Consumer Choices

Shopping Tips From the Ranch

At Canyon Ranch, we know that health is about the choices each of us makes, day in and day out. Here are some tips to help you be a savvier, healthier shopper.

Selecting safe scented candles

Candlelight is lovely, and scented candles can add a delightful, mood-enhancing atmosphere to any home. But since anything you burn in your home affects the quality of the air you breathe, it’s important that you select scented candles carefully to avoid indoor pollution.

Follow these simple guidelines and you can safely light scented candles to your heart’s content.

  • Choose candles made of soy or beeswax, not petroleum-derived paraffin.
     
  • Be sure they’re scented with pure essential oils derived from plants, not chemical fragrances, which often contain a class of harmful petroleum derivatives called phthlates – known endocrine disruptors. (This applies to air fresheners as well, by the way.)
     
  • Wicks should be made of pure paper or cotton, only. Metal-core wicks, sometimes used because they’re less floppy, can put metal particles – including lead – into the air. Just check that wicks don’t have thin wires at the center.

 



Hacking through the sunscreen jungle

The FDA has issued new rules about sunscreen to make labeling more truthful and easier to understand. Manufacturers have until summer 2012 to comply with the changes.

In the meantime, look for:

  • SPF from 15 to 50 – Less than 15 offers too little protection; SPF higher than 50 increases likelihood of skin irritation with no added protection.
     
  • UVA and UVB protection – both are vital. Only products with equivalent level of protection against these two types of rays will be labeled “broad spectrum.”

You can ignore:

  • Claims that products are “waterproof” or “sweatproof” – these are being disallowed as misleading. Always reapply sunscreen after swimming or perspiring.
     
  • The term “sunblock,” which has also been ruled misleading and will no longer be allowed.

We can all look forward to:

  • Future approval by the FDA of several more-effective UVA filters currently used in sunscreens in Europe, Australia and Japan.

And remember:

  • The main reason sunscreen is ineffective is because people do not apply enough of it, and then do not reapply often enough.
     
  • The only real sunblock is shade.

 



Pots & pans for your all-healthy kitchen

If you’re going to eat more meals in – and we suggest that you do – you’ll need good cookware. Here are some tips from Canyon Ranch chefs:

  • In general, look for sturdy, heavy-bottomed pans that conduct heat well and that can go from stovetop to oven – less washing up! Stainless steel, iron and copper are all great choices.
     
  • On the other hand, your big stockpot, used for making soup and boiling pasta, can be thin – and should be, so it’s easier to move around. Be sure it has sturdy handles.
     
  • We’re concerned about toxic vapors produced by nonstick coatings when they get very hot, so we use nonstick pans for one use only – cooking eggs over low heat.

 



Clean & green

Environmentally friendly all-purpose cleaners may be more expensive than traditional brands, but when you stop to consider the environment that you’re using them in – your home – the trade-off may be worth it. Consider using non-toxic Green Seal- or Ecologo-endorsed cleaning products in the kitchen and bathroom, areas where you frequently clean surfaces with which you and your family have close contact.

 



Deliciously pure water from your tap

One piece of health advice we hear over and over again is to drink lots of water every day. But to do that, you must have access to clean, uncontaminated, good-tasting water – which, in many localities, is not a given. Tap water quality and taste vary enormously from one municipality and region to another, while bottled water has its own environmental and health issues – transporting water by truck takes enormous energy, and standards for bottled water are no higher than those for tap water. In addition, there’s growing concern about chemicals leaching into water from bottles.

Our nutritionists suggest that guests who want better quality water consider a home filter system for the kitchen tap, and, for those who like their water cool, a pitcher in the refrigerator.

For information on local water quality and filter systems, Canyon Ranch nutritionists recommend the independent and reliable Environmental Working Group website: ewg.org