October 5, 2012

Vegan, Sugar Free Multivitamins: Playmaker Nutrition for Active Kids and Teens

I believe it is optimal for humans to get their vitamins and minerals from food; however, we have all experienced the picky eater in our children. In our family, we do take supplements, just not every day.

Playmaker Nutrition's Sugar Free Multivitamin is designed for active kids and teens. This vegan formula is also free of gelatin, gluten, milk, eggs, soy, nuts, and animal derivatives. The colors and flavors are all natural.

The Backstory
Playmaker Nutrition is the brainchild of two fathers with backgrounds in health and sports who are parents to active tweens and teens. As their children grew, they became increasingly concerned about the nutritional content their kids were getting in their diets. Like most parents, the guys found that as their respective children got older and develop(ed) their own specific tastes/preferences, directly controlling what their children will eat is challenging. As such, they explored ways to supplement their children's diets to get them the necessary vitamins and nutrients for which their kids don't naturally gravitate. Finding a lack of chewable vitamin options designed to meet the growing needs of active children between the ages of 8-18, Playmaker Nutrition was born.

These gummy vitamins have 25% of most vitamins, which I like. I don't like overloading my kids' systems with supplements that may or may not be absorbed.  They do not contain iron, which is something my son has had low levels of in the past and something I look for in a multivitamin.

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 26, 2012

Obese children have 30-40% greater health risks

We all know that maintaining proper weight is important for our health. From our joints to our heart, our bodies are designed to function at a normal weight. Unfortunately, the standard American diet full of preservatives and processed food, in addition to a sedentary lifestyle, has caused obesity rates to rise alarmingly. Of particular concern are obese children.

A new study has found that obese children have even greater health risks than previously thought. Science Daily reports:

Researchers at the University of Oxford show that obese children and adolescents have several risk factors for heart disease including raised blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and a thickening of the heart muscle, compared with normal weight children.
 They warn that, if these risk factors are allowed to progress into adulthood, obese children could already be at a 30-40% higher risk of future stroke and heart disease than their normal weight counterparts.
Feed your children fresh fruits and vegetables and be sure they get exercise every day!

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September 20, 2012

Trans fatty acid putting millions of Europeans at risk

I've always assumed Europeans ate healthier than Americans. I don't know why. Apparently, their diet is still full of "persistently high trans fatty acid content of certain fast and convenience foods", just like Americans. Science Daily reports:

While the overall TFA fat content of foods has fallen, few European countries have imposed any legal limits, meaning that it is perfectly possible to buy certain packaged and restaurant foods which still contain very high levels, say the authors.

Trans fatty acids (TFA) are primarily produced by the industrial hydrogenation of vegetable oils, a process that solidifies them and helps to prolong the shelf life of the baked goods in which they are used...

Clearer food labelling is one way of curbing trans fatty acid intake, but most countries still rely on food manufacturers to voluntarily reduce the TFA content of their products, the authors point out.

Only a few countries -- Denmark, Austria, Switzerland and Iceland -- have gone down the legislative route and forced industry to limit the amount of TFA used in foods to 2% of the total fat.

But foods containing trans fats, which can comprise up to 60% of the total fat content, can still legally be sold as shop bought packaged goods, or unpackaged in restaurants and fast food outlets elsewhere in Europe, the authors emphasise.

In the US, trans fat labeling became mandatory in 2006. New York city has banned it in restaurants. High consumption of trans fat leads to heart disease.

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September 18, 2012

Malaria, Lymes, West Nile, Oh MY! Diseases on the rise in North America thanks to climate change

As our temperate climate warms, diseases that thrive in tropical climates are increasing in North America. Alternet has identified five such illness:

  1. Lyme's Disease

  2. West Nile Virus

  3. Malaria

  4. Ciguatera

  5. Naegleria fowleri

Just how are rising water-levels and steamier temperatures playing with the planet's pathogens? As the Environmental Protection Agency notes, disease-causing agents are passed on through food, water and animals such as "deer, birds, mice and insects." Climate change may be altering these transmitters, allowing certain diseases to proliferate as extreme changes in water, heat, air quality and more wreak havoc with the waters and animals that host some of our deadliest diseases.

It's really pretty scare stuff that will perhaps finally catch the attention of climate deniers when they fall prey to illness.

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September 17, 2012

Celadon Road 20 SPF Sunscreen: great products, accessibility an issue

We've reviewed Celadon Road before, and I do truly like their products. This time, we were sent Sunscreen SPF20 by a public relations company, rather than a Celadon Road consultant.

Our Original Sunscreen is fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, ecosystem approved, cruelty-free and comes in 100% recyclable packaging. Did we mention the remaining ingredients are gluten-free, corn-free, vegan edible-grade 86% certified organic? Just remember: it goes on your skin, not on your salad.

I continue to be frustrated by Celadon Road's accessibility. I do really like their products, but if I would not have had a prior consultants info, I could not have found the sunscreen on their website. Even so, the product photo was blurry.  Even my crappy old iphone photo is better.

Celadon Road's products are made of simple ingredients. To order them online, you either need to know a consultant already or fill out a form to have a consultant contact you. I don't have time for that. The multi-level marketing may be good for people to start their own businesses as independent consultants, but it also interferes with accessibility of these great products.

I love the quote from Sitting Bull on the sunscreen package.

This product is made in the USA.

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 13, 2012

Toxic dichlorobenzene linked to early puberty in girls

Our toxic environment is changing our bodies, literally. The age girls are experiencing their first menstruations has shifted dramatically over the last 100 years. When I experienced this first hand as a teacher (a first grader got her period!), I blamed hormones in milk products, but it's not that simple.  There are many chemicals contributing to earlier periods, and a new one has just been identified.

Mothering.com explains:

Over the last 100 years, the average age when puberty arrives fell from around 16 to 17 years of age to 12. It continues to drop. Experts say some of this can be attributed to better health. And some of it has to do with high rates of childhood obesity. But there's a growing body of scientific evidence linking it to a variety of toxins.

The newest villian is dichlorobenzene. This chemical vaporizes into the air and is commonly used in air freshener, mothballs, and solid toilet bowl deodorizers. It's harmful to the liver, kidneys, and respiratory tract. The study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that girls with higher levels of dichlorobenzene in their urine had their first period seven months earlier than girls with lower levels. An earlier CDC study found residue of this chemical in nearly every person they tested. Personally, I don't know anyone who uses air fresheners, already associated with other health problems but apparently sales are booming. Even if we never use products containing this chemical in our homes, they are often found in public buildings. Awareness is important. So is an outright ban, now being discussed by the European Chemicals Agency.

It is crazy to think of what chemicals are bodies host from products we do not even use. We are only just beginning to see the consequences to our health.

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September 4, 2012

Tattoo ink linked to skin infections and cancer

Body art is in. Although I don't have any tattoos, I have contemplated a few.

According to the Natural Health Blog, there are ingredients in tattoo ink that are causing an increase in serious skin infections:

An outbreak of a nasty, hard-to-treat skin disease attributed to tattoo ink ingredients prompted both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue warnings about the associated health risks of tattoos.1 According to a CDC report released earlier this week, these skin infections are caused by a type of bacteria known as "nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM)." The report says that the infections typically "require a minimum of 4 months of treatment with a combination of two or more antibiotics."

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. The more worrisome concern is that NTM infection can lead to other conditions, including lung disease, co-infection with staph and eye problems, and infections of other organs.

Furthermore, many inks contain heavy metals:
First of all, the National Center for Toxicological Research has found carcinogenic substances among tattoo ink ingredients.2 The pigments often contain heavy metals like lead, titanium, and cadmium, as well as phthalates and hydrocarbons that are carcinogens and endocrine disruptors.3 According to an FDA fact sheet, some inks contain dyes "suitable for printers' ink or automobile paint." The FDA currently is conducting investigations to determine the long-term effects when the ink breaks down in the body or gets exposed to light, but as of now, nobody really knows the long-term effects.

Experts do warn, though, that black ink in particular may be trouble from the carcinogenic point-of- view. These inks contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which the EPA says are "among the most potent and well-documented skin carcinogens." Anecdotal evidence points to skin melanomas occurring with some frequency at tattoo sites, but again, study evidence is lacking.

Perhaps one should think twice before getting more ink?

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August 18, 2012

Do we have to fund our schools with soda contracts?


In these tough economic times, schools have resorted to contracts with soda companies to add to their budgets. In fact, 80% of public high schools have contracts with either Coke or Pepsi to sell their products on vending machines on campus.  

Mother Jones reports:

Starting in the early '90s, cash-strapped public schools began selling exclusive "pouring rights" to one or another Big Soda company, which would then supply all the beverages sold in on-site snack bars, stores, and soda machines as well as at sports events. Along with sugary drinks, of course, the companies also stuffed the schools with plenty of advertisements... The soda deals subsidize other aspects of schooling, too. Here's how the Rockford Register Star describes a contract between the Rockford, Illinois school district and Coca-Cola:

Under the existing 10-year contract, Coca-Cola paid the district $4 million upfront and an additional $350,000 a year to sell its beverages in schools. The annual payments have funded field trips, gym uniforms, SMART Boards and other frills that individual school budgets may not otherwise have afforded.

I don't know if our local public high school has such a contract, and I wonder if such contracts prohibit schools from promoting anti-junk food education? 

My children would not be tempted by such vending machines, but they are not the norm. With obesity rates on the rise, it is irresponsible to be underfunding our schools to the point that they need soda companies. What's next? Tobacco advertising?

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August 9, 2012

ATMs Host More Germs than Public Toilets

Ever since I was a child, I've had a disgust of public restrooms. I would much rather hold it until the next "private" bathroom. The smell and germs cause me to strategically plan where I will go when running errands or traveling. This video shows how my germaphobia may be misplaced.

ATMs carry more germs than public restrooms!

It's important to wash your hands often, but remember, anti-microbial soaps are not necessary. Just natural soap and water is all you need to stay healthy.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

July 3, 2012

"Chemical Free" SPF 30 Pure Protection by Skinfo Contains Parabens

I just went to my yearly check up and was reminded of the importance of sun protection. It was rather apropos I was sent Skinfo's SPF 30 Pure Protection:

Pure Protection SPF 30 has been specially formulated with Micronized Zinc Oxide to provide the broad spectrum protection of ultraviolet light (UVA and UVB) in combination with a rich blend of free radical quenching antioxidants consisting of liposomal vitamins A, C, E, green tea extract and Co-Q10. This is especially good for sensitive skin types as it is "chemical-free".

Unfortunately, this product contains parabens: Methylparaben and Propylparaben. The Good Human explains why you should avoid parabens:
What Are Parabens?

Parabens are chemicals used as preservatives, and that's why they are found in so many products. They are used to fight bacteria and fungus, are widely available, and cost very little to manufacture and use. Nearly all of the parabens used as preservatives are man-made and not naturally occurring.

Why Are Parabens Bad?

Now, before we get too far ahead of ourselves, I know that there have been studies on both sides of the argument about what parabens are and whether parabens are bad or parabens are safe. But because there have been studies that say that it is potentially dangerous and that have linked parabens to cancer, I have chosen to take the precautionary route and not use products containing them when I can help it. Whether or not they are as bad as some say they are, I would always rather err on the side of safety when it comes to my body and health.

Parabens can mimic the hormone estrogen, which is known to play a role in the development of breast cancers. Researchers have found parabens in breast tumors and believe there is a relationship between parabens and tumors. And in the July 2002 issue of the Archives of Toxicology, Dr. S. Oishi of the Department of Toxicology, Tokyo Metropolitan Research Laboratory of Public Health reported that exposure of newborn male mammals to butylparaben "adversely affects the secretion of testosterone and the function of the male reproductive system." If a causal link between a chemical and cancer is not enough to avoid a product that can easily be avoided, I don't know what is. There are a lot of other reports available all over the internet, but most of them are all related to reproductive health in some way or another.

It always disappoints me when products are marketed as "chemical-free" when they are not.

disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

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