Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen 2017

Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen 2017

Herbicide and Pesticide residue on fruit and vegetables has been linked to a long list of health problems including certain cancers, symptoms of ADHD, autism, and Parkinson’s. 

US-based Environmental Working Group has released its annual list of those foods most (and least) affected by herbicide and pesticide residue.   The lists are based on studies into American produce but illustrate the need for us to take care in choosing produce whether imported, or produced on conventional farms using toxic chemicals. 

Despite claims by a spokesperson at Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) that Australia uses DIFFERENT herbicides and pesticides and that levels are strictly set, I would suggest many mamas ‘on the ground’ would attest to these chemicals causing childhood problems like rashes, allergies and asthma. 

Of the few studies done into herbicide and pesticide use on Australian produce, a Friends of the Earth study found 125 pesticides on various fruits and vegetables including chlorpyrifos, fenitrothion, difocol and dimethoate which are highly toxic. 

Often ‘safe’ levels of these highly toxic chemicals are discussed but when the possible problems include disrupting the endocrine system, ADHD, lowering IQ’s, learning and behavioural problems and possible increases in Lymphoblastic Leukemia in children, any mama would be wise to question whether ANY level is truly safe. 

If you are committed to nourishing your family with wholesome foods but are struggling to swallow some of the prices for organic products here is a list to help you choose foods that are safer when organic and those that are OK to buy conventional. 

Remember, Farmers Markets are a great place to buy produce that may not be certified organic but will likely be chemical free.  Check with the market stallholder and enjoy the savings on delicious wholefoods.  Home delivery fruit and veggie boxes are another way to ensure you’re getting good quality produce at reasonable prices. 

Dirty Dozen 

1.Strawberries 

2.Spinach 

3.Nectarines 

4.Apples 

5.Peaches 

6.Pears 

7.Cherries 

8.Grapes 

9.Celery 

10.Tomatoes 

11.Capsicums 

12.Potatoes 

(Also mentioned in recent years: Blueberries, Lettuce, Cucumber, Broccoli, Carrots, Kale and zucchini) 

 Clean 15 

 1.Sweet corn 

2.Avocados 

3.Pineapples 

4.Cabbage 

5.Onions 

6.Sweet Peas 

7.Papayas 

8.Asparagus 

9.Mangos 

10.Eggplant 

11.Honeydew 

12.Kiwi fruit 

13.Rockmelon 

14.Cauliflower 

15.Grapefruit 

(Also mentioned in recent years: Watermelon, Sweet Potato, Grapefruit, Mushrooms) 

References: 

 Friends of the Earth: http://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/foe/legacy_url/378/TheDoseMakesThePoisonFeb2012_0.pdf?1471404362 

Environmental Working Group: 

https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty_dozen_list.php#.WX_5UTN7E_U 

Sustainable Gardening Australia: 

http://www.sgaonline.org.au/pesticides-in-fruit-and-vegetables/

5 Exercise Tips for Busy People

5 Exercise Tips for Busy People

It takes time and effort to take care of your body. It’s incredibly important to find time to exercise because the benefits of exercise are too important to ignore.

Yet most of us are too busy to even make time for what we WANT to do, let alone find time to create new, healthy habits. It’s not exactly relaxing to start a new exercise routine when you’re already exhausted from work.

Thankfully, there are lots of ways to fit exercise in without having to go to the gym every single day. Doing the same thing day in and day out can get boring, and habits we find boring aren’t habits we’re likely to keep up forever.

Here are six great ways to sneak exercise into your daily routine. Each tip is tested for sustainability, and will make exercise a lot more fun than those one-size-fits-all routines you’ve probably tried in the past.

1. Rethink your seating. At your workplace, do you sit in a normal office chair? If so, consider shifting to a standing desk, which exercises your leg muscles much more actively than if you sit passively. Even sitting on an exercise ball forces your core muscles to activate, helping your body exercise to keep stable. It may not seem like much, but those efforts stack up to greater muscular strength over time.

2. Rethink your commute. If you’re in a position where you can walk or bike to work, that can be a start to your day that’s both active and relaxing. You’ll walk into the office centered from the movement and time spent listening to your own thoughts. Even doing exercises based around sitting can add up. Some shoulder flexion action during the morning traffic jam can go a long way toward preventing stiffness and tightness in the body.

3. Do what you’re a fan of. Love watching Dancing With The Stars? Take up ballroom dancing or even Zumba. Like watching sports? Try a few drills that the players are doing next time you’re at the park. By building upon what you already love, you’re setting the stage to have a lot more fun than doing exercise you “have” to do.

4. Recruit your friends. Ever hear the saying, “The more, the merrier?” It applies to fitness, too! Grab a friend or two for a hike, jog, bike ride, or leisurely stroll. You’ll find that the time flies – and you might even find yourself looking forward to your next excursion!

5. Don’t punish yourself for low activity. The body adapts to activity levels, but it also loves resting. Even if you just stretch your body during commercial breaks, keeping your body from growing sedentary is a very good thing. So keep it going to see benefits! You’ll never regret exercising, even if it feels like “not enough.”

6. Join a competition. Do you consider yourself to be a competitive person? Then joining a competition could be the perfect option for you! Even if you don’t have the skills to compete in a league for your activity of choice, you can still challenge your friends or yourself to up your game.

How do you make sure you get enough exercise? How do you make your exercise work in your routine? Share your experience in the comments!

7 Ways to Boost Your Brain Power

7 Ways to Boost Your Brain Power

Photo Credit: Pic Jumbo

Are you doomed to slower reflexes and poor memory as you age?

Science says, “Not necessarily!”

Every person’s brain, like their body, is uniquely different. Not everyone is subject to the slowing down of mental faculties that tends to come with aging.

The Benefits of Brain Exercises

Like every muscle, the brain needs stimulation and exercise to sustain its function. Exercising the brain has as many benefits as exercising the body: You’ll be able to remember things later on in life, you won’t forget as many details about other people, and you won’t have as many ‘senior moments’ as perhaps you may fear.

But brain training isn’t limited to those who are approaching their golden years. Experiments with multiple sclerosis patients with cognitive damage have shown that doing activities specifically tied to brain training can help the brain develop stronger connections. Their brains literally became stronger through the power of exercise. There’s also a suggestion that doing brain exercises early in life can expand the amount of cognitive reserve you have later in life (i.e. how much your brain can bounce back as you age).

Some Brain Exercises You Can Complete On Your Own

Not all brain exercises need a machine or website to provide benefits to their users. Neuronation and Lumosity have become popular in recent years, and have proven very popular but these activities still help give your brain a boost:

1. Reading. What’s the last full book you read? The more you stimulate your brain by learning, the harder and longer your brain will be able to work.

2. Protecting your head. Wear a helmet when riding and take proper precautions if you think you may have a risk of a concussion. This endangers your brain health more than anything else.

3. Staying in touch with friends. Maintaining social ties is extremely important. Having people around to talk to and challenge you keeps your brain working in a way that it wouldn’t ever work when you’re by yourself.

4. Talk about problems. Holding on to problems is much more troublesome to your health than just annoying you in the moment. It can lead to serious stress, and can even impair your brain’s abilities later in life. So, if you’re feeling depressed or have a mental problem you want to address, bring it up sooner rather than later. You’ll save yourself a lot of stress and potential harm to your brain.

5. Try new things. Force your brain to be creative, whether by building something in your backyard, learning a language or playing a game of squash for the first time. It’ll do your brain good!

6. Quit smoking. This decision benefits many parts of your body, but the fact that your brain will potentially reverse deterioration is a very good benefit!

7. Sleep more. Sleep doesn’t just restore your body. Your mind also benefits from having enough time to rest through the night.

Do you do brain exercises? If so, what have you found benefits you most?

Share your story in the comments!

References:
http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/health-med-fit/exercise-your-brain-like-you-do-your-muscles-for-the/article_32660af2-1288-5379-9244-717d6af2f67b.html
http://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/zimney-health-and-medical-news-you-can-use/keeping-your-brain-active-10-tips-for-improving-your-brain/

Are Relationships Affecting Your Health?

Are Relationships Affecting Your Health?

Pic Credit: Pic Jumbo

Good health goes beyond just nutrition and exercise. It comes from achieving balance in every area in our lives. That includes the emotional and social parts of our lives, too!

If there is someone in your life who’s draining your energy or causing you stress, you could be dealing with a toxic relationship.

Toxic relationships can take many forms, including draining energy, causing drama, or even violating the boundaries of other people in order to get the emotional benefits they need.

Toxic people often don’t realize the destruction they cause. Interactions with these types of people can lower our self-esteem and captivate our energy in a negative way. Many people see a toxic person and feel the need to take care of them, often leading to the depletion of their own wellness. This is just as destructive as the pain of confronting or withdrawing from the behavior of a toxic person.

So, how do you navigate a relationship with a toxic person?

Ideally, we would cut off contact with anyone who doesn’t benefit our emotional wellbeing. We would simply never talk to the people who drag us down. However, there are some people that we just can’t avoid, such as parents, siblings, and bosses.

Thankfully, there are middle grounds between engaging with destructive people and completely cutting them off. You can learn and practice different communication techniques, such as Nonviolent Communication or Conscious Communication. If you must interact with a person on a personal level, you can look up support groups in your area for support and love from other people. Lots of online support options also exist.

Take care of yourself first.

For some people, this is the hardest lesson they ever have to learn. In order to serve others and be of service, you have to take care of yourself first, otherwise you won’t have the resources to share of your time and energy with others.

If avoiding a toxic person entirely is what’s necessary for you to take care of yourself, do what you need to do for your own stress levels. Stress wears upon your body, from your sleep all the way to your blood pressure.

How have you managed to deal with toxic people in your life? What relationships stress you out most in your life? Share your story in the comments!