Thank YOU! And 2017’s Best Of List.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Thank you for being part of A Better Way Wellness. Thank you for helping me share real, truthful, and action-oriented health information. Thank you for making living a happier and healthier life a priority.

It’s been a year for the books and I wouldn’t be doing what I  am truly passionate about without you.

Thank you.jpg

So THANK YOU!

And as a small token of my appreciation, I am giving you a list of my most popular posts this last year.

It’s A Better Way Wellness’ Best Of 2017 List. It’s short, sweet, and full of health boosting tidbits. So have at it!

1. How to Use Supplements to Boost Happiness

If you want to be happier and want supplements to give you a boost, this is the post of you.

2. Healthy Happy Hour Part I and Healthy Happy Hour Part II

Do you love happy hour? And love feeling great? If so, click the links above to find out how.

3. How to Burn Fat in 15 Minutes

Who doesn’t want to burn fat fast? I know I do . . . if you do, too, check out this one.

4. How to be Happier at Work

Do you want to feel better and happier in the workplace? If this is you, I have actionable tips to help.

5. The Smoothie that Tastes Like Dessert, But Feels Like Medicine

Yes, please! Recipes that taste rich and luxe, but make you “feel like a million bucks” are my favorite. This one is easy-peasy. Give it a try!

6. My Fall Beverage Secret: The Sunshine Latte (Recipe Included)

I know it’s not technically fall anymore, but the Sunshine Latte will still please your mouth, mind, and body.

7. The Truth About Chocolate (& the Best Way to Eat It)

Chocolate lovers rejoice! Chocolate is GOOD for you and I show you the best ways to have it in this post.

8. 5 Products to Change Immediately to Decrease Exposure to Carcinogens and EDCs

Consider a New Year's resolution around this one. Swap out one (or all!) of these products to protect yourself from carcinogens and endocrine disruptors.

5 Products to Change Immediately to Decrease Exposure to Carcinogens and EDCs

Welcome back to Part III of the health havoc series! Today I’m sharing the five most important self care products for you to switch to decrease exposure to carcinogens and endocrine disruptor chemicals (ECDs).

If you’re a gentleman and thinking this doesn’t apply to you, I beg to differ. First of all, on average you use 6 personal care products (things like body wash, lotion, shave gel, and antiperspirant) — all of which MAY contain carcinogens or EDCs. Furthermore, you probably know a woman or two that could benefit from you sharing this information. Women use about 12 personal care products a day.

So male or female, read on!

Disclaimer: I have NO financial relationship with any of the brands/companies/products I recommend below.

SERIES RECAP

Let’s recap. In Part I, we discussed how what goes AROUND or ON your body can also impact your health (because we absorb what’s around us). If this still sounds like hippie mumbo jumbo, check out this post. Part II focused on endocrine disruptor chemicals (EDCs) - what they are, why they matter, and the worst offenders.

THE TOP 5 PRODUCTS FOR YOU TO SWITCH IMMEDIATELY (IF NOT SOONER)

1. Body lotion

Why You Should Change It:

Body lotion is a product many of us use once or more a day. Furthermore, it is often applied to large areas — even the entire body. For these reasons, body lotion should be one of the first products you transition to natural. Our bodies absorb products applied to the skin and carcinogens or ECDs in body lotion are no exception. Common culprits in body lotion include: parabens, phthalates, and artificial fragrance.

Better Alternatives:

Weleda body lotions have lovely texture and clean ingredient lists, but are pricier than many mainstream options. For light hydration, you can try aloe vera gel. If you have drier skin, oils can be a great option.

Image Credit

Image Credit

Grapeseed, safflower, jojoba, pumpkin-seed, flaxseed, and sweet almond oils are good options. Those with extremely dry skin may enjoy coconut oil, but those with acne prone skin may find this too emollient (I do). I often make my own mixes depending on the season. A good blend for normal-dry skin is 1 part pumpkin-seed oil and 2 parts grapeseed oil. For drier skin try 2 parts safflower oil, 2 parts jojoba oil, and 1 part sweet almond oil.

2. Body Wash

Why You Should Change It:

Body wash, like body lotion, is a product you can use one or more times a day. It is often applied over large areas of the body and to the genitals. For these reasons, body wash is something that you should make sure is carcinogen- and EDC-free. Common culprits in body wash include: parabens, phthalates, and artificial fragrance.

Better Alternatives:

If you are married to the idea of a liquid body wash, Alaffia makes great options. This fair trade company makes a variety of naturally scented and unscented body washes. My favorites are the lavendar and unscented.

If you don’t mind switching to bar soap, pure vegetable glycerin soap is great. The 365 brand is under $2 and can be found at Whole Foods.

3. Lip Balm & Lipstick

Why You Should Change It:

For most of us, lipstick or lip balm is applied multiple times a day. In fact, the average woman eats pounds of lipstick in her lifetime. If your lipstick contains harmful chemicals, lead, and endocrine disruptors, you are putting yourself at risk every single time you swipe. Switching to a natural alternative should be front of mind. Common lip product carcinogens/EDCs include: parabens; phthalates; and butylated hydroxyanisale (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT).

Better Alternatives:

Don’t fret — there are wonderful natural alternatives with great moisturizing benefits and large color selections.

For a straight lip blam, Waxelene makes a hydrating lip balm with high quality ingredients. The good news is Waxelene is priced similarly to conventional brands and can be purchased at many retailers. If you want something more luxurious (and $$$), Kari Gran and Osmia Organics have balms that help mend the driest lips.

If you are going for color, Ilia is a luxury natural brand that makes beautiful, pigmented, and fashion forward lipsticks and tinted lip conditioners. Vapour Organics also make lovely lipsticks. For something more affordable, Pacifica makes lip glosses and tints sold at stores like Target nationwide.

4. Antiperspirant

Why You Should Change It:

Conventional antiperspirants are linked to cancer and other health problems. While there is conflicting evidence (some studies suggest links and others do not), I wouldn’t risk it. Switching to a natural alternative should be a top priority. Top culprits in antiperspirant include: aluminum salts, parabens, and artificial fragrance.

Better Alternatives:

Most natural products are actually deodorants and do not prevent sweating. It may take a few weeks to accustom yourself to using deodorant, but it will be worth the wait. If you are a heavy sweater or do not relish the idea of sweat, consider disposable adhesive sweat pads that can be applied to the underarms daily.

If you like stick deodorant, Tom’s of Maine makes some great options and can be found at national retailers (like Target and Trader Joe’s). If cream is more your thing, Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant (can be found online or at many natural food stores nationwide) and Soapwalla make reputable deodorant pastes that rub on.

5. Artificial fragrances

Why You Should Change It:

Artificial fragrance is a tricky subject. Manufacturers are not required to list individual ingredients in artificial fragrances and can just list “fragrance” on the label. This is a problem because many fragrances contain styrene, a known carcinogen. To be safe, only use fragrances that list the perfume’s individual components or switch to a natural alternative.

Better Alternatives:

Instead of artificial fragrances, use perfumes made from pure essential oils. Brands like Lurk or Kai make good options. Or, make your own signature fragrance with essential oils. Mountain Rose Herbs sells high quality essential oils at competitive prices.

NEXT STEPS

This list shouldn’t scare you off from buying your favorite products, but rather serve as a reminder to read the labels and be aware of what you’re putting in your body. From there, you’ll be empowered to make the right personal care.

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The Hidden Health Havoc: Part II

Welcome Back

You already know what you put in your body is CRUCIAL to your wellness. And last week we discussed how what goes AROUND or ON your body can also impact your health (because we absorb what’s around us). If this still sounds like hippie mumbo jumbo, check out this post.

So now let’s move on to the nitty gritty details.

Remember the term endocrine disruptor chemicals (EDCs)? As a quick refresher from my last post, EDCs are substances that interfere with the normal functioning of your body’s endocrine system. It should come as no surprise that EDCs pose a threat if you consume them (like eating or drinking them). What is surprising? That being around EDCs or having them in physical contact with your skin also poses a major threat.

How EDCs Harm You

EDCs can harm your body in many tangible ways. The top ways include:

  1. Neurological conditions (including ADHD)

  2. Endometriosis and fibroids (and other female reproductive issues)

  3. Premature death (this one explains itself)

  4. Obesity

  5. Diabetes

  6. Male reproductive problems

It is estimated that EDCs account for $340 BILLION in healthcare costs and lost earnings in the US.

Sources of EDCs

If you are a health conscious kind of person, you’ve probably heard of the Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen. These two lists are road maps to help you avoid pesticides and carcinogens in your food. Each year, the Environmental Working Group publishes updated Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen lists. The Clean 15, as the name suggests, is a list of the 15 foods that are typically safe to buy and eat that are conventionally produced. On the flip side, the Dirty Dozen are the top 12 foods that you should either avoid or buy organic.

The good news is we now have an equivalent list for endocrine disruptor chemicals (EDCs).

The list for EDCs is called the Dirty Dozen Endocrine Disruptors.

The Dirty Dozen Endocrine Disruptors includes the top 12 most offensive hormone-altering chemicals. Please note, there are nearly 1,000 known EDCs and they can be found it:

  • Personal care products
  • Cosmetics
  • Fragrances
  • Contaminated soil, water, and air
  • Food contaminated through chemicals in the food chain
  • Food packaging (such as linings of cans, plastic)
  • Workplace: industrial chemicals, pesticides, fungicides
  • Textiles and clothing (flame retardant fabrics)
  • Medications
  • Antibacterial soaps

The EDC Dirty Dozen

And here are the top 12 hormone-altering chemicals. Drum roll please!

How to Limit Exposure to EDCs

Over the course of this series, I will give you specific advice on how to avoid exposure to ECDs. In the meantime, here are some general tips to help limit exposure to EDCs.

  1. Switch to EDC-free household cleaning products and soaps (see this link for more details)
  2. Use all natural cosmetics and personal care items
  3. Use fragrance-free (or naturally fragranced with essential oils) cosmetics and personal care items
  4. Not microwaving food in plastic covers or covered in plastic wrap
  5. Washing plastic food containers by hand instead of in the dishwasher
  6. Avoid using plastic containers with the numbers 3, 6, or 7
  7. Use more fresh food (versus processed/packaged/fast foods)
  8. Use healthy building materials (https://healthbuilding.net
  9. Eat organic produce on high risk fruits and vegetables
  10. Treat drinking and cooking water

What’s Coming Next

Now you know more about EDCs and where they hide. Next week, the series continues and I’ll be sharing the top 5 products to replace ASAP to help you reduce exposure to carcinogens and EDCs.

Please Share

If you know anyone that could benefit from this health-changing series, please share this information using the link below. Thank you!

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What You Put ON Your Body Is As Important As What You Put In Your Body

The Hidden Health Havoc

Eeeek! I am pumped for this week’s blog topic (the start of a new series). Because it’s something that I am passionate about. And something that MOST people on a healthier path don’t consider.

Once you learn about it, it’s completely obvious and will change the way you think about self care.

Most of us can agree that what you put in your body (food/drink) has a major impact on your wellness. To put it bluntly: you are what you eat.

What may surprise you is what you put ON your body also has a great impact on your health.

I 100% promise this is evidence-based and not some hippie mumbo jumbo. This is real.

Other Health Experts Agree

A few months back, I attended a seminar on nutrition for elite athletes from a well respected source. The seminar (obviously) focused primarily on food and drink. Then the conversation shifted to the non-food. And I got excited.

I got excited because the experts were FINALLY talking about something I’ve been obsessed with for years. They were talking about what you PUT on your body. Experts now agree that what you put on your body can impact the way the insides of your body functions.

How it Works

You may be wondering how what you put on your body impacts your health (and performance if you are an elite athlete).

NEWSFLASH: It has TONS to do with your health.

The reason? What you put on your body is often ABSORBED into your body.

You may be thinking this sounds like voodoo. Or wondering how what you put on your body can get into your body.

But this is NOT voodoo. Your body really does absorb many things you use on it. Think about it: your skin is a semi-permeable membrane. It’s not a solid steel shield that provides an intense barrier between the inside of your body.

In fact, we actually use the skin to deliver medicines to the entire body. Think about nicotine or birth control patches — these small patches can actually deliver enough medication for the entire body for multiple days. Trust me — I spent a semester in pharmacy school learning about all the ways our body absorbs things.

Why This Matters to You

How does all this matter to YOU?

For one, it matters because of the personal care products you use. Men, on average, use 6 personal care products a day (think antiperspirant, shave gel, tooth paste, lotion, body wash, and sunscreen). These six products contain approximately 85 unique chemical ingredients. Women, on the other hand, use about 12 products a day with roughly 168 unique ingredients.

This means that you are exposing yourself to 85 to 168 extra chemical ingredients each day. Not all of these ingredients are harmful — in fact many may be safe or are minimally absorbed. Others, however, can pose a threat.

How Chemical Exposure Impacts Your Health

How does chemical exposure impact your health? I’ll share the highlights.

1.) Some chemical ingredients are known carcinogens.

This takes little explanation. Carcinogen = cancer causing = bad. Bottom line: you may be (accidentally) exposing yourself to known carcinogens on a daily basis. Yikes!

2.) Other chemical ingredients are endocrine disruptor chemicals (or EDCs).

This one is more complicated.

EDCs are substances that interfere with the normal functioning of your body’s endocrine system. Your endocrine system controls the way your body develops and functions — it produces hormones that travel through your body that maintain your organs, tissues, and participate in your overall health and wellness. EDCs can be found in the environment (water supply, soil), food and beverages, and manufactured products (like personal care items).

This isn’t some hippie, pachouli-wearing mumbo jumbo.

EDCs are well known and described in scientific literature. In fact, an article published in The Lancet (a well respected and traditional medical journal) estimated the financial burden of EDCs in the US is 340 billion dollars. The image below shows how the $340 billion is split between various health problems.

How to Protect Yourself

The bad news is what you put on/expose your body to can impact your health. The good news is you CAN protect yourself from carcinogens and EDCs.  

First of all, you need to know which ingredients are carcinogens and EDCs. Then you need to avoid them.

Sounds easy, right? It can actually be trickier because many carcinogens and EDCs are legally used in the US. Flame retardants, cosmetics, fragrance/perfume/cologne, soaps can contain these dangerous chemicals.

Crazy, right? Well it is.

That’s where I come in. Over the next few weeks, I will teach you about the worst chemical offenders and easy ways to avoid them. Plus I’ll share some homemade personal care substitutes that will save your health and your wallet.

It’s going to be great.

So check back next week where we’ll tackle Part II of this important (and often overlooked) series.

See you soon,

Skye