Archive for October, 2012

October 25, 2012

Is Your Skin a Toxic Dumping Ground?

Are you aware of the toxic cosmetic ingredients commonly found in your personal care products?  There are lots of them lurking on that ingredient label. You know, all those long words that you struggle to pronounce. Some ingredients in beauty products aren’t that pretty.

U.S. researchers report that one in eight of the 82,000 ingredients used in personal care products are industrial chemicals, including carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins, and hormone disruptors. Many products include plasticizers (chemicals that keep concrete soft), degreasers (used to get grime off auto parts), and surfactants (they reduce surface tension in water, like in paint and inks). Imagine what that does to your skin, and to the environment.

There are virtually no restrictions on the ingredients that may be used in personal care products since the FDA cannot require safety testing of products before they are sold to the public. The cosmetic companies themselves are held responsible for the safety of their own products. As a result and driven by profit rather than a concern for human health and well-being, personal care products are often filled with synthetic and hazardous chemicals.

In fact, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG.org) “under federal law, companies can put virtually anything they wish into personal care products, and many of them do. Mercury, lead, placenta extract — all of these and many other hazardous materials that millions of Americans, including children, use every day…” Many of these ingredients are also linked to cancer.

We really need to start questioning the products we are putting on our skin and not just assume that the chemicals in them are safe or even “natural.” 74% of all personal care products on the market according to chemical industry databases contain:

  • Carcinogens- cancer causing chemicals
  • Teratogens- causing birth defects
  • Reproductive toxins- male & female infertility
  • Developmental toxins- hazardous to unborn children
  • Skin/sense organ toxicants- causing skin disease and rashes
  • Allergenic toxicants- causing allergies
  • Mutagens- causing cells to mutate

57% of all skin care products contain  penetration enhancer chemicals like Propylene Glycol and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate that drive the products down deep through five layers of skin and straight into your bloodstream!

The Toxic Top Offenders-

  • Known Human Carcinogens: Mercury, Lead Acetate & Formaldehyde, Coal Tar
  • Reproductive/Developmental Toxin:  Toluene, Dibutyl Phthalate
  • Possible Human Carcinogens: Petroleum Distillates, Ethylacrylate, Potassium Dichromate, Selenium Sulfide, Acrylamide, Phenylphenol
  • Respiratory toxicity hazards: Dimethylamine
  • Forms carcinogens when mixed: 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3-Diol
  • Banned for use in cosmetics: Zirconium Silicate, DC Blue 6, EXT DC Green 1, EXT DC Red 1, EXT DC Red 3
  • Limited evidence of cancer: Hexachlorophene

Most of the chemicals on this list have been banned by the EU for use in cosmetics. However, these chemicals are still widely used in cosmetics sold  right here in the United States.
Official Sources: CDC, HazMap and Scorecard.org, EWG.org

Are You Aware That Some Chemicals Can Change Your Hormones?

Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interfere with the endocrine (or hormone system) in animals, including humans. These disruptions can cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, and other developmental disorders. Specifically, they are known to cause learning disabilities, severe attention deficit disorder, cognitive and brain development problems, deformations of the body (including limbs); sexual development problems, feminizing of males or masculine effects on females, etc. Any system in the body controlled by hormones, can be derailed by hormone disruptors. The critical period of development for most organisms is between the transition from a fertilized egg, into a fully formed infant. As the cells begin to grow and differentiate, there are critical balances of hormones and protein changes that must occur. Therefore, a dose of disrupting chemicals can do substantial damage to a developing fetus.
An example of a common endocrine/hormone disruptor is phthalates. These chemicals, also called “plasticizers,” are a group of industrial chemicals used to make plastics like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) more flexible or resilient and also as solvents. Phthalates are everywhere in modern society. They are found in toys, food packaging, hoses, raincoats, shower curtains, vinyl flooring, wall coverings, lubricants, adhesives, detergents, nail polish, hair spray and shampoo. Baums carries safe personal care products as well as safe cleaning supplies for your family, including your pets! Come and see the great things we have to offer!

Just for kids

Extra caution is in order for kids because, pound for pound, they are exposed to more contaminants in everyday products than adults. Their immature metabolism and organ systems are typically less capable of fending off chemical assaults. Even subtle damage to young bodies can lead to disease later in life.

Follow EWG’s tips for kids:

  • Use fewer products and use them less often.
  • Don’t trust ad hype. Check ingredients.
  • Buy fragrance-free products.
  • Avoid the use of baby powder.

Always avoid EWG’s top six chemicals of concern for kids:

  • 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3 Diol
  • BHA
  • Boric acid
  • sodium borate
  • DMDM Hydantoin
  • Oxybenzone
  • Triclosan

Visit the Environmental Working Groups website at  http://www.ewg.org

*These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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October 18, 2012

What is GMO?

In celebration of the 3rd annual Non-GMO month, here is a little information about genetically modified organisms. Reposted from Non-GMO Project

For consumers, it can be difficult to stay up-to-date on food ingredients that are at-risk of being genetically modified, as the list of at-risk agricultural ingredients is frequently changing. As part of the Non-GMO Project’s commitment to informed consumer choice, we work diligently to maintain an accurate list of risk ingredients.

Agricultural products are segmented into two groups: (1) those that are high-risk of being GMO because they are currently in commercial production, and (2) those that have a monitored risk because suspected or known incidents of contamination have occurred and/or the crops have genetically modified relatives in commercial production with which cross-pollination (and consequently contamination) is possible. For more information on the Non-GMO Project’s testing and verification of risk ingredients and processed foods, please see the Non-GMO Project Standard.

High-Risk Crops (in commercial production; ingredients derived from these must be tested every time prior to use in Non-GMO Project Verified products (as of December 2011):

  • Alfalfa (first planting 2011)
  • Canola (approx. 90% of U.S. crop)
  • Corn (approx. 88% of U.S. crop in 2011)
  • Cotton (approx. 90% of U.S. crop in 2011)
  • Papaya (most of Hawaiian crop; approximately 988 acres)
  • Soy (approx. 94% of U.S. crop in 2011)
  • Sugar Beets (approx. 95% of U.S. crop in 2010)
  • Zucchini and Yellow Summer Squash (approx. 25,000 acres)

ALSO high-risk: animal products (milk, meat, eggs, honey, etc.) because of contamination in feed.

Monitored Crops (those for which suspected or known incidents of contamination have occurred, and those crops which have genetically modified relatives in commercial production with which cross-pollination is possible; we test regularly to assess risk, and move to “High-Risk” category for ongoing testing if we see contamination):

  • Beta vulgaris (e.g., chard, table beets)
  • Brassica napa (e.g., rutabaga, Siberian kale)
  • Brassica rapa (e.g., bok choy, mizuna, Chinese cabbage, turnip, rapini, tatsoi)
  • Curcubita (acorn squash, delicata squash, patty pan)
  • Flax
  • Rice

Common Ingredients Derived from GMO Risk Crops
Amino Acids, Aspartame, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Ascorbate, Vitamin C, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Ethanol, Flavorings (“natural” and “artificial”), High-Fructose Corn Syrup, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Lactic Acid, Maltodextrins, Molasses, Monosodium Glutamate, Sucrose, Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), Xanthan Gum, Vitamins, Yeast Products.

You may also be wondering about…

  • Tomatoes: In 1994, genetically modified Flavr Savr tomatoes became the first commercially produced GMOs. They were brought out of production just a few years later, in 1997, due to problems with flavor and ability to hold up in shipping. There are no genetically engineered tomatoes in commercial production, and tomatoes are considered “low-risk” by the Non-GMO Project Standard.
  • Potatoes: Genetically modified NewLeaf potatoes were introduced by Monsanto in 1996. Due to consumer rejection  several fast-food chains and chip makers, the product was never successful and was discontinued in the spring of 2001. There are no genetically engineered potatoes in commercial production, and potatoes are considered “low-risk” by the Non-GMO Project Standard.
  • Wheat: There is not currently, nor has there ever been, any genetically engineered wheat on the market. Of all “low-risk” crops, this is the one most commonly (and incorrectly) assumed to be GMO. It is a key commodity crop, and the biotech industry is pushing hard to bring GMO varieties to market. The Non-GMO Project closely watches all development on this front.
  • Salmon: A company called AquaBounty is currently petitioning the FDA to approve its genetically engineered variety of salmon, which has met with fierce consumer resistance. Find out more here.
  • Pigs: A genetically engineered variety of pig, called Enviropig was developed by scientists at the University of Guelph, with research starting in 1995 and government approval sought beginning in 2009. In 2012 the University announced an end to the Enviropig program, and the pigs themselves were euthanized in June 2012.

To for further information about genetically modified organisms, stop in to Baums Natural Foods today to pick up a free information guide. More information may also be found at nongmoproject.org

October 11, 2012

How Much Protein Did You Eat Today? How Much Do You Need?

What do you think about when you hear the word protein? Maybe it’s an ad for some protein shake that promises massive muscles? Or is it the last high-protein diet craze you read about? With all this talk about protein, you might be confused as to which way to turn, or what protein really does for you. Hopefully this will help clear up any confusion…

What is Protein?

Proteins are part of every cell, tissue, and organ in our bodies. These body proteins are constantly being broken down and replaced. The protein in the foods we eat is digested into amino acids that are later used to replace these proteins in our bodies.

Protein is found in the following foods:

  • meats, poultry, and fish
  • legumes (dry beans and peas)
  • Tofu (soy)
  • eggs
  • nuts and seeds
  • milk and milk products
  • grains, some vegetables, and some fruits

It’s rare for someone who is healthy and eating a varied diet to not get enough protein. Varied is the key word there.
Vegans and Vegetarians need to be especially careful.

How much protein do I need?

The following chart is from the Centers for Disease Control

These recommendations are for non-athletic, healthy people. Many fitness experts recommend that a person who works out regularly, take 1 gram of protein for every pound of body weight, per day. Questions? Speak with your doctor, nutritionist, or a certified fitness trainer for more information.

What is the best protein to supplement with?

There are many different types of protein to choose from and it can be confusing.  All protein types will help you build muscle & lose weight. They all make great meal replacements; the difference is the source of the protein. While whey is milk based, or animal sourced, many proteins on the market are plant sourced. The choice is yours. While vegetarians and vegans may prefer plant sourced , whey-based protein is a great choice for athletes, due to its amino acid profile which is abundant in muscle tissue

Whey protein-

Whey is the ultimate source of protein.  It’s the highest quality of protein available.  Whey is a total protein, meaning it contains all of the necessary amino acids. It’s rich in BCAAs (branch chain amino acids) containing the highest known levels of any natural food source.  BCAAs are naturally occurring molecules that the body uses to build proteins.  Muscles have a particularly high content of BCAAs.  Whey is the preferred choice for before and after workout protein shakes.  Mixing whey protein with water and fruit instead of milk will rapidly increase the rate of absorption.

Soy protein-

Soy protein isolate is derived from soybeans and is considered free of fat, cholesterol, and lactose.  Soy is a good choice for vegetarians who need more protein in their diet.  It’s a complete protein and a good pick for people with lactose intolerance.  It can easily be added to foods to increase their protein content. Soy helps to lower cholesterol, improve thyroid function and fights many forms of cancer. Its plant based estrogens may not be a good choice for body builders or anyone with a history of estrogenic type cancers such as breast cancer.

Egg protein-

Surprisingly enough, egg protein powder contains no fat or cholesterol. It is produced from the whites of eggs and contains no yolks.  It is considered an ideal protein by athletes because it contains all eight necessary amino acids and a complete BCAA profile. 100% of egg protein ingested is kept in the body.  It does not contain lactose making it a good choice for people with lactose-intolerance.

Rice protein-

Rice protein is derived from whole grain brown rice. It has all of the essential amino acids, it’s hypoallergenic, free of soy, milk, yeast, wheat and other common allergens. It is used by the body more efficiently than soy.  Rice protein, however does not build muscle as effectively as whey, but it’s vegan friendly!

Plant source blends-

Many companies are now offering blends of pea, hemp, rice, chia and/or artichoke proteins. These blends offer a complete amino acid profile and are a great choice for vegetarians, vegans or anyone who is lactose intolerant.

Baums carries a large selection of different proteins  to choose from. Many come in individual serving size packs so you can sample different types & flavors to help you find your favorites!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

October 4, 2012

Do You Have Time for a Cold or the Flu?

In today’s fast-paced world, it seems we’re all under constant pressure just to keep up, and that’s been harder these past few years than ever before.  Growing financial hardships, environmental deterioration and new “super viruses” lurk behind every corner. Each of us is bombarded daily by anxiety, toxins, dangerous pathogens and overwhelming personal and professional demands. It’s no wonder immune support has become so important for folks of all ages.

These ever-present pressures of our lifestyles often catch up to us, affecting our immune system and overall sense of wellness. Who has time to get sick, let alone deal with a more serious virus? Who can handle any kind of medical set back?

People are looking for ways to maintain their health. Many have no healthcare and are turning to natural products that are less expensive and have far fewer side effects than prescriptions.

The Immune System is the body’s defense mechanism to handle invaders. It is an amazing work of nature. It does a very good job of fighting off illnesses and infections when it is in good condition. It is absolutely vital that you have a good strong immune system to fight off diseases, infections and all manner of illness. Naturally boosting your immune system will build it into your best defense mechanism throughout the cold and flu season and all year long.

Keep your body MOVING, which means to be sure you get regular exercise. This keeps the blood circulating oxygen and nutrients into the cells and helps the lymph system circulate and flush out harmful waste. Your lymph system is your first line of defense when an invading microbe (virus, bacteria) is detected in the body. Keeping the lymph system in good working order will help keep your immune system strong.

  • Drink plenty of fresh, clean water each day. You should drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of filtered water a day to drain the ‘waste’ fluids from your bodies cells.
  • Get plenty of sleep, at least 8 hours, 9 is better. Your body is in repair mode when you’re sleeping. Give it the rest it needs.
  • Reduce stress as much as possible. Stress of most kinds weakens the body and lowers immunity.

Here’s What You Can Do To Improve Immunity

Immune boosters are a great tool for supporting & stimulating your immune system. It needs to be ready when someone sitting across from you starts sneezing and launching nasty virus germs your way. Most immune boosters contain vitamins such as: Vitamins A,C & E which is a great place to start! Vitamin D is also a must for cold and flu season!

Immune formulas also contain minerals such as selenium and zinc.  Herbs play a big role in many immune formulas, too. Herbs such as Echinacea, Astragalus, Olive Leaf, Oregano, Garlic, Elderberry and Golden Seal all help fight infection and keep you healthy.  In addition, medicinal mushrooms contain compounds that keep the immune system in tip-top shape.

Get to Baums today and get the whole family started on an immune formula before it’s too late! When you purchase a bottle of Baums Immune Support this month, you get a bottle of Vitamin D3 (over a $9 value) for FREE! Stop in today to keep your family healthy this cold and flu season.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.