If you’re confused about all the risks of different sweeteners, join the club. I just read this article by Rodale News regarding the best and worst sweeteners. It is concise, informative and easy to understand. I highly recommend you take a look.
This issue of fluoride for my son (who is 5) is a big concern for me. A doctor gave me a prescription for fluoride drops for my son but when I saw they had food dye and artificial sweetener in it I threw it out. I recently began seeing a holistic dentist for myself. I asked him about fluoride for my son. He suggested bi-annual fluoride treatments at the pediatric dentist since we won’t ingest the fluoride.
I would love to believe that I can go to the grocery store and buy food that is safe for me and my family. Sadly, that is not true. Most of what is in grocery stores is toxic for your body. How is that possible? Money, politics and big business. The good news is that the marketplace responds to consumers, so you do have some power. There is more and more evidence that food grown with pesticides is hurting us. It is linked to ADHD, birth defects and cancers. Here is a thoughtful article on organic food.
For microwave popcorn that is free of chemicals do the following;
- Place a 1/4 cup of popcorn (preferably organic) in a lunch size brown paper bag.
- Add 2 to 3 teaspoons of olive oil or safflower oil.
- Cook on high in the microwave for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Remove and add salt, herbs, Parmesan cheese or whatever you like.
I never paint my finger nails but I feel naked if my toes go unadorned. A number of years ago I was having a lot of yellowing and cracking with my toe nails. I’d read that it could be caused by the formaldehyde in the nail polish. I decided to seek out formaldehyde-free nail polish and the problem disappeared. Formaldehyde is a know irritant and allergen. Now I read there are two other ingredients that are also problems for ones health. Many nail polishes contain toluene, a solvent that is released into the air. Exposure to the fumes can effect the central nervous system and cause irritation to the nose and throat, and long-term exposure can effect the liver and kidneys. The FDA claims that the exposure from nail polish is minimal enough to pose no health risk but if I can buy polish without it, why risk it? The last is Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP). Phthalates are elasticizers and are used to give products durability. DBP has been linked to thyroid problems, reproductive problems in boys whose mothers were exposed and recently diabetes.
The good news is that you can still stay chic and stylish and not sacrifice your health. A number of companies now make nail polish that is free of formaldehyde, toluene and Dibutyl Phthalate. They are a little pricier that drug store brands, but you are worth it!
- Butter is a brand from London, England. It’s available nationwide at Nordstrom and Macy’s. For a full list of stores click here
- I use No Miss Nail Polish that I buy at Whole Foods. Their website doesn’t list their retailers but you can order online.
- Honeybee Gardens has a water-based nail polish. I haven’t tried it and can’t speak to is durability but it is highly rated and completely non-toxic.
- Gabriel Cosmetics has a long line of cruelty free make-up and skincare. I’ve seen their nail polish at Whole Foods but you can also order online.
- Mineral Fusion Nail Laquer is available at Whole Foods and other health food stores. Reviews praise their modern colors. For Mineral Fusions’ store finder click here.
Plastic is a big worry for me both from a health and ecological point of view. Plastics give off fumes, can leach chemicals into your food and water, can pose a serious health risk for birds and animals (they eat it and choke or get it caught in their intestines), doesn’t easily degrade in landfills and uses petroleum and a lot of energy in manufacturing. But plastic is ubiquitous. Every week my recycle bin is overflowing with plastic bottles and packaging.
A woman named Beth Terry believes we can live without plastic and tells us how to do it in her blog My Plastic-free Life. Some of her suggestions would take some real commitment like taking your own non-plastic containers to the deli counter. But others, like carrying your own shopping bags and using a stainless steel water bottle instead of plastic, are easy to do. If you are as perplexed about plastic as I am, Ms. Terry’s Plastic-free Guide is very helpful
I was walking my dog this morning and thinking about my relationship to my microwave oven. I know there are growing reasons for me to let go of it but I’m just not ready. I’ve let go of sugar and dairy and my beloved black tea and let’s face it, I’m lazy. When I think of alternative ways of heating food they always involve time and pans which means washing dishes. I found myself thinking that in a perfect world we would all be buying farm fresh produce every day and not reheating anything. But the world is far from perfect and most of us are busy, tired and looking for ease of use. And then I realized that I wanted this blog to help readers get informed and healthier in a manageable way. I admire the very disciplined people who grow their own food and cook in solar ovens. But I’m not one them. And I find I do better if I make small changes, one at a time, so I don’t become overwhelmed. So if I was just starting out of this processes of making my home healthier for me a my kids what are some reasonably easy things I would do.
- Buy as much organic food as I can afford. When I started buying better food our bill went up by 30%. That’s significant. But on the positive side, we’ve been sick less often so not as many doctor co-pays.
- Eliminate 98% of sugar in my house. There is increasing evidence that sugar plays a huge role in inflammation which leads to diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and arthritis. And sugar/high fructose corn syrup is in everything, i.e.; cereal, bread, crackers, condiments, sodas, and of course sweets. I said 98% percent because I think rigid eating leads to eating disorders. I allow my son one sweet thing a day but I also make sure we have lots of fruit and that fruit is as appealing as ice cream.
- Reduce dairy by finding dairy substitutes. I used to cook with dairy almost every day. Everything was laden with cheese. Currently I eat dairy a few times a month and it’s usually an ounce of cheese sprinkled on a salad. Reducing dairy eliminated the mucus that all of us we’re having all the time. My son loves almond milk on his cereal and eats coconut milk ice cream. Almond milk and coconut milk are readily available in regular grocery stores. Beware of soy milk. It contains hormones which are not good for children in large doses and brands like Silk are made with genetically modified soy beans.