Sure, it might be a smoggy and silly city at times, but this weekend I’m breaking with form to give my hometown some love. Here’s why…
1. The Santa Ana winds.
They’ve been a’ blowing, and they’re warm and wonderful. Joan Didion made them infamous in her beautiful (and ominous) essay, but I think they’re just great. From that piece: “On nights like that,” Raymond Chandler once wrote about the Santa Ana, “every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks. Anything can happen.” That was the kind of wind it was.
2. The Los Angeles Times wrote this piece about the beauty business behaving badly, and they cited us as a resource!
The piece cover everything from extreme airbrushing to false advertising claims to dangerous chemicals—and the different agencies that are finally cracking down on the beauty business here and abroad. Our book was included as a reliable resource. Pretty cool.
3. Yogitoes is holding a four-day pop-up event in Santa Monica for breast cancer awareness.
And I’m going to be speaking on a panel tomorrow from 11:30am–12:30pm. Don’t come for me though, come for the amazing doctors who I’m so honored to be speaking with! And for the cause. Details are here.
Hope you guys are having a great weekend!
A little over a year ago we did a very amusing interview with a reporter for the Los Angeles Times. The story never saw the light of day (hey, these things happen all the time in publishing), but the exercise was super fun. His idea: Take the clean girls to Walgreens and send them loose in the aisles to find clean alternatives to common products like Nivea body lotion, Secret deodorant, Pantene conditioner, Tressemme shampoo, Neutrogena face wash—you know, the stuff everyone uses, every day.
This was our first big newspaper interview, and we were pretty caffeinated, and I’d just landed in L.A., and we’d just gotten an email that the TIME article about our book was out, and we were together, and and and—you get the picture. It was such a great day!
But as we wandered the aisles, we were shocked at the dearth of truly natural products. (Maybe that’s why the article didn’t work?) There was garbage in every green-leaf-adorned bottle and tube, to the point where I remember feeling kind of bad for the writer. “Is this one bad too?” he’d ask.
“Uhh, ahhh, I mean… Sorry!”
At one point I picked up a bar of Dove soap that I’d used on and off years ago. It had green tea and cucumber in the name and there was a green leaf the box, so I flipped it over and read the ingredients for what was, I’m pretty sure, the first time. Here they are:
Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate, Stearic Acid, Sodium Tallowate or Sodium Palmitate, Sodium Stearate, Water, Sodium Isethionate, Lauric Acid, Sodium C14-C16 Olefin Sulfonate, Sodium Cocoate or Sodium Palm Kernelate, Fragrance, Sodium Sulfate, Sodium Chloride, Dipropylene Glycol, Tetrasodium EDTA, Tetrasodium Etidronate , Blue 1, Titanium Dioxide, Yellow 5.
Heh. No cukes, no tea. Nevermind that cucumber and tea don’t make a ton of sense in a bar of soap anyway—it sort of became a symbol in my head of how much we’d learned, and how little we knew before, without even knowing we didn’t know it.
It’s been a while since I’ve been to a major pharmacy for anything other than bandaids, so I thought it would be instructive to explore again. I hit a Walgreens, a Duane Reade and a CVS. Here’s what I found.
I was especially surprised to see a lot of Lavera products, including the sunless tanner Alexandra loves and the sunscreen I lived by last summer. I saw Dr. Bronner’s, a brand that continues to expand in a way I find inspiring (let this be a model for more mainstream expansions, yes?). There was a great selection of the Yes To line, which isn’t as clean as we like, but at the price point and availability, OK in a pinch. There was some Alba, Giovanni and Aubrey (the gateway-brand triumvirate, also better than many in a pinch) and—gasp—100% Pure! They had my sunscreen! I also saw Natracare organic cotton tampons for less than at my health food store, Organic Wear, tons of three-free nail polishes—and each of the three stores had almost all of these on offer.
Bottom line: There was a lot to choose from, and it wasn’t half bad.
So it got me wondering: What, if anything, do YOU buy at the drugstore? Anything? And have you seen any of our beloved lines expanding to major retailers? Share, share.
I’m not entirely sure what to make of this new front-of-package and quick-to-read food label. For starters it’s a voluntary move by the food industry (which instantly smells fishy), and for seconds (ok, no more puns) they’re claiming altruistic motivations. As reported in the Los Angeles Times:
New labels, called Nutrition Keys by the food industry that created them, were announced Monday by the Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Marketing Assn. The groups say they developed the labels in response to First Lady Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity campaign that in part calls for an easier way for shoppers, especially parents, to make informed food choices.
Yuh-huh. We’re not the only ones not buying that. According to Marion Nestle of the Food Politics blog:
There is only one explanation for this move: heading off the FDA’s Front-of-Package (FOP) labeling initiatives.
See, apparently recommendations from a team of health specialists think front-of-package labels should focus on the bad stuff, and not use the space to trumpet things like protein and fiber.
To be honest, I don’t know if any of this even matters. Last we’d heard, those calorie listings on fast foods weren’t changing people’s choices there, and we live in a calorie-obsessed society. So would seeing sodium and saturated fat on the front of a package be that much more of a deterrent?
Maybe we need to take a cue from Canada’s front-of-pack cigarette warnings. Imagine that bottle of Easy Cheese had a label on it that said “eating this will clog your arteries” along with a picture like this. Now that would get my attention, as delicious as spray cheese can be (I’m not kidding).
What do you think?
Image via LA Times