My Secret to Longer, Lusher Lashes

It’s likely that you rely on multiple personal care products every day – shampoo, soap, deodorant, etc. Many products contain risky ingredients that can accumulate in your body and contribute to health challenges. Personal care products in the U.S. are industry-regulated (my translation = no regulation). Manufacturers can use whatever ingredients they choose, they do not have to test any individual ingredient for safety, nor how each ingredient interacts with the other ingredients, and they don’t even have to list all the ingredients on the product label.

I’ve shared this information before, but I hope you’ll agree that the message is so important that being reminded on occasion is helpful. It’s why I’ve come to rely on the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database from the Environmental Working Group to research my options, and to find healthier, safer personal care products.

I’ve never been part of the crowd that wore a lot of makeup or went to great lengths to “enhance” their physical appearance. I’m a fan of a more natural look and approach, especially since I’ve learned the health risks of many products. But I must admit that long, lush lashes are something I lack and admire on others. Mascara has been a favorite staple since my teens, but I was still curious and drawn to pictures and advertisements that feature long, beautiful eyelashes. I’ve researched false lashes and extensions, and even bought a pair of lashes with non-toxic glue that I never ended up trying. It just didn’t feel like an authentic choice for me.

 

I tried a non-toxic lash growth product that was well rated on EWG but was disappointed with the results. I think it actually made my lashes less lush and healthy and also caused mild eye irritation. At that point, I was almost ready to give up on my desire to have more lush and dramatic lashes while sticking to my number one priority of maintaining a healthy, non-toxic lifestyle.

And then I stumbled upon NYX Big & Loud Lash Primer. It is in the least toxic rating category in the EWG database and I purchased it through Amazon for $7.54. I’ve had it for months with no signs of running low. I don’t put on makeup every day but use it 3-6 times a week. It’s easy to apply and I’ve had no signs of irritation, which is a godsend for my super sensitive eyes. It’s meant to be applied prior to mascara but goes on quickly and greatly enhances the affects of my mascara. I am really happy with it and so pleased to have found an inexpensive, easy, non-toxic option to have the lushest, longest lashes I’ve ever experienced!

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Why It’s Important to Consider the Quality of Your Personal Care Products

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White Wash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer & the Corruption of Science

White Wash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer & the Corruption of Science

We are constantly being bombarded with information, and it’s hard to know who is telling the truth and what is worthy of your time and attention. When it comes to issues that affect my health and our environment, I prefer to hear news from sources that rarely make mainstream media. Money and power are often synonymous these days, and there appears to be no limit to how skewed stories can become. It’s critical that we are aware of the issues that affect our health so that we can do our best to protect ourselves, and provide ourselves with the best self-care. In order to do so, we need accurate information without political ties and corporate agendas.

There are some brave souls leading the way in delivering such information. I can’t even imagine what they have to muddle through to uncover the truth and get their stories published. But I’m incredibly grateful that they persist. White Wash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer, and the Corruption of Science, by Carey Gillam, is a must read. Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Round Up, is the central focus of this book, but other pesticides are also addressed.

Pesticides, and particularly Round Up, are everywhere. It is likely to come as an unpleasant surprise to discover that Round Up is in your food. Yes you read that right – unless you are aware of and actively working to avoid Round Up, you are likely consuming it at every meal you eat! And even those of us who are aware of it and choose otherwise, are still getting it, albeit in smaller quantities. It’s everywhere!!

And why does this matter? The health consequences of pesticides and Round Up have been suppressed. Scientists that have raised concerns over their affects have been ostracized and many have unjustly lost their credibility and livelihoods. My common sense has long told me that any substance designed to kill living creatures, even tiny insects or weeds, is not something that should be in my body or fed to my children. But science proves what I guessed, and seeing the research deepens my desire to avoid these substances and spread the word about their dangers and how to avoid them. I’ve heard pieces of the stories in this book from various resources over the years. Having them all gathered in one resource and expanded upon is such a blessing! It’s far easier for you to get the whole story in one easy read.

My resource suggestions are typically upbeat and intentionally positive. I want you to feel empowered and have the tools you need to develop and maintain excellent health. Sometimes, however, the information you need is deep and dark, and this is one of those times. Knowledge, no matter how upsetting, can set us free to make different choices. And when more and more of us choose a different path, we can change the way things get done. It’s your body and your health. You must be informed in order to make the best possible choices and the information in White Wash is essential for you to be aware of. 

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Pesticides in Your Food

Easy Support for Colds, Flu’s & Coughs

Easy Support for Colds, Flu’s & Coughs

I’ve been putting a lot of emphasis on immune function and support lately. I truly want the best for you, and I’d love to see you be actively taking excellent care of yourself. A strong and healthy body is almost always your best defense against health issues. But we all get sick, so I want you to have some easy tools to help manage your symptoms when the inevitable crops up. And this is the time of year when we typically need to be prepared for immune challenges!

When I’m coming down with something, I want safe, easy and effective tools to make myself more comfortable and encourage my immune system to do its job as quickly as possible. Boiron homeopathic products have been on my list of favorites for years, and are something I always aim to have on hand. When I start to feel a cold, flu or cough coming on, especially during busy weeks, I rely on Boiron products to give my immune system an additional boost and soothe any discomfort I am experiencing.

Chestal cough syrup, Oscillococcinum tablets for flu symptoms and Cold Calm tablets for cold symptoms are my three most tried and true favorites. I find them easy to use, pleasant tasting and effective. They enhance my self-care as I always aim to get plenty of sleep, downtime, healthy food and clean water. I don’t expect any product to be a miracle solution that can make up for neglecting my self-care!

Even though my children are big now, there was no coercion or special tactics needed to administer these remedies to them at any age. The tablets and pellets in Oscillococcinum and Cold Calm easily dissolve under the tongue and are mildly sweet. And the cough syrup is honey based and pleasant tasting. Not having to struggle to administer support to a sick child is a godsend!

I check my stock of these items in the fall and order more as needed. While you may be able to find these products in local stores, I typically order them online. Check the Boiron website to find a store near you and to see if they have available coupons. Vitacost and Amazon appear to have similar pricing right now.

Boiron has a whole range of products, so if my tried and true favorites do not meet your typical needs, I encourage you to browse their selection and see if they have something more in line with what challenges you most frequently. Having simple tools on hand to support your body during an immune challenge can make a huge difference in managing your symptoms so you can be more comfortable and recover faster to boot! 

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Got Congestion?

Understanding Your Immune System

Now is the Time!

Got Congestion?

Got Congestion?

The comments I’ve heard over many years of private practice have led me to believe that our immune system response is often very misunderstood. It seems to be a common belief that a strong immune system will prevent most forms of illness. And while it’s true that those with strong immune systems will fare better than those without, getting sick is a natural and important part of life.

All living entities fight for survival, and microbes are constantly changing to beat defenses in the world around them and ensure their survival. Your body’s first exposure to any microbe will prompt an immune response, and you are likely to have symptoms while your body figures out how to mount a proper defense to eliminate that microbe from your system. A deep immune response takes time, and you are likely to be symptomatic and uncomfortable while your body is figuring things out. Supporting your immune system response is wise and helpful, while suppressing your immune response actually weakens your long term immunity! Once your immune system mounts a proper defense, that microbe will now be more easily recognized the next time you are exposed to it and your body will kick into defeat mode much more quickly.

Managing your symptoms for comfort, but allowing time for proper immune response and recovery, is a wise course of action. In general, we live life in the fast lane these days, so slowing down and resting is a challenge. But the immune system response is energy intensive, so rest and relaxation go a long way to maximize your body’s ability to mount a proper immune response. For me, crawling into bed for as long as my body needs is sometimes the only thing I need to get through an immune challenge! I know it’s not always easy to find the time to take this approach, but there was a time in history when this course of action was much more acceptable and doable. We need to find our way back to these simple strategies.

Did you recognize the above information? It’s the same introduction from the last product highlight I sent you two weeks ago. Why I am repeating this information?? Repetition is an excellent tool for learning, and understanding your immune system and how to best support it is critical for daily and long term health! We all need to hear important things over and over again to adjust our thinking and embrace healthy changes.

My recent cold reminded me of how uncomfortable nasal congestion can be. Most people use decongestants for this discomfort. Your body makes mucous to trap microbes, so reducing or stopping the mucous production inhibits your immune response. I much prefer letting the mucous do its job and helping my body clear the congestion with a Neti pot, which is a sinus irrigation tool. Flooding the sinuses with water and saline cleanses them, flushes out the mucous and is soothing to irritated tissues.

I use it as often as needed when I’m in full blown cold mode as it helps me breathe through my nose and stay comfortable. It’s a godsend before bed to help me get a good night’s sleep and to start the day on a more positive note by clearing the congestion that has accumulated overnight. As my cold was winding down and I was feeling like myself again, I still had congestion deep in my sinuses that was just too thick and deep to bring up by nose blowing alone – Neti pot to the rescue!

While water alone can be enough when using the Neti pot, adding salt can really enhance the experience and benefits. I’ve tried sea salt and find that it burns, so that’s not a good option for me. But it might work for you, so I would definitely recommend trying that. I purchase Neti pot salts from Amazon, which work beautifully for me. I have a jar of the salt, which is convenient for home use, but would purchase the individual packets option if I was traveling by plane.

I’ve written about the Neti pot in a past post, and received some questions and comments about it. One person shared that they had read about someone who got some kind of microbe/infection from using a Neti pot. I can easily imagine how that could happen if you use contaminated, unclean or unsafe water in the Neti pot. Fortunately, that’s an unlikely scenario, but one you should be aware of. If there is any question about the safety of your water supply, most store bought bottled water is likely to be a decent alternative. If you have doubts about bottled water brands, use distilled bottled water (but don’t drink it – it’s devoid of minerals and will contribute to a mineral deficiency).

I highly recommend giving a Neti pot a try for sinus discomfort associated with colds and flus, seasonal allergies or if air conditioning bothers your sinuses the way it does mine. I feel it’s inexpensive and has been such a blessing for me. And while it can help with chronic sinus issues, I would also encourage you to dig deeper to find out how to address the root cause of anything chronic. I don’t feel the need to use my Neti pot daily, but can’t say enough good things about the relief it provides when I get congested! 

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Understanding Your Immune System

Easy Support for Colds, Flu’s & Coughs

Now is the Time!

Understanding Your Immune System

The comments I’ve heard over many years of private practice have led me to believe that our immune system response is often very misunderstood. It seems to be a common belief that a strong immune system will prevent most forms of illness. And while it’s true that those with strong immune systems will fare better than those without, getting sick is a natural and important part of life.

All living entities fight for survival, and microbes are constantly changing to beat defenses in the world around them and ensure their survival. Your body’s first exposure to any microbe will prompt an immune response, and you are likely to have symptoms while your body figures out how to mount a proper defense to eliminate that microbe from your system. A deep immune response takes time, and you are likely to be symptomatic and uncomfortable while your body is figuring things out. Supporting your immune system response is wise and helpful, while suppressing your immune response actually weakens your long term immunity! Once your immune system mounts a proper defense, that microbe will now be more easily recognized the next time you are exposed to it, and your body will kick into defeat mode much more quickly.

Managing your symptoms for comfort, but allowing time for proper immune response and recovery, is a wise course of action. In general, we live life in the fast lane these days, so slowing down and resting is a challenge. But the immune system response is energy intensive, so rest and relaxation go a long way to maximize your body’s ability to mount a proper immune response. For me, crawling into bed for as long as my body needs, is sometimes the only thing I need to get through an immune challenge! I know it’s not always easy to find the time to take this approach, but there was a time in history where this course of action was much more acceptable and doable. We need to find our way back to these simple strategies.

Recently, I had a really uncomfortable sore throat. I had been in a seminar all weekend and the A/C was running high the last day. I initially thought this was the culprit for my sore throat, as I don’t tolerate A/C very well and have had this response on numerous occasions. But my symptoms shifted from just the sore throat into congestion, sneezing, fatigue, runny nose and brain fog, so I knew a cold was the actual culprit. I started managing the discomfort of my sore throat first, before I even knew I had a cold. I keep an herbal throat spray from Mediherb on hand. A few sprays into my mouth, aimed at my throat, made a huge difference very quickly. The combination of Marshmallow Root, Sage, Calendula Flower, Echinacea Root, Myrrh and Clove is very soothing and healing for throat irritation. My throat felt better immediately and use of the herbal throat spray as often as needed for discomfort, resulted in a quick resolution of my sore throat over the course of a day or two.

This has been my go-to product for many years and one I typically pack with me when I travel, especially when I’ll be in air conditioning for any length of time. I always keep a bottle on hand so I have it available as soon as I need it. I keep it on my bedside stand, as sore throats tend to hit me first in the middle of the night.

Mediherb products should only be available through healthcare professionals. If you do a quick internet search for them, you can find them for purchase online, but they’re being sold illegally that way. There are lots of other throat sprays on the market, but few companies have the quality and integrity of ingredients that Mediherb insists on.

My typical recommendations are things you can find in stores and online, but this product is an exception. It’s just too good to not share, even though it’s not as easy to obtain. If you have any interest, please reach out to me. It is something I carry at the office and can easily send you. Or I can set you up to order it directly from the company.

I’ll continue to highlight my favorite immune support products in upcoming blog posts, with a focus on products you can find on your own.

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Got Congestion?

Easy Support for Colds, Flu’s & Coughs

Now is the Time!

Non-toxic Portable Water Bottles

A non-toxic portable water bottle is a must have in your healthy lifestyle toolbox! There is a dizzying array of options available, but I’m going to keep it simple. I don’t recommend any plastic options, even though there are less toxic options available and they are lightweight and convenient. My understanding is that all plastic will leach some of its contents into your water in high heat, so those are not good options in the summer no matter what kind you have.

Stainless steel bottles that have BPA free linings are a good option. They are non-breakable and are available in many sizes. They do dent over time and if the bottom surface becomes uneven, they may not sit upright properly. I used Klean Kanteen bottles for a long time. They are available in many sizes and colors with several different options for tops. Since they are unbreakable, they were an excellent option when my children were young. What I’ve learned over the years is that I really don’t love the way my water tastes out of a stainless steel bottle, so I’ve stopped using them.

My personal favorite option is a glass bottle, which is the option that has been my mainstay for many years now. My water retains its original taste much better, and the more I enjoy the water, the more I drink! While glass is breakable, there are bottles wrapped in silicon sleeves, so if the bottle does break, it won’t shatter everywhere. I had been eyeing up these glass bottles in the stores for ages and recently made the upgrade I had been thinking about. I LOVE my new purchase, and it is much more convenient than the huge, older glass water bottle I had been carrying around!! I chose an Eco Vessel Surf Glass Water Bottle with Protective Silicone Sleeve. The silicon sleeve is a lovely color, the flip top is super convenient, it’s lighter than my previous bottle, and is leak proof when the flip top is pushed down. So I can easily add it to my lunch bag or purse as I am heading out the door.

We do keep a case of bottled water on hand at home, which is handy to have for bike rides (the holders on our bikes are too small for my glass bottle) and for traveling. When I use these, I am careful to keep them out of high heat and always aim to recycle the empty bottles.

Drinking adequate amounts of high quality water on a daily basis is a non-negotiable part of a healthy lifestyle, and a non-toxic portable water bottle is an excellent choice to support you in sustaining this essential habit.