This site is no longer active…

Hello to whoever might be reading this blog. As you can see, my last post was clear back in 2009…and I am no longer actively managing or adding to this blog. I created it while I was still in college for one of my public health class assignments. The posts I wrote mostly contained my opinions about the chosen health topics, and a little bit of research to back it up. Go ahead and read ’em if you’d like to. Just wanted to post an explanation real quick and sign off. I should actually probably shut down the blog, but I secretly hope that people who are trying to find out more about Ear Candling will find my post and not stick those ridiculous things in their ears. That’s my favorite post. Peace out!


Diets=bad news!

I am not a fan of diets. I have no experience with dieting, but I know many people who do and from what I’ve seen it’s not pretty. A diet is usually a quick burst plan that involves a major change in the way you eat and live your life. The diets I’ve seen a few friends do are not sustainable… who wants to give themselves an injection daily and endure mouse sized caloric intake? Not me.

A 2007 UCLA study found that 2/3 of dieters gained back the weight they had lost after six months, and not only that, they gained back more weight than they had lost!

This is my opinion: “diets” that restrict major food groups, that make you live your life in a way that you would not want to live forever, are not effective or sustainable, and sometimes aren’t safe.

This is my philosophy:

  • moderation in all things (if I want a piece of cheesecake I’m going to eat it…. but just one – not 3)
  • try to eat according to recommendations on the food pyramid (I for sure need to replace some things in my diet with more fruits and veggies!)
  • exercise – do things that you enjoy though – hate running? do something else that gets your body moving
  • when you feel like you are exercising and keeping your diet pretty healthy – be comfortable with where your body gets to (Hollywood has distorted our view of what people should look like – everyone will be a different size and shape – there are so many forms of beautiful!)


Vaccinations and Autism… what should we believe?

This is kind of a big topic to approach on one little blog post… so I’ll share with you what I know, what I found, and resources I think are worthwhile in your pursuit to gain knowledge. As a public health major I have been programmed to support and promote vaccinations. The public health field has a list of 10 achievements that it has made, and one of those 10 is vaccinations. There’s a concept called “herd immunity” which basically states that when high amounts of a population are resistant to a disease, that disease will not effect the population as badly because it will not find new hosts as easily. Pretty simple right? Vaccinations help us achieve the protection that herd immunity gives us. It is undeniable that vaccination for many of the diseases (think measles, mumps, rubella, polio, etc.) that used to terrorize populations have now been all but eradicated because of vaccinations.

As far as vaccination and autism… here’s a quick summary of information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Thimerosol is a mercury-containing preservative found in trace amounts in some vaccines and other products. Studies have found no convincing evidence that these small amounts of thimerosol are sufficient to cause harm, however in 1999 thimerosol was reduced in vaccines as a precautionary measure.

A chart summarizing nine studies seeking information on causal relationships between vaccination and autism can be found on the CDC website. None of the studies found a causal link. This is what the CDC says:

“Q: Do vaccines cause autism spectrum disorders (ASDs)?

A: Many studies that have looked at whether there is a relationship between vaccines and autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). To date, the studies continue to show that vaccines are not associated with ASDs.

However, CDC knows that some parents and others still have concerns. To address these concerns, CDC is part of the Inter-Agency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC)External Web Site Icon, which is working with the National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC)External Web Site Icon on this issue. The job of the NVAC is to advise and make recommendations regarding the National Vaccine Program. Communication between the IACC and NVAC will allow each group to share skills and knowledge, improve coordination, and promote better use of research resources on vaccine topics.

As for now I stand in support of scientific findings that vaccinations are safe, until proved otherwise.

Can cocoa butter get rid of stretch marks?


Okay… I haven’t had any children, and I haven’t experience any super speedy weight gain episodes, so I never really considered the need for cocoa butter to cure stretch marks. But when I heard about it I knew I had to investigate.

The scientific term for stretch marks is Striae Distensae. Stretch marks form when the skin stretches too fast (i.e. during pregnancy or fast weight gain) for the collagen (what gives skin its elasticity) to keep up with it. They occur in the deeper part of the skin known as the dermis – even though they look like they are in the epidermis (the outer layer of skin).

And why should cocoa butter help? Cocoa butter is known for its intensive moisturizing properties, and also its ability to get down past the epidermis into the dermis to work its magic. Pretty cool huh? However, cocoa butter has no influence over collagen, which is really the only thing that can fight stretch marks.

So can cocoa butter get rid of stretch marks? No! But wait, it may be able to assist in prevention because its moisturizing properties might help out your collagen a bit. If you’re pregnant and worried about stretch marks, start using it before stretch marks appear. For the best prevention use it along with some collagen boosting stretch mark cream.

Does going out in the cold really give you a “cold”…?

Have you ever heard this statement: “You’d better bundle up before you go outside so that you don’t get a cold!” My grandma, bless her heart, is constantly worried about that. I wear flip flops in the snow. That’s all I have to say about that.

The idea that cold weather was associated with getting the flu came from Louis Pasteur, who in 1878, believed that chicken’s immunity to anthrax came from their high body temperature (avg. 105). He put a chicken in cold water and managed to give it anthrax. The chicken died and he felt like he had proved his point.

chicken Since then much more scientifically sound experiments have been. Men have been bundled up, and kept cold, and caught the flu virus at the same rates.

Contact with an infectious person is a much more important risk factor. I actually caught a cold in the summer once. It felt so wrong! But why do we get colds more in the winter then? We are indoors and in much closer contact during the winter because it’s cold outside.

So… should you be afraid to go out into cold weather because it might make you sick? No! Wash your hands – stay away from infected persons – cover your mouth in the crook of your arm when you sneeze or cough – use hand sanitizer – use antibacterial cleaner in your house – get vaccinated. Amen

You think you can text while you drive?

texting and driving

My teenage sister is very guilty of this. It really scares me. I’ve done a fair amount of research in this area and these are the facts that I feel are relevant:

  • According to a study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, texting while driving is 23 times more likely to get in an accident, and 3 times more likely than driving drunk. Isn’t that incredible?! I know my little sister would never even think of driving drunk, but texting while driving doesn’t even make her think twice.
  • Studies show that texting takes a driver’s eyes away from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, which is enough time to travel the length of a football field going 55 mph. I have a friend who rear ended a car in front of him because he was texting. No one was hurt, but the accident damaged the cars and was 100% attributed to texting.

Do you know the laws in Utah? Here they are:

Utah has one of the toughest texting laws in the nation. An accident in which an injury or fatality occurs because of texting can yield a penalty of up to 15 years in prison, and a fine of $10,000 dollars. This is as severe as the penalty for drunk driving.

A driver who is pulled over for a primary violation like speeding can also be cited for texting and receive a fine of up to $750 and three months in prison.

Seriously, let’s all just stop. It’s unfortunate that it takes laws to make people stop extremely dangerous behaviors. I don’t deserve to be killed because you need to let your friend know about the movie tonight at seven. And vice versa. Spread the word, don’t let your friends and loved ones text and drive.



Will your Nalgene bottle give you cancer?

Nalgene Water Bottles

I like the outdoors. I have liked my Nalgene bottles. But in April 2008 Nalgene temporarily pulled their polycarbonate (plastic) bottles from shelves because of a Canadian report that bisphenol A (which the bottles were made of) caused cancer and increased the risk of other serious health problems.

I hate to subscribe to the pessimistic view that “everything causes cancer”… but I kind of feel that way. Regardless, it’s important to try to to the best that we can to protect our health. So – do we need to be concerned about this? I scoured the Nalgene website and they have attempted to be very transparent and thorough in their discussion, and attempts to educate their customers about this.

Their report is that they still stand by their polycarbonate products, that the BPA contained in them has not yet been proven to be a serious health risk. However, since April 2008 they have produced only BPA free bottles, including aluminum and steel bottles, because of consumer demand. They promise that they will stay on top of emerging research in this area and will do their best to protect the health of their customers.

I clicked on several links that are on their website and found most of them to be dead ends… but if you’re interested it’s worth a look. If nothing else, their FAQ’s are informational.