Thursday, July 16, 2009

Article About Us in City Paper!

There's a great article about us in this week's City Paper, if you haven't picked one up yet you can read it here.

It's mainly about our new website, Food Under Foot, and the bounty of Wild Edible Plants (especially these warm summer days.)

Check it out
if you get a chance.


~ Melissa and Dave Sokulski

Birch Center for Health

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fundraiser for Daniel Patch: Screening of God Grew Tired of Us

God Grew Tired of Us, The Movie
Film Screening and Fundraiser for Daniel Patch

We noticed a lot of interest in a flyer that was posted in our office, about a fundraiser that is coming up Saturday, July 11. It is a screening of the movie God Grew Tired Of Us, and Daniel Patch - one of the film's subjects and someone many people know from Whole Foods, where he works in the produce department - will be in attendance to talk about his experience. The hope for the fundraiser is to help Daniel bring his family safely to American from the Sudan, and if you want to attend the screening or help in any way, the information is below.

July 11, 2009 7 PM

2534 Mount Royal Road
Squirrel Hill, 15217

RSVP: Cayce Mell at (724) 689-5790

Please join us for a screening of the powerful film: God Grew Tired Of Us.

Daniel Patch (one of the film's subjects, some may know him from Whole Foods where he works in the produce department) will be in attendance to talk about his experiences.

Our hope is to raise funds to help Daniel reunite with is family members who survived the war in Sudan, and to assist Daniel in bringing his family to safety here in America.

RSVP: Cayce Mell, (724) 689-5790
* If you can't make the screening but would like to help Daniel by offering a donation, please call Cayce at the number above. 100% of the proceeds go directly to helping Daniel and his family. Thank you.*

Monday, July 6, 2009

Enjoy the Sun (And Leave Harmful Sunscreens Behind)

David Sokulski
Enjoy the Sun (and Leave Harmful Sunscreens Behind)
by David Sokulski, L.Ac.

The sun has many health benefits, and most sunscreens contain chemicals that are extremely damaging to your health.

The benefits of sunlight are many, including:

  • Supplies the body with vitamin D, which promotes the absorption of Calcium and transfers Calcium across cell membranes, thus strengthening the bones
  • Lowers blood cholesterol
  • Prevents infections from bacteria, mold, and viruses
  • Increases white blood cell count and gamma globulin count, thus enhancing the immune system
  • Strengthens the heart and cardiovascular system.
Sunlight aids in preventing:

  • Seasonal Affective Disorder
  • Osteoporosis
  • Depression and Anxiety
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Cancers of the bladder, breast, cervix, ovaries, colon, prostate and stomach.
However, you don't want to get too much sun, and avoid getting burned. Be careful to do this naturally, though, and avoid using commercial sunscreens, which are loaded with harmful chemicals that are not approved by the FDA (but don't have to be, since they are applied to the skin.)

One such chemical is called oxybenzone, which has been linked in studies to allergies, hormone disruption, cell damage, and low birth weight in girls whose moms were exposed during pregnancy. Oxybenzone is actually a penetration enhancer, which means it aids in helping get itself and other chemicals into your body through your skin.

The Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database web site lists 1270 sunscreens for use by adults, children and even babies which contain oxybenzone. Among the worst on the list are sunscreens specifically made for babies, so please check this list out.

(This article has full details about oxybenzone and where to go for a list of safe sunscreens.)

Sunscreens, even organic sunscreens, may also contain titanium oxide, which can cause heavy metal poisoning and cell damage, especially in young children.

Things you can do to stay protected from sunburns but enjoy the sun's amazing rays and health benefits are:

  • Do not eat deep fried foods and fast foods. Unhealthy fats in our system enhance likelihood of sunburn.
  • Eat healthy oils, like coconut oil and omega three oils such as flax oil.
  • Avoid being out in the sun during the hottest times of the day.
  • If out and you feel you are getting too much sun, cover up with a long sleeved shirt and a hat.
  • Use a pure oil on the skin, such as coconut oil or jojoba oil. This keeps the skin from drying out and jojoba has a natural SPF of 15.
Be smart in the sun, but please enjoy this gift of summer (and all seasons), and learn to avoid putting toxic chemicals on your skin. It's better for you, your children, those around you, and the environment.

Here, again, is list of helpful references and links:

Also, please visit our blog for the latest links and information.


David Sokulski. L.Ac.
Birch Center for Health