Diethanolamine (DEA) and DEA-related ingredients are suspected of human carcinogenic activity, according to the European Commission, which prohibits their use in cosmetics. This group of chemicals is used as emulsifiers, foaming agents and pH-adjustors in products such as soaps, shampoos, eyeliners, mascaras, foundations, sunscreens and more. DEA and its relatives have been associated with cancer in rodents when used topically, according to the National Toxicology Program. Once they make their way into product formulations, these substances can also lead to the formation of powerful carcinogens known as nitrosamines—impurities you won’t find on any ingredient list—which form as the DEA breaks down and combines with other ingredients, such as preservatives. Ingredients related to DEA may be listed as: cocamide DEA, DEA-cetyl phosphate, DEA-oleth-3 phosphate, lauramide DEA, myristamide DEA, oleamide DEA, monoethanolamine (MEA), cocamide MEA, linoleamide MEA, stearamide MEA, triethanolamine (TEA), TEA-lauryl sulfate.
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• 1,378 ingredients banned from cosmetics in Europe by the EU Cosmetics Directive
• 11 ingredients banned from cosmetics in the U.S. by the FDA
Photo courtesy Environmental Working Group
Avoiding products loaded with undesirable chemicals can be tricky, but this app for your phone can help you shop smarter. The Skin Deep app from the Environmental Working Group can make shopping for healthier personal-care products easier. While shopping, you can look up personal-care products or ingredients in its searchable database of more than 68,000 products and nearly 9,000 ingredients. Keep all the information you need at your fingertips to easily and confidently select personal-care products that you can feel good about putting on your body. Skin Deep, free app for iPhones and Androids
A runner’s diet is an essential part of ongoing training and upkeep in order to promote health, stamina and strength necessary to continue peak performance. While some may choose to steer clear of organic meals, runners are among the many that understand how delicious organic foods can be when prepared in some great-tasting recipes. Here, I break down the best health-boosting organic foods for runners.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables play a two-part role in the healthy lifestyle of a runner: They assist in preparing the body for running and help replenish essential vitamins after a strenuous workout. Some types of organic vegetables and fruits stand out in particular, whether you’re a novice or professional.
Bananas take the top spot for healthy fruits, as they’re not only high in potassium but also fiber, vitamin B6 and vitamin C. In addition, bananas can assist in balancing electrolytes, acting as a natural sports drink. Some other great ways to add bananas to your daily diet include fruit-packed smoothies or following simple recipes for treats such as this organic banana ice cream recipe.
Leafy greens, such as kale and sweet potatoes, rank high among runners for their health benefits. Salad greens replenish fiber, calcium and vitamins A and C. Kale in particular also contains vitamin K, antioxidants and folate, which promotes good circulation. There are so many organic ways to prepare delicious meals using sweet potatoes, from pies to fries, and the health benefits for runners are tremendous. Sweet potatoes are high in fiber, potassium and antioxidants. They’re also packed with good carbohydrates. Keep the skins on for the best nutritional benefits.
While carbohydrates often get a bad name among dieters, it’s not carbohydrates in general that are part of an unhealthy diet. Rather, it’s important to distinguish the good from the bad. While empty carbohydrates found in junk food do nothing for the body, carb loading with good foods is popular among runners. Whole grains such as quinoa and black rice are excellent choices in meals, but it’s recommended that runners eat these complex carbohydrates after a run so as not to place too much strain on their digestive system while exercising. Quinoa specifically is a popular choice among vegetarian runners and contains nine amino acids. Prepare black rice as either the popular sticky black rice dish or the Malaysian dessert pulut hitam.
Protein is the building block of muscles. Because running can easily break down the essential tools of the body, protein is an important part of a runner’s diet. Lean meats, such as lean beef, are best, but your protein list should also include eggs and nuts for better flavor and more choices. When choosing organic foods, runners should assure no antibiotics or other unnatural processes were done to the animals or to the finished products. Vegetarian runners can still enjoy protein via non-meat sources, such as vitamin-packed lentils. Another great source of protein is salmon, which provides the runner with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. Salmon also keeps bones healthy and provide an energy boost whenever needed.
Lene has been running since she was 12. Her passion is on helping runners get the best nutrition from organic diet in all levels of training. With a fellow runner, she now works on her website, Running Info Guide.
Memory is a funny thing. Sometimes just the simple smell of bread baking in the oven or the sound of children laughing can trigger vivid memories of something that happened to you many years before, and with such detail that you’re amazed by your powers of recollection. Then you start looking for the keys that you put down somewhere just five minutes ago and they’ve vanished, leading to hours of fruitless searching before you realize you left them in the door. Equal parts endlessly amazing and frustrating.
Sensory memory, that which is gleaned from our five senses, is the most short-term form of memory. The amount of time between the information being captured and processed and when it can be retrieved and used is only mere seconds to minutes. The areas of sensory memory that have been most keenly studied by researchers are iconic, or visual input, and echoic, or auditory input.
We all know that the eye is one of the most complex parts of our body, but as anyone who’s spoken to a specialist hearing organization such as Hidden Hearing will be aware, the workings of the ear are also extremely elaborate. Any damage to the ear and how it performs can have an effect on echoic memory.
So, what exactly is echoic memory and what does it even do? Essentially, it’s the way that the brain replicates a sound as its received—someone coughing nearby, a word said during conversation, a car backfiring—and retains it for a very short period, usually only 2-4 seconds. The easiest way to understand how it works is this: If you're talking to someone and you miss what they’ve just said and are about to ask them to repeat it, but suddenly you recall it. This happens because you're able to access your brain’s interpretation of it.
Basically, it gives you time to think! The brain takes these copies unbidden, and the most amazing part is that it sorts all of the sounds we pick up, during every moment of the day, and automatically filters them into what is of importance and should be retained in the short-term memory, and what can simply be discarded.
This knowledge was the result of experiments conducted by Ulric Neisser as recently as the late 1960s, and has since been expanded on so that, for instance, we know the span of our echoic memory lengthens as we get older.
Our short-term memories degrade rapidly, so if you do miss something someone says at a party and you’re distracted and unable to instantly recall what was said, chances are that you’re going to need to ask them to say it again. But echoic memory can also be distorted by other events, such as a stroke which damages the brain. Thus if a victim is shown a list of four single-digit numbers they may still be able to recall them perfectly, but if the numbers are spoken, they would be unable to recall them at all.
Similarly, if we suffer from hearing loss as a result of the natural aging process, regular exposure to excessive noise or infection, then that will have a negative effect on the amount of sounds that our brains are able to record and process.
Echoic memory is a vital brain function that serves us well in our daily lives, and the loss of it can cause major problems. Luckily, we can take steps to guard against such problems. Simple health maintenance like keeping blood pressure down, quitting smoking, having hearing checked regularly by specialists and wearing ear protection if you're going to be somewhere noisy for prolonged periods can all greatly reduce the risk of hearing loss, or health problems that could contribute to hearing loss.
We all experience feelings of anxiety, to varying degrees, throughout life. Whether it’s stress from work, school or myriad other life obligations, this response is part of our inherent “fight or flight” mechanism. For some, anxious feelings and symptoms can become so overwhelming and persistent that they begin to disrupt normal life. If you find yourself experiencing spells of anxiety, try incorporating the following four easy-to-grow anti-anxiety herbs into your daily routine.
Valerian is one of the best herbs for bringing down fear & worry based anxiety (excess Air) in a person as it contains much of the Earth element and is thereby very grounding. A sedative and nervine (tonic for the nervous system), warming valerian cleanses toxins from the colon, blood, joints, and nerves—everywhere that air hides! It calms muscle spasms, menstrual cramping and can help alleviate insomnia. Take it as a strong tea or decoction by boiling and straining it. Valerian was named Phu, by first century Greek physician Dioscorides, because it has a funny smell. The taste and smell of an herb is part of the medicinal value, as it tells your body what to do and how. Potent valerian will attract bees, butterflies and birds to your garden.
Skullcap is a sedative and nervine that works on the nervous and circulatory systems by bringing heat in the body down. It is a superb herb for cooling down hot emotions like anger, jealousy, and burning desire. So while valerian alleviates anxiety and insomnia due to cold emotions like fear and grief, skullcap should be used in the same manner for insomnia due to hot emotions like anger, jealousy, and desire. It has nice light flavor.
Catnip isn’t just for cats! A cooling member of the mint family, catnip is also a mild sedative and digestive aid. It is great for children and adults who can’t or won’t quiet down! Catnip is pleasant tasting and does well in iced or hot tea with raw honey. Try swapping out traditional black or green teas for catnip. If you don’t want to wait until it grows, Alvita makes a great catnip tea that is very convenient, you can find it in the tea aisle at most natural food stores. Like all plants in the mint family, catnip is very easy to grow.
Lemon balm, aka Melissa, is another member of the mint family. It has a pleasant lemony aroma and is used primarily for nervous stomach (gas, bloating) and nervous skin (cold sores/herpes). Lemon balm is used too to promote mental clarity, concentration and relaxation. I love blending lemon balm with, her sister, catnip in the summer for refreshing iced tea! It is easy to maintain and will help keep the bugs at bay.
Grow and cultivate any of these herbs in your personal garden. Be wary of planting catnip, lemon balm or anything from the mint family with other crops, as they have a tendency to take over garden plots. Gardening itself is great exercise and many anxiety sufferers are calmed by it—a win-win. Let me know how it goes!
Shar Veda is an Ayurveda Lifestyle Counselor & Health Educator, Yoga Therapist, and herbalist living in Ashland, Oregon. She works with at risk teen-aged girls and offers compassionate health and lifestyle counseling anywhere in the world via Skype and or the good old-fashioned telephone. Shar has had the great gift of studying with leading teachers in Ayurveda, Yoga, and herbalism for nearly 20 years. However, it was her adopted grandma, Doe (English-American and Blackfoot Native), who instilled within her profound appreciation for the supreme power of loving touch, healing arts, and world family. Visit her website for a video, full bio, and photos or find her on Facebook!
We tracked down everything from alarm clocks and the latest apps to all-natural supplements that may help you sleep more soundly.
Rest Your Head
Earthsake’s Natural Latex Contour Pillow helps support and align the neck and spine sans formaldehyde (often used in conventional foam pillows).
To Buy: $99, Earthsake
Wake Up Happy
Encourage the body’s circadian rhythms (which help regulate sleep/wake cycles) with the Philips HF3500/60 Wake-Up Light.
To Buy: $70, Amazon
The f.lux app changes the spectrum of light coming from your phone or tablet to
correspond with the time of day—and your circadian rhythm.
To Buy: Free, f.lux
Maintain melatonin, GABA (a neurotransmitter) and serotonin to promote healthful sleep and manage anxiety with NeuroScience Kavinace Ultra PM.
To Buy: $50, PureFormulas
Drift off to dreamland with Earth Therapeutics Dream Zone Pillow Mist, scented with lavender, valerian, geranium and bergamot.
To Buy: $9, Ulta
Learn more about the importance of healthy sleep in The Power of Sleep.
If you don't get enough healthy bacteria in your diet, consider these high-quality supplements.
Hour After Hour
American Health Probiotic CD’s 12 billion organisms are delivered gradually over an extended period of time and throughout the entire gastrointestinal tract.
To Buy: $20, iherb.com
UAS Labs Senior Probiotic provides 25 billion units of five strains of bacteria, specially designed for older adults.
To Buy: $38, Vitacost.com
ohso Probiotic Chocolate Bars offer 1 billion bacteria in the form of a tasty, 70-calorie bar of Belgian chocolate.
To Buy: $9, Vitacost.com
Go for a Drink
With prebiotic inulin to assist the healthy growth of bacteria, NOW Probiotic-10 +Inulin delivers live organisms in a powder you can stir into water, tea or juice.
To Buy: $20, NOW Foods
Irwin Naturals Active-Cleanse and Probiotics combines beneficial bacteria with aloe and triphala for all-around digestive support.
To Buy: $27, Irwin Naturals
Learn more about probiotics, prebiotics and their role in your health in The Vital Importance of Healthy Gut Bacteria.
In between scheduling meetings and keeping up with numerous other work and family commitments, it is often all too easy to skip your workout and promise yourself that you will find the time tomorrow.
Keeping fit, healthy and looking toned are all admirable goals that the majority of women are committed to achieving—amongst the thousands of other things that are occupying your mind and filling that daily planner.
Here are seven ideas that will help you fit that all-important fitness schedule into your hectic lifestyle.
Photo by Fotolia
Between 6AM and 7AM is a pretty good time to fit in a run or workout using a yoga or fitness DVD.
There are plenty of studies which strongly suggest that women who manage to work out first thing in the morning, before the day starts to unravel, tend to stick to their programs more often, want to eat less and sleep better than those who try to exercise at different times of the day.
You may not be a morning person, but the simple advice is to try to become one. The initial pain of dragging yourself out of bed to get the heart rate working early through a regular exercise regime, will soon be forgotten when you look in the mirror and see pleasing results.
Make It Easy on Yourself
Part of the motivational problem at the gym is not just the aspect of finding the time to get there, but it is also the hassle it sometimes feels like in getting all your exercise gear together before you are able to even go and workout.
Make the task easier by renting a gym locker where you can keep all your gear onsite. This makes it feel a lot easier to find the time to exercise, when you can simply show up, get changed and get straight to work.
Photo by Fotolia
Plan Your Workouts
In the same way that you probably have a long to-do list for everything else going on in your life, you will almost certainly find you are better motivated and prepared for your workouts, if you write a weekly list of fitness goals.
Try writing out your planned workouts on a series of cards. Keep them in sight and ditch each card as you complete the tasks. By the end of the week, you will be sufficiently motivated to finish up without cards and have a healthier, more toned body.
The Magic Number
Always try to bear in mind what is considered to be the “magic number” when it comes to a successful exercise regimen.
Three and a half hours a week is that number. This is amount of time you should spend each week engaged in varying levels of physical activity, if you want to achieve meaningful weight loss through exercise and a healthy diet.
It is also worth pointing out that if at some stage you decide to get a helping hand with your goals through consulting with specialists like KR Plastic Surgery, the fitter and healthier you are will only help to get the best possible results, both before and after.
Start in the Kitchen
Good habits relating to exercise and a healthy diet start in the kitchen.
Anyone coping with a hectic work and family schedule can easily be tempted into getting a quick-fix with some sugary snacks or other junk-food items, especially if they are readily available in the cabinet or refrigerator.
Try to be ruthless: Go through your cabinets and fridge, ditching all of those hard-to-resist snacks and any other temptations. Replace them with some healthier alternatives and you will be well on the way to resisting the wrong sorts of food temptation when you are pressed for time.
Follow the Supermarket Trick
If you hadn’t noticed, most supermarkets put what they want us to buy at eye level.
You can copy this trick for yourself in your kitchen, by putting healthy foods, such as Greek yogurt or fruit, at eye level in the fridge and pantry. This way you will see them first, before any less healthy alternatives you might have around.
Photo by Fotolia
The Big Four
Good diet and regular exercise are the key components to a healthy lifestyle, but if you are really busy, it can be a challenge to stick to these goals every week.
Life is unpredictable and plans come unstuck, so try to make a minimum commitment to at least do what are referred to as “the big four” every week, when it comes to exercise.
If you really have very little time available, there are four body-weight moves that will get you the best results: lunges, push-ups, plank pose and squats. Concentrate of these four simple exercises and do them as a circuit, repeating them four times in your mini-workout, without taking a break in between.
Many women lead incredibly busy lifestyles, but do try to make time in your schedule to look after your body and to eat well, it will pay dividends in the long run.
Dr. Kevin Ruhge is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons who runs a busy cosmetic surgery practice in sunny Pasadena, California. He serves patients throughout southern California and throughout the United States. His posts appear mainly on health, medical and wellness websites.