Wednesday, June 23, 2010

President's Cancer Panel Recommendations

Happy Wednesday!

I am postponing Whole Grains 103: The Oats and instead wanted to post a link for you!

A group was pulled together to research on cancer, and potential causes. The President's Cancer Panel recently released their research compilation, and it is a doozie of a report! I have not read through the entire thing yet - it's 240 pages! But at the end, they mention some of their top recommendations to limiting your exposure to toxins and other ways of decreasing your risk for cancer.

You can find the report in its entirety here, but I just wanted to hit their bullet points - and take them for what you will. There are two sides to every argument (and we ARE looking at Politics stuff here!) ;-) , so decide for yourself what sounds and feels right, and research more in to anything that you want to know more about! :) (Or let me know, and I can rustle through some of my sources and let you know what I think!)

They begin with an introduction that states "With nearly 80,000 chemicals on the market in the United States, many of which are used by millions of Americans in their daily lives and are un- or understudied and largely unregulated, exposure to potential environmental carcinogens is widespread... While BPA has received considerable media coverage, the public remains unaware of many common environmental carcinogens such as naturally occurring radon and manufacturing and combustion by-products such as formaldehyde and benzene."

Yikes!! 80,000 checmicals!!! And minimal research!! It's so easy to feel like the way we live is the way its "always" been - we forget that all this crazy new technology, new materials, revamped and processed foods are really NEW to the human body! Yes, the body is an amazing creation, with awesome powers to heal itself... but let's not bombard our poor temples, shall we?!

I bold some of what they wrote in order to emphasize things I found to be key, and I add some of my own thoughts in parentheses! Happy reading, and take some steps to protect yourself! I would LOVE to read the entire report, and get back to you on what the Panel has to say about causes (cell phones are in there!!!) so hopefully I can find time to read this (among all the other millions of things I'm trying to read and study!)

Starting on page 112, here's what the report says:
...individuals can take important steps in their own lives to reduce their exposure to environmental elements that increase risk for cancer and other diseases. And collectively, individual small actions can drastically reduce the number and levels of environmental contaminants.

1. It is vitally important to recognize that children are far more susceptible to damage from environmental carcinogens and endocrine-disrupting compounds than adults. To the extent possible, parents and child care providers should choose foods, house and garden products, play spaces, toys, medicines, and medical tests that will minimize children’s exposure to toxics. Ideally, both mothers and fathers should avoid exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals and known or suspected carcinogens prior to a child’s conception and throughout pregnancy and early life, when risk of damage is greatest.

2. Individuals and families have many opportunities to reduce or eliminate chemical exposures. For example:
  • Family exposure to numerous occupational chemicals can be reduced by removing shoes before entering the home and washing work clothes separately from the other family laundry. (plus, taking off shoes is helpful for keeping your carpet in good shape - and lets your feet stretch and breathe, like they were made to do!)

  • Filtering home tap or well water can decrease exposure to numerous known or suspected carcinogens and endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Unless the home water source is known to be contaminated, it is preferable to use filtered tap water instead of commercially bottled water.

  • Storing and carrying water in stainless steel, glass, or BPA- and phthalate-free containers will reduce exposure to endocrine-disrupting and other chemicals that may leach into water from plastics. This action also will decrease the need for plastic bottles, the manufacture of which produces toxic by-products, and reduce the need to dispose of and recycle plastic bottles. Similarly, microwaving food and beverages in ceramic or glass instead of plastic containers will reduce exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals that may leach into food when containers are heated.

  • Exposure to pesticides can be decreased by choosing, to the extent possible, food grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers and washing conventionally grown produce to remove residues (Yay organics!! Though watch out - Big Organic may not be quite as good as we hope. Try to do what local shopping you can! Recently genetically modified alfalfa seeds of Monsanto's were permitting to be labeled "Organic." Grrr... don't get me started on that one!) Similarly, exposure to antibiotics, growth hormones, and toxic run-off from livestock feed lots can be minimized by eating free-range meat raised without these medications if it is available. Avoiding or minimizing consumption of processed, charred, and well-done meats will reduce exposure to carcinogenic heterocyclic amines and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (siiigh, sorry all - be careful with that grill this summer season! That char is being linked more and more to possible cancerous effects. So, at least side your grilled foods with a nice big salad or green smoothie, or other big source of veggies to give you a big natural dose of antioxidants, too!)

  • Individuals can consult information sources such as the Household Products Database to help them make informed decisions about the products they buy and use.

  • Properly disposing of pharmaceuticals, household chemicals, paints, and other materials will minimize drinking water and soil contamination. Individuals also can choose products made with non-toxic substances or environmentally safe chemicals. Similarly, reducing or ceasing landscaping pesticide and fertilizer use will help keep these chemicals from contaminating drinking water supplies.

  • Turning off lights and electrical devices when not in use reduces exposure to petroleum combustion by-products because doing so reduces the need for electricity, much of which is generated using fossil fuels. Driving a fuel-efficient car, biking or walking when possible, or using public transportation also cuts the amount of toxic auto exhaust in the air.

  • Individuals can reduce or eliminate exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke in the home, auto, and public places. Most counseling and medications to help smokers quit are covered by health insurance or available at little or no cost. (Don't you just looooove walking outside in the beauty of nature, only to suddenly pause and, *sniff, sniff* is that someone SMOKING outside!? Mixing their toxins with my FRESH AIR?!)

3. Adults and children can reduce their exposure to electromagnetic energy by wearing a headset when using a cell phone, texting instead of calling, and keeping calls brief. (And make sure it's a wired headset! No use getting a cool Blue Tooth or other wireless set - you're STILL just pumping that energy to the side of your head!)

4. It is advisable to periodically check home radon levels. Home buyers should conduct a radon test in any home they are considering purchasing.

5. To reduce exposure to radiation from medical sources, patients should discuss with their health care providers the need for medical tests or procedures that involve radiation exposure. Key considerations include personal history of radiation exposure, the expected benefit of the test, and alternative ways of obtaining the same information. In addition, to help limit cumulative medical radiation exposure, individuals can create a record of all imaging or nuclear medicine tests received and, if known, the estimated radiation dose for each test.

6. Adults and children can avoid overexposure to ultraviolet light by wearing protective clothing and sunscreens when outdoors and avoiding exposure when the sunlight is most intense. (Hmmm, they neglected to talk about the TYPES of sunscreen - so many are rich in chemicals and potential toxin dangers! So, check my earlier post on Natural Sun Protection, or at least the safer versions to buy!)

7. Each person can become an active voice in his or her community. To a greater extent than many realize, individuals have the power to affect public policy by letting policymakers know that they strongly support environmental cancer research and measures that will reduce or remove from the environment toxics that are known or suspected carcinogens or endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Individuals also can influence industry by selecting non-toxic products and, where these do not exist, communicating with manufacturers and trade organizations about their desire for safer products (You vote with your credit card, too. The more you buy healthier options, the more the stores realize they need to keep stock! Your voice DOES matter. So let your cash be heard!) :)
So I hope you enjoyed all those recommendations :) I know a lot of them are things I already try to do, but it's nice to know that there is support and that I'm not a total "quack" for thinking the way I do! Have a wonderful week!


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wednesday Words: Whole Grains 102

Welcome back, class, to Whole Grains 102! We will be continuing that exciting topic of making sure you’re getting what you want regarding whole grains! (And I’m really hoping that you WANT those whole grains, and opposed to refined “glorified sugar” versions on foods!)

I want to start off with the simple way to make sure that you ARE getting a good product – and then I’ll touch on the tricky ways companies market around it.

First, and easiest – with rice, you want brown rice. Simple! It’s brown because of that outer bran layer. The white rice has had that removed, and so reveals its naked white self. Scandalous! Put your bran on, little rice! You’re better that way!

Oats I will get in to next time.

For other items like pasta, tortillas, breads, and buns, the simple way to make sure your product is a whole grain is to check the ingredient list. The first product listed should include the word “whole.” “Whole grain flour,” “whole wheat flour,” “whole oat,” etc. Makes sense, doesn't it? You want Whole Grains, make sure it says is HAS Whole Grains!

The second thing to check is the fiber content. Look at the little nutrition label and make sure you’re getting at least 3 grams of fiber per serving.

Getting enough fiber is very important. Studies see a connection between high fiber diets and decreases in colon cancer, coronary heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases. Fiber is also critical for your natural cleansing process! It’ll push the junk on out of ya! And on the way out, it is helping prevent constipation, hemorrhoids (don’t strain!), diverticulosis, and it can even sweep out some cholesterol, helping to keep those numbers in check.

So, that’s pretty simple! Just look for “whole” ingredients, and 3g fiber!

I could stop there, but I want to point out a few marketing trickeries, so you are aware.

A wheat product isn’t the same as Whole Wheat or Whole Grain. As shown in the 101 posting, that entire kernel was a WHEAT kernel! So, even when that kernel is processed down and the good parts are removed, they can still call it Wheat Bread. But you’re smart enough to not be fooled by that now, aren't ya! You want the WHOLE grain – bran, germ, and all!

For those types of products, the ingredient list will show “enriched” in the first ingredient. Enriched white flour, enriched wheat flour, etc. And again, that enriching processes means that after refining the grain, they added back synthetic nutrients to replace the natural goodness that was lost, and in smaller amounts that originally present. Avoid these items.

Those products also usually contain little in the way of fiber – maybe having none at all! Usually I see a whopping 1 gram listed on those.

For you over-achievers out there, here’s a little side topic about a newer wheat product: What about those “white wheat” breads?

Honestly, I haven’t looked at them too much. My initial reaction was that they were just white bread, made with the empty parts of the wheat grain. But there may be more too it!
The Mayo Clinic says these are actually made with a different type of wheat. Traditional wheat products are made from Red wheat. But there is a strain of Albino wheat, and “white whole-wheat bread – like regular whole-wheat bread – is made with the whole grain” and retains the fiber and nutrients. It is a softer version, more like white bread, marketing to those who are not ready to adjust to the heartier, nuttier flavors and textures of traditional whole wheat breads

Sound too good to be true, oh White-bread lovers out there? It just may be.

In a USA Today article about this new type of bread, Marion Nestle (a favorite dietitian and author of mine!) is quoted as saying:

“Bread is flour, water, yeast, salt. Period. This [white wheat bread] has something like 20 other ingredients.... Why not buy your kids real bread?"

Evidentially, albino wheat is still treated with a long list of conditioners and chemicals to make sure it replicates that doughy, soft texture of white bread. If so, that would be a far step from natural!

I’ll have to check out albino wheat bread at the store sometime to see the ingredient list for sure, but for now… I’ll pass on the “white wheat.” Personally, I like sprouted bread, but that’s for the advanced Whole Grains 201 class in the future!

Your homework: check the ingredients and fiber on your breads, pastas, wraps, buns, and cereals! See what you're getting! :)

*bell rings*

Alright, folks, that's all for today! Have a Wonderful Wednesday!


Monday, June 14, 2010

Blackberry Base Smoothie

Good morning, sunshines! :D I hope you're beaming bright and beautiful light to all those around you!! (...since some days I give off more than my share of gray rain clouds to those around me...)

Today I was less in the mood for a deep green smoothie, but I still wanted all that wonderful alkalinizing health from my leafy greens! So, I decided to use FRESH blackberries instead of frozen. It is AMAZING how much extra flavor they have that way! So today, this was my smoothie:

Blackberry Base Smoothie

2 c spinach
2 c romaine
1/2 cucumber
1 tbs flax oil
1.5 c red grapes
6oz blackberries

Antioxidant PACKED! Along with the wonderful, cool hydrating effects of the cucumber, the skin-healing properties of red grapes, and the omega-rich benefits of flax oil (granted, oil will lack some of the other perks of the flax seed, but I was just going for omegas today!)

The blackberries actually turned this green smoothie into a beautiful burgundy! I tried to take a few pictures, but the lighting was no good, so I have nothing to share. Sorry!

So, if you have still been hesitant to try a smoothie, I recommend using blackberries or pineapple as a base - they have potent sweetness that helps to overcome greeness. And just start with some spinach, as it is less flavor-bursting green than Romaine and other leafies!

Have fun and give a smoothie a try!


Friday, June 11, 2010

The Dirty Dozen Revisited

Welcome back, guys :) I hope your week is finishing out well! I am keeping busy, busy, busy!

I have a lecture to give later this month that will touch on organics, and as I was researching all the fun pesticide information, I discovered that the Dirty Dozen list has been updated! With new farming practices and spray-resistant bugs, chemical use has altered some.

So step down, peaches - you are no longer the worst produce for us! (still number two... but hey, it ain't the gold!) The new dirty culprit? Well, if you're making my good ol' Fire Ants on A Log, let's just say - get organic celery!

These top twelve worst produce items can contain as many as 47 to 67 different pesticides per serving! Yikes! So, again - opt for organic versions of these items, and even then - rinse them off well! Different pesticides have been linked to a variety of health problems, including:
  • Nervous system toxicity
  • Cancer
  • Hormone system effects
  • Skin, eye and lung irritation
So, without further ado, here's the new list:

Dirty Dozen:
  1. Celery
  2. Peaches
  3. Strawberries
  4. Apples
  5. Blueberries
  6. Nectarines
  7. Bell Peppers
  8. Spinach
  9. Kale
  10. Cherries
  11. Potatoes
  12. Grapes (Imported)
Clean 15:
  1. Onions
  2. Avocado
  3. Sweet Corn
  4. Pineapple
  5. Mangos
  6. Sweet Peas
  7. Asparagus
  8. Kiwi
  9. Cabbage
  10. Eggplant
  11. Cantaloupe
  12. Watermelon
  13. Grapefruit
  14. Sweet Potato
  15. Honeydew Melon

The Environmental Working Group will send you a little clip-on list that you can attach to your purse or shopping bag here if you donate $10. I think they are a company worth supporting; but you can also just get the free download from that same link, print out a copy of the list, and put it in your wallet! It's a good resource!

And if you shop at a local Farmers' Market, just ask the farmer about their chemical practice. Remember, it is pricey to get official Organic certification - many small farms are organic and safe, they just didn't shell out the big bucks to go through certification.

Have a great evening!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wednesday Words: Whole Grains 101

Welcome, dear students, to the Whole Grains 101 class! You've heard the terms, you've seen the marketing, you've heard the media rant about WHOLE GRAINS and their benefits... but what does it mean, and why should you care?

Fun Facts to get started:

  • Wheat and grains were once considered the “Staff of Life”
  • They are still considered sacred in some parts of China
  • It is estimated that roughly 33% of the world’s population depends on wheat for food.

And now, on to the definitions and benefits!

The bottom line: a whole grain product is one that is made with all the edible parts of a kernel of grain - the whole sha-bang! The more processed the grain is, the more nutritional value lost, the more dead the food becomes.

Here's a picture that shows the various parts of the grain:

(Yes, that’s a wheat grain, but the concepts of whole grain will carry through the other varieties as well.)

The three edible parts of the grain are the Bran, the Germ, and the Endosperm.

Bran: The outer layer
This contains a lot of nutritional value. In this little shell, you can get protein, thiamin, riboflavin, potassium, niacin, vitamin B6, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Zinc, Copper, and Fiber. In fact, this is where the majority of the fiber of “whole grain” products will be found. Yes, lovely fiber – helpful for keeping your system regular, helping with cholesterol, and cleansing your intestinal tract. Good stuff! You can find Wheat Bran sold at some stores – just the rough, fiberous parts of the wheat! I still say go for the WHOLE grain, but if you need some extra fiber, that’s a viable option.

Germ: The baby seed
This is what would sprout a new plant if you were growing or sprouting your wheat. It is a concentrated source of nutrients – that little power house would have to fuel a whole new plant someday if it was planted! It is a complete protein source, and also carries other nutrients such as Thamin, Phosphorous, Zing, Manganese, Selenium, Vitamin B6, Folate, magnesium, Copper, and Fiber. The germ is a good source of vitamin E, and wonderful antioxidant to protect your body from toxic derivitaves created from damaged cells. Why would you want to give up all of that?! And, like Wheat Bran, you can find Wheat Germ sold in stores.

Endosperm: Also the “kernel”
This is the bulk of the seed’s volume, and it contains relatively little in the way of vitamins and minerals.
(A wheat field in Dorset, England. Photo courtesy of Joe D.)

So when you buy white grains – white pasta, white bread/buns/tortillas, white rice… it has had the bran removed, and probably the germ as well. What then, class, does that leave us?

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

The Endosperm! That low-nutrient left over part, where over half of the vitamin B1, B2, B3, E, folic acid, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, iron, and fiber are lost. That is why the government began requiring grain companies to “enrich” their products in 1941 – they are adding back synthetic versions of the natural health that used to be there, but often in smaller amounts that what was in the original germ and bran. Is this as natural and bioavailable? The jury is still out…

Whole grains are a whole package! In addition to the multiple vitamin, minerals, and fiber stated above, studies are finding more health components: within the whole grain, antioxidants, lignans, phenolic acids, phytoestrogens, and other phytochemicals may help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

The Whole Grains Counsel lists some of the commonly used whole grains. If you're bored with wheat and rice, or are gluten-sensitive, you may see some fun alternatives to try!

Amaranth, Barley, Buckwheat, Corn, Millet, Oats, Quinoa (prounounced KEEN-wah), Rice, Rye, Sorghum/Milo, Teff, Triticale, Wheat (spelt, emmer, farro, einkorn, Kamut, durum, bulgur, cracked wheat, wheatberries), and Wild Rice.

So that sums up the basics of Whole Grains 101!

Whole Grains 102 will cover how to tell if you’re getting a real whole grain. “Wheat bread” just may not be all that you think it is! And in 103, I’ll finally get back to that topic of oats – different types, and why I think oat groats and steel cut oats are worth looking into! And if you’re looking for an advanced class, I’ll be bringing you Whole Grains 201: Sprouting!

Any questions?

“Hallelujah, Amen, Class Dismissed!”


Monday, June 7, 2010

Carrot Juicing

Just a quick little post to say, YES! We are making our way through our carrots, slowly but surely! Thankfully, there has been no yellowing of the skin at this time ;-)

(Of course, every time we pull out the juicer to make carrot juice, Dave wants the fresh apple juice that so impressed him the first time!)

I just wanted to share this picture - maybe it's just me, but isn't that a beautiful shade of orange?! Such a sweet, fresh juice! Even if you don't love carrot, the juice is like the concentrated sweetness from it - it's so good! Well, ok, there's still some carrot flavor, so if you HATE carrots, you may not like this.

But it is rich in vitamins and mineral (see this old post for all the details on carrot glory!) so if you have a juicer, or are ever at a juice bar, maybe give it a try! I sometimes like to mix it with orange, apple, and/or spinach... but the simplicity of carrot juice alone is a refreshing treat!

Now I just need to come up with a good way to use all the carrot pulp I've got sitting in my freezer...

Carrot Kisses! :D

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Drink the Summer Rainbow

Good morning, everyone! I hope you've had a good week, and that your weekend is off to a great start! I know one way to get a good kick to your energy... c'mon you know what I'm gonna say... Smoothie!! :) (Do I sound like a broken record yet?)

I love Saturdays because they are Farmers' Market days here in my town! We have a humble little market with only about 8 farmers, and a few other entrepreneurs. You can also find soaps, lotions, baked goods, and crafts.

But before I restock my fridge with new produce from the market and the grocery store, I needed to make some room! So it was time to use up left over produce. I was surprised how much variety I still had! And it all looked so pretty! So this morning I did a rainbow smoothie. In produce, each color food carries its own health benefits - so get that variety!

So here's what I put in my smoothie:
Red: goji berries
Orange: peach
Yellow: pineapple and frozen mango
Green: kale and Romaine
Purple: strawberries and blackberries

Then I sprinkled in a few Tablespoons of flax seeds for some extra protein and omega oils.

Blend and enjoy!

This is a power-packed drink of fiber, vitamins and minerals, very alkaline and antioxidant rich... and a lot of great natural sugars to kick start the morning! It made a nice, thick, heavy smoothie - keeps me full for hours! (And keeps me skipping along as I browse the produce section at the store while being crowded among all the other Saturday morning shoppers.)

David Heber, MD, PhD wrote a book called What Color Is Your Diet? In it, he goes over the different colors and benefits.

White: Usually it is agreed that there is also the white color category - that would include things like onion, garlic, chives, and mushroom. Yeah... I didn't feel like putting that into my smoothie! I'm not that adventurous! Other white/green foods that I could have included, though, are celery and pears. These foods all contain flavonoids that protect your cell membranes.

Red: I talked about benefits a little bit in an earlier post during Valentine's Day. But, to refresh, bold red foods include tomatoes, watermelon, etc. Think bold bright, leaning more towards pink than purple. These foods are rich in lycopene, which helps fight cancer.

Darker Orange: carrots, sweet potato, and squash are great for the eyes! All the carotenoids help with night vision and are also great disease fighters.

Yellow-Orange: brighter colored oranges such as the orange fruit, nectarines, and papaya are phenomenal sources of Vitamin C - great for the immune system! Since Vitamin C is water-soluble, your body doesn't like to store it too much. So it's important to get vitamin C from food on a daily basis!

Yellow-Green: corn, spinach, avocado, and peas are part of this group. They are rich in the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. These components are now being linked with eye health and protection from macular degeneration!

Green: And the darker greens - kale, broccoli, sprouts, cabbage... these are such an important part of health. I've talked about it a little before, but these are rich in sulforaphane and help stimulate the liver, enhancing your body's natural detoxing and cleansing processes. They also contain isothicyanate and indoles, which help your body break down cancer-causing checmicals.

Purple: now you move into foods that are a darker red, such as grapes, berries, and eggplant. This color comes from anthocyanins that protect the heart.

So do like Skittles and taste (or drink!) the rainbow; but go for the natural, healthy rainbow instead of the sugary nutritionally-empty rainbow! ;-) You'll find that pot o' health in the end!


Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Peek Into My Life... Er, Fridge

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM! A little shout-out to the dear woman in my life who taught me the best secrets of health: if you break the cookie in half, all the calories fall out! And M&Ms may not solve all of life's problems, but they're a darn good place to start! Love you, Mom :)


Some days, being a dietitian while blogging about food makes me feel as if food is the core of my life. And I do love food, learning about nutrition, sharing it all - but life is so much more than just eating! So, don't think I'm TOTALLY obsessed about food! (But cut me some slack - it IS my career, so I am allowed to obsess a LITTLE!) :)

I thought today I would share a look at my eating habits, and how I stock up.

I keep plenty of shelf foods on hand, as well - but here's a deeper look into the refrigerator, and all it's secret wonder!

I posted early on about prepping food in advance - and I walk the walk with that one! Dave and I spent an hour at the Farmers' Market and the store over the weekend, then a few hours in the kitchen getting ready. Yes, that means a chunk of your day goes to one activity. But again - it's worth it! If we don't commit that that segment of time, the rest of the week we are scrounging for healthy food and allowing ourselves to be lazy and slack, grabbing a slice of left over pizza or swinging through the fast food joint instead of eating what he have!

So, we pour some tea, crank up some music (or pop in a good audio book!) and get to work. This weekend, while listening to some Artemis Fowl, we washed, we tore, we cut, and we stored. And we have been reveling all week in the produce glory that resulted!
So this is outside the fridge, actually - I have two bowls where I put all the washed produce. No, I don't normally have to color coordinate! It just kind of worked out that way :) But pre-wash people! It is so hard to pass up fresh produce when you literally have nothing to do to prepare it! You have no time and need convenience? It doesn't get faster than grabbing an apple! It is such a life-saver having those on hand after work. I come home and am hungry - ready to dive head-first into anything that gets in my way. But, if I have some clean fruit on hand, I will grab that first, tame my hunger, then plan a healthier option for dinner.

You can also see the big salad we were working on. Remember, that's my Easiest Veggie Weapon in the fight for good health! A huge tub that will last all week! I throw a bunch in a Tupperware container each morning, top with selected add-ins, and am all set for lunch at work.

And now looking inside the refrigerator... gaze in wonder ;-)

Top shelf: a giant tub of salad, some pre-cut carrots, and all our dairy and alternatives (coconut milk, almond milk, organic yogurt)

Middles shelf: a giant bag of carrots, all the salad add-ins (radish, bulbs and leaves, garlic stems, cucumber, berries, seeds, nuts, etc) Tucked behind those are wheat bran, hemp protein powder, and some ground flax and flax oils.

Bottom Shelf: pre-cup celery, pineapple, broccoli, cauliflower, ...and the cheese and lunch meat drawer (shhhh! We go light on those!) Eggs can be hidden behind the celery. I want to go with eggs from my local farmer's free-range, organic eggs, but they were all out this weekend!!

Lower drawers: on the right are extras - some unwashed lemons and apples, some dates, etc. These last better in the fridge, so as the bowls on the table begin to empty, I will wash off more from the fridge and set them out as well. The left drawer is full of pre-washed greens:
I wash all the greens ahead of time, then stick them in clean plastic bags with a few paper towels to help with moisture. I have romaine and kale in there this week. This is good if you run out of salad and need more - but mostly I use it in smoothies for breakfast!

And because we always get curious looks at the grocery store when we get these, and maybe you were wondering from the above picture... Massive Juice Carrots:
Yes, that is a 25 pound bag of organic juicing carrots! And I am hoping that by posting that here, you all will help hold me and Dave accountable for USING them all! We often get about halfway through the bag before they go bad. But these carrots are amazing! They are bigger and juicer than normal carrots, so you don't have to sit and wash and peel dozens of carrots for one glass of juice. But they only sell them in this crazy big bag. So! We made it a goal to get through this bag! Check in on us to see how we're doing ;-)

"That concludes the tour of the ADDN Fridge. I hope you have enjoyed your visit. Please come again!" :)


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

So, What If You DO Want Sunscreen?

Welcome to June! I hope you had a great holiday weekend, and didn't splurge TOO badly! Big hugs and thank you to my family for visiting, and my sister and brother-in-law for joining me in another 5K run during the holiday!

A few posts ago I talked about one natural way of vamping up your body's natural ability to protect itself from sun damage. And I hope your trying to incorporate more orange and red produce items into your diet because of it! (Well, and because of all the many, many, many, many other health and beauty benefits that they bring! ....You know, everything we've been posting on over the last several months - antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, skin integrity, bone health, heart health... etc, etc, etc!) :)

But, all that aside, if you DO decide sun screen is a protective measure you want to take, you're in luck! There IS a way to sort through the plethora of products, the bundle of bottles, the lists of lotions, the overabundance of options! The work has already been done for you! *Whew!*

That wonderful group, the Environmental Working Group, has tamed the chaos and researched the safety of the different products.

The number one protective product out there....(drum roll, pleeeeze)... shirt and hat!

Yup, EWG says "The best sunscreen is a hat and a shirt. No chemicals to absorb through the skin, no questions about whether they work."

Ok, ok - before you start chucking tomatoes at me (hmmmm, actually, go ahead and chuck! That's some good natural sunscreen stuff!) here is their information:

EWG says you want a product that will protect you from both UVA and UVB sun rays while having as few chemical toxins as possible. Top products will contain either zinc or titanium minerals to help cut UVA exposure, and Avobenzone or Mexoryl SX are also good ingredients to look for. These items are less likely to be absorbed by your skin into your body. You want to avoid Oxybenzone, Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate), or products that also include insect repellent. Oxybenzone works like a synthetic estrogen that is more readily absorbed by the skin and will contaminate your body! Yuck! Protect yourself from that! The Vitamin A, while wonderful if part of a whole food and ingested, really doesn't need to be spread on your skin for sun protection. It doesn't actually help anything, but it's a wonderful marketing ploy. And the bug repellent would just be another slew of chemicals on your body.Instead, get a separate bug repellent if you absolutely need it, and put it on before the sun screen.

EWG recommends creams rather than sprays or powders. Creams will last longer, meaning fewer applications and thus less toxic exposure. With sprays and powders, you may end up inhaling some chemicals, and, well, we're trying to AVOID getting gunk in your body! And those ultra SPFs? Again – not worth it. EWG states “Anything higher than “SPF 50+” can tempt you to stay in the sun too long, suppressing sunburn but not other kinds of skin damage. FDA says these numbers are misleading.”

So that gives you an idea of what to look for, and what guidelines EWG is using: “Our top-rated sunscreens all contain the minerals zinc or titanium. They are the right choice for people who are looking for the best UVA protection without any sunscreen chemical considered to be a potential hormone disruptor. None of the products contain oxybenzone or vitamin A and none are sprayed or powdered.” You can see their complete listing here but here are some of their top choices, in alphabetical order:

California Baby - Sunblock Stick, No Fragrance, SPF 30+

Loving Naturals - Sunscreen SPF 30+

Purple Prairie Botanicals - SunStuff SPF 30 and Sun Stick SPF 30

Soleo Organics - All Natural Sunscreen SPF 30+, Soleo Organics/Wyland Organics All Natural Sunscreen SPF 30+, and Soleo Organics/Atlantis Resort All Natural Sunscreen SPF 30+

Thinkbaby and Thinksport - Sunscreen SPF 30+

UV Natural - Baby Sunscreen SPF 30+ and Sunscreen Sport SPF 30+

They also provide a list of non-mineral options for those who want to avoid zinc or titanium or don't like the feel or scent of standard sunscreen. The say there is a trade-off, though. “All non-mineral products contain at least one sunscreen chemical considered to be a potential hormone disruptor, and many offer only moderate or weak UVA protection.” But that same link from above (click here) also gives that listing.

So! There it is! Less dangerous, more natural sun protection if you really need it. They may not be easy to find sometimes, but check with your area natural food stores, or you can always order online! (What a wonderful age we live in – everything is so convenient! It is too easy to be lazy!) :)

Here's hoping June is a wonderful month, full of health and love!