1. I've heard that conventional sunscreen is 'bad for you', what can I use instead?
Yep. Several reports have come out over the last number of years linking chemical ingredients like oxybenzone, phthalates, parabens, and benzophenone to cancer and endocrine disruption. The hormone interference can even be linked to infertility of both humans and exposed wildlife. There are other concerns with nanoparticles in some of the physical sun blockers (e.g. zinc oxide, titanium dioxide) and these should not be inhaled (careful with sprays). You can read some more from the Environmental Working Group here.
There are several options on the market (e.g. Green Beaver, Think) that provide physical barrier protection from the sun. My preference is for zinc oxide based, but these do require regular application and can leave a white colour behind. I do not recommend complete sun avoidance, we are solar powered after all, but you can lessen time spent in direct sunlight during peak hours if you are sensitive. Topical coconut oil has an SPF of about 4 or 5 - not enough for a day at the beach, but perhaps could help during your day-to-day sun exposure.
Also keep in mind that eating foods rich in antioxidants, polyphenols, and healthy oils (not seed oils), can help limit burning. You can read more about my thoughts on this here.
2. Is it me, or there more Mosquitoes & Ticks than usual?
Gosh, there seems to be a bumper crop this year. Some people are reporting that their usual repellents haven't been working. Conventional bug sprays could be harmful to your microbiome, hormones, and beneficial insects. I suggest covering up exposed skin especially walking in long grass. People have reported various success with different essential oils like: lemon eucalyptus, geranium, thyme, cedarwood, and lavender, to name a few. You might have to play around with them to see what works for you.
If you've ever wondered why the bugs gravitate to you, while leaving others unbothered, you can think about your B vitamin status (especially B1 thiamine), or whether you need to do a detox.
3. How does my eating and drinking change for the summer?
As fresh produce becomes available we tend to naturally shift towards eating raw fruits and vegetables. We expanded our garden at home again this year and hope to not need to purchase lettuce or greens at all this summer (and definitely not tomatoes!). Take advantage of local and flavourful seasonal items like strawberries, peaches, cherries, and melons as they become ripe. With respect to Traditional Chinese Medicine, we can tolerate raw foods in the summertime, but require more cooked foods in the winter. This is the ideal season to enjoy salads!
Getting enough water to replace what we lose in sweat is key at this time of year. Consider adding electrolytes to your water for added absorption (getting water into the cells). Another tip is to make an herbal tea, allow it to cool, and drink it as an iced beverage. You can also do juicy fruits and smoothies for extra hydration.
Here's a guide:
Body Weight in pounds divided by 2 is the number of ounces of water you roughly need
eg. 150 lbs / 2 = 75 ounces (2.2 litres) water
The body gets the signal for hunger much quicker than the cue for thirst. Next time you feel a hunger pang try a glass of water first, sometimes we think we are hungry when really it is merely the first signs of dehydration. Fresh water allows our body to work better, rids the body of toxins, and keeps our cells plump (in a good way). Some of our summer indulgences like pina coladas and beer are dehydrating to the body and we need to be mindful of our water balance.
3. My summer is already full and it hasn't even started! Eeek!!
For many, summer can be a time for vacation, but the extra daylight can make it easy to stay up later and get up earlier. Keep in mind you still need time for recovery, or else you may find your fun-filled summer catching up with you in September. (If this often happens to you where you get sick every September, let me know, we can soften this by starting a plan in August!) Have a look at your (probably full) calendar and block off small chunks for chilling. Also, book your self care time - massages, acupuncture treatments, chiropractic adjustments, hydrotherapy spa days (I hear the new one in Barrie is amazing!) :)
4. Do I still need to take....?
If you have been supplementing vitamin D through the winter, I suggest testing it again to see what you require for the summer. Everyone is different, and some people don't get a lot of sunlight even during the warmer months. Once we have a feel for your body's needs, my general recommendation is to test Vitamin D in July or August (your high point for the year), and again in January or February (the low point), in order to gauge dosing.
Some people opt for supplement breaks in the summer. We should discuss this together and adjust each season as your needs change. For example, you might not need immune support in July like you do in November... Your adrenals might be less taxed on vacation (or more stressed, depending on where you go and who you are with! lol) ... Your liver could use some extra help breaking down alcohol and BBQ'ed foods .... Your digestion might benefit from some assistance with ice cream and bread... It's all individual ;)
5. Are you available for appointments this summer?
Yes I am! I do have some vacation time at the beginning of August (the 4-14th) and some sporadic family commitments, but I will be available to help you with your health goals. Book online or give us a call to set up your appointment times.
I am also going to run a summer wellness group to keep on track with simple strategies and meal ideas, stay tuned for more details coming very soon.
Wishing you a lovely and fun-filled summer!
See you soon,
P.S. Another Important Update
There are proposed changes to Natural Health Products in Canada. Canadian supplement regulations are some of the most rigorous in the world. This aspect is not changing; however, the fees to register products could increase significantly (making them comparable to pharmaceutical products). If you are like over 70% of Canadians, you are using at least one natural health product - from vitamins, to supplements, to herbal remedies, to homeopathics, to personal care products like toothpaste, sunscreen and deodorant.
In order to maintain access to and affordability of these products, consider contacting your local MP.
You can read more about it here.
The dramatic increase in fees to Natural Health Products would impact your access, would lessen the number of locally manufactured products, put additional pressure on a taxed health care system if supportive and preventative options are unavailable, limit choice and brand options within the market, and lessen opportunity for new innovative products to be developed. Read more on the Save Our Supplements website (link above).