Tips to Keep Kids Safe from Lawn Maintenance

As the summer sun turns up the heat, many folks will be tending to their lawns and gardens to make sure they are the greenest on the block and pest-free. However, many are unaware of the potentially harmful toxins that may be lurking in products that are commonly applied to lawns and gardens. As part of its Toxic Free Kids initiative, the Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation (CCRF) urges parents to become familiar with the possible dangers associated with common summertime activities, such as playing on the lawn or in the garden.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), pesticides have been linked to causing a wide range of human health hazards such as cancer, reproductive harm, and damage to endocrine systems. Less seriously, pesticides have been linked to acute dangers such as nerve, skin, and eye irritation and damage, headaches, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, and systemic poisoning. The U.S. EPA also notes that children are especially susceptible to the dangers of pesticide use. Activities such as playing in the grass expose children to potentially dangerous chemicals in some cases.

To help avoid these risks, CCRF offers the following lawn and garden maintenance tips:

  • Organic Fertilizers and Pesticides: Most stores that carry gardening products now carry organic fertilizers and pesticides. Although they come at a higher cost, these organic products do not contain the harsh chemicals used in traditional products, making it safer to use on your property.
  • Make Your Own Pesticide: Making your own natural pesticides with common household items is not only good for your garden, but also your wallet. By using 1 ½ tablespoons of biodegradable liquid soap, a quart of water, and a couple of drops of lemon or orange juice, you have a natural pesticide that lasts approximately two months.
  • Make Your Garden Stronger: Did you know that by not maintaining your garden properly, you can attract more insects? Insects love to breed in dying plants as well as debris and weeds. By clearing out dead plants and other debris you can significantly reduce the possibility of insect infestations.
  • Get The Kids in on The Fun: Instead of buying expensive and harmful weed killers, make a game in which your kids collect weeds from the ground. By showing them what a weed looks like, hold a competition to see who can grab the most. This is healthier for your lawn and encourages your children to be active outdoors.

Toxic Free Spring Cleaning Tips From the Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation

Harrisburg, PA- April 8, 2014- With the spring season in full swing and the warm weather right around the corner, families around the nation will begin to embark on their annual spring cleaning rituals. However, there are a large number of household cleaning products that are not only toxic to the environment, but are linked to childhood cancer as well. The Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation’s (CCRF), Toxic-Free Kids program encourages parents to use safe cleaning alternatives to lessen their children’s exposure to hazardous and potentially cancer-causing products.

Although typical household cleaning products assist in clearing away dirt, many of them leave behind toxic chemicals that linger in the home. It is not uncommon to find carcinogens, such as kerosene, hydrochloric acid, ammonia and chlorine bleach, in everyday products. According to the EPA, indoor air pollution is one of the nation’s most pressing personal health concerns. Peak concentrations of 20 toxic compounds — some linked to cancer and birth defects — were 200 to 500 times higher inside some homes than outdoors, according to a 5-year EPA study that surveyed 600 homes in six cities.

CCRF urges families to seek healthier, more environmentally-friendly options to avoid exposure to carcinogens and help lower the risk of childhood cancer. The following tips can help your family clean without chemicals this spring:

  • Always look for “toxic-free” on the front of the bottle, as this is the easiest and most obvious way to assure you are purchasing a safe product.
  • Be sure the ingredients are listed on the label. Products that fail to do so should immediately raise a red flag.
  • Use natural alternatives, such as white vinegar and baking soda. It may sound simple but due to its acidity, vinegar is extremely effective for killing mold, bacteria and germs. Not to worry, it is safe on virtually every surface, including wood (as long as it is sealed or finished).
  • Avoid products with chlorine bleach. The fumes from this chemical have negative affects on the nervous, respiratory and immune systems. The risks of chlorine bleach also increases when mixed with other substances.
  • Steam cleaning is a safe and effective way to clean without using chemicals. Steam sanitizes and releases dirt at the same time.
  • Many laundry detergents also contain cancer-causing toxins. It is best to avoid products containing fragrance, dye, optical brighteners and phthalates.
  • Commonly found in window cleaners, ammonia is an extremely toxic element that brings forth an array of health risks, including cancer. It is best to avoid products containing this element entirely.

 

 

About Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation

Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation’s (CCRF) mission is to deliver simple acts of care and kindness to children and their families experiencing cancer. This is accomplished through the following programs: Toxic-Free Kids – a campaign to educate families on the dangers of environmental toxins and their link to childhood cancer; New Era Cancer Research Fund – focused on funding research for less toxic, minimally invasive pediatric cancer treatments; and International Aid – providing treatment medications and supplies to clinics in developing and impoverished countries.

In addition, CCRF is the largest distributor of gifts to children with cancer in the US through the Bear-Able Gift Program, provides emergency financial assistance to families via the Helping Hands Fund, and recently increased the number of children served through the Camp Scholarship Program by partnering with local camps in PA and TX. The Foundation is headquartered in Harrisburg, PA and has a division in The Woodlands, TX. With a national pediatric hospital partner network of over 215 locations, each year the Foundation directly services over 15,000 children and family members who are impacted by childhood cancer. This national footprint allows the Foundation to reach virtually every child who is dealing with cancer. More information at: www.ChildrensCancerRecovery.org

Sugar and Cancer: What You Must Know NOW

We talk a lot here about environmental toxins as cancer-causing agents, but what plays perhaps an even greater role in maintaining a healthy mind and body is nutrition. As parents, you cannot overlook the enormous impact what you feed your children has on their overall health; in fact, you may be surprised just how dangerous many of the “food-like products” you’re feeding them (and yourself, for that matter) are to every element of your well-being.

While many “foods” fit this description, we’re going to focus in this post on one of the most deleterious of the health-degrading culprits: Sugar.

As “fat-free” swept the nation a few decades ago and pushed the population to think in terms of fat grams, sugar—in many forms—was poured more and more into products because on its own, it’s technically fat-free. But sugar turns into fat at an alarming rate in the body, not to mention the additional harmful effects it has on your brain’s chemistry, keeping your body in a state of addiction to the sweet stuff … not to mention its relation to cancer.

One disconcerting example is high-fructose corn syrup, which if you read the labels of the food you’re buying, you’ll see it’s in myriad processed foods—such as crackers, cookies, soda, and even bread, to those we consider “healthy”—such as some breakfast cereals and yogurt. If you don’t already know, this is an ingredient you should be avoiding at all costs for its horrific side effects, so if you haven’t been skipping products with this additive, you definitely need to start now.

Sugar absolutely feeds cancer cells. It’s a proven fact, but notice how the mainstream “cancer industry” doesn’t focus on steering people away from sugar as cancer prevention; rather, it promotes deadly treatments of chemicals and unnecessary surgeries. Is this what we should want for ourselves and our children?

We know it’s not, and this is why we want to educate you as much as possible on precisely these topics.

Cancer cells need more nutrition—or more of a specific type of nutrient—in order to survive, and glucose is a cancer cell’s preferred nutrient. This “cancer metabolism” is something we’ve known about for decades. In 1931, the Nobel Prize in medicine was awarded to Otto Warburg, MD, PhD, a German genius who was the first to discover that cancer cells have a fundamentally different metabolic process in comparison to healthy cells. Warburg posited that carcinogens are not the primary cause of cancer, but rather a secondary one. He demonstrated that the prime cause of cancer is “. . . the replacement of oxygen in the respiratory chemistry of normal cells by (a fermentation of) sugar.” Warburg’s work produced a bio-physiological model that explained how too much glucose, sucrose, and fructose wreak havoc by starving normal cells of adequate oxygen supplies. The result: impaired immune function.

If we are to be informed consumers, we need to understand sugar is everywhere in our food supply. If an item is boxed, bottled, or canned, it very likely has sugar in it. And more than just empty calories, the evidence is overwhelming that over-indulgence in such foods is very harmful to our health. In fact, sugar must truly be thought of just like tobacco and alcohol―a deadly element that is killing us.

Renowned physician, Dr. Christiane Northrup, says that if you’re going to feed a child a sugary cereal for breakfast, you may as well put a needle in their arm and pump in heroin. The effect is the same; it’s just packaged in a deceptively friendly way.

In a study published in 2005 in the journal Cancer Research, the authors noted that the way different sugars are processed using different metabolic pathways is a “major” consequence in cancer. In short, this study found that cancer cells readily metabolize fructose to increase their proliferation. In this case they were studying pancreatic cancer, one of the most deadly. The research documented the unique role of fructose in cell division and the resulting growth and spread of the disease.

A great deal of documentation exists on the detrimental effects of sugar, its ability to feed cancer cells at an alarming rate, and the strain it puts on the brain and liver in various capacities. The problem is, this documentation isn’t what’s typically being fed to the public.

To make better decisions for your family’s health, what may seem complicated is really quite simple:

  • Eat a diet rich in organic fruits, greens, vegetables, and nuts.
  • Eliminate all processed and fast foods from your routine.
  • If you consume meat, make sure it’s grass-fed, humanely treated beef or poultry that has no antibiotics or hormones.
  • And by all means, avoid sugar—in all its forms that aren’t naturally derived, and even then, keep them at a minimum.

We understand it’s a process to make what may be a huge transition in your eating habits, but if you take to heart the centuries-old adage: “You are what you eat,” it will become more clear to you how you need to take control of the choices you make in regard to nutrition.

You have a choice:

You can either spend your money now on the smartest, healthiest foods;

Or you can spend your money later on doctors, harmful medications, attempts to thwart disease, and hospital stays.

Which sounds better to you?

In summary:

  • Q:  Does sugar feed cancer cells?  A: Yes.
  • Q:  Can sugar cause other health conditions that can lead to cancer?  A: Definitely.
  • Q:  Should I limit my sugar consumption?  A: Absolutely.

For invaluable knowledge and insight that will forever change how you look at sugar, addicting additives, and food as medicine, watch the powerful documentary Hungry for Change, available through Netflix, Amazon, and many other online sources. You’ll cease being a victim of manipulation by the food industry and take back yours and your children’s lives in a monumental way … and the understanding and empowerment will begin within the first five minutes, guaranteed.

Cell Phones and Cancer

This post is an excerpt from Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation founder, Greg Anderson, taken from his book Cancer: 50 Essential Things to Do (4th edition), Penguin/Plume, 2012.

Cell Phones and Cancer

Q: Do cell phones cause cancer? A: Maybe.

Q: Is there good scientific evidence showing that radiation from a mobile phone has a biological impact? A: Definitely.

Q: Should I be taking precautions in the use of my cell phone? A: Absolutely.

“If cell phones were a type of food, they simply would not be licensed.” This statement was not uttered by some uneducated anti-technology activist, but rather written by British physicist and two-time Nobel nominee Dr. Gerard Hyland. His statement was printed in the prestigious medical journal “The Lancet.”

The safety of mobile phones is a subject few consumers ever think about. Just five years ago, the quality of the voice connection and longer battery life were the major concerns. That has changed.

Today the evidence is mounting that mobile telephony causes a range of adverse effects in people. The most significant research shows the possible connections between frequent cell phone use and neurological problems including an increased incidence of brain tumors. Other studies are also documenting higher rates of “head and neck cancers” which include mouth, nose, sinuses, salivary glands, throat, and lymph nodes in the neck.

In fact, there is growing evidence that mobile telephony, including cell phones and the myriad of new devices flooding the market, may be the greatest and most under-estimated health threat in modern history.

Cellular Technology: 101

To gain a layman’s understanding of this subject, a basic understanding of cell phone technology is necessary.

Cell phones and cell phone towers emit radio-frequency energy. This energy is in the form of radio waves, microwaves actually, of what is called non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation. These invisible waves of energy move at the speed of light. The basic transmission technology of mobile telephony is easily understood.

  • A cell phone tower or base station antenna typically sends out microwaves at a rate of sixty watts.
  • The actual handheld mobile device generates microwaves at rates between one and two watts.
  • The antenna of a handset sends signals equally in all directions while a base station produces a beam that is much more directional, depending on line-of-sight connections with other cell phone towers and other mobile devices in the area.

It’s like a giant spider web. It is also noteworthy to understand that the base stations themselves have lower-power side beams that are localized in the immediate vicinity of the tower.

The hand-held device itself also emits a low-frequency electromagnetic field (EMF) associated with current from the phone’s battery. With mobile devices that have an energy-saving discontinuous transmission mode, there is an even lower EMF which occurs when the user is listening but not speaking.

There has been a significant shift in cell phone technology since they came on the market. In the 1970’s, the first big and bulky handheld devices relied on what is called analog signals. These radio waves were “on” all the time without interruption. Our understanding of analog signals showed they did little if any damage to living tissue except for a moderate increase in temperature.

The new technology, called “3G” and “4G,” employs compressed digital signals using faster, smaller and more powerful radio waves that are “pulsed” on-and-off rather than continuous. Because these devices are rapidly and repeatedly sending and receiving signals to the cell tower base stations, not just voice signals but the full range of multimedia services offered through today’s mobile devices, the individual’s cumulative exposure to pulsed microwave radiation can be much, much greater.

Cell Phone Biology: 101

Electromagnetic radiation is divided into two types: “ionizing” radiation such as found in x-rays, and “non-ionizing” radiation found in cellular technology. There is clearly a biological impact to ionizing radiation such as from chest x-rays, radiation therapy used in many cancer treatments, and even the Transportation Security Administration’s “back-scatter” x-ray technology in use at many airports. Too much exposure and the risk of cancer dramatically increases.

Thermal Biological Risks

The use of cell phones has a clear biological effect. The radio frequency energy produces heat. Think of a microwave oven as perhaps the best-known example. Exposure to radio frequency energy heats the body. And it is simple to record a warming of the body’s temperature especially at the point of contact with the cell phone. There is simply no question that exposing our heads to microwave energy as we talk on our cell phones results in a rise in temperature in the nearby tissue. Heating of tissue is a fact beyond dispute. In the world of cell phone safety, this “hot hypothesis” remains central to our understanding and concerns.

The amount of such heat produced in a living organism depends primarily on the intensity of the radiation, as well as the body’s thermal self-regulation, once it has penetrated the tissue. Frighteningly, excellent research indicates that effects on health begin once the temperature rise exceeds only 1°C.

The central concern is the possibility this heating results in increasing numbers of brain tumors and head and neck cancers. But it is not only our head that is vulnerable. Among the most thermally sensitive areas of the body, because of their low blood supply, are the eyes and the testes. Cataract formation and reduced sperm counts are well-documented in studies of acute exposure to microwave energy.

Although much of the evidence on the link between cell phone use and cancer is disputed by the National Cancer Institute (U.S.), research from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer as well as the European Environmental Agency is unequivocal. The evidence is significant and growing that the microwave radiation employed in cell phone technology, and the resulting “hot spots” it creates, is linked to higher cancer incidence.

In an exhaustive review released in 2011 by WHO, it was documented that people who have used cell phones for half an hour a day for more than a decade have about twice the risk of glioma, a rare kind of brain tumor. Not surprisingly, the glioma appeared most often on the side of their head where these people hold their phone.

Brain cancers typically take decades to develop. The fact that such tumors are being found after 10 years in cell phone users with relatively light exposure by today’s usage standards is frightening.

Non-Thermal Biological Risks

Could it be possible that pulsed microwave radiation used in cell phone technology also exerts non-thermal influences on the human body? It seems so.

This issue centers on the frequency or oscillations of the microwaves and their impact on physiological processes as fundamental as cell division. Just to be clear, when we speak here of the “frequency,” this has to do with the characteristics of the vibrations of the radio waves. This is independent from the heating of tissue and does not refer to how “frequently” we are exposed to these.

Microwave radiation has certain well-defined frequencies, some of which emulate the human body’s biological electrical activities. Thus the incoming radio wave can potentially interfere with the orderly and exquisitely balanced functions of the body. It’s analogous to reception distortions on a car radio.

Although this non-thermal cell biology frequency premise is not without its doubters, there is growing experimental evidence to support it. At the cellular level, the observed evidence of exposure to microwave radiation includes:

  • A “switch on” of certain cell division process
  • Reduced lymphocyte toxicity
  • Increased membrane permeability
  • Increases in chromosome aberrations

In animal studies, non-thermal microwave radiation exposure influences include:

  • Depression of immune function in chickens
  • Increase in chick embryo mortality
  • Increased permeability of blood-brain barrier in laboratory mice
  • Changes in brain chemistry, including dopamine, in laboratory mice
  • Increases in DNA strand breaks in laboratory mice
  • Increases in lymphoma in mice

In human studies, non-thermal microwave radiation exposures, and similarly conditioned exposures, include demonstrations of:

  • Headache
  • Blood pressure changes
  • Sleep disorders with shortening of rapid-eye-movement periods

Non-thermal effects of cell phone radiation have proved to be quite controversial in the scientific community. The health problems are reported anecdotally and formal confirmation of such reports, based on epidemiological studies, are still to be completed. But to deny this possibility yet admit the importance of banning the use of mobile phones on airplanes and in hospitals, both prohibitions driven solely by concerns about non-thermal interference, is grossly inconsistent.

We have underplayed the threat of cell phone radiation too long. The message has been slow to capture public attention. Even government acknowledgement of the problem is minimal. And because much of the research into the potential dangers of cell phones has been funded by the cell phone industry, negative findings are routinely dismissed. It’s understandable as such information would be detrimental to cell phone sales.

It is not surprising that Devra Davis in her excellent book Disconnect points out: “There has not been a lot of truly independent research in this field.” In one of the most enlightening passages, Davis chronicles the work of Dariusz Leszczynski from Finland. He holds two doctoral degrees and is a research professor in Finland’s National Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority. He has served as a visiting professor at Harvard Medical School and is currently an adjunct professor of bioelectro-magnetics at a medical school in Hangzhou, China. Impressive credentials.

In 2002, Leszczynski’s research showed that after just one hour of exposure to pulsed cell phone signals, the same signals that are in the phones millions of people use each and every day, changes were recorded in the shape and character of endothelial cells, the tiny membranes that line our blood vessels. The reason this is so critically important is that breakdowns in endothelial cells are thought to be direct precursors to the formation of malignant cells. In short, his work showed that even low levels of microwave radiation may impact the formation of cancer, especially brain cancers.

What’s more, collaborative research showed children are more vulnerable to radiation than adults. It makes perfect sense. Radiation that penetrates only two inches into the brain of an adult will reach much deeper into the brain of a child. Their young skulls are thinner and their brains contain more fluid that absorbs the heat. Even though we know this, we allow children, and especially young adolescents, to freely use this technology. In fact, many of the new “applications” for mobile technology are aimed squarely at this age group.

Such findings should have had a dramatic effect on the cell phone industry and cell phone safety. They did not.

Professor Leszczynski was asked about his groundbreaking study during a visit to Washington, D.C., in 2010 where he testified before the U.S. Senate. He said: “. . . we clearly showed that radiation from a cell phone had a biological impact. [Now] the world can no longer pretend that the only problems with cell phones occur after you can measure a change in temperature.”

But we do keep pretending . . . all of us including governments, research scientists, the cell phone industry, and especially cell phone consumers. Most people are totally unaware that radio frequency radiation causes biological changes to our bodies. Or if they are among the few who are aware, most are in denial regarding the seriousness of the problem.

Protecting Yourself and Your Loved Ones

We can do better. Below is a list, adapted from the Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org ), of key personal actions you and can implement right now. Do so and you will be doing all possible to keep you and your family safe from cell phone radiation.

  • Switch to a low-radiation phone. Consider replacing your phone with one that emits the lowest radiation possible and still meets your needs.
  • Use a headset or speaker. Headsets emit much less radiation than handsets. Choose either wired or wireless. Unfortunately experts are split on which version is safer. Some wireless headsets emit continuous, low-level radiation, so take yours off your ear when you’re not on a call. Using your phone in speaker mode also reduces radiation to the head.
  • Listen more and talk less. Your phone emits radiation when you talk or text, but not when you’re receiving messages. Listening more and talking less reduces your exposures.
  • Hold the phone away from your body. Holding the phone away from your torso when you’re talking on your headset or speaker—rather than against your ear, in a pocket, or on your belt—means your soft body tissues absorb less radiation.
  • Text rather than talk. Phones use less power and radiation to send text than voice. And unlike when you speak with the phone at your ear, texting keeps radiation away from your head.
  • If you have a poor signal, stay off the phone. Fewer signal bars on your phone means that it emits more radiation to get the signal to the tower. Make and take calls when your phone has a strong signal.
  • Limit children’s phone use. A child’s brain absorbs twice the cell phone radiation as an adult’s. Health agencies in at least a dozen countries recommend limits for children’s cell phone use, such as for emergency situations only.
  • Skip the radiation shield. Radiation shields such as antenna caps or keypad covers reduce the connection quality and force the phone to transmit at a higher power with higher radiation.
  • Store your cell phone in a backpack or purse. If you must carry it mounted on your belt, turn the keypad to face your body because the antenna is on the back and it emits much more radiation compared to the keyboard.
  • Don’t sleep with your cell phone on next to the bed or under a pillow.
  • Pregnant women should keep the phones away from their abdomen.
  • Use your cell phone less. High-frequency users have higher incidence of reported neurological disease. Use a landline whenever it is available.

A Personal Appeal

In the end, I am certainly not advocating banning the use of cell phones. I use mine safely every day of the week. But I am urging cell phone manufacturers to make their products safer. Safer technology exists; it is past time to implement it. Plus I am asking for each of us to be fully aware of the dangers and take personal responsibility for curbing our exposure, and our family’s exposure, to cell phone radiation. It’s the only way to be certain we are not damaging our body’s cells every time we are on the phone.

How CT Scans Have Raised Kids’ Risk for Future Cancer

Use of CT scans has doubled for children under five and tripled for older children.

Doctors are prescribing too many CT scans for children, a study says, even though they know that the radiation used in the tests increases children’s lifelong risk of cancer.

Choosing other tests and dialing back the radiation used in the scans would prevent 62 percent of related cancers, according to Diana Miglioretti, a biostatistician at the University of California, Davis, who led the study.

The use of CT, or computed tomography, scans which let doctors see soft tissue, more than doubled in children under 14 from 1996 to 2010.

The cancer risk is highest for children undergoing abdominal scans; those were also the scans that involved the most radiation. For girls, 1 in 300 to 400 abdominal scans would cause a solid cancer later in life. For boys, the number is 1 in 700 to 800.

The risk of getting leukemia after a head scan, the most common form of CT for children, is about 2 per 10,000 scans for children under age 5, the study found.

Doctors have long known that X-rays cause cancer and that children face a greater risk than adults. But only in the past few years have they amassed evidence on how the huge increase in use of CTs is affecting health. CT scanners use 100 to 500 times more radiation than a conventional X-ray.

A study last year found that children who had a CT before age 22 had a slightly higher risk of leukemia and brain tumors.

Doctors do have alternatives, Miglioretti says, and parents should ask for them. Ultrasound machines and MRI scanners can be as good as CT in detecting appendicitis, she says. Neither of those alternatives use X-ray radiation, the kind that can damage genetic material.

Plan old doctoring works, too. The most common CT scan in children is a head scan, given after a blow to the head, Miglioretti says. “There’s medical evidence that if you do a thorough exam and follow the rules you can avoid a lot of these scans for head trauma,” she says.

A slew of medical societies back the Image Gently campaign, which provides family-friendly information on radiation doses and procedures. There’s also a card parents can use to keep track of their children’s cumulative radiation exposure.

Among other risks, scanning also raise the odds that doctors will finding something abnormal but not dangerous, an editorial that accompanied the study points out. These “incidentalomas” can lead to more testing and treatments, with no benefit and potential harm.

Parents should “ask not only what a proposed imaging test is intended to detect but, more importantly, how such detection would help their child,” the doctors who wrote the commentary recommend.

The number of CT scans of children stopped rising in 2007, which may reflect the fact that doctors are getting the message on the risks.

Winter Body Blues

Does the change in weather put you in a “food funk?” Does it seem as though fruits and veggies are in short supply during the winter months? Or are you just more drawn to comfort foods when it’s cold outside?

As you know, our bodies are reliant on receiving all of the nutrients we need on a regular basis, and vegetables and fruits are a vital component of that—not only to maintain a vibrant body, but also a strong immune system. Science has proven that fruits and vegetables contain elements that are key to a healthy diet, and we’ve all heard that we should eat more broccoli, chow down on those blueberries, or incorporate more leafy greens into our diet.

So what to do when the variety you’re used to isn’t available?

If you’re missing the benefits of eating different fruits and veggies each day to get the vitamins and nutrition they have to offer, don’t despair! Though you may only visit the grocery store weekly, finding it a challenge to buy fresh items that will last a week—especially during the winter months—there is a remedy for your winter body blues!

If your usual favorites aren’t available, try shaking it up with different produce by choosing what’s “in season” and trying something new. If citrus is your thing, clementines are great and easy to peel—especially for children—and depending where you live, some fruits and veggies actually thrive during the cold season. Even better: a variety of greens should be readily available all year round.

But if you’re still feeling challenged, keep in mind that even though it’s not ideal, frozen and canned produce is better than nothing. Whether you make smoothies, juices, salads, or the like, you can still get some nutrients into your body. And if you have farmers markets nearby, they’re a great source of fruits, veggies, and greens that are often organic and picked at their peak of freshness—make time to explore and grab some great produce there!

So before you fall into that winter funk, or if you’re already feeling the blues, this is your reminder to not neglect boosting your body with those much-needed fruits and vegetables. However you choose to take in that daily dose, the goal is to make sure you get it for a healthy, happy body.

Start a Healthy New Year

Get ready to start your New Year right by choosing to go toxic free for your 2012 resolution!  Most of us always vow to make a difference next year by eating healthier, my suggestion this year is not just to eat healthy but to live healthy.  As we start 2012 I encourage you to choose one toxic free change for each month and make a difference for you and your family.

Last year as I started my toxic free transformation I was surprised at how easy it was to make the change.  I realized that good healthy products were out there, you just have to learn which ones to choose.  After a year of changing, and still changing, I feel a difference.   I feel healthy, and I feel like I have given my family a gift.  My children ask questions now when we purchase things which means I have given them the knowledge they will need someday to also make smart choices.  It is never too late to make a change and never to earlier to teach our children what healthy is.

Start your year off right and join Toxic Free Kids, “Read a Blog, Make a Change, Tell a Friend!”

Armpit Madness

So what is the big stink about using common deodorants?  Obviously our arm pits are areas of skin with pores and it is those pores that are a main source for risk of exposure to toxic chemicals. Many deodorants are filled with fragrances, parabens, and aluminum.  All of these chemicals are big no no’s!

By now you understand that fragrances, while maybe smelling good on the outside, are damaging us on the inside.  Due to their lack of regulation from the FDA they are a free for all when it comes to chemicals.  Parabens are hormone disruptors as well as a large possible link to the increase risk in breast cancer.  Considering your breasts are right next to our arm pits this would be a great place to avoid these chemicals!  Many tumors removed from breast are found to contain parabens in them which is why the link is being made between parabens and breast cancer.  So those of you with young girls wanting to start smelling a little fresher should be really concentrating on which deodorant your daughter is using! The last ingredient is aluminum which may sound odd to you.  Turns out there is a large amount of research being done on the link between exposure to aluminum and the increased amount of alzheimer’s disease.

My advice is to choose a natural alternative for your daily deodorant.  Avoid fragrance, Parabens: (butylparaben, isobutylparaben, propylparaben, isopropylparapen), and aluminum. Tom’s of Maine offers some safe choices as well as Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystals both available at Walmart.  Again make sure you read all the ingredients, which again I recommend The Skin Deep website (boy have I gotten my $5.00 worth from that donation!).  I basically looked through what Wal Mart had to offer then plugged them into the site to see what the ingredients were in them.  Many other options are available if you are into ordering online as well.