Monthly Archives: July 2011

Easy Recipe: Sweet Potato Fries

17 Jul
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  1 Comments

Sweet potato fries are a staple in our house.  They’re naturally gluten and grain-free, so anyone can eat them.  Most importantly, they are delicious!  Sweet potatoes are a complex carbohydrate which means they digest more slowly than white potatoes and therefore will not cause your blood sugar to spike as easily.

Sweet Potato Nutrients:

  • Great source of beta-carotene
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Manganese
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin B6
  • Potassium
  • Iron
  • Fiber (More fiber than oatmeal if the skin is left on)

Sweet Potato Fries Recipe:
(Serves 4)


  • About 1 1/2 lb sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (very healthy & adds flavor to recipe)
  • sea salt (to taste)
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (raw cheese is always best)


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Cut sweet potatoes into strips that are about 1/4 inch wide on each side.
  • Place the sweet potatoes into a large bowl. Add melted coconut oil, salt, and rosemary. Stir well to thoroughly coat the fries.
  • Stir in 2/3 of the Parmesan. Spread out onto the baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan.
  • Cook for 20-25 minutes, turning halfway through. Fries are done when they are browned around the edges.
  • Enjoy!

Naturally Yours,
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN, CLC

How Your Cosmetics Could Be Damaging Your Health (Part 2)

12 Jul
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  1 Comments

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, if you’re using conventional personal care products, you can absorb almost 5 pounds of chemicals into your body each year.  You and your family deserve much better than that.  All of these chemicals and toxins are man made.  They weren’t here long ago when life was more “simple.”  While technology and advances in research, etc are wonderful, some parts of our lives would be better off if we went back to the way things used to be.  If you read yesterday’s post and felt overwhelmed by how most personal care products are full of toxins and chemicals that are dangerous to your health, then I’m ready to give you a few tips to help you on your new journey.  One of the easiest ways to make sure that your beauty products are safe and free of dangerous toxins are by making them yourself.  Many of these ingredients you may already have in your home.

  • All Natural Moisturizers: My all time favorite moisturizer is coconut oil.  It’s great for cooking and for your hair and skin. It’s also a great source of the beneficial fat lauric acid.  Pure emu oil is another option.
  • All Natural Deodorant: If soap and water isn’t enough for you, than try a pinch of baking soda mixed into water as an effective all-day deodorant.
  • All Natural Acne Fighter:Tea tree oil is a great natural remedy for acne.  It has been shown to have both antibacterial and cosmetic properties.  Another great oil for acne is oregano oil.  Rubbing just a drop of oregano oil on a breakout can speed up the healing and prevent unsightly scarring without resorting to harsh commercial acne medication.

If you prefer to buy natural personal care products but have no idea where to start, then go to your local health food store and ask the sales people for their recommendations.  Before you buy anything, though, always be sure to check the ingredients.  You can also find great deals on natural products on amazon.  Target and Kroger (at least the ones in Nashville) carry natural skincare products as well.  Here is a list of a few safer brands, but make sure you see how each product ranks on EWG’s database mentioned in the next paragraph:

  • Tom’s of Maine
  • Burt’s Bees
  • Neutrogena Naturals (New line, so doesn’t seem to be ranked on EWG yet)
  • Arbonne
  • Boscia
  • Dr. Hauschka
  • Yes To (Carrots, Cucumbers, Blueberries, Tomatoes, etc)
  • Afterglow Cosmetics

To see how your personal skincare products rank in toxicity levels, go to Environmental Working Group’s Skincare Database.  You can type in the name of any product and see how safe it is.  It’s also a great tool to find the best products that are free of toxic chemicals.

I want to end this post with Dr. Mercola’s top guidelines when shopping for natural skincare products:

  • Look for the genuine USDA Organic Seal.
  • If you can’t pronounce it, you probably don’t want to put it on your body. Ask yourself, “Would I eat this?”
  • Look for products that are fragrance-free. One artificial fragrance can contain hundreds — even thousands — of chemicals, and fragrances are a major cause of allergic reactions.
  • Pay attention to the order in which the ingredients are listed. Manufacturers are required to list ingredients in descending order by volume, meaning the first few ingredients are the most prominent. If calendula extract is the last ingredient in a long list, your calendula body wash isn’t very natural.
  • Stick to the basics. Do you really need 20 products to prepare for your day? Simplify your life and rescue your bank account.
  • Buy products that come in glass bottles rather than plastic, since chemicals can leach out of plastics and into the contents. Bisphenol A (BPA) is a serious concern; make sure any plastic container is BPA free.
  • Look for products that are made by companies that are earth-friendly, animal-friendly and green.

If you live in the Nashville area and need help deciphering between what is toxic and what is not, than feel free to set up an appointment with me. I can come into your house and do it for you.

Good luck and try not to get overwhelmed.  ANY toxic chemicals you cut out of your life is a step in the right direction to a healthier you.

Naturally Yours,
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN, CLC




How Your Cosmetics Could Be Damaging Your Health (Part 1)

11 Jul
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  2 Comments

The Story of Cosmetics examines the pervasive use of toxic chemicals in our everyday personal care products, from lipstick to baby shampoo.  This 7 minute film reveals the implications for consumer and worker health and the environment, and outlines ways we can move the industry away from hazardous chemicals and towards safer alternatives.

I consider myself a health advocate, and since we can’t always count on the FDA, I’m here to do my own research to share with you.  About a year and a half ago, I started looking at what I was putting on my body in a whole new light.  Of course I knew that what I put in my body was important, but I had no idea that what I put on my body was even more important.  Your skin is your largest organ and is highly permeable.  What you put on your body does end up in your blood stream, and will therefore be distributed throughout your body.  I love the saying, “don’t put anything on your body that you wouldn’t eat if you had to…”  Dr Mercola, explains it best:

“Putting chemicals on your skin or scalp may actually be worse than eating them. When you eat something, the enzymes in your saliva and stomach help to break it down and flush it out of your body. However, when you put these chemicals on your skin, they are absorbed straight into your bloodstream without filtering of any kind, going directly to your delicate organs.  Once these chemicals find their way into your body, they tend to accumulate over time because you typically lack the necessary enzymes to break them down. When you add up daily exposure over the course of a lifetime, this adds up to an untold amount of chemical exposures.”

While there is a long list of dangerous toxins that appear in personal care products, here are some of the most dangerous ones that you want to avoid:

  • Parabens: Found in deodorants, moisturizers & shampoos. Parabens mimic the action of the female hormone estrogen, which can drive the growth of human breast tumors.
  • Phthalates: Found in, among other things, toys, food packaging, hoses, raincoats, shower curtains, vinyl flooring, wall coverings, lubricants, adhesives, detergents, nail polish, hair spray and shampoo.  Phthalates have been linked to birth defects in the reproductive system of boys and lower sperm-motility in adult men, among other problems.
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate: Found in nearly all shampoos, scalp treatments, hair color and bleaching agents, toothpastes, body washes and cleansers, make-up foundations, liquid hand soaps, laundry detergents and bath oils/bath salts. SLS is carcinogenic.
  • Mineral Oil, Paraffin, and Petroleum: They coat your skin like plastic, clogging pores and creating a build-up of toxins. They also slow cellular development, which can cause you to show earlier signs of aging, and are a suspected cause of cancer and disruption to hormonal activity.
  • Artificial Fragrances: The use of fragrances is unregulated, and there’s no need for manufacturers to specify what type of fragrance they’re using. It could be in the form of harmful cheap synthetic chemicals (which is the rule rather than the exception these days), and all they’re required to do is put “fragrance” on the bottle as an ingredient.  Artificial fragrances can cause asthma and trigger asthma attacks.
  • Toluene: Made from petroleum or coal tar, and found in most synthetic fragrances. Chronic exposure linked to anemia, lowered blood cell count, liver or kidney damage, and may affect a developing fetus.
  • Methylisothiazolinone (MIT): A chemical used in shampoo to prevent bacteria from developing, which may have detrimental effects on your nervous system.

While I completely understand that this can be rather overwhelming if you look at all your products and they contain almost all of these ingredients.  If you need to, take baby steps to cut back/avoid these toxic ingredients.  When you buy new products, make sure you get ones without these ingredients.  Come back tomorrow for tips on how to choose safer products and how to make your own.

Naturally Yours,
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN, CLC

Environmental Working Group