Monday, April 26, 2010

G is for Groovy Green Gifts

With Earth Day just behind us and being green still top of mind, here are a handful of groovy “green” gift ideas, some of which could even make for that perfect Mother’s Day gift – with mom’s day just around the corner.

If you’re interested in sending mom flowers, or perhaps just planting an eco-certified plant or tree in honor of Arbor Day this Friday, check out for a variety of sustainably grown floral options.  As a bonus, if you check out the site this week (before the 30th), you still have time to enter to win a $125 gift certificate.

If you’d prefer to “toast” mom this Mother’s Day, perhaps you’d rather send her a bottle of the award winning Chateau Bousquette Cuvee Prestige from  And while you’re there, you may just want to sign up for the wine of the month club, where you can indulge in three bottles of organic vino every month.

If mom’s been needing a little extra “flair” in her life, check out the Chica Rosa – Silver clutch at, hand crocheted with 200 recycled aluminum pop-tops.  It’s sure to be a hit with mom and you may even want to buy a matching one for yourself.

Or, for a more casual handbag option, check out the Planet Green Graphic, Organic Cotton or Animal Planet series handbags on  These designer reusable bags will help mom spread the eco-friendly message with style.

And finally, If R&R is where it’s at with mom, why not make her day with the Organic Peaceful Spa Gift Set from or allow her to wrap herself up in a plush Organic Cotton Thick and Thirsty towel from

We could go on and on with the endless variety of green gift options now available, but these are just a few of our faves definitely worth checking out.  We’d love to hear your favorites too, but until then…

Happy Mother's Day and here’s to living your best possible life!

Monday, April 19, 2010

F is for (Shocking) Food Facts

The Sprouts are constantly asking ourselves questions like…

America’s obese, Africa is malnourished, why?
If I eat fish, am I contributing to extinction?
Can vitamins really make a difference?

Well, you know how the Sprout brain works.

And then come along movies like Food, Inc., and TV shows like Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, packed with the reality of the who, what, where, when and how of our food, and things start to become a little more clear for us.

Adding to our clarity is a new book called The Little Book of Shocking Food Facts, (which we were lucky enough to get a first hand peak of the layouts before it was finalized for production). The book’s crucial facts, figures and tidbits about the food we eat and the process it takes to make it and get it to our mouths (all of which are gleamed from the world’s most admired and trustworthy authorities on food and food production), at times even had us uttering a “WHOA!” under our breath.

The core idea of ‘shock value’ resonates not only in the startling facts, but also in the graphic design and photography, making each page turn an adventure in facial expressions to be sure.

And all of this can’t help but make us wonder…it’s interesting that so many are turning to shock in order to get our attention when it comes to eating and producing food in a healthy and humane manner. What’s more shocking is that despite all these efforts is thousands of McDonald’s Big Macs are still be scarfed down by some of the largest and most unhealthy people in American and at the same time those in India, Bangledesh and Ethiopia (just to name a few) continue to fight for the chance to eat a decent meal and drink a clean cup of water.

Our question: Can shock work to change people’s ingrained behaviors and make us, and the world, healthy?

What do you think? Is shock the answer or is there a better approach?

While you, and the Sprouts, ponder that interesting question, we’d like to thank Craig Holden Feinberg, a friend of Sprout, for his beautiful graphic art design of the book and for an awe-inspiring, and quick, lesson on global food politics, fast food culture and healthy nutrition. The book is available for pre-order at Amazon and will ship in November. For those of you who can’t wait, we’ll try to get our hands on some pre-released copies to give away to clients, or maybe we’ll do a Sprout Strategy Facebook trivia contest in the coming weeks and give you the chance to win a copy.

Here’s to living your best possible life!

Friday, April 16, 2010

E is for Earth Day

Each and everyday the Sprouts feel a bit overwhelmed by the task of saving our planet from ourselves. We’re constantly inundated by pictures of devastated landscapes and the possibility of extinct animals (those polar bears get us every time) making us constantly aware that our own ignorance, and many times laziness, is what has gotten us to this critical moment in time.

And while the task may seem insurmountable, or uncontrollable, we’ve decided that the best thing we can DO is SOMETHING. Anything! Whether it’s big or small, it will make an impact, as long as we DO SOMETHING!

That’s why as the 40th Earth Day quickly approaches on Saturday, April 17 we are focusing our efforts at home, where we can see a difference and truly feel like we’re making a difference with our SOMETHING.

The best place to start is in your own backyard, in your neighborhood, in your community. Pick just one thing: plant a tree, join the neighborhood clean-up, participate in your communities blackout night…but DO SOMETHING!

The Sprouts more than anyone get it…we get how hard this is to change your habits. No one is perfect, we all have to make choices and the decisions that fit best for us. But if we all just do one thing, just DO SOMETHING, not only will our planet be better for it, but so will we – whether it be in your heart, your head, your lungs, or your pocketbook.

If you’re still at a loss, has a great listing of events, petitions, rally’s, etc. Everyone’s sure to find something there. You can also still join Earth Hour and show your support for clean energy and a clean economy, or simply bring in your own mug to Starbucks today for free coffee – free is always a sure step in changing a habit.

Here’s to DOING SOMETHING and living your best possible life! 

Monday, April 12, 2010

D is for the Sunshine Vitamin

There is a vitamin deficiency that affects over half of the population, is almost never diagnosed, and has been linked to many cancers, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, depression, bone loss and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis.

What vitamin is almost totally absent from our food supply?

Vitamin D.  Are you getting enough?

A fat-soluble vitamin, Vitamin D is made in the body after exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun when the liver and kidneys convert it to its active hormone form, Cholecalciferol, or Vitamin D3.

A lack of sufficient Vitamin D in your body can cause the levels of calcium and phosphorus in your blood to drop, causing bones to become thin, brittle, soft or even misshapen.  This is because Vitamin D’s major biologic function is to aid in the absorption of calcium.

(picture courtesy of

So what does one do to keep sufficient levels of Vitamin D in ones body?
GET OUT IN TO THE SUN!  Sunlight is the most important source of Vitamin D because the UV rays from the sunlight trigger Vitamin D synthesis in the skin. However, with all the fears out there about over exposure to UV rays, over use of sunscreen is the main reason why most people are not getting enough Vitamin D in to their systems.  80% to 100% of our Vitamin D Intake comes from the sun.  Sunscreen blocks out an amazing 97% of our body’s Vitamin D production.

Because of the changing weather and many people living in places where the sun hardly shines, supplementing with Vitamin D is essential.  The exact amount needed will vary depending on your age, how much time you spend in the sun and the time of year, Winter vs. Summer.  The government recommends 200 to 600 IU (International Units) of Vitamin D a day.  This is the amount you need to prevent rickets, a skeletal disease that weakens the bones.  But how much do you need for optimal health?  Our favorite trusted health advisor, Dr Weil, recommends up to 2,000 IU a day, once again depending on personal circumstances.

Fortified foods are the major dietary sources of Vitamin D.  For example, one cup of Vitamin D fortified milk supplies about ¼ of the estimated daily needs for this vitamin.  You should try to eat dietary sources of Vitamin D.  These include fatty fish such as wild salmon or wild mackerel, even eggs, one whole egg contains 20 IU of Vitamin D.  You can also take Vitamin D supplements, but be careful when choosing a supplement as many only contain Vitamin D2, which is not biologically active.

Although consuming too much Vitamin D is possible, it is not probable.  Vitamin D toxicity can cause nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, constipation, weakness and weight loss.  It can also raise blood levels of calcium, causing mental changes such as confusion.  Consuming too much Vitamin D through diet alone is not likely unless you routinely consume large amounts of cod liver oil, which in our opinion would be hard to do.  It is more likely to occur from high intakes of Vitamin D in supplements, so consult a doctor before beginning a Vitamin D regiment.

Get out into the sun as much as you can, be conscience of the amount of sunscreen you use and eat foods high in Vitamin D3, supplementing if necessary, and you will find a healthier, Happier you! 

Here's to living your best possible life!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Cultivating the world around us

Admittedly the Sprouts fell of the blogging bandwagon. No excuses - one of our Sprouts sprouted, and down a cultivator we were doing everything we could to make sure we were cultivating our client's brands with as much love and attention as possible.

We're finally back to 100% and we're growing again! 

Starting Monday we'll pick up where we left off on our A-Z entries with the letter D. And in the coming weeks we'll start sharing more and more about our new sister company, gem - a research recruiting firm that's redefining the research recruit. 

Of course our time off from writing gave us plenty of time to think, and boy do we have lots of ideas and thoughts to share in the coming months. And as always, we hope you'll sound off about what you think as well.  

Until Monday, have a great weekend! 

Here's to living your best possible life! 

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Eat MORE Fruits & Veggies

Hot off the presses today from the UK is a new study that cites fruit and veggies may only reduce your risk of cancer by 3%. And this has the Sprouts a little concerned. 

The observational study conducted by the Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York had a very large sample size, 500,000 people in 10 European countries, and it did make adjustments for other factors likely to influence the results, such as smoking, alcohol intake, obesity, consumption of meat and processed meat, exercise and whether women had taken the contraceptive pill or hormone replacement therapy, but we're a little concerned that large sweeping statements are being made by an oversimplified observational study.

Despite the fact we eat our fruits and veggies, unless we're eating organic we may be eating more than just food, we're probably eating cancer causing pesticides. And of course years and years of eating this way can take it's toll.

While the oversimplified research methodology concerns us, it's actually the impact of the study that has us even more worried. Because the sensational aspect of the report, many news agencies are failing to tell, or in some cases burying, one of the most important parts of the research. 

The accompanying editorial by Walter Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health said efforts to increase fruit and vegetable consumption were still worthwhile because accumulating evidence showed that they helped protect against cardiovascular disease and "a small benefit for cancer remains possible". He suggests research now should focus more sharply on specific fruits and vegetables – including lycopene in tomatoes which, studies suggest, helps protect against prostate cancer – and on reducing smoking and obesity. And of course, we're still wondering if eating organic has an affect as well.

So the Sprouts say, "Ignore these stories and eat even more fruits and veggies!" We truly believe the more fruits and vegetables you eat the healthier you are overall; your stronger and more capable of fighting off disease, any disease that might come your way.

Here's to living your best possible life!