Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!

Posts tagged ‘Health & Safety’

5 Things You Should Be Doing if You Value Your Health

5 Things You Should Be Doing if You Value Your Health


Live Mindfully

You can’t control your genetics and you can’t always control your environment, but how you treat your body has a direct impact on your overall health and quality of life. Make healthy choices when it comes to diet, exercise, sleep, and condition-specific requirements. Nurture the mind-body connection. Practice relaxation and stress reducing techniques like imagery, deep breathing, meditation, and massage. You have but one body to carry you through this life — treat it with respect. Think about how your actions impact your body.

Partner with Your Doctor

We need to work together with our doctors. We can’t afford to be passive or hang on to doctors who aren’t meeting our needs. If your doctor discourages your questions or doesn’t answer them to your satisfaction, search for a doctor who believes in a balanced doctor-patient relationship.

Be prepared to share important information with your doctor. Be upfront about complementary medicines and lifestyle habits. Bring notes and take notes. Do some research on your own, but be sure you’re getting information from reliable sources. If your doctor wants to order additional tests, ask why. What is there to gain? Are there any alternatives? When and how will you receive the results? It’s okay to get a second opinion, especially if you’re diagnosed with a major condition that will require special care.

It’s your body. Your life. Your right to participate in your medical care. Good doctors embrace this idea.

Love Your Heart

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women. In the United States, about 600,000 people die from heart disease every year. Top risk factors include high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking.

Give your heart the TLC it deserves! Protect it with a healthy diet low in salt, saturated fat, and cholesterol. Eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits. Exercise regularly. Don’t smoke.

Get Screened for Diabetes

According to the American Diabetes Association, about 29.1 million Americans had diabetes in 2012, up from 25.8 million in 2010. Of that 29.1 million, it is estimated that 8.1 million were undiagnosed. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to serious, even life-threatening complications, including heart disease, nerve damage, and kidney problems.

Ask your doctor if you should be screened for diabetes. You can help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by exercising regularly and maintaining a diet rich in fiber, vegetables, and fruits.

Be Rx Smart

Americans take a lot of meds. Some can save your life, but others aren’t truly necessary. When your doctor takes out the prescription pad, it’s time to ask questions. What is the medication for? What are the benefits? How long has it been on the market? What are the potential risks and side effects? How long will I need to take it? Is it habit-forming? Will it interfere with other meds I take? Ask what your alternatives are!

If you do take prescription medications, you’ll want to keep up with drug recalls and patient safety concerns. Two ways to do that are to subscribe to the FDA’s MedWatch Safety Alerts and the American Recall Center’s Patient Safety Alerts.

Always read package information carefully and follow directions. Report problems to your doctor immediately. And please keep ALL medications safely stored where children cannot access them.

None of this guarantees perfect health, of course. Life happens. People get hurt and diseases develop despite our best efforts, but good health habits allow us to face those challenges from a position of strength. And feeling good…isn’t that the crux of it all?

Leesa recommends the simple choices found in her new book, Live Well… Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You! Available on AmazonBarnes&NobleGooglePlayiTunes

By Ann Pietrangelo


Would feeling fantastic every day make a difference in your life?  

Healthy Highway is a Healthy Lifestyle Company offering Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!   We help people who are…

  • Wanting Work Life Balance.
  • Needing Stress Relief.
  • Concerned about their health and the environment.
  • Frustrated battling allergies to gluten, foods, dust, chemicals, pollen.
  • Overwhelmed with choosing the best products for their body, home, and office.
  • Unsatisfied with their relationships with the men and women in their life and are ready to transform them into satisfying, happy partnerships.
  • Standing at a Career Crossroad.
  • Preparing to start a family and want a healthy baby.
  • Seeking solutions for aging, more energy, and a good night’s sleep!

Are any of these an issue or problem for you?  Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your needs and how HealthyHighway can meet them? As a Healthy Lifestyle Coach with an emphasis on allergies and wellness, Leesa teaches her clients to make informed choices and enables them to make needed changes for a Happy Healthy Lifestyle. What you eat, what products you use ~ on your body and in your home and office, how you talk to yourself ~ it all matters!

Contact me today and Start today to live a healthier, happier life!  Don’t live in Atlanta?  Not a problem.  We do virtual coaching worldwide!

I look forward to helping YOU Live a Happy Healthy Life!  Remember, Excellent Health is found along your way, not just at your destination.

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author of two books…
     Melodies from Within ~ Available Now! 
    Available on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, GooglePlay, iTunes

Member International Association for Health Coaches 

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~

visit ~

coach, consult, contact ~

(Don’t live in Atlanta?  Not a problem!  We do virtual coaching worldwide!)

join our mailing list ~

chcws ~

enjoy ~

follow ~


like ~

join ~

join ~

link ~

skpe ~ healthyhighway

20 Houseplants to Clear Toxins From Your Home

20 Houseplants to Clear Toxins From Your Home


Bringing a bit of nature into your home does more than brighten the atmosphere. Introducing houseplants into various rooms in the house can help reduce the chance of getting seasonal sicknesses such as the common cold, remove airborne contaminants (volatile organic compounds [or VOCs]), reduce the chance of headaches, lift your mood, decrease your blood pressure, reduce allergies, improve sleep and much more.

The 20 plants listed below are specifically known for their air purifying properties.  And while an open window may feel like all the fresh air you need, did you know that everything from toilet paper to common household cleaners can contain chemicals and release toxins like formaldehyde? Or that VOCs like benzene can be released into the air by everything from the paint on your walls, to the printed material found in your home?

So why not breathe a bit easier and enjoy the beauty of a new houseplant at the same time!

(All plants listed will clear CO2 and may clear more VOCs than noted.)


1. Golden pothos (Scindapsus aures): Clears formaldehyde and other VOCs.

2. Ficus alii (Ficus maeleilandii alii): Good general air purifier.

3. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum): Clears benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene.

4. Lady Palm (Rhapis Excelsa): Good general air purifier.

5. Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’): Clears formaldehyde.


6. Aloe: Clears formaldehyde and benzene.

7. Moth Orchid (Phalaenopsis): Clears formaldehyde.

8. Dwarf/Pygmy Date Palm (Phoenix roebelenii): Clears formaldehyde and xylene.

9. Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema Crispum ‘Deborah’): Clears air pollutants and toxins.

10. Chrysanthemum (Chrysantheium morifolium): Clears benzene.


11. Gerber daisy (Gerbera jamesonii): Clears trichloroethylene and benzene.

12. Red-edged dracaena (Dracaena marginata): Clears xylene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde.

13. Weeping fig (Ficus benjamina): Clears formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene

14. English ivy (Hedera helix): Clears airborne fecal-matter particles.

15. Azalea (Rhododendron simsii): Clears formaldehyde.


16. Heart leaf philodendron (Philodendron oxycardium): Clears formaldehyde and many other air pollutants.

17. Warneck dracaena (Dracaena deremensis ‘Warneckii’): Clears pollutants such as those associated with varnishes and oils.

18. Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata Bostoniensis): Clears formaldehyde.

19. Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea sefritzii): Clears benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde.

20. Peace lily (Spathiphyllum): Clears formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene, toluene and xylene.

By Alisa Rutherford-Fortunati

Gentle World is a vegan intentional community and non-profit organization, whose core purpose is to help build a more peaceful society, by educating the public about the reasons for being vegan, the benefits of vegan living, and how to go about making such a transition. For more information about vegan food and other aspects of a vegan lifestyle, visit the Gentle World website and subscribe to our monthly newsletter.


Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today! I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!


Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler


Leesa A. Wheeler


Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author


ring ~ 770-393-1284


write ~


visit ~


consult ~


chews ~


enjoy ~


follow ~


learn ~


like ~


join ~


link ~

Study Links Roundup to Obesity, Cancer, and More…

Study Links Roundup to Obesity, Cancer, and More


A new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Entropy  indicates that glyphosate—the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weed  killer—may be linked to gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart  disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer  and Alzheimer’s disease.

The study showed that glyphosate inhibits the function of enzymes that are  critical to enable the body to properly detoxify. Additionally, it also enhances  the damaging effects of other foodborne chemical residues and environmental  toxins.

According to the scientists who completed the study, “The industry asserts  (glyphosate) is minimally toxic to humans, but here we argue otherwise.” They  indicate that residues of glyphosate are found in foods that people are eating  on a regular basis, especially sugar, corn, soy and wheat.

The scientists behind this important study include: Anthony Samsel is a  retired science consultant and member of the Union of Concerned Scientists and  Stephanie Seneff who is a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of  Technology. They add that “Negative impact on the body is insidious and  manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout  the body.”

Pesticides have been found in many studies  to be toxic to the brain and nervous system of humans.

There is no good reason to use glyphosate or other toxic chemicals on lawns,  agriculture, or food.  Many of these chemicals used in creating “picture-perfect” lawns or in agricultural use are seeping into groundwater and  the residues find their way into our food supply.  The harm to living  organisms appears to outweigh any alleged benefits concocted by corporate  marketing departments.

Many scientists and environmentalists have been warning about the dangers of  glyphosate to plants, animals and people for many years.

Monsanto is the developer of Roundup herbicide as well as the  genetically-modified seeds that have been altered to withstand being sprayed by  Roundup.

For more information about toxins linked to cancer, check out Cancer-Proof.

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international  best-selling and 14-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine,  whose works include: 60 Seconds  to Slim, Healing Recipes, The  Vitality Diet, Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body Detox, The  Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan,  and The Phytozyme Cure.  Check out her natural health resources and  subscribe to her free e-magazine World’s Healthiest News at  to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on Twitter @mschoffrocook  and Facebook.


Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today!   I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~

visit ~

consult ~

chews ~

enjoy ~

follow ~

learn ~

like ~

join ~

link ~




Stop Winter Indoor Air Pollution at Its Source

Stop Winter Indoor Air Pollution at Its Source


You’ve got the sniffles. Your eyes are watery and you have a sore throat,  too. But, hey, it’s winter; what else can you expect in the thick of cold and  flu season, right? Maybe. But while you’re downing lozenges and soup broth,  consider this: Eye, nose and throat irritations, wheezing, coughing, skin rashes  and severe allergic reactions can result from extensive exposure to indoor air  pollution, which has also been linked to headaches, dizziness, and fatigue.

Indoor air pollution is in full effect during winter months especially, when  windows and doors are shuttered tight to keep the cold air out — but  inadvertently keeping bad air in, too. Toxins from cleaning supplies, mold, and  even the off-gassing of new paint all need to be circulated or  filtered out. To add insult to injury, houses more than 20 years old may harbor  lead-based paint or asbestos. All of this means indoor air quality can be many  times worse than outdoor!

Thankfully, we have control of our indoor air quality in ways we don’t have  outdoors. The best way to protect yourself and your family are by stopping  indoor air pollutants at the door:

  • Replace your central air and heating filters monthly. Clean the vents and  make sure they’re not blocked by furniture. HEPA filters are especially good at reducing allergens.
  • Make your home a no-smoking zone and consider restricting your pets from  certain rooms in the house (such as a nursery or bedroom) to keep sensitive  areas free of pet dander and tracked-in dirt.
  • Most store-bought candles contain harmful chemical components and artificial  scents that are released as the candle burns. Switch to natural candles,  such as beeswax and soy candles, or, better yet, use these directions to make your own using sand!
  • Many people do not realize the risks of a dirty chimney. Smoke backs up in a  sooty flue and is pushed back into the home. It is well worth the money to hire  a professional chimney sweep or the time to do it yourself. Follows these best burning practices — your family and Santa will  thank you.
  • Clean with nontoxic products. Vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and a few  other natural ingredients can replace most chemical cleaners. While nontoxic  cleaning supplies are available in stores, these recipes are simple and cheap to make at home.
  • Remove your shoes at the door to avoid bringing outdoor pollutants  inside.
  • Vacuum carpets, rugs and upholstery often to remove dust, pet dander and  other pollutants. One company offers a “cradle-to-cradle” carpet that improves air  quality.

If we have to spend more hours indoors during the winter months, they should  at least be fresh ones. Follow these tips and you’re on your way to a home you  can feel good breathing deeply in. As with all things, it pays to be proactive:  Change the filters, sweep that chimney, employ an army of houseplants to filter air for you and release a (clean) sigh  of relief.

By Shelly Stonebrook

Shelley Stonebrook

Shelley Stonebrook is an Associate Editor at Mother  Earth News—North America’s most popular magazine about sustainable,  self-reliant living—where she works on exciting projects such as Organic  Gardening content and the Vegetable  Garden Planner. Shelley is particularly interested in organic gardening,  small-scale, local food production, waste reduction, food preservation and  cooking. In her spare time, she posts in her personal blog, The  Rowdy Radish.

Photo from Fotolia

Shocking “Health” Companies to Avoid in 2013

Shocking “Health” Companies to Avoid in 2013


When it comes to what you put in your body I believe you have a right to  know.  That includes when genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) are found  in foods you might be eating.  After all, GM foods increase the  risk of allergic reactions, antibiotic resistance, pesticide exposure,  reproductive damage, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and many  potential long-term health issues that we simply don’t know yet.  Human  ancestors may have lived on the planet for thousands of years but this is the  first time in our evolution that we’ve been unsuspectingly part of a long-term experiment with genetically-modified foods.

Even the World Health Organization and the American Medical  Association have spoken out about the need to phase out the use of antibiotics  in the making of genetically-modified foods.  And as for the  argument that genetic modification reduces pesticide exposure, a recent study  from Washington State University found that the use of herbicides has  increased by about 25 percent in the three main GM crops.

The problem isn’t just the genetically modified foods; it is also the  lack of transparency surrounding these foods. In North America and many  other places in the world, genetically modified organisms are not identified or  labelled on foods.  Recently California had the opportunity to force GM  foods to be labelled under Proposition 37.  Thanks to a massive campaign on  the part of corporations using GM foods, the bill was shot down.  Based on  the research of The Cornucopia Institute, here are some of the companies who  opposed this important legislation.  In other words, they don’t think you  have the right to know what is in the food you put in your body:

Naked Juice (owned by Pepsi-Co)

Back to Nature (Kraft)

Honest Tea (Coca-Cola)

Odwalla (Coca-Cola)

Simply Orange Juice (Coca-Cola)

Cascadian Farm (General Mills)

Muir Glen (General Mills)

Larabar (General Mills)

Kashi (Kellogg)

Morningstar Farms (Kellogg)

Gardenburger (Kellogg)

Bear Naked (Kellogg)

R.W. Knudsen (J. M. Smucker Co.)

Santa Cruz Organic (J. M. Smucker Co.)

Unilever (Ben & Jerry’s)

Horizon Organic (Dean Foods)

Silk (Dean Foods)

Similac (Abbott Nutrition)


Goya Foods

…and many more — for the full list of companies that collectively spent  millions to crush Prop 37 and stop your right to know what’s in your food, check  out The Cornucopia Institute’s website.

Of course, Monsanto, Dow Agrosciences and Bayer Cropscience are on the list  too but I don’t think many people would consider these corporations “health  companies.”  The companies above stood alongside Monsanto to prevent you  from knowing the harmful frankenfoods you’re eating while they continue to take  your money for their “health products.”  We’ve been inundated with  green-washing but “health-washing” is becoming just as common.

If you think you have a right to know when Frankenfoods are contained in the  foods you’re eating, tell these companies by voting with your dollars.   Avoid the “health food” companies on this list if you want to see  genetically-modified organisms labelled on foods.  Their parent companies  (in parentheses) have been spending their money to fight Prop 37.  No one should have the right to hide potentially-harmful substances in  your food without your knowledge.

Sign the Cornucopia Institute’s petition to get Frankenfoods labelled  here.

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international  best-selling and 14-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine,  whose works include: 60 Seconds  to Slim, Healing Recipes, The  Vitality Diet, Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body Detox, The  Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan,  and The Phytozyme Cure.  Check out her natural health resources and  subscribe to her free e-magazine World’s Healthiest News at  to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on Twitter @mschoffrocook  and Facebook.


8 Scary Cleaning Chemicals to Avoid

8 Scary Cleaning Chemicals to Avoid

The average household contains about 62 toxic chemicals, say  environmental  experts. We’re exposed to them routinely — from the  phthalates in synthetic  fragrances to the noxious fumes in oven  cleaners. Ingredients in common  household products have been linked to  asthma, cancer, reproductive disorders,  hormone disruption and  neurotoxicity.

Manufacturers argue that in small amounts these toxic ingredients aren’t   likely to be a problem, but when we’re exposed to them routinely, and  in  combinations that haven’t been studied, it’s impossible to accurately  gauge the  risks. While a few products cause immediate reactions from  acute exposure  (headaches from fumes, skin burns from accidental  contact), different problems  arise with repeated contact. Chronic  exposure adds to the body’s “toxic burden”  — the number of chemicals  stored in its tissues at a given time.

No one can avoid exposure to toxic chemicals altogether, but it is  possible  to reduce it significantly. In the following pages, experts weigh in on the  worst toxic offenders commonly  found in household cleaning products, and offer  ways to swap them for  healthier, safer options.

How to Make a Non-Toxic Cleaning Kit

1. Phthalates

Found in: Many fragranced household products, such  as air  fresheners, dish soap, even toilet paper. Because of proprietary  laws,  companies don’t have to disclose what’s in their scents, so you  won’t find  phthalates on a label. If you see the word “fragrance” on a  label, there’s a  good chance phthalates are present.

Health Risks: Phthalates are known endocrine  disruptors.  Men with higher phthalate compounds in their blood had  correspondingly reduced  sperm counts, according to a 2003 study  conducted by researchers from the  Centers for Disease Control and  Prevention and the Harvard School of Public  Health. Although exposure to  phthalates mainly occurs through inhalation, it  can also happen through  skin contact with scented soaps, which is a significant  problem, warns  Alicia Stanton, MD, coauthor of Hormone  Harmony (Healthy Life Library, 2009). Unlike the digestive system, the  skin has  no safeguards against toxins. Absorbed chemicals go straight to  organs.

Healthier Choice: When possible choose fragrance-free  or  all-natural organic products. Beth Greer, author of Super Natural Home, recommends bypassing aerosol or   plug-in air fresheners and instead using essential oils or simply  opening  windows to freshen the air. Besides causing more serious effects  like endocrine  disruption, “Aerosol sprays and air fresheners can be  migraine and asthma  triggers,”  she says. Also consider adding more  plants to your home:  They’re natural air detoxifiers.

Gender-Bending Phthalates

2. Perchloroethylene or “PERC”

Found in: Dry-cleaning solutions, spot removers, and carpet  and upholstery cleaners.

Health Risks: Perc is a neurotoxin, according to the  chief  scientist of environmental protection for the New York Attorney  General’s  office. And the EPA classifies perc as a “possible carcinogen”  as well. People  who live in residential buildings where dry cleaners  are located have reported  dizziness, loss of coordination and other  symptoms. While the EPA has ordered a  phase-out of perc machines in  residential buildings by 2020, California is  going even further and  plans to eliminate all use of perc by 2023 because of  its suspected  health risks. The route of exposure is most often inhalation:  that  telltale smell on clothes when they return from the dry cleaner, or the   fumes that linger after cleaning carpets.

Healthier Choice: Curtains, drapes and clothes that are   labeled “dry clean only” can be taken instead to a “wet cleaner,” which  uses  water-based technology rather than chemical solvents. The EPA  recently  recognized liquid carbon dioxide (CO2) as an environmentally  preferable  alternative to more toxic dry-cleaning solvents. Ask your dry  cleaner which  method they use. For a safer spot remover, look for a  nontoxic brand like  Ecover at a natural market, or rub undiluted castile  soap directly on stains  before washing.

3. Triclosan

Found in: Most liquid dishwashing detergents and hand soaps  labeled “antibacterial.”

Health Risks: Triclosan is an aggressive antibacterial   agent that can promote the growth of drug-resistant bacteria. Explains  Sutton: “The American Medical Association has found no evidence that  these  antimicrobials make us healthier or safer, and they’re  particularly concerned  because they don’t want us overusing  antibacterial chemicals — that’s how  microbes develop resistance, and  not just to these [household antibacterials],  but also to real  antibiotics that we need.” Other studies have now found  dangerous  concentrations of triclosan in rivers and streams, where it is toxic  to  algae. The EPA is currently investigating whether triclosan may also   disrupt endocrine (hormonal) function. It is a probable carcinogen. At  press  time, the agency was reviewing the safety of triclosan in consumer   products.

Healthier Choice: Use simple detergents and soaps with   short ingredient lists, and avoid antibacterial products with triclosan  for  home use. If you’re hooked on hand sanitizer, choose one that is  alcohol-based  and without triclosan.

4. Quarternary Ammonium Compounds,  or “QUATS”

Found in: Fabric softener liquids and sheets, most household  cleaners labeled “antibacterial.”

Health Risks: Quats are another type of antimicrobial,  and  thus pose the same problem as triclosan by helping breed  antibiotic-resistant  bacteria. They’re also a skin irritant; one 10-year  study of contact dermatitis  found quats to be one of the leading  causes. According to Rebecca Sutton, PhD,  a senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group (EWG), they’re also  suspected as a culprit for  respiratory disorders: “There’s evidence that even  healthy people who  are [exposed to quats] on a regular basis develop asthma as  a result.”

Healthier Choice: You don’t really need fabric softener  or  dryer sheets to soften clothes or get rid of static: Simple vinegar  works just  as well. “Vinegar is the natural fabric softener of choice  for many reasons,” explains Karyn Siegel-Maier in her book The Naturally Clean Home (Storey Publishing, 2008). “Not only is it nontoxic, it also removes  soap residue in the rinse cycle and  helps to prevent static cling in the  dryer.” White vinegar is your best choice  for general cleaning; other  types can stain.

Alternatives to chemical disinfectants abound, including antibacterial,   antifungal tea-tree oil. Mix a few drops of tea-tree oil and a  tablespoon of  vinegar with water in a spray bottle for a safe, germ  killing, all-purpose  cleaner. Add a couple of drops of lavender  essential oil for scent.

5.  2-Butoxyethanol

Found in: Window, kitchen and multipurpose cleaners.

Health Risks: 2-butoxyethanol is the key ingredient in  many  window cleaners and gives them their characteristic sweet smell. It  belongs in  the category of “glycol ethers,” a set of powerful solvents  that don’t mess  around. Law does not require 2-butoxyethanol to be  listed on a product’s label.  According to the EPA’s Web site, in  addition to causing sore throats when  inhaled, at high levels glycol  ethers can also contribute to narcosis,  pulmonary edema, and severe  liver and kidney damage. Although the EPA sets a  standard on  2-butoxyethanol for workplace safety, Sutton warns, “If you’re  cleaning  at home in a confined area, like an unventilated bathroom, you can   actually end up getting 2-butoxyethanol in the air at levels that are  higher  than workplace safety standards.”

Healthier Choice: Clean mirrors and windows with  newspaper  and diluted vinegar. For other kitchen tasks, stick to simple  cleaning  compounds like Bon Ami powder; it’s made from natural  ingredients like ground  feldspar and baking soda without the added  bleach or fragrances found in most  commercial cleansers. You can also  make your own formulas with baking soda,  vinegar and essential oils. See “DIY Cleaners” on page 5 for a list of clean  concoctions.

6. Ammonia

Found in: Polishing agents for bathroom fixtures, sinks and  jewelry; also in glass cleaner.

Health Risks: Because ammonia evaporates and doesn’t  leave  streaks, it’s another common ingredient in commercial window  cleaners. That  sparkle has a price. “Ammonia is a powerful irritant,”  says Donna Kasuska,  chemical engineer and president of ChemConscious,  Inc., a risk-management  consulting company. “It’s going to affect you  right away. The people who will  be really affected are those who have  asthma, and elderly people with lung  issues and breathing problems. It’s  almost always inhaled. People who get a lot  of ammonia exposure, like  housekeepers, will often develop chronic bronchitis  and asthma.” Ammonia  can also create a poisonous gas if it’s mixed with  bleach.

Healthier Choice: Vodka. “It will produce a reflective shine  on any metal or mirrored surface,” explains Lori Dennis, author of Green Interior Design (Allsworth Press, 2010). And  toothpaste makes an outstanding silver polish.

7. Chlorine

Found in: Scouring powders, toilet bowl cleaners, mildew  removers, laundry whiteners, household tap water.

Health Risks: “With chlorine we have so many avenues of   exposure,” says Kasuska. “You’re getting exposed through fumes and  possibly  through skin when you clean with it, but because it’s also in  city water to get  rid of bacteria, you’re also getting exposed when you  take a shower or bath.  The health risks from chlorine can be acute, and  they can be chronic; it’s a  respiratory irritant at an acute level. But  the chronic effects are what people  don’t realize: It may be a serious  thyroid disrupter.”

Healthier Choice: For scrubbing, stick to Bon Ami or  baking  soda. Toilet bowls can be cleaned with vinegar, and vinegar or  borax powder  both work well for whitening clothes. So does the  chlorine-free oxygen bleach  powder made by Biokleen. To reduce your  exposure to chlorine through tap water,  install filters on your kitchen  sink and in the shower.

8. Sodium  Hydroxide

Found in: Oven cleaners and drain openers.

Health Risks: Otherwise known as lye, sodium hydroxide  is  extremely corrosive: If it touches your skin or gets in your eyes, it  can cause  severe burns. Routes of exposure are skin contact and  inhalation. Inhaling  sodium hydroxide can cause a sore throat that lasts  for days.

Healthier Choice: You can clean the grimiest oven with   baking-soda paste — it just takes a little more time and elbow grease  (see  recipes in “DIY Cleaners” on page 5). Unclog drains with a mechanical “snake” tool, or try this approach from the Green Living Ideas Web  site: Pour a cup of  baking soda and a cup of vinegar down the drain and  plug it for 30 minutes.  After the bubbles die down, run hot water down  the drain to clear the  debris.

Beware of Greenwashing

If a cleaning product at your supermarket proclaims itself “green,” “natural” or “biodegradable,” that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s  nontoxic. In 2010 the  environmental consulting firm TerraChoice Group  produced a report called “The  Sins of Greenwashing.” In it the group  found more than 95 percent of so-called  green consumer products had  committed at least one “greenwashing sin,” like  making an environmental  claim that may be truthful but unimportant. “CFC-free,” for example, is a  common one, since CFCs are banned by law. Donna Kasuska of   ChemConscious offers this advice: “When gauging ecological claims, look  for  specifics. ‘Biodegradable in three to five days’ holds more meaning  than “biodegradable” as most substances will eventually break down with  enough  time.”

DIY Cleaners

Clean your home safely — and cheaply — with the following recipes:

Basic sink cleanser – Combine ½ cup baking soda with  six  drops essential oil (such as lavender, rosemary, lemon, lime or  orange). Rinse  sink well with hot water. Sprinkle combination into sink  and pour ¼ cup vinegar  over top. After the fizz settles, scrub with a  damp sponge or cloth. Rinse  again with hot water. (From The Naturally Clean Home, by Karyn Siegel-Maier.)

Oven cleanser — Put a heatproof dish filled with  water in  the oven. Turn on the heat to let the steam soften any baked-on  grease. Once  the oven is cool, apply a paste of equal parts salt,  baking soda, and vinegar,  and scrub. (From Super  Natural Home, by Beth Greer.)

Bathroom mildew remover – Good  ventilation helps  prevent mildew and mold. When they do occur, make a spray  with 2 cups of  water and 1/4 teaspoon each of tea-tree and lavender oil. Shake  first  and spray on trouble spots. The oils break down the mildew so there’s no   need to wipe it down. (From Green  Interior Design, by Lori Dennis.)

Carpet shampoo – Mix 3 cups water, ¾ cup  vegetable-based  liquid soap, and 10 drops peppermint essential oil. Rub  the foam into soiled  areas with a damp sponge. Let dry thoroughly and  then vacuum. (From The Naturally Clean Home.)

Laundry soap — Try “soap nuts” made from the dried  fruit  of the Chinese soapberry tree. Available in natural groceries and  online, the  reusable soap nuts come in a cotton sack that goes into the  washing machine  with clothes.

Dusting — Skip the furniture polishes. Instead, use a   microfiber cloth. Made from synthetic fibers that are then split into  hundreds  of smaller microfibers, they capture dust more efficiently than  regular rags.  If necessary, a little olive oil makes a fine polishing  agent.

How to Make a Non-Toxic Cleaning Kit

By Jessie Sholl, Experience Life

Experience Life magazine is an award-winning health and fitness  publication that aims to empower people to live their best, most authentic  lives, and challenges the conventions of hype, gimmicks and superficiality in  favor of a discerning, whole-person perspective. Visit   to learn more and to sign  up for the Experience Life newsletter, or to subscribe  to the print or digital version.


10 Cancer-Causers to Remove From Your Home

10 Cancer-Causers to Remove From Your Home


Given poor government regulation, many of the cleaning products available on  the market contain “everyday” carcinogens such as formaldehyde, nitrobenzene,  methylene chloride, and napthelene, as well as reproductive toxins and hormone  disruptors. Not to mention other ingredients that cause liver, kidney and brain  damage, allergies and asthma. I really am a happy person–not your basic Eeyore  type, but toxic cleaning products seriously get my goat. One of the best things  you can do to detox your home is to create one of Annie’s simple non-toxic  cleaning kits to use–most of the ingredients you probably already have on  hand.

But there are a host of products, other than those used for basic cleaning,  that often contain carcinogenics. This list, from Cancer: 101 Solutions to a  Preventable Epidemic (New Society Publishers, 2007) by Liz Armstrong et al,  cautions against 10 household products, in addition to cleaners, that you should  avoid having in your house.

1. Air fresheners: Often contain napthelene and  formaldehyde. Try zeolite or natural fragrances from essential oils. For more  information, see Easy  Greening: Air Fresheners.

2. Art supplies: Epoxy and rubber cement glues, acrylic  paints and solvents, and permanent markers often contain carcinogens. For more  information, see Arts  and Crafts: Make it Safe.

3. Automotive supplies: Most are toxic. Keep them safely  away from the house and dispose of at a hazardous waste disposal center.

4. Candles: Avoid artificially scented paraffin candles that  produce combustion by-products, including soot. Beeswax only, with cotton wicks.  For more on beeswax candles, see The  Brilliant Beeswax Candle.

5. Carpet and upholstery shampoos: Use only wet-clean,  natural ingredients. For DIY carpet cleaning, see how to Remove  Stains and Pet Odors from Carpets.

6. Dry-cleaning: Choose clothes that don’t need  perchlorethylene to clean them. Ask for the wet-cleaning option at you local  cleaners, or seek dry-cleaners that use liquid C02 or citrus juice cleaners. For  more information, see Healthy  and Green Dry Cleaning.

7. Flea, tick and lice control: Avoid lindane-based  pesticides. For more information, see Natural  Flea and Tick Control.

8. Paints and varnishes: Always chose low- or no-VOC  finishes. For more information, see Is  Your Paint Making You Sick?

9. Household pesticides: Go natural. Make a Sugar  Ant Hotel.

10. Microwaves: Never microwave or heat food in a plastic  container. For more information about the dangers of food and plastic, see Kitchen  Plastic: Easy Greening.

Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable  living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True  Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine.  Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.

9 Feng Shui Tips for Work

9 Feng Shui Tips for Work

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that if you love working in  your office, you will spend more quality time there. And, if work feels like  play, you will be more creative and prosperity will naturally flow.

In Feng Shui, the “Career” area is about doing our life work. It is not about  work as drudgery. It is about doing vibrant work that flows from our deepest  core.Feng Shui offers some simple, practical, and  inexpensive solutions that    will support you in arranging a work space that  inspires creativity,    productivity, and prosperity.

As a Life Coach as well as a Feng Shui Consultant, I work with many people who want to  make a difference in the world. Whether they provide coaching services, sell  health-related products, or are a holistic health practitioner, their vision  encompasses enhancing the health and happiness of others and the planet. This is  why arranging an office that encourages you to spend time there is directly  connected to your vision.

Make sure your office reflects your passion, incorporating objects, words and  symbols representing that represent them and eliminating anything that does  not.

This is not the place for lots of family photos, objects from other hobbies  or past rewards not related to your current work.This is your palette for  creating the work that is uniquely you. Treat it as your sacred space.

1. Clear the clutter: Often home offices are a dumping ground of  all of those bits of things you can’t find a place for. Be diligent and don’t  allow anything in the space that does not support your vision, uplift your  spirit, or is necessary and functional to your current work. If you work at a  company, the shape of your office is broadcasting a message about your  competency. Make sure it is sending the message you want!

2. Get organized: If you are spending half your time looking  for things, you are losing precious time. If you are not good  at this, hire an  professional organizer to do the  initial set-up – budget permitting. If you  can’t pay for it, offer a trade of services to a  friend, colleague or  family member who has good organizing skills.

3 Arrange your desk so that it is in the empowered position:  This is where you can see the door from the desk but are not in direct alignment  with the door. This will make a huge difference in your ability to feel in  control of your destiny. If you can’t move your desk, get a mirror and place it  so that you can see who is coming in the door. These look like rear-view mirrors  and stick right to your monitor and  can be found at auto parts stores.

4. Create an ergonomically comfortable work station: Your  body must feel comfortable working there. Make sure your desk is the appropriate  height, have a comfortable chair, and arrange to have copy machines and other  chemical-emitting machines away from your work station. If your body hurts, or  you are smelling fumes, you are not only harming yourself, but it will create  another aversion to spending time there.

5. Balance open spaces with filled spaces:  This is called balancing the Yin and Yang. You need places for the eye to be engaged as  well as for it to rest. Organize all of the bits of office things such as  staplers, tape, etc. into colorful baskets. The eye will see one object rather  than many, creating a sense of organization, and peacefulness.

6. Make it a bright and happy space: This should be an  active space. You don’t want it to be so calming that you want to take a nap.  Bring in vibrant colors as well as art and objects that make your heart sing.  Replace fluorescent lighting when ever you can. Bring your own floor and/or desk  lamp to work, if possible. It will make a huge difference in your energy level  at the end of the day.

Use baskets to organize all of those “bits of  things”

7. Organize those snake-like computer cords so that you are  not looking at a  jumble of chaos. Radio Shack has cord organizers which allow  you to group them into long, wide tubes. Or roll them up, put a twist-tie on  them and drop them all into an attractive basket.

8. Make it inspiring: Bring in nature and collections that  you love. This is called balancing the Five Elements. Use book shelves to display a  beautiful vase, work of art, a shell, or a few objects from favorite  collections, and intersperse them  with your work books. (Use plants, water  fountains, and nature art; See Feng Shui Chi Enhancers.) Make it beautiful and inspiring  but don’t over do the collections.

9. For Feng Shui believers, arrange objects according to the Bagua  Map. (Click here for your Free Bagua Map.) The Bagua Map locates  the key energetic centers of a home or room. We then bring in environmental affirmations to enhance these areas. When we  strategically place objects that represent what we want to bring into our lives,  we set the intention for the chi or energy to flow in that direction.

We can use a “mini-Bagua” in our office by orienting the “entrance quadrant” from the direction we enter the room. Divide the room into nine equal sections  and put your affirmations (objects, words, artifacts, vision boards)  representing what it is you want to bring into each of these areas of your work  life into these quadrants.

An example of how to use Bagua enhancements in the  office:

  • Use a purple amethyst or favorite crystal in the Wealth area.
  • A water fountain, something made of glass, or a picture of flowing water in  the Career area.
  • Books pertaining to your work in the Knowledge area.
  • A lamp, an award, or a framed article about you or your company in the Fame area.
  • Pages of the book you are writing or projects you are working on in the Creativity area.
  • A green plant in the Health area.
  • A picture of the people you want to partner with in your Partnership area.  Note: when using the Bagua for business, substitute the word Partnerships for the Love and Marriage area.
  • Pictures or objects that represent helpful people in the Helpful People area. This area is also for travel, so don’t  forget all of the exotic places you want to travel to where you will be sharing  your gifts with the world!
  • Desk in the Center area, representing a grounded and balanced work life.  If this is not possible, just make sure the center is open and  clutter-free.

Make it up, make it fun, make it personal to what you want to bring into your  career, and enjoy the productivity that will come from being in an inspiring,  organized, and clutter-free space!

For your free Color Bagua Map click here.

By Erica Sofrina

Erica Sofrina is a  motivational speaker, author and life coach specializing in connecting people to  their spiritual essence. She is also an Internationally recognized Feng Shui  speaker, green living columnist, teacher and the author of the book Small  Changes, Dynamic Results! Feng Shui for the Western World and the Founder of  the West  Coast Academy of Feng Shui.  She is also the founder of Earth Spirit  Adventure Travel which takes people on retreats to powerful energy vortexes such  as Bali and Hawaii to facilitate their deep earth/spirit connection. Find out  more at

Healing Color Combinations by Ayurvedic Type

Healing Color Combinations by Ayurvedic Type

Does the color of some rooms make you squeamish? Itchy? Antsy? Does the color  of other rooms make you soft? Calm? Wonderfully wobbly and weak in the knees? It  is no secret that we all respond to color, and each of us responds differently  to different shades. Color has a profound effect on us that can influence our  moods and energy with the simple flick of a hue.

AFM Safecoat paints has a system for Healing Paint Colors for Your Ayurveda Type that shows you  how to find emotional balance through the use of color. The company does  business on a “health first premise”–their paints meet the highest standards of  environmental responsibility, and also contain no toxic ingredients such as  solvents, heavy metals, chemical residuals, formaldehyde and other harmful  preservatives.

The Ayurveda Essence color system takes the health premise a step further by  offering interactive tools to help you manipulate subtle aspects of your  environment to promote optimum wellness. There are 108 colors in three groups of  36. (I like how the number 108 surfaces frequently in sacred numerology; but I  just like numbers.) To keep it simple, they created three micro palettes that  correspond to the three major constitutional types of East Indian medicine:  vata, pitta, and kapha. Once you know which type you are (see next page), you  can select colors accordingly: whether the colors are hot or cold, warm or cool,  calming or stimulating, uplifting or grounding, moist or dry, etc. Eastern  healing has generated many practices that promote harmony, created to relieve  stress by helping us understand how to create balance in the day-to-day.

East Indian traditional healing proposes that there are five elements that  can be simplified into three groups known as constitutional types or dosha. The  elements are ether, air, fire, water, and earth. Ether and air are grouped  together and known as vata. The vata constitution is akin to the ectomorph: of  lean build and a thin frame. Fire stands separately as pitta, and the pitta  constitution is akin to the mesomorph: an individual with a moderate frame and  musculature. Water and earth are grouped together and known as kapha. Kapha  types are akin to the endomorph: substantial in mass. Most of us are hybrids of  the dosha types (such as vata/pitta or pitta/kapha), but a key point is that it  is usually the aggravation of our primary dosha type that creates imbalance and  disharmony.

The Ayurveda Essence palettes are grouped together as such:

Ectomorph/Vata/Air and Space: A palette of muted and subdued  earthy tones

Mesomorph/Pitta/Fire: Complex colors with a cooling and  calming orientation

Endomorph/Kapha/Water and Earth: A palette of vibrant and  stimulating colors with warm overtones

As a whole, Ayurveda Essence incorporates colors that range from deep and  chromatic brights to the muted lights and neutrals. The steps in value between  colors has been designed with an eye toward a harmonious contrast. This design  feature automatically eliminates the kind of clash that can result from colors  which are too close to one another in value, and makes the creation of  monochromatic schemes easier. The key difference among the palettes is how they  handle chromaticism. Each micro palette is constructed to avoid those portions  of the color spectrum that would be the most aggravating to the respective  constitution–they are very balanced.

AFM also has another tool to abet you in your trek towards wellness: a set of  17 healing color combinations. You can visit this page to see the color combinations, and while you are  there you can click on the individual links on the left navigation column to see  colors by Ayurvedic types: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.

If you don’t know what your Ayurvedic type is, find out here: Which Ayurvedic Type Are You?

By Healthy Living Editors

Healthy Living Editors

Healthy Living offers more than 10,000 ways for you to improve your life,  your home, your community, and even the world. From the latest healthy and green  news to simple DIY tips, our informative and inspirational content empowers you  to make a difference.

10 Habits for Better Sleep

10 Habits for Better Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep ensures more than extra spring in your step each day.  According to Harvard Women’s Health Watch, chronic sleep loss can contribute to weight gain, high blood pressure, and a weakening of the immune system! Conversely, good sleeping habits boost the ability to learn and remember things, keep weight in check, keep an upbeat attitude, maintain cardiovascular health, fight off disease, and avoid accidents caused by drowsiness. If you struggle with getting quality zzzs, the following tips can help you develop sleeping habits to live by.

Go to bed at the same time every night.
One of the best ways to ensure you get enough sleep it to create a routine that you and your body become accustomed to. And step number one in establishing a healthy sleep routine is setting and sticking to a bedtime that allows you to get enough sleep—but not too much sleep. (The National Sleep Foundations claims the “right” amount of sleep is based on the individual and his or her age.) Select a bedtime that gives you between seven and eight hours of snooze time and you’re on the right track.

Wake up at the same time every morning.
The yin to the above tip’s yang, waking up at the same time each day not only assures you don’t oversleep. It also enables your body to get into a rhythm, and lots of studies have shown that longstanding routine—as well as adequate sleep—has been linked to longevity.

Nap if you go off schedule.
Travel, deadlines, worries, and all kinds of other routine interruptions can put a damper on your sleep schedule. But rather than try to make up lost time by sleeping in, it’s better to take a midday nap when you can. Otherwise, you will throw off your new routine.

Don’t drink caffeine in the evening.
The drink that gets you going in the morning is also the one that will keep you up at night—if you drink it too late in the day. Know your limits and avoid caffeine too close to bedtime. After all, the last thing you want to do is tuck yourself in only to stare at the walls as your heart races thanks to an after-dinner espresso.

Don’t use technology in your bedroom.
Your TV, smartphone, and computer are all gadgets that get your mind buzzing, not relaxing. In order to calm yourself down, it’s a good idea to keep all distractions out of sight, lest you be inspired to click on the news or check your email one last time. In fact, your bedroom should only incorporate items conducive to sleep.

Create darkness.
Your body is designed to take sleep cues from darkness. So why not help it out by making your space nice and dark? Use thick curtains or shades, cover or hide the clock, and help your brain power down for the night.

Use a noise machine if necessary.
Some noises are soothing, such as the sound of the ocean or the whisper of the wind. But other noises—like loud neighbors or honking cars—can keep you from getting the zzzs you need. Luckily, there are plenty of noise machines on the market that offer a variety of “white noise” options. Even a fan can help drown out unwanted decibels if you’re in a pinch.

Eat on the early side.
Big meals right before bedtime force your body to digest rather than rest, while especially rich or spicy meals may cause sleep-depriving discomfort as they make their way through your stomach. Eat light and on the early side and you’ll ensure your food won’t keep you up.

Avoid alcohol before bed.
Sure, alcohol can make you drowsy and even help you fall asleep. But it also tends to wake you up in the middle of the night, lessening the overall quality of your sleep. Steer clear of libations, or go moderate early in the evening, to increase your chances of solid sleep.

Make sure your bed is comfortable.
If ever there were an investment worth making, it’s a quality mattress and bedding. Yes, these items are expensive. But consider them a preventative medical expense—seriously. A good mattress and comfy sheets and pillows help ensure you get the sleep you need—and all the health benefits that come with it.

By Molly, from 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

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: