As part of the healthystuff.org project, researchers from The Ecology Center recently tested more than 100 Halloween-themed items including costumes, treat bags and decorations available from well-known retailers. The scary part? Those products contained an alarming number of hidden toxins, including brominated flame retardants, lead, phthalates and tin compounds—all of which have been linked to developmental and behavioral problems in children. Click here to read more.
5 Quick Tips for a Safe and Healthy Halloween:
- Decorate Naturally. Use pumpkins, gourds and hay bales to create a haunting scene, and try to reuse holiday decorations from year to year. Choose fragrance-free candles made from bee, palm or soy wax to avoid petroleum byproducts.
- Create Low-impact Costumes for Kids. Rather than choosing a store-bought costume, get creative with items you already own or can get used from a local resale shop or from friends. Consider organizing a costume swap at your child’s school.
- Choose Play Makeup Carefully. Children love to wear colorful cosmetics as part of their costumes. If they do, make sure they use safe, non-toxic products and apply them as directed.
- Skip the Hairspray. Kids can easily breathe in sprays, many of which contain toxic chemicals, colors and fragrances. Find a great hat or wig instead, or create a fun hair-do with ribbons, barrettes and safer, non-spray hair products.
- Avoid Synthetic Facemasks and Teeth. Masks and fake teeth are made from a variety of synthetic materials that aren’t always labeled. Plastics may be softened with endocrine-disrupting phthalates. Make your own mask instead from simple materials; masquerade-style masks are fun to create with kids.
Still skipping breakfast to lose weight? A new study published this month in Nutrition Journal makes an important point: it’s not whether or not you eat breakfast, but what you eat for breakfast that makes all the difference.
Researchers from the University of Missouri recently monitored women between the ages of 18 and 55 to determine how eating (or not eating) breakfast affected blood glucose and insulin control throughout the day. Participants ate one of three different meal options—a pancake meal with three grams of protein (high-carb, low-protein); a sausage and egg breakfast skillet with 30 grams of protein (high-protein); or a sausage and egg breakfast skillet with 39 grams protein (highest-protein)—or only water.
After analyzing the results, the research team found that eating a high-protein breakfast was most effective for helping to maintain healthy blood sugar levels and control cravings (especially for sweets) later in the day. Higher amounts of protein were directly linked to fewer post-meal spikes in blood sugar and associated with healthy weight management and a reduced risk of developing diabetes. In contrast, the high-carb and water-only groups showed frequent spikes in blood sugar a steady rise in cravings throughout the day.
Need a delicious, protein-packed breakfast idea? Try this Savory Salmon Frittata recipe!
Savory Salmon Frittata
1 tsp. coconut oil
¼ cup sweet onion, diced
¼ cup (fresh or frozen) steamed corn kernels
One 4-oz. can salmon, drained
1 ripe tomato, diced
¼ cup red bell pepper, chopped
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 cups fresh spinach, stems trimmed
¼ cup avocado, sliced
¼ cup salsa
1 tbsp. fresh mint or basil leaves, chopped
Pinch of salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp. shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
Directions: Preheat broiler. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat coconut oil over medium heat. Add onion; cook until softened (about 3 minutes). Add corn, salmon, tomato, and bell pepper; gently stir and continue to cook about 4 minutes more. Pour eggs over mixture; cook on medium heat for another 4 minutes. Place skillet in broiler; broil 1 to 2 minutes until the eggs are light golden brown on top (watch carefully). Remove from broiler, cut frittata into wedges and serve over spinach. Top with avocado and salsa (and cheese, if desired). Sprinkle with fresh herbs, salt, and pepper.