Aug 19 2013
The summer sun is definitely here! As we set off for days of play outdoors I thought I’d share some tips on the topic I get asked most this time of year.
“What is the deal with good and bad sunscreens?!?”
As we learn about the nasties that reside in many of our personal care products, we pretty quickly wonder what to do about that cream we lather on our wee ones (and ourselves) daily come the summer months… with good cause.
The Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org) has done some phenomenal research over the last few years with some shocking results. First, the vast majority of sunscreens don’t provide the protection they claim, and second, many contain such dubious chemicals known to cause harm that it makes you wonder whether you’re better off without it all together. Fear not, with a little digging some good solutions surface.
Focusing on solutions… here’s what YOUR ECO-HEALTH MAVEN recommends:
GET YOUR VITAMIN D
Exposure to sunlight helps our bodies produce the most natural source of Vitamin D, which is essential to our health. So 10 minutes of sun each day (during OFF-PEAK hours) is a great way to make sure we and our little ones are getting their Vitamin D.
LIMIT PEAK HOUR (11-3) EXPOSURE
Between the hours of 11am and 3pm the sun is at it’s strongest, so we want to avoid excessive exposure during these times. Maximize outdoor time before 11 and after 3 on sunny summer days. (Yes I realize that’s not always the most practical or fun thing to do, so read on)
SEEK OR CREATE SHADE
Have your pic-nic under a tree, hit the playground with some shade cover, hike in the trails during peak hours. WIDE BRIMMED HATS are your best friend, find one you and your little one loves and will wear. Wear sun suits swimming, or sun shirts all day long on the beach or in the play ground. Many companies now sell very light weight quick drying long sleeve tops for little ones that provide sun protection without getting hot.
At some point, after doing all of the above you will still need to use some sunscreen much of the time- particularly for our faces. Here’s how to pick yours:
ü look at the ACTIVE INGREDIENTS LIST for at least 7% zinc oxide or titanium dioxide AVOID oxybenzone and benzophenone (this has you using barrier sunscreens rather than chemical sunscreens)
ü use SPF 30+
ü REAPPLY during the day, WASH it off when you’re done
ü SKIP powders, sprays, combo bug repellents
SOME BRANDS I RECOMMEND: Badger, California Baby, UV Natural, ThinkBaby and my very (and Canadian) favorite: Green Beaver! And I’m so happy to report that Green Beaver has a great face sunscreen that is healthy and safe AND goes on smooth and not greasy nor thick nor nasty- yippee!
THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT! The EWG has an app for your iphone- go find it! Or visit their website for all the deets on your sunscreen and good options. www.ewg.org
And remember, while being sun safe, being outdoors in the fresh air is just about the best thing you can do for you and your babe, so get outside and play!!
I’ll see you on the beach,
Your Eco-Health Maven
Tanis Frame is a geeky scientist, and a mom of two. A trusted resource, she supports new and seasoned parents as they navigate the stuff of parenthood, and what is good for the planet and their kids’ health. Tanis translates the science and serves up her depth of knowledge with a healthy dose of humour. She truly believes the right choices are different for each family, and loves to be your Eco-Health Maven supporting you along the way!
Aug 16 2013
I’m not the type of person to sit still unoccupied. I’m a girl with a million hobbies… so when the idea was suggested to me to learn how to make soap I jumped at the opportunity. What is one more hobby?!
With just a few common household items soap is actually quite easy to make. You just need oil, lye and water. In days gone by fat was trimmed from butchered meat and turned to lard as the source of oil. In my cousins grade 12 chemistry class she was lucky enough to go through the fat harvesting process. I opt for the easy option: olive oil.
There are two different processes for making soap: the hot method and the cold method. The cold method takes a little longer, but produces harder bars. The hot method makes soap you can use the next day. Using different combinations of oils changes the amount of suds.
Mixing the grated soap half and half with washing soda gives you the best laundry detergent ever. Perfect even for the high efficiency machines
Home made soap is truly the gentlest soap around. I can use it on my sensitive skin and that sais a lot!
If that wasn’t amazing enough…. it is cheap! One batch, made into bars and laundry detergent lasts us a few months and costs less than ten bucks.
There is a sea of wonderful resources out there if you are interested in a soap making adventure.
There is a sea of wonderful resources out there if you are interested in a soap making adventure. Here is a place to start!
Aug 16 2013
Every 60 seconds someone in Canada needs blood. In fact 52% of us say we know someone who has needed blood. But, before you say, ‘That’s someone else’s problem.’ Consider this…
If you and 50 people you know were to donate… We would have more blood to save lives.
That’s enough blood to help
10 cancer patients for a week,
or 6 patients with internal bleeding,
or 1 car accident victim.
BUT if you tell 100 people you know to donate, and they tell 100 people they know to do the same and so on and so on, suddenly finding 50 units becomes a whole lot easier.
As a result of nearly 12,000 unfilled appointments so far this summer, coupled with constant hospital demand, Canadian Blood Services is forecasting a need for 51,000 appointments to be filled between now and Labour Day to replenish stocks.
For that reason, Canadian Blood Services has extended the Blood Signal until Sept. 3 and is adding special “Blood Signal” clinics during the month of August in selected locations. Hours will also be extended at existing clinics to give donors even more opportunities to donate. Visit www.blood.ca/clinics to find a clinic.
The Blood Signal is a call to action for Canadians to rally together and book a blood donation when the need is greatest – like now.