5 Tips for a Healthier and Greener Pregnancy

Healthy Pregnancy TipsA recent poll found that 69 percent of expecting mothers who read the popular pregnancy website The Bump were more interested in going green during their pregnancies than they had been before they were pregnant. Using all-natural, organic products during pregnancy can reduce your baby’s exposure to hazardous chemicals. But switching to organic, all-natural products can also improve your health and well-being during pregnancy. Here are five ways to green up your pregnancy.

  1. Add More (Organic) Green to Your Diet

Greening up your pregnancy diet will make you feel more nourished and support your baby’s development. A well-balanced diet rich in protein, fiber, iron, calcium, and folic acid includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. Go organic as much as possible to boost nutrition and avoid toxic chemicals found in pesticides.

  1. Spend Time Outdoors

Taking a moment to enjoy the green outside (or, in Minnesota winters, inside at the Como Park Conservatory or Minnesota Zoo) can boost your mood and increase your activity. Both are good for your well-being and the health of your baby.

  1. Avoid Artificial Fragrances

The Environmental Working Group calls the label “fragrance” a code-word for “chemical cocktail.” Companies are not required to disclose the chemicals in their fragrances. Many of these chemicals may cause hormone disruption, allergic reactions, or worse. Go all-natural during your pregnancy by avoiding products with “fragrance” or “parfum” in the list of ingredients. If you need a scent, go for an organic essential oil.

  1. Chose Organic Supplements

Pre-natal vitamins, omega-3s, and vitamin D are commonly prescribed to expecting mothers. Before heading to the pharmacy to find the cheapest option, take a look online at what organic products are available. Quality and pureness of supplement ingredients is as important as the quality and pureness of your food.

  1. Slather on Organic Personal Care Products

Choose organic, all-natural shampoo, soap, and other personal care products for the same reason you want to avoid artificial fragrances and choose organic supplements. Using organic, all-natural products reduces your and your baby’s exposure to toxic chemicals.

Need more green and healthy pregnancy tips? Watch for my follow-up post next month! In the meantime, shop GetGreenwithGene.com for all-natural maternity and baby products.

Here’s to breathing easy and living life to the fullest!

Gene Wood, Life’s Pure Balance

4 Reasons to Use Essential Oils This Christmas

Holiday Essential OilsWith Christmas already here next week, you’re likely already in the spirit of the season. Aromas from boughs of evergreens and holiday baking fill your home and put you in a festive mood.

But you may also be experiencing the stress of the season, especially if you’re traveling or hosting the family get-together. Before you give into your bah-humbugs, take a minute to discover how essential oils can help you make your holidays a bit brighter.

  1. Essential oils reduce stress

They can also help you relax, release frustration, and soothe your anxiety. Here are the top oils for stress reduction and relaxation:

  • bergamot
  • chamomile
  • lavender
  • rose
  • sandalwood
  • ylang
  1. Essential oils give your energy and mood a boost

The holidays take a lot out of us. These essential oils can help you stay energized as you prep for Christmas travel and company:

  • balsam
  • geranium
  • lemon
  • orange
  1. Essential oils help keep your emotions in check

Christmastime can conjure up all sorts of emotions, leaving us feeling adrift. Here are the top three essential oils for feeling grounded:

  1. Essential oils can ease indigestion

It’s true! These essential oils can help with the gas, bloating, and stomach upset that accompanies eating too many Christmas treats:

The scents of many of these essential oils complement the season. Balsam, citrus, cinnamon, ginger, and peppermint are festive and benefit your overall wellbeing. Add these oils to a body oil for a wearable scent, diffuse them to add scent to a room, or put a drop or two on the inside of your toilet paper rolls to freshen up the bathroom.

However you choose to use them, essential oils can help you relax and enjoy the holiday season. For great deals these and other essential oils, including free shipping on orders over $50, shop GetGreenwithGene.com or contact me!

Here’s to breathing easy and living life to the fullest!

Gene Wood, Life’s Pure Balance

3 Reasons Why You Should Make the Switch to Organic Personal Care Products

Get Green with Gene!It seems like every health and beauty company is touting a new line of all-natural, organic personal care products. Is this organic trend just a bunch of hype? Why should you make the switch to organic, all-natural personal care products? I have three words for you: phthalates, parabens, and formaldehyde.

Though studies have shown these chemicals are harmful, the government does not require companies to remove them from their products. Manufacturers of personal care products do not need to list the specific chemicals that make up their fragrances (as in the case of phthalates) or the chemicals that are created in their products during the manufacturing process (formaldehyde).

Phthalates in Personal Care Products

Yes, phthalates is a real word, and one that describes some nasty chemicals. They are used as softeners in cosmetics and shampoos and are also found in fragrances. A 2008 study found high levels of phthalates in babies who had been recently washed with baby shampoo or doused with baby powder or baby lotion.

Phthalates may affect the endocrine systems of young boys, especially when the boys’ mothers had high levels of phthalates in their systems during pregnancy. Due to this risk, Congress banned high levels of BP, DEHP, and DBP phthalates in personal care products. The EPA is considering adding another eight to its “Chemicals of Concern” list.

Look for “No phthalates” or “phthalate-free” labels on personal care products to avoid phthalates. Remember that companies do not need to disclose the chemicals in their fragrances. “Parfum” and “fragrance” in the ingredient list typically indicate the presence of phthalates.

Parabens in Personal Care Products

Parabens are another concern. They are used as a preservative and are incredibly common in moisturizers, shampoos, conditioners, and makeup. The CDC has found parabens in the systems of virtually every American it has surveyed. In a 2008 study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), all teenaged participants tested positive for two particular parabens: methylparaben and propylparaben.

There is no conclusive evidence that links parabens to cancer, but a European research group found that longer-chain parabens may affect the endocrine system. To spot parabens, look for ingredients that end in “-paraben.”

Formaldehyde in Personal Care Products

That’s right—the chemicals used to preserve your high school science dissection experiment is in your cosmetics, baby shampoo, baby bubble bath, and baby lotion. Formaldehyde causes skin and respiratory irritation at low levels and may cause cancer at high levels.

Unfortunately, it is very difficult to avoid formaldehyde in personal care products. It is usually a byproduct of the manufacturing process, not an intentional ingredient.

Organic products are free of these harmful chemicals. This school year, consider making the switch to safer, all-natural personal care products for yourself and your family. For recommendations for some great products, contact me today or visit www.getgreenwithgene.com!

Here’s to breathing easy and living life to the fullest!

Gene Wood, Life’s Pure Balance