Saturday, October 24, 2009

Is Your Home Toxic? Five Common Health Dangers in Homes ... and What to Do About Them by

Your home is your safe haven, but it may also be a Petri dish of sorts, growing, emitting and teeming with a variety of contaminants. These toxins can come from the environment, from the outdoors, from materials used to build your home and even from your tap water. But no matter what the source, awareness is the first step to detoxing your home. Here we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common indoor health toxins, along with the steps you can take to get rid of them. Fortunately, once you’re armed with the correct knowledge you’ll be able to take simple steps to make your home a healthy place for you and your family.

1. Radon in Your Home
Radon is a radioactive gas that can’t be seen, smelled or tasted and can get into any type of building. According to the Surgeon General, radon is the number one cause of lung cancer deaths among non-smokers and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated it to be the cause of 20,000 deaths each year. Plus, if you are a smoker and live in a home with elevated radon levels you are more prone to the risk of lung cancer.
Radon Points of Entry
Radon comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water and travels from the soil to the air and eventually into homes through seven entryways:
• Cracks in solid floors
• Construction joints
• Cracks in walls
• Gaps in suspended floors
• Gaps around service pipes
• Cavities inside walls
• The water supply
All homes -- old and new, well-sealed or drafty, with or without basements -- are susceptible to radon problems. Statistics are showing that nearly one out of every 15 homes in the U.S. has elevated radon levels. Once it’s trapped inside your home, it builds up and exposes you to health risks such as lung cancer. This happens when the radon gas begins to decay into radioactive particles that are inhaled and trapped in your lungs when you breathe.
After further breakdown of the particles, small bursts of energy are released that can cause lung tissue damage and can develop into lung cancer over the course of your lifetime.
How to Reduce the Radon Levels in Your Home
One of the primary methods of reducing radon in your home is using a vent pipe system and fan also known as soil suction radon reduction. This works by pulling the radon from beneath your house and forcing it to vent outside. This method is much more effective and easy on the pocketbook if you combine it with sealing the foundation cracks and other openings in the home. You can hire an experienced radon contractor to make the necessary repairs.
Testing for Radon: The Only Way to Find Out if You’re at Risk
The only surefire way of knowing the radon levels in your home is by having it tested. Both the EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing for radon in all homes below the third floor.
It is especially important to have your house tested if you are planning any remodeling or renovation jobs, particularly to your basement. If you find you have a radon problem, radon-resistant techniques can be applied as part of your renovation. Once your work is completed, you should have the radon levels tested again as the levels can change in your home after major renovations.

2. Radon in Your Water
A report released by the National Academy of Sciences that was required by the Safe Drinking Water Act reviewed the risk of radon in drinking water and confirmed drinking-water-related cancer deaths, mainly due to radon-induced lung cancer.
Further, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that radon in household water causes 30 to 1,800 deaths every year.
The two main sources of radon in the home is through indoor air and the water supply, which puts you at a higher risk as it poses an inhalation and ingestion risk. Most radon from water is released into the air during shower time and when using water for other household purposes. If your water comes from a well such as a private well or a public water supply system that uses ground water you are at greater risk of radon problems infiltrating your water supply.
• Like radon in your air, because radon is tasteless, odorless and colorless, the only way to find out if high levels are in your water is with a water test.
All you need to do is collect the water and ship it, preferably the same day, to the laboratory for analysis. This test is especially important for those who get their water from a well.
In the event you find elevated levels, the CDC reports that radon can be removed from water by using one of two methods:
• Aeration treatment: Spraying water or mixing it with air and then venting the air from the water before use.
• GAC treatment: Filtering water through carbon; the radon attaches to the carbon and leaves the water free of radon. (The disposal of the carbon may require special handling.)
It's important to note that to adequately remove radon, the water must be treated where it enters your home. Attaching a filter on your tap or under your sink will only treat a small portion of your water.

3. Chlorine in Your Drinking Water and Shower
Tap water in 42 states is contaminated with more than 140 unregulated chemicals that lack safety standards, according to an investigation conducted by the Environmental Working Group.. Despite these findings, public health officials have not set safety standards for these chemicals and millions of Americans continue to drink the water every day.
The study also showed that approximately 240 million Americans drink tap water contaminated with some level of Chlorination Byproducts (CBPs). CBPs are created when the disinfectants used to kill bacteria in the U.S. drinking water supply react with natural organic matter, such as decaying vegetation, or when certain compounds such as bromide are present in the water.
Health Effects of Chlorination Byproducts
• CBPs cause up to 9,300 cases of bladder cancer deaths each year
• CBPs are linked to miscarriages and birth defects, including neural tube defects, low birth weight and cleft palate
• Exposures to other cancers such as rectal and colon
• Kidney and spleen disorders
• Immune system problems
• Neurotoxic effects
• Weight loss early in life
• Neonatal jaundice
• Increased risk of having small head size and body length in infants
There are two routes of exposure to CBPs: drinking chlorinated tap water and through showering, bathing or swimming in chlorinated water.
Studies show that showers and baths may contribute more to your total exposure to chlorination byproducts than drinking water. When you shower or take a bath, the warm water opens up your skin's pores, making it like a sponge for chlorine, and you also absorb the chemicals when you breathe in the steam from the shower.
In fact, the steam from your shower can contain up to 100 times the chemicals as the tap water itself.
Meanwhile, when you drink chlorinated water some of these toxins get filtered by your kidneys, liver and digestive system. This is not so when you breathe in these chemical vapors; there is no filtering, just a direct route to your bloodstream.
Take, for example, a study published in a 2007 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology. The study participants who drank chlorinated water had a 35 percent increased risk of bladder cancer. However, those who spent time swimming in chlorinated pools had a 57 percent increased risk, and those who took long showers or baths also had an increased risk of bladder cancer.
According to some estimates, by taking a hot shower you end up absorbing over 600 percent more chlorine and other chemicals than you would from drinking the same un-filtered water all day!
How to Get the Chlorine Out of Your Tap Water and Shower
As the risks exposure to chlorine and chlorination byproducts from your shower and tap become widely known, it’s essential to know that you can remove these toxins from the water using high-quality water filters. But again, be carefulas they do NOT all filter out chlorine.
The two options that highly recommend come from Wellness, which produces both The Wellness Shower Filter and The Wellness Kitchen Water Filter.
The Wellness Kitchen combines the best filtration and enhancement technologies to deliver the purest and most natural tasting water available. It effectively reduces harmful contaminants, including chlorine and THMs, while at the same time enhancing the water with adding important yet delicate wellness "ions and minerals" that your body needs.
Meanwhile, The Wellness Shower effectively reduces up to 99 percent of chlorine from your shower's water for up to 24 months, which is two or three times longer than any other shower filtration system available. But that's not all.
The Wellness Filter concept was developed in the 1980s by Harusuke Naito, a renowned Japanese sports physiologist and Olympic swimming coach who wanted to produce "perfect water" for his professional athletic clients.
Haru believed that even subtle differences in water purity, surface tension and mineral content could affect body hydration, cellular function, and athletic performance. After extensive field research and study he began experimenting with various natural filtering media in an effort to produce the world's best water.
You owe it to yourself, and your family, to shower in, and drink, only pure water. To find out more about the Wellness Kitchen Filter and Shower Filter, you can visit their site now.

4. Dirt and Toxins Tracked Into Your House From Outside
When you walk in your home, do you immediately take off your shoes and leave them at the door or do you walk around the house in them? This is a particularly important question to ponder if you have small children who play on the floor. One recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Arizona found nine different species of bacteria on the bottom of people’s shoes -- bacteria that can cause stomach, eye and lung infections.
The below findings give solid reasons to take your shoes off at the front door:
• Bacteria lives on your shoes longer than in other places because as you walk you are constantly picking up more debris and feeding the growth of more bacteria
• When tested, bacteria transferred from shoes to tile floors more than 90 percent of the time
• Carpeting harbors even more bacteria than tile floors
• Children under 2 years of age are most susceptible to germs that are tracked into the house as they play on the floor and put their hands in their mouths on the average of 80 times an hour
Leave the Bacteria at the Door
The quickest way to making sure you’re not tracking bacteria and germs into your house is to remove your shoes at the door and carry them in your hand to the closet. Another option is to place a few high-quality mats, like the Waterhog Grand Premier Mats, strategically around your home (such as in doorways and other highly trafficked areas), to reduce the amount of dirt and dust that get into your home in the first place. Once inside, that dirt gets circulated into the air, and you breathe it in.
You can also throw your gym shoes in the washing machine on the cold cycle with natural detergent such as Enviro-Rite Laundry Detergent to kill the bacteria. If the bacterium has already been tracked onto your carpets, your best bet is to give your carpets a thorough cleaning. At SixWise we highly recommend Enviro-Rite Carpet Cleaner PAGE, which is an excellent vegetable-based cleaning concentrate made with naturally occurring renewable resources, and containing no petrochemicals or added dyes or fragrances.
Getting Rid of Dust, Germs, Viruses, Bacteria and Other Dirt
When you walk around or vacuum, dust particles are stirred up into the air, and along with them come the slew of potential toxic chemicals and other unsavory items like rodent waste and insect parts. You may then breathe in these particles or absorb them through your skin once they settle back down onto a surface you touch.
Since Americans spend 90 percent of their time indoors, there's plenty of time to be around this potentially toxic dust. This is especially concerning if you have small children or infants. Children who crawl and put their fingers in their mouth can ingest 10 grams of dust per day. And, since they're smaller than adults and their systems are still developing, they are at a higher risk from contaminants.
This is why dusting horizontal and other surfaces regularly is necessary to get dust out of your home -- but an ordinary dust cloth, the kind that just moves dust around, won't do.
What's the optimum choice for dusting? Hospital-Grade Microfiber Mops, Dusters, Towels and more, which are used by leading hospitals and other healthcare organizations. Rather than just pushing dust around, or worse, stirring it up into the air, Hospital-Grade microfiber products are made with positively charged ultramicrofibers that pick up everything in their path -- including dust and all of its microscopic attachments.
These ultramicrofibers are so small at an astonishing 3 microns that they're even smaller than most bacteria (each cleaning cloth contains over 300 miles of actual cleaning surface!). They pick up contaminants either used dry or dampened with water-no harsh cleaners needed.
Choosing Hospital-Grade Ultramicrofiber Cloths, Mops and Wipes is by far the smartest choice -- and the most economical since each cloth can be used over 100 times before being replaced -- for dusting in your home.
Though it's impossible to not have ANY dust in your home, by using an air purifier and dusting your home regularly with Hosptial-Grade Microfiber Cloths you will be able to keep dust, and therefore your risk of related illness, to a minimum.

5. Indoor Air Pollutants
Studies have shown that indoor pollutants in our homes can be greater than the pollution outside. This is linked to everyday activities such as cooking, heating, cooling, cleaning and redecorating that can trigger the release and spread of indoor pollutants in the home, along with synthetic materials in carpets, pressed wood furniture, cleaning products, pesticides and other toxins. People who spend a lot of time inside the home such as infants, young children, the elderly and those with chronic illnesses are at greater risk of developing health problems due to breathing in these indoor air pollutants.
Five of The Most Common Indoor Pollutants
• Animal Dander (minute scales from hair, feathers, or skin)
• Dust Mite and Cockroach parts
• Fungi (Molds)
• Infectious agents (bacteria or viruses)
• Pollen
Where Pollutants Live in Your Home
• Dirty air conditioners
• Dirty humidifiers and/or dehumidifiers
• Bathroom without vents or windows
• Kitchen without vents or windows
• Dirty refrigerator drip pans
• Laundry room with unvented dryer
• Unventilated attic
• Carpet on damp basement floor
• Bedding
• Closet on outside wall
• Dirty heating/air conditioning system
• Dogs or cats
• Water damage (around windows, the roof, or the basement)
The most common health problems associated with indoor air pollutants are allergic reactions, which may include the following signs and symptoms:
• Watery eyes
• Runny nose and sneezing
• Nasal congestion
• Itching
• Coughing
• Wheezing and difficulty breathing
• Headache
• Fatigue
You can minimize your risks of indoor air pollution by purifying your indoor air. The PIONAIR Air Treatment System, which highly recommends, uses photocatalysis, which is designed to oxidize organic odors, germs, and fungi. The PIONAIR technology creates ultraviolet light rays, safe levels of ozone, and passive negative ions as part of your air treatment. This is not just any old air filter -- it is an air purifier that duplicates Nature's own methods of air cleaning and revitalization.
Controlling Dust Mites
Dust mites are a common allergen, and keeping dust mites down to a minimum are crucial to people suffering from allergies. Dust mite infestation grounds are sofas, stuffed chairs, carpets, and bedding. Other popular areas include open shelves, fabric wallpaper, knickknacks, and venetian blinds. Dust mites live deep in the carpet and cannot be removed by vacuuming.
Here are some tips for alleviating dust mites in your home:
• Wash your bedding every 7-10 days in hot water, as cold water won’t kill dust mites.
• If you are allergic to dust mites, use synthetic or foam rubber mattress pads and pillows, and plastic mattress covers and stay away from fuzzy wool blankets, feather or wool-stuffed comforters, and feather pillows.
• Do a thorough cleaning of rooms and closets and vacuum to remove surface dust. Keep in mind that vacuuming and other cleaning may not remove all animal dander, dust mite material, and other pollutants. To ensure you are picking up as much bacteria as possible while cleaning, recommends using Hospital-Grade Microfiber Terry Cloths.
• Purify your indoor air. The PIONAIR Air Treatment System which highly recommends, uses photocatalysis, which is designed to oxidize organic odors, germs, and fungi. The PIONAIR SMART POINTE is effective against particulate such as pollen, dust, pet dander, and smoke, AS WELL AS mold, mildew, organic odors, and chemical vapors (such as formaldehyde).

Friday, September 11, 2009

How to Talk to a Doctor

The success of a doctor’s appointment is very crucial for a patient. Wrong diagnosis due to wrong information may cause a patient’s life.

Here are expert tips for keeping your appointment meaningful and efficient written by Pamela F. Gallin, MD at the Reader’s Digest, August 2009. She writes:

“It's one of the sorriest stats in modern medicine: The average doctor's appointment lasts 15 minutes or less. No wonder you feel rushed! That doesn't leave much time for chatting about the weather or your mood. What you don't realize -- but what I see very clearly as a physician -- is that in this era of in-and-out appointments, what the patient says is more important than ever. In fact, your comments can help me give you great care or make it much harder for me to figure out what's going on.

Medical schools teach a specific way to conduct an office visit. Part one is the complaint, aka your description of your problem. Part two is the physical exam. And part three is when the doctor gives you a diagnosis and prescribes tests or a treatment. Chances are, you focus on part three, but the patients who receive the best care are those who master part one. The key is to describe in detail what you've been feeling -- not just "bad," but what kind of bad, for how long, and after what kind of activity.

Of course, that's easier said than done. Even though I've been a physician for many years, I tend to be a little nervous when I'm the one sitting on the exam table; if I haven't prepared, I lose track of the details I intended to share. So I take a few minutes at home to write down some crucial specifics. This is sort of like medical Mad Libs -- just choose the right words to fill in the blanks. For instance, say you've been bothered by back pain:

I have had __________ [problem: back pain] for __________ [time: days, weeks, months, years]. It is worse when I __________ [context: awake, bend down, at the end of the day]. The pain is __________ [type: sharp, dull]; it's __________ [severity: mild, severe, intolerable] and __________ [duration: constant, intermittent]. It began __________ [when: with an injury, spontaneously, when taking a medication]. When I take __________ [medication: aspirin, ibuprofen, narcotic], it makes it __________ [effect: all better, partially better, doesn't affect it at all].

The doctor will then ask questions, but you've done much of the work already. Your examination will be more specific, and the diagnosis and treatment will be more accurate. You'll have bought yourself time at the end of the visit to ask questions. And there may even be a few minutes left over for a little pleasant conversation!“

Barbara Ficarra of the gives this advice on doctor’s appointment:

It’s important to partner with your doctor or health care provider. By being proactive and an empowered patient you can help get the care and treatment you need. Trust, mutual respect and communication are vital for the doctor/patient relationship. Be honest and open and allow yourself to be in charge of your health.
Before your appointment with your doctor, it’s important to be prepared.

Here are some of the tips:
• Take your medical history form with you which includes a list of your medications. You can download a free personal medical history and medications form here.
• It’s always a good idea to have someone with you. A trusted family member or friend can help make sense all the information that is given.
• Keep a journal of your symptoms, and bring it with you. Write down symptoms you may be experiencing. When did the symptoms start? Are they triggered by some activity? How long do the symptoms last? Are they constant?
• Write down any questions. Writing a list of questions in advance can help you stay focused and it will allow you to make the best use of time.

Get the conversation started. Here are a few questions to ask your doctor:
• What are the causes of my symptoms?
• Will the symptoms go away? How long will they last?
• What tests are needed to determine the ailment?
• How is the ailment diagnosed? What are the criteria for diagnosis?
• What is the treatment?
• Are there alternative therapies? Over-the-counter medications? Prescriptions? What are they? Will my present medications interfere with any of these new medications?
• Should my diet change? Are there certain foods that I should be eating?
• What lifestyle changes should be made?
These are just a few ideas to help make the most of the office visit. Remember to speak up and take charge of your health. If you don’t understand something, ask to have the information repeated and it’s okay to take notes during your visit.

Pamela F. Gallin, MD, is a clinical professor of ophthalmology and pediatrics at New York Presbyterian-Columbia University Medical Center and the author of How to Survive Your Doctor’s Care.
Barbara Ficarra, RN, BSN, MPA, is host and executive producer of the Health in 30® Radio Show, a 30-minute program in the US that brings listeners the latest health and medical news and information with leading medical experts. The show streams live Thursdays from 5:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. EST on WRCR AM1300.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Simple Ways to Live a Healthy Lifestyle

Hello friends! Again, I'm sharing with you a very helpful article. I am confident that these simple ways will help everyone to stay healthy and fit. My blood pressure became normal after I shed off some pounds. - Nims

This article is written by Paige Waehner Source:
Created: December 14, 2005

You hear a lot about living a healthy lifestyle, but what does that mean? In general, a healthy person doesn't smoke, is at a healthy weight, eats healthy and exercises. Sounds simple, doesn't it?
The trick to healthy living is making small changes...taking more steps, adding fruit to your cereal, having an extra glass of water...these are just a few ways you can start living healthy without drastic changes.


One of the biggest problems in America today is lack of activity. We know it's good for us but avoid it like the plague either because we're used to being sedentary or afraid that exercise has to be vigorous to be worth our time. The truth is, movement is movement and the more you do, the healthier you'll be. Even moderate activities like chores, gardening and walking can make a difference.
Just adding a little movement to your life can:
• Reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes
• Improve joint stability
• Increase and improve range of movement
• Help maintain flexibility as you age
• Maintain bone mass
• Prevent osteoporosis and fractures
• Improve mood and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression
• Enhance self esteem
• Improve memory in elderly people
• Reduce stress

So, even if you opt for small changes and a more modest weight loss, you can see the benefits are still pretty good. One study has found that just a 10% weight reduction helped obese patients reduce blood pressure, cholesterol and increase longevity.
Simple Ways to Move Your Body

You can start the process of weight loss now by adding a little more activity to your life. If you're not ready for a structured program, start small. Every little bit counts and it all adds up to burning more calories.
• Turn off the TV. Once a week, turn off the TV and do something a little more physical with your family. Play games, take a walk...almost anything will be more active than sitting on the couch.
• Walk more. Look for small ways to walk more. When you get the mail, take a walk around the block, take the dog for an extra outing each day or walk on your treadmill for 5 minutes before getting ready for work.
• Do some chores. Shoveling snow, working in the garden, raking leaves, sweeping the floor...these kinds of activities may not be 'vigorous' exercise, but they can keep you moving while getting your house in order.
• Pace while you talk. When you're on the phone, pace around or even do some cleaning while gabbing. This is a great way to stay moving while doing something you enjoy.
• Be aware. Make a list of all the physical activities you do on a typical day. If you find that the bulk of your time is spent sitting, make another list of all the ways you could move more--getting up each hour to stretch or walk, walk the stairs at work, etc.
Learn about more ways to fit in exercise.

Eating Well

Eating a healthy diet is another part of the healthy lifestyle. Not only can a clean diet help with weight management, it can also improve your health and quality of life as you get older. You can use the new Food Guide Pyramid to determine how many calories you need and what food groups you should focus on or, if you're looking for smaller changes, you can use these tips for simple ways to change how you eat:
• Eat more fruit. Add it to your cereal, your salads or even your dinners
• Sneak in more veggies. Add them wherever you can--a tomato on your sandwich, peppers on your pizza, or extra veggies in your pasta sauce. Keep pre-cut or canned/frozen veggies ready for quick snacks.
• Switch your salad dressing. If you eat full-fat dressing, switch to something lighter and you'll automatically eat less calories.
• Eat low-fat or fat-free dairy. Switching to skim milk or fat free yogurt is another simple way to eat less calories without having to change too much in your diet.
• Make some substitutes. Look through your cabinets or fridge and pick 3 foods you eat every day. Write down the nutritional content and, the next time you're at the store, find lower-calorie substitutes for just those 3 items.
Find more ideas for healthy foods with this Healthy Foods Grocery List.

Creating a healthy lifestyle doesn't have to mean drastic changes. In fact, drastic changes almost always lead to failure. Making small changes in how you live each day can lead to big rewards, so figure out what you can to be healthy today.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

No Gym? No Problem!

By: Kathryn M. Tyranski
Source: Reader's Digest

It doesn't matter where you work out, as long as you do it. Here, celebrity trainer Kathy Kaehler offers tips for turning your home into a gym. Try for three sets of ten unless otherwise noted.

Water Weights
Fill empty laundry detergent jugs with water to a weight you can handle, and cap. Do biceps curls, shoulder raises and other arm-slimming moves.

Pull Up a Chair
Sit on the edge of a sturdy kitchen chair with your hands on the edge of the seat. To strengthen triceps, move forward and lower yourself with your arms, bending at the elbows. Then stand in front of the chair and do squats (be sure not to sit completely) for hamstrings and quads.

Ottoman Action
To firm your buns, lie on the floor and place calves on an ottoman. Lift hips off the floor while squeezing glutes.

Become a Stair Master
Walk or run up and down stairs eight to ten times to increase your heart rate.

Make a Deal
Take 15 playing cards and place them in front of you in a pile. To strengthen legs, lunge toward each card, right foot in front, to pick up cards. Repeat with left leg. Then tone your abs: Lie down with knees bent, cards in hands. Sit up, contracting abs until you can reach forward and place one card on the floor. Repeat with all cards.

Have a Ball
Sit up, feet on the floor, knees bent at a 45-degree angle, and lean back slightly. Hold a soccer ball in front of you and move it from side to side, rotating your torso, to target your obliques. Next, lie down, knees bent. Place the ball between your knees and squeeze, to work your inner thighs.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Is Your Kitchen Full of Unsafe Plastics?

by Jillian Michaels

If you've seen the movie The Graduate, you might remember the classic scene in which the main character is told that the future can be summed up in one word: Plastics. Unfortunately, the person giving that advice pretty much nailed it — plastics are now everywhere. Manufacturers use plastics more than any other material to create and package products. The bad news is, many types of plastic contain endocrine disruptors and other dangerous chemicals. If you use containers made of those types to store food, those chemicals can leach into your food and affect your metabolism and your overall health.

You can tell which plastics to avoid by checking the numbers printed on the bottom of the containers. Here are the ones you should stop using:

  • #3 — Polyvinyl chloride (often abbreviated PVC or V): PVC is found in bottles that contain cooking oils, cling wrap, the clear wrap around deli meats and cheeses, plumbing pipes, shower curtains, and toys. This type of plastic contains hormone-disrupting phthalates and cancer-causing dioxins that can leach out when the plastic comes into contact with heat, food, water, air, or our bodies.
    Alternatives: Choose Glad wrap, Saran premium wrap, or Saran Cling Plus wrap (which do not contain PVC) or store your food in glass. Buy cooking oil in glass bottles. Don't ever microwave your food in plastic — instead, use parchment paper or wax paper.
  • #6 — Polystyrene (Styrofoam; often abbreviated PS): Polystyrene is another big no. It's found in your typical take-out containers, disposable coffee cups, and egg cartons. The materials used to create polystyrene are all known or suspected carcinogens, and when PS gets hot, it can release chemicals into foods.
    Alternatives: Buy eggs in cardboard containers and don't drink your coffee from Styrofoam cups. If you can't avoid polystyrene packaging, transfer any food into a glass or ceramic container ASAP.
  • #7 — Polycarbonate (often abbreviated PC): Polycarbonate is found in baby bottles, microwave ovenware, stain-resistant food storage containers, eating utensils, the plastic liners of almost all food and soft-drink cans, Lexan containers, old Nalgene or other hard-plastic drinking bottles, 5-gallon water jugs, and building materials. Hundreds of studies have linked bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical in polycarbonate plastic, with harmful endocrine-disrupting effects, such as early puberty in girls, abnormal breast tissue and prostate growth, and lower sperm count.
    Alternatives: Use glass baby bottles and switch to stainless steel or ceramic drinking bottles. Limit your exposure from canned foods like beans by rinsing the food thoroughly before you eat it.

A few types of plastic are okay to use because they don't contain as many toxins. These are PET or PETE (#1 plastic, the type used in many beverage bottles), HDPE (#2 plastic, used in some Tupperware products), LDPE (#4 plastic), and PP (#5 plastic, used in yogurt containers). While these types are okay, I say the fewer plastics in your life, the better. Whenever possible, look for alternatives such as glass, stainless steel, and ceramics.

Friday, July 24, 2009

How to Avoid Six Dieting Mistakes

By Jennifer R. Scott,

Diet mistakes can keep you from getting to your goal weight. But you're not alone; many of us are guilty of one -- if not several -- of these dieting faux pas. Here is some simple advice on how to avoid six common diet mistakes.

1. Mistake: Gulping Down Extra Calories

Do you start each morning with a couple glasses of orange juice? How about a frothy coffee drink on the way to work? Was that you hitting the vending machine for a sports drink at the gym?

If this sounds familiar, take note: What you drink can be as important to weight loss as what you eat.

Some beverages provide as many -- if not more -- calories than a full plate of food. Liquid calories don't satisfy you like food does, and many beverages bring no nutrition benefit. Even if you were to drink 1,500 calories of beverages a day, you would still feel hungry and then overeat.

Solution: Cut Liquid Calories

Just say no to the followng: sugar-sweetened sodas and other sweetened canned and bottled drinks; flavored and sweetened coffee beverages, such as frappes, lattes and frozen coffee; sweetened tea (hot or iced); and smoothies.

While juice is healthier than all these choices, whole fruit is preferable to a glass of juice; it has fewer calories and more fiber and is more filling. Water and herbal tea (without adding sugar) are ideal replacements for high-calorie beverages.

2. Mistake: Depriving Yourself

So you've sworn to lose weight this time around. You rid your pantry of your favorite fattening foods. You sweep the fridge and all bad foods make their way to the trash can. You do okay for a few days. Then, one night, you lose it and eat everything left in the house that isn't a fruit or vegetable.

No matter how resolved we are to lose weight, we crave treats (especially sweet ones) we are accustomed to. You will eventually get the urge to indulge no matter how well those first few days go.

Solution: Giving in ... a Little

Swearing off foods you enjoy is a surefire way to set yourself up for failure. It's like a form of torture: Everyone else can eat the things you love while you can't even taste them. How's that going to help you stick to your diet? It won't. Allow yourself a special treat every now and then. Keep your portion sizes in check and you can still have your favorite foods in moderation.

3. Mistake: Believing Your Genes are to Blame

You take a look in the mirror and you see your mom. It's not her hair or even her eyes. It's your body. And there's nothing you can do about it. After all, it's hereditary.

The Solution: Get Real!

Genes do play a role in some cases of obesity. Often you will see family members who share the same body type. But for many of us, the most important factor in weight loss is calories in vs. calories out ... how many calories we eat and how much exercise we get. Even if family members are heavy, there are steps you can take so that you do not share their fate. Working out and strength-training will build muscle and give your metabolism a boost, both of which will help you head off the propensity for weight gain your genes might bring.

4. Mistake: Meal Skipping

It only stands to reason: If the key to losing weight is cutting calories then why not cut a bunch at once by skipping a meal? If you skip meals when you're trying to lose weight, you're doing yourself more harm than good. Meal-skipping can cause your metabolism to nosedive. That will set you up for sluggish calorie-burning all day long and ravenous hunger and overeating at night.

Solution: Don't Be a Skipper

Most meal-skippers forgo breakfast. It seems to be the easiest meal to do without. But in reality, breakfast may influence weight loss more than any other meal! If you aren't hungry first thing in the morning, have something small. Do you actually forget to eat in the a.m. hustle and bustle? Set an alarm to go off some time after you normally rise to remind you to stop, take a breath ... and eat.

5. Mistake: Giving in to a Food-Pusher

You've met her. She pushes doughnuts on unsuspecting office mates. She brings cupcakes for the bookgroup while only tasting the icing herself. She hands you the takeout menu when you've already told her you brought a brown bag. Who is she? She's a pusher! A food pusher, that is.

Solution: Put Yourself First

Whether office baked goods temptress or the well-meaning Mom who suggests seconds of her best dishes, some people just refuse to take "no" as an answer. They probably don't even realize they are making your weight loss efforts that much harder. Learn how to say no in a way that works. You may have to distance yourself from the "pusher" for the time being. Sometimes it's better for all parties concerned.

6. Mistake: Giving Up On Losing Weight Your Way

Sometimes, telling your friends and family you are on a diet can actually backfire. If they don't understand your diet or think they know a better way to lose weight, it can lead to unwelcome input or even arguments. You get to the point that you want to throw in the towel.

Solution: Keep it Under Wraps

Only you know what works for you. So keep doing what works for you. There's no rule that says you have to tell friends or family that you're trying to lose weight. Weight is a personal issue. It's your prerogative to keep it that way.