Monday, November 21, 2011

Non-Toxic & Heartburn Free Thanksgiving Tips!

While the probability of family taking over every part of your home, the kitchen being so packed you can hardly open the oven door to get the turkey out before it burns, and a serious food-coma to persist after a massive meal, there are two things you can do your best at avoiding this Thanksgiving holiday: hazardous chemicals and heartburn!
To help avoid hazardous chemicals, there are several simple steps you can take:
2.      Eat on glass plates—they’re lead free!
3.      Bake on stainless steel or glass bakeware.
4.      Eat organic J
When it comes to heartburn, it may be a little more difficult to manage, but not impossible!  It is estimated that 42% of Americans suffer from heartburn at some point in their lives.  Heartburn is a burning sensation in the chest that often radiates upward into the neck and throat.  Although there are many causes of heartburn, the primary cause is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).  GERD is the condition in which the acidic contents of the stomach leaks back into the esophagus, causing burning irritation.  Our odds of experiencing heartburn can also be increased by what we eat.  For example, coffee, tea, and other caffeinated drinks can relax that lower esophageal sphincter (LES) which then allows the contents of the stomach to reflux into the esophagus.  In addition, over-eating, eating late at night, and even wearing tight clothing can contribute to heartburn! 
Whatever the cause, our eating habits can often add to the amount of heartburn we feel.  For this reason it is important for sufferers of heartburn to watch what they eat.  Dr. Jaime Koufman, author of “Dropping Acid: The Reflux Diet Cookbook and Cure,” offers many recipes for dishes that are low in acid and may help you avoid heartburn during this holiday season. Here are a few of Dr. Koufman’s holiday themed recipes. 
Happy Thanksgiving Week!
More info:

Thursday, November 17, 2011

6 Reasons to Eat Organic Foods

“Organic foods” are defined as foods that are grown without the use of modern, synthetic products (such as pesticides and chemical fertilizers), do not contain genetically modified organisms, and are processed without industrial solvents or food additives.  In other words, organic is the natural choice.  Below are a list of reasons why going organic is a great choice for your body, your family and the environment:
1.      Overall health. My main reasoning—and the most obvious—for eating organic foods is overall health. Studies about the detrimental effects of synthetic products on our health are rampant across the media, and by eating organic, I’m taking one big step towards avoiding these synthetic products.  However, there are many more benefits to buying organic that are not as obvious as health concerns. 
2.      Water supply. Growing organic food is also better for our water supply.  Pesticides used by industrial farmers inevitably make their way back into our water supply.  The U.S. Geological Survey recently tested the groundwater quality at several locations and detected at least one pesticide in every stream tested.  Unfortunately, this problem will only get worse as we continue to use pesticides on an industrial scale.  Going organic means keeping pesticides out of our environment—sounds good to me!
3.      Nutritional value. Another reason eating organic foods is a great choice is their intrinsic health. Simply put, organic foods have higher nutritional value than non-organic foods.  The chemicals used to keep our non-organic fruits and vegetables looking beautiful right up to the dinner plate actually kill microorganisms in the soil they are grown in. These chemicals prevent soil from enriching our food with nutrients; but organic foods avoid this problem! 
4.      Healthy soil. Not using chemicals in soil helps keep soil healthy. This healthy soil feeds the organic plants, which give carbon back in return.  This process leaves us with better soil in the long run and a healthier environment.
5.      Fewer carbon emissions. Organic foods are also better for the environment because organic foods more often than not are locally grown.  Locally grown foods don’t have to be trucked across the country, which helps reduce carbon emissions.
6.      Taste! Lastly, organic foods simply taste better!
Some people have been slow to catch the organic craze, often saying that the extra cost is not worth it.  However, as organic food becomes more popular and more and more people start growing it, prices will continue to fall.  Take a walk around your local farmer’s market and you may be surprised to find that often times the prices are comparable to non-organic foods, especially if you buy fruits and vegetables in season.
Organic food is an investment in your life that will pay off in the long run.  It will keep you healthier and happier.  What more could we ask for from our food?
~ Jessica

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Should I Exercise While I'm Sick?

I recently read an article from that brought up the question I have always asked myself, “Should I exercise while I’m sick?” I once heard it was a good idea, so when I have a cold, I actually do exercise. And for me, it makes a difference. I feel 100x better after forty-five minutes treck on the elliptical. And honestly, while I have had a few colds already this season, I’ve been flu-free for a very long time!—something I credit to staying healthy and active J.

David C. Nieman, DrPH, FACSM, conducted a 1,000-person study to find the correlation between exercise and catching a cold.  Here are some of his findings:
1.      Those who were physically active, lean, and ate plenty of fruit had fewer sick days (1/3 to be exact) than those who did less physical activity and were overweight.
2.      When those who were physically active got sick, symptoms were less severe.
3.      People who engage in moderate levels of activity while sick can reduce their sick times by up to half. Moderate activity includes exercise for at least 45 minutes five to six days a week.

But these findings are for colds only. Nieman says that if you are seriously ill or have a viral infection, exercise may make the illness worse or last longer.  So stick to resting!

Here are a few exercise tips for staying healthy during cold and flu season:
-          Stuffy nose, sore throat, cold symptoms…get active!
-          Aches, pains, fevers, diarrhea, chest congestion, swollen glands…rest, rest, rest!
-          When you have a cold, make sure your exercise isn’t too rigorous.  Try a brisk walk for 45 minutes.
-          If you are recovering from the flu, don’t jump into intense exercise right away. Ease back into your routine.

Thank you for the tips, Rodale!

~ Hannah

Friday, November 11, 2011

Giveaway ~ Baking Bonanza

Good morning!  I am hear to do our very first giveaway on the A Cup of ESP blog!  So excited about this one because...

  1. It's our first giveaway.
  2. Today is lucky 11.11.11, and someone out there will be the lucky winner!
  3. Who doesn't love a giveaway!?
  4. The Cupcake Creations Snowman baking cups we are giving away are peeerfect for this coming holiday season.
Now, it's on to contest details!  

Baking Bonanza Prize:

Two 32/pack of Cupcake Creations Snowman Standard Baking Cups!  These baking cups are made of all natural, eco friendly paper, are BPA free, use food-safe inks, and are non-toxic...a great combination!  To read more about how awesome these cupcake cups are, visit our Cupcake Creations page on

Baking Bonanza Contest Rules:

Today is 11.11.11...we are feeling lucky, and so is one (and maybe more) of our Facebook fans!  Our goal is to reach 200 Facebook Fans by 11:11 AM EST on November 14th (Monday).  Currently, we have 138 fans, and as a new company, we think this 200 number is attainable!  That's where you all come in...
  1. If luck doesn't strike us at 11:11 AM on 11/14, only ONE of our Facebook Fans will receive two packs of the Cupcake Creations Snowman Baking cups!
  2. If we reach 200 Facebook Fans by 11:11 AM EST on November 14th, TWO of our Facebook Fans will each win two packs of the baking cups!
So....spread the word! Get your family and friends to "Like" ESP on Facebook! The more people hear about ESP, the more we can help spread awareness about hazardous chemicals in our everyday products...and help prevent exposure through a non-toxic and chemical free lifestyle in the kitchen and on-the-go :).

Winner (and we hope WINNERS!) will be randomly chosen on Monday, November 14th and will be announced on our Facebook page.  Winner will be contacted via a Facebook message so we can get address information.

Let the Bonanza Begin!

~ Hannah

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

10 Tips to Help Fight Seasonal Depression without the Trip to the Drugstore!

I drove home from work last night around 6pm.  But what’s so great about that? While it may the usual time I drive home from work, this time something was different: it was pitch black outside.  If it wasn’t for the clock on my dashboard, I could have sworn it was midnight (funny how taking the sun away from our late afternoons really makes it feel that much later!).  Yes, daylight savings time has struck again.  At first, daylight savings time in the fall always seems so exciting because, well, we get an extra hour of “sleep”…which sometimes turns into more because we are tired earlier and therefore fall asleep earlier. But with this extra sleep comes less daylight, which I can say for myself is not my favorite!

It is around this time when Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) becomes a real issue for many of us (myself included).  Over time, increased darkness and lack of sunshine can lead people to develop SAD, characterized by increased appetite (funny how the winter always brings the extra lbs if you know what I mean), decreased energy (night = sleep to me!), and general unhappiness (L).  Too often people may turn to medication to solve these problems; however, there are alternatives and natural methods that we can all practice to increase our overall happiness in any season! 

Here are 10 tips to try out this season to help beat seasonal depression (if you’re a victim like myself!):

1.      Talk to a professional, that’s what they’re there for!  In order to beat depression we need to be able to talk about our struggles with professionals.  Never hide your feelings, because talking to a professional will help in ways you never realized before! Plus, a counselor will always listen…and who doesn’t love a good listener?
2.      You’re not alone.  Oftentimes people feel embarrassed or ashamed of their depression, but it is important to remember that everyone, depressed or not, has to work at happiness. Knowing you’re not alone can be comforting, and working towards bringing a smile to your face is well worth it!
3.      Get up and go.  Going outside for a walk or getting any sort of exercise will help to clear your mind and refresh your body.  People with depression generally avoid leaving the house, but a little fresh air and exercise will do wonders for the spirit. Too cold outside? Workout videos are always a fun alternative!
4.      Make a list of goals.  Depression is particularly debilitating because it seems like it will never end.  It is important to set manageable daily or weekly goals for yourself.  These goals can be about anything and everything.  Goals will give you a sense of accomplishment and they will help to keep you active and motivated.
5.      Laugh, laugh, and laugh some more!  When something makes you laugh, make an effort to laugh an extra 10 seconds.  Get yourself to laugh at nothing at all.  It’s good for your heart and it acts as an instant mood lifter.
6.      Get some Mr. Sunshine in your day.  The sunshine is a source of instant happiness.  The sun helps us to relax, reflect, and smile, so try to get at least 30 minutes of sun in your day (sunscreen…don’t forget!).  Try stepping outside for your lunch break—maybe doing a lap around the office building to get some energy going!
7.      Fall nose deep into a good book.  There are many books available on depression that will help pull you through rough times and gain new perspective on your issues.  But the book doesn’t have to be all technical, how about a sappy love story? A good mystery? Find a genre you love! Plus, curling up with some light reading will help you relax and keep your mind active in a creative way.
8.      Keep your physical health in check.  I have already mentioned the importance of staying physically active, but paying attention to all health related aspects of your life will help give you a sense of control and even pride.  Your body is a temple, and it deserves to be treated well.  Start by making healthier food choices and from an ESP perspective, non-toxic changes at home!  BPA free bottles can be a good start!
9.      Get creative.  Whether it is writing, drawing, playing music, or working on a craft, creating will gives us a sense of accomplishment and renewal.  Creativity is in the eye of the beholder, so love it, live it, share it!
10.  Try something new.  Try a new hobby, cook a new dish, learn a new language…just try something new! You may find something you love to do and that will bring that wonderful smile to your face.

Hope these tips help!  Let me know if you have any good seasonal depression mood boosters, I’d love to hear from you all!

~ Jessica

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Wyland Living Green Fair Wrap Up

I'm so excited to write this post because we just wrapped up our first green event! This past weekend, we set up a super large booth at the Wyland Living Green Fair to help promote going non-toxic and chemical was a great success! We had hundreds of visitors stop by our booth and give us great feedback. Everyone showed great interest in what we were doing at ESP, and I hope we were able to spread awareness about prevention of hazardous chemicals :).

Here's a recap of our weekend:

Let me preface the weekend by letting you all know it was my mom's birthday on Sunday. As a birthday surprise, I thought we'd get our whole family together to attend the Living Green Fair with my mom and me. My three younger brothers are in middle school and high school, so they were already home. But one of my younger sisters worked out in California while the other is abroad in Costa Rica! So with a little bit of secrecy and work, we were able to get the two of them to fly in on Friday get ready and surprise my mom Saturday morning.

Friday night:
Both of my sisters stayed with my fiance and me in Fort Lauderdale.

Saturday morning:
7 AM ~ My two sisters, my fiance, and I all drove over to my parent's house to surprise my mom. We opened the door, walked in, and saw my mom's SURPRISED face! She had no earthly idea that we were all going to be with her this past weekend to celebrate her birthday.  Let's just say a few happy tears were shed :).
8 AM ~ It was off to Mizner Park in Boca Raton, FL to set up!
9 AM ~ Set up began...with the whole fam!

11 AM ~ Doors opened up for the Wyland Living Green Fair!  We were all ready to go :)

5:30 PM ~ End of day 1! It was a beautiful day at the fair...and I think we did a great job spreading awareness!  You can see more pictures from the event on our Facebook page:!/media/set/?set=a.198993640176451.49369.130037260405423&type=1

That night, we all had family dinner at my parents house.  Because one sister is in college and the other lives in California, it is amazing when we get the chance to all get together--all eight of us! I think my mom had a very, very Happy Birthday!!

Another great day! My mom, sister, and I were at the event from 12 to 5.

I would have given an exact play by play of the weekend, but I think you all got a good idea of how it went! We sold bpa free bottles by Lifefactory and Takeya--which EVERYONE loved! (Including us...we all have at least one bottle each haha).

More pictures to come on our Facebook page soon!

Thank you!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Breast Cancer Awareness Month May Have Ended, but We Can Still Spread Awareness and Prevention!

With October here and gone before we knew it, the famed “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” has come to a close.  Less than a month ago you could not go anywhere without seeing a pink ribbon, but now the various items in your local shops with pink ribbons on them will slowly disappear off the shelves.  Unfortunately, awareness of the disease will also seem to lose steam with some.  So while Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an important 31 day rally, we think awareness AND prevention should be recognized all year round!
Something I found interesting was that in spite of all of the donation drives and awareness efforts taking place, the rate of breast cancer in this country has steadily increased over the last 40 years.  How could this be true? 
One take is that perhaps all of these pink ribbons and the billions of dollars going into the campaigns are at the root of the issue.  Medical sociologist Dr. Gayle Sulik’s book Pink Ribbon Blues: How Breast Cancer Culture Undermines Women’s Health argues that the pink ribbon campaign has moved the disease to a superficial level and actually serves to distract the public from the reality of breast cancer and the need for prevention.  Dr. Sulik adds that there is a lot of money to be made off of a campaign as large as the pink ribbon one—going so far as creating a strong incentive not to stop the disease.  For many, this is a hard pill to swallow, especially because the pink ribbon campaign is so optimistic in nature.
Of course, the pink ribbon campaign is not all bad for the public.  In fact, it has done some great things for awareness about breast cancer.  Particularly in the beginning it was able to inform and mobilize people and bring attention to a disease that has since affected millions. But to some the campaign lacks a clear direction that will have an actual impact on stopping breast cancer.  
Dr. Sulik argues that the in order to really have an impact on this disease, much more attention and resources need to be paid to the environmental links to breast cancer.  In an interview with, Dr. Sulik shed some light on the state of breast cancer research stating that
There's already a lot of focus on behaviors that influence risk factors—eat right, exercise, limit alcohol intake—but only 30 percent of all breast cancer cases are found in people who have these known risk factors.  So, for 70 percent of the cases, we don't know what causes it.  That creates this false impression that by doing certain things, you'll prevent breast cancer.  But in 70 percent of cases, there's a lot of evidence that the environment is having a lot of influence.
There is a growing field of research looking into the affects that environmental chemicals have on breast cancer and our health in general.  A recent report from the Breast Cancer Fund looks into the links between the chemicals in our environment and breast cancer.  Janet Gray, the author of this report, concludes that data on this issue is sufficient to warrant serious concern about the chemicals around us.  Furthermore, it is important that the practical implications of this research be disseminated to the general public so that necessary lifestyle changes can be made.
The most recent report from the Breast Cancer Fund found that the following factors may increase the risk of developing breast cancer: plastic agents like BPA and phthalates, pesticides, radiation from CT scans, x-rays, and mammography equipment, and flame retardant chemicals.
Knowledge is power.  This information can help us control what chemicals we interact with and thereby make healthier decisions about our lives.
Here is a list of tips that will reduce the chemicals in your environment:
·         Buy organic, this goes for food as well as products such as makeup, fragrances, and cleaning supplies.
·         Avoid any products made of vinyl.
·         Replace your old and crumbling furniture.
It is important that we are all aware of the risk of breast cancer and start to place more of a focus on prevention—but without losing site of continued awareness!  
~ Jessica
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