Tag Archives: medications

More Reasons to Get a Water Filtration System

I have written in the past about the many hazards of tap water. The water that comes out of the faucet in our homes is loaded with chemicals, microoganisms, fluoride, heavy metals, and pesticides, just to name a few. (See previous article for more detail.)

Unfortunately, the quality of our tap water gets worse every year. If you are still drinking tap water or even water from your refrigerator dispenser, you are putting toxins into your body.

Many people think they are covered because their refrigerator has a filter, but refrigerator (and Brita-type) filters are not enough. Even reverse osmosis systems, which I personally used for years, is no longer a good option if used on its own.

Your body is 50 to 60 percent water, water that is used for many processes on a daily basis. If you are not drinking and cooking (and even bathing) with quality water, you will have a harder time optimizing your health.

The Worst Tap Water Offenders

Below are some of the more recent tap water offenders that could potentially cause problems.

Chloramines – More and more communities are switching from chlorine to chloramine as a means of killing pathogens in tap water. For example, our water in Nashville changed from chlorine to chloramines in 2014. The names may sound similar but they create different issues.  Continue reading

How to Select Your Sunscreen. . . and Other Things to Consider About the Sun

It is that time of year again, when the sunscreen gets pulled out of the cabinet. It had been a couple of years since I researched the available options, so I decided to check out the latest products. I will show you how to select a sunscreen and share what my family uses.

The truth is, we use very little sunscreen throughout the summer. There are a few reasons why. So, before I get to my newest favorite sunscreen products, I want mention some other things to consider.

Sun and Vitamin D

Did you know that if you are wearing sunscreen, you are limiting the nutrients that get absorbed into your body? I actually believe there are multiple micro-nutrients we get from the sun, both through our skin and our eyes. The neurotransmitter serotonin is just one example. If you are always wearing sunscreen (and sun glasses), you are missing opportunities to obtain these vital nutrients.

The sun is also our main source of natural Vitamin D3, which is critical for many processes in the body. Vitamin D3 actually acts more like a hormone than a vitamin and it is needed to maintain good gene health, a healthy immune system, strong bones and teeth, just to name a few.

(Certain foods such as wild salmon, quality organ meats, and farm eggs also supply Vitamin D3. Fortified foods, on the other hand, supply the synthetic version Vitamin D2, which is not the same.)

It is actually very healthy to purposely get 10 to 20 minutes of sun per day without sunscreen. (The length of time will depend on your skin type.) In fact, many natural healing programs actually require time in the sun.

My suggestion is to use sunscreen only on an as-needed basis. Use sunscreen for those times when you know you will be in the sun for extended periods of time and use it more often in the early part of the summer as you build up your base tan.

Sunburns and Photo-sensitivity

There are other lifestyle choices that can determine how your skin is affected by the sun. For example, did you know that the more preservatives you eat, the more likely your skin will burn in the sun? The cleaner and more natural you eat and the more balanced your nutrients, the more your skin will be able to benefit from the sun.

There are also quite a few medications that can affect how your skin reacts to the sun. Photo-sensitivity can occur when the medication interacts with the ultraviolet (UV) radiation of the sun, resulting in a typical sunburn or brown splotches, tenderness, rash/hives, etc. Certain antibiotics can cause this, as well as many oral contraceptives, statin drugs, diabetic drugs, antihistamines, acne medications, just to name a few. Even over the counter NSAIDs, like Ibuprofen, can cause sensitivity to the sun.

(You should also consider how the many chemicals in mainstream sunscreens could interact with your medications, if you are taking any.)

Quality of Sunscreens

What we put on our skin gets absorbed into our bodies, some say up to 60%, so you want to make sure your sunscreen has quality ingredients. There’s a big difference between sunscreen brands. Like other body products, the products are not closely regulated so many chemicals are used.

Your sunscreen, especially those that are not mineral based, include chemicals to block the sun. They might include chemicals like octocrylene, octisalate, avobenzone, homosalate, octinoxate, cinoxate, dioxybenzone, among others. PABA and trolamine salicylate were other common chemicals that have more recently been banned. Over time these chemicals accumulate in the body and can cause a number of health issues. Learn more about these chemicals here.

Preservatives, like parabens and phthalates, and synthetic fragrances, as explained in this article, are other things to avoid.

Additionally, you want to avoid any sunscreen products that contain nanoparticals. That means that a particular ingredient has been purposely reduced to an ultra-tiny particle, which is more easily absorbed by your skin. These particles can get into your blood stream and accumulate in your body.

And, definitely avoid the spray-on sunscreens. Not only are they wasteful since so much over-spray occurs, but you and those around you end up breathing in the sunscreen. The ingredients end up directly in your lungs.

Other Sunscreen Options

Before grabbing for the sunscreen, first consider other ways to cover up: wear a large-brimmed hat, wear a long sleeve shirt, use an umbrella, bring a portable tent, etc. You can also preplan your sun excursions – breaking up the day so that there is some sun activities and some shade activities.

When you know that you will have a prolonged time in the sun, like an extended family picnic or going to the beach, use a quality sunscreen. Luckily, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has a great database. They research the ingredients, check the products, and suggest the best ones. It is updated annually and can be found here.

You can use this database two ways: (1) use the search function to type in the name of your current sunscreen and see how it rates and (2) use the various lists to find the best brand for your needs.

Select a Sunscreen – My Top Picks

The things that are most important when you select a sunscreen and what I look for include:

  • organic ingredients that are food based
  • no artificial chemicals or preservatives
  • mineral based product using zinc oxide (not titanium dioxide)
  • no nano-particles
  • gluten-free and GMO-free

After reviewing the newest EWG lists, these are my current top sunscreen brand choices: Badger, Bare Belly, and Erbaviva. My family has been using this Badger product for a few years now, however, they more recently came out with this clear zinc option which rubs in clear so you do not get the white chalky look.

When you select a sunscreen you may want to consider baby products. These sunscreens tend to have fewer ingredients yet are often good for the whole family. You can learn more about which ingredients to avoid by reading EWG’s Sunscreen Guide.

If you want to learn more about other bath and body products and how to start using healthier options, check out my previous article here.

This article was written by Sharon Harmon, founder of Life Design for Health. As a “Health Designer” she has a passion for helping people find their way back to optimum health. Please contact her if you would like to know more. There is a great deal of health-related information in her blog articles and on her website. Including additional suggested resources (books and articles) by topic, a pantry list that is gluten-free, dairy free and GMO-free, and a healing foods list.

What’s Lurking in Your Bath and Body Products?

3163752268_89243ae90dPhoto Credit: -mrsraggle- via Compfight ©

I had a client this past month, actually a family of four, that found out that the bathroom wipes they were using were recalled because they contained Burkholderia cepacia (B. cepacia), a bacteria known to cause respiratory issues. The Mom was beside herself. The whole family came in to get screened and the bacteria was showing up in two of the family members. They thought they had an ongoing cold, but within a few days of being on the correct immune-building protocol, they were feeling better.

This scenario may be a little more extreme, but did you know that there are toxic ingredients in many of the bath and body products you use on a daily basis? This includes shampoo, soap, lotion, deodorant, sunscreen, perfumes/colognes, toothpaste, baby powder, wipes, nail polish, hand sanitizer, etc. Continue reading

Vital Broth Recipe for Electrolytes

4Electrolytes include sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate, phosphate, and sulfate. They are what your body needs to communicate at a cellular level. They are needed for many functions in the body including digestive, nervous, cardiac, and muscular systems.

You lose electrolytes when you get dehydrated through things like fevers, prolonged vomiting or diarrhea, excessive exercise, and just being outdoors when it is really hot outside. (Other health issues, cancer treatments, and taking certain medications can also deplete your electrolytes.) It is important to keep your electrolyte levels balanced. Continue reading

Leaky Gut – Do You Have It?

Escherichia coli (public domain)

Hippocrates, the physician known as the father of western medicine, knew it years ago when he said, “All disease begins in the gut.” Today, having a “leaky gut” is more common than you think. Also known as intestinal permeability, leaky gut occurs when the lining of your intestinal track is compromised and allows toxic food particles, environmental chemicals, and bacterial waste to leak through the gut lining, causing problems in other parts of your body. Below we will look at the common triggers of a leaky gut as well as the many health issues that can result, including autoimmune disease which is closely linked to having a leaky gut. The good news it that a leaky gut can typically be corrected if you are willing to make the necessary changes. Included below are some steps you can start taking today. Continue reading

What is the Best Water to Drink?

40Update to original blog post (5/17/20)
Shortly after posting the article below, I found another great water purification system from Living Waters that is less expensive than the ones I originally recommended and meets all the recommended purification requirements discussed below – most importantly, taking out most all contaminants, including chlorine and chloramine. (The chloramine factor is becoming more important as more municipalities are changing from chlorine to chloramine each year.) In addition, there is no holding tank and no waste water. Check out this system from Living Water, which as of 2020 also includes a hydrogen cartridge, which provides additional health benefits. (If you decide to purchase, mention my name or Life Design for Health and they will extend my 10% discount to you.)

Original blog post (8/31/14)
During exercise or hot weather, even more quality water is needed. Many are walking around dehydrated and do not realize it. Not only does dehydration affect you physically (think headaches and constipation), but it can affect how you perceive a difficult task, your concentration, and even your mood.

So, what is good quality water? Continue reading

What Everyone Should Know About Genetically Modified (GM) Foods and Their Health

file0001959406482Changing one’s eating habits can be a daunting task, and one that is not often undertaken unless there is a good reason, such as a health crisis. But in today’s world it is becoming a necessity. When people come to see me it is not unusual for me to hear, “Well, I have always eaten this way and I never had a problem before.” or “I grew up on these foods and I turned out okay, so why should I change the way my child eats?” . . . But, our foods are not the same. Things have changed in the last 30 years and have become even worse in the last 10 to 15 years. I have been advocating eating GMO-free for a while now. However, after recently hearing Jeffry Smith, one of the leading experts on GMOs, speak several times, I want to stress to everyone the importance of eliminating all GMOs from your diet. When it comes to food, eating GMO-free should be everyone’s number one objective. Continue reading