The Toxic Truth About Talc

The Toxic Truth about Talc

As you may have heard, on February 22, 2016 Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $72 million in damages to the family of an Alabama woman who died from ovarian cancer which was linked to her life-long use of talc-based powders sold under Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower brands.

I remember working in the hospital years ago and many women patients would use baby powder to fight excess moisture and yeast. I don’t really remember ever hearing anyone advise against this practice.

In fact, I didn’t know how toxic it was until I made it my mission to weed out harmful chemicals in my personal care products and began researching the topic extensively.

When I posted about this story on social media earlier this week, I realized that many women are still not aware of the link between talc and ovarian cancer. In addition, most consumers assume that a product is safe if it is on the market. And the longer a product is on the market, the more trusted the product becomes.

In reality, Johnson & Johnson continued selling talc-based baby powder despite decades of research suggesting it’s link to ovarian cancer and despite formulating a corn-starch based version of their baby powder.

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The 5 Biggest Modern Environmental Health Challenges Facing Women and Children (and 5 Tips to Overcome Them)

Many modern conveniences, luxuries, and lifestyle habits seem great. And many of them are great when it comes to saving 5 Big Environmental Challenges1time and convenience. But they are not necessarily healthy for us.

In fact, most of the common chronic illnesses and conditions that we see skyrocketing today are directly related to our modern lifestyle, or what experts call, “environmental factors.”

Chronic illnesses like obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, allergies, asthma, reproductive issues, Alzheimer’s, cancer, mood disorders, etc., are all triggered by lifestyle and environmental factors.

Right now we are living in what I call, “The Age of Modern Chronic Illness” which is characterized by a general state of “un-wellness” and soaring rates of diseases that were fairly rare in the western world just 50 to 100 years ago but are frighteningly common today. Unfortunately, women and children are disproportionately paying the price and bearing the brunt of our modern lifestyle challenges.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic diseases and conditions are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems.

Here are just a few statistics you should know:

• As of 2012, about 50% of all adults had at least one chronic health condition (CDC).
• 65.8% of US women are overweight or obese (source: NHANES, 2011-2012).
• 78% of people affected by autoimmune disorders are women (source: AARDA). As a group autoimmune disorders make up the 4th largest cause of disability in the US and they are increasing.
• The #1 cause of death for women (and men) is heart disease (source: CDC, 2013).
• The #2 cause of death for women (and men) in the US is cancer (source: CDC, 2013).

The good news is …

As I mentioned above, chronic illness is preventable. Research shows that only 5-10% of all cancer cases can be attributed to genetic defects, whereas the remaining 90-95% have their roots in environment and lifestyle. In fact, lifestyle and environment account for 90-95% of MOST chronic illnesses, not our genes.¹ This is good news because we can’t change our genes but we can change our lifestyle and environment.

Here are the 5 Biggest Modern Environmental Health Challenges:

#1 Threat:  Exposure to Toxic Substances

This is one of the biggest health challenges we face in the modern world. There are thousands of chemicals in use today and only a small portion of them have undergone toxicologic evaluation to determine whether or not they are safe.
In fact, research shows that many of them are not safe and have a significant impact on our health and the environment.
According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, environmental toxins may contribute to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, reproductive issues, cognitive impairment and many other chronic health conditions. Children are particularly susceptible to chemical exposures and exposures during child development may contribute to health problems that arise later in life.

In a recent report issued by the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, it states that the widespread exposure we experience in daily life to toxic environmental chemicals, such as pesticides, plastics, and metals (like lead), can lead to fertility problems, stillbirths, miscarriages, cancer, and neurological problems.²

What can you do today? Begin reducing your exposure to toxic substances in your home. Choose paper, cloth, glass, wood, or stainless steel containers over plastic whenever you can. If you live in a home that was built before 1970, consider lead testing. One way to reduce your exposure to pesticides is to buy organic foods as much as possible.

For more ways to reduce your family’s exposure to harmful pesticides download my FREE guide, “Pitch the Pesticides: 5 Strategies to Reduce Your Family’s Exposure to Pesticides.”

Click Here to Get the FREE Guide: Pitch the Pesticides

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Never Eat Directly From a Bag of Chips and 6 More Ways to Overcome Mindless Eating

How many times have you sat down in front of the TV with a bag of chips for a quick snack only to mindfulness eating quoterealize moments later that you have practically consumed the entire bag?

We’ve all had this happen at some point in our lives. This is just one common example of mindless eating and how it can derail your efforts to get or stay healthy.

The good news is that this problem has several solutions, from not eating directly from the bag to not buying the potato chips in the first place. The one thing that each of these solutions has in common is that they stem from a place of mindfulness.

Mindfulness is the foundation of healthful eating.

What does it mean to be mindful?

Being mindful means being attentive, careful, conscious or aware of something. According Merriam Webster, mindfulness means the practice of maintaining a non-judgmental state of heightened awareness of one’s thoughts emotions or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis. It is a state of awareness.

So why does mindfulness matter when it comes to eating real food? Because when we’re not mindful this happens:

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Honor, Duty, Mission

I am writing today in honor of my uncle who passed away this week. As I remember him, I remember him as I did as a child. I candleflameremember playing with him a lot. He was like a giant teddy bear. He was always kidding around and getting me all riled up. I think he was one of the first people in my life that really brought out my natural spunk and fire. Boy could he get me fired up! Haha! Growing up with him and an abundance of male cousins taught me not to take any stuff from any random boys on the playground, that’s for sure!

I have to say that even today he has me pretty riled up. My uncle passed away due to complications related to a hernia. A hernia that brought him to the hospital on three different occasions.

Why am I so fired up?

I’m fired up because he was just in his early 50’s and now he’s gone because of something that probably could have been repaired. I just learned that on his previous visits to the hospital, he was told that his hernia could not be repaired until he lost weight. I’m fired up because he never got help to lose the weight so that he could have surgery that may have saved his life.

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Have Food, Will Travel

Last week I had the fabulous opportunity to travel to New York City to present my book, Fantastically Free: The Savvy Mom’s Guide to Living a Safe, Happy, and Healthy Life with Food Allergies. Overall, it was a great experience, but getting there was a huge pain in the rear, if I do say so myself.

First, my flight was delayed because of wind conditions. Next, my flight was delayed because the cargo door wasn’t showing that it was closed. Then, my flight was delayed again because it was too complicated to fix the door so they decided to get a different plane from Cincinnati. Finally, my flight was canceled at around 11:00 pm because they couldn’t find another crew to fly the new plane. This was very frustrating to say the least–especially since I needed to be in New York by 8:00 am the next morning. In this moment of shear frustration and despair I decided to adopt an attitude of gratitude.

What was the one thing I was grateful for in that moment? Well, I guess it was two things really. First, I was grateful that we didn’t crash due to an open cargo door. But, the second thing that I was grateful for was the fact that I had packed my dinner.

You see, after being at the airport for 7 hours of wasted time, while everyone else was sitting in their seats being served soda and pretzels, I was eating grilled chicken breast, broccoli, berries, and a sweet potato that I packed in my cooler bag. One thing

10-Inch PACKiT Folded

10-Inch PACKiT Folded

that I have learned from managing food allergies and autoimmune conditions and from just being committed to being healthy is this: never travel without food.

One of the biggest challenges my clients (and nearly everyone else I know) have is eating healthfully while on the go. If you have food allergies, an autoimmune disorder, or another condition that impacts what you eat, you have the added challenge of finding safe food while eating away from home–you don’t have the luxury of eating at any old place or grabbing any old snack food off the shelf. You have to plan ahead. The same is true if you’re committed to eating healthfully.

On the flight back home from New York, I enjoyed pastured herb-roasted turkey, avocado, a mixed green salad with olive oil and vinegar, roasted cauliflower and kale, and blueberries, which I had packed in my PACKiT cooler. Everyone else had their choice of cookies, pretzels, or peanuts–not exactly a satisfying or healthful dinner, if you ask me.  No wonder everyone is so grumpy when they fly. They’re tired and hungry! This must be how the term “hangry” originated.

Before I go any further I should tell you about this PACKiT cooler that I keep mentioning. The PACKiT is actually a freezable lunch bag that cools your food for up to 10 hours. I love it! I am not an affiliate or a reseller of PACKiT and they don’t sponsor my site (although it would be great if they did). I just think their products are a life saver (literally, figuratively, and however else you might use the term). We use their lunch bags and salad bags every single day because they allow us to basically take a tiny fridge of safe and healthy food wherever we go. My girls use them to take their lunches to school each day and I use it anytime I will be eating away from home. They also make picnic bags and shopping bags.

10 inch PACKiT Freezable Lunch Bag

10 inch PACKiT Freezable Lunch Bag

If you’re committed to eating well while traveling, here are 5 tips to help you on your journey:

  1. Plan ahead. If you are traveling with a group of kids, you might find it easier to schedule your flight or travel time around your eating schedule so you only have to worry about packing snacks rather than full meals during the flight or the car ride. Sometimes this just isn’t possible, though. Either way, make a list of food that you plan to take with you.
  2. Be prepared. Cook and prepare your food ahead of time so you can just pop it into your freezable bag before you leave. And don’t forget to put your freezer bag in the freezer the night before.
  3. Scout out the area. Before you leave for your trip, get familiar with the grocery stores and healthy restaurants that are near your destination so you aren’t scrambling to find someplace to eat while you’re starving. That never leads to a good decision-making.
  4. Make sure your accommodations meet your needs. When I travel with my entire family, we only stay at places that have a full kitchen. This allows us to make most of our meals “at home.” When it’s just me or the hubby and me, I make sure that I at least have a mini-refrigerator in my hotel room. This allows me to keep fresh fruits, veggies, salads, and meats. It also allows me to refreeze my PACKiT for the trip home.
  5. Make some of your own meals. When I travel, I definitely still eat at some sit-down restaurants that can accommodate food allergies and that have healthy choices available, but the majority of my meals are made by me. When I don’t have a full kitchen available, I eat a lot of fresh green leafy vegetables, avocado, olive oil, vinegar, and the healthiest/safest protein options I can find. If you’re really feeling adventurous, you can experiment with coffee pot cooking. I haven’t tried it myself but it looks interesting.

Next week I will discuss some quick and easy, healthy, Top-8-Free, snack options that even your kids will love. Yep, kids do like healthy snacks, too. In the meantime, I would love to hear how you eat healthy while you’re on the go or what challenges you face when trying to eat healthy away from home. Please feel free to leave a comment below.

5 Steps to Make Time to Cook Healthful Meals

I often hear many women say that one of their biggest challenges to eating healthy is not having enough time to cook. In fact, I used to be one preparing foodof those women before I had children.  When I was in my early twenties, I didn’t realize how important cooking real food was to my overall health and well-being.

According to one study, “time scarcity, the feeling of not having enough time, has been implicated in changes in food consumption patterns such as a decrease in food preparation at home, an increase in the consumption of fast foods, a decrease in family meals, and an increase in the consumption of convenience or ready-prepared foods. These food choices are associated with less healthful diets and may contribute to obesity and chronic health problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer.”¹

Another study published in Public Health Nutrition, maintains that frequently cooking your meals is associated with living a longer life and enjoying a more nutritious diet.² This does not surprise me considering that most of today’s modern illnesses are associated with the highly processed foods we eat today. The more you cook your own meals from scratch, the better off you are.

As a mom of three young girls and a business owner, it can be quite challenging to make homemade meals everyday but I have found a way to make it happen. The truth of the matter is that we make time for the things that are really important to us. Once you make cooking a true priority, you make time to do it.

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