There is nothing like being able to easily check the quality of foods and products I spend my hard earned money on while standing in the store aisle. Smartphone apps give me the opportunity to compare foods and products so I can make informed choices that benefit my family and me. I have used each one of these apps below and believe these to be the most helpful on your journey to living a more natural life. Check out the apps that made my top 10 list and download them today!
This is my go-to app when I am purchasing beauty products. As mentioned in my blog Sociopathic Trains of Endocrine Disrupters it is imperative that you know what chemicals are the most toxic and only purchase products that do not include them in their ingredients. Skin Deep provides you with critical information about your personal care products by searching or scanning a barcode. A rating system is used where the lower the number, the safer the product. The Environmental Working Group designed this app to help fill safety gaps left by the unregulated cosmetics industry which has publicly assessed only 11% of the 10,500 ingredients in personal care products.
This is a really cool app for all you Agents of Change! Buycott helps you sort out what companies you are supporting when you purchase certain products so you can fund causes you support (Demand GMO Labeling) and avoid funding those you disagree with (Human Trafficking). Did you know that there is a connection between chocolate manufacturers and child slavery? Great information here. You are able to scan a product and it will figure out what company owns that brand (and who owns that company). It will then cross-check the product owners against the companies and brands included in the campaigns you’ve joined, in order to tell you if the scanned product conflicts with one of your campaign commitments. AWESOME!
What’s on My Food:
This app allows you to search and find out which pesticides are on what foods, and what chemicals are the most dangerous. The Pesticide Action Network created this app so people get the facts about the harmful effects of pesticides. What is so cool is that you can compare organic to conventional foods in ways that go far beyond top 10 lists. This is a really comprehensive data source and not only lists the chemicals but breaks them down into 4 classes of health risks: Neurotoxins, hormone disruptors, carcinogens, and developmental or reproductive toxins. This is a very informative app. To learn more about pesticide exposure read my blog post 12 Foods That Justify Being an Organic Snob.
Fooducate lets you scan the bar codes of foods to learn about how healthy they are and also offers healthier alternatives. Fooducate’s database contains over 200,000 products, each with a letter grade based on nutritional value, along with things to know about a product (like if it contains any artificial additives) as well as other healthy alternatives. What’s really cool is that if you come across an item that is not in their database you can scan it and it gives you the option to add it. You take three photos – one of the front of the product, one of the nutrition label, and one of the ingredients list. Then you email the file to the company and they add it in their system. This app is one of my favs!
This app helps with selecting sustainable seafood options by using a red, yellow, or green rating (red means either overfished or caught or farmed in ways that harm other marine life or the environment; yellow means better, and green indicates the best all around options for the environment). They have a “Super Green” list which is the jackpot for the least contaminated and most sustainable. For all you West Coast peeps this is a very important app to reduce your toxic and radioactive load.
This app from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) describes over 130 additives and provides an overall evaluation of either “safe,” “cut back,” “caution” “avoid,” or “certain people should avoid.” What’s really awesome about this app is that CSPI is a science-based organization that doesn’t take any money from the food industry, or any other industry for that matter. This is a genuine app to make sure people are informed about the additives in our food supply. Thank you CSPI! To read more about the dangers of common food additives read my blog post
The Alarming Truth About 8 Common Food Additives
I can’t tell you how many times I have used this app in the produce section of my grocery store. Although I believe it is always best to go organic when you can, we all know that most of the time organic foods cost more. When it comes to trying to save money without compromising your health, this app helps sort out the “Dirty Dozen” — the 12 most contaminated types of produce, as well as the “Clean Fifteen” — those least likely to contain multiple pesticide residues. Someday I hope to memorize these 27 foods but right now this app helps me by making it easy to reference.
Good Guide rates products on a 0-10 scale for their health, environment, and social impact. There are over 200,000 products in their database. Their core product categories are personal care, household chemical and food products but they also rate pet food, paper products, lighting products, home appliances, cell phones and cars. You can scan a barcode or use the search function. The company uses great methodology for their rating system to help simplify confusing product information. You can also create and share personalized favorites lists of products with your friends and family. Cool feature to help spread the knowledge!
The U.S. Farmers Market Finder app lists over 2,000 markets across the country, and stores information on each location’s selection and specialties. Wanting to know specific schedules where you live, or where you happen to be visiting? This is a “must have” app so that wherever you go you can find the nearest farmers market to support local farmers and organic foods! California decided to create their own app because of incorrect information.
Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder:
And last but not least, I thought I would include my favorite outdoor app. I believe getting out into nature is just as important as eating clean and healthy. This app allows you to select activities that you like to do (hiking, biking, running, skateboarding, etc) and shows you the closest parks that support those activities. Just type in your zip code and it will bring up all the parks that fit your activity criteria. If you are hiking it links to the park website where you can pull up the trail map which is so handy!! Great when you are traveling and aren’t able to visit your “go-to” parks.