Grab Bag “Internet Savvy” Tip:
Look in the upper right hand corner of this page, just above the “blue brain” picture in the banner up there. See the little orange broadcast signal icon? There’s one for Posts and one for Comments. This, my friends, is RSS (Really Simple Syndication), and it can change your relationship with the internet. Think of it as your loyal dog, bounding down your driveway to pick up your mail and newspaper and bring it back to you, the moment mail is delivered and the second your paper touches the pavement. No wasted trips, no empty mailbox disappointment.
And if you read this blog, and any other, on a regular basis, you are a prime candidate for RSS…. you will be NOTIFIED when a new post is up…
By locating and clicking on that little icon (usually orange) on a page you like to visit regularly, it is the equivalent of training Rover to pick up all your newspapers and mail, whenever something new shows up.
RSS grabs the first few lines of an updated webpage and drops that little snippet in your RSS reader – mine is in my email window, as a separate “inbox”. If you have a mail reader on your computer (like Mac’s Mail, or Microsoft Outlook) just look for a Preferences menu item, and RSS options should be in there.
Or, I found this video, which makes training your new cyber-pooch just about as simple as it can get:
Grab Bag Nutrition Tips:
Recently I’ve found a plethora of nutritional nuggets from my favorite health mag, Men’s Health. Here’s a few:
1. Tufts University scientists have discovered that drinking just 3 cups of hibiscus tea each day can lower systolic blood pressure by as much as 13 points! Celestial Seasonings Red Zinger contains the same amount of hibiscus that was used in the study. Do speak to your doc about trying this, especially if you are using blood pressure meds.
2. Habitually eating potato chips might just increase your cancer risk, scientists say. These yummy-but-nasty snacks contain high levels of acrylamide, a suspected carcinogen. Cut back on ALL fried foods to reduce your risk.
3. The Sun Bella mushroom, available at Montereymushrooms.com, is a special portobello mushroom that contains 100% of a person’s RDA for vitamin D in every 3 oz. serving!! (Mind you, the RDA for vitamin D is WAY too low at the moment… are you reading this, FDA?) This was developed by a private California food company, in conjunction with the USDA. Just another indication that vitamin D is the hot button of nutritional wellness right now.
….. more next week.
Grab Bag Green Tip #1 (of 11):
I know… I’m probably sounding like a broken record here, but this just came into my inbox THIS WEEK, so this topic is still VERY much on the forefront of health and “green” awareness. This recent email from the EWG (Environmental Working Group) contained mention of a few key changes we all need to be making. The non-profit EWG are the same folks who are responsible for the news on plastic water bottles hitting mainstream media a few months ago, and the blessed souls who have compiled the Cosmetics Database I am so fond of referring to.
This is NUMBER ONE on their list of 11 healthy and green suggestions:
The EWG (and your friend, LK) is imploring you to choose better face and body care products.
Why? Your skin is the body’s biggest organ, and we NOW know it is NOT AT ALL the impermeable barrier we once thought it was. Many components of the things we put on our skin can be absorbed into our bloodstream. So cleaner, healthier products are important for YOU, and the switch to more natural ingredients is important for THE PLANET :-)
In addition to getting familiar with using the Cosmetics Database, EWG makes the following great suggestions:
- Use our What Not To Buy list to avoid especially problematic ingredients — like mercury, lead, and placenta — and the products that contain them.
- Use fewer products. Is there something you can cut from your daily routine, or a product you can use less often? By cutting down on the number of chemicals contacting your skin every day, you will reduce any potential health risks associated with your products.
- Use the “Advanced Search” feature of Skin Deep to find products that have fewer potential health issues. Choose a product category and exclude the hazardous ingredients — carcinogens and neurotoxins, for instance — and Skin Deep will generate a custom shopping list for you.
- Read labels. Marketing claims on personal care products are not defined under the law, and can mean anything or nothing at all, including claims like organic, natural, hypoallergenic, animal cruelty free, and fragrance free. Read the ingredient label carefully to find evidence that the claims are true.
- Use milder soaps. Soap removes dirt and grease from the surface of your skin, but also strips away your body’s own natural skin oils. Choosing a milder soap may reduce skin dryness and your need for moisturizers to replace oils your skin can provide naturally.
- Minimize your use of dark hair dyes. Many contain coal tar ingredients that have been linked to cancer in some studies.
- Cut down on your use of powders; avoid the use of baby powder on newborns and infants. A number of ingredients common in powder have been linked to cancer and other lung problems when they are inhaled. FDA warns that powders may cause lung damage if inhaled regularly.
- Choose products that are “fragrance”-free. Fragrances can cause allergic reactions. Products that claim to be “fragrance free” on the packaging may not be. They could contain masking fragrances that give off a neutral odor. Read the ingredient label — in products truly free of fragrance, the word “fragrance” will not appear there. Find “fragrance”-free products with our advanced search.
- Reduce your use of nail polish. It’s one of the few types of products that routinely contains ingredients linked to birth defects. Paint your toenails and skip the fingernails. Paint nails in a well-ventilated room, or outside, or avoid using nail polish altogether, particularly when you are pregnant. Browse our custom shopping guide for advice on nail polishes that contain fewer ingredients of concern.
And, in a few weeks (or months? :-}) I will add a section to this blog profiling “What I’m Using Now” (Thank you, Diana L. for that suggestion). I have been through PLENTY of trial and error in the last 2 years as I have shifted to low-chem/chem-free products on EVERY front, and I may be in a position to save you some time, trouble and money.
Footnote: In case you need any additional incentives to switch besides your HEALTH, let me say right here and now that my skin (face and body) has never been better, and my hair is GREAT. So, on ALL fronts, I am a very happy (and healthy) camper.
Grab Bag Summer Skin Saver:
Trust me on this one… if you spend time in, on or under the water, the sun exposure is intense, and sunscreens (even the super-duper chemical-free ones) are, at a minimum, a hassle to continually reapply as well as expensive.
Enter this fabulous and adorable SPF 50 mini dress. Throw this on, (comes in 3 colors) and then just sunblock your legs, hands and face. Torso and arms are fully protected. It is comfortable, effective and quite cute (not just my opinion… Roxie S., Lisa D., Sarah A., Debbie B., Jeannie P., Mel P., Lynette L., Lori S., and Jacques R. all loved it when they saw mine). Sides can be ruched up to make it shirt-length, or let all the way down for the mini-dress option. Click on the picture below to go right to Athleta.com:
Grab Bag Brain Game:
Starts off really easy and then gets more tricky…
Grab Bag Funny Stuff Part A:
Don’t you love it when animals talk?
Grab Bag Funny Stuff Part B:
Don’t you just love it when young men make such good use of their time and energy?
(Click in the middle of the black screen below to begin. To lose the annoying ad that pops up on the bottom of the screen, click the X on the upper right corner of the ad space)