Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Silk Soymilk is No Longer Organic

Dean Foods pulls bait-and-switch on "organic" Silk soymilk

Wow, this tactic seems eerily similar to Burt's Bees quiet hair conditioner ingredients change, which I ranted about last month.

If you care about the ingredients in the products you buy, always, always, always check the labeling when you buy it...even if you've been buying the same product for years! It just may not be the same product next time you purchase it...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

November is National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month

Like the subject of this post says, this month is National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness month.

Just by coincidence, I happen to be writing a series of articles about natural remedies for Alzheimer's disease. The first article, published 3 days ago, is about a compound in olive oil called oleocanthal that may prevent (and perhaps even treat) this common form of dementia. Current research results look promising.

I am now working on another piece regarding ginkgo. Research for this one has been a bit tedious. Results of its efficacy against Alzheimer's seemed very mixed, with a disappointing number of papers concluding that it is not useful. Only a few minutes ago did I realize that 1...2...3...4 of the negative studies that I read were all the same study, but several different academic journals reported it! I'm very glad I am spending the extra time looking through the research. After culling out all of the repeats, what I am left with is one very large, very well organized government-sponsored study that demonstrates no effectiveness for ginkgo and several small studies that show more promising, positive results.

I'm wrapping up the piece now and hope to have it up before I retire for the night. I must have spent 6 hours on this article altogether. What a job!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Honey Article Up!

My article, Honey as Wound Therapy, is now up. Very exciting stuff. I'll have to send a link to the nurse educator at my hospital, because I think we would really benefit from it. (We get a lot of patients with surgical wounds, bed sores, and ulcers -- a good deal of them are infected.)

Applied for a feature writer position at Suite101. Crossing my fingers. X!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Honey as a Wound Dressing

The research supporting honey as an effective wound-healing agent is compelling...and plentiful. Just go to and search "honey wound," and you may see what I mean! The search results will come up sorted by date. I've only scanned over the first page of results (20 hits), and I am still in 2009. Wow. o.O

Not only did honey have remarkable healing effects in a study on rats, it also seems to be safer than standard silver treatments used for infected wounds (the very expensive kind we use at the hospital I work at). It doesn't, you know, kill good cells.

Beginning work on a new Suite101 article on this subject. With so much strong, positive research, this is going to be a lot of fun to write!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Burt's Bees Response

Dear Christie:

Thank you for contacting us with your inquiry, Phenoxyethanol is a
preservative that is neither a paraben nor a formaldehyde-donor. We use
Phenoxyethanol sometimes in high water content products to stop bacteria
and mold growth to ensure the safety of the product. We are currently
looking for other natural alternatives but until we find ones that work
and can ensure that our product is safe for the consumer, we feel that
Phenoxyethanol is the safest preservative available. However, we would
never use Parabens or Formaldehyde-Donor preservatives such as DMDM
Hydantoin since these have suspected health risks associated with them.

We understand if you are disappointed with this decision, but we felt it
necessary in order to sustain the quality of the product and to ensure
the safety of our consumer. We would love to answer any additional
questions and or concerns that you may have, please feel free to contact

Best Regards,

Tiffany K.

Consumer Care Specialist
Burt's Bees Inc
1-800-849-7112 option 2, then 1
Mon-Fri 10am-4:30pm EST

Well, I'm hardly satisfied with that response. It doesn't explain the entire formula change for the product. I'll give Dr. Bronner's a try.

Lesson learned? Even when buying a product from a trusted brand, always check the ingredients -- even if it's the same product you've been purchasing for years. Apparently, they can just change the recipe on a whim without notice. Meh.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Amazing Honey, and the Endangered Bees That Produce It

Over the course of this year, I've developed a real fondness for honey. The stuff is amazing. Every variety tastes different -- from the sunny sweetness of orange blossom honey to the dark syrupy flavor of blackberry honey. It preserves itself. It has natural antibacterial properties. It helps to heal wounds. (For more on the antibacterial properties of honey and other bee products, I have an article up at eHow. I'm working on another for Suite101 regarding its wound healing properties.)

Imagine my dismay when I learned that honeybees are endangered.

I found it hard to believe, but they are. Since the 1980s, mite infestations have been contributing to a great bee die-off. According to the New York Times and PBS, they are disappearing from the wild, and farmed bees are not fairing much better. Without bees, there will be no honey or honey products, no beeswax, and a huge drop in agriculture pollination -- not to mention a score of other effects.

I am a bit bemused by the fact that this plight is not well known to the public. I continue to buy my pounds and pounds of honey (I go through this stuff almost faster than I go through oatmeal) as if nothing is going on.

What will we do if we just wake up one day...and the bees are gone?

Kinda scares me. o.0

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Dear Burt's Bees,

Greetings. I am a naturally-minded registered nurse and health writer/blogger -- and I am a fan of your products. Finding natural lotions and hair care products (much less, ones that work for me!) has been a challenge, but I have come to count on your products as effective, widely available, and -- most important -- natural. I regularly use your More Moisture Conditioner, and think that it is very clever that you use glucose oxidase and lactoperoxidase -- naturally occurring oxidizing enzymes found in honey and milk -- to preserve your products. Ingenious!

Perhaps you can imagine my horror when I glanced at the back of the conditioner bottle this morning by chance and noticed phenoxyethanol -- a decidedly UNnatural preservative! -- on the ingredients list. I have stopped using products because of this ingredient. How is it that I missed it before in your conditioner? Well, I hadn't. Because I reuse plastic bottles sometimes, I happened to have an old More Moisture Conditioner bottle on hand and compared the ingredients. The list had DRAMATICALLY changed! And phenoxyethanol had been added!

Taking a look at your website, the ingredients advertised reflect the list found on the older (better!) bottle. Can you please explain the discrepancy? Can you also explain the change in ingredients (starting with "why?!") and if this new formula will be permanent?

If this is how Burt's Bees products will continue to be formulated, you can count me out. I took a look at Dr. Bronner's hair rinse and creme ingredients, like what I see, and am more than ready to make the switch.

Thank you. Boy, am I disappointed...

--Christie Bailey

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Hey there.

I've moved Savvy by Nature from Wordpress to here on Blogger. I like the layout and the gadgets. I can also give in to the Dark Side and post ads for revenue, to support my starving writer/student lifestyle this coming winter. :P

I also have some new ideas on the direction I want the blog to go. I am posting most of my informational articles with Suite101 and Demand Studios, which leaves sort of a gap in my blog. So, I'll be focusing more on other bloggy things: links, videos, pictures, news, random rants and pieces of trivia. I'd also like to steer a little off course from my original plans for Savvy by Nature and include not just info on natural personal care products, but also natural remedies, green solutions, and other herby, natural, and Earth-friendly topics.



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