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Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Why is that? We feel better when we know we are not alone in our misery.  I am guilty of this. If I am struggling with a parenting issue, I feel better knowing my child isn’t the only one who behaves that way.  If I am struggling to lose weight, I don’t want a skinny friend telling me how easy it is.  I want to commiserate with someone who understands my frustration.  If my garden isn’t growing, I like hearing someone else is having trouble with their garden.  What is it about us as humans that we are like this?

I don’t have the answer 🙂  Just a rambling thought.  I am encouraged when someone can relate to me and say I understand.  Have you ever heard of “feel, felt, found”?  I know how you feel, I felt the same way, here’s what I found out.  I am not sure why that is stuck in my head or what purpose it serves, but I learned that when I was younger as a way to relate to people.  Is it Dale Carnegie maybe, How To Win Friends and Influence People?  Zig Ziglar sales training?

Maybe we just like knowing their are other imperfect people in the world and we are not alone.  To me it sounds self-righteous and arrogant when people act like they have it all together.  A turn off for sure, who wants to be friends with perfect people!  Too much pressure!  And we all know there is no perfect person, some are just better at hiding their flaws (or fangs;-))  I love real people, with real problems, real love, and real friendships.  We can encourage each other out of our misery and on to victory!

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Doesn’t take much to please kids 🙂  All three-water, a ball and summer vacation make a perfect combo!  Individually they are all good; combined they are hours worth of entertainment, no matter how old the kids are!  🙂  Our summer vacation has officially begun.  (We are ignoring the fact that we still have corrections to complete and a few piddly workbook pages, but focusing on science, history, and math being completed!)  Right now I am listening to screams of delight, shouts of pleasure, and giggles galore as my youngest two girls and my son are enjoying the pool.

One dollar store beach ball is all it took, and in they went.  Hours of fun and I can enjoy the air conditioning 🙂  I did go in with them last night to play, even though it was raining and caused my mascara and hairscara to run down my face!  (remind me not to swim with hairscara in!)  They tied rope across the pool and hung a little fabric sport themed birthday banner on it to serve as the volleyball net.  And the games began.  So much fun!  I love that they love it!  And it is great exercise, and keeps them cool and getting along.  Nothing worse than summer vacation and bickering kids :-/

Bonus is they are all great swimmers and there is no little one that I have to sit by the pool and watch.  I have a stack of library books, and a lovely insulated cup for my iced tea.  I think I’m going to like summer vacation 🙂 

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I have shared my story, my journey to better health with you before.  I have not specifically talked about parabens and how they affect us.  There has been a lot of research of parabens in the last 20 years.  As the rates of breast cancer keep increasing, parabens are more and more coming under scrutiny.  There is a lot of research that suggests they play a huge role in the incidence of breast cancer.  Most tumors contain parabens.

You may be asking yourself what are parabens, and what do they have to do with me?  Parabens are used as a preservative in cosmetics, soaps, shampoos, lotions, etc.  They are in almost all products we put on our skin.  Research suggests that our bodies then store these parabens.  Some research suggests that aluminum, found in most antiperspirants, and deodorants combines with the parabens to create the toxic effect on breast tissue.

Think about this with me for a moment, almost every soap, shampoo, body/hand lotion, fabric softener, deodorant, perfume, contains parabens.  How many of these products do you use a day?  How often do you apply these products daily?  I know when I lived up north, hand and body lotions were a must everyday.  Scary!  Fabric softeners alone are in contact with our bodies 24/7. Towels, sheets, clothing-your body does not get a break from absorbing these chemicals.

There are many companies that have recognized the dangers of parabens and are working to create healthier products.  I’ll link a list at the end, but you can be on the lookout for them in your own products at home too.  There are a few different names for them-methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, ethylparaben, and isobutylparaben.

The FDA at this point does not feel they are dangerous for humans.  I am one to err on the side of caution though, and knowing how dramatically better  my health has been since eliminating them, I can’t help but share my experience with you.

This blog had the most extensive list of paraben free products I could find.  Thanks to this blogger for compiling such a great list 🙂

One other thing I wanted to mention was because parabens have an estrogenic effect using them on our babies and young children is not a good idea. In men, parabens have been linked to low sperm counts.  Besides cancers, women can also have menstrual issues-early onset of menstruation, endometriosis, adenomyosis, infertility, etc.  Before we start to lather our little ones in baby lotion, after bathing them with paraben ladened soap and shampoo, and wrapping them in a lovely scented towel, we need to carefully read the labels.  I know I don’t want my girls to ever suffer through the issues I have had to deal with.

My goal is not to scare you but to inform you.  I wish I had known more about the dangers of parabens when my babies were little, or when I was a teen using all sorts of lotions, perfumes, and cosmetics.

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So my prize arrived.  It is as cute as the picture looked.  Blue and white.  Easy to use, you just fill the top with water and in less than 5 mins it is filtered.  The pitcher has a handy pour spout but also a spigot on the bottom.  My kids are loving it!  Our oldest daughter says it tastes like Dasani, which is her favorite brand bottled water.

I especially liked the water testing meter that came with it.  I was able to test my filtered refrigerator water, which needs a new filter so it was probably not fairly tested, but it was better than the tap water.  I tested the tap water and the water filtered at the sink.  The worst was predictably the tap water, and the best the filter at the sink.  But all of them were close.  (Must need to change all the filters!)  They were about 100 ppm above the zero water pitcher’s filtered water, which interestingly was 0! 😉

So there you go.  If you missed my original post about winning the pitcher, you can find it here.  You can also find coupons and more details about the pitcher there.

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 the lowdown on GMO foods.

From Wikipedia:

Genetically modified foods or biotech foods are foods derived from genetically modified organisms. Genetically modified organisms have had specific changes introduced into their DNA bygenetic engineering techniques. These techniques are much more precise[1] than mutagenesis (mutation breeding) where an organism is exposed to radiation or chemicals to create a non-specific but stable change. Other techniques by which humans modify food organisms include selective breeding; plant breeding, and animal breeding, and somaclonal variation. Since genetically modified food has been introduced into supermarkets, there has been much controversy as to whether it is actually safe.

Genetically Modified foods (GM foods) were first put on the market in 1996. Typically, genetically modified foods are transgenic plant products: soybeancorncanolarice, and cotton seed oil. Animal products have also been developed, although as of July 2010 none are currently on the market.[2] In 2006 a pig was[3][4] engineered to produce omega-3 fatty acids through the expression of a roundworm gene.[5] Researchers have also developed a genetically-modified breed of pigs that are able to absorb plant phosphorus more efficiently, and as a consequence the phosphorus content of their manure is reduced by as much as 60%.[6]

Critics have objected to GM foods on several grounds, including safety issues,[7] ecological concerns, and economic concerns raised by the fact these organisms are subject to intellectual property law.

How do they do it?

Method

Genetic modification involves the insertion or deletion of genes. In the process of cisgenesis, genes are artificially transferred between organisms that could be conventionally bred. In the process of transgenesis, genes from a different species are inserted, which is a form of horizontal gene transfer. In nature this can occur when exogenous DNA penetrates the cell membrane for any reason. To do this artificially may require transferring genes as part of an attenuated virus genome or physically inserting the extra DNA into the nucleus of the intended host using a microsyringe, or as a coating on gold nanoparticles fired from a gene gun. However, other methods exploit natural forms of gene transfer, such as the ability of Agrobacterium to transfer genetic material to plants, and the ability of lentiviruses to transfer genes to animal cells.

The method to introduce new genes into plants requires several important factors such as specific promoter, codon usage of the gene and how to deactivate the gene. The specific promoter must relate to area that we want the gene to express. For instance, if we want the gene to express only in the rice instead of the leaf then we would only use an endosperm specific promoter. The reason is because we only want our transgenic genes to express only in the rice and not the leaves. The codon usage of the gene must also be more optimized for the rice since there are several different codons for each of the 20 amino acid. The transgenic genes should also be able to be denatured by heat in order for human consumption.

And then there’s this, as if the above isn’t scary enough!

Goats that produce silk in their milk: A company called biosteel has genetically engineered goats to produce milk with strong spider web like silk proteins in their milk.[36] This product is not used for consumption, but to make bulletproof vest and anti-ballistic missile systems for military contracts instead.

Should the milk from this be used to make that?

Who thought of goat’s milk to make silk for one of these? :-/

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Tart cherry juice! 🙂  My mom told me about it, she heard about it on TV, so I was skeptical.  But with a little research I realized she was on to something.  Cherries naturally contain melatonin.  Melatonin helps regulate your sleep patterns.  I have taken melatonin tablets for occasional sleeplessness but they do not compare to the cherry juice.  I’m telling you this stuff is amazing!  2 oz diluted with about 2 oz of water, unless you enjoy the tart flavor straight! 😉

Now this is more than you ever wanted to know but I am not even getting up to go to the bathroom during the night!  And I feel completely rested and not at all sleepy when I wake up.

Here is an article I found talking about the sleep benefits.  In addition to sleeping better, cherry juice contains natural antioxidants and is an anti-inflammatory.  Can’t beat those health benefits!

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My oldest daughter shares my love of chocolate.  We fight against it being an idol in our lives 🙂  We know most recipes,  and foods that include chocolate, are not good for us.  Yet we wrestle with ourselves, craving it, desiring it, knowing it will just add to that which “I” am trying to lose.  Such a vicious cycle!  So anytime we can make it into a healthier option we are there!

Gaby blogged about her latest healthier chocolate creation.  What she didn’t include in this post was her recipe for healthier mounds chocolate cups!  They were my favorite of the two, but I am more a coconut than a peanut butter girl 🙂  I’ll try to convince her to share that recipe in the near future but for now check out the peanut butter cups.  No added sugar (just what is in the chocolate), no high fructose corn syrup, or unrecognizable ingredients.  These have been disappearing rather rapidly from our refrigerator this week! 🙂

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