Archive for the health Category

Eco-friendly Fitness Gear

Posted in Fitness, health with tags , , on March 6, 2009 by MarilynB
Sneaker with Plenty of Wear Remaining

Sneaker with Plenty of Wear Remaining

Most gyms and fitness equipment are far from ecologically sound. Television units on ellipticals play whether or not the elliptical is in use. Power usage for the ellipticals and treadmills are huge. Shoes and equipment are made from petroleum, plastic, and other synthetic compounds. New products with biodegradable and have more natural sources are arriving.

Sneakers have a large environmental impact with plastic, leather, and petroleum sources. Worse is that fitness buffs use them so heavily that it’s easy to wear a pair out in a few months and add them to overflowing landfills. Fortunately shoe companies are stepping up their game by introducing sneakers with more recycled and biodegradable parts. The Keen Coronado Lace Shoe is made from cork and canvas and donates $1 to the National Wildlife Federation for each pair of kids shoes sold. New Balance now offers the New Balance 1224 with a liner that is made from coconut shells. Adidas uses hemp in the adi Grün series and the Brook Trance 8 for running claims to use a nontoxic substance in the sole that breaks down that sole, decreasing mass in landfills. For the sneaker snob, Veja offers exclusive productions runs of 500 sneakers made with Amazonian wild latex and organic cotton grown by small producers in North-eastern Brazil (Do they contribute to deforestation?).

Bottled water costs more than gasoline on average and is extremely wasteful. Common tap water in the U.S. is tested frequently for safety and flavor. Tap water is safe and pleasant. Bottled water is often tap water that has been trucked all over the world. Sometimes it is moved from countries that lack adequate sanitation and drinking sources. Discarded water bottles hit our landfills, where they require generations to degrade. Plastic bottles also include chemicals that can affect human hormones. Plastic is petroleum-based and the US wastes 1.5 million barrels of oil per year producing plastic water bottles.

Instead of buying bottled water, buy a bottle and reuse it. Kleen Kanteen offers a metal bottle that is completely recyclable and is free from plastic. BioGreen bottles are plastic bottles, but they’re 100% biodegradable, recyclable and reusable. On the positive reusable plastic bottles are long lasting and are not designed to join the trash heap when empty.

With a little planning and some help from manufacturers, fitness can be more environmentally friendly. Changing just a couple products like your water bottle and your sneaker can improve the earth while you get fit. We only have one body and one earth so let’s care for both simultaneously.

Spa-lurging?

Posted in beauty, cosmetics, health, services, spa on December 8, 2008 by MarilynB

Nail salons are frightening. Caustic odors from polish, removers, and acrylic nails linger. In open door weather, noxious smells leak out to the street. I fear for the health of the women (and it is almost entirely women who work in these salons), especially those who wear ineffectual filter masks.

The FDA does not regulate cosmetics. Nor does any other agency. Cosmetics often include carcinogens, chemicals that may cause birth defects, and other dangerous chemicals. The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database rates OPI, a popular brand at nail salons, a “moderate health hazard” and notes that the ingredients include neurotoxins, carcinogens, mutagens, cardiopulmonary irritants, and more.

Fortunately Philadelphia has Juju Spa & Organics. MsPhillyOrganic understands that many cosmetics have a long way to go before they can be considered green or organic. Fortunately, according to Juju’s web site, “Juju salon & organics uses only polishes and polish removers that do not contain Phthalates, Formaldehyde, Toulene, Acetone or color lakes (color bases that do not break down in nature).” Simply put, Juju does not smell like a nail salon, in no small part because they do not offer artificial nails. Their products are largely free from the carcinogens, neurotoxins, and other life- and planet-threatening chemicals.

It must be expensive, right? Most nail salons (the kind found on nearly every block in Center City) charge 25 or 30 dollars for a spa pedicure. Toppers Spa charges 68 dollars. Juju charges 42 dollars for a spa pedicure but the regular pedicure is only 32 dollars. The web site has coupons for 10 percent off, which brings the price back below 30 dollars for the regular pedicure.

“But I need my callous removal and scrub and foot washing,” you cry. MsPhillyOrganic recently visited Juju for a pedicure. Michelle didn’t just cut, file, and paint. Before I even sat down, Michelle offered a cup of tea. She also warmed up a mint-scented neck pillow. The pedicure began with a a warm soak in a bowl. Next Michelle applied an oil to treat the cuticles and continued to soak my feet. She followed that with an organic scrub. The pedicure took about 40 minutes.

Sadly I forgot my flipflops and damaged my polish with my sandals. A little more time drying would have prevented that mishap. Ten days after my appointment, the polish still looked great and my feet are still soft. Plus Juju sent a postcard with a handwritten note from Michelle and another 10% discount.

So from Msphillyorganic’s point of view, Juju’s regular pedicure is better than the regular pedicure at typical salons. Not even Topper’s offers tea and a heated neck pillow. No Center City $30 spa pedicure includes these free services (although one salon includes hot stones). Most of them use OPI or similar products. Worse, some of the women who do nails may be victims of human trafficking. Michelle was born in New Jersey and is a licensed and fully trained esthetician. With the reduced environmental impact of Juju’s organic and less toxic products, this was a winner for me and priced comparable to my regular service.

Juju Salon will be moving across the street in the next few months. When that happens, the manicure and pedicure services will move out of the spa area and into the old Salon space. Please contact Juju or check the web site for changes and updates.