Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pure Wisdom

RECALL ALERT: Birth Control Pill

Glenmark Generics is issuing a nationwide recall of seven lots of birth control pills. The pills are labeled "norgestimate and ethinyl estradiol tablets."
Because of a packaging error, some of the pills were placed in the wrong order within the packs, according to a statement from the Food and Drug Administration. The packs contain three types of pills with varying levels of hormones, designed to be taken at different times during a woman's cycle. 
The pills were rotated 180 degrees within the pack, so the weekly tablet orientation is reversed, and the lot number and expiration date are visible only on the outer pouch, according to the FDA. Any pack for which the lot number and expiry date is not visible is subject to recall. 
Because of this error, the daily regimen for these oral contraceptives may be incorrect, leaving women without adequate contraception, and at risk for unintended pregnancy.
These packaging defects do not pose any immediate health risks, but consumers whose pills are affected should begin using a non-hormonal form of contraception immediately, the FDA said. Patients who have the products(lot numbers are provided below) should notify their physician and return the product to the pharmacy.
Lot numbers of affected packs are as follows: 04110101, 04110106, 04110107, 04110114, 04110124, 04110129 and 04110134. The packs were distributed nationwide between Sept. 21 and Dec. 30, 2011. The complete name of the product is norgestimate and ethinyl estradiol tablets USP, 0.18 mg/0.035 mg, 0.215 mg/0.035 mg, 0.25 mg/0.035 mg (Generic).
Surce: msnbc.com

Monday, February 27, 2012

7 Secrets from the World's Healthiest Women

Here are 7 great practices (or secrets) learned from the world's healthiest women, according to researchers Dan Buettner and Daphne Miller. Dan Buettner and a team of longevity researchers and are described in his book The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who've Lived the Longest. They're areas in Italy, Japan, Greece, California, and Costa Rica where the people have traditionally stayed healthy and active to age 100 or older. 
Similarly, Cold Spots, as identified by integrative medicine physician Daphne Miller, M.D., author ofThe Jungle Effect, are five areas in Mexico, Iceland, Japan, Greece, and Cameroon with low rates of "Western" ailments like heart disease, depression, and certain cancers. 

So try these healthful Blue Zone-and Cold Spot-inspired ideas:
  • Take 20% off. "In every Blue Zone, they eat less than we do, by at least 20%," Buettner says. One trick for slashing portions: "Instead of putting big platters of food at the center of the table, fill each plate at the counter," Buettner says.
  • Pile on the plants. Not only are plant-based diets rich in antioxidants and other good-for-you nutrients, they're also better for your waistline. "A plate of food in Okinawa has one-fifth the calorie density of a typical American meal," Buettner says. "You can chow down for a fraction of the calories." Buettner suggests thinking of meat as a condiment rather than the main event, and subbing in more beans, legumes, and nuts.
  • Learn to love the foods that love you back. A diet of berries and elk or tofu and sea vegetables might seem utterly foreign-but taste buds can be retrained. "Americans love fat, salt, and sugar because that's what 9 of 10 we're used to," Katz says. "But studies show that if you eat more wholesome foods, you can learn to prefer them." An easy way to start: Search for stealth sugar, which Katz says is found in many packaged foods. "Once you get rid of that hidden sugar, you'll start to prefer less-sweet foods," he notes.
  • Sit down-and slow down. It might be too much to cook every meal. But we can sit at a table to eat our takeout instead of scarfing it down in the car. Savor each bite as the French do; stretch your meals out for 20 whole minutes. You'll end up eating less and enjoying more.
  • Get up. "The longest-living people don't think of exercise as a chore," Buettner says. Instead, little bits of movement are a constant part of their everyday lives. Make like a French woman and take a short walk after dinner. Shovel your own snow instead of paying the kid next door; make extra trips carrying laundry up and down the stairs.
  • Get out. Every Blue Zone is known for its strong social and family bonds. Besides spending quality time at home with family, surround yourself with healthy-living friends-good health habits are contagious, research shows. Be sure to get involved in your community, too, whether it's at church, a gardening group, or a volunteer organization. These connections can add years to your life, Buettner says.
  • Take it easy. Even the world's healthiest people get stressed out sometimes. What they all have, Buettner says, are daily strategies to shed stress. Meditate, go for a run, make a dinner date with your best friend-and don't worry about your inability to be a French woman or a Greek farmer.
It's OK to enjoy the occasional cheeseburger. What matters is a cumulative lifestyle pattern of enjoying healthful food, staying connected to others, and keeping yourself moving. That's how I plan to live to be 100 in the Brooklyn Blue Zone.

Sources: Yahoo.com, Health.com

Lead in Lipstick: 10 Worst Brands & Better Alternatives

There are thousands of lipstick brands in the market, making it impossible to test every one. However, out of the tested brands, the FDA found the highest levels of lead in lipsticks made by Procter & Gamble (Cover Girl brand), L'Oreal (L'Oreal and Maybelline brands), and Revlon. The lipsticks containing the most lead (measured in parts per million) are:
1. Maybelline Color Sensational, Pink Petal (7.9 ppm)
2. L'Oreal Colour Riche, Volcanic, (7.0 ppm)
3. NARS Semi-Matte, Red Lizard (4.93 ppm)
4. Cover Girl Queen Collection, Ruby Remix, (4.92 ppm)
5. Nars Semi-Matte, Funny Face (4.89 ppm)
6. L'Oreal Colour Riche, Tickled Pink (4.45 ppm)
7. L'Oreal Intensely Moisturizing Lipcolor, Heroic (4.41 ppm)
8. Cover Girl Continuous Color, Warm Brick (4.28 ppm)
9. Maybelline Color Sensational, Mauve Me (4.23 ppm)
10. Stargazer Lipstick, #103 (4.12 ppm)
 If you are concerned about contaminants in your lipstick or other cosmetics, the Environmental Working Group rates over 1000 cosmetic lip products on its searchable database. However, here are 11 products they have found to be lead-free.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Velvety Spicy Chocolate Pudding (Made with Tofu). Simply Divine!

This Mexican recipe is a dream dessert. Made with tofu, spices and chocolate, it is the creamiest pudding you've ever taste. Healthy ingredients along with incredible taste made this recipe one of the top favorites published by The Minimalist, from New York Times. What's more, it takes 5 minutes to prepare. You have to give it a try!

Mexican Chocolate Pudding
Servings: 4 - 6 portions
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 pound silken tofu
  • 8 ounces high-quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, or more to taste
  • Chocolate shavings (optional)
In a small pot, combine sugar with 3/4 cup water; bring to a boil and cook until sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly. Put all ingredients except for chocolate shavings in a blender and purée until completely smooth, stopping machine to scrape down its sides if necessary. Divide among 4 to 6 ramekins and chill for at least 30 minutes. If you like, garnish with chocolate shavings before serving.

Source: NYTimes

Friday, February 17, 2012

RECALL ALERT: Infant Tylenol

Johnson & Johnson is recalling about 574,000 bottles of its grape-flavored liquid infant Tylenol in the United States after parents complained about problems with the dosing system.
No adverse events have been reported in association with Friday's Tylenol recall, J&J said.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Arsenic in Infant Formula and Cereal Bars

A recent study revealed that "cereals bars, energy shots and even infant formula s made with organic brown rice syrup contain particularly high levels of arsenic, compared with products without this syrup. Some cereal bars have concentrations of arsenic that are 12 times the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) safe drinking water limit of 10 parts per billion (ppb), the researchers said. The majority of arsenic the researchers found was inorganic, which is generally thought to be more harmful than organic arsenic. Chronic exposure to low levels of inorganic arsenic has been linked to increased risks of bladder, lung and skin cancer, as well as Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, according to the EPA. It's not yet clear whether the arsenic in rice, rice-based products or other foods is harmful to people. But the levels found in infant formulas are concerning, because of infants' small body size, said study researcher Brian Jackson, of the department of Earth sciences at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH.
There are currently no rules in the United States governing how much arsenic is allowed in foods, and the guidelines for water are not a fair comparison, because people may consume more water than arsenic-containing foods.
Amounts of arsenic were measured in 17 infant formulas, 29 cereal bars and 3 energy shots purchased from stores in New Hampshire.
Two of the infant formulas contained organic brown rice syrup as their primary ingredient. These products had arsenic levels 20 to 30 times that of the other infant formulas.
Twenty-two of the cereal bars contained at least one rice product (organic brown rice syrup, rice flour, rice grain or rice flakes) listed as one of the first five ingredients. These bars had levels of arsenic that ranged from 23 to 128 parts per billion (ppb). Cereal bars that did not contain rice had much lower arsenic levels, ranging from 8 to 27 ppb."
Source: msnbc.com

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Xylitol Oatmeal Raising Dark Chocolate (Decandent) Cookies

Xylitol is a great sugar substitute. If you haven't tried it yet, here is a great recipe to start getting familiar with the ingredient!
These cookies taste great, and are quite easy to make.

Oatmeal Raisin Dark Chocolate Cookies (with Xylitol)
Servings: approximately 20 cookies
  • 1 cup organic raisins
  • ¼ cup water
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 tbsp honey or agave nectar
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/3 c xylitol
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup nonfat dry milk powder 
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup 70% dark chocolate chips
  • 2 ½ cup quick-cooking oats
In a blender or food processor, combine first four ingredients. Process for 10-15 seconds until raisins are finely chopped. Pour into a mixing bowl and add xylitol, and vanilla extracts. Combine next four ingredients and slowly add to raisin mixture. Stir in oats and dark chocolate. Drop by tablespoonfuls two inches apart on greased baking sheet. Bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes. Cool on wire rack.
Source: based on recipe from epicdental.com

Enough Sleep?

Are your children getting enough sleep? I saw this article on Today, with recommendations from the sleep guru, Dr. Weissbluth. Very good approach to recognize how much sleep your children actually need.

"Watch your childThe best way for parents to determine if a child is getting enough sleep is to "watch your child, and not the clock," said Dr. Marc Weissbluth, an expert on childhood sleep problems and a professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
In his book, "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" (Ballantine Books, 1999), Weissbluth does not offer sleep recommendations, but instead tells parents to observe certain signs and symptoms.
Look at a child's mood, personality and performance near the end of the day, he advised. If your child is under age 3 and napping, look at them between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.; for a child age 3 or older, look between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Is your child sweet, adaptable and well-functioning, or short-fused, clingy and irritable? This can tell parents whether a child is well-rested or overtired, and whether naps or bedtimes need to be adjusted, Weissbluth said. 
Weissbluth said that even though there might be an absence of evidence about exactly how much sleep children need this shouldn't leave parents with the impression that kids are getting enough shuteye.
Rather than focusing solely on the number of hours a child sleeps each night, he advises parents to focus on how a child appears near the end of the day, and when sleep is occurring. "
Source: Today

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cooking Oil Comparison Chart

Not sure which cooking oils are healthy, ideal for salads or baking, or which ones have a higher burning point?
Eatingrules.com put together a very nice cooking oil comparison chart to help us all out!
Check it out by clicking here

Source: Eatingrules.com

Wholesome Chocolate Cupcake with Organic Cherries

Kids and adults love cupcakes. They are so beautiful, and perfect for one big bite.
We found a healthier recipe that will eliminate (at least some of) the guilt, making it a great dessert for Valentine's Day

Whole-Wheat Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes
Servings: 12 cupcakes
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup nonfat buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pitted organic cherries, fresh or frozen (thawed and drained), plus 12 fresh organic cherries with stems for garnish 

Frosting (optional)

  • 6 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel), at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

To prepare cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 12 (1/2-cup) muffin cups with paper liners.
Whisk whole-wheat flour, cake flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
Beat granulated sugar and oil in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Beat in egg and vanilla until well combined. With the mixer on low, alternately mix in the dry ingredients and buttermilk, starting and ending with dry ingredients and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed, until just combined. Fold in chopped cherries until just combined. Divide the batter among the prepared cups (they will be full).
Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 22 to 26 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

To prepare frosting: Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, sour cream and confectioners’ sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Refrigerate the frosting until very cold, about 2 hours. Spread the frosting on the cooled cupcakes and decorate with a cherry on top, if desired

Source: Eating Well

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Meat Definition Guide (Grass-Fed, Conventional, No Hormones, etc)

Are you often confused by the definitions of "grass-fed", "conventional", "natural", etc? here is a great guide to help you next time you go to the butcher:

Conventional Beef: Cattle are typically raised in feedlots on a corn-and-grain diet. These cattle are generally given vaccines, antibiotics when they're sick, and oftentimes growth hormones to quicken their time until harvest. 

Natural Beef: Refers to cattle that received vaccines at birth and branch out into one of two categories: One that has never received antibiotics or growth hormones and will be labeled as "certified no antibiotics or no added hormones." The second is a withdrawal program that means the cattle has not received antibiotics or growth hormones within 100 days of harvest. 

Organic Beef: Comes from cattle that have been raised on grain and/or grass that is 100% organic and have been raised according to the regulations set by the USDA. These cattle also have never been given antibiotics, hormones, or vaccinations. 

Grass-Fed, Grain-Fed, & Grain-Finished:
 Cattle that leave pasture to be finished on grain like corn are referred to as grain-fed or grain-finished, which usually occurs in a feedlot. Those that remain on pasture until harvest are called grass-fed. However, as we learned from Paul, being a grass-fed farmer is extremely expensive and requires that the farmer commit themselves entirely to this type of farming.

Source: Yahoo, The Daily Meal

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Great Educational Entertainment Without Screen Time

There is a lot of buzz about using tablets, in particular the iPad, to teach kids reading, spelling and words. While I think the iPad is a great tool, I still believe in the good ol' wooden puzzle to acquire developmental skills. 

We've been using a lot of "non-electronic" toys and tools with my toddlers. One brand of learning toys and games that I do like is The Learning Journey. And the best is that they are very inexpensive (around US$10) and conveniently available online. My kids love the Animal Puzzles and the Match It Spelling, which is particularly great for 2 to 5 year olds. If you want to give your kids great colorful educational entertainment without any "electronic screen" time, these are great options.
Available at Amazon

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Food Label Guide by the FDA

I stumbled across this insightful food label guide by the FDA in the United States! It clarifies a lot ... check it out!

Certain claims on packaged items are regulated by the FDA. A product with the following statements must abide by several restrictions:
  • Fat Free: Less than half a gram of fat per serving
  • Low Calorie: No more than 40 calories per serving
  • Sugar Free: Less than half a gram of sugar per serving
  • Low Sodium: No more than 140 mg of sodium per serving
  • High, rich in, excellent source of: 20 percent or more of the recommended daily value of the nutrient
  • Less, fewer, reduced: 25 percent or less of the named nutrient

What are some other marketing terms that aren't standardized by the FDA?
  • Organic: Must meet the USDA standards for organic production, without most synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, growth hormones, antibiotics and genetically engineered ingredients. Being labeled "organic" has nothing to do with the calorie, fat or sugar content of a food. 
  • Natural: Only regulated by the FDA for meat and poultry products. This label means "no artificial substances." Companies use the term "natural" on their products hoping that it will catch the eye of a health-conscious consumer; the product may not be superior to its competition.
  • Local: Not a monitored claim. Shop at markets and nearby farms to know that your food is coming from a "local" source.
  • Free Range: A USDA definition for eggs and poultry where chickens have "access to the outside," no other specific spatial restrictions are given. "Free range" beef and pork labels are not regulated. Know your manufacturer and the company background to be safe about your meat choices.
  • Made with Whole Grains: A general term with a broad meaning. The product may be 99 percent refined grains, while 1 percent is actually whole grains. "Multigrain" is another overused word stating that the food is made with several grains. At least half of all grains eaten should be whole grains; make sure that "whole" is contained in the ingredient list.
  • Lightly sweetened: Another expression that is not controlled. Lightly sweetened is variable, depending on the size of your sweet tooth!
  • Fiber: A product "high in fiber" may contain the isolated, added fibers such as inulin, maltodextrin and polydextrose; these types haven't been proven to offer the health benefits from fiber found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Making Fruit Your Family's Dessert

Kids and adults are eating less and less fruits these days. Only about 25 percent meet the recommended daily produce recommendations of two fruit and three veggie servings. And sugar intake is high! Altogether the average American takes in about 22 teaspoons of added sugar each day, the equivalent of 35 two-pound boxes a year. According to the American Heart Association the target should be no more than 6 level teaspoons a day for women, or 9 teaspoons for men.

Substituting sugary desserts with fruits can make this equation a lot healthier! 
Bake or grill sliced apples, pears, pineapple, or mango. Instead of adding sugar just grill in foil or bake on a cookie sheet at 375 degrees Fahrenheit then dust with cinnamon, cloves, or fresh grated ginger. For a crunchy topping, sprinkle with toasted rolled oats or unsweetened shredded coconut. For creamier alternatives,  layer fruits with organic nonfat yogurt or a nondairy yogurt made from coconut or almond milk. Or melt a few squares of dark chocolate (70 percent cocoa or greater) as a dip for fresh berries. 
Microwave bananas for a minute, then drizzle with a tiny amount of honey, or add dark chocolate chips for a richer experience. 
There are so many great options with fruits! 

Sources: Yahoo

Friday, February 3, 2012

gDiapers Eco-Giveaway Winner!

And the winner is... 

Congratulations Danielle Whitmoyer, you are the winner of our first gDiapers Eco-Giveaway of 2012!
Please e-mail your shipping address to EcoLogicalMom@ymail.com.
You'll love the 2 pack of little gPants and a package of biodegradable gRefills.

gDiapers are breathable and combines the best features of cloth and disposable diapers.

"gPants" and "gRefills" provided by gDiapers.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

RECALL ALERT: Birth Control, Multiple Brands from Pfizer

Pfizer is recalling about a million packets of birth control pills in the United States because they may not contain enough contraceptive to prevent pregnancy.
"As a result of this packaging error, the daily regimen for these oral contraceptives may be incorrect and could leave women without adequate contraception, and at risk for unintended pregnancy," according to a Pfizer statement on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website.
Pfizer found that some packets of the drugs had too many active tablets, while others had too few.
The drugmaker said the issue involved 14 lots of Lo/Ovral-28 tablets and 14 lots of Norgestrel and Ethinyl Estradiol tablets.
The pills were manufactured by Pfizer and marketed by Akrimax Pharmaceuticals and shipped to warehouses, clinics and retail pharmacies nationwide, the company said.

Source: msnbc.com

2012 Eco-Giveaway: gDiapers and gRefills!!!

We're thrilled! 

Our first Eco-Giveaway of 2012 celebrates our new year's resolution: raising kids with an Eco-friendly attitude!
Yes, we're all about starting 2012 in an environmentally conscious way. Over 18 billion disposable diapers are sold in the US every year, and over 90% of those end up in landfills, where it can take them up to 500 years to decompose!
So there's nothing more appropriate than a biodegradable product like gDiapers to support our new year's resolution! 

We're giving away a 2pack of little gPants and a package of biodegradable gRefills.

"Like" our EcoLogical Mom page on Facebook by February 2, 2012 and be entered to win this fantastic gDiaper set! The winner will be drawn at random on February 3, 2012

Multiply your chances to Win!

You can dramatically increase your chances to win by inviting your friends to "Like" our Facebook page. You'll be entered to win once again each time one of the friends you invite "Likes" our page. Simply send an e-mail to EcoLogicalMom@ymail.com with the names of the friends. 
Good Luck! 

gDiapers are breathable and combines the best features of cloth and disposable diapers.

All participants and friends must "Like" the page until the end of the Eco-Giveaway.
Open to both US and Canada!
"gPants" and "gRefills" provided by gDiapers.