Tune- In to Your Workouts

Health improvement can mean many things to people. For many it is centered around wellness, whether it’s for a better physical body, mental body, whether it incorporates diet or stress management. The larger pictures is about staying healthy and always striving to live a healthier life.

Fitness and exercise should be on the top of everyone’s list of health improvement. Performing daily exercises and maintaining an active lifestyle is key to enjoying good health. Developing functional movement habits is essential to keep you muscles strong, safe, and injury-free while striving to achieve added strength, flexibility, and overall fitness.

The only aspect of fitness you should be aware of is the “tuning-out” during your workouts. Headphones, TV, Kindles, and I Pads are frequently used while working out. And you should be tuning in to what your body is doing. The body will do the work out on auto-pilot because you are too busy singing along with your favorite tune to give yourself clear instructions and pay attention to be sure they are being executed correctly. To really get maximum benefits from your workouts, tune-in. Start with the mind/ body workouts such as yoga and pilates. Then challenge yourself to tune in during strength training/ plyometric workouts. And if you really want a challenge tune in while doing cardio.

It takes brain-power to tell the body what to do and how to move well. This is the art of “tuning-in” You can get faster, better results if you are aware of what you’re body is doing. You will also have the chance while you’re working out to evaluate whether you are doing things right or not, which can help decrease your risk of injury and develop more efficient functional movements for improved health.

This attention to detail one of the primary reasons that Pilates and other mind-body workout programs are so beneficial. Having to focus on what you are doing every single second of your workout, you will become more aware of how things feel, what muscles are really working (or aren’t working), how easy or difficult the challenges are, and can really be conscious of your body’s posture while moving. And what about paying attention to your breath? There are so many details to pay attention to.

If you’ve been exercising regularly and aren’t getting the results you want from your fitness program, first re-evaluate your goals and action plan. Then check in with your exercise routine, and “tune-in” to what you’re doing during your workouts. You might also find it helpful to work with a certified STOTT pilates instructor to help you identify things that can be fine-tuned to improve your posture, body alignment and exercise technique for maximum benefits from your fitness program.

The Importance of the Psoas Muscle

Feeling strong in your core ultimately depends upon a healthy and responsive psoas. The psoas (pronounced so-as) is your core muscle and an integral aspect of a centered and functional body. As a major player in back pain, knee injuries and tight hip sockets, it is often the exhausted psoas that disrupts range of motion, as well as digestion and bladder functioning.

WHERE IS THE PSOAS?

Your psoas is located deep within your core, growing out of the spine at approximately the twelfth thoracic vertebra (the area called the solar plexus), and moves through the pelvis, crossing over the ball and socket joints into the inner thighbones at the lesser trochanter. Being the only muscle to connect your spine to your legs, the psoas moves through the core like a pendulum synchronizing the free swinging of the leg when walking.

WHAT DOES THE PSOAS DO?

With a psoas on each side of your spine, this tissue communicates relationships between right and left, back and front, upper and lower body. Located behind the large abdominal muscles, digestive and reproductive organs, arteries and veins at the skeletal core, your psoas creates a muscular shelf that your kidneys and adrenals rest on. As you breathe and your diaphragm moves, your psoas gently massages the abdominal organs, stimulates blood circulation and enhances the flow of synovial fluid.
The psoas is complex and mysterious, and though defined as a muscle, it is actually a very sensitive and responsive tissue; a vital part of your survival fear response, also called the flight/fight and freeze reflex. As part of the fear response, it is your psoas that propels you into a full run, kicks your leg in defense or curls you into a protective ball while falling. The psoas responds to the full range of the both sympathetic (survival) and the parasympathetic (thriving) nervous systems.

HOW TO IDENTIFY AN EXHAUSTED PSOAS

The psoas becomes exhausted when it is overused, misused and abused. Whenever there is a loss of skeletal proprioception, unresolved trauma and defensive muscular development there will be depleted adrenal health and an exhausted psoas. Poor ergonomics and traumatic events can cause compensations that lead to a shortened, dry and exhausted psoas. If your psoas feels constricted, it may be a reflection of the chair you sit on, the shoes you wear, the stress of sports or fitness activities you engage in (or not), and/or the emotional or physical injuries that you’ve sustained but have not yet healed from. Car accidents, falls, abuse and habitual behaviors are often the cause of muscular/skeletal imbalances that invariably demand help from the psoas.

Here are some visual clues to look for:

•When there are any tips, dips and torques in the pelvis, the psoas is being engaged to try and maintain poor core coherency.
•Overdeveloped muscles pull on the skeletal system causing core disruption and evoking a response from the psoas. For example, powerful quads can pull the pelvic basin forward and down.
•Tight, restrained or locked hip sockets are often a result of sacral Iliac injury or dysfunction and a clear sign that the psoas is compensating for healthy proprioceptive joint response.
•Low back, knee, ankle and toe problems all suggest the psoas is involved. Over time, the delicate psoas tissue dries and shrinks compensating for healthy skeletal balance.

TAKING CARE OF THE PSOAS

As a messenger of the central nervous system the psoas should not be manipulated. Having your psoas directly palpated is not only painful but can be harmful causing bruising, broken arteries and hernias, as well as evoking old trauma without resolution. Manipulating the psoas simply does not address the reason why your psoas is constricted. Although invasive techniques may sometimes achieve temporary relief, they ultimately do not address the messengers’ message.

The best way to sustain or regain a healthy psoas is by listening to its message and resolving dysfunctional patterns and habits. By creating coherency through somatic awareness, you can revitalize the psoas thus gaining a deeper level of core integrity. Working with, not against, the psoas will bring you into direct contact with your deepest fears, but it will also connect you with an instinctive wisdom and deep relaxation within your belly core that increases functional movement and self-expression.
Releasing stress accumulated each day helps keep the psoas invigorated. Take a leisurely walk, enjoy a soothing bath (with Epson salts or sea salts added) and keep your feet supple. Check out the shoes you wear. Are they comfortable and neutral with low heels and bendable soles? Are they wide and long enough for all your toes to move? Choose a desk chair that has a firm or padded flat bottom, and fill in the bucket seat in your car with a flat folded towel or wedge. Sit on top and in front of your sits bones with both feet on the floor and keep your hip sockets slightly higher than your knees.

CONSTRUCTIVE REST POSITION

The constructive rest position (CRP offers a safe, comfortable position to release both physical and emotional tension in the psoas. It helps to relieve low back, pelvic and hip tension and allows your whole body to gain the core neutrality that is so important before beginning an exercise or activity. Simply rest on your back, knees bent with feet on the floor parallel to each other, the width apart of the front of your hip sockets. Place your heels approximately 16 inches away from your buttocks. Do not push your low back to the floor or tuck your pelvis. Keep your arms below shoulder height, resting them over your ribcage, by your sides or on your belly. Rest in this constructive position 10 to 20 minutes every day. In CRP gravity works for you, releasing tension throughout your psoas and helping to reestablish neuro-biological rhythms that calm and refresh.

Source: Pro Pilates

The Benefits of Pilates

“I must be right. Never an aspirin. Never injured a day in my life. The whole country, the whole world, should be doing my exercises. They’d be happier.” — Joseph Hubertus Pilates, in 1965, age 86.

Runner or golfer, tennis player or new mom, chances are you’ve heard someone talking about the benefits of Pilates. Many types of people, at many levels of fitness, who have begun doing Pilates exercises say they’ve seen improvements in range of motion, flexibility, circulation, posture, and abdominal strength, and decreases in back, neck and joint pain.

Forty years after his death, the system of exercises developed by Joseph Pilates has never been in such demand. But can the benefits of Pilates the system of strengthening and stretching exercises designed to develop the body’s core, mobilize the spine and build flexibility, really be that far-reaching?

Pilates Benefit No. 1: Body Awareness

Celebrity Pilates teacher Siri Dharma Galliano says Pilates — when performed correctly and with the proper supervision — can do all that and more.

“It is an education in body awareness,” says Galliano, who owns Live Art Pilates studio in Los Angeles. “It changes your shape by educating you in daily life. When you’re cooking, brushing your teeth — the lessons are coming home to pull your stomach in and pull your shoulders down. There is an attention required (in doing the exercises) that changes your awareness” even after class.

“It teaches you how to train your mind and build symmetry and coordination in the body,” adds Galliano. “And when you can get control of the little things, that’s practicing willpower.”

Aliesa George, a Pilates teacher in Wichita, Kan., agrees. “The biggest benefit in my eyes would be personal awareness — awareness of how you sit or how you stand or how you move and being able to relate those habits to the aches and pains and injuries you have or have had in the past,” she says. For example, she says, it can help make you aware of that chronic tweak in the neck you get from sitting at the computer all day with rounded shoulders and a phone cradled between ear and shoulder.

As a Pilates-trained physical therapist, Dan Westerhold says he sees a lot of clients with injuries or weakness of the postural muscles, as a result of work, lifestyle, or not exercising the right way.
“People sit slouched at computers all day, then go to the gym and work their extremities,” says Westerhold, of Pilates Seattle. “They don’t use their core.”

Think of a tree, Pilates experts say. Does it have all its strength in its limbs? No. The tree is only as strong as its trunk and roots. Without a strong trunk, the tree would topple over.

It’s the same for human bodies, say Pilates experts. If we don’t concentrate on building a good foundation and a strong trunk or core, we’ll end up tight in some places and weak in others, injury-prone and susceptible to the pitfalls of our occupation or chosen form of exercise.

Pilates Benefit No. 2: A Stronger Core

But how about flattening the abs? Can Pilates exercises really give you a washboard stomach?
Experts warn that it’s important not to equate a stronger core with a flatter stomach.

“When people want ‘flat abs,’ they are usually looking for weight loss, not abdominal strength and core support,” says George. “More than touting the benefits of Pilates for flat abs, we should be touting the benefits of Pilates for a stronger, healthy back and body. If along the way, you do the other components of fitness and trim the body down, yes, you’re going to have a flatter midsection.”

As you develop body awareness, stand straighter, and gain flexibility, “Pilates will shift your shape,” says Galliano. “But just attending a group mat class may or may not change your body.”
Kevin Bowen, co-founder of the Pilates Method Alliance and director of special projects, says it is important that abdominals are flexible, not just hard.

“A flexible muscle is a strong muscle,” says Bowen. “A hard muscle may feel good and give an interesting look, but if you don’t have the flexibility and the balance and the functionality that you need to allow your body to function properly, sooner or later, it’s going to show up someplace else.”

Pilates Benefit No. 3: Body Control

Galliano, who has sculpted the bodies of Madonna, Cameron Diaz, Sting, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Uma Thurman, says Pilates works because it teaches you how to move.

“Unless you are taught how to move and discover with your teacher what is blocking you (for example, keeping your shoulders up too high), you will never achieve body symmetry,” Galliano says. “When you start getting control of your body, it gives you a great degree of satisfaction.”

There’s an intrinsic relevance to it, says Little Rock, Ark., internist Hoyte Pyle, MD, who has been practicing Pilates for five years. Instead of working major muscle groups in isolation, he says, “Pilates works the whole body in synergy,” which is how we should be moving on a daily basis.

By Barbara Russi Sarnataro
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic-Feature

Importance of Muscle Balance and Flexibility

Ever heard the phrase “Those who are flexible don’t easily break”? Think about it, tight hamstrings means more pressure on your low back and knees, tight chest leads to over stretched upper back muscles and poor posture, tight hip flexors give you aches in your quads and knees.

If those muscles could be lengthened and balanced doesn’t it make sense that you would feel better?

Pilates focuses on balancing your body. Instructors are training to see where you are tight and where you are loose. For instance, if your hamstrings are tight it’s likely that your quads are overstretched and perhaps week. So a pilates instructor would focus on stretching the hamstrings and strengthening the quads.

Workouts that are this precise train your body to stand, sit, play sports with the least amount of stress on your joints and effort through your muscles. Inevitably by improving the balance of your muscles your posture improves. When your posture is correct you are able to take long deep breathes that naturally lower your blood pressure and oxygenate the blood.

Your body wants to be efficient and stress free (physically and emotionally), pilates will help you to reach your goals.

Avoid the Hazards of Summer with these 6 tips:


Tip #1: Drink lots of water. It sounds like a lot but you need 64 ounces of water per day, plus 8 additional ounces per 30 minutes of exercise, especially of your are exercising in the heat. Keep a container water with you at all times and get into the habit of drinking water off and on all day.

Tip #2: Repel mosquitoes with vitamin B1. In 1943, Dr. Ray Shannon from St. Paul, Minnesota, reported on 10 dramatic cases of resistance to mosquitoes from taking vitamin B-1 orally. In one gentleman who was constantly ravaged by mosquitoes while trout fishing, the vitamin allowed him to return home without a single bite, while his fishing companions were covered with welts. It is recommend that you take 100 mg daily, in divided doses.

Tip #3: Ease the sting and itching of bug bites with toothpaste. Toothpaste does an amazing job reducing the discomfort of an insect bite. Just dab the irritated, the alkalinity of the baking soda in most brands of toothpaste relieves itching. The antibacterial components will prevent infection.

Tip #4: Wear sunglasses. Any sun glasses are better than nothing but studies show that yellow, amber, or orange sunglasses best protect your eyes from the summer sun. These colors do a better job of filtering out UV and blue wavelengths of light that can be harmful to your retina.

Tip #5: Limit your time outdoors on days when air quality is poor. It’s a good idea to avoid air pollution whenever you can, however, hot weather may make air pollution even more dangerous. The pairing of these two elements has the potential to increase risk of stroke by about 50 percent! Your best bet is to stay indoors on hot days when air quality is poor.

Tip #6: Cover Up. Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer. Most cases are due to over exposure to the sun. You should wear sun screen everyday, even if you’re not lying out by the pool or the beach. Hats, umbrellas and cover-ups are helpful in reducing the amount of sun you are exposed to as well.

Stroke Prevention Month

May is Stroke Prevention Month. A stroke is defined by Wikipedia as the rapid loss of brain function due to a disturbance in the blood supply to the brain. This can be due to ischemia (lack of blood flow) caused by a blockage or a hemorrhage (leakage of blood). As a result, the affected area of the brain cannot function, which might result in the inability to move limbs, speak or see from one side of the body.

Strokes are a medical emergency and can cause permanent neurological damage, complications and death. Strokes are the leading cause of adult disability in the United States.

Risk factors include old age, hypertension, previous strokes, diabetes, high cholesterol, cigarette smoking and atrial fibrillation. High blood pressure is the most important modifiable risk factor.

Nutrition is also a factor in stroke prevention. Including oranges and grapes daily seem to lower your risks. This news comes from reviewing 14 years of follow-up data gathered from 70,000 women participating in the U.S. Nurses’ Health Study, a landmark trial that has been on-going since 1976 and is still recruiting volunteers. The stroke findings were published online February 23 in the journal Stroke.

Flavones are a subclass of flavonoids, antioxidant compounds found naturally in fruits, vegetables, red wine, dark chocolate, coffee and tea. The researchers, from England’s Norwich Medical School, found that women whose diets included the most flavones had a 19 percent lower risk of stroke linked to blood clots than those whose diets were lowest in flavones. They reported that most of the flavones came from citrus fruits, and recommended that women choose whole fruits rather than juice to increase their flavones intake. A typical serving of citrus fruit contains 45 to 50 mg of flavones. The women with the highest intake consumed more than 470 mg per day. The researchers noted that the women whose diets included the most flavones also ate more fiber, took in less caffeine and alcohol, smoked less and exercised more than the women with the lowest flavones intake.

Dr. Weil suggests that eating an abundance of vegetables and fruit, particularly purple fruits and berries (and red wine if you drink alcohol), all of which contain protective compounds called proanthocyanidins. This study adds new and valuable information to what we already knew about effective dietary changes to maintain cardiovascular health. In addition, I recommend omega-3 fatty acids in the form of wild, cold-water fish or fish-oil supplements, freshly ground flaxseeds and walnuts to help reduce the inflammatory reactions that can raise the risk of stroke. Other measures to help cut stroke risk include getting plenty of garlic in your diet, since it can act as a blood thinner, and drinking green tea on a regular basis for its antioxidant effects. Be sure to get regular exercise and take measures to reduce stress in your life.

Women Show Weight Loss From Omega-3’s

Would you like to reduce your fat by taking fish oil? It comes in a pill and no it doesn’t taste like fish, it’s a small, soft capsule and it has no taste at all. A recent study reveals strong evidence proving that fish oil reduces fat cells. Many of us have been advised to take fish oil by our doctors and here’s a short list of its benefits:

•Promotes good cardiovascular health
•Reduces inflammation and pain
•Protects against stroke and heart attack
•Better brain function and increased intelligence
•Less depression
•Lower incidence in childhood obesity
•Decreased risk in breast cancer

…..and now it has been proven to decrease weight loss – if you weren’t interested before, I bet you are now.

In a recent study one group was given a capsule of fish oil over a two-month period the control group was given a placebo for two months. By the end of the study women taking the fish oil showed as decrease in total fat mass and a decrease in the size of the fat cells.

With diabetes diagnoses near epidemic proportions healthy steps to prevention are necessary. Women like are constantly on the go and need to take proactive steps toward better health. While fish oil is not the miracle pill adding it to your diet is affordable and has many health benefits.

You can fix oily fish such as salmon and tuna for your family or pick up a bottle of fish oil capsules. Take the capsule at least 3 times per week. Enjoy the benefits and remember – you may not physically notice all of the benefits but your body will!

Defend Your Body Against Stress

It’s the end of the school year, beginning of bathing suit season and time kick back and enjoy the summer together. Sounds like lovely but it can be a stressful time. The kids are at home, you need to squeeze in a few more workouts, spring cleaning and summer plans are in the works. Keep these stress exercises in mind as you move into the new season.

1.Open your mouth and eyes as wide as you can, hold for 5 seconds. Then scrunch them up as tight as you can and hold for 5 seconds. Perform 3 times.

2.Depress your shoulders and hold for 5 seconds. Then shrug them up to your ears, and hold for 5 seconds. Perform 3 times

3.Spread you fingers as wide as you can and hold for 5 seconds. Then ball them up in a fist as tight as you can as you also tighten the muscles in your arms, and hold for 5 seconds. Perform 3 times.

4.Tighten your gluteus muscles (butt muscles) as tight as you can, hold for 5 seconds. Release for 5 seconds. Perform 3 times.

5.Tighten your thighs as tight as you can, hold for 5 seconds. Release for 5 seconds. Perform 3 times.

6.Tighten your calf muscles as tight as you can, hold for 5 seconds. Release for 5 seconds. Perform 3 times.

7.Spread your toes as wide as you can, hold for 5 seconds. Scrunch your toes as tight as you can, hold for 5 seconds. Perform 3 times.

8.The last one is the most important. Open and stretch your entire body for 5 seconds, then scrunch and tighten for 5 seconds. Perform 3 times.

Practice these simple exercises when you become stressed. I promise, you will feel more relaxed and more energized when you complete them.

Micro vs. Macro Nutrients

What Are They? Why Are They Important?

Micronutrients are nutrients required by humans in small quantities to orchestrate a whole range of physiological functions from bone growth to brain function.

It is important that we consume these micronutrients because we are unable to produce them. These dietary requirements are trace minerals in amounts generally less than 100 milligrams/day, as opposed to macrominerals which are required in larger quantities.

Microminerals include iron, cobalt, chromium, copper, iodine, manganese, selenium, zinc and molybdenum. Micronutrients also include vitamins, which are organic compounds required as nutrients in tiny amounts by an organism.

What Micronutrients are and Their Role in Your Health

Micronutrients are what are commonly referred to as “vitamins and minerals.” Micronutrients include such minerals as flouride, selenium, sodium, iodine, copper and zinc. They also include vitamins such as vitamin C, A, D, E and K, as well as the B-complex vitamins.

Micronutrients are vital to the proper functioning of all of your body’s systems. Sodium, for instance, is responsible for maintaining the proper fluid balance in your body; it helps fluids pass through cell walls and helps regulate appropriate pH levels in your blood. Here are some of the ways that other micronutrients help maintain your body’s systems:

•Manganese promotes bone formation and energy production, and helps your body metabolize the macronutrients, protein, carbohydrate and fat.

•Magnesium helps your heart maintain its normal rhythm. It helps your body convert glucose (blood sugar) into energy, and it is necessary for the metabolization of the micronutrients calcium and vitamin C.

•Iron helps your body produce red blood cells and lymphocytes.

•Iodine helps your thyroid gland develop and function. It helps your body to metabolize fats, and promotes energy production and growth.

•Chloride helps regulate water and electrolytes within your cells, as well as helping to maintain appropriate cellular pH.

Micronutrient deficiencies in crops

Micronutrient deficiencies are widespread. 50% of world cereal soils are deficient in zinc and 30% of cultivated soils globally are deficient in iron. Steady growth of crop yields during recent decades (in particular through the Green Revolution) compounded the problem by progressively depleting soil micronutrient pools.

In general, farmers only apply micronutrients when crops show deficiency symptoms, while micronutrient deficiencies decrease yields before symptoms appear. Some common farming practices (such as liming acid soils) contribute to widespread occurrence of micronutrient deficiencies in crops by decreasing the availability of the micronutrients present in the soil. Also, extensive use of glyphosate is increasingly suspected to impair micronutrient uptake by crops, especially with regard to manganese, iron and zinc.

Crops grown organically are rotated in different areas of the farm to ensure that the soil is rich in nutrients. Organic crops are free of liming, pesticides and artificial fertilizers. Their crops contain all natural micronutrients necessary to your dietary requirements.

Getting Enough Vitamins and Minerals in Your Diet

Getting enough micronutrients in your diet isn’t hard. Eat a balanced diet including plenty of nuts, whole grains and green leafy vegetables. Eat plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables, like red cherries, purple grapes, yellow bananas and orange carrots. The more organic and colorful your diet, the better.

It’s easy to include more fruits and vegetables in your diet. Eat fruit salads for dessert instead of sweets. Prepare your own homemade soups and salads, and include two or more vegetable side dishes with each meal.

Common Micronutrient Deficiency Disorders

Micronutrient deficiency can lead to some serious health problems. The World Health Organization feels that micronutrient deficiency presents a huge threat to the health of the world’s population. Some common micronutrient deficiencies include iodine deficiency, vitamin A deficiency and iron deficiency.
Iodine deficiency is the world’s foremost cause of brain damage. Iodine deficiency during pregnancy can result in stillbirth, miscarriage and irreversible mental retardation. Fortunately, it’s easily prevented by the use of iodized salt.

Vitamin A deficiency is a leading cause of blindness in children; in pregnant women it can cause night blindness and increases maternal mortality rates.

Iron deficiency is the most common deficiency in the world, and the only one prevalent in developed countries. Over 30% of the world’s population suffers from iron deficiency anemia.

Macronutrients

A nutrient is a chemical that an organism needs to live and grow. They are used to build and repair tissues, regulate body processes and are converted to and used as energy. Humans consume and digest the nutrients.

Organic nutrients include carbohydrates, fats, proteins (or their building blocks, amino acids), and vitamins. Inorganic chemical compounds such as dietary minerals, water, and oxygen may also be considered nutrients. A nutrient is said to be “essential” if it must be obtained from an external source, either because the organism cannot synthesize it or produces insufficient quantities.

List of Macronutrients:

Protein: Amino acids
Standard amino acids

Alanine
Arginine
Aspartic acid (aspartate)
Asparagine
Cystine
Glutamic acid (glutamate)
Glutamine
Glycine
Histidine
Isoleucine (branched chain amino acid)
Leucine (branched chain amino acid)
Lysine
Methionine
Phenylalanine
Proline
Serine
Threonine
Tryptophan
Tyrosine
Valine (branched chain amino acid)

Fat:

Saturated fats
Butear assid
Caprioc acid
Caprylic acid
Capric acid
Lauric acid
Myristic acid
Pentadecanoic acid
Palmitic acid
Heptadec acid
Stearic acid
Arachidic acid
Behenate acid
Tetracos acid
Compound acid

Monounsaturated fats
Myristol
Pentadecenoic
Palmitoyl
Heptadecenoic
Oleic acid
Eicosen
Erucic acid
Nervonic acid

Polyunsaturated fats
Linoleic acid
Linolenic acid
Stearidon
Eicosatrienoic
Arachidon
eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) – an essential fatty acid
DPA
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) – an essential fatty acid

Essential fatty acids
eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)

Other fats
Omega 3 fatty acids
Omega 6 fatty acids
Trans fatty acids
Cholesterol

Carbohydrates

Starches/Sugars:
Fructose
Galactose
Glucose
Lactose
Maltose

Source: Wikipedia

Spring Cleaning

It’s that time of year again. Spring Cleaning! It’s a necessary evil.

Keep this in mind as you scrub away.

According to New Scientist, frequent use of aerosols and air fresheners caused mothers 25% more headaches, 19% were more likely to suffer from depression and infants less than 6 months old has 30% more ear infections, 22% were more likely to suffer from diarrhea.

Those who wish to use non-toxic cleaning supplies are cautioned to be alert. Although many cleaners will advertise that they are ‘natural,’ claiming that a product is ‘natural’ is an unregulated term.

What is your defense? Read the labels. Try to find the following substitutes:
•Grain alcohol vs. toxic butyl cello solve
•Coconut or plant oils vs. petroleum in detergents
•Plant-oil disinfectants (eucalyptus, rosemary, sage) vs. triclosan

Many healthy cleaning materials can already be found in your home; plain soap, water, baking soda, vinegar, washing soda (sodium carbonate), lemon juice, and borax. These products will not harm your body and they are easy on your budget.

Luckily healthy cleaning products are becoming easier and easier to find. Here are a few brands you can look for:

Seventh Generation
Mrs. Myer’s
Whole Foods 364 Brand

Happy Cleaning!