The Dangers Of Commercial Sunscreens and How to Protect Ourselves From The Sun Naturally

Oh my goodness!!!!  It is July in two days!   School has come to an end and Abigail and Nolan are heading into Gr 2.   I officially have 5 courses left at IHN and will be done in May 2016.   Yeah!   With all the crazy heat we have been having there have been lots of questions about suntan lotions and creams.   I hope this blog will answer a few of your questions.

There is growing awareness of the importance of being smart about sun exposure.  The skin is your largest organ and absorbs 60% of what you put on it.   Knowing this, we want to be mindful of the products we are putting on our skin… including sunscreen.   There are potentially harmful chemicals that are found in many commercial sunscreen formulas.

Organizations like The Environmental Working Group have identified the following common sunscreen ingredients as being potentially harmful to human health:

  • Octocrylene
  • PABA
  • Octyl-methoxycinnamate (OMC)
  • Benzophenone-3
  • 4-methyl-benzylidene camphor (4-MBC)
  • Homosalate

Consumer reports are also saying not to use spray sunscreens:  The Food and Drug Administration announced it was investigating the risks including people accidentally breathing in the ingredients.  See links below:

 6 Tips to a Healthy Relationship with the Sun

  1. Get your D on Spend no more than 5-15 minutes in the sun (with no sunscreen) a few times per week to meet your vitamin D needs. Be aware that getting some sunlight on your skin can be immensely helpful to your health, mainly because UV-B rays in sunlight converts cholesterol found in your skin into vitamin D. Ensuring adequate vitamin D status is essential to experiencing optimal health; every organ system in your body requires an adequate vitamin D level to function properly.
  2. Buy safer sunscreen Check labels for toxic chemicals and use EWG’s guide to choose the best sunscreen for you. Look for broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) coverage and a SPF of at least 15 and no more than 50.
  3. Use sunscreen responsibly Apply the recommended amount (usually about 1 shot glass) 30 minutes before sun exposure. Reapply according to the SPF or even more often if you are sweating or swimming.
  4. Try to limit the amount of time you spend outdoors  On extremely hot days and when the sun feels hottest – usually between 11 am and 2 to 3 pm.
  5. Cover up! We can’t emphasise this enough. The best protection from the sun is complete protection. Hats, clothing (long sleeve shirt and light pants), a shady tree or an umbrella are some of the easiest ways to help prevent sun damage.
  6. Always be prepared Carry sun protection and sunscreen with you at all times. You never know when you or your children will need it.

And here are some of EWG’s top-rated sun care products in the beach and sport sunscreens category, for adults and kids:


  • Green Screen D Organic Sunscreen, Original, SPF 35
  • Kiss My Face Natural Mineral Sunscreen with Hydresia, SPF 40
  • Aubrey Organics Natural Sun Sunscreen, Green Tea, SPF 30+
  • Aubrey Organics Natural Sun Sport Stick Sunscreen, SPF 30+
  • Releve’ Organic Skincare by Emerald Essentials Sun-Lite Sunscreen, SPF 20
  • Badger Baby Sunscreen Cream, SPF 30
  • Seventh Generation Wee Generation Baby Sunscreen, SPF 30
  • Goddess Garden Natural Sunscreen


The Bottom Line

So long as you don’t get burned, it’s good for you to get some sunlight exposure on your skin. When circumstances require that you stay outdoors for an extended period of time, your best first line of defense against sun-related skin damage is a hat with a wide brim, appropriate clothing, and shade if available. Whenever you need extra protection against potentially damaging UV-A and UV-B rays, use a sunscreen lotion that relies on physical rather than chemical blockers, and that is free of harsh chemicals that may do more harm than good to your skin and overall health.

The EWG Guide to Sunscreens 2015 is chock full of research and product information. Check it out to get the scoop on more than 1,800 products including sunscreens, lip balms with SPF, moisturizers and makeup.



What if you do get a sunburn?

Nature’s Aid is an amazing product.  I use it for EVERYTHING from sunburn, bug bites, rashes, cuts, scrapes, etc.   It is made up of aloe vera, tea tree, witch hazel, vitamin e and rosemary.   You can get it at any local health store.


Some good resources below:


June 30, 2015 at 4:29 am Leave a comment


I have been thinking about writing a blog for some time now but life seems to get in the way.  As you can all understand. It is 11:45 pm and got out of bed to write this as my thoughts of gratitude needed to be articulated.

Marty and I watched an amazing movie last night called “The Theory of Everything” (based on the life story of Physicist, Stephen Hawking).  It moved me and reminded me that not only can we do anything that we put our mind to, but also that our bodies are truly amazing.  Stephen was diagnosed with ALS early on in his life (while attending University) and truly lives his life to his full potential and defies all odds by becoming a doctor, having a family, writing two books, traveling the world and becoming a grandfather.  Everyone has their journey in life and they are all as unique as we are.

I am feeling very blessed to have the ability to learn all the amazing things that I have and share it with all that want to listen.  This movie reminds me again that we are not alone and that in sharing our stories, and in times of struggle, it can only bring us all closer together and build that sense of community that we crave… one of the reasons I created my blog.

This year is about building community and surrounding myself with people that want to be part of something bigger.

I think back to my childhood where I was so blessed to grow up in the small community of Port Kells where we were all known by name.  The people in Port Kells would say “Shannon is part of the Donohoe family.”  It really was a “small” community where neighbors knew one another and would visit one another’s home.  The parents of friends could act as surrogate parents to other children.  Children played in the streets under the gaze of friendly and protective adults.  At the corner we had the PK store, PK Building supplies, PK library (with Sharon – best librarian ever!), PK fire hall, PK community hall, Burnies Garage, PK elementary school and of course PK park.  Recently I was at the corner store and they still remembered me…16 years later.  My dad tells me that the owners of PK Building Supplies still ask about me.  Wow!  All the parents knew the kids by name and ALL of Port Kells was our playground.  We left the house early and come home for dinner and mom and dad did not worry… they had many friends in the community that were always keeping an eye out for us.

Today… things are different.  Many of us live in homes where both parents have to go to work and drive long distances to get there.  Often grandparents can not help with looking after the children as they too live far away and are might still be working themselves.  When we get home we are busy going from one activity to the next, making dinner, doing homework and getting the children ready for bed.  Many of us don’t even have time to get to know our neighbors and often we keep our kids close.  Something has been lost…

There are so many ways to be connected to community whether it is your church, the place you volunteer, your school, your local coffee shop, your neighbors next door.  Community has this amazing way of making you feel connected, supported, listened to, inspired, and alive.

I have had the honor to be part of A Rocha’s community for over a year now working with young girls at risk teaching education programs about nutrition and healthy eating.  The sense of community that I feel there even when I walk into the kitchen is truly amazing.  My parents have a home on Mayne Island and every time I go there I also feel an amazing sense of community.  It has been 24 years that our family has been going there and the islanders know us as the “Donohoe” family.   When I was sick I went on retreats with the Callanish Society and YACC (Young Adult Cancer Canada) and I am still part of both of these amazing communities.  Communities are all around us and we all benefit from being part of something bigger… not just our kids.  We are not meant to be independent but interdependent as the saying goes, it really does “Take a village to raise a child.”


community 6



How to build a community:





April 4, 2015 at 5:31 am 1 comment

Why Children Need to Play Outside…even in the Winter Months.

As I sit and write this news letter, I reflect back on my years of growing up in Port Kells. We were very fortunate to live behind Port Kells Nursery where there was LOTS of space to play, create, build forts, and do whatever we pleased. I am sure many of you can relate to those years of leaving your house, your parents not knowing where you were and not coming home till you heard your name called by your mom in the distance. Other memories might include a favorite climbing tree or a secret hiding place, learning to turn cartwheels with a friend, or playing tag with the family dog.

When the weather is nice and the sun is shining, most parents have absolutely no problems sending their children outside to play. Why? Because we all know that playing outside is good for our kids, but for a lot of us, playing outside means that we can actually get a few things done inside without being distracted. Perhaps, this is why so many people dread the winter months.

The weather changes from warm and sunny to cold and “dreary,” which means that the kids can’t go outside and play, right? Wrong! It is still necessary for children to go outside and play – even in the winter months. There are a lot of “real” benefits for your children when they play outside. Below you will find several of them.

  • Builds Up their Immune System:

It’s no surprise that many children that are raised on, or around, a farm are generally healthier than those that aren’t. This is because on a regular basis these children are exposed to dirt, animals, pests, bacteria and everything else that send some parents running. While we like to think that dirt, animals, pests and bacteria do more harm than good it’s actually the opposite. When your children come into contact with these things in a natural way (outside) and on a regular basis, they are less likely to develop autoimmune disorders and allergies.

  • Provides Exercise:

Playing outside provides children with something many children don’t get enough of anymore – exercise. Exercising while having fun is the best kind of exercise, and that’s exactly what playing outside does. Riding bikes, playing tag with friends, building a snowman, sledding, having snowball fights and other outside activities get our children’s bodies moving…something most video games can’t do.

  • Stimulates the Imagination:

Sadly, one of the things that today’s children are lacking is an imagination. This is because we’re in the technological age – today children are literally shown everything. Why go outside and play cops and robbers when we can watch a movie about it or play a video game? Playing outside helps children develop their imagination, which is something that television, video games, computers, iPods, etc. don’t do. (Goldie Hawn – 10 Mindful mintues).

  • It Promotes Problem Solving Skills:

Children who play outside learn how to solve real life problems better than children who are always in their rooms playing video games or secluding themselves. Regardless of if they’re learning how to get along with friends or trying to figure out the best way to build a fort – they’re problem solving.

  • It Provides Vitamin D:

It’s important that your children get Vitamin D, which is provided by the sun. Vitamin D helps promote better moods, energy levels, memory, overall health and more. Just 10-15 minutes out in the sun will give your children their daily dose of Vitamin D. It doesn’t matter if it is summer or winter outside, your children need everything listed above and playing outside is a great way to get them all at once! Obviously, if it’s blizzard-like conditions outside, your children should stay inside, but if it’s nice outside then bundle the kids up and let them play for half an hour or so.

  • Contributes to Learning (social/emotional development)

Outside, children are more likely to invent games. As they do, they’re able to express themselves and learn about the world in their own way. They feel safe and in control, which promotes autonomy, decision-making, and organizational skills. Inventing rules for games promotes an understanding of why rules are necessary. Although the children are only playing to have fun, they’re learning

  • social customs (as they learn to play together and cooperate).
  • number relationships (as they keep score and count)
  • communication skills and vocabulary (as they invent, modify, and enforce rules).


  • Learning to Appreciate the Outdoors

We can’t underestimate the value of the aesthetic development promoted by being outside. Aesthetic awareness refers to a heightened sensitivity to the beauty around us. Because the natural world is filled with beautiful sights, sounds, and textures, it’s the perfect resource for the development of aesthetics in young children.

  • Promotes learning through their senses.

Outside there are many different and wonderful things for them to see (animals, birds, and green leafy plants), to hear (the wind rustling through the leaves, a robin’s song), to smell fragrant flowers and the rain-soaked ground, to touch (a fuzzy caterpillar or the bark of a tree), and even to taste (newly fallen snow or a raindrop on the tongue). Children who spend a lot of time acquiring their experiences through television and computers are using only two senses (hearing and sight), which can seriously affect their perceptual abilities. (Goldie Hawn – 10 Mindful Minutes).

  • Last but not lease…a place to be noisy.

Finally, what better place than the outdoors for children to be loud and messy and boisterous? Outside they can run and jump and yell, and expend some of the energy that can usually be annoying – indoors.

Like adults, kids need exercise.  Most children need at least an hour of physical activity every day. Regular exercise helps children:

  • Keep a healthy weight
  • Sleep better at night
  • Kids who exercise are more likely to keep exercising as an adult.
  • Help to build and maintain strong, healthy muscles, bones and joints.
  • aids in the development of important interpersonal skills—this is especially true for participation in team sports.
  • promotes improved school attendance and enhances academic performance.
  • greater self-esteem and better self-images.
  • Children who are active report fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression and a better overall mood.
  • helps improve motor coordination and enhances the development of various motor performance skills.
  • prevents or delays the development of many chronic diseases (e.g., heart disease, diabetes, obesity, hypertension) and promotes health.


In the past parents worried more about their children being home by the time the street lights came on then whether or not they got the recommended amount of daily activity. Today the obesity epidemic among children ages 6-19 has reached 15 percent, almost quadruple what it was in the late 1960s.  As kids spend more time watching TV, they spend less time running and playing. Parents should limit TV, video game and computer time. Parents can set a good example by being active themselves. Exercising together can be fun for everyone.  Walking or biking to school can be a great way to increase exercise in the day and get outside.


Activities for the Great Outdoors:

  •  Nature walk – (Nature trails in Surrey)
  • Go ice skating.
  • Build a winter bonfire and make s’mores.
  • Rent some snowshoes and go snowshoeing.
  • If you have the equipment, go winter camping. If that’s too ambitious, check out your state parks for cabin or yurt rentals. Once you’re there, go on beautiful winter hikes (afterwards, a cozy fire is definitely in order).
  • Take your dog for a walk. It’s one of the main benefits of having and owning a dog.
  • Go cross-country skiing.
  • Attend a dog-sled race. You don’t have to live in Alaska to see one of these – check your state’s Department of Natural Resources page, they usually have a list of upcoming events.
  • Go sledding.
  • Build a fort and have a snowball fight with your kids (or your spouse/partner). Or buy a snow block maker and build an igloo.
  • Take a blanket and a cup of hot cocoa and sit outside on your front porch swing.
  • Shovel paths in the snow.
  • Feed the birds or go birdwatching. Make your own birdfeeders out of pine cones, peanut butter, and birdseed.   Check out Campbell Valley Park.
  • Go on a winter picnic. Take blankets, sandwiches and hot soup in a thermos. This might give you some fun, cheap date ideas for couples as well.       Check out the Reifel Bird Sanctuary.
  • Head out on a photo expedition to take pictures of the winter landscape.
  • Have kids or dogs? Set up an obstacle course in the yard with jumps, tunnels and other challenges.
  • Make snow paint. Simply add food coloring to water and put in a spray bottle, then go out and paint your yard!
  • Geocaching is great fun.   Places in Surrey:


 Link to outdoor activities in BC – some great ideas:


Related books:

January 23, 2015 at 4:45 am Leave a comment

“Sugar” Not such a sweet deal after all

I have a break from school! A whole month off so that I can catch up on my life and yes, post my next blog. I have been volunteering at an amazing organization called A Rocha. They are committed to responsible environmental stewardship that passes on a legacy of hope and transformation to communities. A Rocha also has an amazing organic gardening program and we purchased a weekly veggie box from them (CSA program) which lasted from June till October. I volunteer specifically with at-risk young girls and I educate them on food, cooking and nutrition. The last program I put together was on sugar and it was very well received so I would like to share it with you today.

How many ways is there to say sugar? You might be surprised! One way to spot sugar on food labels is to look for the OSE. Sugars ending in –ose include: sucros; maltose; dextrose; fructose; glucose; galactose; lactose; high fructose corn syrup; and glucose solids.

Just because it doesn’t end in -ose, however, doesn’t mean it isn’t sugar. There are plenty of other names as well that may or may not sound like sugar. For example: cane juice; dehydrated cane juice; cane juice solids; cane juice crystals; dextrin; maltodextrin; dextran; barley malt; beet sugar; corn syrup; corn syrup solids; caramel; buttered syrup; carob syrup; brown sugar; date sugar; malt syrup; diatase; diatastic malt; fruit juice; fruit juice concentrate; dehydrated fruit juice; fruit juice crystals; golden syrup; turbinado; sorghum syrup; refiner’s syrup; ethyl maltol; maple syrup and yellow sugar. (

Did you know that the food industry (the people that create packaged and processed foods) are allowed to use all these different names of sugar on packages to trick people into believing that there is less sugar in their product(s).
For example, they could use the words (sugar, corn syrup, sugar cane and glucose) all in one package.

How sugar works in the body?

Apple juice vs an apple

Before sugar enters the bloodstream from the digestive tract, it is broken down into two simple sugars. They are: glucose and fructose.

• Glucose is found in every living cell on the planet. It is the source of energy for all of our body’s functions, especially our brains.

• Fructose is different. Our bodies do not produce it in any significant amount and there is no physiological need for it. It can only be processed by our liver.

Sugar is not a problem if we consume a little bit (such as from fruit) or we just finished an exercise session. In this case, the fructose will be turned into glycogen and stored in the liver until we need it. However, if the liver is full of glycogen already, eating a lot of fructose overloads the liver, forcing it to store the extra fructose as FAT! There is no fiber in the juice, pop, sports drink you are drinking so the sugar (glucose) is going to go into your blood stream very rapidly. Your insulin (hormone that regulates blood sugar) will shoot up very quickly to compensate for the high level of sugar and creates a stress response in the body (IHN class notes). When repeatedly eating large amounts of sugar, this process can lead to fatty liver and all sorts of serious problems (Inflammation in body) which leads to chronic diseases such as, diabetes, heart disease, cancer etc.

What about the sugar in fruit?

• Fruit comes with fiber, which naturally controls blood sugar and manages its flow into the blood stream.
• Fruit is also loaded with nutrients (vitamin c, a and phytochemicals and more.)

It is almost impossible to over eat fructose by eating fruit.

Sugar is addictive!

Sugar is the new tobacco. Unlike cigarettes, the warnings about sugar are mere whispers at best. Yet sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine, and Americans are consuming 152 pounds of sugar a year — double what the Spanish eat! Most of it is hidden in processed foods and sweetened drinks. (Mark Hyman, MD). People who eat sugar on a daily basis typically crave even more sugar. It can correctly be called an addiction. Blood sugar levels spike after eating sugar and then plummet, resulting in a craving for more after a couple of hours (

The WHO (World Health Organization) suggests we consume No more than
2 Tablespoons of sugar per day (30 grams). Any more could lead to a stress response in the body, increased inflammation which can eventually lead to chronic disease.

Conversion Chart
1 Tablespoon = 15 grams
15 Grams of sugar = 15 ml of sugar
1 tablespoon = 3 teaspoons

I have some HOMEWORK for you!

1. Measure out 2 tbs of sugar and see what it looks like…

2. Take a look at your drink beverages and look at the sugar content and also (very important) look at the serving size.

3. Measure out a bowl of your cereal. When I went to the store to do some research, most bowls were for ¾ cup or even 2/3 of a cup for 10 grams of sugar. Most people do not eat 2/3 a cup of cereal. Let’s say you tripled that so your bowl was full. That is 30 grams of sugar right there (your recommended amount by the WHO). Now you add your one cup of milk that has 12 grams of sugar and you have 42 grams of sugar in one bowl of cereal. Giving you more than your recommended amount for one day.

4. Check your Starbucks drinks. I used to drink the Chai Tea Latte until I read that it has 43 grams of sugar in it. That is over one day’s intake of sugar. By the way, they have a beverage facts booklet at every store.

5. The worst for copulant amounts of sugar are “energy” drinks! Hands down!!! They have between 52 to 63 grams of sugar per can!!!!!!!!! That is two days intake of sugar!

• The average person consumes 40 kilos of sugar a year.
• One can of pop a day is equal to 50 lbs of sugar in one year.

Fat does not make us fat! SUGAR makes us fat!

Note: make sure you are NOT purchasing low-fat products. Guess what they replace the fat with? Sugar!

Here are some healthy sugar alternatives:

Dates: My favorite – they are a whole food with fiber!
Stevia: A herb native to South America and is 300 times sweeter-tasting than sugar.
Coconut palm sugar: Low score on the glycemic index.
Raw Honey
Lucuma Powder: Immune booster!

As with all sweeteners, you should use in moderation. Any sweetening agent that gets overused can overwhelm the liver and get turned into bad fat. Sugar is sugar afterall.

Bottom Line: Excess fructose (sugar) gets turned into fat, which can lodge in the liver and cause chronic diseases.

My intension is not to overwhelm you, but to encourage you to take control of your health and give you some tools and some different healthy suggestions.
It takes a whole week of “strict” no sugar intake for your body to stop craving it.
You are what you eat… and if you feed your body good food, your body will thank you for it.

Xo Shannon

Read more on Sugar:

Great documentaries to watch:

Hungry For Change:

Fed Up –

A Rocha:

November 7, 2014 at 5:07 am 1 comment


It has been over two months since I have written a blog and part of me feels a bit out of the loop and the other part of me has quite enjoyed the extra break from the computer and research. As I sit here, I am enjoying the beautiful view of Mt Baker and listening to the crickets in the background at my parents’ amazing property on Mayne Island. The sky is breath taking and reminds me again why I feel the need to write this blog…Dsknectd.

I have had the opportunity to be away on two trips this summer with no access to my email and limited access to the internet (for over three weeks). It has been very eye opening as to how much extra time I have for my family and for myself when there are no computers or technology around to distract me. The word dsknectd comes from an amazing, must see documentary that speaks to the impact that technology has on human interactions. We have created these tools that help us facilitate interaction, but we need to understand how they are acting back on us. How they are shaping us as much as we are shaping them.

I also found the time to read an amazing book by Goldie Hawn while I was away called 10 Mindful Minutes. Goldie is more than an actress, and has created the non-profit Hawn Foundation, which went on to initiate a social and emotional learning program in elementary schools called the MindUP. The MindUP focuses on creating more empathy and compassion within relationships, the well-being of children, and supports them to learn about “mindfulness” – a now proven way to develop social and emotional intelligence. Mindful awareness is about being able to engage all of our senses – to taste the food we eat, to sense the air we breathe, to listen with attention, to see with fresh and inquiring eyes, to pause and appreciate the wonder of a butterfly your child has discovered on the sidewalk before rushing off to school. Learning to value even the most commonplace activities-and finding the teachable moments in each of them – has the potential to make the ordinary quite extraordinary.

As Goldie says “we parents are here to guide, love and nurture our children’s emotional development so that they can set sail on their own adventure to happy, healthy, and productive lives. To be a good pilot is a daunting task in today’s frenzied world. It requires focus, attention and commitment. This is hard when often both parents are working full time to make ends meet, technology is robbing the intimacy from family life, and so many other stresses than we ever imagined possible. And yet, there can be no job or commitment more important than the emotional imprint we make on the babies we’ve bought into this world.”

I have learned about and experienced the word synchronicity over the last several years of my life and it is no coincidence that 10 Mindful Minutes and Dsknectd came into my life at the same time. Both the documentary and the book talk about different things, but in the end they both come back to “mindfulness.” Being in the now!

I remember when my life coach Lee Chamberland used to tell me that she was taking a “technology break” and I thought that was a bit different. Now I sit here writing a blog on how important it is to dsknect not only for our kids but for ourselves. Think back about 10 to 15 years ago when we all did not have cell phones, email, texting and computers and internet at our fingertips. Let’s start with our morning routine. We used to wake up with our alarm clock, take a shower, make breakfast, get in the car and drive to work. Now, we reach over to the night stand, grab our phone which is there in case we want to check our email in the middle of the night. We quick check our email, texts and then go on the computer to check Facebook. We have so many more things to do in the morning and it is because we are constantly connected. In the documentary Dsknectd they talk about how our devices – ringing, chirping and vibrating 24/7 are serving to degrade our day to day conscious thought process like static on a radio station. Studies have shown that kids have become overly focused on the immediate, context dependent implications of a situation as opposed to the long term moral and emotional implications of a situation. There is alarming evidence in several studies showing a link between the amount of texting and ones ability to show and be empathetic. Crazy!

Dsknectd goes on to talk about important topics such as: sexting, online bullying, gaming, online pornography and much more. This is something that we never had to deal with as children and something that we need to talk to and educate our children about. With a stroke of a key our children can be assaulted with images that are not appropriate for their developmental level. It is said that almost EVERY exposure to online porno for the first time happens while doing homework.

Goldie also talks about technology and how it is challenging our ability to focus. The “single biggest chunk of waking life of the American child” is spent in front of a television or video screen according to the American Medical Association with the TV being on for close to 7 hours a day. For young brains especially, this mental restlessness can have an enormously negative impact. She writes “for today’s “screenagers,” these flickering images are like bright diversions in the digital candy store. The need for them can become compulsive and often addictive. We have all become subject to a sense of urgency in which everything needs to be dealt with immediately.” This constant onslaught of unfiltered information can be damaging to our minds. Numerous studies have found that working memory is impaired, performance suffers, and the brain tires more easily as a result of being overwhelmed by relentless stimuli.

We need to find time to turn off our devices and be with our family, friends or ourselves. Take time to think things over (10 mindful minutes) each day can change the direction in which society is moving today by strengthening the minds of the next generation. We need to learn to interact with technology in a more optimal way that does not detract us from being most human. Our ability to talk to each other, pay attention to one thing, and still take advantage of the abilities our computers and whole interconnected network has to offer us.

Books to read:

10 Mindful Minutes – Goldie Hawn
Simplicity Parenting – Kim John Payne with Lisa M. Ross
The Conscious Parent – Shefali Tsabary
Hold Onto Your Kids – Gabor Mate and Gordon Newfeld
Hands Free Mama – Rachel Marcy Stafford

Movies (documentary) to watch:

Dsknectd –

August 26, 2014 at 5:54 am Leave a comment

The Essence Of Life

The Essence Of Life

Here we are at the end of May and I can hardly believe that Abigail and Nolan’s first year of school is coming to an end. We just got home from an amazing trip to the enchanted world of Disney Land and with the weather 41 degrees every day I was reminded just how important it is to keep our bodies hydrated. This is something that many of us take for granted and maybe don’t even realize just how important hydration is and how it can be a cause in degenerative disease over time.

Out of all the things I have learned at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition, the top three things are:

1. Drink good water – this can change EVERYTHING!
2. Heal the gut
3. Believe in your body

“Chronic dehydration is the root cause of most major degenerative diseases of the human body” ~ F. Batmanghelidj, M.D.

Lemon in water…a great way to start the day (flushes gall bladder and liver) and is also a great way to get things moving in the morning.

Every communication in your body needs water!
Water is not just a hydrating beverage, it is much more and every piece of communication that occurs in your body is a result of water. Water is what conducts all the electricity in your body and all the communication between your cells. Water is 80% of our body and your body acts much differently when dehydrated.

Our body excretes 2-3 liters of digestive juices per day and therefore we need to drink at least 8- 10 glasses per day!!!! If active…more water is needed!

How can you tell if you are you dehydrated?

• Dry mouth is the last outward sign of extreme dehydration
• Ridges in fingers (this is a big sign for me)
• Is there a smell to your urine
• Is your urine a dark color? It should be mostly clear.
• Constipation? Water is very important for flushing out the bowels and keeping us regular.
• Yellow or browning in whites of eyes
• Skin pale or more wrinkled
• Headaches and migraines (vasodilatation of blood vessels)
• Aches and pains
• Increased hunger

Hydration helps histamine levels in the body: When you are dehydrated you produce more histamine and any allergic reaction is going to get worse. If you have hay fever and you don’t drink enough water…your hay fever symptoms will get worse. If you have MS or arthritis…the symptoms will get worse just by being dehydrated and this is the case for any person with a degenerative disease or condition.

Dehydration can cause muscle tightness, trigger headaches, and decrease range of motion. Staying hydrated with water, instead of sugary, high/empty caloric beverages is a must in order to fuel your body. Coffee and tea will dehydrate your body so you want to make sure you drink two cups of water for each cup of coffee you drink.

Instead of sugary, high/empty caloric beverages make a Himalayan sea salt brine: put 3 to 4 Himalayan rocks into mason jar (shake) let sit for 24 hours. Then take a teaspoon of the salt water and add it to your water bottle daily. This will help to re alkalize your water and is great for mineral replacement (electrolytes) instead of the sports drinks that have many chemicals and lots of sugar in them. Coconut water is great for electrolyte content and naturally has a sweet flavor.

Tap water:
Chlorine (in water) dehydrates the body. It also causes or makes worse: eczema, psoriasis, acne and any skin condition. We put in a three stage filter on our kitchen sink and were shocked in the difference in chlorine when we tested it.

Little trick: if you let water sit out on the counter the chlorine from your tap water will dissipate.

Thank goodness we don’t have fluoride in our water. Fluoride strips calcium from our bones and also makes the bones soft. Research done on the areas that have fluoridated water show that many of the residents have osteoporosis and bone breakages. Crazy!

Why should you drink water?

• It is an essential nutrient!
• It is needed for all bodily functions, such as nutrient digestion, absorption, transport and metabolism.
• It aids in body-temperature maintenance.
• It is vital to electrolyte balance.
• Removes toxins & waste products from your body…keeps you regular.
• Increases your mental and physical performance.
• Essential for lubricating your joints, it acts as a shock absorber in the eyes and the spinal cord.
• Water contains no calories or fat.
• Helps with weight loss by acting as a natural appetite suppressant.
• Prevents complications from dehydration, such as headache or fatigue.
• Benefits people with respiratory diseases by thinning mucous secretions that worsen asthma.
• Helps people who experience recurrent urinary tract infections by increasing their urine flow and flush away bacteria.
• Helps reduce cancer risk of the colon, kidneys & bladder.
• Boosts physical and mental endurance.
• Helps maintain a pleasant demeanor. Dehydrated adults and children tend to be irritable and/or lethargic.
• Helps prevent muscle cramps in your legs, hands, and feet — and achy stiffness in your joints.
• Some studies show hydration can decrease the risk of kidney stones and lower the risk of certain cancers by helping the body to flush out toxins.
• Helps keep pregnant women from being constipated — and it can also help the body flush away excess fluid that can lead to bloating and edema (swelling).
• Helps nursing women with milk production. If you are having a problem with milk supply, ask yourself how much water you’re drinking.
• Helps keep your eyes and skin moist and healthy. When the body is dehydrated, it looks for moisture from wherever it can find it — including the eyes and skin.
• Can help asthmatics breathe more efficiently, according to experts. Apparently, dehydration interferes with how well the lungs function (thereby increasing the likelihood of an asthma attack).

Brain tissue is said to consist of 85 % water. Hydrated body = a brain that works. Awesome! So take the time to be mindful about how much water you are getting daily. Record how much water you are drinking over a seven day period and see how much water you are putting in your body. Don’t forget to increase if you are drinking beverages that dehydrate you like coffee. Water truly is the essence of life.

Note: Don’t drink water when eating…it will dilute the HCL (hydrochloric acid) in the stomach and your body will not be able to break down and absorb all the nutrients in your food (nutrients become too watered down). Drink 30 min before and 30 min after meals.

“Water is the most neglected nutrient in your diet, but one of the most vital” ~ Julia Child

Great store in Vancouver ~Water Matters ~ (sell filters for tub and showers too) Talk to Mary and check out:

Books to read:

Your Body’s many cries for water. You’re not sick; You’re Thirsty. Don’t Treat Thirst with Medication. By F.Batmanghelidj, M.D.

Some more resources:

May 22, 2014 at 3:15 am Leave a comment

Natural Born Killer

Here we are at the end of March 2014! I am still having a hard time writing the correct date and in total disbelief that it is the year of the 40’s! Yep…this is the year that many of my friends are turning 40 and of course I can tell them all how awesome it is. I just finished my 6th of 20 classes at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition and I am very proud to say that so far I have an A+ average. It is amazing what you can do if you are passionate about what you are learning, it just seems to flow.

New Years has long since passed and many of you have made resolutions to improve your health, go to the gym, take more time for you, or maybe quit some unhealthy habit. Today I want to share with you some really great tips to naturally heal your body (help your body heal itself). We often go to the drug store when we are not well, feel pain, or can’t sleep but end up just masking the real problem and often prolonging something that would be over in a few short days. In “Preventative Health Care” I learned many great tips about supplements / herbs that can help to address the symptoms and get to the root of why you might not be feeling well rather than masking the problem.

First I want to mention NSAIDS which stands for Non Steroidal Anti- Inflammatory Drugs. NSAIDs are used primarily to treat inflammation, mild to moderate pain, and fever. Specific uses include the treatment of headaches, arthritis, menstrual cramps and more. A few examples are: ibuprofen and aspirin.
Unfortunately approximately 3,200 people die each year due to chronic NSAID use; over the counter medications that are deemed safe and effective. They cause increased risk of GI (gastro-intestinal) complications and also affect stomach lining, increasing intestinal permeability, damaging the microvilli in the intestine, causing allergies, ulcerations and eventually making the pain in the other parts of the body worse as well.

White Willowbark is natural and does the same as Ibuprofen but will not harm your GI tract. Salicylic acid is in willow bark and it is the same thing used in ibuprofen and Tylenol. The use of white willow bark medicinally goes far back to ancient Egyptians and Native Indians who used white willow to decrease inflammation. The Greek physician Hippocrates wrote about white willow’s medicinal uses in 5th century B.C. It can be used for: pain, joint pain, flu, fever.

Magnesium is something that many of us are deficient in and the best way to explain how magnesium works it to talk about muscle contraction (we use calcium) and muscle relaxation (we use magnesium). I think Magnesium is my new favorite and many of my teacher’s favorite as well. Bis glycenate is the form you want to get as it is highly absorbable. Magnesium is great for migraines, aches and pains, neurological issues, insomnia, anxiety, cramps, stress, hyperactive child, muscle spasms and more. I take it every day along with my kids. I use it mostly for aches and pains, Abigail uses it to help her sleep and Nolan uses it to decrease his hyperactive behaviors (stimming behaviors). I also used it today for some serious cramps and it worked great!

Got a migraine? Magnesium (bis glicinate) mixed with White Willowbark .

Do you feel a cold coming on? Goldenseal is one of the most popular herbs on the market today. It was traditionally used by Native Americans to treat skin disorders, digestive problems, liver conditions, diarrhea, and eye irritations. Goldenseal is used for infections of the mucus membranes, including the mouth, sinuses, throat, the intestines, stomach, urinary tract and vagina. Goldenseal and oregano oil together can kill a cold that is coming on.

Antihistamines can cause heart and digestive issues, hallucinations and are also full of color dyes and added fillers. We can get high levels of histamine if your body is in a constant state of fight or flight or if we have food allergies or sensitivities. I use Quercetin which is great for lowering the levels of histamine in the body, repairs the body and boosts the immune system. I use this both for me and Nolan when we have eaten food that we should not have or even if we know we will be eating a food that will not agree with us soon. Quercetin and bromaline together are great.

Natural ways to treat your pain:

Dehydration can cause muscle tightness, trigger headaches, and decrease range of motion. Staying hydrated with water, instead of sugary, high/empty caloric beverages is a must in order to fuel your body. You can also get high levels of histamine in your body if you are dehydrated.

Chiropractors, acupuncture, and massage are all super GREAT!

Exercise produces endorphins, the body’s natural feel good hormone that makes us happy. A body in motion tends to stay in motion; so get up and move and start feeling better today.

Nutrition plays a huge role in how you feel. Consuming foods that are highly processed and contain multiple preservatives and toxins can trigger headaches and cause undue inflammation in the body, triggering a flare up and an increase in your pain symptoms.

Homemade cough syrup: Anyone that is sick – helps with lung issues too and is 1000 x better than store bought cough syrup.
• Warm water
• Manuka honey (anti viral and anti bacterial)
• Lemon (vitamin content)
• Pinch of cayenne
• Grated ginger
• garlic

Ear aches: Olive oil, garlic and mullein (flower from this plant are used). Put in bowl and let sit. Warm up in warm water. Put into ear. Stops any aching and pain.

Baking soda: Great for skin – burn, rash, eczema, psoriasis, inching, burning, pain. Great for Candida outbreaks. Put a few table spoons in the bathtub for skin irritations.

Insect bites: make a paste out of baking soda and water

I know you are now probably thinking…why have we not heard of all these great things before if they are so great? Well, unlike the pharmaceutical companies that have millions and millions of dollars to advertise and make you believe that they are the best, the natural supplement world does not have that kind of money. Most of the time you need to source these things out yourself or hear it from lovely people like me (hee hee). There are many supplements and herbs to talk about but this is a few of the gooders. I do hope that you will be open to try some of the tips I have shared above.

PS – You can find the above supplements at:
-Natures Fare Market
-Whole foods
-Pure Pharmacy
-local supplement store

Note: Please check with your Naturopath, MD or pharmacist for dosages and if the supplement you are interested in is right for you.

Love to you all!

Movies to check out:

The Beautiful Truth – some GREAT information on cancer…and the TRUTH.

Killer at Large

Great documentary: Sweet Misery

Books to check out:

• Julia Daniluk (Meals that heal inflammation) – I can’t put this book down. Full of great tips to heal the body and great recipes to go with it.

• Wheat Belly – Just went to see the writer (William Davis) present in Langley last week and it was amazing! A must read book!

• Eating Alive II: Ten Easy Steps to Following the Eating Alive System

Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to be personal medical advice. Please ask your physician about any health guidelines seen in this blog, as everyone is different in his or her medical needs.

March 28, 2014 at 3:48 am Leave a comment

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