Friday, November 22, 2019

Woo Woo Learning #3: The Lungs and Large Intestine...Symptoms of Imbalance and How to Get Back on Track!

So, have you been following along?  

I'm learning about the meridians in Andrea Beaman's New Healer's Master Coaching program ( and it's so interesting that I just need to share!  Again, I'm NOT an expert in this stuff (I'm just learning and devouring content right now!), but if you're reading my blogs and noticing that the signs of imbalance ring true with you, I hope you'll take the time to reach out to an Acupuncturist, Herbalist, or a Doctor of Oriental Medicine/Doctor of East Asian Medicine for a more in-depth diagnosis and course of action.  

OK, so with THAT goes!

Bitmoji Image

How do you know if the Lung/Large Intestines are out of balance?

You might remember from my last blog that L/LI imbalances can show up both physically and emotionally.  Here are some of the most common signs of imbalance that might pop up:

Physical Symptoms:
  • Allergies (food, mold, household chemicals, beauty products, trees/grasses, etc.)
  • Sinus infections and sinus headaches
  • Nasal congestion
  • Cold/flu that lingers
  • Respiratory Issues like asthma, persistent cough, shortness of breath, panting
  • Sore Throat
  • Toothaches
  • Distension of, or a full sensation in the chest
  • Belching/Burping
  • Dry skin, lips, and nasal passages
  • Nosebleeds
  • Dry/Brittle hair and nails
  • Itchy skin, rashes, eczema, psoriasis
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Loose bowels and/or constipation (known to some as IBS)
  • Pain or stiffness in the shoulders, arms or index fingers/frozen shoulder
Emotional Symptoms:
  • Inability to let go
  • Possessive of people or things
  • Difficulty adapting to change--rigid thinking/stubborn
  • Overly critical/judgemental/pessimistic outlook on life
  • Obsessed with cleanliness OR conversely, being someone who accumulates junk and clutter (hoarding)
  • Wallowing/Depression

Now don't panic!  

Our organ systems fall in and out of balance all the time and there ARE ways to get back on track if you feel like you're out of balance. And getting back on track doesn't require removing organs or taking medications or heading off to an exorcist...sometimes it's just a matter of changing your diet and lifestyle!  So let's keep it simple...

Here are some easy diet and lifestyle suggestions that might help bring balance back to the Lung/Large Intestine system:

Foods to Avoid:
  • Dairy (cheese, yogurt, butter, kefir, milk, cream, etc.)--dairy causes congestion and mucus
  • If you've got allergies/rashes/skin problems, ditch the common allergens--dairy, gluten, eggs, soy, citrus, peanuts, yeast
  • Sugar (leads to poor intestinal health)
  • Limit cold or raw foods (salads, frozen smoothies, iced drinks, fruit) if you tend to have internal coldness or cold hands, feet, or belly
  • Alcohol--very dehydrating!

Foods to Include:
  • Steamed, baked, sauteed, broiled and blanched veggies (Dark leafy winter greens especially--kale, chard, mustard greens, etc.)
  • Light proteins (chicken/fish) in small quantities
  • Seasonal sweet veggies like baked squash, beets, parsnips, and pumpkin can satisfy your sweet tooth!
  • Warm broth/veggie based soups, porridge, and stews
  • Gluten-free whole grains, beans, and lentils (soaked or sprouted for easier digestion)
  • Garlic, onions, ginger, olives, horseradish, scallions, daikon radish, red radish
  • Apples/pears in moderation
  • Lemons/Limes
  • Black pepper, chili, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, turmeric nutmeg, ginger
  • Herbal Teas
  • 8-10 glasses of water each day (room temp or warm)

Lifestyle Practices to Include:
  • Dry brushing the skin
  • Exercise daily (Even walking counts!  Extra points if you do it outside in nature!)
  • Meditation 
  • Breathwork/Deep Breathing
  • Acupressure
  • QiGong
  • Wear layers to avoid getting too hot or too cold
  • Wear a scarf to protect the throat and lungs from wind
  • Daily Journaling--write down all the things that bother you (let them go!) and then write down all the things that inspire you, make you feel grateful, or give you happiness
  • Purge!  Let go of the "old stuff" in your environment--clear out your cluttered closets and drawers, tidy up your workspace...and then donate unwanted items!
  • Resolve past drama/trauma--address and release old pains or hurt feelings
  • Forgive others and yourself
  • Get plenty of sleep (try to get to bed before 11PM)
  • NOTE:  If you notice stagnation or a prolonged period of grief, sadness or depression, it may be necessary to consult with your physician and/or a mental health professional.  

So what do you think?  Are the suggestions doable?  

Hope you find your balance this Autumn! 

Sending hugs!


Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Woo Woo Learning #2: Autumn is the Season of the Lungs and Large Intestine

OK, raise your hand if you already knew that Autumn is associated with the Lungs and Large Intestine.  

Hmmm.  I don't see a lot of hands up.

Well, except for that one acupuncturist back there and the Doctor of Oriental Medicine sitting in the middle row.  Yeah, you guys knew...

But for the rest of us, the world of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM for short) is kind of a mystery.  

Now for those of you who have been following my blog, you know I'm starting to learn a little bit about this stuff.  I'm not becoming a Doctor of Oriental Medicine (DOM) or an acupuncturist, or anything like that, I'm just learning the basics so that when I coach clients, I can help them recognize when their energy is stagnant and I can help direct them to foods, movement, or self-care activities that will help them get "unstuck".  Again, NOT and expert, but just someone with some basic background knowledge in energy flow.  

So...with that in mind....

I recently learned that Autumn is the Season of the Lungs and Large Intestine.  

That sounds kinda weird.  What does that mean?

Well, think about the seasons for a sec.  

We just finished up with Summer--warm carefree days, planting and growing, staying out late, playing in the sunshine...there's lots of outward flowing energy.  

Now comes Autumn. We get more into routines and structure, we harvest what we planted during the summer, the leaves start to "let go" of their branches and fall, nights get colder and darker, and we start to bring our energy inward.  

Right now, in Autumn, nature wants us to let go of any junk (physical, mental or spiritual) we have built up during our carefree summer days, so that we can be free to just hunker down and draw inward as we approach winter.  Like animals who get ready to hibernate for winter, in Autumn we start to let go of the old, and prepare for what's ahead.  

Autumn is the Season of the Lung and Large Intestines

So, remember in my last blog we talked about the meridians (energy channels) and that each meridian had a corresponding yin and yang organ system attached to it?  Well, each Meridian/Organ System is also attached to a season.  And Autumn is the Season of the Lung and Large Intestine. 

Now here's where it gets interesting...the Lung/Large Intestines can send us signals to tell us about possible imbalances. And these signals can be particularly clear in Autumn.   

The Lung system (yin) controls respiration and regulates the flow of breath, chi and water in our body.  It is responsible for taking in the new and becoming revitalized.  The Large Intestine system (yang) balances this by releasing waste and "letting go".  And though this can be a physical process, it can also be an emotional process as well.  Weird, right?  A lot of people with chronic digestive issues (ex. chronic constipation) have trouble "letting go" emotionally.  If you have digestive issues, think about this:

  • Is there something holding you back that you could "let go" of?  
  • Are you feeling sad because you're holding onto grief that you haven't allowed yourself to process?
  • Are there things in your physical environment that you could organize or let go of in order to feel more relaxed in your physical space? (Yeah, like that pile of papers sitting on the kitchen counter, or that cluttered closet you've been meaning to sort out...)
Autumn is the perfect time to clear out the old and bring in the new--physically AND emotionally.  

Want some more interesting stuff?  

How's your skin doing these days?  The "Tissue" associated with the Lungs/Large Intestine is the skin.  Getting some dryness in the hair, skin, nails and lips?  Are you having acne flare-ups?  Weird rashes?  Itching, eczema and/or psoriasis? It might be related to an imbalance in the Lung/Large Intestines. Makes sense though--if you're holding on to toxins in your gut and not eliminating properly, this can show up on your skin.  OR if you're holding on to grief and feeling overwhelmed or stressed, this can show up on your skin too.  Skin problems can be a signal that there is an imbalance in the Lungs/Large Intestine and that you need to "let go" of something.    

What other interesting signals might you see?

In TCM, the sense organ associated with the Lung and Large Intestine is the nose.  And like everything else, the nose follows nature.  It's Autumn...your sinuses want to "let go".  So now is when you'll find lots of people getting seasonal colds.  It's the body's way of trying to get rid of excess mucus in the system.  And if your meridians are nice and balanced, the body will let go of this excess mucus and be done with it.  BUT, if your meridians are out of balance, you could be subject to more serious congestion down the road that might manifest as bad flus, achy joints, and chest colds. You might even notice an increase in allergies, sinus infections, consistent coughs, and other respiratory stuff. 

Bitmoji Image

Whew!  That's a lot of info!  

Did any of the signals of imbalance ring true with you?  If so, I'm going to give you a few days to process and then I'm going to send out another blog with some ideas about how to get your Lung/Large Intestine back into balance.  Get ready!  

(Spoiler alert...It might be easier than you think!)   

In the meantime, have a great day!

Talk to you soon!



Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Woo Woo Learning #1: What's a Meridian and Why Should I Care?

For those of you who have been following my blog, you know I'm starting to learn about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and other healing modalities through Andrea Beaman's New Healers Master Coaching Course. It's a total blast and SO interesting!  If you're a Health Coach, or a Nutritionist, or just a major health nerd, it's worth checking out! 

Now, I'm not becoming a Doctor of Oriental Medicine (DOM) or an acupuncturist, or anything like that, I'm just learning the basics so that when I coach clients, I can help them recognize when their energy is stagnant and I can help them find foods, movement, or self-care activities that will help them get "unstuck".  

Anyway, I promised that I would share some of my learning with you, so here goes. 

 Bitmoji Image

Woo Woo Learning #1: 

What's a Meridian and Why Should I Care?  

Ever feel like you're out of balance?  

Like your body and mind all of a sudden decide to go haywire---too much energy, not enough energy, weird random aches or pains, rashes, sleeplessness, digestive issues, mind fog, inflammation, irritability, lack of motivation, fatigue, temperature regulation problems, sudden allergies, etc.?  

Bitmoji Image

According to TCM, your body might be sending you signals that your energy is stuck somewhere or that your organ systems are out of balance.  

You see, energy flows through our whole body.  It is our life force. Have you ever heard someone use the words Qi (Chi) or Prana?  These are words that we use to describe the vital life force/energy that runs through our bodies.  

But this life force doesn't run around all willy nilly. Nope!  According to TCM it runs through the body in pathways called meridians.  And each meridian is associated with an organ system.  The meridians and organ systems work together, and if one is out of balance, it can impact all the others. 

How do we get out of balance?  Oh gosh!  A lot of things affect our energy and the way it flows through the meridians (and, in turn, how it balances the organ systems)--food, environment, stress, emotions, spirituality, sleep, exercise (or lack of exercise), injuries, hydration, temperature, trauma, the name it!  

Our body works REALLY hard to remain in balance despite all the crazy things we throw at it.  So when it starts to get out of balance, it gives us signals in hopes that we'll pay attention and help it get back on track. Unfortunately, we're 21st century humans and we're really busy and we're not always listening.  Or even worse, sometimes we hear the messages but react in ways that would make our energy systems roll their eyes at us (if they had eyes). 
 Bitmoji Image


You know that crazy fatigue you get?  It's probably your body telling you to slow down and rest, meditate, get extra sleep, eat more nutritious food, or cut down on your work load. 

But what do most humans do when feeling fatigued or stressed?  

We have a glass of wine (or two or three), down a pint of Cookie Dough Ice Cream, and veg out in front of the TV, most likely staying up later than we should and feeling bloated and even more tired the next day.  (And yes, your energy system is now rolling its eyes at you...'cuz it knows that if you keep doing what you're doing, your system will get so out of balance that you'll end up messing up your immune system, causing inflammation, and getting even more fatigued and sick.)

So what is a busy, 21st century human being to do?  

I'm lost

Well, the first step is to learn about your meridians and your organ systems so when your body is "yelling" at you to straighten up and fly right, you can actually listen to it and do something productive about it!  

As such, in the next few weeks, I'll give you a little 4-1-1 about your meridians and what they're all about.  If you're like me, you'll find it fascinating!

Stay Tuned!


Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Woo Woo Stuff...

A lot of people in my life think I do a lot of "woo woo" stuff.  I teach yoga, I've gone to Sound Baths where they bang on crystal gongs, I've gone to acupuncture where they've burned squirrel droppings on my belly (not kidding!), and I've had gua sha and cupping done which (though medicinal) makes you look like you've been mugged on a street corner.  (Just ask Michael Phelps...)

And right now, I'm learning about even MORE woo woo stuff!  I enrolled in Andrea Beaman's New Healer's Master Coaching Program, which has been completely fascinating!  

If you don't know who Andrea Beaman is, check her out at  She is a wealth of knowledge about Energetic Healing, Herbs, Thyroid Disease, Autoimmune Disorders, Lymes, Cooking Healthy Seasonal Food, and much more!  Plus, she's a total hoot...and very down to earth and honest.

So what am I learning about in this New Healer's Master Coaching Program?  Where do I start?  LOL!  We're learning about lots of things...

  • Facial Diagnosis
  • Tongue Diagnosis
  • Meridian and Organ Systems--how to tell when they're out of balance and what you can do about it
  • Stretching, meditation and breathing techniques to help rebalance your energy
  • Herbs according to the 5 phases
  • Emotions and the Chakras
  • The Literal and Symbolic Meanings of Symptoms in the Body

I know what you're thinking..."Woo woo" stuff.  ('Cuz I used to think that too!)  But honestly, what we're learning makes SO much sense because it taps into your body's natural inclination to try to heal itself and to find balance.  It works WITH nature instead of against it.  You use food, herbs, exercise and self care as medicine and therefore you're not introducing weird chemicals and pharmaceuticals with bad (or unknown) side effects into your body when your body is already out of balance.  

If you can't tell, I'm kinda loving it.  And I'm going to be sharing what I'm learning with you.  Little bits at a time.  I hope you find it as fascinating as I do!

Take Care, Friends!


Bitmoji Image

Monday, September 9, 2019

Lazy Man's (or Woman's) Leftover Turkey Tikka Masala...Which was so good, we ate it all before I could snap a pic! LOL!

OK, maybe I should have saved this one for the end of November (you know, after Thanksgiving?), but I stumbled across this recipe after buying a pre-cooked turkey breast at Costco, and hubby loved it so much that I had to share the recipe with YOU!

Bitmoji Image

So, yeah, here's the story.  As I said, I bought one of those whole, pre-cooked turkey breasts at Costco (no nitrates, for those of you trying to avoid preservatives!) and then had no idea what to do with it! 

I thought about making turkey sandwiches (too much bread). 
I thought about making turkey soup (too boring). 
I thought about making turkey fried rice (too much of a side dish). 
And then I finally settled upon making a simplified version of Tikka Masala. 
And it was quick and easy and I had ALL the ingredients on hand! 


I whipped out my handy rice cooker (Thank you Catanzano family for introducing me to that wonderful kitchen appliance over 10 years ago!  PS....I'm still using the one you gave us!) and a big pan, and here's how it went...


For the Rice:

2 Cups uncooked white rice
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
A pinch of ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp sea salt

For the Tikka Masala:

1 T butter or ghee
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 T Tikka Masala seasoning (I used Spicemode Mild and Savory could also make your own... !)
1 tsp sea salt
1 T sugar or coconut sugar (OPTIONAL)
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes with chilis (I used Trader Joe's Diced and Fire Roasted with chilis)
1 cup canned, unsweetened full fat coconut milk
2 cups cooked, diced turkey


1.  Rinse and drain your rice a few times until the water is just barely cloudy.  Add rice to rice cooker and add water according to your rice cooker's directions (for 2 cups of rice, I used 2 cups of water).  Sprinkle in cinnamon, clove, cardamom and sea salt.  Turn the rice cooker on and let it do its magic!

2.  In the meantime, cook the Tikka Masala:

  • In a large saucepan on medium heat, add butter/ghee.  When it begins to bubble, add onion and saute for 2 mins.
  • Add garlic, saute for 30 seconds.
  • Stir in Tikka Masala seasoning, salt, and sugar (if using).
  • Add in the tomatoes and coconut milk.  Stir.  Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until sauce thickens a little (like gravy).  
  • Stir in the cooked turkey and cook until heated through.
3.  When rice is finished cooking, you can fluff it and eat it as is, OR add the remainder of the canned coconut milk to the hot rice, stir, and wait for it to get absorbed and THEN eat.

4.  Spoon Tikka Masala over the rice and ENJOY!

Quick and easy!  

Oh, and we ate it before I could even take a picture, so I'll have to post a pic next time we make it!  LOL!
Bitmoji Image

Friday, June 14, 2019

I Have a Drinking Problem...But It's Not What You Think!

Yeah, it's about the WATER.... 

I know it's good for me. 

I know it's important for muscle function, brain function, kidney health, and beautiful skin.

I know it helps prevent headaches, constipation, fatigue, muscle cramps, and well, hangovers too.

I know it even helps people manage their appetite and sleep better.

But for some reason...I find it SOOOO hard to drink. UGH!  Literally, I could go a WHOLE day and not drink a single drop.  NOT good!

So, I am making an effort.  A big effort.  Because I know it's important. 

Through my struggles, I have found a few little tricks that help.  Maybe they will help you too!

5 Tips for Getting Your Hydration On!

1.  Filter it.  Boston may be my home town but I don't "Love that Dirty Waterrrr...."  Nope.  If I can smell chlorine (or anything else) I just don't want to drink it.  Plus I know that there's a high possibility that there are other yucky things in my water that I CAN'T smell or see (bacteria, chlorine, fluorine, lead, mercury, pesticides and waste particles, just to name a few). So I filter it...someday I will also get around to filtering the water in my shower too.  I'll get into that topic some other day, but if you're a total health nerd like me and you wanna know why, read this article by Dr. Frank Lipman on MindBodyGreen. Eye opening, for sure!

2.  Take it to Go.  Do you have a favorite water bottle?  If not, get one.  Keep it with you. Be like Linus with his security blanket--make it your best friend and never be without it.  My fave?  This one from Life Factory: 

Why?  It's glass, so no funny plastic taste (or chemicals leaching in!).  I can carry it with one finger.  Yes, I have to unscrew the top to drink, but it's like drinking out of a regular glass...I can chug funny suction that you sometimes get with other water bottles with small openings.  It fits in the cupholder of my car.  It's not noisy or likely to break due to the silicone outer cover.  My long handled dish brush fits right in there, so it's a breeze to clean.  Oh, and ice cubes fit easily into the opening too.  All good things.  Plus, this...

Image result for water memes

Better for the environment!  Yay!

3.  Make it Taste Like Something Else.  Honestly, water is not very exciting.  So, I like to dress it up with things like lemons, limes, oranges, mint, cucumbers, basil, a splash of cran, or whatever floats my boat. And if all else fails, I heat it up and drop an herbal tea bag in there.  Boom!  Delish!  (Side note:  Make sure there's no caffeine in your tea, or else you're defeating the purpose of drinking the water!  Caffeine is dehydrating!)

4.  Schedule it.  Ok, so the schedule that works for me is this...  Upon waking, I drink one glass of water.  Right away.  Before my day gets in the way and I get distracted.  I also have another glass as I'm making dinner (which gives me the added bonus of keeping me from snacking as I'm making dinner).  But two glasses isn't really enough water for a whole day and once I'm typing away on the computer or researching some fascinating health topic, I just totally fall off the hydration train.  So I make a promise to myself that when I get up to visit the loo, I will also drink a glass of water.  (And the more you drink water, the more you have to go to the loo, so....the process kinda does the work for you, right?)  Right!

Image result for memes about hydration goals

5.  Keep Track.  Did I drink enough today?  Who knows?  I've been busy!  So to help with this, I use elastics or hair ties.  Wait, what?  Yup.  Elastics and hair ties help me with hydration habits!  I put three elastics around my water bottle and each time I finish and re-fill I take an elastic off and wear it around my wrist.  (One down, two to go!)  This way, there's no doubt in my mind that I had enough water for the day.  Plus, I have the visual cue of looking at my water bottle and if there are still three elastics on there and it's past noon, I know I'd better start drinking or I'll be chugging all my water right before bed and that's not really conducive to a good night's sleep, right?  (And sleep is another thing that's REALLY important for good health!)

OK, so those are my top 5 hydration tricks and tips!  Have you got any you'd like to share?  Feel free to post below!

Friday, June 7, 2019

Recipe: Gluten-Free Vegan Banana Bread

Gluten-Free Vegan Banana Bread?  

My husband's first question was..."What does THAT mean?  Is this some weirdo thing made with chickpeas and seaweed?"  (You see, my husband thinks that anything healthy is made with chickpeas or seaweed.  Or Kale.  Sometimes he thinks there's Kale involved.)  

Sigh.  "No.  No chickpeas or seaweed here, Babe."

No gluten or eggs either.  😉 

But YES, we do have bananas!  Ha!  And Gluten-free flour.  And a few other ingredients that my husband would consider "normal" (or at least "semi-normal").  

The best part is, this is a no-fuss recipe.  Quick and easy-breezy.  No waiting for flax "eggs" to thicken, no grinding your oats into oat flour, no scooping that last bit of almond butter out of the giant Costco-sized jar and getting it all over your entire hand...instead, it's just easy.  

It's not a fluffy banana bread so if you like that kind, stop right here and forget about making this recipe. This is the dense kind of banana bread.  Which I really like.  And surprisingly, hubby liked it too.  (Which is unusual for ANY gluten-free baked good.)

So here goes...let's see what you think!

Gluten-Free Vegan Banana Bread


  • 1½ cups gluten free flour  (I used Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour)
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 large or 4 medium completely ripe bananas - no green! Use the mushy ones             that you are just about ready to throw out.
  • ½ cup coconut sugar or organic evaporated cane sugar
  • ½ cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  Optional Ingredients:
  • Cinnamon
  • Walnuts or Pecans
  • Dairy-Free Chocolate Chips
  1. Position rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat the bottom and sides of an 8-inch loaf pan with a little coconut oil. (I actually don't own one, so I used a square 4 cup pyrex glass baking dish...) Set aside,
  2. Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl; set aside.
  3. In a larger bowl, use a potato masher to mash the bananas and sugar together until broken down but still a little chunky. Stir in oil and vanilla until combined.
  4. Add dry mix to the wet mix and stir until just combined. Add any "Optional Ingredients" that you'd like to use and again, stir to combine.  Spread into prepared pan.
  5. Bake for about 45 minutes then turn oven down to 325°F and continue to bake for about 10 to 15 minutes more or until a bamboo skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. (Hint: Cover loosely with aluminum foil if the loaf is browning too quickly.)
  6. Cool pan on rack for about 20 minutes, then slice and ENJOY!

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Sunscreen...Yay or Nay?

So a few years ago, I got turned on to the Environmental Working Group (EWG for short).  EWG is a "non-profit, non-partisan organization whose mission is to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment."

They have a great website ( that has become famous for a bunch of helpful info, including their.... 

  • Skin Deep Guide to Cosmetics, where you can find out if your soaps, shampoos, deodorants, toothpaste, lotions, and makeup contain toxins, allergens, immune system disruptors, carcinogens, or other nasty stuff

  • National Tap Water Database, where you can find out what's really in your water

  • Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce, where you can find the "Clean 15"  (foods low in toxins and pesticides) and the "Dirty Dozen" (foods high in toxins and pesticides) so you can make good choices about what Organic produce to buy and where you can save some money and buy conventional
Related image

So...sun exposure.  

We all know that the sun's rays can be excess they can cause skin cancer, wrinkles, burning, scarring, loss of skin elasticity, as well as a host of other issues.  

So knowing this, as an intelligent human being, anytime I was heading outside I'd slap on the highest SPF sunscreen I could find and then bravely bare my skin to the scorching summer sun, confident that I was fully protected!  

But now, with new research, I'm finding that I may have been duped by sunscreen marketing!  😕 

Image result for neutrogena ultra sheer spray

That sunscreen that I was relying on so heavily may not have been as protective as I had thought.  AND, on top of that, many sunscreens contain disruptive (or even toxic) chemicals that can leach into our bloodstream.  Eek!

So EWG did a lot of research about sunscreen.  I read through it.  I've pulled out a few quotes/ideas that kind of hit me....I'm wondering what your thoughts are?

  • "Rates of melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer – have tripled over the past 35 years. Most scientists and public health agencies – including the Food and Drug Administration itself – have found little evidence that the use of sunscreens in isolation from other sun protective measures prevent most types of skin cancer. Read more."
  • "Retinyl palmitate is an antioxidant that combats skin aging. But studies by federal government scientists indicate that it may trigger development of skin tumors and lesions when used on skin in the presence of sunlight.... Yet the sunscreen industry continues to add vitamin A to beach and sport sunscreens and other products with SPF."
  • "Nearly every sunscreen sold in the U.S. claims to offer “broad spectrum” protection, which suggests they shield against harmful UVA rays. But many products are too weak to be sold in Europe, where standards are higher."
  • "Sunscreen is designed to be applied to large portions of the body, several times per day. Sunscreen ingredients soak through skin and can be detected in human blood, urine and even breast milk. Several commonly used ingredients appear to block or mimic hormones, and others cause allergic reactions on sensitive skin."

Hmmm.  So sunscreens (exclusively) may not protect against skin cancer?  Companies are adding ingredients that could mess with our hormones and produce allergies?   Ingredients are leaking into the bloodstream?  Some of the sunscreens are too weak to provide UVA protection?  Ugh!  

So now what?  

Don't worry.  All is not lost.  

Everybody has to make their own decisions based on the knowledge they have at the moment.  For me, I'm OK with small amounts of time in the sun (I need my vitamin D and the mood boost, after all!), but on those days when I know I'm going to be out there for awhile, I've got a few tricks up my sleeve (even if it IS a short sleeve!).

So, if I'm going to be outside in the sun for a long time...

  • I DO wear sunscreen and I DO follow the advice of EWG and choose sunscreens that are less dangerous and more effective.  
  • I go out early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the sun is a little weaker
  • If I'm out midday I'll throw on a baseball hat, sunglasses, a light long sleeve shirt or whatever I can find to add a little layer of protection
  • I find a good, shady tree to sit under

How about you?  What tricks do you use to protect yourself from the sun?


Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Summer is Coming...What's Your Plan for Sun Exposure?

Oh gosh, you guys!  It's been awhile!  Last time I blogged it was raining and gray, but today is gorgeous and sunny!  We've had GREAT weather here in Seattle and it's definitely starting to feel Summer-y.  

With Summer comes that weird transition time when I first bare my pasty-white skin to the warming rays of the sun.  I do my best to do this in small increments to avoid the "Lobster-Look" I so often sported in the early Summers of my childhood.  With all the damage I've done, it's amazing that I have any skin left at all!  

Image result for tanning oil meme

As a tot, my mom slathered me with Sea & Ski at the beach, but during my unsupervised visits to the beach as a pre-teen/teen, I was untouchable (literally)...coated in a slippery layer of whatever tanning oil promised the darkest tan and smelled the most of coconut deliciousness. (I still love the smell to this very day!) My bestie would be by my side, covered in baby oil and we would return home, after hours at the ocean, hair frizzled and lightened by the sea salt and bodies so red and painful that even lukewarm showers were impossible.  Sigh.  Not the brightest...unless you were talking about the color of our skin...

Image result for sunburn meme

So flash forward.  You would think that now that I know how damaging the sun's rays can be, that I would be slathering myself in sunscreen at the slightest hint of sun.  But I don't.  Not all the time at least.  I DO wear sunscreen on my face most days.  And I DO wear sunscreen if I'm going to be out for a LONG time or when the sun is at its peak, but I DON'T put it on constantly. 

I happen to believe that there are some benefits to getting sun exposure in moderation (please note, I'm talking small increments here--not sitting out for hours at peak sun height). 

And I'm not alone in my thinking.  We have all heard that sun exposure can boost Vitamin D (it's estimated that over a billion people worldwide are Vitamin D deficient or insufficient).  And, according to Dr. Axe, Vitamin D is good for the following:

   Image result for vitamin d benefits dr. axe

And apparently, there are benefits to measured sun exposure that AREN'T related to vitamin D.  According to Dr. Mercola:

"New evidence presented in the April-June issue of Dermato-Endocrinology1 confirms that exposure to the sun in appropriate and measured timeframes has a number of health benefits unrelated to vitamin D production, such as:"

Enhancing mood and energy through the release of endorphins
Protecting against and suppressing symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS)
Treating skin diseases, such as psoriasis, vitiligo, atopic dermatitis, and scleroderma. UV radiation also enhances skin barrier functions
Inducing nitric oxide (NO), which helps protect your skin against UV damage and offers cardiovascular protection, promotes wound healing through its antimicrobial effect, and has some anti-cancer activity
Melatonin regulation through the "third eye" of the pineal gland photoreceptors
Relieving fibromyalgia pain
Standard treatment for tuberculosis 100 years ago, long before the advent of antibiotics
Treating neonatal jaundice
Can be used to sterilize your armpits and eliminate the cause of most body odor
Treating Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Synchronizing important biorhythms through sunlight entering your eye and striking your retina
Regulating body temperature
Protecting against melanoma and decreasing mortality from it
May be effective in treating T Cell lymphoma

So what's a person to do?  Sun?  Sunscreen?  No Sun?  Hide in the basement all summer?

I can't tell YOU what to do because we should all make our own decisions based on the info we have...but for me, it's small bits of sun sans sunscreen and if I'm drinking in more than small bits of sun, I'll use sunscreen.  

But only particular kinds.  


A lot of U.S. sunscreens are useless or toxic.  Yup.  I'll cover that in the next blog.  Researching this topic was an eye-opener for me. I wonder if it will be for you too? 

Anyway, that's the scoop for now.  Now get out there and enjoy your day...slathered in sunscreen...or not!  It's gorgeous out!


Image result for sunscreen meme