Thursday, 25 June 2015

How to choose Sunscreen?

To make best of your sunscreen remember to:

  1. Choose one with SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 15 or higher that offers broad spectrum protection - meaning both UVA and UVB rays. The safety factor is calculated as time spent in the sun safely before skin starts burning – let’s say 10 min. - It is multiplied by factor value.  10 min x 15 = 150 minutes. That is a guideline only. With my light skin tone I need SPF 30 and have to reapply every hour.
  2. My preference is to use sunscreen that contains mineral filters versus chemical. Physical (mineral) filters that remain on the surface of the skin are much safer. They reflect suns rays and are better for people with sensitive skin.
  3. Remember to reapply often even when not engaging in water activities. Creams rub off!
  4. Do not use on babies younger than 6 months old.
  5. Use recommended amount of cream.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Up in Smoke

My recent love of all things blended meant a fiery and smoky death of my blender of 12 years. Poor thing could not keep up with the demand for smoothies. So now I am in a bit of a bind, as I do not really know what to look for in a blender. The one that everyone raves about is not in my budget and I really must find a replacement fast.

I guess green smoothie is not going to happen today.

For fruit smoothies we mostly use Magic Bullet as it gives us the flexibility of making fruit mixes depending on individual tastes and the small cups are great to grab on the way out in the morning. Unfortunately it does not work for the green smoothies.
I would really like to get machine that is strong enough to blend frozen fruit like mango. My old one managed to crush ice but for some reason the fruit was always in big chunks. Strange.
I am off blender researching.

What blender do you use? 

Monday, 15 June 2015

5 things that you need to know about Sun Safety

To avoid skin damage, wrinkles and potentially cancer keep those in mind:
  1. You need protection from UVA and UVB rays even on a cloudy day as up to 80% of ray can get through light clouds and even fog or mist.
  2. Stay out of sun between 11 am and 4 pm. When your shadow gets shorter than you it is time to seek shelter.
  3. Cover up – wear a hat.
  4. Do not forget to protect your eyes. Invest in good sunglasses.
  5. Drink a lot of water to avoid dehydration.
  6. Wear sunscreen and reapply often.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

ALKALINE vs. ACIDIC DIET and 80-20 principle

To measure pH levels we use a scale that ranges from 0 (Acidic) to 14 (alkaline). 
Water has pH of 7 and is neutral. Our skin is slightly acidic at 6.5 but inside of our body is slightly alkaline.

When planning meals it is important to know which of the foods are acid and which are alkaline forming. It means that once the food breaks down in your body it leaves a residue of certain pH. 
For instance lemons are acidic but once digested they create alkaline residue. 
Dairy is opposite.  It creates highly acidic residue.

Eating acid forming foods is not a bad thing as long we keep a healthy balance and do not overwhelm our bodies with them. Otherwise to maintain alkaline pH our organs need to work much harder, channeling energy away from other vital functions. When liver and kidneys are overtaxed and not able to eliminate all the toxins they get store them in our bodies. As toxins love fat, the fatty areas like breast are becoming the storing ground. 

Your new best friend! Green leafy vegetables.

When our bodies become too acidic we start losing minerals like potassium, calcium and magnesium.

There were studies done showing that women who consume large amounts of diary suffer from osteoporosis more often than those who consumed less! It goes against of what we were always told that we need milk for calcium. As it turns out not only we have difficulty digesting milk protein but in the process we lose more calcium than we absorb.

Typical North American diet is rich in meat, caffeine, refined sugar, dairy, alcohol, artificial sweeteners and processed food all of which are acid forming. All this excess of acid may lead to inflammation and increases chances of us getting sick.

We should strive to eat 80% alkaline forming foods and 20 % other. There is no need to count calories, simply fill half of your plate with vegetables (steamed, roasted, grilled, fresh); 1/4 of a plate should be good fats and lean protein, 1/4 good carbs. 
Alternatively 80% vegetables and remaining 20% EITHER protein OR carbs.

I will follow up with another post to explain this last combination. Stay tuned!


VEGETABLES –green leafy, broccoli, squash, red peppers

FRUIT – berries, lemons and limes

DAIRY and EGGS– nut milk (almond), coconut milk, free range eggs
NUTS – pecans, walnuts, almonds, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds
FATS – avocado, coconut oil, flax seed oil, pumpkin oil, almond butter,
DRINKS – green or white tea, water, herbal teas, coconut water


GRAINS – quinoa, chia, millet, buckwheat

When eating meat or fish choose cold water fish (trout, salmon, halibut, sardines etc.),  grass fed or organic meats of, duck, chicken and turkey,  lamb or beef. Choose leaner cut as toxins accumulate in fatty tissue. Try limiting to 2-3 times per week.

How is your diet? Are you keeping within the alkaline guideline? 

Friday, 5 June 2015

Today is World Environment Day

What are you doing to help preserve the environment?

My pet peeve is excess use of water in small plastic bottles. I always admonish my family when they reach for the bottle rather than use a cup and take water form large jug. I keep reminding them that the small ones are only when we go out and need to take some water with us. I know, I know we should have reusable bottles – sadly they were getting lost, forgotten and left behind too often. When they made it back I had to make sure that they were cleaned daily. Some unfortunate designs virtually prevented the drinking spout to be thoroughly cleaned and the inside straws would grow moldy.  I was not very happy with most of them and replacing on a monthly basis was costly and not great for the environment either.

This speaks volumes! 
A while ago I have started to drink lemon water in the mornings or rather squeeze half a lemon into the bottle and take it with me to work. Ups! Non reusable bottle! Now that’s a big NO NO. So I am off to the store to get me some fancy but user friendly water container.
In the meantime I am trying to really limit the number of bottles we send to the landfill. Those bottles are not biodegradable so will be lying around for years and years leaching toxic chemicals into our ground water.

How are you managing your water needs? Do you drink tap water and refill your bottle on the go, bring your own filtered or like us rely on store bought bottled one?

Have a look at this short video made by Annie Leonard. She is a great advocate for reducing waste and an author of the many animated movies in the “The Story of Stuff” series.
“The Story of  Bottled Water” only 8 minutes long.

Most water that we buy is “purified water” Which simply means that it is FILTERED TAP WATER.  Bottles do not decompose and in North America only about 13% of them get recycled. That amounts to about 2 million tons. Rest ends up in the landfills. It does not sound like we are getting such a good deal anymore.

There is a variety of filters available – from filtering water for the whole house to small portable or under sink mounted ones. Some have certifications from international organizations like NSF International that provides standards and certificates for food and water.

Few choices of filters to consider:
Activated Carbon Filters – trap impurities – eliminate copper, lead and mercury – parasites, pesticides, and many others.
Reverse Osmosis – separates impurities from water using a membrane – eliminates parasites, copper, mercury, lead and cadmium, arsenic and a few others. The down side is that during cleaning process a significant amount of water gets wasted.
UV disinfection – UV light kills bacteria and other microorganisms.

I use tap water for cooking and to make tea but we never drink it unless it is boiled first. In the past I used variety of filtering devices and I think I may be time to get one again.