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Blog

 

In Defense of Dirt

Janis Covey

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Summer is here! It’s time to get outdoors (preferably barefoot) and let those kids get dirty!  Yes, you heard me right...DIRTY.

Why you ask?  Because dirt is good for you.  Exposing our bodies to bacteria, viruses and fungus help the body build a strong immune system.  We as a society have been groomed to sterilize everything and keep our children from getting dirty.  Petting zoos requires anti-bacterial wipes, wash your hands as soon as you touch that dog, getting dirty in the backyard requires an immediate bath.  This is all wrong! By not exposing our children to germs in our environment, we are setting them up for allergies, asthma and even eczema.

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The purpose of our immune system is to fight foreign “threats” such as bacteria and viruses and create a long acting defense against these “threats”.  When we don’t expose ourselves to “threats” then our immune system gets bored and starts to react to “non-threats” such as pollen and foods. This leads to the development of allergies and asthma.

There was a study done by American Academy of Pediatrics in May of 2013 showing that parents who lick their children’s pacifiers to clean them were less likely to develop asthma, allergies and eczema then parents who did not do use this cleaning method.  The children whose parents licked the pacifier had stronger immune systems overall.

Pacifier Cleaning Practices and Risk of Allergy Development

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So what does this all mean?  For me, I don’t freak out when my kids eat a snack without washing their hands first, we never use anti-bacterial products (I like Kosmatology’s MADE SAFE Certified Foaming Hand Soap for clean up)  and I embrace the dirty. I let my kids run outside barefoot in the dirt, if a dog licks my daughter’s face I don’t feel the need to immediately disinfect her. I hope these actions will help them develop strong immune systems ready to take on the bacterial and viral world but not non-threatening pollen and foods!

Eating for Collagen

Kerri Vilaverde

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Collagen supplements are showing up everywhere lately.  But what is collagen really? It is a protein made up of the amino acids: glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and arginine.  It is found in skin, muscles, and connective tissues and provides structure and holds cells and tissues together. It is something our body produces naturally.  But as we age, and lead our stressful lives, we begin to produce less. This is where those supplement companies come in. They’ve begun marketing and selling collagen supplements.  But the science on the supplement’s efficacy is inconclusive. Many doctors don’t believe there is any benefit to supplementing collagen, that you simply digest it and wash it away. But you CAN protect and boost your own body’s production of collagen through your diet!  Now that sounds like a win-win. Eating these healthy foods provide benefits to your whole body health and work synergistically! For example, Vitamin C is crucial for collagen production and eating food high in Vitamin C also helps your body absorb Iron! Here’s a list of some great foods to try!

Vitamin A

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Vitamin A is the easiest to spot in the produce section.  Everything orange! Carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots, butternut squash, and it is also hidden in some leafy greens like kale and spinach.  Vitamin A will not only help with that Superman night vision but supports cell growth.

Vitamin C

The body NEEDS Vitamin C to produce collagen.  Some of our favorite high Vitamin C foods are red peppers, kiwi, strawberries, pineapple, broccoli, and of course... oranges.  If you’ve never tried roasted broccoli, that is my favorite way to prepare it. It’s better than french fries and you don’t have to feel bad about it!  

Vitamin E

Yum…..Peanut butter.  That’s something I could eat all day.  Right out of the jar. And lucky for me, it’s high in Vitamin E which is next up on the list!  We often think of Vitamin E as being used topically and forget what it can do inside your body!  Did you know that it is an antioxidant that when combined with Vitamin C has shown to increase your skin’s natural photoprotection? And it is also a powerful anti-inflammatory and can slow the oxidation of cholesterol.  Stock up on your PB and also sunflower seeds (these have the most Vitamin E per serving), almonds, hazelnuts, and pine nuts.

Choline

Eggs and beans are high in choline. It can also be found in nuts and seeds and dairy products as well as broccoli and cabbage.  Your body converts choline into glycine which is an amino acid that is key to producing collagen.

Lycopene

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Lycopene is found in red fruits and veggies such as tomatoes, pink grapefruit, watermelon, and papaya. There’s been a lot of research done showing a correlation between the consumption of lycopene and a reduced rate of prostate cancer. It’s also being studied as a way to delay the onset of Alzheimer's.  It is known to protect skin cells from environmental damage and help with collagen synthesis.

Omega 3 fatty acids

These healthy fatty acids are credited with reducing inflammation in the body.  Inflammation can cause a whole host of complications, but also it breaks down your existing collagen.  Non-animal sources of Omega 3’s are walnuts, avocados (as if you needed an excuse), and chia seeds.

These are just some of the foods thought to increase your body's natural collagen production.  There is still much we don’t know about how the components in our food are helping our bodies run.  But eating a healthy diet full of a variety of fruits and veggies can not only help your skin but reduce your risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.  And that’s worth it, right? If you aren’t already eating a fruit and veggie rich diet, don’t despair. It’s easy to start adding more in every day and a smoothie is the perfect place to start.  It’s like a milkshake for breakfast.

Here’s something easy to try and customizable:

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  • 1 cup of your favorite nut milk: almond or cashew for example.  
  • 1 tablespoon of sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup of frozen strawberries
  • A handful of spinach - just throw it in there.  This is art now. Not science anymore.

Experiment.  You can swap the sunflower seeds for almond butter and the strawberries for apples.  Add avocado or chia seeds. Mix it up and find what you love and eat your way to long-term health and younger looking skin.

To Moisturize or Not To Moisturize, That is the Summer ☀️ Question.

Kerri Vilaverde

Yes!  You should continue to use your lotion in the summer ☀️!

The warm weather is here and you’ve packed up the sweaters and boots and pulled out the tank tops and sandals, but what about your moisturizers?  Should you pack that away too? Absolutely not and here’s why.

SPF:  You need and I mean NEED to be wearing sunscreen everyday but it is especially important in the warmer weather. You know you don’t need a reminder, but I'll give it to you anyway.  Exposure to damaging UV rays increases your risk of melanoma and precancers like actinic keratoses (www.skincancer.org). But also fine lines, wrinkles, and discoloration. The problem is sunscreens can be drying to the skin, especially physical sunscreens such as non-nano zinc or gel based sunscreens that contain alcohol.  They act as astringents and can absorb your skin’s natural oils causing dryness and/or redness. Then factor in chlorine and air conditioning which can cause further irritation. Yikes.

To combat this dryness and irritation you should continue to use your regular body lotions, face lotions, and oils.  Once your products are absorbed, generously apply your sunscreen.  Sunscreen is the last step of your skincare layers.

And using a good nourishing lotion after your fun in the sun is a must!