Happy Monday! We have two new things for you to freak out about.
I’ve had pills on the brain lately, mainly because every day I have to take medication (nothing serious, just a thyroid thing) and supplements (nothing serious, just omega 3s and folic acid), and I’ve long wondered what on earth is in them. I made the mistake of looking up the inactive ingredients in Synthroid once and was dismayed to find they contained dye. After that decided to turn a blind eye to it until I can come up with a better plan, which will probably be never since thyroid medicine is typically something you have to take for life.
But two headlines recently caught my eye, and I fear that further investigation may be on the horizon.
First, I learned that many common medications contain phthalates, hormone disruptors that we avoid at all costs in our personal care products.
In a recent study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, U.S. researchers sampled a small portion of pills on the market—medicines for conditions ranging from acid reflux, infections, and inflammation to ulcerative colitis and high blood pressure, among others—and found that 10 to 20 percent contained two types of plasticizing chemicals tied to lifelong health problems. These plastic chemicals, known as phthalates, are often found in vinyl flooring and shower curtains, cleaning products, nail polish, perfumes, and fragranced personal care products, insecticides, and food packaging.
Blarg. To find out how to tell if your meds contain phthalates, read the rest of the piece here.
Next, I learn, from our friends at Well+Good NYC that medications are also often not vegetarian.
Attention vegans and vegetarians: A new study published online in the Postgraduate Medical Journal found that many people who avoid eating animal products unknowingly take pills that contain gelatin, derived from collagen in animal skin, bones, and connective tissue.
The study: Researchers from the U.K. surveyed 500 urology patients about their dietary preferences and whether they would take medications that contained animal products. (Previous studies have shown that urology drugs often contain gelatin.) They also asked the patients if they would question their doctor about animal ingredients in pills.
The results: Of the patients polled, 176 said that they preferred medication made with vegetable products, and 43 percent of those 176 said they that would not knowingly take a pill made with animal products. (The other 57 percent said they would take a pill containing animal products if no other alternative existed.)
To find out more about that, continue reading the post over here.
Are you worried about what’s in your meds and supplements?
Lovely picture via
Happy Valentine’s Week, pals. We were very intrigued by this post from our friends at Well+GoodNYC about an in-vogue superfood (yes, another one!) that may have some sexy side effects. Now, we’re as wary as the next guy of trendy and expensive foods, and especially ones that come in powdered form. But at the same time…aphrodisiac smoothies sound kind of awesome, no? Though maybe not right before a yoga class.
Read for yourself and let us know in the comments: Will you give maca a whirl?
From the post:
Peruvian women have long attested to Maca’s super powers in the bedroom (like, for 2,600 years), and have been using it for fertility, libido, and treating PMS and menopausal symptoms. New York women are giving it a go, too.
Contemporary nutrition calls Maca an adaptogen, meaning it improves balance in the body where it’s needed or normalizes it under stress. But then Maca goes one better by promoting endurance, energy, stamina, as well as erections and sperm count (especially in rats). And some studies show that Maca is a mood and immunity booster.
Read the rest of the post here.
Yes! I do have PMS. Right now actually (I think). So I was pleased to come across this interview from Well+Good today. Even though we know that diet and lifestyle affect our hormones, being reminded by a health practitioner is, well, reassuring. And it also gives back a bit of a sense of control, which is nice too.
What affects your PMS?
Here’s the interview:
Many women assume that the awful PMS they endure—complete with cramping, headaches, lower back pain, and breakouts—is just par for the course.
But Meg Richichi, MS, LAc, an integrative women’s health practitioner, says that it doesn’t have to be that way. While out-of-wack hormones account for PMS symptoms, the cause of their wackiness could be your diet.
New York women’s hormones are constantly under attack, says Richichi, by a combination of culprits—stress, lack of sleep, and especially unbalanced diets.
Why is diet such a big deal? “Eighty percent of who we are comes through our gut,” says Richichi. “The building blocks of our hormones are what we eat, assimilate, and eliminate.”
Instead of masking the symptoms with Midol, Richichi recommends getting your hormones under control. Here’s where you should start:
1. Stress less.
When you’re super stressed, the nutrients in your body that create healthy levels of estrogen and progesterone are are busy just keeping your body in survival mode. “The signal that tells you to stress is the same one that tells you to ovulate,” says Richichi. If it’s all tied up, you’re going to have issues.
2. Sleep more.
A good night’s sleep will help with stress. But more importantly, sleep is a crucial time for hormone regulation. The longer and sounder you sleep, the more time your hormones will have to reset. And close the blinds—the light from a street lamp can disrupt the process.
I love how Hever pre-washes all her farmers’ market veggies, and prepares a big salad twice a week, keeping it in her fridge so that it’s always ready. Do any of you do this kind of pre-prep kitchen work to save time and ensure healthier choices when you’re on the go?
Onto the piece:
Julieanna Hever has made a career out of helping people understand how to create a healthy diet based on whole, plant-based foods.
Her first book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition, was published this past August, and her second, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Gluten-Free Vegan Cooking, will hit shelves tomorrow.
If that weren’t healthy-foodie credentials enough, she was also a special consultant for the documentary Forks Over Knives, and worked with Dr. T. Colin Campbell, the author of The China Study, at Cornell University.
We peeked in the star nutritionist’s fridge to see what someone who literally wrote the book on healthy eating stocks:
So, you’re obviously a vegan, but are you totally gluten-free as well? I’m allergic to wheat, so I’ve been off it for several years. I’ll have it once in a while, but it gives me a really big stomachache. That’s why I did the new book!
Keep reading here.
As I’ve mentioned in the past, toxic waterproof mascara is the last vestige of my dirty past. But there are better and better cleaner mascaras on the market, and this week Well+Good has posted some of their faves. (Note: Not all the ones they list get a clean stamp of approval, but the ladies at Well+Good point out the dirtier ones.) Next week we plan to pick up where they left off, and review a few we love that didn’t make their cut! Is your mascara clean? Is your favorite one on their list?
From the post:
Here’s a not-so-secret secret: Even natural beauty divas tend to cheat when it comes to their lashes, coating them in Maybelline Great Lash or lust-worthy DiorShow.
However, that’s beginning to change.
“Every natural makeup line is working on a mascara worth releasing,” says Spirit Demerson, founder of SpiritBeautyLounge.com. “Expect big reveals next year.”
Can’t wait till then? We found seven that added just as much volume, length, and drama as their chemical counterparts. (There’s still no waterproof natural.)
Here are seven great natural mascaras we wouldn’t bat an eye at.
Not so natural lashes via