browse by topic
If you have seasonal allergies, you know what it’s like to suffer from sneezing, itchy eyes, congestion, and sinus pressure. None of these symptoms are pleasant and interfere with enjoying your day. I am sure everyone has tried every over-the-counter solution to make these seasonal symptoms go away. Did you know there are completely natural solutions that can ease your symptoms too?
You probably associate probiotics with digestion and your gut health, but they also play a role in keeping your immune system well balanced. Keeping the gut healthy, makes the immune system stronger which should not allow so many allergens to affect you each season.
Your allergies are an immune response to an otherwise harmless substance. This substance — whether it’s pollen or dust — comes into contact with cells in the mucus membranes of your nose, mouth, throat, lungs, stomach, and intestines. (another reason to keep the gut healthy with probiotics). This triggers the release of histamine. Histamine is a protein that causes all of the symptoms you associate with allergies, like sneezing and cold-like symptoms that drive us crazy. Antihistamines block histamine activity, stopping the allergic reaction.
Allergy medications you buy at the store work as antihistamines. But there are also certain foods and plant extracts that can have similar effects on histamine production. For example quercetin, bromelain, and vitamin C, can all work as natural antihistamines. Talk to your doctor about these alternatives before using.
Eating local honey (produced near where you live) really works. The bees eat the pollen that’s in your region of the country, then they produce the honey and you consume that, so it’s kind of like a mini allergy shot. This is a remedy we use year around. Honey in general just has so many health benefits, you can use it in place of refined processed sugar any time you can!
Air Purifier with a HEPA Filter
The best way to remove spores and pollen from the air is to use a HEPA filter. I find that using a HEPA filter at night helps me wake up with clear sinuses. But if your home air system can accommodate a HEPA filter for the whole house, 24-hrs a day, this is a great way to get relief.
Saline Nasal Rinse
I have never personally tried this remedy, but have many friends who swear by it! Basically all you’re doing is flushing out your sinuses with a saltwater solution, in a Neti Pot, which can help wash away the things you inhale that irritate your sinuses…you allergens. To mix a solution yourself, combine 1 quart of distilled or boiled (then cooled) water with 2 tsp non-iodized salt (kosher, pickling, canning or sea salt) and 1 tsp baking soda. Pour about 8 oz of the solution into the Neti Pot and tilt your head forward over the sink while you pour the solution in one nostril. The solution and irritants will drain out the other side of the nose into the sink.
Just in time for spring cleaning, the Environmental Working Group updated their healthy cleaning options.
The cleaning products in your home may be harboring hazardous ingredients. Many brands make it difficult, if not impossible, for consumers to learn what ingredients are in them. These products commonly contain chemicals that can cause reproductive problems, exacerbate asthma, burn or irritate your skin and harm the environment. Some have even been linked to cancer.
EWG’s assessment found:
Almost half of the products in this update were rated “poor” on ingredient disclosure.
Only about one in seven products earned a grade of A or B, for low human and environmental toxicity and robust disclosure of ingredients. A little more than one-sixth earned a passing grade of C. The remainder – more than two-thirds – fell short, receiving a D or F.
Almost three-fourths contain ingredients which may have worrisome respiratory health effects. Of particular concern, such chemicals were routinely found in all-purpose spray cleaners.
More than one-fourth of products scored moderate to high concern because they contain ingredients linked to cancer or may contain impurities linked to cancer.
One-fifth of products scored moderate to high concern because they contain ingredients associated with developmental, endocrine or reproductive harm.
More than 10 percent of the products are corrosive, capable of permanently damaging eyes or skin.
Ten percent of products were rated moderate to high concern for skin irritation and damage and skin allergies because they contain ingredients of concern.
Almost 60 percent of products scored moderate to high concern because one or more ingredients pose a risk to the environment. These chemicals are only partly removed by wastewater treatment plants, don’t readily break down, are persistent in the environment and toxic to aquatic life.
Almost half of the products EWG assessed for this update rated “poor” on ingredient disclosure. Other disclosure details:
Fewer than 40 percent rated “good,” providing relatively complete and specific ingredient information, rather than hiding behind vague descriptions like “preservatives” or “surfactants.” Five percent of cleaners, including some from Colgate-Palmolive Company and Sun Products Corporation, provided no information at all on the label.
Almost seven in 10 of the products use the terms “perfume” or “fragrance,” catch-all terms that can hide the presence of chemicals such as bioaccumulative synthetic musks, linked to endocrine disruption and reproductive and developmental harm. Seven percent listed the equally vague term “essential oil.”
Little more than a quarter of products fully disclose ingredients in any single location, whether on the label or online. Only 14 percent got full credit for disclosing ingredients on the label, and another 14 percent for disclosure on product websites.
For half of products with available worker safety data sheets, the documents revealed at least one additional chemical not disclosed on the label or website. Most disturbing, were the listing of benzene on the currently available (as of March 2016) safety data sheet of Palmolive’s eco+ dishwasher gel and of formaldehyde on the currently available safety data sheets of eight other dish and laundry products.† Long-term exposure to benzene is linked to leukemia, anemia and bone marrow damage, and formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, respiratory irritant and allergen.
Twelve percent of products use the terms “dyes,” “colorants”, or “colors” instead of listing the specific chemical dyes. Two dyes that were sometimes listed are known as FD&C Yellow 5 and FD&C Red 40, which may cause allergic reactions or be contaminated with impurities known to cause cancer.
Other frequently appearing but vague terms include “fabric brighteners” or “optical brighteners,” chemicals that make clothes appear whiter. Some of the specified brightening agents that are listed are known to build up in the environment.
Other Chemicals of Concern
Almost 40 percent of products reviewed contained isothiazolinone preservatives, which can either trigger or exacerbate allergies. Researchers and physicians from over a dozen clinics have reported cases of serious skin allergy, and an increase approaching epidemic proportions in allergies to a specific type of isothiazolinone known as methylisothiazolinone, or MI. The European Union recently lowered its safety standard for these chemicals in rinse-off cosmetic products, but the U.S. has no restrictions, even though hands and forearms are repeatedly exposed to these substances for long periods while washing dishes. A small number of products contain one of three preservative compounds that when mixed with water release formaldehyde.
Fourteen percent of products contain sodium borate, also known as borax, or its boric acid relatives. Sodium borate is an acute respiratory irritant that has been linked to nose bleeds, coughing, sore throat, shortness of breath and chest tightness. It is also associated with reduced sperm count and libido in exposed male workers and decreased ovulation and fertility in lab animals. Sodium borate and boric acid can also cross the placenta and harm the developing fetus.
Harmful germ-killing ingredients known as quats, or quaternary ammonium compounds, were found in more than 40 percent of antibacterial products under review. Evidence is building that quats may impair human reproduction. Another active ingredient used in disinfectants is bleach, found in just over 10 percent of the disinfectant products and in over half of the dishwasher detergent liquids we reviewed. Bleach, or sodium hypochlorite, can cause severe burns and eye damage. Both sodium hypochlorite and quats can cause asthma to develop in otherwise healthy people after frequent exposure to low concentrations. Lactic acid, a safer bet for killing germs, was found in just over one-fourth of disinfectant products we reviewed.
To search all 406 products included in the EWG’s update and to find expanded details on these and other key findings, stay tuned to EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning.
† Products with formaldehyde listed on available safety data sheets:
Ajax Dish Liquid, Lemon
Ajax Triple Action Dish Liquid Hand Soap, Orange
Fab Ultra Liquid Laundry Detergent, Spring Magic
Finish All in 1 3X Concentrated Gelpacs, Orange Grease Cutting
Finish All in 1 8X Power Gelpacs, Orange Grease Cutting
Palmolive Ultra Dish Liquid, Original
Palmolive Ultra Concentrated Dish Liquid, Lotus Blossom & Lavender
Woolite Everyday Laundry Detergent, Sparkling Falls.
To add to my previous chat on recycling, here are some more recycling tips to make the habit easier!
Buy recycled paper and print on both sides. When using paper in the home or office, print on both sides of the sheet and recycle the paper when you are finished. By recycling one ton of paper, you can save 17 trees, almost 7,000 gallons of water and more than three cubic yards of landfill space.
Recycle your outdated technology. According to EPA, Americans throw out two million tons of e-waste each year. Avoid adding to that waste by recycling your old technology. Check with your local waste management company to find out your options for disposing of electronics and appliances. There are safe options and many areas have a neighborhood clean up days that gives free disposal dates once or twice a year.
Make recycling bins readily available. Make sure your home and office are outfitted with recycling bins for paper, plastic and metal. Keep them out in the open and label them appropriately. Sometimes the convenience factor is all that is needed.
Recycle your empty ink and toner cartridges. Almost eight cartridges are thrown out in the United States every second of every day. That’s almost 700,000 cartridges per day.
Buy remanufactured ink and toner cartridges. Each remanufactured cartridge keeps approximately 2.5 pounds of metal and plastic out of landfills and saves about a half gallon of oil. I recently learned you can refill ink cartridges at Costco of all places!
Recycle old magazine or newspapers lying around the home or office. When finished reading the newspaper, or your favorite magazine, either leave it for someone else to read or recycle it. Many have chosen to use online newspaper or magazine subscriptions now. That makes for an even better option to protect the environment.
Look for the recycled option in all the products you buy. It’s not just paper that is recycled.
Buy rechargeable batteries. It takes 1,000 regular batteries to equal the lifespan of one rechargeable battery. When you are discarding your batteries, recycle them.
Purchase rewritable CDs, DVDs and thumb drives, or any other memory devices, so that you can reuse them from project to project.
Reuse your morning coffee cup. Or better yet, buy a mug to avoid the waste caused by throwing away the paper or Styrofoam. Styrofoam has been banned in many areas, and hopefully that trend will continue.
Recycling is the process of collecting and processing materials that would otherwise be thrown away as trash and turning them into new products. Recycling can benefit your community and the environment. Here are some recycling basics, courtesy of United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Benefits of Recycling
-Reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators
-Conserves natural resources such as timber, water, and minerals
-Prevents pollution by reducing the need to collect new raw materials
-Reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change
-Helps sustain the environment for future generations
-Helps create new well-paying jobs in the recycling and manufacturing industries in the United States
Steps to Recycling Materials
Recycling includes the three steps below, which create a continuous loop, represented by the familiar recycling symbol.
Collection and Processing
There are several methods for collecting recyclables, including curbside collection, drop-off centers, and deposit or refund programs.
After collection, recyclables are sent to a recovery facility to be sorted, cleaned and processed into materials that can be used in manufacturing. Recyclables are bought and sold just like raw materials would be, and prices go up and down depending on supply and demand in the United States and the world.
More and more of today’s products are being manufactured with recycled content. Common household items that contain recycled materials include the following:
-Newspapers and paper towels
-Aluminum, plastic, and glass soft drink containers
-Plastic laundry detergent bottles
Recycled materials are also used in new ways such as recovered glass in asphalt to pave roads or recovered plastic in carpeting and park benches.
Purchasing New Products Made from Recycled Materials
You help close the recycling loop by buying new products made from recycled materials. There are thousands of products that contain recycled content. When you go shopping, look for the following to make your contribution to the world’s recycling efforts:
Products that can be easily recycled
Products that contain recycled content
Below are some of the terms used to identify such products:
Recycled-content product – The product was manufactured with recycled materials either collected from a recycling program or from waste recovered during the normal manufacturing process. The label will sometimes include how much of the content was from recycled materials.
Post-consumer content – Very similar to recycled content, but the material comes only from recyclables collected from consumers or businesses through a recycling program.
Recyclable product – Products that can be collected, processed and manufactured into new products after they have been used. These products do not necessarily contain recycled materials. Remember not all kinds of recyclables may be collected in your community so be sure to check with your local recycling program before you buy.
Some of the common products you can find that can be made with recycled content include the following, adding to your knowledge of recycling basics:
Laundry detergent bottles
Happy Earth Day 2015 Everyone!
I’m honored to represent Beautycounter and its mission to get safe products into the hands of everyone. Keeping sustainability in mind while running a product-based business isn’t always easy or straightforward, but it’s the right thing to do. In honor of Earth Day, Beautycounter is highlighting a few ways that show their commitment 365 days a year. http://bit.ly/bcearthday
Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Repeat. Simple instruction to make a difference right? Are you asking why you should recycle? Oh let me count the reasons! 🙂
For me, the easy, simple reasons; less garbage, its inexpensive, and its good for the environment. You get a sense of pride when you know, that by recycling items, you are keeping waste from giant landfills and our precious oceans and water sources. What can be recycled? Nearly everything around us can be recycled. Recyclable items can be biodegradable items, clothes, batteries, metals, plastics, glass, electronics, paper, wood and so much more. With the hustle and bustle of current lifestyles, there are more ‘to go’ meals, resulting in more recyclable containers and materials. So make the effort to get those containers where they belong, in your recycling bins!
Nearly everywhere you go now, you can find a recycling bin too. This convenience allows everyone to participate. It just takes a conscience effort. Think about the money you save by recycling. Reducing the amount of garbage, on garbage day, could lower your bill, as most recycling services are free or inexpensive. Purchased items that are made from recyclable materials are cheaper. Fewer raw materials, like trees, have to be processed to make items, saving the earth, and your money. Less energy is needed to make items using recycled materials, than raw materials. By saving energy, the impact on global warming and the carbon foot print left behind is reduce too. These simple reasons should give you enough motivation to participate in recycling. It is as simple as:
Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Repeat.
For each pound of trash you recylce or compost, you avoid producing about one pound of greenhouse gasses. Did you know that recycling one aluminum can will save enough energy to run a TV for three hours? Continue Reading Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – Do your part to help save our planet!
You can help save our planet… fight global warming with your knife and fork… what do I mean by this? Eat organic… eat local. Continue Reading Fight global warming with your knife and fork!
Please switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs. They use two-thirds less energy than conventional light bulbs and save you money as well. Continue Reading Change a Light Bulb, Change the World.