Thursday, March 29, 2012

Paraben Free Moisturizes- Olive Oil Shea Butter & Creams Anti Aging Secrets

My fave three paraben free anti - aging moisturizers for my skin are - Olive Oil, Raw Shea Butter and Sense's Nourishing Body Cream.
Olives and why I love them
Olives and their oil are beloved for the fatty omega 3 acids they give me, the taste they add to soups and salads.  The fruit is delicious to eat and stimulating to the brain. A great pick me up after the winter blues,  I loved buying these at the open air market at Le Place Richard Le Noir found near the Bastille. Olive oil is a (relatively) inexpensive way to nourish and hydrate the skin after a shower. I use it on the soles of my feet to keep them soft. Olive oil has got to be the number one favorite of my grandfather.  He devotes four and a half pages to what the poet Homer called  "Liquid Gold" in his book "Age Less,  Live More - Living With Health and Vitality to 107 Years and Beyond"  listing it among his Top Ten Foods.  He points out that it is mentioned in the Bible 55 times, the trees live to be 300 to 500 years old, and is famous for it's anti- aging properties.  He should know as he uses it on his skin which to this day is wrinkle free at 110. The Greeks considered this tree sacred and bathing in this oil kept their bodies protected from the harsh effects of the sun. Grampa recommends using it in place of sunscreen as it will protect your skin from burning and moisturize. Best of all it's paraben free.
Shea Butter so named as it looks like butter!
Shea Butter from Ghana
I was introduced to shea butter by a friend here in the States in the late eighties but it was in in the early nineties that I first discovered  a source of shea butter while living in Paris. One day while strolling up the Avenue de la Republique I saw these little butter balls packaged in a simple plastic bag hanging outside of an African or maybe it was a Chinese foods specialty store. I had never seen it packaged that way and certainly not for so cheap! I snatched them up and there began a love affair that lasted years. When I left Paris I would have friends send me the stuff to New York along with my Verbena tea leaves from the South of France. It made my skin so soft that any argument with a boyfriend would be immediately quelled just at the touch. It also was a miracle on my frizzy hair detangling knots so large that they otherwise would have been cut out. The butter once melted in a sauce pan and poured onto my scalp and hair had an immensely moisturizing effect.  My hairdresser Ricky at Snip N Sip would ask me every time how I kept my hair so soft and my reply was always the same: shea butter. For my body I would simply take some butter and rub it between my palms until it melted to the right consistency to apply to my skin. Rich in E it helps reduce and heal scars. I loved it because it did double duty as a body and deep conditioning hair care product.
According to the American Shea Butter Institute Shea Butter comes in different grades: Grade A; Grade B; Grade C; Grade D; or Grade F.  When laboratory analysis is done, grade is determined by the presence or absence of various nutrients. Grade A is the highest and best quality for cosmetics and personal industry.   Grade D is the lowest grade missing most of the valuable nutrients. The highest grades are awarded to those butters with the largest Bio-active fraction (5% and above), a good safety screen, and rancidity value below 10. 
Shea Butter is Harvested from Tree Nuts

Firming Body Nourisher - Sense by Usana Health Sciences
For those who might find the options above to much to handle I suggest using this paraben free body cream.  Pamper your body from head-to-toe with this luxurious, lightly scented body lotion that leaves your skin feeling hydrated and incredibly soft. Proteo-C™ and Proflavanol-T™ nourish your skin as emollient-rich shea butter and Ceramide 3 soothe, firm, and replenish essential moisture. This whole-body treat gives your skin a youthful, radiant appearance without ever feeling heavy or greasy.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Soap and Breast Cancer - Paraben Free Body Care with Sense Shower Gel

Soap. It can be irritating to a lot of skins. Every time I think of the broken out shoulders and the back of a friends teenage daughter covered in pimples I cringe. Did you know that many are allergic to soap because of the substances added to it?  A breakout is a warning sign from your body.  I personally  recommend Usana Health Sciences Shower Gel which is part of the Sense personal body care line as a replacement for the common soap. With a lot of products it can take a while to realize the difference in the effect it is having on us simply because we are used to doing the same old thing. We have also been led to believe that if something is irritating us it is somehow our fault instead of the fault of the product we are using thus ignoring the bodies inherent wisdom. For example, the first time I tried Sense body gel I really didn't notice how hydrating it was. Sure the fresh citrus smell derived from grapefruit struck me and the fact that it was easy to wash off was instantly noticeable while the other effects were more subtle. Like a lot of things in life we notice things by contrast. About a month after using this product daily I used my old soap product and it was upon the conclusion of washing my hands that I felt the difference. My hands were left feeling dry. That's when it struck me how superior this product was in terms of feel but beauty is more than skin deep. Keeping the skin moisturized is one of the best ways to keep it healthy by preventing broken skin protecting it from infections and the like.How about the other benefits?

Keeping Cancer at Bay Protecting Our Water Supply
 Paraben free products are important because petroleum products were never part of natures design for human beings. Why does this matter? This article excerpt by Dr. Nalini Chilkov published  1/26/2012 in The Huffington Post spells it out:
" Consider that a comprehensive study of women with breast cancer published in the January 2012 issue of the Journal of Applied Technology found parabens in nearly 100 percent of all cancerous breast tumors. This evidence clearly links these chemicals to women's cancers.Researchers from the University of Reading in the UK found that virtually all -- 99 percent -- of the tissue samples collected from women participating in the study contained at least one paraben, and 60 percent of the samples contained no less than five parabens."
Anti Bacterial Soap Toxic
Another misleading "good for you" ingredient is triclosan a highly toxic chemical used in many commercial soap products with "anti bacterial" on the label.  It is a pesticide that is harmful to you, aquatic life and phytoplankton. Banned in Canada and Japan it is unfortunately used in soaps, cleansers, cosmetics and even children's toys in the United States with only a warning from the FDA and EPA. It actually does the opposite of  protecting you against disease because over time it resists antibiotics. The fact is bacteria is everywhere and a healthy immune system is created when we are children coming in contact with bacteria.
Tips:  Avoid using these products that contain triclosan.
Protect your family and yourself by using products that are paraben free. If you have a baby bathe your child in something truly gentle. Your baby deserves to be healthy and so do you. To learn more about Sense Body Gel go here

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sense on Strivers Row - Paraben Free Skin Care Goes to Harlem

The wonderful thing about any business undertaking is the opportunity to meet new people and learn new things even if those new things are in your own backyard. Harlem is a neighborhood rich in history and historical architecture. It contains some of the most elegant homes and really conjure up what I call "Old New York". This is the neighborhood where my mother and aunt grew up. I have been treated to many a tale by my grandfather (now 110)  about this vibrant neighborhood. One of my favorites is how he used to lend Fats Waller subway fare back in the late thirties so the musician could get to rehearsals. In those days a loan for subway fare was called "gas" as homes were rigged with machines that would accept a nickle to turn on the gas to cook on the family stove. When you were lending someone a nickel you were giving them some gas.  Wednesday morning I found myself on Strivers Row in Harlem a street so named  for being a place where doctors, lawyers and the like amongst the African American community resided.  Some famous people that lived on this stretch of block were the pianist Eubie Blake, Adam Clayton Powell Jr., the late buddy of my grandfather Bernando LaPallo and "Mr. BoJangles" himself. Originally built between 1891 to 1893 the buildings were first constructed for Caucasian's only but later in a classic example of "white flight" the houses were abandoned. My host has a beautiful home built circa 1895 that boasts one of the only "back alleys" in New York City. Where horses and stables used to be she now parks her car.
A Resident Walks Up Strivers Row

Me post Sense one on one feeling happy with another satisfied customer

My one one one was a full on product demo applying and explaining while I went along the hydrating and cleansing benefits of the Deluxe Sense line. Beginning with the Gentle Daily soap free cleanser we moved through the entire product line all the way to  Perfecting Essence. The favorites in this session were the Rice Bran Polisher, Eye Nourishing Cream and the Nutritious Creme Masque. For older skins these products are great because they hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! They offer the triple threat of exfoliating dead skin gently while delivering moisture, removing impurities and leaving lipid deposits on the skin for a dewy look and feel. Inexpensive and concentrated these paraben free products are a welcome addition to keeping your skin healthy and protected. The skin is the primary barrier between the environment and your internal organs and is in a fact a pathway between the two worlds.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Skin Care 101 - for Men! Guest Post from Jessica Reimer

USANA’s Inside Beauty #2: Skin Care 101 — for Men!
When a man looks at a woman he loves a girl with beautiful clear skin but did you know gals look for the same thing in guys? Gentleman a healthy glowing skin is sexy and attractive to the ladies! It also shows you care about yourself and are willing to do what it takes to be healthy. After all if she loves you she's going to want you around for a long time. This article first published on What's Up Usana Inside Beauty series October 14 2010 written by Jessica Reimer

Let’s face it — men like things simple. Easy, no-fuss solutions to everyday concerns. In many cases, skin care is probably the least of a man’s concerns and seems far too complicated or feminine to approach. Navigating through cleansers, toners, and moisturizers can be confusing and intimidating. So it comes as no surprise that men tend to spend much less time than women caring for their skin. However, that is starting to change (thank goodness!).

“It took me 6 years to drop my manly stupidity and try my wife Vicki’s Sensé products. I love it so much that I now use it every day … men, you must try it if you have not. Don’t be such a late starter like me!”
— Claude Everard Fullinfaw, USANA Associate

There is a rapidly increasing trend when it comes to men’s grooming products. More and more, men are starting to realize the importance of caring for their skin properly. After all, your skin is a mirror of your overall health. It is the largest organ and the first line of defense for your body. Healthy skin is essential for today’s modern man and taking a few extra steps can yield dramatic results. Forget complicated regimens and take a look at 5 steps to healthy, leading-man skin.

1. What’s Your Type? Know your skin type. In general, men tend to have much oilier (and thicker) skin than women and most will fall into the “Normal” or “Combination” skin care categories. If this sounds like you, it means that you have active sebaceous glands which help you look younger, but also can lead to clogged pores and breakouts. Choosing products that balance your sebum (natural moisture) levels will help keep skin clear. However, if your skin is usually very dry and possibly flaky, you fall into the “Dry” or “Sensitive” category. This means you are more prone to developing premature wrinkles due to the lack of moisture in your skin. You will want to choose products designed to replenish lost moisture and increase elasticity.

2. Keep it Clean. Washing your face (preferably morning and night) with lukewarm water and a mild daily cleanser will help remove the dirt, excess oil, and pollutants that tend to build up on your skin during the day. Excess dirt and oil can clog your pores and cause unsightly breakouts. Avoid using soap which can be very drying, and instead reach for Sensé Gentle Daily Cleanser which gently removes dirt and oil without leaving your skin thirsty.
3. Out with the Old, In with the New. Exfoliating is different from cleansing. Using a gentle exfoliator like Sensé Rice Bran Polisher before you shave will leave your skin feeling baby soft. Sloughing off dead, flaky skin cells prior to using a razor helps prevent bumps and ingrown hairs. Be sure to completely rinse the exfoliator off before shaving. Also, don’t skip the shave cream. This layer of moisture guards your skin from nicks and cuts.
4. Treat Yourself. Moisturizing isn’t just for the ladies! Shaving can make your tough, manly skin quite dry. Apply moisturizer every day after shaving. If you wash your face at night (like you should!), apply your moisturizer after cleansing. For excessively oily skin, use Sensé Perfecting Essence as your moisturizer. This gentle, light formula is perfect for renewing the skin and visibly improving its texture. For all other skin types, try Sensé Daytime Protective Moisturizer during the day and Sensé Night Renewal Creme before bed.

Shape Up! Eat well and exercise. Taking care of your skin from the inside out is part of the routine. Eating plenty of fruits and veggies high in antioxidants will help maintain healthy, glowing skin. Also, exercising regularly will not only help you feel better, but it will help you look better too! Sweating during exercise allows your body to cleanse itself naturally and helps unclog your pores. Trust me, you won’t be the only one noticing a difference!
So there you have it. Steps to better skin and a better you! That wasn’t so hard was it?!
For more information on men’s skin care and an interview with our own Dr. John McDonald, visit Shane Farmer's Skin Project

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Update on Lowered Prices and Airfares to Tulum Vacation May 1 - 6

This is a special message from MJ our wonderful travel agent for our Mexico Mayan Retreat. This answers your concerns and questions.
"Hello Ekayani and Jen,
I have uploaded a new payment button on the Costs and Enrollment page for the retreat to reserve a room at $500.00. For your guests who wish to join the retreat, they can go directly to the page and click on the button to Pay Now. It really is the easiest method, but I know many people feel more comfortable working directly with a live person!

For those who would rather speak with a human...(my favorite method) please tell your guests feel free to call me directly. I can take credit card information directly over the phone if they feel more secure with that option, verses using our PayPal merchant services.My direct cell phone number is: 585-857-8828

Also, your guests may wish to call me directly with assistance for booking their flights. Otherwise, so far, the best price I have seen has been to purchase directly on Spirit Airlines website, which is $519 pp.
That link is here:
I highly recommend purchasing flights as soon as possible, since prices will only increase. The travel dates again are May 1-6, 2012.
I will be in Belize leading a women's retreat March 24-31st. I will have access to email during the entire trip, but am not sure how well I may be able to receive calls. For this reason, I encourage anyone who is considering this retreat to book with us this weekend, or this upcoming week. If anyone needs payment arrangements, have them call me directly.
I am thrilled to assist you with this retreat, and I know it will be an Amazing Adventure of Mind, Body and Spirit for all who hear the call, and join the Liberation!

Many Blessings,

Melinda Johnston
LUX World Travel

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

M is for Maidenform - Feeling and Looking Good Beyond the Catwalk

I snapped this self portrait at Maidenform

March 13, 2012
This is a short story that began long ago. Walking into the Manhattan design headquarters of Maidenform today I felt fantastic. Eight years have passed since the last time I worked there as a  model circa 2003. My job description: fit model trying on new garments before hundreds of thousands go out to production. Cool, huh?  Very.  I feel good because I am getting a second chance to pick up where I left off. And as far as looking good for anyone who is reading this blog it won't be lost on you that I am a health nut.  Take care of your health and reap the benefits.
If I Could Go Back In Time
When I first started modeling in Paris in 1989 the first gig I got just days after I arrived was working the show room for Loris Azzarro that well known house of elegant and slightly flashy maker of evening gowns. It meant that I paraded up and down the fuzzy white carpeted room where the buyers would come to make their choices of gowns to sell in the cities and towns around France and beyond. The job was great, my co - model Nelly was a sweetheart, our boss kind and we were paid fairly.
As time went on I was eventually accepted by GLAMOUR model agency and the pressure of trying to "make it big" up on the catwalk took over. I mean with supermodels like Katoucha and Sonya Cole in the same agency it was hard not to feel seduced to try!
Sonya Cole in Paco Rabanne circa 1991

However looking back I often regretted I didn't take that job at Christian Dior working in the showroom beyond the first fitting with Gianfranco Ferre. Alas my brain had been hit by the fever of the live shows. It was exciting going to see Mugler but the truth was I didn't know how good I had it back in the showroom. Like a moth to a flame I was drawn to the bright lights only to be burned by the reality that only a very few would make it to that echelon. You see their are many niches in the modeling world. The women you see on the cover of magazines and in the shows are only part of the story. Behind the industry are the fit models who play a vital role in making sure the garments are production ready by trying them on and giving the designer critical feedback on the true fit of the garment who then relays it to the seamstresses. When the OK is given these same patterns will be turned into thousands of garments sold all over the country. And this is where I belong.  It's a great place for me because I can do two of the things I love: Giving my opinion while modeling.  Happy 90th Birthday Maidenform and thank you for making this lady feel good!

Learn More About Maidenform Here

Miracle of Skin- Let's Talk About One Square Inch

The following is a guest post written by Bea Kinnear, a USANA Associate and author of Your Skin & You. She is owner and moderator of the Yahoo! Sensé Help Site, where she works with Kathleen Rockney, Jacquie Malinowski, and Janet Bernstein to educate members about skin care.
The site is where a version of this and other articles in the “Let’s Talk” series originally appeared. Bea has agreed to share select articles with What’s Up, USANA? as a resource for readers to learn more about Sensé products. Read previous posts here.

In today’s information-rich society, the vast majority of us carry handheld mini-computers in our pocket or purse. It is truly amazing that technology has advanced so rapidly that we now rely on devices with screens that aren’t much more than two or three square inches.
One square inch of anything isn’t very much, but when we look at just one square inch of skin, it is a miracle of science and nature.
In just one square inch of skin we have:
  • 650 sweat glands
  • 65 hairs
  • 234 feet of nerves
  • 19 yards (17) meters) of blood vessels
  • 19,500 sensory cells at the ends of nerve fibers
  • 95-100 sebaceous (oil) glands
  • 1,300 nerve ending to record pain
  • 13 cold and 78 heat receptors plus Langerhans(immune) cells
  • 78 yards of nerves
For the average adult human, the skin has a surface area of 1.5 to 2 square meters (about 60 to 78 inches). The following is structural information:
  1. Protection: An anatomical barrier from pathogens and damage between the internal and external environment. Langerhans cells in the skin are part of the adaptive immune system. (Source: “The Skin an indispensable barrier:” Proksch, E. Brandner, JM; Jensen JM (2008), Experimental dermatology 17 (12)) Madison, KC (2003).
  2. The nerve endings react to heat, cold, touch, pressure, vibration and tissue injury.
  3. The skin contains a blood supply far greater than its requirements, which allows precise control of energy loss by radiation, convection and conduction. Dilated blood vessels increase perfusion and heat loss, while constricted vessels greatly reduce cutaneous blood flow and conserve heat.
  4. Control of evaporation is provided by a relatively dry and semi-impermeable barrier to fluid loss. Loss of this function contributes to the massive fluid loss in burns.
  5. The skin acts as a storage center for lipids and water, as well as a means of synthesis of Vitamin D by action of UV rays on certain parts of the skin.
  6. Absorption: the cells comprising the outermost 0.25-0.40mm of the skin are “almost exclusively supplied by external oxygen,” although the “contribution to total respiration is negligible.” (Source: PDF Journal of Physiology 583(3): 985-994) In addition, medicine can be administered through a skin, by ointments or by means of adhesive patch.
  7. The skin’s water resistance acts as a water barrier so essential nutrients aren’t washed out of the body.
  8. Excretion through sweating helps temperature regulation.
Natural technology can be amazing; few, if any of us, seldom give thought to the incredibly complex way our skin functions to protect our health. That is why our skin is called our survival suit, and we would perish without it. For that very important reason we need to treat it and care for it properly on a daily basis. What better way than with USANA Nutritionals, and Sensé skin-care products.
This amazing natural technology never stops working, and all without the need of one computer chip or rechargeable battery.
For an application to join the Sensé Help Site, please contact Bea.
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Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Diet Underground - Ritalin or Reset for Weight Management

In the March 5th edition of New York Magazine I spotted a disturbing article entitled The Diet Undergound which informed that the FDA is poised to approve a second "fat battling drug". The article also listed 5 other drugs that are being used in other ways than what they were intended for and are being used instead as weight loss aids. Yikes!  The drugs listed were Revia,Wellbutrin XL, Ritalin, Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, Phentermine, Topamax and the one set for approval, Qnexa. A mouthful indeed.
Intelligencer is the name of the column this appeared but is this really an intelligent approach to weight management? Let food be thy medicine. The irony is that in America the land of plenty we are surrounded by plenty of calorie rich and nutrient poor foods and in fact 72% of us are starving. To be exact we are starving our cells of the nutrients they need to maintain health and keep degenerative diseases at bay.  Now more than ever it is important to understand the relationship between good eating habits, exercise, an adequate sleep on our weight. I am not going to focus on every drug that appeared on this list now but I will focus on the controversial drug Ritalin that has been prescribed for ADHD to children. I'd like to draw your attention to the case of Matthew Smith who died at the age 14 from the ritalin prescription prescribed for ADHD . His parents have a website dedicated to Matthew's memory in an effort to prevent other children from dying and help parents who are ill informed and even bullied into prescribing this drug to their children through their schools. Matthew died from heart failure due to his ingestion of ritalin from the age of 7 to 14 years. A grown mans heart weighs 350 grams but Matthews weighed 402 grams at the time of his death. His death certificate read "Death caused from Long Term Use of Methylphenidate, Ritalin." This alone makes the idea of ritalin as a weight loss tool frightening. Addictive to the brain like cocaine, it doesn't take much to realize what could happen to an individual depending on this drug as a dietary suppressant which amounts to  swinging between addiction and starvation of the cells in the body. The list of side effects are so long I hope it will encourage anyone to look into healthier habits: Nervousness, insomnia, decreased appetite, headache, drowsiness, dizziness, dyskinesia, blurring of vision, convulsions, muscle cramps, tics, Tourette's syndrome, toxic psychosis (some with visual and tactile hallucinations), transient depressed mood, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, tachycardia, palpitations, arrhythmias, changes in blood pressure and heart rate, angina pectoris, rash, pruritus, urticaria, fever, arthralgia, alopecia, thrombocytopenia purpura, exfoliative dermatitis, erythema multiforme, leucopenia, anaemia and minor retardation of growth during prolonged therapy in children.

RESET - A Path to LifeLong Good Eating Habits
USANA Health Sciences has a program that is based on a sane and scientific approach to weight loss with the goal being to lay a foundation through a basic lifestyle change. One of the first things a person on the path to weight loss should do is to set themselves up for success by removing temptation. Getting rid of the junk food that you have in your cabinets will put you at an advantage at least while you are home. (There is always that vending machine at the office). Processed chips and candy need to be tossed and replaced with some good stuff like apples slices, celery, carrots, baby tomatoes, berries and even nuts a fave of Dr. Oz  - anything low glycemic. That way when you are in the mood for a snack you'll automatically be eating foods that contribute to your energy level making you feel good and helping you transition away from that carb and sugar roller coaster you have been on. The side effects of eating these kinds of foods are increased cardiovascular health, low blood pressure, a clean colon and increased energy levels to name a few!

Diets A short term solution to a long term problem
We need to address the underlying cause of weight gain which is insulin insensitivity.  What causes it? Eating processed foods does a great job of numbing us to our own insulin. Back in 1981 Dr. David Jenkins introduced the concept of a glycemic index which found that certain complex carbs spike blood sugar stimulating the release of insulin which is your storage hormone. The body begins storing additional fat and holding onto it like a sponge holds onto water. This leads to inflammation of the arteries which is known as glycemic stress. High spikes in blood sugar causes a tremendous release of free radicals into the blood. This in turn damages the arteries with particular wear and tear on the capillaries around the heart. Controlling carbohydrate cravings by supplying your body with optimal nutrition in the form of supplementation along with low glycemic meals in the forms of shakes, plenty of water and two servings a day of low glycemic fruits and vegetable work. The RESET program is a 5 day cleanse that resets your body.

Tips: A few things to keep in mind is that if you for some reason "fall off the wagon" don't beat yourself up. Just get back up dust yourself off and keep going. Secondly don't overdo the workouts. Light exercise like walking is just fine. It will get your blood circulating and get you some fresh air. Third keep a video log or journal and try and find a support system be it your best friend, your Mom or others that want to join in with you to get bikini ready for the summer!  This program should not be used by women who are pregnant or lactating. Please feel free to contact me if you'd like to host a Rest Challenge!
You can order RESET here      
RESET Video with Dr. Ray Strand, Dr. Tim Wood and Jennifer Azzi with a comic ending....
Matthew Smith website created by his parents.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Pregnancy and Nutrition - Multi Vitamins and Preterm Birth

At a Glance
Preterm birth is associated with many health risks as well as a lower rate of infant survival during the first year of life. Women who take a multivitamin before conception have half the risk of preterm delivery when compared to those who wait until after becoming pregnant to start taking nutritional supplements.

Read more about this research below.
A study published in the November 2004 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology showed that the use of multivitamin supplements by women prior to becoming pregnant was associated with fewer preterm deliveries. Preterm birth is defined as birth at less than 37 weeks of gestation and is associated with a lower rate of infant survival during the first year of life.

Researchers utilized data from the Pregnancy, Infection and Nutrition Study which recruited 2,010 women during their 24 to 29 week of pregnancy. They compared the incidence of preterm delivery among women who took multivitamins prior to conception, before conception and during pregnancy, during pregnancy only, or not at all.

Women who took a multivitamin supplement before conception had half the risk of early and late preterm delivery than those who took no vitamins. Women who used multivitamins only during pregnancy had approximately the same amount of preterm births when compared to women who took none at all.

This study, as well as many previous studies, reinforces the concern that waiting until pregnancy is confirmed may be too late for nutritional intervention to benefit many pregnancy outcomes.

Am J Epidemiol. 2004 Nov 1;160(9):886-92

Maternal B 12 and Cognitive Function in Children

At A Glance
A recent study demonstrates an association between maternal vitamin B12 status during pregnancy and children's cognitive functioning at age 9. Higher maternal plasma vitamin B12 concentration in pregnancy was an independent predictor of the child's cognitive performance.
Vitamin B12 is an important nutrient for brain development and function. Since fetal requirements are provided by the mother through the placenta, inadequate maternal levels directly affect the amount available to the fetus. Research has consistently shown that maternal nutritional status can influence metabolic, cardiovascular, and psychiatric health of their future children.
In a recent study, investigators analyzed the relationship between maternal plasma vitamin B12 status during pregnancy and the child's cognitive function at 9 years of age. Previous research had shown that maternal vitamin B12 status influenced intrauterine growth and insulin resistance in children at 6 years of age.
Subjects included two groups of children born in the Pune Maternal Nutrition Study. The two groups were selected based on the maternal plasma vitamin B12 concentration at 28 weeks of gestation. Group 1 included 49 children born to mothers with the lowest plasma levels of vitamin B12. Group 2 included 59 children born to mothers with the highest plasma levels of B12.
The differences in tested intelligence and visual agnosia (the ability to recognize shapes, people, sounds, smells, and objects) were not significantly different between the groups. However, children from group 2 performed significantly better on a test for sustained attention and on a test of short-term memory. The differences were still significant after appropriate adjustments for confounding factors. Result of this study support the idea that maternal vitamin B12 status in pregnancy influences cognitive function in offspring. Ladies ditch ritalin for your child beforehand. Make sure to get adequate nutrition for both you and your baby.

Bhate V, et al. Vitamin B12 status of pregnant Indian women and cognitive function in their 9-year-old children. 2008. Food Nutr Bull 29(4): 249–54.

Pregnancy and Nutrition - 9 Months In 9 Months Out

Lately I have been getting more and more inquiries into the nutitional needs of preganant mothers. I offer this guest post by Lisa Kuftinec.

Lunch With Lisa Book Club: 9 Months In 9 Months Out

May 2 2011 written by Lisa Kuftinec
Just in time for Mother’s Day, I am sharing a book that I will be recommending to anyone I know who is pregnant: 9 Months In 9 Months Out. Written by Stacia Kelly, Angel Miller, Corry Matthews, and Shelia Kirkbride (owners of the health and wellness company ACSS Transitions), the book focuses on pre- and post-natal health. After simply flipping through the book when I received my copy, my first reaction was “where was this book when I was pregnant?”
The authors outline health and wellness in a very clear and easy-to-understand format. Most importantly, there is nothing preachy about this book, something I believe is the downfall of many pregnancy books. The book is divided into two sections: 9 Months In, with general pregnancy guidelines, and first, second, and third trimester specifics, and 9 Months Out, which includes labor, postpartum, and the first nine months for the new mom.
9 Months In, 9 Months Out draws on the authors’ expertise: Stacia is a Ph.D. in Holistic Health, a Master Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist and a Certified Stress Management Specialist. Angel is a certified nurse-midwife. Corry is a MS in Sports Medicine, and a fitness and nutrition expert. Shelia is an MS in Rehabilitation Counseling. There is more: nutrition tips, massage techniques, and parenting tips. Do not let this variety fool you: there is substance here; usable and helpful information is on every page, in a format that is easy to understand then act upon.
A few standouts for me.
  • The nutrition information is presented in what I feel is a non-traditional way for a pregnancy book, and often includes why you need it, how to get it, and recommended servings.
  • The relaxation techniques throughout the book help keep stress management top of mind, something I certainly could have used at times.
  • The post-natal mood boosting techniques: I had some post-partum depression, and this information would have been incredibly helpful to have on hand.
9  Months In, 9 Months Out is a positive book. It provides an honest and kind look at the journey through pregnancy with encouraging words to help the new mom get back on her feet. I thank Stacia, Angel, Corry, and Sheila for this amazing book.
Let Us Know
In the spirit of Mother’s Day, what words of wisdom and encouragement have you learned from your Mom or want to share with other Moms.
An additional note about Stacia: Stacia D. Kelly, Ph.D., a USANA Director in Virginia, is a holistic health coach and martial artist. Since starting Studio13 (, she has been focused on helping others achieve balance in mind, body and spirit. Whether it’s using her communication skills in writing, relaxation or teaching, she’s constantly moving to help others achieve their goals.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Hot Topics Other Than Skin - Spring Solar Workshops in Brooklyn

As we whip rapidly through March towards Spring which is just weeks away, a small  group of conservation DIY minded New Yorkers will be gathering at The Commons at 388 Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn Saturday, March 10 from 9:30AM to 6PM  to learn how to make their own solar panels.  The past few months I have attended energy workshops presented by ReNew with solar being a particularly hot topic. We heard from Alison Kling  and got some great info on CUNY's  Solar Energy Map for a New York City an collaborative project where every roof in this town has been inspected for usable space for solar installation. These two upcoming workshops are being conducted by Tracy Fitz. A 60-watt 12-volt nominal solar panel will be assembled, working with solar cells, “ribbon” wire, tempered glass, silicon encapsulant and silicon sealer. One workshop assembled solar panel will be available to buy at the end of the workshop.  For last minute inquiries as to whether this workshop is filled or not try contacting 347 689 3908 and/ or writing Melissa
On April 12 there will be a Solar Clinic held at The Commons.  Limit 39 Persons
The clinic is for the evaluation of solar possibilities on a participant’s building, so please bring your electric bill, a calculator, the footprint and size of the roof. Your rooftop will be found on the  internet as well. There will be a slide show of installations.
Presented by Tracy Fitz of City Solar (BPI Certified, LEED AP), NYSES, MESEA
Register online  $35 fee mail check to City Solar, 531A 6th Avenue Top Fl, Brooklyn, NY 11215

Monday, March 5, 2012

Health and Happiness Summit - Sweet Dreams and Weight Loss with Dr. Breus

Sweet Dreams
Dr. Michael Breus the "sleep doctor" had a lot of interesting things to say about the impact of sleep deprivation on the American population at the Health and Happiness Summit with Dr. Oz.  Dr. Breus is a clinical psychologist, Diplomat of the American Board of Sleep Medicine and a fellow of the same.   Our caffeine nation would experience lowered blood pressure, better memory, increased energy and slimmer waist lines by valuing their sleep at night. Dr. Breus explained that there are 5 sleep cycles essential to human health regardless of age. Each one of them has a different function. They are divided into Light Sleep which has 2 cycles; Deep Sleep which has two 2 cycles and REM which has 1 cycle.  Light sleep lowers blood pressure and it's that stage where you feel your body relaxing and yourself drifting off. Deep sleep is restorative to the body while REM, perhaps the most interesting of the three, plays an important role in supporting long term memory storage and (BIG surprise) burns calories! REM sleep burns more calories than any other stage of sleep. When I reflect on this it makes me remember two friends who have been confirmed night owls, late night snackers who have struggled with weight gain for the better part of 20 years. Dr. Libby Weaver has added to this discourse by explaining that cortisol production or the "fat hormone"  increases when the body is sleep deprived or put another way stressed out due to lack of sleep with the same demands put on it to perform. It's a survival mechanism used by the body to get through a tough time but by no means should this time be artificially imposed due to poor sleeping habits. It all makes sense now.

GLAMOUR Magazine did a ten week study using Dr. Breus as a consultant to see what kind of impact improved sleep would have on the weight of the subjects. The only thing they had the women change was the amount of sleep they got each night. By increasing the amount of sleep each woman shed weight ranging from as little as 3.5 pounds to the biggest loser at 15 pounds! This is amazing and shows how a stressed out lifestyle does more to put on weight than we might have thought. Poor sleep means poor circulation. If you are suffering from a lack of 'sexiness" in the form of puffy eyes, dark circles and lifeless skin color, try sticking to a regular bed time for that much needed beauty sleep.  A regular sleep cycle with adequate rest is one of the most important things you can do. Other tips were not drinking caffeine after 2PM, limiting alcohol 3 hours before bed time and ceasing rigorous exercise (including hot yoga ) 2 hours before bed time.   

Turn off the gadgets. Checking your facebook updates and fooling with your iPad is not the most relaxing thing to do before you hit the hay. Give yourself at least an hour to unwind both mentally and physically. Constant mental stimulation makes it hard to sleep. Instead take time for yourself by prepping for the next day by laying out your clothes, making the family lunches, self grooming like brushing your teeth and relaxing by reading a book for that last 20 minutes before you go to bed. Chances are you will be less frantic about getting out of the house the next day and sleep easier just knowing you are prepared.
Get your B's So You Can Get Your Z's 
The B vitamins B3, B6 and B12 contribute to good sleep by contributing to healthy sleep patterns. B6 helps the body convert tryptophan to serotonin, a hormone that affects sleep. Check out this very interesting article by Dr. Breus on the connection between weight gain and getting to bed late.
Many thanks to Usana Health Sciences and Dr. Oz's partnership in bringing together all this knowledge for us in a truly action packed seminar at Radio City Music Hall February 26.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Corn and Sterility - Monsanto GMO Corn to Hit Shelves April 1

Selu or Corn Woman 

Native American culture knew that corn was life. It was a crop cultivated on this continent for hundreds of years brought here from South America. In New York State the earliest evidence of the cultivation of corn is 1200 years ago circa 800 AD. In fact much of Brooklyn and Long Island was the corn basket for this area. As I walk along the cement streets of this amazing and crazy city of Brooklyn, I imagine going back hundreds of years when this land was pristine and planted with corn stalks high above my 6 foot 1" head. Women were the farmers in native culture and the crops of corn, beans and squash in original permaculture fashion were cultivated together lovingly referred to as the Three Sisters. Sisters and mothers as we prepare foods for our families we should know just what we are feeding them.

In an earlier post I called your attention to the dangers of GMO foods that cause sterility, digestive problems, and severe problems in labor during childbirth. Were you hoping to have grand children? What you feed your child today will most definitely determine what your family looks like in the not so distant tomorrow. Calculate this number by adding livestock, birds and countless other living creatures to this chain of life and we can foresee the diminishment of health on this planet and a ravaging of this countryside in a Mad Max kind of way.  At this time I'd like to point out that this discussion of GMO corn has left out of the discussion the First People who introduced corn to Europeans and the rest of us during that first Thanksgiving. What is instructive about the practice by our friends who cultivated this crop so expertly without pesticides much less genetic tampering? What can we learn from them? Corn is still the most widely cultivated crop in North America today but the way in which it is cultivated has changed dramatically and not for the better. (Soil degradation is a major part of that story).  Given the current push by Monsanto to foist GMO corn on the shelves of Walmart on April 1, 2012 across the country I thought it pertinent to take a look at the connection we women have to corn as Mother Earth is a woman. As women we still do the majority of food shopping and meal preparation in American homes. That translates into quite a wallop in terms of spending power and influence in food policy. Given that Walmart has upward of 4000 stores across the nation and has done a good job of putting other businesses out of business within a ten year period of moving into a community this is significant as food choices narrow considerably if they exist at all in certain locations. For us "city slickers" who are privileged to have more  choices consider an expanded vision to our countrymen that include children eating in public schools and college students eating institutionalized diets. Consider too that GMO seeds spread with the wind just like any other seed. Considering a recent ruling by Judge Buchwald that organic farms can now be shut down if found with Monsanto seeds on their land it is imperative to understand that our choices are now more powerful than ever. We may not be able to stop the wind from blowing but we can certainly decide whether or not to purchase Walmart Sweet Corn.

Corn is a Goddess in native american culture who sacrifices herself to feed her sons. She is widely associated with fertility and the irony surely is not lost on you dear reader. The Hopi, the Shoshane, the Maya, The Aztecs, our neighbors in Mexico and every American celebrating the Fourth of July has a shared love of corn. Fed to livestock it is enjoyed grilled, popped or boiled prepared as hominy grits eaten while watching our favorite films and crunched as an integral element of tacos served nationwide in fast food restaurants!  Corns significance in our daily lives has increased and not decreased in the last 400 years since the Dutch first arrived. How many of us anxiously await the first sweet corn available in late August or early September before the big harvest? This is a fond childhood memory of mine associated with summer camp where one of the last activities of the season would be to go to a local corn field and eat the sweet corn right off the cob. I enjoy a bowl of popcorn (organic of course) once or twice a week. It's a great low cal snack that's high fiber content helps keep my colon clean as I chomp my way through. I'd like to keep eating my popcorn without worrying about whether or not I am damaging my genes or my digestive system wouldn't you? Find links and information about an upcoming event in Portland, Oregon below. Might I suggest a boycott?

Tip: Mark your calendars! Food & Water Watch will host a FREE event to provide information about Monsanto's genetically engineered (GE) sweet corn that is slated to hit Walmart stores across the country if Monsanto successfully courts Walmart by April 1st. We hope you can come out to participate in activities, listen to guest speakers, and munch on some tasty appetizers with some great folks. The event will take place Tuesday, March 6th from 6:30-8:30pm at the Eat. Art. Theater. Café (850 NE 81st Ave. Portland, OR 97213).
More on Corn:

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Nothing But Green Lights? Mad As A Hatter CFL Lights Filled with Mercury

CFL are made with the toxic biohazard mercury

On February 13 New York Magazine ran a piece called "Nothing But Green Lights" which was meant to "illuminate the choices" on a slew of new light bulbs produced as a result of the new energy efficiency laws. Among the options of LED, halogen incandescent and classic incandescent were CFL or compact florescent lights with the notation that " some environmentalists fret over the presence of mercury..." What author Jenni Avins failed to mention is that mercury is considered by scientists like Dr. Myron Wentz to the most toxic metal to the human body. While she did mention that CFL's need to be taken back to Home Depot to be recycled the question is where are they recycled? If the answer is our landfills and water supply we need to take a serious look at the other three options. We are all environmentalists since we all live in this environment called planet earth and until they make a new one we best take care.

Important Facts About Mercury gleaned from the book The Healthy Home
+ Mercury can poison and kill virtually every cell in the body
+ Mercury is many times more poisonous than arsenic, lead or even cadmium. I had an old friend who was a professional painter who poisoned himself with the lead from his use of a certain paint pigment. He became quite ill losing his  hair and weight in the process. Toxic substances need to be handled with extreme care.
+ Mercury has a high affinity for nerve cells, tissues and readily enters the brain
+ Mercury is found in hundreds of products such as antiseptics (!), batteries, cosmetics (like mascara) diaper products, fabric softeners, perfumes,  wood preservatives and in your mouth as fillings to name just a few!

Mad As A Hatter
In the nineteenth century mercury was used extensively in the manufacture of hats in England. Mercury vapors inhaled by the hat makers caused damage to the central nervous system causing trembling. Look at this old video from documented mercury poisoning in Minamata Bay, Japan circa 1957 The Minamata StoryLight bulbs break. If you break a CFL light in your home do not vacuum it up. Open the windows and evacuate everyone in the house. Put on a mask and sweep the contents into a sealable plastic bag like a zip lock. Then take it to a recycling center. Do not toss it into the trash. Here is a case study written up by a State Farm agent in Maine Leavenworth insurance