Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What's in Your Sunscreen?

Is your sunscreen on the High Hazard list?
Is your favorite sunscreen on the high hazard list? Environmental Working Group has just updated their Sunscreen Guide! Plug in your favorite sunscreen brand and see how it stands up to scrutiny.

Here is a sampling of name brand products with EWG's High Hazard rating:
  • Vaseline Aloe Fresh Protecting Intensive Care Body Lotion, SPF 15
  • Revlon Moon Drops Lip Conditioner, SPF 6
  • Neutrogena Healthy Skin Face Lotion, SPF 1
  • Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Lip Protectant Stick, Honey, SPF 15
  • Australian Gold Lotion with Moisture Max, SPF 15 
Be sure to read: Sunscreens Exposed: 9 surprising truths  Be skin smart and safe this summer!

photo credit: Tom Purves

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Healthy Salt Levels = Body Electrolyte Balance

Salt is important to your diet.
It’s common knowledge that a diet low in salt is helpful in keeping your blood pressure low, right? Well, here’s some interesting news that flies in the face of this wisdom. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (May 4, 2011,) indicated that low salt consumption really doesn’t influence lower blood pressure, and interestingly enough, the risk of dying from cardiovascular problems is significantly higher.

This all boils down to your electrolyte balance. According to an electrolyte is: “A substance that will dissociate into ions in solution and acquire the capacity to conduct electricity. The electrolytes include sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium and phosphate.”  This is important to understand because your body has a complex electrical system. All your nerves firing, your heart beating, muscles contracting all do so by biological electrical stimulation.  Without adequate electrolytes, you may experience fatigue at best or a heart attack at worst. In extreme electrolyte dilution (water intoxication,) death can occur.

Sweating releases minerals from your body.
According to the USDA,  the average adult RDA for sodium is 1.5 grams which is roughly 1/3 tsp measure. This is recommendation shifts according to age and according to how much you sweat either from heat or from the amount of physical activity you engage in. When you sweat, you excrete minerals and electrolytes,  hence the extra electrolytes in sports drinks. But here’s a tip, if you want to ditch all the extra sugar and artificial colors and flavors in sports drinks, add a pinch of salt to your drinking water, and eat foods rich in potassium and calcium.

Bottom line, don’t overindulge in sodium rich foods, but don’t shy away from salt altogether, it’s important for your body function. Balance is key.

Photo credits: Michel32nl; Minghong

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Dietary Fiber can Make You Sexy!

A healthy diet is high in fiber.
Dietary fiber. It invokes thoughts of bran with all the taste and texture of cardboard, elderly folks, or worse, constipation. Definitely not sexy. So it’s no surprise that the average person consumes far less dietary fiber than what is recommended, a whole lot less.

The USDA recommends about 25 – 26 grams of dietary fiber per day for females ages 9 through 50; and 31 - 38 grams for males for the same ages. The requirements change somewhat for adults over 50 and pregnant or lactating women. Yet, according to a 2008 USDA Survey females consume 12 – 15 grams per day of dietary fiber per day, while males consume 13.7 – 18.7 grams per day.

Ever wonder what the long term effects of a chronic low fiber diet? Take a look:
  • Diverticulitis
  • Heart Disease 
  • Diabetes  

    Alternatively, a high fiber diet has been linked to these benefits:
    • Weight loss and maintenance
    • Blood sugar stabilization
    • Healthy immune system
    • Stabilized cholesterol

    Re-think healthy dinner food proportions.
    Even with strong evidence that eating a high fiber diet is really, really good for you, we still fall short. (Cue the bran flake image.) But what if dietary fiber excited your taste buds, could help you drop inches from your waistline and made you sexier? Would you take a second look?

    Unhealthy meat to vegetable ratio.
    These things are possible but, first things first. It’s important to change the way you think how healthy meal should look. On average, the dinner plate is heavy on the meat with a big side dish of starch some veggies, and bread. Sometimes a salad is thrown in too. Proportionally the typical plate may be 50% meat, 25% -40% (with that extra bread roll,) starches and 25% veggies.

    This plate is over 50% vegetable to 25% meat.
    Let’s flip that around. Think of a healthy, fiber rich food plate as being 50-75% veggies, including salad, and 25% or less high protein. Your protein could be meat or veggie based. Get bonus fiber content if you go with a veggie based protein such as soy or lentils. (I didn’t add starch to the healthy dinner plate because, from a digestion point of view, you’re better off eating your starches and meat protein separately, but both go best with lots of vegetables. This is called food combining and another subject.) 

    How does fiber make you sexier? Well, healthy is always sexier than sickly for one. For another, when you're on a high fiber diet, your digestive system doesn't hang on to excess baggage if you get my drift. You can possibly lose inches on your waist overnight by eliminating on a regular and frequent basis. (Some health experts feel if you eat three times a day, you should be eliminating three times a day.) A healthy you with a slimmer waist and less intestinal baggage is sexy

    Weight loss is easier on a high fiber diet because whole grains give you the feeling of satiety so you're less likely to over eat. Blood sugar is stabilized so you're less likely to binge eat for energy. 

    How do you make fiber excite your taste buds? First find the tasty foods that are high in fiber. Avocado, for instance, is surprisingly high in fiber - almost 12 grams in a medium sized fruit.  With a little creativity and a sense of culinary adventure you can easily find recipes that you will enjoy and that are good for you. Tip: Take a couple of your high fiber ingredients then go to a recipe website, such as Epicurious, insert your items into the search bar and choose a recipe result.

    Here are couple recipes to get you started:

    Pear and Roasted Jalapeno Salsa

    Pear - Roasted Jalapeno Salsa on soft tacos
    1 med firm-ripe pear diced2 Roma tomatoes diced
    4 green onions trimmed and sliced - white and green parts
    1 fire roasted jalapeno (to taste) minced
    handful of cilantro, mince
    1/4 tsp chili powder
    sprinkle of salt
    squeeze of lime

    Toss together all ingredients in medium size bowl and let marinate for 30-60 minutes. Serve on what you like.

    Beet and Mint Salad with Beet Greens

    High Fiber Beet Salad with Beet Greens
    3 beets with greens, greens removed and chopped, (compost stems)1/3 cup mint leaves, minced
    handful of Mesclun leaves or whatever you have on hand
    1 avocado, diced
    1 Roma tomato, diced
    1 cup Fontina cheese, diced
    high quality balsamic vinegar

    Trim beets and cut into quarters. Either wrap tightly single file in foil and roast till tender at 350 degrees just under an hour, or steam for under 15 min.

    Meanwhile, toss remaining ingredients in a large bowl.

    Remove beet quarters from foil, let cool slightly then cut quarters in half or thirds depending on the size of the beets. Let beets come to room temperature then add to salad. Serve. Drizzle balsamic vinegar to taste over each salad.

    Interesting factoid: Beeturia, which is the reddening of the urine after eating beets, affects about 10-15% of adults. People with healthy iron metabolism are less likely to experience beeturia, but those who are iron deficient, have iron excess or have trouble with iron metabolism are more likely. Beeturia is not considered harmful, but it could be an indicator of another health issue.

    See the movie: Forks Over Knives
    photo credits:; RBerteig; – Food Standards Agency;, me 


The Information Contained Herein Should not be Considered Medical Advice; Nor is it Meant to Treat, Diagnose, Prescribe or Cure Any Disease. Seek the Guidance of a Qualified Health Professional if You Have Concerns or Questions About your Health issues.

About Me

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Southern California, United States
Holistic living, natural remedies have been part of my life since the early 80's. As a natural progression of my passion, I became a certified massage therapist in 2006, a Reiki Master in 2008, and in 2013 an Ayurveda Lifestyle Coach. I am here to promote natural healing, for it is my deep belief that with a little help from our friends and nature, we can all heal ourselves.