According to the National Institutes of Health, while there is no conclusive evidence that antiperspirants and deodorants cause certain health conditions, there is still enough research to draw correlations. Their research states that the aluminum-based compounds and parabens found in commercial antiperspirants (and deodorants containing antiperspirants) have been shown to mimic estrogen’s activity – potentially causing harmful effects.
If the challenge of finding commercially produced deodorants or antiperspirants has you throwing in the towel, check out this list of surprising, all-natural alternatives to antiperspirants that work to deodorize. Most of these natural remedies will still allow perspiration, but work well as bacteria-killing deodorizers:
1. Citrus juice
The acidity kills odor-causing bacteria.
2. Baking soda and/or cornstarch
The first kills bacteria and the second absorbs moisture.
3. Essential Oils
Choose antibacterial options to kill bacteria. Lemongrass, lavender, and rosemary are good options.
4. Rubbing alcohol, witch hazel, or hand sanitizer
Yes really. These all kill bacteria.
5. Coconut oil
Also kills bacteria, but beware, it’s extra oily.
Sources: NIH, NCI, and cancer.gov
Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial to your health and happiness. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults 26 – 64 years of age should be getting seven to nine hours a night. But here’s the key – is it quality sleep? By evaluating your bedroom and daily routines you may uncover why your seven to nine hours isn’t getting you as far as it should.
First Invest some research, and maybe even some money into a high quality bed and pillows that work for you. Do you need firmer? Softer? Cooler? Larger? Figure it out, procure the proper mattress and pillows and build your sleep sanctuary from there.
Second Stick to a sleep schedule! Go to bed and wake up at the same time, every day. Or as often as possible.
Third Have a relaxing bedtime routine. Experts recommend avoiding screen-time for an hour before bed.
Fourth Evaluate the light, sound, temperature, and activities of your bedroom. This room shouldn’t be used for work or eating. Eliminate sneaky sources of light, such as a bright alarm clock and choose a comfortable temperature on the cooler side. Make sure it’s quiet, or even look into creating white noise with a fan or soothing music.
Fifth Exercise daily. Activity helps release chemicals to soothe stress and regulate your energy levels.
Sixth Avoid alcohol and caffeine late in the day. These impair the quality of your rest.
Sources: National Sleep Foundation and The Mayo Clinic
For The Whole Family
With spring upon us, it’s compulsive to begin purging unwanted items, throwing the windows open, and washing the floors. But with a season full of such in-depth cleaning, everyone can benefit from a quick reminder of precautions and procedures to ensure a safe and successful scrub-down.
Many chemical cleaners should never be mixed together, such as bleach and ammonia. Others should only be used if you’re in a well-ventilated area. Open windows, turn on fans and vents, and keeps doors open while spraying and scrubbing!
Consider small children and animals when deciding where to keep potentially toxic cleaning supplies. Also keep in mind temperature and location in case of spills or leaks
Always label items with identification and any important information. Dispose of items that aren’t labeled correctly.
Many city and county dumps have a “hazardous waste disposal day” to take toxic cleaning supplies, paint, and oils. But if that doesn’t fit your schedule, a quick online search can yield proper disposal techniques for almost any item. Chattanooga.gov and hamiltoncounty.in.gov are great starting points.
Source: The Mayo Clinic
The Holy Grail of Hygiene
It’s a no-brainer. And yet, a recent study by CBS News found that a shocking 95% of people are cutting corners when it comes to hand washing. So what are some basic tips for perfecting this ever-important hygiene routine?
1. Establish good habits. Washing your hands during routine activities makes it more likely that you’ll remember. After using the restroom, before and after preparing meals, any time you handle something contaminated, while you’re sick, or after shaking hands are all great times to lather up.
2. Soap is a must. Water alone won’t go nearly as far to reduce germs. A good lather is a great indicator that you’re getting the job done.
3. Perfect your method. Here is where you don’t want to cut corners. Follow The Mayo Clinic’s recommended steps and you’ll be in good shape.
• Wet hands with warm or cold water
• Apply soap
• Work up a lather
• Scrub hands for at least 20 seconds, reaching all surface areas
including in between fingers, backs of hands, wrists, and under your nails
• Rinse them thoroughly
• Turn off the faucet with your elbow, then dry hands with a clean paper towel or let air dry
Sources: CBS News, The Mayo Clinic, CDC
Shaving Secrets & Razor Health
The daily task of shaving can begin to feel like a humdrum chore, and the less attention you pay, the more likely it is that your skin will suffer with irritability, acne, dryness, and more. Here are a few quick tips for keeping your shaving game sharp!
Take Your Time. If you invest a few more minutes into preparatory face washing and steaming, applying a good brushed-up lather, and executing a detailed shave, not only will the quality of your shave increase, but also your skin will likely see a big improvement.
Be Picky About Your Products. A quality facial cleanser can soften the protein in your hair, making it more pliable and less likely to pull. Similarly, choosing a rich shaving cream can make the experience much more comfortable and leave your skin less irritated.
Change Your Blade. This is invaluable. Dull razors tend to tug on hair and nick skin, increasing redness, pain, and ingrown hairs.
While the time between blade changes varies depending on each man’s personal grooming habits, a good rule of thumb is to toss it if it starts to tug or nick. For daily shavers, this will end up being every one to two weeks.
Practice Sterilization. While you really should avoid shaving during an active breakout of acne, sometimes it can’t be avoided. Afterward, be sure to sterilize your razor with hot water, witch hazel, or rubbing alcohol. If you can change blades, that’s even better. Otherwise, you’ll be transferring those blemish-causing bacteria to your freshly-shaved, open-pored face during the next shave.
Chill Out. Follow your shave with a cold water rinse to help seal pores to bacteria and keep skin looking taut.
Picking Protein Powder
Are you trying to lose weight, build muscle, recover faster, or meet dietary restrictions? Not all protein powders are created equal. With that in mind, check out this quick list to find a protein that fits your bill.
1. For Weight Loss –Casein is metabolized more slowly and tends to have fewer calories, keeping you feeling full longer. But more importantly, pick a protein powder without added dextrins, sugars, or branched-chain amino acids (like creatine) which promote muscle growth and weight gain.
2. For Muscle Growth – Whey protein and whey isolates are quickly metabolized, helping your muscles recover quickly post-workout. Any proteins that are quickly absorbed are a good bet for building muscle.
3. For Weight Gain – Whey, milk, and egg proteins offer the best absorption rates (though all different) and often the highest protein content, giving you the best bang per shaker bottle.
4. For Vegetarian or Vegan – Don’t choose dairy-based proteins like whey. There are numerous 100% plant-based proteins, such as pea, hemp, and rice.
5. For Low Sugar or Gluten Free – There are options for both, but you’ll have to read labels on an individual basis. Low sugar options can be selected by ensuring that sugar isn’t one of the first three ingredients listed.
Tips: If you’re trying to build muscle, drink your protein within the first hour of your workout. To manage weight, maintain a steady intake of lean protein (each meal and at snacks) to feel full all day
Source: The Cleveland Clinic
Teaching Teens to Avoid TECH ADDICTION
It’s not news that many parents feel their teenagers spend too much time in front of technology. Whether it’s their smartphone, computer, the TV, or tablet – there’s no shortage of screen time for the average teen. So how can you set healthy boundaries and help them avoid an unhealthy dependence on tech?
Model the behavior you want to see. Addressing your own tech dependency is a crucial first step.
Discuss it with them to find out what they think is reasonable.
Agree on specific boundaries. Set expectations around certain times each day and events that should always be ‘tech-free,’ like dinner time.
Have alternative activities available to avoid the, “I’m bored!” excuse. Tech-free time can be great family bonding time, time for exercise, family dinner time, chore time, or time for personal enrichment like guitar lessons or a painting class.
Talk to them often about why it’s important to function free of the phone for a while. Help them learn the importance of social interaction and self-dependence. This is a great way to build confidence and boost self-esteem.
Sources: Time and The Mayo Clinic
Spring Break Safety
Whether your children are spring breaking with you or traveling with friends this year, there are many things to consider to ensure a safe trip. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides a thorough list of recommendations for you to talk to your children about. Here are their top suggestions:
Alcohol – Parents traveling with kids should be as alert as possible. Talking to your teen or college student about alcohol safety
Plan Ahead – Preparation and research will go miles to make the vacation smoother. Vaccinations, paperwork, rentals, addresses, medications, contacts, and schedules are all important things to have under control before hitting the road.
Protection – From sunscreen to insurance information, give your kids a reminder. Also, be aware of risky, adventurous activities, and think twice before letting kids partake. Consider (radio frequency identity) RFID-blocking slips for credit cards and passports to protect your identity, and always know the local emergency phone numbers.
Be Healthy – Just because it’s a vacation doesn’t mean it’s time to over-indulge. Instead, help your family and kids enjoy outdoor activities, local healthy food, and plenty of fun and relaxation.
Growing Healthy Habits
A garden fosters healthy daily routines for you and your kids. It creates built-in quality time while you maintain it together; it provides physical activity in the sunshine and fresh air; and it can yield healthy additions to your daily diet as you enjoy the fruits (and veggies) of your labor! Just in time for spring, check out a few key tips for growing a garden with your kids:
Wear Protective Clothing – Stay shielded from sun and bugs with long, light layers. Always wear sturdy shoes and gloves to keep feet and hands safe from dangerous objects like shovels, thorns, or rocks.
Safety First – Working with tools and chemicals calls for preparation. Be aware of safety precautions and proper techniques for using tools and chemicals. Explain these to children and supervise their use of such items.
Know Your Limits – When spending time in the heat and sun, it’s always important to stay hydrated and covered. Take breaks often and find shade when you can. Monitor children’s time outside and make sure you all have access to drinking water.
How often should I bathe my children?
Bath time is an important time to teach good hygiene habits. But, how often do you really need to wrestle suds-averse toddlers into the tub?
Newborns – A sponge bath or damp cloth wipe down is all they need until their umbilical cord falls off. The first few baths afterward only require water – no soap.
Infants – About once or twice a week at most. Pour cupfuls of warm water over them continuously to keep them from getting cold. Use a soft cotton cloth or sponge to gently clean from top to bottom.
Toddlers and children 2 to 6 years old – Two to three days a week is all. Take time to teach proper washing techniques and instill healthy habits as they’re on their way to bathroom independence. Anytime they have been swimming is also an appropriate time to wash them. (Most water sources they’ll swim in aren’t sanitary.)
Source: The Mayo Clinic
Postpartum Physique How Can I Shed Pregnancy Pounds?
It’s completely normal, as a new mom, to be less than thrilled with the baby weight. There are plenty of simple steps to get you started. But most importantly, be gracious and patient with yourself. After all, your body has just accomplished a pretty amazing feat!
Be mindful of your diet. Adjust yourself away from cravings and oversized portions. Choose foods that are high in fiber and protein like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein.
It’s OK to exercise. If you had a normal vaginal delivery, you can begin light activity within days. And moderate exercise throughout your pregnancy is encouraged. If you had a C-section or complications during delivery, you’ll usually have to wait four to six weeks. But the most important thing is to listen to your body and your doctor – don’t overdo it.
Re-think your exercise expectations. For the better part of a year, your body has been completely re-arranged. Expect to start slow and wear comfortable clothing. Breastfeed or pump pre-workout to help you feel more comfortable, and do what works for you. If it’s hard to find time for yourself, bring your baby along for walks or jogs. A little healthy bonding is a great foundation for your new family routine!
Source: The Mayo Clinic
For Your Financial Health
The Federal Trade Commission reports identity theft as the number two complaint among consumers, second only to debt collection. But don’t panic, just protect yourself.
1. Use Unpredictable Passwords Change them up every so often. And ideally, you shouldn’t store them anywhere but your brain.
2. Take Ownership of Personal Info If you don’t already have it, get a hold of your credit score and verify it’s accurate. Have quick access to bank statements.
3. Keep an Eye on Activity Financial apps are a great resource with strong security. Watch your accounts and credit score for any unfamiliar activity.
4. Cash Over Cards Cash and checks are obviously safer and less liftable than card activity.
5. Credit Over Debit Most credit cards only hold you liable for up to $50 in fraudulent charges. But a direct link to your checking account results in real-time money loss that you have to wait to have replaced, if it’s replaced at all.
6. Put Alerts on Active Duty Most accounts with personal information or access to your finances have several options for security alerts that can be switched “on” in the account’s settings. Everything from security questions to text message or email confirmations are available. Many personal devices even have bio-sensitive locks like fingerprint scanners.
7. Quick Response Maybe most importantly, when you see something suspicious, put a freeze on all accounts and reach out for help immediately. Identitytheft.gov is a great resource for victims.
Sources: Upworthy and ftc.gov
Whether you’re endlessly industrious or have ambitions beyond your current income’s reach, a little extra cash on the side can be a great way to finance your desires. Here’s a quick list of creative and flexible ways to bring in a little green on the side:
• Coach or Consult – Use your specific skills to mentor for money. Websites like Hourly Nerd and The Second Shift are great resources to get you started.
• Use Your Car – Driving for Uber or Lyft is a popular paycheck provider.
• Affiliate Marketing – Many companies will pay commission for customers you recommend to their website. If someone makes a purchase through your unique URL, you reap the rewards. Sites like Share a Sale and Affiliate Network help you find companies to represent.
• Get Creative – Painting, crafting, sewing, or any other unique skills you possess to make items by hand can often bring in extra bucks if you sell them on websites like Etsy or Amazon Handmade.
Source: Daily Worth
For The Home
Breaking the Mold
Mold is a silent, creeping disorder that can strike any home. It can occur in spite of high levels of cleanliness. In fact, the only contributing cause of mold growth is your home’s moisture level. Check out these quick tips to avoid mold in your home:
Keep a check on humidity Ideal humidity levels would be between 30% and 50%. An inexpensive humidity meter can help you monitor this. If you discover your home has a consistently higher humidity level, investigate to find and fix the cause and/or consider purchasing a dehumidifier.
Respond rapidly Most leaks or spills cleaned up within two days won’t develop mold.
Keep your roof and gutters in great shape Clean and repair them regularly.
Find the source of condensation on walls, pipes, and windows Typically this is just a sign of high humidity, which you’ll want to work to lower. But it’s always good to check for the source of moisture to make sure there are no leaks or spills.
Ensure your home has good drainage This includes landscaping that slopes away from the house and prevents pooling of water under the home’s foundation or floors.
Increase ventilation Ample air flow helps reduce humidity.
Clean out air conditioner drip pans and pipe lines This encourages moisture to drain out more readily and eliminates it from your home’s environment.
Any home built prior to the 1978 federal ban on lead paint has the potential to contain it. So what’s the big deal? Lead can be extremely toxic if ingested or inhaled (via dust, chips, and flakes from old paint in bad condition). If you’re worried about the presence of lead paint in your home, here are a few steps to correct the situation.
1. Test for Lead. EPA-recommended at-home tests like D-Lead and LeadCheck can show results in 30 seconds to 13 minutes. They can be purchased online or at most big box stores.
2. Choose How to Handle Lead Paint. If your home tests positive, you have some options.
3. If the paint is in good condition (no chips, cracks, flaking, or dusty deterioration) and no children under the age of six are frequently in the home, you can choose to leave it undisturbed with minimal risk.
4. You can have it professionally removed, encapsulated, enclosed, or replaced.
Removal can be done by wire brushing or scraping with paint removers.
Encapsulation Usually the easiest and most affordable, this method involves simply applying a paint-like sealant over the lead paint.
Enclosure This is where you cover the surface that contains lead paint by putting up a tight barrier such as plaster, drywall, tile, plywood, or others.
Replacement The most extreme, expensive, and effective method involves replacing any fixtures with lead paint entirely. That is, tearing down walls, taking out and replacing window and door casings, and so on.
Sources: WebMD and HouseLogic
Allergens in the Home
With the arrival of spring, so too come seasonal allergies that impact millions of Americans. But, there are several steps that allergy sufferers can take to reduce the effect of allergens – especially in the home!
- Don’t use window or attic fans – they circulate pollen, mold spores, and other allergens. Use air conditioning so you don’t have to open windows. Use an air cleaner with a special high efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) filter.
- Keep your home’s temperature between 68 and 72 degrees, and relative humidity 50 percent or less.
Furniture, carpets, drapes, and bedding
- Avoid carpet, upholstered furniture, and heavy drapes that collect dust.
- Use pillow and mattress covers made from a tight-weave fabric that keeps out dust and mites.
- Use furniture made of wood, plastic, leather, or vinyl that you can wipe clean.
- Replace drapes and blinds with roll-down shades or washable curtains.
- Remove knick knacks that collect dust.
- Avoid wool blankets and down quilts.
- Keep animals out of the bedroom and bathe them once a week to reduce the allergens in their dander.
Sources: Mayo Clinic, WebMD