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Archive for December 17, 2010

Are You Eating MSG Without Knowing It?

Are You Eating MSG Without Knowing It?

MSG by any other name would still be as harmful.  This nervous system toxin masquerades in many other food additives that also contain MSG.  According to board-certified neurosurgeon Russel Blaylock, MD, author of Excitotoxins:  The Taste that Kills, here are some of the many names for this harmful toxin so you know what to look for on food labels:

Additives that always contain MSG:

-Monosodium glutamate (that’s the full name for MSG)

-Hydrolyzed vegetable protein

-Hydrolyzed protein

-Hydrolyzed plant protein

-Plant protein extract

-Sodium caseinate

-Calcium caseinate

-Yeast extract

-Textured protein

-Autolyzed yeast

-Hydrolyzed oat flour

Additives that frequently contain MSG:

-Malt extract

-Malt Flavoring





-Natural Flavoring

-Natural Beef or Chicken Flavoring



Additives that sometimes contain MSG



-Soy Protein Concentrate

-Soy Protein Isolate

-Whey Protein Isolate

Next time you’re buying packaged foods, be sure to take this list with you to avoid harmful neurotoxins that could be affecting your health.

by Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, BSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, is an international best-selling and seven-time book author and doctor of natural medicine, whose works include: The Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, The Phytozyme Cure and HealthSmart News. Learn more at

20 Gifts to Feel Good About…Ideas for Green Fashionistas, Animal Lovers, Eco Enthusiasts

20 Gifts to Feel Good About

Still need gifts? We got you covered!

Here are our best suggestions for Green Fashionistas, Animal Lovers, Eco Enthusiasts, and Gifted Gardeners.

Green Fashionista

1. Apparel and jewelry from Nest
Nest is a nonprofit that empowers female artists around the world. Browse their beautiful products here. Watch the Nest overview video here.

Baeta Earrings, made by Nest loan-recipients in Rwanda – $15.00

2. PACT underwear
This underwear definitely makes an impact. When you buy a pair, you are supporting organic cotton farmers, responsible labor practices, and various non-profits. Each purchase supports a partnered non-profit such as EarthSpark, Oceana, or 862 National. 

Get 25 percent off your purchase by entering the discount code 25percentcare2 at checkout. Free shipping on orders with three or more pairs. From $16 (before discount).

3. Tote bag or clutch from Ties that Matter
Ties that Matter takes old ties and repurposes them into fashionable purses, bags and pillows. Price: From $16.

Animal Lovers

1. Life DVD set
The Life series includes incredible footage of some of the amazing creatures that inhabit the planet. 3,000 days of filming, 70 different cameramen, 4 discs. $39.99
Watch these two clips from the Discovery series:
Beautiful Bird Mating Dance
Bowerbird Treasures

2. Buffalo Babysitter
Who wouldn’t want to babysit a buffalo? When baby buffalo roam outside Yellowstone park in search of fresh grass, they are often hazed by government agents and are subject to mistreatment. Your gift helps protect these beautiful creatures. Your recipient will receive a personalized card or e-card when you purchase this or other NRDC gifts. $15.

 Animal Companions

1. Sweetie Pie Treats
Dog treats that meet all the standards: healthy, tasty, and sustainable. Made from anti-oxidant filled sweet potatoes and free-range chicken, these treats seem to be a favorite of dogs. Feel good about your purchase — a portion of Bark Stix profits support Greyhound rescue and adoption groups. $8.95

2. Hemp Dog Bones
These 100 percent Eco-Friendly Stuffed Hemp Bone Toys consist of a hemp canvas shell and are stuffed with recycled poly-cotton, making them an enjoyable chew toy for your pet. Soft, yet firm, these bones are perfect for tugging, throwing, chewing and snuggling. $8.95

3. EcoChoices EcoAnimal also has a variety of toys made out of post-consumer recycled materials, such as the squeaky turtle posted below.

Squeaky Turtle Toy produced from 85% post-consumer recycled materials – $13.95

4. Zogoflex Dog Toys
Zogoflex differs from other plastics typically used in dog toys in that it’s engineered to be recyclable and is made from an FDA-approved material that is safe and non-toxic. Now if Spot gnaws up his Zogoflex frisbee, his owner can send the broken remainders back to West Paw Design, where they’ll be ground down, made into a new toy of the owner’s choosing, and returned at no extra cost. From $8.50

5. Cool Hemp Dog Collars
The cutest dog collars ever, adjustable and made of hemp. $20.

6. Green Cat Collars
Give the gift of a soft (not nylon) and eco-friendly collar to your cat–try organic cotton, hemp, recycled cotton or bamboo. $5-$13.

Eco Enthusiasts

1. Wine Wine tastes as good as it looks. The gorgeous bottles and delicious varieties make them an ideal gift. The wine is created with sustainable practices and is carboNZero Certified; choose from three varieties: Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Pinot Noir. $16.99.

2. Reusable Water Bottles

  • love bottles are a creative way to send love and sustainability to your gift recipient. This company offers reusable glass water bottles that you can write on, decorate, and use as a message board for sending positive messages out to the world.
  • Kleen Kanteen makes stainless steel bottles that come in just about every color you can imagine. Under $20.
  • Bobble Water has the look and weight of plastic water bottles, but they are reusable, filtered, and BPA free. Under $10.

 3. Reusable Bags Reusable bags are always a great gift. Don’t forget about different-sized bags for various purposes.

  • has a line of cleverly designed canvas bags that send clear messages about their disposable counterparts. Made with Fair Labor and Fair Wages, products are backed by the reuseit™ Lifetime Guarantee.
Recycled Cotton Lunch Bag from – $11.95
  • esse offers chic and sustainable reusable bags in all sizes (their smaller bag made with mesh fabric is perfect for produce!). Win a complete esse shopping set by leaving a comment on the article here.

4. Going Green action plan For an unconventional (and very green) gift, Going Green Today provides a customized, tailored, and very effective, action plan that will help your gift recipient save money and carbon emissions. $47.  

5. CSA Membership How could you go wrong with fresh produce delivered right to your recipient’s door? The gift that keeps on giving… and supports local farmers! Price: Varies.


 1. Oasis Garden from VivaTerra Everyone could use some green in their space. Give the green gift of a plant that doesn’t need a lot of water and is long-lasting and low-maintenance.  

2. Recycled Wood Beehouse from Terrain Made from reclaimed fir wood, this charming wooden home will keep Mason bees near your garden pollinating your flowers and plants. Mason bees are excellent pollinators and are less likely to sting you!  

3. A membership to the local botanic garden or arboretum  

4. A basket filled with gardening tools, gloves, and seeds

by Healthy & Green Living Editors

Estrogen Power: What Women Do Better Than Men

Estrogen Power: What Women Do Better Than Men

Ask any woman what she can do better than a man, and she’ll likely tell you “everything.” But do women really have special abilities that men don’t? Yes, they do. Not only are women able to perform the obvious biological feats of childbearing and breastfeeding, but they excel in other, less maternally inclined areas as well.

Precision and Penmanship
Women tend to have neater handwriting than men. There’s a fundamental difference in how our brains develop that explains why Jane traces neat block letters while Bobby covers the page in chicken scratch.

According to writer Kristin Kane in Parenting magazine, during the early school years, when children are learning to form the letters of the alphabet, the nerve fibers that control fine motor skills in boys’ brains typically haven’t matured as much as they have in girls’ brains. At that age, girls are better able to learn penmanship than their male classmates.

Of course, boys’ brains catch up eventually and their handwriting improves, but most men tend to write less neatly than women. That’s due to both biological and social factors. Women typically have more nerve connections between both sides of their brains to help with precision, and neat handwriting has become associated with femininity.

Healthier Diets, Longer Lives
Christie Griffin writes that women have certain health advantages over men. We tend to maintain healthier diets, have stronger immune systems, and, perhaps as a result, enjoy longer lives.

A University of Minnesota survey of more than fourteen thousand people revealed that female subjects chose far healthier foods than their male peers. While the male participants selected frozen pizza and red meat to fill their bellies, the women selected fruits and vegetables, which have more nutritional value and are lower in calories. We may go for chocolate once in a while, but overall, we’re pretty healthy.

And even without all the disease-fighting vitamins and nutrients we get from our fruits and veggies, women tend to get sick less often than men because we have stronger immune systems. According to a McGill University study, estrogen helps women fight infections because it confronts a certain enzyme that often hinders the body’s first line of defense against bacteria and viruses.

So it’s no surprise that among the world’s population of those who are over one hundred years old, 85 percent are women, according to the New England Centenarian Study. Griffin also writes that in general, women continue to live five to ten years longer than men do.

Smarter Investors, Better Managers
Wall Street may still be a boys’ club, but women are better with finances, according to Griffin. She argues that women, not men, are the best at making investment decisions and managing money.

Griffin cites a study of one hundred thousand portfolios in which the women’s investment returns outperformed the men’s by 18 percent to 11 percent. The authors of the study concluded that their results might have been due to women’s general tendency to be more cautious with their investments and to think longer-term. Such a conclusion defies the archetype of the testosterone-driven Wall Street trader.

Griffin also argues that women make better executives and managers because “they are better listeners, mentors, problem solvers, and multitaskers than their male counterparts.” She quotes management expert Jay Forte from a Daily News article: “Women are better connectors than men and more astute about knowing how to activate passion in their employees.” Forte adds that this intuitive management is especially important in what is now a “service-oriented economy.”

Whether Forte’s theory is correct or whether some other factor is at play, women are certainly having a much better time in this economy. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 80 percent of those who have lost their jobs since December 2007 are men. That may be simply because male-dominated fields, like finance, have been hit the hardest, or it may be because women are, in Griffin’s words, “recession-proof.”

Not Better, Just Different
These three abilities–precision, living a healthy lifestyle, and managing money and business well–are just some of the advantages women have over men. Sorting out our gender differences isn’t really about competition, though; it’s about learning to complement each other as partners. Men and women can’t ever be equals, in the sense that we won’t ever be the same biologically. But we can strive to understand and appreciate each other’s talents when it comes to dividing labor. Let us handle the money, guys. We’ll call you if there are any leaky faucets to fix.

By Molly Mann, DivineCaroline

At, women come together to learn from experts in the fields, of health, sustainability, and culture; to reflect on shared experiences; and to express themselves by writing and publishing stories about anything that matters to them. Here, real women publish like real pros. Together, with our staff writers, they’re discussing all facets of women’s lives from relationships and careers, to travel and healthy living. So come discover, read, learn, laugh and connect at

Women Who Rise to the Top

Women Who Rise to the Top

Do you ever wonder how career women at the “O” (CEO, CFO, CIO, CTO) level of jobs in the US reach success and still manage their significant home and family responsibilities? Have they cloned themselves? Have they found a way to create more hours in a day or more days in a week? Or have they just done what most of us can do: maximize the leadership traits we already have within us?

To find out some of the skills that these top career women have that help them reach success, I have looked at the work of Diane Halpern and Fanny Cheung, both university professors and researchers in the field of women’s leadership. I’m happy to share my interview with Diane, which demonstrates that you can increase your own success by using the same strategies these women leaders use.

Joanne: In the study you and Fanny conducted with 62 women at the top of their professions, you found that women leaders seem to use a more relational leadership style which includes more open communication and the sharing of information. Can you tell us how that is good for business performance?

Diane: The women leaders in our study value team work. Leadership is about the group and not the individual. They attend more to interpersonal relationships and communication that are consistent with what is called a “transformational style of leadership.” Transformational leaders motivate and stimulate the team in a democratic and non-hierarchical system. There is more sharing of information. Research shows that transformational leadership is more effective at all levels of the organization. Research also finds that businesses with a larger number of women in top management have better financial performance.

Joanne: In your study, as well as in other studies of women leaders, you confirmed that these women considered themselves experts at multitasking. Can you tell us some of the ways these career women multitask and how they consider it a strategy for success?

Diane: The top women leaders have heavy responsibilities both at work and in the family. Since they are short on time, they have to manage their time carefully. One strategy to save time is to do multiple activities at the same time. Some tasks that are routine require less attention and can be combined with other tasks. Our study shows that there are overlapping work-family domains and, therefore, that tasks in these work and family domains can occupy the same time and space. For example, women leaders may read their work papers at home at the same time when the children are reading their story books; they may bring their families along on some business trips; they may bring food home after a business dinner so there is no need to cook when they get home. In this way, they manage to find more time to fulfill their multiple roles.

Joanne: One of the hallmarks of female leadership is that women emphasize empowering others. Please share with us the importance of this leadership skill. Where do you think these women leaders learn the skill of empowering?

Diane: The women leaders recognize the benefits of formal or informal mentoring they have received in their family and at work in building up their self-efficacy, confidence and work skills. In turn, many of them emphasize the importance of mentoring for their female subordinates. Empowering others is also consistent with the transformational style of leadership mentioned above.

Joanne: Your research also shows that top career women give up the idea of being superwomen. What are some of the things they do to shed the impossible task of being the perfect wife and mom?

iane: Being a superwoman is a stereotype that many career women impose on themselves. They hold stereotypical beliefs of what being a successful mother/wife and a successful career woman should be. Some of the things our group of women leaders did was to redefine what a good mother is and what a good leader is and then recognize that the two can be compatible. To help remove the unnecessary guilt that women create within themselves, they can learn from the positive experiences and outcomes of our group of successful women leaders and from research that shows that the quality of parenting is not affected by the employment status of the mother.

The good news for women is that we have natural tendencies for many of the specific leadership skills that are incredibly important in today’s business world. Our job is to identify those skills and then become purposeful in sharpening them to become more effective and successful — both at home and at work.

For more information about the work of Diane Halpern and Fanny Cheung, and to learn about their valuable contributions to working women, please check out their websites:

Fanny Cheung

Diane Halpern

Diane has won many awards for her teaching and research, including the Outstanding Professor Award from the Western Psychological Association, the American Psychological Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching, the Distinguished Career Award for Contributions to Education given by the American Psychological Association, the Silver Medal Award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), and the California State University’s State-Wide Outstanding Professor Award. Diane was president of the American Psychological Association in 2004 and is a past president of the Society for Teaching of Psychology and the Society for General Psychology. In addition to Women at the Top, she has authored and coauthored many books. Her most recent books include the newly revised 4th edition of “Sex Differences in Cognitive Abilities,” and the edited book, “Undergraduate Education in Psychology: A Blueprint for the Future of the Discipline.”

by Joanne Stern 

Joanne Stern, PhD, is a psychotherapist with a private practice emphasizing counseling with families, parents, couples and teens. She’s a teacher, consultant, speaker, and expert guest on parenting and family topics, including communication, discipline, self-esteem, addictions, eating disorders, grief, and loss. In her work with kids, she addresses a variety of childhood disorders, including attention deficit disorder, anxiety, and depression. 

Dr. Stern is dedicated to helping individuals, couples, families, and groups learn, heal, change, and grow in their relationships with one another.

7 Preboarding Secrets for Healthy Flying

7 Preboarding Secrets for Healthy Flying

1. Use the airport restroom. Even airport bathrooms are cleaner than the ones on planes, so go before you get on board. That way you reduce toilet trips and better avoid germs during the flight.

2. Wash your hands thoroughly. Use lots of soap and hot water. Then hold a paper towel as protection when you turn off the water, so you don’t have to touch the tap.

3. Buy a big bottle of water. Now that you’ve gotten through security, go get a big bottle, start guzzling, and bring it with you on the plane.

4. Moisturize your nose. Use a saline nasal spray to irrigate and moisturize the mucous membranes inside your nose. Some frequent fliers also swear by applying a bit of Neosporin or Vaseline to the insides of the nostrils. This is an old tip for preventing nosebleeds, but it can work to protect against dry cabin air as well.

5. Eat yogurt. According to some nutrition research, the beneficial bacteria in yogurt have a protective effect on your immune system. One study found that eating a daily cup of low-fat yogurt reduced susceptibility to colds by 25 percent. Researchers think the beneficial bacteria may kick the immune system into high gear to fight off viruses.

6. Remove contact lenses before you fly. If you don’t like to wear your lenses while you fly, plan to remove them ahead of time in the airport bathroom. Touching your eyes is one of the primary means of transmission for cold and flu viruses, which can make their way through the tear ducts to the nasopharynx — the “sweet spot” for cold viruses, where nasal passages meet the mouth at the back of the throat. Avoid touching your eyes with germy hands by washing hands first, then removing lenses before you fly.

7. Take immune-boosting supplements. There’s still little scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of supplements such as vitamin C, Airborne, echinacea, and zinc lozenges. In fact, Airborne was recently required to settle a lawsuit for falsely making such claims. But it’s also true that with the exception of Zicam, a zinc supplement that’s been accused of damaging users’ sense of smell, there’s little harm that can come from arming your immune system with extra nutrients. Vitamin C is the least supported by science at this point; echinacea and the other herbal ingredients in Airborne have the most likelihood of being proven effective. (Leesa recommends Chews4Health, an all natural immune system enhancer! ~

By Melanie Haiken, senior editor was created to help you care for your aging parents, grandparents, and other loved ones. As the leading destination for eldercare resources on the Internet, our mission is to give you the information and services you need to make better decisions, save time, and feel more supported. provides the practical information, personal support, expert advice, and easy-to-use tools you need during this challenging time.

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