Tag Archives: natural

Cinco de Mayo 2-Layer Nachos with Avocado Cilantro Sauce

 

Who doesn’t love nachos?  Enjoy Cinco de Mayo!

NPNachos1

Nachos

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients
  • 1 14 ounce bag tortilla chips
  • 1 pound ground meat (turkey or beef)
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 1 handful kale
  • 1 10 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 10 ounce bag of shredded cheese (taco or mexican blend)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Avocado Cilantro Sauce

  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 1 lime
  • 1 avocado
  • 8 ounces sour cream
Directions
  1. Chop onions and saute in olive oil.
  2. Add meat, stir.  Once meat is brown add water and taco seasoning. Remove from heat once cooked.
  3. Place tortilla chips on a cooking sheet, making sure the bottom of the pan is completely covered.
  4. Add a layer of seasoned meat followed by tomatoes, and cheese.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4.
  6. Cover cookie sheet with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees F for ~20 minutes.
  7. While nachos are baking, peel and pit avocado, then place cilantro, sour cream and juice from 1 lime into a blender.  Blend until smooth.
  8. Remove foil and place kale over nachos and drizzle avocado cilantro sauce over.
  9. Enjoy!

This is a really easy recipe to make!  You can add or take away ingredients as you please.  For example, add black beans, jalepenos, mushrooms, corn, etc.  You can serve with basic sour cream and/or salsa, or eat as is.  Wash it down with your favorite beverage!

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E-Commerce: Convenience Built on a Mountain of Cardboard

Have you ever thought of the environmental impacts of your online shopping?  You may (or may not) be buying all natural and organic products online to decrease the use of toxic chemicals and your environmental impact, but you still have an impact!  The old cliché fits here: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

By MATT RICHTEL–Februay 16, 2016

Ruchit Garg, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, says that he worries that something isn’t right with his Internet shopping habit. With each new delivery to his doorstep — sometimes several in a day — he faces the source of his guilt and frustration: another cardboard box.

Then, when he opens the shipment, he is often confronted with a Russian nesting doll’s worth of boxes inside boxes to protect his electronics, deodorant, clothing or groceries. Mr. Garg dutifully recycles, but he shared his concerns recently on Twitter.

A handful of scientists and policy makers are circling the same question, grappling with the long-term environmental effect of an economy that runs increasingly on gotta-have-it-now gratification. This cycle leads consumers to expect that even their modest wants can be satisfied like urgent needs, and not always feel so great about it.

The new arms race for Internet retailers is speed, making the old Federal Express commercial, “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight,” seem as quaint as delivery by horse and buggy. Amazon boasted in a news release in December about its “fastest order delivered to date” — a Miami customer’s craving for a four-pack of Starbucks vanilla frappuccino was sated in 10 minutes flat.

In 10 major regions, Google Express delivers in a little less than two hours from dozens of stores — including toys, drugs, hardware and pet supplies. Postmates, a San Francisco start-up, promises deliveries in less than an hour. It dropped off nearly one million packages in December.

Over all, the $350 billion e-commerce industry has doubled in the last five years, with Amazon setting the pace. Its Prime membership service has grown to more than 50 million subscribers, by one estimate. (And its new faster service, Prime Now, can “get customers pretty much anything in minutes,” its website says).

Uber calls its new UberRush service “your on-demand delivery fleet”; Jet Delivery offers “white glove” service in less than two hours; Instacart can deliver groceries to your door in less than an hour.

The environmental cost can include the additional cardboard — 35.4 million tons of containerboard were produced in 2014 in the United States, with e-commerce companies among the fastest-growing users — and the emissions from increasingly personalized freight services.

“There’s a whole fleet of trucks circulating through neighborhoods nonstop,” said Dan Sperling, the founding director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis, and the transportation expert on the California Air Resources Board. He also is overseeing a new statewide task force of trucking companies and government officials trying to reduce overall emissions from freight deliveries, including for e-commerce.

Dr. Sperling said that consumers shared as much responsibility for the environmental cost of the deliveries as the companies that provided the speedy services.

“From a sustainability perspective, we’re heading in the wrong direction,” he said.

But measuring the effect of the cardboard economy is more difficult.

E-commerce was responsible for much of the 35.4 million tons of containerboard produced in 2014 in the United States. Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times

There are possible trade-offs, for example. As people shop more online, they might use their cars less. And delivery services have immense incentive to find the most efficient routes, keeping their fuel costs and emissions down. For its part, Amazon said that delivering to consumers straight from huge warehouses cuts down the need to distribute to thousands of stores.

So far, though, shoppers appear to be ordering online while still driving to brick-and-mortar stores at least as much as in the past, according to Dr. Sperling and other academics. One recent study explored the environmental effect of Internet shopping in Newark, Del., and found that a rise in e-commerce in recent years by local residents corresponded to more trucks on the road and an increase in greenhouse emissions.

Ardeshi Faghri, a professor of civil engineering at the University of Delaware, said the increase of various emissions — which he estimated at 20 percent from 2001 to 2011 — “could be due to a multitude of reasons, but we think that online shopping and more delivery trucks are really one of the primary reasons.”

“Online shopping has not helped the environment,” he said. “It has made it worse.”

Other scholars say that, at least for now, online shopping appears to be complementing brick-and-mortar shopping, not replacing it.

“People who shop online also like to see and feel things,” said Cara Wang, an associate professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute who studies transportation issues and has written a paper about habits of online shoppers. “And they have to return things.”

Dr. Wang and other researchers say the demand for instant delivery, in particular, creates challenges for trucking companies trying to be efficient. Instead of taking big truckloads to single retailers they now make more scattershot deliveries.

Many drivers deliver just one item. This is often the case for Postmates, which has a fleet of 15,000 freelance drivers signed up to make deliveries of whatever the customer orders — an Uber-like service, but for deliveries. The cost typically starts at $5, and a 9 percent service fee applied to the cost of the item. (The company says it also has about 5,000 deliverers who go on bike or foot in dense urban areas).


Ruchit Garg and his 3-year-old son with produce ordered online through Google. Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times

And the push for speed from marketers gives shoppers little incentive to wait.

“Why select one week if I can get it in one hour?” asked Miguel Jaller, an assistant professor at U.C. Davis who studies urban freight patterns.

Such is the case for Monica Rohleder, who admits to using Amazon Prime so much that “my husband jokes we keep Amazon in business.”

Ms. Rohleder, who lives in Los Angeles and works at a public relations firm, said she liked overnight delivery, but “within a couple of hours is best” because she is busy with work and her two young children. So she often does not order something until it’s urgent. “There’s the immediate gratification of getting something and checking it off your list,” she said.

One afternoon she received six boxes, from Amazon and Nordstrom, for a Hawaii trip, including bathing suits, workout clothes and coloring books. Some of the clothes did not fit, so she returned them.

She thinks more about the cardboard that comes into her house than the truck emissions, she said. “It’s embarrassing,” she added of her mass of weekly recycling.

Dennis Colley, the president of the Fibre Box Association — the trade group for the corrugated paper, or cardboard, industry — estimated that the use of boxes for e-commerce was growing faster than most other market segments. However, he emphasized the industry’s efforts to be environmentally conscious, and that 90 percent of corrugated packaging were recycled.

Amazon is aware of the cardboard issue. Since 2009, it has received 33 million comments, ratings and photographs about its packaging as part of its “packaging feedback program.” Amazon said it used that feedback to make sure that cardboard box size was consistent with the size of the product. It also works with manufacturers to send some products without additional cardboard packaging, said Craig Berman, a company spokesman.

Though recycling can make consumers think they are helping the environment, the process has its own costs, including the emissions from shipping it to recycling centers, which use a lot of energy and water. Don Fullerton, a professor of finance and an expert in economics and the environment at the University of Illinois, said one possible solution would be to make the retailers responsible for taking back the boxes. That would create incentives for them to come up with solutions for less packaging.

“And maybe not put a box inside a box inside a box,” he said

Robert Reed, a spokesman for Recology, San Francisco’s main recycling processor, which collects 100 tons of cardboard every day, has a simpler solution: “Slow down consumption,” he said. “Slow down.”

(via New York Times)

The Parmesan Cheese You Sprinkle on Your Penne Could Be Wood

Color me shocked! …Not! Is it that surprising that the “parmesan cheese” you buy from Kraft/Walmart/etc. that does not need to be refrigerated is not authentic parmesan? Nope. At least it is just cellulose, which is relatively harmless! This article reminds me of the claims about faje olive oil about 2 years ago.  This shines a bright light on the disparity between providing quality and creating/increasing revenue. Labels are often misleading, which is why many consumers are so confused when it comes to making food and beauty choices.  On another note, sit and ask yourself about how a product is made, thinking of the human, environmental, and economic input and outputs.

By Lydia Mulvany–February 16, 2016

No Copyright Infringement Intended

Acting on a tip, agents of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration paid a surprise visit to a cheese factory in rural Pennsylvania on a cold November day in 2012.

They found what they were looking for: evidence that Castle Cheese Inc. was doctoring its 100 percent real parmesan with cut-rate substitutes and such fillers as wood pulp and distributing it to some of the country’s biggest grocery chains.

via Yahoo Finance.

The cheese police are on the case.  One might be tempted to think of this as a ripped-from-the-headlines episode of “NYPD Bleu,” except that the FDA wasn’t playing. Some grated Parmesan suppliers have been mislabeling products by filling them with too much cellulose, a common anti-clumping agent made from wood pulp, or using cheaper cheddar, instead of real Romano. Someone had to pay. Castle President Michelle Myrter is scheduled to plead guilty this month to criminal charges. She faces up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

German brewers protect their reputations with Reinheitsgebot, a series of purity laws first drawn up 500 years ago, and Champagne makers prohibit most vineyards outside their turf from using the name. Now the full force of the U.S. government has been brought to bear defending the authenticity of grated hard Italian cheeses. Which is good news for Neil Schuman.

For years, Schuman has been a one-man Reinheitsgebot, insisting that the fragrant granules Americans sprinkle on their pizza and penne ought to be the real thing; if not, the label should say so.

The stakes are 100 percent real for him. Schuman’s Fairfield, New Jersey-based company, Arthur Schuman Inc., is the biggest seller of hard Italian cheeses in the U.S., with 33 percent of the domestic market. He estimates that 20 percent of U.S. production — worth $375 million in sales — is mislabeled.

“The tipping point was grated cheese, where less than 40 percent of the product was actually a cheese product,” Schuman said. “Consumers are innocent, and they’re not getting what they bargained for. And that’s just wrong.”

How serious is the problem? Bloomberg News had store-bought grated cheese tested for wood-pulp content by an independent laboratory.

Cellulose is a safe additive, and an acceptable level is 2 percent to 4 percent, according to Dean Sommer, a cheese technologist at the Center for Dairy Research in Madison, Wisconsin. Essential Everyday 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese, from Jewel-Osco, was 8.8 percent cellulose, while Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s Great Value 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese registered 7.8 percent, according to test results. Whole Foods 365 brand didn’t list cellulose as an ingredient on the label, but still tested at 0.3 percent. Kraft had 3.8 percent.

“We remain committed to the quality of our products,” Michael Mullen, a Kraft Heinz Co. spokesman, said in an e-mail. John Forrest Ales, a Wal-Mart spokesman, said he questioned the reliability of testing a single sample and that Wal-Mart’s “compliance team is looking into these findings.”

Jewel-Osco is also investigating, spokeswoman Mary Frances Trucco said in an e-mail. “We pride ourselves on the quality of products we deliver for our customers,” Trucco said.

“We strongly believe that there is no cellulose present,” Blaire Kniffin, a Whole Foods Market Inc. spokeswoman, said in an e-mail, adding that it could have been a false positive. “But we are investigating this matter.”

According to the FDA’s report on Castle, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, “no parmesan cheese was used to manufacture” the Market Pantry brand 100% grated Parmesan Cheese, sold at Target Corp. stores, and Always Save Grated Parmesan Cheese and Best Choice 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese, sold by Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc., which along with its subsidiaries supplies 3,400 retail stores in 30 states. Instead, there was a mixture of Swiss, mozzarella, white cheddar and cellulose, according to the FDA.

Castle has never been an authorized Target vendor, according to Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder. “We are investigating the information provided in the report,” she said in an e-mail. Jeff Pedersen, an executive vice president of Associated Wholesale Grocers, had no comment.

DairiConcepts, a Springfield, Missouri-based cheese maker that’s a subsidiary of Dairy Farmers of America, said on its website that in a test of 28 brands, only one-third of label claims about protein levels in grated parmesan were accurate. The company blamed fillers such as cellulose.

Until recently, there was little incentive to follow labeling rules. Criminal cases are rare. That’s because the FDA, which enforces the country’s food laws, prioritizes health hazards, said John Spink, director of the Food Fraud Initiative at Michigan State University. But civil lawsuits abound. A Jan. 29 complaint accuses McDonald’s Corp. of selling pure mozzarella sticks that contain starch, considered a filler, a claim the company denies.

Cheese makers commit adulteration because it saves money.

Marty Wilson, chief executive officer of New York-based Sugar Foods, which buys cheese from Schuman and supplies major pizza chains with to-go packets of parmesan, said whenever his contracts come up for renewal, competitors peddling ersatz cheeses surface. And he has lost business to them. “We’re constantly battling cheap imitators across all of our product lines,” Wilson said.

Bob Greco of Cheese Merchants of America said competitors hawking bastardized products have underbid him by as much as 30 percent. “The bad guys win and the rule-followers lose,” Greco said.

The FDA regulates what can legally be called Parmesan or Romano according to standards established in the 1950s to ensure that manufacturers wouldn’t sell cheeses wildly different in composition.

Americans love their hard Italian cheeses. Last year, U.S. Parmesan output rose 11 percent from 2014 to around 336 million pounds, while Romano production grew 20 percent, to 54 million pounds, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

Italian producers, however, aren’t loving it as much. The Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium, a trade group based in Rome, asked the European Union in December to protect its manufacturers against U.S. companies that were using the names of their cheeses and Italian flags on their packaging. “A deceit” is how the organization’s president, Giuseppe Alai, characterized Americans’ use of Italian names and symbols.

Of all the popular cheeses in the U.S., the hard Italian varieties are the most likely to have fillers because of their expense. Parmesan wheels sit in curing rooms for months, losing moisture, which results in a smaller yield than other cheeses offer. While 100 pounds of milk might produce 10 pounds of cheddar, it makes only eight pounds of Parmesan. That two-pound difference means millions of dollars to manufacturers, according to Sommer.

Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania-based Castle produced mainly imitation cheeses for nearly 30 years. The company, whose factory was adorned with crenelated battlements and curved archways to look like a medieval castle, had $19 million in sales in 2013.

The trouble started in 2010 when it began making what it called 100 percent grated Parmesan. A plant manager designed flawed recipes, and after Castle fired him in 2012, he alerted the FDA, the company said in a December 2012 letter to the agency, obtained through the FOIA.

The FDA accused Castle Cheese of marketing as real grated Parmesan what was in fact a mixture of imitation cheese and trimmings of Swiss, white cheddar, Havarti and mozzarella. After the probe, Castle stopped production of the problematic cheeses and dumped inventories. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2014.

A lawyer for Michelle Myrter and Castle Cheese didn’t respond to requests for comment. In the 2012 letter to the FDA, Castle said there was inadequate documentation, and the FDA could note only the potential that the products weren’t 100 percent pure.

Lauren E. Sucher, an FDA spokeswoman, said the agency couldn’t comment on pending legal cases. “The FDA takes economic fraud very seriously,” she said in an e-mail.

The FDA’s investigation may be the spark that changes things, said John Umhoefer, executive director of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association.

“The industry wants to be known for a wholesome, safe, honest product — it’s what’s kept the industry growing for 100 years,” he said. “The wholesomeness of dairy products is a treasured part of our story.”

—With assistance from Craig Giammona and Leslie Patton.

(via Bloomberg/Yahoo Finance)

Review: Oyin Handmade Honey Hemp Conditioner

Oyin Handmade Honey Hemp Conditioner

This product was purchased by Nature’s Pulchritude. All opinions are that of Nature’s Pulchritude and have not be influenced in any way, shape, or form.

“Oh, Honey. It’s a natural humectant… nature’s gift for glowing, supple hair. Ah, Hemp Oil. With an incredibly rich array of Fatty Acids to ensure well-nourished tresses. Oh! Ah! Oyin’s Honey-Hemp Conditioner! How could it possibly be improved? Perhaps by adding just the smallest touch of Silk Protein and a generous dollop of Aloe Vera Gel… just to take the succulence over the top. ;o)”

NPOyinHoneyHemp2

I first started using this product about 4-5 years ago. I wanted to try the products for a few month and eventually got my hands on their ‘snack pack.’ I have since purchased 2 of the 33 ounce bottles. This product was pivotal on my natural hair “journey” and has been a staple. I use this conditioner both as a rinse out and deep conditioner, and have also experimented with using it as a leave-in. It is a fantastic moisturizer and leaves my hair feeling like silk!

Product

This is a fantastic conditioner. Great ingredients, great quality all around. This product does what it claims. The 33 ounce bottle is very convenient because it has a pump. A little goes a long way. 1 33 ounce bottle last me about a year with minimum biweekly use. It has a moderately thick consistency–not runny, not stiffly thick, just right and easily spreadable.

1 Globe

Scent

Sweet Citrus. That is the best way to describe how Honey Hemp conditioner smells. It smells really, really, really good. Depending on the products you use after conditioning the faint scent of the product will linger in your hair.

1 Globe

NPOyinHoneyHemp1

Moisture

Nourish and Moisture. Check, Check. This product does a great job moisturizing my hair. It works well as a rinse out, but works better as a deep conditioner. 30 minutes underneath a hooded dryer is enough. The moisturized feeling is not from a heavy silicones, waxes, etc. but from true moisturization! My hair feels moisturized after completely rinsing the product out of my hair. [Author’s Note: My hair type is predominately 4a, normal porosity, moderate density]

1 Globe

Detangling

I typically don’t use this product to detangle but it does work well for detangling. My hair is so well moisturized it does not re-tangle at all after detangling, which makes styling much easier.

1 Globe

EnviroFactor
Ingredients: Purified Water, Organic Aloe Vera Gel, Behentremonium Methosulfate (and) Cetearyl Alcohol (emulsifier derived from colza oil), Honey, Virgin Hemp Oil, Coconut Oil, Vegetable Glycerine, Hydrolized Silk, Citrus Essences, Fragrance, Optiphen (preservative), and LOVE!

The only questionable ingredient in this product is optiphen, which is a mixture of Phenoxyethanol and Caprylyl Glycol. Phenoxyethanol is widely used in natural products and prompted my series “Preservatives in Natural Products.” I don’t think this ingredient is cause for concern, but I’d still like more unbiased peer reviewed studies to fully deem this ingredient Safe!

.85 Globe

4.85/5 Globes

Nature’s Pulchritude All-Star!

Highly recommended!

Have you tried this product? What did you think?

How to Read Cosmetic Ingredient Labels XLVI

You have had enough of your dry cracked hands from this winter weather! You stop by the beauty section of your favorite organic/natural grocery store to see if they have any good hand creams. You figure, considering the store, anything you pick up is sure to be a safe bet. Does the first hand cream you scan meet your standards? This is Label Poise–how to walk the walk, talk the talk, and buy products that meet YOUR standards, whether natural, organic, or safe enough.  For instructions on Label Poise visit our Label Poise page.

The Label

LabelPoise45

The Ingredients

Purified Water: Safe!   Water is the ultimate moisturizer and is a key ingredient in many moisturizing products.

Organic Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice: Safe!  This ingredient is used for its nutrient content and moisturizing properties.

Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil: Safe!  Coconut oil is used for is skin conditioning and moisturizing properties. It is high in vitamins E and K.

Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil: Safe!  Sunflower Oil is comprised of triglycerides (esters of glycerol and fatty acids) and has a high Vitamin E content.  It primarily acts as an emollient and assists the skin in retaining moisture.

Glyceryl Stearate Citrate:

Cetearyl Alcohol: Safe! Typically naturally derived from Coconut and Palm Oils (though it can be derived synthetically), it is a mixture of Cetyl and Stearyl fatty alcohols.  This ingredient acts as a thickener and moisturizer in personal care products.  In pure form,  this ingredient can be a slight skin irritant and permeator, and is toxic to mucous membranes.  The is no data available on human toxicity, carcinogenicity, mutagenicity, developmental toxicity, and teratogenicity.  (MSDS)

Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil: Safe! Sweet Almond oil is high in oleic acid and is primarily used as an emollient.

Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil: Safe!  Safflower oil is made from safflower seeds and is high in monounsaturated fatty acids. Safflower oil helps the skin retain moisture and promote elasticity. It may be a slight skin and eye irritant, though it is not known to be carcinogenic, mutagenic, teratogenic, or a developmental toxin.  (MSDS)

Cetyl Esters: Beware!  This ingredient is derived from vegetable sources, such as coconuts, and is typically used as a thickener in cosmetics.  It is comprised of various fatty alcohols and fatty acids.  It is typically 1 to 3% of the weight of the formula.  There is no data regarding toxicity, carcinogenicity, or mutagenicity.  (MSDS)

Natural Fragrance: Safe!/Beware! Without knowing what flavors were used and assessment of toxicological information and benefits cannot be determined.

Natural BEESWAX (cera alba):Safe!   This ingredient is derived from worker honeybees within a bee hive.  It is used as a thickener and skin barrier.

Vegetable Glycerin: Safe!  This ingredient is derived from palm, coconut, soy, or other vegetable fats.  It is used as an emollient and has the ability to draw moisture and oxygen to the skin.  There is no information in mutagenicity, carcinogenicity, developmental toxicity, or teratogenic effects.  In pure form is can be a skin, eye, and lung irritant, and may be toxic to the kidneys with prolonged exposure.  It is typically used in concentrations of 2 – 5% of the formula and is a minimal concern.  (MSDS)

Glyceryl Oleate: Safe!  This ingredient consists of oleic acid and glycerin both from vegetable sources as indicated on the bottle.  It is used as an emollient, emulsifier, and fragrance ingredient.  (MSDS)

Lauryl Laurate:

HONEY (mel): Safe!  Honey is a humectant that draws moisture into the hair, which helps to maintain elasticity, shine, and overall health of hair.

Xanthan Gum: Safe!  This ingredient is a polysaccharide (carbohydrate consisting of sugar molecules) secreted by Xanthomonas campestris (a bacterium). It is not known to be carcinogenic, mutagenic, teratogenic, or cause developmental toxicity, though it can be an eye, skin, and lung irritant in pure form. There is a risk of long term biodegraded products being more toxic than pure Xanthan Gum. (MSDS)

Glyceryl Caprylate:

Sodium Levulinate:

Potassium Sorbate:  Safe!/Beware!  This ingredient is the potassium salt of sorbic acid, which is likely synthetically derived though it is naturally occurring in some berry species. It is widely used as a preservative in food, wine, and personal care products. It is known to be a skin, eye, and lung irritant in pure form, though it is not generally considered to be a carcinogen, mutagen or teratogen in humans, however, additional research suggests that is is mutagenic and genotoxic in human blood cells (in vitro). It is typically not used in concentration above 0.2%, so it should be fine in this product.  (MSDS)

Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil: Safe!  This oil is made from the kernels of the argan tree found in Morocco. It is high in oleic and linoleic fatty acids and is renowned for its hair repairing and moisturizing properties. (MSDS)

Sodium Phytate (from rice bran):

Nature’s Pulchritude’s Verdict: This product doesn’t look half bad. The top 5 ingredients are all moisturizing, hopefully the beeswax down the list will help the skin retain that moisture. There are a few ingredients that we have not come across before (intentionally left blank). We’ve been doing this series for a while, and yet we are always coming across new ingredients! What are your thoughts on having 5 ingredients that the 44 other Label Poise’s have not covered? Check back tomorrow for the details on those ingredients!

EOS lip balm caused blisters, rash, lawsuit claims

I’m not at all surprised by this article. If you’ve been following Nature’s Pulchritude, you’ve heard about my own negative experience after using an “all natural” lip balm. Just because a product is all natural does not mean it is not a skin irritant or toxic!

(By Meghan Holohan–January 14, 2016)When it’s cold out, we grab the lip balm and apply. And apply. And after the umpteenth application, we may wonder why our lips feel even more dry than before we started.
That recently happened to a woman using EOS lip balm — only when she reapplied, she claims her mouth broke out in blisters and rashes.

EOS, otherwise known as the Evolution of Smooth, is “anything but smooth,” according to a lawsuit filed on Jan. 12 in Los Angeles.

Copyright Fox News

The class action suit claims the “Summer Fruit” version of the lip balm company—which pays celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Britney Spears to promote its cheerful, egg-shaped varieties—caused blisters and a rash to erupt all over the mouth of a woman named Rachel Cronin.

Copyright Evolution of Smooth

According to the document, after first applying the balm, “within hours, her lips became substantially dry and coarse, what Ms. Cronin describes as feeling like “sandpaper,” causing her to apply more of the balm on her lip to achieve the results of becoming “sensationally smooth.”

Image via Facebook

Cronin’s lips began cracking on the edges and, by the next day, the surrounding skin had “severe blistering and rashes causing her to seek medical care on Dec. 7, 2015.” The condition lasted for approximately 10 days, according to the lawsuit.

The suit asks for damages, claiming the company deceived consumers and misrepresented the product as natural and organic.

On Wednesday, the website TMZ posted pictures of a young woman’s face, allegedly show irritation caused by the balm.

The company claims its lip balm products are 99 percent natural, organic, and gluten free. On Wednesday afternoon EOS Products tweeted its reaction to the suit.

However, even products that are natural, organic, and gluten free can still cause irritate or cause allergic reactions, dermatologists say.

“Just because something is natural doesn’t mean it is safe. Anthrax is natural but not safe,” said Dr. Adam Friedman, associate professor of dermatology at George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Organic refers to food—not skin care products—and no agency regulates whether beauty products are organic, he said.

So what possibly caused a bumpy, painful-looking rash?

Allergic contact dermatitis, which resembles eczeme, occurs when people touch something—natural or artificial—they are allergic to.

“Contact reactions are not that uncommon and can even happen with natural products,” said Dr. Apple Bodemer, assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

Don’t lick your lips!

Dr. Whitney Bowe, a dermatologist at Advanced Dermatology in New York City, says there’s also a rash known as lip lickers dermatitis.

“Anything that has a flavor is potentially irritating and anything with a flavor in it will make you lick your lips,” she said.

When people lick their lips, their saliva spreads over the lips and mouths.

“[Saliva] is basically digesting away your lips,” she said. This makes it easier for people to contract a bacterial or viral infection.

Hooked on lip balm?

Yet, the lip products themselves often create a vicious cycle of skin problems and dependence.

“It’s not uncommon that lip balms and ChapSticks and lip plumpers can cause severe irritation on the lips and the skin around the lips. Some of the ingredients can actually dry out the lips —menthol, camphor, and phenol— that gives the tingling sensation.

That is actually a signal to the brain you are having a reaction,” Bowe said.

This reaction is actually one of the reasons why people become hooked on lip balm. After the tingling and irritation, lips feel dry and cracked again, causing people to reach right for the lip balm.

The cure for irritation, unsightly rashes, and lip balm addiction?

Petroleum jelly.

“No one has ever been shown to have a reaction to petroleum jelly,” said Bodemer.

According to Dr. Aleksandar Krunic, a dermatologist at Swedish Covenant Hospital and dermatology professor at University of Illinois College of Medicine, these are the simple, safest ingredients to look for in a lip balm:

    Paraben-free moisturizers like beeswax (cera alba)
    ceramides (fats that help retain water)
    Up to 5 percent of humectants — which help prevent cracked skin and reduce skin irritation — like urea or glycerin
    Dimethicone, which helps prevent drying and makes the product last longer
    Lanolin and cocoa butter
    Sunscreen

[Nature’s Pulchritude Note: The accuracy of this statement is questionable. Beeswax does not moisturize!]

(via CNBC

Chobani Simply 100 vs. Dannon Light & Fit Greek vs. Yoplait Greek 100

Nature’s Pulchritude is kind of into ingredients. Okay, we are really into ingredients! I thought Chobani’s digs at Yoplait and Dannon were interesting and are a prime example of companies realizing that ingredients and associated perceived quality are a marketing strategy for companies. Of course, you cannot call out other companies if your ingredients are no better. Let’s see how these greek yogurts stack up! All flavors listed are for Peach. I am not affiliated with any brands in any way shape or form, have not received any compensation for this post!

Chobani Simply 100

Copyright Chobani

Nonfat Yogurt (Cultured Pasteurized Nonfat Milk, Live and Active Cultures: S. Thermophilus, L. Bulgaricus, L. Acidophilus, Bifidus and L. Casei), Peaches, Chicory Root Fiber, Water, Evaporated Cane Juice, Pectin, Natural Flavors, Locust Bean Gum, Guar Gum, Monk Fruit Extract, Stevia Leaf Extract, Fruit And Vegetable Juice Concentrate (For Color).

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 5.3oz (150g)
Servings per Container 1
Amount per Serving %DV*
Calories 100 Calories from Fat 0
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Trans Fat 0g-
Cholesterol 5mg 2%
Potassium 240mg 6%
Sodium 65mg 3%
Total Carbs 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 5g 20%
Sugars 7g-
Protein 12g 24%
Vitamin A 0% · Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 15% · Iron 0%

About Chobani Simply 100® Blended Non-Fat Greek Yogurt

  • No artificial sweeteners
  • Only natural non-GMO ingredients
  • 75% less sugar than regular yogurt based on USDA data*
  • Excellent source of protein and fiber
  • Made with milk from cows not treated with artificial growth
  • hormones**

  • Includes probiotics and live cultures
  • No preservatives
  • Gluten free
  • Kosher certified
  • Vegetarian friendly
  • Less than 5% lactose

Ingredients
One of the first things I noticed about this product was that it was sweetened with Stevia extract. Chobani’s other product lines more or less only use evaporate cane juice. Stevia is used because it provides a sweet taste (150x sweeter than sugar) without the added calories. (Learn more about stevia). That also explains why it is the last ingredient. Pectin is a thickener, typically derived from fruit though it is not specified here. Locust Bean Gum and Guar Gum are also thickeners. Monk Fruit Extract is another “natural alternative to sugar” sweetener, that has a similar controversy around it like stevia. I don’t see a preservative listed, Chobani uses salt in their other products.

One drawback is Chobani claims the milk used in their yogurt is non-GMO, however, they are NOT certified by the Non-GMO Project, the most known non-GMO certification in the US. They are instead certified by a european certifier. This could be good or bad. Chobani could have gone with a european certifier (eurofins) because they are more rigorous than the non-GMO Project. Or, Chobani’s products may not meet non-GMO Project standards. Expect a post on this in the near future.

Nutrition
Overall this is good. High in fiber and protein, and much lower in sugar than Chobani’s other products.

Dannon Light & Fit Greek

Copyright Danone

Ingredients
Fructose. Typically naturally derived but not the best ingredient. Corn starch is a thickener. Malic acid is used to enhance flavor. Sucralose was specifically pointed out by Chobani. Sucralose,commonly referred to as Splenda, is a zero calorie sweetener that is 320-1,000 times sweeter than sucrose. Sucralose is the new alternative to aspartame another zero calorie sweetener that has received a significant amount of scrutiny. Sucralose is manufactured from Sucrose. Stevia and Monk Fruit Extracts are the “naturally derived” versions of Sucralose. Potassium Sorbate is a synthetically derived preservative that is commonly used in natural ingredients. Acesulfame Sorbate is another artificial zero calorie sweetener. This product very likely uses GMO milk and peaches.

Nutrition
This product is high in protein, but has no fiber. Sugar is the same amount as Chobani Simply 100 (7 grams).

Yoplait Greek 100

Copyright Yoplait

Ingredients
Not much difference in this product than the Dannon Light & Fit Greek.

Nutrition
Yoplait Greek 100 is high in protein, though 4 grams less than Dannon & Chobani, with no fiber, and 9 grams of sugar, 2 grams more than Chobani and Dannon.

Nature’s Pulchritude’s Verdict: Chobani Simply 100 is head and shoulders above Dannon Light & Fit Greek & Yoplait Greek 100. The ingredients in Dannon and Yoplaits yogurts are standard across the mass produced food industry–filled with artificial and synthetic ingredients. Chobani clearly perceives their products to have better ingredients, though the jury is still out on Stevia extract and Monk Fruit extract. They may be naturally derived compared to sucralose and acesulfame sorbate but that does not mean they different on impact on the body. I recently tried the Simply 100 and it was pretty bland, it could have done without the 7 grams of sugar, assuming some of that sugar is not attributed to the peaches. This is coming from someone who eats plain Greek Yogurt, which is quite bland with less sugar.

I encourage you to read labels, and look beyond the nutritional facts. Artificial ingredients may not have fat and calories, but that does not mean it is good for you, better than products that use real ingredients, or most importantly that it is not negatively impacting your body!

Yogurt Companies Duel Over Artificial Ingredient Claims

Preservatives and artificial sweeteners are once again at the forefront of a debate over product quality and ingredients. By the way, the fact that companies are calling each other out about artificial ingredients as a marketing tool means that you the CONSUMER are helping to shift the market! The most interesting aspect of this case is over potassium sorbate, which has been featured in our preservative series. Potassium sorbate is considered safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in low concentrations. It is important to realize that natural ingredients can be just as harmful and artificial ingredients! Chobani had several instances of yogurt expiring (being liquidy) well prior to the expiration, so perhaps they should look at the efficacy of their own preservatives. That said, I do not and would not purchase the brands in question and was a frequent Chobani purchaser until I realized they may be used cow’s milk that have been feed GMO diets (they now claim their products are non-GMO yet they are not non-GMO project certified).

Chobani Ads Shift a Battle Out of the Yogurt Aisle and Into the Courts


A still from a Chobani ad. The company’s new campaign calls out rival yogurt companies for using artificial ingredients. CreditChobani 

(1/10/2016, By Stephanie Stromjam–A legal fight is brewing over Chobani’s new advertising campaign for its Simply 100 line of Greek yogurt.

The campaign, on television and social media and in newspapers, lists what Chobani says are the differences in ingredients in Simply 100 and low-calorie yogurts made by two competitors, Dannon and Yoplait.

The ads say that unlike Simply 100, Dannon Light & Fit Greek uses the artificial sweetener sucralose and Yoplait Greek 100 contains potassium sorbate as a preservative.

In one of Chobani’s television ads, which began airing on Jan. 6, a woman lounging next to a pool tosses a cup of Dannon Light & Fit into a used-towel receptacle with a disgusted look on her face.

Michael Neuwirth, a spokesman for Dannon, said in an email that Chobani’s ads were misleading and deceptive. “Like many reduced-calorie foods, Light & Fit Greek nonfat yogurt contains sucralose, an F.D.A.-approved ingredient that has been safely and widely used as a sweetener in foods for more than 15 years,” Mr. Neuwirth said.

Potassium sorbate is a common preservative. But Chobani’s ad campaign contends that it “is used to kill bugs.” Another Chobani commercial shows a young woman in a classic convertible reading the label on a tub of Yoplait Greek 100 and then tossing it out of the car.

Mike Siemienas, a spokesman for General Mills, which owns Yoplait, says that potassium sorbate is a salt used in small amounts in yogurt to prevent the growth of mold and yeast. “The statements made by Chobani in their latest attempt to sell more yogurt are entirely misleading, and we don’t think consumers appreciate that kind of approach,” Mr. Siemienas said in an email.

Consumers have become much more aware of the ingredients in their food over the last few years, sending food and restaurant companies scrambling to reformulate products. PepsiCo removed brominated vegetable oil from Gatorade after a teenager in Mississippi complained and pointed out that the ingredient — added to some citrus drinks to keep the fruit flavoring evenly distributed — was banned from use in foods in many other countries. Coca-Cola later followed suit. And the Campbell Soup Company is retooling its soups to get rid of ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup and artificial colors.

“This campaign is fundamentally about choice — the choice between natural ingredients versus artificial ingredients,” Peter McGuinness, chief marketing and brand officer at Chobani, said in a statement. “We’re empowering consumers with facts and information to help them make more informed decisions when they’re buying food for themselves and their families.”

A day after the ads began running, Dannon sent a cease-and-desist letter to Chobani, demanding that it immediately stop the campaign. “These Simply 100 advertisements are false, misleading and deceptive, will deceive consumers, and have caused and will continue to cause immediate and irreparable injury to Dannon, as well as to consumers,” Marcella Ballard, a lawyer at Venable who represents the French company, wrote to Chobani’s general counsel.

Ms. Ballard said the ads violated the Lanham Act, a federal law that, among other things, protects companies from unfair competition and is often cited in cases contending false and misleading advertising. She also said the campaign violated New York State law.

On Friday, Chobani went to court seeking a decision that would allow it to continue the advertising campaign. The company argued that the information in the campaign on sucralose and potassium sorbate came directly from federal government websites.

Chobani asserts that the statements made in its ads “are true and accurate.”

(via The New York Times)