Monday, July 28, 2014

Sunscreen (not sun) Poisoning!

my homemade sunscreen!

We have a very backwards thing going on in our society when we are being told to FEAR the sun (because it will make us sick!) and slather on sunscreen. Everyone goes along with it, so anyone who points out whats really going down is viewed as a wackadoo.

Here's a little 411: SUNSCREEN is poisoning us, not the sun.

The sun is actually an essential part of life. It is literally the fuel for all living things on earth. We need it for vitamin D, and to survive. Personally, when the weather permits, I lay out 20 minutes on my back, and twenty minutes on my stomach, with as much skin exposed while still remain descent- GASP- with NO sunscreen.

Im not saying that it's healthy to lay out and get a sunburn. That is no good. I am saying to stop fearing the sun.

So onto the toxic ingredients we are slathering on ourselves, and our children, EVERY DAY when we go along with the whole "sunscreen" thing.

Here are a few of the doozies, Im just gunna make it simple and copy and paste it from Womens Health Magazine:


Oxybenzone This penetration enhancer (i.e., chemical that helps other chemicals penetrate the skin) undergoes a chemical reaction when exposed to UV rays. When oxybenzone is absorbed by your skin, it can cause an eczema-like allergic reaction that can spread beyond the exposed area and last long after you're out of the sun. Experts also suspect that oxybenzone disrupts hormones (i.e., mimics, blocks, and alters hormone levels) which can throw off your endocrine system. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 97 percent of Americans have this chemical circulating in our bodies, as it can accumulate more quickly than our bodies can get rid of it.
Octinoxate One of the most common ingredients found in sunscreens with SPF, octinoxate is readily absorbed by our skin and helps other ingredients to be absorbed more readily. While allergic reactions from octinoxate aren't common, hormone disruption is: the chemical's effects on estrogen can be harmful for humans and wildlife, too, should they come into contact with the chemical once it gets into water. Though SPF products are designed to protect skin from sun-induced aging, octinoxate may actually be a culprit for premature aging, as it produces menacing free radicals that can damage skin and cells.
Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A Palmitate) Just like the vitamin A we eat, retinyl palmitate is an antioxidant. As an ingredient in sunscreen, it's function is to improve the product's performance against the aging effects of UV exposure, However, certain forms of vitamin A found in sun protection products—namely retinyl palmitate, a combination of retinol (vitamin A) and palmitic acid, an ingredient found in tropical plants such as palm and coconut—can be cause for concern. When exposed to the sun's UV rays, retinol compounds break down and produce destructive free radicals that are toxic to cells, damage DNA, and may lead to cancer. In fact, FDA studies have shown that retinyl palimitate may speed the development of malignant cells and skin tumors when applied to skin before sun exposure, so steer clear of skin sun products that harbor the stuff.
Homosalate This UV-absorbing sunscreen ingredient helps sunscreen to penetrate your skin. Once the ingredient has been absorbed, homosalate accumulates in our bodies faster than we can get rid of it, becomes toxic and disrupts our hormones.
Octocrylene When this chemical is exposed to UV light, it absorbs the rays and produces oxygen radicals that can damage cells and cause mutations. It is readily absorbed by your skin and may accumulate within your body in measurable amounts. Plus, it can be toxic to the environment.
Paraben Preservatives Associated with both acute and chronic side effects, parabens (butyl-, ethyl-, methyl-, and propyl-) can induce allergic reactions, hormone disruption, developmental and reproductive toxicity. While butylparaben was reported to be non-carcinogenic in rats and mice, but it has been previously suspected that parabens and other chemicals in underarm cosmetics may contribute to the rising incidence of breast cancer."

Yep, not so good. Like I said before, EVERY DAY this stuff is absorbing into us, and our children, (who's little immune systems are even more vulnerable than ours).

So, now that we got the poison stuff out of the way, what are healthy alternatives?

First of all, a healthy diet rich in organic fruits and veggies helps the body to protect ITSELF from the sun. Imagine that. With the proper fuel the body has the ability, to a large extent, to keep itself from being harmed by the suns rays. Personally I drink a cup of carrot juice every morning, which builds up a beta-carotene protection under the skin (it actually makes you look a little tan, I call it the "carrot glow").

So what do we do when we are spending eight hours at the beach? Or our little, fair skin, baby needs to be kept from a sun burn while playing in the sand box?

Switch to a natural sunscreen. And be careful not to trust the packaging, READ THE LABELS. There is a lot of "green washing" where products are advertised as "natural" or "mineral based,"
 and you turn it over to find the above ingredients all up in it.

This summer I decided to take the matter into my own hands by making our own sunscreen, and I was so pleasantly surprised at how EASY it was.

After spending hours pouring over homemade sunscreen recipes I settled on Wellness Mama's. Literally four ingredients (olive oil, coconut oil, beesewax and zinc oxide) and had great reviews. I didnt know what to expect. I followed the original recipe to a T, and absolutely love it. To get the full instructions on how to make your own super simple sunscreen click the link below.

So in short, its a good and great thing to be a sun worshiper! For those times when we need protection opt for something that will truly protect our health, not slowly poison us. 

<3 Kelly

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Juice Fasting

I first learned about juice fasting Spring of 2011 when my family watched the documentary "Fat Sick and Nearly Dead." Joe Cross, the man who made the documentary, was overweight and on many medications as a result of his poor health. He did a 60 day juice fast and completely rebooted his system.

After watching this documentary, Spring of 2011, my sister Robin went on a 60 day juice fast, and rebooted her system and her life. I have seen first hand how this has transformed her. Both physically and mentally.  She is literally a different person than she was three years ago. Healthy, vibrant, peaceful and fit.

Personally, I now have done many juice fasts. When I first started I was a big baby about fasting. Three days was the absolute longest I could go. Then, a couple summers ago, I just went for it and did a twelve day juice fast with my mom. Since then Ive gone through phases when I would do a five day juice fast once a month for months at a time. I also have incorporated fresh pressed juice into my everyday life. 
Right now I am on day three of a juice fast and plan to break my record, going for two weeks, (fourteen days!).

The question at hand is, why even do it?

The main reason to fast is to detox our bodies. People walk around with toxins piled up in their system. Even after changing to a plant based diet, it still takes a long time for all of these toxins to be cleaned out. Fasting is a good way to speed this process up. During fasting the liver and immune system have a break from digesting food, and are free to detoxify and heal other parts of the body. In addition to that, with a juice fast, the body is still receiving the nutrients from the fruits and veggies that are being juiced. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, believed fasting enables the body to heal itself.

Also, in all religions, fasting has either been advocated or demonstrated by spiritual leaders. It is a great means to gain mental and spiritual clarity.

Though, fasting is not for the faint of heart; you will feel detox symptoms. As toxins leave our cells there is a higher level of them circulating around our bodies. This can lead to dizziness, flu like symptoms, acne, fatigue and other symptoms. The way to counter act this is by drinking a lot of water.

Some people, like my sister, fast for 60 days and others for 1. Any amount of time feeding our bodies with freshly pressed juice is so incredibly healing. Its one of the most loving things we can do for ourselves.
Juice on!

<3 Kelly

Friday, July 25, 2014

Want to Save the Planet? Stop Eating Meat

Its a fact, whether someone wants to admit it or not, you cannot be an environmentalist and eat meat. "Meat eating environmentalist" is an oxymoron. A single factor that is destroying our environment (as well as our bodies) is the consumption of meat. I know, I know, if your hearing this for the first time it sounds like a stretch. An individual wouldn't be prone to think that skipping a Big Mac would have positive environmental impact, but it does. In a very big way.

 One-third of the worlds land mass has been bulldozed for pastures and factory farming. This has had a terrible impact on global warming. Not only are all of those tree's missing that are not absorbing CO2, the cattle are emitting toxins into the air; from the eight million of tons of CO2 they exhale into the atmosphere to the the nitrous oxide and methane gas emitted from their manure and the animals themselves. Also, processing only ONE POUND of beef requires 2,500 GALLONS of water. Thats how much water the average person uses in SIX MONTHS. The waste is beyond comprehension. This information is just the tip of the iceberg.

Meat and dairy farming is destroying our planet, while it is known that organic plant based farming uses far less energy and feeds many more people. If just a portion of the grain that goes to feeding the cattle was given to people, world hunger would no longer exist.

Below is a link to Lisa Bloom, a prominent attorney and life long vegetarian, speaking about the brutal treatment of animals in the meat factories and the impact of these factories on our planet.

The health of the planet is literally in your hands every time you eat.


Why Organic?

There is an interesting phenomenon when it comes to saying a food item is organic. There seems to be either one of two very different reactions: the persons whole face lights up and they look at you with great enthusiasm OR they give you a blank look, like, "So what"?

An explanation to the second group as to WHY organics are so important is listen below.

- organic food is higher in nutrients
- no pesticides (aka poison) filled with neurotoxins that damage brain and nerve cells from spraying the crops gets into your, and your families, bodies
*one neurotoxin that is commonly used in pesticides called organophosphates was originally developed as a toxic nerve agent during WWI
-especially important for children whose growing brains and bodies are more susceptable to toxins than adults
-many GMO foods (genetically modified) are modified to grow their own pesticide inside themselves as they grow. those pesticides continue to grow and develop inside of humans after being consumes
-buying organic helps reduce pollution in drinking water. pesticide farming causes over 50% of pollution in our drinking water in the united states
-earth supportive. while conventional ways of farming ravish the earth with herbicides, fertilizers,  and pesticides (and depletes the soil and makes it unusable for future generations) organic farming helps preserve the soil for future generations
 -no gas ripening, one way organic foods have more nutrients
-safer for farm workers-70% increase in Parkinsons disease for those exposed to pesticides
-organic means lower risk of cancer: "The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers 60% of herbicides, 90% of fungicides, and 30 percent of insecticides potentially cancer-causing"
 -greater biodiversity. meaning there is more than just one or two types of one crop. Remember the potato famine in Ireland? That was the result of not enough biodiversity. One virus was able to wipe out an entire nations food supply.

...and each of these points could be expanded on to be their own individual blog post.

Organic farming is becoming less and less relevant as big agribusiness takes over the food system in this nation. Fortunately we have something on our side! Its called supply and demand. If the people of this country BUY organic then business will fill that demand. Every single purchase is a vote. I think of this every time I purchase my organic coconut ice cream and organic kale. I feel so happy to be tipping my hat into the votes to sustain this food practice that does so much good, and no harm.


Why Gluten Free?

There is a lot of talk of "gluten free" going around, so I guess the first thing to address is WHAT gluten even is. Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, spelt, rye, barely and a few other grains. The protein is made of two parts; gliadin and glutenin. Glutenin is the part people generally have problems with. When flour is mixed with water gluten creates a network of proteins that makes the dough elastic like (this is what allows bread to rise when baked). It is like glue (which is where  the name "GLUten" derives from). For those who have a sensitivity to gluten, when it reaches the digestive tracts the immune systems cells perceive it as an invader, like a bacteria, and the immune system mounts an attack. And our stomach get bloated in order to protect itself from this invader. Fort those who have celiac, the most severe reaction to gluten, the immune system does more than attack the protein. It also attacks an enzyme in the cells of the digestive tract called tissue transglutaminase.

Some signs you may have a gluten intolerance:
-bloated crampy stomach
-irritable bowel syndrome
-stomach issues in general
-constant drowsiness
-various auto-immune diseases
-difficulty with weight loss

There are many people who have seen improvements with brain disorders as well. Many neurological illnesses are either caused or worsened by gluten consumption. 

Some illnesses that see improvement when gluten free:
I have also personally witnessed several children who were, I dont know how else to phrase it, off the wall, and transformed when eating a gluten free diet.
Now about me. I have been gluten free for five years now. I first went gluten free in the summer of 2009. Personally, I did not think I had a gluten intolerance. Though, my family was doing the gluten free thing so I figured, why not? Ill give it two weeks. So I went two weeks gluten free and when I tried to re-introduce it my stomach was a MESS. Bloated, crampy, my skin broke out in major acne....I was a hot mess. And that was it for me and gluten,  though not perfectly. There were many instances throughout that first year when I accidentally glutened myself (either because I didnt know how to navigate labels yet, or I wasnt sure and took the risk). Though, it is much easier to be gluten free now. Food items are much more generously labeled, and now with smart phones it is easy to google an item or ingredient in question. 

So a major thing I noticed personally was that effortlessly I lost 10 pounds. No exercising, no eating less, the weight literally just fell off of me. Before going gluten free I always had a little tiny pooch at the bottom of my stomach that would never go away. No matter how many crunches I did, no matter how little I ate, it was ALWAYS there. Then, without effort, it literally just melted away.

And no, I do not feel deprived AT ALL...there are completely luscious gluten free options for everything you could want to eat. From bread, to pizza, dinner rolls, pasta, cakes and muffins! 

So if your feeling a little sluggish, or your tummy is a little our of wack, it may be worth it to give gluten free a try! For two weeks, 100% gluten free, see how it goes!