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I am a wife, mother of 7 and grandmother of 1. I have taught at PNC since 2000 and prior to that taught kindergarten for 9 years. Most recently I have become very interested in learning about environmental health issues and what I can do to make a difference.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Truth about EGGS

Well Easter is just around the corner and my mouth is starting to water for the delicious taste of deviled eggs.  How about you?  Every year around this time I begin to crave deviled eggs.  Now I have made the switch to brown eggs and when I can I buy them from a neighbor who has free roaming chickens.  The taste is undeniably better than store bought white eggs.  The problem is during the winter the chickens aren't laying as many eggs so then I purchase the store bought brown eggs.  More expensive than white eggs but I believe worth the benefits.  Now back to my craving for deviled eggs.  I don't think about them in the fall and winter months but come spring I am craving these delectable little treats.  With my focus this year on being more conscious about healthy environments I wanted to explore whether eggs are healthy or not.  It seems like the debate has been going on for a long time now about healthy vs. nonhealthy in the great egg debate. 

Well according to information found at Livestrong.com The Limitless Potential of You

Not True: Eggs make you fat

True: Eggs are a great food for weight loss

 One egg is only about 70 calories, with a great balance of 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of fat. The protein/fat combination of increases satiety hormones -- the ones that tell your brain you are full. The protein in eggs also causes your body to release the hormone glucagon, which encourages your body to release and use stored carbohydrates and fat.

Not True: Eggs raise your cholesterol

True: Eggs don’t affect cholesterol levels


The problem: Dietary cholesterol doesn’t actually raise cholesterol as much as you might think. In fact, only 30 percent of people experience significant increases in cholesterol levels after following a diet high in cholesterol. Researchers from Harvard looked at the dietary habits of more than 100,000 people and concluded that daily egg consumption in healthy individuals didn’t increase risk of coronary heart disease. What’s more, a study from the University of Connecticut found that eating three eggs per day as part of a low carbohydrate regimen improved HDL -- the "good" cholesterol -- without any negative health effects.

Not True: You should only eat egg whites

True: Enjoy the entire egg -- yolk included

Egg yolks contain 240mg of leucine, the amino acid single-handedly responsible for flipping your genetic muscle-building switch .But egg yolks are much more than just a muscle building nutrient. They also include choline -- essential for cell membrane function -- cholesterol, which serves as the molecular framework for multiple hormones in the body, vitamin A , vitamin D and vitamin E. Enjoy the entire egg to take advantage of all the nutritional benefits

Not True: Eating raw eggs allows you access to more nutrients

True: Cook your eggs to ensure you access all the nutrients

Raw eggs contain a compound called avidin, which binds and prevents the absorption of the essential nutrient biotin. Cooking eggs deactivates avidin, rendering it biochemically useless. And while only 1 in 10,000 eggs is contaminated with salmonella, properly cooking eggs will effectively kill any salmonella that is present—as well as significantly reduce the risk of any food-borne illness that might exist.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Health Benefits of Massage Therapy

My husband and I just returned from our first ever cruise.  It was a wonderful way to celebrate our wedding anniversary and a great escape from our "In Like a Lion" March weather.  My husband loves, loves, loves, getting a massage and so of course on this excursion he enjoyed a luxurious massage right on the beach in Cozumel by a massage therapist.  I on the other hand am not that interested in massages so I thought I would do a little investigating to find out what the health benefits of massage therapy include.  According to the Mayo Clinic massage therapy is not only found in spas and upscale heath clubs but can be found at places of employment, clinics, hospitals, and even airports.  Massage can help us unwind but also can be helpful for:
  • Anxiety
  • Digestive disorders
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia related to stress
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Paresthesias and nerve pain
  • Soft tissue strains or injuries
  • Sports injuries
  • Temporomandibular joint pain

  • Do you know that massage has been practiced for thousands of years?  Today we have an option of choosing from 80 different types of massages.  The most common is a Swedish Massage but check out http://www.webmd.com/balance/massage-therapy-styles-and-health-benefits to learn about all the different types of massages available.

    I think on that next trip with my husband I should opt for a massage because you know You are Worth It!

    Tuesday, October 9, 2012

    Neurotoxins?

    Neurotoxins what are they and why should I care?

    We should care because they harm the brain.  Neurotoxins are chemicals that can interfere with brain development.  My youngest children, who are now 16, were exposed to harmful neurotoxins in utero and as a result they must learn to live with severe learning disabilities.  Is this their fault?  No, unfortunately their birth mother chose to abuse alcchol while she was pregnant.  She may have smoked also but at the time of adoption we were not given that information.

    Two of the most well-known neurotoxins are alcohol and nicotine. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, now considered part of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, is the most preventable form of behavioral and learning disabilities. Smoking during pregnancy and exposure to secondhand smoke are also preventable causes of behavioral disorders and developmental delays.

    I'm sure you are saying, "Well I knew that."  But did you know that did you know that approximately 3,000 chemicals are produced at more than one million pounds per year. Of these 3,000 chemicals, scientists have determined with certainty that 10 to 12 chemicals or categories of chemicals are developmental neurotoxins. There is good evidence that another 200 of these chemicals are neurotoxins in adults.

    Have I captured your interest?  If so keep reading the information I located on the Healthy Children Project, a project of the
    Learning Disabilities Association of America | National OfficeLearning Disabilities Association of America

    Chemicals Known to Harm Brain Development

    • Lead: Found in old paint in older houses and buildings, also found in toys, jewelry, lead pipes and lead sinkers. There is no safe level of lead exposure for children.
    • Mercury: Released into air from coal-fired power plants, also found in medical equipment, switches and fluorescent bulbs. Mercury falls into the water, where it accumulates in fish. The main source of exposure for people is through eating fish.
    • PAHS: Air pollutants from fuel combustion in vehicles, coal-fired power plants, heating and cooking. These air pollutants are also found in tobacco smoke.
    • PCBs: Used to make electrical transformers. Banned in the late 1970s, but persistent in the environment and still widely found in lakes, rivers, soil, fish and people.
    • PBDEs: Certain flame retardants added to furniture, electronics, clothing and other products. PBDEs accumulate in household dust and have been found in breastmilk. The states of Washington and Maine have banned all PBDE flame retardants.
    • Manganese: A trace element that at high levels, either in drinking water or through exposure to welding fumes, can damage brain development.
    • Arsenic: Found in drinking water around the world, arsenic affects neurodevelopment in children.
    • Pesticides: Used to kill insects,plants, fungi or animals on crops, lawns, homes, schools and office buildings. U.S. pesticide use in agriculture and homes totals more than one billion pounds per year.
    • Solvents: An array of compounds,including toluene, benzene, alcohol, turpentine, acetone and TCE, found in products such as gasoline, lighter fluid, lubricating oils, paint strippers and thinners, glues, polishes, cleaners, stains and shellacs.

    Chemicals Under Investigation for Effects on Brain Development

    • Bisphenol A (BPA): A plasticizer that mimics estrogen in the body, BPA is found in hard plastics, food and soda can linings, and cash register receipts, among other uses.
    • Food Additives (Dyes and Preservatives): Used throughout the food supply and long suspected of causing conduct disorders and hyperactivity. Under study for effects on neurodevelopment, cognition and behavior.
    • Fluoride: Commonly added to municipal drinking water and in toothpaste and mouthwashes. Excessive fluoride lowers thyroid hormone levels. Primary concerns are cumulative exposures and determining levels that may affect neurodevelopment.
    For more information on chemicals that can harm brain development and function, see “Scientific Consensus Statement,” published by the Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative (LDDI) Working Group of The Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE).


    Wednesday, September 19, 2012

    But I LOVE my Plastic Containers

    I don't know about you but I have been known to purchase plastic containers for a variety of purposes.  I love them for leftovers, carrying lunch to work, and using them for drinking bottles.  However recently I am becoming concerned about  Bisphenol A.

    Number seven recycling symbol

    What is bisphenol A? 

    Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical produced in large quantities for use primarily in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins.

    Where is BPA found?

    Polycarbonate plastics have many applications including use in some food and drink packaging, e.g., water and infant bottles, compact discs, impact-resistant safety equipment, and medical devices. Epoxy resins are used as lacquers to coat metal products such as food cans, bottle tops, and water supply pipes. Some dental sealants and composites may also contribute to BPA exposure.

    How does BPA get into the body?

     The primary source of exposure to BPA for most people is through the diet. While air, dust, and water are other possible sources of exposure, BPA in food and beverages accounts for the majority of daily human exposure.

    Bisphenol A can leach into food from the protective internal epoxy resin coatings of canned foods and from consumer products such as polycarbonate tableware, food storage containers, water bottles, and baby bottles. The degree to which BPA leaches from polycarbonate bottles into liquid may depend more on the temperature of the liquid or bottle, than the age of the container. BPA can also be found in breast milk.

    Why are people concerned about BPA?

    One reason people may be concerned about BPA is because human exposure to BPA is widespread. The 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found detectable levels of BPA in 93% of 2517 urine samples from people six years and older. The CDC NHANES data are considered representative of exposures in the United States. Another reason for concern, especially for parents, may be because some animal studies report effects in fetuses and newborns exposed to BPA.

    If I am concerned, what can I do to prevent exposure to BPA?

    Some animal studies suggest that infants and children may be the most vulnerable to the effects of BPA. Parents and caregivers, can make the personal choice to reduce exposures of their infants and children to BPA:

    • Don’t microwave polycarbonate plastic food containers. Polycarbonate is strong and durable, but over time it may break down from over use at high temperatures.
    • Plastic containers have recycle codes on the bottom. Some, but not all, plastics that are marked with recycle codes 3 or 7 may be made with BPA.
    • Reduce your use of canned foods.
    • When possible, opt for glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers, particularly for hot food or liquids.
    information taken from The National Institute of Environmental Health Issues

    Today I think twice about purchasing these convenient storage containers and have switched to using ball jars for leftovers.  They are relatively inexpensive and can be used over and over.  I am trying to switch to using frozen veggies and fruits to canned items.  Unfortunately I am still drinking "diet sodas" out of a can but that is a discussion for another time. 

    Friday, August 24, 2012

    Going Green Tips

    Today our society is really becoming interested in the concept of "going green" but what does that really mean and what can WE do to truly make a difference.  I challenge each of you to make one simple change each day for at least a week, and you will be on your way to a greener and safer way of life.

    1. Clean Green - Make your own natural cleaning supplies.  It's easy, less expensive and much healthier for you, your family, and your pets.  My favorite cleaning products are baking soda, lemon, and vinegar.  A good website for cleaning supply recipes can be found at SafetyAtHome.com  Click on the link for Seasonal Safety and go to Spring. Water - Turn off water when you are not using it.  For example when brushing your teeth don't let the water run, repair leaky toilets, and buy low-flow faucet aerators or shower heads.  Did you know fixing a slow-drip can save 3,000+ gallons of water a year!
    2. Lights - Save electricity and reduce environmental impact by turning off lights when you leave a room.  Light-emitting diodes (LED's) use less energy and last longer that other bulbs.  My husband and I just installed new outside lights on our house (front door, back door, and on the garage).  We chose motion detector lights so now they only get turned on when someone needs an outside area to be lit up.  My kids are notorious for switching on lights to get from one room to another.  I challenged them to take the NO LIGHTS CHALLENGE.  For one month we used tea light candles in areas where we pass to get from one part of the house to another (hallways, mudroom, staircase).  Instead of turning on the hallway light to get from the family room to their bedroom we put a tea light candle in a rinsed out jar.  Do you know that month our electric bill went down $20.00?  I was amazed and so were the kids.  Now they are more conscious about turning on lights unnecessarily.
    3. Recycling - Challenge your family to see who can make the most creative objects from recycled materials.  My daughter is currently working on a wall sculpture she is making out of toilet paper tubes.  Do you know that recycling just one aluminum can saves enough energy to operate a TV for 3 hours.
    4. Insulate - Caulk and weather strip your home or add insulation to your attic, walls, and basement.  This will help cool air stay inside during the summer and cold breezes outside in the winter.  Last winter my husband noticed that cool air was coming in through our light switches and outlets that were on outside bearing walls.  He picked up some insulated wall plates and quickly got rid of the cold air drafts at a minimum cost.
    What tips do you have for helping us to Go Green?

    Friday, July 20, 2012

    Repurposing

    Recently I have been investigating ways to reuse/repurpose items instead of purchasing new.  This month my daughter Lily wanted a headboard for her bed.  Together we looked and looked for headboards online but didn't see anything we liked.  We decided to look online for homemade/faux headboards to get some ideas.  Here is what we ended up making.


    We had some old shutters in our garage and decided to put three of them together.  We used heavy duty clips for paper clipping to hold them together.  Then we found some old Christmas lights and hot glued the strands (we used two) to the back of the shutters. 

    I have to admit this starts to get a little addicting.  After this project we decided to use some old frames to make earring art for Lily's bedroom.  Lily spray painted three old picture frames.  I glued screen (the material you use to rescreen screens for your windows) to the back of the frames and then Lily arranged her hanging earrings to make functional art.



    
    What are some of the ways you are repurposing?

    Thursday, June 14, 2012

    Virtual Book Club Event 7/26/12



    “Hearing about Kristi’s story—from her devastating cancer diagnosis to her remarkable journey to her triumph of finding her own strong voice and purpose in the world—inspires me more than I can say. If one person can have such an impact, imagine what we could do if everyone stated making little changes!” –Stacy Malkan, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics co-founder and author of Not Just a Pretty Face, the Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry





    This group will be reading Kristi's funny, poignant, and powerful story from today until July 25th. Then, on Thursday, July 26th, we will chat, laugh, and connect at our online Summer Book Club event where Kristi will share behind-the-scenes stories and inside adventures that led to the creation of Little Changes. The event will be hosted by Stacy Malkan!


    If I can make it I will be there.  Although I have read Kristi's book I plan on starting it again today. I am hoping to participate in the online discussion on July 26th but my family and I will be in Lake Tahoe vacationing and I can't promise I will be able to join the discussion but hope you can.  Here is how you can participate:


    1. Order your copy of Little Changes. Choose between a paperback, ebook, audio book, or even an autographed copy!
    2. RSVP to the Virtual Book Club event.
    3. Mark your calendar to call into the virtual Summer Book Club event on July 26th at 9 pm EST/6 pm PST
    Surfing for a great summer read?  Craving a book-indulgence to lose yourself in? Join the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics Summer Book Club and devour the debut book Little Changes, by Kristi Marsh!