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  • Harmful Chemicals in Shampoo

    by Beth Ritchie | May 26, 2009

    Eco-coaching clients often ask me about personal care products, wanting to know which ones I buy for my family. Shampoos, conditioners, and cleansers are awash in synthetic and chemical ingredients. Yet most Americans continue to use them, buying these products in their local drug store. Do yourself a favor—break this habit. Read more

  • Meet Your Green Living Blogger

    by Beth Ritchie | May 26, 2009

    Hi All! I’m Beth, your Green Living blogger. I’m a professional conservationist, author and eco-coach who helps businesses, schools and homeowners go green. I live with my husband and kids in a green home in Virginia.

    I hope you’ll let me know what topics you’re interested in learning about. My web site,, presents practical information on the latest miserly home appliances. I write frequently about going green using money-saving strategies. But I also love to share my green ‘splurges’ like favorite organic wines and green restaurants.
    I hope this space will bring a fun, mixed bag of topics shaped by us.

  • Probiotics with Antibiotics

    by Christine Gonzalez | May 21, 2009

    Are you about to start a course of antibiotics? Well don’t forget your probiotics. While the appropriate use of antibiotics does serve a role in fighting off unruly bacterial infections, it can also do a number on your gastrointestinal tract (and vaginal tract for females). As the public's familiarity of probiotics increases thanks to the marketing of such products as Activia yogurt, the advice to supplement with probiotics while on antibiotics isn’t so “alternative” anymore. There is substantial research to support the use of probiotics for the prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea, as well as managing inflammatory bowel diseases and allergies (just to name a few of the other uses).

    Simply put, probiotics are the good bacteria that keep potentially bad bacteria and yeast in check. When you take a course of antibiotics, it indiscriminately kills bacteria, including your normal flora of good bacteria. This sets the stage for antibiotic-associated side effects (gas, diarrhea, and yeast infections). It can take up to 3 months for your body to reestablish balance after a course of antibiotics. Foods rich in probiotics include yogurt, fermented cheeses, kefir, kombucha, and miso. But it is difficult to obtain enough probiotics for health benefits from dietary sources alone, since high-doses are required.

    Quality probiotic supplements are available in capsules, powders, and liquids. I recommend that you support your body with probiotics for at least 2 weeks after your last dose of antibiotics. Remember to separate the probiotics from the antibiotic dose by at least 2 hours. Antibiotics will actually kill probiotics if you take them too close together. And did you know that your gut contains about 60-70% of your immune system cells? So supporting a healthy gut supports a healthy immune system - an added bonus! Here are some quick tips to help you select a quality probiotics supplement:

    • Should have several strains of Lactobacillus and/or Bifidobacterium species
    • Should be stocked in the refrigerator, even if it is stable at room temperature
    • Should be freeze-dried in capsules, not tablets
    • Capsules should be enteric coated, so they will open in your intestines

    • Container should be dark and moisture-proof
    • Ideally the product should have been tested for live bacteria levels at the time of manufacture and at the expiration date (this will be noted on the label)

    As always, feel free to ask for recommendations from any of the Village Green staff.

  • Tips to Support Brain Health

    by Paula Gallagher | May 15, 2009

    Healthy brain function requires many important nutrients as well as an active, social lifestyle. Factors such as aging, emotional stress, and exposure to free radicals affect cognitive health. A diet rich in antioxidants and essential fatty acids is very important for enhancing memory, cognitive skills, learning ability, mood, and stress tolerance.

    • Keep in mind the old saying, “Use it or lose it!” Challenge your brain by learning new things and keeping your brain busy.
    • Regular exercise and deep breathing increase circulation to the brain.
    • Practice stress-reducing activities such as yoga and meditation. Make sure that you are well rested by getting enough sleep.
    • Keep hydrated. Drink at least 64 ounces (8 glasses) of filtered water daily to help flush toxins from the system.
    • Consume foods that are high in lecithin (a source of phospholipids) and B vitamins, including leafy green vegetables, nutritional yeast and soy products.
    • Don’t skip meals and avoid junk food. Fluctuating blood sugar levels do not support optimal brain health. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains to give your brain the fuel it needs.

    For more information, including a list of specific nutrients and some supplement recommendations, check out Village Green’s tip sheet for supporting brain health.

  • Comprehensive Flu Prevention Guide

    by Margo Gladding | May 1, 2009

    As cases of swine flu continue to spread, we want to better arm you with tools to keep you and your loved ones healthy. Therefore, we have created a comprehensive flu prevention guide that includes diet, lifestyle practices and stress management, as well as key recommendations for nutritional support. Please feel free to contact our health experts with any questions. We are committed to your health and wellness and are here to help! Download our Flu Prevention Guidelines here.

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