Posts Tagged ‘Sugar’

Two Must-See Documentaries

I recently watched two award-winning documentaries – “Merchants of Doubt” and “Sugar Coated”. Both films point out how the same PR tactics used by the tobacco industry to mislead the public about the dangers of smoking are also used to create doubt about the reality of climate change and to hide the studies showing the dangerous effect of sugar.

In “Merchants of Doubt”, the film uses a professional magician’s methods of distracting the audience to create illusion as an analogy to what some scientists and others are doing to distract us from the reality of climate change and thereby forestall governmental action.

“Sugar Coated” focuses on the obesity, diabetes and heart disease rates that have skyrocketed as the amount of sugar consumed has also skyrocketed over the past few decades. For the first time doctors are seeing children suffer from fatty liver disease. The sugar industry was able to deflect the negative health claims about sugar in the 1970’s, but it is doubtful they will be able to do it again.

Both films are extremely well done and alarming in their exposes. Why are these truths hidden? One reason is greed. For the sake of our health, for the health of our children and future generations, and to keep our planet a place where humans can live and thrive, we must look at these issues realistically.

On one of these long winter nights, settle down and watch these documentaries. Then act – keep leading a greener lifestyle, cut back on sugar and spread the word!

 

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Do Your Personal Care Products Contain Microbeads?

Have you heard of microbeads?

Microbeads are tiny balls of plastic used as exfoliants and for texture in face washes, soaps, make-up and toothpastes. Most are petroleum-based plastics, like polyethylene and polypropylene and are not biodegradeable. I can’t imagine why companies manufacture personal care products with these toxic plastic beads, which then go down the bathroom drain straight into the sewer system. The problem is they are so small they cannot be filtered out of household wastewater by most water treatment facilities and as a result end up in our rivers, lakes, streams and oceans to be ingested by fish and other sea creatures. And when we eat fish, there is a good possibility we are ingesting them too! Due to their minute size, once they enter the marine environment, they are extremely difficult to remove and are likely to stay, contributing to the “plastic soup swirling around the world’s oceans”, as beatthemicrobead.org states.

The good news is that Illinois and a few other states have already banned microbeads, and federal legislation was introduced to ban them on the national level as well. Other countries already have.

Are there safer exfoliant alternatives?

Of course! Microbeads are an unnecessary additive to personal care products. Sugar, coffee grounds, sea salt, ground stone fruit pits, ground walnut shells or a natural body brush work even better as exfoliants. You can easily find natural and organic body care products using real ingredients at Whole Foods, other natural food stores and even CVS.

 Or exfoliants are easy to make yourself. Below are recipes for a body and foot exfoliant using simple kitchen ingredients.

Exfoliant Recipes

Coconut and Vanilla Brown Sugar Body Buff

1 ¼ cups brown or raw sugar, 6-8 tablespoons extra virgin, unrefined coconut oil, 15-20 drops vanilla essential oil

In a medium size bowl, combine sugar and coconut oil. If the coconut oil is solid, warm it over a low heat until it’s just melted, then blend with the sugar using a small whisk and making sure to break up any lumps of sugar. Add the vanilla drop-by-drop, blending after each addition. Spoon into a container with a tight-fitting lid. Massage ¼ to ½ cup of scrub onto premoistened skin using gentle circular motions. Rinse. Use 1 to 2 times per week. No refrigeration is required; for maximum freshness use within 6 months.

Recommended for all skin types except acneic. (Use with care on sensitive or environmentally damaged skin.)

Orange Ginger Warming Foot Scrub

This warming foot scrub is great for the winter, and leaves your feet feeling soft and relaxed.  1/4 cup sugar (white or brown), 1/4 cup sweet almond oil,  6 drops orange essential oil, 2 drops ginger essential oil, 1 level teaspoon powdered cayenne pepper In a plastic bowl, mix together the sugar and oil. Add the essential oils and stir. Add the cayenne pepper last and stir well to mix. To use, sit comfortably in the tub or over a pan of water and/or a large towel to catch the sugar scrub as it is applied. Scoop up a handful of the scrub for each foot and massage vigorously yet with care over heels, ankles, toes, arches and the balls of your feet. Be sure to scrub any rough areas especially well. Don’t forget to rinse the tub well when finished.

Check the Labels

Read the labels carefully on your personal care products. If they list microbeads or names you can’t pronounce, consider switching.

Visit safecosmetics.org for specific details about your products.  Ban the bead!  Who wants unsafe additives in their personal care products?  Check out the brief video below further explaining the problems with microbeads.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAiIGd_JqZc

Information compiled from: treehugger.com, beatthemicrobead.org, Organic Body Care Reipes, by Stephanie Tourles For more more body care recipes, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

Are Frozen Dinners Worth the Convenience?

We live in a busy, fast-paced society where taking the time to prepare a delicious and healthy meal is not always possible.  Pre-prepared foods and frozen dinners offer a quick and easy alternative, but at what price?

Typical frozen dinner

Most frozen meals are loaded with sugar, sodium, and preservatives with low vegetable and fiber content.  Though we need sodium in our diet, about one teaspoon a day or 2300 milligrams, for fluid balance, muscle strength and nerve function, most of us get far more than that with our consumption of frozen and processed foods.  We are all well aware of the dangers of too much salt and sugar!  The right kind of salt is important too.  Click here for more information about salts.

Certain frozen dinner brands, and specific meals produced by those brands, are worse than others.  Hot pockets, chicken potpies, and turkey and gravy dinners are among the worst.  Usually organic frozen meals are better, but it’s important to take the time to read the labels carefully, as with all processed foods.  Just because a product says “natural” doesn’t mean it is, even with frozen veggie burgers. Be on the lookout for salt’s various disguises like sodium alginate, sodium ascorbate, sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), and sodium benzoate, as well as added sugars under the name of high fructose corn syrup or natural cane sugar and unhealthy fats.

As Oscar Wilde said, “everything in moderation including moderation”, so the occasional frozen dinner won’t hurt you.  There is no substitute however, for a fresh, home cooked meal seasoned properly with healthy herbs, enhanced with a small amount sea salt, and prepared with love.

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

 

Information compiled from: http://channels.isp.netscape.com/,

http://www.webmd.com/

Are Artificial Sweeteners Okay?

I’m always amazed when friends or family ask for Sweet ‘n Low or Splenda, and they are always amazed when I say I don’t have any!  I’ve never used artificial sweeteners and have always been leery of them.

The American diet is inundated with sugar – in cereals, crackers, cookies and hidden away in other processed foods.  It’s in fruit juices, sodas, flavored water, energy drinks and diet drinks.  It’s an additive for coffee and tea and used in baking and cooking.  Our bodies need sugar as a source of energy, but when natural sugar is refined or overused, it upsets the natural balance and loses its benefits.  Sugar is definitely overused and its overuse results in all sorts of problems, including diabetes, weight gain, a compromised immune system and depression, to name a few. Artificial sugars aren’t sugar, but you still get the sweet flavor without the calories!  Perfect, right?  For those with diabetes, yes, but for the rest of us?  Not really.

SWEETENER QUANTITY CALORIES
Natural
Brown Sugar – chemically processed 1 tsp 15
Cane Sugar – chemically processed 1 tsp 15
Honey 1 tsp 20
Molasses 1 tsp 20
White Sugar – chemically processed 1 tsp 15
Stevia 1 packet  0
Raw Organic Agave 1 Tbs 60
Artificial
Equal 1 packet  5
NutraSweet 1 tsp  2
Splenda 1 tsp  5
Sweet N Low 1 packet  0
Sucanat 1 tsp 16

 

Two main artificial sugars are saccharin (Sweet N’ Low) and aspartame (Nutrasweet, Equal and Sugar Twin).   Both are approved by the FDA, but they have no nutritional value and studies show that there are possible cancer links as well as allergic reactions.  Aspartame, which is found in more than 6000 products, is even more controversial than saccharin. It has been associated with headaches, dizziness, change in mood, vomiting or nausea, abdominal pain and cramps, change in vision, diarrhea, seizures/convulsions, memory loss, fatigue and even weight gain.  In addition, there are links to fibromyalgia symptoms, spasms, shooting pains, numbness in your legs, cramps, tinnitus, joint pain, anxiety attacks, blurred vision, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus, unexplainable depression, slurred speech, and various cancers.  Scary!

English: Great taste without the sugar. The se...

. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Saccharin was first produced in 1878 by a chemist working on coal tar derivatives; today it’s manufactured with chlorine and ammonia.   Aspartame was discovered in 1965 by a chemist working for G.D.Searle and Company, and is composed of three main compounds – aspartic acid, phenylalanine and methanol (wood alcohol), all of which can be dangerous.  As Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Food Rules, says, “If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.”    I know that the FDA says they are safe, but I’d rather err on the side of caution and sparingly use natural, unrefined sugars.  That means avoiding products labeled as “low calorie”, “diet”, “sugar free” or “no sugar added” too!  Saving only 10 calories or so just doesn’t seem like a good risk to me.

Information compiled from www.medicinenet.com/; naturalhealthsherpa.com; http://www.natural-health-information-centre.com/