Saturday, April 22, 2017

Choosing Safe Beauty Products

Big changes start with small actions, including what you put on your face and body. That’s the fundamental principle behind Protect Our Breasts (POB,, a nonprofit educational initiative based at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. POB’s young women ambassadors, clad in the organization’s signature green scarves and led by Executive Director Cynthia Barstow, personify a singular mission: to reduce rates of breast cancer and other diseases linked to toxin exposure from everyday products and choices. Knowing that early-life habits lead to lasting patterns, POB spreads its message through college and community outreach events, arming others—especially young women and men—with the information they need to choose safe products for every aspect of their lives.
“It’s increasingly clear that ‘safety’ is a difficult word to define for cosmetics, so I look at it holistically,” says Gay Timmons, a POB advisory board member and founder of organic personal care company Oh, Oh Organic. This means assessing everything from ingredients to packaging to environmental impact.
Here, the POB team and Environmental Working Group offer tips to identify common beauty-product toxins so you can protect yourself daily and fearlessly.

Look for worthy labels

Third-party certifications are a good place to start, because they equate to more transparency in ingredients and sourcing. Whether you’re buying shampoo, shaving cream, or a great mascara, POB recommends prioritizing the USDA Organic label (which denotes the same standard that is applied to food) or the NSF/ANSI 305 “contains organic ingredients” label, developed specifically for personal care items. Both seals require a high percentage of organic content and prohibit caustic synthetics.
Two more labels to keep on your radar: Ecocert—a sustainable-body-care certification used by European brands—and the Natural Products Association’s “natural” label. 

Say no to endocrine disruptors

Endocrine disruptors receive particular emphasis in POB education. These ubiquitous chemicals (triclosan is one common offender found in personal care products) behave differently than “typical toxins,” says R. Thomas Zoeller, PhD, a UMass Amherst researcher and POB advisory board member. Endocrine disruptors can have a range of negative effects on hormones, according to the EWG, including increasing or decreasing hormone production, imitating hormones, or turning one hormone into another. Low-level endocrine-disruptive exposure has been linked to serious health consequences, from thyroid and prostate cancers to autism and ADHD.
If you have questions about any body care ingredient, search The Endocrine Disruptor Exchange, a comprehensive, nonprofit site that disseminates scientific evidence about these toxins.

Pay attention to the package

Remember: Endocrine disruptors aren’t found merely in the actual lotion or gel. “We now know that packaging has a huge influence [on toxin levels],” says Barstow. At its “safer alternatives” events, POB only permits products in containers that don’t leach potential carcinogens such as BPA (a well-known endocrine disruptor). Also on the “bad” plastics list: PVC, PS, and polycarbonate. Look instead for bottles that use PET/PETE and HDPE, so-called “good plastics.”

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Migraine Help

Nearly everyone gets headaches, but migraines are a different beast. They generate intense, throbbing pain, usually behind one eye, and often cause light sensitivity, nausea, and blurred vision. Triggers include hormonal changes, stress, and certain foods, and an episode can span anywhere from four hours to three debilitating days. Prescription drugs, although effective, may induce dizziness and fatigue. Try these holistic tips to head on migraines naturally.

Holistic allergist, Marc Arnold, MA, Allergy Elimination Center, Boulder, Colorado
  • Identify allergies. If you have frequent migraines, try an avoidance diet to pinpoint possible triggers, such as caffeine, chocolate, dairy, wheat, nightshades, alcohol, and monosodium glutamate (MSG). For example, for one to two weeks, don’t eat chocolate. If you continue to have migraines, chocolate is not your trigger. 
  • Apply pressure. Similar to acupuncture, noninvasive acupressure focuses on invisible energy lines in the body called meridians. Many revere acupressure for migraine relief because it can unblock meridians and may release pain-relieving endorphins. When you have a migraine, try squeezing the soft, muscle “web” of your hand with your opposite thumb and forefinger for one minute, four times per day.
  • Control stress. Chronic stress from grief, anger, or relationship trouble manifests physically and can trigger migraines. Tame stress by talking with friends or exercising. Also consider the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT;, a type of acupressure that involves tapping your meridians to allow energy to freely flow.
Naturopathic doctor, Lindsey Duncan, ND,, Austin, Texas
  • Improve blood flow. One reason migraines occur is because blood vessels in the brain erratically dilate and constrict. Cayenne (Capsicum annuum) regulates blood pressure and circulation throughout the entire body. Supplement with 450 mg cayenne with breakfast and dinner each day. Also, gently inverting your head can increase blood flow to the brain.
  • Boost B vitamins. B vitamins feed the brain and nervous system because they convert food into fuel. They function synergistically as a group, so supplement with B vitamins derived from whole foods. For migraine prevention, take 2 ounces liquid B vitamins in the morning and 2 ounces at lunch.
  • Detox your liver. If your liver can’t filter migraine triggers—like allergens and chemicals—migraines are more likely. Follow a cleansing plan: Avoid artificial sweeteners, and shun fatty, processed foods like fast food, beef, and dairy. Instead opt for raw or gently cooked foods such as bitter, steamed collard greens. Squeeze fresh organic lemon juice over salads—it’s a known liver purifier.
Herbalist, Dean G. Morris, MH, Nebo Health, Springville, Utah
  • Take butterbur. This herb reduces inflammation in brain blood vessels, relieving pressure on surrounding nerves. A standard dose is 50 mg butterbur root extract daily; make sure it’s guaranteed free of a toxic substance called pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs). If you sense a migraine about to occur, take 150 mg.
  • Up your AKBA. If you’re prone to joint pain or stiffness, consider taking AKBA, boswellia’s main active ingredient. Joint pain indicates your body may be overproducing MMP3, an enzyme that breaks down collagen. Collagen is also found in your brain, where it holds blood vessels in place. If collagen degrades, blood vessels can lose tone, causing migraines; AKBA helps maintain collagen. Take 50–100 mg boswellia extract per day. (Look for supplements containing 20 percent AKBA).
  • Try turmeric. Inflammation in the brain is a known migraine trigger. Curcuminoids, the main compound in the spice turmeric, is lauded for its anti-inflammatory properties. Consider taking 500 mg turmeric per day. Look for supplements with Meriva Phytosome, a proprietary capsule coating that increases curcuminoid absorption by 29 times.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Essential Oils

Do you have a smile on your face, energy in your step, and feel great?  If you are under a lot of stress and do not feel 100% balanced, then let's talk about some things that can help you.  Healthy diet and exercise is always a must.  Whichever diet you choose, two of the most important things you can do is cut out refined sugar and eat more fruits and vegetables.  I try for 75% of my plate to be vegetables. Remember to thoroughly chew your food.  The fiber and nutrients help to make you feel full.  To help with digestion, try to be in a parasympathetic state.  Ideas are: no interruptions during dining (such as no cell phones), deep breathing before eating, pleasant conversation at dinner time, etc.  Never talk about difficulties at work, trouble with the children, or how much you have to get done.  Other calming activities are yoga, meditation, tai-chi, and visualization.  Always take an appropriate digestive enzyme as directed.  doTERRA has an excellent essential oil blend, DigestZen, that can be rolled on anyone's stomach, even children, for relief after overeating, stomach bloating, or other digestive issues.

Have you ever tried diffusing oils before dinner for calming?  Some great essential oils for calming and balancing emotions are: Bergamot, Marjoram, Balance, Wild Orange, Patchouli, Lavender, Basil, Cedarwood, Clary Sage, Cypress, Geranium, Grapefruit, and of course, Frankincense!  Therapeutic, food grade essential oils have many healing properties.  One oil that I am excited about is Bergamot, which comes in a liquid essential oil or in capsules.  One customer told me that her son was recommended to take it for genetically high cholesterol.  Another person told me that it helps her appetite.  Another person told me that she uses it to ease symptoms of menopause (also PMS).  I have also been told it is good for worry and anxiety.  Remember, always check with your pharmacist before taking anything new to make sure it is allowed with the medications you are on.  Pregnant women must also check to make sure the essential oil they wish to use is safe during pregnancy.  Have you thought about making up some of your own blends to help with mood, weight loss, or stress?  I have some good ideas for blends and can teach you how to make your own.  Call for a FREE consult on therapeutic essential oils and blends.  Let's make it a party with your friends or organization.  Please contact me at 419.529.5505.