Health

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I love making to-do lists. Mostly because if I don’t write it down, it usually doesn’t happen. My sister joked recently that her boys call her notebook her “brain.” Maybe it’s hereditary. And since I relish writing things down, I really enjoy a good list of New Year’s Resolutions.

Here’s one of mine for 2017:

Limit screen time for myself and the girls (for real this time)

I’m constantly trying to figure out ways to limit screen time but it always seems to end up back where we started… waaay too much screen time. And, since it seems like all my oldest daughter’s friends have the latest iPhone and all of them participate on all the social media platforms they possibly can, limiting her screen time has gotten harder and harder. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) estimates that our kids “are spending an average of seven hours a day on entertainment media, including televisions, computers, phones and other electronic devices.” Yikes!

There are plenty of studies showing a link between too much screen time or poor quality screen time and:

  • Obesity
  • Irregular sleep schedules and shorter duration of sleep
  • Behavioral problems
  • Loss of social skills
  • Violence
  • Less time for play

And while researching an article I’m writing for Earth911, I learned a lot of disturbing information about those volatile rechargeable lithium ion batteries that are inside those devices that provide all that screen time…

According to Dr. Yolanda Reid Chassiakos, lead author of the “Children and Adolescents and Digital Media Technical Report” and assistant professor at UCLA, an average day includes “school, homework time, at least one hour of physical activity, social contact and sleep — which is anywhere from eight to 12 hours for kids. Whatever’s left over can be screen time.” Source: CNN.com

Instead of taking away screen time, I’m going to try to make ways to encourage non-screen time activities. For example, instead of interacting with a screen, we are going to find more outside activities to do as a family.

Hiking at Shaver Lake

 

Make more trips to our local library… we have one so close, we can walk to it which is an added bonus.

Visiting the library with cousins

To find out more about Media and Young Minds, visit http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/138/5/e20162591. You can also make a Family Media Use Plan with this helpful tool at www.healthychildren.org/MediaUsePlan.

 

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GREEN TIP: When the little trick-or-treaters knock on your door this Halloween, give them healthy treats that also treat the environment kindly.

Before you head out the door with your own little trick-or-treaters, make sure you’ve feed them a healthy and hearty dinner. This way, they’ll be less likely to fill up on sugary treats during your walk around the neighborhood.

Eco-friendly Candy

There are a number of different eco-friendly candies now available at your local grocery stop, health food stores or co-ops. These organic candies can provide Halloween treats that are a little friendlier for your trick-or-treaters and are produced using methods that are gentler on the environment.

My favorite find: Angie’s Boom Chicka Pop. Not only are they a Minnesota company and the official kettle corn (just one of their awesome flavors) of the Minnesota Vikings, the products are whole grain, vegan, Og trans fats, non-GMO, certified Kosher and certified gluten-free. This is one of my girls’ favorite snacks and a great Halloween treat option.

Non-GMO candy

Or Avoid Candy Altogether

Another option is to avoid candy altogether and to give your trick-or-treaters useful treats, such as colorful pencils, small boxes of crayons, or erasers in fun shapes.

Other ideas:

  • Fun magnets
  • Seed paper/bookmarks for planting or reading
  • Wash off tattoos
  • Stickers
  • Craft kits (Michael’s has fun craft kits for $1.00)
  • Adhesive bandages with fun themes
  • Barrettes or other hair things
  • Mini pumpkins or gourds
  • Fun toothbrushes
  • Unfinished wood items
  • Decorated pencils
  • Polished stones

Be Sure to Reuse and Recycle

If you don’t already compost, Halloween is a great time to start. You can add post-Halloween jack-o-lanterns to your compost bin, along with fallen leaves, food scraps, and other organic, biodegradable yard and household waste.

Compost creates excellent soil for your garden. You might even use the compost from your backyard bin to help grow the pumpkins that will become next year’s jack-o-lanterns and pumpkin pies.

If you are interested in composting, your local hardware store, garden center, county extension service, or waste disposal agency should be able to help you get started.

Instead of throwing away your Halloween decorations each year, store and reuse them year after year, just as you do decorations for many other holidays. Source: About.com, Environmental Issues

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Ecocentric Mom is a proud member of 1% For the Planet (1% FTP) which means they have pledged to give 1% of their sales to environmental related charities. This month’s boxes were full of wonderful products from other 1% FTP partners. As part of my partnership with Ecocentric Mom, I receive one of their amazing monthly subscription boxes for review. Ecocentric Mom Box

This is how it works: 

Ecocentric Mom is a natural/green health/home/beauty product discovery subscription service that gives you three different box options: Mom-to-be, Baby Box, or Mom Box. Boxes ship monthly. Ecocentric Mom works hard to pack the very best of the best in each and every box… and they deliver (pun intended)!

The March Mom Discovery Box is full of products I would never have discovered on my own. The items this month were selected, like I mentioned, to promote some amazing companies that are 1% FTP members. Getting an Ecocentric Mom box each month has been great way for me to learn about healthier products that reduce the amount of toxins in our home.

Here’s a look at the great products I received this month and I’ve also included some discount codes that you can use:

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GoodLight Natural Birthday Candles ($2.99 for a 12-count box) I was so excited to see this product! I am a huge fan of paraffin-free candles but have never found birthday candles. GoodLight Natural Candles has two stated missions: to provide the most affordable paraffin-free candles in the country, and to create a healthier planet by contributing to the sustainable production of palm oil as well as 1% For the Planet organizations that protect rainforests and endangered wildlife. The adorable colored birthday candle assortment is made with 100% palm wax and pure cotton wicks. These would make a cute addition to any birthday gift… maybe tuck a box of these adorable candles with a gift card or check out their website for a number of other products.

Visit https://www.naturalcandles.com/ to find out more about GoodLight Natural Candles and use promo code “EAKDLD” for 25% off all scented candles.

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U Konserve Food Kozy Snack Wrap ($6.49 for 2-pack) U Konserve offers a full line of quality, safe and reusable food-storage solutions designed to reduce the enormous amounts of food packaging garbage that end up in our landfills and our oceans. It’s easy to clean, dries quickly and the smooth surface is ideal for messy foods. This product is a great addition to any family that is packing lunches, going on road trips or having picnics at the park.

For more information about their complete line of reusable food-storage products, visit http://www.kidskonserve.com/ and use promo code “ECOMOM20” for 20% off your order.

Mattole Valley Naturals Vanilla Plant Protein ($3.50 for 30g, $39.95 for 454g) Mattole Valley Naturals is a family conceived, owned and operated business. Their nutritional products are made without unnatural additives, fillers or binders. The Vanilla Plant Protein is an easy and delicious way to add a boost of protein without any bad stuff.

Visit http://mattolevalleynaturals.com/ to find out more about Mattole Valley Naturals and their amazing products use promo code “ecocentricmom25” to get 25% off your order.

Munk Pack Oatmeal Fruit Squeeze ($2.49 per pack) This is a perfect on-the-go gluten-free breakfast or snack. It’s kid approved “yummy” and is a great blend of whole grain rolled oats, flax and fruits. It’s also Non-GMO Project Verified which is something I’m always looking for when I buy food for my family.

To find out more about Munk Pack, visit http://store.munkpack.com/ and use “ECOCENTRIC10” to get 10% off your order.

SIGIL SCENT ‘Balance’ Scent ($4.00 for 1 ml, $90.00 for 50 ml) SIGIL SCENT loads every bottle of their unisex fragrance formulas with pure flower and plant essences and are made without phthalates, parabens, mineral oil, synthetic fragrance or propylene glycol.

Visit SIGIL SCENT at http://www.sigilscent.com/ to find out more about these products and use promo code “ECOMOM30” to get 30% off. 

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All Good Lemongrass Coconut Oil Skinfood ($14.99 for 7.5 oz glass jar) Born from Elemental Herbs, All Good offers a diverse line of organically grown, plant-based formulas that smell good, feel good, and are practical and useful for everyday needs. From skin repair and lip care to sun protection and fast pain relief, the products’ ingredients stay true to the company’s roots by always putting the planet first. I have extremely dry skin so when I received this I put it all over and saw an immediate difference in my skin. It smells amazing too! I will be purchasing more of this product.

To find out how you can get your own All Good products, visit http://www.elementalherbs.com/ and use promo code “ECOMOM25” for 25% off.

LEAP Organics Orange Blossom Lip Balm ($3.49 for 1 lip balm) LEAP Organics is a sustainable, certified organic soap and skincare company based in Boston. All of the company’s products are cruelty-free and the lip balm smells unbelievably good! Their lip balms are made with organic coconut oil and shea butter. In fact, 100% of their products are certified to USDA organic standards.

To find out more about LEAP Organics, visit http://www.leaporganics.com/ and use promo code “LOVE20” to receive 20% off your order.

1% For the Planet is a global movement of companies donating at least 1% of their annual net revenues to environmental organizations worldwide. To find out more, visit http://onepercentfortheplanet.org/.

1 FTP

Disclosure: I am a part of the Ecocentric Mom Blogger Team and receive monthly subscription boxes for review. All the opinions expressed are completely my own. Affiliate links appear in this post.

 

As part of my partnership with Ecocentric Mom, I receive one of their amazing monthly subscription boxes for review.Ecocentric Mom Box

This is how it works: 

Ecocentric Mom is a natural/green health/home/beauty product discovery subscription service that gives you three different box options: Mom-to-be, Baby Box, or Mom Box. Boxes ship monthly. Ecocentric Mom works hard to pack the very best of the best in each and every box… and they deliver (pun intended)!

The January Mom Discovery Box is full of products I would never have discovered on my own. The items this month were selected with the theme of getting a fresh start for the New Year. Getting an Ecocentric Mom box each month has been great way for me to learn about healthier products that reduce the amount of toxins in our home.

Here’s a look at the great products I received this month and I’ve also included some discount codes that you can use:

ACURE Argan Oil Cleansing Towelettes ($6.99 for 50 ct.) ACURE was founded on sustainable principles and reasonable pricing to steer people away from toxic chemicals, proving that you don’t have to sacrifice health for beautiful skin and hair. These cleansing towelettes gently remove makeup, dirt, sweat and environmental toxins. They are easy to throw in a bag when you’re on the go and they really work.

IMG_0191Visit http://www.acureorganics.com/ to find out more about ACURE products and use the promo code “ECOMOM20” for 20% off your order and get free shipping on any order of $25 or more.

Rustic MAKA’s Calming Fields Pachy Deodorant (travel size $7.95) This deodorant smells like heaven and really works! I am seriously in love. My plan was to let my tween daughter test this product but I couldn’t stop myself from trying it first because it smelled so amazing. Don’t worry, I will be buying one for her because… it really works! I am even going to pick up one for my husband to try, he is very stubborn about his deodorants so I am continuously trying to find something healthier for him that he’ll actually use.  Each Rustic MAKA’s deodorant is carefully formulated with rich, organic plant-based oils and butters, along with pure powders and plant extracts. They DO NOT contain aluminum, parabens, synthetic fragrances or propylene-glycol.

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Go find out where you can get your hands on this product, visit http://www.rusticmaka.com/ and use promo code “EcoMom15” for a 15% discount. I’ll see you there!

Simply Earth Natural Air and Fabric Freshener ($6 for 2.5 oz.) This product is literally a life saver. Simply Earth gives 13% of the profits to human trafficking victims. The air and fabric freshener uses a natural odor eliminator that actually traps the odors and essential oils to make your home and clothes smell amazing. I put it to the ultimate test. My oldest daughter’s cheer team put on a cheer fun night for the younger kids. The fun included learning a few cheers, a pizza party and so on. My husband and I volunteered to pick up the 32 pizzas needed for the evening. We got the pizzas, dropped them off and quickly discovered that, although the pizzas had left the car, the strong pizza smell was remaining. Thankfully, I had Simply Earth’s Natural Air and Fabric Freshener and I used it to deodorize the car… and it really worked!

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Check out http://simplyearth.com/ to find out more about this amazing company. When you’re there use promo code “EcoMom” for 10% off your purchase.IMG_0194

 

Tangie Stain Remover Bar ($5.00 for 3 oz.) This natural stain remover is made with coconut oil, grapeseed oil, soap nuts liquid, oxalic acid, sea salt, citric acid, lemon essential oil and love. This product is tough on stains but gentle on the environment. My youngest daughter loves to wear ballet pink but loves to play tag, football, basketball, soccer, etc. at recess. This results in stains every day so this product has been vigorously tested and has passed with flying colors.

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Visit https://www.etsy.com/shop/ilovetangie to find out more and check out their other great products. Use “Ecomomships” for free shipping and free Laundry Past (up to 12 loads) with purchase.

Ecover Automatic Dishwasher Tablets ($6.99 for 25 ct.) I already use this product and love it so I gave this sample to a friend for her to try. The whole Ecover product line is amazing and they have fragrance-free products as well. Ecover has been a pioneer in plant-based cleaning products for more than 30 years. 

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To find out more about Ecover and find a store in your area that carries these products, visit http://us.ecover.com/.

ENLIGHTENED Crisps – Roasted Broad Beans ($1.50 for 1 oz.) OH. MY. GOODNESS. These crisps are delicious!! ENLIGHTENED Crisps are lightly roasted in sunflower oil, sprinkled with sea salt and seasoned to perfection. They only have 100 calories per serving, are certified vegan, gluten free, non-GMO Project verified, OU kosher and wheat free. And have I mentioned they are SO yummy?! My eight year old talked me into letting her try some and she loved them too. This would be a perfect snack to have in my bag for all those times when people get a little cranky because they need some protein (7 grams per serving).

IMG_0196If you live in the San Francisco area, you can run out to the store right now and pick up this delicious snack, if not, visit http://www.eatenlightened.com/to purchase the crisps online.

Sweater Stone ($8.99 one stone) I love this product not only because it really does remove the pills from my favorite sweaters but because this product is made utilizing the Seattle areas sheltered workshops. In case you don’t know, sheltered workshops are places that provide opportunities for increased independence and self sufficiency for individuals with disabilities.

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Visit http://www.sweaterstone.com/ to find out where you can purchase your own Sweater Stone and make a difference in the life of someone else (along with extending the life of your favorite sweaters). 

Disclosure: I am a part of the Ecocentric Mom Blogger Team and receive monthly subscription boxes for review. All the opinions expressed are completely my own. Affiliate links appear in this post.

EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAM. WE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Pediatric cancer is now the leading cause of death by disease among U.S. children. Preventable childhood cancers are totally unacceptable so do your part to keep our children healthy.

In the U.S., 15,780 children under the age of 21 are diagnosed with cancer every year; approximately 1/4 of them will not survive the disease. A diagnosis turns the lives of the entire family upside down. (Source: American Childhood Cancer Association)

Check out Healthy Child Healthy World’s 5 Easy Steps to get you started:

  • Avoid Pesticides: Pesticides have been linked to a range of health problems, including asthma, hyperactivity and behavior problems, cancer, learning disabilities, reproductive disorders, and compromised brain development.
    • Use non-toxic or least toxic pest remedies such as soapy water to kill ants and boiling water to kill weeds.
    • Prevent pests through good sanitation.
    • Remove shoes before entering your home to prevent tracking in pesticides.

Use these resources to help you make safer decisions:
Beyond Pesticides Alternatives factsheets
Pesticide Action Network

  • Use Non-Toxic Products: Think about all the products you come in contact with every day: personal care products, cleaners, computers, carpeting, cabinetry, cushions, cosmetics and much, much more. Do you know what’s in them? Many contain known carcinogens. Protect your health from this constant assault by making sure your products and furnishings are non-toxic. There are an increasing number of safe and healthy alternatives.
    • Read labels and ask questions about what chemicals are in the personal care and cleaning products, as well as furnishings, that you buy.
    • Look for products made from natural, rather than synthetic, materials.
    • Buy, or make your own, safer cleaning products.
    • Look for personal care products with certified organic ingredients and those with the fewest ingredients, or make your own.
  • Clean Up Indoor Air: We are breathing all the time so our air quality is very important. And, typically, the worst air is generally inside, where most people spend roughly 90% of their time.
    • The products we use are the source for a substantial portion of indoor air pollution. Because of this fact, it’s essential to know what’s in the products you buy and opt for the most natural and non-toxic choices.
    • Utilize plants to filter indoor air.
    • Open windows for a few minutes a day to ventilate rooms.
    • Wipe your feet on a doormat or remove your shoes at the door.
    • Check your homes vents, ducts, and heating and cooling filters.
    • Vacuum at least twice a week using a HEPA filter, and/or mop floors.
    • Change your vacuum bag, and be sure it has a clean filter to prevent the spreading of dust, which can be redistributed into the air.
  • Eat Healthy: Pound for pound, children eat and drink more than adults. Therefore, healthy eating is Community Garden harvestessential in order to safely nourish their growing bodies.
    • Choose to eat and prepare organic, whole foods rather than packaged foods whenever possible. The easiest way to eat healthier is to start making your food instead of buying prepared food and warming it.
    • Avoid genetically modified organisms (aka GMOs or genetically engineered foods).
    • Choose safer seafood. Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch website to learn more and print a pocket guide.
    • Read labels. Look for foods with few and identifiable ingredients. Avoid the top five risky additives: Artifical Colors (anything that begins with FD&C ), Chemical Preservatives (Butylated Hydroxyanisole [BHA], Sodium Nitrate, Sodium Benzoate), Artificial Sweeteners (Aspartame, Acesulfame-K, Saccharin), Added Sugar (High Fructose Corn Syrup [HFCS], Corn Syrup, Dextrose, etc), Added Salt (Look at the sodium content and choose foods with the lowest amounts.)
  • Be Wise With Plastics: Plastics are everywhere and in most cases are very affordable and convenient. But, increasingly scientists are finding that a hidden cost may be our health. Some common plastics release harmful chemicals into our air, foods, and drinks.
    • Reduce the use of plastics, especially with foods and beverages. For example, opt for filtered water in a stainless steel reusable water bottle rather than single-use, plastic bottled water and reusable glass storage containers over plastic.
    • If you do buy plastic, chose safer plastics #2, 4 or 5.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Healthy Child Healthy World

Healthy Child’s mission is to help parents create healthier environments for our children. “With a growing body of evidence linking everyday environmental contaminants to asthma, learning disabilities, obesity, cancer and more, Healthy Child translates the science and inspires parents and caregivers to create healthy environments where families can flourish.” Their site in full of great information, tips and an awesome blog.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Not only is coal burning responsible for one third of US carbon emissions—the main contributor toSunshine climate disruption—but it is also making us sick, leading to as many as 13,000 premature deaths every year and more than $100 billion in annual health costs. Source: Sierra Club

On June 2, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, announced the first-ever safeguards limiting carbon pollution from existing U.S. power plants. The EPA proposed the Clean Power Plan that will maintain an affordable, reliable energy system, while cutting pollution and protecting our health and environment.

Here’s a quick lesson in why this is a good move by our President and why coal isn’t our best energy option:

1. Mountain Top Removal is Destroying Mountains

In Appalachia, mining companies literally blow the tops off mountains to reach thin seams of coal. They then dump millions of tons of rubble and toxic waste into the streams and valleys below the mining sites.

Mountaintop removal is a relatively new type of coal mining that began in Appalachia in the 1970s as an extension of conventional strip mining techniques. Primarily, mountaintop removal is occurring in West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee.

To learn more, visit http://appvoices.org/end-mountaintop-removal/mtr101/.

2. Health Impacts Of Coal Transport

Coal dust and diesel exhaust from coal trains and cargo ships can cause serious long-term health problems like lung and heart disease and cancer. The wide ranging health dangers of coal dust include exposure to toxic heavy metals like mercury and increased rates of asthma, especially in children. Burlington Northern Sante Fe (BNSF) railroad estimates up to 500 pounds of coal can be lost in the form of dust from each rail car en route.

3. Smog, Soot, and AsthmaFlowering tree

In the United States, more than 40 percent of people live in areas with unhealthy levels of air pollution. Pollution from coal-fired power plants leads to smog (or ozone), a toxic compound and a dangerous irritant.

This regulation will “reduce pollutants that contribute to the soot and smog that make people sick by over 25 percent.” The EPA projects the reductions will result in avoiding 2,700 to 6,600 premature deaths and 140,000 to 150,000 asthma attacks in children.

4. Toxic Mercury

Burning coal releases toxic mercury that rains down into rivers and streams. This poison then accumulates in the food chain, eventually making its way into our bodies when we eat contaminated fish.

Pregnant women are the most at risk from the toxic effects of mercury, since the metal is known to concentrate in the fetal brain and can interfere with brain development. Mercury is also known to bind directly to one particular hormone that regulates women’s menstrual cycle and ovulation, interfering with normal signaling pathways. In other words, hormones don’t work so well when they have mercury stuck to them. The metal may also play a role in diabetes, since mercury has been shown to damage cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, which is critical for the body’s ability to metabolize sugar.

How to avoid it? For people who still want to eat (sustainable) seafood with lots of healthy fats but without a side of toxic mercury, wild salmon and farmed trout are good choices. Check out the Seafood Watch guide at http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/seafoodwatch.aspx.Seafood Watch

5. Coal Ash Waste

Every year, the nation’s coal plants produce 140 million tons of coal ash pollution, the toxic by-product that is left over after the coal is burned. All that ash has to go somewhere, and it contains high levels of toxic heavy metals such as arsenic, lead and selenium.

6. Coal Plant Water Pollution

72 percent of all toxic water pollution in the country comes from coal-fired power plants, making coal plants the number one source of toxic water pollution in the U.S.

7. Carbon Pollution and Climate Disruption

It’s time to act now to stop carbon pollution. Carbon pollution is the main contributor to climate disruption, making extreme extreme weather worse — including more severe floods, widespread wildfires and record drought.

To learn all the details, visit http://www2.epa.gov/carbon-pollution-standards.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

EPA’s Carbon Pollution Standards at http://www2.epa.gov/carbon-pollution-standards

This site will give you the facts about the EPA’s Carbon Pollution Standards including the issues, health effects, the President’s Climate Action Plan and more. It’s full of great information about this important issue.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Don’t be afraid to get out in the sun. Being outdoors is incredibly healthy for you and your family,Fargo sunshine just use some common sense and smart sun protection!

We’ll be talking a lot about ways to be sustainable this summer and I thought I’d start by talking about how to safely get out in the sun.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG)’s Top Sun Safety Tips:

  • Don’t get burned. Red, sore, blistered (then peeling) skin is a clear sign you’ve gotten far too much sun. Sunburn increases skin cancer risk – keep your guard up!
  • Wear clothes. Shirts, hats, shorts and pants shield your skin from the sun’s UV rays – and don’t coat your skin with goop. A long-sleeved surf shirt is a good start.
  • Find shade – or make it. Picnic under a tree, read beneath an umbrella, take a canopy to the beach. Keep infants in the shade – they lack tanning pigments (melanin) to protect their skin.
  • Plan around the sun. If your schedule is flexible, go outdoors in early morning or late afternoon when the sun is lower in the sky. UV radiation peaks at midday, when the sun is directly overhead.
  • Sunglasses are essential. Not just a fashion accessory, sunglasses protect your eyes from UV radiation, a cause of cataracts.

More than 2 million Americans develop skin cancer each year (NCI 2013). Half the Americans who live to 65 will be diagnosed at least once with rarely fatal forms of skin cancer called basal and squamous cell carcinomas, both linked to sun exposure.(EPA 2011)

Here are a few more tips to help you reduce your risk of getting skin cancer from the awesome folks at EWG:

  • Don’t depend on sunscreen to prolong your time in the sun.
  • Cover up! Hats, shirts and sunglasses are the best protection.
  • Don’t get burned.
  • Don’t use a tanning bed.
  • Protect kids! Early-life sunburns are worse.
  • Pick a sunscreen with strong UVA protection.
  • Get vitamin D. Adequate levels of vitamin D may reduce the risk of melanoma, and it is known to combat other cancers. Get screened for vitamin D deficiency.
  • Check your skin regularly for new moles that are tender or growing. Ask your primary care doctor how often you should see a dermatologist.

Read more at EWG’s 2014 Sunscreen Guide.

We can also protect ourselves from the sun naturally by avoiding toxic chemicals in sunscreens, using natural ingredients and eating foods that protect against sun damage.

There has been an increase in awareness about the use of chemicals in personal care products and their effects. As a result, there has been more emphasis on researching natural substances. Much of the research only proves knowledge already known from generations past, but there are also very interesting new findings that prove the power of the natural world.

  • Green Tea polyphenols, a substance rich in antioxidants that forms part of the green tea leaves, has been mainstream news for awhile now. Research continues to be done today for using green tea for many conditions, including sun protection. (Yusuf et al.) Green tea high in polyphenols has shown to provide internal and external protection from UV radiation and in turn, photo aging.
  • Black tea gel, another ingredient more recently talked about, was studied for its absorption of ultraviolet rays. The study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science (Dec. 2007) tested exposed skin of six subjects with an artificial source of UV light. Those participants with black tea gel on their skin were unaffected by the radiation, while the subjects with nothing on their skin started seeing reddening after four hours of exposure. (Turkoglu et al)
  • Broccoli extract has been studied extensively for its anti-cancerous effects as a food. A recent study has shown that applying broccoli extract topically, which is rich in an antioxidant ingredient called sulphoraphane, gave subjects protection against inflammation and redness caused by UV light. The research showed that instead of absorbing the radiation, the sulphoraphane penetrated the body and helped cells protect themselves against the damages of UV light, even three days after its application. (Talalay et al)

That is why the best kind of protection after all is what you put in your body. Foods like the ones mentioned Playing outsideabove, like green tea and broccoli that have been proven to be anti-cancer, are a good start to add to any diet. If those are not to your liking, or you can’t get the kids to eat broccoli, maybe some pasta with tomato sauce will do. Studies have also been done on foods high in carotenoids, such as tomatoes. The research has shown that tomatoes cooked with olive oil, are said to release these carotenoids that can supply the body with some sun protection, what could be an SPF of 2 or 3. (Stahl W. et al)

It’s worth mentioning again: Above all, do not be afraid to get out in the sun. Being outdoors is healthy for you and your family, just use some common sense and smart sun protection.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

EWG’s 2014 Guide to Sunscreen at http://www.ewg.org/2014sunscreen/.

An ideal sunscreen would block the majority of UVA and UVB rays with active ingredients that do not break down in the sun, so that the product remains effective. It would also contain only active and inactive ingredients that are proven to be completely safe for both adults and children. Unfortunately, there is no sunscreen on the U.S. market that meets all these criteria and no simple way for consumers to know how well a given product stacks up. That’s why EWG created this guide to safer and more effective sunscreens.

The Environmental Working Group’s team of scientists, engineers, policy experts, lawyers and computer EWG sun safetyprogrammers goes over government data, legal documents, scientific studies and their own laboratory tests to expose threats to our health and the environment and to find solutions. Their research “brings to light unsettling facts that you have a right to know”. The mission of the EWG is to use the power of public information to protect public health and the environment.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAM.WE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Most of us know there are a number of reasons to avoid drinking soft drinks but did you know that Cadence drinking waterthe sugar from one soft drink damages the white blood cells ability to ingest and kill some bacteria for several hours? Or that the phosphorus in soft drinks pull calcium out of our bones? Avoiding soda is great for your health and good for the environment.

Quotes from James A Howenstine M.D. from A Physician’s Guide to Natural Health Products That Work:

“In an interesting experiment the sugar from one soft drink was able to damage the white blood cells’ ability to ingest and kill gonococcal bacteria for seven hours.”

“Soft drinks also contain large quantities of phosphorus, which when excreted pulls calcium out of the bones. Heavy users of soft drinks will have osteoporosis along with their damaged arteries.”

I think we all know that soft drinks are devoid of nutritional value and the plastic bottles and caps create havoc with the environment. But sometimes people think, if they are just indulging in only one soft drink a day, they are not exposed to many of the health risks that are often associated with these drinks. I recently read an article at Rodale.com that included some disturbing facts I didn’t know about what soda does to your body.

Here are a few examples:

INCREASES IN FAT

Danish researchers discovered that drinking non-diet soda leads to dramatic increases in fat buildup around your liver and your skeletal muscles, both of which can contribute to insulin resistance and diabetes. The study revealed that people who drank a regular soda every day for six months saw a 132 to 142 percent increase in liver fat, a 117 to 221 percent jump in skeletal fat, and about a 30 percent increase in both triglyceride blood fats and other organ fat. Their consumption also led to an 11 percent increase in cholesterol, compared with the people who drank other beverages such as water or milk.

DIET-SODA BELLY

It’s not surprising that drinking all the sugar in sodas would cause weight gain, but what people don’t expect is that diet soda promotes unhealthy body fat also. Researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center monitored 475 adults for 10 years, and found that those who drank diet soda had a 70 percent increase in waist circumference over the 10-year study, compared with those who didn’t drink any soda. Those who drank more than two diet sodas per day saw a 500 percent waist expansion. A separate study the same researchers conducted on mice suggested that it was the aspartame, which raised blood glucose levels, that caused the weight gain; when your liver encounters too much glucose, the excess is converted to body fat.

UNKNOWN SIDE EFFECTS OF GMOS

Take a look at the ingredients list for any soda and chances are most of those ingredients are derived from corn. As much as 88 percent of the corn grown in the U.S. is genetically modified to resist toxic pesticides or engineered to create pesticides within the plant itself. Thanks to lax government safety regulations, and tight corporate control over who gets to test these proprietary seeds, there are no human studies that can prove or disprove whether these crops are safe. Independent scientists have found that, in animals, genetically modified crops, or GMOs, are linked to digestive tract damage, accelerated aging, and even infertility. By drinking soda, you’re taking part in the biggest science experiment on the planet.

WATER POLLUTION

The artificial sweeteners used in diet sodas don’t break down in our bodies, nor do wastewater-treatment plants catch them before they enter waterways, researchers have found. In 2009, Swiss scientists tested water samples from wastewater-treatment plants, rivers and lakes in Switzerland and detected levels of acesulfame K, sucralose, and saccharin, all of which are, or have been, used in diet sodas. A recent test of 19 municipal water supplies in the U.S. revealed the presence of sucralose in every one. It’s not clear yet what these low levels are doing to people, but past research has found that sucralose in rivers and lakes interferes with some organisms’ feeding habits.

Source: Rodale.com

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

RodaleInstitute.org

The Rodale Institute was founded in 1947 by organic pioneer J.I. Rodale to study the link between healthy soil, healthy food and healthy people. Their Mission: Through organic leadership they improve the health and well-being of people and the planet.

This site is full of great articles, recipes and home remedies for many health issues.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Learn about endocrine disruptors and how to avoid them. These chemicals can wreck havoc with ourDirty Dozen Endocrine Disruptors bodies. According to the Environmental Working Group’s research, they trick our bodies in numerous ways including: increasing production of certain hormones; decreasing production of others; imitating hormones; turning one hormone into another; interfering with hormone signaling; telling cells to die prematurely; competing with essential nutrients; binding to essential hormones; accumulating in organs that produce hormones.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) and the Keep-A-Breast Foundation has compiled the research and recently released a guide with a new Dirty Dozen to help us in our quest to keep ourselves and our families healthy. This list gives simple explanations about 12 of the worst endocrine disruptors and how to avoid them.

According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, endocrine disruptors are chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological and immune effects in both humans and wildlife. And keep in mind, we’re exposed to a mixture of all of these every day

Here are some of the offenders and how to avoid them:

Bisphenol-A (BPA)

BPA is a chemical used in plastics that imitates estrogen in your body. BPA has been linked to everything from breast and others cancers to reproductive problems, obesity, early puberty and heart disease, and according to government tests, 93 percent of Americans have BPA in their bodies.

How to avoid it? Go fresh instead of canned – many food cans are lined with BPA – or research which companies don’tLocal and Organic use BPA or similar chemicals in their products. Say no to receipts, since thermal paper is often coated with BPA. And avoid plastics marked with a “PC,” for polycarbonate, or recycling label #7. Not all of these plastics contain BPA, but many do – and it’s better safe than sorry when it comes to keeping synthetic hormones out of your body.

For more tips, check out: www.ewg.org/bpa/

Mercury

Mercury, a naturally occurring but toxic metal, gets into the air and the oceans primarily though burning coal. Eventually, it can end up on your plate in the form of mercury-contaminated seafood. Pregnant women are the most at risk from the toxic effects of mercury, since the metal is known to concentrate in the fetal brain and can interfere with brain development. Mercury is also known to bind directly to one particular hormone that regulates women’s menstrual cycle and ovulation, interfering with normal signaling pathways. In other words, hormones don’t work so well when they’ve got mercury stuck to them! The metal may also play a role in diabetes, since mercury has been shown to damage cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, which is critical for the body’s ability to metabolize sugar.

How to avoid it? For people who still want to eat (sustainable) seafood with lots of healthy fats but without a side of toxic mercury, wild salmon and farmed trout are good choices. Check out the Seafood Watch guide at http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/seafoodwatch.aspx.

Organophosphate Pesticides

Neurotoxic organophosphate compounds that the Nazis produced in huge quantities for chemical warfare during World War II were luckily never used. After the war ended, American scientists used the same chemistry to develop a long line of pesticides that target the nervous systems of insects. Despite many studies linking organophosphate exposure to effects on brain development, behavior and fertility, they are still among the more common pesticides in use today. A few of the many ways that organophosphates can affect the human body include interfering with the way testosterone communicates with cells, lowering testosterone and altering thyroid hormone levels.

How to avoid it? Buy organic produce and use EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, which can help you find the fruits and vegetables that have the fewest pesticide residues. Check it out at: www.ewg.org/foodnews/

For the rest of the Dirty Dozen Endocrine Disruptors and to download your own copy, visit http://www.ewg.org/research/dirty-dozen-list-endocrine-disruptors.

For more reading on the subject, the Huffington Post just ran a great article entitiled, Watchdog Warns Of ‘Dirty Dozen’ Hormone Disruptors As Scientists, Industry Argue Regulation.

My Green Side’s MOVIE pick of the week:Food for Change

Food for Change

Food For Change is a feature-length documentary film focusing on food co-ops as a force for dynamic social and economic change in American culture. The movie tells the story of the cooperative movement in the U.S. through interviews, rare archival footage, and commentary by the filmmaker and social historians.

Coming to the Fargo Theatre on Sunday, November 3rd, 2013 at 2pm. After the film there will be a discussion moderated by Christopher Gabriel from The Christopher Gabriel Program.

Reserve your tickets now at http://food4change.eventbrite.com/ or get them at the door on Sunday. See you at the movies!

 

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: October is breast cancer awareness month. According to a report by the World Cancer Research Breast Cancer 2010 ReportFund (WCRF) and the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), a significant amount of cases (a minimum of 38%) could be prevented if we followed a few recommendations that were confirmed during their research.

None of these recommendations should be a big surprise. They are all things we know are building blocks of a healthy lifestyle… common sense. The choice is ours. To implement these recommendations into our daily lives or to ignore them. Especially when 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime and there are 230,000 new invasive breast cancer cases discovered each year.

Here are a quick look at some of the Cancer Prevention Recommendations from the report:

  • Maintain a healthy body weight. Convincing evidence shows that weight gain and obesity increases the risk of a number of cancers, including bowel and breast cancer. Maintain a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular physical activity to help keep your risk lower.
  • Be physically active for at least 30 minutes every day.
  • Avoid sugary drinks and limit your consumption of energy-dense foods (foods high in fats and/or added sugars and/or low in fiber). Translation: avoid process foods, soda and juices and eat whole foods.
  • Eat more of a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes such as beans. Organic whole foods Bras on Broadway 2013reduce the risk of breast cancer by modulating estrogen, a chemical that’s native to our bodies but a frequent precursor to cancer when present in the wrong amounts. For example, cruciferous vegetables—such as broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts and collard greens—contain a compound that changes how estrogen is metabolized, making the body’s own estrogen less likely to promote cancer. Source: OrionMagazine.org
  • Limit consumption of salty foods and foods processed with salt (sodium).

And always remember do not smoke or chew tobacco.

For the complete list of recommendations and the full report, visit http://www.wcrf.org/.

What’s not covered in these recommendations, but we know are also contributing factors to cancer and other chronic diseases, are toxic chemicals. With more scientific evidence emerging all the time, it’s clear that the chemicals in our environment play a role in altering our biological processes. It’s also clear that our exposures to toxic chemicals and radiation are connected to our breast cancer risk (and other cancers and diseases but this month we’re focusing on breast cancer).

One big culprit when it comes to toxic chemicals is our personal care products.

In the U.S., major loopholes in federal law allow the cosmetics industry to put thousands of synthetic chemicals into personal care products, even if those chemicals are linked to cancer, infertility or birth defects. At the same time as untested chemicals have been steadily introduced into our environment, breast cancer incidence has risen dramatically. Source: Breast Cancer Fund

Following are some of the chemicals commonly found in our personal care products and how they impact our health:

Phthalates: Phthalates are a group of endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are found in cosmetics like nail polish and in synthetic fragrance—both perfumes and fragrance ingredients in other cosmetic products. Phthalate exposure has been linked to early puberty in girls, a risk factor for later-life breast cancer. Some phthalates also act as weak estrogens in cell culture systems. This class of chemicals has been linked to hormone disruption, which can affect development and fertility. Although some phthalates are being phased out of cosmetics under consumer pressure, diethyl phthalate (DEP) is still used in many products, including fragrance. In 2010, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found DEP in 12 of 17 fragrance products tested for their report, “Not So Sexy.” Product tests conducted by Consumer Reports ShopSmart magazine in January 2007 found the phthalates DEP and DEHP (which is banned in Europe) in each of eight popular perfumes tested. DEP is a ubiquitous pollutant of the human body, found in 97 percent of Americans tested by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recent epidemiological studies have associated DEP with a range of health problems, including sperm damage in men. Most fragrances don’t list phthalates on the label, but hide them under the term, “fragrance.”

Triclosan: Triclosan is used in antibacterial soaps, deodorants and toothpastes to limit the growth of bacteria and mold. It is a common antimicrobial agent that accumulates in our bodies and has been linked to hormone disruption and the emergence of bacteria resistant to antibiotics and antibacterial products. The chemical, which is classified as a pesticide, can affect the body’s hormone systems—especially thyroid hormones, which regulate metabolism—and may disrupt normal breast development. Along with its negative health effects, triclosan also impacts the environment, ending up in lakes, rivers and other water sources, where it is toxic to aquatic life.

To get the full list of chemicals you should avoid, visit http://www.breastcancerfund.org/clear-science/environmental-breast-cancer-links/cosmetics/.

To find out what is in the personal care products you and your family use every day, visit the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database at http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/.

If you haven’t already, watching Annie Leonard’s, The Story of Cosmetics is a must see. She has an excellent way of getting to the heart of an issue in a really disarming manner. “Toxins in, toxins out.” To view, visit http://www.storyofstuff.org/movies-all/story-of-cosmetics/

Locally, you can donate to Bras on Broadway, a fundraiser where every dollar donated stays in our region to help those who are fighting breast cancer. To find out more, visit http://brasonbroadway.com/.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

The Breast Cancer Fund

The Breast Cancer Fund works to connect the dots between breast cancer and exposures to chemicals and radiation in our everyday environments.

They translate the growing body of scientific evidence linking breast cancer and environmental exposures into public education and advocacy campaigns that protect our health and reduce breast cancer risk.

They help transform how our society thinks about and uses chemicals and radiation, with the goal of preventing breast cancer and sustaining health and life.

They find practical solutions so that our children, grandchildren and planet can thrive.

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