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The Proactive Healthcare Blog

HEALTH TIPS

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MOLD CHECKLIST

Has there been water damage in your house?

Immediately call a professional and have your home checked for mold. Then have the mold re-mediated by professionals.

Is there anywhere in your home that smells musty of moldy?

If yes, same as above: act immediately.

Can you see mold somewhere in your home?

If yes, same as above: act immediately

AIR QUALITY CHECKLIST

Has it been more than a year since your air ducts have been cleaned out?

  • Get a professional service to come in and clean the ducts. But don’t let them spray chemicals into the ducts afterward.

Has it been longer than three months since you’ve changed your furnace filters (or longer than one month if you have pets)?

  • Replace your filters with pleated filters rated MERV 7-9

HOME IMPROVEMENTS CHECKLIST

Is your water supply treated with chlorine?

  • Install chlorine filters on your shower (available at all Shop Eco or hardware/home supply stores)

Are you planning on painting the inside of your home?

  • Purchase a no VOC paint.

Do you have gas appliances?

  • Have the gas utility check for gas leaks and CO levels.

Do you have particleboard furniture in you home?

  • Remove it. Then being looking for replacements made with real wood.

Do you have wall to wall carpeting?

  • Remove it. Consider replacing it with refinished real wood flooring, tile, or stone. (Note: stone and tile floor can have electric heating elements placed below them so that your feet stay warm.)

Do you use pesticides in the home or garden?

  • Please stop using them and safely discard the cans.

Do you have scented candles in the house?

  • Discard them.

Do you use metal-wicked candles (slow-burning) in the house?

  • Take them out of the house.

Do you use plug-in air fresheners in the home?

  • Take them out of the house.

Do you scented dryer sheets?

  • Switch to unscented dryer sheets.

Do you use scented laundry detergent?

  • Switch to unscented detergent.

Do you use aerosol spray in the house?

  • Switch to non-aerosol spays (such as pump-action sprays)

Do you cook with Teflon pans?

  • Switch to pans without like stainless steel or ceramic.

Do you cook with aluminum pans?

  • Switch to non-aluminum pans.

Do you have powerful household spray cleaners for use in your home?

  • Replace with vinegar, baking soda, or other safe cleaners.

Do you use a soap scum cleaner for your shower?

  • Use a squeegee to clean the walls after each shower.

Do you wear perfumes or colognes?

  • Look for natural fragrances that do not have solvent and other chemicals.

KNOW YOUR PLASTIC NUMBERS

The different kinds of plastics can be identified by the numbers stamped in the middle of the triangular recycling symbols.

Here are the less toxic ones:
1.Polyethylene terephthalate (PET): used for single –use bottles and containers; recyclable
2. High-density polyethylene (HDPE): used for milk jugs, shampoo bottles, toys, ets; recyclable
3. Low-density polyethylene (LDPE): used for plastic wrap, grocery bags, etc.
4. Polypropylene (PP): used for syrup and yogurt containers, diapers, etc.

Here are the most toxic ones:
5. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC): used in cling wrap for packaged meats. Vinyl chloride is known carcinogen. PVC also includes phthalates, which interfere with hormone development.
6. Extruded polystyrene (PS): commonly known as Styrofoam, styrene is considered a carcinogen.
7. Polycarbonate (PC): used for baby bottles, water cooler jugs, and epoxy linings of tin cans. PC is composed of biphenyl A, which has been linked to cancer and obesity.


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I love greens and consider them the healthiest source of nutrients. The problem is a beautiful salad does not keep well overnight and can rarely be used as leftovers. Given our busy schedules, recipes that make good leftovers and can be used a few different ways are what I strive to achieve. Here is one of my favourites. It is easily modified, can be eaten warm or cold and can last in the fridge all week.

2 cups of quinoa, dry
1 19oz can organic chickpeas, drained
1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced
1/4 cup black olives, sliced
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
Dressing
1 cup baby organic spinach
1 cup Italian parsley
1 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp onion powder
salt and pepper to taste
Instructions: Boil 2 cups quinoa in 4 cups water, reduce to medium heat until water evaporates and quinoa is cooked. Place in bowl with chickpeas, grape tomatoes, green onions and olives. Blend spinach, parsley, basil, olive oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, garlic, onion powder, salt and pepper in a high speed blender. Add extra water if it needs a bit of thinning. Mix dressing with quinoa mixture. This can be served warm or cold.

 



Here is another way to enjoy the amazing properties of cabbage.

1 head of cabbage

3 tablespoons coconut oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 teaspoon of dried rosemary and dill

Sprinkle with turmeric

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Slice the cabbage aiming for ¼-1/2 inch slices. Oil a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Place the cabbage on the baking sheet and drizzle with the remaining oil. You may need to melt it if using a solid oil like coconut oil.  Sprinkle with herbs, salt and pepper.Roast for 35-40 minutes or until tender in the middle and sides are just starting to turn golden brown. Modified from a recipe by wellnessmamas.com



Personal care products and cosmetics contain chemicals that are harmful to our health. Of the 82,000 ingredients used in personal care products, 1 in 8 are industrial chemicals, including carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins, endocrine disruptors, plasticizers, degreasers, and surfactants.

Check the ingredient list of all personal care products and avoid those listed below. Even “organic” and “natural” products may contain toxic chemicals.

Phthalates

Phthalates are so ubiquitous, trace amounts are found in all of us. Phthalates are used largely as plasticizers in soft and flexible plastics but are found in nearly all personal care products as well. Phthalates are used in the fragrance of many cosmetics. Phthalates are absorbed through the skin and have been shown to cause hormone disruption and reproductive defects in babies. They may also enhance the ability of other chemicals to cause genetic mutations. Look for phthalates listed on ingredient labels as dimethyl phthalate (DEP), di-2-ethyl hexyl phthalate (DEHP), diisodecyl phthalate (DIDP) and diisononyl phthalate (DINP) Companies are not required to list phthalates on ingredient lists so look for products that are labeled “phthalate free” and avoid “fragrance” in your personal care products.

Fragrance or Parfum

The term “fragrance” or “parfum” on a cosmetic ingredients list usually represents a complex mixture of dozens of chemicals, including plasticizers and phthalates. Since fragrance recipes are considered a trade secret, companies are not required to disclose fragrance chemicals in the list of ingredients. Many of these hidden ingredients are irritants and can trigger allergic attacks, migraines, and chemical-induced nerve irritation in sensitive individuals. Fragrance ingredients have been associated with cancer, neurotoxicity and endocrine disruption.  Look for fragrance derived from essential oils and products labeled phthalate free.

Parabens

Parabens are antimicrobial chemicals and are widely used in cosmetics as a preservative. They easily penetrate the skin and are suspected of interfering with hormone function. There is some evidence that parabens mimic estrogen, and may be linked to breast cancer. Check labels for ingredients ending in “paraben” such as methylparaben and look for “paraben free” on the label.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate

Sodium laureth sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate are used as cleansing agents in cosmetics and also to make products bubble and foam. This and other “ethoxylated” ingredients may be contaminated with ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane. Both contaminants are associated with cancer. Ethylene oxide may harm the nervous system and interfere with human development, and 1,4-dioxane is persistent in the environment. Avoid ingredients with the letters “eth” such as: sodium myreth sulfate, ammonium laureth sulfate, oleth, ceteareth and polyethelene glycol.

Triclosan

Triclosan is a chlorinated compound used as a preservative and an anti-bacterial agent in antiperspirants/deodorants, cleansers, and hand sanitizers. It is absorbed through the skin and is suspected of interfering with hormone function and may contribute to anti-biotic resistant bacteria. Triclosan has been labeled as potentially toxic to aquatic organisms, bioaccumulative, and persistent. The Canadian Medical Association has called for a ban on antibacterial consumer products, such as those containing triclosan and chlorphenesin.

Formaldehyde-releasing Preservatives

Formaldehyde-releasing agents are used as preservatives in cosmetics. Formaldehyde is a recognized human carcinogen. It can irritate skin and eyes and trigger allergies at low doses. Formaldehyde is toxic to both the immune system and the nervous system. Check labels for the following ingredients: DMDM, hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine, quarternium-15, and sodium hydroxymethylglycinate

Synthetic Colours

Synthetic colours are made from coal tar and contain heavy metal salts. They are absorbed through the skin or ingested in products like lipstick and can be toxic to the entire body. Most have been shown to cause cancer. Coal tar derived colours are used extensively in cosmetics and hair dyes and may be labeled as p-phenylenediamine or identified by a five-digit Colour Index (C.I.) number. They may also be labeled as “FD&C” or “D&C” followed by a colour name and number.

Propylene Glycol (PEG) Compounds (e.g., PEG-60)

PEG (polyethylene glycol) compounds are widely used in cream bases in cosmetics. PEG and propylene glycol open the skin’s pores and allow harmful ingredients to be absorbed more readily. PEG and other “eth” compounds may be contaminated with ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane. Both contaminants may cause cancer. Also, ethylene oxide may harm the nervous system and interfere with human development, and 1,4-dioxane is persistent.

BHA or BHT

BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are used in moisturizers and makeup (esp. lipsticks) as antioxidants, preservatives and fragrance. BHA is toxic to the immune system and is classified as a possible human carcinogen. Studies suggest that BHT may be toxic to the skin, lungs, liver, and immune system. Both chemicals can cause allergic reactions, are suspected of interfering with hormone function, and may promote tumor growth. They also have the potential to bioaccumulate in the body.

DEA/MEA/TEA

DEA (diethanolamine) and DEA compounds are used as foaming agents and stabilizers. They make cosmetics creamy or sudsy. They can cause allergic reactions, eye irritation and dry skin and hair. They may also be toxic to the immune and nervous systems. DEA compounds can also react with other ingredients in cosmetics to form carcinogenic nitrosamines. These chemicals have the potential to accumulate in the body.

Petrolatum/Mineral Oil/Paraffin

Petrolatum is used as a barrier to lock moisture in the skin in a variety of moisturizers (i.e. petroleum jelly). It is also used in hair care products to make your hair shine. Petrochemicals are suspected carcinogens. They prevent the skin from breathing and can clog pores.

Siloxanes

Cyclomethicone and siloxanes are used in cosmetics to soften, smooth, and moisten. These compounds can irritate the skin, eyes, and lungs. They are potential hormonal disruptors and may cause liver toxicity. These chemicals are persistent and are toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms.

Choose safer personal care products by checking the Cosmetic Database http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/ by the Environmental Working Group or www.lesstoxiguide.ca. This will tell you how your current products measure up and make choosing safer products easier.




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