Monday, June 30, 2008

REVIEW: Living Nutz Wild Blueberry Lip Balm

The guys at LivingNutz sent me, along with some nutz (that I am going to review) this wild blueberry lip balm that I get a total kick out of because it reminds me of those gigantic fruit flavored Bonne Bell lip balms that we all used to have (any girls of the 80s out there??) in high school.

BUT, these are made from organic cold pressed hemp seed oil. Plus, the Nutz Guys prepare their our own infused oils with certified organic calendula in virgin olive oil (infused in low temps over several days), pure Maine beeswax, jojoba oil (lip balm only) and 100% pure essential oils or natural flavors.

So for a trip down an olfactory memory lane but with sustainability and organic-ness, try these!

Read more here.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Cloth to clean up the Mercury in your CFLs

Compact flourescent lights, CFLs have been a point of contention among some environmentalists including myself. I tell anyone who'll listen that CFL's aren't the BEST idea since they contain mercury and have a recycle rate of around 2%--which means 98% of them are getting broken, thrown into landfills, thereby releasing Hg into the air.

We use LEDs (light emitting diodes), which are more expensive, but the light is nicer, too.

Anyway, always love to see what those clever Brown students are up to: they invented a cloth to mop up the mercury after you break your CFL. Doesn't make me feel better about compact flourescents, but I admire their cleverness.

p.s. the secret mercury absorber is selenium--make sure you get enough in your diet! Brazil nuts are one of the natural sources with the highest amounts.

Brown University researchers have discovered a nanomaterial that can absorb the mercury emitted from a broken compact fluorescent lamp (CFL). The researchers, led by Robert Hurt, professor of engineering, and engineering student Natalie Johnson, have created a mercury-absorbent container lining that can be used commercially. The packaging invention, for which Brown has applied for federal patents, would relieve a major concern with CFL use and comes as CFL sales are projected to skyrocket.

read more here.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Kids Connect Alcohol Odors with Mom’s Emotions

I've always believed that children, even in utero, pick up on their mother's this is an interesting finding. From Newswise, the journalists'-only site:

Newswise — How children respond to the smell of alcoholic beverages is related to their mothers’ reasons for drinking, according to a new study from the Monell Chemical Senses Center. When asked to smell both the odor of beer and an unpleasant odor and then indicate which they liked better, children of mothers classified as ‘Escape drinkers’ were more likely than children of Non-escape drinkers to select the unpleasant odor over beer.

Children’s responses to odors provide us with a window into their emotions,” says study lead author Julie Mennella, PhD, a Monell biopsychologist. “When given a choice between beer and pyridine – the smell of rotten eggs – children of mothers who drink to relieve tension and worry choose pyridine as smelling better. That’s pretty powerful.”

In the study, which appears in the journal Alcohol, 145 children between the ages of 5 and 8 years were presented with seven pairs of odors. One of the odors was always beer; the others were bubblegum, chocolate, cola, coffee, green tea, pyridine, and cigarette smoke. For each pair, the children indicated which odor they liked better.

Mennella notes that because odor information travels directly to areas of the brain that deal with non-verbal aspects of emotion and memory, studying children’s responses to odors provides insights into their emotional worlds.

“Like adults, children are not very good at identifying odors,” she says. “However, they are good at telling us whether they like an odor or not. This study shows that whether they like the odor of beer depends not just on how often their mother drinks, but on why she drinks.”

The children’s mothers completed a questionnaire about their drinking habits, including their reasons for drinking; 35 were classified as ‘Escape drinkers,’ based on their indicating having at least two escape reasons for drinking. These included: helps to relax, need when tense and nervous, helps to cheer up when in a bad mood, helps to forget worries, and helps to forget everything.

Mothers’ reasons for drinking influenced how children responded to the odor of beer. Relative to children of Non-escape drinkers, children whose mothers were Escape drinkers showed greater dislike for the odor of beer, even when beer was compared with unpleasant odors such as pyridine and cigarette smoke.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

See Salt, Sea Salt?

Regular table salt is probably not something you think about having weird stuff in, but think again! It can have dextrose, weird fillers, and gluten. Plus it's whitened by some weird bleaching process, and turned nito another typical American non-food. We use sea salt and Himalayan salt. True sea salt isn't white but a little grayish because of the minerals...

According to Donna Gates, a nutritionist, here's the deal on processed salt:

Flavorful Poison

Regular table salt, or iodized salt, is highly refined and has additives like sugar, chemicals, and preservatives. Many of the preservatives are not required to be listed on the container and include ferrocyanide, magnesium carbonate, and aluminum hydroxide.

These extra ingredients improve the pour-ability of standard salt, but they are not necessarily meant for human consumption. In fact, high levels of aluminum are believed to be a major factor in the prevalence of Alzheimer's in the U.S.

Standard salt undergoes a refining process that strips it of 60 trace minerals, leaving a nutrient-free flavoring. Manufacturers put this refined salt into almost every prepared food, and it's even present in municipal water sources.

Read more:

Monday, June 23, 2008

Worrisome rise in underweight babies

This is interesting given that low-birthweight babies are most often an indicator of poor prenatal conditions, something we would associate with underdeveloped countries. Is it possible that our crappy food, over abundance of chemicals, lack of green space, heavy reliance on drugs (including IVF drugs) etc., is doing this? Also, instead of letting people have their babies naturally, c-sections are on the rise!

We are 32 out of 33 countries in term of child well being? Starting to sound a little Third Worldy to me!


By DAVID CRARY, AP National Writer Thu Jun 12, 7:59 AM ET

NEW YORK - The percentage of underweight babies born in the U.S. has increased to its highest rate in 40 years, according to a new report that also documents a recent rise in the number of children living in poverty.

The data on low birth weights is worrisome because such babies — those born at less than 5.5 pounds — are at greater risk of dying in infancy or experiencing long-term disabilities.

The findings were released Thursday in the annual Kids Count report on the health and well-being of America's youth, which measures the states in 10 categories. Overall, the report found progress, as well as some setbacks.

"Well-being indicators have largely gotten better for teens, and they've gotten worse for babies," said Laura Beavers, coordinator of the Kids Count project for the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The report documented improvements in the child death rate, teen death rate, teen birth rate, high school dropout rate, and teens not in school and not working. There was no change in the infant mortality rate, while four areas worsened: low-birthweight babies, children living in with jobless or underemployed parents, children in poverty, and children in single-parent families.

In composite rankings for all 10 indicators, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Utah ranked the highest, while Mississippi, Louisiana, New Mexico, Alabama and South Carolina ranked the lowest.

Beavers noted that in many categories, the United States compares poorly to other developed countries. A recent study released by UNICEF ranked the U.S. second worst out of 33 industrialized nations in a composite index on child well-being, and it was 29th in regard to the percentage of babies with low birth weights.

According to Kids Count, the latest available federal data, from 2005, showed that 8.2 percent of U.S. babies were born at low birth weight, a level not seen since 1968.

The worst rate — 11.8 percent in Mississippi — was nearly twice the 6.1 percent rate in the best states — Alaska, Oregon and Washington.

Beavers said part of the overall increase in low-birthweight babies was due to a rise in multiple births as more older women use fertility treatments to conceive. But she said the birth-weight problem also has been worsening for single-baby deliveries.

The rate of low-weight births is sharply higher for blacks (13.6 percent) than for whites (7.3 percent) or Hispanics (6.9 percent). One important factor, Beavers said, is the mother's overall health at the time of pregnancy and her access to good prenatal care.

Dr. Alan Fleischman, medical director of the March of Dimes, said the increase in underweight newborns is closely linked to a rise in premature births.

He agreed with Beavers that better socio-economic conditions for pregnant mothers would help. But Fleischman also said the U.S. medical profession should be more rigorous in encouraging women to continue their pregnancies as close to term as feasible, and reduce the number of early, induced deliveries, often caesarian, that frequently produce underweight infants.

read more here.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Review: SuperNutrition's Antioxidant Power

Oxidants are a natural process of aging, stress, and environmental toxins. For that reason, most women trying to conceive could probably benefit from from a little antioxidant help. Dr. Randine Lewis the natural fertility expert suggested I take grape seed extract and CoQ10. Dr. Beer wanted me on extra folate and b12, and I was aware I need silica and a bunch of other things. I love this AntiOxidant Power because it puts it all together. And it doesn't skimp on the ingredients. Vitamin E comes in many forms, and the Vitamin E succinate is a particularly bioavailable form. Selenium helps ward off thyroid problems. And everyone could probably use a little daily alpha lipoic acid, the master antioxidant.

Even more appealing is a mix of herbs (organic when possible), so you are truly supplementing with what you need, not just popping a synthetic vitamin pill. PLUS, the ingredients don't have any of those allergenic fertility unfriendly ingredients like gluten, soy, dairy.

I've taken these for about a month and I feel more energetic, plus my husband says my hair looks fantastic.

This is a small family run company but you can often find their products tucked away on the shelf at Whole Foods and places like that. Check it out here.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Get the lead out: Children's $$ pajamas

I just saw a notice in our CVS that they're recalling some kiddie sunglasses because of lead. In general, I think it's best to make your own kiddie products from unbleached muslin and cornhusks. Think you're avoiding lead by merely avoiding cheap crap? Think again!


U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Office of Information and Public Affairs Washington, DC 20207

June 10, 2008
Release #08-302

Firm's Recall Hotline: (877) 752-2387
CPSC Recall Hotline: (800) 638-2772
CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908

The Children�s Place Recalls Camouflage Pajama Sets Due to Excessive Lead

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.

Name of Product: Camouflage Pajama Sets

Units: About 28,000

Manufacturer: The Children�s Place Retail Stores Inc., of Secaucus, N.J.

Hazard: The screen print on the shirt contains excess levels of lead.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported.

Description: This recall involves long- and short-sleeved pajama sets. The sets have a blue shirt with a red screen print that reads �Athletics 90� and coordinating camouflage pants. The pajama sets were sold in boys� sizes XXS (2/3) to XL (14).

Sold exclusively at: The Children�s Place stores nationwide and from December 2006 to January 2008 for between $15 and $17.

Manufactured in: Vietnam

Remedy: Consumers should immediately take the pajama sets from children and return them to any The Children�s Place store for a full refund.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact The Children�s Place at (877) 752-2387 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or visit the firm�s Web site at Consumers can also email the firm at

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

'Disposable Heroes': Veterans Used To Test Suicide-Linked Drugs

Can we say we're surprised?

An ABC News and Washington Times Investigation Reveals Vets Are Being Recruited for Government Tests on Drugs with Violent Side Effects

Mentally distressed veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are being recruited for government tests on pharmaceutical drugs linked to suicide and other violent side effects, an investigation by ABC News and The Washington Times has found.

The report will air on Good Morning America and will also appear in The Washington Times on Tuesday. (click here to read the Washington Times coverage of "Disposable Heroes")

In one of the human experiments, involving the anti-smoking drug Chantix, Veterans Administration doctors waited more than three months before warning veterans about the possible serious side effects, including suicide and neuropsychiatric behavior.

"Lab rat, guinea pig, disposable hero," said former US Army sniper James Elliott in describing how he felt he was betrayed by the Veterans Administration.

Elliott, 38, of suburban Washington, D.C., was recruited, at $30 a month, for the Chantix anti-smoking study three years after being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He served a 15-month tour of duty in Iraq from 2003-2004.

Months after he began taking the drug, Elliott suffered a mental breakdown, experiencing a relapse of Iraq combat nightmares he blames on Chantix.

"They never told me that I was going to be suicidal, that I would cease sleeping. They never told me anything except this will help me quit smoking," Elliott told ABC News and The Washington Times.

read more here


It's not like they didn't know this drug had problems. Click on these for more stories:

FDA Issues Public Health Advisory on Chantix

FAA bans anti-smoking drug Chantix for pilots, air controllers

plenty more where this came from...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Social Trust Builds Good Health

Fertility is more than just about having perfect FSH numbers, I think there's a lot of spiritual factors that promote good health and then fertility. Now that it's barbeque season, why not cue up the grill (marinate the stuff in lemon juice beforehand to make it less carcinogenic!) and invite some friends over?


Newswise — The friendly Freddy next door — the guy that organizes block parties — probably believes himself to be in good health. As it turns out, he may be right, according to a study that measures how “social capital” affects physical and mental well-being.

“Social trust, sense of belonging and community participation were each significantly associated with health outcomes,” the researchers found. Physical health — as reported by the study participants —“remained significantly associated with social trust” even among twins.

However, social capital — the factors that add up to a feeling of connection to the community — did not affect rates of major depression, found the study appearing in the August issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The study looked at survey data from the National Survey of Midlife Development in the U.S., focusing on 944 sets of twins, all between ages 25 and 74. More than 1,000 of the 1,888 participants said they were either in very good or excellent health.

“We directly compared twins, and found the effect of social trust regardless of genetics and upbringing,” said study coauthor Takeo Fujiwara.

An overwhelming majority of participants — 95 percent — perceived an absolute connection between their physical health and social trust, said Fujiwara. He is chief of the Section of Behavioral Science, Department of Health Promotion and Research at the National Institute of Public Health in Japan.

Fujiwara and co-author Ichiro Kawachi, a professor of social epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, say social capital includes factors such as community participation, volunteer work and comfort within a neighborhood..

“This is very encouraging,” Fujiwara said. “What society or community can do may change the health of residents, regardless of predisposing factors.”

Monday, June 16, 2008

Green Tea Compounds Beat OSA-Related Brain Deficits

More good stuff from green tea--it can help stave off cognitive deficits related to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)


Newswise — Researchers examined the effects green tea polyphenols (GTP), administered through drinking water, on rats who were intermittently deprived of oxygen during 12-hour “night” cycles, mimicking the intermittent hypoxia (IH) that humans with OSA experience.

People with OSA have been reported to have increased markers of oxidative stress and exhibit architectural changes in their brain tissue in areas involved in learning and memory. Chronic IH in rats produce similar neurological deficit patterns.

“OSA has been increasingly recognized as a serious and frequent health condition with potential long-term morbidities that include learning and psychological disabilities […],” wrote David Gozal, M.D., professor and director of Kosair Children’s Hospital Research Institute at the University of Louisville, lead author of the article. “A growing body of evidence suggests that the adverse neurobehavioral consequences imposed by IH stem, at least in part, from oxidative stress and inflammatory signaling cascades.”

GTPs are known to possess anti-oxidant properties, acting as a free radical scavengers, and research has shown that the compounds may reduce the risk of a variety of different diseases.

“Recent studies have demonstrated the neuroprotective activity of GTP in animal models of neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease,” wrote Dr. Gozal.

In this study, the researchers divided 106 male rats into two groups that underwent intermittent oxygen depletion during the 12-hour “night” cycle for 14 days. One group received drinking water treated with GTP; the other received plain drinking water.

They were then tested for markers of inflammation and oxidative stress, as well as for performance in spatial learning and memory tasks—namely a water “maze” in which the rat had to memorize the location of a hidden platform.

The IH-rats that received the green tea-treated water performed significantly better in a water maze than the rats that drank plain water. “GTP-treated rats exposed to IH displayed significantly greater spatial bias for the previous hidden platform position, indicating that GTPs are capable of attenuating IH-induced spatial learning deficits,” wrote Dr. Gozal, adding that GTPs “may represent a potential interventional strategy for patients” with sleep-disordered breathing.


Green tea seems to have an effect of improving circulation as well as being a top-notch antioxidant, which is why it's often added (as an extract) to "fertility improving formulas". Rather than an extract, why not drink the real thing and get all the benefits of the mysterious botanical polyphenols and things and enjoy a relaxing cuppa?

Check out Tea Guys. Worried about caffeine? They also have a few varieties that are naturally low in caffeine. Try this Dragon Well (pictured above)--you can also infuse it 2-3 times, which makes it an economical organic choice.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Too much iced tea?

Oxalates are contained in many foods including spinach. Too many oxalates may cause kidney stones, or before that, very very painful urination as those calcium oxalate crystals come "down the tube." As the weather heats up, something to keep in mind. From Newswise, the journalists'-only site:

Newswise — Do you quench your summer thirst by drinking lots of ice tea? The dehydration that summer frequently brings combined with swilling too much ice tea increases your risk of kidney stones, says James Cummings, M.D., professor of urology at Saint Louis University. Ice tea contains the chemical oxalate, which is the key culprit in the formation of kidney stones, a painful and common disorder of the urinary tract. Cummings is available to talk about ways to prevent kidney stones.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Human Ovulation picture

This is from our local paper, the Projo. Very cool. My one question is, if the woman is ovulating so healthily and nicely, why's she getting a hysterectomy??


Human ovulation photographed in living color

Jacques Donnez

Ovulation moment caught on camera by a bystander, really. BBC:

A human egg has been filmed in close-up emerging from the ovary for the first time, captured by chance during a routine operation....

Gynaecologist Dr Jacques Donnez spotted it in progress during a hysterectomy.

...He said that some theories had suggested an "explosive" release for the egg, but the ovulation he witnessed took 15 minutes to complete.

I know I've felt a twinge -- a brief sharp pain -- and suspected I was ovulating, which may have given rise to the idea of an "explosive" release.

These photos are more than fascinating. I wish they were larger -- you can't really see the egg inside its coating of translucent support cells. The idea that my body does this "without me" was strong in pregnancy, and here's the beginning of that process.

The woman whose ovulation was photographed was not named.

Dr. Donnez's pictures are to be published in Fertility and Sterility -- --- according to New Scientist, which first reported their existence.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

REVIEW: Ahnu Sustainable Action Footwear

I can never get MAN FERTILITY to wear sandals, even when it's nearly 100 here (plus, we have no A/C--yippee). Socks, even organic, and sneakers are still too steamy, but MAN FERTILITY hates the goofy look of sandals.

Ahnu to the rescue! Rugged and functional, it has a comfy leather upper with HEMP laces AND a charred bamboo lining that's naturally antimicrobial (i.e., anti-stink)--and much nicer that the weird nanoparticles and such some of the other companies use.

MAN FERTILITY attests that is wears like a sneaker and doesn't look "too" goofy. The company, besides making their shoes from sustainable materials like bamboo and hemp, practices sustainability and reuse in their catalogs, their manufacturing, and so forth. What's not to like?

Click here and get a pair!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Chemical peels for 9-year-olds

It's interesting how these cosmetic treatments become part of our daily (and therefore "safe") routines. I still remember how bad perms smelled...

What is it about "chemical" that these mothers don't understand?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Is Sugar Bad for Your Eyes?

Does Jack Lalanne wear glasses???


Looks like there may be yet another reason to kick sugar and white flour out of your diet: eye health.

Cutting back on processed carbs could lower your risk of advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of blindness in people 60 and older.

The Carb Connection
What makes refined carbs so bad for your peepers? Seems their high glycemic index may be partly to blame. High-glycemic-index foods boost a whole bunch of bad things linked to AMD -- like increases in oxidative stress, inflammation, and blood-fat levels. (Get a simple breakdown on what high or low glycemic index means.)

Monday, June 02, 2008

Another Reason to use pads...

Found this today. Hm, I've never had a urinary tract infection, but I hear they are painful and apparently the MAJORITY of women will get at least one in her life! I wonder if tampons have anything to do with it:

Use pads instead of tampons. "I advise those of my patients experiencing chronic infection at the time of menstruation to quit using tampons and replace them with pads," says Joseph Corriere, M.D., director of the Division of Urology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. For the same reason, he cautions that some women may want to reconsider use of a diaphragm.