By Natural Advocate | March 30, 2012 - 5:25 pm - Posted in General Health Updates

I told you about an effort to take the fight to ban BPA’s, or bisphenol A, a toxic chemical that alters hormones because it acts like estrogen in the male and female body, and is linked to several types of cancer, to Capitol Hill, about a week ago.

Well, the fight has been lost and the FDA has sided with the food and packaging industry, refusing to ban BPA’s from packaging for now.  The Food and Drug Administration has said that there is not enough evidence to back up the claims that BPA’s are linked to the health issues that consumer advocates say they are linked to and rejected the bid to ban it.

The consumer advoacacy groups wanted it removed from packaging where human consumption was involved – so foods and canned foods, packaging for beverages and anything that people can eat or drink. The chemical is used as a hardening agent in plastic bottles and as a lining in many metal cans and other types of packaging.

It is absolutely everywhere right now, unless you pay more for the stuff that specifically avoids this chemical.

This is definitely a setback, but I’m sure that the groups that have fought for it will continue the good fight and hopefully we can see this banned in the next few years.

By Natural Advocate | March 28, 2012 - 10:40 am - Posted in Natural Depression & Anxiety Relief

So my husband and I went out with some friends on St. Patrick’s day.  Of course, as is custom, we did enjoy some alcoholic beverages.  Unfortunately, one of them was a really good, smooth drink in the form of a shot that contained a concentrated amount of not only liquor, but caffeine.  See some of our past related posts : Is alcoholism a disease? and Passion Flower remedy for anxiety and sleep

It was actually a softened version of a tequila shot, infused with the flavor and caffeine of coffee. So it was like doing a shot of espresso laced with hard liquor. The taste was amazing, but we weren’t prepared for how it would totally interfere with our sleep that night by making us nervous and jittery.

To be fair, we did also have some caffeine in our cola beverages earlier in the evening, so I’m sure this intensified the effect of the Cafe Patron tequila infused with espresso shot, but the effects on our sleep were quite severe.

We both woke up out of a deep sleep at about 3:30 in the morning.  No explanation as to why we were both wide awake at that time, but we both woke up and just laid there, assuming it was just a fluke that we both woke at the same time, and figuring we would probably fall back asleep.

But it was like our minds wouldn’t stop racing, and then I also got a little case of RLS, which is Restless Legs Syndrome. We literally did not sleep the rest of the night. What little rest I did get was just a glimpse of twilight sleep, nothing deep and certainly nothing in the REM stages of sleep.

So the next day I pretty much was on autopilot with this strange sense that I was tired, but knowing that there was no way I could actually fall asleep. Very strange feeling indeed!  We were both very productive though, but it seems like I was moving slower than usual, almost like I was a zombie of sorts, not being “all there” but still moving about my day.

Let me know if you have any stories to share on caffeine infused liquors.  I think the effect of the alcohol, which is known to interfere with your sleep, combined with the stimulant in the alcohol, really did a number on us as far as our sleep patterns for that night.  We should have tried a natural sleep aid, but we figured we were already past the point of no return.

By Natural Advocate | March 25, 2012 - 9:15 am - Posted in Foods

Bananas are one of the most popular snack fruits because of their incredible convenience and readiness, but they also have a bevy of health benefits that you may not even know about. They come in their own “package” (peel), they’re easy to throw in the car or in a lunch bag, and they stay fresh. They don’t need to be washed or cut up to be convenient to eat, and they are a very satisfying fruit.

Rather than spike the blood sugar like some other fruits do, bananas actually contain protein which helps to satiate hunger for hours. They also contain fiber and a bevy of vitamins, which adds to their nutritional value as well as to their ability to fill you up and keep you satisfied.

Their flavor may not be for everyone, but a lot of people really do like their flavor as well.  You can add them to your favorite smoothies for an extra filling addition, you can cut them up and add them to your cereal, heck you can even dip them in chocolate for a delicious and somewhat nutritious dessert.

You can make pies out of them, desserts like bananas foster, fruit salads, banana splits and more. Yes, they are truly a versatile, and universally appealing food (I did avoid the temptation to make a bad pun by saying “apeeling”, aren’t you glad I did).

Bananas not only fill you up, but they also help balance your electrolytes by adding a lot of potassium to your body. They are very high in this nutrient. When you are low in potassium, you can feel faint and get muscle cramps.  Grab a banana and your problems are usually solved.

Bananas also may help to soothe your stomach if you’re having a sour stomach day.  They are a good food to eat if you suffer from acid reflux a lot.  Due to their slightly starchy texture and low sweetness as well as a naturally somewhat bland flavor, they are the perfect belly ache food.

They also can help replenish potassium if you’re having diarrhea accompanying your stomach ache.  See our past article on drinking lemon water for potassium also.

There is also evidence that this fruit can actually boost your mood. They contain small amounts of that turkey chemical called tryptophan. Tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin, which is a pleasurable chemical your brain emits which makes you feel good naturally.

Tryptophan also helps to relax you, so it can benefit those that suffer from anxiety.  It can promote a feeling of calm, so maybe eating one of these prior to a big function as a snack would be a great idea to calm your nerves and stabilize blood sugar so you can put your best foot forward.

Ok, so is anyone else for adding bananas to the super food list, because it sure does seem like this multifunctional fruit has it all to me!  Makes me wanna go peel one right now for breakfast.


By Natural Advocate | March 22, 2012 - 9:08 pm - Posted in Alternative & Herbal Health News

In some really great news and hopefully a big victory for consumers and health conscious people everywhere, the FDA is currently mulling whether to make BPA’s, or Bisphenol A’s, a chemical used in plastics and many containers (even metal ones) as a lining.

It is toxic to the human system and it actually alters hormone balance by triggering synthetic estrogens into the body. It has been implicated in everything from learning disabilities and hyperactivity to breast cancer in women (and prostate cancer in men).

So this would be a HUGE win for consumers everywhere if the FDA decides to outlaw them in packaging.  Right now only ecoconscious labels are packaging in BPA free cans, bottles and other lined packages. This would mean all food would be treated the same, and you wouldn’t just have the buy the stuff that costs more in order to ensure your family isn’t be subjected to BPA’s.

The decision is to be made by next week, so hold tight. We’ll all be hoping that this unnecessary chemical be pulled.  The government is reacting to pressure put on them by thousands of concerned consumers just like you and me, so congrats on even getting this to come before congress.

See Bad News About BPA’s and our More Bad News About BPA’s stories, to name a few.

By Natural Advocate | March 21, 2012 - 5:27 pm - Posted in Herbal & Natural Beauty

So I’ve been tanning to get my dose of vitamin D in a specially designed UVB tanning bed that my husband and I purchased. I have to admit, it’s nice to also lay back in this bed and pretend it’s summer time, and with the long winters here, we really need to feel like we have a break from all the gloomy grey weather and frigid temperatures – not to mention the lack of sunlight.

As a natural tanning lotion, I took it upon myself to make one up out of a nontoxic lotion base I had purchased (no parabens, no preservatives, no petroleums or any of that chemical stuff).  So what I did was make a nice, smooth chocolatey scented tanning lotion that is totally nontoxic and smells wonderful.

I added cocoa butter to achieve the wonderfully warm scent of one of my favorite indulgence foods, chocolate (see our past article on flavanols in chocolate health benefits).  Cocoa butter is of course derived from the cocoa bean, which is the bean that is used to make chocolate. It has many health benefits, including several anti aging antioxidant properties which actually make dark chocolate a reasonably healthy dessert choice.

I got the raw organic kind, and man the scent of chocolate is very strong. I love it. It’s very hard at room temperature, but you can melt it. It takes a longer time to melt than other plant oils like coconut oil or shea butter, both of which are solid at room temperature, but less solid and “formed” than cocoa butter.

Cocoa butter has the following benefits for the skin:

1.)  It has long been used as a remedy against stretch marks due to it’s nourishing and hyper-moisturizing properties.  Since it is a deeply penetrating moisturizer, stretch marks can be minimized since the skin stretching doesn’t do as much damage and show as much “tearing” as it does when it is not properly moisturized.

2.)  There are a ton of antioxidants in cocoa butter, which help to mop up and kill free radicals, which are harmful organisms that kill and harm healthy skin cells. See our past article on aging and free radicals.  It can help to reduce the effects of things like UV damage on the skin as well as protect it from the other ravages that the skin is exposed to on a daily basis by our environment and of course also by the products we use if we don’t happen to use all natural products (especially all natural deodorants, one of the most important).

Cocoa butter is really an excellent addition to your skin care products, but take note that it really must be melted and mixed with a lotion – it is not soft enough to realistically apply to the skin when it is in its hard state at room temperature.

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