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Posts Tagged ‘green tips’

We’ve just gotten into the months that we’re starting to spend a lot of time in the sun so it’s really important that we’re protecting our skin from damage; from skin cancer, from premature aging, from everything that overexposure to sun rays will do to it.

There are 2 types of sunscreens you can choose from. The first I’m going to talk about is physical sunscreen; zinc or titanium oxide. Those 2 minerals get applied to the skin and they act like tiny little mirrors deflecting the rays off your skin. The second kind is chemicals; oxybenzone, homosalate, octinoxate, octyl salicylate. These cause a chemical reaction by taking the light and turning it into a different form of energy, and it’s usually heat. This is why if you get these in your eyes, it burns badly, and uh…not fun. My preference is definitely the first one, the physical sunscreen, because it’s gentle on your skin; it’s not going to absorb into your system and create a toxic stew, whereas we know now that these petrochemicals tend to absorb in, and there’s all kinds of issues that we’re starting to understand, such as endocrine disruption, and, you know, cancer.
I’m not saying that sunscreen causes cancer, but I’m saying that you have to be careful of what you’re putting on your skin every single day, and the impact it could have on your body. Not to mention the fact that oxybenzone is a known hormone disrupter – one of the more common ones in the market – and is eco-toxic. So if you go and swim near a reef, it can bleach the reef, and it is responsible for a lot of human damage of reef around the world. And that should tell you something about the actual chemical.

Physical sunscreens all the way! I love zinc; it’s not as whitening now, because before we had these larger molecules, so when you think about zinc you just think, like, white – everywhere. But fortunately they’ve gotten the molecule nice and small – micronized – and so it’s not as whitening. You want to go small but not too small, because the nano-sized, the nano-particle zinc, does absorb to damage skin, does absorb through it, and we really don’t know what this nano-sized zinc, or titanium for that matter, is going to do to your system. There’s just not enough research at this point in time. There have been some damning reports about it being eco-toxic as well, so look for non-nano versions.

My favourite sunscreen is Goddess Garden. It’s non-whitening, a super non-toxic formula, and it doesn’t clog up my pores; I have to be very careful about using stuff that’s too greasy or heavy because I will break out.

The ingredients I really want you to avoid are; oxybenzone, retinyl palmitate – because apparently when sun hits retinyl palmitate it can create a carcinogenic type of damage to your cells, so stay away from that – and citrus essential oils, because they contain furocoumarins and they are phototoxic so they will make your skin more vulnerable to UV rays. I just read an article this morning about how even drinking orange juice, they’re linking that to melanoma, so because of these furocoumarins they’ll make your skin just super vulnerable to the sun. So if you see a skin care product that has sweet orange, lime, lemon, bergamot, or grapefruit, stay away! Stay away from the summer, because if you’re going to be out in the sun with it…I don’t think it’s ever a good idea in skin care, but especially if you’re going to be out in the sun.

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I know that Earth Day should be every day but why not mark one day of the year as a time where we can assess our lives and look for ways to step it up a notch for the planet and future generations? We appear to be on a toboggan ride to hell with islands being swept up by the ocean, giant glaciers breaking apart and falling into the sea, drought, famine – the sky IS falling. As an individual, there is a sense of powerless with governments being caught up in red tape, unable to forge ahead with sound policies and big business constantly pumping out propaganda against what environmental scientists have been proving for years. The only thing that we can do is put our money where our mouth is. If we all worked together to make the right choices in our lives, we can make a difference.

Here are my tips for creating effective change in your life.

1. Boycott all Monsanto products. I cannot begin to tell you what this company has done to degrade this planet with their “frankenfoods”, agricultural bullying and cancer-causing consumer goods. They are pure evil. Here are a few ways to stay away from them:

  • If you’re in the United States, buy organic dairy – it won’t contain Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH), a substance administered to dairy cows to increase milk production that ends up in your body. It contributes to breast and prostate cancer and creates mastitis in cows (VERY painful). It has been banned everywhere else in the world so that should say something.
  • Avoid Aspartame, another Monsanto invention that causes damage to the nervous system and immune system. Look for it on labels. You’ll find it in most diet pop, diet foods and low quality protein shakes.
  • Do not eat genetically-modified (GMO) foods. Monsanto plays God in the lab creating what has been coined as “Frankenfoods”.  The most common GMOs are corn, soy, canola and potatoes. They have been shown to cause gradual organ and immune system damage and they contribute to allergies and food sensitivities. Buy organic whenever possible.

2. Do not use pesticides. My step-father and family dog where both diagnosed with lymphoma at the same time in 1988. When my mother called Environment Canada to investigate what appeared to be no coincidence, she was informed of the link between pesticides and this form of cancer. Thanks for letting us know. Our dog didn’t make it but my step-father is still doing great due to the elimination of pesticides and other toxic chemicals from his life. It not only messes with our health but it pollutes ground water as well. Evil.

3. Go vegan. OK, I know that’s a lot to ask. How about decreasing your meat and dairy consumption and choosing organic? With organic meat, you don’t have to worry about ingesting sketchy toxic sewer sludge that gets spread over cattle crop fields. This sewer sludge has all kinds of interesting things in it from the birth control pill to antibiotics. Our “first world” meat and dairy habits are completely out of control. They are contributing to global warming by producing methane gases, use an insane amount of water and energy and are the number one contributor to water pollution in North America. Take it down a notch. If you want some incentive, watch the documentary Food Inc. or Earthlings.

4.     Avoid plastics like the plague. Plastic does not get recycled – it gets downcycled, meaning it gets turned into a different product such as fabric or flooring. The demand for these secondary products is lower than our use of plastics so the majority (76%) of these bottles end up in the landfill after all – for hundreds to thousands of years. It is also a huge health concern. It leeches into products and exposes our bodies to hormone-disrupting chemicals like bisphenol-A (BPA) and pthalates, which may lead to breast cancer, prostate cancer and sexual development issues in babies. When you’re shopping, look for the glass bottle of ketchup rather than the plastic bottle, buy a bar of soap instead of body wash, fill up your own stainless steel water bottle before going out, and bring your reusable bags!

5.     Walk, run, jog, bike, horseback, mule…whatever…get out of your car. It frustrates me to no end that we are still so reliant on petroleum to get around. Is the human race incapable of creating an alternative energy source for transportation? I know the technology is out there but politics and greed have been blocking this for years. Until we are driving some spiffy solar or garbage-fueled “Back to the Future” style car, let’s move closer to where we have to go so we can walk or bike. If you must travel, car pool in a hybrid or join a car co-op.

6.     Buy local and organic community supported agriculture (CSA) food boxes. Most cities have a few programs set up for pick up or delivery. You will get yummy, healthy produce  with little carbon footprint.

These tips are all easy to apply to your life. It just takes that extra consideration every time you take your wallet out, eat or travel. These little things add up to a lot if we all commit to them. We are not helpless, in fact it’s the opposite – the power to change the world lies in each and every one of us.

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When I hear about imported cosmetics and skin care that come from faraway places like Europe or New Zealand, I cringe. I think about how those companies have to import  ingredients from places such as South America, only to be shipped back across the ocean to North America. Is it necessary to have all these carbon emissions when the domestic body care market is so prolific?  There are so many talented indie brands out there it makes my head spin.

When you buy from an indie body care company, you are supporting someone who is following their dreams and doing something that they love. The products that they sell are made painstakingly with pride and not whipped through an assembly line.  Before the industrial age of petrochemicals, this is how all cosmetics were produced. The same person that made your medicine also made your creams and soaps. It is a craft, an art and a science.

Small body care businesses are more likely to use high quality, natural ingredients than big business. As I’ve mentioned before, a typical mass-marketed facial cream is full of petrochemical crap. It does nothing for your skin. It is created to look nice and smell nice but the priority is to keep the cost of goods low so the profits are high. I’ve been asked, “how did you create a cream that is so much better than the department store brands?”  My response is “it isn’t hard”.

So where do you source your local indie body care companies? First of all, I’m convinced that every town has a soap maker. It is a craft that has really taken off over the last 10 years and let me tell you, there is nothing like a handmade, cold-pressed soap. So much better than the road kill soap that the big companies sell. Sometimes soap makers also make lotions and potions but if not, I can guarantee that you will find these types of products in your town, province or state. The best place to source these indie businesses is at farmer’s markets, craft shows and boutiques. You may also get the pleasure of meeting one of these crafty chemists who will likely be very passionate about their products and will tell you all about them.  For online shopping, visit Etsy.com and select ‘Shop Local’ on the left side menu. This is another great way to be introduced to local beauty talent.

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