For the Greater Goods

A lifestyle blog for the conscious consumer


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Battling Cancer With Song

When it comes to music, I don’t like to limit myself to one genre and I am pretty open when it comes to listening to new songs. I would even give a modern pan flute polka dub step remix a whirl. I love finding new songs. So when I read a buzzfeed article about Harry Hudson and his music, I was very intrigued.

Harry had just released his first single and was well on his way to his dream of becoming a recording artist when he was diagnose with stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. But rather than let this get in the way of his dreams he said “I wanted to show the world that you can still be positive no matter what you’re dealing with, even if you’re dying, if you’re just happy with yourself. When I lost my hair, I shared a photo. No eyebrows? That’s funny”. With this positive attitude, Harry was able to write and shoot a video for his song “Learn 2 Love” all while going through chemo. Today Harry’s cancer is in remission and going forward he hopes to inspire others with his music. You can download “Learn 2 Love” on iTunes and 100% of the proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society.

I think the electric beat contrasts nicely with his melodic voice. I could definitely imagine it among other pop/hip-hop songs that are on the radio. And I have had it stuck in my head the past few days, but the only words I know so far are “if you learn to love”. So it is kind of annoying. And now I hope you get it stuck in your head all day too. You are welcome!

Harry’s journey reminded me of the story of Zach Sobiech, which was a pretty big in the news last spring. If you haven’t seen his Soul Pancake mini documentary, I highly encourage you take a gander. But I suggest grabbing a box of tissues beforehand. This video could make Lord Voldemort tear up.

You can also download his song “Clouds” on iTunes and 60% of the proceeds go to the The Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund.

Although each song has a very different tune, they share a very similar message: be kind, be positive, and enjoy your life.


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7 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

Mike Mike Mike Mike Mike. Guess what day it is. EARTH DAAAAAYYY! If you didn’t already know, tomorrow (April 22nd) is Earth Day!!! And in honor of it, I have put together a list of 7 awesome things you can do to celebrate.

1. Walk/Bike/Carpool- Choose today to be conscious of your transportation. Walk to school. Or skip the gym and go for a bike ride. Or get all your work friends together and set up a carpool to work. I recommend listening to Backstreet Boys at full volume during your ride because nothing gets you pumped up for the day like belting out “I Want it That Way”.

2. Change yo light bulbs- If you don’t already use eco-friendly light bulbs, ride your bike (or drive if you must) to the nearest Home Depot and check out their light bulb selection. They have light bulbs that use up to 85% less energy than regular bulbs. That means you will be saving precious energy and $$$$$. Win win.

3. Buy a piece of the rain forest- When I was in 2nd grade we did a big unit on the rain forest. We learned about its importance and made up songs about unique rain forest species. At the end of the unit we put on a concert for our parents where we sang all the songs we wrote and at the very end we sang Amazon by The Nylons (I encourage you to take a listen HERE). Our teacher even brought in tissues because she said in the past the song had been so powerful it has made parents cry. I was oddly excited by the idea of making adults cry and belted out my part as emotionally as I could, but unfortunately no water works. Listening to the song now, I realize how powerful the words actually are. With that being said you can purchase and protect your own little piece of the rain forest HERE.

4. Go vegan for the day- Meat production generates large quantities of greenhouse gasses, which are bad for the environment. Therefore, cutting back on meat consumption is good for the environment.  I will award bonus points if you are able to make all your vegan meals without any electricity! Did you know Oreos are vegan…

5. Block your junk mail- Too many trees are being cut down and used to annoy everyone. But alas! There is a way to end the madness! TrustedID is an online service that can help you get your name omitted from mass marketing mailing lists. You can sign up and learn more HERE.

6. Plant something cool- I feel like planting a tree is the most common Earth Day activity. But this year, add a little flare and check out these crazy cool plants for some inspiration.

7. Donate to the Earth Day Network- Earth Day is more than just a day. It is also a network of over 22,000 partners around the world that organize, extend, and encourage the environmental movement. The current core programs they focus on today are: Greening Schools and Promoting Environmental Education, Accelerating the Global Green Economy, A Billion Acts of Green, The Canopy Project, Earth Day India, Campaign to protect the Asian Elephant, and The Green Cities Campaign. You can read more about these projects on their website. And if you would like to make a donation to the Earth Day Network click HERE.

So there you have it. Go out and have some fun while making the world a healthier place! And if you have some activities that were not on the list, feel free to leave them in the comments!

Earth Day


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The Cocoa Plan

Recently, I came across a fairly new Nestle innovation I couldn’t resist trying. It was the new Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cup and even though it was a Monday and I try to eat healthy (or relatively healthy may be a better way to put it) on weekdays, I bought said candy bar and devoured it as soon as I got back in my car. Clearly my health initiative and self-control are a work in progress. Anywayyyyy, unfortunately, the candy bar was not as amazing as I had hoped. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed every second of eating it, but being a peanut butter candy fanatic, I had VERY VERY VERY high expectations. So from now on I will just continue to consume Butterfingers and peanut butter cups separately. But I digress. The important part of this story is that I noticed a stamp on the wrapper that said “Nestle Cocoa Plan” and Googled it to find out what it was. Butterfinger PB Cups

The Cocoa Plan is Nestle’s initiative to solve the environmental and social problems that often plague the cocoa industry, which I mentioned in my very first blog post. Nestle’s solution to these issues is to educate the farming communities and create partnerships with 3rd party organizations to assure that Nestle is implementing ethical business practices.

Farmers are being educated on sustainable cocoa farming techniques, which will create a more effective supply chain and allow the farmers to produce more crops, ultimately resulting in increased wages. Nestle is working with UTZ* and Fairtrade* to certify farm practices with the 3rd  partys’ standards of ethics, both in terms of environmental

Nestle Plan School Progresssustainability and working conditions. Most recently, the Kit Kat production in the UK has become 100% Fairtrade certified and the goal is to get all European Kit Kat production UTZ certified by the end of 2014.

Nestle is also working with the International Cocoa initiative (ICI)* and World Cocoa Foundation (WCF)* to insure child labor is not being used and the children have access to education. The goal is to open 40 new schools in targeted communities in rural parts of the Ivory Coast.

So props to Nestle for taking an initiative. Obviously, like they said, the Plan isn’t a quick fix, but to me the important thing is that they are making an effort. So excuse me while I go devour as much Nestle Easter candy I can in the next 4 days. But like, not because I want to eat all that candy, I obviously just want to support the Cocoa Plan! You can learn more about the Cocoa Plan HERE. Nestle Partnerships

*Fairtrade Certified– Fairtrade works to assure fair wages, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world.

*UTZ Certified – UTZ provides ethical standards for sustainable farming and opportunities for farmers, their families and our planet.

*International Cocoa Initiative– Their mission is tooversee and sustain efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor and forced labor in the growing and processing of cocoa beans and their derivative products.”

*World Cocoa Foundation– This foundation promotes sustainable cocoa business practices through economic and social development.


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Fruit To Go

I first read about Matt’s Munchies in a Women’s Health Magazine article online. The article was discussing healthy snacks for when you’re on-the-go. Banana, carrot sticks, kale chips, blah blah blah, the usual. Towards the end I finally came across something new. The life changing recommendation was to eat some Matt’s Munchies with a handful of nuts. In my head I thought, “what in the world are Matt’s Munchies?”.

So I did my research and by golly I was sold immediately. Basically, Matt’s Muchies are really healthy fruit snacks. They’re made out of 100% USDA certified organic fruit puree (with no sugar added) and formed into little, thin, square strips.  They’re very similar to fruit leathers. There are a variety of flavors such as: mango, apricot, banana, apple, and raspberry. I have tried the mango as well as the apricot. I liked the apricot a little better, but both were tasty. Next on my to try list is apple and choco nana, which is a chocolate banana combination. It would be a great dessert alternative! You can check out all the flavors and buy them online here or they are also available at several Whole Foods locations. You can find a store that sells Matt’s Munchies near you by checking out their store locator.

Nana and Apples
Each pack contains 16 fruit squares. I usually just eat half a pack with my snack, but you can eat the whole pack if you like. If you don’t plan to eat a whole pack at once, I recommend storing the extras in a plastic bag. I made the mistake of leaving them out and opened my drawer to some very dry, crispy munchies.

Recently, I showed a co-worker my new discovery and he asked me why I couldn’t just eat fresh fruit. I replied, “This is just so much easier because I don’t worry about it rotting and can eat it whenever”. Pleasant, right? He quickly dropped the subject. But in my head I was thinking, “It’s because I can’t fit a full size USDA certified organic mango in my cute new Kate Spade cross body!”.

Anyway, fresh organic fruit should be a go-to if you can, but realistically it isn’t always an option for us on-the-go kind of people. Also realistically, I’m not on-the-go nearly as much as I think it am. It’s more that I’m lazy and just like snacks that are easy. The less prep, the faster it can get in mah belly. And the best part, this snack keeps the hungry monster in my stomach at bay until my next meal (or again more realistically, my next snack)!

Mango and Apricot

 


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/āl’kǝ-mē/: the art of transforming something common into something precious

I came across Alkemie while browsing through Anthropologie online (one of my many non-productive pastimes) and knew I had to spread the word about this awesome jewelry company. The husband and wife duo behind Alkemie not only create beautiful and unique pieces, but are also big believers in sustainable business practices. All of their products are made by hand in Los Angeles with 100% reclaimed metal.

The jewelry makers say they take inspiration from: “our love for each other, our two daughters, Mother Earth and all of her creatures, and our passion for treasures from the past”. How precious! And each piece has a story behind it. For instance, the Double Feather Bangle’s description states: “The bird is always an inspirational animal to us!  We love the way these two feathers play off each other in this bangle.  It’s both delicate and fierce like many birds of prey.”  Every Alkemie item is truly a meaningful, wearable piece of art.

I have picked out a few Alkemie bracelets and put them in a slideshow below. I tried to find a wide variety. I focused on bracelets to help myself narrow down a small selection to show you, but they also make necklaces, earrings, rings, and belt buckles, all of which are equally beautiful. There are also men’s sizes available in most of the leather bracelets and a few of the bangles.  You can check out all that Alkemie offers here. I will warn you that they are a tad expensive.  I would guess the average price is over $200, but the quality, craftsmanship, and attention to detail are well worth it.

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SEVA

Alkemie also believes that a big part of being a sustainable pioneer is supporting causes that are important to you. Therefore, each month Alkemie picks a cause they are passionate about and donates a portion of each sale to it. This month Alkemie is donating 5% of each sale to the Seva Foundation, which works to prevent blindness and restore sight worldwide. You can learn more at the Seva Foundation website.