Essential oils have become a craze. Every time I turn around there’s someone talking or writing something about essential oils. As a pharmacist, it’s a trend that has me a bit concerned. I’m not completely against using essential oils, but I do have a problem with how they’re being marketed and some of the ways which people are using them.
Natural versus Synthetic
There’s definitely been a trend towards using more natural products and fewer synthetic (man-made) products. We’re becoming more aware of how some synthetic products are affecting the environment around us and our health. In many situations, that’s a change I applaud, support, and have been making myself in certain capacities. There is no doubt that there are many dangerous synthetic chemicals that should be avoided. I switched to using standard chemical cleaners to using Norwex because a) using primarily water and microfiber cloths to clean my house is safer than using cleaning chemicals and b) often, I’ve found the Norwex products to be more effective than the chemicals. As a pharmacist, I’ve been trained to think about drugs and chemicals in those two ways: safety and effectiveness. If a chemical is safe for human use, but not effective, there’s not any use in it! If a chemical is effective, but not safe, then you need to weigh the risks and the benefits before use.
First of all, let’s realize that you cannot eliminate chemicals. Organic chemistry is at the basis of biology. A chemical, by definition, is two or more atoms joined together through a chemical bond. Everything around you can be broken down into various chemical components, which can then be broken down into atoms. Even water is a chemical!
To be completely honest, just about every chemical can be harmful to some degree, it’s just dependent on the dose or exposure level, and whether it is doing more harm than good. Let’s look at a couple of examples:
-Water: in general, water is very safe for human use and consumption. However, excessive water consumption can lead to a condition called hyponatremia, which can be fatal.
-Chemotherapy: the drugs used in chemotherapy are very toxic and can cause a lot of health problems. However, we use them at specific doses in patients with cancer as a medicine that can help save their lives. The side effects of chemotherapy are all evidence of the toxicity, but overall the result in patients with cancer can be more good than harm.
Whether a chemical is natural or synthetic is irrelevant with regard to it’s safety to humans (or our pets!). There are plenty of really nasty natural chemicals that we try to avoid all the time! Continue reading A Discussion About Essential Oils
First of all – thank you everyone who reached out to me with encouragement after yesterday’s post. When I first mentioned that I had ordered a FitBit on social media, I got so many positive responses from FitBit owners. I haven’t come across anyone with anything negative to say, and I now I can see why. I’ve fallen in love with this tiny little device!
Picking a Model
When you go to the FitBit website, you can see the summary of all their tracking products:
I pretty much knew I wanted one of the “Everyday Fitness” products. The ChargeHR and Surge have features I simply didn’t want or need, like continuous heart rate moniorting, GPS tracking, and caller ID. I’m sure it’s great for some people, but that’s not what I was looking for in a device. When you’re looking at the “Everyday Fitness” devices, they all have a different combination of features. Obviously all of them track your steps! If you’re just looking to track steps, the Zip is probably for you. It’s also the least expensive model at $60. The One and the Flex are both at the same price point ($100) but have different features. Both of them add sleep tracking, which I think is a cool feature. The One also tracks the number of floors you’ve climbed, which I thought was another cool tracking feature. When you compare the products on the website, it says that the Flex tracks active minutes, whereas it doesn’t show that feature for the One. While I can’t see “active minutes” directly on my One’s interface, I can see it on the mobile app and on my desktop dashboard….so it seems to track it anyway. Go figure. The Charge is higher in price than the One and Flex, at $130. It has the floors climbed feature along with sleep tracking and active minutes tracking. Additionally, it adds a caller ID feature. Continue reading FitBit One Review
Last week, I ordered us FitBits. I don’t really know where the idea came from. Maybe it was the realization that we’re going to have another wedding to go to this summer, maybe it was the thought of seeing my old high school friends for the first time in 10 years this fall. Maybe it was seeing my friend’s new treadmill. Maybe something in my crazy brain just got tired of the way things are right now. For whatever reason, somehow I decided I should look into getting a FitBit.
The plain and simple truth is that I am not at a healthy weight, and I haven’t been for a while now.
I’ve heard a lot of people say that they’ve struggled with their weight all their life, but that really wasn’t the case for me. I was a really active kid. I grew up playing soccer (outdoor and indoor), running cross country and track, and I even played basketball one year. Don’t forget the fact that I used to be a competitive golfer. During my senior year of high school I spent 3 – 4 hours each day training at the golf course and 1 – 2 hours in the gym, and I did that 5 days a week. When I graduated in May my 5’6” frame was a lean 135 lbs with 14% body fat. For a woman that age, I was on the low end of healthy, and was told that it would be unhealthy for me to let my body fat percentage get any lower. Continue reading Getting Candid about Weight and Health