Saturday, April 21, 2012

Eco Library: 3 Book Reviews (& 1 Must Have)

You may notice that a lot of my posts have "Ecoholic 2006" cited therein. Adria Vasil's book, "Ecoholic" was the impetus for most of my Greenie changes as well as the subtitle for this blog. I loved that book, her writing style and the way the information was well researched. Unfortunately, Ecoholic-Home, her second book, although good, wasn't the bowl-you-over amazing eco-resource that I had used countless times.

As a stickler for research and citation, though, the 2006 tag-year was getting a bit worrisome. Anything past the 5 year mark in quantitative research isn't really worth mentioning- as science moves so quickly. (Although, I still strongly recommend "Ecoholic" for anyone wanting an intro in all things Green. Just don't read it all at once... it may be a bit overwhelming!). 

Weirdly, in the past few months there have been THREE major "toxin-beauty-health" related books that I've purchased and (at least attempted) to read. As I feel books are sacred, I don't regret purchasing them, and I'm far from a book critic, I'll share a few thoughts on these Eco-Resources.

(My three newest additions to my Eco Resources Library!)

1. The Non-Toxic Avenger- Deanna Duke (aka Crunchy Chicken). 
I will admit, I was very excited for this book to come out. Mostly because like many green bloggers, I've read her blog and it felt like supporting a fellow blogger to purchase her book. I read so many fantastic reviews in the Crunchy Chicken circle of bloggers, that I had high expectations.

Unfortunately, I barely got through the first few chapters. I'm stuck at p.52.

The reason: I'm going to be honest- it's her writing. I feel like maybe this is a personal preference- long sentences and paragraphs with repeating ideas and circular arguments don't really make me happy. Lots of bloggers loved how the feel of the writing was like a long blog post, but it really wasn't my cup of tea.

I also wasn't so happy with her sweeping scientific claims without consistently citing any research sources. Some of her statements were really quite alarmist (i.e. choosing not to wear earrings of unknown metal origin in case they might rub against her skin and leach said metal into her bloodstream... which honestly is highly unlikely. I would choose not to wear jewellery made in China because of labour ethics and carbon footprint...) Also, a personal preference here.

I know I'll get through this book- and read it through the end, but the cynic in me is a bit wary. Although I wasn't a huge fan, that doesn't mean that you, dear reader, may not enjoy this book. If you love Crunchy Chicken, her blog post writing style- you may very well love her book.

2. Ecoholic Body- Adria Vasil. 
This JUST got released on Tuesday and I quickly scooped it up today. I was happily humming a tune, so excited to give it a read.

After about an hour of reading and quickly perusing all chapters, I'm mildly disappointed.

The good stuff: Adria's still keeping it Canadian, which is awesome, and her writing is still as witty and engaging as ever. I love that she's so fantastic at keeping up to date with regulatory body information, legislation and research. Adria's also brought forward her nifty product review summary that she used in Ecoholic Home, which I found extremely accurate and reliable. There's also a wealth of product options discussed and/or mentioned which is pretty darn convenient.

You know what else is cool? A downloadable "Mean 15" wallet guide to the top 15 worse beauty product ingredients.

The disappointing stuff: Maybe it's because I had just read "There's Lead in Your Lipstick", but I felt like the chapters were almost a vomiting of product information and naming. Each sentence named a different product and it was overwhelming trying to situate myself with the choices put forth. "If you need this, try this, this, or this product, but if you need that, try that, that or that product". I was also quite disappointed with the orange text boxes, honestly the font was in such a light orange colour that it's tricky to read.

This book is still a definite buy just for her amazing writing and research skills as well as the ridiculous amount of product information, labelling information, plastic guide and city by city shop guide. I'll just need to use it that way instead of reading it straight like a book.

3. There's Lead in your Lipstick- Gillian Deacon
I devoured this book in less than a week. Love, love LOVED this book. Gillian Deacon used to be the co-host for Daily Planet and has a succinct but engaging writing style with sufficient research citations to back up her claims.

I adored that there was no BS with her: the product was either green or it wasn't. I gather this is a result of her greenwashing pet peeve, which also happens to be my pet peeve so that worked out very nicely.

Unlike other resources, "There's Lead in Your Lipstick" is completely beauty product oriented 100%. Which means she truly goes into detail regarding beauty products, ingredients found in them and potential dangers currently known in the research world. Her introduction stating that she's a Breast Cancer survivor and her honest approach to all things carcinogenic is moving and refreshing. When she reviewed aluminum links to breast cancer from anti-perspirant, admitting that research is tenuous on the connection at best, she won me over. I knew that she was reporting the research from a passionate yet as unbiased as she could be perspective.

Like Ecoholic Body, Gillian provides a wallet downloadable tip sheet with best brands and toxins to avoid. Fun!

Another aspect of this book that I loved so much was her absolute penchant for all things DIY. Instead of encouraging the purchase (and consumerism) of Green beauty products, this book actually focuses more on DIY recipes that she's actually tried at home. She goes into detail about different natural and easy to find products that can do the same thing and none of her recipes appear that difficult to make. This book is the reason why I tried my own body lotion (which has been a huge success I might add).

For someone who's easily intimidated by all those "natural DIY" beauty product mavens, this says a lot.

If you haven't guessed already, "There's Lead in Your Lipstick" is a Must-Have for your DIY/Eco-Beauty resource shelf!

article and photographs copyright of EcoYogini at

1 comment:

  1. Awesome reviews! I've been waiting for Ecoholic Body for some time. Now I have two books to pick up! Thanks for sharing :)


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