.  My kids like to help make smoothies and it literally takes the push of 2 buttons, which makes them happy to be involved:)  Clean up is so easy since the blade comes out.  I just make sure to rinse immediately so nothing gets dried on.  I definitely recommend the blender overall!

Suzi's Review- I recently bought a Ninja Blender at Costco and let's just say I've fallen hard for it!  I had heard rave reviews from so many people.  The final straw was my brother and sister in law saying how much they liked it even over their Vitamix- hello!  I have had a Blendtec for nearly seven years and while I have loved it, I was starting to have issues with cleaning the single serve cup.  I will go more in detail on that in the Blendtec review below.  I finally caved and bought a Ninja!  It was normally $129.99 at Costco but it was on sale for $99.99!  The blender came with 2 single serve cups and a large pitcher.  I love so many features about it!  First, it suctions to the counter, so you don't have to worry about your blender moving around- it stays put.  I also love how the large pitcher's blade is removable, makes it easy to clean.  The blade also goes all the way up to the top of the lid, totally different compared to most blender blades that stay just at the bottom.  The two to go cups are awesome too!  They really make whipping up sauces, or smoothies so easy.  I love that one of the to go cups has a built in tamper, making it easy to achieve thicker smoothie bowls.  I still can't believe that the blender was only $100!  Such a steal for an amazing kitchen gadget that literally can be used for so many things!  Check out Ninja here! 

So many good blender options!

 

Best Budget Blender – NutriBullet

I wanted to offer a budget option for a blender because I don't want cost to deter anyone from adding a blender into their kitchen.  The Nutribullet has been a great addition for my hubs so he can get his smoothie in at work.  Super convenient, cost effective and functional!

Nutribullet Blender Review

Suzi's Review- I never considered myself a blender novice but I think I am!  My husband had been wanting to take a blender to his work to blend up his smoothies.  He does intermittent fasting and doesn't eat until 10.  He makes his smoothie at home in the single serve cups and then brings it to work, sticks it in the fridge and then blends it when he's ready to eat.  I wanted to find a relatively inexpensive blender since it was just going to be used for blending smoothies.  I read about Nutribullet online and then discovered they had them at Costco!  For $100 you get the Blender base, large pitcher and two single serve to go cups.  The reviews were pretty great, so I snagged one up for him.  I was impressed too that it had a tamp for the large pitcher as well.  Really makes it nice when you are making an extra thick smoothie or bowl and have lots of frozen fruit.  

The base also suctions to the counter making it nice when you blend.  My hubs has loved it!  I've had him bring it home several times to test out making different things as well.  It's easy to clean and really has a lot of power overall.  If you're deciding between this and the Ninja I would still go with the Ninja personally!  The Ninja is normally $30 more but like I said Costco was having a sale on it and so it was the same price as the Nutribullet.  However, I've checked Nutribullet's website and they are having a Father's Day sale right now.  For all orders of $100 or more you can save $20 off!  They even have some smaller options if you just want a single serve blender.  Check out Nutribullet here!

I have had my Blendtec blender for almost 7 years

 

Best High Speed Blender – Blendtec & KitchenAid

Simply put a high speed blender is typically just more powerful than other blenders. The motors have more horsepower and the blades are stronger. Unfortunately they also come with a higher price tag.  If you are a serious smoothie lover, like making your own nut butters or homemade flours then you could definitely consider on of these blenders!

KitchenAid Pro Blender Review

Lisa/This Organic Girl Review- My friend Lisa from This Organic Girl has had her KitchenAid Pro Blender for 4 years.  In the 4 years of having this blender she rates her satisfaction with it as neutral. She typically makes smoothies, soups and coffee with her blender.  She loves that the size is quite large and it can hold a lot.  It is also a ‘beast' at blending.  However, over this same time she has noted some things she isn't loving about it.  It has started to leak at the bottom.  Which after I looked around at other reviews I found other people saying this and it looks like this isn't an uncommon complaint.  One review I found stated they had to tighten it before every use.  Lisa said that she thinks it could be easily fixed, but wasn't sure how to do it.  She also finds that this blender is good for large batches of an item, but if you want to do smaller batches/single serve type mixing the base is so wide that the blade sits above ingredients (this applies to less than a cup or two).  Check out the KitchenAid Blender here!

Blendtec Blender Review

Suzi's Review- As I mentioned earlier, I've had my Blendtec for almost 7 years.  I originally bought the Total Blender Classic Blender and then 2 years ago graduated to the Designer 725.  I have loved both of the blenders.  I got the Designer 725 because I wanted to use a single cup on it and not just the large pitcher.  It also had more power with some more options on the display menu.  With the first Blendtec Blender Classic I used the Twister jar the most.  It's smaller and really was perfect for making single serve smoothies or dressings, pesto- really any sauce.  I also loved it because it made nut butter so easily!  I used to make my own nut butter a ton- then I had 3 kids! 🙂 It's nice because you can use the Twister Jar on any of the Blendtec Blender Bases and the Blendtec GO cup– the single serve cup.  I don't think the Designer 725 has that much more to offer personally compared to the Total Blender Classic, other than the ability to offer more options on the LED screen, a higher watt overall at 1,800 and a slightly quieter noise level when blending.  It does have an 8 year warranty whereas the Classic only has 2 years.  The Classic also only offers 1,560 watts for power.  I didn't notice a huge difference in performance though overall.  I guess if it's worth paying another $300 for the extras then it would be great but if not then stick with the classic.  The one more pro I would say about the 725 Blendtec Blender is you can pretty much put the blender on and leave compared to the Total Blender Classic.  However, it's still not as great as the Ninja, since the Ninja has a suction base and doesn't move at all!

The biggest issue I had overall with the Blendtec Blender is the Blendtec GO single serve cup.  It was SO hard to clean and it just got annoying.  There is a red rubber ring around the base of the Blendtec GO cup and it was always coming out and impossible to keep clean.  I've soaked it in everything I can think of, scrubbed it with a bristle pad, run it through the dishwasher and it still has black crud stuck to it.  This is why I eventually broke down and bought the Ninja.  I didn't want to use the single serve cup anymore and since that was what I used the most, I ended up not using my blender.  I wish somehow they would fix the rubber seal.  Check out Blendtec Blenders here!

An immersion blender is so convenient!

 

Best Immersion Blender – Cuisinart

You can add convenience to your kitchen with an immersion blender.  These are smaller in size when compared to a countertop blender and can easily blend within a pot, jar or bowl.  This makes clean up a breeze! 

Cuisinart Immersion Blender Review

Suzi's Review- I can't recommend getting an immersion blender enough!  It works so well at pureeing soups, sauces, making homemade whip cream- it does so much.  It's so easy to remove the handle and easily clean too.  I use this at least once a week in my kitchen for something.  They are close to $40 too and really can make a huge difference in the kitchen when cooking.  I wanted to include an immersion blender in my blender reviews too since often you don't want to pour hot liquids in a plastic pitcher and blend.  Instead an immersion blender comes in so handy because you can easily just stick it right into the pot and blend that way and it's stainless steel and not plastic. A total worthwhile kitchen investment in my opinion!  Get one here.

If you liked this smoothie post, check out past posts below:

 

 

Filtered Water 2021 Ultimate Guide | Is it Better?

Filtered Water 2021 Ultimate Guide | Is it Better?

If you are trying to improve your health then the amount of water you drink in a day is probably something you have put some attention to.  But have you ever looked at the type of water you are drinking or (the scary part) what else could be lurking in your glass of water?!   I am diving in today to help you make a better choice when it comes to the source of your water so you can make an informed decision for you and your family!

*Affiliate Disclosure: I do have affiliate links in this blog post. If you purchase something from my link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.  This comes at no cost to you, but is paid by the company.  I do not take becoming an affiliate with any company lightly.  If I am, it’s because I believe in the company and their product. 

Suzi(Gurl Gone Green) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

 

Types Of Water

If you have looked at the beverage section of any grocery store or convenience store it is easy to see that there are so many different water choices to quench your thirst. The water types I am going to look closer at include: tap water, filtered water, spring water, distilled water and purified water.  I am also sharing with you my top choices for at home water filtration.  

 

Tap Water

Tap water is simply the water you get that comes straight out of your faucet at home.  This water is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), who sets legal limits on over 90 contaminants. (1)  These contaminants can include anything from microorganisms, disinfectants and their byproducts, chemicals and more.  

What is important for you to consider is what is in YOUR tap water as it can differ greatly by location.  You can easily access this information in a couple ways.  

  • First, tap water suppliers publish their water quality tests. This report is called a Consumer Confidence Report and should be mailed out yearly.  You can also call your utility and ask for a copy or look here to see if it is online.
  • Secondly, you can go to the EWG’s National Tap Water Database and enter your zip code.  Here it will show you any contaminants found that exceed the Environmental Working Group’s health guidelines.  These are different and more stringent than the EPA’s legal limits.  

A reminder that legal levels don’t always mean safe as legal limits for contaminants in tap water have not been updated in almost 20 years and therefore may not meet the most recent health guidelines if you follow the EPA’s levels. 

Also, don’t forget that not only is chlorine added to kill bacteria but also more tap water than not has had fluoride added to it.  While many say that this is to protect teeth from decay, countries that don’t have fluoride added to their drinking water have also seen a drop in cavities amongst children. (2)  Add the concern of health risks associated with consuming a neurotoxin and it makes looking into other water sources a must!

 

Filtered Water

Filtered water is water that has gone through further purification to remove any impurities from the water.  One thing that is super important to consider is that no one filter is one size fits all.  You will need to consider what is in your tap water before choosing a filter.  You can go to the Environmental Working Group’s National Tap Water Database and based on your zip code it will also recommend what kind of water filter you need to remove the specific impurities and contaminants in your water. These include:

  • Activated Carbon: Is a common method used in water filtration that is found in many filter systems.  The carbon filter removes contaminants through adsorption (basically the carbon uses a magnetic-like pull on certain contaminants and traps them within the pores of the surface while the water flows through).  The effectiveness of a carbon filter can vary greatly from one to another.  Some will only remove chlorine (which improves taste and odor), while others are certified to removed asbestos, lead, mercury and volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.
  • Reverse Osmosis: This is a system that begins with activated carbon to remove contaminants.  It then will take it a step further and the water will pass through a semipermeable membrane that will block any particles that are larger than a water molecule.  This can include: arsenic, fluoride, hexavalent chromium, nitrates and perchlorate.  Unfortunately, it also includes the removal of minerals from the water like calcium, magnesium, etc. 

 

Spring Water

Spring water is water that has been harvested from a natural spring.  To understand fully what that means as far as drinking spring water, it is important to know what a spring is.

A spring is a water resource formed when the side of a hill, a valley bottom or other excavation intersects a flowing body of groundwater at or below the local water table, below which the subsurface material is saturated with water. (3)

Spring water is typically rich in minerals giving it an extra crisp taste to it.  One thing to be noted about spring water is that it shouldn’t be assumed that it doesn’t have contaminants in it.  Bottled water is regulated by the FDA and doesn’t have as stringent of guidelines as the EPA does for tap water.  That is why it is so important to know the source of your spring water. I LOVE Mountain Valley Spring Water.  On their website is a Water Quality Report so I know exactly what I am drinking. PLUS, it gets delivered in glass bottles.  No plastic!  The glass is better for the environment, avoids leaching of any chemicals into the water and helps to maintain the high quality of water and taste. So good!

Distilled Water

This type of water is steam that is collected from boiling water that is then cooled and returned to a liquid form.  This process will remove minerals, many microbes and some chemicals that have a higher boiling point than water.  And while this type of water is safe to drink according to WebMD, (4) many will find it bland as it doesn't have any minerals in it.

Purified Water

This is water that is nearly free of chemicals and microbes.  This is achieved through some of the methods previously mentioned including reverse osmosis or distillation.  Purified water must meet the U.S. Pharmacopeia definition of purified water, which is that it must not contain more than 10 parts per million of total dissolved solids and depending on the type of treatment it has gone through it may also be free of microbes. (5)

 

My Favorite Filters:

 

Clearly Filtered is the best pitcher water filter I've found on the market!

 

Clearly Filtered – Water Pitcher (budget friendly) or Under the Sink-

I was so excited when I found this water filter!  I often share about water filters but they usually come with a heftier price tag. Not Clearly Filtered!  This is a great budget friendly option for your home.  Coming in at $75, this is a huge savings from many standard water filters.  This isn't like most of the water pitchers on the market either!  What makes it different?  Allow me to explain.

  • Only pitcher independently tested to NSF standards 42, 53, 244, 401 & 473
  • Removes Fluoride, Lead, BPA, Glyphosate, PFOAs, Hormones & over 220 of the most harmful tap water impurities
  • Retains the natural minerals & nutrients found in the water

Clearly Filtered uses a unique Affinity Filtration System to filter the water.  It uses magnet like chemical absorption, as well as the physical structure to ensure the best filtration.  Opposed to having a straight line to work through the contaminants have to move through a series of twists and turns.  This makes it a slower process which ensures you're getting the most contaminants out of your water!  Often times other filters will create great tasting water with simple carbon filters but don't address the chemical contaminants. Clearly Filters does!  They don't just stop with chemicals, they also remove physical contaminants, radiological, and biological.  All at 99.9%!  You can check out their performance data on their website here.  The big kicker is that it doesn't remove all the beneficial minerals!  They keep out the bad stuff and keep the good stuff.  Check out the pitcher option here!

*I also wanted to mention their 3-Stage Under The Sink Water Filtration System as an option as well.  Although it's a lot pricier overall it's still less expensive then many options out there when it comes to water filtration.  It installs under your sink, doesn't require a plumber and can be done in 10 minutes.  I also love that that the hoses are stainless steel.  It's also great for renters because it can easily be removed.  Check it out here!

 

I've had the Berkey water filter for 10 years!

Berkey

This is the water filtration system that I have and love!  I've used it for 10 years now. This filters out everything, even fluoride with their fluoride filter.  I would recommend for most average size families the Big Berkey– which is what we have, but you may want a smaller one or larger one depending on family size.  I always tell people to think about not just drinking water but also water that you use to cook with.  It might seem like a lot initially but really you go through the water quick for daily use.  Once you buy it, you will only have to replace the filters every couple years, except the fluoride filter usually every 8-12 months.  A worthwhile investment knowing you will have clean water for a lifetime!   

The black Berkey water purification element is what removes majority of the contaminants.  They trap the contaminants with micro-pores and then absorb them so they don't get passed to your drinking water.

Here are the contaminants they remove:

  • Viruses
  • Pathogenic Bacteria
  • Chlorine and Chloramine
  • Heavy Metals
  • Aluminums 
  • Pharmaceutical Drugs
  • It also can remove or reduce gasoline, arsenic, nitrites, petroleum products, rust and silt.

*If you also get the fluoride filter- which is a totally separate filter besides the black Berkey water purification element, you will be filtering out fluoride, which I highly recommend as well!

We have the Big Berkey water filter.  We initially had the Travel Berkey, but that was too small as our family has grown. I also have the Berkey shower filter and love that too.  Check out Berkey here!

Mountain Valley Spring water is the purest natural water.

Mountain Valley Spring Water-

This is the last water recommendation I love.  I've been getting this water delivered to my home for the last year.  It's fresh spring water from the spring in the Ouachitas Mountains.  The water is sodium free and has a naturally detoxifying pH blend of calcium, magnesium and potassium. 

Their water is tested for contaminants.  

Our natural spring water is tested regularly for any trace of multiple organic and inorganic chemicals that are regulated by the FDA. Additionally, we also measure and test for any presence of unregulated contaminants. No contaminants were detected above the FDA’s allowable limits in our testing. Mountain Valley Spring water meets all standards of quality water established by the FDA.

Check out their water quality report here.

They bottle their water in glass to preserve it's freshness and taste.  So you don't have to be concerned with plastics leaching into the water.  I get their 5 gallon water jugs delivered to my house every month.  I love knowing that I have pure spring drinking water always.  You might wonder why drink spring water when you have a Berkey?  Great question.  Spring water is full of all the essential minerals.  It also is very pure unlike most city water. Even with the Berkey purifying it, spring water in my opinion still is the cleaner option.  It's the way nature intended water to be- untouched.  I love my Berkey and think it's a good investment because no matter what happens in the world you always have the option of filtering your own water with a Berkey.  However, I like to still drink the spring water on a consistent basis.  Our family gets 5 gallon glass jugs per month and it's the perfect amount for us. 

Check to see if they deliver Mountain Valley Spring Water in your area here!

I hope this was helpful when looking for filtered drinking water for your family.  

 

If you liked this post, be sure to check out past posts below:

 

References:

  1. Drinking Water Regulations (n.d.) Environmental Protection Agency.  Retrieved from: https://www.epa.gov/dwreginfo/drinking-water-regulations
  2. Davis, Nicole. (2016).  Is Fluoridated Drinking Water Safe?  Harvard Public Health Magazine.  Retrieved from: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/magazine/magazine_article/fluoridated-drinking-water/
  3. Springs and The Water Cycle. (n.d.)  U.S. Geological Survey.  Retrieved from: https://www.usgs.gov/special-topic/water-science-school/science/springs-and-water-cycle?qt-science_center_objects=0#qt-science_center_objects
  4. Distilled Water. (n.d.) Nourish by WebMD.  Retrieved from: https://www.webmd.com/diet/distilled-water-overview#1
  5. Water Health Series: Bottled Water Basics (Sept 2005). Environmental Protection Agency.  Retrieved from: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-11/documents/2005_09_14_faq_fs_healthseries_bottledwater.pdf 

 

 

Pique Tea Ultimate Guide (2021 Review)

Pique Tea Ultimate Guide (2021 Review)

I am so excited to share with you my review of Pique Tea.  Pique Tea has been a newer find for me and I am so glad to have discovered this brand.  If you are looking for top notch tea that tastes so good, and is antioxidant rich, look no further!  And it’s not just about taste, don’t forget about all the health benefits that come with drinking tea (digestive improvement, increased energy, immune support, etc).  With all this considered, it was basically a no brainer that I needed to share about this brand with you.  My guide has all the information you will want to know about Pique Tea and reviews of their different teas.

Affiliate Disclosure: I do have affiliate links in this blog post. If you purchase something from my link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.  This comes at no cost to you, but is paid by the company.  I do not take becoming an affiliate with any company lightly.  If I am, it’s because I believe in the company and their product. 

Sharing an in depth review of Pique Tea.

 

Tea Overview

For you to really realize how truly unique Pique Tea is, I felt the need to share with you a little more about tea in general and why, if you don’t already should look into the brand and quality of the tea you drink.

“Tea is the world’s second most popular drink, after water.  Every day the world’s population consumes more than 2 billion cups of tea. Tea is grown commercially in more than 60 countries and yields an annual harvest of more than 5 million tons of leaves.” (1)

With this high level of  consumption it only makes sense that there is also a high level of pesticides and chemicals being used to meet the demand of the market.  And scary enough research is showing these chemicals used are showing up in your daily cup (or more) of tea! 

Here are just a few examples of this:

“CBC News/Canada did independent testing of the top 10 brands of tea in Canada.  Half of the teas tested contained pesticide residues above the allowable limits in Canada. And eight of the 10 brands tested contained multiple chemicals, with one brand containing residues of 22 different pesticides.” (2)

“An independent study by Glaucus Research Group showed that 91% of Celestial Seasonings’ teas violated United States pesticide standards (CFR Title 40 Section 180) and contained traces of known or possible human carcinogens.” (3)

And to make matters worse, many teas aren’t even washed before they are put in a tea bag.  That means that those chemicals that were sprayed on the plant are going to go straight into your cup.  And it’s not just the chemicals and pesticides used on the tea crops, but it also matters what your tea bags are made of.

“Researchers at McGill University tested four different commercial teas packaged in plastic teabags.  Using electron microscopy, the team found that a single plastic tea bag at brewing temperature released about 11.6 billion microplastic and 3.1 billion nanoplastic particles into the water.” (4)

Yikes! When you consider how much tea can be drunk over a year or even a lifetime, all good reasons to look for a clean tea option to minimize your toxic load and exposure.  And that’s where Pique Tea comes in!

Shop all of Pique Tea here!

 

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About Pique Tea

Pique Tea is a unique and innovative brand of tea. As shared on their website, they use 4 pillars to make better products. (5

These include:

  1. Sourcing from family run farms around the world resulting in the highest quality organic tea leaves and herbs.
  2. Using Cold Extraction Technology to extract antioxidants and phytonutrients in whole form.
  3. Using concentrated, whole plant compounds in their products, allowing for maximum phytonutrients to be consumed and therefore the tea drinker will get the most benefit from the products.
  4. Using triple toxin screening to ensure a pure product.This is huge!  It includes screening for pesticides, heavy metals and toxic mold.  If you are going to be drinking your tea on a regular basis to reap the health benefits, you need to know that it is pure.  And with this testing being done, you will know that your Pique Tea is!  I don't know any other tea company doing this kind of testing- it really is next level.

What are Pique Tea crystals?

Another aspect of Pique tea that makes it so different from other brands is their tea crystals.  When the organic tea leaves are Cold Brew Crystallized the result is not only that 12x the antioxidants are extracted compared to other teas, but also the end product is tea crystals that are able to be dissolved in cold and/or warm water depending on the type of tea.  So neat!  No more tea bags with questionable makeup.  And so easy to use!  They make having a cup of tea so convenient and easy whether I am at home or not.  I can stash a few of the Pique Tea crystal pouches in my purse and I am good to go.  

Types Of Pique Teas

Pique Tea carries a variety of green, black and herbal teas.  They have a great area on their website where you can search by your health needs and see which teas would be best for the area of your health you are most looking to support. 

Areas of health support they highlight are:

  • Immune support
  • Digestion
  • Energy
  • Radiant skin
  • Fasting

 

Love their Hibiscus tea hot or cold!

 

Black Tea vs. Green Tea

Both black tea and green tea come from the plant Camellia sinensis.  Whether the plant produces black tea or green tea is based on how the leaves are processed after picking.  Black tea is picked and allowed to wither whereas green tea is picked and then after potentially being allowed to wither only slightly it is pan-fired, oven dried or steamed.  As the leaves dry out they are going through a process that is known as fermentation.  Fermentation changes the chemical makeup of the tea leaves, and you therefore end up with 2 very different types of tea (because green tea goes through very little if any of this process)!  It also results in the difference in taste, with black tea typically having a more bold and distinct flavor and green tea having a lighter flavor.  

 

Our Favorite Flavors

 

Hibiscus Beauty Elixir- 

I had to try this flavor of course since it's their beauty elixir tea!  Plus, I love hibiscus tea flavor in general.  This is a caffeine free tea that is naturally high in Vitamin C.  It also helps to promote sleep.  It only has three organic ingredients, hibiscus, mint and licorice root.  You can drink it anytime of the day.  It is hot water soluble so you can drink it warm as a traditional tea.  But I love it cold even better!  It dissolves well in cold water too.  What I do is add it to a sparkling water and then add some stevia drops to it- it's a fizzy hibiscus drink!  Tastes like a real refreshing treat but without any sugar or weird additives.  I've even added some organic ginger juice from the brand Ginger People.  It adds a little kick.  My kids also love it!  I've added some lime to it and some stevia drops and they think it's a fun sweet treat!  I can't recommend this one enough.  Great health benefits for the whole family.  I want to try all their herbal tea flavors!  Mint and Ginger are next on my list. Check them all out here!

 

The Reishi Calm Elixir is now my bedtime night cap!

 

Chaga Energy Elixir-

This tea is loaded with all the good stuff!  I got this tea because I loved that it could be an energy booster without the caffeine.  I can't do caffeine and so I wanted to see how this would be as a pick me up.  It contains wild harvested chaga, organic burdock root, and organic N. American ginseng. Chaga has been known to really help with longevity.  Plus, it helps boosts your immune system, and lower inflammation, lower blood sugar and even help fight cancer.  This is a tea that I would drink in the morning or afternoon but not at night.  For me it gives me the energy but without the crash like you can often feel with coffee.  It does taste very earthy, so I like to add some Arroy D coconut milk– (my favorite coconut milk because it's so creamy and no weird additives to it).  I also will add a few stevia drops. I've even steamed some of the coconut milk and it tastes like a latte!  Get it here!

Reishi Calm Elixir-

This tea is amazing!  I've learned a lot about Reishi over the last year and it's amazing benefits and knew I wanted to try Pique's Reishi Calm Elixir when I saw it.  Reishi has long been used to as a calming and stress reducing tonic.  It has been shown to help with sleep issues and to calm the nervous system.  Research has shown that the combination of polysaccharides and triterpenoid compounds working together give Reishi it's stress-lowering capacity(6).  Besides having so many other benefits from supporting the immune system to blood sugar control, heart health and anti-cancer properties.  It's basically super beneficial for your body in so many forms!  I will make a cup about an hour before bed and sip on it to help it calm my body and mind.  I'll add some Arroy D coconut milk to it sometimes or a little stevia. It tastes earthy but not as earthy as the Chaga Energy Elixir.  It's more palatable in my opinion and has a more mild taste with a touch of natural sweetness.  It really does calm my body overall and help me sleep.  I noticed just a sense of well being and feeling soothed before bed.  It's my bedtime elixir now!  Get it here!

 

These Pique Tea Daily Immune packets are the best! Loaded with Liposomal vitamin c and elderberry!

 

Daily Immune | Elderberry Liposomal Vitamin C

I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t mention this supplement!  Daily Immune is a supplement that is not only good for you but also tastes so good.  That’s a win for me! It is made up of elderberry, sodium ascorbate (a more gentle form of Vitamin C) and liposomes.  It is the liposomes that allow Vitamin C to bypass absorption barriers and get to the cells where it is needed.  This supplement not only supports your immune system, but also healthy skin and aging!  And if it is from Pique, you know the ingredients are pure with no additives, sugar or preservatives.  This is a MUST in my daily routine.  I love how sweet it tastes too!  It's a little post lunch treat I take daily.  It's also super convenient because it comes in packets.  I took this on a recent trip to Arizona and I loved how I didn't have to think about something spilling out all over my suitcase.  Get it here!

*Pique Tea offers so many other options when it comes to tea flavors and benefits.  Be sure to check out all their offerings below!

 

Shop all of Pique Tea here!

 

 

Is Pique Tea Worth It?

Pique tea is definitely more expensive than your average tea you'll find in the store, however, I think it's definitely worth the price if you are a regular tea drinker.  You are going to be assured you're getting the most health benefits from your tea, while at the same time being sure that it's free from harmful chemicals.  I always say it's not the thing you use once in a while that adds a toxic burden, it's the thing you repeatedly use that adds up.  Tea is just another thing people often sip on daily, so it's important to know your tea brand and sourcing to make sure you're enjoying your cup of tea without the added toxins.

 

If you liked this post, be sure to check out these past posts:

 

References: 

  1. Drew, Laim. The Growth Of Tea. (2019 Feb 06). Nature.  Retrieved from: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-00395-4
  2. Griffin-Green, Megan.  Pesticide traces in some tea exceed allowable limit.  (2014 March 08).  CBC.  Retrieved from: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/pesticide-traces-in-some-tea-exceed-allowable-limits-1.2564624
  3. Campbell, Abby.  Popular natural and organic tea companies violate pesticide laws.  (2015 Nov 06).  NaturalHealth365.  Retrieved from: https://www.naturalhealth365.com/organic-tea-pesticides-1630.html
  4. Some Plastic With Your Tea? (2019 Sep 25).  McGill University.  Retrieve from: https://www.mcgill.ca/newsroom/channels/news/some-plastic-your-tea-300919
  5. How We Make Our Products Better.  (2021).  Pique Tea.  Retrieved from : https://www.piquetea.com/
  6. Tang, Wenbo. A randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled study of a Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharide extract in neurasthenia. National Library of Medicine. (2005 Aug). Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15857210/

 

 

Organic Cotton Sheets

Organic Cotton Sheets

It's here my organic cotton sheets post! Quality sleep is one of those things that is necessary in life, but at times can be hard to come by.  When we get a good night’s sleep it’s good for the body and mind, while a consistently poor night's sleep can wreak havoc in many areas of our life.   

Sleep represents a third of every person’s life and it has a tremendous impact on how we live, function and perform during the other two-thirds of our lives.”  (1)

With sleep being so important, many want to do what we can to support the highest quality of sleep.  This can include many different things, but my focus here will be why it's so very important to know what we are sleeping on.  

For many reasons, cotton is the most popular fabric used to make sheets (and other bedding) and we are going to look closer at why it is so important to buy organic and where you can purchase the best organic cotton sheets.

Sharing the best options for organic cotton sheets.

Why buy organic cotton sheets?

First, cotton is considered to be one of the world’s dirtiest crops as it is known to use extremely high amounts of chemicals.

“Conventional cotton production soaks up 16-25% of the total pesticides produced worldwide, even though the crop itself only covers about 2.5% of the world’s total agricultural land.” (2)

And when you consider that bed sheets often contain formaldehyde, dyes and conventional softeners, this can create a recipe for a toxic sleep experience!  

When detoxing your home, in my opinion, it isn’t always reasonable to throw out all of your bedding at once and buy new.  However, you can start with one room and just do it as you are able or as you are needing new.  When changing out your bedding, it’s so important to remember the little ones in your life.  If you have ever been around children or babies, it’s generally known that they have more sensitive skin and this is due to the structure of their skin.

“Babies have a higher ratio of skin surface area to body volume, which means they absorb chemicals easier. Their skin is actually 30 percent thinner than adults.” (3)

With so many different certifications and claims made by different companies it’s hard to know which brands are best.  Below is what I like to look for when choosing cotton sheets for my family.

There are important things to consider when looking for organic cotton sheets.

What to look for when buying organic sheets?

  • Look for sheets that are certified organic by the GOTS- Global Organic Textile Standard. This is the world's leading textile processing authority for organic fibers.  It is the toughest organic textile standard because it goes far beyond verifying just the organic farming process.  It also includes every step of manufacturing and ensures there is no child or slave labor. And, it means the sheets were made using pure and clean standards so you can have peace of mind when purchasing anything with this label. For more info on GOTS click here.
  • Avoid sheets or blankets that say “Wrinkle Resistant”, “Easy Care”, or “Permanent Press.”  These words indicate that formaldehyde resin was used in the process and it will NOT rinse out.  Formaldehyde can actually leak out through washing, wearing, or using process.  And, if you are familiar at all with formaldehyde you know that it is used for preservation….in embalming. 
  • BE AWARE- Just because you have sheet sets that say “organic cotton” does not mean they're certified organic.  It may indicate the cotton was grown organically but after that the fabric was processed with toxic chemicals.
  • Look for Oeko- Tex Certified Sheets.  These sheets may not be grown organically but they are tested for unhealthy chemicals in the final product.  These often tend to be a little less expensive and easier to find. For more on Oeko- Tex Certification click here.

 

Where to buy organic cotton sheets?

Thankfully, there are many places to access organic cotton sheets at all prices points.  Below I am sharing some of my favorite places.

 

Coyuchi sheets, these are the bees knees when it comes to organic sheets!

Coyuchi

Coyuchi was the first to bring organic cotton linens to the market 30 years ago.  Coyuchi founder, Christine Nielson, found a love for hand woven fabrics on a community development project that took her to Oaxaca, Mexico.  It was on this trip that she first heard the word ‘coyuchi,’ which refers to the natural brownish color of cotton. She combined this interest in hand woven products with her commitment to being sustainable and pesticide free to create the company that is today.  Coyuchi adheres to the strictest certifications for environmental and social protection – this is the GOTS certification.

*My Thoughts on Coyuchi:

I had heard so much about Coyuchi for years and finally bought some several months ago to try for all of you!  Let's be honest, I was super intrigued too and wanted to see what all the fuss was about.  I had heard so much about Coyuchi and was giddy to finally get my hands on a set of their 300 Thread Count Organic Cotton Sheets.  These sheets are a cut above and worth the money in my opinion.  They feel silky soft on the skin and hold up well in washings.  I wash my sheets every two weeks.  They don't wrinkle as easy as other sheets I find too which I appreciate.  Sometimes I feel sateen sheets can feel extra heavy but these don't feel that way.  They have a lightness to them.  I have the color Mid Gray.  My husband is obsessed with them!  He has told me multiple times how he feels they keep him cooler at night.  Which is saying a lot from someone who is a hot sleeper.  If sateen sheets aren't your thing, they also have percale, linen, jersey and flannel.  Check out Coyuchi Sheets here!

These sheets have been around forever!

The Company Store 

Down products were The Company Store’s first claim to fame as a nearly 100 year old company.  The down products (including comforters, pillows and feather beds) were based on the down comforters and feather beds made by Scandinavian immigrants to keep warm during extreme Wisconsin winters.  Thankfully The Company Store now carries so much more than down products.  They adhere to the strictest of standards not just for their premium raw materials, but also to ensure the health and safety of those that make the products.  These standards that are followed allow them to carry the GOTS certification among many others.  You can feel confident when you shop with The Company Store!

My Thoughts on The Company Store:

This is my newest addition to our sheet collection and I have to say I'm loving them!  I purchased the Percale Organic Cotton Sheet set for both my girls.  They tend to run warm when they sleep and wanted something a little cooler for them.  Plus, I liked the price of The Company Store sheets for kids.  They are cool feeling on the skin and crisp.  I tested them out too and love how cool they keep you.  They don't feel heavy at all.  They hold up well in the wash too.  I got them the color Petal Pink which is the perfect blush pink.  I also like how The Company Store is always having sales!  You can definitely score 20% off pretty consistently.  Even though not all their sheets are organic, they do carry the OEKO-TEX Certification which ensures the final product has been tested for harmful contaminants.  Check out all The Company Store sheets here!

I've had these organic sheets for years.

Sol Organics 

Sol Organics was founded in 2010 by 2 friends that were looking to bring more ethical integrity to the textile market.  Their cotton sheets are what luxury is made of. They only use trade certified cotton and certified organic cotton.  Their second party certifications include GOTS, Oeko-Tex and FLOCERT- a global fair trade certification.  

My Thoughts on Sol Organics:

I've been using Sol Organics for many years.  They were the first luxury organic sheet I found that really felt luxurious.  They are soft and don't feel heavy.  The more I wash them, the softer they get.  They wear very well too.  I've had mine for well over 3 years and they have stayed very much intact.  I have their Sateen sheets in white, but they also offer percale, and brushed flannel as well.  Another huge perk of Sol Organics is the price!  They are $99 but also have pretty consistent sales on their products.  I love being able to get a luxurious product at a reasonable price.  Also, if you haven't checked out their down comforters, do it!  They are my favorite.  My kids have one and so do my husband and I.  Check out my full review here.  Check out Sol Organics Sheets here!

I was surprised how much I loved these sheets!

Parachute

Parachute was launched in 2014 to create top notch bedding for your home.  All of their bedding meets and exceeds both Oeko-Tex certification and REACH protocol requirements.  REACH Protocol is a European Union regulation “that holds manufacturers responsible for the safety and health of both humans and the environment, instructing them to identify and limit the risks of all chemicals used in their processes.” (4)  Parachute uses 100% long-staple Egyptian and Turkish cotton fibers in their bedding and towels that are spun by family-owned factories in Europe.  Every detail has been considered!

My Thoughts on Parachute:

I wasn't planning on testing out Parachute but I'm so glad I did!  I won a pair of their sheets from Beautycounter and was so excited I did.  As mentioned above their bedding is OEKO-TEX certified.  It really delivers clean bedding.  I have the Sateen Sheet set in light Grey.  Upon first touch I was so impressed with the overall feel- they're so buttery soft! This is by far the softest sheet in my opinion.  I felt like my body was being hugged as I climbed into bed.  They wear super well, getting softer with each wash.  They fit the bed really well too.  Something I always love seeing from a good sheet set.  My hubs agrees that these are soft! He still prefers the Coyuchi sheets, but these are a close second he said.  They also have percale, and linen sheets if you want something even lighter and cooler. Check out all their sheets here!

Love these sheets for my kids!

Pottery Barn

Partnering with the GOTS and others, Pottery Barn has a goal to reach 100% responsibly sourced cotton.  Currently, they are at 87% to date and are on track to reach this goal at the end of 2021!  They have some of the best sheet sets that are made from 100% organic cotton percale and both GOTS certified as well as Fair Trade certified. Not to mention, the kids prints are just adorable!

My thoughts on Pottery Barn:

These were the first organic sheets I bought for kids.  I have several sets of their crib sheets and twin sheet sets.  I love the variety of prints that are available.  They really do a great job of offering cute and trendy patterns.  Their crib sheets have held up so well!  I've had them for 7 years and they're still in great condition.  Really impressed with the overall feel and wear.  They don't feel as soft as other sheets.  More of a crisp, cool feeling.  However, this has worked well for my kids who both run a little warm while they sleep.  They also are more budget friendly and are having sales quite often so you're able to snag them for even less.  Overall, I highly recommend for kids and babies.  They are on trend, durable and don't break the bank!  Check out Pottery Barn Sheets here.

An affordable and convenient option for organic sheets is Target!

Target

That’s right…even Target has options for 100% cotton sheets that meet the highest standards for organic textiles!  This means a really great budget option for those that want better quality bed sheets, but aren’t wanting to fork out the price tag that can come with some of the more luxury options.  Target has 100% cotton sheets that are Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX certified and GOTS certified. Love that organic cotton sheets are so easily accessible and even priced right! 

Oh Target! They always seem to come through when it comes to having the best options for a little less.  There are so many things I like about the Target organic sheets.  One they are very accessible.  You can go to any local Target and find organic sheets, which is great.  The second reason is they are also affordable!  You can get a twin sheet set for $28 and a King for as little as $56!  That's a steal!  I've also seen them on sale too.  Third, they last!  I've had our organic Target sheet set for several years and I'm impressed with how well they hold up and how they get softer over time.  They don't feel buttery soft, but more of a crisp feel, but not stiff like a percale.  I actually really like how they feel overall.  They keep me cool at night too.  Highly recommend if you want to save some money, but still have the benefit of an organic sheet!  Check out Target's organic sheets here!

An American made organic sheet brand.

American Blossom Linens

American Blossom Linens really takes their sheets to the next level when it comes to sustainability and overall carbon footprint.  Not only is the organic cotton grown in Texas, but they also make and manufacture their sheets in U.S.  Since they don't outsource overseas, it does result in a higher price tag. However, workers at the Thomaston Mills Plant (that has been in operation for over 100 years) are well taken care of with full benefits and generous wages.  They take pride in ensuring their product is as clean as it gets and that it lasts.  Their sheets fit even the deepest, largest luxury beds, something that can be hard to find.  The sheets are sold directly to you, to ensure a fair price.  One of their hallmarks that sets them apart, is there return policy.  If for any reason you are not satisfied with them after using them you can return for a full refund for up to 2 years!  They also have free shipping to all 50 states!

My thoughts on American Blossom:

Initially, these sheets weren't as soft as I am used to. They are a percale weave which is more crisp than a sateen weave.  For my husband and I the sheets were crisp, sturdy and more of a textured feeling initially.  However, after speaking with American Blossom Linens they informed me they get softer as you wash them and so I did.  It was true!  The more I've washed them the softer they have gotten.   They need to be worn in a bit and then they feel better.  I do love that they are made in the U.S. and really go the extra mile to ensure a safe product.  I am also told they will continue to soften with time and last a lifetime. Check out American Blossom Linens here!

Sheets aren’t the only item to detox for a nontoxic night’s sleep.  Check out the these blog posts for other items in your bedroom that you could swap out for organic options:

References:

  1. The State Of Sleep Health In America  (n.d.)  American Sleep Apnea Association.  Retrieved from: https://www.sleephealth.org/sleep-health/the-state-of-sleephealth-in-america/
  2. Organic cotton: It’s better for the environment, and here’s why (n.d.) Organic Trade Association.  Retrieved from: https://ota.com/organic-cotton-it%E2%80%99s-better-environment-and-here%E2%80%99s-why
  3. Hirsh, Sophie.  Our Guide to Organic Sheets and Organic Mattresses — Eco-Friendly and Non-Toxic Options.  (2019 Aug 30).  Green Matters.  Retrieved from: https://www.greenmatters.com/p/organic-sheets-mattresses-eco-friendly 
  4. Our Products Are Oeko-Tex Certified: What That Means (n.d.)  Parachute Home Blog.  Retrieved from : https://www.parachutehome.com/blog/16-sleep-well-your-bedding-is-made-well

Trust me, I get it, switching products over can be expensive and mentally exhausting. But I’ve taken out the guesswork with my top 10 Best Budget Friendly Green Beauty Swaps!

Trust me, I get it, switching products over can be expensive and mentally exhausting. But I’ve taken out the guesswork with my top 10 Best Budget Friendly Green Beauty Swaps!

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