How Does Your Sunscreen Rate?

The EWG's 5th annual sunscreen report is here! They analyzed more than 600 beach and sport sunscreens and found that they could only recommend one in five sunscreens for this summer! The rest either don't protect enough or contain hazardous ingredients that don't belong on your skin.

I know you count on sunscreens to protect you and your family from sunburn and to help prevent sun damage and skin cancer, so please take a moment to check out our most comprehensive Sunscreen Guide to date. You can look up your sunscreen or find out our top-rated sunscreens.

Click here to check out this year's Sunscreen Guide!

This report is packed with invaluable information from the best sunscreens to sun safety tips. There's even a Hall of Shame to shine a light on the sunscreen industry's worst practices.

Patriotism on a Plate

"Patriotism on a Plate" is a must-see talk given by Robyn O'Brien that she presented at Tedx Austin 2011. She shares her amazing journey with her own child's food allergies, her type-A personality to find out why so many of our children now have food allergies, why our food industry is affecting the health of our nation, and why organics cost so much. This is brilliant, informative, eye-opening, and inspiring to all of us to make big or little changes to move ourselves, our families, and our country, patriotically, into a healthier, happier, and more economically sound future.

Our Love-Hate Relationship with Sweets

Oh those sweets! We love them. We hate them.

We love the taste of sweets. We love the feeling of sweetness in our mouths. In fact, we love the "feeling of sweetness". Oh but the guilt that follows the bite down is enough to spoil that love affair with each swallow.

I can hear it now... "this is bad for me, I will gain weight, my face will break out, where is my will power, this causes inflammation, this causes addiction, this causes disease..!" * Gulp! * You just ate that, all that. The guilt is punishing enough to make you never eat another sweet again. That is, until the next bite tempts us. "Oh, hello my sweet love!"

Sweet food is, for many of us, a love-hate relationship. We crave sweetness for many reasons. One reason people eat sweets is that we have become "programmed" unconsciously to do so. We have become mindless when it comes to putting something inside our bodies based on triggers that aren't the hunger triggers. How many times have you had a bowl of sweets while you were at the computer or watching TV, and magically, it disappeared without you realizing it! Do you procrastinate by eating sweet food? Do you shove emotions inside with sweet food? Do you eat sweets because some emotion or part of your life is missing? Do you eat them because they just somehow magically find their way into your mouth?

Mindful Eating with Sweets:
The next time you find yourself about ready to put a sweet in your mouth...
  • Push the "pause" button. If you can, put the food down for 10 minutes. This gives you a mental break in your actions (that may not be conscious or mindful).
  • Be curious about your actions. Ask yourself: Are you hungry? If so, is this the best choice? Why this and not something healthier? Does the activity I'm doing now usually trigger me to eat sweets? Don't be judgmental or harsh on yourself. Just be curious, interested, and obtain some conscious information.
  • Conjure up some wonderful, "sweet" feelings. This can be happy memories, people, pets, things you love, or something you are appreciative and grateful for. Sometimes we crave "sweetness", and the easiest way we give it to ourselves is through food. After all, grabbing a cookie might be easier to some than digging to find that "sweet-self-love" we all truly want.
  • Check back in 10. After the 10 minutes is up, see if you are hungry. Do you still want the food? Is there something else you want that is better for you? Just observe. Don't guilt yourself if you do eat the sweet.
  • Learn and enjoy. This was a lesson in mindfulness. See how you feel while you are eating it. See how you feel afterwards. Remember that how you feel is nourishment too. Be as kind to yourself as you can.

Beyond the mindfulness of eating, there are other factors to look at with our relationship with sweets. Another main reason we crave sweets is simple enough... because like attracts like. The more sweets you eat (even if they are artificial), the more we are begging for more.

When eating sweets, aim for whole foods made and packaged by Mother Nature herself. Fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds are great choices. Try to make sure you are also having fiber and protein while eating sweets, as it slows the sugar release down in your body.

Here is a great article (link below) on some great ideas on how to Tame Your Sweet Tooth.

Tame Your Sweet Tooth

When it comes to sugar, it helps to be strategic, says Jacob Teitelbaum, MD: “I’m not saying you can’t have pleasure in the form of sugar, but it’s time to start making informed choices.” Here are some tips:

* Put protein, healthy fat and fiber in the mix. All of them slow down the digestion process, averting blood-sugar spikes. Get creative by adding slow-digesting nutrients to your favorite sweets. If you’re going to have jam on your toast, make sure you’re also having an egg, some nut butter or other fat with your breakfast. If you’re going to eat cereal, put some walnuts on it. Top pear slices with crumbled Gorgonzola. Choose dark chocolate, which contains some fat, over fat-free candies.

Read more:

New Science of Yoga Program

If you're like me, if/when you started yoga you may have felt very confused by all the choices. Making sense of yoga and figuring out the right approach was, for me, frustrating to say the least. Then I found something that made all the difference in the world. It took the mystery out of yoga and gave me all the tools and guidance I needed to totally transform my health and my life ...

What if there was a way for you to stop spinning your wheels too and finally start realizing all the great health benefits of yoga ... quickly and more easily than you even imagined?

Well, I'm excited to tell you that now there is! Yogacharya, director of International Yogalayam, has just released his newest (and in my opinion, best) yoga home study program called The Science of Yoga.

This one of a kind yoga training course just got released to the public today, and with the special offer on it for the next 72 hours, you really can't go wrong (there's even 3 excellent free bonuses included too!) So don't delay ... in 3 days this opportunity will be gone.

P.S. The nicest thing about The Science of Yoga is that it is 100% Internet based. You could be using it within minutes of reading this email... And Yogacharya offers a no questions asked, 100% money back guarantee too. So what have you got to lose?

Namasté my friends!

[Learn More about The Science of Yoga]

Self-Help Points for Allergies

Spring is blooming, and so are allergies!

Here are is a helpful guide to some points (acupressure / reflexology / auriculotherapy) that you can work to help relieve your allergy symptoms.

The chart to the left shows ear and hand points you can work. For the ear, simply press or squeeze the points for a few minutes throughout the day.

For the web points in the hands, firmly squeeze for a few minutes. In addition, squeeze and pull on the fingers and toes. The tips of the fingers and toes are great too. Firmly put pressure on them with your fingers tips.

Of course, there are many other points to work, but this will give you a good start!

In addition, here are some other helpful ideas for reducing allergies:

Drink plenty of water - stay hydrated
Use a neti-pot - to clean out the nasal passages
Shower every night - wash off pollens, allergens
Eat organic, whole fruits & veggies - supports healthy body and doesn't over-tax your system

Emotions on Food, Mindful Eating

If we condemn anything that we eat, we are condemning ourselves in the process and our food will not agree with our harmonious, natural state of being. We will then experience the feelings that we offer our food (perhaps in a different context), until they get loud enough that we are able to recognize the feelings we are offering and decide to release them.
If you have a bowl of ice cream and feel, "This is bad food for me. I am weak and have no will power to not eat this...", and continue to eat, you have just made yourself weaker. You have confirmed to yourself you are weak in will power, and you have weakened your body's physical health. Perhaps this is because the ice-cream is not a good choice for your well being, and/or because you've condemned it and yourself. So now maybe you feel bloated, irritable, tired, or fatigued. Notice yourself. Your feelings of weakness will continue to manifest in you as you continue to offer them.
Now, if you take that same ice cream and say "I love myself. Is this the right choice for my well being?" You might actually put the ice cream down, or you might eat it. Be mindful and loving in whatever decision you make.
If you do eat it, decide to be mindful while eating it. Love yourself, observe yourself, and be non-judgmental. Ask what is the purpose of eating it? Are you actually hungry? Is there a feeling you are trying to gain, loose, or move? Feel the temperature and texture in your mouth. How do you feel with each bite? How does your mind and heart feel? How does your body feel? Is the food satisfying you? How do you feel after you've eaten it?
Embrace the moment for what it is and the gems of love and wisdom it has given you.

Brussels Sprouts Please!

Ok kids (and adults), it's time to give Brussels Sprouts a try. Believe it or not, my daughter was first exposed to Brussels Sprouts on a cartoon show. (It amazes me the vegetables I have YET to introduce to her... I'll be on a mission now to expose the fruit and vegetable world!)

So after seeing those green little veggies on Olivia, she said... "Mom, what are Brussels Sprouts?" Knowing she was a huge fan of raw food and cabbage, I said "They are like little baby cabbages". Then she immediately asked to go to the store and buy them. So we did.

We brought them home and she looked at them with a smile. She immediately bit into one and was thrilled! They did taste like baby cabbages! And how fun they were too. Eat them in balls or peel them and eat the leaves one at a time! That was two days ago. Since then, she's asked for them over and over again.

The lesson? Continue to introduce new foods to your children. Just because you don't eat them or don't think they would like them is no reason to leave it out of the equation. You'd be surprise what kids will like (especially the more foods they are exposed to). Give them the benefit of the doubt and make it fun. Kids gravitate toward raw foods, so try raw versions first. Cooking vegetables can spoil the whole experience for kids.

So give those little green balls of nutrition a try! You just might like it!

Quantum Healing Video with Gregg Braden

I love the work Gregg Braden has offered our world. He has many wonderful books I would highly recommend, including "Divine Matrix" and "The Spontaneous Healing of Belief". Here is a great video Gregg has shared with us. In it you'll see actual footage of healing, documented in real time, of a bladder tumor disappearing, you'll see what affects our thoughts, prayers, and focused attention have on water crystals and the state of peace within the world. We can ACTIVELY PARTICIPATE on creating healing and peace within ourselves, our families, communities and our world. The power has been within us along.

Natural Remedies for Radiation and Toxic Overload

Natural Remedies for Radiation and Toxic Overload
Here is a great Care2 article by Bridgitte Mars that will help our bodies, even without if we aren't in high radiation exposure areas... as we are constantly bombarded by toxins.

Here's an excerpt:

"The seed buckwheat is high in rutin, helps to protect against radiation and stimulates new bone marrow production. The mucilaginous fibers in seaweed (such as kelp, kombu, arame, nori, sea lettuce, dulse, wakame and hiziki) help to prevent the reabsorption of radioactive strontium 90, barium, cadmium and radium by binding with them and carrying them out of the body. Sea vegetables are also high in natural iodine, which can load the thyroid, so that radiation is not absorbed. Eat two tablespoons daily for protection and be careful of overdoing. Be sure seaweeds are from clean waters like, or
Following the bombing of Nagasaki, a group of surviving macrobiotic doctors and their patients avoided radiation sickness by eating brown rice, miso soup, seaweed Hokkaido pumpkin, and sea salt and were told to avoid sugar and white flour products. These patients did not get leukemia, though the hospital was only one mile from the bombsite!

Read more:

Feeding Kids Fruits, Vegetables & Salads

Give kids a chance to like fresh, living foods. Beyond the regular finger foods of carrot and celery sticks, expose them to tasty salads. It's ok. Let them play with their food. The other night I served my 6-year-old some rice pasta and marinara sauce along with a small bowel of cabbage, carrot, and cilantro salad (no dressing). After only 2 bites of the pasta, she literally pushed her bowl aside and grabbed her bowl of salad. Gobbled it down and had 2 more helpings! This is now one of her favorites! "I could sing my mouth is so happy!" she told me.

So how do you get kids to like more raw fruits, vegetables and salads?
  • Expose them to the salad at high-hungry times (after physical activities, snack times, before meals). So what if they fill up before dinner... it's the best thing they can eat!
  • Eat living salads yourself, and often (do as I do, not as I say)
  • Make games of it: "Are you a rabbit?? Here's your munchy, crunchy meal!"
  • Ask them intriguing questions: "Can you tell the difference between the red and green cabbage?"
  • Constant exposure pays off. It may take 1 or 250 times before they'll try it, but persistence pays off, especially when they are hungry. It becomes a "known factor" to them. So keep it visible!
  • Be Creative and let them gravitate towards their natural instincts to eat living food.

Onions for Cold & Flu Viruses?

There is a myth (and a circulating email) that states placing cut onions around your home helps ward off colds and flu. The myth has pretty much been debunked. However, you CAN help ward off and reduce your symptoms by EATING ONIONS. Onions are rich in antioxidants and have antiseptic and ant-inflammatory properties. It can dry your congested sinuses, reduce phlegm, and reduce your cough, among other healthful benefits.

Eating onions raw is best, as it can quickly clear up some of that congestion. Mince the onion well, mix with honey, and eat a spoonful. You can also try making onion tea by adding a chopped onion to 3 cups of boiling water. (Feel free to add some honey to this as well). Allow the water to warm and drink throughout the day. If you have a hard time tolerating raw onion or onion tea, add a hearty amount of onions to a healthy vegetable soup or other cooked dishes.

A Little Milk with your Antibiotics & Hormones?

Is there something wrong with this image?

This is a great Care2 article by Delia Quigley.
Learn why you should ditch the milk.

Here's an excerpt:

A recent article in the New York Times disclosed that the F.D.A. has questioned the illegal levels of antibiotics in commercial milk, while the dairy industry refuses to allow testing. Reporter William Newman wrote that despite the Food and Drug Administrations intention to begin testing for antibiotics in milk, sometime this month, the dairy industry claims that testing “could force farmers to needlessly dump millions of gallons of milk while they waited for test results.” ...

...milk from cows treated with rBGH contains more antibiotics, bovine growth hormone, more pus, and something even more dangerous, Insulin-Like Growth Factor or IGF-1, one of the most powerful growth hormones in the human body and naturally present in cows’ milk.

The concern is over the presence of rBGH in a dairy cow’s blood, because it is known to stimulate the production of IGF-1, which is what actually stimulates the production of milk. So here’s the equation: Since rBGH increases levels of IGF-1 in cows and IGF-1 causes cells to divide in humans, will increasing IGF-1 in milk cause cell division in humans that leads to tumor growth and cancer? Dr. Samual Epstein’s research points to that conclusion. “Excess levels of IGF-1 have been incriminated as a cause of breast, colon, and prostate cancers. The risks of cancer to consumers and particularly their children, including those enrolled in the National School Lunch Program, are indisputable.”

Super Foods For Energy & Weight Loss

Want or need to boost your energy? Besides...

  • getting enough sleep (going to bed and getting up at consistent times),
  • drinking plenty of water throughout the day (at least every two hours),
  • maintaining a balanced, whole-food, plant-based diet with regular feedings - but not too much,
  • avoiding excess stimulants (like caffeine and sugar)

here are some other helpful energy boosters! (Whew, as if all the above wasn't enough, right?)

Goji Berries

High on my list of amazing super foods, goji berries pack a healthy punch as being one of the most nutritionally dense foodsin the world, and they make a great snack! They contain a healthy balance and dose of both macro- and micro-nutrients, including a high-quality, plant-based complete protein content containing 18 amino acids (and all 8 essential amino acids) along with a rich source of antioxidants (including carotenes, beta-carotene, and zeaxanthin - great for eye health). Goji berries also contain up to 21 trace minerals, like zinc, iron, calcium, copper, and selenium. In fact ounce per ounce goji berries have a higher content of iron than spinach; more vitamin C than oranges; more beta-carotene than carrots; and more antioxidants than blueberries. Goji berries also contain polysaccharides that strengthen the immune system. Also impressive, they are the only plant know to stimulate the body's own natural Human Growth Hormone, aiding us in our anti-aging pursuits. In addition, goji berries have been shown to improve your sleep. It is no wonder then why Chinese monks credit goji berries to greater energy, health, and vitalilty.

Acai Berries
Harvested from the Amazon jungle acai berries are a true super food. They are packed with nutrients, antioxidants, amino acids, and essential fatty acids. Studies have shown these little berries also have great fat-burning and energy-boosting properties.

Cacao (raw chocolate)
The delicious chocolate we love to eat is, in fact, super healthy - when eaten in its raw form (cacao) and not mixed and processed with milk, sugar, and additives. This super food has been around for thousands of years and is naturally rich in antioxidants, fiber, iron, magnesium, flavanols, and polyphenols. David Wolfe says, in his book Naked Chocolate: The Astonishing Truth About the World's Greatest Food:

“Every study on chocolate is pointing to the same conclusion: there is something in chocolate that is really good for us. That something is the raw cacao bean, the nut that all chocolate is made from. The cacao bean has always been and will always be Nature’s #1 weight loss and high-energy food. Cacao beans are probably the best kept secret in the entire history of food.”

Try these high energy super food as nibs or as powder. They are great in shakes, desserts, and just eaten raw. Enjoy this super food, but don't overdo it... it does contain caffeine.

Cashew Nuts
With a high percentage of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, raw (unroasted) cashews are considered great for cardiovascular health. High in antioxidants, they help eliminate free radicals. High in magnesium, they support bones, muscles, relaxation, and healthy sleep patterns. High in copper, they help support energy production. Raw cashews is a high energy density and high fiber food that is great in promoting both energy and weight loss when eaten regularly in modest amounts. Keep them in the refrigerator as they go rancid quickly at room temperature.

Chia Seeds
The chia seed is a power food packed with lavish amounts of heart-healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fats, (great for the heart, for lowering blood pressure, and reducing inflammation among other things). It also has twice the amount of protein than any other seed or grain (having all 9 essential amino acids), has 5 times the amount of calcium than milk, and is chock full of fiber (making it excellent for weight loss, diabetics, and improving digestion). It also has more antioxidants and nutrients than the flax seed does and has a neutral taste. The abundant amount of soluble fiber forms a gel which slows down digestion, helping decrease the blood sugar levels (great for diabetics). For centuries the Indians of the Southwest and Mexico used this tiny little seed as a staple food. Known as the running food, its use as a high-energy endurance food has been recorded as far back as the ancient Aztecs. See the Chia Pudding recipe in my recipe blog - what a way to start your day!!

Coconut (and coconut oil) is a remarkable natural fat that gives you quick and long-lasting energy, promotes weight loss, and promotes a healthy immune system. It may seem odd that a fat can do that. The key is that coconut oil is one of the richest sources of healthy fat in the form of medium chain fatty acid (MCFA) and lauric acid. Mother's milk is the only other natural source more abundant in these. MCFAs are easier to digest than other oils and do not circulate in the blood like other fats. They go directly to the liver where they are converted into energy. MCFAs increase metabolism, burning more calories, which promotes weight loss. The lauric acid in coconut oil increases immune function, including anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral actions. This is a great food to add to your diet regime!

Along with a healthy life-style, enjoy these super foods to increase your well being! (I do!)