Listen + Learn

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Updated at the end of the post to reveal the secret bride and groom!


I listened to your comments on the Four Natural Beauty Products I Love (and One I Hate) post and opted for a new natural toothpaste.  Tom’s and Burt Bee’s were two of the most highly recommended brands in the comments section.


Several people commented that they don’t want to risk a non-American Dental Association approved toothpaste, and since I recently had six cavities (under ‘conventional’ toothpaste, just an FYI), I’m tempted to agree.  Fluoride rocks for preventing cavities.  So I was pleasantly surprised to see a Burt’s Bees toothpaste that has no artificial colors or sweeteners but does have fluoride.  It didn’t have the ADA seal but I figured it was a good compromise.  I’ll let you know what I think about it in another post!


I also listened to your comments on the How to Prep Quinoa post.  A few people sent the link to a New York Times article entitled Quinoa’s Global Success Creates Quandary at Home.


Basically, because quinoa is becoming so popular around the world, one of the largest native producers, Bolivia, is suffering from economic issues and malnutrition.  Some facts from the article:


  • While quinoa prices have almost tripled over the past five years, Bolivia’s consumption of the staple fell 34 percent over the same period, according to the country’s agricultural ministry.  Fewer Bolivians can now afford it, hastening their embrace of cheaper, processed foods and raising fears of malnutrition in a country that has long struggled with it.
  • While malnutrition on a national level has fallen over the past few years thanks to aggressive social welfare programs, studies show that chronic malnutrition in children had climbed in quinoa-growing areas in recent years.
  • There are other issues at play here, too, such as changing food preferences in the younger generations of Bolivians.


The bulk bin quinoa in Earth Fare is from Peru.  I did a quick iPhone search at the store and discovered that Peru’s export of quinoa has grown 30% in recent years, mostly to North America.  I would guess the social ramifications of this export are similar in Peru and Bolivia.


I searched for some Fair Trade options and discovered:


Earth Fare has a Fair Trade Bolivian organic quinoa, but it’s $6.49 a pound, compared to $3.49 for the organic bulk bin – $3 a pound extra. 


I have to eat my way through our bulk bin stores of quinoa, but I think I’m going to switch to the Fair Trade quinoa once we’ve eaten it all.  $3 a pound doesn’t make or break my bank account, and I’d like to support Fair Trade efforts in Bolivia and Peru.  Vote with your food dollars, when you can afford to!


Oh, and I’m listening to the fact that you want me to spill the beans about the just-married couple! Heh.  I’m waiting for them to wake up and announce it on Facebook, etc.  Don’t want to scoop the happy couple since we have mutual online friends!


Updated:  Okay – now I can spill.


Congrats to Isaac and Nicole for their awesome Justice of the Peace Wedding!  It was beautiful and perfect.  I shed a tear during the short but sweet JOP ceremony, and then we partied all night long to celebrate their nuptials.


Oh, and my homemade bridal bouquet looked pretty epic.  I was the florist, photographer, and honorary matron of honor yesterday.  Excuse me while I brush my shoulders off. 


Congrats to Nicole and Isaac!



  • Dani Eats Veggies July 2, 2011, 12:16 pm

    Ya killin’ me smalls! Hope they wake up soon 😉

  • Kristen (inspiredbydooce) July 2, 2011, 12:19 pm

    I would be slightly wary of non-approved toothpaste as well. Good luck finding one you like!

  • Hillary July 2, 2011, 12:22 pm

    I had no idea quinoa was so controversial! Thanks for the heads up.

  • Sarah @ The Strength of Faith July 2, 2011, 12:30 pm

    Trade fascinates me. This is unrelated to quinoa, but the latest fad to wear feathers in your hair has my husband furious because for so long those types of feathers were only used for tying flies for fly fishing. Now that there is a mass want for them around the world the quantities are limited and the prices have skyrocketed. When I told him that fashion fads only last so long, he said that he heard that the economic impact of this fad will last longer than the fad itself and it will take years for the prices to come down.

    Anyway, thanks for pointing out the issue. We try to only buy fair trade coffee, but I’m happy to see fair trade starting to grow into other things as well.

  • Victoria (District Chocoholic) July 2, 2011, 12:31 pm

    That qunioa is by alter eco. They make amazing Bolivian-origin dark chocolate. Just FYI.

  • Amber K July 2, 2011, 12:36 pm

    I have never really thought about fair trade items before, I’m not even sure if I really eat anything that has a fair trade option. Obviously, I know very, very little about this. Must do some research!

    • Amy S. July 2, 2011, 4:25 pm

      Sugar, chocolate, bananas and coffee are some big ones!

      • Amber K July 4, 2011, 7:30 pm

        Thanks for the info! I don’t buy any of those except for bananas, and I buy bananas like they are going out of style, so that definitely concerns me.

  • Beth (Well I'll Be) July 2, 2011, 12:41 pm

    There’s just so much more behind shopping than just picking something up off the shelf. It blows my mind really!

  • Lee July 2, 2011, 12:48 pm

    I am so curious about the married couple! I hope they announce it soon. I’m assuming that it’s someone that we “know”.

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing July 2, 2011, 12:54 pm

    I’m DYING in anticipation!

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) July 2, 2011, 1:15 pm

    I never even thought about quinoa like that! Thanks for mentioning it 🙂

  • Aine @ Something to Chew Over July 2, 2011, 1:15 pm

    I always try to buy fair trade whenever I can – this is further proof that it’s the right thing to do.

  • Kelly July 2, 2011, 1:18 pm

    All I can say is, if it’s not Nicole she is going to have a lot more traffic on her blog than usual this morning because I’ve been really stalking her. I don’t even think it’s her but I can’t figure out who else it would be. Anyway, going to go do something else with my day now 🙂 Hope you had fun either way!

  • Christine July 2, 2011, 1:22 pm

    I’m psycho when it comes to toothpaste- I’d be willing to try a lot, but my whitening-fluoride-enamel protecting-tartar fighting is a non-negotiable. My husband makes fun of me. I deserve it.

    I love that you are so conscious of the food you buy- I’m going to check out the quinoa I buy too. This whole “impact at home” issue is one reason why I don’t really go to Starbucks anymore. I’m not sure if they issues have been resolved, but there were some serious economic problems in Ethiopia for awhile.

  • Mary @ Bites and Bliss July 2, 2011, 1:32 pm

    I had no idea about all those facts regarding quinoa! I don’t buy it often, though. I think my current bag is a year or so old..

  • M July 2, 2011, 1:33 pm

    Yuppie Yogini’s post is UP!!!!!

    Woo hoo!!!!! 🙂

  • Freya July 2, 2011, 1:36 pm

    YAY congrats to Nicole ad Isaac!
    Wow, I am so shocked at the quinoa thing – it’s like a butterfly effect almost. Who would’ve thought it could change another country so much?? I’m definitely going to think twice when I next buy quinoa.

  • Dori July 2, 2011, 1:37 pm

    Mazel tov to them!

    So as part of the natural products discussion… I forgot to say that I bought this Alba natural shaving cream and my legs got DESTROYED. I had to switch back to Aveeno. Different things work for different people.

  • M July 2, 2011, 1:38 pm

    Can you let Nicole know when I try and post congrats
    on her blog,it doesn’t seem to work?( Be sad for her to miss out on everyone’s well wishes…)

    And tell her congrats,thanks!

  • Katy (The Singing Runner) July 2, 2011, 1:39 pm

    Aw congratulations to the happy couple!!! 😀

    Those flowers are BEAUTIFUL! Gerber daisies are my favorite! 😀

  • Cait's Plate July 2, 2011, 1:43 pm

    Aw yay!! Congrats to them!! 🙂 She looks beautiful!

  • Susie July 2, 2011, 1:43 pm

    Such gorgeous flowers! And this is completely off topic, but Caitlin, Leighton Meester looks SO MUCH like you in this picture 🙂

  • Ellie@fitforthesoul July 2, 2011, 1:43 pm

    ohhh congratulations Nicole!!
    And omgnessss Caitlin~~I cannoooooott begin to thank you for this brief article about quinoa!! I had no idea and would have never thought of those consequences the S.Americans would be facing…I just feel like a crazy huge lightbulb turned itself on. Thank you!

  • katie @ KatieDid July 2, 2011, 1:54 pm

    I stick with Tom’s toothpaste in peppermint. The more neutral flavors taste blah to me. I also use Tom’s deodorant in ‘beautiful earth’ scent. It works wonderfully!
    Great info about the quinoa I will definitely be keeping an eye out for fair trade if I can find it. It’s great to spread the word about these types of issues as they arise!

  • Nicole July 2, 2011, 2:00 pm

    Lol!!! You were an epic honorary MOH!

  • Julie (A Case of the Runs) July 2, 2011, 2:11 pm

    Yay! Congrats to Nicole! I want to gave a wedding like that… no kidding. =)

  • Ida July 2, 2011, 2:15 pm

    My dentist once told me that the toothpaste doesnt really matter- it’s just an abrasive substance to help break up plaque. The key to no cavities is in the brushing(and genetics to a degree). Maybe an electric toothbrush would help. I swear by my sonicare.

    • Baking 'n' Books July 2, 2011, 2:22 pm

      Mine said the same. I still haven’t gotten an electric toothbrush. But I brush very badly – meaning that I’m rough…I guess I think going harder gets them cleaner 😉 Oof.

  • Baking 'n' Books July 2, 2011, 2:21 pm

    You both look beautiful 🙂

  • Kim July 2, 2011, 2:24 pm

    SO EXCITING! I thought it was her but I had just read about her PR wedding and was like that’s not possible! Congrats to the newlyweds 🙂

  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife July 2, 2011, 2:39 pm

    I had no idea quinoa was so controversial, good to know!! Congrats to the couple!! I think a few people guessed it was her…. 😉

  • monicanelsonfitness July 2, 2011, 2:44 pm

    I really appreciate this post. I really try to always be grateful for how easy we have it in this country with food compared to the rest of the world. Oh I need milk, ok I can go get milk…etc.

    Anyways..Cute pic cutie!

  • Krystina (Organically Me) July 2, 2011, 2:48 pm

    Congrats to the beautiful couple. 🙂

  • Khushboo July 2, 2011, 2:55 pm

    Congrats to the happy couple 🙂

  • Rebecca July 2, 2011, 2:57 pm

    Great job on the bouquet!

    Where is your dress from? I love it!

  • Zoe July 2, 2011, 3:11 pm

    Thank you for the link to that article!

    And huge congratulations to the newlyweds 🙂

  • Marian July 2, 2011, 3:25 pm

    I KNEW IT! congrats to Nicole and Isaac 🙂 so lucky to have a friend like you!

  • Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga July 2, 2011, 3:29 pm

    Congrats to the happy newlyweds!!! 🙂

  • Erica July 2, 2011, 4:35 pm

    Thanks for this post – I never really even thought about the effects of my quinoa consumption! It has definitely increased since my husband and I have stopped eating factory farmed meat – one more thing to think about I suppose! I’ll have to see what kind of fair trade alternatives we have at our health food store.

    I really love those nude pumps you’ve been rocking.

  • Amy S. July 2, 2011, 4:35 pm

    I knew it was Nicole and Issac! Congrats to them!

    That’s interesting about quinoa! I just got some myself so I’ll have to check out a fair trade option next time I go shopping.

  • Sarah@The Flying ONION July 2, 2011, 5:01 pm

    I loved hearing your thoughts on quinoa. I agree, that voting with what we buy is a great way to go about this kind of thing. I’d definitely be willing to pay more, knowing that what I’m purchasing is fair trade. Great tips! 😀

  • Molly @ RDexposed July 2, 2011, 5:09 pm

    Who didn’t automatically scroll to the end of the post?

  • leeann July 2, 2011, 5:14 pm

    You may want to do a little more research on Fluoride. There is a lot of new information out on the health risks it may harbor. Just thought you might be interested.

  • D July 2, 2011, 5:51 pm

    Did Nicole mind that you hinted about the wedding, considering most people guessed? Or was it not that secret?

    • Chloe July 2, 2011, 6:08 pm

      I wondered this is a well… it kinda feels like Caitlin stole Nicole’s thunder a little bit :\

      • CaitlinHTP July 2, 2011, 7:37 pm

        Do you girls really think I wouldn’t have cleared posting about it with my BFF beforehand?! Come on, give me some credit! She loved people guessing and visiting her blog. It was fun.

        • D July 2, 2011, 8:39 pm

          Haha okay, fair enough 🙂

  • giordin July 2, 2011, 6:04 pm

    that’s sooo interesting about quinoa and bolivia. i never would have thought about that, and i reeeeaaally like reading about these kinds of issues on your blog! i’m switching to fair trade too!

  • Gina @ Running to the Kitchen July 2, 2011, 6:12 pm

    Ahh congrats to Nicole and Issac, sounds like a wonderful day!

  • Katherina @ Zephyr Runs July 2, 2011, 6:59 pm

    That’s the quinoa I buy as well. I try to go fair trade on most things. and CONGRATULATIONS to Nicole & Isaac! I love how they’re doing their wedding 😀

  • Hayley @ Oat Couture July 2, 2011, 7:13 pm

    I wouldn’t have thought about that whilst buying quinoa so thanks for opening my eyes a little!

  • Aja July 2, 2011, 7:53 pm

    Congratulations to the happy couple. I love the flowers.

  • Laura @ Cookies vs. Carrots July 2, 2011, 8:03 pm

    That is a really interesting article about quinoa. I never would have thought about that, but it makes perfect sense!

  • The Healthy Engineer July 2, 2011, 8:40 pm

    Wow that must be such a fun wedding to go to since you had a part in it with making the boquet. And probably still as emotional!

  • Anne July 2, 2011, 10:06 pm

    Beautiful pictures! That is an awesome dress on you, Caitlin! Wonderful pics! We got married in 2 different traditions (about 3 years apart)–you have to do what works. I think, especially considering legal issues about getting married out of the country, they did the best thing possible!

  • Jen July 2, 2011, 11:03 pm

    Awww, congrats to the bride and groom! Hubby and I pulled a similar stunt when we got hitched…we only told our two closest friends; took a limo to Niagara Falls, got married, took some pics, had a fabulous dinner, then took off to the DR for two weeks before coming home to share our news with everyone. 5 years later, we both agree we wouldn’t change a thing about the way we got married. Best wishes to the newlyweds!

  • BeckyH July 2, 2011, 11:44 pm

    re: the toothpaste

    Please forgive me if this is a “duh” moment and you already know/do what I’m going to suggest.

    If I brush my teeth with conventional toothpaste they feel clean’ish. However, if I brush *and* floss <— very very important when trying to avoid cavities then they feel squeaky clean.

    Perhaps you could be super diligent about flossing which might alleviate some of the ickiness of the natural toothpaste. Also, out of curiosity, is there such a thing as natural mouthwash?

    • Anne July 3, 2011, 12:39 pm

      Yes! Tom’s makes a great natural mouth wash!

  • Corrie Anne July 3, 2011, 1:49 am

    The wedding – so sweet! I love it! Your boquet looks great. Thanks for bringing up the fascinating topic of trade to the table and encouraging us to look into and speak with our food dollars.

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin July 3, 2011, 8:04 am

    Wow, I had no idea that exporting quinoa was causing such problems in South America. Thanks for the eye opener! I’m going to switch to a fair trade brand too!

    Also congrats to Nicole and Isaac. 🙂

  • Katie July 3, 2011, 10:10 am

    Thanks so much for posting the quinoa info! I feel like we rarely stop and think about where our food comes from and how it affects the people who make it. Reading stuff like this helps us make much more informed decisions 🙂

  • Jessica July 3, 2011, 11:41 am

    Just an FYI…You can get a 4lb. bag of that Earthly Choice quinoa (on the left in your picture) at Costco for about $9!

  • Kate July 3, 2011, 5:19 pm

    Thank you for this post. I started using qunioa right when I went gluten free and read that article and it just killed me (I really hated that my use of qunioa might negatively impact someone else.) I’ll look and see if I can find fair trade qunioa at might grocery store or buy it from

    Have a happy fourth!

  • Sarah July 6, 2011, 9:40 am

    I had no idea about the quinoa. Thanks for educating me. You’re right- a couple of bucks on my end is worth what it means on the other end.

  • Victoria July 26, 2011, 5:36 pm

    I love that dress! Where is it from?

    • Caitlin July 26, 2011, 5:43 pm

      Target 🙂

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