Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Healthy Homes e-News for March 2006

Can you believe it’s March already? After the relatively mild winter we’ve had, I’m almost afraid to mention the word “spring” for fear that we’ll get another snowstorm like we had on Sunday. Actually, it wasn’t so bad. My kids were so excited to see the snow and were able to sled in the backyard yesterday afternoon. Today, the snow’s almost all gone, and I hear we’re to be near 60 by this weekend. I guess I can say, “It’s almost spring!”

In this month’s newsletter:

  1. Produce Not as Vitamin-Rich as in Past (from ABC News)
  2. Time + Money = slimmer, trimmer you (from Daily Herald)
  3. Spring Cleaning Tips & Testimonials
  4. Promotions

1. Produce Not as Vitamin-Rich as in Past (from ABCNews.com)

Fruits and veggies aren’t what they used to be, new data suggests.

Of the 13 major nutrients found in fruits and vegetables, six have declined substantially, according to a study by Donald Davis, a biochemist at the University of Texas at Austin.

Using data from the US Department of Agriculture, Davis concludes that recently grown crops have shown decreases of up to 38% in protein, calcium, vitamin C, phosphorus, iron and riboflavin when compared to produce from past decades.

What accounts for this negative trend? Like any other competitive industry, farmers’ attempts to drive up profits have led them to use new techniques to increase production, Davis said. The faster-grown fruits don’t have as much time to develop the nutrients.

“It’s a simple inverse relationship: The higher the yield, the lower the nutrients,” he said.

Did you know:

· You would need to eat 20 oranges today in order to get the same amount of vitamin C that was in an orange in 1920?

· It would take a diet of 5,000 to 6,000 calories a day of the perfect foods to get enough nutrients (vitamins, minerals, etc.) just to prevent disease?

· If you want to feel your best (optimal health), you would have to eat even more of those perfect foods?

· The American Medical Association recommends that everyone take a multivitamin daily?

· This brand provides 23 essential nutrients in perfectly balanced amounts?

· Only this brand undergoes 349 of the most stringent quality control tests to guarantee its purity and potency?

· This multi-vitamin is available with or without iron, for seniors, chewables for children and powder for infants?

2. Time + Money = slimmer, trimmer you

(my paraphrase of article in the Daily Herald, Friday March 3, 2006)

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago compared height & weight data for people living in ZIP codes all across the Chicago area. They found that overall, suburbanites had lower Body Mass Index (BMI) ranking than those living in the city. They found this surprising because city dwellers walk more places than suburbanites, which theoretically would keep them slimmer.

Instead, they found that people living in more affluent suburbs were thinner than city dwellers, and thinner than those living in less affluent suburbs.

“Regardless of how long a person spends motoring around every day, eating well and staying fit require two things: time & money.

Whole grains and fruit cost more than hamburgers and soda, as any grocery store shopper can attest. And gym memberships – an important tool to keep fit when residents may not shed pounds walking around town – are not free.”

I found this article interesting because it supports a book I read recently by Paul Zane Pilzer called The Wellness Revolution. In it, he explains that throughout history, being overweight was a sign of wealth – the “rich, fat man.” Now, in American culture, the “rich, fat man” is becoming rare. Instead, being overweight is a sign of poverty, because good, nutritional food is more expensive than processed foods.

I started looking at my weekly grocery ads, and realized that the best sales were on the packaged convenient foods, not necessarily on produce (let alone organic produce), or meats (I’m not sure my grocery store even carries organic meats). It’s made me more conscious of what I put in my grocery cart and what kind of meals I feed my family. It’s also made me want to start a small garden this summer. We’ll see how that goes!

3. Spring Cleaning Tips

I think the spring cleaning bug is going to be hitting me soon. I know I can’t wait to wash my windows! I really don’t know when they were last washed on the outside, and they are filthy. So, as the weather gets nicer and you’re ready to clean your house, here are some of the products my children and I use. (That’s one of the things I love about non-toxic cleaners. I don’t have to worry about my kids helping me clean. And, many hands make light work!)

concentrated general cleaner: just 2 drops to 16 oz of water (Window Spray) will make your windows and mirrors shine! Since my windows are so dirty, I plan to use the Light Duty Spray (1/4 tsp cleaner to 16 oz water) first to get all the grime off, then polish them up a bit with the Window Spray. This cleaner is so economical and you can use it for everything. I even put it in the soap dispenser in the children’ bathroom (about 1/8 cup cleaner, then fill with water) – then I don’t have to worry about wasting the expensive liquid-soap.

Concentrated disinfectant is a fighting machine! It’s a powerful disinfectant, anti-fungal and germicide. I pour about a tablespoon in my toilet and swish it around, then let it sit while I clean the rest of my bathroom. About a teaspoon to a sink full of water cleans the rest of the surfaces in my bathrooms. And when those potty training accidents happen, I keep a 16 0z bottle filled with a dilution of the disinfectant (1 tsp disinfectant to 16 oz water; change monthly) to spray down the area and wipe it clean.

One of my new members recommended scouring paste to me. She told me how much she loved that product, so I thought I’d better order some. Well, I did and let me tell you, I LOVE this product!

We have well water, and even with a water softener, I still have a problem with rust stains in my bathtub. Nothing works like the scouring paste. This morning, I thought I’d try it quick after I got out of my shower. I rubbed it on, and rubbed it off a portion of my tub, and I could not believe the difference. The part I cleaned looked like a whole new bathtub!

I never thought I’d say this, but I can’t wait to clean my whole bathtub. Plus, I don’t have to have a well-ventilated room, or worry about toxic fumes harming me or my children. It actually smells good. Thanks Pam and Nancey for the recommendation.

“I used to have trouble getting the gummy yellow residue off my pans after cooking with olive oil. This scouring paste takes it off in a second! It’s also comforting to know these cleaners are safe for little ones. When my daughter was small, she opened the tub of scouring paste and rubbed it all over her face. She was fine, there were no ill effects and she ended up smelling like cherries!” ~ Toni Dunn

“I started using non-toxic cleaners when I was pregnant and couldn’t open my bathroom windows while cleaning. I loved how they cleaned and they saved me money, too. Plus, NO toxic fumes!” ~ Lynn Burley

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