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03.15.14 3 Reasons to Rethink Your Sunscreen

I recently counted the number of sunscreens at my local drugstore. There were 118 choices. Oddly, the display wasn't even that big, but the number of different products all leading you back to one specific need, had quite the range. I'm sure you can imagine the selling points: SPF, scent, sport, face, water-proof, sweat-proof, oil-free, ease of application....there's a lot to decipher.

To simplify: Most conventional sunscreens are chemical as opposed to mineral. All other claims aside, this is the critical distinction. 

Chemical sunscreens do their job by absorbing UV light. To do that, potentially harmful chemicals (see below) must be deeply absorbed into your skin, which is the last place you want them to end up. Dermal absorption is one of the main ways substances can enter the body. Not so great when those substances are potentially toxic. Read more...

02.19.14 7 Reasons Your Real Food Deserves Real Containers

Consider the alternatives to storing healthy food in chemical laden plastic… then tell us: are you ready to give glass a try?

When you’re passionate about choosing and preparing healthy, real food for your family, making informed choices about how you store it is a natural next step. Plastic is a common go-to — but when you think about it, not really aligned with the idea of real food.

At MighyNest we believe there are plenty of good reasons to use glass to store your amazing real food creations: Read more...

10.23.13 Keep Healthy and Boost Your Immune System

At this time of the year, the effort to strengthen the immune system gains attention as this likely concerns many folks while moving into colder drier weather. Consequently, we spend much more time indoors, with a ripe environment to spread sickness. 

So, of course a strong immune system is much to be desired to effectively fight off viruses and bacteria that lurk about. In addition to eating whole foods, staying well-hydrated, getting regular exercise, meeting a good sleep quota, taking time to chill and de-stress and laugh, it's also important to be aware of the daily toxins that exist in many unfortunate places like shampoo, toothpaste, laundry detergent and household cleaners (to name a select few). Toxins play a role in weakening our immunity so it's a good idea to try and reduce exposure to harmful chemicals for optimal health.

So, instead of busting your immune system, give it a boost! Read more...

10.16.13 5 Tips for Better Snoozing

The late afternoon darkness always sneaks up on me in the fall. As much as I love this season, that's the one thing that disrupts the endless perks of color and flavor, stunning daylight and comfortably cool nights. Instead of staying outside until late, I'm thinking about getting home when the sky turns dark.

And then daylight saving time comes around, allowing us to "fall back" an hour in our schedules and re-set our sleep clocks. The fact that we live in a face-paced environment with our senses always being stimulated tends to affect our nervous system and ultimately takes a toll on getting quality sleep. 

We stress out even more when we don't get adequate sleep. Understandably so, because good sleep is essential to our health. Read more...

09.25.13 Gettin' Figgy With It

The fig display at Whole Foods caught me off guard today. The tower of Black Mission figs had a special calling and in a flash, I grabbed a pint and assumed I'd make something new with these sweet gems. 

The edible fig is one of the first plants that was cultivated by humans. It predates the domestication of wheat, barley, and legumes, and may even be the first known instance of agriculture. 

How do eating figs benefit our health

09.24.13 Power Up! Foods that Fuel the Brain

Packing daily lunches is one thing. Choosing the right healthy foods, the ones that help power the day ahead is another. Just like an athlete eats for optimal athletic performance, our kids' brains are in training too. Their brains are actively and dramatically growing just like their never-still bodies and need our mindful care. 

The early years are critical for brain development and what kids eat is one of the factors that affects their cognitive skills and how well they can focus in school. So, how can we help fuel learning rather than bog down their brain performance?

Start with trying to fit these key brain foods into their day, starting with a power breakfast and refueling at lunchtime, following up with a nourishing after-school pit stop before dinner.

Staying sharp all day starts off with an ideal breakfast of protein and complex carbs (so food is digested more slowly). Sometimes mornings can be so crazy that fitting in a proper breakfast feels like a no-can-do. Obviously if time is a restraint, breakfast gets squeezed out and you'll feel lucky if a granola bar is scarfed down on the way to school...hopefully filled with nuts! Read more...

09.10.13 How to Keep Straw Bottles Clean!

If your child has a preference for sipping through a straw, then you've probably already made the shift towards a straw bottle for hydrating on the go (or at school). Many straw bottles are incredibly convenient and easy for kids to use, especially younger kids who may not have the patience (or fine motor skills) for unscrewing and screwing back on a lid every time they need a drink. 

With straw-top caps, the options for opening are either simply lifting up the straw (as you would do with the new Lifefactory straw bottles and the Eco Vessel straw bottles) or with a simple push button to pop open the lid (Thermos Funtainer and Foogo style straw bottles).  Read more...

08.23.13 Best PVC-Free School Lunch Boxes

For many kids, picking out a new lunch box might just top the list (after planning the 1st day of school outfit) for feeling ready to head back to school. It's a chance to show off a sense of style with a favorite color or pattern or new obsession with a specific theme like owls, robots or dinosaurs. 

The unsettling feature on many conventional lunchboxes is that they're made with vinyl, also known as PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and sometimes labeled with the number "3," or "V," or "PVC." PVC is an unnecessary plastic that is dangerous (often referred to as the poison plastic) to our children's health and the environment. PVC contains chemical additives like phthalates, lead, cadmium and organotins, according to CHEJ (Center for Health, Environment + Justice). 

Children are even most at risk, because "their developing brains and bodies, their metabolism and behaviors make them uniquely vulnerable to harm from toxic chemicals," according to research by the CHEJ. Chemicals, like phthalates, found in many popular kids' products have been linked to various health concerns. Read more...

07.06.13 Natural Mosquito Bite Remedies

While we make great efforts to prevent mosquito bites from happening, it's inevitable that we will experience uncomfortable bites from time to time. It's especially disheartening to see the discomforts of young children who can't refrain from scratching their itchy bites.

Dr. Neal B. Schultz, a board-certified dermatologist explains, "The mosquito is injecting a material into your skin that causes inflammation, which is redness, swelling, tenderness and heat. That then becomes an itch." And the obvious impulse is to scratch away, which can result in broken skin and lead to a possible infection. Read more...

06.18.13 Repelling Mosquitos Without DEET

There's word on the street that this year, it's gonna be a record year for mosquitos. In search of body heat, lactic acid and carbon dioxide, mosquitos are on the hunt. If you are one of the lucky ones (with genes to better disguise yourself) who isn't really bothered by mosquitos, because they just buzz by your ear and occasionally give you a few small ankle bites, than this is of little concern. But if you've been blessed with that something special sweetness (my daughter and I have it) that mosquitos find and love, you want serious bug protection. Good, effective protection. Especially when you or your kids are prone to huge dinosaur welts that itch like mad!

But DEET? Let's face it - this chemical is a pesticide and it's meant to pack a punch. And it does (just unfortunately beyond repelling insects). Especially if it's used regularly and for prolonged periods of time. And DEET is used (in varying amounts - up to 100%) in over 200 bug repellent products.  Read more...

06.13.13 Farm to Table

For many people, a trip to the local Farmer's market is a weekend must. Many markets have food vendors whipping up ripe smoothies, delicious crepes, tamales and some even provide great kid entertainment, and fresh food to sample. I can safely say that going to the grocery store is not a favorite errand for my daughter. But going to the Farmer's Market...sure thing!

Clearly, most would agree that shopping at the local farmer's market is much more appealing than a trip to a big chain grocery store. And beneficial too. Besides actually talking to a farmer about their growing methods, and maybe even learning a new method of preparing their specialty crop, you'll reap the benefits from: Read more...

06.04.13 The Essential: 6 Uses For Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint essential oil has so many uses, it's no wonder this oil is a staple in many people's medicine cabinets. And it certainly does much more than freshen your breath! It's used to soothe nausea and other stomach issues, perk the senses up before a long meeting, and cool overworked muscles (thanks to the menthol). Luckily, peppermint also helps to clear congestion, quiet headaches and tackle symptoms from PMS.  Read more...

05.13.13 A Cleaner Spring Cleaning

Did you know that many ingredients in common cleaners, even "green" cleaning products, have been linked to allergies, asthma, and other long-term effects like reproductive harm and cancer? Chemicals found in cleaning solutions may be impacting the way our hormones work by either mimicking estrogen, androgen or thyroid hormones, or by stimulating or blocking production of these hormones when the chemical is absorbed into our bodies.

While it is true that small amounts of chemicals found in these products may not pose a problem in isolated instances, it's important to keep in mind that there is a cumulative effect. And like it or not, cleaning our homes just happens to be one of the things we do regularly. 

According to the EPA, our greatest exposure to toxic chemicals is right in our own homes. And without proper ventilation, chemicals undoubtedly accumulate, especially in rooms where the windows stay closed. So, here are a few tips to keep in mind: Read more...

05.08.13 Study: Benefit to Sucking Your Baby's Pacifier Clean?

Every parent has made that quick move; your baby's pacifier drops onto the floor, into the dirt, under the stroller and a few seconds later, with the help of some hearty parent spit, that pacifier is good to go and popped back into an open and waiting mouth for more sucking comfort.

New research sheds some interesting light on that impulse. 

A recent small study in Sweden (and published in the journal Pediatrics) has taken a closer look at the benefits of self cleaning your baby's pacifier. 184 Swedish babies who were particularly allergy-prone (at least one parent with allergies) were studied regularly by a pediatric allergist, starting at birth and checked via phone calls and exams over a 3 year period. Read more...

05.08.13 The Heavy Cost of a Plastic Water Bottle

Last week, we wrote about what's involved in the making of a plastic water bottle. As a quick reminder, consumers are really (and obviously) mainly paying for the plastic water bottle itself when they choose to buy a disposable, single-use plastic water bottle...equaling 90% of the cost. That's quite a bit of unnecessary oil that could be used for far better purposes than a quick answer to thirst. We also talked about the inevitable opportunity for a plastic water bottle to be contaminated during manufacturing, as that's just chance in a complicated process.

Why take a chance?

04.29.13 Making a Plastic Water Bottle

Ahh.. the 80's introduced us to leg warmers, perms, velour and stirrup/hammer pants. This decade also brought us another doozy: the disposable plastic water bottle. Though the trend towards "needing" bottled water took another decade to take shape. But that trend is on the downside as folks learn more and more about the negative impact that plastic water bottle drinking poses to our own health and that of our planet's.

When you buy a bottle of water made of plastic, 90% of the cost of this bottle comes from making the plastic bottle itself. How so? Well, to produce each plastic bottle takes the equivalent of filling 1/4 of the bottle with oil. And then to make the 29 billion bottles purchased every year in the US, the oil bill climbs to 17 million barrels of crude oil. Per year! For something we use briefly and just once. That's enough oil to fuel 1,000,000 cars for a year. And then even more to ship it around.

And that's just the beginning. 

04.18.13 Clean Green Laundry Routine

Many years ago, out of the blue, I developed the itchiest rash I had ever experienced. It was like a switch turned on and my skin (mainly my arms and legs) felt on fire. In order to not scratch them like mad, I resorted to slathering on all sorts of anti-itch creams, aloe, benedryl. But the itching persisted and I became more and more filled with anxiety. Hives? I had had a bout earlier in my life..maybe that was it. Dust mites? My mom was convinced that I was experiencing an allergic reaction to mites and a good dust mite mattress cover would solve this itching crisis. Bedbugs? I had just moved to NYC...

There was no time to hypothesize. I went to my family doctor. His first question: "Did you change laundry detergents?" And then he added, "Did you use a dryer sheet?"

I did. 

04.05.13 Cooking with Xtrema Ceramic Cookware

Since Teflon pans have been relegated to the very back burner, this leaves many folks wondering "what's the alternative?" And "how do I know which product to choose?" We certainly understand this confusion and the hesitation about switching to a new way of cooking. It's a common feeling that we grow attached to certain methods of cooking, our cooking tools and the way our favorite foods taste.

You've probably heard of clay pans (yup, we're giving one away below but keep reading about why you'd want one!) making their way into kitchens as a healthy replacement for Teflon. More and more, people are replacing non-stick cookware (which is lined with harmful chemicals - read here for more info on Teflon) for non-reactive cookware made of inherently safe materials like clay and glass. Ceramic cookware is inert and emits a far-infrared heat, an effective and beneficial heat for cooking, enabling a full range of subtle flavors to emerge. Read more...

03.26.13 A Cleaner Way to Wash Up — 11 Avoidable Ingredients in Dish Detergent

Washing dishes may not be everyone's favorite chore. But I have to admit, I actually enjoy washing long as they're other people's dishes. You see, I really appreciate everyday objects and specifically, their form and function. So, while washing other people's dishes, I take notice of the design, the quality, the form. And I wonder about their origins: Handmade? Hand-me-down? From far away travels? A wedding gift? 

And there is a meditative element in the time spent washing dishes, at least when it's not rushed or when "doing dishes" with someone else. A friend of my mother's once shrieked at the sight of my bare hands scrubbing pots after Thanksgiving dinner. She was horrified that I didn't have gloves on and warned that I would pay for this habit later in life with wrinkly, rough hands. At the time, I was a full time potter and my hands stayed in a bucket of water for most of the day. Too late now for non-working hands. Read more...

03.19.13 A Brief History of Duralex Glassware

Duralex glassware has been around for more than 80 years. It's also the only glass manufacturing company that makes ALL of their glassware in France. Located in La-Chapelle-Saint-Mesmin near Orleans, France, Duralex is famous for producing strong, clear, durable and aesthetic glassware used throughout Europe. Their glasses are known as the "the ultimate drinking vessels created by man."

How is the glass stronger? Duralex employs a technique called "tempering" and pressing, which based on the principle of thermal shock, the glass is heated to 600 degrees and then cooled very quickly. According to Duralex, "the greater contraction of the inner layer during manufacturing induces compressive stresses in the surface of the glass balanced by tensile stresses in the body of the glass. It is this compressive stress that gives the toughened glass increased strength. This is because any surface flaws tend to be pressed closed by the retained compressive forces, while the core layer remains relatively free of the defects which could cause a crack to begin." Read more...

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