Wednesday, November 12, 2008

EXPO EAST: MORE ECO ALTERNATIVES FOR LIVING


PRACTICAL & PRICE SAVVY ALTERNATIVES GOOD FOR THE EARTH
EARTH BALANCE®, TWIST™, ON TRACK SNACKS®, SMASHIES,™ & BLUM NATURALS

Words, Judith Ecochard
Images from Company Websites

What we wear and how we adorn ourselves costs us plenty…
But what’s the point if we fuel/feed with junk. It shows up on our outer selves.

Fortunately, there’s plenty of price competitive, eco alternatives that are better for us and the planet.

EARTH BALANCE®:
Vegan, gluten and GMO free… and naturally free of artery clogging trans-fat, hydrogenated oils and artificial ingredients…Earth Balance is a line of tasty, good for you all natural buttery spreads. Made with a proprietary blend of expeller-pressed oils shown to raise HDL cholesterol (the good one) and lower LDL (the bad) we got to sample some of the new vegan nut butters- the Creamy and Crunchy Peanut Butters.




Right off, we liked the no-stirring necessary consistency… and added ingredients like flax seeds (ALA OMEGA 3) and natural agave syrup, a low glycemic sweetner from the succulent plant.
Health benefits aside… both peanut butters are delicious…with the right smooth texture, feel against our tongue, and ‘spreadability’… and a BIG plus ...a real peanut taste (duh) without the cloying sweetness of leading brands (courtesy of their added corn syrup!).
RETAIL: Widely available across the USA and Canada, SRP $3.99-$4.49 per 16 oz shatter -proof jars.


INFO: EARTH BALANCE NATURALS




TWIST™
Eco-friendly household products seem like a no-brainer. Sure, we bagged the plastic shopping bags (which we sadly learned are collected by grocery stores, and not recycled BUT shipped overseas for incineration). We gave little thought to the sponges and wipesused for clean ups.

In 2006 Eric Wigert and Brian Ross did think about the sponges in their kitchens…and “set out to turn the world of cleaning products on its head-combining design and environmental responsibility to create functional, beautiful, and responsible alternatives."

We tried out the reusable European Sponge Cloth #20 made from cellulose derived from sustainable tree farms. It worked just as well as our usual paper picker upper…and reportedly is equivalent to 17 rolls of paper towels, is dishwasher safe and biodegradable. So it’s cheaper without compromise - priced at $3.99 (3 pk).
We also preferred the Twist Loofah Sponge (in an eye-catching robin’s egg blue color) for scrubbing and washing up over the steel wool alternative- as one side is absorbent and the other side is natural loofah. ($4.99/2 pack).
Why not include TWIST products as part of any housewarming gift or as a bridal registry addition to give with a set of pots/pans.

PACKAGING TIP: Twist paperboard packaging can be converted into bird feeders and mobiles by following included instructions.

RETAIL INFO: The entire line including a Bamboo Cloth and dye-free Naked Sponge…are available at chains like Bed, bath and Beyond, Target, William Sonoma etc as well as Whole Foods.
TWIST CLEAN




ON TRACK SNACKS®
“Bridging the Gap Between Fruit and Candy.”
We usually don’t need to watch our weight, but there was a ‘no time for anything’ spell when we devoured energy bars in a mistaken belief that we could nutritionally fuel on those- without consequences.
HA! We actually felt less than energetic and a bit chunkier for our efforts.
No wonder. The fine print ingredients of these meal alternatives (sic) included high fructose corn syrup (crash and burn worthy), and fruit concentrates (cooked so no inherent nutritional value) and sugar.
Still we like the portability of the bars- so were jazzed to try out On Track Snacks that contains real fruit and real nuts and no added sugars or transfats!

And delivers without the cardboard taste.
Because the bar we sampled, the moist, chewy/crunchy Mixed Berry one- actually contains fruit, we felt better knowing that our 4PM lull had been punched up by a snack containing one serving of fruit (per bar) and is a great source for antioxidants, fiber and omega 3 & 6.
FACTOID: On Track snacks is a natural offshoot of family owned Bouquet of Fruits- a Signatory Company with The Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

The bars (also in YUMMY age friendly Chocolate Cherry Fudge, Strawberry Banana, Peaches & Cream) are VEGAN, KOSHER and HIGH IN FIBER too.
RETAIL INFO: Widely available in schools and stores
ON TRACK SNACKS




SMASHIES®
Talk about a food product that every parent will covet. Even the childfree will toss a squeezable no mess pouch of organic, no added sugar Smashie applesauce into a bag or knapsack. Portable, no mess packaging … and healthy too. Nice.

THE 411:
Each 3.2 oz pouch ($1.49- or online at $9.99 for a ten pack) contains a blend of USDA Organic Red and Golden Delicious Apples (no high fructose corn syrup!), low calorie (50 calories) and packed with 25% of daily required Vitamin C.

Founded by Karsten Robbins---an entrepreneurial parent with all-natural juice blends’ experience.

RETAIL INFO:
SMASHIES









BLUM NATURALS:

Portable cleansing towelettes for on-the-go scrub downs are handy. It makes sense that users (us) would want to wipe up with all natural products.

Newbie skincare line Blum Naturals had cleansing towelettes and scrubs for many skin types-making their debut at Expo East.

We test drove the Exfoliating Skin Towelettes ($6.99)- that are are hypoallergenic, alcohol free and PH balanced and FREE OF paraben, SLS, and any kind of synthetic preservatives-
after a particularly challenging hike.

We felt refreshed and revived afterwards (well, our faces anyway).

As founder Albert Savdie notes:

“Our products are infused with natural plant extracts, fruit sugars and nourishing antioxidants that easily remove waterproof makeup.” They are hypoallergenic, alcohol free and PH balanced. They are also Paraben-free, SLS free, and free of any kind of synthetic preservatives.

RETAIL INFO: BLUM NATURALS