Caring about your body and your planet is not only a choice but it is a lifestyle. The foods we eat, the products we use and purchase all reflect our thoughts and opinions. There is a large “going green” movement right now. People are interested in “organics” “paraben free” “GMO-free” “sustainable” and “cruelty free” products. But what do these words mean? Why should you choose a ‘green’ product over another? Below I will list some basic definitions to help give you a clear, easy to read and straight forward guide to the simple green life.
Click here to see reviews I wrote about products I feel live up to my Simple Green Living standards.
Easy to Read Definitions:
Going Green: Living a green lifestyle – or going green – can begin in small, easy to manage ways. Recycling is a huge aspect, but it is not limited to recycling. Choosing products & services which help lessen your carbon footprint. Your actions, like choosing to walk instead of drive, can also be a going green choice.
Organic: Simply stated, organic produce and other ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones. – Organic.com
What does the USDA Organic seal mean?
The USDA Organic seal assures consumers of the quality and integrity of organic products. Organic-certified operations must have an organic system plan and records that verify compliance with that plan. Operators are inspected annually in addition there are random checks to assure standards are being met.
What does NON-GMO mean? The acronym GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms, which refers to any food product that has been altered at the gene level. Genetically modified foods are also frequently described as “genetically engineered”, “genetically altered” or “genetically manipulated.” – WHFoods.com
What does the NON-GMO Project seal mean?
“The verification seal indicates that the product bearing the seal has gone through our verification process. Our verification is an assurance that a product has been produced according to consensus-based best practices for GMO avoidance:
- We require ongoing testing of all at-risk ingredients—any ingredient being grown commercially in GMO form must be tested prior to use in a verified product.
- We use an Action Threshold of 0.9%. This is in alignment with laws in the European Union (where any product containing more than 0.9% GMO must be labeled). Absence of all GMOs is the target for all Non-GMO Project Standard compliant products. Continuous improvement practices toward achieving this goal must be part of the Participant’s quality management systems.
- After the test, we require rigorous traceability and segregation practices to be followed in order to ensure ingredient integrity through to the finished product.
- For low-risk ingredients, we conduct a thorough review of ingredient specification sheets to determine absence of GMO risk.
- Verification is maintained through an annual audit, along with onsite inspections for high-risk products.”
— This is a direct quote from the NON-GMO Projects website
What does crunchy mean? Crunchy refers to the crunch of granola. This is a hippie reference as people can sometimes associate hippies with eating granola. Some topics which people tag to crunchy people could include: non medicated child birth, organic eating, cloth diapers, anti-vaccine, home schooling or un-schooling…the list can go on and on. Just because someone may identify as a crunchy person does not mean that they also identify with some of the above mentioned topics.
What does Cruelty Free mean?
According to the FDA: Some cosmetic companies promote their products with claims of this kind in their labeling or advertising. The unrestricted use of these phrases by cosmetic companies is possible because there are no legal definitions for these terms.
What is the Leaping Bunny? Because of the FDA regulations mentioned directly above, there is an opportunity for the company Leaping Bunny to exist. “In response, eight national animal protection groups banded together to form the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC). The CCIC promotes a single comprehensive standard and an internationally recognized Leaping Bunny Logo. We work with companies to help make shopping for animal-friendly products easier and more trustworthy” – Leaping Bunny Website For detailed information about their company and policies please visit their website, LeapingBunny.org
What does sustainable mean? This is the trickiest one, as there is no uniformed answer on what this term really looks like. According to the Webster Merriam dictionary it means, “able to be maintained at a certain rate or level.”
I found this definition online and really like it, “Sustainability could be defined as an ability or capacity of something to be maintained or to sustain itself. It’s about taking what we need to live now, without jeopardizing the potential for people in the future to meet their needs.” – LandLearn
What does SLS (sodium laureth sulfate) mean? Sodium laureth sulfates are a widely used, inexpensive chemical found in products like: shampoos, body wash, toothpastes and other personal hygiene products. SLS is a detergent and surfuctant – which means it breaks surface tension and separates molecules in order to allow better interaction between the product and your hair. This in turn creates a lather which makes products such as shampoo and toothpaste more effective cleaners. So effective and so inexpensive is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate that it’s found in a number of industrial cleaning agents such as engine degreaser and industrial strength detergents. It’s also widely used as a skin irritant when testing products used to heal skin conditions.
So, why is SLS a danger? Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) is also a concern as in some circumstances it can become contaminated with Dioxane. This largely depends on the manufacturing process. Dioxane is a suspected carcinogen and lasts much longer in our bodies, primarily because the liver cannot metabolize it effectively. While it’s considered less of a skin irritant when compared to SLS there are underlying concerns over its continued use in cosmetic products. There is healthy debate surrounding the topic of SLS and Cancer, however at this point in time there is no scientific evidence that links the two. This has also been backed up by the American Cancer Council along with the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OHSA) and the National Toxicology Program (NTP). – slsfree.net
What are parabens? Parabens are any group of compounds used as preservatives in pharmaceutical and cosmetic products and in the food industry. In the 1990s, parabens were deemed xenoestrogens―agents that mimic estrogen in the body. “Estrogen disruption” has been linked to breast cancer and reproductive issues. And in 2004 British cancer researcher Philippa Darbre found parabens present in malignant breast tumors. As a result, experts in many countries are recommending limits on paraben levels in cosmetic products. What’s more, watchdog organizations worry that if parabens can be stored in the body, over time they could have a cumulative effect and pose a health risk. –