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Holistic Wellness Articles
by Christina Conrad
Self-Care Basics: Especially During Challenging Times
1. Get enough rest. Sleep is underrated these days, when there seems to be so much to do. But a good sleep will revitalize the mind, body, and spirit, thereby enhancing productivity.
2. Drink plenty of water. Drinking water is like like putting oil in your car; it lubricates the joints, tissues, and removes waste. How much? One formula is to drink 1/2 your weight in ounces per day. (So if you weigh 100lbs., then you would drink 50oz. of water per day, roughly 7 glasses, and so forth.)
3. Eat a healthy diet. This means less processed food, and more real food such as fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Real food is full of natural enzymes and vitality. Reduce meat and dairy.
4. Breathe. Oxygen feeds every cell in our body. Every time we breathe deeply and effortlessly, we deeply nourish and relax the body.
5. Exercise. This stimulates the metabolism and all of the body’s key systems. This can be as simple as taking a walk for 20 minutes a day, or stretching.
6. Get sunlight daily. With the right sunscreen on the face, neck and hands, 15 minutes per day of sunlight gives us essential vitamin D, and beneficial full-spectrum light that can pass through the optic nerve to the pineal gland.
Happiness can mean many things to many people, and what made us happy in our youth (or even what worked yesterday) may not anymore. So although there is not a one-size-fits all in the happiness department, there are some basic ingredients that do seem to make the bread rise. Not the material gains that one would expect (although as Teri Garr once said, “Money CAN buy happiness. For 15 minutes”), but rather the things money can’t buy.
Here are some basic ingredients to good,-old-fashioned, homemade happiness:
- Slow down, do less. We can do things better if we do them one at a time.
- Unplug. Electronics can affect our brainwaves as well as add stress by keeping ourselves on-call. Set aside time to disconnect.
- Meditate. This can help you become more relaxed in the present, and open doors of self-awareness. It can be as simple as breathing deeply and slowly, quieting the mind, visualizing a peaceful environment, or focusing on one thing. Find a safe haven of peace, joy, and quietude within.
- Practice Gratitude. List the things for which you are grateful. The more you focus on the little good things, the bigger they become.
- Savor simple pleasures, like enjoying a cup of tea, or petting a cute dog.
- Be a good person. Something as simple as picking up a piece of trash that isn’t yours can build your feelings of self-esteem and a sense of place.
- Share love. Nurturing loving connections with nature, people, animals. Spend time in environments that make you feel good, and vise-versa.
- Be creative. Having a creativity in your life can be extremely rewarding. Some people experience this through their work, but others can nurture their interests and hobbies outside of work.
- Think outside the box. Try getting up early one day to watch the sunrise, take a day trip to another town, take a new class that sounds fun. Explore.
- Be honest with yourself. Check in regularly to see how you feel about your life. Accept yourself, your intuitions and your feelings. What do you really want? Does your life match this? Make adjustments when possible.
The Truth about Bodycare Products
Did you know that what you put on your body goes into your bloodstream? Since 70% of what you put on your skin is absorbed into the bloodstream, you should be able to eat your cosmetics. Meaning no synthetic ingredients.
What's wrong with synthetic ingredients?
The fact that they enter into the bloodstream with a code that the body does not recognize. With molecule sizes that often can pass through the blood-brain barrier, attach to estrogen receptors, and store itself in fatty tissues, and shelve itself in various parts of the body indefinitely, sometimes showing up in cancer tissues. The fact is, we don't know exactly what they will do once they're in there, so why give them a free pass?
"Synthetic" can be defined as man-made materials. They are the formation of complex compounds that are not found in nature, the alteration of a natural substance so that it becomes different from it's original form found in nature. A chemical is "a compound or substance that has been purified or prepared, especially artificially."
"Natural" refers to a product containing ingredients that are derived form nature in it's original molecular form. Simply, the way it grew with no tampering from humans. Natural ingredients grow with the correct, readable code that the human body can understand and best utilize.
An example is the difference between an apple vs. apple scent.
Which one has more nutrients?
"Organic" takes natural a step further. This refers to how the ingredients are grown and sourced. No chemical pesticides have been used during the growing, harvesting and processing of the ingredient. "Certified Organic" is a when the source has gone through an extensive certification process, however, an ingredient can still be "Organic" because it has been wildcrafted or sourced from a farm that does not use any chemical pesticides.
The Dirty Dozen (Plus)
This is a list of toxic cosmetic ingredients to avoid in your cosmetics. Make note and avoid them, because the U.S. FDA will not protect you from them! The European Union has already banned 1328 harmful chemicals from cosmetics, whereas the FDA has only restricted 12! Rule of thumb? Don't risk it. Just say "No."
1. Methyl-, Propyl-, Butyl-, Isobutyl- and Ethyl- Paraben: Used as cosmetic preservatives. Banned in the EU. They can be easily absorbed through the skin into the blood stream, depositing destructively in the body's tissues. Parabens break down into p-hydroxybenzoic acid, which has estrogenic activity in human breast cancer cells.
2. Petrolatum/Petroleum/Petroleum Distillates: Also known as mineral oil or petroleum jelly. Banned in the EU. A very inexpensive emollient used in cosmetics. Possible human carcinogen. It has no nutrient or moisterizing properties, and can prevent skin from self-hydrating, leading to more dryness.
3. Sodium or Ammonium Lauryl /Laureth Sulphate: A cheap, harsh preservative used as a bubbly cleaning agent in cleansers, shampoos and toothpastes. Very drying and irritating to the skin and hair, causing rashes, dandruff, and other allergic reactions. Often derived from petroleum.
4. Diethanolamine/ Cocomide DEA/Lauramide DEA/Triethanolamine (TEA), and Monoethanolamine (MEA): Often used in cosmetics as emulsifyers and/or foaming agents. DEA and TEA are "Amines" (ammonia compounds) and can form cancer-causing nitrosamines when they come in contact with nitrates.: Found in cleansers, shampoos, and various soaps. Hormone disruptor. May cause carcinogenic nitrosamines. Depletes the body of choline, needed for fetal brain development.
5. Propylene Glycol: Usually a sythetic petrochemical mix used as a humectant and "penetration enhancer" that alters the cellular structure of the skin so that chemicals can pass through more easily.All of the "PEG"s (polyetheylene glycol) and PPG (polypropylene glycol) are related synthetics.
6. Fragrance, or Phalates: These are synthetic fragrances that can have as many as 200 ingredients. These are endocrine disruptors and may cause reproductive and developmental harm. There is no way to know what chemical is being used, as the label may only list "fragrance." A good rule of thumb is to not purchase anything with the word "fragrance" anywhere on the ingredient list. If a product contains natural scent, it will merely say, "essential oils." Do not be fooled by sneaky, pseudo-natural companies that say things on their labels like, "Made with a blend of natural fragrances and essential oils." If it says "Fragrance," it is chemical.
7. Synthetic Colors/Artifical Colors/ Coal Tar: A known human carcinogen, used as an active ingredient in some dandruff shampoos and anti-itch creams. Coal tar based dyes can be listed as FD&C Blue 1, used in toothpastes, and FD&C Green 3, used in mouthwash.
8. PVP/VA Copolymer: A petroleum-derived chemical used in hairsprays, styling aids and other cosmetics. When its particles are inhaled can sometimes damage the lungs.
10. Diazolidinyl Urea, Imidazolidinyl Urea: Preservatives which the American Academy of Dermatology has determined to be a primary cause of contact dermatitus. These chemicals release formaldehyde.
11. Stearalkonium Chloride: An inexpensive ammonium compound used in hair conditioners and creams. Developed by the fabric industry as a fabric softener.
12.Triclosan: An "antibacterial" synthetic with a chemical structure similar to Agent Orange! Registered as a pesticide by the EPA. Hormone disruptor and carcinogenic.
13. 1, 4-Dioxane: Often a contaminant in products containing sodium laureth sulphate andingredients containing the terms, "PEG," "oleth," "ceteareth," "xynol," and most other ethoxylated "eth" ingredients. Known animal carcinogen and possible human carcinogen.
14. Hydroquinone: A bleach found in skin lighteners and moisterizers. Is banned in some countries due to its toxicity. Possible carcinogen. Known to cause DNA and liver damage.
15. Formaldehyde: Can cause immune system toxicity, respiratory irritation, and cancer. Used in baby bath soap, nail polish, and hair dye as a break-down product of diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, and quarternium compounds.
16. P-Phenylenediamene (PPD's): It is also listed as 1,4-Benzenediamene, p-Phenyldiamene, and 4-Phenyldiamene.Commonly found in hair dyes, this chemical can damage the nervous system, cause lung irritation, skin rashes and other allergic reactions.
17. Lead and Mercury: Although these are natural elements, they can be toxic to the humans. They are natural contaminants of hydrated silica, one of the ingredients in toothpaste, and lead acetate is sometimes found in hair-dye. Brain-damaging mercury, found in the preservative "thimerosol," is used in some mascaras.
18. Nanoparticles: Cosmetic ingredients that are milled to less that 100 nanometers, becoming small enough to penetrate the skin, flood blood steam and enter the brain.