Being in good health comes down to MANY things. One of those obviously is what fuel or food we put into our body. Another aspect is what we expose ourselves to… cleaners, home furnishings that off-gas, chemical air fresheners, etc. Yet another aspect that many often overlook is the beauty products that we may use on our bodies. What we choose in this regard is just as important as what food we choose to eat. It’s not enough to simply use an organic shampoo or homemade soap only to turn around and use hairspray or moisturizer filled with chemicals that can harm our skin or damage our health.
Sadly many of the products you find in the beauty department of your local WalMart or drug store are created with chemical ingredients that are linked to various cancers. Unlike food items, beauty products have no stamp of approval or disapproval from the FDA. Even if they did have a stamp of approval we see how well our government overseas junk food… NOT. Since we don’t truly know if the products we want to use are safe or effective, we have to do our own research. Always remember that whatever you put on (bath products, cosmetics, shampoo, soap) your body does absorb. So whatever materials are in that product could end up inside your body.
A Juice Beauty Product Profile
A good place to start when researching products is the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database. By perusing this list you quickly see who is making products worth your time and money. One company that consistently rates very well is Juice Beauty. I was actually surprised by how well their organic beauty products score (low is good) because they are such a well known brand. For some reason I always figure the good stuff is some well kept secret due to low marketing budgets but Juice Beauty is highly visible (at least to me) and one of the safer choices we can make. Skin Deep tells that that most of their products score 1 or 2 which means low hazard.
They use certified organic ingredients so when you buy their Green Apple Peel for instance, you know the organic apple, lemon, grape, raw cane sugar and willow bark (sounds lovely doesn’t it?) in it, do not have harmful pesticides and agri chemicals. Same with the Cleansing Milk with raspberry and white grape juices, aloe vera, and nutrient-rich grapeseed oil. I love that they use ingredients that sound as though they could be a meal instead of a beauty product too. Their products do not have parabens, propylene or butylene glycols, petroleum, sulphates, PEGs, TEA, DEA, phthalates, GMO, silicones, artificial dyes or fragrances. You might pay a little more for organic, but isn’t your health and the health of your loved ones worth a few extra dollars? Of course it is.
Not only does switching to organic-based products help keep your skin and body toxin free, but it also can give your body some extra boosts. Did you know that many of the natural products contain vitamins and nutrients that help your body’s overall health? Just think about it… many of the ingredients are food/plant based and we know how rich they are in vitamins and nutrients and an estimated 64% of what you place on the skin is absorbed by it. It is fitting that truly conscious companies take us back to the roots of ancient beauty products. They were sourced from plant materials. From nature. Our ancestors knew that the best organic beauty products for your body were made from natural resources offered by the earth. Things really haven’t changed in that regard.
Another A+ for this particular company… they use recycled packaging, soy ink, and manufacture over 80% of their products with solar power.
For your best health, always buy organic. Look for the products that don’t contain preservatives, dyes or any other types of chemicals and preservatives. There is nothing wrong with wanting to look your and feel your best, but your health should be non negotiable.
An article on the NY Daily News caught my eye today about young adults without kids using their food stamps at local farmer’s markets to buy farm fresh veggies, local honey, baked goods, and wild caught rabbit meat and salmon. Surprisingly the article did not insinuate that somehow accepting food stamps makes you only deserving of Twinkies and Ramen noodles like I thought it would… of course the comments are a different story.
I liked this article because I think allowing people to use their food stamps at Farmer’s markets is a stellar idea. People who are struggling to make ends meet deserve healthy food too. There is no reason why they must be relegated to junk food if they actually WANT to eat healthier. This bit for example might get some people’s hair up:
Then there are food stamp users like Gerry Mak, 31, who had very little in terms of a job besides a meager part-time blogging job when he moved to Baltimore last year.
After applying for food stamps and qualifying for $200 a month, he recently prepared roasted rabbit with butter, tarragon and sweet potatoes.
“I’m sort of a foodie, and I’m not going to do the ‘living off ramen’ thing,” Mak said, according to Salon.com. “I used to think that you could only get processed food and government cheese on food stamps, but it’s great that you can get anything.”
Well, it is unfortunate that many people in this country feel they cannot afford to eat this way I don’t begrudge the man a good meal because he is using tax payer dollars to get by. Why? Well, what kind of person would I be if I said that the idea of this guy existing on Twinkies and soda makes me “feel better” somehow? Also, why on earth would we want tax payer dollars to go to supporting big food companies that are already heavily subsidized if there is another way. That money will go to supporting something… so I would prefer Joe the local farmer to ConAgra or Monsanto any day of the week.
It would be a big boon to local economies if food stamp money was going towards local food and farmers. As I mentioned, we already subsidize junk food in the US to make it artificially cheap, which I think is monumentally unfair to small food producers. Giving food stamp users the option to spend money with their neighbors is a step in a better direction.. as indicated by this quote:
Four years ago, just three Greenmarkets took food stamps and total sales were $1,000. Last summer, 28 Greenmarkets accepted food stamps, and sales were more than $200,000.
That is $200,000 being put in the pockets of the people instead of corporate agribusiness!
Would we see a food stamps recipient eating healthier, albeit more expensive, foods and be thinking “Not on my dime!”? Or would we see them load up on Ramen noodles and Velveeta cheese and think of what those dollars are actually supporting and think, “Not on my dime!”? Personally I would like to see all farmer’s markets be able to accept food stamps and then maybe we would see a huge boost to local economies and local food availability and perhaps prices would come down. People deserve healthy food not processed garbage and our local farmers should be the ones being supported by our tax dollars, not the mega corporations slowly poisoning us.
What do think about this issue? Care to share your 2 cents?
Cancer to me was mostly an obscure disease… something people get when they get old or perhaps when they are unlucky enough to have genes that carry a predisposition to cancer. It was something mysterious and I felt it was the luck of the draw if you faced it down or not… it was not, in my mind, something I could prevent if I wanted to and it was not something I could get from my environment or my poor choices, save perhaps cancer from tobacco products.
But then cancer hit home for me all within the span of a few years. My Aunt died in her early forties after years of working in a factory and the man who exterminated our house died suddenly. It made me think about our choices, our environment, and the exposure to deadly chemicals that was all around us. The link to cancer wasn’t so mysterious. I was seeing direct links between environment and this deadly disease. These events and the fact that I had almost lost my youngest child to vaccines made be start looking at things with new eyes. Our environment and our choices were making us sick.
This point was of course driven home all the more when I got sick soon after. I thought my third pregnancy was just the gestation period from hell but I would soon be diagnosed with cancer myself. Genetics were ruled out officially by my doctors but I already knew why a 28 year old woman got a type of cancer common to people in their 60s… poor life choices.
Sure I knew that my diet could have adverse effects… like increasing chances for heart disease later, bad skin, diabetes, weight gain, etc. Cancer was never on my radar though. From about age of 19 to age 26 I lay all the groundwork for my own illness. My diet all through those years was deplorable. I worked at a movie theater while I was in college as a projectionist and manager so I had all the free junk food I could want. It was not uncommon for me to go weeks with my meals only consisting of hot dogs, popcorn, and soda. After college I worked 40-60 hours a week in an office and who had time to cook or prepare meals, so my son and I ate exclusively at fast food places.. breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Ironically I turned this around by the time I was diagnosed a couple years later but the damage had been done.
In many ways getting cancer was a blessing because it is a great teacher. I came to see fully just how closely linked our lifestyle and our product and food choices are to bad health and disease. It helped me to see what kind of risks I am taking with my kids when they eat the processed crap that permeates the grocery store. It helped me see everything with new eyes and I wouldn’t say I live in fear… I just have a realistic view of the exposure around us. Our environment matters! Our choices matter!
By calling it a blessing I don’t want to make cancer sound glam either. It wasn’t easy to spend two weeks in the hospital after being cut from groin to belly button. It wasn’t easy to have to stop breastfeeding my son at six months old or worry that my kids wouldn’t have a mother. It wasn’t fun to come home strung out after becoming addicted to the IV pain medicine. It wasn’t fun to have a port-a-cath put in my chest or to have it taken back out. It wasn’t fun to throw in up my purse. It wasn’t fun to get Pancreatitis and need another hospitalization and surgery. And it wasn’t easy to tell my doctor I quit Chemo and that I would rather take my chances with cancer than go through one more minute of torture in his office. You know what would have been easy though? Avoiding it in the first place.
There is risk involved in hiring that exterminator, lawn care expert, or pool guy… for us and for them. There is risk involved when selecting shampoo, mattresses, food, and food storage dishes. The risks may seem to be minimal when you look at the products individually but when you add up all the cumulative exposure the risks aren’t so small anymore. When natural substances are outweighed by initials… BPA, PVC, PET, PFOA, PFOS… you are doubling down on risk.
We cannot rely on industry to make the necessary changes on their own because money is more important than product safety. We see this clearly with the plastic industry, the tobacco industry, and the pharmaceutical companies. The ultimate battle against cancer can be fought in large part by becoming aware of what constitutes risk and educating yourself about where the dangers are coming from. We can choose to vote with our dollars on products that are safe and for companies that take environmental responsibility seriously. By doing so we reduce our own risk and we send a message loud and clear.
We may not be scientists capable of finding a cure for cancer but we are savvy people capable of reducing our risk and protecting our families when industry will not. Follow along as some other green moms expose the environmental links to cancer via the Green Moms Carnival. Enjoy!
Environmental Links to Cancer
Lisa at Retro Housewife Goes Green examines the link between a local cement plant and cancer.
This morning I watched an incredible documentary called Food Matters. I
was enthralled from the first few opening seconds and hooked until the credits. I even watched the credits because they had some background music lyrics that were interesting too. This film is all about the “you are what you eat” concept.
Doctors today don’t receive very much training in nutrition and most patients believe there is a pill that cures everything. IMO and the opinion of the makers of this film…that is exactly the way the “sickness” industry… doctors, pharma companies, junk food companies, etc… want to keep it. There just isn’t comparable profit in health and wellness so the object is to make us sick and keep us sick.
As one gentlemen in the film, Andrew Saul said…”good health makes a lot of sense but it doesn’t make a lot of dollars”. I have many “what if” moments when I think what my life would have been if I had been educated when I was kid about whole foods, raw foods, organics, etc. and if those were the exact foods that had been marketed to me when I was growing up. If companies had been concerned about selling my parents or your parents, fresh fruits and greens instead of pop tarts….where would society be. We might have a healthier society but less wealth would have been created. It is the oldest trick in the book…create the “poison” and then “sell” the antidote. I often tally the cost of good health in my mind and then compare it to the cost of the chemotherapy I had at 28 years old. At $7000 a week for chemo and related treatment the costs are not even comparable. Add to that the 4 surgeries (2 major and 2 minor) I had that year. The REAL money is in sickness. Imagine if we had an epidemic of health? The pharma companies would be out 300 billion a year just in the US… they have ZERO incentive to push health on us.
One scary statistic is that since our food travels 1500-2000 miles to reach us and it is already a week old when it hits stores so we are lucky if we get 40% of the original nutritional content from that food. The food is probably already being grown in unhealthy, depleted soil to begin with. Add to that the herbicides, fungicides, chemical fertilizers, GMOs, etc…all the crap that is put in our food or done to it as it grows and we have a SERIOUS problem….a perfect recipe for sickness. A recipe that is profitable. It may not have gotten its start as something malicious but the fact that it continues to go on is IMO.
We take home these deficient foods and then cook them…destroying half or more of the remaining nutritional content they have and all the enzymes or “life” in the food. Interestingly in the video they mention that when we eat cooked food our body makes white blood cells in response to the food…reacting to what it considers to be no longer “natural” and taking a pro-active stance…as if saying “What is this crap? I need to be on guard in case this stuff is toxic.” Incredible…our bodies think “cooked” food is unnatural or an invader.
David Wolfe discusses superfoods like Spirulina and cacao beans and how they are some of the most “perfect” foods out there as far as nutrients. He also discusses how our values are making us sicker. We put more emphasis on having a nice car or house than we do having the best possible foods. Why? Because every day we have people marketing to us to tell us that the car is important, the iPod is important, that flat screen is important. We don’t get bombarded with ads for spirulina, kale, or spinach do we?
My favorite part was where Andrew Saul spoke about how the very things that may make us healthier… vitamins, natural medicines, herbs, or supplements, etc. are being touted by our government via the FDA as suspect or dangerous. Every year the assault gets more vicious. They raid stores selling herbal tinctures, they threaten them with law suits, and they make draconian laws that say they can’t tell people that these things can “cure”. The DO NOT want us to have access to the things that could heal us. Thir position is that the only things that can heal us are pharmaceutical drugs. This is the greatest travesty. They want us to believe that anything therapeutically valuable MUST be dangerous. It is in fact illegal in many countries to treat cancer with any sort of nutritional therapy. Even if that is the route you want to go… it is illegal. The only legal therapies are chemo, radiation, and surgery. Ask yourself why that is… money… 200 billion dollars annually.
Doctors rarely if ever prescribe a mere diet change to heal illness. You could have knocked me over with feather when my oncologist told me not to drink milk or eat meat while on Chemo…well I already knew this but I surprised when he told me… cancer cells LOVE acidic animal proteins. How many other cancer patients get this same advice? Not many I think. One of the doctors on the video declared that he thinks 80-90% of hospital patients are admitted due to issues caused directly by poor nutrition. But society at large and the medical community have been trained to ignore that elephant in the room that is nutrition. In fact I remember reading before that medical doctors only get a few weeks of nutritional training. A few weeks in 8 plus years time. That is how much importance they place on food and we are the ones paying the price for that arrogance and ignorance.
One thing that made me see red when I watched this video is that they specifically mention a vitamin that can really help with controlling seizures. I have an epileptic child and due to diet (my doing not the doctor’s) he has been seizure free for 2 years or so now. I never heard one word about vitamins being able to help him. All I heard was MEDICINE. Well, the medicine made him weak, made him lose 20 pounds until he was a skeleton, and it made him scratch his arms until they were bloody and all his doctor wanted to do was increases the dosage. I decided to put him on a special diet, use supplements, and wean him off the meds without the doctor knowing. The Doc’s eyeballs about popped out of his head when he saw a seizure free kid in good health due to naught but good nutrition. The vitamins and nutrients in the food didn’t heal him it just gave him what he needed so his own BODY could heal ITSELF. Now I can clearly see what put us in that position to begin with, his vaccine injury coupled with being a McDonald’s kid for several years.
The only thing I really did not agree with is when one guy said that surgery isn’t helpful. Well, I understand that the body can heal itself but in my case if I had not had my colon re-section I would be dead now most likely. And the amount of pain I was in was un-bearable. I was too far gone to do otherwise and I think for many it does get to that same point. I do however regret letting them remove my gall bladder later on. Yes I got acute pancreatitis but if given time I think I could have healed that on my own…except for the fact that I was taking massive doses of Chemo. I did actually refuse any more Chemo after that against their advice but I didn’t think to insist I keep my gall bladder. That I do regret.
The video also has some VERY alarming things to say about things we are introducing into the body like chemicals, drugs, and silver, mercury fillings you get at the dentist…one word about those…DON’T. There are some horrifying things about cancer which honestly made me really uncomfortable to watch. It was super scary stuff. But along side that there was great info about the Gerson Institute and all they have accomplished in healing cancers without drugs and many times without surgery.
This video is one that all people should watch and high schools should be showing it annually. This information needs to get out to people so that they know that health and wellness can be just a matter of taking personal responsibility.
You can watch it online for only $5 or buy the DVD for $30. I watched online but will also be buying the DVD so I can pass it around to my friends and family. It is an AMAZING film. Watch the trailer below:
More on BPA – I have discussed it several times on this blog already but something interesting happened yesterday. Dozens of state and national environmental health organizations in the U.S. and Canada have called for an immediate moratorium on the use of BPA in baby bottles and food and beverage containers. The report they released called “Baby’s Toxic Bottle” discusses how something designed as a synthetic sex hormone has ended up in polycarbonate plastics and a wide variety or products including those intended for babies and small children. You can read the press release here.
In somehwat related news I have reviewed a couple glass bottles that have rubber protective covers. I think they are quite awesome but also a bit expensive. Then I stumbled upon something really fun at Etsy. A bottle cozy for glass bottles! These colorful, easy to grip bottle covers are versatile as well as practical. It will help protect baby’s hands while also protecting your glass bottles from breaking if dropped. They are 100% recycled, refashioned, glass bottle sweaters. Very cool!
I have been reading a cool new blog at the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood. Two the the recent things that incensed me…schools putting McDonald’s ads on report cards and some school stepping up to put junk food advertisements on school buses. How low can we go?
Want to know what happens when you step up your green living and eventually go zero waste? You get sued! A man in California that was concerned about his environmental impact got busy and eventually found that he was 100% waste free and no longer needed garbage pick-up. After he cancelled his pick-up service with the city he got notification that were suing him AND asking that he be forced to pay the costs for the lawsuit. According to their lawsuit the city’s municipal code requires all residential, commercial and industrial properties to contract with Allied Waste for pickup at least once a week. What a load of garbage…pun intended. Nice way to penalize people for green living.
I am working on an article series for this blog about growing green kids that are connected to nature and the infinite possibilities of the outdoors. So I am interested in information and even photos on how you help your kids “connect” with nature. For instance two projects my kids and I have panned for the spring are to “grow” a Sunflower House and a Morning Glory Tepee. Both are essentially places with a wood stake skeleton that allow flowers to grow around them as walls to make beautiful play houses. So how are YOU going to get your kids involved outdoors…build forts, tree-houses, garden with them, etc. I want stories and photos of things you have done or plan to do. Let me know if you can help…just email me. :)