Friday, July 26, 2013

Avoid the DEET and Look to Nature for Bug Repellant!

If you haven’t noticed, the mosquitoes are out in droves this summer. Mainstream repellents are quite toxic not only to the skin, but to the neurological and endocrine systems as well.
Nature is a great place to look for natural ways to thwart the mosquitoes and no-see-ums, that seem to amass in clouds this year. 
Consider Limonene. What? If you have ever peeled an orange, no doubt you have “been exposed” to the organic chemical - limonene.  Scrape an orange peel and smell your fingers... limonene is a chemical released from the peel that produces a very strong citrus smell. Per “the reason that fruit, citrus in particular, make the chemical is because it’s also quite nasty for things, other  than humans, who haven’t got fingers to peel an orange.  If you try to borough through the peel of an orange, you’d have to eat the peel and the peel doesn’t taste too good.  Limonene is mildly toxic and being organic and unpleasant tasting as it is, it puts off insects...a way (fruit) tree uses in keeping its fruit in good condition."
Our family stocks up on the all natural citrus scents of AB botanical citrus aromatherapy line during the summer. The mist awakens my senses with key ingredients such as lemon peel, and essential oils from coriander and limonene.
A friend of mine, who is a new mom,  swears by that citrus aromatherapy that is pure and safe (one most know and trust the brands they choose for their family)  found in her summer arsenal of safe baby care products. Although green science botanical products are not going to provide a 10 ft. shield from bugs, and insects may still hover near human skin, my friend stated that her new baby has not been bit once despite the bugs being around in great supply.
Although natural aromatherapy lines arfe not sold or guaranteed as an insect repellant, many find they work. For my daughter, a mist alone repels. I personally prefer to double my defenses, and apply the citrus fragrant body  lotion first, on my skin, whether exposed or not as those “skeeters” have a nasty habit of biting through lightweight summer material. I then follow with the citrus mist, which also serves as a refreshing afternoon pick-me-up or freshener after a work out. I take the mist along to an outing to reapply as needed.
If you have been applying toxic chemicals, because you figure it is a better alternative than perhaps getting Lyme's disease, you may want to study the side effects of Deet and other harmful insect repellant ingredients. All pesticides are endocrine disruptors, and contribute to hormone imbalance with a lean towards estrogen dominance.  Consider purchasing a mosquito net. I did just that this summer!
For more on the harmful effects of sprays containing DEET check out this article, and then consider whether we might learn from nature, and the natural insect repellents of the natural world.

To your health,
Rita S.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Summertime Friend or Foe: Chlorinated Water

Most agree that swimming is good  exercise.  Swimming is therapeutic as well, and of course it’s a great way to cool of during these hot days of summer. Public pools, and for most of us, even the backyard pool, utilize chemicals to maintain and sanitize the pool water. Chlorine is most commonly used, and poses a risk to our health as well. It seems to be a Catch 22. It seems if we want to swim in water with a balanced pH, we have to subject our bodies to hazardous chemicals.

Per Dr. Joe Mercola, a well known health advocate whom authors the most popular health web site on the internet, writes: “Chlorine is a hazardous chemical when absorbed by your body or inhaled. Most public pools are overloaded with chlorine, as the well-intentioned people who maintain public pools overly shock them with chlorine to make sure bacteria and other organisms get snuffed out quickly. But even the swimming pool in your backyard could be toxic if you treat it with chlorine.”
Studies have pointed out risks to those working in and around chlorinated water, such as, swim instructors are twice as likely to suffer frequently from sinusitis or sore throat, and more than three times as likely to have chronic colds, than pool workers with less trichloramine exposure, such as waiters or receptionists. Compared to the general population, pool workers with high levels of exposure were at a 40% greater risk for tightness of the chest, and over 700% more likely to suffer breathlessness while walking. Chlorine in pools poses the risk of miscarriage and stillbirths in pregnant women, and birth defects. It can weaken the immune system, disrupt central nervous system, damage the cardiovascular system, and more, per Mercola’s article.
Swimming is a great recreation, and should be encouraged, but take some actions to reduce chlorinic overload on your body. For a number of years our family had a backyard EasySet pool.  Learning about the toxicity of chlorine, we learned that Patio Pleasures Pools and Spas in Madison offered a “green chemical” that was a more safe alternative than chlorine. Our family really enjoyed pool time not having the sting of chlorine in the eyes.
We use an AB Detox Rescue Wash (for head to toe cleaning), whic contains sea algae extracts in a sulfate-free cleanser to provide antioxidant beneļ¬ts to help neutralize the toxicity of heavy metals (e.g. lead, mercury  chromium and cadmium).
Research indicates that heavy metal build-up can lead to poor digestion, hormonal imbalance and depression. The unique formula lifts away impurities and environmental toxins and also provides a moisture barrier on the skin’s surface to provide a relaxed, and comfortable feel. The item number for this product is 7320.
Hair care products developed for chemically treated hair,  free of parabens, SLS and other harmful or irritating ingredients, can help combat the effects of chlorine. Learn to become your own ingredient watchdog, as shampoos and conditioners are some of the most toxic hygiene products on the market, yet we apply them on our scalp - right above our brain (now, that is a scary thought!).  If hairs get especially tangled after hours in a pool, a quality hair mask can also be of great help in repairing chemically damaged hairs after being washed, in addition to smoothinig out tangles and restoring softness.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Summer Fresh Produce Helps Avoid Processed Nasties

Summer is the perfect time to focus on healthier lifestyles. Farmer’s markets and   fresh produce abound, making it easier to   incorporate fresh and whole foods into your eating plan.

To lose weight, or for more energy, shopping around the OUTSIDE of the grocery store is the most assured way of shedding unwanted pounds.  This time of year consider shopping for produce at the markets to help sustain local farmers and growers. In today's fast paced world, that is not always possible. Here are a few ingredients to be aware of and avoid as much as possible when grocery shopping.

- High fructose corn syrup (even grain breads contain HFS)
- MSG or glutamates
- Partially hydrogenated oils (worse than trans fats)
- Aspartame, surcralose and other artificial sweeteners

HFS and MSG both not only contribute to weight gain and cravings, studies reveal these ingredients are being linked to serious disease, including cancer.

Margarine is NOT your friend.  A recommended read is "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes.

Beware of "low-fat" foods.  To make up for the taste of removing the fat, food manufacturers load these foods with artificial sweeteners, corn syrups and "ose" words. High fructose corn syrup is a GMO product (genetically modified organism). Corn and soybean crops grown in the U.S., unless organic, are GMO, and what that means for you and me is that the end result food product messes with our endocrine system, and thereby creates a hormone imbalance.

Fructose is sugar derived from fruit, and although it should be  limited in the diet, it is a healthier choice long term than an artificial sweetener. (Unless you have cancer, in which case all sugars and artificial sweeteners should be avoided as they fuel cancer cells, per Dr. Russel Blaylock, renown neurosurgeon and author of Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills.)

A note that may shock some...regular soda, is a "more healthy" choice than diet-soda; because of the artificial sweetener content. Although it is pretty much guaranteed that if a person drinks soda daily, and kicks the habit, they would easily drop at least 10 lbs. in a month's time, likely more. Remember, in this paragraph, healthy is relative. Soda is never a HEALTHY choice of refreshment. It is toxic to your body, but regular is better than diet free. Just saying...

Avoiding these nasty ingredients alone is a step in the right direction for a healthier, and
happier you. Sometimes we need to start with baby steps before we can take leaps and bounds in living a more healthful and energetic life.

To your health,
Rita S.