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11/10/2014 CNN: Kids Sickened by Detergent Pods

“Last year a Florida mother of a 7-month-old came back to her room to find that her baby had accidentally eaten one of those bright colored laundry detergent pods. He had been sleeping in a laundry basket with the pod when it happened. They rushed him to the hospital, but it was too late. He died, of poisoning from the detergent, according to the Kissimmee, Florida, police department. He is not the first child to mistake the potent packet for something else. Poison control centers around the country have gotten thousands of calls. In the period of about a year, 17,230 children under the age of 6 have been accidentally poisoned by the packets, according to a new study in the journal Pediatrics. That's about one child every hour between March 2012 and April 2013. Of those cases, 4.4% of the children were hospitalized, and 7.5% experienced a "moderate or major medical outcome."

Our thoughts: Our culture is experiencing breakthroughs and advancements in technology and chemicals as a dizzying pace, but it may come at a cost to the safety of our environment, not the least of which being our homes. While a new product may be amazingly convenient or successful in doing its job more effectively and efficiently than anything that came before, it may also be more hazardous. The chemicals used in these detergent pods, for instance, contain brightly colored chemicals that are far more dangerous than traditional boxed or liquid laundry detergent—more concentrated and different formulas that are even more hazardous to the health of curious children than the products we are used to having in our homes.

The best advice to prevent tragedy from striking as a result is three-fold:

  1. Be aware that there are potential dangers, knowledge empowers you to make the best decisions.
  2. Keep all potentially harmful products locked and out of reach from small children
  3. Try to use the least harmful chemicals possible in your household, it’s not only safer for your family but also for the environment as all of these chemicals eventually go down a drain and back into our waste systems.

11/04/2014 CNN: Decoding the Restaurant Menu: Words to Avoid for Healthful Eating

"For many of us, eating out happens more often than we would like to admit. It's only natural that with our busy, can't-catch-a-break lifestyles we farm out cooking to our favorite local restaurants. That's ok, it's not so much eating out that's the problem. Rather, it's what we eat at restaurants that can cause health issues. Too many carbohydrates, too much fat and too much salt can lead to obesity, Type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cholesterol issues. The problem is, restaurant menus are designed to entice your sense of taste, not tell you whether the foods they're advertising are healthy. But I'm here to take the guesswork out of dining out: Fried Food Restaurant Code Words: Crunchy, tempura, battered, crispy, breaded, crusted, golden, sizzling; High Sugar Restaurant Code Words: Teriyaki, BBQ, glazed, sticky, honey-dipped; High Calorie Restaurant Code Words: Loaded, stuffed, creamy, cheesy, gooey, smothered, melted, rich, velvety, etc.”

Our thoughts: In a perfect world we would all take the time to buy fully organic whole foods, or even better—we would grow and raise our food at home, cook every meal and consume each healthful meal, filled with fresh vegetables, fruits, beans, seeds, nuts and meats, six times per day. Oh, that’s not your life? Don't worry you're not alone. Chances are you'll eat plenty of meals out at restaurants this year and into the next, and using important tips to learn how to decode the ingredients on delicious-sounding menu will go a long way to help you make healthier choices as you sit down to eat and offer up your order to your server.


09/26/2014 CNN:: Beer May Be Good For Your Brain

“You may not guess if stopping by your average neighborhood fraternity party, but an element in beer may be good for your brain. Scientists discovered that xanthohumol, a type of flavonoid found in beer, seems to help cognitive function, at least in young mice. They tested this hypothesis in a study that ran in Behavioral Brain Research this week. Xanthohumol did not have the same impact on older mice. The dose they gave the mice was quite high -- so high that if you were in this study, you'd actually have to drink 2,000 liters of beer a day to equal what the mice consumed. So scientists don't suggest you run out and buy a six-pack before work. The research does suggest that this flavonoid and others should be studied closer. The researchers believe it and others, like the ones found in red wine, blueberries and dark chocolate, may play a role in helping you form memories.”

Our thoughts: While studies such as this are certainly interesting, and there may even be a humorous quip or two worthy of a chuckle from this type of article, there is a responsibility that those in the health and wellness fields have to provide a word of caution when discussing alcohol and other drug consumption so casually. In particular, this headline is misleading and potentially dangerous because the research results, as indicated in the article, did not conclude that beer may be good for your brain. Instead, an isolated flavanoid found in beer, distributed to young mice in very high doses, “may play a role in helping you form memories.” Unfortunately, many people do just read headlines and fail to read full articles. Not to mention the implicit dangers associated with any messages that could be misconstrued as promoting excessive drinking, which can lead to all manner of health issues not the least of which is addiction. So, be cautious with your words and how you present stories. Beer and wine in moderation may be fine, but excessive amounts of any type of alcohol is undoubtedly unhealthy.


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