How To Find Safe Cosmetics In A Toxic World

How many products did you put on your body today? Shampoos, deodorants, lotions, and soaps promise to make us feel shiny, fresh, soft and clean. But how clean are these products, really?

Here are 10 Big Ideas  you should know before you put on a cosmetic product by Stacy Malkan. Stacy  is co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and author of the award-winning book Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty IndustryShe is a leading advocate for safer products, healthy food and clean production.

Top 10 Big Ideas  Healthy Skin: Put Your Best Face Forward


Now that we have some perspective and a little  context, another resource is Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me: A unique guide to skin care and makeup products from today’s hottest brands. by Paula Begoun. Paula names names and rates brands in this encyclopedic tome. If you’ve ever bought a brand of cosmetic and wondered just how it stacks up in the world of branded products, this is for you.

It’s still a buyer beware world to navigate. Part of playing the “Is It Healthy?” Game is to be more informed. The more we are,  the savvier and happier a buyer we’ll be. That’s especially true when cosmetics talks turn ugly.

skewed image of woman fashion modelIf you’ve ever considered that maybe not all that’s glamorous is good for us, then see what happens when the imagine clothes for models.

Perhaps there’s something else going on when it comes to how the media treated women this year.

Here’s five minutes of what the media actually does to women. Pervasive media, impossible standards and photoshop are all that’s needed. It’s not wonder cosmetics is such big business.


Fenugreek Seed Extract Improves Sexual Desire In Women

A New Extract for Low Libido In Women Study: LibifemTM Improves Sexual Desire in Women

Female hyposexual desire disorder, or female loss of libido, is widely prevalent, affecting one out of every four women. It is associated with severe effects, including depression, anxiety, stress, relationship difficulties, separation and divorce.

A clinical study was conducted in Australia in 2012 under the auspices of the University of Queensland to test the efficacy of LibifemTM, or Trigonella foenum-graecum, fenugreek seed extract. Libifem is known for its aphrodisiac properties and is offered as an ingredient by Gencor. The study explored whether Libifem could safely and naturally restore a woman’s healthy libido, sexual vitality and desire.


Researchers selected 80 women aged 21 to 49 years to participate in the double-blind, randomized, placebo controlled study. Participants were required to be healthy, with regular menstrual cycles and in stable monogomous relationships that they perceived to be secure and communicative. Those who were pregnant, depressed or taking prescription medications other than oral contraceptives were excluded. Sexual functioning was measured using the DISF-SR (female) QOL. Total score and domain scores were measured at baseline, four and eight weeks. Stress, fatigue and quality of the relationship were also measured. The study took place in Brisbane, Australia.


The total sexual functioning score increased significantly in those receiving Libifem compared to the control group at the one- and two-month data collection points. Sub-analysis showed significant increases in five domains, including sexual cognition, sexual arousal, sexual experience, orgasm and sexual drive/relationship at both one and two months in the group that received Libifem. No significant difference was detected in the placebo group. Hormone profiles, blood chemistry, cholesterol and liver function tests showed no difference between groups. The product was well-tolerated and no significant difference in metabolic or health parameters was observed. Reductions in perceived self-reported fatigue level were noted in the Libifem group.


Researchers concluded that Libifem has a positive effect in enhancing libido in healthy, menstruating women in stable relationships. They noted positive changes for physiological aspects and psychosocial aspects of libido, as well as fatigue reduction.

In summary, Libifem offers a scientifically supported option for women who wish to increase their sexual desire. It is a natural product, and easy to use in product formulations.

Libifem is an extract of fenugreek, a traditional but relatively unknown remedy for sexual dysfunction, standardized to Fenuside™, Gencor’s trade name for a group of furostanol saponins. Fenugreek extracts have a long history of safe use.

About Gencor

Gencor supplies value-added, science driven ingredients that are designed to improve quality of life for consumers in a broad range of life stages. Rooted in ayurvedic tradition, Gencor specializes in herbal extracts manufactured under GMP compliance. Gencor markets specialized ingredients in more than 50 countries worldwide.

For more information, visit


Steels E, Rao A, Vitetta L. Influence of Libifem, a Specialized Extract of Trigonella foenum-graecum (Fenugreek) on sexual function, hormones and metabolism in healthy menstruating women in a randomized, placebo-controlled study. Pending publication.

Other Studies with Trigonella foenum-graecum

Fenugreek plant and seeds








Stepping Up To The Obesity Challenge

Time to Weigh InObesity isn’t a topic most Americans want to face up to, especially on Thanksgiving. For many Americans, the traditional food binge brings up things  like elastic waistbands and antacids to be grateful for.

Workers compensation insurers can  no longer avoid the rise in obesity. Workers compensation insurers have enormous (literally and figuratively) opportunities to carve out effective loss prevention and wellness strategies. Getting out of the market isn’t the answer.  So what is?

Playing the “Is It Healthy?” Game is the answer. When business, government and citizens commit to mastering the game, we’ll see how quickly new opportunities for health and wellness emerge.

In the meantime, here are some tips to weight loss that have actually been proven to work. I’m not talking about the no-brainers like watch your diet and exercise. These tips are  about training yourself to recognize your own internal cues for hunger. It’s the first step to having your willpower work. Once we recognize what’s going on with us, there’s no reason to battle with will power. Getting present to choice in the moment is a key to successful weight management. What a concept.


To Instill Willpower, Sniff, Nibble and Have A Nice Long Look

Research has shown that training kids to resist food cravings is the only useful strategy for losing weight. The key is training the brain to resist temptations by paying attention to internal states rather than external triggers from the environment.  Check out the video.



Two novel treatments to reduce overeating in overweight children: A randomized controlled trial.

So enjoy your Thanksgiving and all the great food that goes with it. Just pay attention to whether you’re actually hungry. If not, step away from the table.

At These Public Schools, Cafeteria Food Is Healthy, Tasty—and Locavore

October 25, 2013 / Written by Hannah Wallace

Portland, Oregon

It turns out that kids can actually tell when food tastes good.  Portland Public Schools, which feeds roughly 20,000 students a day, launched “Harvest of the Month” in 2007, featuring an Oregon-grown fruit or vegetable on the menu twice a month. Today, 32% of the food served in Portland cafeterias is regionally sourced—and nutrition services director Gitta Grether-Sweeney plans on increasing it even more with the help of two recent grants, one from the USDA. This is a typical meal of homemade pizza with whole-wheat crust (made from wheat harvested by Shepherd’s Grain cooperative in Washington), multi-hued cauliflower (this year from a farm in Northern California), and a Hood River pear.

 School cafeteria food gets a bad rap. But the truth is, as the national farm to school movement has taken off over the past few years, schools have begun sourcing the sort of high-quality ingredients you see at your local farmers’ market. At public school lunch rooms around the country, it’s now possible to taste dishes like shrimp cocktail (with homemade cocktail sauce), grass-fed burgers with roasted potatoes, and burrito bowls with local veggies and antibiotic-free chicken. Realizing how vital farm-to-school programs are to local economies, state governments from Alaska to Texas are encouraging regional purchasing, in some cases doling out grants to districts that want to buy more local and regional food.

The Obama administration has stepped up its support, hiring a director of farm-to-school at the United States Department of Agriculture and, last fall, allocating $4.5 million in grants to 68 projects that connect school cafeterias with local agricultural producers. In fact, according to just-released Census figures from the USDA, 38,629 schools across the U.S. are buying local food and teaching kids where their food comes from. And then there are nonprofits like FoodCorps, which deploys idealistic young service members—125 of them at last count—to 15 states to teach kids about healthy food, instruct them in gardening and cooking, and help school food directors get more local food into schools (including, sometimes, the very produce kids grow themselves).

Since October is National Farm to School Month, we decided to showcase some of the yummiest locally sourced cafeteria meals out there. We bet you’ll take a second look at your kid’s cafeteria—and maybe even join her for lunch some day soon.

Eating Nuts Reduces Death Risk

From the Harvard Gazette:

Research Also Shows People Who Eat Nuts Weigh Less

November 21, 2013 | Popular
One Once of Nuts


According to the largest study of its kind, people who ate a daily handful of nuts were 20 percent less likely to die from any cause over a 30-year period than those who didn’t consume nuts, say scientists from the Harvard-affiliated Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Harvard School of Public Health.

Their report, published in the New England Journal of Medicine,contains further good news: The regular nut-eaters were found to be more slender than those who didn’t eat nuts, a finding that should alleviate fears that eating a lot of nuts will lead to overweight.

The report also looked at the protective effect on specific causes of death.

“The most obvious benefit was a reduction of 29 percent in deaths from heart disease — the major killer of people in America,” said Charles S. Fuchs, director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Treatment Center at Dana-Farber, who is the senior author of the report and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

“But we also saw a significant reduction — 11 percent — in the risk of dying from cancer,” added Fuchs, who is also affiliated with the Channing Division of Network Medicine at Brigham and Women’s.

Whether any specific type or types of nuts were crucial to the protective effect could not be determined. However, the reduction in mortality was similar both for peanuts (a legume, or ground nut) and for tree nuts — walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamias, pecans, pistachios, and pine nuts.

Several previous studies had found an association between increasing nut consumption and a lower risk of diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, gallstones, and diverticulitis. Higher nut consumption also has been linked to reductions in cholesterol levels, oxidative stress, inflammation, adiposity, and insulin resistance. Some small studies have linked an increase of nuts in the diet to lower total mortality in specific populations. But no previous research studies had looked in such detail at various levels of nut consumption and their effects on overall mortality in a large population that was followed for more than 30 years.

For the new research, the scientists were able to tap databases from two well-known, ongoing observational studies that collect data on diet and other lifestyle factors and various health outcomes. The Nurses’ Health Study provided data on 76,464 women between 1980 and 2010, and the Health Professionals’ Follow-Up Study yielded data on 42,498 men from 1986 to 2010. Participants in the studies filled out detailed food questionnaires every two to four years. With each questionnaire, participants were asked to estimate how often they consumed nuts in a serving size of one ounce. A typical small packet of peanuts from a vending machine contains one ounce.

Sophisticated data analysis methods were used to rule out other factors that might have accounted for the mortality benefits. For example, the researchers found that individuals who ate more nuts were leaner, less likely to smoke, and more likely to exercise, use multivitamin supplements, consume more fruits and vegetables, and drink more alcohol. However, analysis was able to isolate the association between nuts and mortality independently of these other factors.

“In all these analyses, the more nuts people ate, the less likely they were to die over the 30-year follow-up period,” explained Ying Bao of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, first author of the report. Those who ate nuts less than once a week had a 7 percent reduction in mortality; once a week, 11 percent reduction; two to four times per week, 13 percent reduction; five to six times per week, 15 percent reduction; and seven or more times a week, a 20 percent reduction in death rate.

The authors noted that this large study cannot definitively prove cause and effect; nonetheless, the findings are strongly consistent with “a wealth of existing observational and clinical trial data to support health benefits of nut consumption on many chronic diseases.” In fact, based on previous studies, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration concluded in 2003 that eating 1½ ounces per day of most nuts “may reduce the risk of heart disease.”

The study was supported by National Institutes of Health and a research grant from the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research & Education Foundation.

See Also:

Nuts For Nutrition

Nut Butter Primer



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