Aromatherapy, who doesn’t like it? Let’s face it, good smells set the tone for experiences. A fresh crisp smell can give your body just what it needs to feel rejuvenated and empowered to take control of your day or a soft warm smell can leave you feeling calm, grounded and loved. Our senses set the tone for our perceptions so we want to keep them healthy. Most air fresheners have base ingredients of dichlorobenzene, formaldehyde, and phthalates. Those are just a few of the common base ingredients found in most chemical based air fresheners that are commonly purchased. If those don’t scare you add synthetic fragrances, dyes (in some), and additional preservatives that are harmful to breathe in and you have a recipe of harmful chemicals lingering in your environment. Phthalates are known to cause birth defects, harm the reproductive system, cause hormonal imbalance and cancer. Dichlorobenzene is known to be harmful on the lungs and should be avoided. Why are these air fresheners lining the shelves of most stores? Why do we have easy access to harmful products and high price tags on healthy items? I like to believe there is a great explanation for this, one that makes sense but I won’t hold my breathe.
What are healthy alternatives to a smell good environment?
There are excellent body/linen sprays that are organic with minimal ingredients you can purchase at an affordable price. Sprays that contain organic/fair trade essential oils with a witch hazel base is a healthier more affordable alternative to harmful air fresheners. Best of all you can spray your linens, furniture, environment and yourself! Adding green plants to your environment will filter the air to help keep it clean and free of toxins. Be sure to read labels so you know what you are buying before you buy it. If it has a laundry list of ingredient that you can’t pronounce or chemicals then it probably should stay on the shelf.
From $10-$100 you can find any cleanser for your skin type and skin care needs. With hundreds to
choose from it’s easy to bypass the label and what is says to your skin. So why read the labels when you
have a million places to be and you just want five simple words, facial cleanser for
oily/sensitive/dry/combination skin to tell you which one to pick or perhaps you are one that relies on
the price to tell you if it will be a good one or not. Well we are here to say “Read Labels” know what it is
made of and why. Is there a laundry list of ingredients that you can’t even pronounce or perhaps there
are ingredients with long term health risks if used regularly? Most over the counter facial cleansers,
even the $100 per bottle ones, are made with harmful chemicals that are colorfully advertised as
“enhancers” “anti-aging” “reduces blemishes” and my personal favorite “brings your youth back”. Last
time I checked I will never be 20 again however I can take organic chemical-free measures to feel good
and look great.
Here are some top harmful ingredients found in over the counter, inexpensive and expensive facial
1. Formaldehyde: IARC deemed this to be a human carcinogen and is commonly used to prevent
bacteria growth in skin care products and facial cleansers
2. Parabens: Parabens are known to increase the risk of breast cancer due to estrogen-mimicking
3. Phthalate: Another chemical known to cause breast cancer
These are just the top of the list in carcinogens that are commonly used in skin care products and
cleansers. Organic Rosewater Facial Cleansers are an excellent replacement for your harmful cleansers.
With minimal ingredients your skin will have excellent results with the additional health benefits found
in rosewater such as reducing acne, redness due to skin irritants, eczema, and dermatitis and unclogs
pores leaving your skin vibrant, youthful, and healthy.
Arianne Ortiz- Co-Owner Earth’s Farmacy
Rosemary has many health benefits that have been used for centuries in many farmacies and holistic therapies. Rosemary is a perennial that commonly grows in the Mediterranean areas and is a great herb to add to your favorite dish or oil. Rosemary as an essential oil is most popular for its therapeutic benefits; From hair growth to pain relief there isn’t much this oil can’t do. As a topical, rosemary can reduce inflammation, aid in pain reduction, and soothe respiratory issues such as discomfort due to common colds and flu. Rosemary is an antiseptic making it a perfect solution for combating eczema, dermatitis, acne, and skin irritants. Rosemary essential makes a great skin toner, leaving your skin feeling smooth and healthy with the perfect glow. We all go through stress throughout our day, at times leaving us feeling drained, fatigued, or just plain fed up. Rosemary is known to be effective in reducing cortisol levels in saliva. Cortisol is one of the main stress hormones, when reduced we are more relaxed. A recent study has shown that inhaling rosemary essential oil through aromatherapy for five minutes a day can reduce cortisol levels in saliva. Less stress means immune support making our bodies in a healthier state to fight disease. This powerhouse perennial is a definite must have; with its antioxidant properties and go to skin protectant say goodbye to free radicals, unhealthy skin, pain and stress!
Arianne Ortiz- Co-Owner and Creator
Wake up, shower, make lunches, get kids up, make breakfast, get kids out the door, clean up after the kids, take the dog out, feed the cat and dog, don’t forget to clean the litter, make the beds, kiss the husband, pack my lunch, set the provisions out for dinner later, head to work… All before 8 a.m. Now spend eight hours at work, rush home for kids, make dinner, take kids to swim lessons, help with homework, give kids showers, set clothes out for tomorrow, tell kids a story (I make up their bedtime stories, so this can take a while some nights), put kids to bed, spend some time with the husband, go to bed only to wake up and do it all over again.
Does any of this sound familiar? I didn’t even include when the laundry needs to be done or the house needs to be cleaned or when appointments need to be made and grocery shopping needs to get done and then there is family time that is a must. And last but certainly not least (because it is really one of the most important items on the list) workout! Gosh, just typing up this rambled list makes me anxious and a bit stressed. My mind is already trying to prioritizing my “get-it-done” list for the week.
About three years ago, my entire schedule was turned upside down, inside out and then flipped back around again. I went back to work and the easy going, fit-it-all in life I had was thrown into chaos. This includes my workout schedule which was perfectly scheduled, my main support system and my stress reliever. After a while I settled into a new routine until my job responsibilities became more. I now look at my workout time in a whole new light; one that may only give me ten to 15 minutes at a time to do something active.
I am an early bird by nature. My built in alarm clock never (OK, rarely) fails me, thankfully! So I capitalize on the weekend mornings and hit the pavement, sometimes my sister will head out on a run with me. But the weekdays are my real struggle. I wish I had a magic wand and “poof!” extra time without sacrificing sleep or family time and obligations. I read somewhere that we all get the same amount of time each day, 24-hours; its how we use it that makes the difference between having 30 minutes to do what we want or not enough time to do anything. I have thought a lot about that little saying and do agree there are certainly time wasters in all schedules, but I also wonder if the person who quoted that has small children with a demanding schedule and values at least six hours of sleep each night…
Regardless, the benefits of adequate exercise each day is essential to living a healthy life. Not to mention it is a great example for the little ones and keeps this hard working mommy from going bat shit crazy sometimes. There are tons of workouts that can be done just about any place and without equipment. “Without equipment” is something that is so appealing to me these days. I am also learning to get along with quick and dirty workouts a few times throughout the day; 10-15 minutes 2 to 3 times per day when I cannot get at least 30 minutes in all at once.
One of my favorite exercises is the wonderfully dreaded burpees! This is a full body experience that works all of your muscles and you don’t need to do a 100 of them at a time, unless you want to of course! The bicycle is great for engaging the abs and working both your six pack and obliques. If the bicycle is not your thing then shore up your core with planks! Planks are wonderful for building strong abs, but they don’t stop there. Plank properly and you will end up strengthening your back, glutes, hamstrings, shoulders and arms through many different plank versions.
I never go wrong with squats. This easy up and down exercise can really do wonders for the backside and these can be done throughout the day without feeling like it’s a chore. Bonus! Like the plank there are different versions of squatting that work the lower muscles in your body. When your muscles tire of squatting change it up and start lunging. Walking lunges, reverse lunges, side lunges, take your pick and get it done!
I am a big fan of nicely sculpted arms. Right now mine are more like the glop of clay that hasn’t been put on the spinning wheel yet. That’s OK, because I am not afraid of push-ups. Traditional wide grip push-ups will target your chest, but narrow and diamond push-ups will work the triceps. Triceps dips are also effective and can be done at the office right at your desk! For biceps, resistance bands are great, inexpensive and can also be used in so many other exercises. Grab a pair and start curling!
Lastly, get that heart rate up! Go for a speed walk; pound out some butt kickers and high knees. Old fashion jumping jacks also do the trick or spice it up and do a few star jacks, air squats or simply run in place. I once lived for my awesome works and now I am learning to appreciate the time I do have and how I can use it more effectively to get some much needed (and longing for) exercise in. If you are in the time is of essence rush that I am currently faced with, hopefully this short offering of suggestions is just what you needed.
Tara Raj, CPC, CNWC
Green Element Wellness, Inc.
Toxins, toxins, toxins everywhere!! This is the sad truth about our environment making it important to detox your body of toxins that you come across knowingly and unknowingly. According to Environmental Working Group, newborns are born with 287 known toxins in the umbilical cord blood. With well over 6 billion pounds of toxins in our environment each year imagine how many we are exposed to on a daily basis…pretty scary!
Many practitioners, holistic and main stream, recommend we do a monthly cleanse lasting a day or two by eating nothing but high alkalizing foods which are fresh fruits and veggies and staying away from processed foods, sugars, caffeine, refined foods, and animal products. To optimize your health it is recommended to eat a well-balanced whole foods diet and stay away from processed, refined, and sugary foods. If you are a sugar ant try local organic honey! Our bodies were not meant for junk as fuel. The liver has a daily washing cycle aiding in detoxing the body. It secretes glutathione peroxidase, a powerhouse antioxidant that builds the immune system and detoxifies the body. The liver’s wash cycle is most active at night so if you are a night eater think twice! Using a good herbal cleanse every 3 months can be helpful in keeping your body healthy and happy as the toxins are removed. Then more toxins we carry around in our bodies the higher risk we become for many environmental/lifestyle diseases.
What herbal cleanse is best for you?
It is always best to ask your healthcare provider. There are many herbal cleansers you can purchase with step-by-step instructions or you can do a juice cleanse if you have time to juice during the cleansing phase. From total body cleansers to colon cleansers read the process and what is in the cleansers to make sure it is a right fit for you.
Do you have bergamot blends in your bathroom? If not you should because your skin is worth it. Bergamot is from the citrus family holding many therapeutic benefits for your health and wellness. It is commonly found in black tea and perfumes due to its medicinal and aromatherapy properties. Bergamot essential oil is known to reduce the feeling of pain; when blended in body butters, lotions, and polishes one can take in the health benefit of pain reduction and relaxation as it acts as a sedative to relax the body while combating stress, depression, anxiety and nervous tension. This is just the tip of the many therapeutic benefits found in bergamot. This go to oil enhances blood circulation creating healthier looking skin and improving oxygen flow throughout the body. Scars, acne marks and more no longer need to take over your skin’s image. Bergamot is an excellent oil in reducing scaring due to injury, acne and other skin irritants. Exhausted from the daily grind of work, school, kids, family, pets, cooking, cleaning, and grocery shopping? Splash a bergamot body spray blend on you throughout the day to relax and stay calm during the stress of daily life.
Arianne Ortiz Co-Owner Earth’s Farmacy & Green Element Wellness
The heart is a vital organ, THE vital organ in fact, but it’s also our most powerful muscle; a muscle that needs to be exercised and fed well to be strong and healthy. When you hear or read heart smart the reference is to activities and foods that are beneficial to the heart and helps prevent heart disease. Lack of exercise and an improper diet can have a negative effect on the heart. The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise most days of the week. This can be a brisk walk, yard work, spin class, yoga, weight training and anything that gets the body moving.
Have you heard the saying “you can’t out exercise a bad diet?” Believe it because it’s true. As much as physical activity is important to our well-being, eating a healthy and well balanced diet is even more so. Lots of foods are healthy for our bodies; the obvious, fruits and vegetables, but there are other real foods that are good for our heart health. Whole grains are great for the heart; they are high in fiber and contain antioxidants that protect against coronary disease. Some yummy whole grains include oats, barley, buckwheat, and quinoa. Beans and legumes are another great source and you don’t need to eat a lot of them. Fresh catch seafood contains healthy fats; omega-3, that is important to heart health and a handful of raw nuts a day will certainly keep the doctor away. Nuts are loaded with vitamins and minerals as well as omega-3 fat.
Looking for something sweet on the tongue, but still good for your heart? Try moderate amounts of dark chocolate. Some research shows that cocoa is rich in flavanols that help preserve the healthy function of blood vessels and can help lower blood pressure. Need a healthy warm beverage to wash down the chocolate? A hot cup of green tea will do the trick! More research proved that people who drink at least 12 oz. of green tea a day are half as likely to suffer from a heart attack.
One thing is for sure, with the long list of heart healthy foods, we will never go hungry and always be healthy!
Tara Raj, CPC, CNWC
Green Element Wellness, Inc.