Healthy Every Day

This is a special shout-out to all you parents of children who are or who have been in not-home school (public or private).  Y’all, I am totally out of practice.

It’s no secret that part of our brand’s philosophy involves a healthy lifestyle, because that helps us enjoy our long, active, coastal life, and it’s something we practice at home on a daily basis.  This week, Wee Princess is enjoying a marine biology camp at a local university and having a blast!  Each day, she is supposed to start with a healthy breakfast and have with her a healthy lunch and a healthy snack.  Since my husband rolls out the door with her between 7:15 and 7:30 each morning, I spend a little time each evening putting her breakfast together and preparing her lunch.  Then, in the morning, all he has to do is grab the perishables from the fridge and put them in her lunch bag.

I made the mistake last week of leaving the girls unattended with my laptop and a Pinterest search for “Bento box lunches for kids” while I showered and dressed.  When I came back down, the Wee Princess had a chart listing each day’s breakfast, lunch, and snack.  And we’re talking good, balanced, nutritious options here!  I was surprised, because when I ask her what she wants for lunch, the majority of the time it’s “cinnamon toast” or “quesadilla.”  Most of this week, her breakfast choice is a smoothie of some sort – low added sugar, lots of fiber, tons of calcium and protein – perfect for exploring marshes and beaches!

Blueberry smoothie
Its so purple! Love blueberry smoothies!

I’ve home educated since Little Princess was in second grade (she’s not so little now, as she’s starting high school studies next week!), so having to do the daily lunch and breakfast prep is outside my realm of daily experience.  I had forgotten how much extra work it is, just that little something extra to think about.  It’s not like it’s actual work, but when I’m exhausted and ready for sleep and can finally get into the kitchen, it’s not something I’m dying to do.  And now that so many children are at least sensitive, at worst, severely allergic to peanuts, it’s not as easy as slapping some peanut butter and homemade jam between two pieces of bread.

So, hats off to you parents who do this on a daily basis or used to when your children were little.  Great job keeping it real, keeping it fresh, and keeping it healthy!

How do you do it?  How do you make magic for your kids each day?  Share in the comments below.

I’ll Take My Chemicals On, Thank You Very Much

This picture shows the list of active ingredients for one of my sunscreens of choice – a generic brand of SPF30 Sport, proven by years of use not to sting my eyes when I sweat or play in the water.  (Not pictured is my favorite and considerably more expensive Hawaiian Tropic SPF30 Sport, purchased and used because I LOVE the scent, and because I’m delighted that Hawaiian Tropic has finally made a sunscreen with an SPF higher than 8.)

Sunscreen ingredients
The active ingredients in one of my sunscreens of choice

Why am I sharing this?  Because I want to show you that chemicals are not our enemies and that going “all natural” when drugs do a better job is not the smartest choice long-run.

Chemicals are all around us:  Air, water, food, soap – things we put on and in our bodies – are all chemicals.  Try living a life free of chemicals and see how long that lasts.  Short answer:  Three minutes.  That’s how long we can go without air before we die.  Chemicals are in drugs that we may use on a daily or occasional basis – multi-vitamins, blood pressure meds, and ibuprofen are all safe chemicals that help our bodies.  Although it doesn’t seem like it, sunscreen, too, is classified as a drug, because it changes the makeup of our skin to prevent the damage caused by UV rays.

I’ve heard the concerns.  “The chemicals will get into our skin and poison us.”  “These chemicals aren’t safe.”  “Those chemicals killed laboratory rats.”  Let’s look at each one of those.

  1.  “The chemicals will get into our skin and poison us.”  Our skin is an incredible organ!  It releases toxins through sweat, it protects our muscles and internal organs, and it helps insulate our bodies.  As it protects, it forms a pretty impenetrable barrier against harmful – or not-so-harmful – things that want to get into our bodies.  We come into contact with millions of bacteria a day that never get inside us, because they die on the skin.  We take showers or go swimming, and as small as a water molecule is, we don’t bloat up with all this water getting inside of us, because the skin prevents it from happening.  If our skin can keep something as small as a water molecule out, how in the world could a larger, more complicated nanoparticle of a chemical get past the skin barrier?  It can’t, plain and simple.  So, since these chemicals cannot get into our bodies through our skin, then they can’t poison us.  In fact, the only way these would be harmful is if we were to drink gallons of sunscreen.  Ew.  Just… ew.

So you decide to avoid these chemicals and either take your chances with homemade, untested sunscreen or go without altogether – because you want to avoid chemicals.  Or worse, you’re applying these products to your children, leaving them no choice in how their skin is protected.  It’s ten or twenty or thirty years down the road, and you or they have skin cancer, a particularly nasty melanoma that has also started affecting your internal organs.  You have a decent chance of survival – with chemotherapy.  So now your oncologist is going to inject a stew of chemicals into your body to counteract the consequences of not applying chemicals topically when you were younger.  That’s a pretty sucky trade-off, especially since applying sunscreen generally doesn’t make you exhausted, sick, or bald.

2.  “These chemicals aren’t safe.”  Properly prepared sunscreens are tested rigorously by the FDA, tests which are incredibly expensive to have conducted.  I’m not so naïve that I believe the FDA never approves anything which is unsafe, but in the matter of sunscreens, I have yet to see any evidence, anecdotal or empirical, of harm coming to people who use sunscreens responsibly (e.g., not drinking it) or regularly.  Bottom line, using sunscreen with all its “chemicals” is far safer than not using it or using untested sunscreen.

3.  “Those chemicals killed laboratory rats.”  Do you remember saccharine?  It was the artificial sweetener of the 70s and 80s.  And on each pink packet, there was the warning, “This product has been known to cause cancer in laboratory animals.”  Great scare tactic!  When people started digging deeper into this, they discovered that the labs were basically overdosing rats on the stuff, injecting them with far greater amounts than even the most ardent Tab drinker was likely to consume.  (As an aside, I found it interesting that, when I was pregnant in the early 2000s, saccharine was the only artificial sweetener universally considered “safe” for fetuses.)  The individual chemicals in sunscreens are tested similarly, though finished sunscreen is tested only on voluntary human subjects.

So, if commercially manufactured, FDA tested sunscreens are generally recognized as safe, why do makers willingly put people at risk by marketing handcrafted, all natural sunscreens?  They’re banking on fear and ignorance.  I’ve seen makers do this, though the ones I know personally aren’t doing it out of malice.  They’re just passionate about their products and their all-natural niche, and they want to offer an alternative to their customers.  Unfortunately, this is a terribly dangerous practice that is spreading, despite the FDA firing off warning after warning to small, independent manufacturers for selling untested drugs and making drug claims.

If you haven’t seen it, yet, I posted a link to a video this morning to my page that examines the dangers of handmade sunscreen pretty thoroughly.  It’s several minutes long and easy to understand, even if, like me, Biochemistry isn’t your second language.

Given a choice, do you prefer having your drugs on your body, or in your body?