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“Next of Kin Would Like an Order of Onion Rings.” July 30, 2010

Filed under: Nutritional Wellness — aprasek @ 9:06 pm

I think Stephen Colbert should be the Surgeon General. Seriously. Tell it like it is Mr. Colbert:


The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Thought For Food – Cereal, Foot-Long Cheeseburger & Ecobot III
www.colbertnation.com
http://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:cms:item:comedycentral.com:341501
Colbert Report Full Episodes 2010 Election Fox News
 

The Toxic Trio on Your Fingernails July 29, 2010

Filed under: Personal Care Products/Cosmetics — aprasek @ 9:48 am

If you paint your nails or visit a nail salon, then please watch this (thanks to Lorri over at Green Body Green Planet for the heads up on this vid!):



There are simple actions we can take to reduce our exposure to these chemicals and change the nail industry at the same time. I’ll give you two ideas today and two tomorrow….

1.  Gather up all your nail polish and look for these three ingredients:

dibutyl phthalate (DBP)

formaldehyde

toluene

Your nails (and lungs) are too precious to waste on these chemicals. Why add more carcinogens and toxins to your gorgeous body? If you must, use the rest of the nail polish in a different way (cover a scratch on the car, “fix” some nylons, etc.).

To dump the stuff, you’ll need to use your city hazardous waste service. That’s right, nail polish and removers  are considered “hazardous waste” by the EPA— even more evidence of why these toxic products should be banned (I took my empty bottles here as well). Don’t worry, this step is easy, just check your city website for drop off times and other details (you might need to search “hazardous waste” on your city website to find the info).

2. Visit the Cosmetic Safety Database nail section and find some healthier polishes. Just look for products with a green circle… yellow at the most.

Cheers to healthier manis and pedis!

 

Naturally Nutty & Yen Yoga in Michigan July 26, 2010

Filed under: My favorite things!,Physical Wellness — aprasek @ 6:28 pm

So, I just returned from a VK in Michigan. And it was surprisingly fabulous! I guess I never thought of Michigan as a must-see destination. I was wrong.

Tourist highlights:  All the lakes (including the obvious– Lake Michigan), amazing sunsets, sand dunes (undoubtedly made to throw yourself down in a series of cartwheels and somersaults), little islands to kayak to and picnic on, all sorts of wildlife to watch (that includes people watching), cherry orchards (to pick and eat your way through) and tacky touristy things (my personal fave= extreme mini golf courses).

We mainly ran around Traverse City and Elk Rapids. But we also stopped in Charlevoix, Mackinaw, and some random little towns along our roadtrip route.

Here are a few of my favorite things I discovered:

Naturally Nutty:

OMG. Seriously, this stuff is amazing. The flavor I got is a mix of organic pumpkin, flax, sunflower and hemp seeds all spiced with vanilla, allspice, cinnamon and a bit of salt. Hello healthy pumpkin pie! So good on a nice piece of sprouted toast or with a banana or apple slices. I paid $10.49 for my 15 oz jar– not too bad for an organic, delicious nut butter. And with such pronounced flavor, I used about 1/2 the amount of spread on my toast.

Visit the nutty store to order online (prices are a bit cheaper than I paid). If you spend over $80, you get free shipping… that would be a heckuva lot of nut butter…

Let me know if you try any other flavors… I’m trying to get my $80 order planned out 🙂

Yen Yoga:

This was the yoga studio I stumbled into while shopping in Traverse City. It’s a posh looking joint, so I felt a bit out of place in my recycled yoga clothes (literally practiced twice in them without washing– I was roughing it, so whatever). New students receive their first class free, so I was able to snag the 90 minute Vinyasa Flow class and save my money for some divine sorbetto after class (at American Spoon).

The instructor, Jenny Lintvedt was fantastic. She had a great intuitive style to her teaching and was able to handle a huge diversity of skill levels that night.

Yen Yoga also has a bunch of other classes to choose from: Yoga with weights; Kids, Hot, Gentle and Power Yoga classes, Pilates, Spinning (they had a sweet stadium-style spin room); and Kettlebell. If you’re ever in Traverse City, I would definitely recommend stopping in for a solid workout.

That’s just the short and sweet of all the wonderful things I enjoyed on my VK to Michigan. If you have some must-see/do things to share in MI, please share!


 

Pop-Tarts Help Solve ADHD Puzzle July 17, 2010

Filed under: Nutritional Wellness — aprasek @ 1:18 pm

Thank God for Pop-Tarts. If it wasn’t for these little sugar-laden “breakfast” cookies, researchers might still be scratching their heads to understand why practically every child is being diagnosed with ADHD.

Pop-Tarts has proven the hypothesis that feeding a child synthetic food products consisting of only sugar and food dyes can contribute to behavioral and emotional issues by introducing their new recipe, “Chocolate Cherry Whippit Sammies,” I mean “Whipped Sammies” (not that the health consequences are much different).

Check out the recipe here.

So let’s clarify– this is a sandwich that consists of Pop-Tarts, ice cream, maraschino cherries and hot fudge. God help our children. I believe in many things in moderation- but not this. There are so many synthetic ingredients, sugars… essentially just a mash-up of cheap pseudo-foods that are literally setting a child up for poor nutrition and eating practices in the future and bombarding them with a heavy dose of disgusting chemicals. We are now seeing tons of studies drawing strong correlations between poor nutrition practices and emotional, behavioral and learning problems. A Pop-Tart is the perfect example of what not to feed a child– especially one who has been diagnosed with these issues.

Here are the ingredients for the “Hot Fudge Sundae” flavor with the sugars and food dyes highlighted in red:

Enriched flour, Corn syrup, Sugar, Soybean and palm oil (with TBHQ), Corn Syrup solids, Dextrose, High fructose corn syrup, Fructose, Glycerin. Contains 2% or less of cocoa, polydextrose, modified corn starch, salt, dried cream, calcium carbonate, cornstarch, leavening (baking soda, sodium acid pyrophosphate, monocalcium phosphate, calcium sulfate), distilled monoglycerides, hydrogenated palm kernel oil, sodium stearoyl lactylate, gelatin, color added, soy lecithin, datem, natural and artificial flavor, vanilla extract, carnauba wax, xanthan gum, bitamin A palmitate, yellow #5 lake, red #40 lake, caramel color, niacinamide, blue #2 lake, reduced iron, yellow #6 lake, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, thiamin hydrochloride, citric acid, folic acid, red #40, yellow #5, yellow #6, blue #2, blue #1.

What makes Pop-Tarts even more ridiculous in this scenario is that they are bragging about their reduced sugar Tarts being used for these recipes. Really? That’s like selling low-sodium soy sauce with directions to add salt after purchase.

What are your thoughts about products like Pop-Tarts? Do they have a place in the diets of our children?


 

Overnight Walk for Suicide Prevention July 9, 2010

Filed under: Healthy Mind,Take Action! — aprasek @ 7:07 am

Wow, I’ve been MIA for a while, eh? Bout time I got back to bloggin. I miss it and feel like I’m out of the health loop!

Here’s one adventure that kept me busy last week:

I participated in AFSP’s Out of the Darkness Overnight Walk for suicide prevention. Which reminds me, I’m still a little short at reaching my fundraising goal… so, if you’d like to donate to an AMAZING organization, just click here. Thanks so very much 🙂

Gettin ready to walk!

The walk was held in Boston this year and the path didn’t disappoint– check out some fabulous destinations along our 20 mile trek:

Where everybody knows your name...

Cheering section at Fenway!

Name this hockey player (the statue behind us)...

The finish line!

Suicide prevention is a cause that is very close to my heart. I’ll always work for this cause and the more common experiences of suicidal thoughts and/or depression that many of us have faced. On that note, be sure to check out my previous post for my current project addressing these issues.

Some other highlights on my Boston trip…

Back Bay Yoga Studio. This place was awesome! Seriously, if you’re ever in Boston, take advantage of some yoga classes at this studio. They offer all sorts of styles and levels and the teachers are fantastic.

Old Town Trolley Tour: I know, this sounds odd. But seriously, this was the best way to get around and learn about the city! And the conductors were so knowledgeable and entertaining. Totally worth it.

We also stayed at a hostel in Boston… or shall I say hostile– not sure I’d really recommend the place. No air-conditioning, one [nasty] bathroom per floor and, strangely, it was also a residence for women who were dealing with some serious mental health issues. I honestly felt like we time warped to the 60’s and landed at the state mental hospital…yikes. Anyway, it was was a perfect transition to head off to Salem for a witch hunt!

I’m a total ghost-hunter wannabe, but too freaked out to actually “hunt” for the ghosts, I just like to hear the stories (and then sleep with the lights on for the next few nights).

Cemetery next to the witches memorial.

The unlucky ones...

You bet we took pictures at the Pirate museum... but didn't pay to go in.

So, that’s my Boston trip in a nutshell! Please share your own Boston faves if you have them (must-see destinations, healthy places to visit, crazy stories, etc. ).

I hope everyone has been having a wonderful summer! And have a fabulous weekend 🙂