April 27, 2010

4 Bad Habits That Shorten Your Life by 12 Years

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New research conducted at the University of Oslo and published in the Archives of Internal Medicine has discovered four common bad habits can reduce your life span by as much as 12 years. The bad habits are:


  • Smoking tobacco

  • Less than two hours of exercise per week

  • More than two alcoholic drinks for women or three drinks for men per day

  • Eating less than three servings of fruits and vegetables a day


I wonder why men can drink more than women without seeing the negative effects?

Via: Huffington Post

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

April 7, 2010

Really Natural Books: Animal Factory

Animal Factory: The Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy, and Poultry Farms to Humans and the Environment by David Kirby is an eye-opening, informative account of how factory farming is negatively affecting our health and environment. I have not read this book cover to cover at the time of this review, but I am very impressed at its thoroughness and message.

Animal Factory is a thoroughly-researched piece of investigative journalism, in which Kirby sets out to approach factory farms differently from 'Fast Food Nation' or 'Eating Animals'. As his powerful and provocative books shows, the supermarket price of milk, pork, steak and chicken do not reflect the actual costs of mass-producing meat and dairy, which are passed on the to surrounding communities, including:

  • Airborne feces sprayed by farms, covering neighboring homes, fields, and towns

  • Recalls of dangerous meats, fruits, and vegetables caused by farm pathogens

  • Increasing public health crises, including asthma and MRSA infection, and possibly swine flu and leukemia and other cancers in communities adjacent to these farms

  • High levels of feces and nitrates in public water supplies near these farms. The New York Times recently reported that "19.5 million Americans fall ill each year from drinking water contaminated with parasites, bacteria or viruses." (9/15/09)

  • Massive fish kills in local waters from pig and cow manure lagoon spills

  • Immense costs to clean up hazardous farms, absorbed by taxpayers or individual farmers, rather than by the corporations that profit from such practices

  • Dead zones spreading miles out to sea, where marine life is suffocated by algae growth stimulated in part by factory farm pollution


In Animal Factory, Kirby follows three American families in different regions of the US, whose lives have been utterly changed by Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs. Weaving complex science, politics, business, and the lives of everyday people, Kirby documents a crisis that has reached a critical juncture in the history of human health and our larger global environment.

I like how Kirby tracks factory farms affect on families, as it gives a human touch to a story that is truly overwhelming to contemplate.

As a vegetarian, my life is still affected by factory animal farms. No one is immune. We must support local, traditional farms as consumers to really bring about change, as well as make sure our politicians are aware of the consequences of factory farming. Anyone that has visited or driven by a large factory farm, like Harris Ranch on I-5 in California, knows, the situation is not good for animals or humans.


Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

March 22, 2010

World Water Day 2010: Clean Water for a Healthy World

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I may sometimes forget to write about greening major holidays on Really Natural, such as Valentine's Day and Halloween, and I get annoyed with Earth Day, but World Water Day is an important day we should all reflect upon. This year's theme is "Clean Water for a Healthy World".

Every year, 1,500 cubic kilometres of wastewater are produced globally. While waste and wastewater can be reused productively for energy and irrigation, it usually is not. In developing countries 80 percent of all waste is being discharged untreated, because of lack of regulations and resources. And population and industrial growth add new sources of pollution and increased demand for clean water to the equation. Human and environmental health, drinking and agricultural water supplies for the present and future are at stake, still water pollution rarely warrants mention as a pressing issue.

The goal is to "raise the profile of water quality at the political level". So fill yourself a glass of clean tap water and write your politicians letters to honor World Water Day.

Image:  nsf.gov
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

March 4, 2010

OSU: Eating Garlic Reduces Your Risk of Cancer

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The health benefits of garlic, besides warding of vampires, has long been known. New research conducted at the Ohio State University (OSU) has found "hints at garlic's cancer-fighting potential".

Researchers have designed a urine test that can simultaneously measure the extent of a potential carcinogenic process and a marker of garlic consumption in humans.

In a small pilot study, the test suggested that the more garlic people consumed, the lower the levels of the potential carcinogenic process were.

Good news for garlic lovers and those with cancer in their family tree!

Image: Bellybytes

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

February 12, 2010

New Gluten Free Crunchy Maple and Vanilla Sunrise Organic Cereal by Nature's Path

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Nature's Path already makes many gluten-free, organic cereals, and now they have added to the bunch with the Crunchy Sunrise flavors of maple and vanilla.
Crunchy Maple Sunrise:

Made with love and ...
INGREDIENTS: Organic whole grain corn meal, organic evaporated cane juice, organic brown rice flour, organic yellow corn flour, organic inulin, organic quinoa puffs, organic maple syrup, organic flax seeds, natural maple flavor, organic buckwheat flour, organic quinoa, sea salt, organic amaranth, organic molasses, tocopherols (natural vitamin E). Produced in a facility that uses peanuts, tree nuts and soy.

Crunchy Vanilla Sunrise:
Made with love and ...
INGREDIENTS: Organic whole grain corn meal, organic evaporated cane juice, organic brown rice flour, organic yellow corn flour, organic inulin, organic quinoa puffs, organic flax seeds, natural vanilla flavor, organic buckwheat flour, organic quinoa, sea salt, organic amaranth, organic molasses, tocopherols (natural vitamin E). Produced in a facility that uses peanuts, tree nuts and soy.

Of course, you don't have to be one of the two million people in the US that suffer from Celiac Disease to enjoy these healthy cereals. There is no sacrifice of flavor in making these cereals gluten-free.


Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.


Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

January 28, 2010

Eating Chocolate Proven to Reduce Stress Hormones

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Science has proven what I have known all along: eating chocolate reduces stress! The "chocolate cure" has been clinically studied. Published in the Journal of Proteome Research, Medical News reports:

It found that eating about an ounce and a half of dark chocolate a day for two weeks reduced levels of stress hormones in the bodies of people feeling highly stressed...

Sunil Kochhar and colleagues note growing scientific evidence that antioxidants and other beneficial substances in dark chocolate may reduce risk factors for heart disease and other physical conditions. Studies also suggest that chocolate may ease emotional stress.


In my experience, a glass of red wine coupled with chocolate works best :) Of course, organic chocolate yields premier results.
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

January 27, 2010

Natural Yoga Mat Made from Jute and Rubber

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Recently, I found myself in need of a yoga mat in order to take an unplanned class hours from my home. At a local health food store, I purchased the Gaiam Eco Conscious Jute Yoga Mat (Natural). This mat is costs about $37.00, and it smells wonderful fresh out of the packaging. I have an aversion to smell of new yoga mats, even ones that are PVC-free, but this yoga mat had the sweet smell of jute. The jute mixed with rubber also gives the mat a different texture that I preferred to traditional yoga mats the first time I tried it.

An eco-friendly alternative for your yoga practice, this mat from Gaiam is made of 100% jute, an earthy, natural and biodegradable fiber. The mat is constructed by meshing jute fibers with patented PER plastic, a phthalate-free plastic that is safer for the environment, as well as for the workers who manufacture it. Soft and lightweight, the Gaiam Jute Mat features a grippy, non-skid rubber bottom, ideal for all types of flooring. The mat is durable enough for machine-washing but will have a longer life span if hand washed.

My trust in Gaiam has faltered given the BPA scandal in their aluminum water bottles, but I do really like this yoga mat. It has replaced my regular mat in my daily practice.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

January 12, 2010

Fish Roe is the Best Source of Omega-3

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A new study has found that the best source of Omega-3s comes from roe. Medical News Today reports:

Until now there had been no precise understanding of the nutritional potential of the roe of marine animals, but a team of researchers from the UAL has now shown that this is one of the best natural sources of Omega 3 fatty acids, which are essential for ensuring the correct development of a wide variety of metabolic functions in the human body...

The conclusions of the study also show that minimal consumption of lumpsucker, hake or salmon roe satisfies the human body's Omega 3 essential fatty acid requirements, because of its levels of EPA y DHA. A lack of these compounds is associated with cardiovascular disease, hypertension, depression, diabetes, poor development of the nervous and reproductive systems, and inflammatory diseases, such as Crohn's disease.


I've recently begun supplementing my vegetarian diet with fish oils by Nordic Naturals. I know this seems odd to take a supplement and not just start eat fish, and it was a hard decision, as I want to remain a vegetarian. I have been suffering from an arthritic hip, and my doctor recommended fish oils. I decided I would rather take the supplements than suffer from pain or rely on over-the-counter medications that are not natural.
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

January 8, 2010

BPA Free Baby: Plastic Bottles and Pacifiers by BornFree

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BornFree was one of the first companies to offer BPA-free baby products when news broke about this hazardous chemical. Not only are their products free from BPA, they are also free from PVC and phthalates. Two of our favorite BPA-free BornFree products are:


Babies need to be protected from chemicals; we all do:
Exposure to Bisphenol A is Widespread

  • Bisphenol A is most commonly used to make clear polycarbonate plastic for consumer products, such as baby bottles. Through use, this plastic breaks down and leaches bisphenol A into liquids and food to which it comes into contact.

  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found bisphenol A in the urine of over 95% of people they tested.

  • Alarmingly, the median level of bi-sphenol A in humans is higher than the level that causes adverse effects in animal studies.

With my first child, I never used a pacifier and only used a bottle to try to feed her water when she was older. My son had health problems that required a bottle and pacifier while he was in the hospital recovering from open heart surgery, and unfortunately the hospital did not have BPA-free bottles or pacifiers. After his release, he was back to the breast only for his nourishment and comfort.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

December 11, 2009

Natural Hand Sanitizer Protects Hands for 2.5 Hours Using Silver

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There's a plethora of natural hand sanitizers on the market now. SilvaPlex offers a unique choice for natural hand sanitizers, as it provides protection for up to two and half hours. At about $4 a bottle, this sanitizer is affordable, but I wonder about the safety of silver.

-SilvaPlex® is naturally made with Chitosan- Silver Complex®, a formula that creates on your skin a barrier against bacteria for 2½ hours.

-SilvaPlex® has an excellent anti microbial efficacy on a wide spectrum of microorganisms.

-SilvaPlex® is a powerful antibacterial composed of Silver Complex and Bio-Polymers.


Silver nanoparticles have become a popular way to provide antimicrobial protection. From socks to appliances, they are everywhere, but are they safe? Green Living Ideas cites Friends of the Earth's concern with nano-silver:

Silver has long been known to be a potent antimicrobial agent. However, its use has exploded in recent years, in medical applications and also in many consumer products, including children's toys, babies' bottles, cosmetics, textiles, cleaning agents, chopping boards, refrigerators and dishwashers.

Much of the silver used in these products today is manufactured at the nano-scale, meaning it is present in extremely tiny particles that behave differently than larger particles and are especially potent. Studies suggest that the widespread use of nano-silver poses serious health and environmental risks and that it could promote anti-bacterial resistance, undermining its efficacy in a medical context.

Sure, I'm afraid of the swine flu and MRSA, but I think I'll stick with good old handwashing for now.


Disclosure: I was sent a free sample of this product to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

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