My Cinchspiration: 4 Weeks, 8 Pounds Gone!

February 8th, 2012

Exactly a month ago, I blogged – yet again – about my new year’s resolution to lose weight.

I’m happy to report that I’ve lost eight pounds in the past four weeks — a healthy rate of weight loss – thanks to the Shaklee Cinch weight loss product line and the constant support of Sommer Poquette, aka Green and Clean Mom, and the other bloggers and  many tweeters in the #Cinchspiration” campaign.

I admit I started this with some trepidation. I wasn’t convinced that a program that consists mainly of high protein meal replacement shakes and bars would work for me. I fretted at the waste of packaging…there I was leaving the CSA with my share, only to open up a meal replacement bar. But you know what? I decided to give it a shot. I would have never tried this had Sommer not offered a free test run, in exchange for some tweets and blog posts sharing my experiences.

But the proof is in the pudding (or the soy shake mix). I just coughed up several hundred of my own buckaroos to re-up in the program for the next 12 weeks.  My new kit arrived today, and I was never so happy to see a new supply of protein bars!

My verdict? Here’s my review of the Shaklee Cinch weight loss program – pros and cons:

Pros:

1. Simplicity – My life is hectic enough without worrying about meal plans or meetings away from home.

2. Fun – Something about the program is fun. The copy in the support materials is excellent – the voice sounds like it belongs to a friend. It’s not dull or boring. It’s real – and fun!

3. Online camaraderie – I spend a lot of my time online – and the fact that I know Sommer and Karen and a lot of the other Shaklee Cinch people made it really easy to believe that this program would work.

4. Variety – Surprisingly, there’s enough variety amongst the various flavors of shakes and meal bars to prevent monotony from settling in. The lemon-cranberry is my fave!

5. Simple Ideas – I grew to love the fact that Cinch recommends a mid-afternoon break for tea and a snack. How civilized. I love my new tea time routine! Much better than grabbing a diet soda!

Cons:

1. I do think the program is a bit pricey, even when compared with meal replacement shakes sold at places like Whole Foods.  That said, I justified the cost by figuring I would no longer be raiding my kids’ supplies of cookies and Goldfish! There – money saved and reallocated to this!

2. I’m still a bit nervous about transitioning away from the meal replacement phase to a more regular diet. I think those wonderful Shaklee copy writers could do a better job of explaining just how that process works — upfront, at the beginning of the program.

3.  Although Shaklee does a lot of positive things for the environment, they could still be a bit more thoughtful with product packaging. It burns me to have to open up a tiny package of tea – such waste! I’d rather have loose leaf tea or conventional teabags.

I have a ways to go on my weight loss journey, so I’ll plan to check in every month or so and let you know how I’m doing….Pray that I finally lose all the weight I want to lose this time around!

– Lynn

Note: This post was written as part of my participation in the Shaklee Cinchspiration campaign. I received a free initial supply of Cinch weight loss products in exchange for sharing my views via my social media channels. As if you couldn’t tell, the opinions here (pros and cons) are completely my own!

 

 

Looking for Green Gifts? Better Check out What @GreenMoms Recommends…!

December 17th, 2011

A bout with a crazy strep virus that raged through my household kept me from posting the latest link to our monthly Green Moms Carnival -sorry! This one is on Green Gifts…and there are some fantastic tips from some of the green blogosphere’s top green bloggers. So head on over to Citizen Green, for the Green Moms Carnival Take on Green Gifts.  Enjoy!

– Lynn

How to Find the Perfect “Green” Gift for a Green Gal

December 11th, 2011

“Green” is now so mainstream, that most Americans will have at least one “greenie” on their holiday shopping list. But how do you buy a gift for someone who likes to Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose and Refuse (to Buy?)

Well, you start by taking her preferences into account. This probably means thinking out of the box – perhaps buying experiences, like tickets to a concert or other event, rather than yet another “thing.”

On the other hand, because of the 4Rs, you’ll find many green gals hanging on to items well past their normal lifecycles. She’s the one with the old pair of Uggs (the sheepskin’s nearly worn off), the ancient dish towels, and the cracked iPhone (Gen1 of course).  New replacements are often gratefully accepted! (There you go, my Christmas list is now public, courtesy of this month’s Green Moms Carnival on Green Gifts).

Want to offer something more personal? Think recycled or upcycled chic. Green gals love to support small green businesses and eco-chic designers who market fair trade, organic and upcycled goods.

Here are a few of my go-to sources:

Eco-artware has a fabulous selection of high quality, upcycled jewelry, handbags, and giftware.  The web’s original purveyer of recycled gifts, owner Reena Kazman has been promoting the works of environmentally conscious artists and designers for more than a decade, back when, she says, “people thought recycled meant dirty.”   Reena, a Washingtonian, was one of my first “green” clients back in 2008, in the early days of Twitter.

Greenfest is one of my favorite spots to stock up on holiday gifts. It attracts a number of the country’s top eco-artists and boasts an incredible fair trade pavilion. But alas, there’s no Greenfest right now for those seeking holiday gifts! The next best idea is to check out the Holiday Green Gift Guide sponsored by Green America, the organizer of Greenfest.

One of the featured merchants at Green America is Greenfield Paper, my favorite source for beautiful, plantable seed paper. True greenies know that the “electronic is better” bit has been way overhyped – especially when you consider that most Americans still rely on dirty coal for power.

No time to order online? If you live near Washington, DC, stop by Bethesda’s Creative Parties and check out their extensive line of recycled pens and papers, along with other creative, eco-friendly gift ideas. Located right across the street from community sustainability initiative Bethesda Green, the store’s owner, Tracy Bloom Schwarz, is a big supporter of both Bethesda Green and the local green economy.

I could go on and on with ideas…we greenies aren’t really that hard to shop for!….But please, do avoid plastic items (unless recycled or upcycled) and “eco” items shipped over from China. Need more ideas? Check out the Green Moms Carnival on Green Gifts on Monday over at Citizen Green.

– Lynn

 

 

 

Today’s a Special Day for Allowance Day: Give to the Max Day

November 9th, 2011

If you’re like most parents, you may dole out your child’s allowance over the weekend. But if you include a charitable giving component in your child’s allowance, you may want to make an exception today. Take Junior aside after school and show him or her the Give to the Max Day website. As  kids say, it’s totally awesome.


Give To The Max Day - Greater Washington Fundraising

Today, more than 1,000 non-profits are participating in a challenge to encourage the DC community to …well, give to the max. In addition to the funds raised from the event, the organizers are offering an additional $125,000 in cash awards, including up to $25,000 for nonprofits with the most individual donors and the most money donated. The individuals who bring the most donors on behalf of their cause can add an extra $10,000 to their donation.  There’s not a better day to make a charitable contribution, particularly if you live in Washington, DC, Virginia, or Maryland.

Not only will your kids’ “charity dollars” go further today than on most days, but the entire giving experience is a lesson in beautiful, intuitive web design and the power of community-based social media.

And you know what else? I have a feeling you’ll end up having one of those particularly awesome parent-child chats. So go ahead, check it out – Give2theMax. Registration takes just a minute — and you guessed it, even that is super cool as you get to create your own page. Check mine out.

Did you participate in Give To The Max Day with your kids? OK, my son is off playing and then to homework….but before bedtime, as a “special treat,” we’re giving to the max! :)

– Lynn

 

 

Interested in Greening Your Pet?

October 13th, 2011

Whether you own a pet, are thinking about getting a pet, or have close friends or family with pets, you’ll find some really interesting information in this month’s Green Moms Carnival on Green Pets. (In fact, I think with that description of pet owners, their friends and family, I just described everyone reading this post!)

From tips about adopting shelter dogs (in celebration of Adopt a Shelter Dog Month), to info about the care and feeding of pets, to my own musings about whether pet ownership can be a first step on the path to sustainability – there are a ton of great reads over at Condo Blues today.

Enjoy! And be sure to join the @GreenMoms next month for “How to Be a Green Consumer – Black Friday edition,”   hosted by Eco-novice.

The Danger Our Kids Face: #justiceforhenry

March 7th, 2011

Update: Katie Granju will discuss Henry’s case on CNN Tuesday night at 7 pm EST on “Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell.”

Yesterday morning, I sat stunned, looking at the angelic faces of the third graders in my Sunday school class. I kept thinking of another boy, who shared our faith, enjoyed the love of close family and friends, and yet ended up dead at the age of 18, victim of the number two cause of accidental death in America.

Do you know what it is?

Think.

katiehenry

You’re not alone if you don’t realize that drug abuse, particularly prescription drug abuse, has reached what some experts call “epidemic proportions.”

The problem is, parents don’t talk about it. In our tell-all, Reality-TV world, a child’s drug addiction is one of the few things that is considered shameful. And as a result, awareness of the problem  is low, and families suffer in isolation.

But one mother, in the midst of her horrible pain over not only losing her son Henry, but dealing with a very questionable  police investigation into his beating and involvement with a drug and prostitution ring, is changing all that.

Katie Allison Granju is a gifted writer. Many of you know her as the author of “Attachment Parenting: Instinctive Care for Your Baby and Young Child,” as a contributor to Salon, as a Babble.com blogger, or from her blog Mamapundit.

She’s now taking her powerful communications skills and huge reach into the Mom blogger community to both raise public awareness of the prescription drug epidemic and to force a re-examination of the investigation into her son’s death in Knoxville, TN.


Please go to her blog and read the story of Henry Granju. You will be shocked and saddened and outraged. Tweet about it using the hashtag #JusticeForHenry.   Call or email Nancy Grace and ask her to investigate.

 

And above all, talk to your kids about drug abuse. A little bit of experimentation with pot is NOT OKAY.

Watch this incredible video, Henry’s story. Show it to your kids. Ask your school, your church, your synogogue, to show it to the youth. It will save lives.

And after you’ve done all that, please remember to leave a comment here and let me know your thoughts.

Thank you and godspeed to Henry’s family.

– Lynn

Cutting PBS Kids

March 3rd, 2011

Dear reader,

I am Lynn Miller’s son.I do not want the government to eliminate PBS kids because we do not have cable Tv .PBS kids is one of the two  kids channels on tv that my mom lets me watch. I want you to write letters to the people in the government who want to destroy PBS Kids.   Please donate money to help PBS Kids. I saved up and donated $30 from the part of my allowance that goes to charity – you can donate too!

Thank you.

To donate, find your local station here.

Note from Lynn: Hmm…Big Boy’s first blog post. And it was all his idea! The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, does it? :)

Copyright 2011 OrganicMania

Happy Christmas: It’s Epiphany

January 6th, 2011

I interrupt this New Year to remind you that some are still celebrating Christmas! Depending on how you count the days from Christmas, the twelfth day of Christmas may be celebrated on January 5th or 6th, with Epiphany on the 6th.

This year, we celebrated Epiphany early in order to avoid having it at Children’s Hospital, where my son will have his appendix removed today. (The final stage of that awful emergency of a ruptured appendix!)

Epiphany King's Cake

It’s one more thing we do in our household to focus on friends, family and faith, as opposed to what I call “the commercial Christmas” and what my @GreenMoms friends call “holidays without the hoopla.”

My last post here was on the eve of Advent, when I blogged that I was going to try to do as my church advises: Relax. Slow Down. It’s Advent.

Of course, life doesn’t stop. I confess, I did work through the holidays,  stopping only on  Christmas Eve, Christmas, Boxing Day, and New Year’s Day. And of course I didn’t get around to everything on my agenda, but I adapted. Who says a gingerbread house needs to be made before Christmas? Voila! I decorated mine with “2011,” transforming it into a New Year’s gingerbread house!

NewYearsGingerbread

But perhaps it was the hours gleaned through “neglecting” my blog that gave me time to bake cookies, something I never got around to last year.

If you’d like to celebrate Epiphany, here’s the key part:

Boo looks at our collection of King Cake "fievres" from years past.

Boo looks at our collection of King Cake "fievres" from years past.

Get a great King’s Cake! They’re hard to bake, unless you’re a master chef, so I’m not going to suggest that. A better bet is a French bakery. In years past, we always got our King Cake at Patisserie Poupon in Georgetown, DC. This year, we tried Café Cocoa on Bethesda Lane, and were thrilled with the cake.

Cut the cake into pieces. The person who finds a small porcelein figure in their piece is crowned “King” and gets to wear the gold crown that comes with the cake. (I’ve “upcycled” our gold crowns by passing them along to a dear friend so that her daughter could play Queen Esther at the Temple’s Purim festival. Talk about Interfaith Dialog in action! :) )

Because by Christmas Eve I typically discover that we have overabundance of presents for the kids,  I set a few aside to give as “gifts” from the Wise Men.

This year, the boys each got a watch.

AdventGifts

I dodged their question about whether the Wise Men shopped at Gap or had a toy factory by asking, “What do you think?”

My eight-year-old responded, “I think   Melchior

Caspar and Balthasar got the watches because telling time is really wise, and they’re The Wise Men.”

“How did you know their names?,” I asked, wondering if something from that “boring” Sunday School was sinking in…

“From the Advent calendar!” he exclaimed.

Happy New Year! If you celebrate Epiphany this year, let me know!

– Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2011

Green Moms Take on Cement? Green or (Ack, Cough, Gasp) Not If You’re Living Near the Plant

November 16th, 2010

One of the things I most love about the Green Moms Carnival is getting to know such a diverse group of women from all over the country. Lisa of Retro Housewife Goes Green is someone I never would have met were it not for the Internet. She’s an environmental activist in, of all places, Oklahoma. Now I’ve met plenty of activists from progressive places like California, Oregon, and DC, but…Oklahoma…? It takes a very determined person to agitate for change there.

Lisa has a very personal battle going on with the cement plant in her home town. Check out her post and those from other @GreenMoms at  Retro Housewife Goes Green.

– Lynn

What’s green enough for a LEED rating but not green enough to breathe?

November 15th, 2010

The first time I heard that concrete was considered a green building material, I was surprised. Hadn’t I heard lots of buzz about forgoing concrete walkways in favor of  stone and other pervious building materials, which are much better for storm drainage?

But the glossy brochures from the cement makers assured me that concrete was a material of choice for LEED building projects –the material of choice for green schools.  And in fact, there were now pervious varieties of concrete, so you can still use concrete on the walkways after all.

Chastened by my lack of knowledge about concrete, I dutifully added it to my ever expanding list of “eco friendly” materials. Then my bloggy friend Lisa from Retro Housewife Goes Green told the @GreenMoms about her battles with the cement plant in her hometown in Oklahoma. It seems that production of this green building material – destined for high class kitchen counters, big city buildings, and new green schools – emits some pretty noxious fumes.

And indeed, a google search quickly turned up some stories about how the EPA only recently started tightening restrictions on concrete production, which has toxic, carcenogenic byproducts such as mercury.

What ever happened to cradle-to-cradle? How can concrete be considered green by the architects, yet be a poison to those unfortunate enough to live in the shadow of the cement plants?

I’m eager to read the round-up of posts on this subject over at Retro Housewife Goes Green, and I’m especially curious about whether the architects and interior designers have used their marketplace clout to encourage the cement manufacturers to clean up their acts.

– Lynn