The Importance of Vitamin D
In my sunscreen post, I talked about sunscreens causing a deficiency in Vitamin D that can lead to diseases. So I wanted to talk about how important vitamin D is to us.
If you haven't heard already, Vitamin D is actually a hormone because it has binding proteins that carries it to target organ which in turn respond to it. But it is called a vitamin nonetheless. It is called the "sunshine vitamin" because that is our best source. There are food sources but they don't compare to the sun. Food sources include: salmon, sardines, mackerel, shrimp, cod, eggs and fortified foods. I wouldn't go with the fortified foods because they are usually highly processed.
We need to get unprotected sun for about 10-15 minutes per day between 10:00 and 2:00 pm during the months mid-March through mid -September (in NJ) to get the benefits. The average amount produced during this time is 15,000 - 20,000 IU's and because it is a natural source when you have had enough sun, the body starts to break down the precursor of vitamin D so you are no longer producing activated vitamin D. This benefit of does not happen when supplementing or using fortified foods. Isn't the body amazing?
A simple blood test from your doctor will tell you if you need to supplement. Conventional recommendations are to have levels between 35-50 ng/ml, but functional medicine says it should be higher - between 50 - 80 ng/ml. The average blood levels when tested are usually below 35 ng/ml.
So, to get back on topic, we are using sunscreen ALL the time and creating an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency. This is not good because Vitamin D affects every cell of our body!
Vitamin D deficiency symptoms
What does Vitamin D do?
Have you had your Vitamin D levels tested lately?
The Vitamin D Solution, Michael F. Holick Ph.D,
Detox Friday - Additives
This week I want to focus on additives. This one word encompasses both intentional and unintentional additives. I am only going to speak of the intentional additives, the unintentional is more disturbing.
Flavorings - these are used to boost the flavor of a product so our taste buds think it is a real food, when in reality it is not. These are usually made in a lab and many are linked to toxicity. A few to look for on your ingredients label:
Preservatives - usually used to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria, to keep food from decomposing or to stop the ripening process. Many increase allergy symptoms, asthma, eczema, migraines and can cause digestive distress. Some are even toxic! If you see abbreviated words like BHA, BHT, EDTA, TBHQ avoid them. The manufacturers are abbreviated them for a reason. Other preservatives to look out for: benzoates, proprionates, nitrates and sulfites.
Emulsifiers - these keep foods from separating, have anti-caking or anti-foaming properties. Some also control the rate of crystallization in a processed food. Some may not appear on the food label at all because it is considered an "incidental food additive" The emulsifiers are usually found in ice cream, yogurts, cakes, salad dressings, pre made cookies etc.
You want to look at your ingredients list for the above offenders, but don't worry, there are natural solutions to all of them and don't seem to carry the toxicity issues of their chemical counterparts.
This is our focus this week, go to your pantry and check your items. By now your pantry should be getting cleaner. The unfortunate thing is, even if you are buying better, cleaner products, some of these still tend to sneak in. Occasionally,when I review my products, I still find an item that slips by. It is something you need to be vigilant on because manufacturers are always making changes!
Is your sunscreen making you sick?
With the summer in full swing, you are going out in the sun and having fun. But because of some bad media attention, we are afraid to leave our house without sunscreen on. This sets us up for Vitamin D deficiency which in turn, can set us up for disease states which include cancer. The very reason the media has warned us to stay away from the sun!
Before the 80s, you never heard anything about the harmful effects of the sun. I grew up without wearing sunscreen, in fact I can't count the amount of times my shoulders were burned. Ouch! Now burning skin is not good, but getting 15 minutes a day without sunscreen is beneficial!
Some myths surrounding the sun:
So my questions is: Is it the sun that is causing our problems or the sunscreens?
Before sunscreen use, we had very little skin cancers because people were working outside and building up a tan (not burning). Starting in the 1950s, the first sunscreens only protected against UVB rays setting us up 30-40 years later for skin cancer. Now (beginning in the 1990s), there is broad spectrum sunscreens that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
I am not against wearing sunscreens, in fact, you SHOULD wear a broad specturm, after you get your 15 minutes or so of Vitamin D. That said, not all sunscreens are not created equal!
Let's take a look at what is in your typical sunscreen:
If you look at the ingredients in typical sunscreens you will see a host of ingredients you can't even say never mind what they mean! I have talked about the skin absorbing what we put on it, right? So why wouldn't it absorb the chemicals in sunscreen?
What you can do:
As with any other label, read the ingredients. Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide should be the main ingredient. Look for sunscreens with minimal other ingredients and make sure you know what these ingredients are or at least can pronounce them! Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org) puts out a list every year that can help you in your search.
A few brands that I like:
California Baby, Badger, 100percent pure, Jason. These can be purchased in most health food stores.
And a more recent discovery, scratch momma. She has a website where she sells products made from scratch, but you can also purchase the products. I purchased her homemade sunscreen made with only a few ingredients and I love it! I'm not sure how water resistant it is, but it should be fine.
Just a quick note on the above products. These are products that I have used and have not reacted to, they also pass my "screening" as cleaner products. There may be others on the market that I have not used that are just as good (clean). I tend to stick with products when I like them, but I do not have any affiliations with any of these companies, I am here to raise awareness. You can take this information and start looking at labels. Do your research and find the best products for you.
Sources: The Vitamin D solution, Michael F Holick; Cosmeticinfo.org
DIY Deodorant - Video
A few weeks ago, I did a blog post about making your own deodorant. I wanted to show you just how easy it is to make it. So, with my son's help, here is the video.
We are going to continue detoxing our pantry. Last week we tackled trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. This week it's Monosodium glutamate (MSG), we are only doing one because there are many places it hides.
What is MSG?
MSG is a sodium salt that is used as a flavor enhancer. It is a stimulant that stimulates both the taste buds and the brain. In fact, according to Russell Blaylock it excites neurons and causes them to rapidly fire until they become exhausted and eventually die. If that is not bad enough, it also promotes inflammation on the liver. Typically is was found in Chinese food but because of sensitivities most Chinese restaurants no longer use it.
Side effects of MSG:
Headaches, flushing, sweating, numbness, tingling, burning in the face or neck, heart palpitations, chest pains, nausea and weakness.
I had a very scary experience as an early teenager. My sister had just eaten a can of Campbell's chicken noodle soup (loaded with MSG), her throat started to close and she couldn't breathe. I am so glad that my mother was there because she gave her Benadryl and she was able to breathe. I would've have frozen and not known what to do..I panic in these kinds of situations. Now that I think about it, it was probably scarier for her!
Where is MSG found?
Salad dressing, sauces, flavored potato chips, seasoning mixes, soups, gravy mixes, frozen foods, low fat foods and other processed foods.
This is an ingredient where you need to check your ingredients list.
Ingredients that ALWAYS contain MSG:
Soy protein anything
Ingredients that FREQUENTLY contain MSG or free glutamic acid:
Citric acid, citrate
Barley malt, malt extract
Anything that contains enzymes
Anything fermented (excluding traditional fermentation)
Anything protein fortified
This is why we are only tackling one ingredient this week. It "hides" in many places. If you can't look at ALL the above ingredients in your pantry, at least look at where it is always hidden.
Let me know how you are doing detoxing your pantry.
Source: Pantry Principle, Mira Dessey
On Facebook I am hosting an event called Detox Friday. Last week we jumped right in and only ate fresh foods for one day, eliminating any processed foods. For some, this was the first detox they had ever done, but they got through it.
This week, I thought since it is the Fourth of July everyone would be barbequing, having fun and not really into giving up foods. So, we are doing a pantry detox!
There are a few things that all of us should be avoiding, but just don't know we should. So go through your pantry and look at the ingredients list. If the following ingredients are there, you should consider finding an alternative product.
So, if you have a product for instance ketchup. Most conventional ketchup contains HFCS. Next time you go shopping, look for a ketchup that does not contain HFCS, maybe cane sugar.
Since it is a holiday weekend, I didn't want to overwhelm you, so two items this week to look for. Then next week when you go food shopping look for similar items without these two ingredients in them. Next week we will look at a few other items to detox our pantry!
If you haven't already joined us, please join the event so you don't miss a single thing! Below is the link to the event.
Please let me know how you make out detoxing your pantry!