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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Lupus Awareness – What Is It? How You Can Prevent Flare Ups

lupus purple ribbon awarenessThis month is Lupus Awareness month, we are dedicated to bring you the information you need to help reduce flare ups so you can live a happy, healthy life!  Because you are a unique individual, and Lupus can affect each person differently all information we share with you may or may not work for you.  Below we’ll be discussing exactly what Lupus is, and how you can take small steps to reduce flare ups.
What Is Lupus?
Lupus occurs in the body’s immune system, it’s a chronic inflammatory condition that attacks your body’s organs and tissues.  It can affect your skin, blood cells, heart, kidneys, lungs and joints. Below is a list of common symptoms, if you experience any of these it may be a good idea to see your doctor.
  • Over the cheeks and nose a butterfly like rash appears
  • Joint stiffness, pain and swelling
  • Lesions on the skin that appear after sun exposure
  • Lesions worsen upon skin exposure
  • Pain in the chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever
  • Feeling tired
  • Eyes that are abnormally dry
  • Toes & fingers exposed to cold turning blue or white, this can happen during stress as well.
Though there is no cure for Lupus, there are ways to manage it.
What Can I Do To Prevent Flare Ups?
Sun exposure is a definite aggravating factor when it comes to Lupus.  Ultraviolet light actually triggers your Lupus symptoms and they can either be mild or quite severe.  It’s a good idea to wear sunscreen every time you’ll be out in the sun.  Using something natural that’s free of chemicals should lessen skin irritation and keep you protected.  It’s recommended that an SPF 50 is used for those who suffer with Lupus.
In addition to sunscreen, wearing protective clothing to reduce sun exposure should lessen your chances of a flare up.  A large hat, shirt that covers your shoulders and arms and pants are a good idea.  If it’s summer, you can use something like the Sun Shrugz which allows you to wear a bathing suit while giving you added protection over your shoulders and arms.  If you’ll be spending the day outdoors, try bringing a sun shade that you can sit under to lessen UV exposure.
A healthy lifestyle can also reduce your risk of flare ups.  Regular exercise not only helps you from your next flare up but will aid you in recovering from a current flare up. Add lots of fruits, whole grains and vegetables to your diet as this helps with keeping the inside of you working like a well oiled machine.

 If you smoke, you may want to quit.  It can increase your flare ups and because Lupus affects your heart and smoking increases heart disease, as if there weren’t enough other reasons to quit! We highly recommend “Allen Carr’s Easyway to Stop Smoking” almost everyone I know who has packed-up puffing, and stayed a non-smoker read this book, best of all you have to keep smoking while you read so there is no time like the present ;-)

Get plenty of rest; most people who suffer from Lupus are excessively tired.  Getting a full 8 hours of rest each night and a nap during the day will help you with persistent tired feelings.
Do you suffer from Lupus?  What are some of the steps you take to keep your flare ups at bay?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Spray Sunscreen – Is It Safe?

Sunscreens that come in a spray can seem like a pretty great idea; you can spray an even layer onto the skin and reach areas that you couldn’t otherwise reach, such as your back.
However, when you use a spray sunscreen you have to realize that whatever is in the can will most likely end up in your lungs. When you spray the sunscreen it shoots mist into the air that is easily breathed in by the user.
The chemicals used in sunscreen are not yet fully understood when it comes to how they affect the body.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) reports that common chemicals such as PABA and Octyl Methoxycinnamate in spray and chemical sunscreens can alter the Endocrine System, which means your hormones can become confused. Inhaling these chemicals furthers the risk of future issues and is not recommended.
Instant, Chemical-Free Sun Protection You Never Have To Reapply
50+UPF Sunny Sleevez

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What Types Of Sunscreen Work the Best?

Stylish Shade
Shade and Style!
May is Skin Cancer Awareness month, and we are always looking for the best ways to protect our family from unnecessary sun damage.  So what type of sunscreen works the best? Below I’ll be sharing some great information that will help you to better understand the world of sunscreen!
Types of UV Rays
Understanding exactly what happens upon setting out for a day at the beach will help you determine what sunscreen is best.  There are two types of UV’s, the first is UVA – this is the reason you may see darkening age spots, wrinkles or feel a bit sick after too much sun.  UVA ray’s soak into the skin so deeply that it can actually effect your immune system. UVB rays are what cause you to sunburn.
Finding a sunscreen that can protect you from both UVA and UVB rays also known as Broad Spectrum helps to prevent tumors on the skin, Squamous Cell Carcinoma – which is a form of cancer, sunburn, age spots and wrinkles. Because companies aren’t required to offer protection from both UVA and UVB (yet), it’s a good idea to look at the ingredients.
What SPF Is The Safest To Use?
There is a common misconception that the higher the SPF, the better the protection.  SPF is the calculation for how long it takes for you to get a sunburn while wearing the sunscreen, because it deflects only UVB rays the SPF number is not critical. What is important is if it’s a broad spectrum sunscreen or not. However, it’s been recommended by dermatologist to use a minimum SPF 30 or higher, especially if you’ll be exposed to the sun for a long period of time. If you plan on being outside for an entire day, SPF 50 is recommended.
Whether you use an SPF 30 or SPF 50 it’s a good idea to apply and apply often.  When we’re enjoying outdoor activities it’s easy to sweat off your sunscreen so try to apply often if you’re running or playing sports.  Finding a sunscreen that’s waterproof can help protect you during swimming where it’s very easy to burn, especially on the face, chest and shoulders. My best suggestion is to find a sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher, waterproof and has broad spectrum protection.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Vacate Your Vehicle & Saddle Up – May is National Bike Month!

Bike to Work Week is May 13-17 and Bike to Work Day is Friday, May 17.
People ride bikes for lots of different reasons.
Here are the top five reasons why you should be out there too.
1. For Your Body
Riding a bike offers many health benefits. Here are just a few:
  • increased cardiovascular fitness
  • increased strength
  • increased balance and flexibility
  • increased endurance and stamina
  • increased calories burned
It can be done by people of all ages, from kids to seniors. Cycling is much lower impact on your joints and customized bikes allow for a variety of disabilities.
2. For Your Inner Well Being
Riding a bike is a proven stress reducer. Whether you are riding for pleasure or as a mode of transportation, you will arrive at your destination feeling relaxed, energized and happier.
3. For Your Community
Being out on your bike is good for the environment. You get where you want to go without adding another vehicle on the road and bikes take up almost no room to park.
You can feel good about yourself for not contributing to noise & exhaust pollution and no gas consumed.
Did you know the energy and materials used to manufacture one automobile could be used to create a hundred bikes!

4. For Convenience

There is an undeniable convenience factor you’ll discover when riding a bike. Front row parking spaces are guaranteed no matter where you go. Traffic jams are also irrelevant.
Though cars will certainly make better time on long trips, you’ll find for many short trips or through heavy traffic, you can travel just as fast or faster on your bike.
Have you ever been to a massive festival or concert in a park somewhere, the type of event that draws so many people that just getting there is a problem? Going in on a bike is a perfect solution. Zip in, zip out.  No getting there hours in advance to get a parking spot or else face parking miles away from the event. And you won’t have to wait hours in traffic to get out once it’s over.

5. For Your Wallet

It costs between 20 and 35 cents per mile to operate a car, depending on the vehicle. This is based on expenses like gas, oil, maintenance, etc., which increases the more you drive and doesn’t include the hidden costs of vehicle ownership like depreciation, taxes, and insurance. These factors make the actual per mile cost to operate a car much higher.
When you start multiplying cost per mile to operate a car (don’t forget to throw in the price of parking & tolls) you can easily calculate how much money you save by riding a bike.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Top Of The Toxins! Why You Should Rethink “An Apple For The Teacher”

When you head to the super market to do your weekly shopping, be sure to know the facts! The Environmental Working Group also known as EWG has the latest list of fresh fruits and veggies that are now topping the Dirty Dozen list.  If you don’t know what the Dirty Dozen list is, I’ll explain.  The Dirty Dozen is a list of fresh fruits and veggies that when tested showed the highest levels of harmful pesticides.  EWG has been working to provide consumers with the most up to date information so you, the consumer can take steps to ensure your families health.  Below is a list of fruits and veggies that have topped this list.
Dirty Dozen
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries
  • Imported Nectarines
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Celery
  • Spinach
  • Hot Peppers
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Cucumber
You may be asking yourself what you can do to make sure your family doesn’t bite down on pesticide infused foods; the first step you can take is trying out only organically grown fruits and veggies. Sure the price is a bit higher but certainly worth it when you consider some of the health risks of pesticides.  Some of these side effects may include disruption of hormones, brain/nervous system toxicity, cancer and eye, lung and skin irritation.  Some studies have shown that even if you scrub clean or peel these fruits and veggies pesticides still come up. The reason for this is because most farms, even one’s that no longer spray pesticides will have residual amounts left in the soil, most likely these farms will not be able to completely rid their crops of pesticides.
The EWG suggests that thorough washing can get rid of some pesticides on the surface (seebelow) and remove peel where possible which will at least reduce exposure. The best way to avoid this is by switching to organic, at least for items on this list! The way I remember these Dirty Dozen is to tape it on the fridge and when I’m making my shopping list I just jot down organic next to it for quick reference, I also have the EWG app which is super helpful.

A cheap and easy way you can drastically reduce your exposure to pesticides and bacteria found on produce is with a thorough vinegar and water wash.  Experts found that a white vinegar and water wash kills 98% of bacteria and removes pesticides.
You can concoct your own vinegar/water mixture at home to save money.  You’ll probably spend less than 20 cents  to make a homemade vinegar and water rinse, compared to around $4 for a premade produce wash.
Fill a bowl with water and add 1/8 to 1/2 cup of vinegar, depending on the size of your bowl.
  • Place your fruits and veggies in the bowl.
  • Soak for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Rinse with water.
Do you typically shop for Organic foods?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Finally a Kid-Friendly Alternative to Hotel-Hell

rock haven sculpture joshua tree aifbnb
Rock Haven Sculpture Joshua Tree airbnb
Traveling with your kids can be tough, let’s face it hours spent traipsing through airports, long car trips and grumpy kids can get a little overwhelming!  After a long journey we would arrive at our destination only to find that staying in hotels with children wasn’t much fun either. Confined in 1 room they would be bouncing off the walls and the alternative was just vegging in front of the TV. If we wanted any adult time we’d have to wait till the kiddo’s fell asleep, which was often late at night which not only meant we were sitting in the dark trying to get them to sleep for hours but in the morning they were exhausted and grumpy.
Often we’d resort to the divide and conquer method.  I love to read so my husband would take over while I snuck in some reading in the over lit bathroom and after a few chapters I’d come and take over so he could go wet his whistle with a nightcap down at the hotel bar. I would have much rather had a great evening with him together but with kids waking up it just wasn’t possible. It certainly wasn’t the ideal vacation.
If your kids are anything like mine, they have bigger eyes then stomachs.  The hotel would feature menu items full of sugary pancakes, cinnamon rolls and French toast which my kids automatically wanted and I would unwillingly allow.  High hotel prices and lots of leftovers led to hyper kids and a big ding in my wallet! Needless to say with the lack of nutritious foods my kids were naturally hungry an hour later.on the trail joshua tree
Returning from many failed vacation attempts I began looking for a more suitable way to take a trip with my family and actually enjoy it.  The answer I found has been Airbnb and  Vrbo which will allow your family to stay in someone else’s house,  with  a wide variety of options ranging from just a bedroom in someone’s home to an entire house to yourself.
Table Art Joshua Tree Airbnb
Table Art Joshua Tree Airbnb
For a quick overnight we love AirBnB which is more of a Bed and Breakfast and the owner is usually present it also includes a light breakfast which means no waiting to eat in the morning and works so much better for our children. Coffee, cereal, fruit & pastries are fairly standard; we have also had some amazing experiences where we’ve been treated to a slap up cooked breakfast too!