A Greener Toothbrush

Every so often I re-visit a search for the best eco-friendly XYZ that I can find. For certain items I give up, and settle for the mainstream version again because the product isn’t as eco-friendly as I thought, or it doesn’t perform effectively enough, or it’s just not going to fit into my budget. After a while the bee starts buzzing around in my bonnet again, and enough time has passed that I renew my search, looking for recent innovations and introductions to the marketplace. Such is the case with toothbrushes!

I really dislike using that hunk of plastic & nylon for a few months, then tossing it away to sit in our landfill, while I unwrap a new stick of plastic & nylon to use. About 6 weeks ago I found something new to try: the Green Panda bamboo toothbrush. I really like it! The owners of Green Panda have done their best to create a biodegradable toothbrush that is a pleasure to use. The bristles are soft, which is a big plus for me, and the handle is sturdy & comfortable. You can buy a pack of 4 online, and with the shipping cost it works out to $3 per brush, which is only about 50 cents more than a basic toothbrush from Walgreen’s.

You can read more about them here: http://the-green-panda.com/product-information

Although it may seem like a small, silly thing, finding a better earth alternative for the commonly used items in my everyday life makes me a happier person. I feel that much more aligned & connected with how I want to be in the world.


Massage As The Embodiment of Love

When thinking about massage as the embodiment of love, my 2 favorite definitions for ’embodiment’ were: “to make concrete & perceptible” and “to bring together as a whole.” At its best, massage is love made tangible, bringing an experience of wholeness to both giver & receiver. It can be a gift of love for oneself, as well as a gift that is given to another. When you book an appointment like this for yourself, you are embracing yourself with love. Did you feel that? That warm hug you just imagined giving yourself?   🙂

As a person who is usually giving the massage, I can say that there is plenty of wholeness & gratitude in my experience, too. When I come to the end of a massage or facial, I am in the habit of saying “thank you” to my client. That “thank you” can mean many things. Most often, it means, thank you for allowing yourself to be vulnerable with me, and for trusting me to take good care of you. Thank you for sharing this time with me, where I, too, can slow down, breathe more consciously, use my senses, get comfortable in my body, and listen to its messages.

Wishing you true, deep, abiding love,


Be A Juicy Fruit: Exercise & Skin

Exercise may actually be able to reverse some signs of aging. Yes, I said “reverse!”

There have been a couple of studies done in Canada at McMaster University which suggest that exercise cannot only keep you younger looking, but may be able to reverse some of the sagging and thinning of skin that happens with aging.

Dr. Tarnopolsky is one of the scientists involved in these studies, and was recently quoted in a Time magazine article on the benefits of exercise. In one particular study, people 65 years and older rode a stationary bike, 30 minutes, 3 times a week. That’s thirty minutes, 3 times a week! That’s completely doable for most of us. After 3 months, skin samples examined under a microscope appeared 20-30 years younger. Tarnopolsky says the exercise prevents the deeper layers of the dermis from thinning, and keeps superficial layers (the stratum corneum) from thickening, something that commonly happens in the aging process.

In other words, think of that orange you left sitting on the counter too long. The outer peel became dry, thin, less pliable; that’s the outermost layer of your epidermis. The fruit on the inside gets soft and saggy; that’s your dermis. Exercise can keep your skin juicy, plump, and pliable, like a good looking orange!

So far, it seems the effect is tied to cardiovascular exercise. This will not protect your skin from other factors that lead to wrinkling, such as lacking good quality sleep, or overdoing your sun exposure, so keep up all that good work you’re doing in other areas.

To be even more inspired  with the many benefits of of exercise,  I highly recommend you read the Time article listed below.



Vitamin D: One Size Does Not Fit All

How To Customize Your Vitamin D Production 

Do you want more information about making vitamin D from the sun, and how to do that more effectively and safely? As part of this process, I highly recommend getting tested to see where your vitamin D levels are currently.

Did you know that you need UVB rays in order for your body to manufacture its’ own vitamin D? How close to the equator you live will tell you whether you have enough exposure to UVB rays, and at what times of the year. For instance, in Santa Rosa, California in June we can take advantage of UVB radiation from 10:30 am until about 4pm, but in December there isn’t enough UVB to make our vitamin D even though it may be sunny outside. To calculate the UVB exposure in different places at different times of year, see the end of this post.

There are many, many factors that influence the levels of D in your body. How dark or light your natural skin color is, how much cloud cover there is, your age, whether your body is able to metabolize vitamin D supplements effectively, and whether you have enough cholesterol to make your own vitamin D; these are all considerations. As we get older, for example, our bodies don’t manufacture vitamin D as well, so more frequent short exposure times (bare skin, without sunscreen) may be most effective for minimizing sun damage while maximizing vitamin D production. I’m going to repeat that part: You want to minimize any potential for sun damage.

There is a range in the guidelines given for sun exposure for vitamin D purposes, anywhere from half the amount of time it takes for your skin to begin to burn, to a quarter of the time. So someone with dark skin might be able to stay out in the summertime midday sun for 80 min. before their skin starts to feel the beginning of sunburn. Their vitamin D target time would be somewhere between 20-40 min. 3-4x/week with arms & legs exposed, some torso, too, if possible. Someone with very light skin might only need 4-8 minutes! There is still so much that is unknown, so remember that these guidelines are very theoretical. Get tested to see what’s working best for you. Most people will find that a combination of safe sun exposure with some supplementation works well. Use protective clothing, shade, broad-spectrum sunscreen, etc. to take care of your skin the rest of the time. If your skin is photosensitive due to medication, genetics, or certain skin care products, staying out of the sun & supplementing your vitamin D may be your best option.

Your body can only make so much vitamin D in one day, so keep in mind that moderate, consistent exposure is best. Short term over-exposure and excessive exposure over time is where problems develop.

Health professionals are seeing vitamin D deficiency even in people who spend a lot of time outdoors with the sun on their skin. It has been suggested that we may be washing away our vitamin D with soapy showers after sun exposure. There is a study showing that we convert about 50% of our previtamin D to vitamin D within 2 hrs., and another which demonstrated vitamin D levels peak at about  24 hrs. Current knowledge says that we produce our vitamin D in the layers of our epidermis, but our knowledge is always changing. If it turns out to be true that we produce large amounts of our vitamin D on the surface of our skin, that will make a huge change in post-sun skin care recommendations.

UVB Radiation Calculator

1) Set the month

2) Pick your state

3) Insert City Name

4) Click on ‘Compute Table’

When the results come up, look in the Altitude column. Check the times of day when the altitude is at 50 degrees or greater. This is the span of time in which your body can make vitamin D from the sun’s rays.




How do I get the vitamin D my body needs?

Washing away vitamin D

(See comments after article above: Comment #5, with 2 study citations.)

My Xero Sandals

Without going into the long saga of how ridiculousy picky my feet have become about shoes (it could definitely be a future post,) I wanted to share with you how I tie the Xero sandals I bought last year, just in time for my Hawaii vacation. Xero sandals are a very fun project for the person who loves a DIY challenge. DIY also brings the pleasure of customizing your creation, making it uniquely your own.

How The Salad Bar Is Like Chess

Many of my friends, my clients, and family are interested in eating healthier, and feel challenged by how expensive it can be. When it comes to shopping at the salad bar, where your choices are priced by weight, the key to gustatory and monetary victory is a strategy focused on nutrient density and light weight.

I recently bought myself lunch at the Whole Foods salad bar, and achieved what I believe is a personal best. 🙂 I went for some good sized chunks of roasted turkey, and balanced out the weightiness with some green salad and a side of quinoa. I did not let myself be distracted by the comforting, but heavy, familiarity of the brown rice, or lured by the liquid-soaked artichoke hearts. Dressed with lemon juice, organic olive oil, and Real Salt, it was completely satisfying, and the grand total was $4.80! Take heart, and think like a chess player, a very healthy chess player.

Need Zero VOC Paint? Get Mythic.

In the realm of Sensitive Souls, stinky fumes from painting are a big deal. My sweetheart and I once went to Kelly Moore paints, forked up the extra $$ to buy their low-VOC paint for our bedroom, and I still wound up with fog brain and achy head.  I was down for the count, and he had to finish the painting by himself. He also was not impressed with how much was needed for adequate coverage.

When we needed to do some exterior painting for the garden, I still wanted something environmentally friendly, something that could be in contact with the soil growing our vegetables without creeping me out at the thought of what might be leaching into our edibles. We chose Mythic, and it has performed like a champ.

In our household, I am the one willing to sacrifice a bit of performance in order to gain some eco peace-of-mind. My man does all types of maintenance and construction as his livelihood, and superior performance will almost always win out over eco-friendliness. He gives Mythic two thumbs up, my friends. The exterior paint held up fabulously, only now starting to show some wear and staining after sitting in the ground for several years. Coverage was fantastic, and odor absolutely minimal on our enclosed porch. It is quite pricey, but because it performed so well on all other counts, it would be my first choice for future projects.

We are lucky to be within easy driving distance of Sebastopol Ace Hardware, which sells Mythic paint. This hardware store has a Super Saturday Sale the first Saturday of every month, and that is how we saved 20% on our Mythic. Although we did not give the paint the ultimate odor test by painting an interior room, my friend Natasha Stocker, the owner and principal interior designer of Inspired Spaces, says that Mythic paint has performed admirably for her in the past, and she recommends it for the scent-sensitive.