Eat Well, Avoid Toxins, Be Happy!
October 2013
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it's hard to believe it's October!  This year is flying by!   I've been spending my time this past month defining my vision for my health coaching and Ava Anderson businesses.  As I actualize this vision, I'd like to ask you the following:
  • Are you interested in meeting with me for a free initial coaching session?
  • Do you think that your workplace would benefit from (and be interested in) a series of health and wellness workshops?
  • Do you want to attend or host an Ava Anderson Non-Toxic party?
  • Are you interested in learning more about what I am doing.
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, please email me  or contact me through my website
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Avoid Toxins!

Thinking about Vaseline Petroleum Jelly,  I have to shake my head and wonder why we all felt something called “Petroleum Jelly” would be safe on our skin and on our lips.  Not surprisingly, it turns out that there are concerns about applying petroleum product to our body.  Ava Anderson Non-Toxic does not use Petrolatum or other petroleum products.  It is one of the ingredients banned by the European Union, “except if the full refining history is known and it can be shown that the substance from which it is produced is not a carcinogen.” While Petroleum Jelly is sold as a standalone product, Petrolatum also appears as an ingredient in many personal care products.  
Here are the concerns:
Petrolatum has an impurity -- polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or PAHs.  PAHs are found in the breast tissue of women with breast cancer at a higher rate than it is found in those without breast cancer.  Similarly, aluminum is found in breast tumors.   There is an argument that white petroleum jelly is more pure and so does not include this impurity.  
There are a variety of issues around using petroleum jelly on your skin.  There is a concern that it suffocates the skin, decreasing the amount of oxygen that can be absorbed by the skin. This suffocating property as well as the skin irritations and rashes that petrolatum can cause lead to premature aging of the skin – creating the very lines we are using it to try to avoid.  It can also promote sun damage to the skin. Interestingly, since we often use it on our lips, it can actually lead to dry skin and chapping.  People often comment on feeling addicted to their lip balm, perhaps this is why, but using more only makes it worse.
Petrolatum is restricted in food and there are impurity restrictions for food packaging and drugs, but this does not help when in comes to personal care products.  Even though it is extremely common in lip care products and, of course, we lick our lips and get our lip balm on our food. 
Petrolatum should never be applied to cuts because it can trap bacteria inside the wound.   Even when you don’t have a wound, think about the Petrolatum trapping bacteria and other substances on the surface of or within your skin, so that the toxins cannot find their way out.   Bleckk!

On balance, it is hard to see an upside to this ingredient and there are many down sides.   Be an informed consumer!
Interested in exploring Non Toxic products?  Check out Ava Anderson Non Toxic or call or email me about this fabulous line of products.

Did you know?

Turns out that those expiration and “sell by” dates that we all pay so much attention to, may not mean as much as we think they mean.   I still remember when I moved in with Matt (my husband), making him throw out food that I was positive had expired. While I am confident about my decision for foods that had years beginning with 19 (this was 2007), it is possible that I overreacted on some of the other choices.    I am not alone in this, apparently it is confusing to many people! It turns out that there are not clear guidelines and rules about expiration dates on foods.   It is estimated that 40% of the US food supply ends up in the trash each year.  This is absolutely outrageous when we think about how many people go to bed hungry at night.  I have long believed that we have a food distribution problem, but I did not realize that part of the problem has to do with what happens AFTER the food is sold to the consumer.   Other than applying common sense and not buying more food than you will consume, there are not good, easy answers on this topic until there are better guidelines and policies in place.  A few tips:.
  • “Sell by” date is the date it should be sold by, not consumed.  However, it is still not a guarantee that it is fine – apply common sense and look and smell before eating. 
  • The "best if used by" date most likely refers to how the food will taste, not whether or not it has gone "bad"
  • Eat whole foods, mostly fresh fruits and vegetables. They tell you when they are bad (not by using words, but by how they look and feel).
  • Apples should stay fresh in the refrigerator for three weeks. If you cook and freeze them, they should last up to eight months.  In my house, apples are never around that long.
  • Eggs that are refrigerated should last three to five weeks from date of purchase.
  • Try to buy only what you need, pay attention to how you store foods and how long you have had them.  
  • If you think food is going to go bad before you can use it for its intended purpose, be creative -- extra eggs, yogurt and vegetables can contribute to a great quiche!    Extra fruit can make a great smoothie!
  •  If there is food that has an expiration date that is many years away, consider how much nutritional value that food actually has and the number of preservatives added to make it last that long before purchasing it.  
  • Of course, above all be safe and if you think something is bad do not eat it!

Eat Well!

October brings to mind the lovely colors of the changing leaves.   Thinking about orange, brings to mind sweet potatoes, one of nature’s fabulous gifts.  And, here’s some great news about sweet potatoes.  Your body absorbs the beta carotene in potatoes with some fat added to your potatoes.  Boiling and steaming do not appear to reduce their nutritional value, and their low glycemic index mean that, unlike white potatoes, they release glucose gently into your bloodstream over time which is much healthier.   What’s that? Do you want to know if they have nutritional value beyond beta carotenes? They do!   They are loaded with fabulous vitamins  and minerals like vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, fiber, B vitamins, vitamin D, potassium and even iron.  They are anti-inflammatory and full of antioxidants.  Apparently if you have kidney or gall bladder disease, you do have to be careful about how many sweet potatoes you eat.  Also, they are on the EWG’s dirty dozen list so buy organic – the added benefit of buying organic is that then you can eat them skins and all.
My favorite way to eat sweet potatoes is mashed.
  • Cut up 1-2 sweet potatoes. (you can leave the skins on)
  • Boil for about 20 minutes (until easily pricked with a fork)
  • Drain
  • Add butter or a healthy oil – try olive or coconut
  • Add a dash of almond milk (or skip this step)
  • Mix up with your immersion blender or hand masher.
I know some people add maple syrup or brown sugar, but I find them absolutely perfect without any extra sweetener.
Roasted sweet potatoes
Cut your potatoes into wedges (leave the skin on)
Place in a bowl and toss with
  • Olive oil
  • Consider adding pepper, garlic powder or freshly and finely chopped garlic, paprika, cumin, chili powder, cinnamon, nutmeg – whatever combination appeals to you
  • Mix it all up
  • Put it on a cookie sheet – I just cover the sheet with parchment paper first
  • Place it in a 375 degree oven
  • Cooking time will depend on your oven and the thickness of the wedges.
  • Flip them after about 20 minutes
  • Cook until they are easily pricked with a fork

Be Happy!

It seems that happiness is on many people's minds these days.  I've seen lots of lists of things to do to be happy.   Dr. Brene Brown says we can "lean in" to joy.    Gretchen Rubin says hugs and kisses.   Even WebMD is weighing in with steps to happiness. Cultivating gratitude is huge as is just choosing to be happy.  In the Artist's Way, Julia Cameron talks about the value of morning pages.  I find that when I regularly write morning pages, not only am I happier, but my life seems to go a little more smoothly.   Here's how I do my morning pages.

First thing in the morning, I plug in the coffee pot and then immediately sit down and start writing.   Julia Cameron says the key features to morning pages are:
  • Write three pages, no more, no less
  • Write first thing, before you are fully awake
  • Don't self edit, just write
Usually when I am almost done, Pepper (the poodle) comes running downstairs to joyously greet me -- he really seems to have mastered the "be happy" thing.  

I go on about my day and rarely give my pages a second thought.   I just find that days seem smoother when I do it.

Are you willing to try it?   What are you willing to do to be happy?
A little about me and why I am doing this.

I am passionate about working with people to help them achieve their goals through making healthier nutrition and wellness choices.   My particular interest is in working with people who are seeking to make health and wellness choices to help to prevent cancer or its recurrence.   I believe that through healthy food choices, avoiding toxins, and taking steps to reduce stress and be happier, it is easier to achieve life goals and to stay healthier.   Because of my passion, I am a certified holistic health coach, a distributor of Ava Anderson Non Toxic Products, and a one-on-one provider for Heart Math.
To learn more about how to eat healthy, avoid toxins and be happy, go to:
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