March 20, 2009

elephant journal review: Pixie Mate, Composting, Karma (Climbing), Healthy Halloween Candy, Mindful Politics via Wisdom Publications, Corinne Rae, Fleet Maull: Dharma in Hell, Lily Organics bodycare, Monterey Bay Aquarium Sustainable Fishing Pocket Guide, Attention Revolution, Kombucha, Tea Chi, Kombucha Wonder Drink, Michael Pollan: Omnivore’s Dilemma, Veloce Coffee, Torrontés Wine, Autobiography of a Yogi. Whew!

Guayaki is the best maté. What’s that you say, Abbey? Oh, Pixie’s advertising? Pixie is the best maté out there. What’s maté, you say? As full of antioxidants as green tea, as wakeful as a big, double dark cappuccino, and yet as empty of caffeine as wawa, maté is South America’s traditional drink of choice. And Pixie nails the market with hip, fun packaging, organic, sweet concentrate (just add soy or cow milk and maté tea bags). It’s the perfect pick-me-up, without the stress.>>pixiemate.com

Wondering how to bring that samadhi off the cushion and carry it into the body politic? This election-season anthology gathers advice from an all-star contemplative crew ranging from Vietnamese mega- monk Thich Nhat Hanh to ex-California Guvn’r Jerry Brown. Take it to the ballot box! >> wisdompublications.com

If Roberta Flack and Stevie Wonder had a child, and Lauryn Hill and Macy Gray did the babysitting, you’d get Corinne Bailey Rae. Her self-titled major label album has Rae’s soulful, smooth voice, great lyrics and a sound that has me sitting in my living room smilin’ away. I give this album the big up-dog! >> Albums on the Hill, your local indie record shop. Review via Brian Schwartz of Bleemusic.com

Candy is full of dies, chemicals and sugar. It’s bad for you, every mommy knows that. It’s also yummy and fun, every kid knows that. But apples and raisins, however well intentioned, don’t cut it as answers to “TRICK OR TREAT!” So try givin’ the little goblins organic chocolate (Chocolove, Endangered Species, Dagoba, Green & Black), those Japanese sesame candies, goji berries, dried cherries or figs, caramel apples, Candy Tree’s organic lemon lol- lipops or a free copy of elephant magazine. That failing, pull a Larry David and tell the little buggers to piss off. >> your local co-op or natural grocer 

“War begins when we harden our hearts, and we harden them easily—in minor ways and then in quite serious, major ways, such as hatred and prejudice—whenever we feel uncomfortable.” ~ Pema Chodron

Practicing Peace in Times of War. From the world’s best-known soccer mom-turned-Buddhist nun comes a timely book on how to relate to war—whether in Iraq, Lebanon or your mind. Hating Bin Laden—or Dubya—doesn’t help matters, says Pema Chödron. Instead, soften your heart. And nurture the patience to wait for hard hearts (like Dubya’s) to soften, too. >> Shambhala Publications or your local indie bookstore. Review via Ted Rose.

Talk about making the best out of a bad situation. Fleet Maull’s DHARMA IN HELL speaks not only to long term incarceration, but also to surviving—and thriving. He founded (while still in prison) two nat’l orgs, Prison Dharma Network and the National Prison Hospice Association. Illuminating once again the fallacy of “us vs. From the world’s best-known soccer mom- turned-Buddhist nun comes a timely book on how to relate to war—whether in Iraq, Lebanon or your mind. Hating BinLaden— or Dubya—doesn’t help matters, says Pema Chödron. Instead, soften your heart. And nurture the patience to wait for hard hearts (like Dubya’s) to soften, too. >>prisondharmanetwork.org Review via Sarah Gurganus.

For hundreds of years, the economy in Nova Scotia, where my mom lives, has been fueled by bountiful oceans, and the fisherman who trawled them. Suddenly, 10 years ago, there were no more fish—or jobs. It’s an all too common story. Our status quo has got to go: print Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sustainable Fishing Pocket Guide, and take to sushi next Friday night.

Alan Wallace—ex-monk, Tibetan translator and big-wig scientist—explores how we (don’t) pay attention in REVOLUTION ATTENTION (catch that?). You put it down feeling that meditation isn’t about some existential leap to another ethereal plane, but rather the gradual and incremental development of what is ours to begin with. >>wisdompublications.com Review via Joshua Lamson.


This cultured pick-me-up has come out of the mists of Chinese antiquity to win health fad of the year. Raw, live, organic, full of probiotics, B vitamins and phenols, it packs a buzz and a kick, to boot. Just make sure you don’t buy a bottle that’s gotten dusty on the shelf, or a pasteurized brand, or you’ll lose all those lively, rare nutrients. >>gtskombucha.com, wonderdrink.com, teachikombucha.com, makeyourowngoddamnkombucha.com or your local indie coop or natural grocer.

Some call compost “black gold.” There’s no replicating its potency. But why buy this stuff in a plastic bag when you can save your apple cores, newspaper scraps and autumn leaves from your local Mt. Landfill and make gold right in your own backyard? So be green, free-style. Your garden will thank you, so will your wallet—and so will Mother Earth. Now that’s a hat trick, elephant-style. >> coloradogardening.com


The most thrilling page-turner I’ve read all year! Granted, I’m a big foodie—but, then, so is anyone with a conscience or a digestive tract. Whether you care about tasty hamburgers, our nat’l obesity epidemic, big v. small organic agriculture, cute animals, the disappearing American farm, U.S.-Iraqi politics, the toxic soup known the Gulf of Mexico—it all touches down on your plate. Pollan digs into that daily, earthy link to our ecosystem, “what to eat?‚” with aplomb, wit and discriminating awareness.how’s it taste? Like ‘good morning’ itself. >>your local indie used bookstore. Review via China Tresemer.


Now here’s commitment: Veloce’s beans are 100% organic and fair trade—less than a dozen coffee co.’s in the United States live by these standards. And get this: they deliver to locals by bike (don’t worry, out-of-towners can get it by post). And how’s it taste? Like ‘good morning’ itself. >>velocecoffee.com  Review via Arron Mansika.

If you’re like me, you pay through the nose for fancy, popular-yet-exclusive skin care. But let’s get real: if what you’re putting on your skin isn’t organic, what is it? You’d be amazed at what the pricey skincare rackets include in their ingredients. Check the labels: the FDA doesn’t regulate body-care products as strictly as it does food. Enter Lily’s Organics. Like Pangea, the other body care company we review every other issue, these folks walk the talk. Handcrafted, made fresh weekly on their own farm—and best of all—effective, Lily’s will kick your favorite cleansers, toners, moisturizers, creams and masks back where they belong: the lab. >>lilyorganics.com Review via Maron Greenleaf.

Thousands of young porters in Nepal’s Kumbu region carry 200+ pound loads to escape poverty and Maoist insurgent forces. Our goal in creating Karma? To teach a group of these Nepalese the joy of Western-style climbing, letting them step back from their hard lives and have a little fun. >> bsproductions.us


Wheat free, dairy free, gluten free, egg free, peanut free, tree nut free, soy free. Feeling good about satisfying your cookie craving: priceless. You won’t mind paying for something suitable for even the biggest health- freak that actually tastes delicious. Blackberry, strawberry or chocolate raspberry, bumbleberry (I think they made that one up)—mom was wrong, you can have cookies for breakfast. >> springbakehouse.com or your local coop or natural grocer

*Conveniently, they package every single little yummy, healthy, mostly organic cookie in plastic—but that is a lot of trash! —ed. 

The eco benefits of fast-growing, durable bamboo seem almost old hat these days. You can wear it, it’s soft as silk.You can use it on your floors and know you’re doing some good without dishing out more cash or sacrificing elegance.So I wasn’t exactly wowed by the notion of a bamboo salad set. But—hand-crafted by a Fair Trade Federation company in India— these bowls are so well-made (we accidently left water in one for almost two weeks, no problemo), so beautifully dyed and appealingly modern in design, that I’ve got to give in: wow. >> realgoods.com

This aromatic Torrontés varietal is soon to be your favorite white. From Argentina’s Famatina Valley, where sandy, calcareous soil of alluvial origin 3,600 feet above sea level—together with low humidity and rainfall—provide an ideal environment for wine-growing. The north-south orientation of the Andes provides the vineyards with sunlight while protecting them from wind and rain. With orange blossom, melon and tropical fruit on the nose, it balances fruit and acid. Pairs well with sweet deserts—fruit torte, apple pie, fruit salad, creme brulée and especially zabaglione with figs. Silver Medal—‘05 Denver Int’l.>>organicvintners.com, Liquor Mart, or your local indie liquor store

~The heat is gone. But over those long, yet too short summer months we read, viewed, listened, dined, loved and (mostly) worked for The Cause. Here’s what we enjoyed, and just have to share: 


>> LAUGH: “Apache!!!” youtube.com 

>> CLASSIC MOMENT OF TRUTH: Jon Stewart does Crossfire: youtube.com 

>> CHILDREN’S BOOK: Secret Garden 

>> CLASSIC BOOK: 25th Anniversary Edition: Autobiography of a Yogi 

>> TIBETAN HOTSAUCE: mommasfire.com  

>> ALBUM: The Festival: myspace.com/festival 

>> SONG(S): Lily Allen: Little Things;Mason Jennings: Ballad For My One True Love; Eminem: Lose Yourself;Dean Martin: Little Green Apples 

>> CRUSH(ES): Anoushka Shankar, Saul Williams, Summer Rayne Oakes, the 17th Karmapa 

>> CAUSE: Domestic Partnerships: fairequal.org 

>> FAVORITE ACTIVITIES: Eldorado Springs Pool, Farmer’s Market, Boulder Outdoor Cinema, The Collection’s Block Party at Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art >>send your best of autumn to: [email protected]

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