Let’s Talk About Sex

Let’s talk about sex. And fertility. And the fact that sperm count is on the decline. Even though men have waaaaay more sperm than they will ever need, if the decline continues at the same rate, a study suggests men may lose the ability to reproduce entirely. Within a generation!

Total sperm count is down 60% since 1973! But, low sperm count isn’t the only side effect of poor semen quality. Men with poor semen quality have a higher mortality rate and are more likely to have diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease than fertile men. Testosterone levels are dropping too, meaning that men are becoming, well, less male.

Curious what the culprit is? It’s a disruption in the development of the male fetus in the womb, which is caused primarily by the increase of chemicals in the environment. In other words, prenatal exposure to endocrine disruptors. I’d call out phthalates as the worse of the worst, and read below to discover where they are lurking.

5 common sources of endocrine disruptors:

  1. personal care products (soap, shaving cream, deodorant, after shave, beard oil, nail polish)

  2. drinking water

  3. food storage and packaging

  4. cookware

  5. cleaning products

Are You Sick of Being Sick?

A friend asked a simple question last week that really got me thinking. We had just finished our barre3 workout (my favorite workout studio btw), and she asked if my kids are sick less often now that they are older. This got me thinking...

No, but they were never really sick when they were younger either. It’s not luck. 

I've always paid attention to boosting their immune systems when necessary.

This got me wondering, though, about people’s understanding (or misunderstanding) about the immune system. Everyone seems onboard with the flu shot, but beyond that I wonder what you are doing to help your immune system be strong and resilient?

It’s true that there are innumerable factors corroding your immune system on a daily basis. In short, your air, water, food, perfume and personal care products contain a host of hidden, hazardous chemicals, that are dragging your immune system down, and interfering with your overall health, energy and mood.

But, what’s the cure? Beginning next week, some colleagues and I are going to break it down. During the Fall Immunity Challenge, we’ll be sharing our top strategies for building a robust immune system for your whole family. 

5 Tips for a Simple + Safe Detox

5 Tips for a Simple + Safe Detox

I’m sharing my top 5 Detox Strategies, because the rate at which you detox is extremely important! When detoxification happens too fast, toxins can turn into free radicals, which leads to disease and rapid aging. That’s certainly not why you are detoxing! Let’s do this right — safe and effective!

4 Simple Ways to Make Your Home More Green

I was shocked when I learned that house dust is terribly toxic! I knew it was a sign that I hate to dust, but I never thought it was contributing to ill-health. Studies of house dust (the not-so-cute dust bunnies!) show that it is loaded with pesticides, flame retardants, lead, PFOAs, and phthalates.

We can reduce these toxins and make our homes and the air inside our homes healthier with some simple changes. Below are 4 of top offenders we can switch up to make for a healthier home. 

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4 Simple Ways to Make Your Home More Green

  1. Swap your laundry detergent and dryer sheets for fragrance-free, plant-based detergents and wool dryer balls. 
  2. Swap out your non-stick cookware (coated with PFOAs) for safer solutions: stainless steel, cast iron, enameled cast iron.  
  3. Take off your shoes. Shoes carry incredibly high amounts of bacteria and 90-99% comes off on our floors. Think about everywhere you’ve walked today. You likely stepped on chemicals from lawns, bird droppings, and a public bathroom, to name just a few. 
  4. Swap out your cleaning products and personal care products for safer solutions that are free of fragrance, phthalates, phosphates, chlorine.

What’s one healthy swap you can start today?

Is Your Sunscreen Protecting You?

It won't be long until we're sitting at the pool or by the beach again. The good news is that sunscreen has gotten a lot safer in the past decade. The bad news is that a whopping 75% of sunscreens tested by the consumer watchdog Environmental Working Group still offer inadequate protection and/or harmful ingredients, including retinyl palmitate and oxybenzone.

Some new regulations passed by the FDA have banned false claims like “waterproof” and “sweatproof”. Don’t be duped by false marketing claims, of which there are many in the skin care industry!

My FAVORITE sunscreen is endorsed by the Environmental Working Group, safe for kids, adults, and coral reefs! Find it here.

Packing your swim bag doesn’t need to cause you stress, though. Here are some guidelines:

  1. The convenience is unbeatable, but avoid spray sunscreens due to proven inhalation risk and inadequate coverage.
  2. Go for mineral-only sunscreen featuring zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
  3. Avoid sky-high SPF claims, which do not offer superior protection.
  4. Choose both UVA AND UVB protection.
  5. Avoid Vitamin A in the form of retinal palmitate, a common sunscreen additive thought to actually increase skin tumors and lesions.
  6. Avoid Oxybenzone, which is linked to hormone disruption and potentially to cell damage that may lead to skin cancer.
  7. Avoid the ingredient “Fragrance”, which is often used to mask the chemicalized odor of sunscreen. Fragrance is a very dangerous ingredient in any skin care product.  

Here are all of the sunscreens recommended by the Environmental Working Group. Among them, THIS is my favorite brand. The lotion and stick both give excellent protection, glide on easily, won't leave a pasty, white, or chalky residue. Plus, you’ll love the light, fresh scent.

Air Pollution INSIDE Your Home

You’ll be surprised to learn that the air quality inside your home, even the cleanest home, is terribly polluted! In fact, the Environmental Protect Agency says indoor air pollution can be 50x worse, and even up to 100 times more polluted than the outdoor air of heavily populated cities like Los Angeles! The EPA has even ranked indoor air pollution among it’s top five public health dangers.   

Get my unexpected, even surprising tips to clean the air inside your home in the video below.

The Secret to Detoxing Without Food Rules

Is “getting healthier” one of your goals (aka losing weight, eating more vegetables, working out, sleeping more, more water, etc)? Odds are that one of these are on your list. 

Those of us in the over 40 crowd are focused on slowing the aging process, feeling good, and staying mentally fit. Whether you know it or not, many of the changes we make are in an effort to reduce our toxin load, so that our organs and cells, etc. work optimally to achieve these results. 

There are three primary ways that toxins can get inside us: ingestion, inhalation, and absorption. When we talk about chemicals in pesticides or plastics and food packaging, we're mostly talking about things we ingest. 

But absorption, and even inhalation, are major pathways. In fact, absorption is potent because we absorb chemicals into the bloodstream first, before they eventually make their way to the liver to be processed, if possible.

Absorption happens through the skin, which is our largest organ. Our skin doesn’t absorb absolutely everything that touches it, but it absorbs quite a bit. Imagine soap, lotion, sanitizer, shaving oils, gels, and creams, deodorant, body spray, and perfume. And while I wish I it wasn’t true, most of the products we find at high-end department stores and cheap drugstores are not well-regulated or tested for safety. Therefore, the amount of toxic chemicals that our skin absorbs is virtually unregulated.

A 2004 study by the Environmental Working Group found that 89% of 10,500 ingredients used in personal care products have not been evaluated for safety by the CIR, the FDA, nor any other publicly accountable institution. The FDA doesn’t require companies to test their products, or share safety testing if they do. In fact, according to the FDA, “...a cosmetic manufacturer may use almost any raw material as a cosmetic ingredient and market the product without an approval from FDA.” 

So, we get to be the watchdogs. Now, I’m not a trained chemist, and odds are that you aren’t either. I wish we could trust the industry scientists and experts to be our watchdogs, but for the most part, their interests are quite different than ours. In fact, the personal care industry lobby pushes pretty hard to stay under the radar of regulations. 

Thanks to some extra pressure this past year, from environmental and human health organizations and Beautycounter, the FDA more than doubled the number of banned substances from 11 - 30. We’re a long way off from the EU who’s banned 1400 or Beautycounter who has banned 1500 from its products (Check out their “Never List” to know what’s best to avoid.) Small strides, but forward movement anyway. Here are the 19 that were added in 2016

Without geeking out too much on the safety of specific ingredients, there are a few things you should know in order to detox some harmful chemicals from your system. 

  1. Eating organic while slathering chemicals all over your skin, your largest organ, is cray-cray! 
  2. Women use an average of 12 personal care products containing 168 unique chemical ingredients every single day. Men use about 6, which contain about 85 chemicals every single day.
  3. Many chemicals used in personal care products are known or suspected endocrine disrupting chemicals, allergens, neurotoxins, and/or carcinogens. Really.
  4. Removing chemicals for just a few days greatly reduces their prevalence in your bloodstream. In fact, Good Morning America did an experiment testing just how long it took in this short segment.
  5. Start by avoiding ingredients listed as fragrance, perfume, parfum, and parabens. Here are 1498 other ingredients to avoid.

 


More about Beautycounter: 

Beautycounter (as in counter to the rest of the personal care industry and their lobbyists) is working hard in Washington to effect change. Beautycounter is moving the market by asking chemical companies to provide data on the chemicals they make and are truly pioneering the future of safe products.

It's a movement that has been so exciting and fulfilling to be part of! The caliber of passionate women (and a few passionate men) that I get to collaborate with has been the best surprise! And the ever-growing paycheck is the cherry on top. 

 

The Best Multi-Purpose Product for Your Skin This Winter

There’s a long list of reasons you might want to try a cleansing balm in place of your regular liquid, wipe, or bar facial cleansers this winter. As it gets colder, it's harder to keep your skin hydrated. A cleansing balm polishes skin (especially when used in conjunction with a muslin cloth) while leaving it feeling hydrated and soft.

"A balm is an effective option to remove dirt and oil without overly drying the skin,” says New York City dermatologist Joshua Zeichner.

Cleansing Balms are making a comeback in the skin care industry. Guess our mothers and grandmothers knew what they were doing! Beautycounter’s Cleansing Balm is the multi-purpose product (7-in-1) that lasts forever and is the one product I need when traveling.

 7 Uses for Beautycounter’s Cleansing Balm

  1. Face wash
  2. Make up remover
  3. Hydrating Night cream
  4. All-in-one product for traveling
  5. Anti-aging product
  6. Alleviate dry elbows and knees
  7. Reduce minor skin irritations

The best part? This jar lasts forever – it’s a great value – a little goes a long way. Buy here.

Take the Job

Why I took the job and think you should too! 

Consultants just received a beautiful, thoughtful, eloquent video from CEO & Founder of Beautycounter, Gregg Renfrew.

Instead of giving the usual weekly update, she spoke to the election. She encouraged us all to reach out, be kind, connect, and find common values. She celebrated the fact that as a democracy, we are entitled to our own beliefs and values.

But she also spoke to the inevitable truth which is that the senate is no longer moving in Beautycounter's favor. This means that our battle for safer personal care products is an even steeper climb.

So - to try to take some action on another one of Gregg's inspiring messages - I'm asking you: If you believe in safer cosmetics and personal care products, if you believe in this mission: Take the Job. Become a part of our team. We can do so much more together. And together is what we need, now more than ever.

I've never been more proud to work with Beautycounter.