"This is a guest post written by a new member of the MightyNest community. She is just beginning her journey towards creating a safe and healthy home for her family. Amanda will be writing posts periodically, sharing her journey with us.Up until about a month ago, I would call myself a blissfully ignorant consumer. I took everything at face value. Any claims made on a product’s packaging I would believe. After all, why would a reputable company deceive their consumers? Then I had the opportunity to talk in depth with the founders of MightyNest whose mission is to educate consumers like myself who are concerned about the impact of chemicals and toxins on their family’s health.Last summer there was some press about estrogen in Neutrogena sunscreen. My friends started talking about how this might affect our daughters. We all worry about them reaching puberty too early. After all, that's one of the reasons why I purchase organic milk for my family. Anyhow, the sensible part of me said that I should research this concern and perhaps find a sunscreen that didn’t contain this chemical. The admittedly uninformed side of me didn’t feel ready to give up the convenience and low cost of my favorite drug store brands.Don’t get me wrong, I care deeply about the health and wellbeing of myself and my family. In fact, I truly believe that I can deal with just about any challenge or obstacle, as long as my family is healthy. After spending time on MightyNest.com and talking with Chris and Kristen Conn, I decided that I owe it to myself and to my family to become better educated on this topic so that I can make an informed decision about which sunscreens I purchase this summer. I don't believe in putting synthetic estrogen into my body, so why should I put it on my skin?MY RESEARCHI consulted three reputable sources:
- The Environmental Working Group (EWG): A non-profit organization which, through research, works to expose potential health and environmental hazards. Their 2011Sunscreen Reportis a comprehensive resource rating more than 1,700 products for effectiveness and safety.
- The Safe Mama: This web site, started by a mom of two, is a resource designed to educate parents and save them time by pulling together information from a wide variety of sources that relates to the safety and health of children. Recently, the Safe Mama published her list of approved sunscreens which are all free of many harmful chemicals. You can read her reporthere.
- The Huffington Post: This article by Mindy Pennybacker,The Best Sunscreens to Use – and Lose, combined scientific research from the EWG with consumer testing and feedback to produce their top-ten list of the least toxic sunscreens.WHAT I’VE LEARNED
- The sunscreen industry isnotregulated by the FDA. In fact, the FDA has promised to regulate sunscreen manufacturers since 1978, but has yet to follow through on that promise.
- Because this industry is not regulated, claims made in advertising or on packaging donothave to be true or proven.
- Neutrogena sunscreen, which recently received buzz in the press concerning its high levels of oxybenzone, bears the American Cancer Society seal of approval. Neutrogena pays a royalty to use the ACS logo, but isnot endorsedby the ACS. I had NO IDEA that sunscreen wasn't regulated by the FDA or that a major corporation would falsely advertise their product. I trusted that the ACS seal meant it was SAFE.
- The main chemical found in a vast majority of sunscreens is Oxybenzone (aka Benzophenone-3), which seeps into the skin and enters the bloodstream. The properties of this chemical are such that it mimics estrogen. It is an endocrine and hormone disruptor which may accelerate the growth of cancer cells.
- SPF (Sun Protection Factor) applies only to UVB rays – the harmful effects of which are visible as a burn. SPF doesnotapply to UVA rays. UVA rays penetrate the skin accelerating the aging process and potentially cause cancer.
- All sunscreens have UVB protection, butnotall sunscreens protect from the harmful effects of UVA rays. Look for a UVA/UVB or broad spectrum sunscreen.
- A 2007 study “reported that 96% of 6 to 8 year old girls had detectable amounts of oxybenzone in their urine.” You can read more in thisarticlepublished by the EWG.
- Products that bear the Skin Cancer Foundation Seal of Recommendation meet a set of criteria less rigorous than those of the EWG or American Academy of Dermatology. Among the criterianotassessed by the Skin Cancer Foundation are UVA protection and the potential health effects of the ingredients contained in these products.
- Vitamin A is a common ingredient found in nearly 30% of all sunscreens. Vitamin A is an anti-oxidant that slows the skin’s aging process. However, when exposed to sunlight, it may speed the development of skin cancer.
- The safest, least toxic sunscreens are those with the active ingredient Zinc Oxide.MY TAKE AWAY(While) I was shocked when I read that the sunscreen industry is not regulated, (I'm actually still liking the idea that's it's less government invasion into my home. This is one of reasons why it's important not to remain an ignorant consumer, because I firmly believe this is our responsibility to know what it is we purchase and to understand the pro's and con's of products). This fact alone was enough for me to seriously consider making a change and after all of my research, I've decided it's in order. Here's are the changes I intend to make:
- I will purchase sunscreens that primarily consist of zinc oxide.
- I will not use an aerosol sunscreen. Not only is it bad for the environment, but it is wasteful and harmful to my children’s lungs.
- Rather than slathering my children with sunscreen all over their bodies – before they put on their suits – I will only apply sunscreen to the exposed skin.
- We will take advantage of sun hats and swim shirts.If I can change one thing to keep my family safe, it’s worth it. One small change is bound to lead to another small change. I know now that I’ll begin to look at what I purchase with a more discriminating eye. As a mom, it’s my job to keep my children safe and that includes making sure that what goes into and onto their bodies is the least toxic available option. I’m willing to give it a try – one small change at a time."
Being deprived of sleep is very detrimental to us physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually.
"Sleep isn't a luxury… It's a biological necessity!" - Unknown
We know what a lack of sleep can do to a child. An overtired child is cranky, irritable and inconsolable. And we all know how we feel when we don't get enough sleep, but we may not know how important sleep really is for our bodies, minds and souls. Sleep is restorative, rejuvenating and regenerative :: Every part of the body benefits from – and requires – sleep. The body's ability to rebuild itself during sleep is amazing! Damage is repaired on the cellular level during deep sleep stages. Sleep is your body's opportunity to restore itself from the effects of stress, toxins, ultraviolet rays and other harmful exposures that occur during the day. Sleep reduces illness and disease :: Due to our body's ability to rebuild itself, the immune system greatly depends on sleep to function. With other systems of the body in rest mode, the immune system can go to work fighting and protecting. With a lack of sleep also comes a depressed immune system allowing harmful germs and exposures to wreak havoc on our systems. Sleep reduces stress :: As we prepare for sleep, our body releases the calming hormones, serotonin and melatonin. These hormones help us relax and also cause the stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, to deplete, reducing the stress our bodies feel. In contrast, being sleep deprived puts our body in a state of stress as it releases the stress hormones so that it can function under those less-than-ideal circumstances.Having these hormones being pumped through our body too frequently is extremely detrimental to our health. When we sleep, we give our body and minds the opportunity to rest and restore from the day and adjust and balance hormone levels. Sleep can help control weight :: When our hormone levels are out of balance from lack of sleep, it increases our appetite, making us eat more than we would if we weren't sleepy. There is also concern that lack of sleep changes the way our body digests carbohydrates, which can cause weight gain. Sleep improves memory function :: While our body is resting, our brain is working! When we sleep, our brain analyzes the events of the past day, making connections and creating links. These links become our memories! By getting sufficient quality sleep, we are giving our brain the opportunity it needs to process and commit new information to memory. Sleep = Safety :: Brain fog caused by lack of sleep can cause car accidents, falls, medical mistakes and much more. Researchers have found that a sleepy driver behind the wheel is just as dangerous as a drunk driver. Sleep balances emotions :: Sleeping gives our brain the opportunity to correct and adjust all the hormone and chemical levels that the body requires. Having proper levels of these vital elements helps us remain balanced and steady throughout the day, with increased ability to handle the day-to-day stresses. Not getting enough sleep can leave us feeling irritable, irrational and impatient.
Research shows that the average adult needs between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. However, the exact amount of sleep that our bodies require is very individualized, varying from person to person. This can also change rather frequently as we face different situations in our lives that may require more or less sleep. For example, if you are sick or going through a particularly stressful period of time, you need to allow for more sleep. Children, teenagers and the elderly, as a rule, need more sleep than healthy adults. Experts say that finding the right amount of sleep requires a little experimentation. By varying your bedtimes and wake times, you can find the right amount of sleep that leaves you feeling well rested and energized throughout the day. As your situation and circumstances change, you might need to adjust your sleep times to allow enough time for adaquate sleep, without sleeping too much. Sleeping too much can be just as detrimental to your health and well being as being sleep deprived, so find the right balance that works for you.
"A satisfying sleep, like a satisfying meal, can leave one happy and content, without feeling too full, and with room, perhaps, for just a little more." - Jim Horne, sleep expert
Make sleep a priority :: Look at sleep as the restorative period that it is rather than an inconvenient obligation. Give your mind, body and soul the opportunity to rest and rejuvenate. Establish a routine :: Bedtime routines aren't just for children. Try to go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning, regardless of the day of the week or if you've had a rough night's sleep. Wake up within 30 minutes of your waking time each day of the week. This will help your body clock set itself correctly. Relax :: Can't sleep? We're not able to will ourselves or make ourselves go to sleep. We need to lie down, close our eyes and relax , waiting for sleep to overtake us. But the relaxing part of that equation often fouls up the entire formula. Drink a cup of chamomile tea or warm milk, take a warm bath or read a book for a few minutes before turning off the light. Give yourself time to slow down and unwind, letting your body know it's time to prepare for sleep. Add a mind purge :: When I can't sleep because I've got too much on my mind, I've found that simply having a pad of paper and a pen by my bed comes in handy. Thoughts, plans and worries can often interfere with our ability to relax and fall asleep. Write down everything that comes to mind in a 1 to 3 minute period. As simple as it sounds, it will enable you to free your mind of those thoughts and avoid carrying them to bed with you. With less on your mind, you are free to relax and drift off to sleep. Body movin':: Getting some form of physical activity during the day will help your body differentiate between daytime and nighttime, making it easier to get to sleep and stay asleep when you want to. Avoid strenuous exercise and activity within 4 hours of going to bed so your body will be able to relax in time for sleep. Eat well and wisely :: Ditch the Standard American Diet and eat real food. Make your noon meal the largest of the day rather than your biggest meal being a few hours before you are going to try to sleep. Digesting a large meal will keep you awake and unable to drift off to sleep. Make your bedroom a restful place :: Keep your bedroom free from unnecessary clutter and distractions. Remove the TV and designate another area of your house for your desk and computer (or put them behind doors if they must stay in your room) so as to free your mind from thinking about work and other things. Limit caffeine (or better yet, quit it all together) :: Use coffee, pop, caffeinated teas and even chocolate in moderation. Caffeine is a powerful stimulant. Even if you only drink caffeine in the mornings, it makes it more difficult to fall asleep at night and affects the quality of sleep that you are able to get. It is difficult to quit (I know! I used to be a Diet Coke junkie.) but it's worth it. Check this out for inspiration! If you can't get going in the mornings without your cup of joe, try Dandelion Root tea as a worthy coffee alternative. Do the same only make iced tea as a replacement for Diet Pop! Dandelion Root tea sounds odd perhaps, but it's yummy!
Unfortunately, we all know the frustration of a short night's sleep. Whether it's a new baby, sick kids, noisy neighbors or irritating insomnia, we've all been there. Here are two tips for surviving those terrible nights: Don't worry :: The stress and anxiety over getting a poor night's sleep will actually be harder on you mentally and physically than the poor night's sleep itself. Practice an attitude of acceptance and go about your day. Try to remain as positive and optimistic as possible and you'll get through a less-than-ideal day much more ideally! Strategic naps will save you :: Even if you're not necessarily a nap taker, a strategic nap will help you get through your day, minimizing your struggle from a poor night's sleep. Getting a 10 – 20 minute nap (or two, if necessary, one in the morning and one in the afternoon) will help you feel refreshed and energized, ready for the next portion of your day. Be careful, however. Napping anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours puts your body through sleep cycles that will cause you to wake up feeling groggy and perhaps worse than you felt before. Aim for the power nap to get you through your day. We all know how wonderful we feel after a great night's sleep, and unfortunately, we all know how terrible we feel when we sleep poorly. In our fast-paced, over-worked and stressed-out society, getting a good night's sleep is crucial. Our bodies, minds and souls depend on our ability to sleep for rejuvenation, repair and restoration. Make a New Year's Resolution to make sleep a priority this year! Your mind and body will thank you.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
This is exactly why he just lost his congress. This ridiculousness gets my blood boiling!
Security Entourage Earning Epic Reputation Ahead of Obama India Visit
After the fall
The cynic in me says that Democrats will learn nothing from the midterm election. They not only took a bath, they were effectively water-boarded by voters.
Democrats lost the House by a margin not seen since 1948. They lost 10 governorships while retaining two—New York and California. Both states are insolvent and can be expected to ask for bailouts from the federal government, something a Republican House is unlikely to grant. Republicans will get to redistrict most states in ways favorable to them for at least the next decade. Nancy Pelosi will step down as speaker, though Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid managed to survive a nose-holding election in Nevada.
While Democrats have complained about lack of cooperation from Republicans in enacting President Obama’s agenda, don’t look for them to show the way by cooperating with Republicans. The GOP has swept solidly into the House on a wave of voter anger at the elitism and condescension shown by so many Democrats and their big media allies who think the public is stupid because a majority do not agree with the notion of government as savior. Democrats aren’t in a cooperating mood, as they usually aren’t when they lose. And make no mistake they’ve lost big. By every measuring stick—governorships, legislatures, independents, women—Democrats have lost. Republicans would be crazy to water down what clearly is a mandate to stop the Obama-Reid-Pelosi liberal agenda.
I expect congressional Democrats, in collusion with the White House, to attempt to maneuver Republicans into another government shutdown. It worked before, and since Democrats have not had a new idea in years—or even a good, old idea—all they know is class warfare, entitlement, and grievance.
At his post-election news conference Wednesday, President Obama said many of the things he thought people wanted to hear—common ground, consensus, working together—but he steadfastly and perhaps understandably would not cede any territory on his administration’s core policies, especially national health insurance. Newly empowered Republicans aren’t likely to compromise, since that usually means they are the only ones doing the compromising, which in the past has led to disgust by Republican voters who don’t want watered-down conservatism, but spending reductions and smaller government.
Don’t look for President Obama or the Democrats who survived the carnage to admit their policies were wrong, or that they misjudged the public. After so many in the leadership denigrated voters as being insufficiently enthusiastic about all government was attempting to do for them and questioning the smarts and the sanity of those ingrates who don’t agree with their policies, I wouldn’t expect such people to have a change of heart or mind. That is especially so since the mainstream media can be relied upon to question every Republican effort to reverse the policies and spending initiatives of the last two years.
For Republicans, the challenge is to maintain their “purity” in an environment that is the political equivalent of a brothel. Both Sens.-elect Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Joe Manchin, D-WVa., said in their victory statements that Washington is broken and they are going there to fix it. That reminds me of an old lyric: “It seems to me I’ve heard that song before. It’s from an old familiar score. I know it well, that melody.” A little more than two years ago, outgoing (thankfully) Speaker Nancy Pelosi pledged to “drain the swamp” that is Washington. Instead she built a hot tub. It’s difficult to change Washington. More often, Washington transforms the reformers. It’s the political equivalent of Prohibition. Maybe this bunch will avoid the “speakeasy.” Maybe.
© 2010 Tribune Media Services Inc.
See WORLD’s interactive national map for complete election results from across the country.
CLICK HERE FOR THE LINK TO THE ORIGINAL STORY…
I’ve been wanting to create a blog for a very long time, but haven’t had the time or patience to research the blog creator sites. What was I thinking? I have a techie for a husband! I simply mentioned that I really wanted to create one and viola…a few hours later he has created one extra special just for me! The best part? It’s hosted on our own website so he can edit and change it however I want! I can link to Facebook so everyone can see my updates and I can post as much or as little content as I want. I’m so excited I just don’t know where to start. Well…here is where I started!
Things to look forward to:
Laundry List Items
Family photos and